A San Francisco Photo Blog Worth A Look

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You might be wondering what the hell a picture of Heineken beer has to do with San Francisco. Nothing, but the blog this photo came from is pretty damn sweet, and the author/photographer (a fellow San Franciscan) has done a great job capturing San Francisco by photo (not the cheesy, touristy crap either).

“Plug 1″, the author, has been reading theFrontSteps, and contributing photos to us from time to time, for quite some time, but I just now had the time to sit down and really check out “What I’m Seeing”, and I’m seeing some good stuff. I invite you to check it out as well, whatimseeing.com.

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Photo Source: Duh! “What I’m Seeing

theFrontSteps Goes Tweet!

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I’ve done the sfnewsletter, and this here blog for years now, and believe me when I say I love(d) every minute of it. They are both, quite simply, an incredible drain on time. So…I’m spending more time on my Twitter page talking about things…among them San Francisco real estate (of course). If I could figure out how to get my Sold Properties Reports to populate on Twitter, that would be a great thing! (Techies?)

I invite you to check it out, and be patient while I get through this busy spell and hopefully will resume blogging San Francisco Real Estate in the not so distant future, or move on to the next great thing to keep you informed on our market.

Oh…and we’re building a new site for all of you Realtors out there. Make sure you subscribe to receive our posts via email, so you don’t miss the launch of that technology, and a chance to DO MORE DEALS!

Tweet! Tweet!

But I Just Had To Have Them Both!

A reader tipped us off to a recent Yahoo Shopping Article and thought you’d like to share in the findings:

Steam Shower
“I just had to have a steam shower. My whole bathroom was torn up to install the pipes and the fittings, the glass door needed to be sealed in a certain way, the ceiling specially painted to resist mold. Unfortunately, I never have time for the spa day I fantasized about. I don’t even take long showers. I’ve used it maybe two times. If you divide the amount I spent by two, I probably could have purchased a small interest in Bliss Spas.” — Richard Mishaan

Commercial-Grade Stove
“When I moved into my home six years ago, I was sure I needed a commercial-grade stove in the kitchen. I had visions of dinner parties and guests gathering around for a home-cooked meal. I neglected to consider one important point — I don’t cook. I have yet to turn the stove on.” — Nate Berkus

Or, in the case of 469 Clipper, which appears to have finally found a buyer at the current $765,000 asking price (sold July of last year for $1,020,000), you could get the steam shower and the commercial grade stove all in one…no extra charge! That is, if you just have to have them both.

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Battle Royale: San Francisco’s Infinity Towers Versus Some Peninsula Townhouse

We haven’t done a Battle Royale in a while, but we thought this recent email could not only shed some light on the steals and deals being thrown out by The Infinity to get their Towers sold, but also a bit of debate as to whether it’s better to put your money in San Francisco, or Peninsula real estate.
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From the reader (edited slightly for syntax):

Hi,

Love your blog!

I would like your opinion…

I’m looking to purchase either a new 2 bedroom townhouse in the peninsula or else a 1-2 bedroom condo at The Infinity. I will be purchasing with 4-6 other people for The Infinity (volume discount, we each get our own place, 3 people will be in the $800K -1.4mil range so i think we will have a lot of bargaining power), or trying to find a good discount for a new townhouse in the peninsula. Which would be the better investment?

I’m [f*cking young!], make $110K a year, first time home buyer, would probably rent out a room at either the condo or the townhouse, and prefer not to do any remodeling.

Thanks!

Go Giants or go home! San Francisco all the way. Way better investment in our eyes (we are biased), way better location, and at your age, you’ll likely have a helluva lot more fun. Just make sure we get an invite to the housewarming party (have you heard about our fresh lime margaritas), and there is no lifeguard on duty when we cause a ruckus in the pool! Marco…Polo…Fish Outta Water!.

Thanks for the email, glad you like the blog. We like you.

Ask Us: What’s The Real Estate Forecast For Bernal Heights

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

We pulled this from Lily on Why the Fuss About Noe Valley. The question is pretty simple, the answer, however, is very complex:

What’s the real estate forecast for Bernal [Heights]?

The Fluj has already taken the bait and provided some answers on the thread, anybody else care to chime in here on Bernal Heights?

Our answer…it’s headed down along with the rest of the city and will bounce around the bottom for quite some time. We’d say the free-fall appears to be over, but the feeling of panic is definitely out there amongst buyers that the bottom is here, and there are buyers making offers across the entire city feeling the deals won’t get much better. Our advice to our buying clients, buy if you feel comfortable, then tune out for the next 5 years and enjoy your home. This applies to every nano-market the city has to offer.

Claude Oakland Designed Mid Century Eichler In Marin

Oh if we had time to publish these things when they’re hot off the presses. Oh well, we’re still fans of all things architecture, especially when Eichler is involved, so we’ll throw them up for your delight. Coming soon to the Lucas Valley (Marin) real estate market (and what we’d almost consider an epicenter of Eichlers), 26 Oak Mountain Court.

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It’s a rare gallery model Eichler designed by architect Claude Oakland, which has been extensively remodeled and expanded to reach 2,400 sq ft, 4 bedrooms, and 3 full baths. This home was featured on the American Institute of Architects home tour and is truly spectacular inside and out (and the cycling down the road is nothing short of world class).

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The home will be priced at $1,550,000, is not yet on the MLS, and of course, we can always get you in early.

-26 Oak Mountain Court [Renee Adelmann]

Glen Park, Charles Warren Callister Designed Mid-Century Drooler

ooh la la!

You know we often get stuck on the mid-century homes in and around the San Francisco Bay Area, and if you’re gonna spam us, it better be good (or at least mention mid-century or modern.) This home at 66 Everson surely fits the bill of good & mid-century. A little bit heavy on the dark wood side of the scale than what we desire (makes us feel like we’re in a Sauna with the Squirrel and Silvia from the movie “Hot Dog”), but an awesome home nonetheless, and someplace we’d love to come party, so let’s get you in it!

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Designed by renowned Bay Area architect, Charles Warren Callister, and built in 1963, the home is detached, and situated on a wide lot with unobstructed views of downtown. The home is 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, plus a large office. Landscape design by Casey Kawamoto, asking $1,849,000, and not yet on MLS. But of course you’re connected (as are we), so you’ll be happy to know there is a “pre-MLS tour” this week on May 21 from 4-6pm.

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Go ahead. Crash the party, suck back some beverages, and sample some hors d’oeuvres. Just don’t forget to take a look at the home while you’re there, and please don’t get lost in the garden.

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Or the shed. (Yes…too many good photos to just pick one. Deal with it!.)

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Don’t forget our invitation to the housewarming. We make a mean fresh lime margarita that would go well with that kitchen.

-66 Everson [Property Details: 3 bed, 2.5 bath, $1,849,000]

We’re Loving Your Backside!

Dear 134 16th Ave,

We have had our eyes on you for quite some time and are heart broken to see you must go. We must tell you, it’s not your frontside that originally grabbed our attention.
134 16th Ave
Yes, your frontside is nice and you’re very attractive upon first glance. We’re also aware that you have a great inside (although we’ve heard you underwent serious counseling to get where you are), but it’s really your backside we admire….ooh, la, la!
Exterior 134 16th Ave

Or maybe it’s the fact that you have recently found a suitor that makes us that much more attracted to you. You know, the whole want what you can’t have thing. Regardless, you’re one hot property and we wish you well.

Sincerely,

Your secret admirers

-134 16th Ave, asking $2,695,000 and recently in contract. [MLS]

St. Regis Residences San Francisco: A Sales Update & A Little Horn Tootin’

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Because I had a listing not too long ago at the St. Regis, I like to keep up on that building, and lucky for you, I like to share what I find. Although young, considerably younger than my colleagues (most of whom I completely respect and admire) selling in the building, I’m no dummy.

Here is a list of most recent activity at the St. Regis (188 Minna). What is important to note on all of the “active” listings, every single one of them has either been on the market before with another agent, or been reduced by a large enough margin to reset the DOM (Days On Market). So they are hardly “new” and hardly “active”. In fact, I’d go so far as to say every listing there is a Stalefish, which by no stretch of the imagination means it is a bad property, just getting a little long on the market, and a great opportunity for you buyers that have your eyes on the St. Regis.

Let’s take a look at the most recent sales: Unit 27D, which started in June of 2008 at $3,475,000, reduced countless times, eventually down to $2,995,000 in December 2008 and withdrawn from the market. Relisted in January 2009 at $2,550,000 and recently sold in March 2009 at $2,300,000. That is $1,175,000 (34%) less than original asking price and it took nine months to get there.

Unit 25D was the only other 2009 sale, and was originally listed in September 2008 for $3,995,000, withdrawn in December, relisted with a new agent in January 2009 at $3,200,000 and eventually sold April 2009 for $2,500,000 ($1,495,000 or 37% less than original asking price) or $1402 per square foot and eight months on the market.

For comparison, we sold unit 38B three months prior to unit 27D, and we sold it in seven days for a higher price per square foot than what 27D recently achieved, and many would argue 27D to be a nicer unit. At the time we advised our clients to take the offer we had on the table and run to the hills, even though it was below asking (asking $2,395,000), and we knew we’d be laughed at by some other agents selling in the building and rumors about our sale would quickly circle, which they did, and which is exactly why we kept the sales price confidential.

So that brings us to the facts, and good comparisons to see what has happened to high rise luxury real estate in San Francisco in just one year, and how a little foreshadowing saved our clients time and money. Unit 38B sold in March 2008 after seven days on the market (with us), for roughly $1350+ per square foot…cash. Unit 27D listed three months after our sale for $1940 per square foot, took nine months to sell for $1337 per square foot. Unit 25D listed six months after our sale, eventually sold eight months later for $1402 per square foot.

We’ll let you do the math and discuss. For us, the writing is on the wall, and if you’re interested in a unit at the St. Regis, or currently live there, we’d be happy to discuss all high rise luxury sales and listings with you (email alexclark@gmail.com).

Happy Friday!

Joe, Bill & Jim Set Off To Sell A House, Jim Falls Out, Who’s Left?

More shady agent shenanigans

Agent Joe secures listing from Seller Bill who had previously had their home listed with one of the top agents (says the agent) in San Francisco, Jim.

Agent Joe puts home on market.

Home sits on the market for 3 weeks, with no offers.

Seller Bill receives an email from top agent Jim stating (in so many words), “How’s your sale going? All of my listings are selling in two weeks with multiple offers.”

Seller Bill tells new agent Joe about the email.

Agent Joe laughs and shrugs and digs into MLS.

Shady agent Jim found swimming in a school of his own Stalefish.

Seller Bill and Agent Joe hoping to close escrow in June.

If you look really closely, you might see shady agent Jim. Actually, he’s everywhere…you don’t have to look that hard.

Data Yo! San Francisco Median, Supply/Demand, Sales Rate April 2009 v April 2008

Supply/Demand Single Family April 2009 v April 2008
Supply/Demand Condo April 2009 v April 2008
Supply/Demand Single Family & Condo April 2009 v April 2008
Sales Rate Single Family & Condo April 2009 v April 2008
Sales Rate Single Family April 2009 v April 2008
Sales Rate Condo April 2009 v April 2008
Median Price Single Family & Condo April 2009 v April 2008
Median Price Single Family April 2009 v April 2008
Median Price Condo April 2009 v April 2008

Source: San Francisco Real Estate Advantage Online

The Fun Continues: “It Need Renovated”

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REO. Price Reduce from $399,900 Contractor special. It need renovated. Nice and Quite, one bedroom one bath on the ground floor,installed security system [as opposed to....?]. SOLD AS IS condition. Pre-qaulify loan letter from Wells Fargo Bank. HOA including the earthquake insurance.

Sometimes it’s just fun to poke fun isn’t it?

There is a story here though. Last sale January 2006 for $410,000, in contract today around $299,900.

-1348 Scott #B [MLS]

Reader Reports: Who’s Getting Your Loan Approved And Why?

“San Francisco’s number one closer”:

While you’re at it:

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/video

Once you are at the link, look for the “7 On Your Side” tab in the Video Library part of the webpage and click it.

You’ll see a picture with the heading “Marketing Ploy Disguised as Government Offer” and a HUGE Mike or Darius. That’s the video – watch it!

What’s the connection you ask?

The Loan Sharkz is a mortgage company that went belly up—Bryco Funding a few years back. It looks like the guy who answers the door [in the ABC local video] looks just like one of the guys who made the “Loan Sharkz” video and starred in it…

Indeed it does, and as always, thanks for the tip!

Anybody can be involved with this site. Send tips, story ideas, content, love (or haight) mail to thefrontsteps@gmail.com.

Neighborcity.com…Waste More Time

A reader kindly forwarded us to a “new” website called, Neighborcity and we gotta say, aren’t Trulia, and Zillow enough?

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We didn’t see anything on this site worth discussing that isn’t already found elsewhere. To us, this site is a complete waste of time. Focus your time on Trulia, Zillow (if you must to get a very, very, very rough estimate of your home’s value), and your local MLS. If you want community, go to Trulia, but beware the Realtor answers are usually loaded to bait you in.

Oh, one last thing, check the ranking of agents on Neighborcity. We’ve learned our lesson about calling out fellow agents, but that data is clearly flawed.

Thanks for the tip to the site, best of luck to them. We are fans of technology in real estate and applaud all efforts, but we weren’t impressed. We look forward to be proven wrong.

[Editor's Note: Okay, we took another look at the site from the perspective of someone shopping for a home somewhere in the country. We're used to dealing with internet savvy buyers and sellers, so we're a bit jaded. We can see value in the site for those that are just beginning their home search and land on this site a la Google.]

It’s A Great Time To Buy!

There, we said it, the words everyone expects us to say, because we’re Realtors, “It’s a great time to buy!” The truth is, it really is a great time to buy (provided you can get funding). There are properties that are getting into contract for ridiculously low prices compared to six months ago, and when they close escrow, some jaws will drop. Buyers are negotiating everything under the sun, and most sellers that are selling in this market do not have the luxury of waiting it out.

Sure, if you buy now, you’re going to look like an idiot to all of your friends because you bought in a spiraling market…but that will be short-lived. Have them over for a few cocktails, show them the nice CeasarStone counters, and wood floors you were able to put in with the money you saved on the purchase. In five years, you’ll look like a champ, in ten, the king of the world (your tiny little world that is, because you really are an insignificant speck of dust in the grand scheme of things, just like us).

If you plan on making San Francisco your home for the rest of your years (as many do), or at least the next 5-10, there are so many opportunities out there, we can’t even begin to point them all out.

There you have it. We said it. It’s a great time to buy (if you can).

Just a reminder, theFrontSteps is under construction

Although it may look exactly the same to you, behind the scenes theFrontSteps is going through a massive redevelopment project and it’s going to take some time. Thanks for your patience, browse and converse on the current posts at will, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or concerns regarding San Francisco real estate.

(Don’t be surprised if a little tech gremlin makes things blow up, or the power goes out from time to time during this project either.)

Changing Technology on theFrontSteps

I’m officially forcing myself to switch my blogging platform here behind the scenes and as much as everyone is telling me, “It’s so easy!”, “It’s seamless”, I anticipate many, many bumps in the road. With any luck, it will go easily and we’ll be up to blogging full speed and all that good stuff soon enough. If not, blame WordPress.

Millennium Tower, San Francisco: A walkthrough, a few photos, a little scoop, and my opinion

For those of you that read this San Francisco real estate blog on a regular basis, you’ll know I’ve been watching the progress of many of the new developments around town. One of my favorites happens to be Millennium Tower (301 Mission). Not because I’ve sold many units there, but because it truly stands out (and above) from the others.

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(Yes, that is the Infinity you see way down there, and this shot is only from the 26th floor.)

Don’t get me wrong, I love the other new developments (towers) as well, and I’d love to show any of you around all of the buildings, because they all have their attractions, but Millennium Tower just seems to have that vibe. That…je ne sais quoi…It seems like it will have the same high end/high net worth residents (at least one penthouse in contract at +$10 million and….damn I want to tell you more, but promised not to) as those in the St. Regis, but twice as many amenities at half the dues…not to mention a Michael Minna restaurant. The Infinity feels much more Hard Rock Hotel meets San Francisco (not a bad thing at all), and One Rincon Hill with the dazzling views, just doesn’t have the location (trust me, I’ve had several clients turn away from the location) to put it in the same class as St. Regis and Millennium Tower, not to mention the uncertainty of Tower Two.

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I must say I am a bit disappointed with the ranges, and islands in the kitchens at the Millennium, and that some units don’t have deeded parking, but those are easy enough to remedy. The building is solid, and the finishes are very high end. The views are extraordinary, the location is getting better, and the amenities are through the roof. The units are still selling very quickly and many owners losing their money in the stock market have bought multiple units here, so all signs still point to a successful development by Millennium Partners, and I can’t wait until they start moving people in.

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(Penthouse terrace views.)

There are still some very choice units available at the Millennium and several at many other developments around town. I haven’t heard of any negotiations or price incentives at Millennium Tower, but I know some of the other developments around town have been offering them up, and the “off market” trading that is going on at many of them is nothing short of extraordinary.

I have more photos, and a lot more details, but you’ll have to contact me if you’d like to learn more.

Name It and Claim It

We thought about trying a little something new here on theFrontSteps for your Friday. That is to test your knowledge of your surroundings, since we’re all experts right? ;-)

It goes like this: we post a picture of something in San Francisco, you name it and claim it (your uberknowledge of San Francisco and its environs). We’ll start off fairly easy, and hopefully get harder and harder should this idea gain traction. Feel free to submit photos (thefrontsteps@gmail.com), but if you do, make sure to tell us exactly what it is and where you find it.

What reads on the blue arrow you can’t see? Where is it….exactly?

A good reason to get out and explore this weekend.

Have fun! Happy Friday.

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.

Cheers!!!

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. ;-)