Posted by: Ellie Kravets | March 15, 2015

How to Weed Out Problem Tenants

The last thing a landlord wants to do is rent to the wrong tenant. So for property managers who are taking care of the leasing details, they are the first line of defense in keeping problem tenants out of the building. Landlords are leaning on these property managers and expecting them to find renters who aren’t going to damage the property, be late with rent payments, or take the landlords to court.

So how do you ensure your tenants are the right ones? Global real estate network Lamudi offers five tips for selecting a good tenant.

  1. Meet the applicants. This is about preventing problems before they start. The rapport you have with tenants will be crucial in enduring their happiness living in a property. Schedule face-to-face meetings with applicants to get a better sense of who they will be as tenants and how you can work with them. If you can’t meet face-to-face, schedule a phone call instead.
  2. Be thorough with documentation. Keep a copy of tenants’ identity cards or passports, and require proof of income before administering a lease agreement. Ask for an employee contract as well as copies of their most recent paystubs. If you need extra confirmation of a tenant’s ability to pay, ask for them to provide previous landlords as references.
  3. Check their credit history. This might seem like something more for a home buyer than a renter, but landlords/property managers should always check a tenant’s credit history. This will tell you how much outstanding debt they have, as well as whether they have a history of paying their bills on time. Even if they can afford the rent on their salary, other repayment obligations may affect their budget.
  4. Look out for warning signs. Pay attention to a prospective tenant’s rental history. If they’ve moved around a lot, that could indicate issues between the tenant and their past landlords. Most landlords will want a tenant who can commit to staying for a longer period of time.
  5. Listen to your instincts. Even if all the information and documentation a renter provided checks out, there may still be something holding you back from offering them a rental contract. If you feel uncomfortable renting to someone, listen to your gut — even if they look good on paper.

—REALTOR® Magazine

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | December 12, 2014


As part of the homebuying process, your real estate agent may create a comprehensive market analysis or CMA. Later, when you apply for a mortgage, a bank appraisal is conducted by a licensed appraiser. Are CMAs and appraisals the same thing?

While both CMAs and appraisals help determine a home’s market value, their purposes are not the same. The CMA is a sales tool to help you find an offer price for the home you want to buy. The homes in the CMA include the home you want to buy plus similar nearby homes. This helps you see how the home you want compares to other homes so you have an idea what to offer.
A real estate professional may prepare a CMA for their sellers to help them choose a listing price. The CMA includes recently sold homes and homes for sale in the seller’s neighborhood that are most similar to the seller’s home in appearance, features, and general price range.

Although the CMA is used to help determine current market value, the seller’s home is typically not even featured in the CMA. The CMA is merely a guide to help the seller learn what’s happening in their local market, so they can better understand where their home fits in term of price ranges, based on location, features, size, condition and other factors.

The CMA offers the same advantages to you as a buyer. They help you better understand the local market. You can expand the search and get different results in a CMA simply by changing the zip code or the price range or the number of bedrooms and baths.

Appraisals are all about risk retention for banks and their customers. If the buyer is receiving financing through a bank, the bank will order an appraisal.

Unlike the CMA, a bank appraisal is a professional determination of a home’s value. It’s performed by a licensed appraiser, using guidelines established by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates federal housing loan guarantors such as FHA, VA and housing loan purchasers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

An appraisal is a comprehensive look at a home’s location, condition, and eligibility for federal guarantees. For example, the home you want may have porch steps but no handrail. If you want to buy the home with an FHA or VA-insured loan, your seller will have to repair or install a handrail. The FHA or VA appraiser will look at the home a second time to make sure the steps were made safe.

Appraisers use the same data in their market research to find comparable homes as Realtors do. They are also members of the MLS, but they have additional guidelines from the bank to follow to minimize risk to the bank and to the borrower. If home prices are falling, the appraiser takes the number of days a home has been on the market far more seriously.

When the appraisal is finished, the bank makes the decision to fund the loan, or it may require the seller to fix certain items and show proof that the repairs have been made before letting the loan proceed. If the loan doesn’t meet federal lending guidelines, the bank will decline the loan.

Despite stricter lending and appraisal standards, most buyers’ loan applications go through to closing. One reason the system works so well is that real estate agents are preparing CMAs that are better tuned to lending standards as well as market conditions. As a buyer, it’s in your best interest to understand how lenders approach risk and to learn what the market is doing.

Simply put, you need both a CMA and an appraisal to determine market value. A CMA helps you decide what you should offer the seller. An appraisal determines what the lender is willing to lend to help you purchase a home.

Written by Blanche Evans

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | November 15, 2014

181 Fremont- upcoming Luxury condos in San Francisco

The Real Estate market in San Francisco has been booming for the past few years.
Condo prices are still climbing – they increased by 12% over the past year,rising to $1,128 per sq ft, according to Mark Co.
We have many new constructions in the City and the latest addition to our luxury condo market is upcoming 181 Fremont-pre-certified LEED Platinum.
This is 1 of only 2 buildings with direct access to Transbay transit center via “Sky-bridge” to elevated park.

Only 55 residential units in the top 16 floors of what will be SF’s 3rd tallest building topping out at 70-stories.
Residences on floor 54 to 70 only. Rich amenity floor on the entire 52nd floor of the building.

Top floor (70) is a full-floor penthouse (almost 7000sf) and floors 69 & 68 to be half-floor penthouses…WOW!
Other Units:
3BR+dens – 2
3BR- 14
2BR+den – 20
2BR – 14
All units are corner units. 12 “accessory” units (Studio & 1BR) for sale ONLY for homeowner occupied purchase.
Valet Parking – 90 Residential Parking Spaces
HOA fees to start in high $2000/month
Pricing: estimated to start around $3,000,000

181 Fremont sales center opening late Spring 2015. Contracts soon after. Delivery Spring 2016.

Developed by Jay Paul Company
Architect: Heller Manus
Marketing Company: The Mark Company

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | October 22, 2014

San Francisco Market Update- August 2014

Most local markets continue to recover from a soft patch earlier this year. The macro trend is still positive; the micro trend involves more moderate pinching up and down the month-to-month timeline. This is not uncommon in a balanced market, but it’s been so long since we’ve seen one that we’re watching it with perhaps too much trepidation. Metrics to watch include inventory and prices,but also days on market, months’ supply and percent of list price received at
sale. Declines in pending and closed sales activity may reflect strong decreases at lower price points and may not indicate softening demand.

New Listings were down 28.3 percent for single family homes and 36.7 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales decreased 14.4 percent for single family homes and 14.2 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.

The Median Sales Price was up 4.4 percent to $975,000 for single family homes and 14.8 percent to $930,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.

Months Supply of Inventory decreased 19.0 percent for single family units and 27.3 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop units.

Sustained job growth, lower mortgage rates and a slow rise in the number of homes for sale appear to have unleashed at least some pent-up demand. Since housing demand relies heavily on an economy churning out good jobs, it’s encouraging to see second quarter GDP growth revised upwards to a 4.2 percent annualized rate and stronger-than-expected job growth in recent months. Further improvements are still needed by way of wage growth and consumer confidence but recovery continues.

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | May 29, 2014

Crown Colony Gem


371 Imperial Way #210

Beautiful, well maintained & upgraded through out 2 bed,1.25 bath condo with 1-parking space in a popular Crown Colony Community. Cozy living/dining room area with laminate flooring throughout, 2-Private decks, huge walk-in closets with organizers, freshly painted. Kitchen has new stainless steel appliances, new granite counter-tops, sink & faucet. Bathrooms have been upgraded with new granite counters and vanities. Complex amenities: Tennis courts, swimming pools, gym, clubhouse, nice manicured landscaping, 24hrs security, guest parking, FREE Shuttle to Bart! Complex conveniently located near Serramonte Mall, Costco, Starbucks, SFO Airport, Sam Trans, Easy access to 280 Hwy & Near San Francisco.
Crown Colony

To see more pictures, go to my Trulia profile

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | May 19, 2014

Modern Urban Oasis for Sale in San Francisco

One of the best units in the building due to size and its location in the Bldg; this unit at 175 Bluxome has 2 enclosed bedrooms and 1.5 baths, featuring a master bedroom upstairs. The open floor plan opens to a private patio, ideal for entertaining. This unit is conveniently located near some of technology’s most dynamic companies, including, but not limited to, Dropbox, Zynga, Advent Software, Adobe Software, Square, and Twitter. Night life? How about the Bluxome Street Winery, Saison, Zuppa, and access to everything San Francisco just outside your door! Just blocks from AT&T Park; Go Giants! Going places? This loft is a commuter’s dream with easy access to Caltrain, Muni and the freeways in every direction.

– 2BR/1.5BA First Floor Unit
– Open Floor Plan
– Living room w/ High Ceilings
– Stainless Steel Appliances
– In-Unit Washer and Dryer
– Private Patio
– HOA- Water, Garbage, Insurance & Building Maintenance
– 1-Car Deeded Parking


See more pictures please go to my Trulia page

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | April 12, 2014

San Francisco Market Report – March 2014

Low inventory has been the headline grabber across the nation, but it’s especially evident here in San Francisco where properties continue to be snapped up at a furious pace. With a spring refresh on the horizon, many are hopeful that additional sellers will bring on much-needed properties to ready buyers. Increases in construction activity and still affordable borrowing costs will also continue to influence local buying and selling trends into the spring and summer months.

New Listings were down 16.1 percent for single family homes and 28.9 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.

Pending Sales increased 6.3 percent for single family homes but decreased 5.6 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.

The Median Sales Price was up 8.5 percent to $998,000 for single family homes and 16.7 percent to $960,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.

Months Supply of Inventory decreased 31.6 percent for single family units and 39.1 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop units.

Consumers are in better shape for the current financial landscape, just in time for the primary home-buying season. Along with an uptick in consumer confidence, GDP growth was revised up to 2.6 percent by the Commerce Department. Consumer spending has risen and claims for unemployment benefits have decreased. Economic health fuels housing market growth. Employed, confident people with rising incomes tend to purchase real property.

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | March 31, 2014

SF Market Report – February 2014

It’s tempting to confuse market normalization with a possible slowdown. But One-Year Change in those equipped with high-quality MLS data know better. As mortgage
delinquencies fade, banks are listing bargain-priced product less often. That
means investor activity – which accounts for a substantial market share – is
moderating. That’s not to say that rates and prices aren’t still attractive to owner occupant buyers. They most certainly are. Some short-term volatility is
expected as part of a normal market readjustment.

New Listings were down 17.1 percent for single family homes and 18.4 percent
for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales increased 13.4 percent for
single family homes and 11.5 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties.
The Median Sales Price was up 35.7 percent to $1,086,500 for single family
homes and 24.9 percent to $937,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Months
Supply of Inventory decreased 29.4 percent for single family units and 36.4
percent for Condo/TIC/Coop units.
The economy has more or less shuffled along, despite some climate-induced
surprises to job growth and new construction. There is no denying the fact that
we’ve now seen 47 straight months of private job growth, creating 8.5 million
new payrolls. There’s still work to be done. Thankfully, with such low inventory
levels, many builders are bullish on new construction. The spring market is
budding, and it should be an interesting one.

Posted by: Ellie Kravets | February 18, 2014

San Francisco Market Focus- January 2014

The same factors that catalyzed widespread market recovery in 2012 and 2013 are likely to continue in 2014, though perhaps at a more moderate pace. That’s not a bad thing, since the market is returning to a stable, healthy state. Potential trends to watch for in 2014 include increased seller activity, more new construction and fewer foreclosures on the market. Inventory is another metric to watch this year.New Listings were down 11.3 percent for single family homes and 7.8 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Pending Sales decreased 12.0 percent for single family homes but increased 0.6 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. The Median Sales Price was up 24.6 percent to $928,000 for single family homes and 24.6 percent to $950,000 for Condo/TIC/Coop properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 20.0 percent for single family units and 31.6 percent for Condo/TIC/Coop units. Given how far the market has come, it’s a good time for folks to reassess their situation. Many who were hesitant to sell in recent years may find themselves in a completely different position. Getting a fresh comparative market analysis might be a good idea. Interest rates remain attractive and should remain below their long-term average, but they are expected to creep higher in 2014. Politicians are gearing up for midterm elections, so pay close attention to campaign messaging as relates to real estate or mortgage financing. Job growth is still fundamental and is likely to dominate this election cycle.
Thinking of buying or selling a home? Contact me today! call/text 415.948.1601 or

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jan 30, 2014) – Zephyr Real Estate moved into the No. 6 spot on the just-released 2014 San Francisco Bay Area Book of Lists, up a notch from the previous year’s No. 7 spot. Zephyr’s sales volume signified an increase of over 30 percent from the prior year.

Zephyr’s 225 agents sold 1,775 properties to achieve this milestone. While its nearest competitors have more agents and more branches, Zephyr continues to excel as San Francisco’s largest independent real estate firm. Figures for 2013 indicate yet another banner year for Zephyr.

The San Francisco Business Times annual Book of Lists is an established reference for marketing data, trends and who’s who in the Bay Area. “One thing you’ll learn is that the quality and depth of our list research is more important than ever,” states Mary Huss, Publisher of San Francisco Business Times in her publisher’s letter. “The Book of Lists is one of the largest, most data-rich resources in the Bay Area.”

“We are very excited to see our success affirmed in the Book of Lists,” commented Randall Kostick, Chief Operating Officer of Zephyr Real Estate. “All this is possible because of the commitment and dedication of our motivated agents and dynamic staff.”

This honor comes on the heels of Zephyr’s recent achievement in REAL Trends, Inc., Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, and as the number one real estate brand in San Francisco.

About Zephyr Real Estate
Founded in 1978, Zephyr Real Estate is San Francisco’s largest independent real estate firm with nearly $1.8 billion in gross sales in 2013 and a current roster of more than 200 full-time agents. In 2010, Zephyr launched its new website, which has earned two web design awards, including the prestigious Interactive Media Award. Zephyr Real Estate is a member of the international relocation network, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World; the luxury real estate network, Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate; and the local luxury marketing association, the Luxury Marketing Council of San Francisco. Zephyr has six strategically located offices in San Francisco, a business center in Marin County, and serves a large customer base throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, visit

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