936 Clayton Is Officially On The Market, And I’m Officially Claiming “You Had Your Chance”

How many of you remember this photo I shared not too long ago?

Every hand in the room goes up.

How many of you remember the post that went along with it, trying to give YOU first (actually second) dibs on getting this property, and having a say in final finishes and details? Every hand in the room goes up. How many of you actually took it upon yourself to contact me, or refer this opportunity to a friend? ONE hand in the room goes up! Kudos to that one hand. You know who you are.

As for the rest of you, it’s open season and you’ll be left to fend for yourselves, 936 Clayton is officially on the market, and it’s officially awesome.

By all accounts, this is an amazing property and I expect it will sell rather quickly, especially if you look at recent Cole Valley comparables, and how quickly they sold. Time will tell what the market price is for this home, and how quickly it sells.

My point is simply this…I keep trying to get you in the door first, you just gotta get in touch and stay on my radar.

-936 Clayton, 4bed, 3.5bath, $2,850,000 [MLS]
-First Dibs: Cole Valley/Ashbury Heights To The Studs Remodel With Big Views [theFrontSteps]

Four Buyers In Four Days…And 121 Beulah, How Did It End?

Hi all! I just wanted to give a little update to you from my world of San Francisco real estate.

In my humble opinion, the market is extremely hot for the right properties. On Friday I wrote four separate offers (five if you count that one property is two condos), in four entirely different neighborhoods, and have been in a multiple offer situation on every single one of them. My buyers lost out on a house near West Portal (by roughly $25-35k), and my buyer on a Outer Avenues house is still in the thick of a six offer situation.

My clients for a Cole Valley property accepted a counter offer from the seller, knowing that other offers were lurking. And thankfully, the sellers of a Russian Hill property that my client offered on realized cash truly is king in this lending environment, and wisely accepted our offer on their property, rather than the others with financing.

I would love to share details and specifics about all of these, but as you can imagine, I can’t. I am very busy representing a ton of people throughout the city at this very moment, and all of it is helping me gain that much more knowledge to help you.

As always, other agents are talking to me and sharing stories, potential buyers they may have for homes, and properties some of their sellers may sell. Why they don’t just post all of it for free on PocketListings.net is beyond me, but I’m happy they feel comfortable sharing with me.

If you, or any of your friends/family, need help with San Francisco real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My head is FULL of real estate opportunity!

Oh…and that luxury remodel on Beulah I mentioned two weeks ago….SOLD IN FIVE DAYS for $2,600,000 (asking $2,495,000). We can only assume CASH, and multiple circling.

Happy Monday! It snowed!

From Hero To Zero In Less Than A Week

You know that feeling you get when you’re about to push over the ledge of an 8 foot Ocean Beach bomb? Or the feeling just before you drop an untracked line of cold smoke pow down your favorite chute? Well that’s how I felt for my buyers when I saw this sign post out front of this lovely Cole Valley home at 156 Grattan.

My elation quickly turned from thrill and excitement to the feeling of pearling the nose of your board on said 8 foot bomb, crossing a tip and being sent cartwheeling, full yard sale, down your favorite chute with the entire chairlift above watching.

Alas…the house is not coming on the market, but has been rented. It only took one week to rent it, for a mere $6000/month, and they didn’t even have time to finish putting the sign up out front.

I keep saying, Cole Valley (and San Francisco) real estate is doing just fine…thank you very much.

As for me and my buyers, we’ll continue to lick our wounds until we come out on top.

But It’s A Buyer’s Market

Any of you see this article on Yahoo! about US Cities Where Homes Sell The Fastest?

Gather ’round…I have a story for you.

Yesterday, on behalf of my clients, I presented a full asking price, ALL CASH (that’s $1,350,000 George Washingtons), two week to close, sellers may “rent-back” ’til November offer on 49 Alma Street in Cole Valley. This is a home that was listed late 2010 for $1,475,000 and withdrawn in January of 2011.

…and our offer was not enough! We were one of FIVE offers!

We expected multiple offers, but here is the kicker – four of the five offers were also all cash! Are you kidding me!? Hang on…it gets better. Our offer was almost the lowest in price. One other offer below us. The winning offer had zero contingencies. That’s all cash, significantly over asking, no contingencies, two weeks til the seller gets their coin…Is it 2003-2005 all over again? WTF!

I know the details of the other offers, but for the sake of the lucky and thrilled seller, and the lucky and thrilled buyer, some things in a transaction are better not to publish until it closes and cash and keys are transferred. Job well done by listing and selling agent combined, and the buyer for blowing our minds.

Okay, I have another anecdotal bit of story for you.

Seven Divisadero hit the market a couple of weeks ago. Barely two or three days on the market…Bam! In contract, all showings canceled.

You cancel showings when you have an extremely good offer that you’re not afraid is going to fall apart. My guess is another all cash offer over asking with one simple inspection contingency.

That leaves several all cash buyers with over $1,000,000 to burn still out there looking.

But it’s supposed to be a buyer’s market…right?

-US Cities Where Homes Sell The Fastest
-Battle Royale: Cole Valley Versus Noe Valley [theFrontSteps]
-Multi Millions On A Monday [theFrontSteps]
-49 Alma Street [Property Website and Photo Credit]
-7 Divisadero [Property Website and Photo Credit]

Get Ready For A Bidding War. Vacant Cole Valley 2 Unit Building Hits MLS (806-808 Cole)

I’ve been riding my bike by this building for better part of four weeks (school started) watching it get prepped and cleaned, and today it’s finally revealed to us on MLS. It certainly doesn’t have that “wow” factor we recently saw on Brokerick, but I expect there to be a bit of buzz around this property. After all, it’s vacant, needs a little TLC, could be occupied by a family upstairs looking for income potential downstairs, and the location doesn’t get much better.

I’m not the only one expecting some activity either. According to the “agent only remarks” hidden from all of you (who luvs ya), “the property has already been appraised for an amount over the asking price.” Which begs the question, why not just ask a price closer to reality and save a bunch of people a bunch of time?

I know the answer, do you?

-2 Units on Cole Street, in Cole Valley, $1,150,000 [MLS]
-Cole Valley Comparables [MLS]
-Got Color? [theFrontSteps]

5 Steps To Flipping Property In San Francisco

1. Find the most unwanted wreck of a home (crack house) in a great neighborhood (Cole Valley) and buy it:


2. Document any 1964 Datsuns with a blown motor trapped in the garage for 40+ years:


3. Rip up disgusting kitchens and baths:



4. Go to Haight Street, buy a magic wand, tap it three times, and poof! Datsun gone and property remodeled!



[Notice the marketing remarks? "Two enormous storage areas which can easily accommodate surf boards..." So hip! Don't forget spell check. ;-) ]

5. Slap a new price tag on it…orginally $1,200,000, and now only $1,158,000, throw it on the market as a single family home, or maybe a two unit building, or even two separate TICs, give it a personalized property website, cross your fingers, and hope you can soon see some return on your investment (of time, money, sweat, and sleepless nights.)

It’s that simple…

-43-43 1/2 Downey, $1,158,000, Cole Valley [Single Family Home, Two Unit Building, Tenancies In Common]

Reader Reports: 1358 Cole Then ($800,000) And Now ($749,000)

The email:


Take a look at this Cole Valley condo. Purchased in April 2005 for $800,000, relisted [11 days ago] for $749,000. No upgrades, no permit history, save for a new roof.

I would prefer to remain anonymous.


Anonymous you shall remain, thankful we shall be to all of the readers, including you, that send in tips.

We’d like to add, when it sold in 2005 for $800,000 it was listed at $749,000. Will history repeat itself? We can only hope.

-1358 Cole Street $800,000 Then

-1358 Cole Street, $749,000 Now

Cole Valley Sales Too Low To Count, But Area Remains Strong Nonetheless

From the author of these graphs:

The monthly sales data for Subdistrict 5E (Cole Valley/Parnassus/Ashbury Heights) is so low that running percentage declines off of median values, as I did for Noe Valley, would have been worthless. As several of your readers and I myself pointed out, it’s hard to draw conclusions when there are very few data points.

Instead I ran the percentage declines off the “95th Percentile” value, which the statisticians among your readers will know means that 95% of the sales fall below that value. Hence, it represents a “high”, while excluding the potentially aberrational top 5% of values.

After looking at this chart, I sort of threw up my hands. With only 179 sales in over 6 years, it’s not sensible in my view to draw conclusions about monthly trends in Cole Valley, let alone to compare them to Noe Valley, where the “core” area alone — Subdistrict 5C (Noe Valley) — had over 900 sales during the same period.

So I re-ran the numbers and calculated medians based on annual sales. The second chart shows the results. I think this is much easier to understand. Again, with so few sales, one should be careful about drawing any conclusions, and with only 5 sales in 2009 so far, I think it’s too early to conclude that the apparent drop in median prices for 2009 will continue to be accurate. Rather, I’d say that Cole Valley seems to have been holding up pretty well.

And we’d have to agree and argue this is yet another reason why Cole Valley is superior to Noe Valley…



Thanks again to Misha Weidman for the charts and analysis. Good to have a data geek on staff. ;-)

394 Frederick, Before, After, Here And Gone (In Contract After 7 Days): $2,399,000

True, the market tanked. True, average home prices have come down in San Francisco. True, even A+ areas like Noe Valley and Pacific Heights have felt the pinch. False, it is death doom and destruction everywhere. Case in point, 394 Frederick St @ Belvedere in Cole Valley, is an awesome 4 bed, 4 bath, 3173 square foot home that spent a staggering ;-) 7 days on the market (one Sunday Open House, one Broker Tour) and received an offer with non-contingent financing (means they’re getting a loan, but they’re not worried about that loan approval falling apart), the offer is really close to asking, and it’s damn near a done deal.


Call us crazy, but we’ve seen a lot of activity in the market as of late, at all price points.

For those wondering, last sale was in 2005 for $1,755,000 (asking was $1,395,000) but has since undergone a significant remodel, and added roughly 1209 square feet.

Kitchen Before:

Kitchen After:

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

We’ve long stood by Cole Valley as a better investment than Noe Valley. Is the writing appearing on the wall? Time will tell. Maybe real estate doens’t suck after all.

-394 Frederick [MLS]

Battle Royale: Cole Valley Versus Noe Valley

There’s been a bit of discussion around this site and some others lately regarding whether Noe Valley or Cole Valley is a better neighborhood. Rather than spreading that conversation around, we thought we’d bring it under one thread for the world to see.

Cole Valley:

Noe Valley:

Please share in the comments below and take us away to a great weekend:

Cole Valley, or Noe Valley. If you had to choose, and why?

-Noe Valley on Tour de San Francisco (real estate) [sfnewsletter]
-Cole Valley on Tour de San Francisco (real estate) [sfnewsletter]

Getting Twisted in Cole Valley (1342 Shrader)

We’ve been in, around, over, and under this remodeled 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath home at 1342 Shrader in Cole Valley, and it is absolutely awesome. It’s coming to the MLS very soon (if not already) and some lucky person (hopefully our clients) will be throwing some killer parties in this great home.

The little cottage out back:

It’s a beautiful house by all accounts and we’re hoping our clients like it when they see it tomorrow, but we can’t help notice… Is that Twister we see?

What else are we to do when the country is in a recession?

Back to topic, there is a great elementary school just down the street (Grattan Elementary) as well as a lovely pre-school on the same block (Jubilee). Oh, and Cole Street is just around the corner, Haight is close by, a park right across the street and the “banana belt” weather Cole Valley gets in the Summer. Yes, we’re fans…

[Update: Sold $2,370,000]

-1342 Shrader.com, $2,985,000 [property website]

Earthquake Reality in San Francisco

As I sit here at the playground in the heart of Cole Valley, I’m looking at the homes around me (within eyesight) from a different perspective, that of how many were built after 1906. From what I can see…all of them!

What strikes me is the thought of that photo in a previous post which showed the city flattened (maybe someone can put up the link?). When selling a home today, we always say, “it survived the 1989 Loma Prieta quake”, but it’s scary to think of something stronger and all these homes around me gone.

That’s my morbid thought of the day. Cocktails!

Posted from iPhone

New Realtor “tactics”, a dog, a quote, and no contact info? (1445 Cole)

From a reader:

Hi guys,

Have you seen this listing?


I live a block away, and got a little invitation in my mailbox for a “private viewing” complete with wine and snacks, [five days ago]. I couldn’t go, so I haven’t seen the property, but I thought this was definitely a new tactic–esp. in this neighborhood. Thought you might be interested.

We’re always interested in what you (the readers) have to say, so keep sending those tips.

We do however, have some questions regarding the property website:

1) What’s up with the dog?

2) Can a Gustav Stickley quote help sell a home?

3) Where’s the agent contact info on the site (please, please, please correct us if we’ve overlooked it)?

That’s all for now…okay, one more…how about some bigger photos? Might we suggest using OpenHomesPhotography the next time around?

Isolated Panic amongst some San Francisco Realtors, or something larger?

Recently, we’ve been contacted by more than a dozen Realtors asking if we could “plug” their listings. Typically, this is not something we do as it defeats the purpose, honesty, and transparency of this blog, but we got to thinking…why not? We could make a little $$ from it, and help get the word out about some pretty cool properties that happen to still be available. Truth be told, a lot of “tips” from “tipsters” are essentially “plugs” anyway. Right?

Well, don’t worry, we’re not going to start whoring ourselves out…yet. But what has us thinking is the increase in requests to do so for properties that have only been on the market 2-6 weeks. In any other part of the country having a listing for 4 months is normal, and panic usually sets in around the 6th month that it is not sold, so why such alarm after 2-6 weeks? San Francisco Realtors are so accustomed to homes flying off the shelf, and when they don’t…they PANIC! Remember, a listing isn’t a “Stalefish” until 100 days have passed, so why all the panic?

We still say it all comes down to pricing, pricing, pricing, and location, location, location, and there is no need for panic across the board. We’re still hearing many more reports of multiple offers and properties flying off the shelf than we are of properties sitting, but is the national trend finally starting to hit San Francisco on a broader level, not just the southern districts? We’ve heard reports of homes in the Inner Richmond, Cole Valley, Westwood Park, Bernal Heights, Inner Sunset, Noe Valley (Gasp!), Parkside, Potrero Hill, and a few other nabes getting a bit stale. Properties that previously would have sold in the blink of an eye. So what gives?

We want your thoughts, especially you Realtors. Go ahead and comment anonymously, we won’t tell. And we certainly hope to hear from the Fluj, who, in case you missed it, we caught.

[If you'd like to check out what we've written about other neighborhoods in San Francisco, look to the right hand column and "Browse Site by Category".]

A reader spies…more copper siding porn! (4588 17th Street)

From a reader, with “love”, another view of the much talked about development on the corner of 17th & Clayton:

Ahhh shucks…I can’t resist:

Dear Alex,

I took your advice from your recent tour and checked out Cole Valley and went up to Tank Hill and took this photo for you, because I noticed in the pictures on your tour this property in the distance. I hope you like it.

BTW, I LOVE all the information you provide with SF newsletter, Front Steps (.com and .org) and especially the tour. The tour is WAY more fun to do after reading you talk about it, and way more fun to get in the car than using Google or Mapjack. I highly recommend buyers get out and drive their prospective neighborhoods like you suggest. Keep up the good work!


If you keep sending emails like that, with referral included like you did (and photos nonetheless), how can I not “keep up the good work” by publishing your photo?

For the record and all to remember, this site is nothing without you, or the “the” in theFrontSteps. ;-)


p.s. Please send the updated photo when all that copper turns green.

Ask Us: Cole Valley in general

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

Can I ask your professional opinion on Cole Valley in general?

I am concerned about the SF market even though it hasn’t been that bad. Not sure if another shoe will be dropping. I am not interested in selling, but am looking to buy out the other 50% share of a house in Cole Valley from a family member.

Since we already own half, it seems like we would be ahead of the game. I just wanted to ask you as a real estate professional. I noticed that an old bungalow house in the 1500 block of Shrader with 2 bedrooms went for 1.2 million. I think I must be missing something on this because that is out of this world.

I’m not quite sure exactly which bungalow house you are referring to, but here are two comps in the 1500 block that might fit the bill. Like I said in the email to you privately, it’s hard to give accurate assessments and professional opinions without seeing the property, but generally speaking Cole Valley is a very solid investment and someplace I wouldn’t be too concerned about a catastrophic decline in that area.

I’m hoping the readers can shed some more light on the matter for you. Anyone?

Thanks for reading and thanks for your email.

-Cole Valley [Tour de San Francisco (real estate)]

-San Francisco Real Estate watch: SF Chronicle’s recipe for fear [theFrontSteps]

Pleading for Property in San Francisco

This is not the first, and likely not the last we’ve seen of these, but now you get to see them too!

“Sorry for the SPAM, but I am working with a GREAT couple who is looking for a home, and wanted to see if you knew of a property that is not yet on the market but may be coming soon.

They are ALL CASH buyers, can close very quickly, and would consider a rent back situation. They are currently renting, so they are very flexible!!

Their needs:

* Condo or Single Family Home

* Pac Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina (not on liquefaction), Noe Valley, Eureka Valley, Cole Valley

* 2+ bedrooms(Min sq ft: 1550), 1.5+ bathrooms

* 1st floor (access to garden a plus)

* Formal Dining Room, Living room large enough to entertain

* 1 Car Deeded Parking

* Smaller building is preferred

Please feel free to call me directly at [ahhhh...not on our turf!] if you know of anything coming up. Given my client’s flexibility, and cash situation, it could be a

great opportunity for a client who needs to sell first before buying elsewhere.

Thanks for your help, and again, sorry for the SPAM, but given the lack of inventory and the current mortgage crisis, I figured it’d be appropriate to reach out to my fellow realtors and see if we can help each other out.” [these bolds are ours, the rest hers.]

Anybody else have buyers looking for exactly the same thing? A hunch tells me yes, and “all cash” at $400,000 or $4,000,000 are two entirely different things. Next time you choose to spam, include the price range.

Ask Us: 1233 Shrader, do you know what it went for?

Where readers ask and we try to answer:

It looks like 1223 or was it 1233 Shrader sold. It was across from Grattan [Elementary School] and though it was nice, I was shocked by the price. Do you know what it went for?

Thanks for your question. The address was indeed 1233 (here are details), and according to MLS, the property went into and out of contract at the new price of $2,560,000, but now shows as “withdrawn”. We saw the cleanup crews there and assumed the property did in fact sell, but apparently not. PropertyShark.com also shows no record of a sale.

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]

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]

Sittin’ on the Deck by the Bay (282 Carl)

by Greg Angilly

After 1 week off, we have yet another incredible city deck to showcase. This week takes us to Cole Valley, specifically 282 Carl St.


282 Carl St is a two unit building located in the heart of Cole Valley / Haight Ashbury. The upper unit has been very nicely remodeled including an incredible horizontal and vertical addition. The addition includes several decks which offer the future owner a ton of light and outdoor living and some fantastic views. I won’t lie to ya’ll – this view is of particular interest to me as the lacrosse coach at St Ignatius College Prep and as a sports fan in general. From the upper deck you can clearly see 70% of the playing field at Kezar Stadium. The Wildcats play several football and lacrosse games at Kezar. (Think Waveland Ave across from Wrigley). A great place to call home and to tailgate!

-282 Carl St [Zephyr Real Estate]

-Sittin’ on the Deck by the Bay [Greg Angilly]

Sittin’ on the Deck by the Bay (1580 Masonic)

From Greg Angilly

Deck of the Week – 1580 Masonic Ave


Last week’s deck offered unreal views of San Francisco from an unsuspecting location – Hayes Valley. This week, our deck’s don’t have a single view of the city. The 2 decks in the rear of 1580 Masonic Ave face the extremely peaceful and tranquil yard/garden. Located in Ashbury Heights/Cole Valley, 1580 Masonic is an incredible home opening onto a two-tiered deck. The deck is accessed from several rooms in the house and leads directly to a yard which is perfect for entertaining. Hopefully the future owners will purchase a BBQ, a weather proof ping pong table for the rear (think Finnigan’s Wake) and invite me to the house warming party!



-Sittin On the Deck by the Bay (270 Linden) [theFrontSteps...Greg Angilly]

Letters to the Editor: My take on our market/society

Hi sfnewsletter: First of all, your latest post “Good Bones” is insane! It is insane for what and where it is and by any manner with which we once looked at these things in the past. The Maximum overbid is also insane in this newsletter below (2155 9th Avenue that our friends bid on). As was that place on 15th that was in probate that we looked at. And much of what goes on in the hot neighborhoods is insane by past measures.
But by current and future measures, it is not insane. In fact it is completely sane. Continue reading