Power Players of San Francisco: Olivia Hsu Decker, Malin Giddings, Nina Hatvany and more

Jon Taylor (The Contractor)


Living in San Francisco is a dream for many and for Jon Taylor, who moved here from Texas, the aspiration has become a reality. He began his real estate career in Houston where, in one year, he sold a home per week. In San Francisco, he began to renovate homes for himself and clients. He was constantly connecting people to properties and decided to get back in real estate where he has quickly risen to the top of the industry. Jon’s clients benefit from his extraordinary design skills, incomparable aesthetics, and unwavering commitment to find the ideal home or obtain the highest price.

Haute Living Where are you from? What attracted you to San Francisco?
Jon Taylor I’m from Texas. I came to San Francisco because of the landscape, the weather- I love the fog!

HL What attracted you to real estate?
JT I’ve always loved real estate and residential architecture. When I was a kid, I used to build houses out of cardboard and create entire neighborhoods. Today, when I go in a house, I almost immediately visualize what it can be instead of what it is.

HL Who was your first mentor and how did he/she influence you?
JT My mother, my partner, and my assistant, in that order. They all told me that I can have whatever I want and I believed them!

HL You’ll never be found without your…
JT Boundless energy, I have so much of it that sometimes I wish I could give it away!

HL What were your yearly sales for 2007? Forecast for 2008?
JT Last year I was in a partnership. This year, I anticipate nearly $60 million in sales. I want to keep the momentum going into next year so I work every day to secure sales for the future.

HL What is your most memorable deal?
JT Every deal has something memorable about it because I get so intimately involved with the process and the outcome. I care deeply about doing the best for my clients and always learn from them how to be even better at what I do.

HL Where do you live?
JT I live in Clarendon Heights, on the highest residential street in the city. I happened upon this street when I first came to San Francisco and knew I would reside here one day. It has spectacular views and I have created a modern, minimalist home where my partner and I enjoy the best of what San Francisco has to offer.

HL If money were no object, what property on the market would you recommend in the San Francisco area?
JT 100 Palo Alto. It’s not for sale because I just sold it! It was built by San Francisco Mayor Elmer Robinson and is unequivocally the best view home in the city. The new owner loves it, but every man has his price. If someone is interested, I can let them know.

HL What is your formula for keeping your high-end and/or high profile clients happy?
JT I listen to what they want and I give it to them. My support team and I really focus on a property and take ownership of the transaction. We invest a tremendous amount in our listings by creating an original marketing approach for each property and making every effort to present the property at its best. I also continually focus on my buyers, mining every possibility so that I am able to present the most suitable properties for their consideration. I guide my clients through each transaction by always anticipating the market rather than reacting to it.

HL Tell us one thing most people wouldn’t know about you?
JT I am an identical twin.

HL What is your proudest achievement?
JT The relationships I have fostered with the people in my life. The people around me are exceptional. I think that reflects and says something about me. I consider this my greatest success in life.

HL Where would we find you on a Friday night?
JT Most likely at home, at the movies, or out to dinner with friends, but definitely with my partner, Peter.

HL What are your favorite vacation destinations and/or leisure activities?
JT Anywhere I can go or anytime I can get off-I’ll take whatever I can get! I love working in my garden and I love going anywhere around the world seeing new places.

HL Your forecast for the San Francisco real estate market for 2008?
JT Because it is San Francisco, I think that the market will remain strong. Agents, buyers, and sellers must understand current economic trends and work together to make smart decisions about what to offer or how to price. The Bay Area is a center of economic influence due to its technology, biotech, and green energy ascendancy, all of which create a real estate demand that differs from other areas of the country.

HL What are your personal goals for 2008?
JT My goal will be to continue to match the right buyers to the best properties and obtain the best prices for my sellers. I am proud to be part of the process that enables people to feel excited about where they live, which contributes to this tangible sense that San Francisco is really quite special. My real estate sales allow me to donate to charities that benefit this city that I am so passionate about and I look forward to giving even more back this next year.

HL In your opinion, what makes San Francisco so special?
JT The people mostly, but it IS San Francisco, need I say more?