One big ass MLS

San Francisco Association of Realtors members now have access to active listing and off-market data for the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, El Dorado, Lake, Los Angeles, Marin, Mendocino, portions of Merced, Napa, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Francisco, San Joaquin, portions of San Mateo, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Ventura and Yolo. Oh the fun to be had….

Information below provided by Damion Matthews via PR Web

“California MLS Organizations Form New Mega-Data Sharing Group

New MLSAlliance™ Provides Single Search Platform to State’s MLS Listings

Boca Raton, FL. (PRWEB) July 31, 2007 – In an unprecedented cooperative effort, 10 Multiple Listing Service (MLS) organizations in California have signed a joint data sharing agreement forming the California MLSAlliance™, a new MLS gateway providing agents and brokers with a single source for accessing real estate information throughout California.

The new California MLSAlliance system was launched today and is now available to more than 150,000 brokers and agents, providing access to over 2.5 million active listings and off-market properties combined from 10 MLSs into one system. The system was developed and is managed by real estate technology provider eNeighborhoods, a division of Dominion Enterprises.

California is a prime example of today’s real estate market. Brokers and agents conduct business throughout the state, often across the traditional MLS boundaries. With the new MLSAlliance system, brokers and agents who belong to one of the 45 local real estate associations serviced by the 10 participating MLSs can now search one system to find listings spanning across the state. The joint data access agreement between the MLSs extends a blanket offer of compensation and cooperation to all authorized users of the California MLSAlliance.

Redfin Drowning in Red

by Damion Matthews

Glenn Kelman, CEO of discount real estate brokerage Redfin, recently boasted that “Most agents only close about eight deals a year. Our agents can close 100.” So when Carol Lloyd, the SF Chronicle’s real estate columnist responded, “They can, but do they?” I immediately set out to find the answer.

And the answer, my friends, is a big fat NO.

A review of Redfin transactions, as recorded by the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service from July 2006 to July 2007, shows that the widely publicized firm has had only 15 closed transactions in the city, with work divided among three agents (the bulk of it was done by one.)

It’s astonishing that such a small firm has received so much attention, with coverage nationally on “60 Minutes” and locally on the cover of the San Francisco real estate section. Kelman may not be a great real estate person, but he sure excels in publicity!

He’s also good at convincing investors that his company is destined for financial success when, in San Francisco at least, the evidence would suggest otherwise.

In July Redfin received $12 million in venture capital financing. This, despite the fact that in San Francisco — one of the strongest and highest-priced real estate markets in the country — the company has received, by my estimate, only about $125,000 in revenue to date!

That $125,000 figure is based on total commissions received, minus the 2/3rd rebate it pays back to its customers.

Redfin’s site shows that the company is currently doing business in seven other markets — like Baltimore, Boston, and San Diego. Could it be any more profitable there than in San Francisco? The agents would have to close twice as many transactions in Baltimore to bring in half the commissions they make here!

How Redfin is ever going to make money is beyond my grasp, but it hasn’t stopped the media from covering it as if Kelman is some business genius who knows more than all us old fashioned pre-internet dinosaurs. At least Carol Lloyd voiced the question no one else has bothered to ask. And now you’ve got the answer.

— Damion [website]

The changing face of real estate deals [sfgate]

“A Tale of Two Districts”: Update

On July 3rd, “eddy” sent in a great post (A Tale of Two Districts) comparing two similar properties in different locations, and whether or not one would sell faster than the other. The answer is clear, and not surprising.


689 Douglass, a 4 bed, 3.5 bath, single family home in Noe Valley asking $1,895,000 set an offer date, received multiple offers, and is in contract for over asking. We’ve been asked by the listing agent not to disclose any more information than that, but from our experience in this market, it was a highly competitive situation, and we’re guessing it is substantially over. No surprise, it is a beautiful home in a great location.


2679 Sacramento, a 3 bed, 1 bath, single family in Pacific Heights asking $1,550,000 on the other hand, is starting to get that Stalefish ™ smell, and as far as we can tell, may be looking at a price reduction in the not so distant future. No surprise. It needs work, has a funky layout, and seems priced to high.

However, as “eddy” recently pointed out in an email to us, perhaps 2030 Scott, a 3 bed, 1.5 bath, single family home in Pacific Heights asking $1.7M, is a better comparison to Douglass. It just hit the market and spent nary 10 days there before going into contract. Also, no surprise. Great, unique home, great location, tons of light and outdoor space. Priced right.


The moral of this story? We leave that to you.

A Tale of Two Districts [theFrontSteps]

689 Douglass [mls]

2679 Sacramento [mls]

2030 Scott [mls]

Still not enough inventory out there for everyone.

This week alone we have received the following emails, literally cut/pasted:

“Do any of you have any fixers in your pockets or coming up? Open to anything with parking, yard and delivered vacant up to 1.5.”

“Does anyone have a vacant lot for sale in SF for under $1M?”

“Does anyone have any pocket listings or upcoming listings in District 4? My clients have been looking for a great single family home around the $800k (with room to negotiate) price tag. They are pre-approved and ready to put together a deal. Your help would be greatly appreciated!”

“I have a client who is looking for a 15 unit and up building in San Francisco. If you have any pocket listings or know of any potential buildings please contact me.”

Just another bit of information for you to help formulate your opinions about our market. We never, ever, ever receive any emails asking if anyone has a condo pocketlisting South of Market. San Francisco is all about the micro-markets, or as sfnewsletter says, the nano-markets.

We took the liberty of putting these requests in our Marketplace. We’ll see if we get any bites.

#88 out of 1,247,612 (top blogs)!!

excellent.jpgIn a very short month and a half, we appear to be gaining a bit of a following, and we thank all of you who are stepping up to theFrontSteps.

We were recently notified of a very interesting stat that has nothing to do with real estate, and everything to do with us and you, our valuable reader.

There are currently 1,247,612 blogs worldwide on (our blogging platform), and we recently ranked #88 on their “top blogs” list.

Who beat us? A lot of blogs beat us, but this blog in particular caught our eye, for no other reason than the name, “I Can Has Cheezburger?”!? If you’re a feline freak, check that site out.

Thank you, thank you, and thank you for reading. Please continue to spread the word about us, as we think it will make your real estate discussions much more invigorating and enlightened.

Plugged by “Curbed”, You Gotta Love It [theFrontSteps]

Summer, Real Estate, and San Francisco

by Meagan Levitan

Question: What are the real estate signs of summer?

Answers: Still available! Price Reduced! Motivated Seller! Back on the Market — at no fault of the property!

Whether it’s the fact that people are out of town or simply that sellers have become too confident in San Francisco’s market, there’s an increase in the number of notices I receive from fellow agents hyping that their fabulous listing is “…hard to believe but still on the market…” or perhaps making a price reduction.

Recent reports in a certain local newspaper found that San Francisco sales are down but that sales prices are up — great if you’re a seller, not as great if you’re a buyer. News of the impact of subprime loans hasn’t helped the overall climate, either. Nevertheless, the City’s real estate market remains stable — and then some.

Inventory has dropped off — as witnessed by a paucity of new listings for the weekly broker’s tour on Tuesday. It was bound to happen, just as the thick, pea soup-like fog was bound to enshroud our city. Alas, it’s summer in San Francisco.

Incredible “boomtime”?

Pulled from the comments made by “boomtime” on “636 Steiner, an offer and a UFC style beat down”. We edited slightly and added property links so everyone is on the same page.

I call it the way I see it. It is an incredible Boomtime now, and I can’t wait to get my bonus this year. I have never experienced such a tight labor market, and salaries and bonuses are reaching new record highs. Imagine a 23 yr old, 1 yr out of school, clearing $115,000 in total compensation? Now, imagine the legions of more experienced people in my industry, and what they are getting paid. It is not uncommon for a 28 year old to get paid $300,000 and a 32 year old to get paid $500,000+. This is the prime demographic of home buyers in SF. Add a spouse, and you get another $50,000 AT LEAST + income.

1330 Chestnut St. anyone? In contract after one Sunday open house for $1.495 million purchased last year for $1.025 mil with a $200K remodel.

2255 Steiner St.[we think you mean 2255 Washington], a 2/2 asking $1.498 mil at under 1,500sqft with no view. Impressive! I bet it gets into contract by another $500,000/yr couple.

2249 Washington St., a 2/2 in contract for $1.525 mil. Who’s buying this?

2745 Laguna St., a 3/2 in contract for over $1.55 mil, purchased for $1.20 mil a couple yrs ago? Who’s buying this?

3042 Jackson, a 2/2 in contract for $1.595 mil, who’s buying this?

2865 Jackson, a 3/2, 1700sqft place with $775/month HOAs… who’s buying this?

2138 Beach St., a 3/2 in contract for $1.799+ mil. Nice location, lower unit. Who’s buying this?

The list goes on, and on and on. I’ve never seen so much strength in th $1.3 and higher condo market. Personally, I would look to buy a Single Family Home over a condo in this price range, but maybe these buyers just want simplicity?

The key is LOCATION and distinction of the property. Think about the best properties sitting atop a pyramid. The base, which is demand, gets wider and wider due to rising incomes, inflation, population=demand, as the supply remains fixed. Think of fine art appreciating over time. Same thing, and that’s why I’m amazed people are plunking down $1,000sqft+ for new properties in SOMA where there is an endless supply, and NEW becomes NOT NEW in 5 years. People start screaming the market is falling when a SOMA condo gets reduced. I’m just giddy because prices there, in my opinion, should be no more than $600/sqft, yet people are paying $800-1,600sqft.

Finally, I have met an incredible amount of people in SF who have help from Mom & Dad. Even kids in their late 20’s and older are getting help from Bank of Mom & Dad. Heck, on my block there are two 26 yr old kids living at home with Grandma! One underestimates the wealth in SF.

If you have thoughts or ideas you’d like to share, feel free to comment on this post, or you can also email us your thoughts, or submit them anonymously via our contact form. Either way, we appreciate all the participation from our Stammtisch and growing number of readers thus far. Keep spreading the word! And thanks for reading.

[Because we posted this on the front page, doesn’t mean we agree or disagree with the statements made. We simply think it provides an open door to all kinds of topics to discuss/debate.]

1330 Chestnut…How much for the remodel? [theFrontSteps]

Back to Basics

by Shanendoah Forbes

The current trend in the market is pretty clear and the Q2 numbers will support one basic fact. Residential Real Estate is slumping and Commercial Real Estate is firming up.

The Micro-trends break down more like this: Record setting sales for both office buildings and hotels. However, there have been fewer apartment transactions than we have seen the last couple of years.

Incredibly, we have seen an increase in values across the board. The smaller 5-9 unit buildings are still hitting record high sales figures and the 10+ unit deals are climbing as well.

Because of the number of “trophy” properties trading hands the average price per foot and price per unit has jumped significantly.

What about the “bubble”? Well transactions over all are down approximately 50% from 2004, yet values are continuing to grow.

Orbitz, Travelocity, Hotwire? Nope, just a Realtor incentive.

From one Realtor to another, the incentives are there. You just need to know where to look, or hope this shows up in your email. We’re keeping anonymity on this, but putting it out there for your viewing pleasure. It is not a totally stale listing, but has been on since at least April.

****Close a Sale = Commission + Luxury Vacation****

What: 2 week-free stay when your client closes the sale of a unit at X St. [in San Francisco]

Location: South Beach, Miami (beach front)

Description: A 2000 square foot luxury waterfront condominium with ocean views from every room. There is an Olympic size pool, three outdoor spas, gazebo with gas burners, gym, award winning tropical gardens, and valet parking.

Contact:…for more deals about this incentive.

We’re there!

Adios Coronet!

16121.jpgIt took them ages to get there, but they’ve finally destructed the Coronet Theater on Geary St. “This Streamline Moderne cavern is San Francisco’s Church of the Big-Budget Blockbuster. Both “Star Wars: Special Edition” and “Phantom Menace” made their debuts here, with people camping for weeks in the dumpster-strewn parking lot. Despite its massive appeal, gigantic screen, and state-of-the-art sound system, the Coronet was closed in March 2005 and is slated to be razed for a senior-care facility.”

The facility, the Institute on Aging is now officially under construction and doing some heavy destruction:



If you hurry, you might still be able to project a few hand shadow dogs and bunnies, maybe even a butterfly, on the big screen.


What it will be (photo from SFgate):


Thanks to our reader, AC, for sending the photos!