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Relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area

Welcome to the Future of Real Estate! Welcome to Baron & Chestney Real Estate!

For those of you who have recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, or who are planning to relocate to the San Francisco Bay Area and make it your new home in the near future, we here at Baron & Chestney Real Estate would like to welcome you to the bay area! We think you will find that this is truly one of the most wonderful places on earth in which to live. The bad news is that the average housing prices throughout the San Francisco Bay Area may come as a shock to those who have relocated to the bay area from areas other than, say, Manhattan or Tokyo! People definitely pay a premium to own a home in the bay area – and it is not one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations by coincidence, either. This is “prime real estate”! The combination of natural beauty, great weather, proximity to the ocean and mountains, hundreds of parks and nature preserves, and excellent employment opportunities, to name just a few things, make the bay area such a desirable place to live that it continues to steadily drive property values, rents, and home prices up. The supply of housing just never seems to catch up to the housing demand in the San Francisco Bay Area. We have limited amounts of land available on which to build homes in the first place, due to the peninsular geography of the region, strong environmental concerns, and an overall “anti-development” attitude in most of our bay area counties helps to keep the supply of real estate relatively low in general. Therefore, you may find that it can be quite difficult to find an affordable home. Perhaps better stated, you will generally find that your home buying dollars just do not buy as much home in the Bay Area as they would in almost any other place in the United States (or in most places throughout the world, as well, for that matter). The average home price in San Francisco would buy an enormous mansion in many places in the U.S., yet it may only buy you a 75 year old 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1 car garage house with a tiny back yard in a very average neighborhood in San Francisco. Location, location, and location, as the old real estate adage goes! In any case, we at Baron and Chestney Real Estate are here to help you find a home that will meet your needs and make you happy — and to save you thousands of dollars in the process, as well! Baron & Chestney offers full service, discount commission real estate brokers who will get you a realtor rebate when we represent you in the purchase of your new home.

On any real estate purchase anywhere in the bay area, Baron & Chestney Real Estate can get you a home buyer cash rebate of up to 2% of the purchase price of the home, after close of escrow. Yes, even brand new homes sold directly through new home builders may apply, as well! Thinking about buying a brand new home from a home builder in a new residential real estate development? Call us BEFORE you visit the model homes! Many builders offer real estate broker commission incentives. In fact, as the bay area real estate market cools, these commissions can be quite substantial. The amount of the broker commissions will vary from home builder to home builder, but the catch is ALWAYS that a real estate broker MUST accompany you on your very FIRST visit to the new development, to register you, and for the realtor to register, as well. Do not go see the new model homes without calling Baron & Chestney Real Estate first! One of our discount real estate brokers will check to see what incentives the builder may offer to realtors, and then we can arrange to accompany you on your first visit to see the model homes. If we do not go with you, there will never be a chance for a home buyer rebate. Once you put your name on the builder’s list, there can be no realtor rebates and no realtor incentives.

For those looking to purchase a home in the San Francisco bay area, it can be a very valuable exercise to take an in depth look at the housing data that is provided by the census, with regards to the number of housing units, by type, that exist within each bay area county. Fortunately, we have done just that for you, and we are happy to share that detailed analysis with you right here. Of course, we most certainly realize that each potential home buyer will be weighing a myriad of variables when deciding where to search for a home. Naturally, proximity to employment is of utmost importance for most folks who are looking to purchase a home. In the San Francisco bay area, traffic can be horrendous. Spending several hours of one’s day commuting to and from work can take a toll on one’s health, both physical and mental, and it can quickly erode one’s leisure time as those hours add up steadily and stealthily over time. Therefore, to the greatest extent possible, it is highly desirable to live near one’s place of employment. Of course, economic factors do not always make this possible. The desire for a larger home, a larger yard, a better school system, a safer neighborhood, proximity to shops and restaurants, and schools and parks, and so much more also weigh in as variables that go into the decision making process, and these must be weighed against the commute time and distance and modality. However, all things being equal, there are certain parts of the home buying equation that are not variables, but are rather fixed numbers: the number and type of housing units that exist in a particular location. Sure, new housing gets built (though very rarely in the bay area), and existing housing can be destroyed (by fire, etc), but for the most part, the number and type of housing units remain largely the same in the San Francisco bay area. SO, let’s take a close look at those numbers, and what they mean for those looking to buy a bay area home.

Of all bay area counties, Santa Clara County has the greatest number of total housing units by far, with over 650,000, in fact. Alameda County is second, with just under 600,000 housing units. Contra Costa County comes in third, with just over 400,000 housing units, followed by San Francisco County (City and County of San Francisco), which has just under 400,000 housing units. After that, the numbers really start to drop off. San Mateo County has just under 275,000 housing units. Sonoma County has just over 200,000 housing units. Solano County has just over 150,000 housing units. Marin County and Santa Cruz County each have just over 100,000 housing units. Napa County has just over 50,000 housing units. That all adds up to about 2.9 million total housing units available for the roughly 7.5 million people who inhabit the San Francisco bay area, or about one housing unit for every 2.6 people. SO, how does one begin to decide where to buy a home? For practical purposes, one could start by deciding what type of housing unit to search for; so, that is exactly what we shall do.

Let’s look first at single family detached houses. In Santa Clara County, there are just over 350,000 single family detached houses, which is the most of any county in the bay area. Alameda County has the second most, with just under 325,000 single family detached houses. Contra Costa County has the third most with just under 275,000 single family detached houses. San Mateo County comes in fourth with just over 150,000 single family detached houses, and Sonoma County is a close fifth with just under 150,000 single family detached houses. Sixth is Solano County, with just over 100,000 single family detached houses. San Francisco County (the City and County of San Francisco) has just over 75,000 single family detached houses, and Marin County and Santa Cruz County each have just under 75,000 single family detached houses. Napa County brings up the rear with well under 50,000 single family detached houses. That adds up to a total of just a little more than 1.5 million single family detached houses in the entire San Francisco bay area. With 2.9 million total housing units in the bay area, that means that a bit more than half of them are single family detached houses.

What about single family attached homes, which would include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and duets? Santa Clara County has just under 75,000 of them. San Francisco County and Alameda County each have just under 50,000. Contra Costa has just over 25,000, and San Mateo County has just under 25,000. Sonoma County has just under 20,000. Marin County, Santa Cruz County, and Solano County each have under 10,000. Napa County has fewer than 5,000. That adds up to about 275,000 single family attached homes throughout the San Francisco bay area, or about one tenth of all bay area housing units.

How about apartments, condominiums, TIC’s, and townhouses? Although some of these are owner occupied, a large percentage of these types of housing units are rental units. San Francisco rules the roost in this housing category with just over 250,000 such housing units. Alameda County and Santa Clara County are second and third respectively, with just over 200,000 units each. Contra Costa County and San Mateo County come in fourth and fifth, each with just under 100,000 units each. Sonoma County has just under 50,000 units. Solano County, Marin County, and Santa Cruz County each have just over 25,000 units. Napa County has just under 10,000 units. That works out to just under 1 million housing units, or a bit more than one third of all bay area housing units.

Last but not least, there are about 75,000 mobile homes throughout the entire San Francisco bay area, which is a bit less than four percent of the total number of housing units. They are fairly evenly distributed throughout most bay area counties, although the more urban counties like San Francisco have fewer and the more rural counties like Napa have greater numbers (and percentages) of them.

SO, what do all of these numbers mean for prospective San Francisco bay area home buyers? If you are looking to buy a home in the bay area, Santa Clara County has the most of them, and Alameda County has the second most. Contra Costa County has the third most homes of any bay area county, and San Mateo County has the fourth most. Because the overwhelming majority of San Francisco housing units (almost two thirds in fact) are rentals, San Francisco drops way down to seventh place on the list, with Sonoma County having the fifth most and Solano County having the sixth most numbers of homes amongst the bay area counties. Marin County has the eighth most, Santa Cruz County has the ninth most, and Napa County has the least number of homes of any San Francisco bay area county. (For those looking to rent, San Francisco has the most rental units, Alameda County has the second most, Santa Clara County has the third most, Contra Costa has the fourth most, San Mateo County has the fifth most, Sonoma County has the sixth most, Solano County has the seventh most, Marin County has the eighth most, Santa Cruz County has the ninth most, and Napa County has the lowest number of rental units.)

Whether you have arrived in San Francisco yet, or if you are still in the early stages of planning a move here, please feel free to give us a call. A few of our discount real estate brokers are San Francisco natives, but many of us at Baron & Chestney Real Estate have experienced moving here from quite a long distance away. We know our territory very well, and will do our best to get you the best home value for your money anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area. In the meantime, please feel free to peruse our real estate listings, and avail yourself of the many home buyer’s services that you will find on our realty website. You can search on our site for homes for sale by accessing our home database search, use the mortgage calculator, view our properties for sale, and, best of all, use the “Shop For Me, B & C” feature. This feature will enable us to do a customized home search just for you if you provide us with some preliminary information about the type of home for which you are searching. Best of all, it’s all free, of course! When in doubt, or if you have a real estate question for one of our discount realtors, always feel free to ASK B & C, or Contact B & C.

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Baron & Chestney Real Estate offers FULL SERVICE discount real estate brokers who will sell your San Francisco Bay Area home for a discount realtor commission of only 2% to 4% in TOTAL. Home buyers who purchase a home using our home buyer rebate program will get a realtor rebate of up to 2% of the selling price of the home. Serving your discount real estate needs throughout 10 San Francisco Bay Area counties, our discount realtors will save you THOUSANDS of dollars in real estate commissions, whether you are selling a home or buying a home, or BOTH! Call a Baron & Chestney Real Estate discount real estate broker today, and let our home seller discount real estate commissions and home buyer discount realtor rebates save you thousands of dollars in realtor commissions on your next bay area realty transaction! Call US first!