Real Estate, Sex, our Top Posts and Last Thoughts of 2007

No surprise here…sex sells…very well, and it even helps sell real estate, or at least Realtors. Our most popular post of 2007 was …and the Nominees for Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco are….

Second up was obviously the the results of said contest.

Third up was our Battle Royale: San Francisco or New York City…if you had to choose.

Fourth place was Nothing Special, just $421,000 Over Asking, That’s All.

Fifth were some of our Picture Medley posts.

This year (2007) was a very good year for theFrontSteps, and we thank you all for it. We’ve seen average monthly “unique readers” go from less than 200/month when we started (February 2007) to over 21,000/month currently. Not bad for a hobby. We hope to continue growing and bringing the real estate insight in 2008.

If you feel like passing the time until we ramp up again in 2008, feel free to join “James” and “Resort at Squaw Creek” in a totally off-topic discussion on whether Sugar Bowl is a better ski resort than Squaw Valley USA (we pick Squaw).  Since it’s so off topic, you might as well just discuss all things Lake Tahoe.

If you absolutely must see some real estate porn, check out this $3,000,000 House for sale in the Central Sunset. Yes, that is Central Sunset on Lincoln, and that is $3,000,000.


“John” sent us his take along with the link:

I went to the open house. Well, I was expecting a completely remodeled mansion. Don’t be fooled by the new exterior paint job. Instead, it is a fixer. Yes, it is large (4000+ sqft on main and upper floors). However, the kitchen and bathrooms are from the 50’s, floors are crappy and have water damage (maybe the roof has problems too?), windows are original single pane, next to a busy street (Lincoln), The in-law apartment in the basement is useless. The agent said the in-law had the permit, but I really doubt it.

What do I want to say? Well, it will be interesting to see how much this one sells for at the end of the day. Personally, I wouldn’t pay 1.5M for it, but who knows.

I love its colorful roof tiles though. It has some nice wood panels inside too.

If that isn’t enough to pass the time until your NYE celebrations, you could always send us a tip or letter.

Pray for snow, go buy a Tahoe house (it’s a great time for that), save up for a San Francisco home (our market is balancing out), and have a Happy New Year!

2645 Lincoln Way [Redfin Listing Detail page…not a Redfin listing]

Send us a tip [theFrontSteps]

We Live in a Bubble Here in San Francisco (This is where you’ll find the Tahoe discussion.) [theFrontSteps]

How to Make an Otherwise Boring Wall Extraordinary

You’ve seen this kind of art throughout the city, but rarely do you actually get to see the artist at work, and get them to take two seconds to talk to you. We were fortunate enough to have both unlikely events happen, and were able to convince Leon of Blue Jay Arts to send us an after shot of his hard work.


In case you didn’t gather from the photo (that’s okay, we still love you) this is Pesce, a restaurant on Polk Street @ Bonita/Green.

We know art is totally subjective, and the city always likes to put a lock down on anything new, but wouldn’t it be nice to see more buildings do the same?

“We Live in a Bubble Here in San Francisco”

by Meagan Levitan:

We can always say we live in a bubble here in San Francisco as we trend so differently than most other jurisdictions in almost everything imaginable — lifestyle, politics, attitudes and, yes, real estate. I recently saw just how real our bubble is.

I took a sobering trip to Southern California last week (why yes, I was visiting my in laws but that’s not why it was sobering). The number of ‘for sale’ signs in your average So Cal city located in Riverside County was nothing short of disheartening — disheartening for the countless number of people who find themselves in need of selling (by choice or not). And disheartening to see, firsthand, what has contributed to the state of the mortgage and real estate markets nationally. Even more sobering were the number of “Bank Repos” and “Foreclosure” signs on these homes for sale. It truly brings the headlines of the imploding mortgage market to a tangible level.

My experience here in the City of late is this: while there aren’t the number of foreclosures here compared to other parts of the state and nation, the mortgage market doom nevertheless has contributed to a general state of unease and worry about the future of real estate. I point to an increasing number of price reductions and deals falling out of escrow, or those just narrowly getting into escrow, because of financing concerns. Lenders may be nervous and buyers worry they’re stretching. Overall lenders still seem to like doing business in San Francisco. However for sellers, a financing contingency on an offer is a real hurdle to get over. In the past few years it was almost a formality that a buyer had to go to any lengths to get assurances their loan would come through. Cash is king for sellers. The more cash they see over financing, the more they lean to that offer.

The number of buyers continues to be plentiful but so does the number of said buyers who insist on staying on the sidelines — rather than buy — because they believe the market is going to change drastically.

For now, though, it’s the end of the year. Even though there are people looking to buy 365 days a year, it’s safe to say the next three to four weeks will be slow. New inventory will trickle in (though it can also be a terrific time to bring a property to market if there’s nothing else like it on the market at the time) and sellers are likely to try their best to get those listings that have sat on the market a few months into escrow. Deals to be had? Most definitely.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. Have a great week…



The Winners of San Francisco’s First Ever Sexiest Realtor Poll

What a battle it was, but in the end we have two winners.

For the women: Claire Chessen of Zephyr Real Estate.


For the men: Mark Choey of Climb Real Estate Group (part of Vanguard Properties)


In the end our male winner received more votes than both top women nominees combined. Impressive, and possibly a reason many of you live here.

So what do these sexy beings get for winning? Our coveted title of theFrontSteps Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco, and a nice link to their sites. Perhaps we should get them some “name riders” to hang on their signs too (might help with open house traffic.) Regardless, thanks for being good sports. It has been fun.

Runners up:

Women: Emily Dunn, Jennifer Martin, and Amy Blakeley.

Men: “Gorgeous” George Limperis, Rick Teed, and yes…Greg “Coach A” Angilly.

Now “AJB”, who’s question it was that started all this, can sleep at night. Thanks to all the readers that voted, it was tremendous. Make sure to check back for some choice comments that came through during vote tallying.

Suggestions on which contest you’d like to see next? Send them in, and don’t be surprised if we do this sexy thing again now that we’ve figured out the best way.

[Editor’s note: Comments for this post are turned off for a reason. Send a letter to the editor instead, if you absolutely must speak your mind on this one. If you plan on telling us something like “how lame”…save it, we’ve heard them all and we’ll just tell you to lighten up anyway.]

Tis the season of giving…from sfnewsletter

We stole the sfnewsletter code for their last “cocktail” issue, because they apparently kill old issues each week. Since we just linked to it and now learn it won’t be there, we pasted it here. Make sense? Happy Holidays.


Charts, Data, Trends

In a nutshell, our market has definitely been hit by all the doom and gloom. Not nearly to the extent you’re reading in the papers, but there is a lot of hesitation for a lot of people. On the other hand, there are some that have been on the sidelines for so long, they’ve found now the perfect time to get in the mix. A+ properties are still selling quickly, the south end of town (district 10) has been hit hardest by the foreclosures, and the gazillionaires really don’t care what the rest of the country thinks…they’re snatching up multi-million dollar trophy homes like they’re candy canes. The new developments are still selling very well, and general interest in San Francisco as a place to live and own property is still healthy. We’re anxious to see what 2008 will bring, more cold wind, or a sea of change? We’ll let you know.


You thought these were dead? So did we…to an extent. But they still exist and this one quite frankly blew our mind.

4924 17th St, a beautifully remodeled 3 bed, 3.5 bath home was asking $3,600,000 and sold for $3,900,000 on 12/10/07. The marketing remarks say it all, and give us an indication of what may have happened, “Attention Pacific Heights Buyers this is the home you have been waiting for.” Don’t get us wrong, 17th Street is a great area, but the traffic is through the roof and this was a significant sale for Parnassus/Ashbury Heights. We’ll take a gin and tonic thanks, and on to the next discussion…365 Richland a nice 4 bed, 2 bath Craftsman in Bernal Heights…asking $899,000 and selling for $955,000.

STOP! Look closer. This property was originally listed at $999,000 and didn’t sell. They dropped the price to $899,000 and look where it ended up…$955,000. This is what you need to know about our market…it’s still ticking along, and once the price gets to that “competitive” range, you can expect multiple offers and often an above asking sales price. The most important thing in this market is pricing, and we used to say staging, but apparently pink is no bother to some. ;-) Whiskey sour will do just fine.


You’ve been there before, as have we, and it goes something like this, “You don’t live in SOMA, you’re in South Beach!” Or, “I live in Russian Hill.” “No you don’t, you live on Nob Hill.” Print this out, take it to the party, throw some darts at it, and bet some egg nog on your knowledge.

Available at ORK Posters, found via Curbed SF.


Readers love it, Realtors hate it…our monthly list of Stalefish. What’s a Stalefish you ask? It’s simply a property that has been on the market 100+ days. Deals, deals, deals!

But what’s a Stalefish Tank without pointing out some big fish? We’ve already told you about 300 Sea Cliff.

But there are so many more Stalefish to note…we’ll take four shots of tequila please, and move on…Are you fortunate enough to have your inlaws joining you for the holidays (ahem!)? Well, when you’re walking off all that holiday gluttony, you might take them on a nice walk up to Coit Tower. When they pause to catch their breath, and take in the breathtaking views from 115 Telegraph Hill Blvd, you’ll sound so in the know when you point out that this lot could be theirs for a mere $4,000,000.

Earn extra points when you inform them it’s quite stale at somewhere around 900 days on market, and has only seen one price reduction from $4.5M in the life of the listing. Something tells us there are either some skeletons hiding in that closet, or a seller that really doesn’t care to sell. We’ll need to chase those tequila shots with four Coronas, lime and salt please.


There is a lot of talk these days about a jolly white bearded man who lives in the North Pole, and so we thought we’d try to find you a home next to him that you can discuss over a tasty mojito. Well… we couldn’t find anything that said, “Be neighbors with Santa”, but we did find a home that, once there, tells you where to go: 3563 Go Thatta Way, North Pole, AK. We kid you not. It exists and it’s for sale for $119,900.

Since we’re on the subject of the northernmost points, we thought we’d add that upon hours of searching for the perfect North Pole home to run in this week’s sfnewsletter, we also learned that Barrow, Alaska is about as desolate as they get, and way further north than North Pole, AK. However, we’ll still take an overpriced home in San Francisco over anything in either of those towns any day. But…it’s still fun to look, and it makes an Irish Coffee that much more appealing.


This one just came to us from Marin (Belvedere to be exact), so we’re hastily throwing it up, but stuck pondering the possibilities of back flips we could perform into that pool. Apparently, this home is now in contract for the asking price of $65M after three years on the market. Stocking stuffer perhaps?

Mining Magnate sets $65M Sale [Wall Street Journal]

Why no new posts?

We know you got distracted by all the pretty faces, but hidden in all that text of our sexiest Realtor post, we did say, “We’re going to take a break from blogging about real estate until the New Year.” Don’t worry, here is a good read that will help pass the time if you absolutely must get your fix.

If you haven’t yet voted, go ahead, it’s fun, and it won’t kill you. We’ll announce the winner this Friday 12/21/2007 at 1pm, so check back. Voting stops 12/20 at 11:59 p.m.

…and the Nominees for Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco are [theFrontSteps]

sfnewsletter cocktail talk [sfnewsletter]

…and the Nominees for Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco are:

From a reader inquiry to a full blown contest, we’d like to say thanks to all the people who took the time to send in their choices of nominees for our Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco contest. We narrowed the field down to people that received at least two nominations, and are active Realtor members listed in the San Francisco Association of Realtors.

It was interesting to see the larger number of women nominees as opposed to men, but more shocking is the number of women that actually wrote in nominating other women (settle down boys)…and no, they were not nominating themselves.

Moving on…We’ll announce the winner this Friday 12/21/2007 at 1pm, so check back. Voting stops at 11:59 p.m. 12/20.

[Update: Voting closed. …see the winners by clicking here, and come back soon for some choice comments that were sent via email.]

The nominees: Sexiest Female Realtor in San Francisco


The nominees: Sexiest Male Realtor in San Francisco


Voting closed, thanks! …see the winners by clicking here, and come back soon for some choice comments that were sent via email.]

We had over 500 clicks on the “submit entry” links from the previous posts, but realized too late it said name and email “required”, when in fact they weren’t, so total nominees are a lot less than should have been. Sorry, we’ll get it sorted for the next one.

Sorry also to Farrah Wilder, Katherine Walsh. You are all hot, received a few nominations, but as far as we can tell you’re not listed in the SF Association of Realtors.

We’re leaving the comments turned on for now, but any derogatory or tasteless comments will be immediately deleted and comments will be shut off. One bad apple will spoil the entire bunch. [So it took two…comments are now off.]

Enjoy, and please vote.

We’re going to take a break from blogging about real estate until the New Year. We’ll leave this post up for a couple days, so spread the word, and tell your friends to come vote. As stated above,we’ll announce the winner this Friday 12/21/2007.

Ask Us: Who’s the Sexiest Realtor in San Francisco [the question that started it all, theFrontSteps]

-All the nominees listed above and in no particular order: Mark Choey, Chris Lim, Kevin Mcleod, Rick Avery, Rick Teed, Wendy Vandersteen, Kim Airey, Gena Clahan, Eve Grau, Lamisse Droubi, Jennifer Martin, Claire Chessen, Courtney Minisce, Alicia Drake, Sue Tsai, Emily Dunn, Greg Angilly, Eva Stoyanov, Arlene Klatte, George Limperis, Stasi Martin, Mary Lou Castellanos, Milana Ostroy, Amy Blakeley, Steve Gallagher, Rose Costello, Patricia Lawton, Christian Friese.

1 (One) South Park: a Walkthrough and Sales Update

We recently had the pleasure of checking out 1 (One) South Park with some clients, and are sad to say the pickins are slim (for us anyway).

If you don’t know what One South Park is, fear not, we’ve gotcha covered. One South Park is a new warehouse conversion with 35 new homes, including 9 penthouses. They have one, two, and three bedroom homes, 14 of which have private outdoor terraces (the south facing ones will get the heat and light, the north facing get the views.) Square footage per unit varies, so we’re not quoting any. The owner has retained arguably one of the best penthouses with a huge wrap-around deck, which should come as no surprise.

Pricing, you can assume is around $900-$1000/ square foot, and sales

Millennium Tower 51st Floor Picture

You know we have Millennium Tower wired (literally and figuratively). How else do you think we got this picture of the views from the 51st floor on such a nice day?


We’ve also been told construction is up to the 52nd floor. There are some fabulous units still available, and we have to say, the “City Residences” get our vote.

As for the picture above, we’re guessing the views from this “C” unit below (2 bed, 3.5 bath, 2819 sqft.) might look something like that, and the price will be upwards of $3M…if not more (try $4M), a lot more, but we’re just guessing, so don’t quote us on that.


And to answer the inevitable, no we are not on the sales staff. We just happen to get excited about sweet property like this and all the other places we talk about.

Millennium Rising…and Selling Rather Quickly [theFrontSteps]