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.