Dropping Knowledge: San Francisco Property Pie Chart

I know you’re all like me, you drive around town looking at all the wonderful, insanely expensive property we have here in San Francisco. I know you wish you knew how many of the properties you see were single family homes, how many are condominiums, how many are big ol’ properties of which you’d love to be the landlord (or maybe you already are). My company came up with this nice little pie chart for all y’all. Enjoy:


Ghosts of Sunset Past: The Moss Flats

Imagine an Outer Sunset made up entirely of sand dunes, streetcars repurposed as oceanfront homes and clubhouses, bohemians having all-night parties that include midnight swims in the icy Pacific and this:

Charles Depew, late of Saginaw, Michigan, built 1626 Great Highway in 1908, minus an architect but likely inspired by Bernard Maybeck. The three-flat building, known as “The Moss Flats,” has survived long enough to join the National Register of Historic Places, decades after the last of its colorful, ramshackle neighbors dissolved into dust. It’s on the market, listed for $1.349 by similarly old San Francisco school agency Barbagelata.

Outside are the maybe-Maybeck-inspired shingles; inside are three two-bedroom tenant-occupied flats decorated in surfer chic:


Plus ocean views from the top-most unit. Longtime owners, plus longtime rental units, plus longtime exposure to salty ocean air may be a caveat in this case, but assuming the owner of the last standing evidence of Carville has no immediate plans to sell, this is your best chance to get into a pre-Doelger Outer Sunset historic property, steps from the beach and with a steady, proven income flow.

-Article by Larry Rosen: Contributing writer and San Francisco local sharing his thoughts with theFrontSteps.


Buyer Testimonial In Russian Hill – Opportunity For Long Term Guests And Corporate Renters, And A Little Scoop On 1177 & 1179 Union Street

Don’t ask me why, but for the past 5 years (at least) I haven’t been asking my clients for testimonials. True to one of my New Year’s resolutions, I’m going to begin gathering as many as I can, and sharing them here. Beginning with this one…

San Francisco is a city littered with real estate agents that look at buyers and sellers as “just another lead” to make money, but Alex is the exceptionally rare breed of real estate agent that just “gets” it.

Alex has helped me purchase two homes and there are two things that set Alex apart from the rest of the pack – patience and commitment. First, Alex was not only willing, but also actively enthusiastic about showing me a broad spectrum of properties while I was still unfocused in my search so that I could educate myself on individual micro-markets. Many agents would have considered this a waste of their time.

Second, once I had started down the negotiation process, Alex was completely committed to my cause – i.e. getting the best deal possible. Even when the 12th hour was nigh, and it looked as if I was about to walk out of what was already a great deal because of some overlooked loose ends on the seller’s part, Alex didn’t pressure me at all to close the transaction. Instead, Alex worked with me to execute an especially well crafted negotiating maneuver that extracted thousands more from the seller.

Well done, Alex.

Thanks Jason! It was a pleasure working with you. I hope your property treats you right.

For anybody interested in a quintessential San Francisco location for your long term guests, US Open of Golf (coming to San Francisco’s Olympic Club this June) or The America’s Cup (coming to our waters 2013) Visitors, or corporate executives, the units will be offered as a VRBO, corporate, and (potentially) long-term rentals. Details are at [temporarily offline].

For details on this transaction, feel free to contact me directly. Essentially, it was/is a two unit building recently converted to a condominium. The units separately were asking $865,000 for the bottom, and $1,065,000 for the top, for a combined $1,930,000. My client was able to get the property for under asking price, even though multiple offers were received.

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
-Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Sea Cliff Buyer [PocketListings.net]
-Marina Two Unit Building “Not On MLS”, $2,800,000 [PocketListings.net]

San Francisco Pocket Listings, Not On MLS Opportunities, And Buyers Looking!

I’ve been resisting the urge to continually share the opportunities popping up in San Francisco on my new venture, PocketListings.net, but I can’t hold back. Here is a summary of what is going on “behind the scenes” in San Francisco real estate that we’re gradually bringing to center stage.

-Thirty-three hundred square feet in Pacific Heights for $2,875,000:

-A “creative buyer looking for development opportunities…flexible on property type and price.

-Three bedroom Potrero Hill Condominium For Sale, but not on MLS.

-Telegraph Hill Buyer looking to be on the East Slope, and desiring views. Price up to $2,000,000.

-One bedroom condo in Dolores Heights, very much for sale, but also “not on MLS”.

-Should you find yourself itching to move to Marin, here is a nice 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with 4 Car Parking, also “not on MLS”.

-If you want to get way the hell out of dodge, perhaps this Daytona Beach, Florida “family compound” is for you.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there. The moral to the story is that what you see on MLS is not close to the entire picture, AND PocketListings.net is pioneering a platform to give the buyer a voice. We plan on completing the real estate circle, if you will. Think of the countless properties that could be marketed before MLS, thousands that get withdrawn or expired from MLS, bank foreclosure inventory, and so much more. If you’re an agent, I’d encourage you to use it, and if you’re a principal, I’d encourage you to browse it, then tell your agent to join!


Inner-Sunset Sprouting Condos

Inner-Sunset, home to much good food, a few good bars, a few bad bars, the prohibitively expensive Andronico’s, and UCSF, will soon be home to new condos. On my block alone (9th Ave., past Moraga St.) there are two sites going up or planned to go up. One is adjacent to my deck, where I once saw the Bay, and now see the back of someone’s bedroom to be. I have no idea if this very tall building will be apartments for rent or condos for sale, but it will have several units, a garage, and a penthouse. On the other side of the street, where a long defunt Moraga Market has been little more than place to try out graffiti tags and dump unwanted sofas, construction is also in the works. The lot has sold, a hearing has taken place. All that’s left is to break ground.

Finally, quite done are the condos on 7th Ave., near Irving St. The photo above is from before the facades were placed. Now they are gorgeous Art Deco looking things with burnished copper and huge windows. The agent, Gary Small of Zephyr, tells me that the units are luxury one and two bedroom condos with underground parking, and that the two free-standing cottages that stood in a lot behind the building that sits on the street have been revamped. Some lucky millionare can thus own a little house all his or her own!

It’s the most action the Inner-Sunset has seen since a bunch of drunks from the Mucky Duck tried to scale a MUNI train. Sadly for we middle income buyers, the luxury condo lable means these new homes, exciting though they are, will not be ours.

Oh well. Drinking at the Mucky Duck is always an alternative.

PHOTO: Socketsite

Ask us: How can I add a roof deck to a 2-unit building?

Where readers ask and we (the community) try to answer:

Firstly, thanks for such a great site! It has really given me some amazing insight into the San Francisco market. One item I’ve been trying to research to no avail, is just how hard it is to add a roof deck to a two unit building. Specifically, are the permits easily obtained? How long would such a project usually take to construct? Estimated costs etc? I’m not looking to do this without professional help, so if anyone has any recommendations of an architect and/or contractor who has any experience with roof deck design/construction it would be greatly appreciated.


Unfortunately this came to us anonymously so we can’t thank the reader or direct any experts to them directly, and that, in turn, opens the door for you to plug the hell out of your (or anybody you know) services in the comments. Just answer the question first, so we all benefit. ;-)

If you want $1.2M, then why (the f-bomb) don’t you ask $1.2M!?

As you know, I was a bit out of the loop lately in regards to San Francisco real estate, and forced to get my updates from a few other sources out there, like the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Business Times, and sooooo many other “sources”. My God, I thought the world had ended and Michael Phelps had won the Democratic Presidential Nomination! (Oh no wait…he took the place of GOD!…according to the media.) So you could imagine my shock and awe when I called the agents listing 505-507 44th Ave (an Outer Richmond two unit building asking $930,000) and they told me (within the first sentence mind you), and I kid you not, “Don’t even bother asking us to make an appointment if your client can’t pay $1.2M.”

Wait? Come again. (That’s what she said.) It’s listed on MLS as $930,000, the offer date came and went and you’re telling me you want $1.2M?

It was actually a bit worse of a conversation than all that I’ve shared (I can get a bit annoyed), but I cooled it down a bit in the end and got the agent to commit to “trying” to make an appointment. Turns out they had four offers previously and the client decided they want $1.2M.

Shitty market we’re in when you have four offers on the same Outer Richmond two unit building, isn’t it?

-505-507 44th Ave [sfnewsletter.com listing detail page]

Stats & Numbers: 2-4 Units July ’07 versus July ’08

Click on Image for Larger View

Click on Image for Larger View

NUMBER OF UNITS is the equivalent of number of sales/transactions. For condominiums, each unit is treated as a sale. For 2- to 4-unit buildings, the “building” is treated as a sale.

NUMBER SOLD is the number of properties in the market segment that closed escrow during the month.

NUMBER FOR SALE is the number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month.

MEDIAN PRICE (SOLD) reflects the “middle” price point of a group of properties that have successfully closed escrow on a monthly basis, i.e. half sold for more and half sold for less than the median price. Tracking the movement of median prices over time provides a good indicator of the direction market forces are moving.

If the percentage change is positive between the two periods then there is upward pressure on prices in that market segment. If the percentage change is negative between the two periods then there is downward pressure on prices in that market segment.

AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET (DOM) reflects how long it has been taking (on average) to draw an offer on a reasonably priced property exposed to the market. The AVERAGE DAYS ON MARKET is defined as: The average number of days it took all of the properties that went under contract during the period to accept a first position offer.

MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY (MSI) is a measure of how long it would take, in months, to sell the existing inventory at the current sales rate for the specific neighborhood and property type. The MONTH’S SUPPLY OF INVENTORY is defined as: The number of active properties on the market for one day or more during the month, less the number of properties that have been withdrawn or expired, divided by the number of properties that have gone under contract during the month.

* * * * *

Data provided by Terradatum.

Source: SFAR

Ask Us: How sound is our building as it relates to earthquakes

Where readers ask and we (the community) try to answer:


I own a building with 4 other people here in San Francisco and we need to get good advice on how structurally sound our building is re: earthquakes. I want to be able to trust the opinion and not be concerned with getting an opinion skewed to make them money in the retrofit. I’m hoping you can suggest a few names/companies. Basically I’m looking for an inspection (willing to pay for it) like a contractors inspection, only exclusively as it relates to earthquake soundness and we would like a report with specific suggestions on how to move forward.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.



Let’s see if the community can shed some light. If not, you’ll see an answer from us shortly both here online and in your inbox. Thanks for the email.

Stats & Numbers: 2-4 Unit April ’07 versus April ’08

From Garrett, as always, with love:

District Map (PDF)

2-4 Units
District 1 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 7 8
Median Selling Price 1,450,000 1,380,000
Average DOM 95 90
District 2 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 8 7
Median Selling Price 1,037,500 1,200,000
Average DOM 47 61
District 3 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 1 0
Median Selling Price 800,000
Average DOM 26
District 4 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 0 1
Median Selling Price 1,072,500
Average DOM 57
District 5 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 11 9
Median Selling Price 1,675,000 1,500,000
Average DOM 55 35
District 6 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 6 2
Median Selling Price 1,612,500 1,250,000
Average DOM 55 49
District 7 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 2 2
Median Selling Price 1,685,000 1,875,000
Average DOM 185 15
District 8 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 1 1
Median Selling Price 600,000 1,520,000
Average DOM 32 10
District 9 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 7 3
Median Selling Price 1,160,000 978,000
Average DOM 126 70
District 10 Apr-07 Apr-08
Number of Sales 1 2
Median Selling Price 770,000 742,500
Average DOM 83 54

Data Provided by SFAR

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.

Ask Us: It was sold, but what’s up? (1474 17th Ave)

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

1474 17th ave was sold on 1/25 for $1mm (3000sqft duplex), but I did not see anything in MLS or any other signs of activity, nor was there any trace of it in the sfnewsletter. Was this a pocket listing? The price seems to be very reasonable, so under what situations would the seller be willing to let it go at that price without inviting any public offers?

Sellers do crazy things sometimes, and maybe that was the price they wanted…a cool million.

Regarding the sfnewsletter question. sfnewsletter pulls data directly from MLS, so if it was not in MLS, it will not be on sfnewsletter’s reports…yet. (For those not receiving sfnewsletter, this is an example of the report this reader is referring to. sfnewsletter does the same report for just sold.)

Beyond that, you’ve stumped us. Maybe some readers know what happened with this property. According to propertyshark.com, it did indeed sell as you mentioned, but MLS is empty. Our web is only cast so far. Readers?

And weren’t we just in that area?

Stats & Numbers: 2-4 Units (12/06-12/07)

From Garrett with love.

District Map (PDF)

2-4 Units    
District 1 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 8 11
Median Selling Price 1,262,500 1,178,000
Average DOM 100 55
District 2 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 2 2
Median Selling Price 1,200,500 1,064,500
Average DOM 55 53
District 3 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 0 0
Median Selling Price    
Average DOM    
District 4 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 0 0
Median Selling Price    
Average DOM    
District 5 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 11 13
Median Selling Price 1,350,000 1,230,000
Average DOM 47 47
District 6 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 4 3
Median Selling Price 930,000 1,500,000
Average DOM 64 349
District 7 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 2 4
Median Selling Price 1,687,500 1,937,500
Average DOM 54 31

District 8 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 2 3
Median Selling Price 2,195,000 1,640,000
Average DOM 106 70
District 9 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 4 2
Median Selling Price 1,000,000 1,312,500
Average DOM 39 41
District 10 Dec-06 Dec-07
Number of Sales 1 0
Median Selling Price 880,000  
Average DOM 76  

Data Provided by SFAR

Truth be told: Protected tenants and what you need to know

This is from “Zang” on Ask Us: Upside to purchasing 2 units with protected tenants. This is just plain wrong:

Having just dealt with a greedy protected tenant I have more than a few thoughts about the tremendous downside of buying a property with protected tenants.

My case started in 2001 and just settled this summer. I innocently purchased a 2 unit bldg. to live in, with a protected tenant, and thought I’d slowly go about doing needed repairs, renovations and offer the tenant a huge lump sum (50K) to move out. At this point I didn’t know how greedy the tenant was and didn’t know about his financial resources. The tenant laughed when I made this cash offer and said he wanted $150K to move out. Seriously.

Shortly after I was sued by the tenant for all sorts of murderous activities thats on the boiler plate lawsuit forms the tenant’s lawyers use… for $500K, yep, half a million, not a typo. Not one of the charges stuck when it got to court recorded depositions…since in fact the tenant had only nice things to say about me but he wanted money and had me hostage.

My options were: sell the property at a minimum of 50% loss in value, pay the tenant his request of $500K, or Ellis the building & start a legal defense. I ended up hiring a bunch of attorneys, filing insurance claims and Ellising the property. I even had to hire a firm to keep the insurance companies and the insurance lawyers “in line” because of course, the first thing any insurance company says in response to a claim, is “we’re not responsible”.

Even though it was clear that I had NEVER done anything wrong to the tenant, his lawyer threatened a trial. I wanted my day in court, but my attorneys (I had an ever growing team of 6 attorneys by then) were deathly afraid of trial. Seems in SF most judges are pro-tenant. And even if the jury hears that the “protected tenant” plays golf all day, sails on their private yacht, drives a new Mercedes Benz, while checking on their bonds… (I wish I were making this up)…and has their own vacation property in Carmel, all while claiming disability and hardship… the case is bound to go the tenant’s way. HERE’S THE RUB: Even if the jury DETESTS the “protected tenant”, if they award the tenant even $1 of damages, the landlord automatically has to pay ALL of the tenant’s legal fees (in this case his fees were over $78K). All jury judgments are tripled and the juries are not told this while they are deciding the case. So there are cases where the juries, thinking they are doing the right thing, give a low award to a greedy tenant, only to discover later that the award was trebled AND all legal fees automatically awarded. And, insurance companies might pay towards the landlord’s defense but they WILL NOT pay judgments….so, trial is for the foolhardy.

How to calculate the downside and the cost? Difficult, because how do you calculate the grief and loss to life when going through something as crazy as all of this. The building was tied up for years… when it could’ve been generating money. My funds were tied up. I couldn’t enjoy being at the building and wanted to minimize my contacts with the tenant, who was paying $389/mo. rent, as much as possible. Legal fees, NOT reimbursed by eviction insurance and personal umbrella policies, were roughly $90K.

WHAT DID I LEARN? Ellis the property the day after you buy it, before you’ve met the tenants and they get a chance to claim you’ve done something wrong to harm them personally. It’s a business decision and you just move forward. Ellising would’ve saved me, but I thought the tenant deserved something for moving from a place he’d been in for 28 years… and that I’d try to negotiate something. I was so wrong. Lest you think Ellising is easy… it isn’t. You MUST have a law firm who has a GOOD track record with Ellis filings. There are strict deadlines that must be observed for several months and SEVERAL YEARS after you file for it…. one missed deadline means you have to start all over again AND can result in a harassment lawsuit from the tenant. In retrospect, filing for Ellis would’ve been a lot easier than the dealing with a frivolous, costly, time consuming lawsuit for 6 years!

I always wonder what Dashiell Hammett would have done with a story line about a tenant extorting a half a million out of their landlord…it’s a crime novel begging to be written.

Thanks for the insight and thanks for reading. We hope a few people pass this on.

Time for cocktails!

Suckers for Mid-Century Modern

If you want to guarantee your spot on our front page, you need only include two words (or is that three?)…Mid-Century Modern.

Our reader notes that it “looks like prices might finally be coming down a bit in Marin”, but we have no way of knowing for sure as we generally don’t have our finger on the pulse up there (yet).

And the agent notes: “This (non-Eichler) mid-century home will be hitting the market later this week ($925,000), however I thought I would let you know about the property in advance just in case you, or someone you may know, might be interested.”

Our reader obviously knows someone interested, and our sweet spot, so this agent now enjoys a bit of free promo of that sweet pad. Dibs on those chairs.

[Update 1/14/2008: Price reduced to $895,000]

-Agent site/listing

-Our Mid-Century Posts to date [theFrontSteps]

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

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

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

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

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

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

-135-137 Cole [mls]

“A Trip Down Lake Street”

There have been a lot of Google searches and even more emails coming to us wondering if we can “point [you] in the direction of the ‘Walk Down Lake Street’” from sfnewsletter that many of you saw mentioned in this article on SFGate. Those that have already read it already know that we added a few comments that didn’t make the cut.

So if you missed the walk, here it is. In its entirety: [Follow the break] Continue reading

“The Ultimate Rock Star Pad” hits the market (542-44 Natoma)

Why settle for just one of the penthouse units (starting at $1,350,000), when you can have the recording studio and commercial condo as well (price upon request)? The San Francisco Soundworks building hits the market, and you know you’ve always dreamed of having “the ultimate rock star pad”, so here’s your chance.


Oh, to add to your credo in the music world yo!, you can say Alanis Morrisett, Radiohead, New Order, The Cocteau Twins, Ice Cube, Lil Jon, The Shins, Will Smith, and so many more recorded in your building. Who cares about the Scavolini cabinetry, waffled glass catwalk, cathedral ceilings, or Bauhaus design at that point.

If you happen to be the one buying it, we’d appreciate multiple invitations to the rock star parties! Or better yet, let us help you buy it.

Open Studio (preview) is Thursday 11/15 from 6-9pm.

If you want the history click here for the Vizzvox Voice Over, which is actually very informative, and provides a ton of insight.

We’re sold…totally and completely. Now about that rock star party…

-Soundworks Residences [property website, Paragon Real Estate]

-San Francisco Soundworks [website]

-Sound Works History [Vizzvox]

Cole Valley before and after (1233 Shrader)

We were impressed with the front when walking by, were wowed by the interior when browsing the website, and thrilled when we discovered the before shots to share with you. 1233 Shrader: 4 bed, 4.5 baths, 3095 square feet, 2 car parking, and just $2,695,000 [Update: Now $2,560,000]. Pennies on the dollar.



-Then and Now on MLS

-More Before and Afters [theFrontSteps]

-High Resolution Photos [Property website]

Stats & Numbers: 2-4 Units (09/06-09/07)

From Garrett. Thanks Garrett!!!

2-4 Units
District 1 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 8 6
Median Selling Price 1,044,000 1,252,500
Average DOM 43 50
District 2 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 11 2
Median Selling Price 1,050,000 1,482,500
Average DOM 30 90
District 3 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 0 0
Median Selling Price
Average DOM
District 4 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 0 1
Median Selling Price 1,500,000
Average DOM 131
District 5 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 10 5
Median Selling Price 1,367,500 1,625,000
Average DOM 44 45
District 6 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 8 5
Median Selling Price 1,214,500 1,199,000
Average DOM 76 31
District 7 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 5 2
Median Selling Price 1,830,000 2,163,500
Average DOM 52 20
District 8 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 3 1
Median Selling Price 1,385,000 2,900,000
Average DOM 51 25
District 9 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 9 8
Median Selling Price 1,100,000 1,117,500
Average DOM 61 27
District 10 Sep-06 Sep-07
Number of Sales 0 0
Median Selling Price
Average DOM

Data provided by the San Francisco Association of Realtors

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

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





From “Zang” on Cole Valley Before and After

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

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

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

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

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

A drop, a loss, and a few flips in Inner Sunset

by Anon8Mizer [with pictures and links added by theFrontSteps]:

Hi Alex — I like Inner Sunset because it’s one of the few neighborhoods in SF that haven’t sold out. So here are some observations:


The drop:

1416 18th ave (condo) in a duplex – Originally asking $699K a month ago, now back on market at $649K — a 7.2% drop. At approx 936 sq ft, kitchen & bathroom still needing remodel/update, I don’t think we have seen the last of the reductions… About the only thing going for it is the side by side parking…

The loss:

1362 8th ave (condo) in a duplex — Purchased Nov 9, 2006 for $840K, now listed at $849K. It needs new cabinets in the kitchen. A loss when you count commissions…[It's not over yet, but it is in contract.]

A few flips:

1275-1277 14th Ave (duplex). Originally offered with both units tenant occupied at $998k, the original owner then got rid of the tenants and sold it in March ’07 for $1,170k (17% increase when it’s sold with both units vacant and no eviction penalty). The new owner fixed it up, and now lists at $1,499k. Saw it Sunday. At 2300 sqft, the rooms are rather small. Top unit has the smaller of the 2 bedrooms connected to a bathroom to make it a master suite, which is weird. I didn’t see any shower, either. Just the bathtubs — the new owner will have to put in a shower. Kind of baffling. What were they thinking? I would be surprised if it sold over asking…

1327-1329 17th ave (duplex). This one is on an extra wide lot and the rooms are huge. A developer bought it a few months back at $1,515k, completely remodeled it, and now is listed at $2,320,000 and in contract after one showing. I liked the quality of the remodel work there. The master bathrooms are huge, but single sink only — no double sinks. Again, what were they thinking??? What a pity.

1324 11th ave (TIC in duplex). Originally the whole building was purchased in March ’04 for $1,115k by two TIC partners. Now 3 and half years later the bottom unit is listed for $795k alone after remodel… If you split the building 46/54, that’s an increase of $282k, or 53% in 3.5 years if sold at that price…[Now in contract.]

The Moral:

Moral of the story seems to be — In this day and age when busy professionals are only looking at ‘spanking new, move in ready’ places, profit is still here if you are willing to put some elbow grease into a building…

Sunset Idea House a.k.a. 1303 Alabama

by Tiffany Elston:

sunset In the spirit of keeping tabs on San Francisco’s green housing inventory, it seems only logical to draw attention to a green 2 unit TIC in the Mission: 1303 Alabama. The main unit is being retained by the owners. The second unit is a 1,200 SqFt home. The project is the result of a collaboration between Sunset Magazine and Meridian Builders and Developers Inc. and was designed to “take the magazine’s Idea House Program into a dense urban area for the first time, and demonstrate how to maximize construction on a compact site.” Interesting.

I got to preview the 2 bedroom 2.5 bath two Sundays ago during the Build It Green San Francisco Home Tour.

In terms of green building features, the house gets a high score: solar PV, recycled glass tiles, reclaimed wood floors, double insulated windows, dual flush toilets, rooftop garden, and the first residential windmill in the city (On a 1-year variance to see how the birdies fair with spinning blades.)

The unit is on the market for $1,089,000.

How long will it be before someone swoops in on this green baby? Wagers, anyone?

[Editor's notes: It'd be fun to see what "A" and "M" think it will sell for. I know "A" is reading, but what about "M". And WTF is up with the MLS photos of this place! You'd think better quality would be demanded of the agent.]

-Info on the Sunset Idea House

-1303 Alabama [MLS]

Cyber real estate conversations: some “funny shit”

From a reader:

a true e-mail interaction between 2 SF real estate watchers on 1303 Alabama St:


wanna hear some funny shit? no, not 306 Mullen, but that freaky-eco project on alabama and 25th. st. Be the first to see it this sunday 1-4 (and guess what, u don’t have to pay $25 to be on some pretentious architect tour!)

fyi- it’s north of $900 sq ft, for a tic in the mish!! woohoo!!


$900 per sq. ft? thats fucking funny, really funny.

It was wrong of these assholes to sell tickets then put it on the market. I saw dozens of scared shitless visitors on Sunday filing through the place with nametags “Hi– Rob me”


i agree, a tic [north of] $900 per sq ft. in the mish is funny; makes that silly lorax bldg on 22nd/valencia [3280 22nd St.] seem reasonable! btw, i think the whole bldg is a duplex, so 1 unit sells as a tic. i wonder how much dough they made from that architect-bend-over-take-it-up-the-ass-tour. actually, having a free open house 1 week later is fucking hilarious as well. funny shit!


My partner thinks I’m nuts to have thought of construction and future sale price of 425$/sq. ft.

1 million for TIC of 1200 sq ft.in the fucking hood? This I MUST see.

1303 Alabama St:


306 Mullen:


3280 22nd St. [look how quickly they sold, and it would be 3 units. ;-) ]:


That is some good shit and a good taste of what goes on. I was hesitant to post as you sent the same “shit” to other sites, but I’m over it, and always down for a good laugh. Thanks for sending in, and feel free to send more.