Joel Goodrich The Man, The Fashionista, The Real Estate Guru

Por: Edward Rueda

4, April, 2022 en Luxury Trending

Joel Goodrich

The Man, The Fashionista, The Real Estate Guru

Interview by Heide VanDoren Betz

One of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most prominent luxury real estate agents over the past 25 years with over $1,200,000,000 in sales, Joel Goodrich works closely with clients in the sale and purchase of luxury estates, penthouses, and investment properties. He has listed some of the most expensive homes in America, including the historic 35,000 square foot Tobin Clark Estate in Hillsborough, and represented the sale of some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most exceptional properties, many of which have been featured in Architectural Digest and other design and lifestyle publications. Among others, he has sold celebrity estates such as Sharon Stone’s ocean-front Sea Cliff mansion, the Kim Kardashian/ Kanye West estate in Bel Air Crest.

Joel has appeared on the Wall Street Journal/ Real Trends list of the Top Agents in the United States. His listings have been prominently featured in major media outlets, including television appearances on CBS Evening News, CNBC television, BRAVO Fox Television, as well as interviews and editorials in, Wall Street Journal, Mansion Global, Market Watch,, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Nob Hill Gazette, Bloomberg News, and Town & Country.


The Man

Luxury Trending: Where did you grow up?

Joel Goodrich: I grew up across from San Francisco in the East Bay Hills. When I was 10 years, old my family (my father was with Bechtel Corporation) moved to Paris for 3 years, which was an extraordinary and life-changing experience for me.

LT: What were your interests in your youth, your early career days?

JG: Ice skating was my life growing up. In elementary school, I was training before and after school, 6 days a week. Once we moved to France, I joined the French National Skating Team, an amazing opportunity for the training of a10 year old. I won awards both in France and then back in the US. I gave up skating to attend UC Berkeley where I majored in Bio-Medical Science. I planned to do medical research or become a doctor. While in college I had a job on the side playing piano at Cafe Romano on College Avenue. This led me to dreams of venturing into the music business or becoming a concert pianist. But I knew that was probably not going to happen. Through a twist of fate, I wound up back in the skating world. I dropped out of school to tour with the professional Ice Follies for one year in the Far East. What an incredible experience for me performing in Taiwan and Hong Kong! When I returned to the US, I was offered a great ice-skating coaching job which I did for 4 years before embarking on the next journey of my life which presented many ups and downs.

LT: Tell us about the ups and downs.

JG: I have been through major ups and downs in the various phases of my journey. After my coaching career, I embarked on a career in banking for several years. During that time, I met and fell in love with a very talented young singer/songwriter. She and I had a wonderful but short 3 years together. We had a fabulous black-tie wedding in Pacific Heights where we decided to live. I helped her get singing engagements throughout the city (my brief music career). However, the marriage and the music business did not last; it was not meant to be. My former wife and I remain in contact to this day. This was not only a difficult period but a low point in my life. I moved to the Tenderloin area into a hotel and took a job there. It turned out to be a crucial turning point.

LT: How do you stay fit? Do you have a diet/exercise/sleep routine?

JG: I am pretty much on that Mediterranean diet, a lot of fish and vegetables. I do work out several times a week and believe in getting as much sleep as my body needs. I drink a super shake every day; many people have asked me about it. It essentially has a mix of 10 super-foods providing an optimal blend of healthy proteins, fats, and sugars.

LT: Describe your typical workday for us.

JG: There is no typical day in real estate. Every day is different, which is what keeps it fascinating. A day can involve anything from showing international clients luxury properties to having a photoshoot for an upcoming listing, to the nitty-gritty of closing legalities to doing media interviews.

LT: You are often on the gala charity circuit which you generously support. Do you have a (or several) favorite charities?

JG: I have been fortunate to be able to support a variety of organizations in the city, from Co-Chairing the AmfAR Gala, to supporting causes ranging from Raphael House (shelter for the homeless), Shanti (a hospice for AIDS and Breast Cancer victims), Dress for Success, and cultural institutions including the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Ballet, and San Francisco Opera.

LT: How would you describe your life?

JG: I’ve always been able to look on the bright side of life. In a way, it’s been my survival mechanism. One day a friend was complaining about something that in the large scheme of things was rather trivial, and all of a sudden, she looked at me and said: ‘Joel, I wish I could look at life through your rose-colored glasses.’ So, I said: ‘Darling, I know what to get you for Christmas!’ I am not quite sure where my positive attitude came from since I had a lot of loss as a child and young man. One brother died at the age of 4, my mother had schizophrenia, another brother was ill. My dad was killed in an accident. However, I am forever grateful to have had two loving parents and two wonderful brothers. Many people have been through far worse. The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating article called “The Art of Resilience” which wrote about children who have faced tough challenges when they were young. Those children tend to be more resilient in life, so perhaps my losses, as well as being a competitive and professional skater was what prepared me for the attitude that life will be good but will definitely have some challenges and low points.

LT: What are some of your other (than real estate) interests?

JG: I have been Executive Producer of 2 movies—2004’s Latter Days with Jacqueline Bisset, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and 2006’s Adam and Steve with Parker Posey, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. I have also appeared on 4 Best-Dressed Lists, the Red Carpet at the Grammys, and been a guest at the Chanel Show during Paris Fashion Week. How flattering is that! I’m of course drawn to interior design. My residence, a penthouse in a classic pre-war Park Avenue style high-rise on San Francisco’s historic Nob Hill, is frequently featured in the media. And I collect orchids.

LT: What about personal values?

JG: I try and do the right thing and treat people nicely, no matter who they are. It’s not always easy. My role models are those who have gotten to the very top of whatever field they are in, while still being decent and kind to other people. That, and I never forget to be grateful.


The Fashionista

LT: You are always impeccably attired down to shoes and accessories. Tell us about your fashion style.

JG: For me, fashion is always about energy. What you wear

affects your energy; it also helps people interact with you.

Fashion is about being authentic and being who you are. Your style is what people really respond to. On a lighter note, one of the four “best dressed” lists I appeared on asked for a one-line quote about my style. I said: “My style is very VPC―Versace, Pucci and Chanel! “

LT: Do you have a favorite look?

JG: Like my taste in design, I enjoy all kinds of looks, from classic tailored looks to over-the-top party and resort wear looks. Several of my more memorable fashion moments include meeting Karl Lagerfeld but wearing a Versace jacket (oops!) and appearing on the Red Carpet at the Grammys in a jacket of my own creation—if you google “Joel Goodrich Grammys” you can find it.

LT: What/who inspires your runway-worthy outfits?

JG: I am a very visual person, so the accumulation of various images I have seen over the years in the media and movies inspires me. Some of my more iconic fashion friends also provide constant inspiration. My dear friend, Fred Hudson, who appeared on many Best-Dressed lists in Sn Francisco’s ’80s and ’90s, was one of my 1st fashion models and started my interest in Hermes and Versace.

LT: How would you describe a stylish person?

JG: Someone who has their own unique fashion point of view!


The Real Estate Guru

LT: How did your career in real estate begin? Tell us a few highlights.

JG: I started my real estate career in 1992 a year that was a turning point in my life. With $500 in my pocket and $20,000 in credit card debt, no car, and no career, I was living in a small downtown residential hotel working at a minimum wage job. I worked hard for a few years to put my life back together. With the mentorship of a dear friend and determination of steel, I decided to start a residential real estate career. I had little idea what was ahead. If someone had told me then―when I started selling $100,000 condos—that at some point I would have a $65,000,000 listing and selling celebrity estates, I would have thought that was science fiction. But dreams do come true! The hundred thousand dollar market gradually broke into the luxury market of $10, $20, then $30 million-plus sales.

LT: What drew you into the Real Estate world?

JG: One thing that drew me into this business was my love of architecture and design; we have been fortunate to work with a fair number of iconic properties. There is always another fascinating structure waiting for new life.

LT: What have been some of your “splashy listings?”

JG: One of my iconic listings was the 35,000 square foot Tobin Clark estate in Hillsborough, a very notable property in the Bay Area. Other architectural significant properties included Le Petit Trianon in San Francisco, the celebrity estate of Kim Kardashian in Bel Air Crest, and the Sharon Stone estate in Sea Cliff, San Francisco.

LT: Was there a challenging project?

JG: Of course, lots of challenges, always! The oldest real estate joke in the book is that it’s best to be the first-born son, the second trophy wife, or the third listing agent. In one case I was 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th listing or co-listing agent on a property that took fifteen years to sell.

LT: Define the term “Luxury Market.”

JG: When I started in the business the term “luxury market” generally referred to properties $1,000,000 million and up, now it’s $5,000,000 million and up, with the ultra-luxury market starting at $20,000,000.

LT: The real estate market has been quite a seesaw in the past few years due to Covid. Why is that?

JG: During the pandemic, we saw huge volatility in the stock market which is also reflected in our real estate market, as we are closely correlated to NASDAQ, where much of Bay Area wealth comes from. We expected 2020 to be very much of a down year, but it turned out to be the second-best year ever for my team and myself. 2021 was our best year ever by far. Part of it is that there was a huge amount of wealth creation during the pandemic due to asset prices, cryptocurrency, and other factors which led to a very strong luxury market.

LT: Has the Covid pandemic shifted the market―locally, nationally, internationally?

JG: We’re not seeing as many international buyers as we did before, although they are starting to trickle back. We currently have clients from India, South Korea, Vietnam, and Europe. We’re no longer seeing the Chinese or Russian buyers. However, San Francisco is a huge business destination for national and international clients because we remain the tech capital of the world and people need to be here for business. We also see those clients buying here because of their children’s education—Stanford, UC Berkeley, or one of our other major academic institutions are huge draws.

LT: Any predictions for the rest of 2022?

JG: On a macro level, the international monetary fund has reduced its prediction for worldwide GDP growth. However, San Francisco and Silicon Valley does do better as the technology sector is still extremely strong. I believe our market will remain stable over the next few quarters. The outlook over the next couple of years is murkier, but I’m extremely bullish on the second half of this decade. Last decade I was interviewed several times about the future of San Francisco real estate, and in one of the articles, called “Nine Mega-trends: The Future of San Francisco”, I outline several major trends converging on San Francisco and Silicon Valley that will continue to make it a very strong financial center as well as the tech capital of the world, thereby keeping our real estate market strong.

LT: How has “work at home” influenced the real estate market?

JG: People are definitely spending more money on their homes because they are spending more time there. Amenities such as outdoor terraces, yards, views, media rooms, and gyms have become more important.

LT: In all areas of business, we keep hearing the term “Lack of inventory” including in real estate. Why?

JG: We actually saw a huge amount of inventory at the beginning of the pandemic as many people were re-evaluating their lives and where they wanted to live. There was much moving around, out of cities, even the state. However, that inventory has dried up. Our stock is below normal levels as that ” moving around” has slowed down and people are remaining more settled for now.

LT: Many families have shifted their locations from cities to rural locations. Do you see a return to the cities?

JG: Yes, many people are returning to the city as schools, cultural, dining, shopping, entertainment, and sporting attractions open up again.

LT: Why are international buyers shifting their interests out of the US?

JG: Some Russian and Chinese buyers are not investing in real estate here (at this time) because of the international geopolitical tensions and difficulties in transferring large amounts of funds from their country of origin. Other international buyers are looking at us as a relatively safe haven.

LT: Does the new trend of working from the home influence the market?

JG: Yes, it does, in many different ways. It looks like there will be a certain percentage of workers that will have a hybrid situation – estimates range widely anywhere from 10 to 25%. However, the whole theory behind cities and high-rises is that people live, work and play within a 10-20 minute radius to have a quality of life that affords time not only for work but family, culture, and entertainment, without lengthy commutes. San Francisco is uniquely positioned because nowhere else in the world do you have the largest tech capital in the world and 20 minutes away from some of the most beautiful parks and beaches anywhere.

LT: I keep hearing Texas/ Florida is the new California. Really?

JG: Texas and Florida and other places are certainly gaining traction but we remain the leader. There was a study done of where venture capital money flowed last year. Companies located just within the city limits of San Francisco, not the Bay Area or Silicon Valley as a whole, received an astounding $61billion. The next highest city in the world got $8billion. We got more than the entire states of Texas and Florida combined. San Francisco is definitely not going anywhere! Also, there is something about San Francisco that has always attracted me to freedom of ideas. I know that when I first moved here, I immediately felt free to be who I was. And younger friends who moved here for the last 10 years from various areas in the United States and around the world have expressed the same feeling. I believe that has been what has bred such an incredible spirit of innovation and entrepreneurialism. We do remain, despite everything, that magical City by the Bay!

LT: What’s in your future?

JG: I love what I do and will continue doing it. I have been asked to run for supervisor in District 3, but I am not sure if I’ll really do that. However, I do have the name for my first fundraiser in case I decide to, it will be “Let’s disco for District 3”! The idea is intriguing as I do love this beautiful City by the Bay and would love to give back to it as it has been so good to me and offered me a journey through life far beyond what I dreamed possible.


JOEL GOODRICH @joelgoodrich

Creative Director and Writer: HEIDE BETZ @heidebetz

Art Director: NIGEL JOHN DEL MUNDO @nigeldelmundo

Photographer: VINCENT GOTTI @vinniegotti