Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

What You Need to Know About the SF Market

When I first meet with a buyer who’s new to the San Francisco real estate market, we discuss the realities of how our market is operating. Because unless you have a full understanding of what to expect, you could spend months wasting time—and not getting what you want.

The market has been pretty consistent all year, with high demand and insufficient inventory. I don’t expect that to change in the near future, even if we can no longer deduct property taxes and have a cap on mortgage interest deductions. So here are the things you need to know and navigate in order to be a successful buyer in 2018: Continue Reading

What You Can Buy: Condos With Walker’s Paradise Scores

Location counts for a lot in San Francisco, and most condo buyers want to live in neighborhoods that offer services, restaurants, shops and public transportation in walking distance. I thought I would highlight a few of my favorite properties currently on the market that have excellent Walk Scores. Here are my picks:

77 Jersey
Noe Valley

3BR/1BA, 1 tandem pkg
HOA dues: $473.33/mo
List price: $1,349,000
Walk Score: 96

77 Jersey is an ideal location for buyers who take BART, and want to be a block from the 24th Street corridor that runs through both Noe Valley and the Mission. The condo itself is a handsome, first-floor unit with a formal dining room, eat-in kitchen and a nicely remodeled bathroom in an Edwardian building. Continue Reading

The 5 Best Neighborhoods for NY Transplants

I moved to San Francisco from New York twenty years ago, and frequently work with many New Yorkers who have relocated here. New York is definitely a world of its own, and I must admit that I was a bit worried when I moved to San Francisco; in my mind, I’d have to drive everywhere, and things wouldn’t be as central. After all, San Francisco’s layout is different in that downtown feels like Manhattan, but everywhere else seems like outer borough neighborhoods strung together—at least, at first. It takes some time to realize that many San Francisco areas are little New Yorks unto themselves. Continue Reading

East Slope Sale Breaks Bernal Heights Sales Record, Commands the Microhoods in 2017

East Slope Sale Breaks Bernal Heights Sales Record, Commands the Microhoods in 2017

The East Slope of Bernal Heights was home to a record-breaking sale this year, and also boasts the highest median price to date in 2017. It was business as usual for our other six microhoods, which all median prices well above the million dollar price point.

As my regular readers know, I created the Bernal Heights microhoods in 2014 to help prospective buyers and sellers get a more refined sense for the values behind the single-family homes in the neighborhood’s distinct geographical areas. I like to check out the values at least once annually. So here’s how our microhoods are stacking up so far in 2017:

Northwest Slope
Single-Family Home Median Price: $1,500,000
Most Expensive: 106 Coleridge (5BR/4BA, 3105 sq ft | $3,100,000)
Least Expensive: 125 Lundys (3BR/1BA, 1186 sq ft | $1,100,000)
# Overbids Above 25%: 4
northwestslope
Buyers weren’t shy about ponying up more than $300,00 over asking for three homes in the Northwest Slope. One of those was the Victorian at 56 Mirabel (2BR/1BA, 1100 square feet) listed for $1,295,000, which received ten offers and sold for $1,630,000. It was also a good year for the renovated Victorian at 106 Coleridge, which finally sold for $3,100,000 after first coming on the market in 2016. Continue Reading

Summer 2017 Wraps Up in SF Real Estate

The San Francisco market held its own this past summer, with inventory and value levels that didn’t change much from the summer of 2016.

The average price of a single-family home, citywide, was $1,692,000, up only slightly from $1,678,000 last summer. Sold volume was essentially the same, with 634 houses sold. Continue Reading

Don’t Lose Your Home: Pay Your Property Taxes

The city catches up with homeowners who don’t pay their property taxes, and missing payments can cost you your property.

Case in point: The recent situation made public over at Presidio Terrace, where a South Bay couple ended up owning that block-long, private street lined with multi-million dollar mansions. (You can read the story here.) The homeowners association for the street apparently didn’t pay $994 in back property taxes, and the city auctioned off the block. Continue Reading

The Seller Has Accepted Your Offer—Now What?!

Most San Francisco buyers are focused on competing for properties. What’s equally important is that you have a firm understanding of what happens once you’re in contract to purchase your home.

The first week to ten days after “ratification” (seller accepting your offer) are essentially a juggling act. Here are the five things you should be prepared to do: Continue Reading

What You Risk When You Waive Contingencies

Inventory hasn’t kept up with buyer demand for a while now in San Francisco. That’s led to very competitive offer situations and high sale prices. Most multiple-offer situations end up with a handful of buyers waiving all contingencies (e.g., conditions of the sale) in order to make their offer as attractive as possible to the seller.

But do all buyers realize what’s at stake when they waive all contingencies? Sometimes I’m not so sure. Continue Reading

How Easy Is It To Add a Garage in San Francisco?

I’m asked this question all the time when my clients who need parking consider a house that doesn’t have a garage. There are many older homes in San Francisco—and a Planning Department that likes to retain the historical character of these buildings. Garages usually don’t fit into the period detail thing.

The answer is that you typically won’t be able to get a definitive answer on a garage permit before you submit an offer. But you can get an informal answer that may help guide your decisionmaking. Continue Reading

What You Can Buy For Up To $1.2M

Trying to figure out what’s in your price range at the outset of your house hunt can be a frustrating experience. It seems like every property sells for well over the list price, and it’s impossible to tell what will actually sell within your budget.

This is a good time to engage a knowledgeable real estate agent who can point you in the right direction. After all, what’s the point of spending your weekend afternoons trudging from one open house to another if the half the homes you’re seeing will be out of your range? I decided to give it a whirl and spotlight a few new house and condo listings that I believe will sell for up to $1,200,000—a popular price point in San Francisco. Here goes:

1991 32nd Avenue
Parkside

2BR/1BA, 2 pkg
$798,000

This Hollywood style starter in the Parkside is adorable and has a remodeled kitchen and bath, two-car garage and small yard with potential. You’re only two blocks from the restaurants, shops and Safeway on Noriega, as well as near many public and private schools. Continue Reading

What Closing Costs Do Buyers Pay?

There’s a lot going on when you’re buying a home with a loan, and closing costs can sometimes hit you unexpectedly. In addition to your down payment, you can count on anywhere from one- to three percent in various fees when it comes time to close your transaction.

If you’re paying points, the closing costs will be on the higher end of that range.

Here’s a rundown on the major types of closing costs you’ll see when you buy your home: Continue Reading

The Most Overbid House ‘Hoods in San Francisco Right Now

Buyers have had no qualms about dramatically overbidding for single-family homes in West Portal, Westwood Park/Highlands, the Central Sunset, Ingleside Heights and Miraloma Park this year.

Those neighborhoods are seeing an average overbid of 20 percent. West Portal actually had five homes sell for between 30 and 50 percent over list price this year.

The selling pattern within individual neighborhoods is a useful data point for sellers when it comes to setting a list price—and for buyers as they decide how much to offer for a property. The traditional pattern in San Francisco has been to list low and sell for more. In general, single-family homes in popular neighborhoods and at price points under $2M tend to get the highest overbids.

I did a quick analysis on the single-family home market and flagged the neighborhoods that are experiencing the highest levels of overbidding. Here are the hot spots now, according to the average overbid percentage year to date:

West Portal 22%
Westwood Park/Highlands 21% Continue Reading

What You Can Buy: Condos That Live Like Houses

The single-family home market is currently crawling with buyers, and inventory is at a low level for the number of prospective purchasers. Single-family home buyers need to be creative and flexible when it comes to landing the right dwelling, which sometimes translates into considering other types of properties.

Condos with unique, house-like features are out there—from detached Victorian cottages to two-level units. Here are a few homes that are technically condos, but that live like houses and are located in popular, walkable neighborhoods. Here are just a few I’ve seen recently:

75 Wood
Jordan Park/Laurel Heights

4BR/2BA, 1500 sq ft
Leased parking @$300/month available
$1,295,000

The Deets: 75 Wood is one of two cottages, and sits on the rear of the lot. You enter through the breezeway from the street, and there’s a nice courtyard between both cottages. The main level has two bedrooms and the living spaces, and the lower level is connected via spiral staircase and includes another two bedrooms and bath, as well as an office area. Improvements include new foundation, electrical, plumbing and roof. There is also a huge, undeveloped attic, which definitely has possibilities given that this is a standalone building and wouldn’t require messing with a unit below you when it comes to structural work. Though there’s no garage, street parking is not bad and there is also leased parking available nearby.
The Location: Commanding a 96 Walk Score, 75 Wood is an easy hop to the restaurants and shops along Clement and Sacramento Streets, the heart of the Laurel Village retail area, and is more or less situated between the Presidio and Golden Gate Park. Continue Reading

Where PG&E Gas Lines Are in San Francisco

Where PG&E Gas Lines Are in San Francisco

It’s been several years since there have been high-profile PG&E gas line fires in The Bay Area. The San Bruno disaster happened in 2010, and a street went on fire in Oakland due to a gas line eruption in December 2013. And a natural gas pipeline in Fresno exploded in 2015, injuring eleven people.

San Francisco has fortunately not been the site of a similar fire recently. However, the gas lines do run underground in the city, and it’s important to be aware of their locations as part of your due diligence when buying a home. You can easily consult the pipeline map on PG&E’s Web site. Just click on the map, and zoom in on San Francisco until you can see the actual street names and gas lines. You can also type in a property address to see which lines are potentially nearby. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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