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More ways to improve your credit

Yesterday we began a discussion on improving your credit before going to get qualified for home financing. Today we’re going to continue looking at that topic to look at some more tips from MyFico, which knows of which it speaks.

First off, let’s look at payment history, which contributes the greatest percentage (35 percent) to a FICO score calculation. If you want to improve this category, here are the steps you can take:

· Pay bills in a timely manner.

· If you’ve missed payments, get and stay current.

· Know that you can’t remove a collection account simply by paying it off.

· If you’re struggling, contact your creditors or retain a legitimate credit counselor.

Now let’s look at amounts owed, which contribute 30 percent to a FICO score. A few tips in this category:

· Keep your credit-card and revolving-credit balances low.

· Don’t move debt around – pay it off.

· Don’t try to raise your score by closing unused credit cards.

· Likewise, don’t try to increase your available credit by opening unnecessary credit accounts.

What about the length of your credit history?

· If you haven’t been managing credit for very long, don’t open many new accounts in a short time.

· Know that these new accounts lower your average account age, which in turn has a larger effect on your scores absent much other data.

· In addition, you may look like a credit risk if you’re a new credit user opening many accounts in short order.

So how to handle new credit?

· Limit your rate shopping to a focused time period as FICO scores distinguish between searching for a single loan and a search for many credit lines.

· If you’ve had issues, re-establish a good credit history.

· Know that requesting and checking your own credit report won’t cause any dings.

Finally, a few more general tips:

· Establish new credit only as needed.

· Don’t be afraid to have credit cards – but manage them with care.

· Know that closing an account doesn’t remove it from your credit report.

Have more specific questions? Get in touch!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

How can I improve my credit?

There’s really no getting around the fact that in order to get the best deal on home financing – and often to even qualify in the first place – your credit must be in good shape. Here’s the good news: even if your score needs a little boning up, there are ways to do that. You just need a little bit of patience and focus in addition to time. Start early so that you don’t have to stress out when you actually go to look for that dream home.

According to MyFico, repairing your credit can be likened to losing weight in that it’s time-consuming and there really is no quick fix. You didn’t accumulate your score overnight, and likewise you won’t fix it overnight either. Responsible management of your money over time is seen as the most likely way to rebuild your credit – but MyFico also breaks that down into actionable steps. Let’s check them out.

First, you need to check your credit report to make sure that the data contained there is current and accurate. Remember that you can get a free credit report on a periodic basis from annualcreditreport.com. Check it carefully to make sure that there are no wrongly listed late payments, that the amounts owed are correct and that there are no accounts listed falsely under your name.

Payment reminders will help you keep track of on-time bill management. Your bank may offer this through its online portal. You can also enroll in automatic payments, but keep in mind that this will only make the minimum payment and is not a way to better learn about money management.

Debt reduction is a longer-term but very positive goal. Your credit report can be used as a base here to see what you owe – and from that point on, make a vow to stop using your credit cards. You can then come up with a reasonable payment plan to get your debt down and eventually erased.

We’ll look at more credit-improvement tips tomorrow.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

This Weekend: San Francisco Pride

Talk about timing. Just after the Supreme Court’s ruling that marriage equality is constitutionally protected, the 45th annual San Francisco Pride two-day Celebration and Parade takes place June 27 through 28. The event is a commemoration of the rebellion at New York City’s Stonewall Inn after a police raid on June 27, 1969, growing to become an iconic part of the struggle for equal rights. It has been held each year since 1972 under a variety of names, according to the Pride website. These include Christopher Street West, Gay Freedom Day, International Lesbian & Gay Freedom Day Parade and its present incarnation as the San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration.

“Since its modest beginnings,” the Pride site says, “San Francisco Pride has grown to be one of the largest and most well-known Pride events in the world. Pride has come to symbolize several things: the long history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer dignity, the freedom of all people to meaningfully and proudly express their sexual and gender identities, and the commitment of LGBT people to combating oppression. From this history of rebellion grew the mission of San Francisco LGBT Pride: to educate the World, celebrate our culture, commemorate our heritage, and liberate our people.”

The festivities kick off on Saturday, June 27 in Civic Center Plaza with a gathering that will last from noon until 6 p.m. Then on Sunday, June 28, the official kickoff for the Pride Parade starts at 10:30 a.m. The march begin at 11 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. along Market Street from Beale to Eighth Street. Official parade grandstand seating begins at 9:30 a.m. at United Nations Plaza while the Official SF Pride VIP Party takes place from 2 p.m to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the City Hall Rotunda.

Enjoy!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Condos may replace car wash on Divis

One of the developers who spearheaded the iconic One Rincon Hill towers has set sights on a Divisadero Street property currently occupied by a car wash, according to the San Francisco Business Times. David Kriozere of Genesis Real Estate Group, in conjunction with property owners Roy and Patty Shimek, have begun preliminary action to construct a 158-unit condo building at 444 Divisadero (cross street Oak).

That building would encompass slightly less than 150,000 square feet and stand between four and six stories tall. The project would also include between 7,000 and 8,000 square feet of retail space, with total construction costs tentatively placed at $48 million. According to the Business Times, the project would entail demolition of the car wash and accompanying gas station as well as two other existing buildings.

The property has been owned by the Shimeks for decades. The Business Times said it was uncertain whether they would play a role in the proposed project and also whether they would retain ownership of the land itself. Formerly an executive at Urban West Associate, Kriozere was instrumental in developing One Rincon, two of the city’s tallest buildings.

This would mark one of the most sprawling recent developments on that stretch of Divisadero, which forms the border between the Lower Haight and Haight-Ashbury neighborhoods. Gentrification has been appearing there for a while – as evidenced by a Bi-Rite Market that offers incredible ice cream – with a commensurate increase in new retail and rents.

What do you think of the project and of the changes along Divisadero? Let me know.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Affordable housing heads to Chinatown

Things are proceeding apace for the Broadway-Sansome Apartments in San Francisco’s Chinatown, with 74 affordable units to be developed by the Chinatown Community Development Center. The property is designed by San Francisco architectural firm Mithun | Solomon, joining the CCDC-developed Broadway Family Apartments, which feature 81 affordable units across the street.

Multi-Housing News noted that 18 of the units at Broadway-Sansome will be reserved for previously homeless families and that 12 others will be earmarked for those displaced by the construction of the new Central Subway. CCDC director of housing development Whitney Jones told the publication that San Francisco is facing a “crisis of displacement, with long-time residents being displaced as their homes are purchased and speculative investors push them out to raise rents and reap profit.”

Jones added that few housing opportunities exist for low-income residents who are in overcrowded or low-quality properties as well as those whose housing stability is threatened or are seeking a home. The transit-rich area and well-designed building, he said, exemplify top design in affordable housing.

Funders were convinced to stick with the project despite difficult factors including a challenging site and a number of contentious neighbors. “One change we made,” Jones said, “was to increase the density so the per-unit cost was more easily accepted. With regard to neighbors, we resolved issues in part by accommodating neighbor requests, in part by design changes and in part by simply continuing to explain what this housing was about until neighbors were able to understand and accept.”

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Index: San Francisco tops worldwide luxury markets

With price growth in excess of 14 percent, our fair city is topping the 2015 Prime Global Cities Index. As reported by CBS News, the index – which was recently released by London-based real estate consultancy Knight Frank – luxury properties are averaging a pretty impressive 46 percent pricier than at their low point in the second quarter of 2009.

San Francisco’s robust technology industry was seen as a major driver for its number-one status in the index. Specifically, price growth was pinpointed at 14.3 percent annually, followed by the Asian city of Belgaluru at 13.6 percent, Miami at 12.2 percent and Vancouver at 11.8 percent.

Jonathan Miller of New York-based Miller Samuel Appraisers and Consultants told CBS News that Knight defined the concept of luxury in a variety of ways, adding that he believes the best measurement is taken by looking at the top 10 percent of transactions during a particular period. Miller Samuel provided data for Manhattan, Miami and Los Angeles, the latter of which came in at number 9 in the index.

With a median home value exceeding $1 million, it’s perhaps safe to say that San Francisco won’t be leaving this list any time soon. This could well be the case for other cities on the list, in addition to other global concerns, as the Index itself notes. “The ongoing tussle between globalization (wealth creation, improved connectivity) on the one hand and protectionism (foreign buyer restrictions, capital controls etc) on the other is set to dominate purchase decisions for luxury buyers and hence market performance going forward,” the report states.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

What do I need to know about selling tenant-occupied properties in the city?

A tenant-occupied home is always more difficult to sell, especially in San Francisco where most properties are subject to rent control and vacancy control laws. Most buyers don’t want to buy tenant occupied homes and those buyers willing to deal with the issue expect a significant discount on the price. Rental properties also rarely show as well as owner-occupied properties and renters often neglect basic upkeep and maintenance.

Many owners don’t understand that while their house or condo probably isn’t subject to rent control, it is probably subject to vacancy control if it was built before June of 1979. This means you can’t simply ask your tenants to leave when you are ready to put the home on the market. In the past two years, I’ve had two listings where the tenant refused to move when the owner was ready to sell. One wound up buying the home themselves. The other was paid to leave.

Some owners pay their tenants to move because they know they can get a lot more for their property when it’s vacant. These ‘tenant buyouts’ are a relatively common practice among investors who wish to sell their individual units off as TIC’s. Many owners hire lawyers to negotiate the buy-outs. These attorneys specialize in the practice of tenant eviction and negotiation and protect their clients from future liability.

More information on Tenant Evictions and Vacancy Control are available through these links:

Tenant Evictions in San Francisco by R. Boyd McSparran and Kavita Sharma Much of this brochure covers evictions for the purposes of owner-occupancy or conversion to TIC’s. There is some discussion of the differences between vacancy control and rent control at the end. McSparran and Sharma are part of G3MH, a law firm that specializes in TIC agreements, condo conversions, and landlord-tenant law. They also negotiate tenant buy-outs.

Tenant Buyouts—Treason or Reason by Jeffrey Woo. Woo is an attorney who specializes in Landlord-Tenant litigation and Tenant Buyouts. This article originally appeared in Apartment Owners Magazine in 2005. Because of its age, not all of the information may be up-to-date, but the article addresses how buyouts are negotiated and what a good buyout agreement should include.

San Francisco Rent Control Ordinance. This is a must-read for anyone considering the purchase of a rental property in San Francisco. We also recommend that anyone considering an investment purchase take an hour with a landlord-tenant attorney to get a general overview of what it’s like to own income property in San Francisco.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

1000 Ways to Enjoy San Francisco & the Bay Area This Summer

Guests are coming, the kids are out of school, or you just want to do something different than usual. Summer has arrived in one of the most beautiful and multi-dimensional places on earth, and here is a wide variety of ideas for making the most of it.

Dinner, brunch, burritos, burgers, bars, music, dance, theater, running, biking, hiking, and things to do with visitors, children and dogs.

Food & Drink

Top 100 Restaurants

Zagat’s Best

Outdoor Dining & Drinking

Best Meal Delivery

Best Breakfast

Best Brunch

Best Burritos

Best Sandwiches

Best Pizza

Best Hamburgers

Best Dim Sum

Best Bars

Beer Drinking

Coffee Drinking

More Coffee

Best Desserts!

Out & About

Things to Do

To Do with Kids

To Do in Oakland

To Do in Marin

In Napa & Sonoma
City Biking

Mountain Biking

City Walks

Best Views

Hiking Trails

Running Clubs

LGBT – To Do

Sunday Streets

City Parks

Dog Parks

Farmers’ Markets

Sports Teams

Sports Calendar

Arts & Culture

Arts & Entertainment

More Arts Events

Nightclubs

Music

Museums

Ballet

Opera

Symphony

Theater

Important note: You will undoubtedly find yourself disagreeing vehemently with one or more of the above “best lists” – best burrito, brunch and coffee are particularly contentious issues in the Bay Area. Our position is clear: We agree wholeheartedly with you and share your dismay. Still, despite these egregious errors in taste, we hope you and yours are able to enjoy a summer delightful in every way.

How can I determine my district?

Whenever I meet with a buyer for the first time, I review the “Magic District Map” of San Francisco put out by the San Francisco Association of Realtors (SFAR). This link will take you to a detail of the SFAR map. It’s slightly outdated, but a novice will hardly be able to tell how.

I call it “magic” because it breaks the code for the way SFAR has numbered our City’s neighborhoods into 10 districts– from the Richmond in District 1, to the Daly City border neighborhoods in District 10.

Within each district are a number of small neighborhoods which are given letter designations. 5a, for example, is Glen Park, while 5b is the Haight Ashbury. District 4, West of Twin Peaks, has the most sub-districts, with 16 different micro-neighborhoods.

In our office, when we talk about a buyer, we often use district numbers to describe them – i.e. “He’s a district 7-8″ or “She’s a 5 and parts of 9.”

CleanOffer, a private MLS Search Tool I make available to my clients, allows them to skip the exercise of identifying districts by number/letter. Instead, they can search neighborhoods by clicking them on a map. I need to give you permission to use the search tool– you can sign up for it by clicking on the “CleanOffer” logo on the left hand side of your screen.

CleanOffer members can also track pending and sold home information.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Is San Francisco pricing out the Golden Arches?

You may have never thought you’d see the day when this would be said, but McDonald’s restaurants seem to be vanishing from the face of San Francisco … and this says a lot about the state of the current real estate market.

As CBS Bay Area notes, we’ve seen two McDonald’s outlets – the one at 16th and Mission and the one on Van Ness Avenue – shutter in recent months. It’s possible that the restaurant at 3rd and Townsend near AT&T Park may also close its doors.

“Someone else owns the land,” San Francisco Magazine senior editor Joe Eskenazi told CBS Bay Area. “Someone else owns the building, and that person sees a better deal building condos, condos, condos. … There’s almost no example you can come up with now that isn’t too extreme of how expensive it is to live and do business in San Francisco.”

There is also drama going down at the McDonald’s that borders Golden Gate Park at Haight and Stanyan. City leaders are suing the franchise for drug use as well as other crimes that have been allegedly occurring there.

“Though McDonald’s is a wonderful villain in this town,” Eskenazi told CBS Bay Area, “It’s less a sociological thing than land use and real estate.”

That’s because developers are eyeing every piece of property they can in order to build. That land on which McDonald’s sits is some valuable real estate – more so than, one would say, a Happy Meal or two.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com