Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

Noe Houses, Cow Hollow Condos Lead Pack in Price Per Square Foot

Heads up, San Francisco house hunters: If you’re looking to get into hot neighborhoods like Noe Valley, NoPa, and the Marina, be prepared to potentially pay more than $1,000/square foot.

Noe Valley has truly jumped the shark with its price per square foot average for single-family homes: It’s now just above $1400. And thanks to the new Amero condo development in Cow Hollow, that neighborhood’s price per square foot average leads the pack for condos in the city.Continue Reading

Good Deal: 115 San Pablo in St. Francis Wood

Good Deal: 115 San Pablo in St. Francis Wood

I was reviewing sales in Noe Valley today and came across the final selling price for 752 Elizabeth. This was a 3BR/2BA, 1440 square foot house with a two-car garage and cute garden that was listed for $1.5M. The seller received 17 offers, and the home sold for $2,150,000 in an all-cash transaction. (About half the offers were for cash, by the way.)

This kind of market activity tends to scare buyers off—and with good reason. The reality? Unless you have cash or a hefty down payment and can go into contract with no contingencies and a fast close, you can’t compete in high-demand neighborhoods like Noe Valley. A successful house hunt, as a result, will largely depend on how flexible you can be with respect to location and amenities. Continue Reading

Low Inventory Leads to Multiple Offers

The San Francisco real estate market is very competitive right now. I’m hearing anecdotes among my colleagues of crazy multiple-offer situations in the double digits—24 offers here, another 16 offers there. Unless you’re a buyer with all cash who catches on quickly, you’re writing offers on a routine basis and hoping a seller accepts one of them.Continue Reading

Trade-Offs for House Hunters in Trying Times

Trade-Offs for House Hunters in Trying Times

I came across this toilet in what’s known as a “split bath” in San Francisco recently. For those of you who aren’t familiar with our Victorian- and Edwardian-era architecture, the floor plan often features a bathroom where the shower/tub and sink are located in one room, and the toilet is situated on the other side of a wall, in its own closet.Continue Reading

Is It A Good Time To Buy in San Francisco?

San Francisco has a very fast-moving, dynamic real estate market that often doesn’t reflect what’s happening across the country. For example, “hitting bottom” meant lower sales volumes, higher concentrations of foreclosures and short sales that were largely centered in a handful of neighborhoods, and many properties in prime neighborhoods still selling for more than list prices. In other words, it wasn’t exactly a real estate bloodbath in San Francisco.Continue Reading

CrimeMapping A Cool Tool for SF Home Buyers

I always advise home buyers to do their due diligence if they’re concerned about crime activity. Car theft/break-ins, muggings, assaults and burglaries are unfortunately incidents that happen in all neighborhoods. But some areas do have higher crime rates than others, and you should be aware of the nature and frequencies of crimes in the area you choose to call home in the future.Continue Reading

The Difference Between a TIC and Condo

The Difference Between a TIC and Condo

It’s not always obvious whether a property is a condo or tenancy-in-common (TIC) when you’re a buyer who’s searching online for properties. You have to click in to all the details, for example, on Redfin, before you realize that the photos of the wonderful flat that seems listed kind of low is actually a TIC.

But what’s the difference between a TIC and a condo? All things being equal, couldn’t you just buy a TIC if it has the space and location you want?Continue Reading

Welcome To The Holiday Home Stretch, 2014

If you’re a serious home buyer, it’s quite possible that December will be your month to find that home of your dreams. Yes, inventory is lighter, but the competition thins out as other, less-serious buyers get distracted by the holidays. And the sellers who are still offering their homes for sale are more likely than they would have been a few months ago to negotiate on price.

There are 172 houses and 81 condos on the market right now, in a variety of neighborhoods and price ranges. And it just so happens to be a great time to make your purchase and wrap things up before the end of 2014. There will inevitably be a crop of newly active buyers coming into the market in early 2015, which will not help your case.

So stick with your home-buying mission and don’t overlook any possibilities. And if you’re thinking of jumping into the market in 2015, please contact me and we can discuss the details.

The ABCs of HOAs

The ABCs of HOAs

Condos are a popular option for many home buyers in San Francisco. Prices for condos are more affordable, and there’s less upkeep involved. For busy professionals, condos in central neighborhoods fit more lifestyles than that of single-family homes.

The residents within a condo building are part of a homeowners association (HOA). In larger buildings, there’s usually an HOA board, too. These entities make decisions about the property with respect to expenditures, special assessments and other issues that arise.Continue Reading

Thanks For Another 5-Star Yelp Review!

It’s always a pleasure to receive an unsolicited Yelp review from happy clients. The latest is from the sellers of a condo in Arterra in Mission Bay, which recently closed escrow. They were a pleasure to work with, and a reminder that many of my clients are genuinely nice, thoughtful people who appreciate my efforts.

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If you’re thinking about buying or selling in 2015, please get in touch with me at ebermingham@zephyrsf.com or 415.823.4656. I am actively seeking new clients and would love to chat about your plans. Check out my other 24 Yelp reviews if you’d like to read more about how I work with clients.

The 411 on CA’s Construction Defect Law

The 411 on CA’s Construction Defect Law

New construction single-family homes and condos are being built and sold at a rapid-fire pace in San Francisco. If you’re considering buying this type of property, it’s important to know what to expect when it comes to consumer protection and your rights in the event you discover a construction defect.

Construction defects are unfortunately pretty common in new buildings—everything from water intrusion (the most common one) to inadequate ventilation or faulty sewer systems. Dealing with defects isn’t fun, but there’s a way to handle them thanks to legislation called SB 800.Continue Reading

“Off-Market” in a Hot Market Can Shortchange Sellers

“Off-Market” in a Hot Market Can Shortchange Sellers

The San Francisco real estate market is booming, and sellers are greatly benefitting from buyer demand. There are five or more buyers for every listing, particularly in popular neighborhoods. Interest rates are low, our local job market is strong and there’s no shortage of foreign investors.

If you’re thinking of selling your home in the near future, here’s how you can capitalize on this hot market: Make sure your agent enters your property in the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service (SFARMLS) database. Continue Reading

Holidays Approach, Time To Make Your Move

We’re speeding toward Thanksgiving, which only means one thing when it comes to San Francisco real estate: Inventory will decline after turkey day, and serious buyers need to take a second look at what’s been sitting on the market.

There are 255 single-family homes and 288 condos currently available, a good portion of which have been on the market for three weeks or more. Take 7 Burnett ($1,695,000), a beautiful 3BR/2BA Twin Peaks view condo. Or for something more quirky with amazing curb appeal, look at 10 Carmel ($3M) in Cole Valley–a 1909 firehouse that’s now a very cool pad for a buyer who likes entertaining and living in a unique home. (I covered the other condo in the building back in 2010 when that was on the market in this blog post.)

It’s definitely time to buckle down and work with current inventory. Our market moves so quickly that you can sometimes get obsessed with new listings and completely miss out on homes that won’t involve tedious multiple offers and overbidding. Give me a shout if you need some help finding the right place. I’ll be in town and ready to work!

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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