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

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

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

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

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

The Best Time To Sell Since San Francisco Real Estate Went Bust…Is Now

I’ve often said, if you can’t say it better yourself, just plagiarize. Or something like that. ;-)

Even if it means sharing information from a “competing” brokerage. Mark McLaughlin is the CEO of local real estate company Pacific Union. His recent article pretty much sums up my thoughts exactly. Especially, if you live in Cole Valley.

I asked him, “Do you have any data that might suggest how poor earnings of the investment banks and the capped bonuses of the investment bankers impact the luxury goods and real estate markets in the San Francisco Bay Area?”

His response was fairly simple and as follows: “No data. I would think the Apple, Google, Facebook etc. income gains would swamp any losses in the finance sector in the Bay Area.”

It is very important to remind our sellers that the both the buyer demographics and the traditional selling season in our markets have, in fact, changed – and for the most part, our markets are supply-constrained. We have more motivated buyers than we do properly improved, located and priced properties for sale.

Put another way, now is the best time I’ve seen since 2007 to list your property for sale. Demand is through the roof.

-Wall Street vs. Apple, Google, Facebook, etc.

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 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!

394 Frederick, Before, After, Here And Gone (In Contract After 7 Days): $2,399,000

True, the market tanked. True, average home prices have come down in San Francisco. True, even A+ areas like Noe Valley and Pacific Heights have felt the pinch. False, it is death doom and destruction everywhere. Case in point, 394 Frederick St @ Belvedere in Cole Valley, is an awesome 4 bed, 4 bath, 3173 square foot home that spent a staggering ;-) 7 days on the market (one Sunday Open House, one Broker Tour) and received an offer with non-contingent financing (means they’re getting a loan, but they’re not worried about that loan approval falling apart), the offer is really close to asking, and it’s damn near a done deal.


Call us crazy, but we’ve seen a lot of activity in the market as of late, at all price points.

For those wondering, last sale was in 2005 for $1,755,000 (asking was $1,395,000) but has since undergone a significant remodel, and added roughly 1209 square feet.

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

We’ve long stood by Cole Valley as a better investment than Noe Valley. Is the writing appearing on the wall? Time will tell. Maybe real estate doens’t suck after all.

-394 Frederick [MLS]

12 Offers On One Property In This Market?

The story for 214 Dorland is not something you’d expect to hear in this market. More than 20 disclosure packages were handed out, an offer date was set (on April Fool’s Day no less), and contrary to what most would think, the offers came streaming in…12 of them to be exact.


To counter those that will be quick to jump and say, “The deal hasn’t closed yet,” if this first offer falls out, there are 11 others to fall back on.

Would that mean this two bed, one bath condo in Dolores Park, priced at $629,000 is defying the odds, or starting a new trend? We leave that debate to you, and the powers that be.

[Update: Last sale April 1999 for $745,000 for the entire 2-unit building. The 2-unit building just condo converted this week.]

-214 Dorland, 2bed, 1 bath, $629,000

Ripple In Still Waters, Lake District Condo Moves Fast (64 7th Ave)


Although MLS still reflects the Lake District condominium at 64 7th Ave (3 bed, 2.5 bath, 1 pk, $1,535,000) as “active”, sources close to the sale are telling us it is in contact after a short five days on the market.


Call it luck, call it buyers that don’t read the newspapers (bless them), or call it a very nice home in an excellent location that somebody just had to have, and we’ll call it something we’re seeing more and more of, and you’re hearing less and less about.

That backyard is going to be a great place for a party, what should we bring?

-64 7th Ave…3 bed, 2.5 bath, 1 pk, $1,535,000 [sfnewsletter listing detail]

Quick Flip at 733 Front Street

[Update 10/20/08: Sold, $1,725,000]

On the other side of the equation, let’s take a look at 733 Front #605.

One of the first resales at this conversion building down in the Financial District, #605 was sold through the sales office for $1,600,000 only about three months ago. The unit directly below it #505 was sold for around $1.7M and received three offers (floor plan was a bit different, but not by much). Unit 605 recently listed at $1,695,000 and boasts one of the few corner views, (not to mention 4 storage spaces), it is now in contract a mere 6 days after hitting the market.

This market is anybody’s guess, because it sure is making my head spin.

-733 Front #605 [MLS listing detail]

…and It’s Gone: 2730 Fulton Flips and Flies

You might remember our post not too long about about the seemingly quick flip at 2730 Fulton, where we saw this property sell in March for $1,605,000, come back on the market (cosmetically modified) mere months later for $793,000 more, and we scratched our heads as to the outcome.



Well, we needn’t wonder anymore. It has closed escrow for $2,415,000 (slightly above the $2,398,000 asking price) but well above the “most recent sale” in March. We’d have to say that was a pretty damn successful flip in an otherwise unsuccessful market. If you can’t agree, you need help.

Maybe the new Academy of Sciences a stone’s throw away had something to do with it?

-2730 Fulton [MLS Details]

Check Mate! One day on the market and in escrow (2401 Divisadero)

It’s really only the kitchen floors that inspired the title “Check Mate”, or is it the quote from Eddy! that came along with his email?

[One] Day on market. In Escrow. I’d written about this one on [theFrontSteps.ORG] in the old days.

Buyers are out there and ready to strike!

We’d have to agree the high end buyers are out there, as are the mid-range buyers, but what about the low end?

-2401 Divisadero [MLS]

188 Minna #33D (St. Regis) in contract (~$3.7M) after one week…are you kidding me!?

[Update: As of 6/13/2008 at 8pm, it is again available. The buyers in contract pulled out, my buyer has had a change of heart feeling SoMa is a bit "dead", so we won't be writing an offer at this time, and now we wait to see what happens.]

I can’t believe what I’m writing. Months ago I tried to tell all of you and some clients about some pocket listings (off market deals) at the St. Regis.


After playing phone tag a few times and finally getting a commitment from some clients to fly out and see unit 33D a 2 bed, 2.5 bath ~1800 sqft condo at the wonderful St. Regis, asking $3,695,000, I find out today it is in contract! (I find out after practically pleading for them not to ratify and give my clients a look.)

Are you kidding me! Why am I so upset? Because, in every other world class market in the world, when you have some clients that are ready to plunk down close to $4,000,000 it’s not much of a problem to find them a suitable home (forget personal tastes, we’re talking availability). When you live in San Francisco, it’s not so easy.

I’m disappointed, and of course had you been watching my new morphine habit (Twitter) you’d already know this. Silver lining…I know of more pocket listings at the St. Regis, so I’ll live to fight another day.

Help some clients decide on an offer (579 23rd Ave)

We’re going to get a little Web 2.1 for the moment and do something we can’t recall ever seeing anywhere on the web (please correct us if we’re wrong), and that is open up the mic to advice on a price when an offer is in hand as of moments ago. Had you seen me twittering about last night’s showings, you’d have known we were close to an offer yesterday. Now, it’s back to the blog.

So…some clients would like some help deciding about an offer that was received on their home yesterday at 579 23rd Ave.

Obviously, we can’t go into detail about anything on the offer (especially price), but we can ask what you’d pay for it and if you’d take any one, or all three, of the scenarios below.

1. Offer is above asking by $20k

2. Offer is at asking of $879k

3. Offer is below asking by $20k

Down payment is equal to or greater than 20%, inspections waived, close of escrow 45 days. Good offers, or should the clients hold out for something better?

We know what we’d do, and we’ve already given our advice to our clients, but what would you do? That’s what we want to know!

-579 23rd Ave [MLS]

153 Avila: A done deal and providing a bit of “color”

Recently we had someone ask if we could “provide a bit of color on 153 Avila”, a contemporary 3 bed, 2.5 bath, single family home in the Marina asking $2,695,000, and as a matter of fact, we can provide some “color”.

It sold after 14 days on the market for $2,975,000 (10.4% over asking) or $1202.51 per square foot. As for who’s house this is, PropertyonFire tells that. Hope that helps and glad to provide some “color”. Tough market down there in the Marina isn’t it?

Update: Here’s some more color…this home was listed by the owner (we call that FSBO) for $2.6M not too long before hitting MLS. A friend of ours wrote and presented an offer for $2.55, and the seller basically laughed them away. Our friends, and everyone who knows about sales on that block for that matter, told the seller he is nuts and “will never get $2.6M”. And look what happened! We might as well call it $3M at this point.

Those folks that bought 451 Avila just made what we like to call instant equity.

-153 Avila [listing detail]

-$600,000 Over Asking on Avila [theFrontSteps]

The Wall Street Journal reports on Overbids?

Aldo Congi…Capo di Capi telling it like it is. Andrew, you kind of fumbled a bit, but we’ll let it slide. And who was that that walked out of the bathroom in the middle of your interview!? Gasp….

No way! It’s not happening. Really it’s not. The market has tanked. This report was from 2005. The Wall Street Journal just wasted their time. (sarcasm, sarcasm, sarcasm)

And on the other side of the equation, Shiller (think Case-Shiller) thinks it’s only going to get worse, like worse than the Great Depression worse. Let’s make sure we don’t invite that guy to our party!

-Home Sales Fall, but Signs of Stability Emerge [The Wall Street Journal]

When the Price is Right

Before you haul off and shoot the messenger, this is one of many emails we receive on a daily basis. We’ve tried to tone the cheerleading down a bit, but when it keeps on coming from other sources (not Realtors) it’s kind of hard to pass up. So…


Awesome places that are priced right continue to sell at competitive prices all over the city.

19 Delmar St. [3 bed, 3 bath, $1,795,000] just went into Escrow as did two condos on Sacramento in the $2.1 range.

Lots of buyers out there! Wow.

No, this is not from MarinaPrime, ResortAtSquawCreek, Later, BoomTime, or any of the other people that sound oddly like the same person. It’s from someone entirely too well connected to not know the difference.

-19 Delmar [sfnewsletter listing detail page]

Nothing special, just two days on market and almost gone (1914 Filbert #C)

You must be kidding! Two days on the market and already in contract? 1914 Filbert #C asking $1,395,000.


Yours truly tried to sell the middle unit of this building about three years ago, and at that time there were age restrictions on the property (if memory serves correctly). Not sure if they’ve been lifted, but regardless, damn! That was fast.

-1914 Filbert #C [sfnewsletter listing detail]

Is Millennium Tower setting records?

Right when we’re about to fill you all in as to some records the Millennium might be setting (we’re talking price per square foot of an empty shell sold), the Chronicle goes and scoops us (at least we know they’re working). Not to fear, if you’ve been reading theFrontSteps for a while you would have known about this penthouse sale way back in November when we said,

one of those sales is a 60th floor penthouse unit that happens to be 645 feet above ground, with ~4700 square feet of empty shell (meaning the owner can do with the interior as they please), a 580 square foot terrace, views to die for (more on that later), and a $10-12M price tag, or more than $2,000 per square foot. Whether it is true, and whether it is $10M or $12M… we leave to your imagination

Regarding that record, if memory serves our sources correctly, the developer of the Four Seasons sold a unit in shell condition (5700 square feet) for $10M about 6 years ago. That is $1,754 per square foot. Perhaps a more current comparable, but not as high was the 3 units together at the St. Regis, penthouse, with terraces surrounding that sold for $27M and contained 17,000 square feet, or a price per square foot of $1,588.

So if the Millennium penthouse sold for $2,288 per square foot, is that not a record?


-Millennium rising and selling rather quickly [theFrontSteps]

“When is an asking price NOT the asking price?”

By Meagan Levitan

Question: When is an asking price NOT the asking price?

Answer: When an offer date is set.

This is the conclusion I’ve come to in the last month as I’ve written offers for clients (and lost out) or simply watched properties that got immediate and intense attention from buyers. It seems that anytime I ask the listing agent, “What are you doing about offers?” and the dreaded, “We’ve set a date of…” comes back as the reply, I know it can’t be good — for the buyer, that is.

There are exceptions, I know, but generally of late, when there’s an offer date set, its result is multiple offers and most of them are over asking. There was even a situation recently when I talked to a listing agent the morning he was accepting offers on a condo. He had one in hand and was expecting at least one other (he had given out 10 disclosure packets). My client had been considering, though not terribly seriously, submitting an offer although he could only (only!) offer asking price. When I told the agent that we weren’t going to submit an offer, though if we had it would be at asking price, he said in as kind and gentle a manner as possible, it wouldn’t have been worth our time. What that told me was the offer he already had in hand was over asking — and that subsequent offers were likely to be the same.

Obviously this isn’t the case in every neighborhood, in every price range. But it’s close. I represent clients in all price categories who are interested in nearly every San Francisco neighborhood. This scenario I’ve described is becoming increasingly more common.

And all of this is in the face of today’s headline that San Francisco real estate sales dropped 32% over a year ago, though sales prices were up almost 6%.

Bottom line: those who are truly in the hunt right now (as opposed to those who are interested but are sitting on the sidelines) are aggressive — and hungry. Maybe it’s pent up demand. Maybe it’s the terrific interest rates. But right here, right now, San Francisco is getting hot again. Trust me.



1 (One) South Park: a Walkthrough and Sales Update

We recently had the pleasure of checking out 1 (One) South Park with some clients, and are sad to say the pickins are slim (for us anyway).

If you don’t know what One South Park is, fear not, we’ve gotcha covered. One South Park is a new warehouse conversion with 35 new homes, including 9 penthouses. They have one, two, and three bedroom homes, 14 of which have private outdoor terraces (the south facing ones will get the heat and light, the north facing get the views.) Square footage per unit varies, so we’re not quoting any. The owner has retained arguably one of the best penthouses with a huge wrap-around deck, which should come as no surprise.

Pricing, you can assume is around $900-$1000/ square foot, and sales Continue reading

Hmmm….$354,000 Over Asking in a Down Market?

135coleIs that correct? Let’s see, sales price $1,553,000, minus list price $1,199,000 equals $354,000. Is that right? Hmmm. Day offer received 9/28/07 minus list date 9/12/07 equals 16 days on the market. Is that right? It can’t be. We just said volume is down 41%. Ohhhh. We get it. We’re just being led astray that the San Francisco market has tanked, when in fact, it has NOT! Don’t believe what you’re reading. Cooled, yes. Tanked, no. Go ahead and put that on the Craigslist Housing forums,“Planet of Slums”.

135-137 Cole in Park North. Two units, both vacant, both needing some love, and both flying off the shelf in unison.

Say it with us now. The market is still good. The market is still good. The market is still good. Eventually, it might sink in.

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

-God Save the Queens of the Craigslist Housing Forum [theFrontSteps]

-135-137 Cole [mls]

“Beautifully Restored Victorians” seem to be all the rage (2872 Pine)

Since we’re on the subject of beautifully restored 3 bed, 3.5 bath Victorians in Lower Pacific Heights selling in a heart beat for over $1000/square foot, why not take a look at another beautifully restored Victorian 3 bed, 3.5 bath in Lower Pacific Heights, selling almost as quickly, just around the corner, and on one of the busiest streets in San Francisco?


Asking $2,995,000, 2872 Pine came on the market in late October of this year, and is already “pending”, which, for the new readers, means it is pretty much a done deal.

[Update: Check the comments. Kenny has added a couple links to some more Victorians.]

-2872 Pine St. [ listing detail]

-Tanking Market? Come Again? “That’s what She said” [theFrontSteps]