One Million Dollars Over Asking. Market “Crazier Now Than In ’05 And ’06″

Where on Earth!? Right here, 2821-2823 Broderick, San Francisco, CA 94123.

As if $1,000,000 over asking wasn’t enough, how about a two (yes 2) day close of escrow. Still shows Pending in MLS, so look for it to close on Tuesday.

How do I know?

A legit friend of mine offered $3.515 and didn’t get it. I don’t know exact price, heard from another friend the seller accepted $3.56 but not confirmed. Asking price was $2.495. I also tried to buy 2740 Lake St a few weeks ago, it went to an all cash buyer, 5 day close for $620k over asking. There was another house on El Camino in Sea Cliff that went like $1.2MM over asking recently. Market feels crazier now than it did in ’05 and ’06.“–A Trusted Developer Here in San Francisco

-2821-2823 Broderick, Cow Hollow 2 Unit Asking $2,495,000 [MLS]
-Google Earth Fun with 2821-2823 Broderick [Google]

It Is Certainly Brisk Out, And We’re Not Talking Weather

Somebody has certainly turned the tap on with regards to San Francisco real estate. Case in point (like we need to see more), 1998 Broadway #1007.

I just called on this Pacific Heights property to get an appointment for a client to take a look at it next Tuesday. How foolish of me to think it’d still be available! They accepted offers yesterday, received five, and will certainly not be looking for another by next Tuesday.

That’s a two bedroom, one and one half bath, 1030 square foot condominium asking $750,000, gone in seven days.

-1998 Broadway #1007, $750,000 [MLS]

San Francisco Market Focus Report May 2012: Translation = The Market Is Kinda Hot

San Francisco Housing Market Accelerates

The spring home-buying season is well underway in San Francisco, as historically low interest rates and a limited supply of homes for sale have prompted nascent home buyers to pull the trigger. Cash transactions, competitive bidding and multiple offers are once again commonplace throughout the city.

Single-Family Home Sales

The city’s inventory of single-family homes for sale dropped by 30.7 percent compared to April 2011. With a substantially lower inventory, the number of homes under contract rose by 12.6 percent compared to this time last year, while the number of homes sold increased by 10.7 percent.

For homes that were priced below $700,000, the months of supply inventory fell by 61.4 percent to 1.3 months. For higher-priced homes between $700,000 and $1.2 million, the months of supply inventory also dropped, by 53.9 percent to 1.2 months. These exceedingly short time frames continue to place San Francisco high among cities in the nation where homes are selling the fastest.

One area of town which continues to experience high sales activity is the Central District. Since April of last year, the number of homes under contract in this point of the city has increased by 3 percent, but what is more noteworthy is that the number of homes sold has jumped by 51.9 percent, with 41 transactions closed. The Central District is home to a variety of neighborhoods, including the family-friendly Eureka and Noe Valleys, which are where many new affluent technology workers are competing to purchase homes. The median price for a home here is $1,355,000.

Another area of the city which experienced healthy sales activity is the southeastern section, east of Interstate 280 and extending past Candlestick Park. Compared to one year ago, the number of homes under contract here has surged by a whopping 76.5 percent, while the number of homes sold has also increased by 23.1 percent to a total of 48 transactions closed. Homebuyers seeking an easy commute to the Peninsula and some of the best prices in the city are turning to neighborhoods in the southeastern section like the Outer Mission and Mission Terrace. The median price for a home here is $477,500.

Condominium Sales

Just as with single-family homes, the inventory of condominiums for sale in the city dropped, by 38.9 percent compared to April 2011. Despite this, the number of condominiums under contract increased by 33.8 percent, while the number of condominiums sold rose by 15.6 percent.

For condominiums that were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, the months of supply inventory contracted by 68 percent to a reading of 1.2 months. For luxury condominiums priced above $900,000, the months of supply inventory also fell by 30.2 percent to 2.2 months.

One area of the city which experienced a robust increase in condominium sales activity is in the central-eastern section. Since April of last year, the number of condominiums under contract here has jumped by 48.5 percent, while the number of condominiums sold has only dropped by a marginal 1.1 percent, rounding out the month with 86 units closed. Stylish and contemporary mid-rise condominiums line the streets of the neighborhoods here, including South Beach, whose close proximity to Caltrain and AT&T Park is ideal for commuters and baseball fans alike. The median price for a condominium in the central-eastern section is $697,500.


Nationally, there is strong evidence that the housing market is stabilizing, as all-time low borrowing costs and improving employment have helped fuel demand for a shrinking inventory of available homes. And, prices have bottomed out. The National Association of REALTORS® reported that prices for single-family homes improved in the first quarter of the year compared to last year for 74 of 146 metropolitan areas.

The consumer confidence index, which had declined slightly in March, remained virtually unchanged in April. The index now stands at 69.2, down slightly from a reading of 69.5 in March. Regarding the short-term outlook, Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center, says that, “Overall, consumers are more upbeat about the state of the economy, but they remain cautiously optimistic.”

According to the latest figures from the California Employment Development Department, the unemployment rate for the San Francisco Bay Area rose slightly this past March, from 8 percent to 8.1 percent, following a similar statewide trend. Between February and March of this year, leisure and hospitality were among the top industries with added job growth. In San Francisco, 38,200 people were out of work in March, while 432,600 had jobs.

Prospective home buyers still on the fence about purchasing should consider the current state of the rental market in the city, which continues to tighten with rising rents. Based on a recent article published in the San Francisco Chronicle, rental rates in the city rose by 15.8 percent compared to the same time last year, with an average rent of $2,663 for all units. Studio apartments rose by 16.5 percent to an average of $2,075, while one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartments also increased by 19.9 percent to an average of $2,611.

-San Francisco Market Focus Report May 2012

San Francisco Association Of Realtors Finally Incorporates Facebook/Twitter Sharing Directly From MLS. Still Trying To Keep Control, However

The San Francisco Association of Realtors and our local MLS are FINALLY getting in touch with reality. That reality being, sharing a listing on Facebook and Twitter should not mean having to go to yet another third party to make it easy.

Listings can now be posted on Facebook and Twitter directly from SFARMLS. The icons for Facebook and Twitter are displayed in the Links section of the Listing Detail page just beneath the listing’s photos. Please note that only listing agents will be able to view and use the social media links for their own listings. Users can click the Facebook and Twitter icons to be taken to the corresponding social media site. If they are already logged into Facebook or Twitter on their computer, they will be automatically redirected to the post editor. If they are not logged in, the site will ask for the user’s credentials. Once they are on the site, they will redirect to the post editor. A public link to the listing, as well as basic information on the property, will show on the user’s Facebook or Twitter page with any agent comments.

All it took for them to get on board was a multi billion dollar IPO. Still trying to hold on to a sliver of control however, “Please note that only listing agents will be able to view and use the social media links for their own listings.” Isn’t the whole point of social media to get more exposure?

Why wouldn’t I want other agents to share my listings on their Facebook profiles? All they have to do is grab the link and they can share it that way anyway. In fact, why wouldn’t MLS want a Facebook or Twitter icon to go on every listing page, so anyone anywhere can share that listing with someone else? Why bother with the “only with their own listings” bull shit? Just let it go man!

Live Amongst History On Hotaling Place

I’m in process of securing a pied-à-terre for a client in 25 Hotaling Place*, and I was reminded of not only what a great building it is, and how rich it is with history, but also what an incredible location!

The best of San Francisco right at your doorstep
Located in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square District, 25 Hotaling Place is surrounded by four of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods—North Beach, The Financial District, Chinatown and The Embarcadero Waterfront. Intimate cafes, sophisticated restaurants and colorful watering holes are just steps away and a stone’s throw from the city’s spectacular waterfront.

A little street with a big past
Originally called Jones alley, the small street that runs between Jackson and Washington Streets started life as an alley servicing the warehouses of old San Francisco’s bourgeoning waterfront. In the early 20th century it was given its present name—Hotaling Place— commemorating one of the Gold Rush-era’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Anson Parsons Hotaling arrived in San Francisco in the mid-1850s and founded A.P. Hotaling & Company, a distributor for Cutter’s Bourbon Whisky. During the 1906 Earthquake and ensuing fire, sheer luck and a change in wind spared Hotaling’s warehouse. This led to one local commentator to pen the following lines that are now etched in the city’s folklore:

“If, as they say, God spanked the town for being over frisky, Why did he burn the churches down and save Hotaling’s Whiskey?”

To put it in my words: the location is BUTTER!!! One of the best spots in San Francisco. Right smack dab in the thick of it all, yet quaint enough to feel like you just stepped into a small part of history, lore, and a European side street. One of my favorite restaurants (Bix) is just around the corner, you can purchase any number of SWEET espresso machines and grinders around another corner at Thomas E Cara, Ltd, and for those of you that love a little late night entertainment, you’re stumbling distance to all that jazz too. It is quite simply, awesome.

Guess what? If you missed out on getting into this building before, your chance may just be coming around again. There is talk of another resale unit hitting the market soon (maybe not on MLS), and I have the inside scoop. So if you’ve been looking for a place in and around Union Square, Financial District, North Beach, Embarcadero, have I got the property for you! Oh…if you like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera you’re really going to want to contact me.

Since we’re on the subject of Hotaling, you might like to try some of Hotaling’s Whiskey, produced by San Francisco’s own Anchor Distilling Company, while you ponder the possibilities of owning a slice of San Francisco history.

* is from the original marketing of the property and is NOT the current unit for sale, or necessarily an accurate depiction of the unit coming for sale. The finishes, exposed brick, and location are indeed accurate.

The Anti-Facebook Effect

San Francisco is all abuzz about the Facebook Effect, and how it’s fueling our real estate market. It’s a good thought indeed, but also important to note that for as many articles published about it, it is, in fact, just opinion and a lot of hype. I, for one, am thankful to see another type of article posted today (I’ll call it the anti-Facebook effect), and I thought you all should read it too.

Some talking points:

People, mostly real estate agents and sideliners, are saying that the San Francisco real estate buyer mindset is that they “better get in before they’re priced out.” I do think this is a discussion point to get buyers to jump pushing days on the market (DOM) down and keeping competition fierce, yet what is fueling the market is cash and inventory


The new techies are putting money in the market yet as renters, not buyers. They are not seeing real estate as a day trade and are waiting to purchase until they can get what they really want. Even though amazing three and five year arms are available, most buyers are opting for 30 year fixed loans. Twitter and Airbnb employees do not have the low or no down payment options that were available during the last boom and unless they have family money or cash from the last start-up; they are still in the very expensive rental market.

“The Facebook Effect”, as Julian Hebron of the Basis Point calls it, is a justification, yet not likely a true driver, of a seller holding strategy. Most owners sitting on the sidelines who might want to sell are holding specifically due to their financial circumstance. “The Facebook Effect” is a nice way to predict a positive future where they may get their money back and perhaps a slight gain. People who are looking to trade property in the Bay Area are going to be impacted on both sides of the deal, whether it be buying or selling.

-Facebook Effect [theFrontSteps]
-Anti-Facebook Effect (“Cash, Not Facebook, Is Fueling The San Francisco Real Estate Market”) [Real Estate Trading Game]

Facebook Friday Open House? Really? Come On!

It took exactly less than one full day for the real estate industry to latch on to yet more of the Facebook effect hype, and send off a bit of spam that caught my eye: Facebook Friday Open House? Really?

How about just “Come see this amazing house on Friday”. Why Facebook Friday?

Any reports of a “Facebook Frappuccino” at Starbucks today? Or how about an order of “Facebook Fries” at McDonalds? Just sayin’….

Looks like a cool house though.

-5626 Vine Hill Road, Sebastapol, California: $5,100,000 [Redfin]

“Web 2.0 Remaking Real Estate, Again”- SFGate Gives Props To!

Featured on SFGate (San Francisco) yesterday.

Much like finding love on a dating site, Web 2.0 lets buyers meet their dream homes and sellers meet their dream buyers in a direct, match-making process– without the MLS.

Because of new technology, many agents and their clients are turning to unconventional ways to list property for sale, and the increasing speed and reach of the internet (especially social networking) makes it easier to get attention to a property for sale, attention that was previously reserved for listings on the MLS. As more and more agents and their clients begin to achieve an “off market” sale at a desirable price and terms for all parties, the boundaries of ‘one national listing place’ expand– potentially to the point of blowing apart.

That’s what is all about. Says co-founder Alex Clark: “We’ve already seen a high volume of posts for higher end property and I expect that will continue, and we’re seeing a much larger number of agents using our service to promote ‘buyer needs,’ which bring fence sitting sellers and their agents out of the woodwork, and into contract. As we develop our technology further to simplify the process of posting pocket listings and buyer needs to our site, we suspect many more brokerages to get in the game as their clients (the buyers and sellers) become more and more savvy to the alternatives available to them.”

-Web 2.0 Remaking Real Estate, Again [SF Gate]

The Facebook IPO And San Francisco Real Estate…Birds Of A Feather

Our friends over at Movoto recently published a blog article about how the Facebook IPO will create at least $1 Billion in Bay Area property value, and they asked me to share it with you, so I am.

There is certainly a TON of hype surrounding Facebook’s IPO, and with good reason. Everybody likes to speculate, and everybody wishes they were a part of Facebook (either as investor or employee) so, they too, could cash in on its success.

Since we’re on the subject of the Facebook IPO and San Francisco real estate, and how every real estate agent in the Bay Area wants a piece of Facebook’s success, you might as well read the other articles I’ve read too:

-Movoto: Facebook IPO Creates at least $1 Billion in Bay Area Property Value
-L.A. Times: Facebook IPO Fuels Bay Area Spending Boom
-Redfin Forums: Facebook IPO will make the housing market go crazy?
-SF Gate: Facebook IPO is Sizzling Up Silicon Valley Real Estate
-CNN Money: The Facebook Effect On San Francisco Real Estate
-Jackson/Fuller: The Facebook Hype Machine
-ABC News: Facebook IPO expected to boost Silicon Valley Economy
-The Basis Point: Facebook Effect on San Francisco Real Estate: It’s Very Real

As I read (learn of) more, I’ll add them here. Feel free to share with us.

New Development Millwheel South, Dogpatch San Francisco

Perhaps you’ve been wondering about new developments in San Francisco, and perhaps it’s the only type of property you’ll buy (with good reason). Rejoice, there is a new development in San Francisco’s Dogpatch area that has opened its doors, and is available for immediate purchase, Millwheel South. Choose from one, two, and three bedroom floor plans on one of four floors with prices starting in the $500,000s. From the looks of their website and the amount of “SOLD” stamps all over it, you might want to get in sooner than later.

As always, I’m happy to get you in to negotiate price and terms. Something tells me they aren’t going to budge much on the price, but you can always negotiate a little something extra. I always do.

Sorry Smith, Nguyen Wins. Lee A Close Second. Garcia In Third.

Top 10 California Home Buyer Surnames:

Excellent and relevant data C.A.R! I’m gonna go get me a mailing list of Nguyens, Lees, and Chens, and sell me some houses!

The complete report is below (in PowerPoint). Have a ball with the data. I did.

Buyers be warned. Instead of being asked for proof of funds, agents are going to start asking you for your “first and surname” LOL!

-California Home Buyer and Seller Profile Report (PowerPoint)

What I Know That You Don’t…Multiple Off Market Buying And Selling Opportunities

I just wanted to drop a quick little note for all of you buyers and sellers out there, mostly buyers.

If you are looking for property in Cole Valley, Union Square, Lone Mountain, Outer Parkside (most call it the Sunset), Russian Hill, Pacific Heights, Nob Hill, or St. Francis Wood, I know of properties that are not on MLS, not on, not on Redfin, not on Trulia, not on Zillow, and likely not on your radar, and they are for sale.

I can help you get access to any of these homes, but you need to contact me, and you need to be unrepresented when you do so.

Sellers, if you’re on the fence about selling, I know of several buyers looking for property in Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, Union Square, Cole Valley, and many other parts of the city.

All it takes is a simple email or phone call and we might be able to put something together.

Not sure if you want to work with me? Have a look at some of these testimonials, and take a gander at some recent sales (on the bottom of the linked page).

I can help, and I’m a nice guy…I swear.

San Francisco’s Most Recent Sales And New Listings

A little something I started about eight years ago…give you what you want…access to the most recent sales in your area without all the sales pitch and pressure to sell that usually comes along with contacting a real estate agent.

To actually get to the sortable data tables, either click the image above, or follow this link. To get these reports delivered to your inbox every other week, drop me a line and I’ll add you to the list.


I had all kinds of good blog posts about real estate planned for today, including all kinds of stats and numbers, a few off market opportunities, and even a funny story about multiple offers. Instead, let’s take a moment to remember one of the best minds music has seen in my lifetime. Adam Yauch (MCA), of the Beastie Boys, has passed. He was truly a good guy. I had the pleasure of snowboarding with him a few times, and the satisfaction of watching him try to hit on the girl that was hitting on me (always nice to one up a rock star). I’ll never forget the booming sound system in his beater Subaru either. R.I.P. Yaucher. You will be missed.

Life is short…live it. When your card is pulled, that’s it.

333 Grant Avenue #501 SOLD In Four Days, $20,000 Over Asking

You all remember the great listing I had at 333 Grant Avenue, and I’m sure many of you are wondering how it played out, so let me enlighten you.

To begin, we had a considerable amount of interest (web traffic, phone calls, texts and emails) generated from the blog post I did even before the property hit MLS (something I offer ALL of my clients, and definitely not something you can get with other agents in San Francisco). Had I not been pushing to get this property to MLS for the sake of creating a new comp in the building (previous ones were not very good), we would have likely sold the property “off market”.

A couple days after the announcement here on theFrontSteps, we went to MLS. I put it in the system on a Friday and the phone started ringing. That weekend there were over 10 showings, and requests to “wait until at least the end of the week” before accepting an offer. We had a Tuesday Broker Tour (I was late getting there and agents were lined up (with clients) at the front door). I showed the property several times that afternoon, and the next morning, and was told by a colleague that they’d like to give us an offer right away. I called all interested parties and it looked like multiple offers were coming our way. Not wanting to lose the property, one buyer stepped up, offered $20,000 over asking, made it cash, didn’t want the leased parking, and sealed the deal. There were a couple bumps in the road along the way (like every transaction), but thankfully the other agent was a professional and we got the property sold.

As a result of that quick sale at 333, some other sellers are kicking around the idea of listing their units, and there are multiple buyers that I have on speed dial should that opportunity arise…on or off market.

I keep saying, it’s a good time to sell if you’ve been on the fence, and this is a perfect example why. The previous unit in the building that sold took ages to secure a solid offer, we did it in four days.

I have been relatively silent on the blogging front, but that doesn’t mean I’m not out there working it. If you are on the fence about selling and would like to get a considerable amount of exposure beyond what any other San Francisco agent can offer you for your property, give me a shout (, and I’ll come show you my spiel.

-333 Grant Avenue #501, Simply Union Square, Simply A Shopper’s Paradise, Simply $620,000 [and sold for $649,000] [theFrontSteps]
-“You know me, I’m on the three, three, three….”[Bondi Hipsters-theFrontSteps]

Real Estate Commissions…

(Editor’s Note: The following is reprinted from the Real Estate Bulletin, spring 2012 issue, published by the California Department of Real Estate.)

“The California Real Estate Law (Business and Professions Code §10000, et seq.) does not prohibit the sharing of commissions. Before going further, it must be understood that this section and its analysis only covers the California Real Estate Law. Other laws, such as the Federal Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (known as RESPA) must also be considered by licensees.

From a technical point-of-view, the agent/client relationship, and the right to commissions therefrom, belong to the broker. Nevertheless, it is recognized that real estate agents may work together and decide to share or split a commission.

A licensee may share or split his or her commission with another person or entity provided that person or entity has not performed any acts for which a real estate license is required. The Real Estate Law prohibits the payment of compensation to unlicensed persons who are performing acts requiring a license on behalf of another or others.

For example, a licensee may give a share of the licensee’s commission to a buyer, as an incentive to a prospective buyer, assuming the incentive payment is not a violation of some other provision of law. Where an unlicensed person is acting as a principal in a transaction (i.e., seller or buyer), that person is not “acting on behalf of another or others” (licensed activity) and the prohibition described above would not apply.

If licensed acts were performed, a commission can be shared only if the person was a licensed real estate broker or salesperson acting within the scope of his or her license.

Even though a licensed salesperson may share his or her commission, as discussed above, the salesperson’s employing broker must actually direct and control the manner and payment of a salesperson’s share of the earned commission to ensure compliance with B&P §10137.

Pre-supposing that the broker has authorized escrow to directly pay a commission to the salesperson, the commission can be paid to the salesperson out of escrow.

Depending on the circumstances, there may be a disclosure requirement if such payment is a material fact to a party to the transaction.

Lastly, B&P §10137 allows “a licensed real estate broker to pay a commission to a broker of another State”. This refers to another State in the United States of America. It does not refer to a foreign country. However, there is no prohibition in the Real Estate Law against a real estate broker, licensed in the State of California, paying money to a foreign individual or company (which may or may not be a licensed real estate broker in their respective countries), as long as the payment of money is not for acts which require a real estate license in the State of California.”

Got it?

Happy Birthday To Me–Turn It Up!

Now that I’m no longer a “young punk”, but apparently a “real estate professional”, you’d think my tastes in music have changed to something perhaps a bit more refined, or maybe a bit more conservative. Quite the contrary. The Vandalss have long been one of my favorite bands, and every year, right about May 1st, this is my favorite song.

How can you not love The Vandals? How can you not rock this on your birthday!? How can you not turn the dial to 11…