Another Russian Hill Sale And Testimonial

Another happy client has been so kind as to share a testimonial of the service I can provide to you and your friends and family.

I’m a commercial real estate professional – a few years back I chaired the commercial RE side of our trade association. My wife used to buy retail centers for a REIT. We know the value of having an experienced professional on our side. When we decided to buy a place in SF we chose Alex to represent us. We’re delighted with our new home and would recommend him highly.
-Ed & Susan



Thanks guys!

If you’re in the market to buy/sell San Francisco, Marin, or Peninsula real estate, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

-More Testimonials

So You Wanna Post A Picture Of You Skiing Powder On Your Facebook…How ‘Bout We Just Tell Them All The Truth

So how is the snow up in Tahoe…I mean really?

As many of you know, I fancy myself a bit of a skier. I watch the weather like a hawk, I have multiple websites and friends I refer to for snow reports, radar imagery, forecasts, and après ski hangouts. If I can, I play hooky from San Francisco real estate any time there is even a hint of a storm. It’s why we live here, and it keeps me sane after countless hours of negotiating, touring property, and talking about real estate.

There is a lot of hype in the San Francisco Bay Area right now about the storm that just blew threw, and the one that is rolling in as we speak, so I thought I’d give you the honest to goodness (don’t post this on Facebook, because it isn’t gloat worthy) truth. It is bony!!! So many rocks! All over the place. Even with the 20″ Mt. Rose just received, it is essentially on top of nothing. If you think Squaw and Alpine have it any better, you’re wrong. Reports I received today from friends that skied there today can be summed up in two words, “It sucked.” There is no base.

If you come up for this round of snow, do not expect to be able to rip pow like you see in the movies or may have done last year. Expect to see a nice line of freshies, point it, and ski it as hard, but tender as you possibly can for fear of what is lurking below. Rocks, stumps, trees, you name it. It’s all just barely under the snow and ready to grab you.

These are what the bases of my skis look like after today. You’ll notice a few core shots.

Anything under two feet of fresh, and you might as well stay home in San Francisco and call this year a bust. If they get three or more feet, it will be a different ball-game, and I will owe all of you that read this and stayed home a beer, because that will mean more cold smoke pow for me!

Hah hah!

In all seriousness, if you find yourself up this way, give me a shout and we’ll take some turns and discuss real estate on da lift!

Woohoo! It’s snowing!

…but it is rocky, very rocky, and insanely windy, so don’t be surprised if a lot of resorts are on wind lockdown tomorrow (Wednesday).

…but…Woohoo! It’s Snowing!

[Update 2/29 @ 21:30 hrs: Snow at Alpine Meadows is really, really good. Go there!]

-More Reasons We Live Here [theFrontSteps]
-I’m Gonna Have To Call You Back The Next Coupla Days…I’ll Be In Meetings [theFrontSteps]

“Recommend Him Highly”-That Would Be Me :-)

What better way to start the week than with a glowing recommendation from some happy clients.

For about a year we had been reading Alex’s blog and watching Redfin like hawks. Moving to SF from out of state was challenging, and though we had narrowed down our search to four or five neighborhoods, it was all still overwhelming. Contacting Alex was the best move we made. He was super responsive, super helpful, and listened carefully to get a solid idea of what we had in mind. Alex steered us through the (intense) negotiation process, and the (complicated) inspection process, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Recommend him highly.- Matt & El

Thanks guys!

To all the other readers of this blog, I’m happy to put my skills and connections to work for you and your friends or family. Please don’t be shy. Feel free to contact me anytime.

-More Testimonials

San Francisco Real Estate Market Update, Recent Listings, And Sales

Hello all! It’s that time. Time for your dose of market data. You can find all the recent sales for San Francisco, as well as the recent listings, and some other market data by following this link.

Below is an example.

Most Recent Sales  citywide in the last 21 days
Address Type BR/BA/Units Parking DOM List Price Sold Price
716 2nd Ave #1 Condo 1BR / 1BA 1 243 $294,000 $310,000
350 Jackson St #401 Condo 3BR / 2.5BA 1 159 $1,649,000 $1,649,000
152 Lombard St #203 Condo 2BR / 2BA 1 168 $515,000 $500,000
47 Clarendon Ave SFR 3BR / 3.5BA 2 75 $2,949,000 $2,875,000
1625 Palou SFR 3BR / 2BA 1 7 $209,000 $209,000
607 23rd Ave SFR 2BR / 1BA 1 96 $546,500 $520,000
1155-1157 Broderick St - -BR / -BA 4 47 $1,250,000 $1,222,650
>> View Additional Sales >> View Newest Listings

 

2701 Broadway, On San Francisco’s Billionaire Row, Finds Its Billionaire Buyer

It’s big news for the Billionaires on Broadway. We have it on good intel that 2701 Broadway, a little house on the hill just down the street from the likes of the Gettys, Trainas, and Ellisons of the world (and let’s not forget a Monster of Rock), has found a buyer ponying up an undisclosed amount of cash (originally asking $32,000,000 then reduced to $28,500,000 and no longer listed on MLS) for this one of a kind, meticulously remodeled home, last sold in 1998 for $5,500,000.

Break out the bubbly, and call it all cash (pocket change really), some new billionaires are moving to Broadway’s Billionaire Row.











To the gentleman that said to me when visiting this home at 3577 Pacific (before it came on the market) “Zephyr Real Estate doesn’t have clients for this…” You’re right, Zephyr has clients for this instead. Congratulations to Anna and Dennis of Zephyr Real Estate for bringing the buyer to 2701 Broadway.

Just need that invitation to the housewarming party, and we’ll bring the Cazadores for fresh lime margaritas on the deck overlooking San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the beautiful Bay!

-2701 Broadway, 7 bed, 7 bath, 16,400 sqft, asking $28,500,000 [MLS]
-Kirk Hammett Finds Buyer For His Pacific Heights Monster Den [theFrontSteps]

Battle Royale: San Francisco Or Palo Alto, If You Had To Choose

We’ve had a lot of battles over the years here on theFrontSteps. Some have been rather quiet (Tokyo versus San Francisco), while others like New York City versus San Francisco, San Francisco versus East Bay, and Cole Valley versus Noe Valley continue to rage on.

The comparison of places one might set up shop, lay down roots, call home, or start a business is never going to end. It has always been, and always will be, a popular topic, and a debate sure to spark any conversation. It’s an important discussion point, and one that would certainly need to be hashed out for any future residents or visitors alike to San Francisco or other places. Therefore, it’s time for another Battle Royale that we somehow failed to do previously…

San Francisco or Palo Alto, if you had to choose, and why?

The argument has to begin something along the lines of “to each his own”, but in all fairness San Francisco clearly has a lot more to offer any hip young person that might be working at a hip young startup. Our nightlife is better, our bars are better, our restaurants are better, our access to recreation is better (this could easily be debated), our coffee is better, our surf is better (no…Santa Cruz is NOT part of “greater” Palo Alto), our hipsters are hairier, our marijuana is more legal, and our gays are gayer (because we’re free man…we’re free).

On the other hand, Palo Alto clearly beats San Francisco’s ass in regards to summertime weather, cleanliness of streets, college vibe, shear brain power concentrated in one place (Stanford), and being a great place to raise a family. But that’s just what we think.

What do you think?

Your comments are appreciated, will be read by thousands, and could quite possibly make or break a buyer’s decision on whether to buy a home in San Francisco or Palo Alto. No pressure…

-Battle Royales [theFrontSteps]
-Tokyo Or San Francisco, If You Had To Choose [theFrontSteps]
-San Francisco Or New York City, If You Had To Choose [theFrontSteps]
-San Francisco Or East Bay, If You Had To Choose [theFrontSteps]
-Shit Real Estate Agents Say [theFrontSteps]
-“San Francisco or Palo Alto” [Uncrunched].

[Full disclosure...I represent clients in both San Francisco and Palo Alto, so of course I only have good things to say about both locations.]

Client Testimonials From Way Back

Bear with me while I reorganize my testimonials into individual posts. These are a few put together from way back.

*Alex was very easy to work with. He was straightforward, gave good advice about how the condominium should look when it was being shown, and managed the negotiations with the buyer perfectly. I always felt he was dealing with me honestly, and he kept me fully informed. I will go to Alex any time I want to sell a house in San Francisco. JOHN BARTON

*I don’t know any Realtors in this city [San Francisco] that have a better grasp of technology as it applies to real estate than Alex. His sfnewsletter is a phenomenal resource and great way to begin your home search, or research home sales should you be selling, and he is a pleasure to work with. He seemed to get along great with the other agents involved in our transaction and we’re sure it helped get us the price we want. He negotiated hard, but made everyone laugh the whole way and it was great. Now we live in the suburbs, but if we ever move back, we’ll use Alex for sure. Not to mention he’s a decent golfer too. -Joe Condy

*Carole and I feel that we were very fortunate to have met you at the open house and I am glad we chose you to work with. Be assured in the future when we are ready to look at the market again we will be calling, as well as referring any house hunting friends to you. Read More-Carole and Bruce Derr

*Alex combines an insider’s knowledge of San Francisco, innovative marketingskills and the honesty and integrity of a down to earth guy.-Rich Singer

*Like a lot of SFNewsletter readers, I figured Alex would be either too busy or simply uninterested in representing a first time buyer with a sub-seven figure budget. Ten months of searching and four offers later, we’re homeowners, and he’s still returning my calls…The cool thing about Alex is he’s new-school enough to embrace technology’s influence over his profession, but old-school enough to hold your sweaty hand through every step of escrow. 

Bottom line, if you’re looking to be escorted from property to property in your agent’s Mercedes while being lavishly praised for your exquisite taste and style, Alex ain’t your guy. But if you’re looking for consummate San Francisco market expertise, every tool you’ll ever need to find and evaluate your properties, and a Tiger Woods-like closing mentality – hell, you’re already reading his newsletter, posting to his blog, and god forbid you’re receiving his twitter banter – seriously, why use anyone else?! -Tim Stevens

*We had our condo at the St. Regis listed for close to 8 months with another agent. We hired Alex and he sold it in two weeks! Amazing! Truly amazing and he was fun to work with the whole time, knew the market, knew we should take the offer we received, and knows where I should buy my next place. He is truly a pleasure to work with and really knows his stuff. His newsletter is great too. -Stephanie Morris

*I had been reading Alex’s “sfnewsletter” for over a year, so I knew when I was ready to sell my house in San Francisco, Alex was my choice. His newsletters were very informative and intelligently written. I know this sounds corny, but I really liked his sign-off at the end of each newsletter — “Happy Aloha Friday”. Alex kept on top of all correspondence and paperwork and kept me apprised every step of the selling process. I am happy to say that we accepted an offer after only 2 weeks on the market. I would recommend Alex to anyone in need of a superior REALTOR.-Debra Comstock

*I can and have enthusiastically recommended you to my friends who are looking at purchasing property here in San Francisco. Specifically, I appreciate your diligent work and follow-through, as well as your integrity in working with the seller’s representative and myself that made it possible to get this deal done. Read More.-Larry Singer

*Wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your assistance and help during the purchase of my new [home] in San Francisco. You did a great job of working with me all Summer long trying to find my dream house on my crazy schedule. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but by Fall you had identified my criteria and started showing me homes that suited my needs. The house we found has a great ocean view and is close to the beach with a big yard and potential to add on. Read More. -Ryan Seelbach

*Alex and I worked together for over 3 month searching for the right property. He showed me several properties and advised me on the pros and cons of each property. On [my home] he assisted in compiling a very strong offer on property where multiple bids were accepted. I strongly believe it was due to his assistance that I was able to purchase the proeprty despite the other offers being close to or higher than my own. Read More-David Kaneda

*I had met with several real estate agents before I decided on Alex, and it proved to be an excellent decision. He knew the market, had excellent recommendations based on my specific requirements and goals, and most importantly: he knew how to package and position the offer for quick acceptance once I decided on a property. We quickly closed on a condo at 1998 Broadway that was a great fit for me. And I believe the price and conditions make it an exceptional investment. I’d recommend Alex to anybody. Read More-Drew Sechrist

Buyer Testimonial In Russian Hill – Opportunity For Long Term Guests And Corporate Renters, And A Little Scoop On 1177 & 1179 Union Street

Don’t ask me why, but for the past 5 years (at least) I haven’t been asking my clients for testimonials. True to one of my New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to begin gathering as many as I can, and sharing them here. Beginning with this one…

San Francisco is a city littered with real estate agents that look at buyers and sellers as “just another lead” to make money, but Alex is the exceptionally rare breed of real estate agent that just “gets” it.

Alex has helped me purchase two homes and there are two things that set Alex apart from the rest of the pack – patience and commitment. First, Alex was not only willing, but also actively enthusiastic about showing me a broad spectrum of properties while I was still unfocused in my search so that I could educate myself on individual micro-markets. Many agents would have considered this a waste of their time.

Second, once I had started down the negotiation process, Alex was completely committed to my cause – i.e. getting the best deal possible. Even when the 12th hour was nigh, and it looked as if I was about to walk out of what was already a great deal because of some overlooked loose ends on the seller’s part, Alex didn’t pressure me at all to close the transaction. Instead, Alex worked with me to execute an especially well crafted negotiating maneuver that extracted thousands more from the seller.

Well done, Alex.

Thanks Jason! It was a pleasure working with you. I hope your property treats you right.

For anybody interested in a quintessential San Francisco location for your long term guests, US Open of Golf (coming to San Francisco’s Olympic Club this June) or The America’s Cup (coming to our waters 2013) Visitors, or corporate executives, the units will be offered as a VRBO, corporate, and (potentially) long-term rentals. Details are at [temporarily offline].

For details on this transaction, feel free to contact me directly. Essentially, it was/is a two unit building recently converted to a condominium. The units separately were asking $865,000 for the bottom, and $1,065,000 for the top, for a combined $1,930,000. My client was able to get the property for under asking price, even though multiple offers were received.

San Francisco Fog, Wind, And Micro-Climates…So Where Should You Buy Your Home?

Long time readers will remember this one…

avgtemp1

We get these kind of inquiries all the time, and it’s certainly something up for debate, as we all have our own comfort levels as to what is considered warm or “nice”. Heck, Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction lives in Sunny warm L.A., but by following his Twitter feed, you’d think he’s better suited for living in foggy Outer Sunset of San Francisco. So a reader brings up the question and maybe this time we’ll get some definitive answers as to just how different one district’s weather is from the other. (We’re going to ask for a little link help from our friends at Curbed Sf and SFist to help spread the word.):

I’m looking to buy and comparing districts, everyone says : Mission and Noe are much warmer, get more sun,…

Is there a good resource that shows sun-hours and temperature (average/per month) like this below would, but by district:
Climate in San Francisco County

It would be quite interesting to many buyers I think!

Thanks

J

Our answer, take a look at the San Francisco Districts Map (as it pertains to real estate). Take a ruler, draw a straight line from District 7a (Marina) to district 3J (Oceanview). Anything to the left (west), cold(er) and windy most of the year. Anything to the right (east), warm(er) and windy most of the year.
Simple as that?

We’re thinking there should be a lot more little red lines running all over this map, but the simpleton in us said to do it this way…

I had a little extra time on my hands while child #2 napped. Basic, rudimentary mockup here:

Yellow circles are generally where it is warmer. Arrows indicate wind. The larger the arrow, the stronger the wind. The white line down the middle is generally the fog line.

This is by no means 100% accurate and the fog, sun, and wind in San Francisco always find a way to do unexpected things in unexpected places. So don’t sue me if you buy a home in the yellow circle and you wake up one morning to the fog.

So You’re Wondering What The Property Across The Street Sold For? I Gotcha Covered.

Recent sales…it’s what everybody wants to know. It’s what I get asked when I go to dinner. It’s what I get asked when I’m out surfing. It’s what I get asked when I’m sitting on the ski lift. “What did X property sell for?”

Because of this very question that continues to perplex even the most tuned-in San Francisco real estate agent, I started a newsletter about 9 years ago. That newsletter was called sfnewsletter. The whole point was to provide a weekly snapshot of everything in San Francisco that just came on the market, and everything in San Francisco that just sold. The newsletter was sent to tens of thousands of people, and was a screaming success. It’s only natural that it was plagiarized.

Hill & Co. now has a newsletter that is almost a spitting image, and the company where I hang my license (Zephyr Real Estate) has it’s own carbon copy. So I decided I didn’t need to write the content any more, and I’d just let Zephyr do it for me, because it’s really not the content all of the readers want, it’s the data. What listed, what sold…sortable by district, and property type. However, because the Multiple Listing Service has “real time” sold data under strict lock and key, you can’t just access it from anywhere. You gotta be connected to a Realtor.

Therefore, I extend an invitation to all of you to begin receiving these sold updates in your inbox every other week. There are two catches: 1) I need your email. 2) If you receive the data from me, and then choose to buy or sell a home with a different agent that doesn’t provide you valuable information like this, I will send my cousin Guido out to your house, and he will bust your knees. Deal?

If you’d like to be added to the distribution list, just shoot me an email, and state in the subject “Please add me to your real estate newsletter“. Trust in the fact that I will simply add you to the newsletter and not email you to constantly solicit your business, and I certainly will not sell or re-distribute your email to anyone. In return, I will trust that you contact me when you are ready to buy or sell San Francisco real estate. It’s a win-win.

-Just sold data. This link expires with each newsletter, so you gotta get on the list. ;-)
-Sign up for real estate newsletter

BlackboardEats, Another Way To Explore All The Great Food San Francisco Has To Offer

Like I said in a post a few days ago, there are things in San Francisco that just make this place great. Things that keep us living here, dealing with parking tickets, traffic, fog, and exorbitant real estate prices. The restaurants and eateries in San Francisco are certainly right on top of every person’s list as to why they love this city, and why tourists come to visit. Food, food, and more food.

San Francisco is an amazing food city, but it’s a tad overwhelming when it comes to dining choices. Sometimes, you just need someone to tell you where to eat NOW and while they are at it, give you a little motivation (in the form of discounts). I’m not sure if you all know (I’m sure many of you do), but there is a great website/service called BlackboardEats that can help us all do just that.

It’s a no brainer, really.

Each week, they send me 2 emails with a restaurant review, written by a local food critic with a corresponding perk—think Groupon with amazing taste and without upfront costs. It’s like a special online club for restaurant aficionados (which I am not).

If you travel, they are in Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago too.

I’ve discovered some amazing restaurants I would have otherwise overlooked, and I’ve saved a ton of $$ with them. As a result, I’m sharing this find (if you haven’t found it already) with you, and I’m even going to give them a little love in my marketplace over there on the right column (no, they aren’t paying me).

Check ‘em out.

-BlackboardEats.com

Buying San Francisco Real Estate Is As Easy As…Not Giving Up Before You Start!

I’ve been getting a few phone calls and emails from potential buyers looking to get into the San Francisco market, and their general mood is that of despair…mostly because of my latest posts about how hot the market (particularly Cole Valley) is right now. I’ll just come right out and apologize for giving the impression that we are back to the days of boom. We are not.

As is the case with our weather here in San Francisco on any given day, there are pockets of sunshine, and clouds of rain. While nicely presented (staged) homes, in great locations, marketed at competitive prices (whether $400,000 or $4,000,000) are practically flying off the shelf with all cash/zero contingency offers, there are certainly countless numbers of not so lucky homes and sellers that either missed the mark with pricing, timing, or presentation, and those homes are getting stale, dropping prices, and selling for much less than asking…if they sell at all. Depending on when the seller purchased it, often many homes are selling for much less than what the seller paid! So it’s definitely not all roses all across the board.

With that said, what can you do to increase your chances of buying a piece of San Francisco real estate. The most important thing for you to do as a buyer is get pre-approved with a good, reputable, local lender or mortgage broker (I can recommend a few). Getting pre-approved doesn’t cost you a dime. Don’t even look at homes until you know without a shadow of a doubt what you can afford. That includes browsing online on Trulia or Zillow.

Once you have taken the pre-approval step, there are tools available to get you searching for the most accurate, up to the minute listings both on MLS, and “off market“.

Once you have an idea of what it is you can both afford, and what it is you desire, you should absolutely get in touch with a licensed real estate professional to help you find and secure your property. You can certainly try to go it alone, but when it comes time to write an offer, 99% of the listing agents out there are going to prefer to work with someone that is represented by a Realtor, rather than someone that thinks they can do it alone. Put two identical offers on the table. One from a buyer that has an agent who knows the game, and the other from a buyer wanting to represent themselves to “save” some money and nine out of 10 agents will go with the Realtor represented buyer all day long. If you want to go discount, go Redfin. At least you’ll have an agent representing you.

Once you’ve selected your agent (It’s like dating, so don’t just go “top producer” or “market specialist”…find someone you can spend hours hanging out with. Someone that might share similar interests.), work with them using all of the tools available to both of you, and be in touch frequently. Understand the market fluctuates day to day. Know that while some properties will receive multiple offers, some won’t, and gauging at what price a home will sell in such a market is often difficult and not as easy as 1+1=2. Running and analyzing comparable sales is only half of the story (our market now is much more robust than only a few short months ago in what should have been a busy October). Be ready to act quickly, and be flexible with regards to what times you are available to tour homes. See any, and as many homes as you can that might be a match.

When you find the home you like…don’t hesitate. It could be gone the next day. Make an offer, consider shortening any and all contingencies, and be prepared to go back and forth on price and terms. Don’t take it personally! Every buyer wants a good deal, and every seller wants top dollar. It will get heated.

If you don’t get the property, don’t dwell on it. There will be more opportunity…I promise. Move on. If you do get the property…well that’s another blog post altogether.

Don’t get discouraged by my stories of multiple offers, cash buyers, and an ultra-competitive market. As much as those stories are happening, there are also many more stories of Stalefish homes finally being sold after many, many months on the market. There are foreclosures (good luck with those), short sales, and many off market opportunities. You just gotta know where to look, have patience, money, and determination. Your property is out there. Don’t give up based on a few blog posts about a hot, hot market. And definitely don’t give up before you start.

-Four buyers in four days, and 121 Beulah. How did it end. [theFrontSteps]
-Factoring weather when buying a home in San Francisco is anything but simple. [theFrontSteps]
-Search MLS
-Search Not on MLS