The New York Minute

Interview Series: Fascinating Engel & Völkers Colleagues from Around the World

Masti Pahlbod

Paul & Vince would like to welcome to the conversation Masti Pahlbod from Engel & Völkers San Francisco, California.
I would say one of those times feeling blessed and grateful was meeting my wonderful husband. And, of course, when my son was born to me. That moment really changed my life; he has always been such a gift to us.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Masti moved to the United States in 1988 to pursue a degree in Psychology at the University of San Francisco and soon fell in love with California. Raised in a family with many properties, she had always remembered a friend of her father’s telling her she would be good at real estate. So, while still at school, she got a real estate license in 1990 and sold five houses in the first few months. After graduation, she joined Better Homes & Gardens/Prudential, where she would remain for the next 21 years, eventually becoming the firm’s top agent across the United States and Canada. In late 2015, she discovered the luxury appeal of the E&V brand. Soon after joining the company, she became the #1 San Francisco E&V advisor and was named to the 2019 North America Elite Chairman’s Club Circle. Married with a grown son, Masti enjoys swimming, traveling in her free time, and exploring San Francisco’s great restaurants with her husband.


Paul & Vince: What are some trends you’re seeing right now in your city about buyers and sellers?

Masti: Where I work, in the city of San Francisco, we’ve had a lot of new developments adding inventory too quickly. This has created an oversupply and is making re-sales more challenging. We’re also seeing the market slow down after some busy years of new money coming in from the tech sector, which, as you know, has had a big impact on prices and the demographics in the city itself. So, right now, we have a slower market in which sellers are becoming impatient, insisting on prices that are too high, while buyers who believe they have plenty to look at don’t feel pressure to decide to buy.


Paul & Vince: As an advisor, who do you see as your ideal buyer, and who is your ideal seller?

Masti: Well, if we’re talking about ideal as in “it would be nice if all customers were like this”, of course, I am always at my best when customers stay open to my ideas and trust my experience to help them.

Any buyer or seller I get involved with is someone I will treat as if they are the most important people in my life. For a buyer, I listen “between the lines” when they tell me what they hope for, and I treat their search as one of the most important transactions they will ever do. For a seller, I usually throw myself into the process and get involved with everything, managing staging, home repair, etc.

But, you’re asking about the ideal? OK, a buyer or seller will be ideal when they are willing to open up and express themselves and then listen and trust that I am their partner because we both want what’s best for them! When you have their total trust in you while you’re doing everything you can for them, everything works out exactly as it should.

Paul & Vince: Brava! Well-said.


Paul & Vince: Name three simple ways you help your clients.

Masti: Here are three rules I try to stick to 1) A past client is always a stronger connection than a new relationship with a brand-new stranger, so even if you do nothing else, always, always stay in touch with your past clients.; 2) Always pick up the phone whenever a client or a new lead calls. If you can’t talk right then, you can always let them know and set up a time to speak again; and 3) If you miss their call or text, try to get back to them as soon as possible…within a few hours. You never let it go beyond the end of the day if you can because whatever their reason for calling you is usually very important to them. You need to show them that it’s important to you, too.


Paul & Vince: What are some of the proudest personal moments in your life?

Masti: I don’t know if I would say proud – more like feeling blessed and grateful – but I would say one of those times was meeting my wonderful husband. And, of course, when my son was born to me. That moment really changed my life; he has always been such a gift to us. We are very proud of him.

And…well, I could say that I am proud of a time that I arranged a major trip for all of my distant family members to bring them together from all parts of the world, all different ages, all different generations. That was a joy to be able to share my good fortune and to give everyone something special to remember.

…and one more, Just For Fun

Paul & Vince: Ok, Masti, now it’s time for your Just For Fun question: if you could become the sales and marketing head in charge of converting a famous building either from history or from the movies into luxury condos, what would be your dream building? Who would you target as buyers, how would you reach them, and what interesting marketing ideas might you use?

Masti: Hmm…Since we’re just having fun, I would choose the Tower of London. I’ll clarify that I’m pretending here that it’s not a major heritage site. So, if I were to take on the project with my investors, we would convert it into 5-star, luxury, hotel-style residences and stress its importance as a one-of-a-kind place in the world to own. We would preserve all the historical parts, the grounds, the moat, the gates, the museums. Maybe we’ll have the staff dress like Beefeater guards, I don’t know. But first, we have to deal with the ghosts.

Paul & Vince: The ghosts!?

Masti: Yes, of course. We will have to hire paranormal experts to go inside, have a nice meeting with the ghosts, and let them know everything will be fine. We’re going to ask them nicely to keep to one of the top-floor towers…and for some of those ghosts, it will be a big improvement because they get upstairs out of the dungeons. But they must agree to the new condo bylaws: haunting and ghost noises only in that tower, only on weekdays. Never on the weekends, unless it’s Halloween, because…this is a nice place.

Paul & Vince: Good. Get all your ghosts in order. What else?

Masti: What else? Certain buyers worldwide will want to own a piece of this property because it is unique. They’re going to know it is the best, the finest luxury, but some might think about the bad things that happened here, so my marketing would have to be fun. We could have ads that say, “This is that London address people have been dying to get into” (get it?). Or we can say, “Whose family doesn’t have secrets? You could fill the history books with ours.”

Paul & Vince: Brilliant! And, you know, with your condo rules, it sounds like it might become the perfect place to get “a good knight’s sleep.”

Masti: Oh, no! That one was worse than mine.

Original artwork by Jolisa Robinson, Gavriani-Falcone Team Marketing

More Like This


Andrea Schlager


Chris Liem


Sonya Clarke


Virginia Pastor


Martin Rouleau


Elena Ionela


Merethe “Siv” Cotton


Magnus Jennemyr


Natalie Leontaraki


Juan Pablo Ruiz


Wieger van der Linden

Be in the know with The New York Minute®

Receive more fascinating stories in your inbox every month