Break Out the Goosebumps

Who out there grew up loving survivor stories about people stranded on desert islands, cut off from civilization, looking for and finding companionship in different ways. Robinson Crusoe, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Sign of the Beaver, Swiss Family Robinson and so many more. I was consumed with these stories and probably still am. I have somehow been reminded of them in these past weeks as I’ve read about the isolation so many people are feeling. I’ve been one of the lucky ones and have been able to stave off an empty nest with all of my children around. But for those less fortunate, the good news is the internet. We are all so connected today. Adversity brings people together. As I was perusing my instagram this week, I found some absolutely FAB concerts done right from home that really made me smile. John Legend and Chrissy Tiegen teamed up with their adorable daughter Luna, Chris Martin, David Foster and Katharine McPhee Foster, Keith Urban and Rob Thomas. Another great all star concert of benevolence is The Weight, featuring Robbie Robertson and Ringo Starr. All links are below. Break out the goose bumps. Stay safe and healthy. Have a great week!

Useful Info

Bay Area Median House Sale Prices

Read all about it!!! The news is out. San Francisco’s iconic landmark building,The Transamerica Pyramid is on the sales block. Dogone, sure wish it were my listing! The San Francisco Business Times broke the news last week with a projected sales price of $600M with two additional Sansome Street buildings to be included in the deal. Located at 600 Montgomery Street, the building has historically graced the San Francisco skyline with its elegance. Interesting to note, when built in 1972, the 853 foot building was not only the tallest building in town, but was also the tallest west of the Mississippi. Fast forward to 2020, the Pyramid now pales in scale to the towering Salesforce building. My how times have changed. Quick history lesson…Designed by William Pereira and Associates in 1972, The Pyramid was at first very controversial. I remember derogatory whispers around town about how disruptive the design was to the our cityscape — too modern — "this isn’t Egypt." There were also concerns about the shadow it would cast over the financial district. The final design was actually a tapered concession to the critics. This wonderful piece of local architectural history has withstood the test of time and is now a treasured landmark to all who love this great city.

The business world loves athletes and sports enthusiasts. My father is a Brown University Hall of Famer and was hugely successful in business. My daughter was a recruited D1 athlete and my boys were high school varsity basketball players where winning was everything. They all pour their hearts and souls into 5 star achievement…code for: They Hate To Lose. When I first got into real estate, after a long career in design, one of the people I interviewed with told me he couldn’t quite pinpoint why someone was successful in real estate. He said he could have two people sitting in front of him, both intelligent, attractive, funny, interesting…and one would be successful and the other wouldn’t. After pondering for a bit, he acknowledged that he thought it was the person who loved the art of doing deals who would rise to the top. I didn’t quite get what he meant at the time because my career had been about creating beautiful spaces, not competing. I found out quickly after I did my first deal. Winning that deal was a total high. I just loved it. I’ll never forget that conversation and the subsequent ah ha moment affect it had on me. I wasn’t a high school varsity athlete or college recruit. I played on my all girls high school tennis team — we weren’t very good — and spent a lot of time in the art room. It wasn’t until I got back into tennis five yers ago that I felt the adrenaline rush of competing and winning. I never give up -- and I never get mad…well hardly ever. I’ve realized through tennis how much I like to compete and even more, how much I like the camaraderie of a team. It’s exhilarating. The great epiphany for me throughout my new found career in real estate and love of all things tennis is that we don’t always know ourselves as well as we think. Growing and evolving is part of the journey. Tennis anyone?

How To Win The Deal In San Francisco Real Estate

Does anyone out there know the expression "When In Rome Do As The Romans Do.” I grew up with that old adage and have always kept it sacred as a way to adapt, observe, fit in and not offend. Funny how little pearls of wisdom can go a long way to a fulfilling life. The same theory holds true for buying and selling San Francisco real estate. I’m writing this as a brief overview for the non-native San Francisco buyers wanting to get into the SF market, but view our competitive selling psychology as extortion. I don’t know the exact stats or psychology in other communities, but it has come to my attention that many non-native buyers come from an environment where they’re used to a home being priced over what the seller actually expects to get. Buyers in those communities go in under asking and with a little back and forth the deal is negotiated somewhere in between. Not so in SF. Here we price properties at fair market value or a little under because buyers know the expectation is that the property will go over asking. It is the kiss of death to price a property above market value in this city. If the disgruntled outsider buyers could look at the market through a different lens, our real estate culture might be more palatable. So here goes, can’t help myself…There Are Many Paths To Buddha… and so goes the road to procuring real estate in different markets. I would venture to guess that, in the end, each community’s approach yields a similar outcome. A house priced at $3M in Connecticut might end up closing at $2.75M. A house priced at $2.5M in SF might end up closing at $2.75M. Catch my drift? When writing an offer in San Francisco I would listen to your agent, after all he/she knows the market. If your agent tells you there are 15 disclosure packages out and at least five offers are expected I would suggest going in over asking, and I’m sure your agent would too. Why, because in San Francisco listing agents set up a competition. Bring me your best offer. If you really want a home, don’t get hung up on wanting a “deal.” Our strategy is not set up for that. Winning may not be everything, but it sure feels better than losing. In the end, San Francisco real estate is an amazing investment for the long term. When you go to sell in 10 years, the gain on your investment will look like you got the deal of a lifetime when you bought your gold mine.

The eternal optimist in me, along with the realist, wants to quell everyone’s fears about the San Francisco real estate market with some good ole common sense + a few stats. The Chronicle published an article this week titled, "Bay Area will be nation’s coolest housing market in 2020, survey says.” While the data may not be off the charts in inaccuracies, the title is wildly misleading. The abridged version is this: Zillow surveyed a group of "economists and real estate experts," and that "On average, the panelists said they expect U.S. home prices to grow by 2.8% in 2020.  They were then asked whether certain markets would out-perform or under-perform that 2.8% appreciation rate. Of those surveyed, the greatest number thought the SF and San Jose Metro areas would underperform the 2.8%. However, they were NOT asked to predict how much the markets would out- or under-perform, which would typically be the measurement of "hottest" or "coolest" markets. It may seem like interpretation but is not. The panel made no predictions as to actual appreciation or depreciation rates beyond being above or below 2.8%. If you can get beyond the misleading title and focus on the stats there is nothing alarming or unexpected. The only actual prediction was made by Ken Rosen, chairman of the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics at UC Berkeley, and "Overall, he expects the median Bay Area home price will be flat to up or down 2%." That's not unreasonable, and in fact approximatelydescribes most Bay Area markets in 2019. The article also discusses market-impacting factors like interest rates, outward migration and recent federal tax laws capping deductions. I still maintain that San Francisco Real Estate is one of the best investments a person can make, especially when the market does flatten out. I am the best example of this. I got into the market 25 years ago and had all the same fears most first time buyers have…panic and anxiety. Gratefully I took the plunge which has allowed me to glow with the the pride of ownership and security. 

For anyone who has agonized over your agent’s recommendation to stage, paint and redo floors, Compass Concierge may be for you. It is our fantastic program that finances all of the various improvements an agent feels would enhance the sale of your home. Compass fronts the money and it is reimbursed at the close of escrow. For many sellers this takes the emotion out of the decision and helps to get your property moving quickly and efficiently toward the shared goal of getting the highest price for your wonderful home. Sometimes sellers just can’t get their minds around the value of doing all of these things but in actuality, homes with these very basic upgrades + staging get exponentially higher prices. One of the central components in all of this is that 97% of the buying population is previewing property online and photos that look like a magazine spread will get many more hits and actual buyers coming through your open house. Now, which property would you want to buy? Would love to hear from you. Please let me now if you have any questions. Have a great week!