Lee Sells and Speaks More...

Lee Ginsburg is an award-winning Realtor with 30 years experience in Peninsula residential real estate. With the utmost attention to detail, Lee delivers expert marketing, negotiating, and management of all financial matters. With a strong commitment to honesty, fairness and hard work, Lee has successfully helped first time home buyers, move up buyers and investors.

Lee’s goal is to exceed your expectations. For the latest community information, please subscribe and see how Lee can help you.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

South San Francisco Unified has the best Graduation rates in San Mateo County

Being in Real Estate I get requests to live in the best school district.  They look at the API scores (http://www.cde.ca.gov/nr/ne/yr12/yr12rel96.asp).
I am married to a school teacher for 35 years.  Parents cannot expect that living in a good school district to manufacture Stanford Graduates.  I believe teachers are important but parents and family are more important.  You must lead by example.  You go to work everyday, and they learn to go to school every day.  When your children come home you ask what they learned, review their homework assignments, talk to them about the day,  help them with their homework assignments, get help if they need help and you are involved.  This needs to be done at all ages.  Yes they way you approach the subject needs to change, but cannot be eliminated.
I just read in the San Jose Mercury News (http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-news/ci_22987359/california-graduation-rates-climb) that South San Francisco Unified School district had the highest graduation rate (94.1%) in all of San Mateo County.  It was almost the same as our southern neighbor Palo Alto (94.6%).  South San Francisco actually had a lower drop out rate (3.0%) than Palo Alto (4.7%)  Please feel free to view all the numbers of your choice at (http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/)  These are phenomenal numbers considering the fact you don’t have to pay a $1,000,000 for a home.  Homes in South San Francisco are in the $550,000- $800,000.  If you are interested in buying a home in South San Francisco give me a call at 877-Lee-Sells

San Mateo County Schools            Graduation Rate %             Drop Out Rate %
             Cabrillo Unified                                    85.2                                           9.1
             Jefferson Union High                         88.7                                           8.2
             La Honda Pescadero Unified           80.8                                           7.7
            San Mateo Union High                        90.3                                           6.6
             South San Francisco Unified            94.1                                          3.0              Countywide                                            83.3                                         11.0

    Several Years ago, I wrote about the Monte Verde Elementary School winning a grant from Google.  http://www.prucalvoices.com/2011/06/monte-verde-student-wins-doodle-for-google/

Visit my website for more info: www.LeeSellsMore.com

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Oh Where Oh Where Has All of the Inventory Gone???

The lack of available homes for sale along with the strong job market bringing lots of qualified buyers are driving prices up in San Mateo County.  Inventory of available homes is down substantially in San Mateo County as compared to a year ago.

I think this might be the new Real Estate environment for years to come.  I say that because the recession we just got out of has scared a lot of people.  It has made them be more conservative financially.  In my opinion that is a good thing for the long term.  Similar to when our parents or grandparents went through the depression. That thought stayed with them for a lifetime.  In the past people owning an $800,000 home would step up to a $1,200,000 home or the person with a $500,000 home to $800,000.  Yes people are working today in San Mateo County but they remember just a few years ago their job and home were in jeopardy.  When the thought of moving up to a larger home with larger payments comes up, it gets shut down very quickly.  People are staying put, they are comfortable, their home is good enough, they do not want to take the risk, they don’t want to live for their mortgage, and they want to save for that rainy day.  I think that thought will stay with us for quite a while.

Seniors used to be a good portion of sellers and that is decreasing.  Seniors are remaining in their own home longer, because they are healthier or by having live in assistance.  Some are choosing to rent it out rather than sell.

In the last few years when the economy was not as strong and homeowners were not able to make the payments, foreclosures and short sale made up 35-50% of local sales.  I am very happy to say that era is over, gone, finished. Our San Mateo County employment is very strong and with rising prices most people have equity in their homes and can make payments.

In summary we have lost three major home sellers: the move up seller, the senior, and the banks. I believe we have to adjust to a new Real Estate environment.  I do not see a major change in the forefront.  

To home sellers on the border line of selling or not selling, I suggest contacting your real estate agent for a value and then discussing with your options.


To home buyers facing multiple offers and all cash buyers; I say stay with it! Find a good agent that knows the area and the other agents.  Everyone wants a deal and today the deal is interest rates.  They are at their lowest point in the last 4- years.  Don’t pass it up. Home ownership is the first step to financial freedom. 

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions relating to buying or selling in San Mateo County. 1-877-Lee-Sells.


Monday, January 21, 2013

South San Francisco Rejects Inspection Ordinance

South San Francisco Code Enforcement has been requiring inspections of homes at time of sale.

It originally began as inspections only for smoke detectors and water heaters.


It expanded into an inspection for building permits.  It was beyond health and safety concerns.

Due to an outpour of concern from Residents and the San Mateo County of Realtors, on Jan, 16 South San Francisco City Council voted to "Table" the issue of Point of Sale Inspections.  Mayor Pro Tem Karyl Matsumoto said the issue is "dead".

I thank you for your support in defeating this.

As of now the inspections are no longer required although if you would like I do believe the city will inspect your home at no charge if you request it.

For further information:



It is still required for South San Francisco Home Sellers to perform a sewer lateral inspection and to meet compliance prior to a home selling.




New Laws and Taxes for Home Owners and Investors for 2013

There is no change as of now to the Mortgage Interest Deduction!
Capital Gains rate remains at 15% for incomes up to $400,000 for single filers and $450,000 for joint filers. Over those limits capital gains tax increases to 20%.
As a single filer selling your primary residence you are still entitled to $250,000 of tax free gain and $500,000 for joint filers.
Estate Taxes are exempt from estate tax if the estate is valued less than $5,000,000 for single tax filers and $10,000,000 for joint filers. Above those limits the tax rate increased to 40% from 35%.
If a portion or all of your mortgage debt was cancelled relief is extended through Dec. 31, 2013.
3.8% tax on investment income begins now. It applies to home sales, interest, dividends, capital gains and net rents. This is a very complicated tax. If you are selling your primary residence you are still entitled to the $250,000/$500,000 tax free. This affects only those with $200,000 of AGI or $250,000 for joint filers.
Mortgage Insurance premiums remain deductible for tax filers making less than $110,000.
15 Year Straight-line cost recovery on leasehold improvements is extended through 2013.
Energy Efficiency Tax credits remains in force through 2013.
For any of the above Tax issues, I strongly recommend speaking with your tax advisor.
New Rental Property Laws
AB 1679 – Allows return of security deposits directly to a bank account designated by the tenant.
AB 1925-Limits tenant relocation costs in San Francisco to $275.00 per day.
SB 1055- Prohibits a landlord from requiring Electronic Funds Transfers as the only type of payment.
SB 1229-Prohibits a landlord who allows a pet to require that the pet be declawed.
SB 1191-Requires a property owner (1-4 units) who has received a notice of default to inform a prospective tenant.
SB 1953-Prohibits a Landlord from proceeding with an eviction if the above notice compliance has not been met.
AB 2521-Increases the threshold for tenants’ abandoned property from $300.00 to $700.000 before requiring a Landlord to take additional steps to dispose of the property.
AB 1186- Eliminates frivolous suits over Building ADA Accessibility.
AB 2610- Requires a 90-day notice on month to month tenancy on foreclosed property and requires that a lease be honored to the end of its term, unless sold to a buyer who will occupy the home (some other exclusions apply)
AB 1394- Requires before Jan. 1, 2016 a smoke alarm be installed in each bedroom. As of Jan. 1, 2013
Carbon Monoxide Detectors are required in all Single Family and Multi-family properties.
On January 16, the South San Francisco City Council unanimously rejected a proposed ordinance mandating private property inspections before the city would allow residents to sell their home.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Investing 101

Recently Prudential Cal Realty continued its speaker series with Investing 101 with guest speakers Ron Ricard of Investment Property Exchange Services (http://www.ipx1031.com/regions/western/rep.aspx?id=5&region=2&office=0), and Michael McNair of Ira Services Trust Company (https://www.iraservices.com/)(and a panel of Prudential Realtors (http://www.prucal.com/) completed the speakers.
We learned that the best way to acquire property is from inheritance. Much better than receiving it as a gift. When you inherit it, your cost basis is the current market value. If you receive the property as a gift you’re cost basis is the gift givers basis. Cost basis is used when calculating the capital gains tax due when you sell.
Another good method to acquire real property is by exchanging one property for another. With that, capital gains tax is deferred. Although the language is “like property for like property” it is a very vague term. You can sell vacant land and buy a single family home; you can sell a 10 unit building and purchase several single family homes. You can sell a single family home and purchase several condominiums. You cannot live in any of the properties for at least year. Please keep in mind that capital gains tax is deferred but not waived. But there is no limit on how many times you can perform a 1031 Tax Free Exchange.
We were told that Capital Gains tax will be increasing effective January 2013. If you are considering selling and not doing an exchange do it this year and save yourself a 4%.
Remember it is not what you earn it is what you keep and that leads us to the next speaker.
Michael McNair explained to us we have alternatives to the stock market investments for our Retirement Plans. It is called a Self-Directed IRA. With a self-directed Ira one can invest in Real Property, precious metals, deeds of trust and more. Most people using a self-directed IRA to purchase real estate pay all cash. By holding real estate in your IRA, the positive cash flow and appreciation when realized is tax free. That is important today as we learned that for the first time in maybe 20 years one can invest in Bay Area Real Estate and expect a positive cash flow with a 25% down payment. Not only are home prices at incredibly low prices, rents are incredibly high. That combination along with record low interest rates has created “The Perfect Storm”. Great cash flow and great potential appreciation for your Retirement years.
Ira or Shoes
The Prudential agents told us some of the best returns to adding value is still curb appeal and that is to sell or rent. Entry doors, double paned windows and a deck addition added some of the best value. For other value added improvements please visit http://www.remodeling.hw.net/2010/costvsvalue/division/pacific/city/san-francisco--ca.aspx.
The Prudential team also said to limit your management time, screen your potential tenants well. Getting the right tenant can make you a lot of money and maintain your sanity.
Be Sure to attend our upcoming Speaker Series:
Thursday May 24: Estate Planning: How to Protect Your Real Estate Investments
Marc Weissman, ESQ., Weissman & WeissmansJoseph Galligan, CPA, Galligan, Thompson, & Flocas
Trust vs. Will s Transferring to Children
Move and Keep Your Property Tax Proposition 58, 60, & 90
Tax Consequences & Benefits
Thursday June 28: A Seller’s Market??? Home Selling 101: Preparing your Home Sale
Pricing to Achieve Maximum Values Costs Involved In Selling (What is my bottom line?)
Sell or Rents Moving Up? Moving Down? Cashing Out? How To Keep Your Tax Basis
Cost-Effective Upgrades (To Remodel or Not to Remodel)s Inspections and Appraisals
Marketing Your Property (Open House, Home Warranties, Internet, Staging)
Marketing Your Prop
For to register go to speakerseries@prucal.com

“It is Better To Own Real Estate and Wait than Wait To Own Real Estate”

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It is a Seller's Market on the North Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay Area

There is a lack of homes for sale on the market today. There are few foreclosures and not many short sales to bring down the value of your home. This might be the time you were waiting for. Prices are inching up ever so slightly and well-priced homes in clean, decent, condition are selling quickly with multiple offers above the list price. I think it might be time for you to talk with your Real Estate Consultant. Sunday Open Homes are over flowing with buyers. They want to buy now with the lowest interest rates ever. With the low interest rates they are approved for a higher priced home than previously. We are going into the prime spring and summer selling season. Please feel free to contact me to discuss the market, your home’s value, and your options. I also help homeowners owing more than the home is worth. I am a certified Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource.

Please look at these numbers. I don’t run these numbers often. I am in the market every day and I am amazed at these numbers and the major change from last year. A 60% decrease in the number of homes for sale. An average of 13 days for a home to sell! WOW!!!

Active Active Sold in Days on market Current
Mar. 2012 Mar. 2011 2012 for listings in 2012 months’ supply

San Bruno 25 87 33 14 1.7

SSF 32 125 40 12 1.9

Daly City 51 204 79 11 1.5

Millbrae 17 41 15 13 2.75

Burlingame 38 55 19 11 4.75

San Mateo 73 165 83 17 2

Based on these numbers we are in a seller’s market. 3 months of supply is considered an equal market for buyers and sellers.
These numbers were gathered from the MLS and Sam Car on Mar. 11, 2012

"It is Better To Own Real Estate and Wait, Than Wait To Own Real Estate"


Monday, February 20, 2012

Thinking of Refinancing?

With the lowest interest rates ever, have you been thinking of refinancing?

There is a lot more to it than just the rate.

How much of your current payment is going towards principal?

Want money for remodeling, college, investing?

Should you pay down your loan?

Should you go with a 30 year loan or the 15  year Fixed rate or the very tempting 5 year rate?

I invite you to join us at a Complimentary Mortgage Planning Workshop.


Just a discussion on Finding the Right Mortgage For Each Stage of Your Life.  

What is the right mortgage?

When should I refinance?

Should I consider a reverse mortgage?

Mortgage Planning Workshop

Thursday Feb. 23 at 6:30 PM

Millbrae Library, Meeting Room A, Civic Center Plaza Millbrae

Free Parking and Refreshments

For Reservations call 650-871-3200  or email speakerseries@prucal.com

HSHSite30FRM3yr 2012