Mission Dolores Units Sell for Way Over Asking

I toured 3883-85 20th Street adjacent to Mission Dolores Park when it came on the market in August. The vacant property was listed at $1.3M was essentially a shell of a property, with plans to remodel and legalize it as a two-unit building. There was a large yard and an additional housekeeping unit in the back. Based on the condition, it was clear that a buyer who needed a loan to complete the purchase would have a bit of a challenge. The rear of the house sat just above the J Muni track.

The sale closed last week in an all-cash purchase for $1.5M. This is definitely a testament to the continued strength in the market for small-scale property development in San Francisco, particularly for owner occupiers. It’s all about location, folks, and this one was prime for the buyer who wanted a front-row seat for the antics of the Dolores Park.

SF Best City for a Car-Free Lifestyle

What’s the best city to live in if you don’t have a car? San Francisco/Oakland, according to a recent study by 24/7 Wall Street. The current issue of the Zephyr MarketTracker lists the top ten car-free cities.

Also, we have a spotlight on Nopa and some hot properties there, as well as the lineup for San Francisco holiday tree lightings. And of course, all the latest sales and a market overview. (Happy to say that the median sales price over the past 180 days for single-family homes has increased by 3.9%.)

It’s all here in the current issue of MarketTracker!

Wraps Off: Noe’s “Luxe” Condos Closer to Market

The scaffolding is down and the neighborhood interest is up at The Luxe condo development, which has been in the works for several years. (For a bit of history, click here.) But it looks like the six-unit project will have its official opening in January.

There will be three 2BR/2BA units priced at around $900,000, according to the listing office. Also available will be three significantly larger, two-level townhomes with three bedrooms and a bonus space in most of those units. Pricing on these units will be in the $1.3M-$1.6M range.

If you’re interested in seeing floorplans, check them out here. It looks like the developer and architect have worked hard to avoid a cookie-cutter feeling. There will be a center courtyard with an outdoor kitchen, as well as garage parking.

The Luxe is located in Upper Noe, which is the southern end of Noe Valley. I live in Upper Noe, and I can vouch for the fact that our corner of the ‘hood has blossomed in the past few years. Not only is high-profile Incanto at the next corner, but Drewes butcher, a new dog wash shop, Tataki South, Toast, Henry’s Hunan and La Ciccia are all within two blocks. The J Church stops within a two-block radius, as well, and there’s excellent proximity to the freeways. The Walk Score for this location is an 85; click here to see the details.

Give me a shout if you’d like to preview The Luxe before it opens. I’d be happy to schedule a showing!

What You Can Buy: Below the Median Price in Noe Valley

Noe Valley can be a tough nut to crack for many buyers, especially those looking for single-family homes. There’s a very high demand for the location, due to the proximity to public transportation, freeways, overall street appeal, and the plethora of shops and restaurants. It’s no surprise that the median house price in the neighborhood from June  – November 2011 was $1,385,502. I thought it might be helpful to take a look at a trio of homes currently on the market for less than the median price.

First up is 1422 Douglass at Duncan:


1422 Douglass is a 2BR/1BA home with about 1,050 square feet. Listed at $825,000, Douglass has an open floor plan that leads to a large deck and yard. The garage accommodates two cars, and there’s also room for another car just outside the garage. Parking in this part of Noe is not too challenging, as it’s slightly removed from the 24th Street retail area. You’re a couple blocks from the dog park, playground and Safeway in Diamond Heights. 1422 Douglass was last sold for $925,000 in 2007.

Next up is 4378 Cesar Chavez at Douglass:

As you can see from the photo above, 4378 Cesar Chavez has a little of that dramatic space and volume stuff going on. This is a 2BR/2BA, 1810-square foot view home that was built in the mid 1970s. Both of the bedrooms, plus an office, are located on the main level and there’s a lovely landscaped front courtyard. The kitchen and bath are quintessential ’70s (complete with a sunken tub in the bathroom), and there are a lot of interior wood accents. But some updating could really make a difference. The lot is 26′ x 114′, which is sizeable for San Francisco. 4378 Cesar Chavez is a couple blocks from the 1422 Douglass property above, so you’re in a quieter part of Noe Valley. But you’re only about five blocks from 24th Street.

Last but not least is 601 29th Street at Castro:

601 29th Street is a Victorian box of a building. It’s detached on all three sides, which is nice. You get 3BRs/2BAs and roughly 1300 square feet. The rooms aren’t huge, but the floor plan is functional. There’s a deck and stairs off the laundry room that leads to a landscaped garden, as well as a spacious 2BR vacant in-law unit on the lower level with a new maple and granite kitchen and white bath. The garage accommodates one-car parking, and the attic may have expansion potential. List price is $1,195,000. The J Church Muni is three long blocks downhill from the house, as are a smattering of restaurants and shops.

Two Hayes Valley Condos Battle It Out

I stopped in at 342 Hayes between Gough and Franklin yesterday on broker tour, to refresh my memory on the two 2BR/2.5BA condos that are both available in the building. 342 Hayes is a 14-unit property that was constructed in 1996 and finds itself in 2011 to be situated in the epicenter of the neighborhood. Many shops and restaurants have popped up over the years, making this property one of the more popular ones.

Which means I’m surprised that the two units currently for sale have been on the market for more than a month. The first, #C,  faces Hayes Street and gets nice southern exposure. It’s about 1013 square feet across two levels, and has two master suites upstairs. Here’s one of them now:

This master suite faces Hayes, so it gets great light. But it will be a little noisy due to the street activity. However, you do have a washer/dryer in the unit, easy access to a large common patio, and deeded one-car parking. The building has an elevator, too. The monthly HOAs are $443, and include insurance, water, garbage and common area maintenance. List price is $750,000. Keep in mind that this unit was last sold in 2008 for $826,000.

Unit #E is at the other end of the building, facing Ivy Street on the north. This unit has the same floor plan, but doesn’t get as much natural light. (But it will be quieter.) #E has a fireplace, which #C doesn’t. Here’s a shot of the living area:

This unit came on the market for $768,000 and just had a price reduction to $728,000. The previous sale here was for $810,000 in 2008, so again, there is a bit of a discount in the current market. HOA dues are $449/month.

Give me a shout if you’d like to see these properties. They’re great for buyers who work downtown and want a straightforward commute—and who would also like a roommate to offset the mortgage. Parents looking to invest in a property for their kids (and who want to use that other master suite when they’re in town) are prime candidates for 342 Hayes.

The Walk Score is 94, taking into consideration the many shops, restaurants and public transportation modes at your doorstep. Hayes Valley continues to be the cultural center of the city, featuring the Symphony, Opera, Ballet and Asian Art Museum only a few blocks away.

West Portal Home Crosses Finish Line

It wasn’t an easy real estate road for 153 Granville Way in West Portal. But last week’s sale goes to show you that it sometimes takes a while to get to the right market price.

The 4BR/2BA single-family home with multiple levels and no yard came on the market in March 2011 at $1,189,000 (and an offer date, too). No buyers came to the table, and the property sat for a while, experiencing a couple price reductions. The sellers ultimately withdrew the listing in July, when it still didn’t sell at the $995,000 list price.

But they gave it another shot in August, listing for $899,000 and then chopping the price to $799,000. In the end, they managed to land somewhere in between, with a selling price of $845,000. Given the proximity to West Portal Avenue and overall size of the property, I’d say the buyers got a pretty good deal. And the sellers turned out to be not only realistic, but genuinely motivated. That’s the combination you need in today’s market.


Single-Women Buyer Alert: 1730 Broderick #12

It’s no secret that single women are more likely to purchase a home than single men. (Based on all the single women I’ve helped buy properties, I strongly agree with the previous statement.) The studio at 1730 Broderick #12 in Lower Pacific Heights exemplifies that trend: The past two owners have been single women. So when I saw this unit on tour this week, I thought I’d get the word out.

This compact yet very functional unit is on the top floor of a handsome 12-unit Edwardian. The living, dining and kitchen areas have garden and sweeping city views. There are nice period details, a skylight in the kitchen and hardwood floors. And you even have a sleeping alcove, letting you avoid the dreaded lumpy futon that typically has to pull double duty as a couch and bed:


A large storage space is deeded to #12, so you don’t have to stuff your possessions into the actual unit. The location is excellent, very near the Laurel Village shops, public transportation and restaurants. (That 95 Walk Score is no exaggeration.) List price: $448,000. This unit was sold in 2005 for $414,000, and then again in 2008 for $459,000.

Smackdown: Sea Cliff Condo vs. Miraloma Park House

If you have a $600,000 budget, you definitely have some options when it comes to properties in San Francisco. I thought I’d throw the smackdown spotlight on two very different properties in two popular neighborhoods. Which one would you pick?

In one corner is the condo in Sea Cliff:

6915 California is a recently condo converted unit that features one bedroom plus a sunroom. (The latter is currently staged as a bedroom, and the unit is being marketed as a two bedroom.) You have an updated bathroom and a nicely remodeled kitchen. The spacious living room has a fireplace, and there’s also a formal dining room. This is an excellent Sea Cliff location, so you’re in walking distance of Land’s End, the Legion of Honor and Lincoln Park. HOA dues are $220/month and there’s one-car parking, deeded storage plus a washer/dryer in the garage. This unit was last sold as a TIC for $565,000 in 2009. Current list price: $599,000.

In the other corner is the house in Miraloma Park:

116 Marietta has been on the market a couple of months, having started out with a $629,000 list price. This property also has two bedrooms and one bathroom. But also thrown in to the mix are two decks, a yard, garage, and bonus room. The property is in walking distance of Mollie Stone’s and the other shops on Portola, as well as central bus lines. It’s important to note that this house just sold in June for $610,000, and the seller is in escrow on another purchase. So this is looking like a pretty good deal on the horizon for someone. List price is $599,000.

Walk Score Winners: Haight, Mission, Cow Hollow

Our latest edition of Walk Score Winners showcases a trio of condos in iconic San Francisco neighborhoods that offer proximity to restaurants, public transportation, shops and cafes. Let’s get to it:

724 Clayton, The Haight
100 Walk Score

Boasting the highest Walk Score possible, 724 Clayton is a 2BR/1BA condo with a remodeled kitchen (above), formal dining room and in-unit laundry. The second bedroom is half of the double parlor, which means you’re separated from the living room by a set of large pocket doors. The unit is located on the first floor of a two-unit building and comes with one-car parking. HOA dues are $280/mo. This is a great location in the heart of the Haight/Cole Valley, and all the shops, stores and public transportation you’ll need.

1335 Minna #2, Mission
98 Walk Score

Last sold for $850,000 in 2005, 1335 Minna #2 is a two-level 1BR/2BA loft that is now on the market for $925,000. The 1948-square foot unit occupies the middle floor of a three-unit building and has soaring ceilings and an oversized master suite. One of the two gas-burning fireplaces is pictured above, and separates the dining and living areas. There’s one-car parking, and HOA dues are $396/month.

3117 Buchanan, Cow Hollow
97 Walk Score

3117 Buchanan is a top-floor, 2BR/1BA Edwardian condo with Golden Gate and Palace of Fine Arts views. Located within a six-unit building, the unit has high ceilings, moldings and a deck off the kitchen. HOA dues are $178/month. The condo was last sold in 2007 for $846,000, so the sellers seem to be realistic about the current market. You’re pretty much at the center of all the north end retail areas such as Fillmore, Chestnut and Union Streets.