Tips for Buyers

Tips for Buyers

Try to look beyond the furniture, the artwork and the personal items.
Instead, try to focus on…
The location of the property.
The quality of construction.
The layout of the house.
The dimensions of the rooms.
The possibilities for customization and sweat-equity improvement.
And, of course… The view!

If you buy this house, everything not attached will be gone.
Try to imagine all of YOUR possessions in this house.
Make it your own, in your mind.

Happy Buying !

Train Your Buyers

Train Your Buyers

After many years in this business, I still can’t get over how picky some Buyers are. What really bothers me is that they are not picky about the right things.
I’ve seen Buyers breeze through an open house or a private tour gawking at all the personal items in the house, or even if it is professionally staged, they comment on some of the particular staging items.

They must realize that after escrow closes, NONE of those unattached items will be left there.

As Realtors representing Buyers, we must educated them to look at the location of the property foremost, then the layout of the house, then the dimensions of the rooms, then the amenities included in the sale…in that order…and that’s all!

This education of our Buyer clients is one of the most useful services we can offer. Pre-approval for financing, searching for property in their price range and location, negotiating on their behalf for the best deal, writing the strongest offer for them, following through in escrow with all the inspections and contingencies, and assistance in re-locating are all great services to our clients.

But, without sitting down with them first and showing them exactly HOW to look at property, we are limiting their search and their eventual satisfaction.
As, primarily a listing agent, I can tell if a Buyer is a lookie-loo, a nosy neighbor, or an intelligent, serious Buyer.

The trouble is Buyers only do this once in a blue moon. Very few really have any experience at Buying.  As agents, it is up to us to give them the guidance they need. After all, we do this all the time.

Happy Buying!

The Current Market

The Current Real Estate Market

I’ve heard this current market (San Francisco, Bernal Heights) as “crazy” or “unpredictable”.
I have another explanation.
Perhaps you’re heard of the “Real estate ladder”? “Progressive Investing”? “Sweat Equity“?
Well, we have some Buyers these days who have apparently NOT heard of these money making techniques.
These are mostly Millennials who are looking for a nice home for themselves and either just inherited a boat load of money, or perhaps, they recently landed a super tech job that provides them with unlimited disposable cash.
They are very used to getting everything they want, exactly as they want it, right now when they want it. They feel that they can skip all the traditional steps in Real Estate investing and just jump right to the top. Hey, more power to them!
They are either too busy or just don’t want to take the time to buy a “fixer”, live in it, improve it over time, then sell it and move up (that’s the Real Estate Ladder).
They want steel, glass, stainless, granite all sterile and perfect the day they move in.
THAT’s why the market is so unpredictable. A perfectly good home sitting on the market, while another one sells for $500,000 over asking right away.
I currently have a listing for $2MM that could be worth $3MM if we could just convince ONE of these Buyers of the possibility. A little planning and work can do wonders.
Bring your Buyers!
175 Montcalm, San Francisco

Prepping and Staging

Here’s an example of how I would prepare a house for listing to get maximum bucks!  Call and to see what I can do for YOU!


Pre-sale Projects

Prepping and Staging


First…correct leaks and mold problems in master bath and back bedroom.

Improve curb appeal. Re-paint entire front façade. Build new concrete planters. Stain awnings charcoal to match roof facades.

Rehab kitchen. Install all new stainless appliances. Install mini subway-tile backsplash.

Remove all clutter in entire house. No family photos. Leave only the best furniture, artwork, and lighting pieces. Clear out garage!

Paint entire roof deck and railings. Arrange comfortable decking furniture and fire-pit.

Re-paint rear deck and plant colorful annuals.

Last…Improve entrance and stairways. Re-paint brickwork. Shampoo carpets. Install fancy, colorful carpet runners with brass hold-down rods.

List for minimum $2MM. Offer $20,000 (maximum) buyer’s credit through escrow for customization features, but only with licensed contractor’s itemized bid.


Number 1 Agent?

“Number 1 Agent” or Low-Volume Agent?


In my area of Bernal Heights, we have a self-proclaimed “Number 1” Agent.

I, on the other hand, am a low-volume agent. Typically, I only list and/or sell 3 or 4 properties per year.

Which Agent would you choose for your listing?

If you believe the hype, the so-called “Number 1 Agent” has the most experience and will service your listing best.

That’s a questionable assumption.

I have been doing real estate deals for over 35 years, before most agents were even in the business.

The most important experience is overall experience, not transactions per year.

Typically, a high volume agent may be with you for the initial listing meeting, and then pass the listing off to much less experienced, younger agents in his company. You may never see him/her again.

On the contrary, when I get a listing, I give it 100% of my effort and see it through to its successful conclusion.  This is because I don’t have several other listings that I am spreading myself thin over, trying to maximize profit at the expense of personal service.

I am here for my clients 24/7 and I utilize all the other agents in our company, our very experienced transaction coordinators, professional escrow agents, and our lead Broker. This profession team assures that every aspect of each of my transactions is double and triple checked every step of the way for accuracy, compliance, disclosure, and legality.

Next time, call me for a free market analysis and consultation. I will discuss with you the current market situation, recent comparable sales, and the prepping and staging techniques for your property that impress discriminating buyers and maximize your sales price.

Alan C Pursell, Realty World, Blue Property Group, Inc. (415) 425-2014


Building on a Vacant Lot

Building on a Vacant Lot

This is my personal favorite way to get exactly what you want in Real Estate!

I always thought it was so challenging for a Buyer or Buyer’s Agent to look for a house with exactly all the demands  on the Buyer’s list. It can be so frustrating unless the buyer is willing to accept certain compromises and be able to make some modifications either immediately through escrow, or later on as time and money warrant.

I also always think it is quite challenging for a Seller to make upgrades to a house to prep it for sale. In the process, they try to second guess the tastes of the buyer. Some buyers will like granite, stainless, and hardwood, some will not!

But, building your dream house on a vacant lot…or doing what’s called a “90% teardown”…a Buyer will be able to get exactly what they want, ready for them the day they move in.

The requirements are…

  • Finding the lot – Like they say, “They aren’t making any more land”. Especially in desirable areas with good views, schools, etc.  
  • Up front money – most construction loans require at least 20% “participation” in the project. As a rule of thumb, that’s about 50% ownership in the lot before construction. The construction loan and the lot loan can then be rolled into a mortgage when the final inspection is successful.
  • Most importantly, you’ve got to visualize the finished house before it’s built. An architect can be helpful, but is not really necessary…they may charge as much as 30% of the construction cost, and then design the house for THEIR taste and their professional ego. If you have at least some experience with building and have access to a good general contractor, engineer, and drafting service, you can do the design yourself. I highly recommend having a model build after the design is complete. You’ve GOT to be able to visualize walking, sitting, sleeping…living in the house BEFORE it’s built!
  • When you’re satisfied and totally SURE this is the design of the house you want, the fun begins. You’re got to get permission with the HOA or the neighborhood review board. When you get that, it’s time to apply with the city for the actual permit.
  • Finally, there’s the “soft costs”. The developer (YOU!) has to pay for the permits, the water, sewer, and gas hookups, the lot prep and the plans and engineering costs.

Here’s a real life, current example…

I have a lot on the west slope of Bernal Heights for sale right now. The seller wants $649,000. It’s only 25’ X 70’, but has the most primo view in the city, in my opinion. Looking west to Twin Peaks as the fog oozes over the hills!  Construction costs for a 3bd, 3ba, 2200sq ft, three level house are at least $1,200,000. The best comparable existing house sold recently for $1,800,000.  So, my targeted Buyers are NOT builders or Flipper Investors. (no immediate profit). I will have to find someone willing to do what I did, myself 25 years ago…buy the lot, design the house, jump through all the hoops to get it built, and then live in it for 20 or 30 years.

One universal truth in Real Estate is that if you have enough TIME, you WILL make money!

And… you’ve got to live somewhere…why not ENJOY it !       

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Unsolicited CMAs?

Unsolicited CMA’s???

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) is a sophisticated, report on a property requiring quite a bit of research and time and effort. I’ve done many of them using all kinds of sources from MLS to manual searches on commercial web sites.

I have also received several CMAs from other agents who wanted to list my own personal residence.  Occasionally, they just appear at my door, unsolicited! WOW!

I’m guessing these very aggressive agents have selected my house as something they wanted to list and sell. They can’t be doing a lot of these reports. They are not something to take lightly like some piece of junk mail. These are expensively printed and nicely bound, thick bond paper, presentations. Just a hundred or so could break the bank as far as your marketing budget. But, you can just do as many as you can afford right now.

So, I thought…why not give it a go myself?!

Therefore, recently, I have taken it upon myself to create CMAs for houses that I felt are ripe for listing. Here are some of my criteria…

  • A previous client who backed out, or fell out of a deal.
  • A house that is just about complete in a rehab project.
  • An expired listing.
  • A probate property.  
  • A neglected property.
  • A recently retired couple.

I’m sure there’s more, that’s just a sampling. If they just happen to be thinking about listing at that time and they receive a nice CMA, don’t you think they would call you first over some agent sending a postcard or newsletter?

Of course, the difference in the cost and time and effort limits your prospecting using this method. But, you can be very specific as opposed to just blanketing a huge farm. I think it’s worth a try!

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Anybody need a Burger King?

Almost Sold a Burger King

A few months ago, I got a call from a Guy who said he owned the Burger King at Valencia and Mission.

I know it well. I often park in their parking lot while picking up my burrito across the street.

He said he wanted to meet me to discuss listing the property. I was ecstatic! I did my research, ran my comps, and did the commercial analysis on the property.

It was a gold mine. He had a NOI of $150,000 on a triple-net with no mortgage! This means that the tenants were paying all the taxes, insurance, and maintenance and he was raking in $150,000 a year! NICE!

But, I couldn’t make it sound that good or I surely wouldn’t get the listing. Besides, his motivation was that they lived in the foothills and this property was passed down to him and he wasn’t able to get down here very often.

My only sales pitch was to emphasize that he could do a 1031 tax-free exchange for a similar property closer to his home. In my CMA, I suggested a listing price of $1,500,000.

It was a pleasure talking with this Guy and his wife. They thanked me for the good information and that was that. I even referred him to the local 1031 attorney for San Francisco who could then refer them to a similar local attorney where they lived.

I followed up a few times, but never heard back. I guess they realized that you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Next time I go down there, I’ll actually eat at that Burger King 😉  

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A Quick Short Sale Solution

I Have a Quick Short Sale Solution

After having gone through several traditional short sales, I wondered if there was a better way to get a Client’s distressed property sold quicker and with less stress.

Then, through my own research and networking, I found it !!!

It’s a business partner who will buy your short sale outright, negotiating directly with your bank(s) and buying your note(s).  The sale then becomes a traditional sale at a much lower price than the comparable properties. It will then sell very quickly, especially in today’s hot low-inventory, high-demand market!

This is, of course, much better and faster than a short sale or deed in lieu. Seller receives a waiver of deficiency. No 1099 is issued. No black marks on their credit from us. No seven-year waiting period to buy a new house because of bad credit. This program is discreet, no multiple walk throughs or countless people visiting your home.

If you are underwater and want out, call ME!

Let’s talk!

Alan C Pursell (415) 425-2014 

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Hello world!

Welcome to my website.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or an experienced investor, you’ll find useful information about how to choose the “right” property, making an offer, negotiating, financing, mortgage rates, moving, and everything involved in making an informed home buying decision in today’s market. If you currently own property and are thinking about selling it, this site contains information about preparing your home for sale, selecting the right agent, pricing your home appropriately, marketing it effectively, going through the inspection process, and receiving a timely market evaluation.

Please use my website as a continued resource and if you need more information on anything, please feel free to call or email me. My contact information is listed on the About page.

Thanks for visiting!

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