How quickly a home sells in San Francisco comes down to the size of the buyer pool. If a house has everything a buyer could want, you’ll get multiple offers and top dollar. If not, your home could take a little while to go into contract, and perhaps not attain the outstanding price for which you’re hoping. After all, buyers are less motivated to pay list price if a home has been sitting on the market for three weeks or longer—especially in a higher interest rate environment like we have today.
I’ve been selling real estate in San Francisco for 20 years, and have come to know what single-family home buyers in this city want. In fact, I’ve narrowed it down to the top five features that consistently end up factoring in to a successful home sale:
1. A convenient location within a popular neighborhood. We all know the “location, location, location” pretty much counts for everything in a city like San Francisco. If your house is within (flat) walking distance of a retail corridor with restaurants, shops, and cafes, you’re golden. Bonus points for being near a Muni rail line, BART, Caltrain and having easy freeway access to the South Bay.
2. A main living level with a walk-out garden. Buyers with small children place a huge value on an open main level with direct access to a large garden. Parents like the idea of being able to hang out in the kitchen and keep an eye on the kids playing in the yard. And single buyers or couples without kids like the floor plan for entertaining.
3. A primary bedroom suite. Who doesn’t love having their own bedroom and bath, especially if they come with a fireplace, luxurious finishes and a walk-in closet? (See photo above of the primary bedroom in the condo my buyers are currently purchasing, courtesy Golden Gate Sotheby’s International.) Most people would prefer not sharing the one bathroom on the top floor with their kids or guests.
4. Parking. Not having a garage—especially in a hard-to-park location—is a big drawback that will knock out a substantial portion of the buyer pool.
5. A weird floor plan. We have a very diverse housing stock in San Francisco, and many homes weren’t built for how we live today. Buyers are often okay with potentially doing a cosmetic kitchen or bath remodel in the future, but interest levels tail off when awkward floor plans are involved. Having to gut the main level of a house so it makes sense is often more than buyers want to take on.