Monthly Archives: January 2013

Best Neighborhoods for Dog Owners in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the more dog-friendly cities in the country, and many of its neighborhoods offer ideal environments for dogs and their owners.

I’m a dog owner myself, and frequently meet clients looking for a home in a neighborhood that will provide what we all need for us and our pets—ideally, proximity to open space, dog-friendly cafes and shops, and a community of dog owners who support each other and their ‘hood.Continue Reading

Should You Buy Earthquake Insurance?

I’m often asked about earthquake insurance—do most homeowners in San Francisco have it? Do the majority of condo buildings have an earthquake policy?

Only about 12-15% of California homeowners have earthquake insurance, and I believe that ratio drops further in The Bay Area and San Francisco. The reason behind this is that earthquake insurance is very expensive. In a condo building, it doubles your homeowners association dues (HOAs). Additionally, most policies come with a 10-15% deductible. This means the damage to the building would have to be pretty severe in order for you to use your coverage.Continue Reading

Watch for Dog Breed Restrictions in Condo Buildings

It used to be that condo associations limited their pet restrictions to two pets per household. Then some buildings started throwing in weight restrictions. These days, it’s become commonplace to ban certain dog breeds.

This is particularly true in new-construction buildings, where you can expect CC&Rs to specifically state that Pit Bills, Presa Canarias, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Mastiffs or any other fighting breed cannot live in the building. There are also sometimes more restrictive weight limits for dogs (i.e., only 100 pounds combined for two dogs per unit).

With older condo developments, you’re probably good to go if you own one of the aforementioned breeds, unless there is a weight restriction or the particular HOA has amended its CC&Rs to ban the breeds. So before you write your offer on that nice 2BR condo in Pacific Heights, check to see if you’ll be able to bring your dog along.

First Look: The Heights Condos in Pacific Heights

First Look: The Heights Condos in Pacific Heights

I toured The Heights yesterday, a 13-unit, two-building condo development on California and Divisadero on the border of Pacific Heights/Lower Pacific Heights. There are two- and three-bedroom residences available, all with parking and unique floor plans. Finishes are all high-end, running the gamut from Bertazzoni ranges and Liebherr refrigerators to Carrera marble and quartz countertop islands and Heath Ceramics backsplashes.

The more desirable of the two buildings fronts California Street and has nine condos over a commercial space (and an elevator). Four of the units have list prices ranging from $1,249,000 for a 2BR/2BA, 1273-square foot condo to $1,949,000 for a 3BR/2BA, 1920-square foot unit. (They’re waiting to see how sales go on these initial units before pricing the remaining condos, which range in square footage from 1,371-1,693.)Continue Reading

What You Can Buy in District 5

“District 5” in Realtor terms refers to the gaggle of centrally located neighborhoods in San Francisco—areas such as Noe/Eureka Valleys, Glen Park, Mission Dolores, Cole Valley and the like. It’s one of the largest and most popular districts in the city, and one in which I frequently sell homes.

It’s early in 2013, but here’s a roundup of what’s available right now in District 5:Continue Reading

Luxury Market on Solid Footing In 2013

Luxury Market on Solid Footing In 2013

Sellers of properties in the $1.5M+ range found plenty of buyers on hand throughout 2012. The luxury home market steadily picked up speed as the year progressed, culminating in some pretty impressive numbers.

A total of 454 single-family homes and 185 condos traded hands in 2012 for $1.5M or more. In 2011, only 328 houses and 105 condos in this price range sold. So high-end buyers clearly moved from the sidelines last year and entered the ranks of San Francisco homeowners. Interestingly, the average luxury home prices were roughly $2.7M for houses and $2.5M for condos.Continue Reading

Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extended Through 2013

For homeowners considering a short sale or loan modification in 2013, most of last year was a nail biter. That’s because many loan industry insiders believed there was a strong chance that the Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007 would simply expire on December 31, 2012. Would these homeowners then be on the hook for paying taxes on their forgiven debt in 2013?

Last summer, I blogged about the perils of the tax relief act expiring. I had been talking with a few individuals who were considering short sales, and there was a very real chance that they ultimately could be responsible for paying a very large tax bill in the process—one they couldn’t afford.

The good news is that the “fiscal cliff bill” passed by Congress last week included a provision for extending the tax relief through 2013.

Bottom line for sellers thinking about pursuing a short sale this year: It’s best to start that process as soon as possible. Short sales require key prep work and lenders take time to approve the sales. Additionally, buyers in contract on short sales sometimes walk away in the middle of the transaction, which can significantly lengthen and complicate the sale process.

Cash Sales Soared in 2012

Cash Sales Soared in 2012

Cash buyers hit the San Francisco market with fervor throughout 2012, across all price ranges, property types and neighborhoods. Foreign buyers seemed to also be very active, wiring in large sums of cash from South America, China, and Europe.

If you’re aiming to buy or sell a property this year, I think it’s helpful to have a sense for where the cash buyers will potentially be circulating. Here’s my 2012 breakdown by the numbers for each home type:Continue Reading

SF Market Will Get Hotter in 2013

The San Francisco real estate market hit new highs in 2012. Activity significantly picked up over the summer, when serious multiple-offer scenarios and buyer overbidding proliferated. And I’m expecting this robust activity to continue in the coming year.

The S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values in 20 cities increased 4.3 percent from Oct 2011, the biggest 12-month advance since May 2010. It was the fifth straight month of year-over-year gains. In San Francisco, the year-over-year increase was 6.04 percent.

Indeed, home value averages were impressively high in the last quarter of 2012. A total of 672 single-family homes sold with an average price of $1,272,509 (propped up by 15 homes sold in the $5M-$28M range). Additionally, 598 condos sold at an average price of $914,198, with 23 such properties selling in the $2M-$8M range.Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate


BRE# 01352627

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