Category Archives: Just Interesting

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]