Comment Du Jour: From San Francisco Shack To Seattle Mid Century For Under $650,000

When readers comment, we listen…

Abuseintake writes in reaction to the $401,000 Overbid at 235 28th Street in Noe Valley:

…moved from a $750,000 2 bed, 1 bath shack in Dogpatch and bought a 2,800 sq.ft, 3 bed, 2 3/4 bath mid-century split-level with a stunning view, for $645,000…in Seattle. You can keep SFO.

Abuseintake took it one step further to share some comparable properties in his/her area of Seattle, should you be so inclined to peruse them.

Sounds like a good time to sell and wander for you San Francisco residents pondering a move to greener pastures.

Just sayin’…

-<a href="“Maximum Overbid Of the Week: 235 28th Street, Noe Valley [theFrontSteps]

“In San Fran We Don’t Judge No One!!!!”

Sometimes you just need someone else to remind you why San Francisco is just THAT great [edited slightly for syntax]:

San Francisco all day everyday!!! First of all in San Fran we dont jugde no one!!!!!!! Gays, poor, it don’t matter. San Fran is soooo much prettier than LA. LA is sooo much traffic, ugly nasty yuck no thanks, and San Francisco isn’t even that cold. What does LA have??? Nothing important. San Francisco Cable Cars
Coit Tower
The Wharf
Come on norcal all dayy baby

Well said…well said.

-Battle Royale: San Francisco or Los Angeles, If You Had To Chose and Why… [theFrontSteps]

“Do Neighbors Make The Hood, Or Does The Hood Make The Neighbors?”

Since we know many of you don’t read or participate in the comments, from time to time we have to bring them to your attention. Yesterday, our reader “Billy” had this to say,

Do neighbors make the hood, or does the hood make the neighbors?

Damn good question, and something to ponder on this glorious Friday morning. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below. Don’t be shy.

Comment Du Jour: You Don’t “Need” To Put Your Children In Private School

Bringing back an old favorite with our “Comment Du Jour”, because sometimes we simply can’t say it as well as our readers. This comment from Caroline SF on our recent post, It’s Less Expensive And More Environmentally Friendly To Live In The City, We Have Proof, is so good that we absolutely have to let you all in on her thoughts:

I have a college freshman and a high school sophomore who have gone all the way through SFUSD schools.

Only the uninformed (well, and perhaps those who don’t want their kids sitting next to “those” people in class) believe that San Francisco parents “need” to send their kids to private schools.

Of course we do have many friends who do and have sent their kids private, and there is simply no discernable difference in the quality of their education vs. the quality of my kids’ education. Basically they spent $150,000-$200,000 per kid for the same thing we got for free — a solid K-12 education. They chose to do that for whatever reasons of their own, but they didn’t “need” to do it.


-It’s Less Expensive And More Environmentally Friendly To Live In The City, We Have Proof [theFrontSteps]

Comment Du Jour: “Easily outbid by USF”

This quote comes from reader “Disconsolate“, on “Stories Of Despair In San Francisco Real Estate“:

I was in probate court that day to observe the overbidding on Juanita Way as preparation to overbid on a house in University Terrace. Our court date was last week. We showed up and went to our max ($100k over the original accepted offer), but we were easily outbid by USF. We didn’t stand a chance.

You are not alone, our friend. Not alone. Thanks for the comment!

Comment Du Jour: Sub $650,000 Market Is Smokin’ Hot

Every so often we get comments that make us laugh, or just need to be noticed as a Comment Du Jour on our front page. As always, we encourage you to take part in the comments as there is a lot of fun stuff going on in there.

From “Hangemhi” on “How’s the Market…”:

i didn’t know they allowed you to curse on the internet. holy shit

anyone notice the $650k and under market is smoking hot… i have a buyer who is afraid prices are going to go up. i guess she doesn’t read socketsite.

Anyone else care to comment on the sub $650k market?

Yes, we did say we’d see you on Monday, but sometimes we just can’t resist a good post (or poke).

Comment Du Jour: “Why Wait?”

Every so often, we pull comments we think you should know about, because as we always say, this site is nothing without the reader interaction. So today, we take from “brokerism” and his recent comment from our recent post “The Appraisal Conundrum“. Hats off to ya “brokerism”. Enjoy your home:

Well, we had our reasons for jumping in now. My wife wants to change jobs for example, and she has a really strong bonus history with her current firm which we can use to qualify for the loan. This may not be the case if she changes jobs.

We are taking advantage of the (temporary) higher conforming loan limit for 2 unit buildings ($800k). The limit for SFHs (625k?) is also temporary.
Home prices are starting to come down significantly and quickly in SF itself so it will be harder to pass the appraisal in six months to a year as compared to now.

So, the first two reasons [for buying now] are personal, but the third applies to everyone. Why wait and wait and wait and risk (in our case) missing out on a rate decrease from 6.5% to 4.875?

Thanks for doing your part and thanks for reading and commenting on theFrontSteps. Cocktails at your house or ours? We make a killer margarita.

Comment du Jour: “A Tide Going Back To The Ocean”

This from “asad” on “An Interesting Sale and Theory“. In that post, fluj essentially contributes strong home sales and prices in the southerly neighborhoods of San Francisco to their gentrification largely as a result of the jobs available even further south (think Silicon Valley and such). “asad” is not so convinced it will last:

Wait til Google [and] Cisco start to announce layoffs early next year. Sure some people still have money but it’s like a tide going back to the ocean. You still have tide pools here and there but if the tide doesn’t come back in soon, the tide pools are going to dry out, they just take longer.

Good analogy. Thanks for the comment. Google announcing layoffs would be a huge deal for the national economy, so we’re all ears if anybody else would like to share some knowledge in the comments below.

Comment Du Jour: “The People in Noe Valley Have a Fully Realized Liberal Fantasy”

This comment du jour comes to us from “James” in our most recent Cole Valley vs. Noe Valley Battle Royale, where he provides his explanation of why Noe Valley is the way it is:

Noe Valley has the feeling of being a small suburban village unto itself and this has been the case for a long while. It feels very similar to places like Mill Valley and Palo Alto (which, i admit, some people consider quite different in themselves).

Having lived here [in Noe Valley] for years, I will admit that there is certainly more of a ‘car culture’ here. Obviously there are an endless number of families who made the very self-conscious decision to move here. The suburban quality is not primarily caused by Noe Valley’s feeling of being physically removed from the city, though. I think it is more caused by the feeling that everyone in Noe Valley is deeply focused on the practical going-ons of their individual every day life. For instance, you are more likely to see young people off on their own in Cole Valley, just sitting in a cafe with a book. In Noe Valley, on the other hand, one is more likely to see a group of women having coffee, with their local jogging group, with their babies, with their jogging strollers, on the way to a play dates, or shopping, and then yoga, etc.

What I mean to say is that while Noe Valley feels removed from city life, that such a feeling may be just a manifestation of this suburban mindset on the neighborhood’s residents’ parts. They may not want to live entirely ‘in the city’ in every sense of the term. They want to be near a lot of things (which Noe Valley certainly is, and not at all far away from great things as some posts here have stated), without sacrificing the feeling that their neighborhood is ‘more home’ in a certain sense than the rest of the city.

So, the people in Noe Valley simply have a fully realized liberal fantasy. The ‘charm’ of a tightly controlled social environment, while being near all of those other parts of the city that they can’t quite bear to give up…

Well said James! Thanks for the comment, and thanks for reading theFrontSteps.

Comment du Jour: Things aren’t so bad (relatively speaking)

From “44yo Hipster” in yesterday’s Stats & Numbers for Single Family Homes [edited for flow]:

Di’cha [Did you] check out the DQ #’s for sept…ouch!

And the #’s on this chart don’t paint a much better picture, especially with the financial/stock market/oil price melt down. Man, a lot (most) investors are taking a big hit on their portfolios. Even Kerkorian got his ass handed to him on his activist investment forays with Ford Motor Co. and just wait, the shit is going to hit the fan big time for oil rich nations (think: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran.)

So…I guess taking a 10% hit on SF investment property values (while the rents have continued going up) is *really* minor. I have friends who lost 30% of their stock portfolio in 3 weeks. and others I know who lost > 30% in RE investments in Southern California in the last 2 yrs. Those who own in SF should thank their lucky stars, methinketh.

We’d have to agree.

Comment du Jour: “egg tossing contest” and “B&T’er”

From yesterday’s “Spot or Not: Parking in San Francisco”, and what to do with a car that blocks your driveway, (tow or ticket) a reader (“YouKidsGetOuttaMyDriveway“) hits the nail on the head:

Use as a target for an egg tossing contest and THEN have it towed. Only a B&T’er would be stupid/rude/self-absorbed enough to do that.

For those outside of the city and not necessarily in the know, a “B&T’er” would be a person (extra points for the reader that can describe a B&T’er) that needs to take either a Bridge or Tunnel to get to the city. As for the “egg-tossing”…well that’s just brilliant and why the hell didn’t we think of that?!

Comment du Jour: We love Realtors yes we do, we love Realtors how ’bout you!

Because we know many of you don’t read the brilliant comments. From time to time we have to bring them to you (edited slightly for flow):

I did not read over the hoards of posts, but i would like to leave a comment! I really do not care how much Realtors make, matters not. But, i do care that in fact, my Realtor is a PRICK. I am in the process of buying a house (within a couple of weeks of closing, supposedly) and my Realtor called me, YELLING at me, telling me I’M lagging behind and not working towards getting this loan closed. Although Every single fucking stressful day I’m getting two or three calls from the lender wanting “just one more” document of some kind to “get this thing pushed through”. Would you believe that the sellers/Realtor expect ME to paint over the window frames to pass an FHA inspection? Yup, the buyer who doesn’t even own the house yet……….. two weeks ago my friend went and built a HAND RAIL on the front porch for me, because the sellers, and the Realtors say it is my job to put the house up to code, not theirs.

Meanwhile the Realtor, if he actually is a Realtor. ([We left it out, but it's in the original comment] at Remax Select, Flint Michigan) is belligerent with me, rude, and forceful, telling me that because they are willing to sell the price for “so Low” and willing to agree to “all my terms” which they didn’t anyway!! that I should just march my happy ass over there and make sure their house passes an inspection.

Alas, I will paint the fuckin windows, because I want the house. but I’ll tell you what i don’t want…….. i don’t want that cocksucker to get one cent commission when i close, so, I am up at 5am researching [so that's how you found us] if it’s possible to change Realtors right before close… because you know what? I wanna stick it to the fucker and teach that little man a lesson.

[Much Love, Sarah]

As we said, “Ouch!” That hurts and we’re sorry you had that experience, surely this would never happen in San Francisco… ;-) It begs the question, why didn’t you fire this guy sooner!?

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

Comment du Jour: “…my demolition contractor ripped out the one tree I was supposed to save”

For the new readers, the comment du jour is our way of saying thanks to those that participate in commenting, and a way to show all of you that don’t comment just what kind of good stuff you’re missing. Today’s comment du jour comes from Sparky in “Should I even Start a Blog” after we suggested he, the Fluj, and Alex sit down and have a little chat about the future of blogging real estate in SF:

I am not savvy about the blogosphere, but funny, interesting or horrible things happen to me at work every day. So I can write about that.

Since I wrote the above, my demolition contractor ripped out the one tree I was supposed to save at a house, and now me and the home owner have to pull it out of the dumpster and have a ceremony and tell it “we are sorry it was a mistake”. Dead Serious.

We can’t wait to get you up and running!

Comment du Jour: “Daly needs to be run over by a Muni bus”

Clearly this guy [San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly] lives in a cloud (according to most property owners), but somehow he remains in office. Our comment du jour comes from “Live Smart” in our recent post Daly goes after rental property owners…yet again.

Daly needs to be run over by a MUNI bus.

Well said, and we couldn’t agree more [statement retracted]. However, we do not wish that he actually gets run over, but like your choice of figuratively stating how you honestly feel. We’re sure you’re not alone.

Comment du Jour: “Check out the VC funding [the Bay Area] received…”

From Aubear1 in Bay Area attracts top talent and money (theFrontSteps):

Check out the percentage of VC funding that this region received during Q1 ’08 versus other parts of the country:


I can’t think of a more compelling piece of information that paints the picture of how this region continues to create both real jobs & wealth during the current economic downturn. You can go back to the previous quarters as well to see that the “Silicon Valley” region has consistently won a significant piece of the funding awarded. In my opinion, this is one of the key elements that continues to drive the local real estate market (and the US economy). This region is at the “tip of the spear” in terms of “creative destruction” and stands unique among most top tier global cities. The SF Magazine gives great recent examples of this as does the recent book, “Who’s Your City” (

Thanks for letting us all in on this information bit of information….


Comment du Jour: “I’m a Renter who made the conscience decision to NOT buy…”

This time we take from Eddy!, who we have never met in person, but who continues to impress. His comment was in yesterday’s post, “Isolated Panic amongst some San Francisco Realtors or something larger“:

I’m a renter who made the conscience decision to NOT buy — I’m well financed and consider myself reasonably knowledgeable on the subject of real estate. I make no claims or long term predictions about the market, but I do state my opinion from time to time and am more than willing to state my opinion publicly on the subject.

Anyway, I chose not to rent as I felt pretty strongly that the market was due to correct on some level. I’m not a long term owner in SF and couldn’t justify the potential transaction cost losses due to owning over a short term (i.e., commission & transfer tax). I also feel that most anyone that bought on margin was looking at financial ruin in the event that the market did correct.

I’ve no idea if we’re correcting or not as I’m astounded at the properties that are flying off the market. But I feel pretty good about my decision to not buy although I’m fairly certain that most of the properties I looked at are worth more now than they were 24 months ago — but not enough to offset transaction cost losses.

Bottom line… there are a lot of balls still in the air as it related to real estate broadly and San Francisco specifically. That said, the buyers are out there, myself included, and I tend to agree with Alex in that a well priced listing will not last long on the market. I suspect the low ball offers are probably on the horizon if they haven’t already started coming in to listing agents. ???

Great choice of words and observations. Funny thing is, even when the market was through the roof and 10 offers was considered average, there were ALWAYS low ball offers on every property. Our market today is no exception. So let’s say we all get some balls and make some offers!

Comment du jour: “It sucks to be an untalented Realtor…”

We love ourselves some hot Realtors, and we also think our “average” colleagues (the rest of us) are great (even though we continually bash the not so great), but this comment by Kenny the other day in Stats & Numbers: Condos… was so blunt and in your face we had to post it.

It sucks to be an untalented Realtor or a novice Realtor right now. Those of us with clients and listings are pleasantly surprised the market has held up as well as it has, and are doing fine.

And we have to ask, “Those of us who aren’t…?”

Comment du Jour: When Zestimates randomly drop $600,000

Although we’ve recently made friends with the folks at Zillow, that doesn’t mean we can’t bust their chops. We still applaud their innovation.

From “Sleepiguy in “Zanic! Zillow releases Q4 home value report and San Francisco is up 3.6%?”

I stopped paying attention to Zillow when my home’s Zillow value decreased randomly by $600k one week while my neighbor’s houses showed significant increases.

Adding to it, James’ reply:

What did you do sleepiguy? Paint it bright purple?

So who’s got a photo of a nice purple house in the city? Send it to

Comment du Jour: “Deal…SF…Jive”

Where we poach from our readers and their comments to show all you folks that don’t follow or contribute to the comments what you’re missing (and hopefully shame you into getting your ass over their and chiming in). Today, we steal from “anon” (wish you gave us a name) on “Verbatim: Why is Housing in some Cities Still Booming?“:

The words deal and San Francisco don’t jive together. You either get one or the other!

Au contraire…deals are all relative. To a five year old, getting a deal is trading 4 marbles instead of 8 for a piece of gum. To Paris Hilton a deal is getting out of jail early for committing to save alcoholic elephants. To Donald Trump a deal is trading a skyscraper for a golf course. To a San Francisco home buyer a deal might be $995,000 instead of $997,000 for that fixer on the corner. You see?

…and thanks so much for commenting.  We really appreciate it.

Comment du Jour: “As Homeowners Volume is Not Very Relevant”

Sometimes we beat our heads against the wall to come up with a way, in a paragraph or less, to describe what is going on in this market. We show the highs, and we show the lows. Today, we pull from our previous post about the 41% dip in volume at the $500-700,000 price range, and quote “Gaz” who hit the nail on the head.

As homeowners, volume of houses sold is not very relevant. What matters more are three metrics:

For a determined period of time:

- How many properties where listed within a certain price range ?

- How many properties where sold within that price range ?

- What was the price difference (bid vs. ask) at sale ?

These metrics help assess if inventory is building up and what effect is it having on prices.

From my own research (I’m looking to upgrade homes) into the $800K – $1.2M properties (condos/single family in west and north neighborhoods of SF) from the Sep. 1 period to the Nov. 21 period:

* ~70%+ percent of properties listed have moved into escrow

* There has been downward pressure (-5% to -7%) on asking prices for ~10% of properties in that range/timeframe

* A few properties have sold above asking

* ~10% of properties have been on the market longer than 80 days

Interestingly, we’ve looked at 30+ properties in that category, and we found a grand total of … one that fit all of our requirements !

Why do we pull comments? It’s simple. Not all the people coming to this site (there are a lot) are commenting. Not even close. And not all are reading the comments, but they should.

Thank you “Gaz” for sharing. We appreciate it. Now go ahead and tell everyone you know that your analysis is world famous…well almost. ;-)

-Nothing Special, just $421,000 over asking, that’s all (1809 Diamond) [theFrontSteps]

-Big Price, Big Wine Cellar, Big Time Stalefish [theFrontSteps]

-What’s going on: $500,000-$700,000 [theFrontSteps]

Comment du Jour: “The best and brightest homes…”

From “eddy” on Tanking Market? Come again? That’s what she said…”:

The best and nicest homes will continue to fly in this market. Any home with a story or in disrepair is going to get stale.

We didn’t say it, he did. But we’d have to say if “fixer” falls under the category of “disrepair”, we’re going to have to disagree on that one point. Fixers, for the most part, are still flying.

Comment du Jour: Stock Market Crash and San Francisco Real Estate

Every so often, we pull a comment from the discussions that we think might spark further commentary, because we know not everyone is reading the comments, and we couldn’t possibly come up with all these great thoughts ourselves.

This time we take from “SanFranTim” on “Verbatim: 26 year old google guy I hear with 50% down”.

If the Dow falls to 12000, then even the “middling” [we think you mean middle of the road like $600,000-$900,000?] SF properties will start flying off the shelves. Remember what happened to RE prices after the last stock market crash.

A very interesting observation.  Can you elaborate on what exactly did happen after the last stock market crash, and what you mean by “middling”?

As always, everyone else is welcomed, and encouraged to join in.

-Comments du Jour [theFrontSteps]

-“Verbatim: 26 year old google guy I hear with 50% down”

Comment du Jour: Stripping Trim, Shrinking Wood (supply)?

This comment wasn’t necessarily one that makes us fall over in laughter, or one that brings a tear to our eye, but one that might spark some conversation (or debate) nonetheless. (Extra points if you can come up with a catchy phrase using the words stripping, shrinking, old growth, wood, and trim in the same sentence. Then we might get a good laugh, or maybe even shed a tear.) Of course, you could just debate the merits of whether you like your wood covered or not, or if it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s not your house.





From “Zang” on Cole Valley Before and After

Why do people paint over all of the historic woodwork? sigh. It’s cheaper than refinishing it… but it removes so much character and is so short sighted. With shrinking forests and wood prices skyrocketing, I’ll bet old growth wood paneling on walls, trim and ceilings will be coveted in years to come. And, have you ever tried stripping paint off of paneling/trim? Not fun.

Very good points indeed, and an observation everyone must wonder. We think painted white is mo beta! It makes the room look so much brighter, cleaner, and full of life.

Remember: Extra points if you can come up with a catchy phrase using the words stripping, shrinking, old growth, wood, and trim in the same sentence.

-Cole Valley Before and After (1233 Shrader) [theFrontSteps]

-Battle Royale: San Francisco or New York City, if you had to choose [theFrontSteps]