The debate will go on and on forever, should you rent or buy. Thankfully, some really, really smart people at the New York Times have updated their amazingly interactive Rent versus Buy calculator to help you with your decision, or confuse you just a little bit more.
Following on the heels of our Mid Year Market Report we posted yesterday, I thought it time again to share this, especially since you now have some pretty telling appreciation percentages to plug into the calculator.
As for my two cents…Having lived in San Francisco for almost two decades now, and not bought at the very first chance I had, and having experienced multiple booms and busts in our market, I can still tell you San Francisco is a place to buy. Ideally, buy and hold.
I know most of you are thinking, “Well sure, you sell real estate, so of course you’re going to tell me to buy”, but that’s not true. As many of my clients will attest, I am probably the least pushy agent in the entire state of California, but I make deals happen for those that are ready. What is true, are the many multiples of stories I personally have, and those of my clients that when averaged out amount to an overwhelming majority of “wins” for those that bought as soon as they could, versus those that waited or dragged their feet, or decided not to buy at all.
Sure, some bought at the last peak and were forced to sell during the bust, but those are the rare “had to sell” clients that were transferred because of jobs or other life events that forced them to leave the city at a specific time. Even those clients that had to sell had the luxury of enjoying their own home while they lived in it, and that isn’t something to overlook. The luxury of remodeling a kitchen or bathrooms. The luxury of adding a story, or room. The luxury of redoing floors, knocking down walls, changing cabinets, lighting, paint without asking permission from your landlord.
Other clients that might have otherwise been forced to sell were able to hold on and rent their property out during the bust, because rents are so high. They held on until the next boom, and then sold. Some even cashing out and buying their next home outside of San Francisco all cash with plenty of money left over in the bank.
The long and short of it is this, if you can buy, buy. If you can’t yet, save up until you can, and then look at the bigger (longer term) picture, and make your decision accordingly. If you plan on calling San Francisco your home for many years to come (why wouldn’t you), it is the wise thing to do.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’ve been wondering when a good time to sell might be, the answer is now. Our market is hotter than it’s ever been, and at some point it will dip. It will come back, but it will dip. Sell now while there is zero inventory, get out on top, let a desperate buyer have your home here, and go buy an island somewhere tropical. Or buy acres and acres of land in Idaho with a creek running through it loaded with fish. Just make sure I get a key to wherever it is you go.
Enjoy your weekend!
As always, The Goods have been updated today with all the best Overbids, Underbids, New Listings, and Recent Sales in San Francisco, so check it out. Get on sfnewsletter.com to have it delivered to you (somewhat) regularly via email.
Contact me if you or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell Bay Area real estate, and get outside and enjoy!