The first home I owned — in San Francisco — was a 2-unit building purchased with my ex-husband (call him Bob) and my clients (call them Greg and Ann).
Loma Prieta had shaken us silly that October of 1989, but it didn’t slow our real estate search. It was two weeks after the earthquake when Curt, Sally, Pablo and I first viewed our future home – a spacious hunk of Victorian history in the neighborhood now known as NOPA. By the time we closed in December the market was trending downward. Seems we’d bought at the peak.
But we enjoyed living there for the next five years, even as the market continued falling. We remodeled, added parking, started families, celebrated holidays together and hoped the market would change. We converted our flats to condominiums, sold them, and purchased neighboring single family homes in the Richmond district.
In retrospect, we were smart to get in (and out) when we did. We sold the condos at the bottom of the curve. But — hey! — we bought our houses at the bottom, too. $250,000 condos turned into $350,000 houses turned into $650,000 houses turned into $1,300,000 houses just before the 2009 adjustment. Those same houses are worth $2,000,000 or more today (though we’ve all moved on).
Ask any agent – on any day during any month during almost any year – if it’s a good time to buy and they’ll say one of three things:
- Now is a perfect time to buy.
- Five years ago was a better time to buy.
- Tomorrow will also prove to be a great time to buy.
The San Francisco real estate market is daunting and rewarding. The main thing is to get your foot in the proverbial (or literal) door. But you’ll need an agent’s help:
- Ready? Interview a couple of agents (or just call me) and choose your ally.
- Set? Follow her/his (my) advice on preparing for the journey.