Being a homebuyer can be challenging, but there are some things you can do to be sure you will succeed. First time homebuyers often come to the table unprepared and with misconceptions. Don’t let that happen. Here are some things to consider:
- Time is of the essence! When the market is active it is particularly important to move fast with a decisive offer right in the beginning. If you don’t you will definitely not have a good chance on winning the bid.
- Don’t expect a property to be perfect. There is no such thing as a perfect property. Try to look at the pros and cons and weigh the good with the bad. You can always turn a property into your version of perfect once it is yours.
- You maybe can’t have it all, so be prepared to compromise. It is unlikely you will find a property that has everything you want in a home. Think about the things you absolutely must have and the the items it would be “nice to have”. Make lists.
- Stay in your budget. Do not pay attention to what others are saying or doing. You know how much you can spend. Don’t forget that in addition to paying your mortgage you will need to factor into monthly expenses your taxes, utilities and maintenance.
- Understand what you need from a new home, verses what you want or would like to have. Communicating with your agent about your needs will help the process of finding a new home move along more quickly.
- Educate yourself about the Financial Process. Your agent and lender can help you with that. Buying a home may be the biggest financial event in your life. Don’t let yourself be intimidated. Start the process early by gathering information and documentation about your finances. Be sure to get a trustworthy loan officer.
- Make sure you get pre-approved for a loan before you start shopping. That way you will know exactly how much you can spend. You will never have to experience being turned down for a mortgage. It would be very frustrating to fall in love with a house you can’t have.
- Forget about low ball offers. You run the risk of insulting the seller. Let your agent determine a fair market value by running the comparables and advising you on a strategy that will win you your new home.
- Be ready. Educate yourself about neighborhoods, commute times and anything about location which may impact your life. When the time comes you will have done your homework and will be ready to perform.
- Determining a home’s current market value is not something that Redfin or Zillow can provide with any accuracy. It is worlds better to have an agent who is familiar with your market. Have them visit the property to understand the full scope of the situation. They will be able to run a more true-to-life market analysis that will be more telling than any algorithm.
Year over year home prices have been increasing throughout the Bay Area. Single-family homes and condos continued to perform well in the first quarter of 2018. In San Francisco the median sales price was up 23.8% for single family homes and 4.6% for condos and lofts. Listings spent less time on the market than in the first quarter of 2017. Take a look at my office’s exclusive data covering the entire Bay Area:
The deadline for California homeowners to file property tax is on Tuesday, April 10th, 2018. You can view your taxes and make payments on the city’s website.
For your convenience, here are links below to 6 Bay Area counties:
Contra Costa County
San Francisco County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Santa Cruz County
San Francisco has a complete range of options when it comes to housing and you will find properties at both ends of the spectrum. Like the townhouse-style one bedroom TIC condo that recently came on the market in the Mission district. Located at 1384 Florida Street #B, it’s super cute and feels like a cottage, and is listed for $799,000. Originally built in 1900 the unit is a standalone building that sits at the rear of the property. It’s main level consists of an open living/dining/kitchen area with a contemporary natural feeling. It has warm wood floors and double doors opening onto a garden with a charming brick patio. There is a spiral staircase that leads to an upstairs bedroom suite. It’s in a great location in the city near the Inner Mission’s trendy 24th Street, and at the same time the home is far enough away from the street to be like private, urban oasis where you can really get away from it all.
And if you really want an urban retreat consider living at 22 Portola, something at the opposite end of the spectrum. The home in Diamond Heights also recently became available, offered for $3,349,000. It’s a four-story, single family row home designed by J. Lloyd Conrich, a San Francisco native. With its four bedrooms, three and a half baths and dazzling views of the city, it looks much as it did when it was built in 1948, from the outside at least. Inside the home has been beautifully remodeled and expanded. The whole-house is engineered for earthquake safety and has a fire suppression system. Solar panels supply most of the home’s electrical supply. From the great room on the second level broad windows frame views of the city and bay. There is a fabulous modern chef’s kitchen and a large family room that doubles as a home theater with sound-insulated walls, and 7-channel surround sound. From the moment you enter the house in the foyer, you get a glimpse of one of the home’s most unique features, the grand staircase. Custom-designed out of glass and steel by Oakland artist John Lewis, it is a four-story work of art. Rising from the ground floor to the skylight-capped top level, the planes of rippled, textured glass create a stunning waterfall of light. Remote-controlled windows at the top of the stairs create cross-ventilation that cools the entire house on hot days, and when San Francisco’s famous fog rolls in, 7-zone programmable radiant heating keeps the rooms snug and warm. Tucked at the back of the fourth level, the grand master suite is a serene oasis of its own, adjacent to the “Solarium lounge” opening onto a large deck. There are breathtaking panoramic views of the city. And while the cottage in the Mission seems like worlds away, it’s not so far. The city has something to offer everyone, so long as you venture to believe you can achieve your dreams.
There are so many farmers markets in San Francisco. It’s a great way to get inspired, support local farmers, save money, and even learn about agriculture. Find out what’s in season and grows near you. There are more than a dozen markets throughout the city. You can find fresh fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers, meats and eggs from small regional farmers, many of whom are certified organic. You’ll also find locally made products like artisan cheeses, breads and jams. Some of the markets also have food vendors too, so it’s great for grabbing lunch or a snack. Many of the markets are open year round. Check out this guide to the city’s farmers markets to find one near you.
The demand for condos in San Francisco has been strong throughout January and February, but new construction is shrinking! The market has been very active. According to sales office data collected by the Mark Company, 80 condos were placed under contract or sold in January, a 70% increase over December, and a 344% increase year over year. Pricing is up 6% compared to this time last year. Inventory is down 34% . Many of San Francisco’s most illustrious towers are on their way to being completely sold out. Lumina has sold 95% of its homes and The Harrison has only half of its units left. 75% of One Mission Bay is gone. But new buildings are on the horizen. There are opportunities to purchase at 815 Tennessee and Stage 1075 is gearing up for their grand opening. A new construction in Jackson Square, called 288 Pacific is not officially open to the public yet, however I can get clients in early to see the residences and reserve a unit. If you are considering purchasing a new home, please do not hesitate to contact me!
Thinking about buying a home or condo in San Francisco? Please join us for a free workshop at the Mission Bay Condo Store on Sunday February 25th at 6 pm. Learn everything you will need to know to be a successful home buyer. The market has been very active so far in 2018, and we will be seeing even more activity as the season gets underway. Let us help you compete in this tough market. There are so many opportunities to purchase in San Francisco. We would be glad to help make it a smooth and enjoyable process.
My office put together a year-end report for San Francisco real estate activity in 2017. It was a great year! The median sales price for both single family homes and condos was up 9% throughout the city. Properties sold quickly and at higher prices than at any point in San Francisco’s long, rich history. Neighborhoods like Cole Valley and Hayes Valley saw the highest increase in median sales price, though not as many properties sold in those areas than in the previous year. Other neighborhoods like SOMA and South Beach saw an increase in the number of properties sold. There were 976 condos and lofts that sold in SOMA/South Beach, which was not a large increase over the previous year’s number of sales, however condos sold fast, reflecting the ongoing demand to live those neighborhoods. The median sales price for condos and lofts in SOMA/SouthBeach also increased by 5.9%. And as sellers gain more confidence we will expect to see more properties coming on the market as our spring season gets underway. Read the report.
According to the San Francisco Association of Realtors housing demand in the city remained incredibly strong throughout 2017. With less homes for sale than in 2016, prices were consistently up and properties sold more quickly. Buyers may not have benefited from higher prices, but sellers did, and confidence is said to be on the rise. We are expecting to see more listing activity as the year unfolds. At least that would be the most viable prediction for an economic landscape pointing toward improved conditions for sellers. Home building and selling professionals are optimistic, despite the fact that mortgage rates are likely to increase in 2018. One of San Francisco’s leading authorities on market trends, The Mark Company, announced robust buyer activity right away as the year began. It appears as if the 2018 buying season is starting earlier than in previous years. The company’s Condominium Pricing Index indicated strengthening market conditions in December with momentum being as high as the spring market of 2017.
There were plenty of new construction condos available with the start of the new year, and still more are in the pipeline. But some new constructions which had only released units earlier in 2017 are already sold out. La Maison, 72 Townsend, Laguna Hayes,The Rockwell, and The Pacific are down to having only a few homes left. One Mission Bay, the new condominium community across the channel from AT&T baseball park, brought 270 new residences to the neighborhood, however there are only 80 homes left. The Knox and Rowan were just completed in 2017 and are completely sold out. Lumina has sold 670 of its units and has fewer than 50 homes are left. There is still plenty of opportunity to find something elsewhere however, and several new constructions will be releasing new condos in 2018. If you you are looking for a new home, don’t miss out on the opportunity to get in early and get first pick.
Over 3 million square feet of office space was leased to tech Companies in San Francisco in 2017 – companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google and Dropbox – making it one of the strongest years on record for tech tenant leases. Seven companies signed for mega-blocks of space, leases that were for over 150K square feet, accounting for nearly 70% of the total space leased. The South of Market neighborhood saw most of the year’s leasing activity, and is reported to have the highest asking rent of any other neighborhood in San Francisco. 2017 overall saw an increase in asking rents, attributed in part to particular lease transactions, like the record breaking Facebook lease. The company rented all 436,000 square feet of 181 Fremont’s office space for its new headquarters, one of the biggest corporate leasing transactions in San Francisco’s ever, costing Facebook nearly $80 a square foot, or $35 million.
Economic expansion is expected to continue in San Francisco, so demand for space is expected to continue. However with even still more new constructions on the horizon, will there be too much space? And as tech companies expand there is a growing need for employees, which presents some challenges. While there is a lot of employment talent currently in the Bay Area, less and less people are moving into the area. That may be due to the high cost of living and transportation woes. But there has yet to be significant movement from tech companies to move out of the Bay Area, which many had predicted would be the case.