Category Archives: Home Buyer Tips

What You Can Buy: With Outdoor Space

The shelter in place has done its part to help many prospective buyers realize that they want outdoor space in their next home. The thought of having a garden or a big deck sounds extremely appealing right now.

I’ve rounded up some homes that have lovely exclusive-use outdoor space. Give me a shout at eileen@insidesfre.com | 415.823.4656 if you’d like to see any of these in person:

375 Moncada
Ingleside Terrace

5BR/3BA, 2 pkg
$2,495,000


375 Moncada is a big Mediterranean-style house with a landscaped front yard and sprawling rear garden. The kitchens and baths could use updating, but the home is certainly in move-in condition. And when Stonestown Galleria opens again, you’ll be in walking distance. (Photos courtesy of Keller Williams Realty) Continue Reading

5 Tips for Screening Location Before You Request a Showing

5 Tips for Screening Location Before You Request a Showing

The shelter in place (SIP) has changed the way buyers can see homes. There aren’t any open houses, and some properties can’t be physically shown at all.

If your agent does schedule an appointment, there are a number of pre-showing requirements that you need to meet, such as signing a coronavirus property entry advisory and often submitting a preapproval letter at the list price. Once at the property, entrants must wear masks and gloves, and no more than two buyers are typically allowed in the property simultaneously. Continue Reading

Home Prices Stable, Volume Down During SF SIP

The shelter in place (SIP) restrictions put San Francisco real estate on pause for a bit in mid March. But our local market is stable and sales are happening, despite the adversity. Prices are not declining, though volume is down by half. We now have six weeks’ worth of SIP market sales activity that will guide buyer and seller decisions in 2020.

The buyers and sellers doing business now are typically motivated by life situations—job relocation, financial situation, domestic changes, for example. Real estate is anything but recreational right now.

Properties in good locations are still seeing multiple offers and overbidding, though more for single-family homes than condos. Cash sales represent only a small portion of activity. Continue Reading

What You Can Buy: Single-Family Homes Coming Soon

There are plenty of properties in the queue that will be ready to go when the shelter in place (SIP) ends. Of course, many of these properties have sellers who would be happy to entertain offers sooner rather than later. Offer dates, for the most part, are not the norm right now. And sellers are also more likely to use transparent pricing—a list price that isn’t begging for an overbid.

Homes listed for under $2,000,000 in San Francisco are the sweet spot at the moment. In that spirit, I have rounded up my picks in the “Coming Soon” category. (This is an actual Multiple Listing Service category now, visible only to MLS agent members.) Please feel free to get in touch with me at eileen@insidesfre.com | 415.823.4656 if you’d like more info about any of these off-market homes.

54 Sussex
Glen Park

3BR/1.5BA, 1242 sq ft, 2 parking
List price: $1,675,000

This sweet mid-century home at 54 Sussex has all three bedrooms on the same level, two-car parking and a bucolic location that’s a few minutes’ stroll from Glen Park’s downtown area and the all-important BART station. Pricing is transparent on this one, so writing an offer at $1,675,000 with reasonable terms could easily do the trick. [Listing courtesy of Corcoran Global Living] Continue Reading

First Steps for Reopening SF Real Estate

It’s been almost a month since The Bay Area shelter in place (SIP) went into effect. The good news is that our collective efforts appear to be bending the curve in California, according to Governor Newsom’s address yesterday. And talk in San Francisco Realtor circles is turning to how we should initially begin reopening real estate after the government lifts the SIP. Continue Reading

My First Virtual Open House

My First Virtual Open House

I attended my first virtual open house this past weekend, and decided that it was an excellent addition to the marketing mix when it comes to “viewing” a home during the shelter in place (SIP). We’re very limited these days when it comes to physical property showings, so it’s key for listing agents to think outside the box.

My Corcoran Global Living colleagues, Amy Clemens and Alec Mironov, pulled together a helpful virtual open house this weekend. They launched their Glen Park single-family home listing last week at 31 Fairmount, and sent out an e-flyer promoting the listing and their Saturday virtual open from 10:00-12:00. I clicked on the scheduling link, requested my 20-minute time slot and received a Google Hangouts invitation. Continue Reading

What Buyers and Sellers Can Do During the SIP SF

We’re all easing into the new normal—limiting trips outdoors to essential activities like gathering groceries and exercising, videoconferencing with family, friends and co-workers, and catching up on sub-par Netflix shows.

Guidelines for citizen conduct haven’t changed since the our shelter in place (SIP) began one week ago on March 16th, nor have the recommendations for real estate agents set forth by our local San Francisco Realtor Association. I’ve spoken with a number of my colleagues, and we are all heading into Week Two wondering if there is anything we can do with respect to helping our clients and generally doing business.

Here’s an overview of market conditions, and what you can do as a buyer and seller in Week 2: Continue Reading

“End Users” Snatch Up Fixers for Dream Home

“End Users” Snatch Up Fixers for Dream Home

The “fixer” buyer pool no longer exclusively consists of contractors and small-scale developers. Instead, deep-pocketed buyers looking to purchase a fixer and turn it into their dream home are increasingly becoming the dominant players in this property category.

A small Noe Valley Victorian recently hit the market (see above photo, left) and attracted multiple offers within a week. The listing agent reported that all offers were from “end users”—industry speak for buyers who will eventually owner occupy the property as their primary residence. There was a time when the only purchasers for a property like this would’ve been contractors looking to flip. Continue Reading

Slice of Steel Hits the Market in Cole Valley

Slice of Steel Hits the Market in Cole Valley

1415 Shrader in Cole Valley just came on the market, and it’s perfect for buyers who love tiny houses and minimalist, stark finishes.

The home originally started construction in the early 2000s, and was completed in 2004. It last sold in 2011 for $849,000, and the current owners have since renovated the kitchen and bath, along with other components of the property:

This one bedroom/one bath home is only ten feet wide—less than half the width of a standard San Francisco home. But it sits on a relatively deep, 94.8′ lot. At first glance from the street, it looks like a bizarre extension of the Spanish Mediterranean style home next door. The lot size is 948 square feet, and the home itself is 1,030 square feet. This is all larger than your bonafide tiny house, but it’s considered to be pretty small even by San Francisco standards.

List price is $1,295,000 for this condo alternative on a great block in the neighborhood. Thinking of writing an offer? Comp this one out with small houses in Cole Valley and adjacent neighborhoods—or one-bedroom standalone condos/cottages in the area.

[Photos courtesy of McGuire Real Estate]

Is the Coronavirus Infecting San Francisco Real Estate?

There’s been considerable speculation among home buyers, sellers and real estate agents over the past few days about the coronavirus’ potential effect on our local San Francisco market.

Indeed, the stock market just had its worst week since 2008, and the World Health Organization elevated its virus risk assessment to “very high.” Home buyers hoping to take advantage of what may be a lull in the market are well advised to move down payment funds from securities accounts to easily accessible, non-volatile bank accounts.

So what might we expect if the outbreaks continue popping up, disrupting business and travel in the process? Continue Reading

Let The Stars Guide Your House Hunt in 2020

It’s a new year, and you’ve made a home purchase your goal for 2020. You may know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you’d prefer, but are you solid when it comes to neighborhood preferences? There’s a lot to consider—proximity to public transportation, good Walk Scores, easy freeway access, good parks.

But make sure you don’t overlook the astrological angle when putting together your list of preferred neighborhoods. Because what your zodiac sign says about you could have everything to do with whether you’ll be happy in your future home. And as my newly branded company, Corcoran Global Living, always says: “Live who you are.”

So let’s have a little fun and see what the stars have to say about where you should settle:

ARIES (Mar 21-Apr 20): Daring, spontaneous and full of energy, you’ll appreciate constantly developing Mission Bay. The neighborhood bustles with activity from the biotech and medical industries. And the adjacent waterfront offers a variety of activities, from catching Giants or Warriors games and Chase Center concerts to eating at one of the many restaurants in the area. Continue Reading

Should You Buy Earthquake Insurance?

That’s one of the top questions home buyers ask me on a regular basis.

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

Meeting Minutes Key in Evaluating HOA Financials

Most condo associations in large buildings have a homeowners association (HOA) board or general membership that meet at least annually to discuss and vote on a variety of items. One of the most important aspects to note when evaluating a condo HOA is whether there are any upcoming, approved expenditures.

Upcoming special assessments are always the big question, but you shouldn’t stop there because those assessments won’t be dipping into the current reserve account. A portion of HOA dues typically goes to the reserve account so there’s some money on hand. Lenders like to see healthy reserves in larger buildings, and having good reserves means the HOA won’t immediately be hit up for a special assessment if, say, the roof needs to be replaced. However, it’s not always evident based on the other disclosure documents whether a large expense is imminent. Though there’s a condo financial disclosure, it only asks about upcoming special assessments. Continue Reading

Long “DOM” May Be a Good Buyer Deal

Long “DOM” May Be a Good Buyer Deal

One of the most important factors in real estate is how long a property has been sitting on the market. The “days on market” (DOM) number is critical in a city like San Francisco, where properties typically go into contract with multiple offers within a week or two of coming on the market. The single-family home segment is a particularly hard nut to crack, as a majority of buyers would prefer houses to condos.

So when a single-family home has been out there for 30 days or more, it’s a sign of one of two things: The sellers are sticking to their price and won’t sell unless they get that, or there might be room to negotiate a lower price. Indeed, sales data from the last quarter of 2019 indicates that there are more sellers out there in the first camp. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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