Best of San Francisco Real Estate

So I finally got off my ass and did another post for my Examiner Column. They asked us to to a “Best of” piece, and naturally I did “Best of San Francisco Real Estate”. Here it is, verbatim:

I’ve been asked to write a little column about the "Best of" San Francisco real estate, and I honestly have to chuckle. Asking me, a person that makes a living off of representing clients and writing about it, to talk about the "best" is a little bit tricky. I’ll try to put my ego aside and not tell you the best source for San Francisco real estate information is sfnewsletter or my blog, and the best agent in the city is yours truly. Instead, I’ll look at this with realistic eyes. So, here goes…my list of the Best of San Francisco Real Estate:

Best Source(s) for real estate information (there isn’t just one): –Public Access to the Multiple Listing Service. Yes, it’s totally available and totally free. Many agents are able to grant you even more detailed access through services like Clean Offer, so ask your agent about that too.
-"San Francisco Business Times" for all the "big" news and developments in the commercial, office, and new development world.
-Your Realtor. This is not a plug, but honestly, there are many sources for information online and in print, and they ALL lean to the negative, even the Examiner. Talk to your Realtor, and if they aren’t an annoying sales person or have ulterior motives, they should be able to give you the most accurate scoop.

Best Real Estate Agent in the city:
-If you look at transaction volume and caliber of sales, my pick would have to be Barbara Callan. She crushes it out of the park and it is quite impressive. Malin Giddings would be a close second.

Best looking agent in the city:
…well, that contest has come and gone, but the next is just around the corner…

Best Broker Website:
Even though I work for Zephyr Real Estate, I look at all of the sites out there and their site is hands down the most thorough and easy to navigate. Give it a look at

Best source for real time market trends (graphs):
Altos Research (This is a report I get for my sfnewsletter, they have multiple reports available to the public and agents. Free for buyers/sellers if your agent sends them to you.)

Best list of San Francisco Foreclosures:
Property Shark (Through sfnewsletter) They also have a ton of detailed information to help in your property search, so check out their site at

Best new technology real estate website:
Shock! It’s not Zillow. My pick is

Best High Rise New Development Project in San Francisco:
Millennium Tower

Best Neighborhood to purchase in and safe-guard against a failing economy:
Pacific Heights

Best Neighborhood to find an Eichler or any other mid-century gem in San Francisco:
Diamond Heights

Best map to be on the same page as your Realtor and know the districts when searching the MLS:
Reineck and Reineck

Best online real estate voyeur (street view) site:

Best Neighborhood to test your recent seismic retrofit:
The Marina

That’s all I can think of at the moment. If you have any other "bests", feel free to share in the comments.  Or check back as I’ll likely add a few more before all is said and done.

9 thoughts on “Best of San Francisco Real Estate

  1. Good stuff – -i’ll take the “Web Site” Challenge with any brokerage though my friend. I know and love the Big Z – but for actual information and ease of use, gotta back Garrett and my creation. Every listing – no “featured” bull shit and actual business information instead of superficial real estate talk.

    I’d also take Jordan Park over Pac Ht’s for the safest investment dollar. I got a feeling some peeps in the high rises on Jackson and Van Ness (PAC HT’s) aren’t doing so well.

  2. Good point about Jordan Park. I was also thinking Sea Cliff was a good bet. Then I thought about Noe, then St. Francis Wood, and West Portal, let’s not forget Cole Valley, Ashbury Heights, and you see where I’m going here. Also, I’m hoping everyone that reads the Examiner will keep flooding Pac Heights, so that my clients that aren’t afraid to look outside of that little bubble keep finding way better buys for their buck. ;-) Not really, but the thought did cross my mind.

  3. Nice – I hear what you are saying. I feel for the folks that purchased bi and tri-level lofts along the Harrison Corridor – that 795 to 995K purchase seems tough to justify 2 years later. Thankfully I didn’t push folks in that direction and never really understood (nor do I today) the pricing in that particular section of SF.

  4. Alex – I give you 600K to purchase a property — you buying a loft along the Harrison corridor? A condo in Potrero Hill? A studio in a high rise? Talk to me goose.

  5. Coach A. you forgot the most important element: length of investissement.
    Are you looking at 3years? 7years? 10 years? 25years?

    for midlength, I vote for a victorian 1Br in hayes valley.

  6. Sophie — GREAT point. My point was to question when is a 600K purchase of a Harrison Corridor purchase a smart purchase? I’m having a tough time coming to terms with that section of town. Bi and Tri level lofts in an area that never reached the promise of what it was to become — ya know what — i’m going to dedicate a post on SanFranciscoSchtuff on the HArrison Corridor!

  7. I’m not a fan of those units, and I wouldnt bet my shirt on.
    Let me explain.
    first, it’s loft. So there are not so many people who are willing to live in those conditions. Like drafty, super cold in winter, super hot in summer, F@#$^@ windows to clean, cooking smell in your bed positioned above the open kitchen etc.
    Second, it’s live/work. There are not so many people who actually run a business from home. DotComs are so passé. BioTech might not be easy to run from your own home. GreenTech requires a LOT of storage (so the REAL lofts in real industrial buildings are great, the FAKE lofts in the new developments simply dont have the oversized elevator, the truck sized garage door etc) etc.
    Third, altho they say there is 49% of single women in SF (and an equaly large number of single men), there is also an increasing number of “now official” families. Think mariage law. Think large number of homo families adopting kids. Those people dont need their private night club anymore, and might rather buy a home to live, rather than a box.

    That leaves 2 main targets for occupants: young professionals who buy a cool place for a few years before they move on, and rental to the same people who are broke or not as rich, or simply not paid the extravagant DotCom salaries which started all this.

    So my conclusion is that those condos are fine for someone
    – who is comfortable is such unit (that’s in your genes, and persona, such as clostrophobia, tolerence to temperature variation etc)
    – who is comfortable with renting it out in the future to maybe a party young professional (because renting might be the only option at a given time).
    -> you are the only one to know if such a loft is for you or not.

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