Category Archives: real estate

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Prices Jumping – Yet Again – Across San Francisco

The San Francisco real estate market grew increasingly frenzied as the first quarter of 2014 progressed, leading to another surge in home prices in virtually every neighborhood in the city. The high-demand/ extremely-low-inventory/ competitive-bidding situation is similar to what occurred first in spring 2012 and then, to an even higher degree, in spring 2013. After the market seemed to stabilize in the second half of last year, we didn’t expect to see it turn this fierce in early 2014, but right now it appears to be every bit as ferocious as last spring’s.

Of major metro areas, the new Gallup-Healthways survey ranked SF-Oakland second in the nation (behind San Jose-Santa Clara) on their index for “well-being.” Though already the second most densely populated city in the country (after NYC), San Francisco simply has many more people wanting to live here than there are homes available to rent or buy.

Sales over Asking Price
The heated competition for new listings coming on market has resulted in an astounding percentage of sales occurring above, and often far above, list price.

This chart below breaks down, by neighborhood, the average sales price to list price percentage for the 90% of homes selling without price reductions. Of the areas assessed, Bernal Heights came out on top with sales prices averaging an incredible 21% over list prices over the past 2 months.



Median Sales Price Spikes
Typically, the first quarter of the year does not show a dramatic increase in median sales prices over the previous quarter – in fact, a decline is not unusual due to holiday market dynamics. But the first quarter of 2014 saw large spikes in median prices for both single family homes (houses) and, especially, condos in San Francisco.
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medianbyyear

How Much Is My Home Worth?

“How much is my property worth?” “How much could we get for our place?” “How much do you think my condo would sell for?”

San Francisco Median Home Price Graph, What Is My Home Worth

I get asked different variations of this question every single day, everywhere I go. It doesn’t matter if I’m at a dinner party, bbq, school event, or even on a field trip with my 7 year old. It’s okay. It’s totally normal. Everybody wants to chat real estate. It’s why I started this blog, and it’s a go-to if conversation about Blue Bottle versus Ritual Roasters gets so heated it’d be better left settled in the Octagon. Everybody wants to know if their home value has gone up, and everybody wants free information about the market and their property. So how does a real estate professional accurately answer this question in a market where (currently) home values seem to be going nowhere but up every week, and every new sale sets a new high water mark in your area?

The answer is this, nobody REALLY knows. A couple things I do know are Zillow Zestimates do you no good in San Francisco, your property is worth more than your cousin’s in Kansas, and your property could be worth more than it ever was. I know what comparable properties have recently sold for, and I know how I can help you market, show, and price your property to get the maximum number of people through the door in an effort to let the market dictate what is the maximum value your property is worth.
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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:

1626_GH_2_100913

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.

 

San Francisco Real Recent Real Estate Sales And Listings

A look at the past couple of weeks of sales and listing activity for San Francisco, as well as some other real estate tid-bits to tie you over until the next issue…

To be added to the list and receive this in your inbox bi-weekly, just drop me a line.

I should point out, this is the most real time information you’ll get for most recent sales unless you have access to MLS yourself. :-)

-sfnewsletter/MarketTracker

333 Grant Avenue #501: Simply Union Square, Simply a Shopper’s Paradise, Simply A Perfect Pied-A-Terre, Simply $629,000

If you like coming to, or living in, San Francisco, and shopping is your thing, 333 Grant is quite possibly your nirvana. A chip shot away from Prada, Banana Republic, North Face, Nike, Neiman Marcus, Levi’s, Macy’s, Salvatore Ferragamo, Louis Vuitton, Apple, Burberry, Chanel, Maiden Lane, American Apparel…you name it…it’s all here, it’s all around San Francisco’s Union Square, and 333 Grant is in the heart center.

If a San Francisco shopping experience is secondary to your exploits as a dining connoisseur, the location of this Landmark Building is sure to delight! Walk out your door and across the street to Cafe de la Presse, round the corner to Le Central, have a pint (perhaps this weekend) at the Irish Bank, stumble over to Belden Place and take your pick of cuisine, enjoy a stroll on over to Bix for an elegant cocktail and mellow jazz, perhaps try some oysters and fresh seafood at Farallon, get some dim sum in China Town, or simply sit at Starbucks on the corner and watch the people go by (I would recommend Cafe de la Presse over Starbucks any day, but that’s me.)

Built in 1908 and declared a landmark in 1981, the Historic Landmark Building (333 Grant) is in the Union Square section of San Francisco’s Financial District. Converted in 2004, The Landmark Building contains 39 condominium homes & lofts designed with preservation of history and architecture in mind, while paying attention to details suited to modern day living. These homes are designed to accentuate urban elements, while providing a tranquil and inviting city retreat.

Visitors to your home will be greeted by the impressive neo-Renaissance façade with towering 40 ft columns. Unit #501 contains one bedroom, bonus room, one bath, has one (leased) parking space, beautiful brick accents, wood floors, mahogany kitchen cabinets, contemporary features, modern kitchen with Bosch appliances and Amana refrigerator, stackable washer & dryer, extra deeded storage, and a location to die for. Entertaining is easy with the bright, open and spacious layout of the living, dining, and kitchen areas, and guests can easily park in the Sutter-Stockton garage just around the corner.

Almost directly across the street from the Famous Chinatown Gate, The Landmark Building is truly a wonderful property, in an excellent location, right smack dab in the middle of the nation’s best city, San Francisco.

It has a perfect 100 Walkscore, is a short walk to FiDi, SOMA, and BART. The area has excellent gyms (Sports Club LA, Equinox), and did I fail to mention is a stone’s throw away from Rick House? Well…

Asking price is $629,000, it’s easy to show, and if you don’t love it, I’ll buy you an espresso across the street at Cafe de la Presse.

HOA fee: $753/mo.
Parking: $309/mo.
Contact Alex Clark (the owner/editor of this site) for details.

-333 Grant #501, 1+bed, 1 bath, 1 park, $629,000 [MLS listing]

Just Say Eichler…

Following on the heals heels (thanks for catching the spelling fail “word bitch“) of a post I did earlier today about some homes I know are available for sale, but not yet “on the market”, I present to you 76 Amber Drive, an original Eichler, in the Eichler rich zone of San Francisco’s Diamond Heights neighborhood, that had been “quietly” marketed for a good couple of weeks before finally hitting MLS today.







Sexy it is not. Eichler it is, and sometimes that all you have to say…

-76 Amber Drive, 4 bed, 2.5 bath, $819,000 [MLS]
-Ditch Your Realtor, Get Ahead Of The Pack By Working With Me [theFrontSteps]
-Mid Century Modern With An Emphasis On Modern [theFrontSteps]
-More Off Market Real Estate [PocketListings.net]

San Francisco Real Estate Market Update, Listings, & Sales Week Ending 3/9/2012

The latest and greatest sales data for San Francisco Real Estate:

sfnewsletter/MarketTracker sales information and data is a bi-weekly publication I provide via email. As much as I try to repost it here each week, sometimes time does not allow. Please shoot me an email if you or anyone you know would like to be added to the list.

Another Russian Hill Sale And Testimonial

Another happy client has been so kind as to share a testimonial of the service I can provide to you and your friends and family.

I’m a commercial real estate professional – a few years back I chaired the commercial RE side of our trade association. My wife used to buy retail centers for a REIT. We know the value of having an experienced professional on our side. When we decided to buy a place in SF we chose Alex to represent us. We’re delighted with our new home and would recommend him highly.
-Ed & Susan



Thanks guys!

If you’re in the market to buy/sell San Francisco, Marin, or Peninsula real estate, please don’t hesitate to give me a shout.

-More Testimonials

Battle Royale: San Francisco Or Palo Alto, If You Had To Choose

We’ve had a lot of battles over the years here on theFrontSteps. Some have been rather quiet (Tokyo versus San Francisco), while others like New York City versus San Francisco, San Francisco versus East Bay, and Cole Valley versus Noe Valley continue to rage on.

The comparison of places one might set up shop, lay down roots, call home, or start a business is never going to end. It has always been, and always will be, a popular topic, and a debate sure to spark any conversation. It’s an important discussion point, and one that would certainly need to be hashed out for any future residents or visitors alike to San Francisco or other places. Therefore, it’s time for another Battle Royale that we somehow failed to do previously…

San Francisco or Palo Alto, if you had to choose, and why?

The argument has to begin something along the lines of “to each his own”, but in all fairness San Francisco clearly has a lot more to offer any hip young person that might be working at a hip young startup. Our nightlife is better, our bars are better, our restaurants are better, our access to recreation is better (this could easily be debated), our coffee is better, our surf is better (no…Santa Cruz is NOT part of “greater” Palo Alto), our hipsters are hairier, our marijuana is more legal, and our gays are gayer (because we’re free man…we’re free).

On the other hand, Palo Alto clearly beats San Francisco’s ass in regards to summertime weather, cleanliness of streets, college vibe, shear brain power concentrated in one place (Stanford), and being a great place to raise a family. But that’s just what we think.

What do you think?

Your comments are appreciated, will be read by thousands, and could quite possibly make or break a buyer’s decision on whether to buy a home in San Francisco or Palo Alto. No pressure…

-Battle Royales [theFrontSteps]
-Tokyo Or San Francisco, If You Had To Choose [theFrontSteps]
-San Francisco Or New York City, If You Had To Choose [theFrontSteps]
-San Francisco Or East Bay, If You Had To Choose [theFrontSteps]
-Shit Real Estate Agents Say [theFrontSteps]
-“San Francisco or Palo Alto” [Uncrunched].

[Full disclosure...I represent clients in both San Francisco and Palo Alto, so of course I only have good things to say about both locations.]

Buying San Francisco Real Estate Is As Easy As…Not Giving Up Before You Start!

I’ve been getting a few phone calls and emails from potential buyers looking to get into the San Francisco market, and their general mood is that of despair…mostly because of my latest posts about how hot the market (particularly Cole Valley) is right now. I’ll just come right out and apologize for giving the impression that we are back to the days of boom. We are not.

As is the case with our weather here in San Francisco on any given day, there are pockets of sunshine, and clouds of rain. While nicely presented (staged) homes, in great locations, marketed at competitive prices (whether $400,000 or $4,000,000) are practically flying off the shelf with all cash/zero contingency offers, there are certainly countless numbers of not so lucky homes and sellers that either missed the mark with pricing, timing, or presentation, and those homes are getting stale, dropping prices, and selling for much less than asking…if they sell at all. Depending on when the seller purchased it, often many homes are selling for much less than what the seller paid! So it’s definitely not all roses all across the board.

With that said, what can you do to increase your chances of buying a piece of San Francisco real estate. The most important thing for you to do as a buyer is get pre-approved with a good, reputable, local lender or mortgage broker (I can recommend a few). Getting pre-approved doesn’t cost you a dime. Don’t even look at homes until you know without a shadow of a doubt what you can afford. That includes browsing online on Trulia or Zillow.

Once you have taken the pre-approval step, there are tools available to get you searching for the most accurate, up to the minute listings both on MLS, and “off market“.

Once you have an idea of what it is you can both afford, and what it is you desire, you should absolutely get in touch with a licensed real estate professional to help you find and secure your property. You can certainly try to go it alone, but when it comes time to write an offer, 99% of the listing agents out there are going to prefer to work with someone that is represented by a Realtor, rather than someone that thinks they can do it alone. Put two identical offers on the table. One from a buyer that has an agent who knows the game, and the other from a buyer wanting to represent themselves to “save” some money and nine out of 10 agents will go with the Realtor represented buyer all day long. If you want to go discount, go Redfin. At least you’ll have an agent representing you.

Once you’ve selected your agent (It’s like dating, so don’t just go “top producer” or “market specialist”…find someone you can spend hours hanging out with. Someone that might share similar interests.), work with them using all of the tools available to both of you, and be in touch frequently. Understand the market fluctuates day to day. Know that while some properties will receive multiple offers, some won’t, and gauging at what price a home will sell in such a market is often difficult and not as easy as 1+1=2. Running and analyzing comparable sales is only half of the story (our market now is much more robust than only a few short months ago in what should have been a busy October). Be ready to act quickly, and be flexible with regards to what times you are available to tour homes. See any, and as many homes as you can that might be a match.

When you find the home you like…don’t hesitate. It could be gone the next day. Make an offer, consider shortening any and all contingencies, and be prepared to go back and forth on price and terms. Don’t take it personally! Every buyer wants a good deal, and every seller wants top dollar. It will get heated.

If you don’t get the property, don’t dwell on it. There will be more opportunity…I promise. Move on. If you do get the property…well that’s another blog post altogether.

Don’t get discouraged by my stories of multiple offers, cash buyers, and an ultra-competitive market. As much as those stories are happening, there are also many more stories of Stalefish homes finally being sold after many, many months on the market. There are foreclosures (good luck with those), short sales, and many off market opportunities. You just gotta know where to look, have patience, money, and determination. Your property is out there. Don’t give up based on a few blog posts about a hot, hot market. And definitely don’t give up before you start.

-Four buyers in four days, and 121 Beulah. How did it end. [theFrontSteps]
-Factoring weather when buying a home in San Francisco is anything but simple. [theFrontSteps]
-Search MLS
-Search Not on MLS