Real Estate Power Players

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Tracy & Mark McLaughlin
The Perfect Union

With more than $800 million sold, Tracy McLaughlin has been named one of Marin’s top real estate agents for six years running. She just closed 2009 with the same ranking. The beauty began her career in front of the camera as a reporter/anchor for various NBC affiliates around the country; a background in communication that has been a real asset in her ability to present properties, understand clients, and successfully negotiate transactions. What’s more, her experience in design and construction, which was garnered by purchasing and renovating some 20 properties ranging in price from $1 million to $7 million, provides useful insight for both buyers and sellers. In 2006, Tracy and her husband Mark opened Morgan Lane Marin offices throughout Marin County. In August of 2009, they purchased Pacific Union/Christies Great Estates, with 17 offices throughout the regional Bay Area.

Haute Living Where are you from originally?
Tracy McLaughlin Mark was born in North Carolina. I was born in San Francisco.

HL How long have you lived in San Francisco? What neighborhood?
TM We both grew up in Ross and have lived in the Ross area for the past 13 years. We love the community!

HL When did you first become interested in a career in real estate? What about it sparked your interest?
TM Mark has a long-standing history of commercial real estate management and technology in real estate. He began his real estate career in the early 90s. I started selling real estate approximately 13 years ago. We started Morgan Lane Marin in 2006 and purchased Pacific Union in August of 2009. We became interested in real estate because of the dynamics associated with trading homes. Homes can be such an expression of one’s self! They are the one environment someone can really control through their expression of design and taste. Homes are also where people raise families and celebrate life’s accomplishments. Selling an asset that is so personal to people is a very intimate experience. We were drawn to this business due to all of these dynamics that surround the acquisition of a home.

HL What was the first big sale that you closed in the luxury market?
TM It depends on how you define “luxury,” but probably a sale for $5.5 million back in 2002.

HL Who taught you the tricks of the trade in luxury real estate? What are some of the lessons that you learned?
TM I am mostly self-taught. I’ve learned by listening to my clients’ needs and prioritizing those needs over all else. Having your finger on the pulse of what a client wants or needs is the key to being successful in our business. I’ve also learned that when you are good to your peers, it always comes back to you. Having the trust and respect of your peers is incredibly important in our business.

HL What is the secret to succeeding in the San Francisco
real estate market?
TM I really sell primarily in Marin County. However, the secret to succeeding here is to really know and understand what you are selling, and to always, always put your clients’ interests first.

HL What is it about the Bay Area that is attractive to those seeking a luxury lifestyle?
TM So many of my clients define luxury by the way that they spend their free time. For many of my clients, free time is their greatest asset. For that reason, I feel that one of the greatest attractions to living here really has to do with all of the recreational opportunities that present themselves. Our immediate access to the wine country, Lake Tahoe, the ocean, and all of the sophistication of San Francisco is very hard to find anywhere else in the country.

HL What are some annual cultural/social events that would appeal to Haute Living readers?
TM I love the Sonoma Jazz Fest, which was founded by the same person who started the Aspen Jazz Fest. It attracts great musicians from around the world. I also love the Fall Antiques Show. Locally, the annual Ross Valley Women’s League “Adopt A Family” party is a wonderful venue to support a very good local charity, catch up with friends, and make new ones.

HL Where is the first place you would take an out-of-town visitor and why?
TM I love to take my clients to the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere. It is so relaxing to sit on the deck and enjoy the stunning views of the water and San Francisco. My out-of-town clients are always sold on Marin as soon as they have lunch there!

HL Where are the best luxury shopping venues in San Francisco?
TM Union Square, Sacramento Street, and Fillmore Street.

HL The last place you went for fine dining?
TM Aqua with Mr. Chris Condy.

HL You never leave home without…
TM My three children and my cell phone.

HL Your favorite Friday night out?
TM A dinner party with close friends in Ross.

HL Describe San Francisco in three words:
TM World-class, sophisticated, and beautiful.

HL If you weren’t in real estate sales, you would be…
TM A television newscaster again.

HL When not selling properties, what is your favorite pastime?
TM Spending time with our children skiing in the mountains.

HL What is something that people would be surprised to find out about you?
TM That I was an on-air report/anchor for various NBC affiliates around the country.

HL What are your predictions for the local market in 2010?
TM I believe that we will see greater confidence on the part of buyers in the marketplace this year. We have continued record-low interest rates with fantastic buying opportunities at significantly reduced prices compared to two years ago. This should result in a bit of an upturn in volume for 2010.

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