Category Archives: Outer Parkside

Great Highway Remodel, Not On MLS, And Certainly A San Francisco Surfer’s Dream Home

I have word of a house, on the Great Highway at Noriega (the best sandbar on the beach right now), that is very much for sale, and very much not on MLS radar. Price hovering around $1,050,000 and $1,100,000. That is the view above, and here are the details below. As always, I am here to help get you in.

3 Story SFR taken to the studs and beyond in 2008
2BR 2.5 BA + Office
3 car tandem parking
LOTS of storage
Dog wash station
Hot/Cold water hookups for outdoor shower in the backyard
Ipe flooring throughout
Open layout with 8′ wide sliding birch pocket doors separating living/dining/kitchen
8’x15′ Blomberg window in living room
Custom cabinetry throughout
Spark brand fireplace in living room with flat screen TV mounted above
Half bath on living level
Huge dining room
Gourmet kitchen
Wenge cabinets
Subzero fridge
6 burner Wolf Stove with a grill and 2 ovens
Stainless sinks
Island with prep sink
Ceasarstone counters
Bosch dishwasher
Walk-in pantry
2 person office with built in Wenge desk and cabinetry
Baths all feature custom bamboo cabinets, modern Italian tile and Italian fixtures
Laundry room
Rear bedroom with attached bath has shower over tub
Master bathroom has walk-in 2 person shower with seat
Soaking tub with river rock surround
2 sinks
Separate room for toilet and bidet
Master bedroom has his/hers closets + walk-in closet for shoes (most closets in the house have storage by california closets)
Also has Spark brand fireplace with flat screen TV mounted above, cathedral ceiling, built in Wenge headboard with nightstands, plus built-in bed (plus a platform for a dog bed)
Expansive deck overlooking the surf
Ocean views from living and sleeping levels

From what I know, this is a home built for entertaining, hanging out, and enjoying all that Ocean Beach has to offer.

Contact me to go take a look. Principals Only.

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

A “Villa” At Ocean Beach? Tisk Tisk. But A Pizza Place On Noriega…Brilliant!

The email to our office read, “Stunning Ocean Beach Villa”, and a link to 2006 47th Ave was included. We were expecting…well….a surprise, you know…a “villa”. Instead, we got your typical Outer Parkside “gem”.


We’re gonna go out on a limb and say that when 99% of Outer Parkside home buyers (and their Realtors) are shopping for homes at or near Ocean Beach, they’re not looking for “villas”. Maybe “Junior 5s” or “Center Patios”, but “villas”? Seems like a little bit of…shall we say…interesting marketing.

But a Pizza Place On Noriega? Now that’s marketing…it’s a pizza place…on Noriega. Genius!

(Yes, the Pizza Place is nearby this listing.)

-2006 47th Ave, Outer Parkside, $849,000.

Comparing A Fuji To A Macintosh (We Ain’t Talking Electronics)

Lots of chatter (as usual) on one particular local blog regarding the continued decline of real estate, and the world for that matter. (We get it, we really do. At least they’ve chosen to beat white elephants now along with their dead horses.)

What we’d like to show you is something that is still happening, but going unnoticed by both mainstream media, and sidestream blogs…that is that homes are still selling, and they’re selling for realistic prices, in realistic amounts of time.

Take for example this 2 bed, 1 bath, Fuji apple at 2331 42nd Avenue that was purchased back in 2003 for $515,000.
By all accounts this home was (and still is) in need of some repair.

Enter the Macintosh apple: A 3 bed, 1 bath home at 2335 42nd Avenue right next door to our Fuji.
Almost identical homes in very similar condition at the time of sale. (Save for a bedroom off the sort of remodeled kitchen in the Mac, which in our opinion decreased the value because it blocks views and access to a potential deck from the kitchen, and thus our hesitation to compare as a Mac to Mac, or Fuji to Fuji).

This Mac was listed for $688,000 during the holiday doldrums, and the worst economic/real estate situation we have possibly ever seen.

So what happened to this Mac? It was snatched up in 11 days for $710,000.

Is that a 2003 sales price? Not quite.

Make no mistake, it’s bad out there, but not always as bad as you’re continually forced to read. Train wrecks will always get more attention.

-2331 42nd Avenue, 2 bed, 1 bath, $515k in 2003 [MLS]
-2335 42nd Avenue, 3 bed, 1 bath, $710k in 2008 [MLS]

A Worse Punishment for Sisyphus: Policing Noise in a Metropolis

Hello out there, theFrontStep Readers! You may (or just as likely, may not) know my name from my blogs for Redfin. I’ve kindly been invited to write also for theFrontSteps, so here I am, on the steps, with my first blog.

So here’s the setting: last night, 2:00am, sultry night, people walking up from the bars, falling down, giggling. That noise doesn’t bother me much. I’d have to be a hypocrite if I tried to pretend I’ve never, after closing time, made too much noise under someone’s window as I staggered home. But another noise does bother me: some a-hole flooring his car and slamming on the breaks as he reaches the stop sign in front of my house. Then, from fully stationary, he floods the car again, tyring to go from zero to sixty instantaneously. Then he screeches off, circles the block, and comes back to do it again.

But we all live in a city. We can’t really expect quiet, can we? We can hope for it, and maybe in some areas, get it most of the time. But in the end, we’re sharing with a lot of people, some of them loud and possibly crazy. That’s why this new law aiming to curb SF noise interests me. Continue reading

San Francisco Oil Spill…doing our part

This post has absolutely nothing to do with real estate, unless of course you’re looking to buy a home down at Ocean Beach (Outer Sunset/Outer Parkside), because of our pristine beaches and ideal beach weather, but we thought we’d get the word out. Things won’t be the same down there for a long time. We pulled this quote from the local surf report, and figured we’d pass it along:

…there is so much oil on Ocean Beach right now, it is going to take thousands of people, thousands of hours to clean it all up. I just spent 5 hours picking up globs of oil and believe me, the public is needed here. Make no mistake, once you get out here you will realize this an an environmental catastrophe right before our eyes right in our home break. The sooner the oil gets off the beach, the less gets washed back into the ocean and the sooner this will get better. As it is, it’s going to be weeks before anyone can surf out here. So please send a message to surfers to come and help clean up our beloved beach. Here’s how to do it: 1. Wear old clothes and shoes–they will get oil on them and most likely be ruined. 2. Get some latex (i.e., doctor’s) gloves or heavy duty dishwashing rubber gloves. 3. Get a trash bag or, even better, put a trash bag inside of a 5 gallon bucket. 4. Go to the beach and pick up the globs of oil. The globs range in size from smaller than a dime to as big as a jellyfish. The best time to pick them up is when the globs are lying on the wet smooth sand so you can skim the globs together and, because the sand is wet, it doesn’t stick to the oil. So this means the best time is medium high tide dropping through low tide through about medium tide. However, if you can’t make it then, just go any time as the magnitude of this problem is HUGE and there has been a very limited response so far. Thanks for your help in getting out the message. Other activists recommend bringing a kitty litter scooper to pick up the globs of oil. Bring as many kitty litter scoopers as possible! DO NOT PICK UP BIRDS OR OTHER ANIMALS COATED WITH OIL!! BRING A FULLY CHARGED CELL PHONE TO THE BEACH WITH THE FOLLOWING PHONE NUMBER ENTERED : IF ANIMALS IN TROUBLE SPOTTED, CALL 877.823.6926

We have to ask, where do you trash the oil you collect?

As if it isn’t hard enough finding good surf here, and suffering though cold miserable, foggy Summers to arrive at Fall (the best time of year) and we can’t even get in the water.

-Grassroots effort to clean Ocean Beach [Kill the Spill,]

-SF Gov. Oil Spill Information [, the official stuff]

-Craigslist posting on how to clean up oil [Craigslist] [website and link from Scott at Redfin...thanks!]

theFrontSteps is not involved in organizing any volunteers and warns that any help you provide is at your own risk. Volunteers at Ocean Beach are reporting health problems: difficulty breathing, burning eyes, sore throats, headaches and dizziness. This is very nasty, toxic stuff that is on the beaches. theFrontSteps is providing this information solely as a service to the community. This type of activity could be illegal, and we do not in any way shape or form take responsibility for your actions.

Comment du Jour: “Highest stakes table in Vegas”

I chose this comment for the “Comment du Jour”, as it is a very good, brief description of the mindset of many buyers currently in the market. Thanks “Ah Boom”, and thanks to all the others that have responded and shared their thoughts on that thread.

You put your life savings down [on a home in SF] and pray to [G]od you didn’t buy at the top and your family doesn’t have any life issues such as illness, injury, divorce, death, unemployment, or downswing in business, which results in you losing 60% or more of your down payment after even a 2% depreciation due to closing costs, commissions, taxes and penalties. A modest 6% depreciation could result in you losing everything.

Its an easy decision to make when an upmarket is just beginning and salaries are rising, but when all indicators are trending down it is difficult to escape the feeling that you are playing a game of craps at the highest stakes table in las vegas.

“Da bulls” (not Ditka’s) have been responding a bit more than “da bears” (also not Ditka’s), and there has been some question of “all indicators are trending down”, but a good comment nonetheless and one that really gets you thinking.

To add my two cents. There is absolutely nothing wrong with renting. If you want to buy real estate, there is a whole world of markets for you to invest in. Buy elsewhere, and rent here. Nothing wrong with that.

As an investor, now could be a good time to snatch up some property in markets that are hurting. Buy low, rent high, think long term.

-Done Deal in the Outer Parkside [theFrontSteps]

Done Deal in Outer Parkside (2342 42nd)

What feels like ages ago on April 11th, I wrote about 2342 42nd Avenue:

…in August of 2006 this property was listed at $1,095,000, then in March of 2007 listed at $899,000, now it is listed at $1,295,000. If it sells at $1,295,000, I’m packing up and moving to Mexico, because that would be just plain wrong. It should sell around $775,000 or less. That is a fair price. It has no ocean views, is hardly high-end, literally shares a fence with a school, and could definitely use some “modernizing”. Other than that, it is a great house…

That was then. I’m packing my bags, but not boarding the plane. It just sold for $990,000!!!! This is truly amazing. I can’t even believe it. Not at all. Comps and price per square foot support it (I guess), but it is NOT a “$10,000 shy of $1M” house. WOW! That’s all I can say…wow.


-2342 42nd [MLS]

Battle Royale: Outer Richmond or Outer Sunset/Parkside…if you had to choose

Our last attempt at a healthy discussion as to whether you’d choose Pacific Heights or the Marina kind of took a turn for the worse when comments got a little heated and were taken a bit personally, but that isn’t stopping us from trying again. So…if you had to choose, Outer Richmond or Outer Sunset/Parkside, which would it be and why? We want to hear the good, the bad, and YOUR OPINION as to why you’d choose one over the other. Learning from our last attempt and other discussion on whether Bernal is better than Noe, we’re going to ask that you please keep comments civil, and don’t take anything personally.

We’ll kick things off with a little spin on the old debate and do what we do best…that is make it about real estate, stick to the stats, and give you some averages:

Outer Richmond (source: SFAR MLS)


Outer Sunset/Parkside (source: SFAR MLS)


Richmond (SFR Median: source Altos Research, same for Sunset, Parkside graphs.)



We leave the rest to you. The weather is equally as shitty in both neighborhoods in the summer, so we know you can’t argue about that. ;-)

Tell all your friends to come on over to theFrontSteps and hash it out in this thread.

Up next: Hayes Valley or Haight Ashbury

On deck: West Portal or St. Francis Wood

If you’re not familiar with your “districts” here is the best, most detailed map we could find online.

- Pacific Heights or Marina…if you had to choose [theFrontSteps]

-Stump the Stammtisch: Bernal on Fuego or Hielo [theFrontSteps]

A rectangle on end on the Great Highway

Sometimes it doesn’t have to be on the market to catch our eye. We’ve known about this beach house designed in 1950 by Ernest Born for quite some time (we have a surfer in the house), and also known about its pending publicity in Dwell Magazine, and NY Times, but we kept our lips sealed.  But now, the cat is out of the bag, so Duggo, here you go, this post is for you.


The present owner, Tom Lloyd-Butler, first spotted the place after a day riding 20-foot waves on the far side of that road, called the Great Highway. “I was changing, and I looked up and saw this tiny ‘For Sale’ sign,” he recalls. “It was totally different from any other house at the beach…

Like Cosimo in Italo Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, the [local] architects perched in the branches of the cypresses and pines, observing where the canopy was dense and where it was porous, noting various perspectives and view corridors to the ocean. Then they came down again and, removing only one tree in the process, planted a three-story, 24-by-24-foot steel-sheathed glass pavilion next to the house, tethering it by means of a translucent bridge connected at the second stories.

We were sold even before this article ran…now we get a look inside, and we’re wondering when it will sell again, so one of our readers can buy it and throw a huge Indian Summer beach party for all of us…we’ll bring the limes. 

(More photos in the magazine.  You might want to pick one up.)

-Highway Hideaway [Dwell]

-Aidlin Darling Design [website]

-(Photos: Aidlin Darling Design and Dwell Magazine)