Finding the Right Real Estate Agent

It seems that there are real estate agents everywhere.  Maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by it every day, but I feel like every time I turn the corner, there is another real estate agent.  This feeling is confirmed by the fact that, as of April 2018, there were over 400,000 real estate licensees in California.  Given that there are somewhere around 39-40 million Californians, this means there is 1 realtor for every 100 people in California!

It’s a no-brainer that picking a good real estate agent to work with should be a top priority when buying or selling your home.  But, with so many choices, how do you pick the right one for you? 

Continue reading “Finding the Right Real Estate Agent”

Is the Real Estate Market Softening?

There’s been a lot of chatter recently about the state of the real estate market:  Is the market softening? Is the bubble about to burst? Are we seeing the first signs of another recession? Incredibly curious to see some hard facts myself, I dug in… Read on to hear more about my observations… Continue reading “Is the Real Estate Market Softening?”

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?”

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”