Mastering the San Francisco Real Estate Market: 5 Advanced Homebuying Strategies for Homes, Lofts, Condos, & TICs

Sell First, Then Buy? Buy First, Then Sell?

The answer to this tricky question really depends on your personal situation & the real estate market where you live. Your time line, financial capabilities, immediate needs, and the current market conditions will factor into whether it makes more sense for you to buy, then sell or sell, then buy. Also at play is your own personal style and way of living at home. If you live in a museum, a.k.a. a clutter-free, minimalist & neutral home, it will be easier for you to sell your home for top-dollar while you live there.

It would be a disservice to your for me to give one hard set of rules for everyone. In order to recommend various options for your San Francisco real estate needs, I’d have to understand your circumstances in detail. Together, we would plan the best approach for you.

Timing is everything in San Francisco real estate and our ability to act and react QUICKLY should be of utmost importance to you. After all, time is not only money but also emotional and psychological energy!

In case this vague answer is not enough for ya, here are some real-life examples….Ripped From the Headlines of my Clients’ Lives! *

Example 1: Tom, successful attorney, minimalist guy.

Situation: Selling his SoMa loft; Buying a Victorian flat in Noe Valley.

Factors at Play:

  1. The SoMa loft market was strong; well-priced and presented lofts were selling within a couple of weeks & with multiple offers.
  2. The 2–Unit TIC market was even stronger. Making a purchase would require extremely aggressive offers and perhaps, multiple tries before being the successful bid.
  3. Tom had the financial wherewith all to have 2 mortgages for a month or two.
  4. Tom’s loft was in a coveted building and location. His design aesthetic is minimal and stylish. The place looked professionally staged already!
  5. With his busy job and flexible schedule, Tom was able to keep his loft clean and available for showings with short notice.

In this situation, we were confident that his loft would sell quickly & for over-asking as long as the price was right, he kept up the good look, and we did some high-tech, high-touch marketing.

We were not as confident about the timing of his purchase. Tom is a conservative guy, looking for a good value. He was willing to try more than once to get the right home, at the right price. He was not interested in paying way to much for his new home just to outdo the Joneses! He knew he’d have to make an aggressive, over the asking price offer but always did so within the realm of reason. In the end, Tom wrote 3 offers before landing his Noe Valley duplex TIC.

Outcome: Buy First, Then Sell.

While Tom was shopping for his San Francisco Tenancy-in-Common, we prepared his South of Market loft for sale. As soon as he went into escrow and removed his contract contingencies, we put his loft on the market. We sold his loft within 2 weeks with multiple offers and for more than his asking price. He had 2 mortgages for less than a month!

Example 2: Melanie, successful marketing executive

Situation:  Selling her Potrero Hill condo; Moving to London for exciting new position & career advancement.

Factors at Play:

  1. The Potrero Hill condo market was strong. Potrero Hill has such limited inventory that cute condos on the North Slope are usually in full demand and short supply! Melanie’s condo was walking distance to 18th & Connecticut, home to Chez Papa, Chez Maman, Goat Hill Pizza, Eliza’s and so much more.
  2. Her new company was paying to relocate her and setting her up in an apartment in Notting Hill. She had a place to live in London as she got her bearings. If the job worked out and she decided to stay, Melanie planned to purchase a flat there. If not, she would move back to San Francisco and buy a new condo.
  3. Her new company wanted her to move ASAP. Melanie wanted to make sure her condo was sold before moving overseas.
  4. Melanie’s condo is chic and her modern style would show well in the market. Though not as minimalist as Tom, with some help from our stager & a small local storage unit, we were able to make her place ready for showing, while enabling her to continue living there.

Outcome: Sell First, then Move.

Melanie wanted to take care of her affairs here in San Francisco before moving overseas. It was a big deal to up-root her life for this new adventure so she needed the stability of knowing her condo was sold & the money was in the bank. Since she was not sure where her life would lead her in the coming 1–3 years, Melanie wanted to keep her sales’ proceeds in more liquid investments. When she decided where she was going to live for the next few years, she’d have the money ready for her down payment. Melanie understood that her condo had to look like it was staged and was a great sport. We sold her condo within the month and she bought her plane tickets!

There are many more examples of how folks have successfully structured the timing of their San Francisco real estate sales and purchases. The main point here is that every situation is unique and it’s important for you to determine the best plan for you!

*Please note all names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Tags: Potrero+Hill+condo, SoMa+loft, Noe+Valley+TIC, Tenancy-in-Common,
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