SAN FRANCISCO LIVING SPACE by Durwin Cheung

Housing market updates, real estate reports, home improvement trends and the hottest new listings in San Francisco's premier neighborhoods.

May 6, 2019

How to Use Competing Listings to Your Advantage When Pricing a Home

 

 

There are several ways to approach pricing your listing, but the methods outlined in today’s message are among the most effective.

 

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Pricing a listing correctly can be tricky. Thankfully, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to make sure you get it right.

Many people insist that reviewing the sales data from properties similar to yours that have recently sold in your area is the best way to develop a pricing strategy. However, while this is a good place to start, it’s important to realize that the market may very well have changed since the time those homes have sold. Even a few months can make a big difference.

Instead, focus your energy into researching active comparable listings (otherwise known as “comps).” If you find a comp that’s a few hundred square feet larger than your property, yet is priced a few thousand dollars below what you’ve listed yours at, this is a red flag. These active comps are your competition in the market. In order to sell quickly and for top dollar, you need to price your listing with these other properties in mind.

And for an even clearer picture of what pricing strategies are effective for homes like yours, why not look into the pending listings in your areas? Your agent should be more than happy to talk to the agents representing these properties about the level of interest they drew before going under contract.

If you have any other questions, would like more information, or are curious about how my team and I can help you price your home competitively in today’s market, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

April 8, 2019

The 7 Habits of a Happy Person

How can a happy person be distinguished from someone who’s unhappy? In today’s message, we’ll look at the seven markers, according to Warren Buffett.

 

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To change things up a bit, today we’re going to discuss the seven habits of happy people, as authored by billionaire Warren Buffett.

So what are the hallmarks of a happy person? Here’s a list of seven of them:

  1. Don’t show off. Someone who’s truly happy doesn’t have the slightest urge to show off the fruits of their labor or their accomplishments to others. Think about it: Who enjoys being in the company of a constant showboat?

  2. Talk less. A common characteristic of unhappy people talking too much—especially about themselves. The happy individual is the one who is comfortable listening to others, learning about them, and, in some cases, learning from them. Those that are happy in life are conscientious of who and what they’re talking about. As a sign that they’re comfortable in their own skin, they know their worth.

  3. Learn more. Did you know that Warren Buffett himself reads five hours a day? Of course, this stretches practicality for some of us. But you can still put in some time to learn—whether that be from books or even educational content found on YouTube or other such online tools. With the meteoric forward progress happening in the world, if you’re stagnating, you’re actually regressing.

  4. Help the less fortunate. Warren Buffett practices what he preaches in this way—he plans to donate 90% of his fortune to charity. This may not be feasible for you, but, as an alternative, you can donate your time, which is far and away more precious than money. Material wealth can be replenished, but the same can’t be said for time—once it’s gone, it’s lost forever. Don’t make the excuse that you can’t contribute because you don’t have the money. Volunteer work can be done by anyone and everyone.

  5. Laugh more. Laughing for its own sake might sound strange, but consider this: Data suggests that laughing can actually help you open up more and build relationships with others. One such study found that laughing also helps to diminish cortisol, a stress hormone.  

  6. Ignore nonsense. The first thing that too many people do when they wake up each morning is scroll through their social media feeds and read through empty nonsense, which is nothing but a total disservice to your mind’s space. Happy people are self-aware enough to know that filling their mind with irrelevant, gratuitous information will only hurt them in the long run, and they conserve their mental energy for things that matter.

  7. Avoid ever feeling entitled. An indicator of a wholly unhappy person is the feeling of entitlement. They go through life operating under the assumption that they deserve what they don’t have. In truth, no one deserves anything that they haven’t earned. Those that qualify as happy know that it takes time, hard work, and persistence and are in charge of their lives.

 

I hope you found value in this list. If you know someone who’s thinking about buying or selling a home soon, please send them my way. You’ll receive a $50 Visa card from me, regardless of the outcome of the referral.

And, don’t forget: At the end of the month, we’re holding a raffle, wherein the winner will receive a gift worth $500! That could mean an iPad, an Apple watch, or something else.

As always, for help with any of your own real estate needs, please reach out to me as well. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Feb. 26, 2019

The 3 Reasons Why You Need a Mentor

Why are mentors such a vital resource for any up-and-coming businessperson? Today we’ll be giving you three reasons.

 

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Many great entrepreneurs—Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos, for example—have one thing in common. They have had a mentor in their lives. There are three reasons why mentors are such a valuable guide for business people of all levels:

 

1. Mentors motivate and challenge you. Throughout life, there are many points where you may think you’ve reached your peak. A mentor is there to push you through these roadblocks, challenging you to make it to the next level and beyond. Sometimes, hearing the words from someone who’s been there before is all it takes to find that motivation. The road to success is difficult, and it can be even more so when you’re on that journey alone. They will remind you of your goals and help you reach them.

 

"Since they’ve been through and made the mistakes already, you don’t have to make them yourself."

 

2. Mentors can protect you. Hopefully, you can find a mentor who’s 10 to 30 years ahead of you and who has already done everything you hope to accomplish. You can have multiple mentors for life, health, and career goals. With a career mentor, you want them to align with your own vision; for example, find someone who is an established, experienced real estate agent to help you reach your own business goals as a Realtor. Since they’ve been through it and made the mistakes already, you don’t have to make them yourself.

 

3. Mentors can bring new opportunities. People in mentor roles are successful, which means they’re likely busy people. They may have ideas that they don’t have the time to execute, but you’re in a prime position to help bring their ideas into fruition. It won’t necessarily be a paid job, but you’re already earning priceless experience and guidance. However, there will likely be opportunities for partnerships, percentages, and other ways of earning through your joint endeavors. Regardless, you want to be able to give back so that your mentor sees it as not simply a one-sided relationship.

 

If you have any questions about finding a mentor or why else it’s important, feel free to reach out to me. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Feb. 1, 2019

If You Find Yourself in Any of These 5 Situations, Sell Your Home Before Buying

Here are five situations in which selling your current home before purchasing your next one will make for an improved real estate experience all around.

 

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In today’s video, I’ll detail five situations where selling your current home before buying your next one is the right move.

 

1. You don’t want to carry two mortgages. The most painless way to juggle two transactions is buying your new home first, giving yourself time to get situated in it, and then selling your previous home afterward for a great price. Unfortunately, it seldom happens that way. Instead, you wind up with two mortgages, and that’s a heavy financial burden to carry all at once. Selling first will prevent this from occurring. 

 

2. You don’t qualify for two mortgages. Referring back to situation No. 1, let’s say you do want to take on two mortgages. The problem is you may not qualify. A lender won’t account for the fact that you’re looking to sell one of the homes; from their vantage point, you’re simply applying to buy a second home. So they’ll look at your debt-to-income ratio, and lenders stipulate that this has to be less than 36%. That’ll be hard to pull off if you’re juggling two mortgages.

 

3. You’re buying in a competitive market. Buying first means you’ll need to put your best foot forward and make a strong offer. Since the home you’re living in has yet to be sold, your offer will likely need to come with a contingency. That alerts the seller that your offer simply isn’t that strong, which won’t bode well in a competitive market.

 

4. You’re selling in a sluggish market. Maybe your area’s market is somewhat slow or altogether stagnant and homes are hardly selling like hotcakes. If you buy first, you’re almost guaranteed to be stuck with two mortgages for a while, and you won’t truly know what your affordability will be without having the gains from the sale of your own home.

 

5. You’re not ready to commit. Let’s say you’ve owned your home for a number of years now and transitioning into another might only mean being tied down for another three, five, or even ten years. If you’re unsure about that, you might be better off selling first and then renting in the short-term—especially if the market may soon be hitting a bit of a dip and prices are falling.

 

"Selling your home first will prevent you from experiencing the heavy financial burden of carrying two mortgages at once."

 

 

If you or someone you know is thinking about buying or selling a home or you’re curious about your home’s current value, please click on the links provided and subscribe to my channel. I’d love to help with any of your real estate needs however I can! 
Jan. 10, 2019

3 Tips for Slaying Your Credit Score

Today I’ll provide you with three ways you can slay your credit score.

 

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When it comes to getting a handle on your credit score so that you can raise it up, there are three things you need to do:

 

1. Clear up your collection accounts. This step shouldn’t come as a surprise; if you owe money, you need to pay it off. Many people fail to do this and instead consolidate their debts and move their balance from one card to another. This seems like a smart thing to do, and you might be lowering your monthly payments and your interest rates, but your credit score actually takes a big hit. You’re not paying off your balances by consolidating them—you’re just moving them around.

 

"Make sure you know how to use your card and pay it off responsibly."

 

2. Set up autopayments. Believe it or not, but 35% of your credit score is based on making timely payments. If you don’t pay, that will create a big dent in your credit score. A lot of times, this happens not because people can’t afford to pay their bills, but because they’re just so busy with their daily lives that they don’t remember to put the payments in the bank to pay off creditors. The autopayment option is extremely easy to do, and essentially all creditors make this option available these days. If you set this up, you can gradually increase your credit score each month.

 

3. Watch your credit limit. The experts say that you shouldn’t exceed 30% of your credit limit. For example, if your card limit is $10,000, you don’t want to have a balance that is more than $3,000. Here’s the tricky part, though: You also don’t want your balance to be less than 10% ($1,000 in this example) because credit agencies want to see that you have credit management skills. Make sure you know how to use your card and pay it off responsibly.

 

If you have any questions or want to buy or sell real estate, please feel free to reach out to me. I hope to hear from you soon!
Nov. 20, 2018

How to Be Great at What You Do

The secret to being great at what you do is staying focused on your most important tasks. Here’s what I mean.

 

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Today I’ve got some tips to help you become great at what you do. Whatever your job or your business is, there are a ton of things you need to do throughout the day. Whether it’s handling legal matters, making calls, training, hiring, marketing, or whatever else, it’s impossible to focus on them all at once.

 

If you want to be great at what you do, you have to be able to pick out the one thing that matters the most and will get you to your goal. If you have this one thing done, even if you don’t finish everything else, you'll feel accomplished.

 

A lot of the stuff we do on a daily basis isn’t all that important. Returning phone calls or emails or checking social media doesn’t really do anything in the grand scheme of things. By the time you’re done with all that stuff, you don’t have much time left. Then you’ll probably push your most important stuff to the next day. Focus on what’s important first and get it done right away in the morning. After that, everything’s gravy. 

"My No. 1 focus is on my clients."

 

If you’re a stockbroker, you should probably be focusing on the day’s stocks. If you’re a sales rep, you should be calling your potential leads and prospects. As a real estate agent, my focus is my clients. I reach out to them first thing in the morning. I don’t focus on making copies or scanning papers or anything else. While those things are necessary, my first focus each day is to contact my clients because they are the lifeblood of my business.
If you’re in the market for a real estate agent, you want to hire someone who can focus their time on you. 

 

So, what is the one thing that you can do to make the biggest impact on your career? Once you find it, you want to shift your focus to that task so that you’re weeding out the things that don’t get you to your goal.

 

If you have any questions for me in the meantime about how to become great at what you do, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Oct. 29, 2018

Buyers: Ask These 7 Questions When You Attend an Open House

Today we’ll be covering the seven questions you should ask the showing agent when you attend an open house

 

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When you attend an open house, there are seven key questions you should ask the showing agent: 

 

1. “Are there any inspection reports available?” If the property has had a pest or general inspection, asking to see the inspector’s findings can give you a much better scope of the home’s condition. As part of this question, you’ll also want to ask them about the “Section One Amount.” Section One of an inspection report is the portion that lists the items that need to be taken care of right away.

 

2. “Are the systems updated?” Specifically, buyers will want to find out whether the home’s electrical and plumbing systems have been upgraded. 

 

3. “If rooms have been added, were they done so with permits?” If square footage was added onto a home without the proper permits, this may cause issues during your purchase. 

 

4. “How old is the roof?” Redoing a roof can cost tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of the home. So if a home’s roof is nearing the end of its life, you’ll need to factor in this expense before submitting an offer. 

 

"Asking how the seller is handling offers will make you look like a real estate pro. "

 

5. “Is there anything unusual about this property?” This question will allow the agent to let you in on any unexpected or strange details, good or bad, that might not have been openly advertised. 

 

6. “How is the seller handling offers?” Asking this question will make you look like a real estate pro.

 

7. “Are the disclosures ready?” This will make it clear that you’re a serious buyer. Also, in addition to asking this question, you may also want to ask how many disclosure packets have already been given out, as this will give you an idea of how much competition you’re up against.

 

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Oct. 5, 2018

4 Questions That Will Help You Find Out What You’re Great At

If you want to find out what your ideal career is, you need to know what you’re great at, and there are four questions you can ask yourself to figure this out. 

 

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To find the right career path, you need to figure out what you’re great at. 

 

Many people hear this and think, “Well, I’m great at a lot of stuff—how can I pick the right one?” Here’s the thing—you might be good or above average at a lot of things, but no one’s great at everything. My definition of being “great” at something means you’re better than 90% to 95% of the population at it. Are you in the 95th percentile of everything you do? Of course not—no one is. 

 

How do you find that one thing you’re great at? There are four questions you must ask yourself:

 

1. What did you grow up seeing? In other words, what’s your background? What did your parents do for a living? That’s something you were exposed to constantly for many years when you were a kid, so you’ll naturally have more experience in this specific area. 

 

2. What do strangers say you’re great at? You need feedback from strangers because it’s the most honest feedback you’ll ever get. Your family and friends care about you, so they’ll be inclined to tell you what you want to hear. 

 

3. What can you talk about effortlessly? What’s something that you have so much knowledge of that you can talk about it endlessly even when you’re not working?

 

4. What have you been doing for the last five to 10 years? If you’ve been doing something for over five years, you’re probably good at it, and you might like it enough to keep doing it. 

 

"Asking these four questions should give you an idea of what you’re great at. "

 

So, for example, if:
  • Your mom sold auto insurance…
  • People say you’re good in front of the camera…
  • You can always talk about cars effortlessly…
  • You’ve been working in a TV station for the last six years...

 

You might be perfect as an automobile journalist. 

 

That’s just an example, of course, but that’s how you can use these four questions to find your ideal career. If you have any questions about this topic or there’s anything else I can assist you with, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to speak to you. 
Sept. 5, 2018

Watch Out for These 6 Home Buyer Pet Peeves

Today I’ll walk you through six pet peeves buyers have when it comes to visiting homes.

 

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There are six things sellers can do that are sure to turn homebuyers off:


  1. A smelly home. Imagine walking into a home you’ve been searching for for months, and   when you finally step into the home at an open house, you’re met by a wall of terrible odor. Bad smells are sure to turn off most any buyer, so be sure to keep your home smelling fresh and clean.
  2. Clutter. When a home is cluttered with stuff, it makes the home appear smaller and gives the impression that you don’t take good care of the home. Pack away unneeded items and give your home a clean, spacious feel.

  3. Unusual colors. Even though you might like fun, uncommon colors on your walls, a buyer might not. To appeal to a wider range of people, repaint your home with neutral colors before inviting buyers in for a showing.

  4. Dark rooms. About 54% of people mention that the lighting of a home is important to them. If a room is too dark, it makes it look small and gloomy. Luckily, this is an easy fix; just turn on all the lights and add new ones if necessary. Opening the blinds on windows will also let in more natural light to augment your efforts.

  5. Stained walls. Walls that have stains on them cause the buyer to think there might be mold or some kind of leakage. Even the notion of a health hazard can send buyers running.

  6. Outdated bathrooms. This is a popular area to critique, and if buyers see a bathroom that hasn’t been updated since the 80s, they probably won’t find it attractive. Update your fixtures, tiling, and vanities if necessary. Updating your bathroom can also have an ROI of 100% or more.


If you have an questions about selling your home or preparing it for the market, reach out to us. We’d be glad to guide you so that you can get the most money possible for your home.

 

Aug. 9, 2018

What Are the 10 Most Expensive Places to Buy Real Estate?

San Francisco may not be a cheap place to live, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the list of top 10 most expensive cities to buy a home in. Here’s the full list.

 

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Today we’re going to be talking about the top 10 most expensive cities in the world to buy real estate in. If you think San Francisco is expensive, think again. We didn’t even make this list, and it's why people are still buying homes here. Here’s the list:
10. Singapore. The average price per square foot for a home in Singapore is $1,375. A 1,200 square foot apartment will cost you $1.7 million.
9. Tokyo, Japan. The average price per square foot here is $1,380. There are over 7 million people here and because the supply is so low, you’d pay $1.75 million for that 1,200 square foot apartment.
8. Paris, France. The average price per square foot in this historic city is $1,400. That same sized apartment would cost over $1.7 million here as well.
7. Vienna, Austria. This historic city is the second-largest German speaking city behind Berlin. Homes here cost $1,450 per square foot and over $1.75 million for a 1,200 square foot apartment.
6. Geneva, Switzerland. With just six square miles of city, prices are being driven up in Geneva with the average price per square foot at $1,550. It’s also a great place for billionaires to hide their money. The average monthly rent here is $5,000. If you want to buy a 1,200 square foot apartment here, it would cost $1.85 million.

"The average rent in NYC is $7,200 per month."

5. Moscow, Russia. 12 million people live in Moscow and because of that, everyone wants a piece of real estate. The average price per square foot here is $1,600. A 1,200 square foot apartment here would cost you around $2 million.
4. New York, New York. The average price per square foot here is $1,850 and the average rent is $7,200 per month. If you want to buy a 1,200 square foot apartment here, it’s going to cost $2.2 million.
3. Hong Kong. Billionaires come to Hong Kong to preserve their wealth and avoid capital gains, and with over 7 million people, demand is high. The average price per square foot here is $2,550 and the average rent is around $7,000. If you want to buy that 1,200 square foot apartment, it’s going to cost you $3 million.
2. London, England. In London, the average price per square foot is $3,450. The average rent is $11,000 a month, and to buy a 1,200 square foot property would set you back $4 million.
1. Monaco. The average price per square foot here is $6,000 because the city is only one square mile. This is one of the richest cities in the world, and celebrities and other wealthy people flock here. It’s going to cost you $7 million for a 1,200 square foot apartment over here.
There you have it. If you have any questions or know anyone who wants to buy or sell a home in San Francisco, give me a call or send me an email.I look forward to hearing from you soon.