Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

Welcome To The Holiday Home Stretch: 2015

We are officially in the home stretch of the year, which means one thing: Only highly motivated, flexible and persistent buyers and sellers will prevail.

I’d say that a good portion of semi-serious home buyers falls off once the turkey leaves the table. For those buyers who are in town and not too distracted by shopping and holiday parties, it’s time to crack down and get one of the 164 single-family homes or 241 condos currently on the market.

Homeowners seeking to sell their home by the end of the year have a small window of time this month, particularly as most buyers’ loans need roughly 21-30 days to close. However, that’s okay because sellers with substantial sale profits whose transactions close in January won’t be responsible for capital gains tax until 2016. And they won’t be subject to the uncertainty—and most likely higher interest rates—that will come with the 2016 market.

What You Need to Know About SF Property Taxes

In honor of property tax season, I wanted to round up property tax basics for all of you future homeowners. There’s a lot to know, and property taxes are something you don’t really think about until you’re scrambling around trying to pay them on time.

And if you’re a current homeowner, be aware that your payment will be delinquent after December 10th!

Here’s what you need to know, in a nutshell:
Property taxes are based on a percentage of your home’s value. The property tax rate changes slightly each year. For example, for the tax year 2011-12, the rate was 1.1718%. But for 2012-13, it’s 1.1691%.Continue Reading

Coming Soon and Off-Market Opportunities: November 12, 2015

Off-market land is quiet this week, but that’s probably because inventory is slowing down in general. Here are my picks for this week’s up-and-comers:

216 Yerba Buena / Monterey Heights
2BR/2BA home with expansion potential, 2 pkg

130 Vienna / Excelsior
4BR/3BA + two bonus rooms up, 1 pkg

Sunnyside Single-Family Home
2BR/1BA Marina-style home, huge garage
Price upon requestContinue Reading

Buyers and Sellers: Use October Sales as Your Guide

We’re well into the Fall real estate season, and the holiday home stretch is just around the corner. October numbers will be the best guide for buyers and sellers as they respectively decide how much to offer and how much they want for their homes.

Here’s where we are right now in the market.Continue Reading

SoMa’s Sapphire Slashes Prices

SoMa’s Sapphire Slashes Prices

The sales team at 252 9th Street in SoMa, known as Sapphire, has been marketing its 15 well-appointed new condos since September. Though some of the units are in contract, there are still plenty available. And prices are about to be slashed significantly.

Savvy buyers, take note: Sapphire offers one- and two-bedroom condos that feature European oak hardwood floors, high ceilings, kitchens with Bertazzoni gas ranges, and washer/dryer hookups. Amenities include patios or balconies in select units, a fantastic roof deck with amazing city views, bike parking, storage lockers, and elevator service to all levels. HOA dues are in the $400-$500 range.Continue Reading

Which Neighborhoods Have the Best Weather?

If you’re new to San Francisco, then it’s important to be aware that our city has a variety of microclimates. One minute you can be driving around with the top down, sweating, and the next you’re turning on the seat warmers. If you’re considering purchasing a home here and are particularly weather sensitive, it’s important to know which neighborhoods tend to have the most favorable climates.

Of course, San Francisco has citywide fog and wind no matter where you go. But some areas have longer periods of time during a given day when the sun shines and the wind is at a minimum. So here’s a quick rundown:Continue Reading

Price Reductions Creep Into San Francisco Market

Price reductions aren’t too common in the go-go market we’re experiencing in San Francisco right now. But they do happen occasionally. Savvy buyers know that price-reduced properties could be great opportunities to avoid multiple-offer situations and way-over-asking bids. Behind every price reduction is a motivated seller.

Of the 284 houses available now, only five have had recent price reductions. And only 14 of 354 active condo listings have chopped their list prices.

Here are my picks for three condos that are ready for offers now.Continue Reading

Coming Soon and Off-Market Opportunities: October 28, 2015

A good portion of the Fall inventory is on the market, but there are some properties quietly being marketed outside the MLS. Here are my picks for this week:

507 Capp / Mission
Grand 5BR/6BA renovated Edwardian on three levels, garden, 3 pkg

2771 38th Avenue / Outer Parkside
3BR/2BA remodeled house, 1 parking

555 4th Street #513 / SoMa
2BR/1BA, 1 pkg
$1,050,000Continue Reading

Where PG&E Gas Lines Are in San Francisco

Where PG&E Gas Lines Are in San Francisco

It’s been a few 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. Earlier this year, a natural gas pipeline in Fresno exploded, 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

Just Sold: Ingleside Heights Condo

Just Sold: Ingleside Heights Condo

I’m extremely pleased to let you know that my client just closed on the purchase of a lovely condo in the Oceanview Village community in Ingleside Heights.

Oceanview Village is within walking distance of BART, has useful commercial spaces (like a 24-Hour Fitness) and is also near 280 for South Bay commuting. It’s become a popular spot for first-time home buyers looking spacious, well-appointed condos with parking.Continue Reading

Coming Soon and Off-Market Opportunities: October 21, 2015

Though a good portion of the Fall inventory is on the market, there are some properties quietly being marketed outside the MLS. Here are this week’s offerings:

Six Newly Rebuilt Flats on 19th Street @San Carlos / Mission
2BR +den/2BA residences, each have exclusive storage/bonus rooms
Fractional financing for TICs
$$1,100,00 – $1,195,000

3816 22nd Street / Noe Valley
4BR/3BA house, renovated firehouse, four very contemporary levels

315 Arlington / Glen Park
2BR/1BA condo, garden, 0 parking

268 Day #4/ Noe Valley
2BR/1BA top-floor condo, 1 pkg

1257 Guerrero / Noe Valley/Mission
Bonafide Victorian bed and breakfast with 9BRs/9.5BAs, 4% cap rate, striking painted lady exterior
Continue Reading

How Real Estate Agents Get Paid in San Francisco

I’m often contacted by prospective buyers and sellers who eventually ask how payment and commissions work. So I thought I’d give you the bottom line as to how real estate agents get paid.

Homeowners who list their properties are typically responsible for paying the commission to the brokers (e.g., the companies affiliated with each agent) who represent the seller and the buyer. The listing agent negotiates a commission up front, and this is included in the seller paperwork. Total commissions for both brokers range from five- to six percent, and are typically divided equally. For example, a five percent commission on a $1,000,000 condo would find the seller paying $50,000 in commissions, with the brokers each receiving $25,000.Continue Reading

Check Building Permit History Before You Buy

Was that room downstairs added with permits? Was the roof redone ten years ago with permits? Is the two-unit building you’re buying actually zoned as such?

These are the types of questions my clients are often faced with when considering purchasing a home in San Francisco. Properties here often have varied histories, and it’s important to know as much as you can.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

Coming Soon and Off-Market Opportunities: September 23, 2015

The flood of inventory continues to hit the market. Here’s a preview of what’s to come, or what may never go into the MLS before it’s sold:

2872 25th St / Mission
3BR/2BA 1920s home, in-law down, 1 pkg

2040 Fell #12 / NoPa
2BR/1BA top-floor condo, 1 pkg

1156 Treat / Mission
2BR/1BA top-floor condo, 1 pkg
$949,000Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate


BRE# 01352627

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