Client Testimonials From Way Back

Bear with me while I reorganize my testimonials into individual posts. These are a few put together from way back.

*Alex was very easy to work with. He was straightforward, gave good advice about how the condominium should look when it was being shown, and managed the negotiations with the buyer perfectly. I always felt he was dealing with me honestly, and he kept me fully informed. I will go to Alex any time I want to sell a house in San Francisco. JOHN BARTON

*I don’t know any Realtors in this city [San Francisco] that have a better grasp of technology as it applies to real estate than Alex. His sfnewsletter is a phenomenal resource and great way to begin your home search, or research home sales should you be selling, and he is a pleasure to work with. He seemed to get along great with the other agents involved in our transaction and we’re sure it helped get us the price we want. He negotiated hard, but made everyone laugh the whole way and it was great. Now we live in the suburbs, but if we ever move back, we’ll use Alex for sure. Not to mention he’s a decent golfer too. -Joe Condy

*Carole and I feel that we were very fortunate to have met you at the open house and I am glad we chose you to work with. Be assured in the future when we are ready to look at the market again we will be calling, as well as referring any house hunting friends to you. Read More-Carole and Bruce Derr

*Alex combines an insider’s knowledge of San Francisco, innovative marketingskills and the honesty and integrity of a down to earth guy.-Rich Singer

*Like a lot of SFNewsletter readers, I figured Alex would be either too busy or simply uninterested in representing a first time buyer with a sub-seven figure budget. Ten months of searching and four offers later, we’re homeowners, and he’s still returning my calls…The cool thing about Alex is he’s new-school enough to embrace technology’s influence over his profession, but old-school enough to hold your sweaty hand through every step of escrow. 

Bottom line, if you’re looking to be escorted from property to property in your agent’s Mercedes while being lavishly praised for your exquisite taste and style, Alex ain’t your guy. But if you’re looking for consummate San Francisco market expertise, every tool you’ll ever need to find and evaluate your properties, and a Tiger Woods-like closing mentality – hell, you’re already reading his newsletter, posting to his blog, and god forbid you’re receiving his twitter banter – seriously, why use anyone else?! -Tim Stevens

*We had our condo at the St. Regis listed for close to 8 months with another agent. We hired Alex and he sold it in two weeks! Amazing! Truly amazing and he was fun to work with the whole time, knew the market, knew we should take the offer we received, and knows where I should buy my next place. He is truly a pleasure to work with and really knows his stuff. His newsletter is great too. -Stephanie Morris

*I had been reading Alex’s “sfnewsletter” for over a year, so I knew when I was ready to sell my house in San Francisco, Alex was my choice. His newsletters were very informative and intelligently written. I know this sounds corny, but I really liked his sign-off at the end of each newsletter — “Happy Aloha Friday”. Alex kept on top of all correspondence and paperwork and kept me apprised every step of the selling process. I am happy to say that we accepted an offer after only 2 weeks on the market. I would recommend Alex to anyone in need of a superior REALTOR.-Debra Comstock

*I can and have enthusiastically recommended you to my friends who are looking at purchasing property here in San Francisco. Specifically, I appreciate your diligent work and follow-through, as well as your integrity in working with the seller’s representative and myself that made it possible to get this deal done. Read More.-Larry Singer

*Wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your assistance and help during the purchase of my new [home] in San Francisco. You did a great job of working with me all Summer long trying to find my dream house on my crazy schedule. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted, but by Fall you had identified my criteria and started showing me homes that suited my needs. The house we found has a great ocean view and is close to the beach with a big yard and potential to add on. Read More. -Ryan Seelbach

*Alex and I worked together for over 3 month searching for the right property. He showed me several properties and advised me on the pros and cons of each property. On [my home] he assisted in compiling a very strong offer on property where multiple bids were accepted. I strongly believe it was due to his assistance that I was able to purchase the proeprty despite the other offers being close to or higher than my own. Read More-David Kaneda

*I had met with several real estate agents before I decided on Alex, and it proved to be an excellent decision. He knew the market, had excellent recommendations based on my specific requirements and goals, and most importantly: he knew how to package and position the offer for quick acceptance once I decided on a property. We quickly closed on a condo at 1998 Broadway that was a great fit for me. And I believe the price and conditions make it an exceptional investment. I’d recommend Alex to anybody. Read More-Drew Sechrist

Opportunity For Fence Sitting Sellers And Desperate Buyers

Are you somebody that lives in San Francisco, has a home that is either on one level or contains an elevator, and you’ve been on the fence about selling your home? PocketListings.net has a buyer for you, they aren’t picky about their neighborhood, and they have $2,000,000 to spend.

Maybe you are a resident living in Pacific Heights, Sea Cliff, Cow Hollow, or Presidio Heights and you don’t want all the hullabaloo of listing on MLS, but you’d love for a buyer to come take a look at your home. PocketListings.net has a couple of those multi-million dollar buyers too.

Are you a buyer looking for a two unit building in the Marina? PocketListings.net has that too!

The moral of this story is if you are a buyer or seller anywhere in the United States, and especially in San Francisco (our hottest market), you should not only be visiting the site yourselves, but telling your real estate agent to do the same. There are opportunities galore, and it’s getting better every day!

-Single Family Home Buyer Needing One Level Or Elevator Home
[PocketListings.net]
-Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Sea Cliff Buyer [PocketListings.net]
-Marina Two Unit Building “Not On MLS”, $2,800,000 [PocketListings.net]

What Makes A Room A Bedroom?

What is it exactly that makes that room a bedroom? The question has come across my email enough, and actually I think I even posted on it at some point. Well, it’s resurfaced and maybe time to hash it out, as the opinions on what makes a room a bedroom are anything but concrete.

The initial question:

A few months ago an email was circulated as to what defines a bedroom. There were several responses, but if I remember correctly a bedroom does not have to have a closet to be a bedroom…

And the varying replies from various real estate agents:

-My understanding is it technically must have a window – ideally with a means of egress
-My understanding is two methods of egress. A door, and another door or a window or some way to get out in the case of an emergency. No closet necessary.
-Operable window, that a person can fit through AND the minimum size is 70 square feet, where the minimum for one of the dimensions is 7 feet.
-I believe that HUD requires a closet in order to count it as a bedroom for financing purposes. A lender could probably clarify that.
-I’d suggest using the International Uniform Building code that refers to a specific size of window based on square footage of BR. It needs to have a door and a window and the window has to be the right proportion. Read More.
-The Building Code requires an operable egress window with minimum size requirements as [the other agent] indicated. In addition the window needs to be sized for light and air requirements. If I remember correctly it is 10% of the floor area. A closet is not a requirement to satisfy the building code, but it may be a HUD requirement for financing, as [another agent] mentioned.

Perhaps the most accurate answer?

1. The first bedroom must be at least 120 square feet.
2. If your first bedroom is at least 120 square feet, you get to call your second bedroom a bedroom if it’s at least 70 square feet with 7’ on a side.
3. Required natural light and air: 8% of floor area of natural light, and 4% of floor area of air (operable window). A traditional double-hung window can cover both bases, because when it is open, it provides half the air as natural light.
4. Minimum clear headroom of 7’-6”
5. You need two means of egress. One may be a window. If the second is the window, fire department requires minimum area for personnel access of width 20”, minimum height 24” with net clear opening minimum of 5.7 square feet.
6. A closet is required.

And the first comment from that thread:

What you’ve written here is not entirely correct – I believe you may be conflating Realtor’s rules-of-thumb with actual Code requirements.

1) Sort of. Any habitable room (Living Rm, Dining Rm, etc) can be larger than 120 SF (2007 CBC SEC 1208.3)
2) Correct. Minimum Habitable room size (includes bedrooms) is 70 SF, 7′ minimum width (2007 CBC SEC 1208.3 & 1208.1)
3) These are correct window areas for required natural light (8% floor area) and ventilation (4% floor area), but neither is required if sufficient artificial light and mechanical ventilation are supplied (2007 CBC 1203.4.1 & 1205.3).
4) Correct – Minimum ceiling height for Habitable rooms is 7′-6″, however it is 7′-0″ for bathrooms, storage, kitchen, laundry (2007 CBC 1208.2).
5) Sort of. Only one exit (Means of Egress) is required, the other is an Emergency Escape & Rescue requirement. This is not a Fire Department requirement, it is a California Building Code requirement (SEC 1026.1)
6) Wrong. No closet is required by any State or Local code (Building, Housing, Health or otherwise).

So there you have it…the jury is clearly still out on this one. My advice, get used to living in closets if you’re living in San Francisco.

(Potential) America’s Cup Race Route For San Francisco Revealed: Realtors Frothing

Well…it’s official (sort of). There is a route sketched out for the 2013 America’s Cup planned for San Francisco and every Realtor in the city wants you to get front row seats (living rooms, balconies, and even bathrooms). While many agents have always been touting their listings as marvelous places to live and own a piece of San Francisco real estate, now they’re claiming views of the course, and One Rincon Hill is first out of the gate today Tweeting that, “Americas Cup draft route released! Many at One Rincon Hill to enjoy spectacular views of the race from home.” Let’s just hope they don’t decide to build Tower #2 all of a sudden.

Every agent in the city that has ever sold a home in or near SOMA, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Telegraph Hill, Pacific Heights, and/or South Beach (to name a few) is already on the hunt, sales centers are ramping up their marketing, and the real estate community is buzzing. There are big bucks in sailing, and what agent wouldn’t want a piece of that action.

But the fact remains, watching a sailboat race is free, and if you can find a view of the water, you’ll likely have a good view of the race. We find it hilarious that the map above shows only one “Public Viewing Area”, as San Francisco is full of hills with amazing (FREE) water views. However, should you happen to desire protection from the elements (think howling San Francisco wind), we happen to know a good Realtor or two who’d be happy to help you find that room with a view. ;-)

-2013 America’s Cup Race Route [SF Gate}

Modern, Big, and Beautiful, 2915 and 2917 Laguna Go Buy Buy

We’ve been told that 2915 and 2917 Laguna (two very sweet modern condominiums), have been purchased, all cash. Here’s the kicker…to the same buyer!

The top unit living area (notice that big red bridge?)

Lower unit bath…

One buyer, two buyers, three buyers four. Who really cares! Five million seven hundred twenty five thousand dollars ($5,725,000) of property is about to change hands just behind the Wells Fargo on Union Street.

Those homes are sweet and some clients we know aren’t too happy they’re gone. Do let us know if that all cash offer should fall out of escrow!

-2915 Laguna [Listing Details]
-2917 Laguna [Listing Details]

Lemonade for sale! And a Cow Hollow Single Family Home Pocket Listing too

As you know, we are out enjoying the weather, but said we might come in for some lemonade and do a post. And since our phones and emails never get a break, we thought we’d introduce you to something sweet, that hit both the phones and emails today:

[Update:]

1807 Greenwich: Contemporary Cow Hollow House

Offered at $2,350,000

Move-in Ready!

* Large-scale living/dining area with gas fireplace

* Kitchen/family room with new stainless steel appliances

* New Brazilian Cherry Floors

* 3 bedrooms on top floor

* Office on ground floor opens to secluded South-facing yard

* 2.5 baths

* New Loewen double paned Windows

* 2 car parking

* Detached on 3 sides

* Fantastic Location … 2 blocks to Union Street shops & cafes

Cow Hollow Single Family Home on 1800 block of Greenwich @ Octavia

Will hit the market Memorial Day weekend

3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car tandem with bonus room off the garage.

Built 1996

Contemporary, Granite, Stainless, the whole bit

Approx 2600+ square feet (waiting for exact number)

South facing yard

Price $2,350,000 new description above is better

Interested? Contact us. As soon as we have pics and more details, we’ll let you know.

From Blank Canvas to Decorator Showcase, 2820 Scott gets the nod in 2008

“Since 1977, the annual San Francisco Decorator Showcase has benefited San Francisco University High School’s financial aid program, raising nearly $10 million in its first 30 years. The San Francisco Decorator Showcase is widely considered to be one of the premiere showcase events in the country, featuring the work of the region’s top interior and landscape designers,” and this year they take you inside 2820 Scott, a magnificent eight bedroom, eight and one half bath, 14,000 square foot residence that last changed hands in 2006 (asking $8,500,000), and was (at the time) void of any furniture. Not any more.

You and yours can go check it out April 26-May 26, cost is $30, (Seniors $25).

We have one ticket for Monday May 5th (6-8pm), we cannot use. Who wants it?

-2820 Scott [sfnewsletter listing detail]

-Decorator Showcase [website]

2956 Webster: 8 Offers, 4 Cash, 1 Winner, 7 Losers

From sfnewsletter:

We’re really trying to stop publishing these things, but they just keep coming up. This week we have 2956 Webster in the oh so popular Cow Hollow District. This is a 2 bed, 2 bath condominium that was asking $1,279,000 was absolutely swarmed, received eight (yes 8 ) offers, four of them all cash, and ultimately closed at $1,410,000. Yes…that much over ($131,000).

Forget for a minute this property sold above asking, because as we’ve said before there are some grey areas regarding sales above asking. What we all need to focus on is that there are still seven (yes 7) very hungry buyers for two bedroom condos in this area at this price that were beat out, and those were the buyers that stepped up to write an offer. There were probably more that didn’t even want to compete. Guess what? Those buyers are likely still out there.

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.

1914filbert.jpg

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]

Comment du Jour: “‘The Greenwich’ was a ZOO” (1501 Greenwich)

Our reader, who sounds very similar to a few other readers we have ;-) was apparently at the opening of The Greenwich, a new development on the cusp of Russian Hill and Cow Hollow, and had this to say:

Was at the Grand Opening of “The Greenwich” and it was a ZOO. Maybe 500 people in 45 minutes? Lots of foreigners from Europe and Asia all clamoring for $1,000-$1,600/sqft prices. Interesting.

Don’t believe the exact number of people through, and certainly don’t picture a bunch of French or Italians crawling over each other to sign contracts (that only happens during the World Cup), but take note that it was apparently pretty busy.

thegreenwichsf.jpg

The Grand Opening was indeed this weekend, and we plan on checking them out tomorrow. For details on the property, please go to their website.

And of course, some pricing for your viewing and buying pleasure:

-#201: 2 bed/2 bath; 1131 square feet; $1,049,000

-#202: 2 bed/2 bath; 932 square feet; $929,000

-#306: 1 bed/1 bath; 615 square feet; $589,000

-#307: 2 bed/2 bath; 1104 square feet; $1,099,000

-#406: 3 bed/2.5 bath; 1421 square feet; $1,695,000

-#502: 3 bed/2.5 bath; 1533 square feet; $1,895,000

-#601 penthouse: 3 bed/2.5 bath; 1609 square feet; $1,949,000

-#603 penthouse: 3 bed/2.5 bath; 1468 square feet; $2,295,000

-All other pricing for other units pending Second Release

-HOA fees range $399-$507

thegreenwichsf1.jpg

[Picture of unit #601 priced at $1,949,000

If you are interested in viewing one of these units, or have any other questions, feel free to contact us.

[Update: Yours truly, Alex, just literally walked out of touring the entire building. I have all the information you need, but not enough time to post. If you are interested in purchasing a unit, and want my pick of units in this building, give me a shout, alexclark@gmail.com.]

[Update: Pricing is "make us an offer".]

-The Greenwich [property website with features and floorplans]

-Listing Detail #601 [Redfin]

What happened? Redfin got it (1826 Filbert)

Make no mistake, we love busting the chops of other companies out there, but that doesn’t mean we’re wrong or right, and they’re bad or good. It just means we like putting things out there that we, and hopefully you, might find interesting. So far, we’ve been pretty successful.

So a reader asks:

Just curious if you know what happened to 1826 Filbert, an over priced $1.7 mil 2/1 SFH being sold by Redfin. Place was 1,000sqft and quirky. I noticed the person moved out, but can’t find a sale.

1826filbert.jpg

Well, according to MLS, the property was on the market in June for $1,795,000, then withdrawn end of June, then back on the market at the same time, same price. It appears now the listing has expired (same price), which for all practical purposes means it may not have sold, or it may have been sold in an off market deal, or Redfin simply forgot to update their MLS listing.

Of course, a big indicator of why it may not have sold is the fact that when you call the Redfin 877 number you get the full “national” run around, and as of yet (20 minutes calling over and over) you get no live person. When you call the 858 number, it sounds like they say, “Hi, you’ve reached Redfin San Diego.” Hmmm… They must be out surfing.

If you’d like to try the Redfin experience yourself, feel free to contact the Redfin agent: Erik Van Joosten: 877-973-3346 or :858-[removed per request].

Now, does this mean we don’t applaud innovation? Hardly. More like a little quality control.

[Update: Max (listing agent) called back moments ago, (about 10 minutes after leaving a message), 2 offers under asking when it first listed, not acceptable to the seller. Seller has decided to rent it.]

Just “Wondering”

A reader kindly asks about 2746 Gough #1 in Cow Hollow, and 120 Cherry in Presidio Heights, so I thought we’d give the answers.

120cherry.jpg

120 Cherry is a home that hadn’t been on the market…ever, since it was built in 1923. (According to the “remarks”.) It is in Presidio Heights, is a trophy home, and it basically flew off the shelf. It most likely fetched multiple offers, and it sold for $3.7M which was $500,000 above asking, and $1243 per square foot. It closed last week, 8/18/07. Click here for details.

2740gough1.jpg

2746 Gough #1, was another property that practically flew off the shelf, was asking $1,295,000 and sold for $1,465,000. It closed escrow 7/17/07, and came out to be $776 per square foot. Click here for details.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about San Francisco real estate. We’re glad to help.  And feel free to rip into that kitchen, cuz that’s what $3.7 mil buys you in Presidio Heights these days.

Stump the Stammtisch: What is an “Edwardian” House?

“Other than ‘a residence built between 1902 and 1910,’ I have found no consistent definition despite asking several RE professionals and ‘googling’ the question for about an hour. Are there are any style elements that all ‘Edwardians’ have in common?”-TC

That’s a good question. I know Janis Stone has been selling homes in San Francisco for quite some time, so maybe she can shed some light on the matter for you.

2740green.jpg

[2740 Green]

I, personally, prefer this type of Edwardian, but some of you might prefer the taste of a “Stalefish” Edwardian (Started off in October 2006 at $1,495,000 and can now be yours for only $1,349,000, and the “SELLER MAY CONSIDER Installment Sale, or Seller Financing.”), or perhaps a “Prime Inner Richmond Three Unit Edwardian”.

Either way, you have choices, but still no answers. Stammtisch!?

-2740 Green St. [Sothebys]

-10 Imperial Ave. [MLS]

-681-685 7th Ave. [MLS]

This sounds interesting…2415-17 Lombard

2415lombard.jpgProperty (2415-17 Lombard) qualifies for immediate condo conversion w/ NO occupancy requirements!” It gets better, “Property has a deeded easement over 3 neighboring lots directly West on Lombard. Seller also earns add’l income ($500/monthly) for duration of ad campaign when Sign Co puts new ads on billboard directly next door.” Here’s a few more numbers:

List Price: $1,695,000

Est Gross Income: $111600

Est Total Ann Exp: $27320

Est Net Income: $80931

-2415-17 Lombard [mls]

Stats & Numbers

Thanks to “Boom”, who commented on one of our posts, and provided us with this link to the latest Bay Area Home Sale Activity for April 2007, which we copied below to show you just how San Francisco stacked up to the same month last year.
countypercentages.jpg

Our problem with relying on zip code data for median prices and market trends in San Francisco is the fact that the zip code doesn’t necessarily jive with the neighborhood and common type of property being purchased in those areas.  Examples: 94115 is Pacific Heights, but it also includes Lower Pacific Heights and the Western Addition; 94110 is the Mission, but also Bernal Heights; 94121 is Central and Outer Richmond, but also Sea Cliff.  See where we’re going with this?  

Regardless, here are some cool “real time” graphs you might find interesting as well. (Graphs are only for Single Family Residences.)

Innner Richmond, Laurel/Presidio Heights

Central/Outer Richmond, Sea Cliff

Marina/Cow Hollow

Parkside

Pacific Heights, Lower Pacific Heights, Western Addition

Mission, Bernal Heights,

Noe Valley, Corona Heights, Duboce Triangle

Mission Bay/Potrero Hill/SOMA, South Beach

South Beach, SOMA, Financial District

If you’d like your zip charted, contact us.

-Your chance at fame…or missed fortune [sfn BLOG]
-More Stats & Numbers [sfn BLOG]
[image sources: Data Quick; and Altos Research]

Ask an Expert (Eddie O’Sullivan), better to have SFR or 2 units in Cow Hollow

“Hi there:
I own a two-unit, two-story building on a lot that is 45 feet deep in Cow Hollow, in an area bounded by Union, Pierce, Chestnut and Buchanan Streets. I am trying to decide whether or not to try to merge the units legally into a single dwelling unit. It is clear that the process is complicated and not a slam dunk (in fact, the City is currently considering making it even harder to merge units) but it is still pretty tempting to try. What I would like to know is, is the building overall worth more as a two-dwelling-unit building, or would it be worth more as a single-family home? Is the answer to this question likely to change over time? Please assume that I have no tenants in either unit for the purposes of this question.
A short description: each unit is approximately 850 square feet. There are three small-ish rooms in each unit, plus a single unrenovated bathroom and a kitchen. The house was built in the early 1900s. There is a full basement under the structure.
Two things I forgot to add in my original letter are (i) that the house is located on an “alley,” and (ii) that there is no garage. Don’t know if that matters or not.
Thank you for your help!-DK”
————————-

As answered by Eddie O’Sullivan of Hill & Co. Real Estate, BuySellMySFhome.com

I have an Architect friend who worked on a project that paid for a study to be done on the process and likelihood of converting two units to one, in this area. He gave me a copy so if you’re interested just shoot me an email and I can snail mail you a copy (I’m not soliciting, there is no other way to do it.)

But I think the highest and best use for your property is for it to remain as a two unit! That way you do not have to waste lots of time and money with the city merging units. If you’re remodeling you just build a “Nanny” unit behind the garage and then you turn the rest of the building into a fabulous single family. The city still considers the building to be two units. The tax records and the 3R just state the size of the building, not the individual units, so if you just reconfigure/remodel you can have a great single family with a legal unit. I’ve seen it done in your area and they look fantastic!

Good Luck!
Eddie O’

Ask an Expert (Caroline Kahn Werboff), better to have SFR or 2 Units in Cow Hollow

Hi there:
I own a two-unit, two-story building on a lot that is 45 feet deep in Cow Hollow, in an area bounded by Union, Pierce, Chestnut and Buchanan Streets. I am trying to decide whether or not to try to merge the units legally into a single dwelling unit. It is clear that the process is complicated and not a slam dunk (in fact, the City is currently considering making it even harder to merge units) but it is still pretty tempting to try. What I would like to know is, is the building overall worth more as a two-dwelling-unit building, or would it be worth more as a single-family home? Is the answer to this question likely to change over time? Please assume that I have no tenants in either unit for the purposes of this question.
A short description: each unit is approximately 850 square feet. There are three small-ish rooms in each unit, plus a single unrenovated bathroom and a kitchen. The house was built in the early 1900s. There is a full basement under the structure.
Two things I forgot to add in my original letter are (i) that the house is located on an “alley,” and (ii) that there is no garage. Don’t know if that matters or not.
Thank you for your help!-DK”
——————————-
As answered by Caroline Kahn Werboff of Hill & Co. Real Estate, carolinekahnwerboff.com

Dear DK,
In my experience, it may be valuable to investigate putting a 2nd unit in the basement area if it is appropriate to do that, and combine the two units. Then you have a single family with an additional unit. That is the highest and best use if it is feasible.
Good luck,
Caroline Kahn

Ask an Expert (Shanendoah Forbes), better to have SFR or 2 Units in Cow Hollow

“Hi there:
I own a two-unit, two-story building on a lot that is 45 feet deep in Cow Hollow, in an area bounded by Union, Pierce, Chestnut and Buchanan Streets. I am trying to decide whether or not to try to merge the units legally into a single dwelling unit. It is clear that the process is complicated and not a slam dunk (in fact, the City is currently considering making it even harder to merge units) but it is still pretty tempting to try. What I would like to know is, is the building overall worth more as a two-dwelling-unit building, or would it be worth more as a single-family home? Is the answer to this question likely to change over time? Please assume that I have no tenants in either unit for the purposes of this question.
A short description: each unit is approximately 850 square feet. There are three small-ish rooms in each unit, plus a single unrenovated bathroom and a kitchen. The house was built in the early 1900s. There is a full basement under the structure.
Two things I forgot to add in my original letter are (i) that the house is located on an “alley,” and (ii) that there is no garage. Don’t know if that matters or not.
Thank you for your help!-DK”
——————————-
As answered by Shanendoah Forbes of Arroyo & Coates, sforbes@a-c.com

I think that the property is more valuable as a two unit apartment building. There is more value in having a property that can be converted to “condo” by creating an owner- user/TIC situation. In my opinion you will fetch a higher price if you sell to the “TIC” market rather than the home buyer that will purchase a single family home in that area. There is a lot more to it but I would rather not get too complicated.
There is more upside potential and less headaches in your future if you keep it a two unit “condo conversion/TIC” opportunity.

Shanendoah Forbes

Ask an Expert (Alexander Clark), better to have SFR or 2 Units in Cow Hollow

“Hi there:
I own a two-unit, two-story building on a lot that is 45 feet deep in Cow Hollow, in an area bounded by Union, Pierce, Chestnut and Buchanan Streets. I am trying to decide whether or not to try to merge the units legally into a single dwelling unit. It is clear that the process is complicated and not a slam dunk (in fact, the City is currently considering making it even harder to merge units) but it is still pretty tempting to try. What I would like to know is, is the building overall worth more as a two-dwelling-unit building, or would it be worth more as a single-family home? Is the answer to this question likely to change over time? Please assume that I have no tenants in either unit for the purposes of this question.
A short description: each unit is approximately 850 square feet. There are three small-ish rooms in each unit, plus a single unrenovated bathroom and a kitchen. The house was built in the early 1900s. There is a full basement under the structure.
Two things I forgot to add in my original letter are (i) that the house is located on an “alley,” and (ii) that there is no garage. Don’t know if that matters or not.
Thank you for your help!-DK”
———————————

As answered by Alexander Clark, sfnewsletter

DK,
It sounds like you have the location nailed, but not if you are on one of the “less desirable” alleys. That could play heavily as to whether you keep two units or go SFR. I would have to say, given the limited information you present, either keep it as two units, remodel and sell as TICs, or remodel as SFR, keeping a unit below (basement) as a technicality. That would avoid any conversion headaches you will undoubtedly encounter. Make sure to read: Our post on McGoldrick’s proposal, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any more questions.