San Francisco Homes & Properties Listed And Sold Past Two Weeks

In case you’re not on the list to receive these in your inbox, here are the most recent listings and most recent sales for San Francisco. And wouldja look at that…my recent off market sale popped right up on top. The first resale in 1 Ecker (16 Jessie) since it’s renovation in 2010, and what a sale it was.

listedsold

As is the case with this information, and anything else regarding San Francisco real estate for that matter, if you have a question, just ask.

-1 Ecker, 2 bed, 2 bath, Sold $755,000 [MLS]
-sfnewsletter real estate market info week ending 1/25/2013 [sfnewsletter]

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 5 And Beyond: Depends On How Step 4 Goes

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There is one guarantee after writing an offer on a property in San Francisco, and that is there is no guarantee you’ll get the property. With multiple offers all too common, sellers holding the upper hand, extremely low inventory, and thousands of buyers in the market, writing an offer is only part of the property winning (yes, we use the term winning) equation.

So what is the next step, then? The only certainty is if your offer was rejected, you can shuffle back up to Step 3 and start the touring again. There is a learning curve in San Francisco real estate, and you likely won’t get the first place you go for. Patience is paramount, and communication is key. Stay in touch with your Realtor (because now you have one), and keep hope alive. You will get there in the end. It may just take more time than you had expected.

If your offer was not rejected, and you’re the lucky winner, there are so many different steps that could happen next, we need not mention them in detail here. Things like: did you receive a counter offer; was the counter offer a multiple counter offer; have you been offered what is called “backup”; did your offer include inspections; how much time do you have to remove contingencies; do you need to sell your own home; is the seller asking for a “rent back”; so on and so forth. It is here that you will see value in a Realtor, and why we are so very comfortable giving you all of the tools you need to find your property on your own, online.

In the end, there will be about 10-20 more steps (at least) before getting keys to your home, and you’re going to need someone to guide you, because the process is so very not cut and dry, and we hope to earn your business. Feel free to learn more about us here, and read some testimonials here. Or better yet, drop us a line so we can chat about what you need.

If all you do is read these steps, set out on your own, find your own Realtor, and never contact us…we truly wish you the best of luck!

-Buying a Home In San Francisco – Step 1: Get Pre-Approved / Provide Proof Of Funds [theFrontSteps]
-Buying a Home In San Francisco – Step 2: Get New Listings Fed To You Automatically [theFrontSteps]
-Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 3: Go See Some Property [theFrontSteps]
-Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 4: Make An Offer (Choose A Realtor) [theFrontSteps]

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 4: Make An Offer (Choose A Realtor)

Here you are, having completed Step 1, Step 2, and Step 3 of the home buying process in San Francisco. Now what?

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. You’ve found the perfect (or almost perfect) property, you’re educated on the market, you’ve seen what other comparable properties are selling for, you love the area, the price is right, and you’re ready to go for it. Even though you could have theoretically made it this far without a Realtor, now you need one. You can choose to work with the agent listing the property, or you can hire your wife’s brother’s best friend’s uncle (it happens), or you can simply look no further. (If you’ve read this far, we’re practically best buds anyway.)

Working with a Realtor is going to give you the absolute best shot at securing a property in this competitive market. We could share our secrets of success and how to make your offer as “strong” as you can, but why would we do something silly like letting what could be your competition know how we’re going to play this game?

You can certainly attempt to represent yourself in writing, and presenting an offer too, but I’d say don’t waste your time, or the listing agent’s time. Either hire a Realtor, or work with the listing agent. Our market is so competitive that any money you think you’ll be saving by claiming to represent yourself will be money the listing agent might lose for their seller, or money they could have earned for themselves, so we’re totally comfortable sending you packing. In a stack of 15 offers, you representing yourself will certainly be put at the very bottom. Sad, but true.

So what price should you offer? That’s a tricky question, that depends a lot on how busy or attractive a property is, how long it’s been on the market, has the price been reduced, did it just come back on the market, etc. If you come across a property that has only been marketed two weeks, offers are being accepted on a certain day, and the agent tells you there has been about 250 people through the property, they’ve handed out 30 disclosure packages, and they expect to realistically receive 15 offers…don’t offer asking price! You’re dreaming!

We could go on and on about writing an offer, selecting a price, reviewing disclosures, and everything that goes into presenting an offer, but you’re better off just knowing writing an offer is the next step, and you’re going to want to have a Realtor on your side.

Step 5 is coming soon, so check back, or grab our RSS, and get new updates via email.

-Buying a Home In San Francisco – Step 1: Get Pre-Approved / Provide Proof Of Funds [theFrontSteps]
-Buying a Home In San Francisco – Step 2: Get New Listings Fed To You Automatically [theFrontSteps]
-Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 3: Go See Some Property [theFrontSteps]

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 3: Go See Some Property!

You starting to feel ready to buy a home in San Francisco? By now, hopefully, you’ve made it through Step 1, and are now either pre-approved, or can provide Proof of Funds, and are getting dialed into this thing called the internet and how well it can help you instantaneously see what is new on the market, because you’ve completed Step 2, by having listings sent to your inbox automagically.

That makes you ready for…

Step 3 – Go See Some Property

You’ll want to go see the ones you might even remotely like. Even if you think it’s not a perfect match, you should go take a look anyway. It will help you get a feel for the market, and if you see something that is an “almost” you can track the sale of it to educate yourself on actual sales prices versus list prices.
So how can you know what properties to tour and when? There are a number of ways to do it.
a. Schedule private showings with your Realtor. Schedule them as soon as you can. It’s the best way to see property, without the hundreds of other people, and it gives you a jump on the competition.
b. Still not ready to wed yourself to a frothy real estate agent? Hit the Sunday Open Houses. You can pretty much bet that 99% of the listings you’re getting fed via email will have an open house on Sunday from 2-4pm (in San Francisco). If you show up at a house and it’s not open, oh well…use the opportunity to check out the ‘hood.
c. Tuesday “Broker” Tour. You can also bet that new listings will be open on Tuesday Broker Tour in their designated time slot. Tour rotates around the city beginning at 9am in Telegraph Hill area, and ending in SOMA/Mission/Potrero Hill areas in the late afternoon around 4pm. Times are in increments of 1.5 hours. For example: Pacific Heights new listings are open 10-11:30 on Tuesdays, and the Mission will be from 2-3:30pm.) Technically Broker Tour is meant for Brokers only, but any Realtor that refuses entry to you (a buyer) should be asked to leave the industry. It’s easy to get the Broker Tour schedule, just ask your Realtor, or theFrontSteps.
d. SFOpenHomes.com – Fed directly from MLS, and including any property in the system that has been added as having an open house. You can search by all sorts of criteria, so you can pretty much find anything you like, and whether or not it will be open.
e. Craigslist – Check Craigslist for properties that may or may not be on MLS and whether they’ll have an open house, or when they’ll be available for viewing.

If your schedule does not permit a private tour set up by your agent, or if you prefer to visit property in your own car, on your own time, you can count on options c,d,e to get you where you need to be. Just get out there and get educated! Be warned, almost every real estate agent you come across at an open house will ask you if you’re currently being represented. If you don’t want to be bothered, just say “Yes, I have an agent”, and feel free to drop our name if you panic, and they’ll probably leave you alone. Oh, one more thing…there is no need to fill out the “Open House Sign Up” sheet, unless you like to be spammed. It is simply a tool for agents to get your contact info and add you to their marketing.

So get out and tour, and if you see a property you like, and you think it’s “the one”, don’t pass it up because it is the first property you may have seen. There is a really good chance something like it won’t come around anytime soon, so you gotta jump on the ones you (sort of) love.

Godspeed!

-Step 1- Get Pre Approved, Provide Proof of Funds [theFrontSteps]
-Step 2- Get Listings Fed to you Automatically [theFrontSteps]

San Francisco Real Estate: Just Listed & Just Sold

As has been the case for the past 10 years, we like to give you a snapshot of what just listed, and what just sold in San Francisco real estate (in the preceding 2 weeks), so here you go…

San Francisco Real Estate Market Snapshot

If you want to get this sent to your inbox every other week, just ask to get on the list.

-Just Listed [sfnewsletter/MarketTracker]
-Just Sold [sfnewsletter/MarketTracker]
-sfnewsletter

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 2: Get New Listings Fed To You Automatically

Yesterday, we educated you on the first and most important step in the San Francisco home buying process, so today we’re moving on…

Step 2 – Get New Listings Fed To You Automatically (via Email or Text)

stuffing-his-face

Our market moves fast, and so must you. You might have thought the next step would be to contact a Realtor. You can certainly do this now, but it’s not necessary. You can preview all the property you want yourself, right here online, and very soon we’ll show you just how easy it is to get dialed in to seeing these homes on your own.

So how do you get these new listings “fed” to you?
a. Get dialed into MLS. Contact us with your criteria (desired # of beds, baths, parking spaces, size, price, location, and your email) and we can set you up with behind the scenes access to what we call our “Client Portal”. You’ll receive new listings to your inbox the second they hit MLS, you can save, reject, and track what properties are selling for (very important), and you can request showings from within the application. This way, you’ll also be on our radar for potential off market matches should any pop up.
b. A different variation of the same theme, but without the need to contact anyone. It’s called MyZephyr, and you can get alerts, save, search, and track property from the comfort of your own home. The only downfall to this, is that we have so many people in this system using this tool, we simply do not have time to track your activity (some might consider this a plus), and therefore we probably won’t know who you are should something great pop up “not on MLS”.
c. Browse MLS: Even less intrusive, and way more stealth, MLS is actually there and available to you 24/7. No really…it is.
d. Redfin. Hands down the best way to search property if you’re not searching with one of the tools provided above. It’s a great site, with a ton of great info, and incredibly accurate data. If you don’t choose a. or b. above, use this over option c. It’s better.
e. Trulia, Zillow, or Realtor.com. These three are crap, inaccurate, and not worth your time. The only saving grace is Trulia’s community or “Voices” area. There is some good info to be found there. Zillow Zestimates are awful, and when we’re sipping a Cerveza after we hand you the keys to your house, we’ll make sure the beers are on you if you mention one word about “but the Zestimate said it’s worth this.”

What about all of the “off market” listings that are becoming so popular, and how do you get clued in to them?
a. PocketListings.net: It’s growing, more agents are using it, and you (the buyer) can certainly browse it for “off market” opportunities. You can follow PocketListings on Twitter for instant notification of new listings, and you can even have your “buyer need” added to it…but for that you’ll need a Realtor.
b. A Realtor: At this stage, there is no way around it, and it’s the very reason Pocket Listings are growing in popularity…Realtors are taking back the control of their listings, and they’re doing this to keep themselves relevant. Listing aggregators like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Realtor.com don’t always portray the most accurate data, agent contact info, pictures, and local information. The system needs to change, and Realtors are taking it back. And guess what? A human is actually a really useful tool in the home searching process and if you find the right one, said human can provide a wealth of accurate and opinionated information. If you want off market opportunities, and want to truly feel like you’re getting in the loop of what most people aren’t, you need a Realtor. If you want to just browse MLS, PocketListings.net, and go at your own pace, you can still get by without contacting one.

So now you’ve proven to all involved you have the money, you’re getting listings fed to you from all angles, and you’re ready to take the next step…Check back tomorrow, and we’ll let you know what to do.

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 1: Get Pre-Approved / Provide Proof Of Funds

Congratulations! How exciting that you’re taking the steps to buy a home in the San Francisco / Bay Area. You can consider yourself extremely lucky, as this is one of the best and most expensive markets in the country, and you’re clearly doing alright, so you should be rewarded by capturing some prime California real estate.

Let us make the home buying process a little more simple by sharing some important steps we’ve learned over the past decade (plus) helping buyers find property.

Step 1 – Get Pre-Approved / Provide Proof Of Funds

Getting a loan? Don’t even start looking (fantasizing) for property until you know without a shadow of a doubt what you will be able to afford, what the banks will lend you, what interest rate you think you’ll get and how any fluctuation in that rate will influence your buying power. What’s the point of looking at property you aren’t confident you can afford, or come to find out you can get more than you thought!? Focus, focus, focus. You’ll need it in our competitive market.

Who would we contact for pre-approval?
Tim Wood- Terra Mortgage Banking (twood@terramb.com, 415-464-1374)
Sergei Andruha- Guarantee Mortgage (sandruha@gmwest.com, 415-309-0157)
Doug Barta- Wells Fargo (douglas.barta@wellsfargo.com, 415-819-7784)
Gannon Tidwell- GT Financial (gannon@gtfinancialgroup.com, 415-272-7373, Specializing in TIC/Fractional loans)

Pre-approval is ideal, but a pre-qualification (quick over the phone conversation and verification of funds, credit, income, etc.) is good enough, and any of the blokes above can certainly get it done quickly. Once they do, get it in writing, and keep it handy.

Cash purchase? Be prepared to provide Proof Of Funds with any offer you submit, and (depending on the price range) before you are shown property. If you’re oozing money and it’s obvious, or you’re famous and we know it, you might still be asked to provide proof of funds. Don’t take it personally.

As Jerry Maguire so eloquently says, “Show me (and everybody that will be involved in your purchase) the money” and you’ll be amazed at how much more focused your search can be.

Check back tomorrow for Step 2…

Closing Time – Simplifying The Escrow Process With Technology

I’ve written before about technology that is here to stay, and how the real estate industry can benefit from all the brilliant people in the world creating it, and I’ve recently come across another good example of a new company that’s applying technology to attempt to solve a big headache for buyers and agents alike: the escrow (purchase) process.

closingtime

I met founder Jonathan Aizen when he reached out to me through TheFrontSteps, and he took me through an early version of his tool, Closing Time, telling me about how he built it based on his own pain navigating the closing process on his Noe Valley home last year. Basically, Closing Time takes a bunch of information about a buyer’s property and finances to generate a customized checklist of steps to complete prior to close of escrow (read: get the keys to your home). These steps include things like “Get homeowners insurance” and “Submit your W-2s to your lender.” The steps generated and their due dates are based on the information you give Closing Time (it asks you simple questions like “what kind of property are you buying?”, etc.). For pre-contract buyers, Closing Time simply provides a checklist of things to prepare that might make escrow run more smoothly (like getting your financial documents in order, who to use for inspections, etc.) after you beg, borrow and steal your way to convincing the seller to accept your offer over one of the 15 others he just received.

It’s an interesting concept, and it’s certainly worth checking out. While great strides have been made in document management and e-signatures to reduce the amount of crap you actually physically have to sign (now you just click, click, click your way through), the actual escrow process has remained mostly untouched by technology (especially for the buyer). I’m still thinking about how this would work with my own workflow, as there’s an agent-interface that helps agents track buyers through their escrow process, and I’m actively giving them feedback about how to make it more user friendly and as little a drain on my already tapped time for technology and new processes, but I invite all of you to give it a shot and tell me or Closing Time what you think.

To that end, Closing Time is offering a free trial for agents, and buyers, who read TheFrontSteps. Agents can invite in as many buyers as you want for the first three months. Agents can sign up at http://www.closingti.me/agents. Buyers can try it too, even if you’re not yet under contract, by going to http://www.closingti.me to play around. Both buyers and agents can use the invite code “TheFrontSteps.”

Good luck with it…and Happy New Year!