Monthly Archives: September 2012

Jammin’ Into Joice on Nob Hill

Jammin’ Into Joice on Nob Hill

The contemporary single-family home above is the result of vertical and horizontal additions made on a two-story house, and the property is tucked into narrow Joice Street in the downtown/Nob Hill area.

Joice is a stretch of street with cul-de-sacs on both ends. It runs from just south of Pine to slightly north of Clay. Though the location is very convenient, the street can be somewhat gloomy in parts, and the buildings generally don’t get much light (or views). But 26 Joice is situated in a very private setting at the end of the south cul-de-sac.Continue Reading

Meeting Minutes Key in Evaluating HOA Financials

Most condo associations in large buildings have a homeowners association (HOA) board or general membership that meet at least annually to discuss and vote on a variety of items. One of the most important aspects to note when evaluating a condo HOA is whether there are any upcoming, approved expenditures.

Upcoming special assessments are always the big question, but you shouldn’t stop there because those assessments won’t be dipping into the current reserve account. A portion of HOA dues typically goes to the reserve account so there’s some money on hand. Lenders like to see healthy reserves in larger buildings, and having good reserves means the HOA won’t immediately be hit up for a special assessment if, say, the roof needs to be replaced. However, it’s not always evident based on the other disclosure documents whether a large expense is imminent. Though there’s a condo financial disclosure, it only asks about upcoming special assessments.Continue Reading

Live/Work Loft Loans: Talk to Your Lender First

Live/Work Loft Loans: Talk to Your Lender First

You’ve just hit the open house circuit and found a great loft like the one pictured at 25 Lucerne #1 in SoMa. You want to write an offer and you’re preapproved—a no brainer, correct? Not necessarily, according to my colleagues at Guarantee Mortgage.

A majority of lenders have recently become concerned about “buyback” issues. For example, a lender makes the loan, sells it to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, and then is asked by the latter institutions at a later date to buy back the loan because of the live/work nature of the property. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are primarily concerned with such restrictions affecting the future value of the property. Continue Reading

Get to Know SF’s Micro-Markets

Just as San Francisco has various micro-climates across the city, it also has multiple real estate micro-markets. Pretty much every neighborhood has its own character, selling patterns, inventory levels and unique attributes. Knowing how to price your house or what to offer on a home in a given neighborhood depends largely on micro-market conditions.

To that end, Zephyr Real Estate has been hard at work updating the stats and market snapshots for every neighborhood in the city on our highly trafficked Web site. And our latest addition has been video micro-market updates. Click on a given neighborhood, and a video will kick in that provides a quick update on recent sales and activity. For example, check out the one for Mission Dolores.

If you’re a buyer narrowing down your neighborhood choices, or a seller wondering what’s really going on with local sales in your area, check out the video updates. They’re informative, timely and highly useful as a starting point for your home search or sale.

What You Can Buy In: Miraloma Park

Miraloma Park is not always at the top of every single-family home buyer’s list. It’s situated kind of in between more well-known areas such as West Portal and Glen Park. Though most homes in Miraloma aren’t exactly in quick walking distance of retail areas beyond Portola’s Mollie Stone/Starbucks/Creighton’s Bakery strip, West Portal and Glen Park are a quick drive away (as are their respective Muni and BART rail stations).

Most Miraloma residents enjoy the quiet, decidedly suburban streets and find that the fog—which can be plentiful at times—adds an air of drama to their surroundings. The neighborhood is popular with young families who appreciate the fact that their kids can play outside, and that there are many schools in this part of town.Continue Reading

Luxury Home Sales Strong, Architecture & The City is Here!

The luxury market in San Francisco is alive and well, according to the San Francisco Business Times’ latest article on the subject. And First Republic reports that the average luxury price is $2,670,000. Properties in the luxury market are also being listed low to attract interest.

September officially rings in the 9th Annual Architecture and the City Festival, which features presentation, lectures and tours throughout the city. And Fall is also a good time to get your gift funds in order if you’re a buyer who will be relying on them for a purchase.

It’s all here—plus the latest citywide sales—in this edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker.

Keep Your Credit Fresh

Though the real estate market has certainly rebounded this year, there are still many obstacles that can get in the way of obtaining a home loan.

If you’re deep into your house hunt—or in contract on a property—here’s some advice: Don’t buy the BMW just yet.

Lenders are now running “credit refreshes” on the day of funding. This means that before a lender will transfer loan money into the escrow account so that you can complete your purchase, the lender is running a new credit report to see if anything has changed since the credit report at loan approval was issued.

Worst-case scenario is that you no longer qualify for the loan, or the file may have to go back to underwriting, which will delay closing.

The best way to avoid this issue is to avoid buying appliances, furniture, cars or other large purchases using credit prior to recording your new loan. And if you do so after your preapproval is completed and you’re simply house hunting, make sure you update your lender so you have a realistic sense for what you can afford based on your fresh score. (Thanks to my colleagues at Guarantee Mortgage for pointing out this helpful advice.)

Can I Transfer My Property Tax Base?

If you’re 55 or older and are interested in moving within California, there’s a good possibility you can take your property tax base with you. That’s a huge benefit, as property tax bases are a large homeownership expense.

Propositions 60 and 90 are constitutional amendments passed by California voters that allow homeowners aged 55 and over to transfer their property tax base when purchasing a new principal residence. Your replacement home must be of equal or lesser current market value than the original property. And you can only do this once. Prop 60 allows transfers of base year values within the same county, and Prop 90 allows transfers from one county to another.Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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