Gap Narrows Between List and Sale Price in San Francisco

Our shifting market will be seeing a lot less crazy overbidding in 2017 as the gap narrows between list and sale prices.

I’m expecting the list-low, sell-for-more pricing strategy to continue throughout next year. But as our market evens out, it’s likely we’ll see sale prices that are a lot closer to their list prices.

The average overbids in October-November 2016 for houses and condos were 5.5% and 4%, down by half in the same time last year. This pattern will set the pace for 2017 sales, as buyers and sellers reference comps and base values on late 2016 activity.

I’m predicting that a small portion of properties will sell for 25% or more next year—houses in highly desirable neighborhoods, and “classic” condos with period detail in smaller buildings that are near popular retail areas and transportation. But the majority of sellers will be wise to expect values within comp ranges, and set their list prices closer to the likely values.

The Pros & Cons of Preemptive Offers

Your agent has shown you a great two-bedroom condo in Pacific Heights before the first official open house. You love the property and are ready to make an offer, but the sellers and listing agent have set an offer date. Should you seize the day and submit an offer?

Buyers make preemptive offers when they want to avoid competing with other buyers. And especially around the holidays, sellers may be open to accepting a quick offer if they are motivated to wrap up their sale by the end of the year.

Though preemptives have their benefits, there are definitely a few drawbacks. Before you rush out to write that offer, here are some points to consider: Continue Reading

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Best wishes to all my readers for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

I have much to be grateful for this year, and appreciate it every time you share a post with your friends or contact me about buying or selling a home.

I’ll be back next week to keep you informed about how the holiday real estate market is shaping up.

What The Trump Presidency Will Mean For San Francisco Real Estate

It’s taken me a bit of time to absorb the political events of the past two weeks. It was a challenge to think clearly about the ramifications of a Trump presidency in the first week after the election. But once the shock wore off, I started talking with my colleagues and devouring various trusted financial and real estate news sources for some clues about what we can expect in the San Francisco real estate market over the next four years.

I’ve concluded that the most direct effects a Trump presidency will have on our local market will be related to two things—interest rates and available cash for home purchases.

Interest rates are already higher due to more selling in the U.S. bond market. Rates are at four percent on the 30-year fixed product, up from 3.5%. The lending industry didn’t expect to see four percent interest rates until sometime in 2017. It’s a good time for prospective home buyers to reevaluate what you can afford based on the most current interest rates.

Whether the stock market will generate favorable returns will have everything to do with how much cash is available to home buyers. I’m expecting that the stock market will experience constant ups and downs as the new presidential administration announces its plans and initiatives throughout 2017.

SoMa Condos, High-End Houses Top Year-End Inventory

We’re approaching Thanksgiving, and that means we are officially in “year-end” territory. Buyers looking to get a deal are likely to find one in South of Market, or in the single-family home luxury market if they can spend $2,000,000+.

But there really are a variety of options out there right now. Here’s where to focus your energy if you’re aiming to purchase a condo or house before the end of 2016, along with price ranges and my picks:

Single-Family Homes
Central Richmond
What’s Available Two- to four-bedroom houses from $1,300,000-$2,500,000
My Pick 791 30th Avenue
791_30thave
791 30th Avenue was built in 1941 and is nicely updated. There are two bedrooms on the main level, and two more downstairs, with a total of 2,085 square feet. Landscaped yard and garage parking. Only one block from Golden Gate Park. List price: $1,495,000. Continue Reading

How Many Offers Will It Take To Buy Your Next Home?

The current market is still rolling along with multiple offers and overbidding on a majority of homes in San Francisco. And many buyers are asking: How many offers do I need to write before I get my offer accepted?

I’ve heard some agents talk about having to write 10+ offers before their clients had one accepted. But all I can offer is my own experience and track record, which I thought I would share. Continue Reading

Just Sold: 701 Minna #17

Just Sold: 701 Minna #17

We closed escrow last week on my beautiful tri-level loft listing in the mid-Market area of SoMa. I managed all the pre-sale prep work, from floor fixes to full-scale painting, staging, repairs and cleaning. In the end, we had a really well-appointed, bright and spacious unit listed for $1,195,000.

Loft activity slowed down a bit over the summer, so we pulled the property off the market in mid August, with the intention to come back on the market in mid September. But two buyers who had been through one of our open houses returned, and promptly wrote an offer that my seller clients accepted. After working through some transactional snags, everyone pulled through, and the sale closed escrow for $1,150,000.

Much thanks to Karen McDowell at Bank of the West for managing the financing, buyer agent Eamonn O’Callaghan at Zephyr Real Estate, Georgine Lonero at Stewart Title. Special thanks to Dale Zink for his fine staging work and flexibility. Excellent teamwork all around!

Where To Find Senior Housing in San Francisco

I’m often contacted by seniors or their families inquiring about what available housing in San Francisco. The truth is that the city has somewhat limited options for seniors. But I decided to round up the options in one blog post that will hopefully be a useful resource.

Senior housing in the city generally falls into three categories: full-service facilities with built-in healthcare services, buildings that are zoned for senior occupants, and centrally located complexes with amenities that I personally think are appealing and useful to senior-age residents. Here’s my roundup, with sales data courtesy of the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service:

1. Full Service Communities
If you’re looking for a residence that will let you easily transition into assisted living, these full-service communities are the best option in San Francisco. You’re basically paying an occupancy or entry fee, with monthly fees that cover your living expenses. All three of these communities are located in the Lower Pacific Heights area, with easy access to public transportation and nearby retail areas in Japantown, Polk Street, and Hayes Valley.

The Carlisle [1450 Post | Lower Pacific Heights]
What It Offers: Continuing care retirement community providing independent and assisted living services for those 62 and over.
How It Works: You purchase your unit and pay a monthly fee (from $4,000) that covers meals, housekeeping, activities, wellness center, cinema, and the usual HOA-related utility expenses such as water, trash, electric, cable, maintenance, and insurance.
What It Costs: This year’s sales ranged from $245,000-$530,000 for the one bedrooms, and $675,000 (with $6,000 monthly fee) for a 1,040-square foot two bedroom/two bath with parking. Continue Reading

Eileen’s Sold Properties
701 Minna #17
South of Market

Urban Loft Living
Sold: $1,150,000
Represented Sellers

Welcome To The Holiday Home Stretch, 2016

If you’re planning to buy or sell real estate in the near future, it’s important to know that the industry slows down after Thanksgiving. Buyers get distracted with holiday activities, and not too many homeowners relish the idea of open houses after the Christmas tree is up.

The bottom line is that new inventory will substantially decrease after your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers are gone. Continue Reading

Bernal Microhood Winners and Losers of 2016

Bernal Microhood Winners and Losers of 2016

Three of Bernal Heights’ microhoods are seeing significant jumps in their median prices in 2016, with one former high flyer getting knocked off its pedestal.

Posting median price boosts of 15%, the East and Southeast Slopes lead the pack in 2016, along with South of Cortland. Precita Park took a 15% dive, with far fewer high-priced homes selling this year. That’s a big switch from 2015, when Precita Park was at the top of the hill.

As my regular readers know, I created the Bernal Heights microhoods two years ago to help prospective buyers and sellers get a more refined sense for the values behind the neighborhood’s distinct geographical areas. So here’s how our microhoods are stacking up in 2016:

Northwest Slope
Median Price 2016: $1,427,500 / 2015: $1,400,000 (+2%)
Most Expensive: 18 Montezuma (4BR/2.5BA, 2267 sq ft | $2,400,000)
Least Expensive: 57 Lundys (2BR/1BA, 700 sq ft | $855,000)
northwestslope
The Northwest Slope made a strong showing this year, bumping up its median price ever so slightly. The most expensive home sold at 18 Montezuma was a flip, and a good example of why contractors are snapping up homes in the neighborhood. Purchased as a fixer in 2014 for $1,200,000, 18 Montezuma was transformed into a showcase home listed for $2,198,000. Buyers had no qualms about paying nine percent over the list price to have that house. But not every home sold for a gangbuster price; the contemporary view home at 25 Elsie came on the market in September 2015 and finally closed escrow in April 2016 for $1,870,000. Continue Reading

Good Value in Behind-The-Scenes Home Improvements

I meet with new buyer clients frequently who tell me they’re okay with “doing some work” and not paying for another owner’s remodel. And many times, that’s a sound plan when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms. After all, these renovations are typically pretty straightforward, and they provide an instant bang for the buck. Buy a house with a tired, 1940s kitchen and bath, tart them up, and you’ve added immediate value.

However, there are certain property upgrades that should be appreciated and valued more than I think they are in San Francisco. A chef’s kitchen with a CaesarStone counter and a slick, high-end soaking tub in the master suite are all fine and good. But what about an upgraded foundation–or a substantially repaired one? Or a new furnace/ductwork; roof; seismic upgrades; repaired dry rot/termite damage; upgraded plumbing and electrical? Though you can’t necessarily see these sorts of repairs in slick marketing photos, they’re important building components that need periodic attention. Continue Reading

Welcome Home Project: Practical Way to Help SF’s Homeless

Welcome Home Project: Practical Way to Help SF’s Homeless

I attended the First Annual Harvest of Hope fundraiser breakfast on Monday, a benefit for the Welcome Home Project.

Co-founded by the San Francisco Realtor Association, government agencies and non-profit groups, Welcome Home Project provides basic necessities to formerly homeless families, vets and individuals so they can get set up in their new households.

Mayor Ed Lee, Director of SF Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing Jeff Kositsky were on hand, as well as Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, and Assemblymembers David Chiu and Phil Ting. Homelessness in the city is at crisis proportions, with a population of more than 6,500 living in the streets. There is no simple, quick solution, so organizations like Welcome Home Project contribute significantly in that they take an immediate, practical approach to assisting in some way.

Many of the major real estate brokerages sponsored Monday’s event, including my company, Zephyr Real Estate, along with Paragon Real Estate, Pacific Union International, Coldwell Banker, Climb and Compass.

Here’s Your Home Insurance Primer

When you’re buying a house in San Francisco, there’s a lot going on. One of the key escrow activities is nailing down your insurance policy and provider. So it’s important to know what you’ll be looking for in terms of coverage level and annual cost.

Here are the main items for comparison that should be standard in your home insurance coverage: Continue Reading

Contingencies Creep Back Into Contracts

It was more than three years ago that San Francisco real estate market activity prompted me to write about what buyers need to know when waiving contingencies in a purchase contract. We’d finally dug our way out of the financial meltdown, and buyer competition for properties was on the rise.

Besides paying high prices to “win” properties, buyers were waiving appraisal, loan and inspection contingencies to make their offers more attractive to sellers. That meant that buyers were prepared to risk their deposit (3% of the purchase price) if they couldn’t get their loan or couldn’t cover an appraised value shortfall. And they worked around having inspections during escrow, either by relying on seller reports, having pre-inspections or having none at all. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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