Lake District Renovation Ready for Close-Up

This unassuming house pictured above at 152 7th Avenue was last sold in March 2007 for $1,250,000. The 3BR/1.5BA, 1437-square foot home was built in 1960 and needed some updating.

“Updating” is an understatement for what’s become the finished product at 152 7th Avenue (at California): A 4BR/4.5BA, 3600-square foot mega home with an office, family room and high-end finishes that span three levels. Listed at $2,888,000, the current owners are hoping to capitalize on a slowly improving real estate market in San Francisco.

I like the kitchen, and the particularly large bathtub:

The house really has a very different look today, escrow garden intact:

If you’re out and about on Halloween, stop in at 152 7th Avenue. It will be open from 2:00-4:00.

75 Carmel Back on Market for Second Time

The 3BR/1.5BA single-family home at 75 Carmel in Cole Valley is back on the market a second time since its initial mid-June listing. The newly remodeled property hit the market in June for $1,295,000, and then was reduced to $1,230,000 when it fell out of contract the first time in the summer. Problems with buyer loans seem to be the reason for the boomerang activity, according to the listing agent.

I toured the home in the summer and thought it was cute; however, with less than 1500 square feet, it is a little small for the price. The remodel didn’t involve any structural work, just a kitchen and bath remodel, as well as some peripheral items like a new water heater. But 75 Carmel seems more like a condo than a house to me. And the floor plan is only okay; there’s not really a master suite, so anyone looking to use the one full bathroom needs to come down a few stairs toward the kitchen. The kitchen itself, though large and featuring nice finishes, is not wildly well appointed. For example, the refrigerator is a bit isolated on one side of the room:

Regardless of whatever lender issues are coming up with the buyers for this property, I think the home should be viewed as a condo alternative in this neighborhood. Most Cole Valley single-family homes are substantially larger than that of 75 Carmel. (The average this year is 2,599 square feet for 3BR+ homes.) A good reference point for this property is 16 Hillway, a 3BR/1.5BA, 1690-square foot house near UCSF that wasn’t quite as smartly done, but which sold for $1,135,000 in June.

When you’re talking 1500 square foot houses in Cole Valley, you’re probably talking “condo alternatives.” For example, five of the 3BR condos that sold in the neighborhood this year ranged from 1300-1575 square feet, and sold for between $900,000-$1,008,213. Combine this data with the Hillway comp, and it’s starting to seem like $1,230,000 may be most specifically an appraisal problem. (But I’m speculating here.) Additionally, the location on Carmel near Clayton is not exactly in the heart of Cole Valley, which may be deterring some buyers.

Lake District Sales See Both Ends of Spectrum

The Lake neighborhood saw its share of rollercoaster sales prices in October. But that’s not surprising, as such activity exemplifies the mixed-bag nature of the San Francisco market these days.

The 4BR/2.5BA single-family home at 166 19th Avenue (above) came on the market as an REO property listed at $1.2M. This was a remodeled, 2464-square foot home one door down from the Richmond playground between California and Lake. The property was sold in four days for $1,255,000. Who says no one’s paying more than the asking price these days? Set a price low enough to attract interest—as banks are known to do—and you can move a house very quickly.

The other extreme sale took place at 181 8th Avenue:

Initially listed at $2,195,000 in March 2010, the 4BR/3.5BA home had 3464 square feet, a legal 1BR apartment, and a carriage house at the rear of the lot. 8th Avenue closed escrow in mid October for $1,725,000 after a series of price reductions. (The house has had its share of turnover in the past several years, selling in March 2005 for $1,950,000, and then again in May 2008 for $2,215,000.)

How’s the Market In: Sunnyside

Sunnyside is a relatively quiet residential neighborhood lined with single-family houses. It sits just north of City College (check out this map for the area) and is in close proximity to Hwy 280 and downtown Glen Park. The area is popular with first-time home buyers seeking starter homes, as well as long-time residents who appreciate the close-knit community feel. (The most recent high-profile project was the renovation of the Sunnyside Conservatory on Monterey.)

Monterey Boulevard is the dividing line between the north and south portions of Sunnyside. There’s a Safeway on Monterey between Foerster and Gennessee, as well as some restaurants and services. In general, the north part of Sunnyside commands the highest property prices, particularly for homes on blocks that are only a few blocks away from the Glen Park BART station. Property values tend to fall a bit on the south end, especially the closer you get to 280.

A total of 35 houses have sold this year in Sunnyside, at an average of $682,722. This is the norm for the area, as an average of 45 homes per year have sold since 2007. There are currently a dozen houses, four TICs and two condos on the market. The houses range in price from $480,000 for a 2BR/1BA, 995-sq foot short sale home, to $899,000 for a 3BR/2BA, 1700-square foot home on Joost at Congo that’s been sitting for the past 245 days.

Sunnyside is the go-to ‘hood for buyers who have been priced out of Noe Valley, Glen Park and even Bernal Heights. You tend to get more for your money in Sunnyside; additionally, the other three neighborhoods don’t have much inventory at all in the popular $600,000-$800,000 price range, let alone for single-family homes. My pick these days is at 459 Joost (above photo), which is a 2BR/1BA, 1120-sq foot home with panoramic views, a brick courtyard entry, and in walking distance to downtown Glen Park. Listed at $649,000, the home seems like a very fair deal.

The short sale/foreclosure wave hasn’t spared Sunnyside; the neighborhood has had its fair share of such sales over the past two years. But again, the number of homes sold this year appears to be on track. Fourteen homes were withdrawn or expired from the market this year, eight of which had been listed at more than $700,000. I think Sunnyside will continue to hold its own, as San Francisco simply never has enough inventory to meet first-time home buyers’ needs.

SF Smackdown: Glen Park House vs. Noe Condo

When you’re looking for a three-bedroom home in a central San Francisco neighborhood for under $1M, the options aren’t vast. But I found two properties that I think are worth considering. The question is: What do you value—the privacy of a standalone house, more space, urban or lower-key locale?

In one corner is 84 Lippard:

I saw this 3BR/2BA, 1,224-square foot single-family home when it was on the market three years ago (listed at $849,000, sold then for $910,000). It’s listed at $875,000 now, which tells you a bit about the market for smaller homes in Glen Park right now. There are two bedrooms and one bath on the main floor, with a nice master suite downstairs that leads out to the yard. I recall being able to hear Bosworth traffic in the yard, given the close proximity to that street. But this home has nice 1920s details such as crown moldings. You’re 2.5 blocks from the heart of Glen Park Village, and about three blocks to the Glen Park BART station. 280 access is very easy. For recreation, you can bring the dogs or the kids to Glen Canyon Park, just down Chenery.

In the other corner is 1103 Guerrero at 23rd Street:

Located in a three-unit building that includes a commercial space currently housing a dry cleaners, 1103 Guerrero is a 3BR/2BA, 1,632-square foot condo with great period details. There’s a huge bay window with fireplace, nicely updated eat-in kitchen, dining room with fireplace and a nice rear deck. Listed at $895,000, the unit includes one-car parking. You’re ridiculously close to pretty much everything in the area, including the BART/Muni station at 24th & Mission; both 101 and 280; and every kind of restaurant you can think of. Guerrero is a little busy, as it’s four lanes of traffic. But that didn’t seem to hurt the Nove condo sales, which happened pretty quickly.

Which home would you prefer? Make sure to let me know in the Comments section!

Gold Coast Manse Graces Market for $32M

Last sold for $5.5M in 1998, 2701 Broadway returns less than a decade later with a list price of $32M.

The 7BR/7BA home was restored in 2002 and has everything you’d expect for the price, including unobstructed Golden Gate Bridge to Bay and city skyline; three rooftop terraces; full seismic upgrade and mechanical systems; and a commercial-speed elevator to all five levels.

 2701 Broadway may give neighbor 2901 Broadway a run for its money. That property, listed at $45M, has been on the market for 1278 days and counting.

Wave of Interest Brewing for Sunset Cottage

If you’re out and about in the Outer Sunset on a regular basis, you might recognize the above “rustic fence” at 1530 48th Avenue between Kirkham and Lawton. Behind this weatherbeaten divider sits a very cool 2BR/1BA cottage that just came on the market for $799,000. And I’m betting there are a lot of agents and buyers who have already checked out the details of this listing.

The structure has a bit of a gas station overhang thing going on, but looks unique enough to attract a surfer who’d appreciate living one block from Ocean Beach:

The lot is deep, and the four-room house sits at the rear. It has softwood floors, high ceilings, medallions, a south-facing deck and a large attic. The bedroom is on the lefthand side, and the living room is on the right. Tax records show 1320 square feet.

The N Judah can whisk you downtown (as one reader notes, in 42 minutes) and is also one block away.

The average price for a two-bedroom home in the neighborhood this year is $639,285. I think you have to take the unique nature of the property into consideration in this case. This is not the cookie-cutter Sunset house that everyone is used to, so I’m guessing there are plenty of surfers who could happily hang their boards at this home.

What You Can Buy for $299,000

I’ve been spending time in the Excelsior neighborhood lately, working on selling my new listing at 282 Moscow. So I’ve been keeping an eye on the market there and tracking the competition. For those buyers out there who think they can’t get anything in San Francisco for less than $500,000, the above cottage at 124 Excelsior may be your ticket to homeownership.

For $299,000, you can have this “small but roomy, disfuntional (sic)  floor plan, on busy streets, public transportation steps away. Subject is in need of remodeling, Old Cottage in need of Love. Short Sale, Subject to Lenders approval.” And what’s more, “Subject is in need of differed maintenance.”

It’s 900 square feet, was built around the turn of the century, and has one bedroom and one bathroom. The garage was converted into a bedroom without the benefit of permits.

Sound like the perfect project for you? Pick it up for all cash and explore the possibilities.

How To Figure Out If You Can Sell Your TIC

I’ve been fielding calls and emails regularly from TIC homeowners on long-standing group loans in 3+ unit buildings who want or need to sell their TIC interest. Unfortunately, many of these homeowners are unable to sell, and that turns out to be quite a surprise.

I wanted to put together a checklist to help these prospective TIC sellers determine whether they’ll indeed be able to sell their interest. So here goes:

1. Pull together all the information for the group loan. You’ll need the original purchase price/date for the property; the current loan amount on the building, and your portion of the group loan. You’ll also need to note the type of first mortgage and current interest rate (i.e., five-year adjustable rate mortgage with interest-only payment at a rate of 5.5%, etc)—and the name of the lender(s) for all outstanding mortgages.

2. Find out if your portion of the loan is assumable. Check with your lender to confirm whether your loan is assumable, meaning whether a new owner can step into the existing group loan without triggering a group refinance. Keep in mind that although your loan may have been assumable at the time of your purchase, the lender may have changed its policy (or the lender itself may have changed). If your loan is not assumable, you will have to qualify for a group refinance if a new buyer enters into the picture.

3. Obtain an estimated current value for your building. Getting the current market value for your building is more important at this point than the value of  your TIC interest. If you’re consulting a TIC loan specialist, he or she could potentially put you in touch with an appraiser who’d do a “mini appraisal” of the property and give you a ballpark value at a reduced fee.

4. Know that your property will be appraised as an entire building, not TIC interests. This is something most TIC owners don’t realize when they’re thinking about simply selling their portion of the building. An appraiser will be determing the value of the building, not the combined value of multiple TIC interests. So if you own a TIC in a four-unit building, your relevant comparative sales will be other nearby four-unit buildings—some of which may be income properties.

5. Determine how much of a loan your group could get in today’s market. Your loan consultant can assist you in obtaining a ballpark value of your building, and then disseminate all your information to arrive at the maximum loan amount you’d be able to obtain on the building. You’ll then have to back out what the other remaining co-owners would have to refinance to see what’s available for the new buyer of your particular interest to borrow on the new group loan. This, in turn, would determine the down payment required by the new buyer.

6. Consider fractional financing for the group. There aren’t many lenders doing these loans right now, and such loans typically require owners to have a lot of equity in their building. The loans also carry higher interest rates and potentially more stringent cash reserve requirements. But this is a good option if all owners can qualify.

7. If the group is able to refinance, confirm the value of your TIC interest. This is where your Realtor comes in; he or she can assess the market and gauge the value of your TIC. As you can see, this is the last step because everything else needs to check out before you can even think of selling.

Welcome to My New Look!

I hope you like the new Inside San Francisco Real Estate look! In conjunction with my virtual assistant, Laura Monroe of Creative Agent Solutions.com, I’ve customized my blog to meet the increasingly varied needs of the buyers and sellers who visit my site.

The name of the game is neighborhoods, so we’ve made it easier to dig deep into posts on all the various ‘hoods in San Francisco. There are also some quick links to neighborhood profiles and market information, courtesy of Pacific Union International. And you can also jump to property searches from the home page, too. Across the top you’ll find links to Home Buyer/Seller Tips, Walk Score Winners, and more.

Connect more easily with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more, and check out the latest Trulia Voices activity. Enjoy the site!

Just Listed: 282 Moscow in Excelsior

I’ve been spending some time in the Excelsior lately, getting my new 2BR/1BA listing ready for sale. 282 Moscow is a 1,025-square foot home has a living room with a fireplace, large kitchen with dining area, bathroom with skylight, and two bedrooms with lovely northwesterly views. The house gets nice natural light throughout.

There’s also a bonus room downstairs that would be perfect for a third bedroom, guest room or office. The attached bathroom needs work, but there’s where you could start adding value. And the yard, though pretty much a blank canvas, has mature fruit trees and a pleasant feel. One-car parking, laundry area and storage are in the garage. The #54 bus runs on Moscow and can get you to BART, and there’s easy freeway access. There are lots of restaurants, produce/grocery stores and services on Mission Street. If you need open space, McLaren Park is just around the bend.

List Price for 282 Moscow: $425,000. I’ll be open this Sunday 10/17 from 12:30-2:30. Stop in!

SoMa, South Beach Have Bright Real Estate Future

The SF Examiner ran an interesting piece this week entitled “SoMa Buildings Attracting Tech Companies.”

The upshot is that tech companies are steadily filtering back into San Francisco and scooping up large blocks of office space. Google, for example, is about to take over a 263,000-square-foot space at 345 Spear, and Zynga will be leasing a 260,000-square-foot office building in SoMa. It looks like tech companies are growing again, and they’re aiming to attract talent by situating themselves where their employees would prefer to live.

This is good news for the South Beach/Yerba Buena/SoMa/Mission Bay quartet, which has a glut of inventory right now. There are currently 227 condo listings across those neighborhoods, with an average price of $964,016. And 77 condos are in contract or pending. Total sold this year? 389 units, at an average of $756,920.

There’s a reason my company, Pacific Union International, just opened an office at the corner of Townsend and 2nd Streets. I’ve had many Peninsula-workin’ buyers in the past who have purchased condos in San Francisco because they didn’t want to be stuck in San Jose or Santa Clara after the sun went down. If more tech companies follow Google and Zynga’s lead, there will be plenty of homes for these employees to purchase. (And if you know anyone who’s looking, please let me know. There are some great deals out there right now!)

Good Deals: 2288 Filbert & 34 Harris in Cow Hollow

I stopped in during my broker tour yesterday at two condos in Cow Hollow that I thought were good deals:

2288 Filbert (above) is a 2BR/1BA Victorian flat with about 1350 square feet. It has a nicely remodeled kitchen and bath, as well as a formal dining room and small deck off the kitchen. There’s one-car independent parking, storage, and HOA dues are $184/mo. The unit is in a three-unit building that is situated one block from the wildly beating heart of Union Street. I thought this condo was great for buyers who want to roll out of bed and be in Rose’s Cafe—not to mention be about three blocks from Chestnut Street, which is just across Lombard. List price: $829,00.

And then there was the adorable 34 Harris:

That country kitchen is the centerpiece of this cozy first-floor unit in a two-unit front building. (The rear building represents one unit.) Though the condo is on the small side at 729 square feet, it’s got a functional floor plan that includes a den. The three units share a brick patio, and the building is 1.5 blocks to Union Street. Though parking is not in the building, the seller of this particular unit has leased a spot just up Harris for $300/mo. List price: $599,000. I liked that the kitchen was large enough to accommodate an island, and also that there’s a door that leads right off the kitchen on to the patio.

Preview: 1 Ecker in Yerba Buena

I stopped in to preview the “new” 51-unit brick and timber condo development at 1 Ecker over the weekend. Some of you might recall that condos here were on the market a couple years ago, but that the development was then foreclosed upon. The new owners reportedly paid $14M and expect to spend several million more finishing the building. Delivery is expected in early December.

1 Ecker is located between 1st and Second Streets, Stevenson and Jessie. Formerly an icehouse in the 1900s, the floor plans include lofts, junior one-bedrooms, one- and two-bedroom homes. There are also two commercial spaces (one of which is the current sales office) that have not yet been leased. Ecker Place itself is a pretty quiet street, adjacent to Golden Gate University and Yank Sing:

The lobby has been updated with some nice modern touches and red accents:
Off the lobby is the “visual urban garden,” a space designed to be seen but not wandered.

There are twelve lofts on the first floor, and 13 units on each of the other three floors. Price ranges are as follows:
Junior 1BRs
444 – 728 sq ft
$299,000 – $518,000
HOAs: $354 – $453/mo

1BRs
589 – 944 sq ft
$439,000 – $572,000
HOAs: $395 – $500/mo

2BRs
954 – 1,260 sq ft
$599,000 – $903,000
HOAs: $499 – $586/mo

I toured three different units on the fourth and top floor, including #403, the largest 2BR unit. Appliances are included, but not washer/dryers. And keep in mind that only the largest units have gas-powered ranges; the smaller units have electric ones. Here’s a shot of the kitchen area in #403:

Unit 403 faces east and north, and is about 1,250 square feet. I also checked out a nice Jr 1BR listed at $418,086 that faces Market Street. Unit 411 is a 1BR that doesn’t have much of an outlook (unless you consider your neighbor’s window to be an outlook). That’s listed at $484,000.

The rooftop lounge is a nice space, outfitted with couches, tables and flower boxes:

There is storage, but no garage in the building. Lack of parking will be sort of the kicker for most buyers; however, 1 Ecker is similar to recent development 25 Hotaling in that it targets downtown professionals, empty nesters and pied a terre seekers who will be relying more on their feet or public transportation to get around. And for those intermittent car trips, there are also car-sharing pods nearby.

1 Ecker is certainly located in a convenient area that has even more potential now that the nearby Transbay Terminal is slated for development. The property is also around the block from the high-end Millennium, as well as Salt House restaurant. Rail and bus lines along Market are only two blocks away. As you can imagine, the Walk Score is 98 for this property.

I’m going to bet that 1 Ecker’s condo sale chances in 2010 are a lot better than they were the first time around. (Assuming no foreclosures happen in the near future.) For one thing, the real estate market has improved in the city And though the units are on the small side, their target demographic will probably not be looking for large homes it has to fill with furniture. Additionally, there are not many competing new developments left in San Francisco’s downtown area (One Hawthorne, BLU and 829 Folsom are about it.)

But with 51 units to sell, I’m betting prices on some of these units will certainly be negotiable.

Just Listed: Contemporary and Stylish Home in Bernal/Glen Park

If you’re looking for a spacious, modern and extremely appealing single-family home in close proximity to conveniences, BART and freeway access, look no further than my new listing at 68 Glen Court.

The 3BR/3.5BA single-family home is located on a unique street between Milton and Rousseau in what’s technically known as Bernal Heights, but which is a stone’s throw from the Glen Park downtown & BART. The three-level, 2150-square foot home is handsomely appointed, with rich designer detail and cherry hardwood floors throughout. There’s a gourmet kitchen, formal dining room with wet bar and two private patios. The top level features two master suites, and the third bedroom and bath are situated on the lower level, offering nice separation for guests.

Glen Court is a community of single-family homes, and is a surprisingly private and charming little street that was developed in 2004.

List price is $995,000, and the first open house will be Sunday from 1:00-4:00. Stop in and see me!