Real estate is complex but it’s not rocket science. There are tried and true tips to the home buying and selling process. There are things that all San Francisco home buyers should know.
When you work with an agent, she or he should be educating you on these issues from the beginning. For example, I sit down with potential clients for an initial consultation. It’s a no-pressure meet & greet where we talk about the market, the buyer’s plans, answer preliminary questions and see if we’re a good fit.
But, the learning does not stop there. Each step of the way is the opportunity to ask questions and get clear, consistent answers about your options. If your agent is not answering your questions or is telling you what to do (rather than giving you choices to make), get a new one!
I read a lot of real estate articles online and off. Recently, I was introduced to U.S. News & World Report Online Real Estate section and the writer, Luke Mullins. He’s great! He provides clear tips on the process of buying or selling real estate whether a Mission Dolores condo or a Bernal Heights single family home. The info is relevant to today’s market as well.
For example, 5 Things Every Home Buyer Should Know includes the following:
- 6 Months Ago is Ancient History (i.e. The Fall of 2009 changed everything… Use recent comparable sales to get a sense of San Francisco home prices.)
- Dangerous Do-It-Yourselfing (i.e. Although not rocket science, real estate is complicated, emotional, and high risk. Engage a professional. There’s a reason the Internet didn’t “kill off Realtors.” We provide the invaluable services of consulting, negotiating and project management. And, if you’re a home buyer, our services are paid by the Seller.)
- Six is a Good Number (i.e. Get a grip and take the long tail view of interest rates. They are LOW, LOW, LOW whether you get an FHA home loan, a fractional TIC loan, or a conventional mortgage.)
- At least 7 Years (i.e. Buy a home you can imagine living in for 7 years…in San Francisco, you may be able to get away with 5 years. Flipping your own residence as a sport and “get-rich quick” vehicle is a thing of the past. Good riddance.)
- Now (could be) the time (i.e. This is a phenomenal time to be a home buyer BUT it’s gotta be the right time for you. If you feel good enough about your job situation or prospects, it’s time probably to take the plunge.)
As you know, I hate the idea of timing the market perfectly, whether the real estate or stock market. It’s a fool’s game. If you’re lucky enough to get close, good for you.
Ultimately, if you buy San Francisco real estate that you can afford and will enjoy, it will be a wise investment over the long-run. Our City is way too small, way to leftist (um, zoning & rent control restrictions, anyone?), and way too popular for property ownership not to be a good thing. It’s truly all about supply and demand.
Here’s an excerpt from my favorite section (of cour) but please, read the whole thing. It’s brief and to the point. Enjoy.
5. Now (could be) the time: With falling home prices and near-record low mortgage rates, now really is the time to buy—for some, Vanderwell says. First and foremost, would-be buyers need to make sure that they have solid job security before deciding to buy a home.
After all, the mortgage bill comes each month but given the eroding labor market, your paycheck might not. “Job security is probably the number-one consideration that people should have [before deciding to buy a home],” Vanderwell says.
But buyers that feel comfortable enough about their income prospects, can obtain financing, and plan to stay put for some time are in a great position to take advantage of some very attractive real estate deals.