Category Archives: Home Owner Tips

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

Sellers Need Lead Time in Spring Market

Allow yourself enough lead time for pre-sale work if you’re planning to sell your San Francisco home in the Spring.

Though some future sellers start strategizing in January or February, others wait until April or May. At that point, painters, stagers, contractors and other critical tradespeople may be booked well in advance. Continue Reading

Five Things That Cut Your Condo’s Value

We’re fast approaching the busy Spring real estate season, and many people are getting ready to put their condos on the market. That means there’s a lot of discussion happening citywide between sellers and real estate agents about value.

There are a lot of factors that can limit resale value, but I wanted to highlight a few things that can narrow the buyer pool for your condo. Here are my top five, based on what I’ve seen recently in the market. Continue Reading

Buyers and Sellers: Use October Sales as Your Guide

We’re well into the Fall real estate season, and the holiday home stretch is just around the corner. October numbers will be the best guide for buyers and sellers as they respectively decide how much to offer and how much they want for their homes.

Here’s where we are right now in the market. Continue Reading

How Real Estate Agents Get Paid in San Francisco

I’m often contacted by prospective buyers and sellers who eventually ask how payment and commissions work. So I thought I’d give you the bottom line as to how real estate agents get paid.

Homeowners who list their properties are typically responsible for paying the commission to the brokers (e.g., the companies affiliated with each agent) who represent the seller and the buyer. The listing agent negotiates a commission up front, and this is included in the seller paperwork. Total commissions for both brokers range from five- to six percent, and are typically divided equally. For example, a five percent commission on a $1,000,000 condo would find the seller paying $50,000 in commissions, with the brokers each receiving $25,000. Continue Reading

Time To Transfer Your Property Tax Base

If you’re a California homeowner age 55 or older who’s thinking about moving, you may have the opportunity to take your property tax base with you. That’s a huge benefit, as property tax bases are a large homeownership expense.

Propositions 60 and 90 are constitutional amendments passed by California voters that allow homeowners aged 55 and over to transfer their property tax base when purchasing a new principal residence. Your replacement home must be of equal or lesser current market value than the original property. And you can only do this once. Prop 60 allows transfers of base year values within the same county, and Prop 90 allows transfers from one county to another. Continue Reading

Precita Park Tops Bernal’s Microhoods in 2015

Precita Park Tops Bernal’s Microhoods in 2015

I unveiled my Bernal Heights microhoods more than a year ago, and the post inspired local blog favorite Bernalwood to create its own more humorous, cartoonish microhood map—not to mention inspired a few real estate agent marketing pieces that you may have seen around town lately.

But if you know Bernal and are a serious buyer or future seller, you’ll know that the microhoods I carved out last year will give you the most accurate sense of neighborhood values.

All the microhoods have made substantial jumps in their sales price averages since my initial post in March 2014. But the biggest boost belongs to Precita Park, which has basically exploded over the past year. The Precita Park microhood now carries an average sale price of $2,203,857.

It’s a good time for an update on how home prices are doing in each microhood. (Note: All 2015 numbers are based on the time period April-July 2015; the 2014 averages referenced in my initial post are based on sales that took place from September 2013-March 2014.)

North West Slope
Average Price: 2014: $1,195,589 / 2015: $1,498,146
Price Increase: 25%
northwestslope
The North West Slope has been going strong these days. Of the 15 homes sold, five sold for more than $1.5M. There were two cash sales, including the one at 52 Mirabel, which was the most expensive home sold in the past few months at $2,625,000. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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