Off to Santa Barbara

For those that follow my writing and goings on…

I haven’t had the time to write sfnewsletter this week, and now I’m off to Santa Barbara for a wedding. I will be back next week…and I even went out to do another stage of the Tour. Oh well, it will have to wait.

Have a great weekend!

Roost.com: Every Home For Sale… (Well almost…)

What’s that Beastie Boys lyric? Something like “Technology is wizardry, what you got is…” Anyway….we now have more real estate technology and listing search capability thanks to Roost.com, which apparently just launched its San Francisco listings.

Looks to us like they partnered with Zephyr Real Estate to get those listings (smart on Zephyr’s part), and from what we could tell there are quite a few listings available to browse, and you’ll even get email alerts for new matches. You can filter by map, price, bedrooms, bathrooms, area, and all kinds of stuff. It is pretty darn quick with spitting back results and is simple and straight forward. It is lacking the capability to search anything that is not “active”, but what do you expect? MLS owns the data, and they’re protecting it, and keeping Realtors (like us) employed. There are, however, other sources for enhanced search and alerts when properties you might be tracking change status, and you can even get sold stats from more and more real estate sites, so if you know where to look, you should be able to find everything you need online these days when searching for homes in San Francisco.

Your homework: try Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, SFARMLS, Clean Offer, sfnewsletter, Roost, and any others we’re forgetting and report back, which is the best.

-Roost.com

-Enhanced Listing Search [Clean Offer]

-Sold Properties Reports [sfnewsletter]

Reader Report: Big Time Landlords Smoking a Lot of Crack in 2006

We love to get tips and comments from all y’all, so keep sending them either to thefrontsteps@gmail.com or use the contact form This from “44yo hipster”:

Apparently some big time landlords were smoking a lot of crack in 2006. Apparently these NY landlords didn’t get the memo that rent control is real, and unfortunately, one cannot just wish it away. I wonder if the Lembi’s were also this dumb, given their buying binge of apartment buildings in San Francisco? Peace out.

-Fear of Defaults After a Flurry of Apartment House Sales [New York Times]

-Lembi Juggernaut Selling Units? [theFrontSteps]

If you want $1.2M, then why (the f-bomb) don’t you ask $1.2M!?

As you know, I was a bit out of the loop lately in regards to San Francisco real estate, and forced to get my updates from a few other sources out there, like the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Business Times, and sooooo many other “sources”. My God, I thought the world had ended and Michael Phelps had won the Democratic Presidential Nomination! (Oh no wait…he took the place of GOD!…according to the media.) So you could imagine my shock and awe when I called the agents listing 505-507 44th Ave (an Outer Richmond two unit building asking $930,000) and they told me (within the first sentence mind you), and I kid you not, “Don’t even bother asking us to make an appointment if your client can’t pay $1.2M.”

Wait? Come again. (That’s what she said.) It’s listed on MLS as $930,000, the offer date came and went and you’re telling me you want $1.2M?

It was actually a bit worse of a conversation than all that I’ve shared (I can get a bit annoyed), but I cooled it down a bit in the end and got the agent to commit to “trying” to make an appointment. Turns out they had four offers previously and the client decided they want $1.2M.

Shitty market we’re in when you have four offers on the same Outer Richmond two unit building, isn’t it?

-505-507 44th Ave [sfnewsletter.com listing detail page]

Stats & Numbers: 2-4 Units July ’07 versus July ’08

Click on Image for Larger View

Click on Image for Larger View

NUMBER OF UNITS is the equivalent of number of sales/transactions. For condominiums, each unit is treated as a sale. For 2- to 4-unit buildings, the “building” is treated as a sale.

NUMBER SOLD is the number of properties in the market segment that closed escrow during the month.

NUMBER FOR SALE is the number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month.

MEDIAN PRICE (SOLD) reflects the “middle” price point of a group of properties that have successfully closed escrow on a monthly basis, i.e. half sold for more and half sold for less than the median price. Tracking the movement of median prices over time provides a good indicator of the direction market forces are moving.

If the percentage change is positive between the two periods then there is upward pressure on prices in that market segment. If the percentage change is negative between the two periods then there is downward pressure on prices in that market segment.

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET (DOM) reflects how long it has been taking (on average) to draw an offer on a reasonably priced property exposed to the market. The AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET is defined as: The average number of days it took all of the properties that went under contract during the period to accept a first position offer.

MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY (MSI) is a measure of how long it would take, in months, to sell the existing inventory at the current sales rate for the specific neighborhood and property type. The MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY is defined as: The number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month, less the number of properties that have been withdrawn or expired, divided by the number of properties that have gone under contract during the month.

* * * * *

Data provided by Terradatum.

Source: SFAR

God I love Your Mama

There is just so much real estate porn out there these days it makes our head spin. Some is obviously better than others and all the “tips on buying/selling a home in this market” are just plain “tawred” (We get that right Your Mama?), but one site continues to shine and keep us coming back for more…Real Estalker. What got us this time is Your Mama’s disclaimer (classic lines bolded):

The Real Estalker is a clearing house for information about high-end and celebrity real estate with a little gossip tossed in for fun. Posts are created by culling and synthesizing information from multiple sources including public records, other blogs, magazines, newspapers, and often, some good old-fashioned investigation. Published content may include inaccurate information and no claims of accuracy by Your Mama can or should be taken seriously. And babies, this blog is NOT meant to be a celebrity map to the stars. It is intended to be a tongue-in-cheek, voyeuristic, online experience only. Your Mama asks that you do not chase down, visit, or disturb any person or property posted here. Hunny, that would only make you an asshole. Seriously. This blog is meant to be in the spirit of good fun and we hope you take it that way. Additionally, The Real Estalker makes no claims to the sale-ablility, structural integrity and etc. of the homes we discuss. We are simply sharing our sarcastic opinions of properties and anyone who would be influenced in regards to purchasing a house based on this blog is stoopid.

Your Mama, did you copyright that or can we use it in our disclaimer too? Especially those last couple of lines? Oh damn, we don’t have a disclaimer!

-Real Estalker [www.realestalker.blogspot.com]

Comment du Jour: We love Realtors yes we do, we love Realtors how ’bout you!

Because we know many of you don’t read the brilliant comments. From time to time we have to bring them to you (edited slightly for flow):

I did not read over the hoards of posts, but i would like to leave a comment! I really do not care how much Realtors make, matters not. But, i do care that in fact, my Realtor is a PRICK. I am in the process of buying a house (within a couple of weeks of closing, supposedly) and my Realtor called me, YELLING at me, telling me I’M lagging behind and not working towards getting this loan closed. Although Every single fucking stressful day I’m getting two or three calls from the lender wanting “just one more” document of some kind to “get this thing pushed through”. Would you believe that the sellers/Realtor expect ME to paint over the window frames to pass an FHA inspection? Yup, the buyer who doesn’t even own the house yet……….. two weeks ago my friend went and built a HAND RAIL on the front porch for me, because the sellers, and the Realtors say it is my job to put the house up to code, not theirs.

Meanwhile the Realtor, if he actually is a Realtor. ([We left it out, but it's in the original comment] at Remax Select, Flint Michigan) is belligerent with me, rude, and forceful, telling me that because they are willing to sell the price for “so Low” and willing to agree to “all my terms” which they didn’t anyway!! that I should just march my happy ass over there and make sure their house passes an inspection.

Alas, I will paint the fuckin windows, because I want the house. but I’ll tell you what i don’t want…….. i don’t want that cocksucker to get one cent commission when i close, so, I am up at 5am researching [so that's how you found us] if it’s possible to change Realtors right before close… because you know what? I wanna stick it to the fucker and teach that little man a lesson.

[Much Love, Sarah]

As we said, “Ouch!” That hurts and we’re sorry you had that experience, surely this would never happen in San Francisco… ;-) It begs the question, why didn’t you fire this guy sooner!?

-Why are Realtors so arrogant and such assholes [theFrontSteps]

Cocktails!

Thanks to Fluj for putting up some good content while I was away! I’m (almost) ready to go with some new posts (need to figure out how to perfectly resize photos, and a few other things on this here Mac.) In the meantime, relax with a cocktail, I’ll be back at it by Monday (hopefully).

I’m having a Bombay Sapphire and Tonic.

What are you having?

This is pretty far OT — but a new restaurant trend is coming.

The writing is on the wall. I say this having seen last night’s “No Reservations” Spain episode. It is haute nuovo Spanish cuisine and you best be sure SF is gonna see several of such restaurants in the near future. Watching that episode last night, I couldn’t help but notice that crusty ole Anthony Bourdain was absolutely enthralled with what people were doing. So it has influenced my thought here, but to be fair, I’ve been hearing this from foodies for some time now. I’m sure many of you have too.

My question is, are there any wild Spanish restaurants in the city right now? I don’t know of any. And what do you think about the food? It looks to me like I need to take a monthlong vacation to Catalan and the Basque region as soon as the dollar gains another 10% or so!

– Kenneth Kohlmyer a k a der fluj

When you look at this chart/map, what do you see?

I feel like this is a bit of a litmus test.

I was on another blog and a poster actually used this map to back up a point made about neighborhoods north of California st. showing signs of weakness. I was like, huh? This map? Aren’t all the areas north of California YELLOW? (Yellow shows appreciation.)

It isn’t the greatest map/chart/whatever ever. It shows Noe Valley like half green and half yellow. I think most of us are pretty sure Noe hasn’t slid. It shows the north part of Potrero Hill as green. It shows all of SOMA as a chunk of green and I think we can all agree SOMA varies wildly. And the Inner Richmond has fallen? That would be a surprise to everyone working at any brokerage in town, in any capacity.

So, not the best. It needs more variegation certainly. But it sort of just goes to show where we are right now. We who are the buyers, sellers, agents, brokers, fence sitters, you name it. We who post on blogs about real estate. We’ve all come to think that the glass is not full. What does this chart tell you about the the status of said glass?

You’ll notice I didn’t get into who they quote, what they actually say in the article versus what’s happening here in the city, etc. You can get into that if you want. But what do you see in that graphic? I’m curious.

– fluj a k a kenneth kohlmyer

So far San Francisco has weathered the storm better.

But in my opinion the biggest thundercloud is on the horizon. That is, given the new conforming limits and the more stringent requirements banks are putting on loans, who will be able to afford what? Previously the 850K to $1.2M property was a relative sweetspot for both luxury condo buyers and SFR buyers alike. However, there is a chance that in the very near future this zone will prove to be a very difficult one in which to maneuver. Look at it closely. The banks are asking for 25% down. So what it boils down to is this: Who in the heck buys a $1.2M property with 300K cash down?

(If we can get some mortgage broker participation on this one, that would be really great. In my opinion this is the biggest challenge to the SF market so far.)

I have a related question too. Doesn’t it seem as if there could be some money made by opportunistic banks here? There are 50 boatloads of responsible buyers out there. People with up to 20% to put down and good jobs, etc. Whatever happened to the old 80-10-10? And wouldn’t a bank capable of portfolio-ing loans be able to make some great returns with such a product?

fluj a k a kenneth kohlmyer

wow — complete Noe wreck, on a busy street, sans views

This property was so run down that there was yellow tape everywhere. Visitors literally couldn’t walk in more than one area due to the fact that they would fall into the sub-basement, or worse. Yet it sold for 25K over asking, for $1.02M. On the one hand it’s understandable. It’s Noe Valley and a large lot. On the other hand, it is not. It’s mid-summer 2008 and this isn’t supposed to be happening, especially on previously less desirable streets such as Clipper. Your thoughts?

Mac it is…learning (and vacation) begins

Getting to know the San Francisco real estate market is (relatively) easy, getting to know a new iMac is something altogether daunting. Have no fear, I will prevail and theFrontSteps will be running at full speed come August 25th or so.

Yup, I bought a new iMac, this one to be exact, and there is lots to learn and lots to set up (particularly the annoying little MLS not working on Safari thing), and I (alex) am leaving on vacation… proper vaction. I expect Fluj will do some posts while I’m away, so go easy on the guy, have fun, be civil, and thanks for all the great tips on what to buy when it comes to a Mac. (I got the iPhone too, and will certainly be setting up blog posting from it, so that will be cool.)

Summertime…….. and I’m outta here!

(p.s. Don’t be surprised if I do a post here and there, so make sure to either subscribe to theFrontSteps via email, or set up your RSS feed so you’ll know when new content is on the site.)

(p.p.s. I might be on Twitter tweeting, so feel free to check that out if you can’t resist.)