What Your Realtor Should Really Be Sending You…The Goods

I am pleased to announce the launch, and early adoption by Paragon Real Estate Group, of the newest addition to the San Francisco real estate scene “The Goods“, real estate marketing made simple.

The goal of this new offering is to make it easy for real estate agents in the San Francisco/Bay Area to provide their clients with what they need, and should expect, from their agent…time sensitive, factual, market data that pertains to the area in which their property is located, or the area where they would like to be. We’d like to put an end to unnecessary print marketing (think of the trees!), stop the sending of mugshot branded magnets, notepads, Zagat Guides, coffee mugs, and all the other crap clients don’t need, or necessarily want from their real estate agent. Keep in front of your clients with valuable real-time market data they can use.

The Goods will provide your company with a new link every two weeks to newly listed, as well as recently sold property data your clients can browse by location, property type, price, beds, baths and DOM. You can include the link in your marketing pieces, and also receive a raw html snippet/preview of the data to include in your marketing, inviting your clients to click through and track sales in their area.

Paragon Real Estate Group is the first to adopt and use this great new product for their agents’ clients, and positive feedback is already rolling in.

-The Goods is a terrific tool for our agents to deliver to our clients: It’s fast and easy to use and it provides our clients with extremely timely and valuable information about new listings and what’s selling in the market, which is at the top of the list of resources our clients want most from us. -Patrick Carlisle, Chief Marketing Analyst, Director of Business Development, Paragon Real Estate Group

Here is a sample of how Paragon incorporates it into their marketing. You’ll notice they call it “Market Watch”. You can call it whatever you like.
ParagonMarketWatch

In this age of Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and the countless apps hitting the market which afford your clients the luxury of tracking the market without your help, you can’t afford to let this opportunity slip you by. Brokers of every company in the Bay Area should be jumping on this offering, as simply put…it’s a no-brainer.

For more information about The Goods, visit www.theGoods-SF.com.

$302,000 Worth Of Furniture Comes With This House…Sort Of

Originally listed for sale in the Fall of 2012 for $1,850,000, price chopped, relisted a mere 11 days ago, now asking $1,798,000, this property apparently has an “expansive, unobstructed view of the City and the bay”, but that’s not all.

From the “agent only” remarks we occasionally can’t help but to share with you. It’s a “beautifully remodeled home in Diamond Heights, with the option to buy the house furnished for $2,100,000.00. Show this house blind.”

21ora

Are we the only ones that are confused by the marketing of a home that apparently has a fabulous remodel, great views, and great furniture ($302,000 worth), none of which we get to see?

Oh…hold on, hold on, hold on. It’s there…”Show this house blind“. Now we get it.

-21 Ora, San Francisco [MLS]

Hey Buyers! Turns Out There’s More Inventory Than You Thought

Have a look at what hit our email in the past couple months, and the companies heavily marketing “pocket listings”, “off market” property, or “not on MLS” opportunities.

You, the buyer, would probably like to know about these opportunities, wouldn’t you? Well…you can’t. Not until these brokerages wake up and join the year 2013, move beyond “private” or internal email as the method of choice for delivering these opportunities, look to social networks for some guidance as to where the buying (and selling) public lives, and get with the program!

Pacific Union, McGuire, Zephyr, Paragon, TRI Coldwell Banker, Vanguard, Sotheby’s, the list goes on and on…you ALL have pocket listings, and you’re all marketing them “privately”, so let’s make an effort to encourage each other to participate in an alternative marketplace to bring these opportunities to your fellow agents and the public, rather than continuing to shove this growing marketplace under the massive bureaucratic rug that is our National, State, and Local Association of Realtors. And for heaven’s sake, quit throwing your colleagues (Climb Real Estate) under the bus for taking a step in the right direction! (You know who you are.) It’s high time an alternative to the MLS takes shape, and the opportunity is right here and now.

[The same properties shown above, with links to the site:]
-Dominican Estate [Decker Bullock/Sothebys]
-53 Clifford Terrace [Vanguard]
-1299 Bush Street [Vanguard]
-219 Brannan [Vanguard]
-524 Roosevelt [Vanguard]
-2876 25th Ave [Vanguard]
-466 Hill [Vanguard]
-2509 Polk [McGuire]
-855 Folsom [McGuire]
-2094 Bush [McGuire]
-66 Parker [McGuire]
-2200 Pacific [McGuire]
-171 Caznea [McGuire]
-615 Buena Vista West [Sotheby's]
-2245 Francisco [Sotheby's]
-29 Oak Springs [Sotheby's]
-26 Sanford Lane [Pacific Union]
-1200 Laguna [Zephyr]
-1278 Stanyan [Zephyr]
-50 Lansing [Zephyr]
-Nob Hill Secret address [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-2325 Divisadero [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-2220 Sacramento [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-465 10th St [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-6 Emlin, Kentfield [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-595 12th Ave [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-850 Powell [TRI Coldwell Banker]
-287 Mangels [Barbegelata]

[Editor's Note: Some of these properties were placed on PocketListings.net, and others have since hit MLS and are now sold, but they did land in our email a very short time ago. You can expect some of these links to be killed by day's end, due to panicking brokerages.
Finally, if you'd like to be alerted when these opportunities hit our inbox, drop us a line, and we'll figure out a way to get them to you.]

-PocketListings.net: How To Tutorial [blog.pocketlistings.net]
-Climb Real Estate, PocketListings.net Join To Bring You More Buying And Selling Opportunity [theFrontSteps]
-It’s not listed, but it’s definitely for sale [New York Times]
-Remaking Real Estate, Again [SF Gate]

1 Ecker (16 Jessie) Sellers Very Happy With Their Sale…Who’s Next?

It’s been busy…so let’s share some testimonials, get back to blogging, which in turn will create more testimonials. Sound good? Cool…

Alex knows the San Francisco market very well. This helped us, as sellers, to understand what different buyers value and what to expect. He is also adaptable and efficient. Our sale was the first resale in a new condominium, but Alex did not let that slow things down. He successfully navigated the administrative overhead of the situation. In addition, when we sold our home, privacy was of absolute importance. To meet our needs, Alex came up with an agent-first marketing approach that leveraged his pocket listings network (PocketListings.net). He also used social media (Facebook, Twitter, theFrontSteps.com Blog) to get the word out before and after our open house. In under a month from initial contact, even over the seasonally slow Christmas holiday, Alex obtained multiple offers for us. He then helped us identify the most suitable buyer, which ensured us a fair price and a smooth close. We would highly recommend working with Alex for anything real estate in San Francisco.

-Milla and Chad

[Editor's note: Links to websites were added by us.]

Thanks guys! Glad it worked out so smoothly for you, and the buyer. And very happy we were able to navigate all that “administrative overhead”…nice way to put it.

Sellers, let’s get your place on the market! We not only need the inventory, but you stand to make substantial gains.

How To List Your Home When The Master Suite Is “Unwarranted”

Following on the heels of a recent post we did about what makes a room a bedroom, this email came to me, as did the replies.

Scenario:

You have a new listing in Bernal Heights that’s about to come on the market. Legally, it’s a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom Single Family Home, but your seller added a very nice bedroom and bathroom suite without the benefit of permits downstairs. The structural engineer signed off on the plans, but the city never issued a permit.

Do you list the property in the MLS as:

-2 Beds/1 bath with a description that there is an unwarranted master suite in the marketing remarks?
-3 beds/2 baths with a description that the room is unwarranted?

The general consensus from replies:
Five agents thought that the home should be listed as a 2 bed/1 bath
Six agents thought that the home should be listed as a 3 bed/ 2 bath

Clearly, as was the case with “What Makes A Room A Bedroom”, the jury is still out on this one. Bottom line…READ THE DISCLOSURES! Know what you are buying and be 100% confident with your decision to purchase. It’s not like you’re choosing which coffee to drink. It’s a BIG decision. Don’t just roll the dice.

-What Makes A Room A Bedroom [theFrontSteps]
-Winner: The Best Coffee House In San Francisco [theFrontSteps]

BFD Price Reductions

A post wherin I look at price reductions that seem to be pointless.

1. Courtesy of SF Schtuff, 1001 California St., #3 is a super lux condo in the old Hitchcockian San Francisco splendor. (MLS gallery offers house porn to die for, here.)

The original price here was $7,250,000. Now it’s $6,950,000. Indeed, one could argue a $300K price break is nothing to sneeze at. But really, the person who can afford the new price could also afford the old price, especially since this home includes an HOA of $5886 per month. So, $300,000? Big  ****ing deal. The monthly payments are still going to top the GNP of certain third world countries.

Here’s another reduction I don’t think makes any difference. 2421 Clement St. This is a 10 unit building, “fully rented,” originally priced at $1,435,888. More than 50 days later, it’s reduced to $1,398,000.

In this case,  it’s not so much the amount of the reduction. I just wonder who would ever want to buy a 10-unit building in SF when every other day a law here makes being a landlord a bigger headache than it already was. In fact, this Examiner article highlights the dubious joys of landlords who are currently suing the city to block such laws. Good luck.

So I wonder, in the world of real estate, if price reductions aren’t sometimes just not that much of an incentive after all.

—————

Photo of 1001 California, #3 via listing agent Betty Brachman, Brachman Group.

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

Coming Soon! And, Coming Later!

Realtor Kevin Gueco writes a very sunny review for the coming soon Mosiaica 601 condo project (pictured above) in his SFNewDevelopments blog. There’s definitely some room for pleasant surprise in the announced price  (pleasant to me, anyway, since I selfishly find all condos I cannot afford to be unpleasant):

“Mosaica 601 announced last week that it plans to start pricing of its 3 bedroom / 2 bath condos in the low $600s!  This is an incredible value considering each home is around 1400 square feet.”

Of course, putting aside Gueco’s near-by  restaurant list, the area (where Mission meets Potrero) is a little rough, but the price still seems all right to me. Perhaps the developers see the price cuts so many other condo developers have had to make recently, and are starting lower to begin with?  

Also coming soon (but not as soon) are a more mysterious set of housing units. Just off West Portal and 16th Ave., in front of Arden Wood, you can see the pushed-up dirt, huge bulldozers, and thin wood skeletons that signal housing to come, and their sectioning looks multi-unit. Thus I suspect these are the long awaited condos that were subject of news and speculation in 2006. In fact, that’s still the only information I can find on this construction: 2 years old, via SFHomeBlog and J.K. Dineen. Someone has to have a more updated scoop here. Anyone?
 
Meanwhile, still a pipe-dream (ha ha! Really, Haight Street, how many pipe stores can one street support?), but with the supervisorial green light is the Whole Foods/condo complex, slated to replace long-dead Cala Foods at the corner of Stanyan and Haight. The Chronicle outlines the plan here:

 “The large, four-story project, which also includes some 60 high-end, market-rate housing units, was expected to be controversial, but the commission voted 6-0 to approve the conditional use permit – a result supporters think had a lot to do with their organized turnout.”

Right, agreed: Haight could use a face-lift and perhaps a gentle reminder that THE 60′S ARE OVER. Also, I like Whole Foods, but I’m saving for one of those condos, so I’ll stick to Trader Joe’s (with a new one also coming soon!). I’m curious what “market rate” will be when those units go up, since so many new developments are struggling to sell out units already. The Frontstep’s own banker/blogger, aptly known as “The Banker,” says: “We are overbuilt. . .and it is next to near impossible to get financing!”

What do you say?

—-

Construction photo via SFNewDevelopments

As a realtor in these times, I get a s#*tload of spam, BUT …

Most of it is hot garbage. However, this one struck me as something that might actually come to pass”

“Dear Kenneth,I am sure that you have read about the $700,000,000,000 government bailout of the financial markets and you are probably wondering what this means to you as a real estate professional.

Well, I have good news and bad news for you.

This bailout is bad for the taxpayers but good news for REO agents and here’s why. After the financial meltdown of the 1980′s the RTC took over 748 Savings and Loans and liquidated their foreclosed properties for pennies on the dollar. The taxpayers were left holding the bag for hundreds of millions of dollars. This time things are going to be different.

The new governement rescue plan, Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, will purchase defaulted loans from financial firms, freeing up cash so that they can continue making new mortgages. The big difference is that the government will leave the banks and lenders responsible for managing and selling their own foreclosed properties.

This is the big opportunity for you and I. You see, there is a huge back log of defaulted mortgages right now because most lenders do not have the cash to foreclose. They have been waiting for months for the government to come to their aid and bail them out. I’m sure that you’ve seen many of these vacant homes in your area. They’re easy to spot, newspapers in the driveway and weeds as tall as a NBA player.

As soon as these lenders get their hands on their share of the 700 billion dollars they will begin foreclosing on these bads loans as fast as they can. And they will need trained REO agents to manage and sell them.

If you’d like to learn how to become the agent of choice for these lenders and get REO listings click here: http://www.reorenegades.com/ .

If you are already a REO agent and you’d like to get more listings click here:

http://www.reo-companylist.com/.

Right now REO’s make up 42% of all real estate sales in the US. The number of REO listings is likely to continue to increase into 2012 before leveling off. If you’re not an REO agent you’re missing out in nearly half of the business opportunities in real estate today.

I have been an REO broker for over 8 years and have sold over 1,000 REO properties. Last year I closed 214 transactions. I can teach you how to get REO listings even if you got your real estate license yesterday. And it won’t cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, right now you can get started for less than the price of a tank of gas.

Click here and get training from a real live REO broker. This is not an ebook, and I’m not from some “guru” who just jumped on the REO bandwagon last night.

http://www.reorenegades.com/

To your success!

Frank Patrick

REO Broker

PS. Many companies will only list their REO’s with one agent per office. Join me today and get started before the other agents in your office find out..

PPS. Join today and get access to 117 of my REO clients for FREE.”

I’m really not cool with this type of marketing, and I’m not going to sign up or anything. I also don’t think this is particularly applicable to SF. But will this go down? I think it’s likely.

Casa Cielo is a done deal…with an asterisk (3690 21st Street)

They asked $3,745,000 and they got….? We’ll just never know. It’s another one of those deals that closed with an asterisk (meaning sales price not disclosed). Something tells us it was close to that. It only spent 8 days on the market.

-

In case you’re wondering what’s all the fuss, here are the marketing remarks:

Atop Liberty Hill, Casa Cielo is one of San Francisco’s best known homes. A rich local history and a location perched on top of the city make it a true once in a lifetime opportunity! The opulent interior features a massive formal living room with vaulted ceilings, multiple sitting rooms, a large deck with 180 degree views of the city and bay, 3 bedrooms and 3 remodeled bathrooms. Surrounded by lush mature gardens and several patios with fountains. Detached one car garage with guest apt above.

And only one RealSpeak thrown in. You see, that’s how you get it done.

-3690 21st Street [sfnewsletter listing detail]

Lolspeak step aside, “Realspeak” is here to stay!

It’s been around for a while, and seems to be creeping in more often, so we’re now officially declaring Realspeak a new language.

cat

Huge reduced! Elegant column front gate & stepping stones lead to this gorgeous&quality rmdled Merced Manor hme. Hugh Gourmet chefʼs ktchn w/island,hi-end stnless steel applnces,granite cntr,chrry cbnts & blt-in wineculr.3bd/2.5ba upstairs w/jaccz & shwr. Downstairs hugh&bright fmly rm w/deck plus 2br/2ba&lndry rm. All 5 br are M suites,2 jaccz. All nu windws,2 S/S pkg grages. Near great schools,Stonestown Galleria,YMCA,MUNI,EZ access to Freeway. This great detched home almost has it all!

We literally cut and pasted those marketing remarks directly from the listing. Not one editor’s change has been made.

-485 Eucalyptus Dr. [listing detail]

You like dags? “Sexy, dog-friendly” condo awaits (1944 Green St.)

Ahhhh…San Francisco real estate is so much fun isn’t it? Our market is inundated with agents (4000+ at last count), there’s a growing number of real estate bloggers out there trying to separate themselves from the pack, and the amount of Realtor “marketing” hitting our Inbox is out of control. We like to call this RealSpam, and today’s little nugget reminded us of a line in one of our favorite movies…“Snatch” (The line isn’t actually on any clip we’ve found, but it’s where Brad Pitt turns and asks “you like dags” in the heavy pikey accent.)

“Sexy, Dog-friendly Condo one block off Union Street”

1944green

[You gotta love that peak-a-boo Golden Gate Bridge view.]

The moral of this story, 1944 Green was just reduced in price to $1,695,000 and the marketing has turned to the canine loving crowd. (Whether or not a building accepts dogs is actually a very common question when selling condos, but we’re not sure it needs to be the focal point. Of course, if it’s not selling, why not try.)

Hold on….this listing has more story. It is the first we’ve seen where we will learn (without getting into contract) what the sellers will miss most about their home…

greenseller

Our favorite line…”Practically no stairs or drama coming in and out of home with my belongings”.

And for you to debate…”Green Street is like living in the palm of the hand of Pacific Heights-flat, gentle, yet still spectacular”.

Finally, this goes to show that if you select and track homes that were previously out of reach or just a pipe dream, every dog has its day, and yours might be just around the corner.

-1944 Green [listing detail]

“Price reduced 1,000,000″ (1919 Page)

Has Realtor to Realtor marketing (spam) reached a new low in order to get fellow Realtors to open their property emails? Just yesterday, we (and likely all of San Francisco Association of Realtors members) received an email with the subject, “Price reduced 1,000,000″ on the property located at 1919 Page (“now” asking $1,095,000) in the Haight Ashbury district.

Upon further research (in MLS) we found 1919 Page to have a DOM of 0 and no “property history”, 1921 Page to have recently (Nov ’07) sold for $1,075,000 (asking $949,000), and no record whatsoever of the entire building being for sale at the moment (the only thing we could think of to explain a $1M price reduction on a condo worth only ~$1M in the first place.)

So what gives? Did one of the most productive agents in San Francisco just stoop to a new low, or can we chalk it up to a typo?

What do you think, because we sure as hell can’t figure it out?

-1919 Page [detail page]

Weekly Fluj: “I don’t know that they’re trippin’ either!” (2145 18th Street @ Kansas)

As stated numerous times, we can’t do all of this without you, and appreciate your tips, suggestions, and rants, so keep them coming. One person who is particularly helpful and deserving of praise is our friend the Fluj, who this week sends us this:

To my mind, the western portion of North Slope Potrero has not seen anything like this. It’s very far out in front of the curve, but I don’t know that they’re trippin’ either!

Perhaps the marketing remarks can shed some light as to whether they’re “trippin!”:

This spectacular remodeled view home has 3 levels of living w/3 bd, 2 ba all on upper level (toto dual flush toilets). The main level has an open floor plan-great for entertaining. It consists of lr (w/frplc), dr, kit w/GE monogram 42′ fridge, Thermador oven & micro, Viking 6 burner cook top, Bosch dw, great rm overlooking rear gar & powder rm. Lower level has office & media rm wired for surround sound. Systems, roofs, windows, flooring, walls were all replaced in 2008. 2 decks, garden & garage.

“Toto toilet”, is not to be confused with this Toto (even though the cross street is @ Kansas), rather is more like this Toto.

On that note, if you close your eyes and tap your heels long enough, red glass slipper optional (this is San Francisco after all), you too can someday have a $2,145,000 home in Potrero Hill. Tap them longer and maybe that price will come down a tad.

-2145 18th Street [MLS]

Penthouse views at Pre-Foreclosure pricing! (1254 Washington)

Perhaps the marketing remarks say it all:

“Amazing opportunity. Pre-foreclosure sale of a European style Nob Hill penthouse with spectacular views of the city & bay. This is a 6 room Edwardian flat in need of some serious TLC, but is a one of a kind unit and must be sold now!

Is that pre-foreclosure pricing or not? And how ’bout that “needs serious TLC, but is one of a kind…”?

1254Washington.com [Woodruff-Miller]

We talked fast cars, now we’re talking VB, who’s listening?

Back in November, we advised Luxury High Rise Condo/hotel developers… to take note about a new car club in town and apparently One Rincon Hill did, with the addition of DRIV into their “One Club”.

“Your One Rincon Membership grants you 75 points and 900 miles (up to 11 reservation days) which are debited for each vehicle outing, giving you autonomy based on your personal preferences.”

You also get vehicle delivery to the One Rincon Hill property!

Yes, we know, the Fairmont Heritage Place at Ghirardelli Square beat them to the punch, but One Rincon Hill is the first High Rise to get the hint. We hope Millennium Tower is next, especially with the little parking situation they have there. Now if any of these developments would just start stocking residents’ refrigerators with Victoria Bitter on move in day, we’d all be a lot better off, hopefully be invited to a few house warmings, and be able to inform Ghirardelli Square that they’re setting a few trends other than chocolate. (In case you didn’t know Cellar 360 at Ghirardelli square is apparently the first place in the city to sell Victoria Bitter…yes, slabs!…and they’re f*cking good mate!)

-Inside the Fairmont Heritage Place Ghirardelli Square [theFrontSteps]

-Luxury High Rise Condo/hotel developers… take note [theFrontSteps]

-One Rincon Hill’s Driv page [clubdriv.com]

-“One Club”

-Millennium Tower [theFrontSteps]

SOMA New Developments on one (well two) cool maps and a lesson on foreign buyers

Today we take (with permission of course) from Malcolm Kaufman’s recent Pulse of the Market (Pulse 57 View from Abroad), and bring you some great maps on the recent and upcoming SOMA Developments as well as a lesson on foreign buyers and their buying potential:

somadev1.jpg

somadev2.jpg

Malcolm also brings us some great insight on the “Sovereign-wealth Funds” and “Foreign Buyers”, who are definitely purchasing San Francisco real estate. Of course there is a little marketing thrown in there, but the information is consistent with what you’ll hear when you talk to any real estate professional actively representing buyers and sellers in San Francisco:

While different parts of the country are dealing with different levels of foreclosures, short sales, high inventory, falling prices, etc., San Francisco is not.

[For Foreign Buyers] Though our prices are not beaten down, the discounts are enticing in the face of the discounted American dollar…

These buyers benefit from the same political stability as their sovereign-wealth cousins, and they can be assured that there is an ever-ready and efficient market when it comes time to sell.

Foreigners, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us directly by clicking here and we’ll gladly point you in the right direction, because what you’re reading in the papers is not the whole picture.

…and how ’bout those maps!

Ask Us: “Massive construction at 766 Harrison”

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

I work on Harrison between 3rd and 4th. For the past year+, there’s been massive construction at 766 Harrison. What’s the building going to be? And will it have an affect on the homeless/mentally ill/substance abusers who camp outside of the substance abuse/mental clinic next door?

766harrison.jpg

As you can see, the brokers have this very nice property information page for you that tells us, “Construction is currently underway of 98 stylish studio units which will be available in June 2008.”

Here is another more detailed pdf regarding the retail and office space.

766harrisonfp.jpg

And as far as what they plan on doing with the building beyond what you’re reading on marketing materials, their “goal is to bring in a food related cafe service to the property in an effort to provide a pleasant atmosphere in which both tenants and neighbors may have a place to gather.” There are also a few small office spaces available for lease, and the studios being built above are all going to be rentals .

If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us again.

-766 Harrison [The Baumeister Collective Properties]

-Retail Space pdf [Ritchie Commercial]

[Image sources: TBCP website and Ritchie Commercial pdf]

18th & Mission: a reader asksed…

Quite a while ago, we put this post up, and actually received a fair bit of insight. But we finally got a bit more scoop from the source, so here it is again, update below.

“What’s up with the building at corner of 18th & Mission? Work has recently started again. This project sat dormant for about four years. There was formerly a Vietnamese veggie market there. The owner told me years ago he was developing condos there. Anyone know what caused the four year construction shutdown? And what is the final project to be? Great to have something on this blighted corner.”

18thmission.jpg

Photo: Intersection of 18th & Mission

I know nothing, have no pictures, and need some help from the Stammtisch or anyone else that cares to enlighten us.

Update: “There are 23 condos being built and we’ll begin marketing them in a few months. The original market owner is still developing the property (after lots of trouble) and will be opening a new and improved market on the ground floor.”

Can’t wait for the pictures and tour! Thanks Josh!

Tahoe Snow Report: Without all the marketing

By Alex Clark

(File this under absolutely nothing to do with real estate, but everything to do with fun.)

It appears we have quite a few readers that enjoy the the fact that San Francisco is so close to the great skiing destinations of Lake Tahoe, and you’re all likely checking the “snow reports” for your favorite mountains. I thought I’d share some first hand insight with you.

Being that I am originally from Reno, NV, learned to ski when I was two, and grew up skiing/racing all throughout my youth until snowboarding came around, toured the Alps for a whole winter, and generally track the weather like most of you track Real Estate (not saying it’s a bad thing), I know a thing or two about snow and skiing. I also know the resorts up there like the back of my hand.

Truth be told….although the snow and skiing in Tahoe is now good, it is not epic. Tahoe needs more snow! The last storms that hit, all 5-12 feet of it, somehow didn’t seem to land squarely on a lot of the runs. As a friend who went to Kirkwood said, “I was surprised how many rocks I hit in the chutes.” Kirkwood received 12 feet of snow, and they’re still hitting rocks?!

The areas around 6200-6800 feet (all areas except Mt. Rose and Kirkwood) need snow. The beginning of those storms were warm, and snow levels were high. That warm, wet, sloppy snow fell and froze underneath and now acts like a slide. What new snow falls just slides right down the mountain and doesn’t stick (at least in the steeps). Lots of rocks and bushes are still showing. What is more disappointing is that all the previous storms had extremely high winds, which blew a lot of the snow in the higher elevations away. Areas that you’d think would be covered were completely bare (Headwall at Squaw and the back bowls at Alpine accessible from High Traverse).

Avalanche danger yesterday, and likely today was extremely high. Slides were happening everywhere and one person was reported caught in a slide and not found (likely never there) at Alpine Meadows. I caused a few little slides myself and it was not a good feeling.

So if you’re sitting in your office thinking you’re missing the best conditions in 50 years, you’re not. Don’t get me wrong, there is good stuff to be found, you just have to do a bit of searching, because we tracked it all up!! LOL! :-)

All in all, conditions are really good, but not as good as the hype you’re likely hearing.

Go and enjoy. The weather this weekend is supposed to be nice.

Tis the season of giving…from sfnewsletter

We stole the sfnewsletter code for their last “cocktail” issue, because they apparently kill old issues each week. Since we just linked to it and now learn it won’t be there, we pasted it here. Make sense? Happy Holidays.

MARKET UPDATE

Charts, Data, Trends

In a nutshell, our market has definitely been hit by all the doom and gloom. Not nearly to the extent you’re reading in the papers, but there is a lot of hesitation for a lot of people. On the other hand, there are some that have been on the sidelines for so long, they’ve found now the perfect time to get in the mix. A+ properties are still selling quickly, the south end of town (district 10) has been hit hardest by the foreclosures, and the gazillionaires really don’t care what the rest of the country thinks…they’re snatching up multi-million dollar trophy homes like they’re candy canes. The new developments are still selling very well, and general interest in San Francisco as a place to live and own property is still healthy. We’re anxious to see what 2008 will bring, more cold wind, or a sea of change? We’ll let you know.

MAXIMUM OVERBID OF THE WEEK

You thought these were dead? So did we…to an extent. But they still exist and this one quite frankly blew our mind.

4924 17th St, a beautifully remodeled 3 bed, 3.5 bath home was asking $3,600,000 and sold for $3,900,000 on 12/10/07. The marketing remarks say it all, and give us an indication of what may have happened, “Attention Pacific Heights Buyers this is the home you have been waiting for.” Don’t get us wrong, 17th Street is a great area, but the traffic is through the roof and this was a significant sale for Parnassus/Ashbury Heights. We’ll take a gin and tonic thanks, and on to the next discussion…365 Richland a nice 4 bed, 2 bath Craftsman in Bernal Heights…asking $899,000 and selling for $955,000.

STOP! Look closer. This property was originally listed at $999,000 and didn’t sell. They dropped the price to $899,000 and look where it ended up…$955,000. This is what you need to know about our market…it’s still ticking along, and once the price gets to that “competitive” range, you can expect multiple offers and often an above asking sales price. The most important thing in this market is pricing, and we used to say staging, but apparently pink is no bother to some. ;-) Whiskey sour will do just fine.

CALLING B.S. ON YOUR HOOD!

You’ve been there before, as have we, and it goes something like this, “You don’t live in SOMA, you’re in South Beach!” Or, “I live in Russian Hill.” “No you don’t, you live on Nob Hill.” Print this out, take it to the party, throw some darts at it, and bet some egg nog on your knowledge.

Available at ORK Posters, found via Curbed SF.

STALEFISH TANK

Readers love it, Realtors hate it…our monthly list of Stalefish. What’s a Stalefish you ask? It’s simply a property that has been on the market 100+ days. Deals, deals, deals!

But what’s a Stalefish Tank without pointing out some big fish? We’ve already told you about 300 Sea Cliff.

But there are so many more Stalefish to note…we’ll take four shots of tequila please, and move on…Are you fortunate enough to have your inlaws joining you for the holidays (ahem!)? Well, when you’re walking off all that holiday gluttony, you might take them on a nice walk up to Coit Tower. When they pause to catch their breath, and take in the breathtaking views from 115 Telegraph Hill Blvd, you’ll sound so in the know when you point out that this lot could be theirs for a mere $4,000,000.

Earn extra points when you inform them it’s quite stale at somewhere around 900 days on market, and has only seen one price reduction from $4.5M in the life of the listing. Something tells us there are either some skeletons hiding in that closet, or a seller that really doesn’t care to sell. We’ll need to chase those tequila shots with four Coronas, lime and salt please.

COMPARISON SHOPPING

There is a lot of talk these days about a jolly white bearded man who lives in the North Pole, and so we thought we’d try to find you a home next to him that you can discuss over a tasty mojito. Well… we couldn’t find anything that said, “Be neighbors with Santa”, but we did find a home that, once there, tells you where to go: 3563 Go Thatta Way, North Pole, AK. We kid you not. It exists and it’s for sale for $119,900.

Since we’re on the subject of the northernmost points, we thought we’d add that upon hours of searching for the perfect North Pole home to run in this week’s sfnewsletter, we also learned that Barrow, Alaska is about as desolate as they get, and way further north than North Pole, AK. However, we’ll still take an overpriced home in San Francisco over anything in either of those towns any day. But…it’s still fun to look, and it makes an Irish Coffee that much more appealing.

SKIP ACROSS THE POND

This one just came to us from Marin (Belvedere to be exact), so we’re hastily throwing it up, but stuck pondering the possibilities of back flips we could perform into that pool. Apparently, this home is now in contract for the asking price of $65M after three years on the market. Stocking stuffer perhaps?

-Mining Magnate sets $65M Sale [Wall Street Journal]

“a total dump inside…” (4017 Folsom)

From our reader:

“Just a FYI if you’re interested or if people want to give their opinions about this house. It should be an interesting one to watch.

A house in our neighborhood [4017 Folsom] was just listed on the MLS yesterday [11/30], no for sale sign, a total dump inside and yet the house has been absolutely FLOODED with prospective buyers in the last two days. The 1st open house isn’t even until tomorrow [12/2] – and the level of hysteria around the house is already in full effect.”

It’s another one of those no photo available problems we have all too often, and if our reader is right, we know why. But how ’bout that hysteria?

4017 Folsom [Redfin Property Detail Page]