Blogger-Realtor Takes Time Off

Thanks to all of you who regularly read my blog. I’m taking some time off from selling real estate and blogging, but I will be back on Monday, June 9th!

The Most Competitive House Markets in San Francisco Right Now

If you’re aiming to buy or sell a single-family home in San Francisco, it’s important to take note of the selling patterns in the city’s various neighborhoods. You’ve probably read my blog post from earlier this week on the hottest condo markets, but when it comes to overbidding on houses, the landscape looks slightly different.

The neighborhoods where buyers are overbidding most intensely are varied, and there are many. Here are the most competitive markets according to the average overbid percentage:
Inner Sunset 26.18%
The Mission 22.47%
Glen Park 21.95%
Inner Parkside 21.61%
Miraloma Park 20.48%
Noe Valley 20.14%
Bernal Heights 19.94%
Ingleside Heights 19.51%
Forest Hill 19.45%
Ingleside 18.96%
Crocker Amazon/Outer Mission 18.18%
Eureka Valley 17.77
Sunnyside 17.69%
Central Richmond 16.58%
Outer Richmond 15.38%
Potrero Hill 15.15%

The Runner-Ups
Central Sunset/Parkside 14.93%
Outer Sunset/Outer Parkside 14.80%
Excelsior 14.74%
Portola/Silver Terrace 13.93%
Mission Terrace 12.81%

The Most Competitive Condo Markets in San Francisco Right Now

One of the keys to success in the current San Francisco market is knowing which neighborhoods are the most competitive. Armed with that intel, you can more easily gauge how much to offer on a property, or what list price will work to your advantage.

As many of my regular readers know, I’ve been running a feature highlighting extreme overbidding for several months, regularly inducting new members into the SF Overbidders Club. The reality is that we have many neighborhoods in San Francisco that are showing double-digit overbid percentages, and it’s important to know what the selling patterns are when you’re determining values.

When it comes to the San Francisco market, these patterns can change pretty quickly. My sales data is based on reported MLS sales in the time period April 1 – May 12, 2014, so it’s the most current info available.

Here are the most competitive neighborhoods and their average overbids right now for condo sales:
1. Cow Hollow: 21.87%
2. Cole Valley/Buena Vista Terrace: 21%
3. The Haight: 19.85%
4. Eureka Valley: 18.69%
5. Noe Valley: 16.28%
6. NoPa: 15%
7. Pacific Heights: 13.88%

The Runner Ups
Bernal Heights: 11.37%
Mission/Mission Dolores: 10.49%
Potrero/Dogpatch: 10.49%
Corona Heights: 10.16%
Hayes Valley/Alamo Square: 9.6%
Presidio Heights: 8.52%
Lower Pacific Heights: 8%
The Marina: 7.61%
Mission Bay: 6.32%
SoMa: 6.61%

As for more specifics on how much you should offer or for what price you should list your home—well, that’s my job, and I’m happy to work for you. Give me a shout at 415.823.4656 / and we can talk about how I can help you. And yes, I’ll be hitting up the single-family home market later this week so you can see where the hottest markets are right now in the city.

Latest Sales, Value of Staging, Spotlight on Portola

The new Zephyr Market Tracker explores the southeast neighborhood of Portola, checks in on whether staging makes a difference in the current market and gives you the lowdown on the most recent citywide sales.

And of course, you’ll get the market overview for single-family homes, condos and two- to four-unit buildings.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

House Flippers Hit 2014 Market

Many contractors and small-scale developers who snapped up properties with their cash in the last two years in San Francisco have completed high-end renovations and are now listing those homes for sale. They were able to buy at a time when the market wasn’t quite as hot as it is right now. And we all know that the successful flip largely depends on timing.

Here are three flips that recently came on the market, with their before and after renderings:
212 & 212A Chattanooga
Noe Valley

3BR/3.5BA (front) / 2BR/2BA (rear)
List Prices: $2,495,000 / $1,595,000
212 Chattanooga is the front house on a lot that holds two renovated houses. The front (above) was purchased in September 2012 for $750,000. It’s now a three-level home with a tiered main level that has direct access to a west-facing yard.

The rear house, 212A Chattanooga, was sold in the same timeframe for $450,000 as a tenant-occupied cottage. This property is accessed via a walkway that runs alongside 212 Chattanooga. There’s no parking for the rear house, but the idea of a “Vespa pad” is cute:
I liked both houses, though the downside to the rear property is that it’s oriented toward a large, unattractive rental building. Getting to and from the property isn’t glamorous via the narrow walkway. But the location is excellent, and I think it’d be ideal to purchase the entire property as a family compound.

812 Corbett
Twin Peaks

4BR/3BA, 3400 sq ft
List Price: $2,649,000
812 Corbett was purchased as a 2BR contractor’s special in May 2013 for $820,000, and has been completely transformed. All the crowd-pleasing elements are there—the open floor plan, chef’s kitchen, three bedrooms on one level, and roof deck. No views, which is a key selling point for Twin Peaks. But the finishes are way cool and there’s plenty of space.

147 Peralta
Bernal Heights

4BR/3.5BA, 2706 sq ft
List Price: $1,950,000
147 peralta
Situated near Precita Park and offering big space for Bernal, 147 Peralta has been de-Victorianized and now has the trappings of any of the generic new-construction condos everyone’s building these days. The property was purchased in July 2013 for $965,000, and is actually a legal two-unit building. The second unit is being presented as guest quarters. There are three bedrooms on the upper level, and no real yard, as they filled up the lot with the house.

My Offer Was Accepted—Now What?!

Most San Francisco buyers are focused on competing for properties. What’s equally important is that you have a firm understanding of what you’ll be responsible for once your offer is accepted and you’re officially “in contract” to purchase your home.

The first week to ten days after “ratification” (seller accepting your offer) are essentially a juggling act. Here are the five things you should be prepared to do:
1. Place your deposit into the escrow account. You’ll need to wire in your good faith deposit (typically 3% of the purchase price). You can also write a check, but wiring is what most buyers do. Make sure that deposit money is liquid and able to be transferred within one to three days of ratification to the title company account associated with your escrow.

2. Submit outstanding financial documentation to your lender. Your lender will invariably need updated financial documentation in order to get your loan package approved. If you’re working within a competitive contingency timeframe (who isn’t?), you’ll want to deliver those docs to the lender within a day or so of the request.

3. Conduct your inspections. You’re going to have to quickly get inspections on the calendar if you didn’t pre-schedule them. This will require some flexibility and probably time away from work during the week. Once you have the inspections and review written reports, you’ll be asked to address the contingency—either removing it, or negotiating any items—as per your contractual deadline.

4. Sign outstanding disclosures. You may have signed a bulk of seller disclosures and reports up front, but there will be more. Be sure you set time aside to review what comes in.

5. Address your appraisal/loan contingencies. Make sure you set time aside to review your appraisal (particularly to make sure that it has come in at value) and respond to any remaining conditions once the lender has reviewed all property and financial documentation. You’re aiming for a big thumbs up from the lender on all aspects of your loan so they begin generating loan documents for you to sign. You will have to ultimately sign and submit the loan/appraisal contingency removal form to the seller to officially clear your contractual obligation.

What You Need To Know About Leased Parking

You start your home search with a parking space as part of your criteria. And then you see the perfect condo, but it has what’s defined as “leased parking.” What exactly are the ramifications for this?

The SF Realtor Association recently changed the data fields in the MLS to include leased parking and its related details in a given listing. Previously, you either had some type of deeded parking, or not. Some agents indicated “1L” in the data field, which resulted in listings showing a parking space that technically wasn’t going to be sold with the unit. So the new leased parking fields are a good thing, in my opinion.

The main distinction to make with respect to parking is that a space is included with the purchase, or it’s not. There are also variations on parking that comes with a unit, such as deeded, assigned, tandem or independent style.

A leased space is not included in the purchase price, and it doesn’t run with the property. The seller typically has leased the space for a while, or has just secured it so the property can be marketed with a solution to the no-parking problem. The seller has a signed agreement with a third party, and that third party also has to approve the buyer if the lease is to be transferred to the new owner.

Leased parking can be in a private garage, or it can be in a lot or even a public parking garage. You’ll want to visit the space and consider the distance to and from your unit. If the space is in a parking lot, know that someday that lot may be a condo development.

Most importantly, there is no guarantee that the leased space will be available throughout your ownership, or that you’ll be able to transfer the lease in the future. But having a leased space available addresses immediate concerns (i.e., where am I going to park?!). Neighborhoods that have major parking challenges—the Mission, Russian Hill, the Haight, Hayes Valley, to name a few—often also have leased parking available, and securing that lease may entice some buyers to move ahead with a purchase.

So if you’re considering a property that has leased parking, just know that there is no guarantee you’ll have that space forever. It’s also a good idea to get a sense for how available other leased spaces are in a particular location, in the event you someday have to replace that space. And also note the monthly cost of that space, because it will be in addition to HOA dues, too, if you’re purchasing a condo.

What You Can Buy: Vacant Two-Unit Buildings

The vacant two-unit building is one of the holy grails of San Francisco real estate. Two different owners can partner and pursue condo conversion, or a buyer looking to live in one unit and rent out the other can also benefit.

There are three such properties on the market right now, in transit-rich locations with plenty of restaurants, cafes and retail in walking distance. Let’s take a look at what’s out there:

159-161 Belvedere
Cole Valley

Two 2BR/1BAs
Parking included
List Price: $1.6M
159-161 Belvedere is one of those buildings that’s been in the same family for a long time. As such, it needs some heavy updating but is in a location (and has the square footage) that warrant the investment. There’s additional space in each unit that’s been used as a third bedroom, and there is also very nice preserved period detail that hopefully the next owner will maintain. The garage is huge and can accommodate three or more cars if parked in tandem. Excellent neighborhood location that’s near in heart of Cole Valley and also a block from Haight Street.

156-158 Valley
Noe Valley

One 2BR/1BA
One studio
Parking included
List Price: $1,295,000
156-158 Valley is a different proposition: It’s best suited to one owner who will either use the second unit for guests or a rental. First off, this is essentially a house with a studio in the garage. (Though it is a legal two-unit building, the units aren’t equal in size and it’s unlikely two buyers will team up for the purchase.) The mid-century property could use some updating, and it’s in a good Upper Noe location a block from the J Church and plenty of retail. You may also occasionally see me walking past with my two Cairn Terriers, as 156-158 Valley is on my dog-walking route.

1529-1529A Golden Gate
Alamo Square

Two 2BR/1-1.5BAs
Parking included
List Price: $1,480,000
Well-appointed with classic Victorian detail, 1529-1529A Golden Gate has two move-in condition units and a two-car garage with space to park outside. There’s also a lovely yard. One block to Alamo Square Park, and proximity to the retail area along Divisadero’s NoPa stretch.

Bernal Renovations, South Beach Condos Getting Ready to Sell

The latest Zephyr Market Tracker is showing property prices up around 8% across the board over the past six months. (In most neighborhoods, though, the increase from 2013 to 2014 is much higher.)

We also take a look at Lumina, the upcoming 655-unit condo development at 201 Folsom that’s best known as phase 2 of the Infinity. Plus, a close-up on Bernal Heights and some cool renovations happening there. And let’s not forget the annual Decorator Showcase that will be held in a 9,000-square foot mansion on Jackson Street.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

“White House” Maintains SoMa Design Trend in Noe Valley

The newly renovated “White House” at 235 28th Street is right in line with one of the two design trends that have swept Noe Valley over the past few years—a completely renovated, whitewashed Victorian that looks nothing like a Victorian inside. Uou could be in SoMa based on the finishes and lack of period detail.

San Francisco real estate followers may remember this property when it sold for $1.3M in April 2013 and looked like this:
The renovation approach follows in the footsteps of many recent, similar projects. For example, the main level has been opened up, and there are now four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Three bedrooms are on the ground level. And they come with living/kitchen/dining areas and yards like this:

At the $3M price point in the neighborhood, this is about what you can expect.

The other design trend that you see most often in the luxury Noe market features glass box exteriors, which also take their queue from South of Market exteriors. Here’s a good example of one that sold earlier this year for $3,225,000:

And another called “The Cube House” that sold for $5,250,000 last month:

There are probably about half a dozen single-family homes under construction in Noe right now that are copying the glass box look. Though they don’t quite fit in with the typical Noe Valley architectural character, they appeal to buyers because these homes have very open floor plans, high ceilings and get a lot of light through all that glass.

It will be interesting to see how design in the neighborhood changes over the next decade.

New Listing: 2BR Corona Heights Condo

2442_15thSt LR2
My new listing at 2442 15th Street in desirable Corona Heights is in an awesome location—and, it’s a lovely condo, to boot.

Seriously, not only can you walk out the door and on to a quaint, tree-lined street, but you also have immediate access to Corona Heights Park, tennis courts across the street and a short walk downhill to Duboce Triangle and the Castro. That means you can easily catch Muni to downtown, tech shuttles to the South Bay, and be inside cafes, restaurants and shops in minutes.

The condo itself has great Victorian detailing, a clawfoot tub, big master bedroom with lush, green outlooks and a large storage unit. There’s no garage parking, but finding a space on the street is really not that hard to do in this part of town.

Want more info? Head over to our property Web site at 2442 15th Street for photos and our showing schedule. Stop in this weekend on either Saturday or Sunday from 2:00-4:00 and say hello! And message me directly at 415.823.4656/ if you have any questions.