Monday, February 23, 2015

Luxury Collection Specialist

Just received my certification from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another perspective on the lease vs. buy debate

Many professional real estate associations in California publish or subscribe to standard forms documents/libraries.  Real estate agents routinely use standard forms from the California Association of Realtors.  In San Francisco our realtor association has its own purchase agreement forms and related documents.

These libraries of forms are created usually by committees of lawyers and practitioners with day to day experience in the field as well as expertise in local and state laws which affect real estate transactions, ownership and tenancy.

The San Francisco Apartment Association recently released its updated standard lease form.  As it points out in a recent article, they started publishing this form 25 years ago as a 4-page documents.  It has now grown to 17 pages!  And that doesn't include several addenda that it recommends depending on circumstances -- ranging from topics such as bedbugs to parking to pets to tobacco smoke disclosure.

By comparison, the standard purchase agreement from the San Francisco Association of Realtors is 7 pages long.  The California Association of Realtors purchase agreement form is 10 pages.

In the perennial debate over whether it's better to buy or rent (San Francisco throws many additional complex considerations into the mix), the difference between the length of a purchase agreement and a rental agreement provides a perspective you should consider, whether you're contemplating purchasing a single family home/condo, a multi-unit property, or if you're about to sign a lease.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Our Market in Microcosm ...

... if anything about a $1,100,000+ 2 bedroom, 2 bath single family home less than 1,000 sq. ft. can be referred to as small.

Four years ago this modest home on Potrero Hill (south slope) sold for $29,000 less than its original asking price.  It took almost 50 days to go into contract during which the asking price was reduced by $20,000.   It took another 50 days to close.

The same house (with a some mostly cosmetic improvements) has just sold for $420,000 more than it's previous sales price.  This time the property went into contract in less than two weeks after it hit the market and closed 40 days later.

I'm not identifying the specific house since that's not the point of this post.  (If anyone wants to know the specifics, feel free to contact me directly).  This particular transaction is of interest since the property is in essentially the same condition it was when it last sold.  That works out to be a 14%+ increase in value per year during the four years the the house was owned by the seller.
DJIA graph 2010 through 2014

That's about the same annual increase as the Dow-Jones Industrial stock overage has achieved over the same period.

Obviously, not every home in San Francisco has seen such increases in value.  There are a lot of variables that can affect pricing.  Nevertheless, our monthly and quarterly statistics tracking suggests that there will be more homes selling for over $1,000,000 in San Francisco than under a million by the end of the year!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Inventory -- Up/Down

Lack of inventory has been the bane of most real estate buyers and their agents for some time now.  There were three interesting items on this topic today:
  • The Mark Company, which handles the marketing for many new construction condo buildings, reported today that new construction condo inventory was up 63% compared to last year.  Their report indicates 401 units available.  The accompanying graph also suggests that there was a peak in inventory about 10 months ago at approximately the same levels as today.  This was followed by several months of reduced inventory with an upturn in just the last two or three months.
They also report that pricing has increased 13% since the same time last year.
  • Our own bi-weekly reports of new listings shows that since the first of the year, listings have held relatively steady in the range of approx. 250-350:

  • Our regular monthly sales report shows a significant reduction in inventory compared to the same period last year for all five configurations of condos and single family homes we track as well as 2-4 unit properties:

  • Socketsite had an item yesterday suggesting that inventory has been steadily climbing but giving no source for their numbers.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Drones for Real Estate Photography and Video

I have a particular interest in (besides real estate) aviation.  I got the bug early as a child when my busy pilot uncle took me flying in one of his awesome float equipped planes as part of his bush flying business in northern Quebec.

Fast forward to day, where using drones (unmanned flying vehicles - UAVs) has become a popular hobby and, inevitably, made its way into the commerce of real estate.

Photos and videos taken from drones can provide a unique perspective on individual properties and their neighborhoods.  Since almost every prospective real estate buyer starts their search on-line these photos and videos can help make a property stand out from its competition.

The current problem is that the FAA allows the use of these devices only for hobby or recreational use -- not for commerce.  Congress has mandated the FAA to come up with rules for the commercial use of these devices and the FAA bureaucracy is moving in that direction but, at the moment, these devices may not be used in the marketing of real estate.  

However, even while the FAA has subpoenaed information from some real estate agents regarding their use of drones, the government has done very little actual enforcement.

One way or another, expect to see more and more of these devices buzzing around properties about to come on the market -- and not just "high end" properties.  Just like earlier technologies such as virtual tours that migrated from high end to most properties, UAV photos and videos will make their presence felt in a wide range of real estate.

For further reading try these articles: