Buyer Tips

Working with us makes you an insider. We see buying and selling real estate as a creative process, and we like to share. We believe that well-informed clients make the best partners. The results speak for themselves.

Challenging Market Conditions Hold Back First-Time Home Buyer Activity

Although mortgage rates remain favorable and the U.S. job market is chugging right along, tight affordability conditions and student debt are among the factors preventing more first-time buyers from diving in to the housing market.

Millennials’ Student Debt Is Larger Than Their Incomes

Lingering student loans are causing younger Americans to make important life sacrifices, including postponing a home purchase.

Choosing a Moving Company? Let the Buyer Beware.

Most movers are reputable businesses, but scam operators will always follow a money trail, so make your plans with eyes wide open.

Economic Straight Talk: Is Cash King? Certainly in Some Bay Area Housing Markets.

All-cash buyers are more likely to purchase a home for investment and/or tax advantages, while those with mortgages are most likely to buy because they are tired of renting.

Get Cooking (Outside) With an Outdoor Kitchen

Adding an outdoor kitchen sees an average return on investment of 100 percent to 200 percent.

Economic Straight Talk: Sizing Up the Competition – How Many Offers Are You Betting Against?

Competition has increased again in Bay Area housing markets this summer, with 6 in 10 homes selling over the asking price.

How Much Do Utility Bills Add to Bay Area Home Ownership Costs?

Some home shoppers may overlook electricity, water, and gas bills when calculating affordability, but utilities can add a significant amount to the cost of ownership.

You’re a New Homeowner? Congratulations! Now Get to Work.

Your new home is finally all yours! Here’s a look at the most important tasks facing new homeowners.

First-Time Buyers Spending Significantly More on Home Renovations

First-time buyers pumped quite a bit more money into renovations in 2016 and they’re especially keen on installing smart technologies.

Creating an Older-Adult-Friendly Home

With an increasingly aging population comes the need to modify homes to suit that demographic.

Gates, Plugs, and Guards, Oh My: Childproofing Your Home

Here are some items, big and small, that you will want to consider when creating a child-friendly home.

San Francisco Homeowner Remodeling Spend Is Among the Nation’s Highest

U.S. home-remodeling spend has surpassed its previous peak, as owners in metro areas like San Francisco, spare no expense on upgrades.

What Are Homebuyers’ Biggest Regrets?

Half of all U.S. homeowners would do something differently if they could repeat the purchase process.

Pets Have a Big Say in the Homes We Buy, Sell, and Remodel

A new report from the National Association of Realtors shows just how far we’ll go to keep our pets happy.

First-Time Buyers Overestimate Down-Payment Size

The down payment may not be as big of a hurdle as many first-time buyers believe.

Home Amenities More Important Than Size, Buyers Say

A recent survey by the National Association of Home Builders found that more than two-thirds of home buyers are willing to accept less living space in exchange for specific amenities.

A Checklist for Finding Your Dream Neighborhood

We’ve put together a high-level list of things to consider when plotting the location of your next home.

How Long Will This Take? A Look at Major Home-Renovation Projects

Here’s a short guide on what timelines to expect for some common home-renovation projects.

New Year Resolutions for Homebuyers and Sellers

Maybe you’ve been thinking about buying a home in 2017 — or selling one. Now is a good time to set some realistic goals!

Suburban Communities Fit the Bill for Millennial Homebuyers

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of millennials are suburbanites, and most of them are buying their first homes in these types of communities.

Keep Your Home and Loved Ones Safe This Holiday Season

Take a moment and review our checklist to help keep you and your loved ones safe during the holidays.

Something Winter This Way Comes: Tips for Protecting Your Home

Check out these tips for winter-proofing your home to prepare for the seasonal storms, which have already started.

Smart Home Technologies Have Broad Appeal and Can Cut Insurance Bills

Internet-connected smart home devices have wide appeal with today’s buyers and some insurance carriers are offering discounts to owners who wire their home with smart amenities.

Demystifying Homeowner Associations

Homeowners associations act as both landlords and mini-governments to their members, which means homeowners have rights that HOAs should both acknowledge and protect.

It’s Fire Prevention Week: How Old Are the Smoke Alarms in Your Home?

How old are the smoke alarms in your home? Did you know that state and federal fire-safety officials recommend that smoke alarms be replaced at least every 10 years?

Title Insurance — Is It Really Necessary?

Title insurance is one of those arcane parts of the home buying experience that many people don’t pay much attention to — until they have to.

Average Down-Payment Savings Time: 3 Years

According to a new NerdWallet survey, which found that one in four homeowners saved money every month in order to swing the down payment on their property.

Public Transit a Major Value-Add for Homebuyers, Survey Finds

A recent poll backs up what we here in the Bay Area have long known to be true: Access to public transportation is quite important to today’s home buyers.

Visualize! : Using Virtual Tools When Remodeling

Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives.

Researchers Say Your Backyard Is Good for Your Health

The benefits of an outdoor environment are many and varied. If you have a backyard, no matter how small, do yourself a favor and add greenery wherever you can.

Bay Area Cities Rank Among Best in U.S. for Public Transit

San Francisco ranks No. 2 in the U.S., behind Washington, D.C., for best public-transit systems, with an overall index score of 98.12 out of a possible 100.

Winter Storms Are Coming. Are You Ready?

There is no debate about the strength of the El Niño weather patterns this winter. The steps you take now will greatly improve your chances of weathering the storms high and dry.

Is Your Home Properly Insulated? Are You Sure?

90 percent of American homes don’t have enough insulation. Increased home insulation reportedly would also reduce levels of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.

New-Home Construction Costs Explained

When you purchase a newly built home, what are you actually paying for?

Homebuyers: It’s October. Are You Ready?

October is a busy month for real estate. Buying a home is one the most important transactions of your lifetime, and it’s smart to have a strategy.

Buying a Home? Insist on an Inspection.

If you’re in the market for a new home, don’t forget to include a home inspection on your list of priorities before you even think of signing a contract.

Bay Area Rental-Property Return Rates Lower Than National Average

Even with the Bay Area’s astronomical rental costs, expensive home prices mean that buyers who purchase an investment property they plan to rent will see smaller returns than those in the rest of the country.

California Homebuyers Say Neighborhood Safety Is Top Concern, Followed by Walkability, Schools

Neighborhood safety is the most important factor in choosing a new home, according to a new survey of California home buyers. Other top concerns include walk-ability and quality of schools.

Buying a Home in the Bay Area Is Still Cheaper Than Renting

Home prices grew slightly faster than rents across the country over the past year, but purchasing a property remains the less-expensive option, thanks in part to low mortgage rates.

Buying a Home Can Be Stressful, No Question

People are more anxious about the home buying process (70 percent) than they are about getting a root canal (64 percent)!

In California, Water Conservation Begins at Home

Whether you are a home buyer or a seller, water conservation will increasingly be a part of your real estate discussions — and decisions.

March is a Busy Month for Buyers and Sellers. Are You Ready?

March is one of the busiest months of the year for Northern California home buyers and sellers. Are you ready for the springtime real estate rush?

The Coffeehouse Effect: Follow Starbucks for Neighborhoods With Rising Home Values

The opening of a Starbucks store is a remarkably accurate predictor of rising home prices in the area.

Plan Ahead to Make Your New-Year Real Estate Resolutions a Reality

Follow these sensible steps to help make your 2015 real estate resolution a reality.

Drought Conditions Call for Special Attention to Landscaping

Sustainable landscaping is much more than simply choosing a desert motif and packing your yard with cacti and succulents.

A Reminder to Homebuyers: Annoy Sellers at Your Peril

Prospective buyers would do well to remember that they won’t get any closer to their goal of home ownership by annoying sellers.

Real Estate Tops Gold as Best Long-Term Investment

Real estate ranks ahead of gold, stocks, bonds, or savings accounts as the best long-term investment today.

San Francisco Luxury Real Estate Prices Growing But Still a Relative Bargain

Even with vigorous price and sales volume gains, San Francisco remains a relative bargain when compared with other top international cities.

Freddie Mac: Bay Area Housing Markets Gaining Strength and Stabilizing

The San Francisco metro area ranked 13th among the nation’s top 50 metro markets in terms of stable housing conditions.

Buying a Home in the Bay Area Is Still More Affordable Than Renting

Even with a sustained rise in home prices over the past year, buying a home is significantly cheaper than renting one in the Bay Area.

Top Tips for Mortgage Borrowers in 2014

In the market for a mortgage? Take a look at these helpful mortgage tips for 2014.

Home Automation Moving Closer to Reality

Real smart-home technology is advancing rapidly and may become an integral part of our daily lives in as soon as five years.

REX HomeBuyer Helps Pacific Union Clients Buy More Home for Less Down Payment

Take advantage of a whole new way to buy a home while saving cash in this current market of high prices: REXHomeBuyer down-payment funding from San Francisco-based FirstREX.

Most-Popular Features in Luxury Homes Change With the Times

The shifting sands of consumer tastes are revealed in the latest “lab report” from Trulia, which examined the last two years of luxury-home listings to see what amenities are trending up and down.

Walkable, Mixed-Use Neighborhoods Rate Highest, Survey Finds

It turns out that walk-ability is emerging as a major factor in home buyer preferences as families increasingly turn away from cookie-cutter developments devoid of retail stores and restaurants in favor of mixed-use neighborhoods.

Moving? Plan Ahead for Your Pet’s Welfare

Days of confusion as your home is packed up are followed by the move itself, ending in unfamiliar surroundings at the new home. It’s no wonder if your dog or cat is freaked out by the whole experience.

Bay Area Move-Up Buyers: Now Is the Time to Act!

Many would-be move-up buyers have been sitting on the sidelines in recent months, crossing their fingers that the Bay Area’s super heated real estate market will cool. But conditions are about to get tougher – so hesitant move-up buyers should act now.

Rooftop Solar Panels in California More Affordable Than Ever

The dream of a rooftop solar installation is quickly becoming a reality in California, with prices falling to that of a moderately priced new car and lenders increasingly willing to offer financing.

Your Age Helps Determine the Home You Buy

A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors found sharp differences in the choices made by younger and older home buyers, reflecting different life situations and changing priorities.

The Bay Area’s Most Walkable Locations for Homebuyers

Here are the best neighborhoods, cities, and towns for Bay Area homebuyers who want to leave the car in the garage and lace up their walking shoes.

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Home with a Swimming Pool

Before diving into a home with this classic backyard amenity, would-be homeowners should weigh the pluses and minuses.

Scam Alert: Beware of Moving Companies That Hold Belongings Hostage

Moving your household belongings is difficult enough. Getting into a dispute with your moving company can be a headache on steroids.

Benefits of Homeownership Are Deep, Lasting

Recent research has found that owning a home can make families healthier, happier, and more financially secure.

Bay Area Included in Study That Links Public Transit With Stable Property Values

Living near a public transit line can be a desirable perk in crowded cities, but a recent study revealed that it also helps keep home prices stable.

Take Steps to Protect Your Home From Mold

Mold spores are present everywhere in our environment. But with a little bit of effort you can keep household mold in its place – out of your home.

Digital Tools Make Home Inventories Easy

Whether you are preparing to move or happily settled, it’s important to keep an inventory of your household possessions.

Home Inspections: A Primer and Checklist

Home inspections are an essential part of the home buying process, but what constitutes a thorough inspection and how do you find the right professional to do the job?

What is a TIC and is Owning One Risky?

Tenancies-in-common, also called tenants-in-common or TICs, remain a popular housing option in San Francisco – but they can prove befuddling to the uninitiated.

Russian Hill Offers Stunning Views, Cable Cars, and the World’s Crookedest Street

A classic San Francisco neighborhood, Russian Hill offers stunning views, vibrant businesses, and plenty of local history.

Is It Risky to Buy a Home with Unpermitted Work?

Many Bay Area homebuyers have been there. You’re checking out listings online and find a great two-bedroom house with a “bonus” in-law unit downstairs. Or you get the disclosures for what looked like your dream home — only to discover the current owner added a bathroom without permits.

Head to Kentfield for Great Weather, Schools

Nestled in the heart of Marin County, the unincorporated community of Kentfield enjoys beautiful weather, large lot sizes, and a highly ranked school system.

Bay Area Homes More Affordable Than Ever

The California Association of Realtors has released its quarterly Housing Affordability Index…

Trend Watch: More Renters are Ready to Become Buyers

Deep inside a home renter lurks a potential home buyer. And as the housing industry climbs toward firm footing, renters are thinking more about owning a piece of property they can call home.

To Get a Mortgage, Start With the Perfect Loan File

Getting a mortgage approval isn’t what’s tough for most consumers. Rather, it’s the challenge of meeting the new documentation requirements that sends most people screaming for the hills. So says Mark Greene in Forbes. Greene argues that most lenders aren’t looking to underwrite the perfect loan (e.g., one that pays back the lender on time). Instead, they are looking for the perfect loan file. Here’s how to make sure yours is up to snuff.

Where Do You Want To Live Your Life?

Watch this video to get the creative juices flowing as you attempt to answer this question…

Much Needed Inventory Could Be Coming Soon!

What’s one of our secrets to predicting the arrival of new, fresh inventory to the market? We talk regularly with different stagers to get an idea of their sales pipelines- which can become a useful leading indicator of an inventory surge or an inventory shortage.

How Interest Rates Affect Purchasing Power

We’re sure it comes as no surprise to most of you, but did you know that interest rates have a direct affect on what one can afford? A little number crunching shows just how much purchasing power is lost with interest rate increases. Ae the economy recovers, we outline why it may be better to buy now than waiting for the market to bottom out.