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SF Real Estate Summer Stats Are In!

The San Francisco real estate market didn’t seem to slow down this summer. I was “on vacation” last week, but still reported for duty to prep my upcoming listing, manage my current seller escrow and write offers. Many of my colleagues continued to bring on new listings straight through to the end of August, despite the threat of Burning Man and Labor Day weekend thinning the buyer pool.

And in fact, the last week of August saw many listings coming up dry when offer dates arrived. But I don’t think that this was because the market is softening significantly.

How did buyers and sellers fare in July and August in the condo and single-family home markets? [Read more...]

My Sweet Summer is (Almost) Gone

bakerbeach
I’ve punched out for the week and will be back after Labor Day, in a last-ditch attempt to have a summer vacation.

Thanks for reading my blog, and I look forward to sharing more insights from the field when I return!

Story Behind Prop G, Noe Luxury, Latest Prices

The contentious Prop G will be on our November ballot this year. The proposition calls for a higher transfer tax on people who sell certain residential real estate within five years of purchase. The tax would increase to 24% in those first five years, and then would drop to 14% after five years.

As always, there are multiple sides to the issue, and this edition of the Zephyr Market Tracker looks at some of the different angles.

We also check out some luxurious Noe Valley properties, as well as feature the most recent citywide sales and averages.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker.

I’m a Realtor First, Blogger Second

I’ve received a handful of calls over the past year from home buyers and sellers looking for my opinion on their individual real estate situations. The buyers are either in contract on a property and a transaction issue has come up, or are negotiating a purchase agreement and seeking assurance about where the market is going. The sellers have accepted an offer but are looking for my input on whether or not they should grant a requested buyer credit or risk falling out of contract.

I’m always happy to hear from my extensive blog base, but I thought it might be a good time to remind everyone that I’m able to stay in business and write my blog because I’m selling real estate. And I do reserve a good portion of my strategies, market insights and advice for clients—meaning there’s way more you need to know beyond my blog post content when you’re transitioning from reader to being a home buyer or seller.

If you’ve already engaged the services of a Realtor you trust, it’s probably best for you to follow his or her advice. Because if you committed to working with your Realtor, it should mean that you value his or her counsel and have worked through many details together. You now have a track record with your agent, a professional who will also get paid a fee when your transaction closes. We work in a service-based industry, and our time, market knowledge, and negotiating expertise are a few of the services we offer that make us valuable.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a long time and are now planning to buy or sell a property, please remember that I am an experienced, knowledgeable, highly organized and down-to-earth agent who will work in your best interest (even if it means advising you to pass on a particular home or reject a certain offer). Many of my readers have become clients, and have gone on to refer their friends, co-workers, neighbors and family to me.

And every time that happens, it allows me to keep writing this blog and sharing my insights with you on a consistent basis.

Need further proof? Check out my Yelp reviews and video here.

Looking forward to working with more of you in 2014!

2BR Condo Market Explodes in Noe Valley

100day
Buyers competing for two-bedroom condos in Noe Valley are apparently willing to pay whatever it takes to snag them a home near a tech shuttle stop and the freeways.

The average price for such a unit in the time period from June through mid August was $1,250,667. Only two of the nine condos sold were under $1M; the rest ranged from $1,250,000-$1,475,000. Average overbid? 27%.

Yes, there are some such condos selling for less, but they generally involve 1,000 square feet or less and don’t include parking—or have other quirks. (For example, a 2BR/2BA condo with parking on Dolores at 29th Street sold recently for $875,000. But the developer owns three of the 13 units, meaning any buyer needing a loan would have to use non-conforming financing.) [Read more...]

No Car? No Problem!

San Francisco continues to head toward a transit-oriented environment, fueled by new construction residential developments that are providing one parking space for every two units (or no parking at all). Car-sharing services are also helping the anti-car ownership trend. Indeed, if you’re buying a condo in a central location near retail areas, rail or bus lines, there is not as much of a need to own a car these days.

I rounded up three great condos that are currently on the market and which don’t provide parking. [Read more...]

Community Doesn’t Just Happen, You Have To Build It

colevalleylibrary
I was on the way to meet a stager at my upcoming listing in Cole Valley last week when I came upon this “lending library” on Woodland. Sheltered by a Far Niente wine box (and signalling immediately that one of these neighbors has good taste in wine), the library is used by neighbors who leave and borrow books on a regular basis. I’ve seen a few more of these lately in the Mission and in Noe Valley, and the libraries are a great way for neighbors to interact and build community.

Many San Francisco buyers tell me that one of the things they’re looking for—besides a suitable house, of course—is a sense of community and good neighbors. And one important factor to note is that a sense of community doesn’t just appear; you actually have to sometimes work to create it. [Read more...]

Just Sold: 250 Los Palmos in Miraloma Park

250lospalmos
On the market for about three weeks, 250 Los Palmos was overlooked by many buyers. However, my clients seized the day and purchased this spacious single-family home in a great neighborhood. (They also avoided a multiple-offer situation, rare in San Francisco these days.)

250 Los Palmos is just up the hill from Monterey Boulevard and Sunnyside, and is conveniently located near Glen Park and 280 for the Silicon Valley commute. The property has three nice-sized bedrooms all on the same level, a remodeled kitchen with skylight, and an additional, unwarranted bedroom and bathroom downstairs which will be very useful as a family room or guest space.

The average price for a three-bedroom house in San Francisco is well above $1M, but my clients have managed to snag themselves a deal. Congrats to them, and I wish them much happiness in their new home!

Outside Lands Shines Spotlight on Richmond

The annual Outside Lands festival takes over Golden Gate Park this weekend, and the Richmond is one of the adjacent neighborhoods that’s very much in the mix. For better or worse, neighbors can hear the show from their very own residences, and compete with festival goers for street parking and public transportation.

But during the rest of the year, Richmond dwellers enjoy proximity to the park, various retail strips that pepper the area, and the ocean. Yes, you get fog in the Richmond, but from a real estate perspective, there’s a variety of architecture, and the houses and condos have more square footage. In the end, I believe there’s good value, particularly on a price-per-square-foot basis.

Open house access will be a bit challenging this weekend, but here are some listings worth noting. My advice? Skip the open house circuit and make a showing appointment in the morning, before the festival gets going.

607 7th Avenue
Cross street: Balboa
4BR/4.5BA
1 pkg
$2,795,000
607_7th
With four levels of living space, 607 7th Avenue could have probably hosted part of Outside Lands. Seriously, this is a big, renovated house with large bedrooms, high-end finishes and a cute garden. The house has been on the market a couple weeks with no bites, but I’m thinking it’s worth writing an offer at less than asking and seeing what you can negotiate. [Read more...]

SF Construction Boom Boosts Tire Industry

Construction in San Francisco is going gangbusters these days. No matter where you walk, drive or bike, there’s a building rising or a home being extensively renovated.

One byproduct of all this construction is what I experienced last week. I headed to my garage en route to an appointment and discovered that I had a flat tire. An hour later, AAA diagnosed the cause of the flat—a nail.

The service guy said that he is seeing nails in tires “every day, because of all the construction.” Unfortunately for me, the tire wasn’t repairable.

Consider this a public service announcement of sorts. Part of my job requires me to go to new construction sites, but I’m also now making every attempt to avoid driving past work sites if I can. That’s no easy task, but at the very least, I don’t park near renovation areas.

So watch where you drive, and make sure you have a reliable roadside assistance plan in place—and a solid spare tire.

New Listing: 7 Bennington in Bernal Heights

19Ext1My new listing on one of the most desirable blocks in Bernal opens its doors this weekend. 7 Bennington is a sweet single-family home that features an open living/dining area, three good-sized bedrooms all on the main level and an updated kitchen and bath. This is a great house for entertaining, as the deck and stairs off the kitchen lead to a lovely yard that’s perfect for enjoying Bernal’s sunny microclimate while you fire up the grill and hang with your friends.

Oh, and did I mention a two-car garage and laundry area with a top-of-the-line washer/dryer?

All this only one block from a prime stretch along Cortland Avenue, and also near public transportation, tech shuttles, and freeways.

List price is $899,000.

We’ll be open Saturday & Sunday from 2:00-4:00, so stop in and see me!

For more details & photos, please visit our 7Bennington Web site.

InsideSFRE Makes the Nightly News

My seller clients and I were interviewed last night on KTVU’s ten o’clock news about the Zillow acquisition of Trulia, and how online real estate sites continue to play an important role in the real estate industry.

I’m a big fan of Trulia, Zillow, and Redfin, and believe they are key in helping buyers and sellers do their research. As I mentioned during the broadcast, most of my clients have done their fair share of online research before I even meet with them for the first time. As a result, they’re up to speed on values and we can get right to in-depth market discussions.

You can watch the broadcast here.

And look for our Bernal Heights listing later this week, especially if you’re in the market for a three-bedroom single-family home in a fantastic neighborhood location.

Market Softens for $2M+ Homes, Condos in Big Buildings

The media and local blogs love to grab headlines by touting the latest crazy overbids made by buyers who don’t think much of throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at sellers. (Yes, I cover these overbids occasionally, as well, because they’re an intrinsic part of the current market here.) Homeowners love those headlines, but would-be buyers cringe.

But the latest news is that there are certain segments of the market that are softening, as evidenced by several July sales. [Read more...]

What You Can Buy: 21 Days & Counting

Properties in San Francisco commonly go into contract within a week or two of being on the market. Which means that things move quickly. However, there are many homes that have been on the market for three weeks or more. In my never-ending quest to unearth buyer opportunities, I wanted to profile a trio of properties that are available with no offer date—and potentially, no competition:

424 28th Street
Noe Valley

Days on Market (DOM): 24
3BR/2BA, no parking
List price: $1,595,000
424_28th
Finding a spacious, detached single-family home in a good location in Noe Valley for less than $2M is a bit of a challenge these days. That’s why I’m surprised no one’s snapped up 424 28th Street. Yes, this house is a little quirky, with bedrooms scattered among three levels, and no, there’s not a garage. But you can take it upon yourself to add parking (there’s an estimate on file for $120,000 for a garage installation). The sellers have secured a leased parking space in the interim that’s only half a block away. You also have front and rear backyards, views, and a family room. The house is situated two and a half blocks from the J Church Muni station and the shops/restaurants in the south end of Noe. [Read more...]

Let’s Start Pushing for “Blue” Construction in SF

Two things are certain right now: Our California drought doesn’t have an end in sight, and construction is booming in San Francisco.

The push for “green,” or eco-friendly construction erupted several years ago. But what I’m wondering is whether architects and builders can start including “blue,” or drought-friendly features in future renovations and new construction.

A recent piece on NPR discussed how Australia—which has a nine-year drought in its history—began addressing its water shortage problem by revamping home plumbing systems. Consider Melbourne, which gets 23 inches of rain annually (similar to that of San Francisco in a typical year). Half the homes in Melbourne now have systems to capture and store rain, and newer homes are being built with dual plumbing systems to recycle graywater. For example, rinse water from the washing machine goes to the toilet for flushing.

Melbourne is now down to 40 gallons per person per day, including outside watering. Californians average two to four times that amount.

Green construction is great, and should continue. But it would be awesome if, in the future, homeowners and builders would take the lead from Melbourne and create “blue” construction properties.