A Tale of Two Districts

by “Eddy”

[Editor’s note: This is the first direct post we’ve done from a member of the Stammtisch that is NOT a Realtor (as far as we know ;-) .) Let’s give “Eddy” a big welcome and thank you. We encourage all of you to participate.]

“So 2 new properties hit the market today at similar prices / features and I thought it would be fun to watch both of these listings mature. The first is 2679 Sacramento, a small 3 bed 1 bath single family home in Pacific Heights at Pierce Street for $1.55M. Needs work and a garage, but you can’t beat the location.


[Editor’s note: We chose the floorplan photo, because the other photos were crap! Rule #1 when putting a property in MLS, have the most/best photos you can right when it hits MLS.]

The other property is 689 Douglass in Noe Valley near 23rd Street for $1.895, a totally redone property that looks pretty clean inside and out and has a great location near 24th street. It’s also not too far up the hill in Noe to make it less desirable.


[Editor’s note: much better pictures…the winner, by far!]

Both properties probably appeal to similar buyers — young famlies looking for a single family home.

The Noe listing is boasting an “offer date” of July 17th; no doubt counting on some of the recent record breaking sales prices in Noe to drive interest there. The Sacramento listing isn’t touting an “offer date”, but there aren’t too many single family homes that come up in this area for under $1.5M. So it’s attractive in as much as you get to own a ‘home’ in a prestigious neighborhood and be a bit closer to downtown.

I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on pricing and marketing strategy. I thought it would be interesting to track these properties. For me, I’m going to say that Noe goes over asking and closes fast, while Sacramento sells for asking, or slightly under, after seeing a healthy DOM of 45-60 (Days On Market). How about you?”

Thanks “Eddy”. Much appreciated.

18 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Districts

  1. Nice comparisons.

    Noe Valley house looks nice and should go over asking.

    The Sacramento house’s website isn’t up yet, and i’ve got to imagine more pictures are coming through. 1.5 bath is somewhat tough, but if i could actually buy Sacramento for $1.55 million, I would feel that I got a ‘steal.’ Hence, if i was in the market for this house, I would bid over as well.

    That said, i’d like to go check them out first. Sacramento location wins hands down, but it doesn’t seem like one can expand much at Sacramento. I’d like to make sure i can put another full bath in.

  2. Hmmm.. for Sacramento “1-working bathroom”? Is it THAT bad? lol.

    Didn’t notice it didn’t have parking either. Makes things toughter now!

  3. Unfortunately for the Sacramento St. property, it’s on the south side of the block that has Perine Place behind it, which makes for a comparatively small lot size.

  4. The sacramento place has a lot going against it, but walk around the streets there and you will find a lot of quirky places; but they all have some charm and the location is tops. I think both properties are priced about right. The no parking and limited lot are why I predict this place sits for a while, but sells around asking.

    The Noe listing is going to soar off the market. Can’t wait to see what happens there.


  5. Yeah, the Sacramento lot size is only 1,100sqft… ie no back yard, and 60% smaller than the normal 25X100 lot size.

    What’s more depressing is….. let’s say you’ve been waiting to buy for the past 5.5 years ever since Sacramento was bought for $927,000 in March of 2002. You were 26 then, and now you wake up and you’re turning 32 and the house you wanted to buy for $900,000 is now asking $1.55 million! Meanwhile, you spent 65 months renting your $1,600/month one bedroom diligently ($104,000 after tax income). T

    he good thing is that your income has increased from $100,000/yr at 26 to now $300,000/yr at 31-32 years old for the past couple of years. After 5.5 years of living in a 1bedroom, you finally save up $350,000 for a downpayment (save $650,000 worth of gross income to get to 350K). But, at $1.55 million, you have to drop $310,000 for a downpayment, and $10,00 in closing costs for $320,000, leaving you with $30,000 left. But then you realize you want to spend about $50,000 adding a new bathroom, and a little remodelling. You can’t.

    Not to fret though, b/c you have now entered your prime earning power, and will make another $350,000 this year+. B/c as you get to your level, your income becomes a huge annuity every year until you retire.

    I know a lot of people like this example who waited for years, but who thankfully are making high 6 figures. They realize that life is short, and there’s no point being a miser (1bedroom at 30 years old, while making 6 figures). It is depressing to wake up 5.5 years later though, and see that all $1.5 million can buy is THIS!

    BTW, tax records say squarefootage is 1,450.

  6. Eddy,

    I really don’t feel these are by any means comparable properties.

    The Noe valley house is clearly priced below the market, it’s a redone property, real turn key. The current owner bought it in late ’05 got $1M, so this kind of renovation, factoring agent fees, architect, carrying cost would cause them to lose their shirts at the asking price. They didn’t ask for the “standard” 2.5-ish million for 4/3 in Noe, which leads me to think the house is SMALL. Given that the lot is only 2K sqft, that must be the case.

    However the renovation should bump the price to 2.1-2.3M land, think 116 Caselli Ave.

    The Pac Height place has problems, you’d expect to pay well north $2M for a two story nice Victorian. Lack of pictures which indicates old kitchen/baths and the *small* LOT are probably the main caveats.

    The potential buyers are very different, new stuff is bought with premium for people who don’t want to deal with contractors.

  7. Great points…

    Boom, your observations and math are spot on for a lot of people in this market. You really have to question if its ‘worth’ buying in SanFrancisco at all with that logic. Yet, here we all are!

    Someone, no doubt that those are different houses, but I do think that a lot of people would and do trade off PacH for Noe, allthough the price per sq ft gap is closing in all reality for non-view lots. Nevertheless, If you got $2M to spend and you want to own a SFH in SF you’re certainly looking at or evaluating these two properties. Again, no one here is suggesting that the Sacramento place is flying off the shelf anytime soon, and everyone here would agree that Noe is going to fly off the market. Just think its interesting to watch two similar properties to see what happens in reality.

    I’ll add that there was a very small, but incredibly charming house (Google Street View (GSV) here:http://tinyurl.com/2op5pp) that came on about 9 months ago for $995k and sold for $1.2ish. No backyard, no garage and small rooms. but charming as all heck. Oh and it was one story.

    Actually, now that I’ve google street viewed the old listing, I realize that this property is just a few houses down the block. Take a look; there are some incredible homes on this street. (GSV: http://tinyurl.com/3xz4d4). So, I do think that these places are similar. This is what’s in the market +/- 600k for a SFH in these two districts. I’m sure there are other examples, but these are my horses! :-)


  8. I jogged by Sacramento this morning before the BBQ gorge fest. Sacramento is charming, but it’s also narrower than standard too. A narrower than normal Victorian = really narrow. 18-20 ft wide maybe vs. 25ft wide standard.

    It’ll be interesting to see what happens! can’t wait to check it out mysel, and see if it’s 1,800sqft or 1,450 per tax records.

    Oh yeah, i checked out the $2.95 mil Lyon house. Was slightly disappointed. They didn’t do much to the basement at all.

  9. Did i read somewhere about this charming 2/1.5 SFH in Noe? Tues tour cancelled, and in contract already.


    [Editor’s note: You may have heard it from the other best source of real estate information in the city…the sfnewsletter, which was last published 6/29: “A Reader Notes a Noe Flip

    We take absolutely no credit for this find. One of our readers, E.L., recently sent us an email:

    “818 Noe – sold last year after quite a few days on the market (2 months??), in contract today with an asking price of another 100K after one weekend showing. Is this a strong market or what? Quite pricey on the $/sqft and smallish….the interesting part is that it didn’t easily sell last year, the current owner was an out of towner that paid quite a bit IMO at the time, but a year later it sells so quickly.”

    ‘Tis true: in September 2006, the single family at 818 Noe, a 2 bed, 1.5 bath, listed at $1,375,000, spent 75 days on the market, then finally sold for $1,350,000. That very same property just hit the market on June 19th (9 months after selling last) for $1,495,000, and got into contract on June 25th (six days on the market). Now…we don’t hold a crystal ball, but we’re betting it sells over $1.5. That is not bad for a 9 month hold. Thanks E.L. for pointing that out.”-sfnewsletter

  10. I will decline to comment, until I am able to get inside both properties. (Disclaimer: If I get busy, I may not make it in…so I’ll quickly say, from the MLS listing, the Noe home is blowing doors on the Sacramento home. You never get a second chance on a first impression and when that “MLS Auto-prospecting” goes out to countless people, if you miss them the first time around, they may not come back.)

  11. Thanks for the 818 Noe recap. In retrospect, I think many of us will realize that 4Q06 was a very good time to buy. Very slow, a lot of fear, and then everybody got paid. Does 1,160sqft sound right for this home? That’s what tax records show.

    [Editor: Which Home? 818?]

  12. 818 Noe had been listed last year for at least 1.475 before it was reduced to 1.375. I’m not a realtor but a neighbor so I don’t have exact figures.

  13. YEs, thnx for the update on 818 Noe St. Will be interesting to see what it sells for.

    That Bernal Heights house for $800/sqft is a joke. The seller scored.

  14. Hi Guys,

    Anybody know what the following sold for?

    3612 Webster

    2502 Broadway

    2467 Vallejo

    2255 Lyon


    I just got a postcard from a real estate agent. I’m most interested in 3612 Webster. Thnx.

    [Editor’s note: Absolutely! We did a post just for you. Thanks for reading, and spread the word!]

  15. Checked out Sacramento today. Here are some thoughts:

    Better than expected! I can see why someone would buy it, as there is potential to remodel the unfinished basement, and install a full bath and rent it out. The basement is around 650sqft. The house does feel like it’s around 1,600-1,700sqft.. or smaller than the recorded 1,800sqft in the tax records.

    It’s easy to do the math. The lot is only 17 FEET X 64 FEET vs. the standard width of 25 FEET. No backyard really at all, and the rear wall needs some major reshingling.

    Overall though, I can see this house selling for $1.5 million. Great location, good upside potential.

  16. I didn’t go inside; but I did a drive by of Sacramento and its on a great block. Again, a single story Vic about 2/3’d the size sold for just over a 1M a year ago and had no room for expansion. This one is 1 of 3 in a row of a similar style, with one of them having added a garage (so its possible). I think the sales price is close to listing price when its all said and done. And a small family could be very happy there.

    Anyone get to Noe to see the other listing?

  17. I saw Douglass yesterday along with about 30 other properties. They all tend to blend into one after a while. In order to protect the interests of some clients I have that may be interested in writing an offer on Douglass, I won’t discuss price. I did not get in to Sacramento though (son needed Kindergarten shots), so I can’t speak for Sacto. Douglass however was beautiful. Had everything a family is looking for…space (inside and out), hardwood, new kitchen, dining area, living area, good bedrooms, eastern exposure (blocks wind in the backyard), garage, nice room down that opens to yard, charm, and of course…location. If we write an offer and get blown out of the water, I’ll be sure to let everyone know. Until then, I have to keep my lips sealed about price, but I can’t imagine it goes too far over asking.

    Actually, a bit of a tangent here. Regardless of what I think a property is worth, and what my clients are paying, somebody who is just fed up, comes in and blows everyone away. Very common on property like this, when you get 10 offers, 7 are around asking, one is an _____ thinking he can steal it $500,000 under, and two are well above, and one of those is usually so outstanding a seller can’t pass it up (read: way over and with zero contingencies, often cash). The point of this tangent being, when there are so many buyers competing for the same place, logic often takes a back seat to emotion.

  18. Thanks for that update. Buyer psychology is really important. Somehow it feels good to lose a property or two before you’re comfortable overbidding to win a property, assuming that is what you need to do.

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