Category Archives: Home Owner Tips

The 5 Biggest Home Seller Mistakes You Can Make

Spring is getting closer, and that means that new listings are hitting the market daily. It’s 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.

Here are my top five home seller mistakes. Avoid them if you can:

1. Trying to save money by bypassing staging. Buyers want to see some effort on the part of sellers who are looking for top dollar. It’s important to take pride in how your home shows to agents and buyers, and investing in things like landscaping, painting and hauling clutter are equally as important as staging. Continue Reading

San Francisco Market Moves Toward Slowdown

The word among real estate professionals is that our exuberant market is most likely heading for a slowdown in 2018.

The signs are there: Interest rates are ticking up, with many forecasts predicting that we’ll be looking at four- to five-percent rates as the norm in the near future. And the stock market’s reaction to those rising rates has been significant. The California Association of Realtors expects only a five percent price increase this year—nothing like our recent history. Continue Reading

Bernal Microhood Update: Big Northwest Slope Overbids, Good Value for East Slope Homes

Bernal Microhood Update: Big Northwest Slope Overbids, Good Value for East Slope Homes

The Northwest Slope microhood in Bernal Heights was a hit with buyers willing to pay hundreds of thousands over the list price to “win” their property in the last quarter of 2017. And those looking for solid value got lucky in the East Slope, where newly renovated homes sold at much lower prices than elsewhere in the neighborhood.

As my regular readers know, I created the Bernal Heights microhoods four years ago to help prospective buyers and sellers get a more refined sense for single-family home values in the neighborhood’s distinct geographical areas.

Here’s how our microhoods stacked up in the fourth quarter of 2017:

Northwest Slope
Single-Family Home Median Price: $1,510,000
Most Expensive: 18 Prospect (4BR/3.5BA, 3565 sq ft | $3,500,000)
Least Expensive: 75 Winfield (3BR/2BA, 1650 sq ft | $1,250,000)
# Homes Sold: 9
# Overbids Above 25%: 7
The Northwest Slope stood out among all the microhoods in the last quarter for having the widest gap between list and sale prices. Buyers overbid by 30% or more ($300,000-$500,000) on six of the nine houses sold, including 251 Bocana, a 3BR/2BA home listed for $1,159,000 that closed for $1,635,000. Lot value remains unsurprisingly high, as well, as the sale for $1.8M for the double-wide lot at 15 Prospect proved. Continue Reading

Why Price-Per-Square-Foot Is a Shaky Data Point

People love to talk about the price-per-square foot when comparing San Francisco property values. There’s also a tendency to reference this type of information when making a decision about how much to pay for a home.

But I don’t recommend using price-per-square foot as a reliable data point, because it has its flaws.

The bottom line is that there’s no standardized square footage source. So square footage quoted in the MLS and marketing materials is typically based on either tax records or past seller appraisals. Continue Reading

Buy the Right Insurance for Short-Term Rentals

The legalities are a work in progress when it comes to short-term rentals in San Francisco. But if you’re leasing any part of your property for fewer than 30 days via a site like airbnb, it’s critical to have sufficient insurance.

Though Airbnb guarantees up to $1M for property damage, there’s no coverage for an extremely important item—personal liability. If a guest is injured on your property, you’re on your own.

What you need to have in place is a vacation rental policy, which includes coverage called “personal injury,” says Roger Larson of Larson Insurance Brokers/TWFG Insurance Services. This protects you if a short-term tenant is injured during his or her stay. Larson says that many property owners assume they’ll be covered for personal liability on their existing policy. But liability on a primary home policy doesn’t cover any type of rental exposure. Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why Your Condo May Not Be Selling—And What You Can Do About It

There are currently almost 400 condos for sale in San Francisco. And more than half of them have been on the market for 21 days or more—that’s a lot of sellers who are probably wondering why their properties aren’t selling if the San Francisco market is so hot.

There are a lot of reasons some condos take longer to sell. But here are a few of the most frequent sale barriers, along with some ideas for overcoming them: Continue Reading

When’s The Best Time To Sell in San Francisco?

I’m asked routinely by homeowners when the best time is to sell.

The busiest times in San Francisco real estate—when many homeowners tend to list their properties—is in Spring and Fall. The weather is good, there are plenty of buyers out there and there are no major holidays to distract everyone. Continue Reading

ADU Program Creates Opportunity for SF Homeowners

San Francisco put its Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) program into action in 2016, aiming to create more housing in the city. ADUs are also known as in-law units, secondary units and cottages. They can be great for children moving back after college, or a parent you’d like to move into your home. You can also rent out an ADU, which is an excellent way to supplement your income or plan for retirement. Continue Reading

Sellers, Stay Realistic on Price and Don’t Count on the Outlier Showing Up

We’ve been witnessing dramatic overbids and sky-high sale prices in San Francisco for years now. But when it comes to sellers setting their value expectations, I have some advice: Don’t count on the outlier buyer being in your offer mix.

This type of buyer goes way above the comparable sale range for a property type or neighborhood, often prompting your neighbors to meet in the street and exclaim, “I can’t believe someone paid that price for that house!”

Of course, it’s certainly possible that the outlier buyer will fall in love with your home and match or exceed the highest comparable sale. But it doesn’t always happen, because most buyers in a multiple-offer situation aren’t willing to go as high as the outlier. 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
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

How To Get Top Dollar For Your Home

There’s one way to increase your chances of maxing out the sale price of your home: Look as good as your comps.

The San Francisco market has been strong for the past several years, and the list-low-sell-for-more strategy prevails. Many home sellers have walked away with huge net proceeds, often amidst multiple offers and quick closes.

But that doesn’t just automatically happen. The tricky part is that buyers won’t pay your dream price just because you want it; you have to create the desire for them to do so. Continue Reading

5 Seller Tips for a Successful 7-Day Close

I just went into escrow on my fixer listing in Miraloma Park, and we have a cash sale with a seven-day close. What seller doesn’t want that? However, it’s important to get all your ducks in a row if you’re taking on the seven-day close. Here are five things you need to have in order as a seller if you want to successfully close in a short period of time:

1. Locate your loan details. The title company will to order the loan payoff information for your property. You’ll need to provide the following details as soon as possible, for each loan: lender name, contact number, address, loan number and estimated balance. If you’re selling a condo, you’ll also have to provide the names of the homeowners association and management company’s address and contact info, as well as the account number. The lender can take a few days to respond, which could end up delaying your fast close if you don’t have that info ready to go. 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

Today’s Buyers Love “Done” Homes

The real estate market is booming, and many potential home sellers are wondering if it might make sense to do some remodeling for sale purposes. The answer? Yes. A little sprucing up can go a long way with today’s buyers—and maximize your selling price. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate


BRE# 01352627

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