In Defense of Self-Help: My Current Love for Personal Development

For most of my life, I have been a little embarrassed to be seen reading self-help books.  I aspired to convince myself and others that I was much more intellectual and wasn’t the “self-help” type (if there is such a thing), forcing myself to consume only classical literature or Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction or work by otherwise celebrated writers. God forbid someone would find me in the self-help section.  Continue reading “In Defense of Self-Help: My Current Love for Personal Development”

Best Practices for Managing a Homeowners Association

If you live in a condo or TIC, like the majority of homeowners in San Francisco, you probably have a homeowners association (“HOA”).  HOA management can be complex, but with some planning and organization on the front end, can lead to a more peaceful living arrangement for years to come.  Here are some best practices for managing your HOA. Continue reading “Best Practices for Managing a Homeowners Association”

On Market vs. Off-Market: What’s All The Fuss?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about “off-market” listings (also referred to as “pocket listings”). You might be wondering how homes are being sold before they even show up online, without a “For Sale” sign or an open house, or you want to know how to get your hands on these opportunities. And if you’re a homebuyer who has been searching for a while and getting outbid, you might be thinking off-market listings could really change your home search strategy.

Once reserved for luxury properties and high-end clients who valued the utmost privacy, off-market sales are becoming more common even in the middle range of the real estate market.  Continue reading “On Market vs. Off-Market: What’s All The Fuss?”

Homebuyers: Freeze! Before You Do These 5 Things, Talk to Your Realtor…

As they say, “There are no mistakes in life, only lessons.”  I hope you’ll take something from these “lessons” some homebuyers have learned the hard way, and avoid having to learn them firsthand! Continue reading “Homebuyers: Freeze! Before You Do These 5 Things, Talk to Your Realtor…”

Pros and Cons of Waiving Contingencies

If you’re at all involved in the real estate market lately, you have probably heard a lot about “contingencies” (also referred to as “conditions” in other parts of the country).  You might have also heard about all-cash offers, “non-contingent” offers or “waiving contingencies,” especially if you’re in the Bay Area.  Many of my first-time homebuyers, and even experienced homebuyers, are commonly confused by this complicated-sounding term.  If you’re one of them, this post is for you… Continue reading “Pros and Cons of Waiving Contingencies”

The Less Obvious Costs of Buying A Home

If you’re a first time homebuyer, or it’s been a while since you bought your home, you’re probably wondering what added costs are involved in purchasing a home, aside from your down payment.  Once you are under contract to purchase a home, your lender will provide you with a loan estimate, which will include an estimate of all closing costs.  However, you may want an idea of what these costs look like long before reaching that point in the homebuying process.  And rightly so:  it’s important to be informed ahead of time to avoid surprises – just a little preparation can make all the difference.  A general rule of thumb is to budget for 1% of the purchase price towards closing costs.  Below is a rough estimate* of some of the costs that might be involved with your home purchase.  (Please note these numbers are based on the San Francisco Bay Area real estate market and may vary.) Continue reading “The Less Obvious Costs of Buying A Home”

The Cost of Waiting To Buy

Many homebuyers I encounter are on the fence of buying now vs. waiting until later this year or next year to buy a home.  “Will inventory get better?”  “What if the market softens?” “Is another crash coming?”  “I’m waiting for prices to come down.”  

If we haven’t spoken over the phone or in person about these concerns yet, we definitely should.  But below is some general information for you to consider when determining whether now might be the right time for you to buy a home.   Continue reading “The Cost of Waiting To Buy”

Do I Need To Remodel Before I Sell?

A homeowner recently asked me whether she should make certain upgrades to her home before she put it on the market.  While I believe some upgrades help the home show better, and increase the home’s appeal to a greater number of buyers — such as removing popcorn ceilings, applying a fresh coat of paint — many upgrades aren’t necessary to sell a home for top dollar.  Below are some repairs that can get you a greater return on investment. Continue reading “Do I Need To Remodel Before I Sell?”

5 Tips to Take Your Credit From Good to Great

Even if your credit is already solid, it pays to keep improving. A higher score (especially above 760) can give you more options — and better rates — when applying for a mortgage. Here are some tips to help you improve: Continue reading “5 Tips to Take Your Credit From Good to Great”