Every Local Resource You Need If You're Buying a Condo in San Francisco

Sean Mamola  |  January 3, 2023

Every Local Resource You Need If You're Buying a Condo in San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the world's most cosmopolitan places. Although only 49 square miles, this powerhouse metropolis sparkles with stunning architecture, global cuisine, and a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. The celebrated Painted Ladies make design aficionados drool and serve as the backdrop to countless films and television shows. The sartorial sophistication and tony boutiques delight anyone with a flair for fashion. And the sweeping views of the skyline are nothing short of epic. In short, San Francisco is a masterpiece.

Real estate here is luxe and highly sought-after, and the competitive market reflects the demand. Sleek condos tower over the glittering city, gorgeous estates defy urban living, and historic townhomes feature dazzling glimpses into San Francisco's elegant past. Entry into this bespoke world requires a passion for real estate, not to mention sharp timing and savvy resources. Read on to peek behind the curtain and learn the secrets to San Francisco real estate success.

San Francisco real estate

First, let's examine the San Francisco market. If you are considering buying or relocating, you are probably prepared for gorgeous homes, luxe amenities, and prices that reflect an upscale lifestyle. But San Francisco luxury real estate offers more than you could imagine.

Competition is fierce, and cash offers are common, so make sure your financials are in order and you're ready for the thrill of the hunt. Some sellers review bids as they come in, allowing you and your agent the opportunity to queue up and jump as soon as a place hits the market. Other sellers adopt an offer date strategy, wherein they post a set date, typically two weeks from the listing date. All offers must be in by this date, upon which time the seller will review each offer and choose the best one. In these cases, your agent can strategize with you to land on the most compelling offer – because you will be going up against multiple bids and won't be able to see the other numbers. Properties can go for well over the list price – earlier this year, 62% of San Francisco luxury homes did just that.

In a highly competitive market, some offers are made preemptively. A pre-emptive offer is an offer submitted ahead of the scheduled offer date. This may be an effective buying strategy in some cases, as it forces the seller to choose the solid deal in front of them or take the chance that better offers will flood in later.

Full of high-rise condos, San Francisco offers creative and posh alternatives to traditional single-family residences. Condos dot the hillside and provide spectacular views and lavish living – not to mention conventional financing options.

In Tenancy in Common Ownership or TIC, you will own a percentage of a multi-unit building. TICs are similar to condos, with monthly fees and access to shared areas, but traditional financing is not available. Most TICs require smaller, regional banks and higher down payments.

A co-op is a building owned by a private corporation. Buying into a co-op essentially makes you a shareholder in the corporation. Buyers must meet with the board and are required to have substantial financial holdings, the likes of which will be shared in the interview.

An expert real estate agent

A knowledgeable real estate agent is essential in any property acquisition venture. Realtors bring expert insight into the market and the city's specific neighborhoods. They have sharp negotiation skills and can guide you through the entire process. Your agent will present potential homes, strategize offer prices, and introduce you to professionals and service providers. You want an agent well-acquainted with luxury condos for sale in San Francisco, especially in this kind of fast-moving market.
If you are new to the Golden City, your agent will introduce you to the individual neighborhoods. If you love high energy and vibrant nightlife, you need an agent to show you condos for sale in Soma. You might fall in love with the hip, contemporary vibe of Mission Bay or prefer the luxe social scene and exquisite cuisine in South Beach.

A market report

Now that you have a stellar real estate agent working with you to find the perfect property, you need the lay of the land. Your agent can advise you of market trends and fluctuations, so you know the right time to buy. Understanding the market can lend you some leverage when making an offer – in a buyer's market, you may have more negotiating power than in a seller's market. Agents can also research the Comparative Market Analysis, or comps, for the homes you are interested in to ensure the property's value before you submit an offer.

A qualified home inspector

Some San Francisco condos are sold on an as-is basis, and some conduct their own pre-inspections, the results of which are disclosed prior to scheduling appointments. For other properties, you'll want to hire a home inspector to examine the foundation, roof, and everything in between so you know exactly what you are getting.

A mortgage lender and financial advisor

Whether you are financing your new home or making a cash offer, you want a clear picture of your finances before making a move. If you choose to finance, find a reputable lender and obtain pre-approval before you begin your search. A pre-approval gives you credibility with sellers and allows you to move quickly should you fall in love with a property. You can also use a  mortgage calculator to determine how much your down payment will affect your mortgage and what you can expect to pay each month. Speak to your financial advisor if you have questions about budgeting for your new expenses and what to expect. The mortgage is only one aspect of purchasing a property – you may also have homeowners fees and property taxes.

If you are interested in buying luxury high-rise condos in San Francisco, contact Sean Mamola at Rises.Co to learn more.

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