Everywhere she has gone in her life, and everything she has done, Top Real Estate Agent Mary Lou Castellanos has believed that anything is possible. And after traveling the world many times over, she has proven that idea to be true, in her own hometown of San Francisco.
In her previous career as an international flight attendant, vast distances were literal. Today, as a top REALTOR® in a highly competitive market, those challenges are more metaphorical, but no less real. Castellanos spends her days finding out what her clients need, and helping to meet those needs, no matter what the situation may be.
Castellanos, of Sotheby’s International Realty in San Francisco, has built an enviable career, and has shattered records in the Bay Area real estate market. Although her sales are something to boast about, she remains poised and professional. “There is no magic formula,” she says. “I just work hard.” Castellanos says one of the keys to her success is knowing what, when and to whom to delegate. She works with a team of consummate professionals who are top in their fields.
Among them are Hollis Bathen, a licensed REALTOR®, REO expert and Castellanos’ right hand. The team also includes Natalie Repetto, who balances team administration with marketing and design efforts that have gotten attention on a national level—high praise in an organization as lofty at Sotheby’s. “They get things done quickly, and when we are more efficient, we can offer better service to the client,” Castellanos says. Although she has the business and marketing credentials to run every aspect on her own, Castellanos prefers to work with others whose skills complement her own. This allows her to do
what she enjoys most—spend time with people out in the field.
“I keep my hands off the administration, because I want to be out there making contacts,” she says. Castellanos actively pursues relationships with new clients, with banks and with charities through which she might use her skills to strengthen her community as a whole. Each of these efforts requires its own special skills and methods of communication, but Castellanos’ experience has taught her plenty. “You adjust,” she says. “You become a chameleon.” It is these talents—both natural and cultivated—that have allowed Castellanos to achieve such success. Having traveled to more than 45 countries, she understands the multinational clientele that inhabits San Francisco. And having the ability to read people well has enabled her to hire a staff that helps complement her own skills. In 2011, Castellanos and her team sold both the most modest listing in her office, and also moved the most expensive listing ever to appear in the San Francisco MLS—$29.5 million.
Castellanos is consistently a top producer in her office and in her region, and is currently working to cultivate a relationship with corporations in Tokyo to further increase her client base in the international market. It all sounds incredibly complicated and high-powered, but at its heart, it’s simple. “It’s about spending time with people you enjoy,” she says.
Mary Lou Castellanos
Sotheby’s International Realty
San Francisco, CA