Get a Deal on a Loft

If you’re a first-time home buyer looking for a nice space in San Francisco for up to $700,000, I’d like to suggest you consider a loft. Though not for everyone, lofts are great if you love open floor plans and nice light. Privacy can be an issue, as lofts usually don’t have walled-off rooms. But this property type is perfect for single professionals or couples who need good commute access to the Peninsula or downtown San Francisco.

Lofts are typically located in South of Market, the Mission, and the Central Waterfront (a.k.a., “Dogpatch”). South of Market and the Mission have been hit with higher short sale and foreclosure rates, so prices continue to decline in those neighborhoods.

Indeed, the average sale price for the 18 one-bedroom lofts that have sold since January 1st was $536,174, at an average of 1,073 square feet. With loft inventory not moving as quickly, buyers can expect to negotiate their way to the best deal possible. For example, there are presently 47 one-bedroom lofts on the market ranging in list price from $449,000 for a unit at Bluxome and 5th Street, all the way up to $995,000 for an 1896-square foot unit at the historic Hueblin building at 601 4th Street.

But a bulk of the 1BR lofts lies in the $500,000-$600,000 range, perfect for conforming loan amounts.

Parkside Home Gets 14 Offers

21staveAmidst the cautious landscape of the current San Francisco real estate market erupts the offer outcome of 2018 21st Avenue at Pacheco. This 2BR/1.5BA home with two-car parking and bonus room down was listed at $699,000 on April 30th and is officially pending as of Sunday. (This means the buyers have removed any contractual conditions, and all that should be left is the loan funding.)

The sellers received 14 offers, according to the listing agent. I thought the house was pretty nice, with a breakfast area adjacent to the kitchen and a reasonable floor plan. There was a large deck off both rear bedrooms, and had newer windows and roof. All told, there were 1440 square feet on the upper level.

Castro Compound Hits the Market

caselliCheck out 171 Caselli / 20 Yukon—two homes on one lot. 171 Caselli (above) is a 2BR/1BA home with its original bath and kitchen, a nice bonus room, and a huge garage.

Separated by a small garden and picket fence is 20 Yukon, a one-bedroom home currently tenant occupied. Asking price for this all-encompassing property? $1,289,000. There doesn’t seem to be any financial distress going on, just an owner who has owned the property since 1999. Buyers, start your engines: This won’t be on the market for too long before someone snaps it up.

Mayoral Penthouse Moves

newsonEighteen days after it was first put on the market, Mayor Newsom’s one-bedroom/one-bath penthouse at 1101 Green in Russian Hill has closed escrow for $2,935,000.

Not bad for the current market; asking price was $2,995,000.

714 Duncan Finds a Friend

714duncanFirst listed back in March at $1,295,000, 714 Duncan sat on the market for a couple months before finding a prospect. This surprised me, as the four-bedroom, two-bath home with a two-car garage in Noe Valley seemed like a home that’d sell fairly quickly. I was even more surprised when there were no takers after subsequent price reductions left the price standing at $1,195,000.

Indeed, its current owners paid $1,413,000 in January 2008, when the house spent only 13 days on the market.

But alas–714 Duncan went into contract last week, and I have to say that I think the buyers are getting a good deal. The current owners are selling because they’re not using “their place in the city” as much as they thought they would. And they reportedly have no loans on the property, having paid cash. So this seller had the latitude to put the price where it needed to be in order to move the property. Otherwise, the home would probably have joined the ranks of the “withdrawn” on the Multiple Listing Service.

Watch for Water Intrusion

waterIf you’re house hunting online and a photo like the one above appears in connection with the garage, I’m hoping your antennae will go up. I won’t identify this particular home by address (hint: it was recently sold in the Outer Sunset), but I’m hoping the sellers had a good explanation for the pooling water.

I’m hitting a fair amount of water intrusion issues in disclosures related to various condo buildings across the city, as well. Though your home inspections typically don’t include opening up walls, you might want to consider having an inspection even in a newer condo property. The inspector could potentially flag signs of water intrusion that you normally might miss.

The best time to buy a house is during the winter, honestly. Because you’re in the midst of the rainy season, and leaks will become apparent. But if you’re out looking for a home now, just be sure to spend the $500 or so for a solid home inspection. You can at least say you’ve done your due diligence.

The Highs & Lows of SF Properties

It’s fun to note the least and most expensive properties on the market every once in a while.

Who are the winners? In the single-family category, there’s tenant-occupied and bank-owned 1230 Palou Avenue in Bayview, a 3BR/1BA house with listed at $279,000.

And on the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s 2845 Broadway, still holding steady after 1172 days on the market. Current list price is $65M.

Switching over to condos, the least expensive unit available is a 3BR/3BA condo listed at $139,900 in Bayview. This is another bank-owned property, and as an extra incentive, the sellers are kicking in three months’ worth of HOA dues. And a glance at the other condos on the market reveals that 2174 Green in Pacific Heights holds the distinction of being the most expensive available condo, for $7.2M. The 9BR/9.5BA, 6,291-square foot unit is being presented as a single-family dwelling that is divided into three separate condos. So it’s sort of a house, or multiple condo dwelling…you be the judge.

765 Sanchez Snaps Into Contract

sanchezThis 3BR/2.75, 3271-square foot home at Sanchez and 21st came on the market in early May and slammed into contract by the end of last week.

The average days on market has been a tiring 81 for the 34 single-family homes that have sold for above $2M since January. So I think we can all agree that 765 Sanchez achieved a rare feat in the current marketplace.

Though the home wasn’t “done” by any stretch of the imagination—and the balcony above was about the only area staged—the location was the big selling point. There are buyers who specifically seek these coveted areas of Noe and Eureka Valleys. Case in point: 3690 21st Street at Sanchez, which sold in eight days last August for cash in a confidential sale. (Word has it that the property sold for around the $4.2M point.)

Condos vs. TICs: The Condo Wins

There was a time when condos were worth substantially more than TICs. Well, the gap has narrowed as the San Francisco market has softened.

A look at two-bedroom units in the city with parking reveals that condo prices have declined to the extent that they may be the more obvious choice. For example, in the under-$1M category for two-bedroom TICs with parking, the average selling price from April 1st was $621,125, with an average of 1,052 square feet.

On the condo front, the averaged sale price was $671,360, with an average of 1169 square feet.

Though TIC interests will usually provide more space for the money, I think there’s something to be said for owning your property independently. In the current economy, being on title with other owners is more of a risk than it was when TICs first became more popular many years ago.

New Owners Remodel a Remodel in Noe Valley

313duncanWhat’s the first thing you do after you buy a $2.4M house in Noe Valley for all cash? Why, remodel, of course!

The sale recently closed on this newly renovated, 5BR/5.5BA, 3200 square foot home at 313 Duncan Street, but contractors are again pulling up to the driveway. The new owners have applied for permits to replace the kitchen cabinets and remodel the master suite, according to the Building Department’s online files.

The offending kitchen cabinetry:

And the type of bathroom that screams out to be remodeled (similar finishes, though I’m not sure this is the specific bathroom that will soon be pulled apart):

I’m getting nostalgic for the freewheeling days before the recession. It’s situations like this that give me hope.

Mission Terrace Foreclosure Gets 30+ Offers

navajoWithin days of coming on the market at $586,575 last week, the 4BR/2BA 1930s home with 1766 square feet located at 1 Navajo, in Mission Terrace garnered more than 30 offers.

Obviously, those who need more than two bedrooms in San Francisco are actively seeking homes and are ready to pounce when the price is right. And this location within Mission Terrace is close to the BART & Muni stations, making it more attractive. Of course, an individual seller not involved in a short sale or foreclosure would probably never price his/her home this low. So buyers looking for deals will still have to rely on foreclosures to make their dreams happen.

455 Vallejo Shored Up & Ready to Sell

455vallejoThe latest unit to go on the market over at 455 Vallejo in the North Beach area is #111—a very lovely 1BR/1BA listed at $630,000.

Best known as the building that was perched atop the hill directly affected by the landslide that occurred in February 2007, 455 Vallejo hasn’t been successful on the resale front since the incident. #111 was on the market in late 2008 for about a month at a list price of $649,000, but there were no takers.

Only three other units have been on the market since the landslide, but all were withdrawn. However, the city has completed all the work required to stablize and anchor the hillside, according to the listing agent. So maybe 455 Vallejo is back in business? There are 22 1BR units available now in neighborhoods such as Pacific Heights, Russian Hill, the North Waterfront, Marina, and Cow Hollow for up to $700,000, with an average price of $565,261. We’ll see what the market says.

Telegraph Hill Treat For a Friday

37calhounThe weather is great, the weekend promises to be just as good, so why not take a look at this dreamy, secluded Telegraph Hill home that just came on the market?

Built in 1920 and featuring unobstructed views of the Bay, Bay Bridge, and downtown, the 3BR/2BA has been tastefully remodeled. The living and dining rooms span the 45-foot width of the lot. There’s also two-car parking. The property is located on a cul-de-sac, at the end of Union Street. Current owners paid $3,200,609 in July 2003. Today’s price: $5,995,000. Go and get it.

Mayoral Penthouse Still Seeks Buyer

newson As Mayor Newsom and his new bride continue their house hunt for a single-family home, his penthouse at 1101 Green awaits a new owner. Listed at $2,995,000 twelve days ago, Newsom’s former bachelor pad hasn’t exactly attracted a feeding frenzy, despite its seller’s pedigree. Could the price be a tad high for a one-bedroom unit, despite the 1693 square feet shown in the tax records? No matter; the unit has a commanding, three-bridge view, and the interior was designed by noted architect Michael Agins. The unit was last purchased for $2,350,000 in February 2006.

Excelsior Heats Up

stoneyfordOne neighborhood that’s not exactly suffering in the economic downturn is Excelsior, in San Francisco’s southeastern area. Twenty-seven single-family homes have sold since January at an average of $517,459—generally considered to be quite affordable for first-time home buyers who prefer a house to a condo.

The darling of the week was 59 Stoneyford, (above) a 4BR/2BA home with 1470 square feet and a lovely garden. Listed at $589,000, the home reportedly attracted 100 groups on each of the two Sundays it was open before going into contract amidst five offers. Goes to show you, sellers, that if you price a home attractively, buyers will come.

And with 21 other homes in contract and/or pending at a list price average of $496,786, Excelsior doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.