San Francisco Real Estate Buyers Tips
Increase your chances of getting your Bay Area dream house instead of losing it to another buyer, with these easy steps from Paige Martin, Martha Turner Properties.
Get pre-qualified for a mortgage with a San Francisco area mortgage broker. By securing mortgage pre-qualification, you'll be able to make a firm commitment to buy and make your offer more desirable to the seller.
Stay in close touch with your real estate agent to find out first about new listings that come on the market. And be ready to go see a house as soon as it goes on the market.
Scout out new listings yourself. Look at Internet sites, newspaper ads, and drive by local neighborhoods frequently. Maybe you'll see a brand-new 'for sale' sign before anyone else.
Be ready to make a decision. Spend lots of time in advance deciding what you must have so you won't be unsure when you have the chance to make an offer.
Bid competitively. You may not want to start out offering the absolutely highest price you can afford, but don't try to go to low and get a deal. In a tight market, you'll lose out.
Keep contingencies to a minimum. Restrictions such as needing to sell your home before you move or wanting to delay the closing until a certain date can make your offer unappealing. In a tight market, you'll probably be able to sell you house rapidly. Or talk to your lender about getting a bridge loan to cover both mortgages for a short period.
Don't get caught in a buying frenzy. Just because there's competition doesn't mean you should just buy anything. And even though you want to make your offer attractive, don't neglect inspections that help ensure that your house is sound.
10 Tips to Smooth a San Francisco area Home Buying Process
Find a Bay Area real estate agent that has a successful track record and understands local neighborhoods. Home buying is not only a big financial commitment, but also an emotional one. It's critical that the real estate agent you chose is both skilled and a good fit with your personality.
Remember, there's no 'right' time to buy a home, any more than there's a right time to sell. If you find a San Francisco home now, don't try to second-guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don't usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won't stay on the market long.
Don't ask for too many opinions. It's natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision.
Accept that no house is ever perfect. Focus in on the things that are most important to you and let the minor ones go.
Don't try to be a killer negotiator. Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to 'win' by getting an extra-low price may lose you the home you love.
Remember your house doesn't exist in a vacuum. Don't get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget such issues as amenities and noise level, that have a big impact on what it's like to live in your new home.
Don't wait until you've found a home and made an offer to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance availability, and consider a schedule for moving. Presenting an offer contingent on a lot of unresolved issues will make your bid much less attractive to sellers.
Factor in maintenance and repair costs in your post-home buying budget. Even if you buy a new home, there will be some costs. Don't leave yourself short and let your home deteriorate.
Accept that a little buyer's remorse is inevitable and will probably pass. Buying a home, especially for the first time, is a big commitment, but it also yields big benefits.
Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation. While U.S. homes have appreciated an average of 5.4 percent annually over from 1998 to 2002, a home's most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.