Elevator phobias (#7), offer strategies (#15), leading real estate economists (#44), real estate jargon explained (#51), and only-in-San-Francisco stories (in every episode). Our podcast, Escrow Out Loud, is a little like driving around in a car with us between properties on a home tour.
Except it’s on your schedule. Listen anywhere, anytime:
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we pick up where we left of last week for part 3 of our 3-part interview with Kevin and Pete, (catch up on part two at https://jacksonfuller.com/2018/05/12/42-planning-malarky-pete-and-kevin-part-2/).
[00:50] How long did the whole process take from the start to getting the site permit? The permitting process itself took two and a half years, which was quite a bit longer than expected. There was an unanticipated issue with variance. Because the house is sitting far back on the property they had to go through the variance process in addition to the regular permitting process.
[04:54] In the competitive San Francisco house market part of buying a property involves doing, what Pete calls, a sort of a courtship dance. Good relationships can help with a positive outcome, but still, at the end of the day it’s the numbers that do most of the talking.
[06:43] From a seller’s perspective staging of homes creates an impact and shows the property in the best light. While generally staging a property means neutralising it to appeal to a wider audience, in today’s market highlighting the property’s personality and using a bolder style when staging a home is more commonly seen in certain parts of San Francisco.
[09:53] When Kevin and Pete decided it was great time to sell their previous property, it wasn’t only due to the market blowing up, although this was an added bonus. A number of other factors fell into place. From a personal perspective they were looking to move on; they were both looking for a single-family home and Kevin was looking for a new project. A single-family home is quieter and offers more privacy. BUT, San Francisco is still San Francisco! It’s never too quiet and neighbours are never too far away.
[15:10] Looking back would they go through all of it again? Undeniably they have learned a lot through the process, each lesson informing their next interaction. What are some great lessons learned? Tolerance, learning to relax and go with the process, and of course now they’ve learned to worry about a whole set of different things.
[15:57] Kevin started out by doing graphics and branding for interiors. He has done some really cool projects, we might have to bring him back to hear more about Sawyers design and environmental graphics and branding in San Francisco as well as interior design.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we pick up where we left off last week for part 2 of our 3-part interview with Kevin and Pete. To catch up on part one check out our previous episode Avocado-Green Appliances and Faux Brick.
[00:21] As we mentioned last week, house hunting with Kevin and Pete is an enlightening experience, as each of them assesses a property from their own unique angle; Pete is an electrical engineer and focuses on wiring while Kevin has design background and focuses on the space and flow of the property, envisioning the redesign potential. Even the slightest tweaks to the layout can have a huge impact on the overall feel and function of the property. What are some examples of strange layouts we have seen?
[02:36] The planning process for a renovation project can be long and convoluted. The planning, zoning and building permit applications are supposed to be determined in a fair and objective process for everyone involved – in theory. In practice, what happens is people find ways to game the system. What’s more, there also seems to be a lot of room for interpretation when it comes to enforcing certain rules. What are some examples of this?
[06:49] One issue the city planning department is understandably concerned about is setting precedents that can later be exploited by other people. What about using the approach of ignoring all the rules, doing what you want and just paying the fine at the end?
[09:13] We talk do it yourself foundations. Brick vs concrete foundations and why it may be a good idea to get the foundation checked by a professional!
[13:29] Kevin and Pete’s original plans have changed significantly compared to what they finally ended up with, but Kevin explains this is a normal part of the process. A better sense of budget constraints and the neighborhood, as well as the planning process itself, all informed the final design. Once the planning signed off on Kevin and Pete’s plan and they got their site permit – which included working with the gabled roof design challenge – they could start construction of their modern house that was still in keeping with the feel of the neighborhood.
[15:30] Establishing good relationships with the neighbors in advance of starting construction was invaluable in terms of making the whole experience easier and making sure they were part of the close-knit neighborhood after construction is over. Kevin and Pete made sure to include their neighbors in the process and were respectful of their concerns. Not everyone prescribes to this approach, however. To wrap up today’s episode we share some less pleasant experiences we’ve had with disgruntled individuals.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for part 3 of our interview with Kevin and Pete!
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we interview our dear friends, long time clients and accomplished individuals in their own right, Kevin (from Sawyers Design) and Pete.
[00:53] The very first purchase we worked on together with Kevin and Pete was many years ago, back in 2003. Kevin is an interior designer and has a great eye for looking at homes from a design perspective. What does he look for in a home? And what does having "good bones" mean in terms of houses?
[03:41] Upon first seeing their potential home Kevin was flooded with ideas of what he would love to do with it. Of course, these ideas evolve and grow when you live in a space. The first step was to remodel the kitchen and the bathroom.
[05:10] While Kevin is looking at homes with his designer eye, what is Pete doing?
[7:14] Kevin and Pete lived through both a condo conversion as well as an interior remodel. But the remodel was a somewhat more traumatic experience. One of the things they have learned is to ask a lot of questions! Britton and Pete trade contractor stories, and she shares why she chose the higher bid over all the others when she was doing her remodel and how a detailed bid meant coming in within 1-2% of the budget.
[10:28] Living in the property while it’s being remodeled is not a pleasant experience - just ask Britton, Kevin and Pete. If you can manage it, stay somewhere else. At least until you have running water in the house again. Another good piece of advice is to not put all your hopes and dreams into a property until you know you have it. The market can be competitive and sometimes disappointments happen. And sometimes missing out can be a blessing in disguise. TICs can get complicated quick. What are some things to be aware of when looking for TIC partners?
[17:23] Vague statements come true: Matt and Britton do have experiences and relationships which can be an advantage in the home buying process. Kevin and Pete do some reminiscing on opportunities lost and the good batting average they’ve had working with Matt and Britton.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for part 2 of our interview with Kevin and Pete!
When a wealthy Nigerian man emails us asking for a million dollar loan, we can safely assume we are being scammed. But not all scams are as easy to spot. This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk about online scams and fraud.
[02:02] Bank robbing is risky and often not very lucrative, cybercrime on the other hand can not only be performed remotely but it typically also has a much larger payoff. With the huge figures attached to San Francisco real estate deals and money being wired from buyers to title companies to sellers, is it any wonder it has become an area of interest for sophisticated online scammers. Their goal is often to hack into the email accounts involved in the transaction. That’s a problem. Why? Because we can’t always tell if our e-mail (or anyone else's who’s involved) has been hacked!
[04:34] One way they can then get a hold of our money is by sending fake wiring instructions. Title companies, banks and other companies attacked have beefed up their security leaving brokerages and consumers as the weak point of entry. While there are benefits in terms of speed and convenience in dealing on-line, it comes with a drawback in terms of security.
[07:39] E-mail is a very insecure platform that shouldn’t be used for personal documents. If you are involved in real estate transactions, we recommend strengthening security on the account you will be using. This includes using two factor authentication on the said email account as well as using a different password for your email than you use for anything else. Because we are entrusted with a lot of sensitive information we take security very seriously. What are some precautions we take?
[11:50] What if you don’t want to use email but still want to be digital? There are some other options available. Slack, iMessage, WhatsApp, Skype are all widely available and encrypted end-to-end. Another thing you can do is make sure to call the escrow company to confirm wire instructions before sending or receiving a wire. Just make sure you don’t use the phone number given in the email instructions! Get it from a reliable source. We share some other things to look out for and Britton shares her personal experiences with wire transfer when she was purchasing her ‘real home’. (You can hear more about Britton’s real home in Episode 24: A Real Home)
[17:07] While you can wire safely if you take all the precautions, what if you don’t want to wire at all? Are there other options? Yep. You can use a cashier’s check. Now that we have scared everybody silly, we can wrap up today’s episode! If anybody has more questions don’t hesitate to e-mail us or download our pdf for more information. Stay safe everybody!
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!
What makes a bedroom? A bed? A closet? A window? This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk about the requirements that a room needs to meet to be considered a bedroom.
[01:15] Some think that a room needs to have a closet and a window, but what are the official requirements set by the city building code? We've seen a lot of interesting spaces being marketed as bedrooms, some of which may be considered "illegal". San Francisco has a rich architectural history and layouts have changed significantly over the years. How do Victorian layouts compare to today's ideas of what a bedroom is supposed to be? Listen to our Open Concept Thanksgiving! episode for more on this topic.
[06:08] So, if it's not a bedroom what is it? How do we define these extra spaces? The extra nooks and crannies are often marketed by developers as +1, but what does that really mean?
[09:06] To wrap up, we explain why we believe it's always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed tuning in and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!
Prices are up, volume is down, buyers are exhausted and sellers are...? A smaller pie can cause some awful table manners, and all of this is causing some agents to behave very badly indeed. Welcome to this week’s episode of Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast.
[00:20] House prices continue their rise in 2018. The median sale price has doubled since 2013 and now sits at 1.61 million dollars. Doing the math, this means that in order to afford a mid-priced home in SF one needs to have a down-payment of 300k and an annual income of about $300,000. However. Let’s not forget that in the current market a 20% down payment regularly gets beat by much larger down payments or all cash offers. This is a difficult market for buyers. So difficult in fact, that we know at least one agent who currently only works with sellers.
[03:08] So, what is some advice we can share? Most importantly, be realistic, and do not engage in magical thinking! That reminds us of one of our previous episodes: Opportunity or Offal, Off-MLS Sales in San Francisco. Buying a home is a very personal, emotional journey. It is understandable for buyers to want to fall in love with, what will potentially become, their new home. But in this market, the competition is fierce and sometimes there will be disappointment. So, try not get too attached.
[06:26] With properties always selling for figures well above the asking price. What is the right way to price properties? If the advertised price is set artificially low, trying to guess what that real figure will be can be infuriating. We discuss the arguments for pricing realistically vs pricing for an assumed markup on the advertised price.
[10:30] This is one of the great things about being a team, where agents can have an honest conversation about listings and offer an additional perspective when trying to gauge property values. This brings us to our next point and this is one we have dedicated a previous podcast episode to: Agents Behaving Badly. With so many sellers leaving and there being a limited amount of business to go around at the moment, agents are perhaps engaging in behaviors they wouldn’t otherwise. An example of this are pre-emptive offers. Do we have to present all offers if get them? Find the answer to that question in Ep15: Discriminating Sellers: Sell Only to Short People or Offers Anytime? This also ties into the Agency Disclosure episode.
For the last three months just about all anybody has been talking about in San Francisco is the upcoming mayoral election. So naturally, this week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk about politics!
[00:20] What an eventful year it has been so far. We kick things off with Aaron Peskin, his recent criticism of the San Francisco’s Fire Department, and the role he played in getting London Breed deposed as the interim mayor.
[02:08] So who are the candidates for San Francisco mayor? There are eight in all, with the front-running four being: London Breed, Jane Kim, Mark Leno and Angela Alioto. Because most people in San Francisco fall somewhere on the progressive liberal political scale, identity politics often come into play during election time. But is this going to be the defining factor? The big question of the race is: Will identity politics win out over policy? According to the latest polls, the favorites to win are London Breed and Jane Kim. In the event of a close race, San Francisco uses a ranked choice voting; how does this work?
[08:26] Some of the big issues that people will be voting on are housing, municipal services and homelessness. It seems that being a ‘flaming lefty’ is the easy route to take in San Francisco, but is this approach the answer to everything? Britton explains what her reasons for supporting London Breed are, including the fact that she is smart, realistic and has the right motivations in undertaking such a challenging role. The increase in homelessness and a growing sense of disconnect in the community are just some of the changes we’ve seen in the city, so there is a lot on the plate for whoever takes up the position next.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed this episode and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we pick up where we left of last week for part 2 of Matt’s interview with Britton’s Mum Micki.
[00:20] Micki has had a lot of great real estate experiences over the years, but she does recall one occasion that was just awful. While trying to sell their house in Austin, Micki and her husband came across a snake oil salesman masquerading as a real estate agent. Having already singed a contract with a particular brokerage, the manager refused to let them out of their contract, but luckily, after voicing their complaints, they had a new agent assigned to them and she was brilliant – she managed to rebuild trust and humanized the whole experience. Is it a coincidence that she was previously a nurse?
[04:40] There are many different parts to a real estate process. Different agents can excel at different parts but the stand outs, they are good at most or all of it. It is also what makes Matt and Britton such a great team - they complement each other bringing their particular strength to the table.
[06:51] How has the real estate experience changed over the decades? We have come a long way in some ways. Did you know that not so long ago, the income of a female of a child-bearing age wasn’t taken into account for a mortgage application?
[08:37] Collecting rubber bands and porcelain animals! Britton had some interesting hobbies growing up, but what discouraged her from her childhood dream of becoming a veterinarian? To wrap it all up, Micki shares some personal stories about Britton.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed this interview and join us again next week for more San Francisco real estate stories!
Britton’s mum Micki joins us this week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast. Similarly to Matt’s parents, Micki and her husband Bill moved across the country on several occasions to explore interesting opportunities at work. In part one of Matt's interview with Micki, she shares their home ownership journey from Marin, to Austin and all the adventures in between.
[01:02] We start the journey back at the beginning. The year was 1971 and, after looking at some options in San Francisco (SF) - their preferred location, Micki and her husband decided to venture out to Marin County where the housing was more affordable. They met a fantastic agent at an open house in Gough Street and he recommended another great agent who worked with them in Marin. However, after an exciting job opportunity beckoned Bill to Anchorage, Alaska, they decided to do the unthinkable and sell their house without an agent!
[04:34] With two full-price offers on the very first day, they had no trouble selling the house. In fact, they found the perfect buyers. Not only did they love the house, but they also bought their car and even adopted their cat, Sebastian – who would have hated Anchorage. What a great story! With things moving so quickly, Bill moved to Alaska ahead of the family and Micki entrusted him to find their next home with just these simple instructions: “You know what I don’t like”. Some years later, the family was on the move again, this time to Larchmont, New York. They spent many years here and Britton attended high school, grammar school and middle school in Larchmont. But soon enough another job offer called and Bill moved out to Austin ahead of Micki to look for their next home. He found a house according to the same instructions as he had previously.
[09:45] For most people, buying a house can be an overwhelming and somewhat scary experience. A great agent can make the whole process less stressful. What’s more, the best agents take interest in their clients as individuals and often friendships can develop. So how did Britton go from being a high school English teacher to a real estate agent and what role did Micki play in making that happen? Also, is it true that former teachers make the best real estate agents? Because the focus of a great realtor is to help people, the theory/philosophy that the best realtors come from helping professions such as teaching, and nursing makes a lot of sense.
[15:09] It is unsettling to see, that sometimes, as people get older and go through significant changes in their lives, it can leave them vulnerable to being taken advantage of. A trend we often see in SF is people downsizing and moving back to the city, looking for smaller homes with better access to amenities, most importantly because human interaction is so important at any age and it can rejuvenate people who were lonely and living alone once they are surrounded by people again.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed part one this interview and join us again next week for part two!
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we pick up where we left off last week for part 2 of Matt’s interview with his dad.
[00:20] For sale by owner in Gallup, New Mexico! It took some time upon moving to Gallup to find the right property, but one day while out exploring, Mr. Fuller spotted a for sale sign. Like most of their properties, the house in Gallup underwent some renovations before it truly became a home. Fortuitously, due to a new high school being built, the area they purchased their property in became more desirable over the years. Coupled with the renovations they completed, it meant the Fullers were able to sell for a profit when they decided to move again, this time to Albuquerque.
[03:13] In Albuquerque, after an unpleasant experience with their first realtor, the Fullers reached out to Matt for some recommendations on finding a good one.
Polybutylene piping, home improvements, and refinancing options. What adventures did Albuquerque have in store for the Fullers? It is interesting to consider how much quicker a property appreciates in San Francisco (SF) nowadays, compared to some of the other areas of the US – it takes a month in SF rather than years or decades that it might take in areas where supply and demand is more balanced.
[07:57] We look back at how much things have changed in real estate over the years. As we have previously discussed (listen to the interview with Matt's Mum here), technology and the internet, in particular, changed certain aspects of the process. Everything happens a lot faster and in some cases with just a click of a button! Also, there was a positive change in the representation of the buyer’s interests. Realtors now have a duty to the buyer — ie., buyer agency vs. being a sub-agent of the seller.
[10:30] To wrap up, Mr. Fuller's points out how not all realtors seem to stay on top of all aspects of the process. It is rare to find a team, or person, who does it all and does it well. What was it like for Matt to make that leap from the corporate world to real estate 16 years ago?
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed this interview and join us again next week when we chat with Britton’s mum!
Last week Matt’s mum joined him on the podcast and shared her real estate experiences with us. Every story, like every real estate purchase or sale we've been a part of, has at least two sides – and often a lot more! This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, Matt talks with his dad to get another perspective on their family's experiences buying and selling homes over the decades.
[01:28] The Fuller’s first home in Boise, Idaho was a great buy. Even though the turnaround between buying and selling their house there was unforeseeably quick, the profit they made from it really set them up down the line in terms of home ownership. The economic environment back then in the 70’s seemed to be more favorable for various programs that enabled buyers to come up with the funds for the down payment on a home, particularly for first-time buyers.
[06:35] Work relocation took the Fuller family to Denver. Upon arrival, they quickly found a real estate agent through Mr. Fuller's colleague and she helped them find their new home where they remained until leaving the state. While the house was busy appreciating, the family was knee-deep into soccer. There was a star player, a coach, a referee and a state board member – and Matt the not-soccer player! Over the years, the family remodeled the home and housing prices appreciated so by the time the Fuller’s sold their house and left Denver for Michigan, they were able to net a nice profit.
[10:48] What are the things home buyers need to consider when deciding on a property? Choosing the right neighbourhood is often just as important as choosing the right house and, in fact, the two often go hand in hand. Most people have a list of requirements for their ideal neighborhood. For a family like the Fullers, this included things like good schools, recreational facilities, and access to shopping.
[12:17] We finish up part one of this interview in Michigan. The cold weather? Bats in the attic? Michigan was quite a change for the Fuller family. While they ended up finding a really nice house with a beautiful backyard often visited by deer in all seasons and fireflies on warm summer nights, in hindsight Dad regrets what they paid for that property. The realtor they used was working strictly for the seller and the Fullers felt their interests were not the priority. Agency laws vary by state and have changed over time..?
[18:21] Before moving back to New Mexico, the Fullers moved once more, this time to a small town in Michigan, where they loved the Realtor and the commute, but beyond that…. scandalous! Join us again next week, for part two of the interview, when we pick up the Fullers' trail in Gallup, New Mexico!
A house in Idaho, a house in Colorado, a house in Michigan, and a house in New Mexico! Matt’s parents', (the Fullers) home journey of the Wests: Northwest, Midwest, and Southwest. This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, Matt interviews his mom about her real estate experiences from the first 1977 property purchase to the present home.
[00:21] The Fullers bought and sold their first house in Boise, Idaho all within a 4-month time period – AND netted a profit. The quick turn because of a work re-direction back to Denver.
[03:48] The Fullers arrived in Denver with a whole weekend to find and buy a home. Fortunately, a great real estate agent was connected via Matt's Dads work. In 1977, to get on the property ladder of home ownership, the Fuller’s needed a 20% down payment. While they had most of the money in savings, family helped a little too. Family gift money continues to be allowed within certain parameters today with required disclosures.
[07:50] Next stop: On the Midwest and home in Michigan! The Fullers found that the houses were often dark and scoured for a property with numerous, large windows and lots of natural light. Light is only possible when it exists which it doesn't in the winter; the Fullers couldn’t wait to get out of Michigan. An opportunity to relocate to New Mexico was a quick decision to move toward the sun!
[13:54] Settling first in Gallup, New Mexico; a small, rural town surrounded by the Navajo and Zuni reservations. The reservations prevented expansion of the town creating a competitive real estate market. Once the next Fuller home was identified, it was a quick sale from the owner. For Sale By Owner (FSBO) was also the Fullers choice when their travels took them to Albuquerque. So, how did this process turn out?
[16:24] What are some of the things to look out for in a realtor. Matt’s mom shares some of the good and the bad experiences while Matt reveals what exactly ‘cute’ means in “realtor” talk.
[20:10] From the first purchase in the seventies to the latest one in the new millennium, how much have things changed over the years? The process of buying and selling a house remains fundamentally the same, however, real estate has evolved with the internet and modern connectivity. To wrap up, we share two perspectives on this, the buyer vs the realtor.
Thank you for joining us for this week’s episode. We hope you enjoyed it and join us again next week for more interesting stories!
Amazing shoe collections, a toilet in a closet, and steel reinforced doors are just some of the unusual things we see in this business. Some amazing, others…not so much. This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we focus on the things we wish we could un-see.
[01:34] Britton and Matt share stories of some of the more unpleasant things they have come across working in real estate. We hear about the time Britton showed a house that could have been a good set for the show “Hoarding: Buried Alive” and Matt’s experience seeing a home he wasn’t allowed to see!
[05:07] Occasionally, there were listings where you can only see the inside of the house once your offer is accepted, i.e., make your offer subject to inspections. This leads us to ponder a question. With marijuana now legal in California, how does it affect things? Will there be more grow houses in San Francisco, or fewer?
[05:57] Circling back we continue to share some more stories featuring cats, toilets in places they shouldn’t be, as well as indoor barbeques.
We hope you enjoyed this week’s episode and join us again next week for more interesting stories!
Britton, Britney, Britanny? What's in a name…? This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we talk about some commonly mispronounced place names in San Francisco, many of which have been named after notable people.
[01:20] We discuss different pronunciations of Noe Valley, Gough, O'Shaughnessy, Phelan Avenue, Duboce, Bernal Heights, Marin County, San Rafael and more.
[6:09] Pronunciation of some street/place names in SF seems to be perpetually debated. So, what is the right way and who's in charge of pronunciation anyway?
We hope you'll enjoy this week's episode and join us again next week!
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we wrap-up our first podcast visit to the San Francisco home of our past clients, Josh and Carlos. If you missed the previous two episodes in this three-part visit and would like a little intro to our guests Josh and Carlos, please listen to episode 27 and episode 28. Otherwise, welcome back to the final episode of the house tour!Misconceptions, Lessons Learned and Good Advice
[00:50] The biggest misconception about buying a San Francisco home is about the length of the home buying process itself. Josh and Carlos explain that, while the negotiation and the offer process itself was quick, they expected the overall process to be a lot quicker. So don’t schedule your holidays ahead! Another misconception is that you will only be dealing with professional individuals on the other side.
[7:50] Advice from the couple that made it through the house buying experience in San Francisco, successfully. To begin with, choose the right realtor team. The right agents will know the market, the neighbourhoods, other agents, and that makes all the difference. They can help guide you and provide invaluable advice making the whole process easier and a lot more enjoyable. Which leads us to the second great tip. You’ve probably heard this one before, but it holds true: know what you really want!
[14:28] Moving into a fixer upper was a fun experience. Carlos and Josh share some more fun stories and how the house inspired bursts of creativity, especially for Josh.
We hope you enjoyed these interviews and a huge thanks to Josh and Carlos for welcoming us into their beautiful San Francisco home!
This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we continue the interview with our first guests. If you missed last week’s episode and would like a little intro to our guests Josh and Carlos, click here for the part one of this three-part interview. Otherwise, welcome back to part two of the house tour!
[00:46] We pick up the tour in the downstairs area, where Josh and Carlos did an incredible job tidying up the space for various creative endeavors. We also find out what happened to the little house that was outside on their deck… with a shoutout to local store Scrap.
[11:28] How do you make a room appear bigger? Get some scale sized furniture of course! Looking at some furniture around the room, Matt is reminded of a staging company that did this.More Chandeliers!
[14:30] When they bought the house (REO) it didn’t come with any fixtures. Josh, who is particularly fond of chandeliers, took advantage of this opportunity to put up as many of them as he wanted. Urban Ore in Berkeley became a great resource as they look for authentic or vintage finishings for their home. But how does he keep them sparkling? He has a system he shares with us.
[15:57] Buying and working on a fixer-upper can become a full-time hobby – especially when you do some of the work yourself. However, Josh and Carlos explain how it's also extremely rewarding seeing it all come together. We talk about, what can sometimes be, an overwhelming cost of some of the repair work and how they found a great painter who did an amazing paint job on the outside of the house (to the great approval of the neighbors, too!)
[17:27] Finally, we talk about what might have been. When house hunting, there are sometimes properties we love but miss out on for various reasons. One of the properties we reminisce about was the castle in the Bayview area with an exceptionally exceptional toilet, amongst many other exceptional features. Current city law requires water-saving toilets, which has us wondering about the exceptional toilet.. and Matt's memory is correct – the SF Water Dept. documentation includes the information about exempting toilets of historical significance.
Tune in next week for the final part of our interview!
And now for something completely different! This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we interview our first guests. Josh and Carlos are clients who purchased their San Francisco home in a very different market – they purchased a REO property during the downturn. They termed the phrase “Shivering Heights” for their neighborhood and they agreed to let us come over to their house, interview them about buying in San Francisco, and just chat about owning a home in SF. It's a 3 episode interview, this is part 1 and covers our drive over and the beginning part of our home tour. It was still a bit messy since the have recently started renovation.
[00:33] When Josh and Carlos bought their house the property market in San Francisco was completely different than it is today – in fact, we were in the midst of a property downturn. Seven years later, we visit them at their place to see how they have settled in!
[01:47] We kick off part one of our three-part interview with Matt questioning the suitability of using the Comic Sans font on the first page of the REO addendum document. REO addendums are horrible things that haven't been a regular part of the SF market since the last down turn. What is it about that font that screams unprofessional? Everything!
[03:06] As we arrive at their San Francisco home we meet our client’s huuuuge, Scooby Doo-like dog and hear his story.Fixer-upper
[08:34] Starting in the foyer, it is clear Josh and Carlos have done quite a bit of renovating since we last saw their place! What was once sad and neglected but a huge amount of space is now a beautifully updated, very functional, modern space.
[12:03] It is great to see how well they have settled into their new home, meeting their neighbors, and what it was like getting to know their new neighborhood.
[17:27] We talk about how different the market was back in 2011, but even then getting your first offer accepted was rare. Prices have sky-rocketed since then… Tune in next week for part two, where we learn some more fascinating things about their home and the remodel they did.
Re-cleaning carpets, installing cabinets and adjusting tracks for closet doors. This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we are talking about strange terms in contracts that we’ve either received or written or heard about before!
And now, based on your requests, some time markers to help you find your favorite part of the episode quickly!No Contingencies, Please!
[00:59] In San Francisco’s competitive property market there is usually no contingencies, so we don’t often see strange terms in contracts – the cleanest terms possible are typically your best bet in a competitive market! Price and terms are the two basic factors that affect how a seller will view an offer, and in a market with rising prices and multiple offers, how “clean” the terms are will often be one of the first items considered.
[01:51] Having said that, we do have some interesting stories to share of terms we have come across during our years in real estate. Would you agree to let the buyer sleep in the house before writing an offer? Clean the carpets two or three times? Make dinner for the seller after they move out?
[06:59] These types of requested terms might sound quirky and entertaining, and often they are easily handled in the context of one deal. However, when the contingencies included within one contract depend on the purchase or sale of another property, an issue with one escrow can have a serious cascading effect. We see this when the buyer’s offer on a property depends on a sale a property that the buyer currently owns. The Real Estate business can be very difficult at times, but from a project management software for creatives, it can be very easy if it is well organized.
Thank you for tuning in! We hope you join us again next week, when we will be welcoming our first podcast guests. Josh and Carlos take us on a tour of their home and talk about buying and owning in San Francisco.
A deal is a deal and an agreement is an agreement, right? Last week we talked about ‘real houses’ and the trend that sees developers building more condos in the city. So, this week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we thought we would talk about new construction commission agreements in San Francisco.New Construction
New construction differs from resale transactions as most new construction is not in the MLS – which is not just a database of homes, it is also an offer of compensation. Britton explains more about how this works and how, in new construction sales, the agents often have to sign a commission agreement with the developer which outlines how they will be paid by the developer and typically states that they are not to share their commission with the buyer. In addition, there are a variety of laws that deal with issues such as: who can receive a commission, who can receive a commission that you need a licence for etc.Outside Escrow
But let's talk about the commonly used, straight-up agreement between a developer and agent where part of the agreement is that no part of the commission received by the agent can go to the buyer. We discuss why this makes a lot of sense from a developer’s point of view. There are ways people try to circumvent the commission agreements, but because federal lending law requires that any money exchanged in a transaction is accounted for on the closing statement, it involves going outside escrow. And guess what? This is a slippery slope to committing loan fraud!
While we always endeavor to do everything we can and go the extra mile for all our clients we also value our reputation in this industry…
Thanks for listening!
Happy New Year everyone! This week on Escrow Out Loud, our San Francisco Real Estate podcast, we start off the year with an interesting question: what makes something a ‘real house’? Recently Britton discovered that, according to some, the home she has been living in for the past decade + isn't a "real" home. Apparently, the only "real" home is a completely detached stand-alone, single-family house?
Where does that leave condos? Are these homes not real? Of course, they are! Does owning one mean less somehow? Of course, it doesn’t! While some condos are seen as a more affordable option, here in San Francisco you can easily spend upwards of 4 million or 40 million dollars to purchase a condo home in San Francisco. Luckily with this emergency water leak repair company, they can easily help you with any other repairs too for a reasonable cost.
Drive to Qualify
Matt and Britton take a look back at what the house prices looked like years ago and the huge appreciation we saw in San Francisco over the years. It is increasingly difficult getting into the market and purchasing a starter home in San Francisco. Is moving further away from San Francisco the answer? Matt explains the ‘drive to qualify’ concept; often, driving a little bit further means people can qualify for a house. In San Francisco, this, of course, means adding to the already significant commute time. For most people, this is not a tradeoff they are willing to make. When you are going to make renovations in your home, make sure you add these Kitchens designs.
Condos are the Future in SF
In response to the high population density within the city, we have been moving away from approving and building single-family houses and building condos. If you buy a new house or rent a new place, then mkae sure it comes with a modern style storage building.
Getting back to our original question, we would argue that the legal description of the property does not make it a home, a real house is where you make your life. Whatever the shape and size of a home may be, it is undeniably very real!
That’s all for this week! Join us again next week as we share more of our stories about San Francisco Real Estate.