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Halloween + Giants Parade = Awesome San Francisco

halloween_28thstreet
Happy Halloween! For the second time in two years, we’re celebrating Halloween and the Giants’ World Series win on the same day.

So I’m not going to try to compete for your attention today. Enjoy the parade, Halloween and everything our great city has to offer.

See you on Monday!

Congratulations, San Francisco Giants!

MissionBay_ATTPark7
The San Francisco Giants are the 2014 World Series champions—for the third time in five seasons!

We have a lot of great things to be happy about in San Francisco, and the Giants top it all off.

Thanks for an outstanding post season, Giants!

Just Sold: Big House in the Excelsior

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My clients just closed on a great house at 648 Lisbon in the Excelsior. Not only does the house have four legal bedrooms, two updated bathrooms and an updated kitchen, there’s also a spacious third level that can be used for guests or a family room. Lisbon has big views from all levels, too. The other night when we were at the property for a walkthrough, I took this photo of the stunning sunset from the back deck (no filter here, either):

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List price was $929,000, but we got the property for less than asking—even in this competitive seller’s market. Much thanks to Chris Pessy and Kyle Garner at HomeStreet, who expertly guided us through the loan process.

Yes, SF Real Estate is Seasonal

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Yes, our San Francisco market is going strong—and has been for the past several months. But if you’re planning to buy or sell real estate, it’s important to know that the industry does slow down after Thanksgiving.

I know of a few colleagues who are bringing new listings on the market in early December. But new inventory will substantially decrease after your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers are gone.

There are currently 288 single-family homes and 293 condos on the market. If you’re a buyer who genuinely wants to make a purchase before the end of the year, the takeaway here is that you should seriously consider whatever comes on the market that might work for you.

And if you’re a homeowner who is still thinking about putting your house on the market this year, it is high time to get your home ready for sale. Everyone you need, from stagers to small-scale contractors, painters and gardeners is busy. Making sure you have time to line up what you need can be a challenge going into November.

Just Listed: View Condo at Arterra in Mission Bay

300Berry1010 2br1
Just down the street from all the World Series action at AT&T Park is my new two-bedroom condo listing at Arterra (300 Berry Street). This corner unit has fabulous views of Twin Peaks, The Bay, Mission Creek and more. And it has all the amenities—parking, storage, in-unit laundry, as well as 24/7 lobby attendance, a gym, guest suite, and view roof deck.

Arterra is LEED Silver certified and also has reasonable HOA dues in comparison to other buildings in the neighborhood. List price is $979,000. For more details, photos and showing schedule, please visit 300berry1010.com

Next open will be Sunday, 10/26 from 12:00-2:00. Stop in and see me. Go, Giants!

There Was a Time When They Moved Victorians Around

The new edition of the Zephyr Market Tracker throws the spotlight on Victorians. Did you know they were moved from one neighborhood to another? SFist has a great photo gallery showing what happened back then.

We also look at the different types of Victorian properties available in San Francisco, the most recent citywide sales and the deets for SF Rec & Park’s upcoming Scaregrove in Stern Grove. It’s all here in the latest Zephyr Market Tracker!

Don’t Forget About Lofts in San Francisco

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Lofts have always been one of my favorite types of homes in San Francisco. With their high ceilings, open spaces and large windows, lofts always feel bigger than they actually are. Developers went on a loft-building spree in the late 1990s-early 2000s to create live-work housing in “transitional” neighborhoods like South of Market, The Mission, South Beach, and Dogpatch. And these properties still offer good bang for the buck.

The new construction coursing through the city no longer includes lofts. But it’s important not to overlook existing loft inventory, as it provides a unique, spacious form of housing that’s near downtown, freeways, public transportation and some of the best restaurants in the city. And most lofts come with parking and modest HOA dues, which can’t be said for today’s new construction condos. [Read more...]

FHA Loans Lay Low in San Francisco

Buyers making purchases with FHA loans are a rarity these days in San Francisco. In the past two years, FHA loans were used by only 54 single-family home and six condo buyers, as per the SF MLS.

An FHA-insured loan is backed by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration, which insures a loan made by a private lender. Buyers can make a purchase with a very low down payment. FHA loans are a bit more complex than regular loans, and typically take longer to process.

The San Francisco market moves quickly, and many sellers don’t want to wait any more than 21 or 30 days to complete their transaction. Many buyers also have large down payments these days and make offers that frequently omit loan contingencies. So it’s no wonder that in a competitive offer situation (nine times out of ten), a seller will go with the buyer that presents the most direct and efficient path to closing. And that typically will not involve an FHA loan. [Read more...]

What You Can Buy: Smart Investments for Owner Occupiers

One of the most strategic and desirable investments you can make in San Francisco is to purchase a three- to four-unit property that has one or more units vacant, a garage, and a good neighborhood location. Let’s face it, rents in the city are high, and if your rents reflect today’s market, you’ll be ahead of the game in the long run.

It’s extremely important to be well versed in San Francisco’s rent laws before you consider such a purchase. I’ve been a successful owner-landlord for the past 16 years, and there’s definitely a list of do’s and don’ts to which you’ll want to adhere. You also will want to have a large down payment or you’ll have no cash flow. Here are three properties worth a look, particularly if you’re in this for a long-term hold:

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1031-1037 Divisadero
Neighborhood: NoPa
The Deets: Two vacant Victorian two-unit buildings on one lot with a capacity for eight-car parking. There are two 1BR/1BA units, and two 2BR/1BA flats.
List Price: $3.7M
The Scoop: NoPa’s become all the rage in the past couple years, so finding tenants for three of these nice units shouldn’t be a problem. The property was built in 1880 and has all the period details people love. You can move in to one of the larger units in the front building for your primary residence, and rent out the rest. 1031-1037 Divisadero is on a double lot and has updated kitchens/baths, and hardwood floors. The building came on the market at the end of August for $3.9M, so the current list price reflects a reduction. [Read more...]

Mission Bay is Where It’s At In October

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Just in time for the Giants and their National League playoff series comes my listing at Arterra—one block from the ball park!

My clients are selling their 2BR/1BA condo on the tenth floor, overlooking Mission Bay. This is a corner unit, so it gets great natural light. One-car parking and storage are included, and Arterra boasts amenities like a fitness room, roof deck, 24/7 concierge and more.

We’re currently painting and staging, but contact me if you’d like more details!

And Go, Giants!!

Art at Alcatraz, Latest San Francisco Sales & Market Trends

The current edition of the Zephyr Market Tracker turns the spotlight on Alcatraz and its new art installation. You have until April 2015 to see this unique exhibit by Beijing-based artist Ai Weiwei.

We also check out some hot new Bernal listings, as well as recent citywide sales and market trends.

It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

Property Tax Tips for New Homeowners

October is always a fun month where home ownership in San Francisco is concerned. That’s because the property tax bills are issued in the second or third week of this month. And if you’ve recently purchased a new home, there a few things to keep in mind about how tax payment works.

First off, your tax bill may not reach you because the city will likely still have the property taxes under the name of the previous homeowner. It takes the city a while to update records after a sale. [Read more...]

Noe House + Income Unit = Cool Investment

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The Victorian two-unit building with an unwarranted studio at 676 San Jose in Noe Valley is the perfect choice for buyers looking for a spacious single-family home. Because not only do you get a 4BR/2BA house with fabulous Victorian detailing throughout,but you also get a legal 2BR/1BA apartment downstairs and an uwarranted studio that’s great for guests, home office or au pair. I’ll be hosting an open house at 676 San Jose this Sunday from 2:00-4:00. [Read more...]

5 Tips for Buying—And Being Happy With Your Home

The San Francisco market moves quickly, and sometimes buyers get swept away in the frenzy. They find themselves suddenly in contract on a home that they aren’t entirely sure about.

A variety of activities kicks in once you’re in contract, and you have to be completely on board in order to hit your milestones. Wiring in a hefty deposit, working with your lender on outstanding financial docs, paying for and conducting inspections—that all happens in the first week. If you’re half-heartedly proceeding, I can guarantee there’s a good chance you’ll miss deadlines, and potentially waste your and a lot of other people’s time if you decide to cancel the contract.

The key to making a confident and successful home purchase lies in being prepared and knowledgeable. Here are five tips for being successful in the residential real estate game: [Read more...]

What You Can Buy for Under $1M with Bay & Bridge Views

If your budget is under $1M and you want a condo with views, your best bets will be neighborhoods like South Beach and Mission Bay. Real estate is roughly around $1,000/sq foot there, so if you manage to snag a property with Bay views, you’ll really be getting the best bang for your buck.

Here’s a look at three condos with views in popular buildings that are near 280, Caltrain, BART, Muni, AT&T Park, and renowned restaurants:

260 King #1515
The Beacon (Mission Bay)

1BR/1BA, 903 sq ft
HOA dues: $762/mo + $140.40 parking/mo
List price: $799,000
260King_1515
260 King #1515 in The Beacon has dead-on Bay views from every window, and that’s no exaggeration. This is the type of home where you walk in and immediately realize that the online photos don’t do the views justice. The unit features hardwood floors, a kitchen with granite counters and stainless-steel appliances, and an in-unit washer/dryer. There’s also a separate alcove if you need an office area. Constructed in 2004, The Beacon spans two buildings (250 and 260 King) and has 595 units. It’s got excellent amenities like a 24-hour doorperson, concierge services, lap pool, spa, fitness center, club house and dog park. There are currently eight condos available in the Beacon for under $1M, but #1515 offers the best views and position in the building for the money. [Read more...]