San Francisco Neighborhoods Prone To Liquefaction And Earthquake Induced Landslides (Bedrock vs. Landfill Take Two)

Back on February 15th, 2008 (yes, theFrontSteps has been around that long) we were asked by a reader if we knew of any good maps showing areas in San Francisco that are either bedrock or landfill. You’d be amazed how many people, to this day, read that post, and how many more emails we get asking if we have an even better map that will drill down and show the exact streets and topographic undulations as they pertain to a specific home/condo or listing.

Until now, we’ve come up empty, but we’re pleased to say, we have been informed of two new (to us) maps. One is a State of California Geologic map showing San Francisco areas prone to liquefaction (green) and “earthquake induced landslides” (blue), and you can really drill it down to the street you live on. (Click on the image to download the pdf and get your SF liquefaction/landslide knowledge on…quiz next week):

That’s a cool map. The other map is hidden in our MLS, and it allows us to layer the Liquefaction map over the listing location map. Do they give that access to you? Of course not, but we welcome you to contact us if you’d like us to research a listing for you (expect to work with us on the transaction, or tell your Realtor to do it for you).

Have a look at this property at 260 Green, a gorgeous 4 bed, 4.5 bath trophy San Francisco home in Telegraph Hill, with a recent price reduction from $12,900,000 to $11,000,000. By way of magic mouse clicking we’re able to tell you immediately if that home is in a prone area, and apparently price is not the only thing subject to sliding at 260 Green. (Obviously our one second look at a map does not compare to consulting with an expert soils or seismic engineer, so make sure you do if you have your eye on this property, or any others for that matter…okay.)

So that’s all great and what we can do for you, but what if you don’t want to contact a Realtor? San Franciscans, if you don’t know roughly where your home/neighborhood is on that map…you got issues. For the out of town readers considering a move to San Francisco, you can compare the liquefaction/landslide map to this San Francisco Neighborhood map. That will give you a good starting point. (For details go here.)

And in case you missed our original post and would like to know whether the chances of your house crumbling during “The Big One” are Very High, or Low (not just whether you’re in the zone), here you go:

Needless to say, if you live/plan on living in an area of green (first map) orange or red (bottom map), you better know how to duck for cover, and know that earthquakes don’t discriminate based on property values…if you’re in the zone, you’re in the zone. We hope “The Big One” never hits, but we all know it’s a matter of when, and not if, so choose your property location wisely, inspect, inspect, inspect, and remember to do those seismic upgrades you’ve been putting off for so long.

[Update: As is often the case, our readers are more bad ass than we are, and so provided a link to a soil stability (types) site: Click here to see it.]


-Map of San Francisco locations prone to Liquefaction and Earthquake Induced Landslide [State of California Geologist]
-SF Districts Map (Not the totally new one with new zones, but close enough)[SFAR]
-Map of Bedrock Versus Landfill San Francisco [theFrontSteps]
-Contact Us to Check Your Property Liquefaction/Landslide Location[email]
-Map: Bay Area’s Biggest Earthquakes [theFrontSteps]

Or use this form.

Moving Boxes Move Over, ZippGo Has Entered The Room

It’s time to rethink the cardboard boxes. There is company anybody and everybody who is involved in real estate should know about (especially the countless agents emailing around our office asking if we have/know of any moving boxes that have been used, abused, and are ready for the next).

Enter ZippGo, a new concept in moving boxes. From the founder himself:

Our goal is to make the process of packing much simpler while also making it environmentally friendly. Our boxes eliminate the need to buy cardboard boxes that can only last 2-3 moves and ultimately end up in a landfill. In contrast, ZippGo boxes can be reused 500 times each and at the end of their life can be recycled into new boxes. Everyone who has used our service swears by it and says they will never use cardboard boxes again. The boxes are delivered pre-assembled, don’t need tape, are water-proof, crush proof, and tear proof. They also significantly speed up the packing process.

We’d love to see the video for unpacking, but have to say…cardboard boxes make BY FAR better forts for the children bored to tears of the entire moving process. Otherwise, you win. For sure.

ZippGo is not only a cool company/concept, but they are a San Francisco company and we like to support local businesses. If you have a new business you’d like to introduce to us, just send it our way and we’ll put it through the rinse cycle and maybe even write about it on our site. [Company Website]

Tacos And Margaritas For All At 156 Vicksburg…Tonight Ole!

Yes, it’s true. You can skip making dinner tonight, and instead get on over to 156 Vicksburg for tacos, and even Margaritas. Fresh lime Margs? Not sure. But with any luck, they’ll at least be heavy on the Tequila. Go one, go all…[REMOVED] rock stars, and even buyers are all welcome to partake in a night of feasting and drinking courtesy of Paragon Real Estate.

Don’t drag your feet, and don’t be late, the window for feasting is small, 6-7pm.


Top 100 Pet Peeves Of Servers, But What About The Patrons?

Having recently been quoted on SFGate, we got to browsing around the site and came across this post, 100 Pet Peeves of Servers Part Deux, and started reading down the list, and thought about joining the thread on SFGate, but why? We have our own blog and can say what we want here. So here goes (for the patrons)…

2. Diners (a couple or two friends) who are both on their cell phones at the same time. Didn’t you guys go out to spend time together?

Agreed, that’s annoying and we think unless your house is on fire, your children have lost a limb thanks to the babysitter, or Gandhi is knocking on your door and you’re not home, you should turn the f*cking thing off.

4. Asking our recommendation then saying ‘so you’ve tried it?’ Of course I’ve tried it if I just described it as something I enjoy.

We’d be willing to bet AT LEAST 70% of waitstaff have not only NOT tried a main dish or something on the menu, but couldn’t tell you if it’s cooked in olive oil or butter, and will tell you whatever you want to hear, just to get you to move along. Don’t be surprised if that steak you just ordered was recommended by your vegetarian server.

10. Baby strollers.

Harden the F*ck up. People have children. Get used to it.

15. When you are carrying a billion things and a table flags you down and asks for something.

If you’re in a quality restaurant you shouldn’t be carrying a billion things, because we don’t want your arm hair in our plate, and chances are REALLY good that if it’s gotten to the point you need to be flagged down, perhaps you’re not doing your job.

25. Blaming traffic, weather, parking, etc. for being late for a reservation then demanding you be seated. Late is late, own it, apologize, and ask what might be done.

Bravo! Well said. You’re late, kindly step to the back of the line.

29. When I go up to a table to greet them and say “How is everyone doing this evening?” And they all silently stare at me like I am speaking a foreign language

Maybe you are. We have visitors in this fine city from all around the world. All you have to do is TALK LOUDER and they’ll understand.

30. Huge exaggerations to make a point. Example; “We have waited over half an hour for this table to be cleaned”. “Oh really, because that’s unacceptable. I will go to that busser right now and have him fired for this incredible transgression.” “Oh, don’t do that. It was more like 10 minutes”. Ditto on Yelp reviews.

Or…you could clean it right away. Problem solved, and probably what should have happened in the first place.

41. If planning to sit down at a table, before ordering at the bar, check to see if there is a server or a cocktailer waiting on those tables. When customers sit down at a table in my section, but order with the bar, I lose that entire table. On busy nights that means my entire section is often taken away.

Perhaps you should tell your bartender to recommend those people order through you, or offer to split the tip with the bartender if you help keep them happy.

47. Tables that do not acknowledge the server after they greet the table. That’s just common courtesy, although judging appropriate times to approach the table is also key.

Put a fork through the top of one of their hands. Works every time.

Clearly we joke with you all on some of these, but clearly many of you servers never before had a large platform to vent what it is that eats away at you every time you get to work. It sounds to us like a lot of bitchin’ and moanin’ for doing a job that you should all be happy to have. Just remember, somebody did your job before you, and when you leave, somebody will do it after you. You are disposable and the customer is always right. Keep your job. It’s a good one. It pays, and you have freedom. That’s our two cents.

So How IS The San Francisco Real Estate Market?

San Francisco Real Estate Market Continues in Positive Direction, Although Some Postpone Purchase Decisions

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, November 15, 2010 – Stabilized home pricing across most price segments, healthy pending sales activity, and rising confidence among sellers signals a continuation of the positive, though slow, shift in San Francisco’s housing market, according to the latest Market Focus report published by the Rosen Consulting Group and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®. Despite the positive outlook, the report cautions that headwinds from slow job growth and lingering, troubled mortgages could delay a stronger market recovery for the city.

But John Lee, president of the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®, believes that higher housing affordability and the low-interest rate environment still make this an ideal time for financially-stable households, with a long-term perspective on the market, to purchase a home.

Pending Sales Remain Stable

The report indicates that during the second half of the year, the elimination of government incentives and weak job growth continued to test the strength of the housing market’s recovery in San Francisco.

In October 2010, the single-family median sale price declined by 3.0 percent year-over-year to $735,000, while completed single-family home sales fell 18.8 percent during the month. Approximately 44 percent of all completed sales in October 2010 were for single-family homes priced less than $700,000; in October 2007, homes in this price segment represented approximately 23 percent of all completed sales.

Despite the drop in completions, pending sales activity remained relatively stable, with a total of 238 pending sales in October 2010—just a 2.1 percent drop from October 2009. At the same time, inventory levels continued to rise, jumping 26.7 percent in October 2010 to 807 active homes on the market at the end of the month.

The months of supply inventory at the current monthly contract sales rate stood at 3.4 months of supply, an increase from 2.6 months of supply in October 2009 but a decline in comparison to recent months. By price segment, the months of supply inventory for single-family homes priced less than $1.2 million stood at 3.3 months, while homes priced greater than $1.2 million improved to 3.9 months from 4.8 months in October 2009.

Median Condominium Sale Price Rises by 7.8 Percent

Although inventory levels have risen in recent months, the condominium market continued to make headway in October—slowly absorbing the over-supply of condominium units added to the market during the real estate construction boom.

During the month, the median condominium sales price rose by 7.8 percent from October 2009 to $690,000. However, year-over-year completed home sales declined for a fourth consecutive month, totaling 185 sales—an 18.1 percent drop from October 2009.

Driven by the slowdown in closed sales, the number of active condominium units on the market rose 10.6 percent from the same period last year to 1,164 units. The report states that the rapid pace of sales activity in the market during the first half of the year, fueled by the expired tax credit, which pulled forward condominium sales, was a contributing factor to the lull in sales activity, seen during recent periods.

Despite the pullback in completed sales, pending sales activity remained stable, slowing by just 2.0 percent year-over-year, with 240 condominium contract sales in October 2010. The stability in pending sales activity during this period points to stronger closed sales activity in the coming months relative to the months immediately following the expiration of the tax credit.

At the current contract sales rate, the months of supply inventory reached 4.9 months, up from 4.3 months in October 2010. While the months of supply of condominiums priced less than $500,000 remained steady at 2.8 months, units priced between $500,000 and $900,000 rose to 4.9 months from 4.1 months, and for luxury units priced more than $900,000, the months of supply inventory rose to 5.1 months from 4.4 months in October 2009.

“Despite fluctuations in the data, the housing market’s recovery is well underway in San Francisco. The market’s supply-constrained environment, diverse economic base, and concentration of companies in emerging technology sectors, which continue to lead job growth in the market, place the city’s housing market in a position to recover from the residential real estate correction at an accelerated pace in comparison to the other major housing markets across the country,” says Lee.

-Market Focus Report – November 2010