Looking to buy a Condo in San Fransico - near Financial District area

Asked by househunt888, San Francisco, CA Thu Nov 7, 2013

I live overseas in Asia now but I am planning to buy a condo in San Francisco, rent it out and eventually move there in 2-3 years time. What is the best approach for me

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Brian Nguyen, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Mission Viejo, CA
Mon Feb 10, 2014
There are lenders like myself that offer loans for this particular scenario. One loan to consider is the Foreign National Loan. These loans are meant for non-residences/citizens seeking a home loan in the United States. Also, this type of loan usually requires about 20% down or more depending on the documents you have available so be prepared for that. Well I hope this helps! If you have any further questions or if you would like a loan, feel free to contact me! Good luck! Brian Nguyen Sr. Mortgage Banker Phone: 949.667.2887 brian.nguyen@nafinc.com
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sadfr, , 94110
Sun Nov 17, 2013
there are 20,000 condos being built,i read condos are finding it harder to get renters and are starting to offer free months rent,your buying into a buble,of high prices,there will be high property taxes and high condo fees,i see rents are starting to drop,30% of new condos the rest are being rented by builder,the more units

if theres an earthquake here half the population will move out,lots of those condos are built on sand or land infill
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Mario Flores, , San Francisco, CA
Wed Nov 13, 2013
What size and price are you looking for.
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Robert Spino…, Mortgage Broker Or Lender, Mill Valley, CA
Fri Nov 8, 2013

On the financing side, your options depend foremost on your citizenship status; citizen, permanent resident alien, non-permanent resident alien and foreign national. Each has its own criteria and capacity. If it helps you at this time, feel free to e-mail any questions. I am just north of the city, in Marin County, but finance a good number of condos in San Francisco.

Rob Spinosa
0 votes
Bellings Bro…, , San Francisco, CA
Fri Nov 8, 2013

The most important thing for you would be to get connected with a good Realtor and a good lender. This is the first step toward purchasing a home here in San Francisco. There are a lot of great Realtors in San Francisco, myself included of course. If you have a recommendation from a friend or relative you may want to consider them as well. You should find a reputable Realtor who has a network of lenders, so they can refer you to someone who would be able to get your purchase financed given your current situation. Once you have a good Realtor and lender as part of your team, they will be able to guide you in the right direction and take you the rest of the way! I hope this answer helps, and please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you with your search.

All the best and good luck with your search!

Aaron Bellings
Realtor, Vanguard Properties
BRE #01915431
0 votes
Russelle Arc…, , San Francisco, CA
Fri Nov 8, 2013
Hello and I hope all is well! I have helped a number of clients like yourself that lives overseas and purchased properties in San Francisco. If you would like specific details and the proper game plan, it's best to discuss it over the phone so that all your answers can be answered accurately and ideas can be provided at the same time. Please feel free to call me at anytime to better serve you!

Thank you,

Russelle Arciaga
Coldwell Banker | BRE #01709125
415.859.0451 Direct
415.452.7878 Office
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Gabrielle Da…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Nov 8, 2013
Find a competent real estate agent first and be clear on how to finance the property and what your timeline is. Then run the numbers and projections, factoring in HOA dues etc. Start by interviewing some agents and get familiar with the current market environment.

Feel free to call me at 415-200-7202.
And visit my website at http://www.sanfranciscoresidentialhomes.com for some initial market statistics.
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Sally Rosenm…, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Nov 8, 2013

Your best bet is to connect with a few realtors and interview each one. Write out questions about propertiesand your particular situation. Email or Skype works for interviews.

After you choose the realtor with whom you feel the best connection, you should then proceed. Your realtor can fix you up to receive information on all properties that fit within your parameters as soon as they come out and/or as soon as they close escrow.. By watching sale prices, you will become more familiar with our crazy market.

Your realtor can give you links to sites that discuss the various districts/neighborhoods. And she can give you the names and contact information for mortgage brokers and bankers. Unless you are paying cash, you need to be pre-approved for your loan before making an offer.

Will you be coming out to look at properties and then make an offer. Or are you planning to buy site unseen. If this is your first purchase in San Francisco I would counsel you to make sure you see the property first. Also please go to http://www.sfgov.org, the Mayor's official website, and check out rental rules. There are many rules about renting! Some can be circumvented by buying new construction.

I have been in the business for 24 years. Feel free to ask me questions. Check out my website for Resources & Links (Mortgage brokers/bankers), guides to neighborhoods and easy access to our MLS. I also have a weekly Newsletter which I am happy to send you.

Good luck!
Web Reference:  http://www.sallyrosenman.com
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Fri Nov 8, 2013

The best approach depends on if you will need a loan or not. If you need a loan HSBC seems to be the go to bank, but you will need at least 50% down. I can put you in touch with someone here at HSBC to facilitate.

The first thing you need to do is find a broker/firm representing you that understands the complexities of buying from afar who understands the San Francisco market, especially but not limited to cash transfer process and other timelines that could kill a deal if your rep doesn't understand them.

We have worked with a lot of overseas buyers over the years - currently looking for chinese and vietnamese clients - and our office is in the financial district, so we would be happy to help. Our contact info is below for a no-strings consult.

Best Regards,

Lance R. King - Founder/Managing Broker
King Realty Group

DRE # 01384425
415.722.5549 - Cell
0 votes
Gabriel Rojas, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Nov 7, 2013

Thank you for writing. Fortunately, your situation has become less and less unique and there are many solutions for you.

First, may I ask if you are an American living in Asia or a person from Asia looking to invest in San Francisco? I would like to know your perspective and understanding of not only San Francisco but also the market and the style of homes you're considering. From there, it will be easier to guide you.

One thing is for sure. If you are not a all-cash buyer there are a limited amount of lending institutions to finance your property as a non-resident. One lender is HSBC. Typically, you will need to hold funds in the US for a minimum of 2 months prior to offering on a property.

As a member of the Global Alliance Committee at our local real estate association (SFAR), I assist foreigners as they prepare to purchase real estate in our city and the surrounding area. Feel free to contact me directly if you desire a more private conversation. My firm also has a rental division that can assist you in renting your home once you've purchased one.

Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck.


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Janis Stone, , San Francisco, CA
Thu Nov 7, 2013
The first thing to do is find a good agent in San Francisco who can guide you in the process. If the agent is familiar with the different areas and condo buildings in the city they can recommend which one would be best for your situation. Certain buildings don't allow rentals or only allow a certain percentage of the units to be rented. Then you need help in finding the right tenant and collecting rents and paying dues and property taxes. With today's banking system most of that can be done electronically but tenant selection is very important. There are complicated rent control laws so choosing a newer building which is exempt from rent control can minimize your risk.
I have over 38 years of experience in San Francisco real estate, have rented properties and know that there is no substitute for experience!
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Hi Janis,

Thank you for this. Since I live overseas now, what is the best way for me to assess the property that I am intend to buy. I will eventually want to view the property before I sign the dotted line. Given the distance, what is the best way for to do this without making too many trips back to the US.? And yes, I intend to rent it out and so the buying experience and renting it out is the total package I am looking for.

FYI. I am a US citizen and work for one of the largest US banks ... and so getting a mortgage to finance the purchase shouldn't be a problem for me.

Flag Sat Nov 9, 2013
Lizete Santos, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Nov 7, 2013

If you let you me know your prerequisites I can send you the current inventory. Will you be requiring financing? The rental market is very competitive and rental rates are at all time highs so it's an excellent time to purchase a property.
Feel free to contact me and I can provide insight and an overview of the entire process.

Lizete Santos
McGuire Real Estate
17 Bluxome Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Mobile: 415.606.5053
Web Reference:  http://www.LizeteSantos.com
0 votes
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