In the Spirit of Halloween and Election Season, Scary Technology that “Outs” Your Neighbors

Prop 8 is not one that encourages sedate emotion. People are either vehemently for it, or they are just as vehemently against it. The debate between the two camps, heated as it is, often erupts into full out fighting, which we all know from our rhetoric classes is actually the opposite effect civilized, fair debate is supposed to have. The fights themselves can even get violent, as seen in this article about a Bakersfield man who attacked, punched, and kicked a No on 8 proponent (article and disturbing video here). 
 
That’s why I wonder whether the Chronicle’s new technology that allows you to see who in your area has contributed to “yes” or “no” on 8 is a good idea. Here you can type in a city, a zip, or even a name to see who has contributed to which side, as well as the dollar amount contributed. I do see the logic of printing the names of corporations who donate to or against the proposition, as you can retaliate by ceasing to spend your money with those companies whose views differ from your own. But how do you retaliate against an individual person? Punching and kicking? And though candid information about campaign contributions helps us understand the actions of our elected leaders, in this case the revealed data seem akin to publicizing people’s ballots after they’ve voted, when by law our votes are supposed to be secret. 
 
Essentially: I’m happy enough to say I’m voting no on 8; but I’d like the freedom to keep that to myself if some frothing-at-the-mouth Bakersfield psycho is waving a blood spattered YES ON 8 sign in front of my face.

With the Bad Comes the More Bad: Foreclosure Scams on the Rise

Since we’re members of the California Association of Realtors and our goal is to educate the public as much as possible, we thought we’d share this article about how to protect yourself from the recent rise in foreclosure scams.  This article was written by the C.A.R.  All credit goes to them.

 INTRODUCTION

REALTORS® commonly consider the filing of a notice of default as the beginning of the foreclosure process.  However, it may also be the start of something sinister.  The public recording of a notice of default can act as a beacon to unscrupulous people who, under the guise of offering assistance, seek to take advantage of homeowners in distress.  To protect homeowners in foreclosure, California’s foreclosure consultant law strictly regulates the activities of people who perform foreclosure-related services, including real estate agents to a limited extent.

This legal article discusses the issues surrounding foreclosure-related scams, with special attention given to the ways that REALTORS® and their clients can distinguish between legitimate and illegal enterprises.  This article also provides REALTORS® with legal and practical guidelines for complying with the foreclosure consultant law.

II. FORECLOSURE-RELATED SCAMS

Q 1.  What is a foreclosure-related scam?

A  A foreclosure-related scam is a loose term for fraud, deceit, or trickery perpetrated against homeowners facing foreclosure or others involved in the foreclosure process.  With the rise in foreclosures in the mid-2000s, foreclosure-related scams have exploded onto the real estate scene.  Some con artists offer to help homeowners in foreclosure, but in truth, merely intend to dupe the distressed homeowners out of their money or property (see, more specifically, Question 5).  Other scams target real estate agents, investors, buyers, lenders, tenants, or other people involved in the foreclosure process. Continue reading

Que Sera, Sera: One Rincon Hill’s 60th Floor Penthouse Residence ($14M)

We’ve all heard about the latest craze to talk about what buildings aren’t selling what, what price reductions happened where, what incentives are being offered here, and which penthouse condos are selling for what. If you’ve been reading up on your bay area blogs, you’ll likely already know that the entire 60th floor of One Rincon Hill is again available, but not presented as an opportunity to purchase yet another excellent slice of pie in the sky, rather a failure to close contracts due to the recent national recession (half full, half empty).

So, should you only be in the $2+ Million buying range, you could take your pic of one of the four residences on the 60th floor (at least one on the 59th too):

The views from up there are nothing short of extraordinary.

Or, should you be walking around with roughly $14 Million burning a hole in your pocket, you could chop down a few of those walls and take the entire 60th Floor (5900 square feet) all to yourself (okay, maybe you could share with your honey….or us).

Opportunity knocks, and we’re dying to come to the parties. We’re not sure if when you purchase the entire top floor you’d have exclusive access to swim in the seismic water tank on top, but it never hurts to ask.

Love Haight Relationship

By Arrian Binnings:

Heyyy mannn, what’s going on with your investment, mannn?

Haight Money (Look Closely)
Haight Money (Look Closely)

Well let’s find out. We looked at condo sales prices in the nabe (Haight Ashbury) from 1995 to present, capping each year at October 29th. Condos are by and large the most popular property type in the area. We tried the same analysis for single family homes but there just weren’t enough data points to be reliable. So what’s groovin’? Continue reading

When is the Bottom, really the Bottom?

These days, when I am in my office, each corner I turn, each webpage I look at, each blog, each of my peers. . .it’s all the same. Doom and gloom, declining property values, steep increase/decrease in the markets, suspended construction, and utte

r fear. I get it, I really do, and I too am afraid.

So I throw out the question; When will we hit bottom? Are we close?

Stimulus packages sound good, but will they help? When will we get writing my essay back to normal?

What can we do to help?

Coming Soon! And, Coming Later!

Realtor Kevin Gueco writes a very sunny review for the coming soon Mosiaica 601 condo project (pictured above) in his SFNewDevelopments blog. There’s definitely some room for pleasant surprise in the announced price  (pleasant to me, anyway, since I selfishly find all condos I cannot afford to be unpleasant):

“Mosaica 601 announced last week that it plans to start pricing of its 3 bedroom / 2 bath condos in the low $600s!  This is an incredible value considering each home is around 1400 square feet.”

Of course, putting aside Gueco’s near-by  restaurant list, the area (where Mission meets Potrero) is a little rough, but the price still seems all right to me. Perhaps the developers see the price cuts so many other condo developers have had to make recently, and are starting lower to begin with?  

Also coming soon (but not as soon) are a more mysterious set of housing units. Just off West Portal and 16th Ave., in front of Arden Wood, you can see the pushed-up dirt, huge bulldozers, and thin wood skeletons that signal housing to come, and their sectioning looks multi-unit. Thus I suspect these are the long awaited condos that were subject of news and speculation in 2006. In fact, that’s still the only information I can find on this construction: 2 years old, via SFHomeBlog and J.K. Dineen. Someone has to have a more updated scoop here. Anyone?
 
Meanwhile, still a pipe-dream (ha ha! Really, Haight Street, how many pipe stores can one street support?), but with the supervisorial green light is the Whole Foods/condo complex, slated to replace long-dead Cala Foods at the corner of Stanyan and Haight. The Chronicle outlines the plan here:

 “The large, four-story project, which also includes some 60 high-end, market-rate housing units, was expected to be controversial, but the commission voted 6-0 to approve the conditional use permit – a result supporters think had a lot to do with their organized turnout.”

Right, agreed: Haight could use a face-lift and perhaps a gentle reminder that THE 60′S ARE OVER. Also, I like Whole Foods, but I’m saving for one of those condos, so I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s (with a new one also coming soon!). I’m curious what “market rate” will be when those units go up, since so many new developments are struggling to sell out units already. The Frontstep’s own banker/blogger, aptly known as “The Banker,” says: “We are overbuilt. . .and it is next to near impossible to get financing!”

What do you say?

—-

Construction photo via SFNewDevelopments

East Bay: Mid-Mod Classic with Eyes on SF Buyers

By Home Girl (aka real-estate blogger Tracey Taylor, former Redfin Sweet Digs maven, making her first guest appearance on The Front Steps. Thank you Alex!):

It doesn’t surprise me that this 3bed/3bath, 1946 house (pictured above), which comes with the distinguished Bay Area architect Walter Ratcliff‘s moniker attached, should be listed on the San Francisco MLS as well as on its East Bay equivalent.

This is the type of home that might just tempt a city dweller to cross the pond and put urban living on the back burner for a while. Set on 36,000 sq ft of wooded land, it features a great room/kitchen that opens to a patio and hot tub and a dramatic fireplace. And, of course, spectacular views of San Francisco to assuage any homesickness for those that made the leap.

But — and there is a but — the interiors look like they need some serious attention. And the big question, and possibly the reason the house hasn’t had any takers after more than 40 days on the market, is why it hasn’t been better presented. This is a house crying out for some sleek retro staging  — as you will, I’m sure, agree when you check out the listing photos.

A rash of Walter Ratcliffs hit the Berkeley market at the tail-end of last year: 2 Somerset Place, a 1920s beauty near John Hinkel Park saw its price slashed from $3.2m to $2.6m before disappearing from the MLS, and 2957 Avalon Avenue and 22 Tanglewood Road sold for $3.1m and $2.3m respectively, near asking price and no quibbling involved. But that was then.

From Mid-Century to Modern, 3577 Pacific Returns (Almost)

The last recorded sale of 3577 Pacific (2 bed, 1.5 baths, on the Presidio wall right across from Julias Kahn Playground) was August 31, 2005 for $2,225,000 and she was definitely a mid-century diamond in the rough. Well…she’s back and she’s looking sweet. She did get a bit bigger, and more modern though.

She’s been developed by Mitch Menaged, designed by John Maniscalco Architecture, and Huang Iboshi Architecture and now has six bedrooms, four bathrooms, roof deck, waterfall, chef’s kitchen with Miele Double Ovens, Steam Oven, Espresso Machine, Dacor Microwave Drawer, Gaggenau Ceramic Cooktop, Liebherr Wine Cooler, an 800 bottle temperature controlled display wine cellar, Phase Four Home Automation System, Philippe Starck designed Duravit tub with ceiling water fill, custom cabinets, walnut flooring, Cat 5 wiring, Carrera Marble Fireplace, sculptural stone, iron & glass cantilevered staircase…(deep breath)…and of course a few “green” features like energy efficient radiant in-floor heating, wiring in place for photovoltaic panels, made with fly ash concrete, and a drought tolerant landscape, but we’ll stop there.

Pics, you ask?
You’ll have to settle for the old ones for now, the new ones are coming soon. This home should be on the market within the week, and don’t expect the price to be anywhere near what it sold for in 2005.



There is an invitation only preview on Thursday, so if this is the type of home you’d like to buy, we’d be happy to take you as our guest.

(For those that sometimes ask, the answer is yes. As is the case with most properties we feature on theFrontSteps, we have already been inside this one as well. So agents, keep those invites and tips coming.)

[Update: Price $7,700,000, still no pics.]
[Update: Price already reduced (one week on the market) to $6,950,000, still no pics.]
[Update: Brochure with pictures and floorplans now online.]

-3577 Pacific Avenue (before) [MLS]