Life at the St. Regis is pretty damn good *

You know that when I talk “life”, I talk real estate, because real estate is my life, and therefore life (real estate and living) at the St. Regis is pretty damn good. However, there are a few exceptions…the “B” units and one “F” are getting a bit stale!


I was fortunate enough to sell Unit 38 B for my clients 5 days after I put it on the market (full disclosure, another agent had it on the market for 8 months prior…started at $2.8M, we listed at $2.395, sales price *). But the other units that were also on the market at the same time (March 2008 ) are still there. What gives? It’s pretty damn simple, pricing. Those sellers need to get a bit more realistic about their prices, and their agents need to counsel them to get there (they probably already are). I know what price is going to get you 25 F, and kudos to the Realtor for getting their client closer to reality, but 22, 34, and 37 B…time to start chopping.

Just like at One Rincon Hill, I also know of a few properties at the St. Regis that would be available off market, so if the St. Regis is your thing, feel free to drop me a line. If any of the new developments are your thing for that matter, there are more units “available” than you might think.

A done deal at 200 Brannan (#109)

Oh it’s just so awful when a property sells for under asking.  The world of San Francisco real estate has certainly come to an end when we start to see this.  We can all pack our things and head for more affordable, greener pastures.  That is, of course, unless you love yourself some loft!

After 32 days on the market, 200 Brannan #109 sold for a whopping $10,000 below list price, or more correctly stated, it sold at market value.

This is a fantastic property in a great building, and these buyers got a great price, and a great outdoor patio! They should be thrilled.

We doubt you’d find anything like this in Kansas.

-200 Brannan #109 [MLS]

Views from the 5*th Floor of One Rincon Hill

We took you to this very floor a long, long time ago before it had walls (right after an earthquake mind you), and we took you there again just recently. This time, we’re bringing you a taste of what life will be like on top and from a North East corner unit…at night…and guess what? If you missed your chance to get one of these trophy units at the sales office, you might want to give us a shout, because there are more opportunities than you could imagine.

And yes, if you bought above the 54th floor your views should not be impacted by the second tower (build date still t.b.d.), and you can, without a shadow of a doubt, see all three bridges (Golden Gate, Richmond, Bay).

-One Rincon Hill: Topping off at 631 feet [theFrontSteps]

-I Spy [theFrontSteps]


Gone Surfin’

As many of you know, I fancy myself a bit of a surfer, which doesn’t necessarily mean I know how to surf. Regardless, I’ll be in Mexico sippin’ Cerveza and hopefully getting tubed out of my head until May 7th. I have already written a few posts that will appear in the next few days, so don’t hang up on us completely. In the meantime, I suggest you head on over to theFrontSteps.ORG and get social. That site is still getting great traffic, and is now all about the network and not so much about our blog. Go on, get over there and check it out. I’d hate to see you resort to other means of entertainment, or heaven forbid…work!

theFrontSteps.ORG [San Francisco Social Network]

Shining examples of more stellar “local” real estate reporting

This from a reader:

Here is another shining example of disservice to the SF real estate market courtesy of the SF Gate.

The SF Gate and KGO (ABC) reported ([yesterday and the day before yesterday], respectively) on the same story, but KGO was decent enough to report the foreclosure numbers IN CONTEXT, i.e. referencing that the 130 foreclosed-on properties were in the Bay View. The SF Gate cunningly lumps all of the foreclosures into “San Francisco” and adds in that the rate of foreclosure in the city is “up 200% from last year”, easily giving the impression that the real estate market is tanking city wide. I don’t think the Gate even mentioned the word “Bay View” once in the entire article. In a word? LAME.

Here are the links if you want to check it out yourself.

SF Gate

And we thank you for your report and taking the time to bring it to our attention.

Submedian is back, but “what’s the diff”?

Again, we say, “Lest you think we only report the positive,” we link to Submedian and What’s the diff.

And so you know what is so great:

So I’m perusing one of my favorite real estate blogs [theFrontSteps] (no, I don’t get paid to plug it, I really do like it) and I stumble across this whopper in the comments:

“I feel sorry for people who were tricked into renting for the past 5 years while SF prices continue to go up.”

That kind of broad, categorical, arrogant, and self satisfied comment deserves a reply that can match it ounce for ounce with pure snark. In other words, this was custom made for a blogger like me.

-What’s the diff? [Submedian]

Comment du jour: “It sucks to be an untalented Realtor…”

We love ourselves some hot Realtors, and we also think our “average” colleagues (the rest of us) are great (even though we continually bash the not so great), but this comment by Kenny the other day in Stats & Numbers: Condos… was so blunt and in your face we had to post it.

It sucks to be an untalented Realtor or a novice Realtor right now. Those of us with clients and listings are pleasantly surprised the market has held up as well as it has, and are doing fine.

And we have to ask, “Those of us who aren’t…?”

The Wall Street Journal reports on Overbids?

Aldo Congi…Capo di Capi telling it like it is. Andrew, you kind of fumbled a bit, but we’ll let it slide. And who was that that walked out of the bathroom in the middle of your interview!? Gasp….

No way! It’s not happening. Really it’s not. The market has tanked. This report was from 2005. The Wall Street Journal just wasted their time. (sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm)

And on the other side of the equation, Shiller (think Case-Shiller) thinks it’s only going to get worse, like worse than the Great Depression worse. Let’s make sure we don’t invite that guy to our party!

-Home Sales Fall, but Signs of Stability Emerge [The Wall Street Journal]

Stats & Numbers: Condo Sales March ’07 vs. March ’08

From Garrett:

District Map (PDF)

District 1 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 13 9
Median Selling Price 889,000 980,000
Average DOM 24 58
District 2 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 4 3
Median Selling Price 895,000 766,000
Average DOM 16 73
District 3 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 3 0
Median Selling Price 475,000
Average DOM 25
District 4 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 6 3
Median Selling Price 585,000 455,000
Average DOM 38 82
District 5 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 29 21
Median Selling Price 845,000 856,000
Average DOM 38 43
District 6 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 19 7
Median Selling Price 739,000 800,000
Average DOM 29 32
District 7 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 27 18
Median Selling Price 1,000,000 1,262,500
Average DOM 38 29
District 8 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 43 28
Median Selling Price 749,000 720,500
Average DOM 55 35
District 9 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 52 36
Median Selling Price 679,000 772,000
Average DOM 60 55
District 10 Mar-07 Mar-08
Number of Sales 5 2
Median Selling Price 510,000 546,500
Average DOM 46 87

Data Provided by SFAR

Rent or Own? Zillow has the answers…sort of

Can you tell, we’re getting a few tips as of late with all these links to sites you know your Editor rarely reads. But it’s good! It’s all good. We need to open our eyes and be edumacated from time to time, so we’ll pass that knowledge on to you.

Today we take you to the Zillow Wiki for their rationale behind renting or owning. We have been through this before and think we introduced many of you to the incredible data crunching goodness of Missionite, and his Submedian Calculator, but there are always more ways to skin a cat, so why not skin Zillow’s while we’re at it.

And since we’re on the subject, yet again, what do you think? Rent or Own…pros and cons.

-Owning vs. Renting a Home [Zillow Blog]

-Owning vs. Renting a Home [Zillow Wikipages]

-Rent vs. Own, the old debate in a new spreadsheet [theFrontSteps]

-Submedian Calculator [Missionite]

A failed flip at One Rincon Hill, and what we know about high rise “resales”

Truth be told, I recently had a client in contract to “take over” a unit above the 50th floor at One Rincon Hill from a “seller” that had purchased their unit via the sales office on the very first night said sales office opened. Yes, that means it was an attempted “flip”, a “cancellation”, a “pocket listing”, and the list goes on. The deal has crumbled (for various reasons), so now I can talk (a little).

The Lobby at One Rincon Hill

[That's the lobby.]

It’s funny to see all the chatter online about one person (okay maybe many people) listing their One Rincon Hill unit for sale on Craigslist and looking for someone to “take over” their contract. First of all, it ain’t that simple to just “take over”. If you think you can go it alone without some third party advice, just post to Craigslist and all of your problems will suddenly vaporize, think again.

Secondly, it should come as no surprise that many people will not be able to go through with their purchase, but it doesn’t mean the sky has fallen. Actions of a few individuals in one building do not represent the well being of an entire group (the market). For every one person attempting to flip or find someone to “take over” their purchase, there are 10 others that aren’t.

Finally, there are more of those transactions going on than you know at every new development in San Francisco (at least those with residents moving in), and many of those units are changing hands to ready and willing buyers (I lost a client to one such agent who had a client “transferring” their unit at the Infinity), so the focus on One Rincon Hill, and this type of activity at all, is blown way out of proportion.

What we know is that although the market has changed significantly in the past year, it is by no means down and out (surprisingly), and using anecdotal bits of “resale” activity at One Rincon Hill to paint a picture of the entire landscape of San Francisco real estate is nothing short of loony!

As for which units at One Rincon Hill are “available”, or how great the views from the top floors are… you’ll have to come back, because I just went on a tangent. For now, I can tell you, there are several units above the 50th floor “available”, should you be interested.

-Foreclosures Quadruple in State, Bay Area [sfgate]

A Done Deal at 3647 Washington ($910,000 over asking)

We’ve been through the over/under debate countless times, but when the big ones hit we have no choice other than high-light them, and 3647 Washington is no exception.


According to MLS, this five bedroom, four and one half bath single family home in Presidio Heights hit the market March 26th at $3,595,000, spent a staggering 12 days (or less) actually “on” the market, and just closed escrow for $4,505,000…or 25% ($910,000) above asking.

We again say, look past the over/under debate on whether it paints a picture of the market and think more about the desire of one person to have that property so much more than the others. Also think about the ones that lost.

Search word humor: “Monstertruck”

You’ll never believe (we don’t), but the highest ranking search engine term for how people find our site (term not related to real estate), is from this post. The search term, “Monstertruck”.

Please correct us if we’re wrong, but isn’t that supposed to be two words, i.e. Monster Truck? Maybe the answer is hidden in those tires, and what a terrible let-down to land on a San Francisco Real Estate blog when you’re looking for the Grave Digger.

We couldn’t disappoint!

Reader Reports: Eddy! steps it up again!

Nice Listing on Buena Vista

I’m not 100% sure if this is a TIC or a Condo — shame it’s not a [Single Family Home] at 4000 sq ft — but I really like this place. Clean, right across from the park and BIG. Not bad for $2.95M.

Eddy!’s favorite part, the agent remarks. [They are quite good (read: over the top), we must admit.]

147 Buena Vista embodies a level of sophistication & elegance that is encapsulated in its early 1900′s architecture & a more modern 2008 rebirth. The era has not been lost & continues to evoke a moment when San Francisco was coming of age & setting the stage to become the Paris of the Pacific. This classic Queen Anne has been melded with vogue design – a successful integration of design and historical elements define & underscore the grand scale that is so prevelant throughout.

-147 Buena Vista Ave [MLS]

-Nice Listing on Buena Vista [theFrontSteps.ORG, social network]

2021 Webster Withdrawn, Market Crashes! Not so fast…

We’re going to call our very own “Eddy!” out on this magnificent post he made on what appeared to be the end of the road for 2021 Webster (you must be reading that “other” site too much, it’s affecting your logical thinking).

Your analysis would certainly delight the countless nay-sayers around the realternet (internet sites focused on real estate), but unfortunately we have bad news….it’s in contract! Yup, called on it the other day for a client, and it is, in fact, ratified. No idea on the price and terms, but she found a mate.

-2021 Webster: The saga continues [Eddy! on theFrontSteps.ORG]

-2021 Webster [sfnewsletter listing page]

From Blank Canvas to Decorator Showcase, 2820 Scott gets the nod in 2008

“Since 1977, the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase has benefited San Francisco University High School’s financial aid program, raising nearly $10 million in its first 30 years. The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is widely considered to be one of the premiere showcase events in the country, featuring the work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers,” and this year they take you inside 2820 Scott, a magnificent eight bedroom, eight and one half bath, 14,000 square foot residence that last changed hands in 2006 (asking $8,500,000), and was (at the time) void of any furniture. Not any more.

You and yours can go check it out April 26-May 26, cost is $30, (Seniors $25).

We have one ticket for Monday May 5th (6-8pm), we cannot use. Who wants it?

-2820 Scott [sfnewsletter listing detail]

-Decorator Showcase [website]

Granite is out, CeasarStone is in…music to our ears!

We’ve been waiting for some proof in writing to support not only the trend we’ve been seeing in new home construction, but also an argument to hold up against clients’ wishes to install granite countertops. Yes, some granite is still good, but better is something like CeasarStone, and Alan Mark, of the Mark Company provides just what we need:


Beyond the green trend, the once “standard” granite countertops have been replaced with CaesarStone. With its stain, scratch and heat-resistant properties, this less expensive quartz-based material offers the perfect combination of form and function. We have also seen oak floors replaced with richer walnut product.

There you have it…if you have something that looks like this, you might swap it with something like this.

Good day.

Wishes granted

Those of you that wished, and hoped that all the blogging would come back to this site, today is your day. theFrontSteps.ORG (our social network) will live on and flourish, and I’ll be promoting it from this site, but it is just plain silly to duplicate my blog posts here and there, and this site wins simply because of the amount of traffic it already gets. I’ll slowly be building back up to full steam blogging, but for now expect continued light postings (I’m busy with clients), and an entire week of silence (4/28-5/7…surf trip).

Thanks for your emails, feedback, and continued support.

Alex (the editor)

$600,000 over asking on Avila?

In case you don’t get the sfnewsletter, we’ll bring a tid bit to you:

“Since everybody keeps telling us about it, we might as well print it (albeit a bit premature). This one will certainly blow your mind. Four fifty one (451) Avila hit the market February 29th (the first time in 60 years), asking $2,279,000, received nine offers, three of which were all around the top, and will apparently be closing not 100 or 200, no not 300 or 400, nope not 500 either, but a mere $521,000 above asking (go ahead, do the math).

Something tells us this house hasn’t seen that kind of action in at least 60 years! (Yes, that kind of action.) And what’s this about a cat included in the purchase price? ;-)”

[Update: Ask, and receive, proof of the $2.8M asking price.]

-Friday April 18th, 2008 [sfnewsletter]

Battle Royale: Realtors or Politicians, who’s worse?

Yes, we have the right to ask this question, as we are Realtors, and we encounter shady less than professional crooks (yes, crooks) on a weekly basis. At the same time, most of our colleagues are the nicest, most professional people in the world that work their asses off, but seriously…the lying, the cheating, the dishonesty, the back-stabbing, the constant self-promoting, and on and on. You’d think we’re on Capitol Hill, and you’d think the San Francisco Association of Realtors would put a stop to some of these people, but still they’re out there.

So who is worse, a Realtor or a Politician? Debate, discuss, have at it, because this week, we’ve had enough of it.

-Battle Royale [theFrontSteps]

California Foreclosure Crisis: I ask, Senator Barbara Boxer replies

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t a personal message to me, but I contacted Senator Boxer not too long ago to find out more about her ideas behind helping Californians who are upside down on their homes (actually I was mostly interested in getting the code to post her video directly on the site.) After sifting through all kinds of Political crap and coming to grips with the fact they did not, in fact, “listen” to what I had to say, I found this quite interesting:

California is being hit particularly hard by the foreclosure crisis, reporting 481,392 foreclosure filings on 249,513 properties in 2007, the highest total of any state and more than triple the number in 2006. These foreclosures will cost Californians an estimated $67 billion in lost property values, and local governments are likely to see a decline of $4 billion in collected property, sales, and transfer taxes.

For the full reply, read on… Continue reading