Northside SF
Real Estate Update
To sell or not to sell?

That is the question. When I’m with clients or at social gatherings, I am always asked this. In my previous column, I suggested that the current real estate market is favoring buyers, so why would a seller choose to sell now?

For some, the answer is obvious. If you have a great job offer in another city, or if you’re expanding your family, or just feeling the economic pinch and aren’t comfortable with the current cost of your home, then this may very well be the right time to sell, regardless of market conditions. 

Maybe you’re thinking of moving up into a larger home but are worried that you won’t get as much for your present house as you might have during the “boom” years. That’s probably true, but keep in mind you won’t be paying as much for your new home, either. So, in the end it might actually be to your financial advantage now to sell your current house and buy a new one.

It is important to keep the overall market in perspective when making major decisions like buying or selling real estate. Let’s get specific. According to the figures I found on the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is a snapshot of the market, recent single-family homes for sale in the Northside sold on average within 85 days of going on the market. That is pretty remarkable – it’s not the overnight sales pattern of a few years ago, but from listing to closing in under three months is terrific – and in line with our historical norm.

These were all multimillion-dollar houses, ranging from $1.8 to $8.8 million. Some sold under asking price, but even then, in most cases, the discount was only 3 to 10 percent, and that decline in value was far less than in other parts of the Bay Area and in the U.S. as a whole. 

It will likely be several years before we see home prices back where they were during the boom years. But remember, our local demand continues to rise, and the number of homes sold monthly is slowly increasing in our market. Don’t be discouraged and rule out anything just because the market isn’t red hot like it was. Well-priced homes are selling again – some with multiple offers and some even over the asking price.

Consider your reasons for wanting to sell, and make a decision based on your circumstances, goals and desires. Obviously, you need to consider your situation in the context of market conditions in your specific neighborhood, and your real estate agent can help you with that.

Stephanie Saunders Ahlberg has been a real estate agent for over 30 years and joined Hill & Co. in 1983, where she has consistently been among the top 10 salespeople. She can be reached at

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