Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bay Area Real Estate Bubble Heading for Burst?

A UCLA economist today predicted that the Bay Area "housing bubble" is about to burst. Click here to read the SF Chronicle's story.

Although the article cites that economist Edward Leamer's 2001 recession prediction was spot-on, I don't think home owners in San Francisco need to worry about the value of their property just yet.

The trend of multiple offers and "sold way over asking" continues hold strong, particulartly in the $599,000 to $850,000 range of the market. Despite the Fed's increase in interest rates to 6.25%, last Friday's disappointing employment report and the recent volatility in oil prices have caused interest rates for some home financing solutions to be as low this week as they were in March of 2004. In fact, if you purchased your home in the last 2 years, it might be the perfect time to consult your loan specialist to see if now is the right time to re-finance your loan for better terms.

Have more questions about trends in the housing market? Questions about selling or buying a home? Contact me today for honest, experienced answers.

Amy Blakeley, Realtor®
ablakeley at
(415) 296-2173 Direct

Thursday, February 03, 2005

3rd Street's Light Rail Presents Opportunities

Click here to read the in depth article from the San Francisco Business Times.

Have questions about the San Francisco real estate market? Ready to buy or sell a home? Contact me today!

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Are You Up to The Task of For Sale By Owner?

Whether you are considering selling your home yourself, or are looking to purchase a home specifically marketed as For Sale By Owner (FSBO), you may have a rough ride ahead.

In San Francisco, there is no denying that it continues to be a seller's market. Within certain price points, some properties are on the market less than 30 days. Considering this, how hard would it be to sell the home yourself and save the commission money that would otherwise go to your agent? Let's look at the challenges facing the seller.

First of all, prepare to be annoyed. Once you have advertised your home as For Sale By Owner, interested buyers will not be the only ones calling you. Some real estate agents prey on FSBO's as their life blood; your phone will most likely ring off the hook with the hundreds of this type of agent attempting to represent you.

The second challenge to FSBOs comes in the details of working through an offer. Never accept a verbal offer. When you receive a written offer, is it presented on a viable contract that will stand up in the court of law? Do you understand what contingencies are set into place, do you know how to properly work through a counter offer? Can you verify the finances of the other party?

The final challenge of FSBO comes when you plan to work through an escrow. Escrow officers require instructions, documents, releases, approval from both parties to move forward to closing a transaction. Being in unfamiliar territory here will stall the deal, if not kill it all together.

On the seller side of a FSBO, one last caution: working without an experienced real estate agent leaves you open to liability. Buyers who think they didn’t get what they paid for will be quick to sue for damages. If you end up liable for damages, the payout could far exceed the amount you would have given to a licensed real estate agent to market your home in the first place.

If you are a buyer considering purchasing a For Sale By Owner, you have an equal amount of diligence and hard work to own on your side:

1. Never extend a verbal offer; use a Contract for Purchase that will be recognized in a court of law to protect yourself;

2. Require the owner/seller to provide you with a Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS). This alerts you to all the known defaults in the property;
3. Inspections, inspections, inspections! Know what you’re getting into and how much any repairs will cost, and used certified licensed inspectors;
4. Make sure the title is free and clear;
5. Keep a log of all your conversations and get all agreements in writing.

More questions about For Sale By Owner? Questions about selling or buying a home? Contact me today for honest, experienced answers.

Amy Blakeley, Realtor®
ablakeley at
(415)296-2173 Direct