The Grinch Who Stole Our [Reader's] Christmas Wreath (Caught On Tape)

From our reader:

Greetings,

I’m looking to enlist your support in some public shaming. You can also point-out the utility of installing a video camera system during a renovation :)

This Grinch stole the Christmas wreath from the front door of my house early Friday morning. She looks like a fairly put-together person, why is she out stealing in the middle of the night? Pacific Heights of course…

The Grinch comes then goes, and returns (cloaked/disguised) at 2:07.

Poor Pacific Heights. It gets such a bad rap…Maybe we need to put a little “Chopper” in Pacific Heights.

[Update: Some questions answered...

[Update #2: From the reader when we informed him/her of the # of links coming to our site for this post, "Good stuff indeed. Channel 7 wants to run a story on it tonight. And it seems the mystery lady has a name..." Guess you'll have to check Channel 7 (anybody got the link to a report) for the name, and apparently a friend of the owner has placed a new wreath on their door, with a lock hopefully. ;-) ]

More Fun Posts:
-Sexy, Sexy Realtors [theFrontSteps.com]
-Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Finds A Buyer For His Pacific Heights Monster Den [theFrontSteps.com]
-San Francisco Needs To Harden The F**k Up! [theFrontSteps.com]

Winners: San Francisco Bay Area Sexiest Realtors 2009

It has been a long hard battle for our winners this year. We had more nominees than in any previous contest, and our web traffic went through the roof (over 40,000 new visitors for this contest alone!) Contestants were pumping their Facebook and Twitter accounts spreading the word, and sites all around the world linked to the contest. To say it was well-read, would be an understatement. But who cares about that crap!? You want to know who won, right?

Looks like San Francisco edged out the greater Bay Area contestants, but not by much. It was a very close contest.

Here are your winners and Sexiest Realtors in the San Francisco Bay Area for 2009: Luba Muzichenko of Zephyr Real Estate; and Daniel Der Vartanian of Prudential CA Realty. Congratulations!

make sure to check out PocketListings.net

[In case you missed all of the nominees, click here to check them out.]

We had a blast with the contest, and we thank our nominees and winners for being such good sports. You can send in nominations for next year’s contest to theFrontSteps@gmail.com, or put it in the comments below.

With this, we bid you a safe and happy holiday season and Happy New Year! We do have one more post for the year, so look for that tomorrow It’s up. Otherwise, we’re taking a brief hiatus from theFrontSteps to focus on PocketListings.net, so make sure to check it out and follow @pocketlistings on Twitter for updates. Scheduled launch in January 2010.

Adios!

Walkabout: A True Case Of Wanderlust To The Swiss Alps…JUIZ!!!!

01_SwissHouse_120609_rect540

We saw this on Apartment Therapy and just had to share. Simply too cool to pass up. The best part…you don’t have to buy it, you can rent it. Oh, and it’s in Switzerland…JUIZ!!!!

The home is located in the Valsertal at 1250 meters, deep in the Swiss Alps….oh we’ll save the translation. Here:

Het huis ligt aan het einde van het ongerepte ‘Valsertal’ hoog (1250 m) in de Zwitserse Alpen. Het bevindt zich direct naast het wereldberoemde Therme Vals van Peter Zumthor en aan de rand van het dorp. Het combineert de nabijheid van alle noodzakelijke voorzieningen met een fantastisch uitzicht op de ongeschonden natuur van de bergen en de vallei. Op loopafstand gelegen zijn de bakker, supermarkt, postkantoor, bank, restaurants en het dorpsplein. De gratis pendelbus Therme-Dorf-Bahn stopt tijdens het skiseizoen aan de lagergelegen weg. Het skigebied is heerlijk rustig. U kunt er tot 3000 meter hoogte skiën. Het huis met terras biedt veel privacy en is omgeven door een ruime tuin en een berghelling van 1.300 m2.

04_SwissHouse_120609_rect540

The description of the house is just as amazing, and we’re dying to get there:

Het huis – ongeveer 160 m2 groot – is geheel in de bergwand ingegraven. Het biedt plaats aan tien personen (maximaal twaalf indien met minimaal vier kleine kinderen) en is omgeven door een zonnige, grote tuin met veel privacy. Een grote glazen pui opent naar een terras (60 m2) en biedt een spectaculair uitzicht op groene weiden (sneeuwhellingen in de winter) en bergtoppen.

If that doesn’t give you Wanderlust, we don’t know what kind of real estate porn will. (You think we’re joking…we understand those descriptions, you don’t? If you know German, you’ll at least get the gist.)

[Update: Hats off to woyouwenti, for giving you all the translation.]

-Villa Vals
[Images ALL pulled from Apartment Therapy]

Ask Us: St. Regis Wealth, The Question From Left Field…or Maybe Afghanistan

In this little “Ask Us” segment we typically field the standard, “I’m buying a house, I need your help” type question, but this one that came across our email recently is quite extraordinary, if not bordering on spam, but somehow, we think it’s legit:

StRegis

Good afternoon,

I know you are probably busy but it would be nice to receive a message back in regards to my question.
I am an Infantry soldier from the San Francisco Bay Area currently deployed. I am looking at going back to active duty and working on college when I return from this combat deployment.
I have always been a hard worker and believe strongly in being paid for my hard work. My question for you is what types of people purchase these units and other units like them. More or less how do they generally go about assuming such wealth where they can afford prices like these. I am not appalled or discouraged just curious as to where they are coming from so that one day I might be able to provide for my family in such a similar manner.
Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.

When you say “deployed”…care to elaborate a little on where you might be? Wherever you are, Hi to your fellow soldiers from all of us here. Happy Holidays to you as well.
(This all assumes your email is legitimate, and we didn’t just get spammed. [See Update Below.]

We aren’t that busy, and we’ll gladly send a message back, but we thought we could do better and post it, so maybe, just maybe, some other readers can shed some light.

Some people you might have heard of that take residence at the St. Regis: Former Vice President of the United States, Al Gore; and Former Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown. Our post on the buyer of one of the penthouses at Millennium Tower might help shed some light as well. Of course, these buyers are a bit extraordinary, and there are also savvy business men and women, day traders, bankers, venture capitalists, real estate developers, and the like that buy these homes as well, so don’t go thinking you need to get into politics to buy a home at the St. Regis or any other high rise luxury condominium. ;-)

[Update: The reader is legit, and had this to say in response, "Yes, I am forward deployed to a combat zone, due to the nature of the situation I can not give too much information tho. When the weather clears, hopefully soon, and we have increased bandwidth I look forward to finishing the story of Tom Perkins."
Okay then, when the weather clears and you need some comic relief, have a look at this too. Here's another one. Make sure to get to 2:00, so as not to miss Osama bin Manicure, and 2:39 for extra laughs. Good luck, and Happy Holidays!]

San Francisco Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009 Finals…Vote Now!

[Update: This post is toast. HERE ARE THE WINNERS!!

[Update: Change of plans. We are closing the polls today (Wednesday) at 5pm POLLS ARE CLOSED. Winners will be announced tomorrow (Thursday) morning.. In addition, you can no longer see the results, but we can tell you Sean Proctor is going back and forth with Daniel Der Vartanian for the lead, and Luba Muzichenko and Diana Kaus Koll are neck and neck. Good times, good times. :-) ]

This is it! The finals. Is it going to be a San Francisco agent, or will one of the newcomer greater Bay Area agents take top honors? Time will tell. Please vote below, and tell your friends to come vote. Winners will be announced on Friday Thursday.

Women Finalists: Diana Kaus Koll of Hill & Co (San Francisco); Shannon Arterburn of Coldwell Banker (East Bay); Luba Muzichenko of Zephyr Real Estate (San Francisco)
Men Finalists: Daniel Der Vartanian of Prudential CA (San Francisco); Sean Proctor of Alain Pinel (South Bay/Peninsula); Kevin Kearney of Coldwell Banker (San Francisco)

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Finals Poll (Women)(poll)

__________________

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Finals Poll (Men)(polling)

Good luck!

In case you missed the first round and the 40+ beautiful faces

If you’d like to nominate somebody for next year, send nominations to theFrontSteps@gmail.com.

As always, we leave the results for you to see for the first couple of days, then we’ll kill it (you know, build suspense.) Comments are also open, but we reserve the right to delete your comment at will and will not tolerate any inappropriate comments.

Metallica’s Kirk Hammett Finds Buyer For His Pacific Heights Monster Den

After what must seem like an eternity (we lost track of the days on market), we’re told the metal lair on top of Pacific Heights at 2505 Divisadero (originally asking $12,500,000 now just $8,995,000…it is on top of Pacific Heights and does include a sound studio and party room built for, and occupied by, Metallica for chrissakes!) has found a buyer.

Hammet

Was “The Black Album” conceived in this room…their worst album if you ask us, and all down hill from there. Give us “Master of Puppets” again!

hammetsound1

“Is that…Is that James? Is that James in the mixing room?”-Bonus points if you know which PUNK band has that quote. And no, it does not refer to James Hetfield (of Metallica).

hammetstudio1
Picture “Garage Days” and picture the parties…Metallica did party didn’t they? ;-)

hammettparty1

Who is the lucky buyer catapulting themselves into the home of one of the largest rock bands ever? Enquiring minds want to know….

If you want to see the party room pre staging and fancy photos, this is what we snapped back in 2007 upon first taking a look at the property.

Congrats to all involved in this one, especially Kirk Hammett.

[Update: We asked our source about the price and got this (no surprise) reply: "It's a "confidential" sale... although we all know who sold it [Nina Hatvany], just no one is saying who bought. Word on the street is that Ronnie Garfield rep’d the buyer, but I don’t know for sure.”]

-2505 Divasadero [Property Website and Details]
-Fly On the Wall, 2505 Divisadero hits the market [sfn BLOG]

Vote Now: San Francisco Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009!

[Friday a.m. update: We know the suspense is killing you, but you'll have to a wait a little bit for the announcement of our finalists. We have properties to show, and contingencies to lift (and a bit of a hangover). You'll know soon enough....and now you know (click to see the finalists)....and let the voting begin, Click to Vote For the Winner! (Polls open 6am Monday 12/14.)]

[Sorry! Polls are now closed! Please submit nominees for next year to theFrontSteps@gmail.com, but come back here tomorrow for the finalists!]

The day is finally upon us….voting for the 2009 Sexiest Realtor in the San Francisco Bay Area has begun, and we’ll have a winner soon. Before we begin, we’d like to point out a few things:

1. Due to the number of nominees this year and our reach beyond San Francisco into the greater Bay Area, we decided to throw all of the beautiful nominees up at once. However, there are three groups battling it out amongst themselves (Group A, B, C) both in the Women’s and Men’s competition. The winners from each group will advance for a final round of voting next week. Winners from this round will be announced this Friday.
2. Women are first, men are below, so don’t forget to check them boys out too.
3. In order to attempt to limit the number of duplicate votes, we have disabled the re-vote feature, so if you really want one person to win, spread the word to your friends instead of clicking over and over on that one name . If it appears there is a problem, let us know (theFrontSteps@gmail.com).
4. After this contest, we are going to go on holiday from blogging on theFrontSteps to help build the best place for all of those pocket listings (PocketListings.NET) so many of you agents are holding on to and hoping to sell. Try not to miss us while we’re away, and definitely follow Pocket Listings on Twitter to keep updated on progress. We’ll be back here soon enough.
5. As always, comments are (currently) open and any inappropriate content/comments will be deleted immediately at our sole discretion.
6. Updates on the contest will be provided below for what we’re seeing behind the scenes.

So….without further adieu, let the fun begin! Have a good look at the beauties below, VOTE, and tell your friends/colleagues! Good luck to all of you nominees…time to start blasting your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts!

Sexiest Realtor San Francisco Bay Area 2009 Female Nominees:

Oooh la la!

[Sorry! Polls are now closed! Please submit nominees for next year to theFrontSteps@gmail.com, but come back here tomorrow for the finalists!]

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Poll Women GROUP A(online surveys)

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Poll Women GROUP B(polls)

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Poll Women GROUP C(polls)

What competition would be complete without the men?!

Sexiest Realtor San Francisco Bay Area 2009 Male Nominees:

Ooooh la la!

[Sorry! Polls are now closed! Please submit nominees for next year to theFrontSteps@gmail.com, but come back here tomorrow for the finalists!]

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Poll Men GROUP A(polling)

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Poll Men GROUP B(polls)

San Francisco/Bay Area Sexiest Realtor 2009, Official Poll Men GROUP C(survey software)

Make sure to come back and see the results this Friday. We currently allow you to see the results in real time by clicking “view results” in the poll, but we usually take that privilege away at some point. ;-)

Thanks for visiting theFrontSteps. Don’t forget to visit and bookmark PocketListings.NET, and FOLLOW POCKET LISTINGS ON TWITTER. If you’d simply like to follow theFrontSteps you’re welcome to do that too.

The contestant’s websites: Amy Harrington; Barbara Ellis; Shannon Arterburn; Ginger Wilcox; Luba Muzichenko; Jenn Davis; Danielle Lazier; Marie Carr; Thena Luu DiNapoli; Miyuki “Mia” Takami; Diana Kaus Koll; Amy Levins; Marika Fishman; Dace Dislere; Kimberly Airey; Alix Fagersten; Olivia Hsu Decker; Alicia Sanguinetti; Andrea Hesselein; Kiesha Stephens; Athena Lagace; Farrah Wilder; Jana Page; Lisa Weber; Cameron Bamberger; Robyn Bentley; Chaele Cooper; Payton Stiewe; Kevin Boer; Milko Encinas; Kevin McLeod; Eddie O’Sullivan; Daniel DerVartanian; Mark Choey; Frank Nolan; Scott Symon; Sean Proctor; Rob la Eace; Butch Haze; Rick Teed; Shelley Trew; Maximillian Armour; Joel Goodrich; Ron Whitney; Brendon & Kevin Kearney.

Happy Voting!

Ask Us: Income Property, Foreclosures, Short Sales, Rent Control & Impatient Realtors All In One!

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

Dear tFS,

I have been following your newsletters for awhile, now that my husband and I are considering investing in an income property, we are coming to you for advice. A friend of ours has referred an real estate agent and we have worked with him for about a month. The area which we have visited are Ingleside Heights, Oceanview, Excelsior, Geneva or Alemany ( got a bit confuse after awhile) along 3rd St., and original Daly City.

Our original intention was to look at foreclosures and short sales since we thought we might find something closer to our budget, but our agent explained that the process would take a very long time and the price difference is minimal so it is not really worth the hassle.

We are in our 40′s and will sell this income property when we reach retirement age so this will more or less be our retirement nest. We have a pre-approval letter already but we are not sure which locations would make the best option with the following considerations:

Rent control & Tenants rights
Monthly Rental Income
Future prospective of the property

Your insight would be most appreciated.

Yours truly,
L

We have to say that ALL of your questions generally depend on each individual property in each different location. There is really no “blanket” answer we can provide, especially in regards to rent control, monthly rent, and future prospects of the property. We can; however, comment that it is true a short sale takes much longer to sell, if at all, but the price difference can be substantial, so you might want to corner your agent on that topic and find out where the hassle really lies…with them not getting paid soon enough? ;-) They are a hassle though…no doubt, but it is to your advantage to have an agent with sticktoitiveness (you need a lot of it as well).

Best of luck to you. Thanks for reading, and thanks for writing in!

What To Do With Your $45,000,000 San Francisco Backyard

We’ve always said a skatepark or velodrome in the backyard of 2901 Broadway (last check it was still listed for $45,000,000) would be a most excellent idea (see red arrow).

Maybe we should have Tony Hawk and crew come teach the Pacific Heights crowd a thing or two about what to do with all of that space:

Or maybe Bob Burnquist’s backyard is a better example:

The skiers/snowboarders had the right idea, but getting snow in San Francisco proved a bit problematic:

But with the naturally steep hills here, maybe a skateboard megaramp is the answer? They could launch over the Getty compound.

Those are a few things you’ll see on our Christmas list to Santa this year….

13 Ways To Say The Same Thing…”Bring Me An Offer!”

Given the recent amount of junk Realtor mail flooding our inbox, we thought it high time to see how many different ways Realtors can slice the same pie. Awards should be given, but we’ll save those for our Sexiest Realtor Contest which will begin in earnest next week (lots of pretty faces out there!).

So here is what happens. One week, we get an email that says in the subject, “Prime Noe Valley Victorian”, the next it says, “Best location Noe Valley Home”, the next it says, “Coveted Noe Valley Single Family Home”, we click on the email to open it… Alas! They’re all the same home!

The best is when we get the emails doing the same thing with the subject to trick you into clicking, but also changing the way they say “bring me a f*cking offer, I have a desperate seller here!” How many ways can YOU say the same thing?

We’ll try first:

1. Motivated Seller (As opposed to the un-motivated seller that lists his home during holidays and a global recession.)
2. Seller must sell (and agent needs the commish.)
3. Price negotiable (Aren’t all prices negotiable?)
4. Price reduced (Thatta girl! Keep it going.)
5. Bring offers (We’ll bring the punch.)
6. Amazing Tax benefits! (Ahhh…the tax advice from a Realtor.)
7. All offers welcome (Can I buy you a drink?)
8. Holiday discount! (We’re feeling it. Look under the tree son…we just bought you a house.)
9. End of year price reduction won’t last (Meaning the price will go up in January?)
10. New Reduced Price! (So is that a new price? A one time price reduction, or a new price reduction different from any previous reductions?)
11. Amazing New Price! (Different than the Amazing Original List Price.)
12. Last chance price! (Who’s chance?)
13. Lucky 13….Sellers Facing Foreclosure (which is kind of stupid, because any offers at that point will be lowballs, likely end up being below what the seller’s owe, and turn into a short sale or foreclosure anyway, but that’s a tangent and a totally different subject.)

We’re sure there are more ways to skin that, “I need to sell this bloody listing” cat, but that is just a sampling of what we see on a daily basis.

Carry on…and feel free to share your favorites in the comments below.