We’re back, and as always our readers (although only a teeny tiny percentage of them) are providing some good insight and doing way more than we could ever hope to do in print on this site. That’s why we heart our readers! So on with our show…
Tip #1…go to Walgreens, or your favorite pharmacy, and purchase a bottle (the larger the better) of “patience”. You’ll need lots of it. If the pharmacy doesn’t have it, try the liquor store.
Tip #2: Yes, you should absolutely work with an agent for many reasons, but a big one being they know of a lot of properties that are not on the market, and a lot of what will soon be on the market that you might be able to get before anyone else. It’s kind of like changing your oil yourself versus taking it in to the shop. Spending a little extra dough (relative) and saving yourself tons of headaches, hassles, and future complications, in our opinion is worth it, but we’re agents so feel free to flame.
Tip #3: Get pre-approved prior to beginning your house hunt. You might be the sharpest kid on the block, and have the fanciest, most blogged about spreadsheet in San Francisco (no offense missionite), but it doesn’t mean sh*t if your credit stinks, you have no money in the bank, you have to state your income, and you think rates are fixed at 8% for a 30 year. There are options…many of them. A good mortgage broker will be able to tell you what you can afford, and what programs are best for you. You might be pleasantly surprised to find you can afford more house than you thought, or disappointed to learn you only qualify for a $350,000 purchase, and thus got priced out of the market.
Tip #4: Get your agent to send you any of the myriad of ways to be updated on what is hot on the market like MLS Auto Prospecting, Clean Offer, and of course our favorite sfnewsletter ;-) . Along with that do what you’re doing. Browse the blogs, the sites like Redfin, Trulia, Movoto, Altos Research, PropertyShark.com, etc., and figure out what works best for you and use it to your advantage. You can also search MLS at sfarmls.com.
Tip #5: Don’t rely on the publications like Realty Times, Real Estate San Francisco, and all the others for accurate information. Our market moves quickly enough (yes, still) that a lot of the properties that show up in publications are sold before they even hit the presses. Those magazines are more of an advertisement for agents and their successes than they are for up to the minute property information. That’s not to say they’re worthless, but definitely should not be your main source of listing information. It’s the age of the internet, embrace it!
Tip #6: Tour, tour, tour. Check out as many open houses and neighborhoods as you can. You might be pleasantly surprised at what you find if you step outside of your comfort zone. The more you see, the more you’ll know. When “the one” comes around, you’ll be better equipped to recognize it and know whether it is a deal you feel like pursuing.
If you don’t work on Tuesdays, ask your agent to take you out on Tuesday Broker Tour, or go at it alone with a stack of their cards and let the brokers know your agent sent you. It is a great way to see property before the masses on Sunday.
Tip #7: When you find the one, make sure your agent knows how to write a clean offer. This means an offer that is clean, easy to read, includes a cover letter outlining the high points of your offer, a letter from you (the buyer) to the seller, a copy of the initial deposit, all pertinent documents put together in an organized manner, and all of Tips #8 and #9. (Tip #7 can vary depending on the situation, as sometimes you just need to get an offer on the table, and another reason to go with tip #2.)
Tip #8: (These are key in multiple offer situations…) Shorten your contingency time frames as much as you can.
-Were inspections already performed on the property that make you comfortable waiving inspections outright (usually pest and contractor)? If not, schedule an inspector before your offer is written, and be confident you’ll get inspections done in that time frame. In San Francisco everyone works quickly, including inspectors and they can usually turn things around quickly. Your offer might stand out from others that have 10 day inspection time frames, if yours is only 5 days. Same goes for all contingencies.
-Is it a guarantee (relative) that you will qualify for the purchase price on your offer, and that you will be approved for your loan? If so, you might write an offer with “non-contingent financing”? If there is even an inkling of doubt, or you simply want the contingency for piece of mind, don’t waive this. Any mortgage broker in this city worth their weight, should still be able to get you approved within 21 days, get funds and be ready to close in 30. (Note: waiving financing should only be used in highly competitive offer situations.) If they can’t, find a different one.
-Shorten your appraisal contingency time frame as much as possible too. This will largely depend on your confidence in your mortgage broker. A five day appraisal is totally feasible.
Tip #9: Are there other things that might set you apart or make your offer more attractive?
-Do the sellers wish to rent back the property after close of escrow.
-Did they request you use a certain title company for escrow?
-Would they rather not accept your million dollar offer in exchange for cookies and milk?
Tip #10: Submit the offer and don’t even come close to cracking the champagne…you’re a long way from home.
And remember, you only need to be looking out for number 1…you. Sing the opera…me, me, me, me!
We gave you a ton of info already, and you want more? Not going to happen (at least not right now). Contact us if you have further questions.