Comment Du Jour: Sub $650,000 Market Is Smokin’ Hot

Every so often we get comments that make us laugh, or just need to be noticed as a Comment Du Jour on our front page. As always, we encourage you to take part in the comments as there is a lot of fun stuff going on in there.

From “Hangemhi” on “How’s the Market…”:

i didn’t know they allowed you to curse on the internet. holy shit

anyone notice the $650k and under market is smoking hot… i have a buyer who is afraid prices are going to go up. i guess she doesn’t read socketsite.

Anyone else care to comment on the sub $650k market?

Yes, we did say we’d see you on Monday, but sometimes we just can’t resist a good post (or poke).

“How’s The Market?” Common Replies You Might Hear Over Cocktails

“How’s the market?” This has to be the number one most common question we’re asked these days by principals and Realtors alike. So we thought we’d give you some answers you’ll likely hear at your next cocktail party (stocked with Keystone Light, and Jose Cuervo, because Lord knows Negra Modelo and Patron Silver ain’t flowin’ like it used to!):

Question: “How’s the market?”

Reply #1:

How the fuck do I know! I’m a financial analyst with an MBA and Ph.D. in Economics. Graduated from Wharton, top of my class. Summa cum fuckin’ laude bitch! What do I care about real estate? I’m making my fortune in the stock market. Oh…by the way, I just created a website… It’s gonna be huge.

Reply #2:

It’s great! Never been a better time to be a buyer than now. Interest rates are insanely low, sellers are willing to negotiate, prices are dropping and volume is pretty much in the toilet, so if you’re looking for opportunity, now is the time to buy, that’s for sure. Here’s my card. You can reach me at the office, fax, email (any of the five), cell, on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, my blog, at the supermarket checkout, my kids swim practice, hell anywhere! Wait…don’t leave!

Reply #3:

It’s horrible. Our house has been sitting on the market for 100+ days and we’re afraid that asshole over at theFrontSteps is gonna feature it as a Stalefish. Wanna buy it? I’ll make you a smoking deal and I’ll even throw in my husband and kids…Gratis!

Reply #4:

Dude! The market is awesome. Buy a foreclosure dude. Don’t buy anything else. Everybody selling right now is in foreclosure. No need to make offers bro. Just wait. Foreclosures are the only way to go. Dude, we just bought this one and the basement was full of plants! Such a score bro. Whoever lent money to those owners were idiots, but they were good at growing plants. Wanna puff?

Reply #5:

I don’t know. Does my ass look good in these jeans, cuz I just bought them half off at Gap and they’re like totally having sales everywhere. I was thinking of buying some new Gucci sunglasses, but my husband like totally told me money is tight, but I totally bought this handbag at Prada and the credit card worked, so we can’t be that broke. Right? I think my ass looks good in these…you?

There you go. Have a good weekend, we’ll be back on Monday.

Tuesday In The Avenues (442 41st Avenue Open 11-12:30)

It’s another fine Tuesday upon us. Yesterday’s stock market rally may put a glimmer of hope in everyone’s eyes, and what better way to celebrate than with a tour of a great house we just put on the market. It is officially a “broker tour” open house today, but we’re inviting all of our readers to come have a look at 442 41st Ave anytime between 11am and 12:30pm.


This is a great single family home in the Outer Richmond with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths (1 bed, 1 bath unwarranted), hardwood floors, fireplace, formal living room, formal dining room, landscaped back yard, new redwood deck, ocean views (from the roof), 2 car tandem parking, washer & dryer, and an excellent location close to Lincoln Park golf course, the Cliff House, Land’s End, Ocean Beach, the Balboa Theatre, Chino’s Taqueria, Sea Cliff, China Beach, Sutro Baths, Louie’s Restaurant, and so much more! The house is also on the east side of the street so you can hang out in your back yard and be warm even when the wind is blowing.

This is a great house and you really should come take a look. Open today from 11-12:30 and Sunday we’ll be there from 2-4pm. Please come take a look. Tell your friends, forward this post, and spread the good word. Mama needs a new dress, so let’s get this home sold.

Ask Us: Remaining TIC Fractional Lenders

Where the readers ask and we (the community) try to answer:

Hi, just come across your site, very informative.

I’m trying to find TIC Fractional Lenders for a 3 unit + 1 unwarranted [unit] building in SF. We purchased it last October, have completed our renovations, 2 units will be owner occupied. We’re planning to go to Andy Sirkin to draw up a TIC agreement, and refinance hopefully with cash out. We now have a group loan @ 6.75%, no pre-pay penalty.

I heard Bank of Marin is out of the TIC market. How about Sterling and Circle, any other lenders available? Appreciate any info and recommendation. Thanks!


Thanks for your email and question. At this time we only know of Sterling Bank, and Ron Whitney at Zephyr real estate says that a “7×7 Group” also does Fractional TIC loans. Maybe the readers can provide further insight. Regardless, good luck and thanks for reading theFrontSteps.

Walkabout: Homes Along California’s Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway)

Those of you that have been reading theFrontSteps for a while know that we often get a case of Wanderlust and must cure the ailment by getting out of San Francisco and going Walkabout. Today, we take a little trip down Highway 1 (the most beautiful highway in the world) and discover some masterpieces fit for kings and surfers alike. Enjoying a taste for modern homes, mixed with a bit of old and natural charm is all you need.

Just a short drive down the coast over Devil’s Slide (soon to be through the tunnel) and you come to this great little one bedroom (do you really need more than that) house at 100 14th Street, Montara CA, $1,985,000 [Editor's Note: If you saw this post an hour ago we actually had a picture of the Montara lighthouse, leading you to believe that was the house. Not the case...whoops!]:



Head on down the coast a bit further, climb into the hills, see the giant Redwoods, notice the increase of poison oak along the road and you get to one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in the world, Big Sur, and for $6,000,000 you could have this “Treadwell House”. This home was featured in Dwell Magazine, and it is oh so nice. (We can put you in touch with the agent, just drop us a line.):



If one of these homes is not enough for you, or you feel you need to be where there is more “action”, how about a trip way down to sunny Los Angeles and buying a home in the Hollywood Hills, right smack dab next to Ellen Degeneres. It will only set you back $3,295,000 and don’t forget it comes with a famous neighbor:



Phew! We made it all the way from San Francisco to Los Angeles in one day down the coast. Lots of great things to do and see on the way, but lots of great property porn to distract even the best driver. Either way, our Wanderlust is temporarily satisfied, and now it’s back to reality…

Got Walkabout tips: Send them to

“Unexpected Jump In Home Sales in February”

Unexpected Jump in Home Sales in February:

-Sales of existing homes rose from January to February in an unexpected lift for the slumping housing market as buyers took advantage of deep discounts on foreclosures.

The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes increased 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 4.72 million last month, from 4.49 million units in January. It was the largest sales jump since July 2003.

-That was great news for buyers, who are paying the most attractive prices in years. Plus, interest rates have sunk to historic lows.

You’ll have to click through to the article to read the fine print. ;-) Regardless, it’s good to see a positive spin in the national media instead of the oh so beaten dead horse that is the negative.

Best Real Estate Blog, theFrontSteps Advances To Sweet 16!

Well looky there, theFrontSteps made it to the sweet 16 of the National Real Estate Blog Brawl. Looks like we narrowly beat out other local favorites, so now that we are advancing, we’re feeling that competitive spirit.

You’re help would again be appreciated to advance this little old blog to the national stage.
Head on over to this link:
Copy it and send it to friends, spam your office colleagues, tell Gavin, vote, and basically put a San Francisco Real Estate blog on the National map.

We are in round 2B at the bottom of that post against some Miami blog! You gotta vote in all zones for your one important vote for to count. Come on, you really going to let us get beat by some Miami blog!? Help spread the love, and thanks in advance.

-Real Estate Blog Brawl [Vote!]

Condominium Lending Gets Tougher And Tougher

We stand by our claim that it is a great time to be a buyer and a great time to buy (there is a difference), but we did also say “there are a multitude of hurdles you will face with regards to financing”, and this change in Fannie’s Condominium lending is surely one of them, will definitely not bode well for our SOMA condo market, and is totally unfortunate. One day we’re up, the other we’re down. What’s a market supposed to do!? Good thing San Francisco is not just high rise condos…

Just as a flood of new condominiums are scheduled to hit the housing market this year, Fannie Mae has added restrictions making it more difficult for developers to sell their units.

The government-backed mortgage-finance company stopped guaranteeing mortgages in condo buildings where fewer than 70% of the units have been sold, up from 51%. In addition, the company won’t back loans for sales in buildings where 15% of current owners are delinquent on association fees or where more than 10% of units are owned by a single-entity.

The new policy became effective March 1, and most lenders have started to implement Fannie’s guidelines….

Still, condo developers say the rules may hasten the failure of countless buildings across the country and seem to be at odds with federal efforts designed to speed along a housing-market recovery. “These buildings are just in purgatory. This new requirement is the straw that’s going to break the back of a lot of projects,” says Norman Radow, an Atlanta real-estate investor who works with lenders to rescue distressed condo complexes. “It’s a weight being tied to a drowning industry.”

Moreover, Fannie and Freddie are both set to increase fees on condo buyers next month. Buyers without at least a 25% down payment will have to pay closing-cost fees equal to 0.75% of their loan, regardless of the borrower’s credit score. The companies say these fees are necessary to protect against higher default rates.

The changes come as cities brace for a new flood of condo supply. Reis Inc., a New York-based real-estate firm, estimates that 93,000 new condo units will be completed this year, a 28% increase in new inventory from last year. More than 12,000 units will be completed in New York and northern New Jersey by year’s end. Chicago will add 5,500 units, Seattle has 3,000 units coming online, and Los Angeles is readying 2,600 units, according to estimates provided by Reis.

-Fannie Tightens Its Conditions for Backing Condo Mortgages [Wall Street Journal]

Mortgage Rates Near All Time LOW, Great Time To Buy

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again…it is a great time to be a buyer! (Yes, exclamation point necessary.) Donald Trump even said it on Larry King the other night (we searched for a copy of the interview, but can’t find it…help?)

You can talk all you want about the the bottom not being near, but we’re telling you it is a great time to buy (if you have the means, and determination). Sure, prices may continue to decline, and there are a multitude of hurdles you will face with regards to financing, but it can be done, and you gotta think long term. Not only that, but don’t think about waiting for the price to drop on the home you’ve been eyeing. Make an offer. If you’re looking at a $4,000,000 house and it’s been sitting and you think it’s only worth $3,125,000…make an offer! If you’ve been tracking sales of $800,000 condos and you have an inkling your favorite one will soon be $750,000, make an offer for $700,000. Negotiate! [And read this new post on condo lending.] Come to a price you all agree on, if it doesn’t work for you, walk away. You, the buyer, have negotiating power for any property that is currently on the market in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. Take advantage of that power, historically low interest rates (we honestly never thought we’d see these lows again, but here they are), and the surplus of homes on the market to choose from. There are buyers out there lurking, and sellers ready to deal. Don’t believe all the crap you read on sites that love to pick rotten apples (imagine how shitty their apple pies taste with all those rotten apples they continue to pick), homes are trading, people are finding deals, and dreams are being made. It’s a great time to be a buyer in San Francisco, and we’re not just sayin’…

From the SF Biz Times:

Market watchers expect the Federal Reserve’s decision to buy U.S. Treasuries will drive down mortgage rates in coming weeks, and they are already falling.

Freddie Mac’s weekly rate report says 30-year fixed-rate mortgages fell to an average of 4.98 percent this week from 5.03 percent the previous week. The new average is just shy of the all-time low of 4.96 percent in mid-January.

A year ago, 30-year mortgages were averaging 5.87 percent.

Following the Fed’s announcement Wednesday of a new round of initiatives to speed economic recovery, yields on 10-year Treasury bonds fell about a half percentage point. That was the largest one-day decline since Oct. 20, 1987.

Reports this week suggest homeowners are already lining up to lock in new mortgages at lower rates. Fannie Mae said this week its refinancing volume surged to $41 billion in February. The Mortgage Bankers Association says applications to refinance existing mortgages jumped 30 percent last week.

There is little incentive left for homeowners or buyers to choose riskier adjustable-rate mortgages.

The average one-year adjustable-rate mortgage was 4.91 percent this week, nearly on par with fixed-rate averages.

…and cue the normal (and expected) “you’re Realtors, so of course you’ll say it’s a good time to buy…sleeze bag” comments. We’ve heard it all before, so it’s gonna have to be interesting to grab our attention.

-Mortgage rates near all-time low [San Francisco Business Times]

Ask Us: Color Me Condo!

We get all kinds of questions in every shape and size and this one has got to rank right up top with one of the most off the wall, but we love it nonetheless and will coddle it like one of our own:

Which Condo complex in the City has the nicest hallway color scheme, in your opinion?


One short answer…no frickin idea! We have seen so many condos, so many homes, so many different colors of paint in different rooms that they all blend together. But, we’re not looking at color palettes, we’re looking at numbers, size of rooms, location, proximity to public transport, and so on. Painting can easily change the look and feel of a home or building, so we always try to look past it. With that said, go neutral. Colors that are too wild one way or the other can bring down the overall feel and kill a deal the moment someone walks in the hallway. You might have a look at the Millennium Tower website for a good idea of what we think is a good choice.

Hope this helps. Guess we did have an idea after all (since you forced us to think about it).

The Bottom Is Near Or Here

We have already made it clear that we are not calling a real estate rebound, and we’re certainly not calling the switch having been flipped, but we are telling you we’ve received multiple calls and emails regarding the prospects of us being at or near the bottom of this economic cycle. As soon as we get some of these articles sent to us, we’ll gladly post them. But for now, you’ll have to trust us. Believe it or not, when we get a call about the same thing from more than three people in different industries, we have to think there is some truth to the statement.

So what do you think? Did we hit bottom?

Nominations In, Now We Need Your Vote! Best Real Estate Blog

Thanks for the nominations, theFrontSteps has been nominated for best real estate blog in the nation, now we need to win. Please take a second to head to this site and look in Zone 3. There we are. You gotta vote March Madness style, just make sure you select theFrontSteps in there somewhere.

sfnewsletter was actually nominated too, so if you’re so inclined to help there, here is the link to that bracket.

alex (the editor)

[Update: Oh... thanks to a visit to Schtuff, we see the seeds, and we are actually ranked #1 in our seed in Zone 3. Well all be damned! Get on over to to and vote us through to the finals! Feel free to spread this post around and the link to the voting: and if you do Twitter, feel free to RT,]


Reader Reports: San Francisco Public Schools Kindergarten Lottery Is A Wrap

Thank you dear reader:

its that time again.

It would be interesting to run a RE check on the following locations:

400 Sargent Street 
San Francisco, CA 94132 


1501 O’Farrell Street 
San Francisco, CA 94115 



380 Webster Street 
San Francisco, CA 94117 

Cantonese dual language immersion program to be located 
at 1351 Haight Street, site of the former DeAvila Elementary 
It would be interesting to run a report on those areas, but we’re just a tad busy with other things.  Feel free to discuss amongst yourselves here, or head on over to The SF K Files to discuss all things San Francisco Kindergarten and the agonizing process that is getting your child into one.

Ask Us: Environmental Impact Report Not Needed? (430 Main)

Where readers ask and we (the community) try to answer:

This proposed building at 430 Main / 429 Beale requires exemptions for maintaining a 45 degree angle opening to the sky in all directions from an internal courtyard … meanwhile, it would BLOCK the SINGLE 45 degree angle opening to the sky from BayCrest Towers’s open spaces (courtyard/pool area, 2 barbecue patios) and units facing the courtyard. However, Rincon Hill Plan’s mere existence means the Planning Department doesn’t have to do an environmental impact report. What gives ?!?!?

See one of my three entries on this topic on my Rincon Hill blog.

The developer, Portland-Pacific, and their design team will hopefully get an earful from BayCrest, Bridgeview, and Portside residents when they hold a meeting on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm at South Beach Harbor Services Building’s Community Room, between Pier 40 and AT&T Park.

Contact Tuija Catalano at 415-567-9000 or at the developer with any questions …

There you have it. We have no idea what gives, and hope the community can take it over on this one. Answers to Jamie’s questions would surely be appreciated as would your attendance and phone calls we’re sure.

We Need Your Nomination For The Best Real Estate Blog

survivor-brawl-thumb1We love checkin us out some sexy Realtor, but we’d love more for your nomination for best real estate blog in the Nationwide Real Estate Blog Brawl. Come on now! What other Realtor site (that’s the catch…must be run by Realtors) gives you real estate porn…for real, data galore, answers to your burning questions, the scoop on new developments, bright shiny pictures all over the place, healthy debate, and a good laugh, oh…and t-shirts!? There is no compelling reason why you wouldn’t take just one second (okay maybe 10) of your time, head on over to the polling place and cast your vote for as your favorite real estate blog in all the land.

You know we appreciate it, and you know we’d do the same for you.

-Real Estate Blog Brawl [Nominate

241 7th Ave…Make An Offer!

Signs of a real estate rebound? We’re getting various tips to confirm the reports and it is definitely good news. So why the hell have you not told your friends about this great single family home at 241 7th Ave in the Inner Richmond? (NOTE: Tax records are not accurate on square footage…Curbed. ;-) )


We have been told to encourage buyers to “bring a reasonable offer”. That means, tell your friends. This is a chance to have a single family home at a condo price and the seller is extremely motivated. What you might be reading on tax records is pretty much useless. There are two large bedrooms and a sunroom that can be a third small bedroom or office. There is a formal dining room, formal living room, Edwardian details galore, and the entire lower level could either be a large media room, office, playroom or anything really. There is tons of storage space, a huge front yard, the home is detached on all sides and full of light, and it is a wonder this house is still available. The lot is zoned RH-2. We have reduced the price 5% already, and we’re encouraging any reasonable offer.

You know we rarely plug listings on this site, but this is truly an opportunity that will pass someone by if they don’t make a move. Make an offer on this home, or tell your friends about it!

-241 7th Ave, SFR, 2+ bed, 1.5 bath, 2pk, $1,129,550 [listing details]

The Fun Continues: “It Need Renovated”


REO. Price Reduce from $399,900 Contractor special. It need renovated. Nice and Quite, one bedroom one bath on the ground floor,installed security system [as opposed to....?]. SOLD AS IS condition. Pre-qaulify loan letter from Wells Fargo Bank. HOA including the earthquake insurance.

Sometimes it’s just fun to poke fun isn’t it?

There is a story here though. Last sale January 2006 for $410,000, in contract today around $299,900.

-1348 Scott #B [MLS]

Into Contract Within The Last Month

Lots of our fellow agents have noticed a bit of an uptick in “activity”, but we’re not so sure we’re convinced. We do hope it is true. We hear a lot about a ton of new listings and how that is good for the market, but we’d have to beg to differ on that. We need the current listings to start selling. So we ran a little report. Here is a list of properties in contract as of one month ago. Draw your own conclusions, we’re still too confused to draw ours.

Taking The Day Off

There are a million different ways to browse theFrontSteps (like joining this thread that has gone from a gripe about Daly to griping about Realtors that rent) , and we hope you do. Of course, we also completely understand if you ditch it all, tell your boss to f-off, walk out the door and enjoy the day! So much stress in our markets, so much stress in the world, think about how awesome San Francisco is, and get out and enjoy. We’ll be back tomorrow, but today we’re focusing on potential real estate transactions, and selling current listings. If you absolutely must, there is always your editor on Twitter to occupy (read: waste) some time and get some updates.

We might also suggest a quick browse of Your Mama. She’s always good for a laugh.