Category Archives: Home Owner Tips

Virtual Staging No Substitute for The Real Thing

Virtual staging grew in popularity after the San Francisco shelter in place (SIP) began in mid March. Buyers couldn’t physically get into properties for about two or three weeks, and listing agents had to quickly adapt to include virtual marketing pieces like 3D tours and photo galleries showing furniture in rooms that were technically empty. Stagers weren’t able to do their jobs, so staging wasn’t an option.

But now that we can physically show property and stagers are working again, it’s become obvious to me that virtual staging can only take sellers’ marketing so far. Sure, virtual staging is a lot less expensive for sellers than the real thing. Agents generally pay for the virtual staging on a per photo basis, so sellers avoid paying thousands of dollars for actual staging. 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

Listing Options for Sellers During SIP

It’s not a great time to put a listing on the market, but some homeowners may need to do just that. Unexpected life or financial changes sometimes propel a home sale. If you’re about to take the plunge during the shelter in place (SIP), it’s important that you understand the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) options so you can decide the best way to market your home or handle any complications that may arise during what are very uncertain times.

Here’s a breakdown of the different types of MLS listings so you can figure out what strategy will be best for your property:
Active: When an agent inputs a property in the MLS, it typically becomes an “active” listing and is also published to syndicated sites such as Redfin, Zillow, Realtor.com and others. However, this may not be the best route to go during the SIP. An active listing immediately starts the clock ticking on an important metric—“days on market” (DOM). Agents and buyers consider the DOM when they’re discussing how much to offer. A home with a long DOM indicates a lack of interest, and discourages buyers from offering more over asking (or even list price). Of course, DOM during a SIP has more to do with the interruption in the normal course of business than a lack of interest. But be aware that there are currently more than 400 active residential listings in the MLS, and many of them are gathering dust. 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

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

Adding ADU To House, Duplex May Not Be The Best Idea

The climate is ripe for adding housing in San Francisco, and that extends to the city’s efforts to make adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to a property easier. But whether you should move ahead with “legalizing” an existing in-law apartment—or creating one—depends upon what type of property you own.

If you own a building with three or more units, adding another one won’t really introduce new use restrictions on the building or resale complications. 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

Sellers Need Lead Time For Spring Market

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

Though some wise 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

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

5 Ways To Prepare for Selling Your Home in 2020

You’ve decided that 2020 is the year you’ll be selling your house in San Francisco. Timing is everything when it comes to a home sale, and it’s never too early to start planning. Here are five ways you can kick things off:

1. Decide what stays and what goes. You probably won’t want to take everything with you, so it’s a good time to start labeling what stays and what items will go where. Take advantage of services like Remoov. You also may benefit from working with a professional organizer/mover—my colleague, Gwen McClure is an excellent choice.

2. Consult with your CPA. It’s a good idea to know what taxes you can expect to pay, as well as get professional advice on how to handle sale profits. Continue Reading

I’m A Realtor Seeking New Clients for 2020

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 2020, 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 2020 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.

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Cash Sales in San Francisco Drop in 2019

San Francisco real estate sees its share of cash buyers, but they’re not popping up as frequently as they used to. For the past several years, cash buyers have represented a quarter of all single-family and condo sales.

However, the percentage has dropped to 16.5% for houses and 14.6% for condos in 2019.

Having the ability to pay all cash certainly gives you an advantage as a buyer. You’ll likely get a call back in a multiple-offer situation if your offer isn’t the highest. But being able to pay in all cash typically doesn’t exempt you from having to overbid like everyone else.

Here’s how things have shaken out in 2019: 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.

The bottom line is that the city considers homeowners to be responsible for paying their property taxes, whether a homeowner physically received the tax bill or not. Bought a new property and didn’t receive the tax bill? It’s best to look up your tax bill online and just pay it.

I thought I would also round up the basics for you future homeowners out there, because property taxes are something many don’t think a lot about during the purchasing process. Continue Reading

Get in touch:

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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