San Francisco Market Focus – October 2013

By Gary Belk In October, sales prices were up 11% over last year, 81% of single family houses sold over asking and we have only a 2 months supply of homes on the market.  All signs the market is still tight and a difficult environment for buyers to navigate without the help of a good Realtor. You can read the entire report by clicking the link below. SFAR_MarketFocus_2013_October...

Fall is Upon Us: It’s a “perfect storm” for buyers of real estate

by Gary Belk After a busy 3 quarters of rising prices, bidding wars and limited inventory the traditionally calmer 4th quarter has arrived. During autumn our market tends to be a bit slower paced and easier for buyers to navigate.  If you are in the market, you are in luck for two reasons: First, many buyers are distracted by the start of school, the end of summer and the coming holidays.  Second, a seller with their property on the market at this time of year is a motivated seller. This is the time of year we see many relocation’s, probate and distressed properties on the market because they need to sell.  We also have a few properties that were overpriced in the summer and now the sellers are starting to be realistic.  All of these factors combined make for the ‘perfect storm’ buyers.  So grab your all weather gear and give me a call! Here is a selection of some of my favorite properties: Great property for Land bank Land banking is buying a property for the future development of the land.  This property is a perfect example.  It is located on an RH-2 lot (can be up to 2 units).  Hold this property for 10 years and you’ll be sitting on a gold mine.  In the meantime rent the house and pay the mortgage. Perfect home to update This home is located in popular Noe Valley.  It has un-permitted space on the ground floor and needs cosmetic upgrades.  With these issues remedied you have a great family home for a great price in Noe. Best home for a...

The Hill is Alive with the Sound of Music….

by Gary Belk Well actually the sound of construction and moving trucks! Potrero Hill real estate has suddenly exploded. After months of no inventory there are now several nice properties on the market. If you haven’t explored the neighborhood now is the time. I moved to The Hill (as the locals call it)  in June and have fallen in love.  The weather is great, the clerk at the dry cleaners remembers my name and the shopkeepers along 20th Street stand out front and speak to me as I walk by. With the best weather in the city; it’s strategically located close to the 280 (easy access to the South Bay), the new mega biomedical China Basin and UCSF and it even has it’s own Cal-train Station. To top all of that, unlike SOMA and other parts of the city it has a distinct small-town feeling with a slew of great eating options, neighborhood parks with playgrounds and tennis courts and of course views of downtown and the water. Here are some links that will help you explore The Hill (as locals call it) from the comfort of your sofa. Around the Hill One Badass Block (7×7 Magazine) One of My Favorite Places The Good Life Grocery Mission Rock Real Estate Currently Available [idx-listing mlsnumber=”412280″] [idx-listing mlsnumber=”412522″] [idx-listing mlsnumber=”412427″] [idx-listing mlsnumber=”411376″] [idx-listing mlsnumber=”412348″] [idx-listing mlsnumber=”412519″]   Have you been to The Hill? Tell us what you like most about the area?  ...

Interest Rates Are Rising

Don’t Be Scared of Those Rising Interest Rates – They’re Actually Good for Housing! Here in San Francisco, we are beginning to see two interesting trends in the real estate market.  The first trend pertains to the method of payment in transactions: cash. During the first half of 2013, 35% of the transactions were cash.  This tendency toward cash could be due to an increasing difficulty in getting a loan or it could be that the seller wants to close fast and is not willing to wait for financing if a cash offer also comes in. Cash transactions have another added benefit: the guarantee. In my two decades of experience in real estate here in the Bay Area, I know that a small but meaningful percentage of transactions with financing will fail. Many of my sellers tell me they prefer cash deals, even if the sales price is lower. The second interesting trend is that rising rates are beginning to cause lenders to offer a wider variety of products and underwriting practices are getting back to pre-recession “normal”—no more having to use you’re first born as collateral! How these two are changes a good thing?  Two reasons: one, with easier financing sellers have started to realize that waiting a few extra days for someone to get a loan is worth getting a higher price, and two, higher rates do take a few buyers out of the market and this will have a gentle cooling impact on the market as a whole.  With a reported 25% increase from May 2012 to May 2013, the market needs to cool a bit....

Back-up to Buy a House in San Francisco

In the competitive real estate market of San Francisco sometimes the best strategy is to come in second place when your trying to buy a house!  The inventory of available homes in San Francisco is very tight and this results in a competitive marketplace.  Often homes receive multiple offers and the winning bid is way over the asking price. A strategy that I have used with success in the past year has been to get my clients to submit a fair offer, one they are comfortable with and one that is at or just above market value.  We try to make the offer as clean as possible; avoiding all possible contingencies. We also have financing lined up so that the sellers are confident that we could and would close the transaction with as little headache to the seller as possible and on the sellers preferred timeline. This offer may not be the winning offer but it may be enticing enough to the seller (and the seller’s agent) to offer you a back-up position. Sellers like to have a back-up offer because it keeps pressure on the primary offer to perform because the seller may offer the back-up position at a price less than that of the primary offer. Having the back-up position is a great place to be; it puts you in control of the situation if anything happens to the primary offer. Think about this; in a market where buyers get sucked into an auction mentality and often offer more than they are comfortable offering; they often get cold feet or what agents call buyer’s remorse.  Once buyer’s...