Vizzie my house!

What do you think of advertising listings in this manner? I guess if you have a hot, sexy voice, or a voice like Darth Vader’s (James Earl Jones), it could be effective, and get you in the mood….to buy property of course! But does the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” apply here, or is the added voice walk-through helpful?


Regardless, the place looks sweet and unfortunately doesn’t have parking, but who needs a car in this city anyway? I just must add…Starbucks? Come on! There are way better coffee choices around there than that.

-In case clicking on the picture doesn’t work for you [1628 Broderick]

Cyber real estate conversations: some “funny shit”

From a reader:

a true e-mail interaction between 2 SF real estate watchers on 1303 Alabama St:


wanna hear some funny shit? no, not 306 Mullen, but that freaky-eco project on alabama and 25th. st. Be the first to see it this sunday 1-4 (and guess what, u don’t have to pay $25 to be on some pretentious architect tour!)

fyi- it’s north of $900 sq ft, for a tic in the mish!! woohoo!!


$900 per sq. ft? thats fucking funny, really funny.

It was wrong of these assholes to sell tickets then put it on the market. I saw dozens of scared shitless visitors on Sunday filing through the place with nametags “Hi– Rob me”


i agree, a tic [north of] $900 per sq ft. in the mish is funny; makes that silly lorax bldg on 22nd/valencia [3280 22nd St.] seem reasonable! btw, i think the whole bldg is a duplex, so 1 unit sells as a tic. i wonder how much dough they made from that architect-bend-over-take-it-up-the-ass-tour. actually, having a free open house 1 week later is fucking hilarious as well. funny shit!


My partner thinks I’m nuts to have thought of construction and future sale price of 425$/sq. ft.

1 million for TIC of 1200 sq the fucking hood? This I MUST see.

1303 Alabama St:


306 Mullen:


3280 22nd St. [look how quickly they sold, and it would be 3 units. ;-) ]:


That is some good shit and a good taste of what goes on. I was hesitant to post as you sent the same “shit” to other sites, but I’m over it, and always down for a good laugh. Thanks for sending in, and feel free to send more.

17th & Clayton, a reader asks…

[Update: New drive by photos below!]

“I was wondering if you know what the deal is with the copper siding on the new condos on the corner of 17th & Clayton. Some people are saying that it will be the finished look and I am hoping they are wrong. Hideous! Thanks.”


Here’s all I know:

The four townhomes are scheduled to be completed in March 2008

(approximately). It’s still too early for pricing, but the homes will have

great volume (9′ to 11′ ceilings), high-end finishes and views. They are

each four-level townhouse style condominiums.

Here’s the breakdown (per the plans and subject to change):

4588 17th Street

3 BR / 3.5 BA, 1832 SqFt, Backyard, 2 Decks, 1 Car Parking

4590 17th Street

3 BR / 3.5 BA, 1685 SqFt, Backyard, 2 Decks, 1 Car Parking

4596 17th Street

3 BR / 3.5 BA, 1646 SqFt, Backyard, 2 Decks, 1 Car Parking

4598 17th Street

3 BR / 3 BA, 1532 SqFt, Backyard, 2 Decks, 1 Car Parking

Anybody have an updated photo?

Thanks Garrett! Camera phones are a blessing (and a curse) aren’t they?



-17th & Clayton Pics and some Luv [theFrontSteps]

San Francisco as retirement destination? Huh?!

I just had to put this up. My favorite quote: “Ten years ago, when he retired, he and his wife migrated south to a bedroom community in Cary, N.C., where it was quiet and green–everything retirement is supposed to be. But ‘I was bored out of my gourd, frankly,’…”

Guess where he’ll be living? The Infinity.

[Update: another article on SF as top retirement destination: U.S. News]

-Yahoo Finance Article

Nobody likes a bully

So here’s a story.  In case you haven’t noticed, the weather has been pretty nice.  That usually translates into good surf.  (You out of towners {SoCal} don’t get any ideas, the surf is only marginal here.)  So I’m in the water picking up clients (my board will soon be emblazoned with Zephyr stickers so I can write it off), and I run into a colleague.

He tells me a story about two highly qualified buyers that literally wrote offers two months ago, then decided, “the newspapers are telling us it’s a bad time to buy, so we’re going to hold off…”  WTF!  Who gets real estate advice from the newspaper?  That’s like asking me to advise you on which stocks to pick, or what’s the best way to perform a root canal.   Not good medicine.


Stump the Stammtisch: “Should we tenants be worried?”


I rent an apartment on Grove near Clayton over in the Panhandle/North Park area of the city. Our landlord has recently been bringing brokers by to “view” certain apartments in our 6-unit building. Many properties have been for sale in our neighborhood recently, and everything seems to go like hot cakes. Should we tenants be worried?



Not going to touch this one. The long and short, if you’re worried talk to a good landlord/tenant attorney. In general, tenants have A LOT of rights. Anyone else care to elaborate?

$605,000 less than it was (2801 Lake)… actually $1,205,000 less.

Originally listed at $4.2M in 2003, 2801 Lake was hacked to $3.6M and just recently hacked again to the current price of $2,995,000. That is a MAJOR reduction that may or may not indicate something about the market, but it sure as hell indicates something about staging and getting your home ready to sell.




There were so many of these rooms, it was hard to pick just one, so I went with the picture medley. Now I’ll go bandage my bleeding lips, as I had to bite them so hard to refrain from commenting. Maybe we should see who can come up with the best caption for each photo. Photos 1-4, starting on the top.

Happy Friday!

[Update: Sold for $2,580,000 on 12/18/2007]

Calculating Square Footage in San Francisco: “Comment du Jour”

To think that I always choose snarky comments for the “Comment du Jour” would be silly. As I always say, the comments are full of information, but I know not all of you read or follow them. So…a reader (FogCityBrit) provides a horses mouth (City Assessor) account of calculating square footage: (An update on Chelsea would be nice too, you know.)

Having recently finished construction on a ground up new single family, I had occasion to discuss how the ‘tax’ sqft (I presume this is what is listed on the MLS) is calculated by the City assessors office. Here is my question and their response:

Q. Do you have guidelines on calculating the sqft? is it the gross area

(i.e. to the outside extent of the envelope)? Should voids be deducted?

A. For detached houses, measure from the exterior face of the walls.

· For attached units (i.e. – townhouses and side-by-side duplexes), use

the centerlines of the common walls as the outside dimension. It may be

easier to measure from the inside surface wall and add 6 inches to account

for the common walls on both sides.

· For condominium units, measure from the inside surface wall since the

airspace is what is being purchased. Remember to include the partition

walls within the condominium unit as part of the GLA.

· Begin measuring from any corner and work your way around the house.

· Measure to the nearest inch.

· Draw a separate floor plan for each level in the house. Do not assume

that each floor is identical.

· “Square the house” by checking whether the measurements of parallel

sides of the structure are equivalent. The total front building measurement

should equal the total rear measurement. The total left-side measurement

should equal the total right-side measurement. Minor discrepancies may be

due to the corners of the structure not being at perfect right angles.

Exclusions from the finished area: Continue reading

2138 Beach…what happened?

“Hi Alex,

Do you mind highlighting what happened to 2138 Beach St., $1.799 mil, 2000sqft? In my notes, i write that i saw it on July 24th and it went in contract already. It’s killing me not knowing what the property was.”


Fear not. It was, actually still is, a “remodeled & spacious 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath condominium flat on a large lot (32′ wide, 137′ long). Kitchen features Wolf stove, Viking hood, Bosch dishwasher, Sub-Zero refrigerator & custom cabinetry. Master suite with walk-in closet & remodeled bath with double sinks. Formal living & dining rooms. Landscaped garden has tall trees creating a private feel. In-unit laundry, 2 car parking, and common recreation room & bath (both permitted).”

It came on the market 6/14 for $1,799,000, went into contract (according to MLS) the day before you saw it, 7/23/07, and sold not too long ago, 8/21/07, for $1,725,000. Square footage shows as 2079, which puts it at $829/square foot, and roughly 4.11% below asking. Oh…and it is in the Marina District.

If you got the sfnewsletter, you would have already known. And if you have an agent, maybe it’s time for a new one. I can think of a couple.

-Mid-century betting in the Marina [theFrontSteps]

Green prefab?

by Tiffany Elston


I know what you’re probably thinking: a “green” prefab? Aren’t prefabs generally characterized by their cheap (and toxic) materials with no real aesthetic appeal?

Well that was until now! West Coast Green has decided to bring in a whole, full size beautiful green prefab to sit in Civic Center Plaza for the remainder of the week.

The mkLotus is designed by noted architect, Michelle Kaufman and built by XtremeHomes. The off site modular technology results in 50-70% less waste than traditional site building and has all the bells and whistles. The mkLotus comes equipped with a green roof, 100% solar generated power, rain and groundwater catchment system, gray water system, on-demand hot water heater and much more. The house was also designed to maximize daylight and cross ventilation while protecting occupant health with the use of no-VOC paints and other non-toxic materials.

If you don’t have time to attend the whole conference, at least make time to check out the mkLotus. And if you’ve got some extra time, Saturday of West Coast Green is specifically designed for homeowners. In addition to 250 (+) exhibitors on the trade show floor, there will be presentations on topics such as healthy homes, green design 101, and marketing and investing green.

[Tiffany has informed me that she has some passes, one of which I'll take for sure, so if you're interested, email her at tiffany @ greenkeyrealestate .com and you might get in for free to the trade show.]

-West Coast Green

-mkLotus official site

-West Coast green mkLotus details


-Saturday presenter schedule

What’s the square footage on that, and why’s it missing?

by Kenny, verbatim:

This post is to question a common practice in the SF market. That is the practice of intentionally leaving the lot and block numbers (apn) information out of the MLS listing, entering instead 9999999 or else intentionally running the numbers into one another so that the hyperlink won’t load. I understand why listing agents do it. They don’t want people to see the tax information’s recorded square footage. Often the real square footage has been increased and the tax records don’t show it. Whether it was legally done or not, whether the permits have been signed off on yet, etc., all these factors probably play into the listing agent not including the information. Nobody wants to see lawsuits fly over mistaken square footage advertisements. But is that all there is to it? I don’t think so.

I think this is something that needs to stop, immediately. Can’t people communicate what the real story is in a safe manner? Seems like people don’t give other people enough credit sometimes. Also, I find it particularly shameful when listing agents intentionally leave out the apn numbers just because the house is small. Hey, don’t list it for so much money if it’s a tiny place!

Here’s one: 23 Belmont in Parnassus/Ashbury Heights

I looked it up. The tax info actually reads 1750 square feet. That would put this property at $1485 a foot for area 5-E [Parnassus/Ashbury Heights]. That’s way more than the average 5-E property. Even the best stuff in 5-E goes for around $1000 a foot. And smaller properties usually can trend higher in dollars per square foot, but not $485 higher. So I see why they did it. But come on.

Can consumers see the apn info on the public access MLS page? Do you guys all know what I’m talking about?

Comment du jour: “…crap du jour on socketsite?”

This “comment du jour” by “James” was too good to pass up:

Is it me or are the comments and posters on here so much more valuable than the crap du jour on socketsite?

As Kenny said in his reply, “Totally…I feel like the point of this blog site is to try to make sense of the market, and not to TELL YOU what’s going on. That’s huge.”

I don’t know the answer to the question, but I know Kenny provided a good reply. The point here is to make sense of, educate on, and learn how to gauge this market, but also help our readers get in or out of the game of real estate. It is not to be the “anti-socketsite”, as I think SocketSite does, in fact, provide some good insight. However, real estate is a complicated game, and to be told what the market is doing by someone not actively in it (from what we can tell) is…well… a joke. You might as well take real estate tips from the Enquirer. And if you’re a Realtor, you sure as hell shouldn’t be supporting, or providing information to, a site that at one time had FSBO as a goal, clearly supports a crashing market, and freely distributes (read: poaches) information that we all pay for (think MLS), without being a member himself. But I guess some Realtors will do anything for a bit of attention now won’t they? And that’s a whole different discussion.

That’s my two cents. Thanks for the comments, and thanks for reading! Now if you just un-plug from that socket, your lights might shine a bit more brightly, we can all move on, and not have to go over this topic again.

p.s. Hi Adam.

“Fed Cut the Rate! Seatbelts, please…”

From a reader (not Boomtime, not MarinaPrime, not me, not any of the other bulls…), verbatim:

“Fed Cut the Rate! Seatbelts, please…



* Yield curve steepened dramatically as the 2Y went from 4.13% to less than 4.00%, 10Y yield moved down to 4.46 but has since rebounded a bit

* Future moves will depend on data & economic conditions

* Gold reached a 27 year high as traders hedge against weaker $

* Most beaten-up names will most likely benefit the most (CFC, WM, WFC etc), but their early rally is starting to retreat

* Moves in indices and other asset classes:

BEFORE                                                IMMEDIATELY AFTER

INDU 13478 +73                                         13608 +216

SPX 1485 +9                                                1504 +28

CCMP 2590 +9                                            2619 +91

10Y 4.50%                                                   4.458%

GOLD $717                                                  $722

CRUDE $81.66                                            $81.03

GBP 1.9999                                                  2.0105

EUR 1.3886                                                  1.3940

JPY 115.8300                                               115.52″

-MSNBC Article on the topic

Large and in Charge (3730 Washington)

On May 14th of this year, we alluded to a “very big, very expensive” home that will be coming on the market. Since I just drove by and saw the sign out front, we’re finally letting you all know. That was a tough secret to keep, let me tell you.


3730 Washington is coming on the market, and last we heard the price will be around $18,000,000 [Guess they changed their minds....$14.5M, 7 bedrooms, 5.5 baths.] As of this moment, MLS is still giving us troubles, so we can’t confirm whether it is listed or not, but there is certainly a sign out front and Richard Weil (Hill & Co.), did in fact beat out Barbara Callan (McGuire) for the listing.

We’ll post pictures, [correct price], and MLS link as soon as we have it.

[Pictures and MLS link as promised]

The neighbors are “aghast”! (3809 Clay)

“This property [3809 Clay, a 3 bed, 3 bath in Presidio Heights] sold about three years ago (neighborhood rumor) to an agent, who modernized it then flipped [it] for around 1.4… note what it is listed for now. What do you think? We are aghast.”


Well…I don’t like rumors, so I did a little digging, and I’m sure some readers will dig a little more. Especially, the growing number of readers I’m now referring to as the “traders”. They love working the numbers (even if the facts are not all there), and we love reading it.

From what I can tell, it sold in August 2003 for $1,450,000 from a $1.6M asking price. At that time, it was not yet modernized, but it did sell to an agent that is known to be a part of “flipping”. I won’t say anything of the quality of flipping, just that they flip. [Update: And the agents were not part of the remodel/flip...only the clients.]

It was indeed remodeled after that purchase and came back to market in February 2004 at $1,899,000, and sold in 15 days for $2,070,000. (In my humble opinion they could have done better on the remodel.)


It is now back on the market, and to me it looks like whoever lived there did some nice touching up to make the home look like it should. [Update: Going against my cardinal rule, I posted without actually knowing the facts. They did, in fact, not do anything to the property except landscape and put in new shutters. Good photography vs. poor photography is what it comes down to. I'm red with embarrassment.] It is now listed at $2,595,000, and we’ll have to watch and see what happens. It looks much better. Wouldn’t you agree? [Update: I still think it looks better now though.]


I am not aghast, but I am also not a neighbor. Anyone else?

[Last Update: A good comp for this property is 339 Walnut, but since MLS is down, I can't post it.]

-3809 Clay [MLS]

Why Buy Hotel Condos?

by Janet Krahling (thanks Janet):

People often ask “Why buy a private residence at the Four Seasons, St. Regis or Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco?” Here’s the simple answer: Imagine having exceptional high-end services in your home every single day and the potential investment upside associated with real estate, but without any of the headaches normally associated with home ownership. There’s a new lifestyle being created atop condo towers in San Francisco.

Here are a few other reasons, excerpted from a recent Wall Street Journal article and recent Business Times article:

-Helping to simplify residents’ lives. As people are working more hours, increasingly frazzled by the daily grind of their careers, traveling more

frequently, [homeowners] want what limited personal time they do have to be free of the nuisances of daily life and home ownership, like mowing the lawn,

maintenance issues or managing a staff of butlers.

-Purchasing homes isn’t just about granite countertops and marble baths

anymore. Buyers now ask “How easy are you going to make my life if I buy


-With increasing competition among luxury condominium developments, top-end

amenities like on-site wine storage, in-house spas and twice-monthly

housekeeping, not to mention 24-hour concierge services, are becoming the


This ease in lifestyle explains why hotel-branded condominiums are

performing better than the overall housing market. For example, “The Four

Seasons condominiums are getting more than a 90% premium over comparable

apartments that aren’t a part of a luxury hotel….the synergies are

fantastic…” Buyers are happy to pay a premium for amenities but also

want them to pay off at re-sale.

“Six offers, $260,000 over” (3299 Folsom)

From Kenny, in the comments:


“WOW. This one [3299 Folsom in Bernal Heights] just sold [for $1,255,000]:

Six offers. 260K over asking. 850 a foot. On Folsom! This is a neighbor of mine. I’m very fired up about this one.”

I think your other neighbors are pretty fired up too. And for the “traders” wondering what kind of money, if any, was made on this. It last traded in 2004, almost to the day, at a cool $1,000,000.

Would that be “just quotes”? Just curious.

-3299 Folsom in Bernal Heights [MLS]

Done Deal in the Marina and only $395,000 over (2330 Bay)

Our readers have come up with some good finds this last week, and thankfully I have some time to post them, so you can pick your jaw up off the ground along with the rest of us:


Take a look at this. [2330 Bay] Closed in 21 days for almost $400,000 more [asking $2,495,000 selling $2,890,000]. The market in District 7 [Pacific Heights, Marina, Cow Hollow, Presidio Heights] is unbelievable. I am positive in prime real estate in SF, but this is just blowing my mind how much demand there is.

I’d have to add that it is not that bad in other markets either….Bernal, Noe, Haight, Hayes, West Portal, Forest Hill, Outer Parkside, Inner Sunset, Glen Park, and the list goes on and on.

-2330 Bay [MLS]

Benjamin Bratt sells SF Investment and “Your Mama” tells us how it is

I truly love when readers (thanks Shelley) send in links to other sites that truly make me laugh, and have a good grasp of the sf market, so I can quote them and not have to say it myself.

Lest anyone think the sub-prime lending crisis and mortgage meltdown is having a huge affect on the real estate market in the urban yet genteel streets of San Francisco, listen up. Mister Bratt’s investment property was listed in mid July, 2007 at $1,595,000. The property was sold and closed by the end of August for $1,858,000. So what does that tell the children about the still electric San Francisco marketplace?

Now babies, we know that it is standard practice in San Francisco to price a property low and sell it for higher than asking. This is widely considered “normal” in the City by the Bay. However, in this era of near fiscal implosion of the mortgage industry, one might think we’d see a slowing of the market and San Francisco properties would not be selling extremely quickly and for 10, 12 and 15 percent OVER the asking price. But they are children, they are. Ev-er-ee day.–The Real Estalker

Who cares about Benjamin Bratt! Your Mama nailed it! Nice!!!!

-1832 Page, Mr. Bratt’s Investment [MLS]

-Benjamin Bratt Sells SF Investment Property [The Real Estalker]

The reasons for my absence: Market Activity on three levels

I know, I know. I’ve been MIA, but there is a reason. A good one. Or two. Actually three. You see, when I get caught up in this blog, reading comments, and reporting on what I see “virtually” I almost get the sense the market has cooled. It has cooled, but not nearly to the extent reported by every other media outlet out there. When I go out into the “field” with buyers and sellers, it is an entirely different picture.

My first example:


420 Lake, a six unit building asking $1,950,000, in the Lake District. Priced a bit too high for my client who is looking to vacate the building, completely remodel, and sell as TICs, this property had a showing schedule, an offer date (gasp!) and is now in contract. How it pans out, we can only wait and see, but that should be a good indication of something.

My second example:


869-879 Grove, another 6 unit building asking $1,695,000 in Alamo Square. Just hit the market, first Broker Tour was yesterday, and is rumored to be receiving an offer today.

My third Example:


2185 Bush #311, my own listing, a two bed condo in Lower Pacific Heights. Received an offer after only 18 days on the market, with many, many buyers circling. We’re still negotiating the final details, so hopefully I don’t jinx it, but the buyers are there, as is the activity, the loan approvals, and interest.

[Update: Literally two minutes after this went live, we are ratified in contract...with contingencies.]