Real Estate Today

Please tell me some good news

photo: marcgg / flickr

The San Francisco real estate market is a combination of heaven and hell, depending on whether you are a seller or a buyer.

No need to talk about heaven, but what about buyers in …?

Buying a home has challenges in all real estate markets. It feels like only yesterday that buyers were worried that they would lose money 10 minutes after they signed es-crow papers. Today buyers are worried about prices going up so fast they will be priced out of the market. The search for a good deal has taken a back seat to an affordable home.

To be successful, it is important to think positively about the difficulties encountered when searching for a home. The good news is that there are so few homes on the market, in some way it is easier to develop a list of must haves. Location, parking, and numbers of bedrooms and baths are on almost everyone’s short list. A list much longer than this will almost guarantee disappointment or worse for buyers.

Realistic expectations are most important to be successful.

Many buyers walk, ride their bikes, or take public transportation whenever possible. They still want a garage for their car, or the car they plan to buy when they own a home. Keep in mind that parking comes at a premium and will add from $50,000 to $100,000 to the price of a home.

Another rule to follow if you want to be successful is that all buyers must make sacrifices. Maybe it is time to seriously consider life without a car. This will open up possibilities that will surprise even the most seasoned house hunter.

The idea of a starter home is returning to favor, and letting go of the extra bedroom, bath, or even a parking space is not an unheard-of choice if a buyer is serious about making a deal today.

In San Francisco, there are so many buyers and so few sellers that only the most flexible buyers are likely to meet with success. Here is my short list of three ideas for buyers:

  • Strike the word perfect from your thoughts.
  • Don’t wait to fall in love with a home. There are plenty of homes to fall in love with if you could only afford them.
  • Shift your focus to finding a comfortable fit, which includes being affordable. It might be smaller than your rented apartment or not in your favored location.

Once you have found the home you can live in, it is more important than ever to work closely with your real estate agent to fine-tune the offer that will take your breath away and cause you to wonder if you haven’t lost your mind. You may need to do this several times be-fore your offer is accepted. That’s OK. It is the rare buyer who is successful after only one or two offers.

A good deal is a moving target and moves as the real estate market goes up and down. Buyers who were lucky enough to buy a home a year or so ago at the time of their purchase were worried that the market could still go down. Today they are sitting in their homes thinking: Wow, am I lucky!

The essence of buying a place in San Francisco is that buying a home has always had challenges. Once you are successful, you will feel lucky!

Real Estate is never boring! Happy house hunting!

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Carole Isaacs is a Realtor with McGuire Real Estate. Visit her online at or call 415-608-1267.