Practical Advice For Homeowners


Don’t buy a condo if you don’t want to follow the rules

Most condo owners don’t give their covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs) much thought—until they do something the CC&Rs forbid. CC&Rs are the governing documents that spell out how a homeowners association (HOA)…

How to stage your home for maximum impact

When you put your house on the market, does it become simply a house for sale? Or does it become a product? I’d argue that to sell your home as soon as possible…

Lenders’ mortgage rates today are super low – but not necessarily for everyone

“Mortgage Rates Decline” was the top story on the front page of today’s Wall Street Journal. It’s refreshing to read such positive financial news these days, of course. But homeowners in San Francisco…

Whats the rule of thumb for when to refinance a home mortgage

Is there a general rule of thumb for when to refinance a mortgage? In a word, yes. The best time to refi is when rates on 30-year fixed loans are super low…

The top mistakes sellers make

In my last post, I explained the top mistakes homebuyers often make. Sellers, this time it’s your turn. Here are the top four missteps I’ve seen lots of sellers make—much to their regret.…

In Brooklyn: Norah Jones’ brownstone WindowGate- and what it means for you

Singer Norah Jones has been in the news lately. Actually, let’s be more specific: Her Brooklyn townhouse has been in the news. And in what’s been branded as WindowGate, there’s a lesson…

More iPad and iPhone real estate apps for homebuyers and sellers

I’ve had my Apple iPad for several days now, and one of the apps I love is Zillow, the iPad version of Zillow.com. Zillow for the iPad (a free app) puts a huge amount…

How do I find out if someone died in my house?

I came across an online forum recently in which someone asked, “How do I find out if someone died in my house?” One forum member wanted to know if anyone had died…

Mandatory retrofitting could shake up San Francisco homeowners

Here's a heads-up to owners of older buildings vulnerable to earthquake damage in San Francisco. If legislation proposed by Mayor Gavin Newsom becomes reality, you could be forced to spend money retrofitting…

Water conservation laws in San Francisco can have a big impact on real estate

San Francisco has long been on the cutting edge in environmental and conservation issues. The board of supervisors passed its first conservation ordinance in 1982 and has continually upgraded residential requirements since…