Sexiest Realtor Bay Area Delayed And Changed

Hello all! Thank you for all of the nominations so far, please keep sending them in ( Unfortunately, life events are getting in the way of our fun and we simply do not have the time to hold a contest for each county. So keep sending in your nominations for Sexiest Realtor in the Bay Area and we’ll put them ALL to a vote at the same time starting December 7th. That means no elimination rounds, just one big voting frenzy.

In the meantime, check out these sexy Realtors if you were expecting some pretty faces today:


Leave it to the Mormons to take it up a notch. (An assumption, and joke, based off of the Women of Real Estate’s proximity to Salt Lake City, UT.)

We Never Said Playing The (Condo) Lottery Would Produce A Win

2010 Condo Lottery: Previous participation may not yield additional tickets

Dear Plan C Member,

Ticket sales for the 2010 Condo Conversion Lottery have been announced by the city and will begin on Monday, November 23rd (additional information can be found here).

As you may be aware, it has been the practice of the City to issue additional tickets to buildings that can substantiate unsuccessful past participation. Specifically, the rules and instructions issued by the City’s Department of Public Works (“DPW”) for the 2009 lottery (ORDER NUMBER 177,881) stated, “Multiple tickets for any building will be sold based on the current 2009 lottery and proof provided for each year of past unsuccessful participation; that is one (1) ticket for the 2009 lottery, one (1) ticket for unsuccessful participation for any and all of the lotteries during the 1990-1994 period, and one (1) ticket for each year of unsuccessful participation in the 1995-2008 period.”

Recently we learned that the City may be denying additional lottery tickets to buildings that qualify with the minimum qualifications (summarized generally as: one owner-occupied unit for each of the last three years in 2-4 unit buildings, and three owner-occupied units for each of the last three years in 5-6 unit buildings). Historically, lottery priority and the issuance of additional tickets have required that one of the qualifying owner-occupants has been an owner (but not necessarily an occupant) during each of the previous lottery losses. The change for the last couple of years and for 2010 is that DPW appears to have a new interpretation of written law. To establish priority credit (additional tickets), DPW is requiring that each of the qualifying owner-occupants be the same original owner occupants that were unsuccessful in past lotteries.

Simply put, your building might qualify for the 2010 lottery and receive one ticket, but unlike in years past, may not be entitled to additional tickets based upon unsuccessful previous lottery participation.

We are reaching out the membership of Plan C to see if there are other TIC groups where this situation is likely to have an impact. If you’re facing the same issue, or would face this issue if one of your fellow TIC co-owners were to sell their interest, let us know and we will put you in contact with other similarly situated people. Send us an e-mail at,

Collective action by affected TIC groups (including possible litigation) is more likely to succeed than individual efforts.”

-DPW Condo Lottery Information Page

Strippers Wanted For “Entertaining” Prospective Clients


Oh this is good. Do you want to be an “entertainer”, get people wasted, and take their money? Well, you’re in luck. You don’t have to be a stripper to land this job. You can be a Realtor’s assistant!

From the Craigslist Ad:

Models Wanted for Happy Hour Events
Date: 2009-11-16, 9:00AM

We are looking for female models for happy hour events in San Francisco.
We are a a group of Real Estate agents who entertain prospects and clients.
You will be responsible for making sure that our guests have fun and everyone makes it home safe.
These events are at resturants and bars in San Francisco where you will be entertaining prospective clients for business relationships.
You must be friendly, outgoing, and be able to drink responsibly.
We will be doing interviews this week on Thursday in Burlingame.
Do not reply if you have a drug or alcohol problem.
You will be paid $20.00 per hour for which you will be given a 1099 for.
Please send at least 3 photos to be considered. The next job will be Tues next week.

Hiring Organization: Reply by email
-Location: San Francisco
-Compensation: $20.00 per hour 2hr min
-This is a part-time job.
-Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
-Please, no phone calls about this job!
-Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

And from us here at theFrontSteps, please be careful and make sure to take a picture of these [fill in the blank] and send it our way!

“Liquor, beer and wine, it’s the flashing sign I see…” Every single morning when I wake up, I wanna sell some property. (Google “Reverend Horton Heat’s” song to get the melody.)

Oh so fun to be in real estate.

Thanks to for the “tip”…no pun intended

-Patrick Swayze, Chris Farley Chippendales Audition Video
-Bay Area’s Sexiest Realtor Contest

San Francisco Real Estate Market Values In A Fun Interactive Graph (Courtesy Of Zillow)

So we’ve heard from Realtor Economists, we’ve heard from our Association of Realtors, and looky there! Now we get to hear what Zillow thinks the real estate market is doing! Fantastic!

Have a look at San Francisco Home Values:


Now have a look at San Francisco Median Sales Price (Holy Crap Batman! It looks like Prices are all over the map!):


In all seriousness, their graphs are pretty cool and certainly fun to play around with, and if you look at their charts, our values have clearly hit a bottom and are going up, baby!!!!

-Rent vs. Own Interactive Graph [theFrontSteps]
-Zillow Home Values For San Francisco

Comment Du Jour: You Don’t “Need” To Put Your Children In Private School

Bringing back an old favorite with our “Comment Du Jour”, because sometimes we simply can’t say it as well as our readers. This comment from Caroline SF on our recent post, It’s Less Expensive And More Environmentally Friendly To Live In The City, We Have Proof, is so good that we absolutely have to let you all in on her thoughts:

I have a college freshman and a high school sophomore who have gone all the way through SFUSD schools.

Only the uninformed (well, and perhaps those who don’t want their kids sitting next to “those” people in class) believe that San Francisco parents “need” to send their kids to private schools.

Of course we do have many friends who do and have sent their kids private, and there is simply no discernable difference in the quality of their education vs. the quality of my kids’ education. Basically they spent $150,000-$200,000 per kid for the same thing we got for free — a solid K-12 education. They chose to do that for whatever reasons of their own, but they didn’t “need” to do it.


-It’s Less Expensive And More Environmentally Friendly To Live In The City, We Have Proof [theFrontSteps]

Friday Video: Thierry Henry Handball? (World Cup Soccer…Football For The Rest Of The World)

Nothing to do with real estate, everything to do with World Cup Soccer. Thierry Henry, handball? Clearly!

For those that don’t know soccer, first of all shame on you (it’s the most popular sport in the world), but when a player touches the ball with his hands it is considered a foul, referee blows the whistle, play is stopped, goal is reversed, other team has free kick, thus getting the ball back. The world is abuzz as to whether this was intentional, and whether the game should be replayed, because it advanced France into the World Cup (the largest sporting event in the world…yes, bigger than the silly Super Bowl).

We consider San Francisco pretty metropolitan and there are a few soccer fans here, so what do you think? Sophie, what say you?

We Clearly Can’t Make The Baby Boomers Happy In San Francisco

This from California Real Estate Magazine [with our comments thrown in]:

Baby boomers want suburban [not us], single-story homes [we challenge you to find on in San Francisco] loaded with amenities such as high-speed Internet [that's doable], larger medicine cabinets [start buying pharm stocks], non-slip floors [okay], lower kitchen cabinets [gonna have to ask the building inspector if that's okay in SF], and emergency call buttons [24 hour concierge now available at many SOMA condo towers!], according to “55+ Housing: Builders, Buyers, and Beyond“.

Boomers also rank the following five features as the most important: in-home washers and dryers [easy]; master bedrooms on the main level [hmmm...a bit tricky]; easy-to-use climate controls [kind of hard to turn the fog on and off]; storage space [ain't gonna happen]; and easy-to-open windows [original double-hung windows are SO easy to open...come on!]. A whopping 83 percent of respondents want high-speed Internet; 94 percent want energy-efficient homes [leaky Victorians ARE efficient! What are you talking about!?]; and 55 percent want ENERGY STAR-rated homes. However, few respondents said they would be willing to pay more for these energy-efficient enhancements. [No kidding...they want it all, but when it comes time to get out the checkbook, old T-Rex is in the house.]

Looks like San Francisco can pretty much rule out the baby boomers as a target market. Damn…

Chief Economist And Forecasters For C.A.R. Say Market Rising…And [Likely] Falling

Herein lies the problem with reporting on real estate: Everybody has their opinion on what the market is doing, but nobody knows for sure. Case in point, just yesterday we posted “San Francisco housing market continues to show promising signs of recovery”. We posted that from information obtained from the San Francisco Association of Realtors, and if you read the whole thing, they basically say all is good, the market is rising, but watch out because there is potential doom on the horizon that could sour the sauce.

It’s no mystery San Francisco’s market performs differently than most markets in California, but check this out:

[For California] distressed sales will account for nearly one-third of sales, inventory will be relatively lean, and the state’s median home prices are forecasted to reach $280,000 in 2010 [that's up from $271,000], according to C.A.R and Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young.

In addition, she noted, ‘Sales for 2010 are projected to decrease 2.3 percent to 527,500 units, compared with 540,000 units (projected) in 2009.’

In 2010, agents should see the low-end market attract first-time buyers and investors, with a resulting shortage in the number of homes for sale. Sellers at the high end [that'd be almost ALL of San Francisco], however, will continue to be challenged by the ability of home buyers to secure financing as well as their concerns about where prices are headed [So you see, they don't know where prices are headed...nobody does].

‘Although it appears at this time that lenders are closely monitoring the flow of distressed properties onto the market, there could be an exertion of downward pressure on home prices should a heavier than expected wave of foreclosures come to market next year,’ she said.

They should all be politicians! The market is going up…but wait, if that laundry list of likely scenarios comes to fruition, it could also go down. No sh*t! Thanks for pointing that out.

-C.A.R Forecast 2010

Pocket Listings And “Off Market” Real Estate

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ve already heard. There will soon be a network to post, search, and sell pocket listings (PocketListings.NET). Off-market, pocket listings, whatever…they’re out there, they’re bought and sold, and real estate agents will soon be able to share information amongst themselves on a much larger scale, which we hope will increase an agent’s opportunity to sell their pocket listings, and ultimately open up some doors for buyers and sellers beyond what is listed on the MLS.

The market has changed, the internet is here and not going anywhere, agents have valuable information about off-market properties that until now (when we launch) has been difficult to communicate to a large audience, and it’s time for something new. We can’t tell you everything, but we can tell you it will be cool. So get yourself a Twitter account and follow @pocketlistings for updates.

-PocketListings.NET [coming soon!]

San Francisco Housing Market Continues To Show Promising Signs Of Recovery

From the source:

The San Francisco housing market continued to show promising signs of recovery through October 2009. Pending single family home sales jumped to 271 homes in October 2009, which represents a 30% increase in the number of pending sales month over month and a 58% increase year over year. Although greater scrutiny in obtaining a mortgage is expected to extend the time between signed contracts and closings, the sharp rise in the number of homes under contract should lead to strong sales activity going forward.

The high level of home sales activity observed during the two previous quarters helped to reduce single family inventory levels to 639 homes on the market in October 2009, 200 fewer units on the market during the same month last year.

The jump in contract sales combined with the drop in active homes on the market brought the months supply of single-family home inventory to 2.4 in October 2009 from 4.9 the same time last year. This dramatic tightening in market conditions is encouraging and is a reflection of improvements to housing affordability driven by price adjustments and low interest rates.

Inventory levels fall while home prices at the lower-end of the market stabilize

The stabilization of home prices at the lower-end of the housing market combined with a more evenly distributed pattern of home sales activity across districts and price ranges resulted in a 3.4% month-to-month increase in the median single-family sales price to $760,000 in October 2009, marking a second consecutive month of increasing prices. In comparison to the same month the previous year, the median single-family sales price rose 3.3%, which was the first year-over-year increase since April 2008.

Although sales at the higher-end of the market have gained traction, lower-priced homes in District 10 (Bayview-Hunters Point, Visitation Valley, Portola, Excelsior, Crocker-Amazon) still account for more than one-fifth of all single family home sales during the month. Though relatively high, this is much improved from earlier in the year during which home sales in District 10 accounted for close to 40% of all sales activity in January 2009.

Despite high unemployment levels and continued job cuts, the extension, as well as expansion of federal programs should continue to promote housing demand. The First-Time (And Move-Up) Homebuyer Tax Credits extension and the increase in income limits from $75,000 to $125,000 for single-person households, and from $150,000 to $225,000 for married households should make the program marginally more valuable to buyers in San Francisco. However, the price limits of $800,000 excludes the higher-end of the San Francisco market. The Federal Reserve’s support of lower mortgage rates brought the 30-year fixed mortgage rate to 4.98% as of November 5, 2009. As a result of continued government intervention in the housing market, traditional supply/demand dynamics have shifted in this current environment, as tax credits and mortgage rate subsidization counter the negative effects of high unemployment levels and job market uncertainty.

The demand for condominium units continued to show signs of improvement into the last quarter of the year. Pending condominium sales nearly doubled from October of last year with 288 units under contract in October 2009. With more than 1,200 condominiums on the market in October of 2008, the dramatic price cuts and other incentives during the previous twelve-month period brought the condominium for-sale inventory to 998 units in October 2009.

As a result of these price reductions, the median condominium sales prices fell 9.2% from October 2008 to $640,000. Condominium sales in District 5 (Mission/Noe Valley/Castro/ Glen Park/Upper Market) and District 9 (South Beach/Potrero Hill/ Bernal Heights/ Mission Bay) still account for close to half of all condominium sales activity in the city.

Although inventory levels have retreated in recent months, the rising number of homes entering the early stages of foreclosure, as well as the existing shadow inventory might
continue to pose supply-side risks going forward. The concentration of job losses in white-collar employment sectors during the current down-cycle and the disproportionate
impact that this has had on the San Francisco economy increases the likelihood of pushing more distressed homeowners into foreclosure.

Data is as of the 10th of the month.
Sources: Terradatum

-FULL REPORT CLICK HERE [San Francisco Association of Realtors]

SFAR Making Our Lives So Much More Efficient, Really?

Is it us, or does the San Francisco Association of Realtors just like to make things complicated (Remember the Token Code?) is a new web site developed by the Association to provide detailed information on tweets broadcast by the Association. It is shown as a link at the end of each tweet that requires more than 140 characters to provide the kind of detailed treatment of a subject that REALTORS® will find useful. Just ahead of the link is a “D” number (i.e., the “Details” number). If a tweet has a D number and you are interested in seeing a more detailed explanation of the subject, jot down the D number and click on the link. Once on, enter the D number of the tweet. Then enter your member ID and password. A title relating to the tweet will display. Click on the title and the details will appear.

All of this secrecy! Is it really necessary?

Depressing Article Du Jour


The Commerce Department said on Wednesday housing starts dropped 10.6 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 529,000 units, the lowest level since April and the percentage drop was the biggest since January.

Financial markets had expected starts to rise to 600,000 units. September’s housing starts were revised upwards to a 592,000 unit rate from the previously reported 590,000 units.

“The trickle-down effect of the housing number is going to be amazing,” said Dan Cook, senior market analyst at IG Markets, Chicago. “It’s likely that more construction crews will get cut after this, and the supplier who supply those crews will be hurt as well. This is not good news at all.”

Groundbreaking for single-family homes fell 6.8 percent last month to an annual rate of 476,000 units, the lowest since May. Starts for the volatile multifamily segment tumbled 34.6 percent to a 53,000 annual pace, extending the previous month’s slide.

Compared to October last year, housing starts dropped 30.7 percent. The latest data will be a blow to the housing market, which had shown signs of stabilization after a three-year slump. Residential investment contributed to economic growth in the July-September period for the first time since 2005.


-US Inflation Edges Up, Housing Starts Fall Sharply [Reuters]

Some Realtors Are So Dreamy! Just Listen To These…

If you haven’t noticed, our Sexiest Bay Area Realtor 2009 Contest is now accepting your nominees and they’re streaming in! Keep them coming (

It’s funny, usually we get very simple emails with just the name and picture of the nominees, but every so often we get a few that are just too good to pass up. Since we’re nice, we won’t spill the beans on who these comments refer to, but we think you’ll like them.

First of all huge fan of the site. I would like to nominate [you're gonna have to wait] for the sexiest Realtor of San Francisco and the bay area. All of us girls here at the office have kindergarten crushes on him & we all think he’s so dreamy :) lol
But he is really one of the coolest most down to earth guys and we would love to see him win!

And one more:

Hey Front Steps,

Oh I got your sexy realtor. Her name is [it's killing you, isn't it] and she’s a [removed] agent in SF. You didn’t ask people to say why they think their nominee is sexy, but I’m gonna tell ya anyways:

1 Look at her. She’s smoking hot.
2 She’s smart — and brains propel beauty into crazy-sexy-hot territory.
3 She’s got a [does size really matter?] tattoo which is so way cool. I am attaching the full [sized photo] since I think it just oozes SF to be a professional but also have a little edge too.

We like edgy, and we like all of you dear readers for sending in your nominations. Keep them coming and let’s keep having some fun!

Oh, and if you care to elaborate as to why you think they’re sexy, we like that even more.

Sexy Bay Area Realtors, We Want You!

It’s that time of year again. The real estate market slows, agents are out getting in shape and looking sexier with every deal they frantically chase down, and we here at theFrontSteps like to throw a little contest in their honor. That’s right, it’s time for our third annual Sexiest Realtor In San Francisco Contest. However, this year we thought we’d switch it up and go Bay Area baby!

Yup, we’re opening up the contest to include all Nine Bay Area Counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.) So as not to take away from the traditional San Francisco contest or any of the past winners (or nominees), it will work like this (with any luck):

-Submit Nominations for all 9 Bay Area Counties’ Sexiest Realtors from now until each respective bracket’s voting begins. Submit via email to (anonymity guaranteed), or in the comments below (anonymity is in your hands there). Include a picture of the Realtor, or a link to one, where they work, and what county they’re in.

-November 23-27, Vote for Sexiest Realtors in Alameda, Contra Costa, and Marin Counties

-November 30-December 4th, Vote for Sexiest Realtors in Napa, Sonoma, and Solano Counties

-December 7-11, Vote for Sexiest Realtors in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Santa Clara Counties

-December 14-18, We take the winner of each county and put them on the poll for SEXIEST REALTOR IN THE BAY AREA!

-December 21, We’ll announce the winner of the first ever SEXIEST REALTOR IN THE BAY AREA contest!

After that, we’re taking a holiday, toasting the sexiness of our colleagues (maybe even sharing some champagne by cozy fire with the winner…Hey! Dreaming is allowed!) and hopefully getting some skiing/boarding in on the Bay Area’s backyard slopes.

So without further adieu, please share this post with everyone you know, send in your nominations, come back every day to vote, and join in the fun!

+Remember to include a picture of your nomination, or link to one, where they work, and what county they’re in.+

In case you’re wondering how this all started, three years ago a reader asked, “Who’s the Sexiest Realtor In San Francisco?”. We kid you not, that question started it all, and this is BY FAR our most popular feature every year on this site.

p.s. As is always the case, your Editor is not eligible to participate in this contest, so don’t ask. ;-)

Here We Go Again With The Lending

Intercepted from inter-office emails:

Great News,
We are now offering Fannie’s new HomePath loan program! Let your clients know these improved loan terms to generate new business. Essentially, the program has the clients using Fannie loans to buy foreclosed properties owned by Fannie, therefore Fannie gives improved loan terms to the buyer.
-97% FINANCING WITH NO MORTGAGE INSURANCE ( That’s a lower monthly payment and lower closing costs)
-NO APPRAISAL REQUIRED SAVING YOUR CLIENT TIME AND MONEY (Value is selling price determined by listing bank)

Email or call me with client loan scenario’s that can benefit from this awesome program.

Successfully [not Sincerely],

[Loan Guy]

It seems we’ve heard this before?

5 Steps To Reduce Your Property Tax

If we had a penny for how many times we get asked to provide sales comps for clients/readers that are hoping to lower their property taxes, and how many times we get asked for tips on how to be successful doing so, we’d be millionaires! So, the “Financial Samurai” has come to our rescue by offering “5 steps to reduce your property tax“:

1) Google “[Your City’s Name] assessor’s office.” San Francisco’s site is here. It’s important you proactively find out what the city/county is assessing your property first before you get your bill. You need as much time to prepare for battle.

2) Go to their contact page and call and e-mail them every single day until you get a response. I’m not kidding here. They are sloooooow. Make sure all your v-mails and e-mails are polite, but stern saying you disagree with your assessment with proof.

3) After they respond, you must specifically ask how they came up with their ridiculous assessment value. Ask them to provide comps. Also, ask them what you need to do to make your case. There will undoubtedly be appeal forms to fill out. Fill them out and make copies for yourself (important as they like to tell people they never got it 2 months later, hoping you’ll give up and be too late!)

4) Like any good negotiator, you must highlight the lowest comps and negotiate accordingly. Let’s say your house is worth $1 million bucks. Go in with horrific comparables that look like bomb shelters in terrible locations, such as a house next to a firehouse that may be worth $500,000. Your comparables need to be similar in dimensions and as close to your home as possible. Set your anchor low. The more comps you can provide, the better. The assessor doesn’t usually have time to verify the comps physically, and just uses online comparisons.

5) After sending in the appeal forms and providing comps to your assessor, make sure you courteously follow up every month until you get confirmation of receipt. After reaching out this February, I failed to follow up with more comps until July (big mistake). By then, the assessor had moved to valuing a different district, and another person was recommended to me. Good thing the new person had the forms, and decided to e-mail and call me back. Otherwise, I would have wasted a lot of time. Therefore, don’t forget to back up all your data!

Most important is to “fight like hell”, then go get a cocktail, cuz you’ll need one!

Thank you Samurai.

-How to lower your property taxes. Adventures in property tax reassessment [Financial Samurai]

It’s Less Expensive And More Environmentally Friendly To Live In The City, We Have Proof

The data is in and it’s true, the grass is not greener in the ‘burbs, and yet another reason to get thee to the city. “A new report released today by the ULI Terwilliger Center for Workforce Housing finds that the average Bay Area household spends more than $41,000 a year – nearly 60 percent of their income – on transportation and housing costs alone.” Are you kidding!?

Our simple math: living in the city = less time and money spent in transit. But if you must get down to details, check out the <a href="Terwilliger Housing & Transportation Costs Calculator, which we used to get some basic data in the image below. It’s pretty slick and definitely good ammunition to put in front of your boss when you ask to “work” out of the house or closer to home.

In regards to housing being “less expensive” outside of San Francisco (or any city):

-“Housing that appears affordable based solely on housing costs may not be truly affordable when it is located far from transit, jobs and services,” said Cisneros. “[The] report underscores the importance of broadening the understanding of housing affordability challenges to also include transportation costs, time and the environmental impacts of commuting.”

-[The report, Bay Area Burden] provides a comprehensive analysis of the “cost of place” in nine counties located throughout the San Francisco region by examining the costs and impacts of housing and transportation on residents, their neighborhoods and the environment. The report demonstrates the severity of the problem in the region and how the combined costs of housing and transportation are leaving San Francisco Bay Area workers with insufficient resources to meet their basic needs. The report finds that three fifths of all Bay Area residents live in communities that are unaffordable to households earning less than $80,000.

In terms of environmental impact (because it’s so hip to be green):

Bay Area Burden also demonstrates the unintended environmental impacts of [living in the 'burbs]. The successful implementation of greenhouse gas emission reduction plans in the transportation sector is particularly important in the Bay Area, where transportation accounts for 40.6 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 33 percent nationally. Bay Area Burden illustrates how densely developed urban counties like San Francisco are estimated to have substantially fewer vehicle miles traveled per household (19.4) and thus lower per-household carbon dioxide emissions (20.2) than do more rural and suburban counties such as Solano, where those figures are 50.4 and 49.4 respectively. Considering that less than one in ten (9.5%) Bay Area workers use public transit, compared with 26.5% in the New York Metropolitan area and 11.1% in the Washington DC region, these figures are even more compelling [and SAD!!!].

Obviously, we take this data and use it for supporting a healthy and vibrant life in the city of San Francisco, but it clearly extends waaaay beyond our boundaries to other world class cities (New York, Chicago, Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, London, etc.), so if you happen to live in one of those areas, we’d be happy to hear your thoughts (in the comments below).

We keep trying to tell you, the city is THE place to be, now and in the future, so get in while you still can…

-Bay Area Burden Housing/Transportation Report Key Findings
-<a href="Terwilliger Housing & Transportation Costs Calculator
[Props go out to the Center for Neighborhood Technology for providing much of the data, and the Center for Housing Policy who provided much of the analysis of that data for the report.]

TIC Versus Condominium, Which Holds More Value?

Answering the oh so common question in San Francisco real estate, “How much more valuable is a Condo than a TIC (Tenancy In Common)”, takes us there in a chart:
[Update: If you saw a chart before that was different than this one...that was the wrong one. This is correct.]

Click Image for Larger Version

[Update 2: From "Garrett" in the comments below: "what this chart doesn’t measure is opportunity costs. it is a PAIN IN THE ASS to buy/sell/manage a TIC. i don’t care if it’s a 2 unit building or a 6 unit building, TICs always come with drama… if you want to condo convert it will cost money and you’ll have to deal with your partners and the city. if you want to sell, you’ll have to deal with equity/liquid cash issues. the drama/potential problem list goes on and on and on. so, not only is there a difference in “value” there is an even greater discrepancy between TICs and Condos when it comes to time, headaches and just general pains in the ass." Now how many Realtors are going to be that honest with you? Hats off to Garrett!]

RealDataSF is Misha Weidman…and we thank him for the graph. More details at his site.

Ask Us: Do Lenders REALLY Need All That PRIVATE Information?

Where readers ask, and we (the community) try to answer (in the comments below, so don’t be shy):

“For the past 12 months, all our attempts to refi to lower the rate to 5.25 or better have fallen short. Many times, it starts great – then stops short when reaching the line that says I don’t work regardless of any other financial info. (2 borrowers = 2 jobs for more than 24 months each)

We have found a broker that is ok to attempt a refi – but he’s asking for “Copies of 2007 and 2008 W2’s and 1040 Federal Tax Returns (all pages and schedules)”

Although I understand where this request comes from (and I agree that lax practices created the current mess) I’m extremely concerned about giving our most intimate and private information away.

From my point of view, there is absolutely no justification for disclosing to a loan officer:
- all details of all the medical bills.
- all details of fertility treatment, adoption, abortion and other family expenses and whatever items that can be listed.
- all details about your nanny and other children care expenses.
- all details about your religious life – who you gave to, and how much
- all details about your political life – who you supported and how much
- all details about your off shore bank accounts, details about your children college accounts, and other private stashes of money,
- a complete copy of your foreign tax returns

The broker was adamant that banks are not accepting 1040 with ANY data missing, pages missing, lines blacked out….

If I understood correctly, an application including the authorization for the release of the Feds records (4506-T) – but missing OUR voluntary copy of the tax return won’t be accepted either (something we would have – somehow – agreed to).
The broker wouldn’t even understand why I agree to disclose this info to our accountant and to the Feds – and refuse to give it to several banks/lenders.

And so we get to my questions….

1. What is the legal ground for such a request – and is there a way to work with that type of requirement?
2. What are the legal protections against misuse of information – like personal retaliation (someone [posting] your info online or somewhere else?) – or even plain discrimination (loan officer doesn’t appreciate your political support on prop 8, or refuses to loan to an HIV positive couple?)
3. How much is my information worth? Where is the threshold when the savings is more important than my privacy?

Any information you or your readers can provide would be much appreciated.


[A Regular Reader]“

5 Steps To Flipping Property In San Francisco

1. Find the most unwanted wreck of a home (crack house) in a great neighborhood (Cole Valley) and buy it:


2. Document any 1964 Datsuns with a blown motor trapped in the garage for 40+ years:


3. Rip up disgusting kitchens and baths:



4. Go to Haight Street, buy a magic wand, tap it three times, and poof! Datsun gone and property remodeled!



[Notice the marketing remarks? "Two enormous storage areas which can easily accommodate surf boards..." So hip! Don't forget spell check. ;-) ]

5. Slap a new price tag on it…orginally $1,200,000, and now only $1,158,000, throw it on the market as a single family home, or maybe a two unit building, or even two separate TICs, give it a personalized property website, cross your fingers, and hope you can soon see some return on your investment (of time, money, sweat, and sleepless nights.)

It’s that simple…

-43-43 1/2 Downey, $1,158,000, Cole Valley [Single Family Home, Two Unit Building, Tenancies In Common]