Buying Property: Why, When & Where.
WHY WE BUY.
Reasons why we buy:
Chances of getting rent back when you leave an apartment? None.
Ability to live in a bond, stock option, or index fund? None.
Benefits renters get from various tax deductions and exclusions? None.
Buying power for buyers purchasing with historically low interest rates? More.
WHEN WE BUY.
Like San Francisco’s Climate, The Best Time To Buy Real Estate Is Unlike Everywhere Else.
The Right Time to Buy Depends.
How often ‘conventional wisdom’ about when the best time to sell or buy is correct? Sometimes.
Calendar events after which more properties hit the market: The Super Bowl and Labor Day.
Calendar events after which less properties are on the the market: July 4th and mid-December.
STEP ONE: WHERE DO WE START?
A Word From Your Sponsor
Yes—You’re Buying a Home, But You’re Building Wealth too.
Most people will view a home purchase as place where you’ll live. Whether a bathroom is en suite (directly adjacent to) a bedroom is more of a concern than whether you’re maximizing a given multiplier effect. Of course home buying is about the fun of the chase, discovery and victory. You get to learn about the City in which you live (or want to live) and get a glimpse of how people live (or how they strive to live).
But look at a property purchase like you would look at a stock, baseball card, precious metal — i.e., as a commodity and the financing of it. Like any other good investment asset, most real estate allows you to build equity and to build wealth proactively by putting your money to use fully as opposed to simply paying rent. In a city like ours where finite land has been developed maturely, where public policy pressures the marketplace this making new development and/or redevelopment i cost-prohibitive if not bureaucratically challenging, real estate is naturally positioned to appreciate.
Buying makes even more sense if you can hold property for some years either as an investment property or because you’re simply not paying rent. Historically low mortgage interest rates make the prospect even better because having a fixed interest rate at 3.5% or 4.5% will mean you’re paying more principal down faster thereby earning you more money.
San Francisco’s property market has been up, down and all around but the trend always positive. Knowing how to sort out skews, distortions and missed bargains out there is my job. This is all the more reason to work with a skilled professional like me.
A quick note on commissions: Remember, as a buyer, you never pay your agent directly. Nor do we agents get paid until we actually close a transaction. If the escrow falls apart no one gets paid at all!
Kevin was a superb real estate agent, and did a great job helping us buy our first home! Kevin is funny and personable, and knows how to get the job done. Since this was our first time buying a house and San Francisco has a wacky market, the first time we met with Kevin he took the time to sit down with us and give us the low down on San Francisco real estate, which we really appreciated.
Kevin is always available, whether it be via text message, email, or phone call. He was very responsive and hard working. Additionally, Kevin sends all his clients weekly updates about new homes that are available and how the market is looking. He helped us find the perfect house, and we couldn’t be happier. I highly recommend Kevin as a real estate agent!
— Dana and Drew
Buyers, UCSF Medical Student & Intel Chip Design Engineer (Miraloma Park)
Kevin’s great! He helped me get an amazing condo in Hayes Valley by giving me really sound advice on how to write a winning offer. He is super knowledgeable, energetic, and fun to work with. I’d definitely recommend him for your home purchase.
— Brian W.
Google & uber
Buyer, Hayes Valley
Our approach to real estate comes from a different perspective: We believe we should collaborate with our clients and we should deliver comprehensive information so that our clients are aware and make the best decisions they can.
—Kevin+Jonathan (and Raffi)
I met Kevin at an open house in the Sunset district and was impressed by his warm and engaging personality immediately. He soon began to help me find a place that I can call home. He was very receptive to my needs and easy to work with. I am impressed with his knowledge and his enthusiasm. He loves what he does and I am very blessed to have him as my agent and would recommend him to anyone that needs to find a place to live in this beloved city of San Francisco.
Retired Music Professor, Stanford University, Buyer (Upper Market)
Kevin Ho is an excellent real estate agent. When I was looking for a real estate agent to buy a home, I had some basic criteria and he far exceeded it. He is friendly, smart, and very familiar with the legal side of buying a home. He is a genuine person who will look out for your best interests. I would highly recommend Kevin. It would be difficult to find a better agent.
— Gregg O.
Water Engineer, San Francisco Power Water Sewer, Buyer & Homeowner (Golden Gate Heights)
Location. Location. Location.
Where: On The Districts—The MLS Explained
Take a look at how us realtors organize the City on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) – which is the clearinghouse that is the most commonly used database where current properties for sale are listed and where past sales information is retained.
Ten large geographic ‘districts‘ comprise the MLS Districts; within each are a number of smaller subdistricts. So, when we speak of “District 9” we’re referring to SoMa and South among others. And when we say “5J”, we’re talking Duboce Triangle only. Keep mind these districts are different than city supervisor ones. All the districts have their own character, Districts 1 and 2 tend to be foggier as they’re closer to the ocean and Districts 5, 6 and 9 tend to be the sunnier ones in the City for example.
What about the fog in San Francisco?
Fog in San Francisco is not like the fog you grew up with or that you see on TV that comes from heat and humidity that is more stagnant. San Francisco’s fog is instead wind-driven, cool (if not cold) and predictable. The fog here is caused by unequal heating of the Earth’s surface. The inland areas of the East Bay heat up from the sun and that hot land interacts with the cool ocean air. The difference between in humidity and temperature tries to equalize and are focused through the Golden Gate of all places and the moisture-laden air condenses into (you guessed it) fog! The fog can lead to nearly 40-degree temperature differences between the beach and inland locations. It certainly impacts desirability of property and resulting land values.
Where You're At
Timing is Everything
When are We Buying?
There are still plenty of old school agents and clients in San Francisco. Why does this matter? Well, unlike agents who are plugged in 24/7 many of these agents tend to bring their listings on only at certain times of the year based on the calendar if they have their way. These times coincide with the Super Bowl (no, really), the 4th of July, Labor Day and Christmas. The idea that people have other things to do on Sundays until they don’t. Knowing when and how to debut is my job and profession and is something I will collaborate with you and your needs.
As first time homebuyers (and in SF no less!), Kevin helped my wife and I navigate the process from beginning to end. With his exceptional help, we were able to quickly find a place we loved. As others have mentioned, he is extremely responsive and his prior legal background helped in explaining the various contracts we were looking at. We will definitely use Kevin again when looking for our next home and highly recommend him to everyone out there.
Navigating the complicated and competitive SF marketplace Kevin helped us stay on time, on budget and ultimately find exactly what we wanted.
— Adam & Amy
Creative Director, Goodby, Silverstein & Partners & Chef
Buyers, Mission Dolores
Prior to meeting Kevin, my wife and I felt lost as we started the process of looking to purchase our first home. Kevin was an excellent coach throughout the journey, holding our hand through every step, always available to answer any question (big or small). Kevin’s guidance is the reason we ended up winning the offer on our new home and we would highly recommend him to anyone looking to navigate the SF home buying process.
— Taylor & Carolyn
Startup & Attorney
Buyers, Glen park