Category Archives: Home Owner Tips

The Most Overbid House ‘Hoods in San Francisco Right Now

Buyers have had no qualms about dramatically overbidding for single-family homes in West Portal, Westwood Park/Highlands, the Central Sunset, Ingleside Heights and Miraloma Park this year.

Those neighborhoods are seeing an average overbid of 20 percent. West Portal actually had five homes sell for between 30 and 50 percent over list price this year.

The selling pattern within individual neighborhoods is a useful data point for sellers when it comes to setting a list price—and for buyers as they decide how much to offer for a property. The traditional pattern in San Francisco has been to list low and sell for more. In general, single-family homes in popular neighborhoods and at price points under $2M tend to get the highest overbids.

I did a quick analysis on the single-family home market and flagged the neighborhoods that are experiencing the highest levels of overbidding. Here are the hot spots now, according to the average overbid percentage year to date:

West Portal 22%
Westwood Park/Highlands 21% Continue Reading

Should You Buy Earthquake Insurance?

Two earthquakes in Blackhawk and the Geysers over the past couple days prompted me to run one of my most popular posts: Is it worth it to buy earthquake insurance?

Only about 12-15% of California homeowners have earthquake insurance, and I believe that ratio drops further in The Bay Area and San Francisco. This is because earthquake insurance is very expensive. In a condo building, it will double your homeowners association dues (HOAs). Additionally, most policies come with a 10-15% deductible. This means the damage to the building would have to be pretty severe in order for you to use your coverage. Continue Reading

Top 5 Challenges For a Condo Sale

If you’re planning to sell your condo this year, it’s important to be aware of certain things that will seriously shrink your condo’s buyer pool. Here are five of the most common challenges—and some advice on how to handle them so you have a successful transaction: Continue Reading

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

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Zephyr Real Estate

415.823.4656

ebermingham@zephyrsf.com

BRE# 01352627

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