Category Archives: Homeowner Tips

Is Adding An ADU the Right Move For You?

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

What You Need To Know About Rentbacks

A “rentback” in real estate is when the sellers stay in the property for an agreed-upon period of time after the close of escrow. The reason sellers typically need rentbacks is because they need the proceeds from their sale in order to purchase their next home.

I am not a big fan of rentbacks, because most buyers want to gain possession of their new home after they close, for a variety of reasons. But if you’re considering requesting or granting a rentback, here are a few important things to know before you agree to one:

1. Execute and sign a “Seller in Possession” addendum. This is also called a rentback agreement, and it specifies all the details of the rentback. These include the length of time the seller can remain at the property after the closing date, whether the seller will pay the buyer a fee to stay in the property and who will pay utility costs during the rentback period.

2. Consult an attorney before you agree to let the seller remain in the property. A rentback technically is a form of tenancy, and things can get complicated if the rentback is more than 30 days. Most sellers don’t have intentions to keep hanging out indefinitely, but it’s a wise idea to avoid those scenarios. I recommend limiting the rentback to 29 days. Continue Reading

Smaller Buyer Pool? Stick With a List Price Closer To Value

San Francisco properties typically sell for more than their list prices. The strategy for our low-inventory market is expected, and buyers are used to the drill by now. List a home at ten percent or more under comp range, attract multiple offers and close with a sale price of well above list.

However, that outcome is not guaranteed—especially for properties with smaller buyer pools. These are homes that will attract more buyer objections than offers. If the property has one or more major objections, it’s a better strategy to price your home closer to the value.

There are many examples of the types of properties that will have smaller buyer pools. Here are a few: Continue Reading

5 Seller Tips for a Successful 7-Day Close

I went into escrow on a property recently involving a cash sale with a seven-day close. What seller doesn’t want that? However, it’s important to get all your ducks in a row if you’re taking on the seven-day close. Here are five things you need to have in order as a seller if you want to successfully close in a short period of time:

1. Locate your loan details. The title company will to order the loan payoff information for your property. You’ll need to provide the following details as soon as possible, for each loan: lender name, contact number, address, loan number and estimated balance. If you’re selling a condo, you’ll also have to provide the names of the homeowners association and management company’s address and contact info, as well as the account number. The lender can take a few days to respond, which could end up delaying your fast close if you don’t have that info ready to go. Continue Reading

Seize the Day When It Comes To Getting Your Highest Offers

If you’re planning to list your San Francisco home this year, you should know that there are pretty much two ways the offer situation will go. If one or more buyers are going to write offers for more than asking, those offers will transpire within the first week or two. After that, it’s likely buyers will write for at or below asking. Continue Reading

Make Sure You Have Enough Dwelling Insurance Coverage

Wildfire season is an unfortunate reminder of how important it is to carry sufficient dwelling insurance on your home. Many homeowners often discover that they don’t have sufficient insurance coverage to cover rebuilding costs. In fact, more than half of homes across the United States are underinsured by 21%. I’d like to make sure my readers aren’t among those in that category.

Your dwelling insurance is the centerpiece of your policy. The coverage amount represents how much it would cost to rebuild your home. In San Francisco—and probably The Bay Area in general—we’re looking at $500 per square foot in average construction costs. So a 1,500-square foot single-family home should technically have a total of $750,000 in dwelling coverage. Continue Reading

Start Planning Now For Your Fall Sale

July and August are traditionally slower months with respect to new inventory coming on the market. Statistically speaking, we don’t seem to have a problem with transactional volume right now. But I can tell you that I have about five sets of active buyer clients, and every property seems to have many other interested buyers. Continue Reading

Here’s Your Mid-2021 Bernal Heights Microhood Report

Here’s Your Mid-2021 Bernal Heights Microhood Report

Bernal Heights is having a banner year in 2021 so far. The ever-popular neighborhood and its eight microhoods have seen competitive offer situations, overbidding and lots of turnover in this Covid era as buyers aim to move into single-family homes with more privacy and outdoor space.

The Northwest Slope and Precita Parks have had the highest median prices, with South of Cortland coming in third. And inventory has jumped West of Mission to meet buyer demand.

It’s high time for a microhood update. As my regular readers know, I created the Bernal Heights microhoods back in 2014 to help prospective buyers and sellers get a more refined sense for single-family home values in the neighborhood’s distinct geographical areas. Many Realtors have decided to use the microhood concept in their marketing without crediting me, so if you want to work with the authentic microhood creator, please get in touch with me at 415.823.4656 | eileen@insidesfre.com.

Here’s how our microhoods stacked up in the first half of 2021 (click on each pic to enlarge, red dots represent homes sold):

1. Northwest Slope
Single-Family Home Median Price: $2,000,000
Most Expensive: 128 Elsie (4BR/4.5BA new construction | $4,000,000)
Least Expensive: 13 Eugenia (2BR/1BA 1148 sq ft, no pkg | $1,450,000)
# Homes Sold: 12
# Overbids Above 20%: 1

The Northwest Slope saw most homes sell for over the list price, which was especially true in the case of the 3BR/2BA home at 252 Elsie. The peaked-roof Victorian with no garage was listed for $1,398,000 and sold for $1,820,000—30% over asking. Continue Reading

Today’s Buyers Love “Done” Homes

The real estate market is booming, and many potential home sellers are wondering if it might make sense to do some remodeling for sale purposes. The answer? Yes. A little sprucing up can go a long way with today’s buyers—and maximize your selling price. Continue Reading

Open Houses Return in San Francisco (!)

I’m happy to report that San Francisco Realtors can once again host public open houses.

Our local Realtor Association announced late last week that we can resume holding opens for the first time since March 2020. We’re required to follow Covid safety protocol that requires all entrants to review and sign an Open House and Showing Guidelines disclosure, which also requires providing basic contact information. Additionally, everyone must still wear masks, use hand sanitizer, practice social distancing and avoid touching surfaces in a property. Continue Reading

Feng Shui for San Francisco Real Estate

Feng Shui for San Francisco Real Estate

Feng shui is a guiding principle for many San Francisco home buyers. The Chinese words “feng” and “shui” translate to mean “wind” and “water,” respectively. This concept derived from an ancient poem that talks about human life being connected and flowing with the environment around it.

If you’re buying or selling a home, it’s a good idea to be aware of what elements constitute unfavorable feng shui. There are some things you can’t change that add up to bad feng shui, such as location. But there are other things that you can alter when it comes to interior design and staging. Continue Reading

20 Ways To Cut Your Water Use By 20%

We are in a serious drought situation in California. San Francisco is a dense city, and we all have to take responsibility for making sure we don’t use more than our fair share of water.

A good rule of thumb is to reduce your water consumption by twenty percent. I thought I’d share 20 of my favorite ways to save water; when enough individuals follow these sort of tips, it adds up to a lot of water saved: Continue Reading

The 5 Biggest Home Seller Mistakes You Can Make

Spring is here, and that means that new listings are hitting the market daily. It’s a good time to give a shout out to all those prospective San Francisco home sellers out there who are thinking of putting their homes on the market.

I’ve been doing my job long enough to recognize good and bad seller strategies. So I thought I’d round up the bad ones to potentially make things smoother for some sellers this year.

Here are my top five home seller mistakes. Avoid them if you can:

1. Skimping on staging. Buyers will pay top dollar if they emotionally connect with your home, and that means making the property look as appealing as possible. You’ll also want your home to stack up visually against the comps. Staging will be worth the money. Continue Reading

5 Reasons Why Your Condo May Not Be Selling—And What You Can Do About It

There are currently more than 620 condos for sale in San Francisco. And more than half of them have been on the market for 21 days or more—that’s a lot of sellers who are probably wondering why their properties aren’t selling if the San Francisco condo market has made a comeback over the past two months.

There are a lot of reasons some condos take longer to sell. But here are a few of the most frequent sale barriers, along with some ideas for overcoming them: Continue Reading

Short-Term, Furnished Rentals Good Seller Pit Stops

I’ve met recently with a number of homeowners who are considering selling their properties, but don’t know where they’ll be able to buy next. Though they know they’ll do extremely well in the current market with the sale of their property, they’re nervous about competing with buyers to purchase their next place.

Here’s a suggestion that will work for these potential sellers: Rent a short-term, furnished rental. There are actually quite a number of these available at any given time, in all parts of The Bay Area. (Short-term, unfurnished rentals are more of a challenge to find, given that many landlords prefer longer-term apartment leases.) Continue Reading

Contact Eileen for Real Estate Help

Eileen Bermingham

Corcoran Global Living

415.823.4656

eileen@insidesfre.com

DRE# 01352627

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