San Francisco Drug Dealing, Violent and Property Crimes…All In One Map

Zoom in, zoom out, click here, click there. Sort by day or night, by area or population. Get down and dirty with recent (and past) crimes committed in your area, or an area you plan on living. Find out what crimes were committed, when, and exactly where. It’s exactly these types of maps that could very well set your mind at ease, or send you running to the suburbs. They certainly do provide a fair bit of education, that’s for sure.

Spoiler alert: Tenderloin wins with the most crimes per square mile, per year, than any other part of the city! (Are you really surprised?)

crimemapcity

It would appear the Outer Sunset is the safest part of town, and it would also appear if you plan on visiting the Cliff House or walk Land’s End trail, you should either not take your car, or not take your car…there is an incredibly high rate of car break ins there. Not too surprising if you consider the number of tourists in that area leaving valuables and luggage clearly visible in their rental car. Anyway, enjoy, and thanks to the developer of this fine map for introducing me, and you, to it.

-CityCrimeMaps.com
-Outer Sunset [theFrontSteps]

When San Francisco Shakes, People Search For Bedrock And Landfill

Check out the top search terms for theFrontSteps since this second Berkeley quake hit about one hour ago.

It appears there is a bit of concern out there given the recent one on top of the other quakes over there near Berkeley.

I believe this is the post y’all are looking for:
San Francisco Neighborhoods Prone To Liquefaction And Earthquake Induced Landslides (Bedrock vs. Landfill Take Two) [theFrontSteps]

Fifty Percent Of Bay Area Water Heaters Not Properly Braced!

In a recent report sent to me via way of email I’ve learned that more than HALF of the Bay Area is living with improperly strapped/braced water heaters!

A recent survey of water heater seismic bracing conducted by members of the Golden Gate Chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors throughout the Bay Area found that more than half of the water heaters observed during the survey period were not adequately braced.

That’s just insane! If we get a big quake and your water heater falls over, ruptures some pipes, busts a gas line, and ignites from the pilot light, you’re going to wish you paid a few bucks and had the thing properly strapped/braced.

If you’re going to sell your home, it has to be done, but if you’re living life on the edge, you might want to take that aversion to risk and put some money on the closest roulette table instead. Keep in mind it’s likely not just your ass you’ll have to cover in the event of a catastrophe…think about all of your neighbors that will very quickly point their fingers at you if it is determined your water heater was the cause of a major fire or other disaster.

Not sure what to do? Check out these guidelines for properly bracing your water heater (pdf)

-Water Heater Report (PDF)
-Water Heater Bracing Guidelines (PDF)

Success Story: A Buyer Finally Becomes an Owner

 

This blog is graciously donated by Missionite, long time reader of and writer for The Frontsteps, as well as writer of his own blog, Submedian.

FINALLY GOT ONE

Well we finally got one. We just got the keys and haven’t moved in yet. Despite the market conditions we didn’t get a steal, paid over asking, and in fact the home didn’t appraise so we had to bring some extra money to close as well as convince the sellers to come down a little. On the other hand the home needs only a paint job and a chimney sweep, is big enough for our family of four, is close to things that are important (school, shopping, park, friends, backyard), far from things we don’t like (noise, crime) and is as good a fit for our needs as we could hope for. Most of our new neighbors have lived in the neighborhood for ten years or more so we have a nice stable piece of San Francisco to call home.
With two little ones in desparate need of a yard we weren’t in a position to wait anymore and frankly we were just out of patience. Our criteria was what can we afford right now that we can bear to live in for the next ten years. And on that front we are satisfied. The big lesson I have walked away with here (which will make the realtors happy) is that what you pay for a house has no correlation to it’s actual value. As some of you probably know we have spent literally years bidding on foreclosures, fixers, probates, stale fish, etc trying to get a bargain and have come up empty handed every time (I haven’t blogged about the last couple misadventures but there have been a few and one in particular just about broke our heart). But the times we were denied did give us more time and eventually our savings caught up to the point that we could actually compete and in the end we wound up buying in a normal deal with normal sellers putting our well-over-asking offer in the day it listed and even then apparently not having the highest offer, but winning because we offered a damn fast close.
The asking price, the comps, everything you think you know about a property is meaningless when it comes to the final price. It all boils down to whether you are in a class that has a lot of other buyers. As a family looking for a family home in a city that isn’t exactly loaded with quality inventory for families, we eventually learned we were going to have to either pay more than we would like, or not have anything at all. If you are in the market for a condo, or something on the top end of the market I think it’s a different experience, but reasonably priced homes appropiate for a family with young children are tough nuts to crack.
Anyway, I’m happy to start worrying about lawn care now. Home depot has new meaning to me and I can’t wait to make my first visit there with serious intent.

_________________________________________________________

Congrats to you, and thanks to you, for sharing your win, Missionite. Your advice will be of help to buyers, as will your fabulous rent vs.buy calculator, a resource so good it’s been co-opted by Apple and will soon appear as an app for the I-phone! Check it out here.

Photo: homeownershipu.com

Wife House Swap San Francisco, Stephen Fowler Moving On…

The tip came in:

I thought your readers might find it interesting that poor Stephen Fowler’s house (4218 25th Street) of “Wife Swap” infamy is now on the market. I thought it would only be a matter of time before they moved on to less scrutinized pastures, and now is that time.

wifeswap

The home, situated in prime Noe Valley is 6 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, 4395 square feet and asking $2,925,000. Last sold in 1999 for $730,000 (asking $679,000….ahhh the good ol’ days), and on the market for a spell in 2003 for $2,095,000 with no record of it selling. The home certainly has a bit of “prestige” attached to it, but what home in San Francisco doesn’t!?

Perhaps the painting in the Kitchen/Dining area is an indication of where the owner sees himself moving:
wifeswaphollywood1

Two million nine hundred twenty five thousand dollars could certainly buy a lot of home elsewhere. Hollywood? Not so sure. Missouri with all the “uneducated, overweight, dumb rednecks”? …uhhhhh yeah.

-4218 25th Street, $2,925,000 [MLS]

In San Francisco It’s Ritual Coffee Roasters Versus Blue Bottle Coffee

bluevritual

Having just purchased our first bag of “Sweet Tooth Espresso” from Ritual Roasters after more than six years of dedicated grinding, tamping, and pouring exclusively of Blue Bottle Coffee, we’re a bit torn as to what to do. We’ve had Ritual on many different occasions, but allowing their beans to enter into the home, and thus the home espresso machine, is akin to having an affair right in front of your one true love.

Well, we’re giving it a go and Blue Bottle is going to have to be patient, but it got us thinking about which is “better” (or perhaps more popular is the real question), and why.

Our argument is for Blue Bottle, for what they have done to transform the landscape of coffee in San Francisco and the way a good espresso drink is poured and consumed. They’ve also transformed otherwise dumpy locales into hotbeds of activity (Linden Alley in Hayes Valley, and Mint Plaza in SOMA), and one could argue had a direct impact on property values (commercial and residential) in those areas. Blue Bottle knew how to draw a crowd at the Ferry Building and somehow keep people interested when the line stretched around the building. They’ve built a following, and continue to crank out excellent coffee in the same manner as when they began. Service at their Linden location is always with a smile (Mint Plaza staffers could use a little help in that regard), and although loaded with hipsters, you don’t get the feeling you’re just not hip enough to visit Blue Bottle Coffee.

We’re still warming up to Ritual, and don’t know enough about their flavors and their store to draw a completely honest opinion (first impressions have all been good), but as stated, they’re in our grinder and in our home now, so we ask…if YOU had to choose, would it be Ritual Roasters or Blue Bottle Coffee? At the very least, you have to admit it is just one of the many reasons we live here.

Oh…as for the logo competition, you gotta love Ritual’s.

[Editor's Note: Or is there someplace we're missing that we need to try? If you say Starbucks, you should be shot, and/or deported to a life in Strip Mall Suburbia Hell, because we got news for you, that ain't coffee, and how Starbucks made it past San Francisco's Anti Chain Store Law is beyond us.]

[Update: We'll definitely be trying De La Paz, and SightGlass soon enough!]

Is It The Price Or The Mold That Brought You Here?

From $138,900 to $49,900 (the magic number) 880 Ashwood Ave, Vallejo, CA was quite simply too good to pass up.

We’re not sure if it was the price that was so eye-catching ($49,900..oh! Too late, it’s “pending”) or the property description:

REO/bank-owned property. Property has mold. Mold inspection report indicates the need for mold remediation for the entire house. Property may not qualify for coventional financing. Seller will give buyer 3% of purchase price to be applied to closing cost. Repairs credit: 0.

Kinda like, “I’ll practically give you my house, but if you ask me to fix anything, take a hike!”

Go ahead, walk around the corner and see what you find:

Regardless, it’s something to note and certainly something to consider, not to mention it got us out of the city for a little walk.

Some Realtors Are Shady, No Doubt

Man! The stories I have personally encountered within this last week are beyond imagination. Here’s just one thing that has happened to me this week.

-2004 I sell condo in a 30+ unit building, shortly after I sell two more in the same building

-2009 one of the neighbors calls my previous brokerage to ask me to list their condo

-Caller is told I no longer work there and call my new office

-Floor agent at current office, who answers the call, and who shall remain nameless says, “He doesn’t work here.”

-Caller says, “But I was told he does.”

-Shady agent says, “Why don’t I come take a look at your property? I can probably help.”

-Caller says, “No, I’d like to work with Alex as he’s sold a few units in this building.”

-Shady agent says, “Well, I could come over there soon. My office is just around the corner.”

-Caller asks, “Do you know how I can get in touch with Alex?”

-Shady agent continues to push the issue, caller hangs up, calls my past client, he refers her to theFrontSteps.com, she calls me, we chat for 30 minutes about all sorts of things, she tells me the above story, we get a good laugh at some of the slime balls in our industry, and I’ll follow up with her in a month or two to potentially put her condo on the market.

Just some of the fun stuff we respectable agents deal with on a daily basis. Happy Friday!

The $65,000 Parking Spot (P138)

How much is a parking spot worth in San Francisco? Let’s wait and see: 88 Townsend P138…just the parking spot, on the market, asking price…$65,000. Days On Market…30 and counting.

p138

That’s one fine parking spot, and if you play your cards right they might throw in an oil pan and that shitty bike. Wait, maybe it’s that shitty bike that is freeing up the parking spot and greening the air we breathe! We take the previous “that shitty bike” comment back. We like that bike. Do you like that spot? It’s yours for $65,000. Don’t tempt fate either, “[or] Kiss Your Car Goodbye”:

p138tow

-Spot Or Not, Parking In San Francisco [theFrontSteps]
-SF Parking Love Letters [theFrontSteps]

Being a Landlord is Such a Drag…

I have to admit, watching the banks, AIG, the automakers, and finally, homeowners get a bail out, I did more than once cry out piteously: “But who the f— will bail out me?”

Answer: Chris Daly.

I didn’t really ask for this kind of bailout, but Daly’s constituents are largely renters; and hey, so is San Francisco. Thus a little protection for us too is a nice gesture.

Specifically, Daly’s proposals, to quote from the Chron, are as follows:

Three laws proposed by Supervisor Chris Daly on Tuesday would bar landlords from increasing rent to more than one-third of a tenant’s income, would expand the rights of tenants who want to add roommates, and would limit the amount of so-called banked rent increases in which annual increases allowed under city laws are saved up and then imposed all at once.

I should embrace this, since I am a renter. However, I’m also aware of the ironic side effect of many “renter protection laws” that actually end up keeping the rental market as expensive and competitive as it is here, even now. So I eye these laws cautiously, though they excite me, if only because I hope they make my landlady unhappy. Because I hate her.

But I digress. Surprisingly, Mayor Newsom, who is by all accounts not a member of the Daly fan club (in fact, I believe he’s probably the founder of whatever club is the opposite of that one), appears amenable to these laws.

It’s not yet clear whether the proposed laws will have sufficient support at the Board of Supervisors, but Mayor Gavin Newsom – who advocates had expected to oppose the measures – appeared open to the ideas.

So, does that mean SF is about to get even harder on landlords? 

In the end, I’m out of my league. My bias is obvious, but I don’t want to rent forever, so I like to undertand long term effects.  I bring this article to you, the educated Front Steps populace, to explain why these laws are a bad idea, a good idea, a crazy idea, or a pipe dream.

SF: A City with Room to Grow-up Healthy?

biosources 

 
The Where Blog, dedicated to intelligent discourse on urban life, recently posed the following question:

How do people stay sane in crowded cities?

Quoting E.M. Cioran,

Whenever I happen to be in a city of any size, I marvel that riots do not break out every day: massacres, unspeakable carnage, a doomsday chaos. How can so many human beings coexist in a space so confined without destroying each other, without hating each other to death?

We might ask such a question in Tokyo, or New Dehli; in the US, maybe New York. But San Francisco, despite being relatively short on open space for building and (as boon to past real estate transactions) higher in demand than in supply for housing, is not really that crowded. Sure, we’ve all made the dismal, never again mistake of trying to get on the I-80 at rush hour, or the MUNI on the day the Giants are playing (enough orange clothing and pre-game beer consumption to last a lifetime). We’ve been jostled in Union Square during the holidays, or crammed against the rails of the Wharf at the height of tourist season. But those are just poor choices, not evidence of an over-populated city. In fact, there’s a lot of space to live here.

Many of our residential enclaves include rows and rows of homes that have backyards, if not also front yards and side yards. Unlike NY City, we don’t have to go out to Brooklyn to find a family style neighborhood: in our 7 X 7, we have plenty.

Add to that roof decks, public parks, and the beach — it’s a unique metropolis indeed.

But scientists do warn that city life can be hard on the brain.  From the Boston Globe:

Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it’s long been recognized that city life is exhausting — that’s why Picasso left Paris — this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.

So… do San Francisco brains need more quiet space to function?

But isn’t living without culture, diversity, art, conflict, and intellectual stimulation in general, more obstructive than the chaos of urban life?
——
Pic: Biosources.com

SF Cool Lifestyle for Sale. Condo also Included!

Condo complexes aren’t really selling condos these days. Instead, they sell a feeling, an image of the lifestyle that would too become yours if you buy in. And by “buy in” I mean in both senses, because first you’d have to buy that owning a condo at, say, the Hayes, would make you instantly urban-chic-hip; second, you’d actually have to buy the condo itself.

 

Adbusters points out that advertising hasn’t always been such a blatant appeal to pathos. The first print ads are dense with type because every possible fact has been disclosed.

The image used, if any,  is a straight forward depiction of the item for sale, very different from imagery we see today that seems to package the item with our greatest fears, insecurities, hopes, and desires. To quote from Kalle Lasn’s book “Design Anarchy,” Advertising moved from simple factual announcements into status symbolism and the stimulation of desires.”

Condo marketers really go for this style. The Hayes, for instance, employs a webpage that stimulates multiple responses. The music is ambient, the tasteful choice of post-rave kids who are now upwardly mobile adults. Images are a collage of hip style and urban culture (“techno and opera,” they promise). There’s even a film, rich in quick cuts and fast-speed camera work, that conveys the ultra coolness of the area, and by default, of those who live in these condos

Missing from the site is info on prices, among other deal breakers.

I would argue that the missing details are the most important. I know that there may be a host or “selling strategy”-related reasons for not releasing the price of homes in development, like these at  Arden Estates, but some of these condos have been for sale awhile now, and many of the units in the complexes have sold. Presumably then, a price has been agreed on and should not be treated as irrelevant info to the prospective buyer.

Similar “lifestyles” are for sale at Blu, The Infinity, and One Rincon Hill(the latter is more upscale. Notice the jazz music instead of the techno). Otherwise, aside from the music and respective addresses, the ad campaigns are synonymous.

As the likely target market of these ads, let me opine that I don’t need them. I already have a lifestyle, and I’m too experienced to know it will stay as disorganized and blighted by dog hair as it is now, no matter where I move. I already have a culture too, and I have my own definition of hip. What I need is a condo. So tell me: what are the square feet? What is the HOA? What is the asking price? Tell me quick, or I’m moving on to the next website. And please, kill the music, as the only real emotion it inspires in me is boredom. And boredom is not…”cool.”

 
 

Ad credits: CI Advertising & Old Fishing Stuff

 

Road to Real Estate Recovery

When I was working at C__________, my boss was a big coke-head. As a result, the atmosphere was, to understate, lax. Everyone drank and ate copiously (never paying for it), sat down and/or danced randomly in the middle of the restaurant, swore, and slept with one another. All of the aforementioned took place during open-for-business hours. None of us were very surprised when an accountant appeared to “audit the situation” since the owners were confounded, and not at all pleased, that such a busy place could simply not turn a profit. The list of solutions thus generated included: uniforms, Michael Bolton CDs, crafting our famed sangria with boxed (as opposed to bottled) wine, and a NO DRINKING ON THE JOB POLICY.” Nowhere was it suggested that coke-head boss might… cut back, abstain, cease, or desist. And so ended my tenure at C_______.

The relevant thread here is that ailing businesses oft must look within to cure what ails. In the case of real estate, a national convalescent, such introspection cannot come too soon. Perhaps this is why Inman is sponsoring a “Roadmap to Recovery” program, part of which includes an essay contest, with prizes such as $500 and a free pass to the upcoming Real Estate Connect conference.

One recent essay asks how Realtors can redefine “full service.” The author, Jack Harper, has a thesis that what’s missing in real estate is transparency: a term he defines as the client having full understanding of what the agent does for his/her commission. He laments not only a lack of clear communication regarding those services, but also a lack of agreement by the industry as a whole as to what those services entail.

Commenters have opinions aplenty on this essay. Most turn out to be thinly veiled ads for the agents commenting, masturbatory “I am so good at this and that as well as that and this; and by the way, here is my contact information and website!” type stuff. But most of the ideas echo Harper’s.

As a potential client to any realtor, I would like to add that “transparency” also implies a level of honesty and freeness with information your industry is not famed for. We need to trust you again. Bringing that trust back to real estate could be one very important step on the road to recovery.

Photo credit: Active Rain.com

In the Spirit of Halloween and Election Season, Scary Technology that “Outs” Your Neighbors

Prop 8 is not one that encourages sedate emotion. People are either vehemently for it, or they are just as vehemently against it. The debate between the two camps, heated as it is, often erupts into full out fighting, which we all know from our rhetoric classes is actually the opposite effect civilized, fair debate is supposed to have. The fights themselves can even get violent, as seen in this article about a Bakersfield man who attacked, punched, and kicked a No on 8 proponent (article and disturbing video here). 
 
That’s why I wonder whether the Chronicle’s new technology that allows you to see who in your area has contributed to “yes” or “no” on 8 is a good idea. Here you can type in a city, a zip, or even a name to see who has contributed to which side, as well as the dollar amount contributed. I do see the logic of printing the names of corporations who donate to or against the proposition, as you can retaliate by ceasing to spend your money with those companies whose views differ from your own. But how do you retaliate against an individual person? Punching and kicking? And though candid information about campaign contributions helps us understand the actions of our elected leaders, in this case the revealed data seem akin to publicizing people’s ballots after they’ve voted, when by law our votes are supposed to be secret. 
 
Essentially: I’m happy enough to say I’m voting no on 8; but I’d like the freedom to keep that to myself if some frothing-at-the-mouth Bakersfield psycho is waving a blood spattered YES ON 8 sign in front of my face.

A Worse Punishment for Sisyphus: Policing Noise in a Metropolis

Hello out there, theFrontStep Readers! You may (or just as likely, may not) know my name from my blogs for Redfin. I’ve kindly been invited to write also for theFrontSteps, so here I am, on the steps, with my first blog.

So here’s the setting: last night, 2:00am, sultry night, people walking up from the bars, falling down, giggling. That noise doesn’t bother me much. I’d have to be a hypocrite if I tried to pretend I’ve never, after closing time, made too much noise under someone’s window as I staggered home. But another noise does bother me: some a-hole flooring his car and slamming on the breaks as he reaches the stop sign in front of my house. Then, from fully stationary, he floods the car again, tyring to go from zero to sixty instantaneously. Then he screeches off, circles the block, and comes back to do it again.

But we all live in a city. We can’t really expect quiet, can we? We can hope for it, and maybe in some areas, get it most of the time. But in the end, we’re sharing with a lot of people, some of them loud and possibly crazy. That’s why this new law aiming to curb SF noise interests me. Continue reading

Notice To Begin Foreclosure Proceedings: Sincerely, Your Bank

Ever wondered what a letter from a lender to a homeowner would read when they’re about to foreclose your house? Wonder no more. This came to us via the intertubes (re-typed for privacy…of course).

From Wells Fargo Home Mortgage to Homeowners

THIS LETTER IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS NOT A DEMAND FOR PAYMENT.

The above loan file has been referred to our attorney with instructions to begin foreclosure proceedings.

You are hereby notified that, due to the default under the terms of the mortgage or deed of trust, the entire balance is due and payable.

If you have any questions, please contact our attorney listed below:
Jane, Attorney at Law

In the event you are experiencing an involuntary inability to pay and wish to explore an opportunity to reinstate, or need assistance in selling your property, please contact our offices at (800) 555-5555 and request to speak to one of our Borrower Counseling Representatives.

If you received a discharge in bankruptcy from personal liability for this mortgage loan, you should be aware that the mortgage or deed of trust remains as a valid lien against the property and will be foreclosed. Please be advised that in the event of foreclosure, you would not be personally liable for any part of the debt, but you will lose your interest in and right to the property.

Sincerely,
Foreclosure Department

Thanks for sending, sorry to hear about the foreclosure, and a quick reminder to other readers to send us your tips, so this site stays fresh.

Ask Us: What’s the going rate for a garage in San Francisco

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

stacked parking

I am considering buying a condo in the Noe Valley/Mission Dolores (around 21st and Church) area and I am trying to understand what the going rate for a garage is in this area. I have the option to purchase a space with the condo. I’ve heard between $75-100k. Is this accurate?

Thanks, C

C, It depends largely on what type of space you get. Something like the above stacked parking might drop the cost a little, but as we know these brilliant uses of space are few and far between in San Francisco (we’re ahead of the curve, but still a couple hundred years behind Europe), we’ll assume it’s a space with either tandem or individual parking. Our estimate is that it would be closer to the $75k range rather than the $100k, but wonder if some readers might be able to shed some light on the matter as well.

Anyone?

[Editor's note and update: The cost for a garage is entirely different than the cost to purchase a single parking space. Our estimate is assuming you're talking about one space, not an entire garage.]

How walkable is your home?

…and continuing with our education for the week, we’re introduced to Walk Score from another reader. Really, we haven’t been living under a rock, honest to God, but keep sending us information and we’ll keep getting edumucated.

What is Walk Score? “Walk Score’s patent-pending technology calculates a Walk Score for any property and shows a map of what’s nearby with reviews to help you find a great neighborhood.” Brilliant!

-WalkScore.com [Check it out, if you haven't already.]

Ped vs. Muni…again!

File this under absolutely nothing to do with real estate, but everything to do with living in San Francisco. This is such a common problem that the only trauma hospital in San Francisco has its own classification for accidents like this, they call it “Ped vs. Muni”.

You’ve seen it before, you’re sitting at a light, yours turns green, the Muni bus driver toots his/her horn and just rolls right through the red that has been red for a good 20 seconds. Same goes for the street cars. The drivers are for the most part rude, lack basic social skills, and are generally really horrible drivers. What’s the deal? Who hires these people?

-Man killed in gruesome Muni streetcar dragging [sfgate]

The Scoop on your Poop

As you might have learned, if you’ve read our site for a while, if we can remotely spin it towards real estate, your “tip” has a good chance of getting on the site. Today a lesson on what happens when you flush your pipes.

sfsewers.org

From our reader:

Hello,

It was really great that you did your post on the oil spill, so I thought I’d throw this out there. Our sewer system is old, cracking, and needs an overhaul in a bad way. You think the water is polluted now, wait ’til we get a big rain, and/or major earthquake. You’ll never want to surf again. Anyway, here is a link to an informational site that will help you all learn a little more. I’d appreciate if you could put it on your site.”

Wish granted. We’ll just go ahead and add some quotes from the sewer site for you:

San Francisco’s first 250 miles of sewers were built in the late 1800s and by 1935 almost two thirds of the system we have today had been installed. The normal life expectancy of sewers ranges from 50 to 100 years, so a large portion of our pipes have exceeded their expected lifespan.

Every time you flush your toilet, wash your dishes and clothes, or take a shower, your wastewater empties through pipes in your home into San Francisco’s combined sewer system. Each day more than 80 million gallons of wastewater is collected and transported to treatment plants, where pollutants like human wastes, oil and pesticides are removed before reaching the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. In fact, every six days, San Francisco generates enough wastewater to fill a football stadium from top to bottom!

Feel free to get involved, and definitely touch up on the master plan which might help keep our bay and ocean clean. You might also tell your neighbors to pick up their damn trash, and stop flicking cigarette butts into the street. Just some added thoughts.

Well…..we get just about every tip, and “can you post this” email you can imagine, (and we love them, so keep them coming).

Now back to real estate.

We’re getting out of real estate…for good

From “zang”:

Assistant Arrested in Killing of Real Estate Agent-[NY Times]

“[the agent, her boss] ‘just kept yelling at her…’”

That’s just plain sad, and for the record we think it is awful, but we want to know if you’ve ever wanted to kill your Realtor (figuratively of course) for any particular reason. Such as, not answering your calls, not showing your house, not putting pictures on MLS, etc….

It is Friday after all. Let it out, then hug it out. And of course we’re not getting out of real estate. Don’t be silly.

-Why are Realtors so arrogant and such Assholes [theFrontSteps]

-Internet Marketing for Real Estate 101 [theFrontSteps]

Theory of the Starving Real Estate Agent

When I received my real estate license 5+ years ago, I entered into one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, at the beginning of one of the hottest real estate booms our nation would come to see. Real Estate licenses were flying out of the California Department of Real Estate as fast as they could print them. In San Francisco alone, I think the number of agents hit 5000+. (Keep in mind our population is only around 750,000+.)

Now the market has cooled, but at last check there are still some 4500+ licensed real estate agents in the city of San Francisco, and a lot less deals going around, and still “20% of agents doing 80% of the business”. So what happens to the rest? They need to pay bills, put food on the table, and pay the cost of living in San Francisco, and that leads to my theory.

The “theory of the starving real estate agent”: I think that a good percentage of the astronomical overbids, and market run up we had seen, were a result of agents pushing their clients to a higher offering price in order that they themselves would get paid. This is a theory I’ve had ever since I got my license and represented my first client on their first losing offer, and I thought, “How can you possibly make a living in real estate when you not only have to hustle to get clients, but also compete on every offer you write for them?” Continue reading

The Faces of Real Estate

From a reader who chooses to remain “anon”:

Just a question I’ve often wondered. Who’s idea was it to allow, or encourage Realtors to put their pictures all over everything from biz cards, to shopping carts, to buses, etc.? Why Realtors and not all the countless other professions out there?

Good question. I don’t have the answer. Not sure it was one person or a group of people that collectively sat down and said, “Hey…Realtors should use their pictures on their advertising!” I’m thinking it kind of just happened gradually as a way for Realtors to focus on face recognition, as their image is their brand.

Sorry I’m not much help on this. Regardless, thank you for writing in. Maybe our readers or stammtisch can shed some light on the matter.

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Personally, I prefer to put my mug on top of the tram at Snowbird….over and over again.

-Why are Realtors so Arrogant and such Assholes? [theFrontSteps]

If I bought my home in 2000 then today it’d be worth…

Link provided by DL…thanks!

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According to the Consumer Price Index calculations found on this page, which are supposed to take inflation into consideration, if in 2000, you bought a home for $500,000 then today in 2007, your home should be worth $580,508.

If in 2007 you buy a home worth $1,000,000 then in 2000 that home should have cost $861,313.

How does this play out for you, and is your home performing above average?

If you’d like specific comps for your home, give us a shout, as it is impossible to compare apples to apples with such a wide audience.

-What is a dollar worth? [Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis]