South Bernal Flip Not a Hit with Buyers

The lovely little house at 742 Andover in Bernal Heights was sold in February 2011 for $274,000, in an all-cash, bank-owned sale. On the agenda: install new electrical/plumbing systems; update the kitchen and bath; open up the floor plan; add a front deck and new rails, as well as a variety of smaller-scale cosmetic items.

Here’s what Andover looked like then:

The house still clocks in at only 720 square feet, but it’s much more stylish considering the modern finishes. I’ve shown this house twice, and in both instances, my clients thought the bedrooms were too small. Indeed, the bedrooms are more suitable to office or nursery use. And the location is a bit further south of Cortland than many buyers would like—far enough that you can hear the traffice from 280.

The $579,000 price tag may have to come down in the new year, unless someone scoops up Andover in the next week or so.

Stagehouse Loft with Killer Deck Flies Off Shelf

The Stagehouse Lofts bank-owned unit with the amazing deck and two-car parking came on the market late last week at $895,000, and I had the opportunity to show it to clients. Featuring phenomenal living/dining/kitchen and adjoining outdoor areas with city views, the 2BR/2BA unit was made for entertaining. Though its two bedrooms were tiny and didn’t really work for most buyers, there were apparently at least a couple sets of buyers willing to overlook that flaw.

The property was in contract with a back-up offer by the end of last weekend. So if you’re in the market for this sort of unit in SoMa, plan to act quickly—especially if it’s the holiday season. Of course, there are other, less expensive options. (The average SoMa loft sale from September to present is $620,056). But if you’re looking for exceptional entertainment/living space and two-car parking, you can expect to pay around $900,000.

Smackdown: Forest Hill House vs Mission Condo

When it comes to spending roughly $800,000 in San Francisco, you have many options. Today’s choice has a lot to do with location—as always—but also has much to do with overall finishes, space and urban vs more suburban feel.

First up is 190 Taraval, in Forest Hill:

190 Taraval was recently in contract, but just landed back on the market due to the buyers’ financing challenges. The 2BR/1BA Spanish Mediterranean home has about 1545 square feet and has been in the same family for 40 years. This is code for “needs updating,” which is definitely the case for the kitchen and bathroom. The lower level also has a family room and wet bar (a feature that may be outdated on its own). There’s two-car parking and a large garage, and the location is excellent because you’re in walking distance of the West Portal retail area. Taraval is a little busy, but certainly not unworkable. List price: $799,000.

In the other corner is 3236 17th Street #3:

3236 17th Street #3 is perfect for those buyers looking for a spacious, top-floor condo in the heart of the Mission. This unit technically has one bedroom, but there’s another room that would totally work as a second bedroom (in fact, it’s staged as one). You get two bathrooms, a chef’s kitchen, hardwood floors, a terrace and in-unit laundry. One-car parking and deeded storage are included, and HOA dues are $200 per month. For downtown or East Bay commuters, BART is one block away. You’re also in proximity to all the neighborhood restaurants, cafes, shops and bars. Listed at $799,000, this unit last sold for $830,000 in 2008.

So which home would you rather have?

SF House Sales Up, Transbay Update & New Pac Heights Development

The latest sales data is in, and single-family home sales are up 3.3% over the past 180 days. And 2-4 unit sales? Up 6.5%. This is good news heading into 2012.

Find out what the residential component is all about in the Transbay Terminal plans, as well as the deets on the hot new development at 1840 Washington.

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

Top 10 Neighborhoods for Commuting to Downtown San Francisco

One of the more popular requests from my new buyer clients is that they need to live in a neighborhood with easy and relatively quick rail or bus access to downtown San Francisco. So I thought I’d pull together a list for all those prospective home buyers and downtown commuters out there who may be considering a home purchase in 2012. I’ve also linked each neighborhood to its corresponding profile on my Zephyr company site, so you can see stats and available homes. And if you want Muni maps, click here.

1. Noe Valley. Yes, everyone loves Noe for its retail area, wide streets, and overall appeal. But it’s also excellent if you need to get downtown regularly. The ideal commuting section of Noe is anywhere east of Sanchez. From there, you can walk to the J Church, and also to the 24th Street BART station.

2. The Mission and Mission Dolores. Just next door to Noe is the popular Mission district, with its hot Valencia restaurant/shop/cafe strip. The Mission is directly served by the BART line, which runs downtown and into the East Bay. Ideal areas of the Mission would be within blocks of either the 16th or 24th and Mission stations. And on the Mission Dolores front, you have your 18th Street BiRite/Defina/Tartine empire, which are great places to stop off on your way home from the 16th and Mission BART station, or the J Church.

3. Glen Park. In the heart of Glen Park’s downtown area is the BART hub. This is pretty accessible from most parts of Glen Park, as well as the more northern section of Mission Terrace and the eastern portion of neighboring Sunnyside.

4. Lower Pacific Heights. No rail lines service this area, but buses run frequently to and from downtown on practically every east-west street, including California, Pine, Bush, Sutter, and Post. There’s also an excellent stretch along Fillmore that offers a variety of restaurants, shops and cafes.

5. Cole Valley.  A bit more low key than its Haight Ashbury neighbor, Cole Valley is served by the N Judah. The station is located on Cole, adjacent to about three blocks’ worth of restaurants, shops and cafes. The train can get pretty crowded at peak times, but it’s definitely a direct line to downtown.

6. Duboce Triangle. The N Judah also runs through Duboce, but the residents of this very small section of San Francisco can also walk over to Church and Market for the J Church.

7. Eureka Valley/Castro. The Market and Castro Muni station is ideal for Castro dwellers, who have a variety of train lines running to downtown.

8. West Portal. Sleepier than some of the aforementioned nabes, West Portal is a very cool area with a mom-and-pop retail strip that’s pretty much the opposite of Union Street. The area is served by the L Muni line. It may take a little longer to get downtown from this western San Francisco location, but West Portal is the most convenient area west of Twin Peaks for commuting.

9. Hayes Valley. Also the keeper of a hot retail area, Hayes Valley hosts a variety of bus lines that run to Market Street, or you can walk over to the Muni stations at Market and Van Ness or Civic Center to get downtown. You can also walk downtown on a good day.

10. Dogpatch. Otherwise known as the Central Waterfront, Dogpatch became the beneficiary of a bonafide Muni line back in 2007. The T spirits residents from the easter edges of the city right through Mission Bay and past the Giants’ ballpark. And Dogpatch’s growing number of hip, high-quality restaurants are making it a destination for foodies citywide.