Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

Defer Paying Taxes with a 1031 Exchange

A 1031 exchange is an excellent option for investors looking to cash in on the San Francisco market. You can defer paying big capital gains taxes, move up to a bigger and better investment property, and build your wealth in the process.

The Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 allows investors to reinvest proceeds from the sale of one investment property into another similar property while deferring capital gains that would otherwise be due on the sale.

Here are the four simple guidelines for exchanges, as per the Asset Exchange Company in San Francisco: Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About TIC Ownership

Many buyers are considering tenancy-in-common (TIC) units these days, given the cost of real estate in San Francisco. TICs are typically priced lower than condos, and you can generally get into a neighborhood that you might not be able to afford were the property a condo.

But before you run out to see that two-bedroom condo in Cole Valley listed for only $699,000 that you saw on Redfin, you need to know the TIC basics. Continue Reading

What You Should Know About the SF Fixer Market

What You Should Know About the SF Fixer Market

Driven by high buyer demand for single-family homes, the fixer market is going gangbusters in San Francisco.

There are generally two categories of what you’d call “fixers” in San Francisco real estate. The first is the contractor special—not habitable, needs work on the foundation, roof and everything in between. Then there’s the habitable house with a clunky floor plan and expansion potential that could be transformed into someone’s dream house. Continue Reading

Let The Stars Guide Your House Hunt

At the top of everyone’s house hunting criteria is neighborhood preference. Which ones are close to public transportation or parks? Have high Walk Scores? Easy freeway access—or the best restaurants?

But you shouldn’t overlook the astrological angle to picking your neighborhood. Because what your zodiac sign says about you could have everything to do with whether you’ll be happy in your future neighborhood.

So let’s have a little fun and see what the stars have to say about where you should settle:

ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 20): Daring, spontaneous and full of energy, you’ll appreciate constantly developing Mission Bay. The neighborhood bustles with activity from the biotech and medical industries. And the adjacent waterfront offers a variety of activities, from catching a Giants game to eating at a great restaurant or even spending some quiet time at the library. The Warriors just broke ground on their new stadium, too, adding basketball to the mix. Continue Reading

Yes, Neighbors Can Affect Property Values

In a city as dense as San Francisco, it’s important for buyers and sellers to consider the “neighbor factor.”

My clients visited an open house recently that I recommended they see, with a heads up that the property next door was a bit of an issue. The single-family home they saw was well appointed, renovated, and on a lovely block. They loved the floor plan and overall space. The garden was cute and private. They basically liked everything about it—except for the hoarder house next door whose yard looked like the dump. They decided to pass. Continue Reading

Think Outside the Neighborhood Box for Under $1M

The single-family home market in San Francisco is a very competitive one, and the average price for a house is above $1M at this point in time. So it takes some serious strategizing, compromising and an open mind when it comes to finding a house for under a million dollars.

Most buyers in this price range realize quickly that if they want a house, they’ll need to go beyond buyer-saturated neighborhoods like Bernal Heights, Glen Park or West Portal. Because for every ten people who’d like to live in Bernal, there are maybe five that’ll consider less obvious and familiar areas. Continue Reading

Here’s What Home Inspections Cover

Here’s What Home Inspections Cover

Buying a home is a big deal, and you want to make sure there are no surprises with any of the systems once you own the property. There are typically two types of standard inspections done in San Francisco. One is a general contractor, and the other is a structural termite.

The general contractor inspection should be conducted by a certified professional from a reputable company that works in San Francisco on a regular basis. The inspector will go through the fundamental components of the property, which include a look at the electrical, plumbing and heating systems. The inspection will extend to the overall condition of the foundation and structural support, which extends to crawl and attic spaces. The roof will also be evaluated. What the inspector is looking for are any deficiencies, and he or she then can make recommendations for repair, or defer a particular item to a more specialized professional. For example, if there are any signs of issues with the sewer line, the inspector may recommend having a sewer lateral inspection done. Continue Reading

Outer Sunset Takes Overbid Title in Q4 2016

The Outer Sunset, Parkside and Outer Parkside led the single-family overbidding pack in the last quarter of 2016, with average overbids that far exceeded other neighborhoods.

Though the average citywide overbid was five percent, the Outer Sunset saw buyers paying an average of 19.5% over the list price, with the Parkside (19%) and Outer Parkside (17.5%) hot on its heels. Other high-flying neighborhoods included Miraloma Park (14%); Portola (13%); Central Sunset (12.5%); Sunnyside (12.5%); and Excelsior (11.5%). Continue Reading

Bark Louder Than Bite in “As Is” Sales

There’s an addendum that frequently makes it into the purchase agreement in many transactions—the “As Is” addendum. I’m often asked by buyers what this actually represents.

The truth is, an “As Is” addendum means virtually nothing. It’s basically a warning from sellers that they aren’t going to be receptive to repairs or credits during escrow. Or, as an attorney during my company’s recent risk management seminar put it: An As Is addendum is when “sellers are putting the flag up and keeping their fingers crossed” that the buyer won’t try to negotiate anything. Continue Reading

I’m A Realtor Seeking New Clients for 2017

Though I spend a lot of time sharing San Francisco market insights on this blog, I am a full-time real estate agent. That may not be obvious sometimes, but what it means is that I earn a living helping people buy and sell residential real estate.

I know many of you are considering making a move in 2016, or you may know friends, family or neighbors who are. That’s where I’d like to come in. If you’ve been reading my blog on a regular basis, you know that I’m a straightforward, knowledgeable professional who’s been a Realtor since 2002. I’ve navigated clients through slow markets, crazy markets and everything in between. I have a strong work ethic, am obsessed with providing excellent service and am always available to talk, email or text when my clients have questions or concerns.

This year is winding down, and I am looking to kick off 2017 by making myself useful to buyers and sellers. Most importantly, I typically consult with people well before they’re actually ready to take action. So don’t hesitate to get in touch. Early in the new year is a great time to strategize about a move.

You can view my most recent sales here, and my Yelp reviews here. My Yelp page also features a video about my business, so check that out if you’d like to put a voice and face to this blogger.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

The Pros & Cons of Preemptive Offers

Your agent has shown you a great two-bedroom condo in Pacific Heights before the first official open house. You love the property and are ready to make an offer, but the sellers and listing agent have set an offer date. Should you seize the day and submit an offer?

Buyers make preemptive offers when they want to avoid competing with other buyers. And especially around the holidays, sellers may be open to accepting a quick offer if they are motivated to wrap up their sale by the end of the year.

Though preemptives have their benefits, there are definitely a few drawbacks. Before you rush out to write that offer, here are some points to consider: Continue Reading

SoMa Condos, High-End Houses Top Year-End Inventory

We’re approaching Thanksgiving, and that means we are officially in “year-end” territory. Buyers looking to get a deal are likely to find one in South of Market, or in the single-family home luxury market if they can spend $2,000,000+.

But there really are a variety of options out there right now. Here’s where to focus your energy if you’re aiming to purchase a condo or house before the end of 2016, along with price ranges and my picks:

Single-Family Homes
Central Richmond
What’s Available Two- to four-bedroom houses from $1,300,000-$2,500,000
My Pick 791 30th Avenue
791_30thave
791 30th Avenue was built in 1941 and is nicely updated. There are two bedrooms on the main level, and two more downstairs, with a total of 2,085 square feet. Landscaped yard and garage parking. Only one block from Golden Gate Park. List price: $1,495,000. Continue Reading

How Many Offers Will It Take To Buy Your Next Home?

The current market is still rolling along with multiple offers and overbidding on a majority of homes in San Francisco. And many buyers are asking: How many offers do I need to write before I get my offer accepted?

I’ve heard some agents talk about having to write 10+ offers before their clients had one accepted. But all I can offer is my own experience and track record, which I thought I would share. Continue Reading

Where To Find Senior Housing in San Francisco

I’m often contacted by seniors or their families inquiring about what available housing in San Francisco. The truth is that the city has somewhat limited options for seniors. But I decided to round up the options in one blog post that will hopefully be a useful resource.

Senior housing in the city generally falls into three categories: full-service facilities with built-in healthcare services, buildings that are zoned for senior occupants, and centrally located complexes with amenities that I personally think are appealing and useful to senior-age residents. Here’s my roundup, with sales data courtesy of the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service:

1. Full Service Communities
If you’re looking for a residence that will let you easily transition into assisted living, these full-service communities are the best option in San Francisco. You’re basically paying an occupancy or entry fee, with monthly fees that cover your living expenses. All three of these communities are located in the Lower Pacific Heights area, with easy access to public transportation and nearby retail areas in Japantown, Polk Street, and Hayes Valley.

The Carlisle [1450 Post | Lower Pacific Heights]
What It Offers: Continuing care retirement community providing independent and assisted living services for those 62 and over.
How It Works: You purchase your unit and pay a monthly fee (from $4,000) that covers meals, housekeeping, activities, wellness center, cinema, and the usual HOA-related utility expenses such as water, trash, electric, cable, maintenance, and insurance.
What It Costs: This year’s sales ranged from $245,000-$530,000 for the one bedrooms, and $675,000 (with $6,000 monthly fee) for a 1,040-square foot two bedroom/two bath with parking. Continue Reading

Bernal Microhood Winners and Losers of 2016

Bernal Microhood Winners and Losers of 2016

Three of Bernal Heights’ microhoods are seeing significant jumps in their median prices in 2016, with one former high flyer getting knocked off its pedestal.

Posting median price boosts of 15%, the East and Southeast Slopes lead the pack in 2016, along with South of Cortland. Precita Park took a 15% dive, with far fewer high-priced homes selling this year. That’s a big switch from 2015, when Precita Park was at the top of the hill.

As my regular readers know, I created the Bernal Heights microhoods two years ago to help prospective buyers and sellers get a more refined sense for the values behind the neighborhood’s distinct geographical areas. So here’s how our microhoods are stacking up in 2016:

Northwest Slope
Median Price 2016: $1,427,500 / 2015: $1,400,000 (+2%)
Most Expensive: 18 Montezuma (4BR/2.5BA, 2267 sq ft | $2,400,000)
Least Expensive: 57 Lundys (2BR/1BA, 700 sq ft | $855,000)
northwestslope
The Northwest Slope made a strong showing this year, bumping up its median price ever so slightly. The most expensive home sold at 18 Montezuma was a flip, and a good example of why contractors are snapping up homes in the neighborhood. Purchased as a fixer in 2014 for $1,200,000, 18 Montezuma was transformed into a showcase home listed for $2,198,000. Buyers had no qualms about paying nine percent over the list price to have that house. But not every home sold for a gangbuster price; the contemporary view home at 25 Elsie came on the market in September 2015 and finally closed escrow in April 2016 for $1,870,000. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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