5 Ways to Avoid Home-Buying Closing Delays

Contract timelines are always tight in the current San Francisco market. That means that buyers are typically removing appraisal and loan approval contingencies within days of having offers accepted. If you’re not prepared to jump on the fast track to completing your purchase, drama can ensue.

Here are five ways to avoid major closing delays, courtesy of my colleagues at Guarantee Mortgage who presented at our Zephyr sales meeting this week. [Read more…]

SF Market Shows Signs of Stabilizing

334winfield
The San Francisco real estate market is actually showing signs of stabilizing. That means we’re starting to see fewer offers on properties, fewer extreme overbidding situations, and buyers having offers accepted that—dare we say it?—have contingencies.

For those of us working in the field, networking with our colleagues and representing buyers and sellers in very recent transactions, it’s pretty obvious that things are calming down a bit. Our sales meetings in the first few months of the year were filled with reports on eight, ten or 15+ offer situations. Now it’s more like three or four. My clients are purchasing a condo in Bernal Heights, and their contract had the full appraisal, loan and inspection contingencies. [Read more…]

What You Need To Know About Gift Funds

It’s no secret that the cost of real estate in San Francisco is high. Many first-time home buyers are turning to family—specifically, to their parents—for a little extra help. If you’re considering making a purchase that will partially rely on what are called “gift funds,” here’s what you need to know, courtesy of my colleague Gordon Friedman of Mortgage Service Professionals:

– The funds must be for a primary residence or second home (not for an investment property)
– The gift must be from a parent, relative, domestic partner, spouse or fiance
– A gift letter is required, which must state the gift amount, property address, date given/to be given, and donor address. The letter also must state that no repayment will be required
– Buyer must have 20% or more in down payment, though the entire down payment can be a gift
– If the buyer has less than 20% down, there will be a 5% borrower contribution required
– For a jumbo loan (more than $625,500), a 5% borrower contribution is required regardless of the down payment. [Read more…]

Inside Hayes Valley’s 8 Octavia

exterior_octavia
I previewed 8 Octavia, the new 47-unit condo development designed by iconic architect Stanley Saitowitz that sits at the corner of Octavia Boulevard and Market Street.

The distinctive feature of the property is the green-colored “curtain” that’s actually a louver system. Owners can press a button in their condo and open or close the louvers, so cancel those plans for window treatments. (No word yet on how expensive the louver system will be over time when it comes to maintaining and repairing it.) Saitowitz calls 8 Octavia a “breathable building,” and I’m sure the louvers are the reason for that. [Read more…]

Spotlight on the Mission, Sunday Streets & Latest Sales!

Developers are heading east in the Mission, because let’s face it: There are only so many lots available on Valencia for condo buildings. The latest project to arrive is 1515 at 15th and South Van Ness. The current Zephyr Market Tracker looks at the details. And if new construction isn’t your thing, we profile some current Mission offerings that might interest you.

Plus, the deets on Sunday Streets, and all the latest market stats. It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

All Deeds Must Record At Same Time for Condo Conversion

As the current crop of TICs converts to condos, I’m seeing many owners listing their TIC interests prior to the actual condo conversion of the entire building. This means the buyer is expected to step in at the tail end of the condo conversion and work with all existing owners as they refinance and everyone completes the conversion process.

In other words, whether there’s a group loan or fractional financing in place, all new condo deeds have to record simultaneously. If there is one owner in the group who doesn’t have a loan, that owner needs to wait until everyone’s refinancing/new purchases are completed prior to obtaining a condo deed. [Read more…]

1645 Pacific: Old World Design with a Modern Touch

exterior_1645pacific
The brand new, 39-unit condo project at 1645 Pacific is officially one of my favorite new developments on the market. I toured the building this week and was impressed with developer Grosvenor America’s and Richard Beard and BAR Architect’s efforts to construct a building inspired by the old world design that’s pervasive among many homes in Pacific Heights, Russian and Nob Hills.

The nice thing about the building is that it doesn’t look like it was transplanted from SoMa, and fits in with the neighborhood’s character. From the sculptures that adorn the facade, to wrought-iron balcony rails and pre-war design elements, 1645 Pacific looks as if there was some real thought put into the overall design. The lobby has high ceilings and grand chandeliers, and all floors are serviced by an elevator. There will also be a concierge/doorman, secured bike storage, a car-sharing service and common rooftop terrace with sweeping views. [Read more…]

Inventory for Every Price Point in Bernal

The Bernal Heights market is experiencing a jolt of inventory, and not just in $1M+ dollar single-family houses. There’s something for everyone, and I wanted to point out some of my favorites. Whether you’re looking to spend up to $500,000 or $2M, here are some good choices in prime neighborhood locations:

515 Eugenia
Tenancy-in-common
1BR/1BA, no pkg
$395,000
515eugenia
515 Eugenia is one TIC interest in a newly renovated, three-unit property at the corner of Bonview and Eugenia. This is a great location because it’s only a block to Cortland, as well as a few short blocks to Mission Street and its public transportation. 515 Eugenia is small, but well appointed. The kitchen is a good size and has reasonable counter and cabinet space, and there’s shared laundry and exclusive storage. The unit is located over the two-car garage, so this may not work if you’re sensitive to the noise of garage doors opening when your fellow building owners are coming and going. But overall, 515 Eugenia is a good package for this price point. (Also available are 199 Bonview #A, the other 1BR unit listed for $495,000, and the two-story main house unit at 199 Bonview for $995,000.) [Read more…]

Just Sold: Corona Heights Condo

2442_15thSt Outlook
I just sold my listing at 2442 15th Street in desirable Corona Heights. The large rear bedroom had the lovely outlook above, and was situated on a tree-lined street adjacent to tennis courts. And it was only a couple blocks to Duboce Triangle and Castro services and public transportation.

List price was $649,000, and we closed for $680,000.