San Francisco Real Estate Agent | Cece Blase

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Looking for Some Discounts?

October 2018 saw the highest number of price reductions in 6 years– a signal of changing market conditions. The number of expired and withdrawn listings – no sale – also started to climb in October 2018.

How Does Your County Stack Up?

Were you to study appreciation all by itself, the market looks quite healthy–and San Francisco held its own when compared to other counties buoyed by the tech sector.

My own speculative brain wonders why San Mateo County is making such a strong showing. One reason may be that the area is favored by young families who “need to buy” instead of “want to buy,” i.e. Millennials who are proceeding with more caution. The stories of newly minted millionaires throwing money at expensive homes have disappeared for the most part. This age bracket also spent formative years during the Great Recession and are consequently far more cautious about taking on debt.

Six “What were we thinking?” home design trends

The 1990s brought us saggy pants, sideways baseball hats and Catholic school girl attire. They also delivered some home design trends we are happy to wave goodbye to. This slideshow offers up the ones I remember best. (Hat tip to Elle Décor for reminding me of some of them). zine. More than one of them looked like this. The only thing I ever liked about them was their tendency toward soft lighting.

Melamine Cabinetry with wood trim. In the early 90s my mother ripped a cottage in Palo Alto down to the studs. When she put it back together, this was her cabinetry choice, probably sourced from Merillat Cabinetry,  You can learn how to paint over melamine online, but it honestly sounds so labor intensive, that you are better off doing a reface or replace.

Mexican tile floors. Will you think less of me if I tell you I still love these? Probably because they remind me of childhood vacations in Puerto Vallarta. But they also scare me: one good slip and you could crack your head open.

Tuscan kitchens. In the early 2000s I wrote a story about remodeled kitchens for a glossy magazine. More than one of them looked like this. The only thing I ever liked about them was their tendency toward soft lighting.

Vertical blinds. We still see them and we still hate them. The house my husband and I own now had them in the family room. Because I am like the cobbler with no shoes we waited a few years before finally replacing them.

Sponged walls. You could always tell the difference between a do-it-yourself job and a professionally done sponged wall. Yes-people actually made money doing this. I have a friend who paid his way through college with this skill.

Pastel florals. Another favorite of my mother. She had an overstuffed giant sofa and two armchairs upholstered with this stuff in our family room– with the Mexican tile floor.

Happy Faux Fur Friday

Animals rejoice as we celebrate Faux Fur Friday!  Now is your chance to pull out that neon leopard print fur you’ve been waiting to wear. 

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 MyFicowhich 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!

Call 415-577-0809 or email

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 MyFicorepairing 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 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.

Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners.  Call 415-577-0809 or email