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5 Questions You should Ask a San Francisco Buyer’s Agent

We are deep in the holiday season and the local San Francisco real estate market is slowing down as it does every year around this time.  There are fewer listings but there are also fewer buyers willing to make offers making this a very opportune time to be a buyer!

Are you considering a home purchase?  Here are a few things to consider to be as prepared as can be.

Mike and I are always happy to help.  Contact us with any questions.  We are around during the holidays!


  1. What neighborhoods should I be looking for a home in?

You may be new to the city or you may not know every neighborhood and how they can change block by block. Or perhaps you spoke with a friend at a party who is very close to convincing you there is only one San Francisco neighborhood for you to live in.

Let’s have a conversation about what you would like and figure out if there might be a number of neighborhoods that would actually work quite well.  We know the different San Francisco neighborhoods intimately. We can discuss particular properties and we can give you a good sense of what the lifestyle will be living in each neighborhood.

Let’s explore the possibilities. We may be able to spot just the right house at just the right price that you are going to love!


  1. How important is it for me to get pre-approved by a mortgage broker or direct lender?

            This one is easy, you must get pre-approved!  The best deals are made when you are as prepared as possible.  And your purchase offer will not be considered if it is not accompanied by a pre-approval letter from a mortgage broker or direct lender.  You won’t need a pre-approval letter if your offer will be all cash, but we will need proof of funds.


  1. What contingencies should I ask for in the purchase contract?

The San Francisco real estate market is very active and on some of the better listings, there can be 20 offers or more. This has created an environment where buyers are giving up contingencies in order to present a cleaner offer to the seller. It is understandable, but it is also risky.


The three main contingencies are:


The Inspection Contingency: This is the one contingency that allows the buyer to cancel the contract at their “Sole Discretion”.   As long as you haven’t removed this contingency in writing you can walk away from the deal only losing the cost of any inspections you had done.


The Appraisal Contingency: This is a separate contingency from the Finance Contingency that allows the buyer to cancel the contract if the property does not appraise for the purchase price.


The Finance Contingency: This is the contingency that allows the buyer to cancel the contract if for some reason they or the property does not qualify for the loan. An example of why a house wouldn’t qualify is if the kitchen has been removed, which I have seen happen. Perhaps the seller intended to remodel the kitchen but then was unable to afford to complete the work. An example of a buyer who is unable to qualify, even after getting a pre-approval letter, would be if they lost their job during escrow.


Every situation is different, and some people have a higher tolerance for risk. That said contingencies are there for a reason, and the escrow period allows the buyer to spend some money inspecting the property and having their appraisal done in order to make an informed decision before they are in danger of losing their deposit.

There is a lot to think about when it comes to contingencies, the best thing is for us to talk and figure out the best strategy for your circumstance.


  1. How can I compete in this market?

Work with a realtor who will be your partner in the home buying process, who knows the market, and is willing to show you how it works. The best clients are the most informed clients. This takes time but brings great rewards. It allows you to understand a home’s value, create a strategy to be competitive in the San Francisco real estate market, and when it is all said and done, it allows you to be happy with the decisions you’ve made.

I will help you get the information you need to be the best buyer you can be.


  1. Do you know about homes for sale before they go in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?


            I absolutely do! I’ve helped many clients purchase beautiful homes that never went into the MLS.

I often hear about properties that are not quite ready to be shown publicly. Perhaps the property isn’t staged yet, or sometimes the home needs to be cleaned and painted before staging.  There are still several steps before going on the market publicly. It is at this point in the process I may hear about the home and realize it would be a perfect fit for a particular client.  If you like the property we will try to entice the listing agent to show the property to our client pre-MLS, and perhaps we can strike a deal before the home ever goes on the market.


Do you have questions about our local real estate market?  Get in touch with us!


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