Category Archives: Insider Information

Buying A Home In San Francisco – Step 3: Go See Some Property!

You starting to feel ready to buy a home in San Francisco? By now, hopefully, you’ve made it through Step 1, and are now either pre-approved, or can provide Proof of Funds, and are getting dialed into this thing called the internet and how well it can help you instantaneously see what is new on the market, because you’ve completed Step 2, by having listings sent to your inbox automagically.

That makes you ready for…

Step 3 – Go See Some Property

You’ll want to go see the ones you might even remotely like. Even if you think it’s not a perfect match, you should go take a look anyway. It will help you get a feel for the market, and if you see something that is an “almost” you can track the sale of it to educate yourself on actual sales prices versus list prices.
So how can you know what properties to tour and when? There are a number of ways to do it.
a. Schedule private showings with your Realtor. Schedule them as soon as you can. It’s the best way to see property, without the hundreds of other people, and it gives you a jump on the competition.
b. Still not ready to wed yourself to a frothy real estate agent? Hit the Sunday Open Houses. You can pretty much bet that 99% of the listings you’re getting fed via email will have an open house on Sunday from 2-4pm (in San Francisco). If you show up at a house and it’s not open, oh well…use the opportunity to check out the ‘hood.
c. Tuesday “Broker” Tour. You can also bet that new listings will be open on Tuesday Broker Tour in their designated time slot. Tour rotates around the city beginning at 9am in Telegraph Hill area, and ending in SOMA/Mission/Potrero Hill areas in the late afternoon around 4pm. Times are in increments of 1.5 hours. For example: Pacific Heights new listings are open 10-11:30 on Tuesdays, and the Mission will be from 2-3:30pm.) Technically Broker Tour is meant for Brokers only, but any Realtor that refuses entry to you (a buyer) should be asked to leave the industry. It’s easy to get the Broker Tour schedule, just ask your Realtor, or theFrontSteps.
d. SFOpenHomes.com – Fed directly from MLS, and including any property in the system that has been added as having an open house. You can search by all sorts of criteria, so you can pretty much find anything you like, and whether or not it will be open.
e. Craigslist – Check Craigslist for properties that may or may not be on MLS and whether they’ll have an open house, or when they’ll be available for viewing.

If your schedule does not permit a private tour set up by your agent, or if you prefer to visit property in your own car, on your own time, you can count on options c,d,e to get you where you need to be. Just get out there and get educated! Be warned, almost every real estate agent you come across at an open house will ask you if you’re currently being represented. If you don’t want to be bothered, just say “Yes, I have an agent”, and feel free to drop our name if you panic, and they’ll probably leave you alone. Oh, one more thing…there is no need to fill out the “Open House Sign Up” sheet, unless you like to be spammed. It is simply a tool for agents to get your contact info and add you to their marketing.

So get out and tour, and if you see a property you like, and you think it’s “the one”, don’t pass it up because it is the first property you may have seen. There is a really good chance something like it won’t come around anytime soon, so you gotta jump on the ones you (sort of) love.

Godspeed!

-Step 1- Get Pre Approved, Provide Proof of Funds [theFrontSteps]
-Step 2- Get Listings Fed to you Automatically [theFrontSteps]

Coming Soon! 2191 32nd Ave, San Francisco – $785,000

It’s not everyday you come across a home like this in the Parkside (many simply generalize it at “The Sunset”) District of San Francisco. This home at 2191 32nd Ave has been meticulously maintained by its owner and will be coming on the market very soon. We’re in the final stages of touching it up, and it will soon hit MLS and be available for showings, so get your finances in check and get ready for a home like none you have seen in recent memory in this part of town.

This unique home built in 1933 has hints of Rousseau and Tudor styles all wrapped up in one. From the soaring dark wood beamed ceilings with original art details, the rounded (and functional) wood burning fireplace in the formal living room, to the crown moldings in the formal dining room, this is truly a home not typical of this location. All throughout the residence you will find tremendously detailed, and pristine hardwood floors. Upstairs is a formal dining room, remodeled kitchen, breakfast area with built in cabinets. Skylights and a center patio bring in natural light and fresh air providing a tranquil outdoor setting quite literally in the comfort of your own home. Also upstairs are two bedrooms, one original detailed bathroom with separate tub and shower (wait til you see the purple tile), large closets, and OCEAN VIEWS from the bedrooms that will keep you checking the surf all day long.

Downstairs is a large bonus room with beautiful hardwood floors, access to backyard and deck, full bathroom, a small kitchenette, and – hold on – a wood burning fireplace! This room would be perfect as either a master suite or family/entertainment room. There is also a laundry room on this level and access to the large two car garage.

Asking price is going to be $785,000 and we’re aiming to be on the market officially in two weeks time. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. If you’ve been looking for a home anywhere in the Avenues around Sunset Blvd, this is going to be the home for you.

-2191 32nd Ave, San Francisco, CA – asking $785,000 and on the market soon.

Ditch Your Realtor, Get Ahead Of The Pack By Working With Me

Are you, or any of your friends, looking for a single family home in Noe or Cole Valleys (or anywhere in San Francisco for that matter)? Are you getting beat out by multiple offers in the over million dollar price range ($1.5M+), and showing up late to the party? Is your Realtor telling you they’re doing all they can (simply checking MLS everyday, which you can do too), but really not delivering? If so, you’re not alone, and I can help.

Within the past couple of months my buyers and readers have known about dozens of properties prior to them going to MLS. To think I share all of them online with everyone is simply silly. For example, my circle of clients knew about 707 Cole, 1027 Cole, 313 Parnassus, 785 Cole, 1340 Cole, 121 Beulah, 471 Duncan, 2975 Lake, and many more. There are also a dozen or so homes that never even made it to MLS and were shown without a hint of market activity, such as a mid-century home in Noe Valley, a grand, modern home on Sanchez, an AIA tour home in Golden Gate Heights, a penthouse stunner in SOMA, and a few others that I can’t recall the address off the top of my head.

Today, I present to you two more opportunities in Cole Valley, one in Nob Hill, and another on Lake Street not on MLS. Nowhere near MLS in fact. Not on PocketListings.net, not in my pocket, and not even on anybody’s radar. They are all single family homes, and they are all at least 2 bedrooms, and close to or over $1,500,000. They are not fixers, they are done, done, done…or turnkey as we like to say.

If you are interested, or know somebody that might be, you gotta contact me directly (alexclark@gmail.com), you gotta be unrepresented, and I’m going to ask you to work with me going forward and sign a written agreement confirming exactly that. No co-agents, no “I’ll work with you if you find me the property”, no “let’s try it out on this deal”…none of that. You either marry me as your agent or you don’t. Not sure if you should? Have a look at some recent testimonials I’ve been gathering and come take the plunge.

Like I’ve said, working with and finding a Realtor you like is like dating. If it’s not working out with one, you are free to leave to find another.

I’m also beginning to dabble in Lake Tahoe real estate, so if you’re interested in a second home, ski pad, lake front property, my finger is finding the pulse of that market too (and I know where all the good powder is).

So feel free to give me a shout, and let’s work on getting you ahead of the pack and into the home of your dreams. I’m also happy to help any of you sellers out there sitting on the fence in these markets. It’s a good time to sell in certain areas and certain price-points. I am at your service and available for consultation.

-Prior off market opportunities I presented [theFrontSteps]
-Testimonials
-Lake Tahoe Ski Cabin [theFrontSteps]

San Francisco Real Estate Market Update, Listings, & Sales Week Ending 3/9/2012

The latest and greatest sales data for San Francisco Real Estate:

sfnewsletter/MarketTracker sales information and data is a bi-weekly publication I provide via email. As much as I try to repost it here each week, sometimes time does not allow. Please shoot me an email if you or anyone you know would like to be added to the list.

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]

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

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

Four Buyers In Four Days…And 121 Beulah, How Did It End?

Hi all! I just wanted to give a little update to you from my world of San Francisco real estate.

In my humble opinion, the market is extremely hot for the right properties. On Friday I wrote four separate offers (five if you count that one property is two condos), in four entirely different neighborhoods, and have been in a multiple offer situation on every single one of them. My buyers lost out on a house near West Portal (by roughly $25-35k), and my buyer on a Outer Avenues house is still in the thick of a six offer situation.

My clients for a Cole Valley property accepted a counter offer from the seller, knowing that other offers were lurking. And thankfully, the sellers of a Russian Hill property that my client offered on realized cash truly is king in this lending environment, and wisely accepted our offer on their property, rather than the others with financing.

I would love to share details and specifics about all of these, but as you can imagine, I can’t. I am very busy representing a ton of people throughout the city at this very moment, and all of it is helping me gain that much more knowledge to help you.

As always, other agents are talking to me and sharing stories, potential buyers they may have for homes, and properties some of their sellers may sell. Why they don’t just post all of it for free on PocketListings.net is beyond me, but I’m happy they feel comfortable sharing with me.

If you, or any of your friends/family, need help with San Francisco real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My head is FULL of real estate opportunity!

Oh…and that luxury remodel on Beulah I mentioned two weeks ago….SOLD IN FIVE DAYS for $2,600,000 (asking $2,495,000). We can only assume CASH, and multiple circling.

Happy Monday! It snowed!

Happy New Year From Me To You…And The Scoop On Both A Cole Valley And Noe Valley Single Family Home

My dear readers,

I continue to give you opportunity after opportunity and you have been great. You have been loyal, you have been kind, you have been my source of income (and food and clothing for my two shining young pains in the ass…I mean sons who I love dearly…but sometimes want to wring their necks.) You have referred friends, you have referred family, you have given me tips on hot (and cold) property, and I greatly appreciate it.

I hope you continue to do so in 2012, as you have done since I started this thing back in 2007, and I hope to continue to give you the goods as I have done since before I launched this blog. (Can you believe I’ve been reporting on real estate since 2004!) I want to continue to give you the inside scoop, with a twist and some flavor, because Lord knows our market is a complete mind thrash, so we might as well have a good laugh along the way.

With that said, I have the scoop on a property in Cole Valley for some of you Cole Valley buyers:

and I also have a scoop on 471 Duncan for all of you Noe Valley buyers.

So if you, or anybody you know, was/is interested in a Single Family in Cole Valley, or took a look at 471 Duncan (or any other Noe Valley Single Family recently), give me a call. Principals only please. (If your agent isn’t digging up this kind of dirt for you, why are you paying them!?)

Happy New Year to all of you wonderful people. I hope to kick it up a notch this year on theFrontSteps, and continue to see PocketListings.net to become the successful site it deserves to be.

I look forward to helping you, and everyone you know, buy and sell tons of San Francisco real estate in 2012.

Sincerely,

Alex Clark

But It’s A Buyer’s Market

Any of you see this article on Yahoo! about US Cities Where Homes Sell The Fastest?

Gather ’round…I have a story for you.

Yesterday, on behalf of my clients, I presented a full asking price, ALL CASH (that’s $1,350,000 George Washingtons), two week to close, sellers may “rent-back” ’til November offer on 49 Alma Street in Cole Valley. This is a home that was listed late 2010 for $1,475,000 and withdrawn in January of 2011.


…and our offer was not enough! We were one of FIVE offers!

We expected multiple offers, but here is the kicker – four of the five offers were also all cash! Are you kidding me!? Hang on…it gets better. Our offer was almost the lowest in price. One other offer below us. The winning offer had zero contingencies. That’s all cash, significantly over asking, no contingencies, two weeks til the seller gets their coin…Is it 2003-2005 all over again? WTF!

I know the details of the other offers, but for the sake of the lucky and thrilled seller, and the lucky and thrilled buyer, some things in a transaction are better not to publish until it closes and cash and keys are transferred. Job well done by listing and selling agent combined, and the buyer for blowing our minds.

Okay, I have another anecdotal bit of story for you.

Seven Divisadero hit the market a couple of weeks ago. Barely two or three days on the market…Bam! In contract, all showings canceled.

You cancel showings when you have an extremely good offer that you’re not afraid is going to fall apart. My guess is another all cash offer over asking with one simple inspection contingency.

That leaves several all cash buyers with over $1,000,000 to burn still out there looking.

But it’s supposed to be a buyer’s market…right?

-US Cities Where Homes Sell The Fastest
-Battle Royale: Cole Valley Versus Noe Valley [theFrontSteps]
-Multi Millions On A Monday [theFrontSteps]
-49 Alma Street [Property Website and Photo Credit]
-7 Divisadero [Property Website and Photo Credit]