I’ve given a lot of advice on home buying in San Francisco in general, but where should home buyers get started? Check out my home buying tips every San Francisco home buyer should know.
Tip 1: In SF, You Need to Be Approved, Not Just Pre-approved for a Loan
In most real estate markets, pre-approval is enough. While it’s still valid in San Francisco, the competitive nature of the market (also the much faster closing window) means you need to put your best foot forward.
Tip 2: Shop Around for a Mortgage
Homeowners can be blind to the fact that maybe the bank you know and trust can’t get you the best offer. Shopping around for a mortgage is always in the homeowner's best interest.
Tip 3: Don’t Be Discouraged if You Don’t Get the First (Second, Third, or Fourth) House You Put an Offer on
Most buyers get smarter as time goes on. Even though you might feel desperate after a rejection know that every one of my clients have always found the home they love and want.
Tip 4: Do Your Research on Homes, Neighborhoods, Etc.
When you start your home search, I’d recommend visiting as many open houses as possible. A lot of home buyers enter into the process with rose-colored glasses on. It’s important to understand what different styles of houses look like, how pictures online can differ from home in person, and how even in different neighborhoods things can greatly vary from street to street.
Tip 5: Be Flexible
I’ve said it a few times before, most of my home buyers are looking for a single-family, in one of 3-4 neighborhoods, victorian, renovated, 3-4+ bedrooms, and garage parking. If only there was an unlimited supply of these in San Francisco. It’s important to be flexible, but also remember, I’ve always been able to find my clients their dream home, so know that being flexible doesn’t always mean compromising.
Tip 6: Know Your Neighborhoods
We all have the neighborhood/street we want to live on, but moving a block or so out isn’t really a big deal in the grand scheme of things. See yourself in Noe Valley? Check out Castro or Glen Park which are just neighboring. Really want to live in the Mission? Try Potrero or the Dog Patch. There are good neighborhoods that home buyers should consider but aren’t necessarily on everyone’s radar.
Tip 7: Make Sure You Have the Right Realtor®
This is probably the most important piece. Having a realtor that can navigate the SF market is key to nabbing your dream home. An out-of-town realtor may not understand the nuances of buying real estate in the city.