Buyers Tips

The Inside Scoop for 1st Time Home Buyers for a successful San Francisco Home Purchase right NOW!

Young Couple9 Tips for making a successful purchase in the current Sellers Market

As you know inventory in San Francisco is at its lowest mark in more than seven years.  With such a low supply comes steeper competition which can put 1st time homebuyers at a disadvantage.  I like to look at it as an opportunity to be informed and prepared.  (Tips at the end)

Evaluating property and the market.

A Discussion:

With low inventory the first time home buyer may be going up against investors who are also targeting the bargain-priced or lower priced homes that are in the same pool in which you are looking.  Investors and contractors come to the table with buying power, large down payments and/or cash, which can edge you out of the deal.  One strategy is to prepare to compete.

In a Sellers market, a strategy that is often employed by listing agents, are to list the homes for well under the market, in hopes of attracting a large number of offers.  This means each home must be individually evaluated against the market to see if this is the case.  If so, the buyer must be prepared to bring their offer in at the regular market price which can be substantially, sometimes $10k-$100k or more over the inappropriately low asking price.  Just because a price is listed, it does not reflect the market value or the actual final purchase price range.  Conversely, some homes do not require an overbid and your agent will be able to advise you accordingly. Continue reading

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I just SOLD a Sunset/Parkside Home at 2118 31st Ave. to 1st Time Home Buyers

My Lovely clients, a young family and First time Home Buyers, just purchased their first home at 2118 31st Ave., in the Sunset/Parkside District in San Francisco.  During our Sellers Market, homes in the Sunset/Parkside have been receiving high numbers of multiple offers…like 12 and 15 offers on one home, with tremendous overbidding and alot of cash purchases to sweeten the competitiveness of offers.

We’ve arrived at the property for the Key Transfer! My Buyer and her adorable son!

This 2 Bedroom/ 1 Bath home was a sought after floor plan with a center patio affording lots of light to the home, original hardwood, an updated kitchen, yet well cared for, still in original condition. The past owner lived here for over 50 years and it was being SOLD as a probate with the proceeds to be distributed to family members. This type of transaction presents its’ challenges in terms of lengthy escrow while awaiting for court approval or confirmation for a sale and the “AS IS” purchase.  Probates often come to market with a lower value than other regular sales making them a good buy.

In this transaction, my clients over bid the asking price of $569,000 up to $661,101.  There were 12 offers, and although ours was not the highest, it had the best terms.  My client a contractor, determined the AS IS purchase acceptable and so made little additional terms to entice the Seller to accept their offer, and we Won!.  The purchase price was a deal for a gloriously large Sunset home with a basement/garage waiting for development and the possibility to add a level.  Perhaps a third floor master suite?   Continue reading

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San Franciscos’ One Hawthorne, a Luxury Highrise in the Middle of the Action – Affordable and Stylish

One HawthorneWorld-Class View from a Junior 1 Bedroom

Downtown San Francisco is host to many new and newish high rise luxury buildings offering homeownership opportunities to the most discerning urban dwellers.  Experience life with all of the amenities, like exercise rooms, valets, roof top gardens with outstanding world-class views and some buildings include concierge service.

Tonite I attended an invitational cocktail fete hosted by the sales team of One Hawthorne.  Catty-corner to our new Vangaurd Office at 199 New Montgomery.  One Hawthorne’s sales office is at the corner of Hawthorne and Howard with the building entrance around the corner on the quiet Hawthorne Street, not a thoroughfare, a calm street in the midst of the action.

Our Hosts, Sales TeamJessica Keenan & Carrie Barrett, with their wonderful caterer!

Greeted by the sales team who offered wine and beautifully prepared nibbles,  I was given the inside scoop on the upcoming offerings in this building.  Sales have picked up, are brisk with available homes moving quickly.

Sold in phases, the first phase has only 8 units left before the anticipated release of the upper floors 21 to 25 in the next several months.  As the floors go up, so does the pricing. Jessica gave us the grand tour of the sleek, modern, impressive models of a junior one bedroom, the perfect pied a terre, a 1 bedroom at 800+ Square Feet and the 2 bedroom/2bath of over 1200 Square Feet.  Continue reading

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Touring San Francisco Luxury Property

Today I took out a client who wanted to tour luxury property in all neighborhoods of the City!  That was a big bill to fill as luxury means something different to each person.  In this case, it was in the form of at least a 3 Bedroom, 3 Bath home of over 1800 SqFt, with a price point of $1m-$2.3m and up.

Luckily that is easily achievable in our town.  Though we are a great city, buyers often note, its’ diverse neighborhoods make it feel like a town.  We began our tour in St. Francis Woods.  Known as District 4, this neighborhood sports detached mansion like homes on larger parcels of property.  I would call this “the country in the middle of the city”.  Some of our oldest and most beautiful Mediterranean and Spanish style homes are in this neighborhood that exudes a charming elegance.  They loved West Portal, the 3 block shopping district at the base of St. Francis woods and its’ boutiques, pubs, cafe’s and art cinema.

Continue reading

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Houseplants are Easy-How To Secret!

Houseplants.  We are 7×7 in San Francisco.  That is 7 miles by 7 miles.  Not all of us have outdoor space, though in the City many of us are lucky to have our little slice of land in the back yard.  If you don’t have that, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fabulous greenery that is living, in your very own home.

Here is my best kept secret.  Purchase potting soil and a pot that is a little bigger than the plant you have purchased, drop in a screen to cover the hole in the bottom of the pot (purchased at a garden supply store) and some gravel or old pot shards as a small bottom layer. Ease the plant out of the pot by turn it on its’ side and holding close to the stem(s), drop it into the pot with some soil previously placed in the pot leveling the top of your new plant about 1-2” below the rim.  Surround it with soil and press the plant down, and tamp the soil down lightly.

Continue reading

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6 ways buyers can boost qualifying income

Borrowers without the income required to qualify for the mortgage they need have many possible options. “Income adequacy” is governed by general guidelines that can be adjusted to meet individual circumstances. It is “softer” than the down payment requirement, discussed last week.

Maximum debt-to-income ratio

The measure of income adequacy most often used is the sum of the monthly payment on the new mortgage, plus property taxes, homeowners insurance and other debt payments, divided by income. The maximum ranges from 40 percent to 43 percent, but underwriters have discretion to accept higher requirements if they believe that circumstances justify them.

Debt payments are those that extend beyond the next six months and are not deferred for a year or longer. This includes HELOCs and other revolving credits, credit card debt that you don’t pay off at month-end, student loans, and alimony and child support payments. Continue reading

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3 myths of conventional real estate wisdom

 

Whether you’ve rented your whole life or own a portfolio of properties, you’ve undoubtedly heard the real estate saying, “Location, location, location,” which simply means that a home’s value is highly dependent upon, well, its location!

The timeless truth of this saying is beyond dispute, even in tough times like these for the housing market. The recessionary fates and foreclosure rates of an individual housing market are highly dependent upon the economic and employment prospects of that market, and even the desirability of an individual neighborhood or lot. Continue reading

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Tips for meeting down payment requirements

Borrowers qualifying for mortgages today are paying for the excesses of yesterday. During the go-go years leading to the crisis, underwriting rules became incredibly lax, and now they are excessively restrictive. Mortgage underwriting rules have become increasingly detailed and rigid, with much less room for the discretionary judgment of underwriters.

To help borrowers deal with this problem, I am developing a program for my website that will show potential borrowers whether they qualify, the type of mortgage for which they qualify if they do, and exactly where they fall short if they don’t. Continue reading

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6 tips for a higher credit score

Your credit score, calculated from information in your credit report, is a measure of how good a risk you are to a credit grantor. A large proportion of borrowers who can’t qualify for a mortgage would qualify if their credit score was higher.

The theme of this set of articles, that many borrowers can repair their own qualification credentials, applies as much or more to credit score than to down payment or income. Continue reading

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Installation of a Carbon Monoxide Detector Suggested

Carbon Monoxide injuries and fatalities occur most often during the winter months.  Unlike natural gas, carbon monoxide has no smell and is virtually undetectable.  Closed windows limit fresh air circulation so that the danger of carbon monoxide poising is greatest.

Possible sources of that poinsoning are from gas burning appliances such as ranges, ovens, waterheaters, furnaces, etc. Malfunctioning gas burners, defective appliance flues or a damaged furnace are all conditions which can allow carbon monoxide to enter the living space.

Another common source of carbon monoxide entry is from either an improperly lit fireplace or a chimney with inadequate draft.  This could be caused from improperly lighting a fire, a partially opened damper or clogged chimney flue.

The symptoms vary from very mild (headaches, drowsiness, joint aches, dizziness) to extreme (flu-like symptoms, severe headaches, difficulty breathing, allergy symptoms, nausea). Depending on the level and length of exposure, carbon monoxide is lethal.  Carbon monoxide detectors (similar in design to a standard smoke detector) are readily available (drug stores, hardware stores,  home improvement stores) and cost under twenty-five dollars.  They are designed to sound a loud alarm when measuring any low level condition of carbon monxide.

In the City of San Francisco an Energy and Water inspection is mandated before the roperty can transfer.  During this inspection, the number, placement and effectiveness of smoke detectors are inspected, corrected and/or installed.  This is a perfect opportunity to ask for a carbon monoxide detector or the combination smoke and carbon momxide detector to be installed.  It may reflect a slightly higher cost for the Buyer or Seller but will be well worth the addition of an important detector that could save lives.  OR make sure that you update all of your current smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and go ahead and install them yourself – TODAY!!!

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Insulate Your Pipes! Save Money!

It’s true.  It’s New Years Day and I love to do things like clean out closets.  So my husband stays smartly out of the way and just came up to tell me that he had insulated our hot water pipes.

  Now you may have guessed, we are a GREEN household and always seeing to improve our recycling, energy efficiency, use of natural and re-use products, native gardening improvements and general home repair GREEn upgrades.  Natuarally I was pleased to hear he had insulated the pipes.

My husband also happens to be a plumbing contractor in the City of San Francisco and personally he is an avid recycler and energy improver! If he makes a plumbing call to your house, you can almost be sure he will advise you about what you can do to optimize your recylcling and energy comsumption.

Continue reading

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Recycle your Fridge, Earn a Gas Credit, Use CFL’s by PG&E in San Francisco

fridge recyclingold fridgeHowdy!  Look what I received today in my ValPak mailer.  A coupon from PG&E promoting Recycling, and energy savings.  The info below is what was on the coupon with all of their website links too!

Check out the program put into place by PG&E in San Francisco

It’s easy to recycle your old (still working) refigerator!  Guess who will do it for free and you will receive $35 dollars too!

www.ApplianceRecycling.com/PGE or PHONE 1-800-299-7573

Here are some other PG&E Links you might find useful

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Should a Buyer be Pre-Approved for their loan before Searching for Property? Yes or No?

imagesHere in our San Francisco market, I urge all of my buyers to gain pre-approval for a loan before they begin their home search. Many people seem to think that pre-approval is like applying for your entire loan, but it is not.
Once you have chosen a direct lender, Bank, or Mortgage Broker, they will ask you to fill out a loan application and assist you in gathering the necessary documentation and verifications to complete what will eventually become your “loan Package”.
Once the loan professional has verified your income, assets and employment, they are able to estimate the type and amount of loan you will likely qualify for. This will assist you in knowing what your monthly payment, insurance, property taxes and interest will be and in turn, you will know the right price range to look in when shopping for your home!
Now that you have that pre-approval letter you are ready to search. This will give you a competitive advantage, as you will be able to submit offers immediately on what could be the “perfect” property for you with that valuable pre-approval letter. This letter lets the listing agent know that this buyer is already working toward their loan approval and has the right income and assets to qualify for that particular purchase. What do you think about loan pre-approval and working with an agent. Do you feel it is necessary?
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