Category Archives: Home Owner 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

Call For A New Resale and Renovation Exterior Color

Whitewashed exteriors were common for several years when it came to newly renovated, high-end homes. But for the last two years or so, dark gray has been the go-to color for contractors and home sellers.

Here’s a quick sample of a few homes in my Noe Valley neighborhood that have sold in the past year, or are on the market right now:

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

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!

Should You Remodel Your Kitchen Before You Sell?

Three potential sellers have recently asked me this question, so I thought it would be a good time to let everyone know where I stand when it comes to remodeling in order to sell your home—particularly if you’re thinking of selling in the new year.

Kitchens are typically the primary renovation target in a property. The kitchen is where everyone pretty much lives these days, and it’s the core of a home. You can certainly command more money when you’re selling if you have a remodeled kitchen. Buyers come through the property and don’t knock money off the list price for the new kitchen they “need” to do. But that’s only if they like the remodeling you’ve done. 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

Good Value in Behind-The-Scenes Home Improvements

I meet with new buyer clients frequently who tell me they’re okay with “doing some work” and not paying for another owner’s remodel. And many times, that’s a sound plan when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms. After all, these renovations are typically pretty straightforward, and they provide an instant bang for the buck. Buy a house with a tired, 1940s kitchen and bath, tart them up, and you’ve added immediate value.

However, there are certain property upgrades that should be appreciated and valued more than I think they are in San Francisco. A chef’s kitchen with a CaesarStone counter and a slick, high-end soaking tub in the master suite are all fine and good. But what about an upgraded foundation–or a substantially repaired one? Or a new furnace/ductwork; roof; seismic upgrades; repaired dry rot/termite damage; upgraded plumbing and electrical? Though you can’t necessarily see these sorts of repairs in slick marketing photos, they’re important building components that need periodic attention. Continue Reading

Contingencies Creep Back Into Contracts

It was more than three years ago that San Francisco real estate market activity prompted me to write about what buyers need to know when waiving contingencies in a purchase contract. We’d finally dug our way out of the financial meltdown, and buyer competition for properties was on the rise.

Besides paying high prices to “win” properties, buyers were waiving appraisal, loan and inspection contingencies to make their offers more attractive to sellers. That meant that buyers were prepared to risk their deposit (3% of the purchase price) if they couldn’t get their loan or couldn’t cover an appraised value shortfall. And they worked around having inspections during escrow, either by relying on seller reports, having pre-inspections or having none at all. 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

Party People in the House, Keep Them Out

Single-family home sellers in San Francisco, beware: Kids are breaking into vacant homes on the market and hosting impromptu parties, trashing properties and seriously disrupting real estate marketing and transactions.

The break-ins have been happening for the past several months. It starts with entrance to a given house (not condos) at around 9:00pm on Friday or Saturday nights. The trespassers then use social media to invite a few hundred underage kids to the “party.” Continue Reading

Prices, Volume Jump in Q2 2016

The San Francisco market saw a boost in average prices and volume in the second quarter, particularly when it came to single-family homes.

It was another busy Spring for single-family homes, as volume jumped up an astonishing 76% over the first quarter. The average price was $1,736,534, up 3.5% from the previous quarter. And buyers overbid an average of nine percent, proving that houses in the city are still in high demand. Continue Reading

Sellers, Get Rid of Your Old Paint

Sellers, Get Rid of Your Old Paint

Most new homeowners aren’t thrilled to inherit a collection of old paint cans. If you’re planning to sell your home and have a stash of irrelevant paint, deck stain, or other hazardous materials, I highly recommend having it all removed.

You can do this for free through Recology’s Household Hazardous Waste Pickup Program. Simply call 415-330-1405, Monday through Friday, and let them know exactly what you need picked up. Appointments are available Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday mornings. You just need to be there to provide access to where you have the paint stored. (They don’t want you to leave anything on the curb.)

Here’s more on the program at the Recology Web site.

What You Can Expect To Spend When You Sell

Your property presentation will largely dictate how much buyers will pay when you’re selling your home.

Today’s buyers are discerning, and expect a certain level of sparkle when they go to an open house. Want to improve your chances of getting top dollar? Don’t cut corners on the prep work.

Most homeowners aren’t aware of the average costs for fundamental prep work. The bottom line: You can expect to spend $10,000-$20,000 if your property needs a little of everything. I thought I’d round up the must-do prep work with average costs, based on all the listings I’ve readied for sale over the past several months. Cost ranges are based on a two-bedroom house or condo with 1200-1400 square feet. Prices go up or down, depending on the size of your space and how much work is needed. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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