Rent vs Buy in San Francisco>Question Details

Elizabeth Ba…, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

I am relocating to San Francisco for work and need a place to live. I am undecided whether to rent or buy.

Asked by Elizabeth Barber, San Francisco, CA Tue Sep 18, 2012

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Teresa Grobecker’s answer
Hi Elizabeth,
As I'm sure you've seen, rents are sky-high right now. If you have some cash to put down, buying could be a very savvy investment right now. Not all loans require a 20% down payment. If you're a first time home buyer there are loans that require a lot less. Also, if your needs change in the future, you can always rent out your property. San Francisco is a great rental market from landlords. This has been my family's strategy for quite some time so I walk the talk, so to speak. These properties can be a great investment for your retirement plans as well to generate long-term cash flow.
I provide some great calculators on my website. Here's the one for mortgages:

If you need assistance with finding decent neighborhoods and investments in SF I'm always happy to help. I'm a chartered retirement planning counselor and also a short sale/reo specialist.

Happy house hunting and best of luck! :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Sep 28, 2012

It's all depends if you are going to be staying in SF for a while
and if the 20% downpayment is possible and financially comfortable for you.

Rents are fairly high In SF - again, it depends on your budget and preference.
It's true, if you don't know which neighborhoods you like, rent for a year before buying.

However, buying is a good deal since rents in some SF neighborhoods are high end.
Pay rent .......or pay mortgage and keep the property?
Take advantage of historic low interest rates
and IF the property value goes up in 2 two years, keep up to $250,000 (single) to $500,000 (married)
tax free profit.

If buying, make sure you like the property.
It's easy to check if a home is affordable and in which neighborhoods, sit down with a loan specialist.

All said, I agree with the other realtors that, if not certain, rent is a more temporarily commitment.

Contact me to be connected with an experienced loan specialist in my office at no cost or
obligation, pre-qualify for a loan, see what price range may be right.

Helen Yuen, Land & Property (415) 469-0577
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 19, 2012
RENT - hands down. The buying market is fiercely competitive and incredibly difficult to compete - even if you're all cash (trust me). Also, there are so many nuances to the City, and it's best to Rent to get an understanding of the City, sub-districts, landscape, etc. Plus, the average transplant only stays in SF about three years - so you have to consider your LT goals, which I'm sure you're well aware of.

Buying is a HUGE commitment, particularly in SF given its competitive nature.

Dino Zuzic, MBA - TRI Coldwell Banker
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012

Your decision should be based on your individual goals both short and long term. It wouldn't be prudent to recommend one or the other without getting more information from you.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012
Hi Elizabeth,
The answer to your query depends on so many variables- as stated below. I'd be happy to set you up with a search for San Francisco sales and rentals so you can at least see the price ranges. Send me an email and we can discuss offline.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012
A large part of the decision for me would be how well you know the city. Generally speaking, unless it's really looking good for buyers we recommend renting first to get familiar with the city so you end up buying in the right place. And it's very competitive for buyers now so I don't think you'll hurt yourself by waiting. If you'd like some more info on what neighborhoods would suit you best drop me a line. Contact info below.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012
I can understand that. Did you have a question for an agent or was this just a statement?

The decision to rent or buy is very personal to each potential buyer. Things to consider 1) how long do you intend to live in San Francisco? 2) Do you have the credit, the down payment and earnings to support a mortgage in this rather expensive city?

I always suggest renting for a short while upon making a move to a new city. That gives you time to adjust, sort your options out, and figure out exactly where you want to buy.

Do a cost analysis of buying vs. renting. Before even consulting a Realtor, I recommend find a good mortgage broker who can help you work the numbers.

All the best to you.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 18, 2012
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