Monthly Archives: May 2012

Get Preapproved for a Loan Before You Start House Hunting

The holiday weekend is behind us, and that means many buyers will be either entering the home buying market, or may already be out there looking for their next home.

If there’s one key piece of advice I can give to all of you, it’s that you should get fully preapproved for a loan before you start seriously searching for a property. Of course, it’s a good idea to get your feet wet and go to some open houses to get a sense for pricing and value. But before you start making appointments to see homes, the very first step should be that phone call to the mortgage broker or lender. Because if you don’t have a clear understanding of the loan amount for which you can qualify, you could end up wasting a lot of time. Continue Reading

Painted Lady in Alamo Square Flies Off Shelf

Painted Lady in Alamo Square Flies Off Shelf

Though it’s still showing up as an active listing in the MLS, the Painted Lady at 710 Steiner that was listed in early May has been snatched up by twentysomething buyers with all cash, who are in contract for above the $2,295,000 asking price.

You can see 710 Steiner above; it’s the house to the right of the blue property–last one on the right:

It’s no surprise that there was a rush for this piece of San Francisco history. Who wouldn’t want to own an exquisitely maintained Victorian on one of the most famous and most photographed residential stretches in the world? The 5BR/2.5BA, 2500-square foot home has three decks and downtown views. The new owners will probably renovate the kitchens and bathrooms down the line, but that’s a drop in the bucket—and a good investment.

How Much Will You Pay for a 1BR Victorian?

How Much Will You Pay for a 1BR Victorian?

I stopped in at 284 Collingwood out of curiosity on tour yesterday. The 1BR/1.5BA Victorian single-family home sparked my interest because it is listed for $1,560,000 (for a 1BR house).

The current owners paid $1,250,000 in cash for the property in 2007, and completed a major renovation and extension a couple years later. The house is lovely, with a floor plan that works and a nice garden, as well as room for two- to three cars. And you can’t beat the Castro location.

However, the fact remains that 284 Collingwood only has one bedroom. So the buyer pool is certainly narrower. Despite these odds, there are multiple buyers interested, and the sellers have set an offer date. I’m sure everyone on the seller side is hoping for a cash offer, because there are no comps out there at this price point for a 1BR house in the neighborhood. I suspect, though, that the next owners will be creating some new comparative sales data that will bode well for other 1BR Victorian homeowners who may be considering selling.

Couldn’t Sell in 2009? Give It a Shot in 2012!

Couldn’t Sell in 2009? Give It a Shot in 2012!

Many homeowners who attempted to sell property in the 2009-2010 timeframe weren’t successful. The MLS is littered with property histories showing withdrawn or expired listings across those two years. This activity was mainly due to the fact that buyers were sitting out the market and economy, loans were a challenge to obtain, and sellers generally were looking for more money than their homes were worth.

But the variables have certainly shifted this year in San Francisco. Cash transactions are commonplace, lenders are bestowing loans on buyers again, and those buyers are snapping up condos and houses like there’s no tomorrow. For sellers who want to give it a whirl again, now is the time to make your move. Continue Reading

The SF Inventory is Finally Arriving

Buyers and Realtors have been complaining about the lack of residential inventory in San Francisco since earlier this year. Indeed, it seems like buyers are fully engaged in our single-family home, condo and multi-unit offerings and have hit the market looking for property all at the same time. That means that for every cool house in a central location, there are 10-15 sets of buyers waiting to pounce.

The multiple offers and pouncing is still happening, but I’ve been encouraged over the past two weeks by the increase in property availability. Of course, I gauge most activity by how many listings come on the market daily, but there are more anecdotal signs that things are changing. For example, I noticed three houses with newly adorned For Sale signs on my Upper Noe dogwalk route this afternoon. And about three other properties being painted. Our Zephyr preview tour had more than a dozen new listings last week, and this week there are another 14 for us to see. Instead of only being able to recommend a couple properties for each of my buyers, I’ve been able to recommend significantly more to many of them. Continue Reading

Buyers Will Pay for “Done,” Even in So-So Locations

Despite most San Francisco buyers’ firm proclamation at the outset of their house hunt that they won’t pay for someone else’s renovation, many are doing just that. One trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing is that of buyers snatching up fully renovated single-family homes—and paying dearly for them, even if the homes are not in prime locations within a given neighborhood. (Because not everyone can afford a newly renovated home in the heart of Noe Valley, right?)

The latest example of this trend occurred recently at 124 Chilton, technically situated in Glen Park. The property looked like this only about a year ago: Continue Reading

Preview: Millwheel South in Dogpatch

Preview: Millwheel South in Dogpatch

I toured the new Millwheel condos at 1301 Indiana/1280 Minnesota in the Central Waterfront/Dogpatch area this week.  The Millwheel South project consists of two buildings featuring a total of 32 units, with Millwheel North’s 39 units slated for construction in the not-too-distant future.

There is one 1BR unit available at Millwheel South ($569,000/727 square feet). However, this project primarily features spacious two- and three-bedroom condos across four floors. Pricing ranges from $649,000 for a 1,115-square foot 2BR/2BA on the first floor, to $799,000 for a 3BR/2BA with 1,360 square feet on the top floor. (Some units have as much as 1600 square feet.) Finishes are lovely, and include wide-plank, matte oak floors, imported Italian tile and Elfa closet systems. Kitchen appliances include Frigidaire refrigerators, dishwashers and ranges, as well as Bosch washer/dryers. Continue Reading

Mission All Grown Up—And Still Growing

Mission All Grown Up—And Still Growing

I was running home on Monday morning after dropping my car off for servicing in SoMa. My route home brought me through the Mission, and I suddenly found myself reflecting on how much things have changed there since I first moved to San Francisco in the late ’90s.

Back then, I remember picking up my personal trainer to go to Crunch on Van Ness at 6:00am. She lived on San Carlos and 19th, and though she was willing to take public transportation to meet me at the gym in the early morning, I thought it might be safer to swing by and pick her up with my car. San Carlos is a little street parallel to Valencia, and thus was a magnet for random street activity. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate


BRE# 01352627

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