Category Archives: Home Owner Tips

New SF Residential Lease Available Now

The San Francisco Apartment Association (SFAA) recently released a brand new residential tenancy agreement that’s specific to rent laws in the city.

If you own a rental property and are planning to draw up a new lease, I highly recommend considering using the most updated rental agreement available.

One important update concerns roommates and master tenants—most specifically, that rent is to be paid by one tenant only. And if there is a change in roommates, the remaining tenant is solely responsible for the apartment.

There are also updates related to short-term rentals, pets, smoking, balconies/patios, maintenance and floor coverings.

Check out more details at the SFAA’s Web site!

The 5 Biggest Home Seller Mistakes You Can Make

New listings are hitting the market daily, so I thought it might be a good time to give a shout out to all those prospective San Francisco home sellers out there who are thinking of putting their homes on the market.

I’ve been doing my job long enough to recognize good and bad seller strategies and decisions. So I thought I’d round up the bad ones to potentially make things smoother for some sellers this year.Continue Reading

Watch Out For Water Intrusion

Watch Out For Water Intrusion

The California drought has pushed thoughts of flooding and water damage out of many homeowners’ minds—until the past week or so. We’ve managed to get substantial rainfall, and another big storm is heading to The Bay Area this week. You’ll be in the majority if you suddenly notice a roof leak or water pooling in your garage.

The best time to check for water intrusion is this time of year, particularly after heavy rainfall. Whether you’re a homeowner or a home buyer having a property inspected, here’s a checklist of things to monitor.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.

“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

Yes, SF Real Estate is Seasonal

Yes, SF Real Estate is Seasonal

Yes, our San Francisco market is going strong—and has been for the past several months. But if you’re planning to buy or sell real estate, it’s important to know that the industry does slow down after Thanksgiving.

I know of a few colleagues who are bringing new listings on the market in early December. But new inventory will substantially decrease after your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers are gone.Continue Reading

Property Tax Tips for New Homeowners

October is always a fun month where home ownership in San Francisco is concerned. That’s because the property tax bills are issued in the second or third week of this month. And if you’ve recently purchased a new home, there a few things to keep in mind about how tax payment works.

First off, your tax bill may not reach you because the city will likely still have the property taxes under the name of the previous homeowner. It takes the city a while to update records after a sale. Continue Reading

5 Tips for Preserving Your Property in an Earthquake

5 Tips for Preserving Your Property in an Earthquake

The recent Napa earthquake jolted everyone on the west coast and forced us to revisit how prepared we are for an earthquake. Though a huge earthquake will cause inevitable damage, there are a few fundamental things—some more expensive than others—you can do as a homeowner to minimize damage that can happen in a large earthquake. Continue Reading

I’m a Realtor First, Blogger Second

I’ve received a handful of calls over the past year from home buyers and sellers looking for my opinion on their individual real estate situations. The buyers are either in contract on a property and a transaction issue has come up, or are negotiating a purchase agreement and seeking assurance about where the market is going. The sellers have accepted an offer but are looking for my input on whether or not they should grant a requested buyer credit or risk falling out of contract.

I’m always happy to hear from my extensive blog base, but I thought it might be a good time to remind everyone that I’m able to stay in business and write my blog because I’m selling real estate. And I do reserve a good portion of my strategies, market insights and advice for clients—meaning there’s way more you need to know beyond my blog post content when you’re transitioning from reader to being a home buyer or seller.

If you’ve already engaged the services of a Realtor you trust, it’s probably best for you to follow his or her advice. Because if you committed to working with your Realtor, it should mean that you value his or her counsel and have worked through many details together. You now have a track record with your agent, a professional who will also get paid a fee when your transaction closes. We work in a service-based industry, and our time, market knowledge, and negotiating expertise are a few of the services we offer that make us valuable.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time and are now planning to buy or sell a property, please remember that I am an experienced, knowledgeable, highly organized and down-to-earth agent who will work in your best interest (even if it means advising you to pass on a particular home or reject a certain offer). Many of my readers have become clients, and have gone on to refer their friends, co-workers, neighbors and family to me.

And every time that happens, it allows me to keep writing this blog and sharing my insights with you on a consistent basis.

Need further proof? Check out my Yelp reviews and video here.

Looking forward to working with more of you in 2014!

Let’s Start Pushing for “Blue” Construction in SF

Two things are certain right now: Our California drought doesn’t have an end in sight, and construction is booming in San Francisco.

The push for “green,” or eco-friendly construction erupted several years ago. But what I’m wondering is whether architects and builders can start including “blue,” or drought-friendly features in future renovations and new construction.

A recent piece on NPR discussed how Australia—which has a nine-year drought in its history—began addressing its water shortage problem by revamping home plumbing systems. Consider Melbourne, which gets 23 inches of rain annually (similar to that of San Francisco in a typical year). Half the homes in Melbourne now have systems to capture and store rain, and newer homes are being built with dual plumbing systems to recycle graywater. For example, rinse water from the washing machine goes to the toilet for flushing.Continue Reading

Ignore the “Homestead” Scam

It’s inevitable that after you complete the purchase or refinance of your home, you receive a notice in the mail from a company with a random name like “TRS” offering to prepare a Declaration of Homestead for you. They typically request anywhere from $25-$75 to draw up the declaration and send it back to you so you can take it to City Hall to record the document.

When you get the letter, throw it out. It’s a scam.

A homestead declaration, in a nutshell, is a legal document that protects the equity in your home from creditors. The reality is that homestead protection is automatic in California, so there’s no need to pay anyone to create it for you. These companies target first-time home buyers who may not be aware of all the facts.

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.Continue Reading

The Most Competitive House Markets in San Francisco Right Now

If you’re aiming to buy or sell a single-family home in San Francisco, it’s important to take note of the selling patterns in the city’s various neighborhoods. You’ve probably read my blog post from earlier this week on the hottest condo markets, but when it comes to overbidding on houses, the landscape looks slightly different.

The neighborhoods where buyers are overbidding most intensely are varied, and there are many. Continue Reading

The Most Competitive Condo Markets in San Francisco Right Now

One of the keys to success in the current San Francisco market is knowing which neighborhoods are the most competitive. Armed with that intel, you can more easily gauge how much to offer on a property, or what list price will work to your advantage.

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve been running a feature highlighting extreme overbidding for several months, regularly inducting new members into the SF Overbidders Club. The reality is that we have many neighborhoods in San Francisco that are showing double-digit overbid percentages, and it’s important to know what the selling patterns are when you’re determining values.

When it comes to the San Francisco market, these patterns can change pretty quickly. My sales data is based on reported MLS sales in the time period April 1 – May 12, 2014, so it’s the most current info available. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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