Buying a Home? You Want To Know This!

6 Reasons Lender Won’t Fund the Loan

This is from a New York Times article describing 6 reasons you may wait and wait to get a loan, but never get it closed: Insufficient Funds: Not surprising, I guess, you’ve got to have the money. Cloudy Financial Picture: It’s not clear where the funds come from. For instance there’s $100,000 in your bank account but it’s been there for two days and your pay stubs don’t indicate it should be there. Basically, lenders don’t want to see parents […]

0 comments

Always Know the History!

I posted this listing quite a few weeks ago, and this week it came back on the market as a new listing. One of the little secrets in real estate is that if a seller hires a new listing agent they can upload the listing into the MLS (multiple listing service) as new with zero Days on Market (DOM). This makes the listing appear to be new to new buyers when in fact in may have been on the market […]

0 comments

Banned in San Francisco

On July 1st serving Foie Gras in San Francisco, in all of California actually, will be illegal. Check out this article in 7×7 magazine:  Au Revoir, Foie Gras. There are all sorts of things that are banned in San Francisco like:  Plastic bags, water bottles, smoking, of course, segways on sidewalks or bike paths, and plenty more you can check out on this post onBuzz Feed:  10 Things That Are banned in San Francisco.

0 comments

Best Route Between Multiple San Francisco Properties?

I thought some of you might be interested in this, my company just rolled out a new online program that will let you search for SF listings, and then will map the best route to take between the properties. If you are interested you can click here:  http://www.zephyrsf.com/user/register?key=YWdlbnQ9MzIxMzE. It will ask you to sign up with your name and email address, but as always nothing will be done with your information, and you can always unsubscribe. I gave some thought before offering this […]

0 comments

Buying Foreclosed Property is Not for Beginners

Admittedly this is a worst case scenario, but the couple in this article went to a foreclosure auction and thought they were purchasing a home for really cheap when instead they were actually purchasing a worthless second mortgage with no real rights to the house in question (yes this is possible). This particular house wasn’t in San Francisco, but it sheds light on a way of purchasing property that I think is too risky for people who are not seasoned […]

0 comments
California homeowners bill of rights

California Homeowner Bill of Rights

This is taken from the California Association of Realtors. The downturn we are just scraping our way out of brought to light many issues concerning the method is which lenders handle homeowner default. Take a look, I think you will find quite informative. California Homeowner Bill of Rights Becomes Law All eyes in the nation now turn to California as Governor Jerry Brown signed into law today the Homeowner Bill of Rights to help struggling Californians keep their homes. This […]

0 comments
mortgage interest deduction and cash buyers

Clearing Up Home Buying Confusion

I read an article recently in The Residential Specialist, a real estate industry magazine, which described some things related to purchasing a home that many buyers were confused about. I thought it would be good to bring them up here. The Problem Spots 41% of buyers surveyed think it is required to purchase Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) regardless of the amount of the down payment. Answer: PMI is typically only required if the purchaser puts less than 20% down.  Basically the […]

0 comments
tax benefits of owning a home

Federal Tax Benefits Of Owning A Home

Consider the federal tax benefits that you receive as a homeowner. Both interest and property tax can be written off. In the early years of your mortgage, this write-off is substantial. They will slowly decrease as the share of principal versus interest in your loan increases, but the first few years are the most important. The following information is not intended to be tax advice. It is highly recommended that you consult your tax professional.  Regardless, the following can be […]

0 comments

Have You Heard About Conforming Loan Limits?

This is the maximum amount the Federal Housing Administration, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac will guarantee. The amount was $417,000, but was raised in 2008 for San Francisco to $729,750. As of October 1, 2011 the new limit has been reduced to $625,500. The best rates for loans fixed for 30 years are for loan amounts of $417,000 and below.

0 comments
having a baby in San Francisco

Having a Baby in San Francisco

We Had A Baby in San Francisco! In January of 2012 my wife Tina found out she was pregnant. Once the initial glow of excitement faded a bit, the sheer number of questions this created for us made the prospect of having a baby in San Francisco a daunting and anxiety-filled experience. Our anxiety prompted us to begin figuring out the myriad details regarding our medical insurance, our search for an OB/GYN, and which hospital Tina should give birth in. […]

0 comments
holding title in California

Holding Title In California

The first thing to understand is how you will be holding title in California can be a complicated decision, and speaking to a good attorney can be very helpful. The guide above can be a good way to begin the process of understanding the concepts particularly if you know you will be making this decision in the near future. These PDF’s are provided by Fidelity National Title. They may appear small on your screen, let me know if you would […]

0 comments

Home Purchasing Power and Tax Deductions

Every year as a self employed or W-2 worker bee you may have the ability to write off certain expenses to reduce your tax burden, but this can effect purchasing power as a home buyer.   The lender will look at a buyer’s income after subtracting these deductions effectively reducing the amount the lender will be willing to lend. Here are two interesting blog posts I found thanks to Michael Sousa and GuaranteedRate.com worth reading before filing your taxes next year: Purchasing Power […]

0 comments
moving to San Francisco school district

How Does the San Francisco School System Really Work?

Ever wondered how the public school system in San Francisco really worked? If you have begun thinking about schools for your child you will invariably hear lots of, sometimes completely incorrect, information from friends, family, neighbors etc. Many parents wrongly,though understandably, assume their child will be able to go to the school in their neighborhood and closest to their home. In 2011 proximity to a school did become a factor, but it still plays only a small part, and it […]

0 comments
how to read preliminary title report

How To Read Preliminary Title Report

Are you buying a house? Always read the preliminary title report! The preliminary title report is where you will find how much money the seller has borrowed on the property, what the title company won’t insure, and what easements go against (and with) the property.  You can even see if anyone has done an Ellis Act Eviction on the property by reading the preliminary title report. These are all very important things to know and which can get swept under the rug […]

0 comments
in-law apartment

How Will Lender Handle San Francisco In-Law Apartment

What exactly does Fannie Mae say about in-law apartments? When considering a property with an in-law apartment, Fannie Mae will buy the loan when secured against a one- or two-unit property as long as the following conditions are met: The use of the in-law apartment conforms to the subject neighborhood and to the market. The property is appraised according to its current use. The borrower qualifies for the mortgage without consideration of any potential rental income coming from the in-law […]

0 comments
interest rates San Francisco real estate

Interest Rates, Inflation, San Francisco Housing Market

Many people believe interest rates are as low as they are going to get and once the Federal Reserve really starts having inflation fears they will do what they can to raise rates. Up until recently the Federal Reserve has consistently stated interest rates will remain low for the near future usually giving a time line of about two years. In 2008 we heard rates would stay low through 2010 etc. The message has changed, however and the Fed has […]

0 comments
mixed use property fha fix-up loans

Mixed Use Property and FHA 203K Fix-Up Loans

To start with, it’s good to know that the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) will insure loan products that allow owners to finance repairs to their property both through initial purchase and also through refinancing. People often think FHA is a lender, but in fact the agency, rather like its counterpart the Small Business Administration, provides mortgage insurance to lenders on the FHA-approved list. This insurance increases the willingness of lenders to make certain otherwise perhaps unattractive loans, like the Rehabilitation Loan, known in the […]

0 comments

Mortgage Interest and Cash Buyers

Buying and selling real estate is not rocket science but all the small details begin to add up to some complicated situations. For instance I have clients that purchased property without financing in order to make their offer more desirable to the seller. This doesn’t mean these clients wanted to park all that cash in the property forever, so after they became the owner they applied for a loan to free up cash and qualify for the Mortgage Interest Deduction. […]

0 comments
mortgage interest deduction and cash buyers

Mortgage Interest Deduction & Cash Buyers

Buying and selling real estate is not rocket science but all the small details begin to add up to some complicated situations. For instance I have clients that purchased property without financing in order to make their offer more desirable to the seller. This doesn’t mean these clients wanted to park all that cash in the property forever, so after they became the owner they applied for a loan to free up cash and qualify for the Mortgage Interest Deduction. […]

0 comments
mortgage terms

Mortgage Terms Worth Knowing

If you are starting the process of buying a home, or even if you already own a home and are considering the status of your current loan, here is a list of mortgage terms worth knowing. ARM (Adjustable-Rate Mortgage): a mortgage loan subject to changes in interest rates (see Fixed-Rate Mortgage). When rates change, ARM monthly payments increase or decrease at intervals determined by the lender; the change in monthly payment amount, however, is usually subject to a cap. Amortization: a […]

0 comments

New Credit Guidelines

Fannie, Freddie and FHA have tightened up their lending guidelines to discourage people from doing “strategic defaults”, which is when a borrower stops paying back their mortgage even though they do have the money to do so.  Click HERE to see a list of new rules, and if you want to discuss this further just let me know.

0 comments

Nothing Short about a Short Sale!

My business partner Mike Ackerman posted this on his blog about our short sale at 4150 17th Street #22. There are definitely people getting good deals on property through the short sale process, but you have to be prepared for a long wait. Click Here to take a look at Mike’s post.

0 comments
moving habits of Californians

Once Living in California Always Living in California

This graphic is from the California Association of Realtors. It shows how strong the tendency of people is to stay in California once they have moved here. Take a look! Once living California always living California.

0 comments
foreclosure auctions

Price Fixing at Foreclosure Auctions!

The FBI is investigating whether investors at foreclosure auctions, which occur on court steps all around the Bay Area, have been colluding to keep prices down, and to beat out outsiders. For normal buyers these deals are tough enough without getting scammed; properties are bought without the benefit of inspections, subject to all existing liens, and without guarantees concerning the condition of the property. It’s tough out there!  Click HERE to see the article in SFGate.

0 comments

Price Squares San Francisco!

I wanted to share with you a website I’ve been working on that shows how San Francisco real estate prices are trending. You can visit it at www.pricesquares.com.

0 comments

Read the Fine Print!

Sometimes developers will slip onerous language into their contracts or CC&R’s (Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions) that force owners to pay fees whenever the property is sold. This story is not specific to San Francisco, but it does bring up a good point, always make sure you read what you are signing. Get copies of contracts or disclosures you are going to be asked to sign a day or two before you meet and actually sign. This is particularly true with […]

0 comments

Real Estate Agents Never Say What They Mean!

Agents are in the sometimes difficult situation where they have to make a lot of different people, with very different opinions, happy. This is one reason (and I mean only one of many) why they come up with all sorts of code words to describe things in such a way that won’t be insulting or just plain aggravating to sellers, buyers, and/or lenders. This New York Times article talks about some of them like TLC, Cute, Quiet, motivated etc…  Click Here to see the […]

0 comments
View of Beautiful San Francisco

Real Estate Broker vs. Agent?

What’s the difference between a California Real Estate broker Vs Agent? The main difference is a salesperson must work under the guidance and protection of a licensed real estate broker who is legally responsible for the salesperson’s transactions, while a real estate broker may work for him or herself. Both are real estate agents, meaning they are licensed by the state of California to advise the public on real estate issues. A person is licensed after completing a certain number of […]

0 comments
San Francisco

San Francisco is the Place to Be!

Check out this article in the Wall Street Journal: The Hot Spot for the Rising Tech Generation. San Francisco real estate is heating up as tech workers realize they would rather live in San Francisco then in Silicon Valley. I grew up in the South Bay near Palo Alto, and with everything San Francisco has to offer it definitely is the place to be. For a city with less than a million residents it’s amazing how much there is to do […]

0 comments

San Francisco: Best City in US!

As far as Businessweek reports in an article titled: San Francisco is America’s Best City in 2012. The comments at the end of the article are entertaining, but I think most San Francisco residents will not be surprised our fair city tops the list when it comes to lifestyle. For a city with a population just over 800,000, San Francisco really does have so much, not to mention the Giants! The Businessweek article reports 129,000 tourists visit the city every day…yes day. […]

0 comments
homeowner's insurance

So, How About Homeowner’s Insurance?

Usually homeowner’s insurance is pretty low on the list of important things for clients. The moment something unexpected happens is not a good time to find out if or how well you are covered. If you are taking on a loan your lender won’t let you close escrow without it.

0 comments

Success: FHA 203K Mixed Use

FHA 203k mixed use. If you are a mixed use building owner with no more than 4 residential units or are considering buying a mixed use building you will want to read this. I’m not going to say it was easy but after 7 months of hard work and the help of my mortgage broker I was finally able to close a FHA 203k mixed use refinance with a fully amortized 30 year fixed loan with a 4% interest rate! […]

0 comments
time and real estate risk

Time Reduces Real Estate Risk

Many of my clients ask me about risk as it relates to buying and owning property in San Francisco, so I thought I would write down a few thoughts about the issue including what the relationship is between real estate risk and the time a person is willing and able to hold onto a property. Why Does Real Estate Risk Exist? Gains and losses in real estate are created at the time ownership transfers, at any other moment the gains […]

0 comments
home equity

Want to Pull Equity Out of Your Home?

Reverse Mortgages are designed for older home owners on fixed income that are looking for a way to augment their monthly incomes by pulling equity out of their home at fixed intervals. Like anything these days if you or someone you know (like a grandparent for instance) is considering a reverse mortgage make sure they really understand the fine print. There can be all sorts of hidden charges associated with this loan product. Read this article in the LA Times. […]

0 comments
current mortgage rates

What Are the Current Mortgage Loan Limits?

There have been changes back and forth to the mortgage loan amounts that Fannie Mae and FHA (Federal Housing Administration) will back.  These limits do change, so if you want to make sure they are still accurate contact me. San Francisco Conforming Limits Conventional Conforming:            $417,000 Jumbo Conforming:                         $625,500   Remember rates depend on the individual’s income, credit score, level of debt etc. […]

0 comments
what is probate

What is a Probate?

Probate (in this case, a court-confirmed probate sale) is a legal process and to truly understand it the advice of an attorney is paramount. That said, I am often asked by buyers “What is a probate?” and I thought I would try to shed a little light on the subject. Broadly speaking a property is sold through probate when the owner of a property passes away and the property is to be sold while the will is still under probate (being reviewed by the […]

0 comments