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I remember my first home in San Francisco: a 2-unit building purchased with my husband (let’s call him Pablo) and our partners/my clients (let’s call them Curt and Sally).
Loma Prieta had shaken us silly that October of 1989, but it didn’t stop our real estate search. Curt, Sally, Pablo and I first viewed our future home – a spacious hunk of Victorian history on Divisadero near Golden Gate – that Halloween. By the time we closed the San Francisco market was looking rather spooky. Seems we’d bought at the peak. (And this was long before that stretch of Divis became the NOPA we know today.)
But we made the best of it as the market continued falling. We remodeled, painted, added parking, started families, celebrated holidays and watched the neighborhood improve. We enjoyed our homes. We converted our flats to condominiums. The market started to recover a little bit.
It wasn’t easy, but Pablo and I managed to sell our condo in 1994. The sales price was pretty depressing, and we had to carry a second for a couple of years. However, we were able to scrape enough funds together to purchase a single family home in the Richmond district at the bottom of the market. Had we not sold our condo at a less-than-ideal time, we’d never have bought the $325,000 house that would sell 15 years later for $1,350,000.
In retrospect, we were lucky. Though it didn’t seem that way in the down cycle of 1989 to 1994.
Ask any agent – on any day during any month during any year – if it’s a good time to buy and they’ll say one of three things:
None of us can control what happens and there’s plenty to worry about. Today it’s Coronavirus. Tomorrow it could be double-digit interest rates. Meanwhile, earthquake and climate change are always on the menu.
And yet the San Francisco market always seems to recover and rise. And rise. And rise. The main thing is to get your foot in the proverbial door. Call me and we’ll get started!
Photo Credit: Micheile Henderson
Cynthia Cummins is the founder of Kindred SF Homes and has been serving homeowners and homebuyers for 3 decades. For information on San Francisco Bay Area real estate visit KindredSFhomes.com. For my writing and mindfulness blog, visit WildHeartWriting.org.