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. [Read more…]

What You Could’ve Bought: For Under List Price

It’s unusual in the current San Francisco market for buyers to be able to purchase a home for less than the list price. Most of the time, a property has to be on the market for at least a couple months, and even then, there’s no guarantee the seller will be willing to take less. But here are three homes that changed hands for substantially less than asking:

1966-68 Greenwich
Cow Hollow

List Price: $3,900,000
Sale Price: $2,650,000
Days on Market (DOM): 99
1966-68 Greenwich was billed as a family compound, and consisted of two condos. There was a 3BR/2BA home with two-car parking at the front of the lot, and a rear 2BR/1.5BA cottage with one-car parking (which the seller was renting on a short-term basis for an income of $100,000/yr). Both buildings were extensively remodeled, and the cottage had its own private entrance. The seller also included plans for enlarging the rear unit by 2500 square feet. Great location near Union Street shops and restaurants, as well as 101. [Read more…]

Buyers Land Holiday Deals in Luxury Market

The rule of thumb in San Francisco real estate is that if you’re sitting on the market for a very long period of time—and the holidays are approaching—-it’s highly likely you’ll eventually sell for significantly less than your original list price. Though most sales in our city are closing for above list price, I did find some recent sales that wrapped up after Thanksgiving.

In other words, the sellers came to grips with the reality of their home’s worth, and got it all done before the end of the year:

21 Laidley
Glen Park

Original List Price: $1,950,000
Sale Price: $1,410,000
Days on Market (DOM): 57 days
Views certainly count for something in San Francisco, but so do the number of bedrooms, parking availability and location. 21 Laidley doesn’t have parking, and though it’s in a nice part of Glen Park, the two-bedroom limit and a tucked-away locale didn’t quite merit an almost $2M price tag. I think the buyer paid an appropriate price for 21 Laidley.

1081 Pine #401

Original List Price: $3,125,000
Sale Price: $2,300,000
DOM: 136
1081 Pine #401 is a two-level townhome with a nicely remodeled kitchen, private balcony, three bedrooms/baths, and two-car parking. It also carries a $900/month HOA fee and is situated on a busy street. So the $3M+ starting point did seem wildly ambitious. But hey, if you’re a seller who’s not in a hurry, you can list in the summer and wait around for a buyer to pay your price. That didn’t happen, but they sorted things out in early December, probably dreading making a go of it in 2014 with an overpriced downtown condo listing. And the buyer paying all cash undoubtedly greased the wheels.

1350 Jones
Nob Hill

Original List Price: $4,500,000
Sale Price: $2,900,000
DOM: 234 days
Located on a prime Nob Hill street, 1350 Jones is a London townhouse-style single-family home with interesting architectural details. But it basically needs to be completely updated, so the more palatable $2.9M selling price will most likely allow the buyers to invest in some remodeling and create a very cool home.

SF Overbidders Hit Single-Family House Market

Late September was a busy time for the latest crop of home buyer overbidders, most notably in the Mission, Inner Sunset, and Glen Park. Buyers can join the club when they pay 25% or more over the list price. Here’s what went down:

837 South Van Ness
The Mission

List Price: $1,395,000
Sale Price: $1,901,000
Overbid Amount: 36%
Closed Escrow: 9/17/13

For those who doubted that this total fixer would attract the attention of buyers who would pay dearly for their opportunity to create a Mission compound on South Van Ness, this one’s for you. This severely dilapidated property with gaping wall holes, unfinished rooms and a “lodger on the premises” garnered almost $2M. But the three-level home on a huge lot was sold for 36% over its asking price, and will probably require at least another half million to get it up and running.

1566 9th Avenue
Inner Sunset

List Price: $980,000
Sale Price: $1,395,000
Overbid Amount: 42%
Closed Escrow: 9/25/13

$1.4M is a pretty typical price for a large house in the Inner Sunset that’s in good shape. So the $980,000 list price could definitely be viewed as a teaser. But buyers were sucked in and the non-contingent, highest offer for 1566 9th Avenue took the prize. Four bedrooms up, and another bedroom/bath on the garage level. Perfect for the crowd that wants to be near UCSF, Muni and the Irving Street retail area.

101 Miguel
Glen Park

List Price: $849,000
Sale Price: $1,110,000
Overbid Amount: 31%
Closed Escrow: 9/26/13

This unassuming corner house at the corner of Chenery and Miguel was another one for the contractor set. Big views were involved, as well as a great location near the Glen Park retail area and BART. The buyers for Miguel were happy to pony up just over $1.1M for an opportunity to renovate a house that had been in the same family for three generations. Say good-bye to the wood paneling.

SF Overbidders Club Welcomes New Members

Our ongoing feature highlighting properties that have sold for 25% or more above list price continues today with three new SF Overbidders Club members. Here’s the latest lineup:

53 States
Corona Heights

List Price: $748,000
Sale Price: $1,135,000
Overbid Amount: 52%
Closed Escrow: 8/28/13

This contractor’s special with odd curb appeal and no garage apparently impressed many buyers, but one stood out with a non-contingent cash offer. Yes, folks, that’s what it takes to earn the right to develop a property in a popular location up the hill from the Castro.

37 Elk
Glen Park

List Price: $949,000
Sale Price: $1,282,000
Overbid Amount: 35%
Closed Escrow: 8/16/13

This detached single-family home overlooking Glen Canyon Park had a remodeled kitchen and bath, two large bedrooms with direct deck access, and a newly remodeled master suite downstairs with an office, laundry area and ample storage. In short, the house has everything three-bedroom buyers are looking for, along with easy access to 280 and BART. 37 Elk last sold for $785,000 in August 2008.

140 Edgehill
Forest Hill Extension

List Price: $895,000
Sale Price: $1,177,000
Overbid Amount: 31.5%
Closed Escrow: 9/6/13

Situated on curvy Edgehill Way, this property has a 5,000 square foot terraced lot and was custom built in 1947. Yes, it was a quirky and dated house, but one buyer was willing to pay 31.5% over the list price. 140 Edgehill last sold in 2004 for $990,000.

Condo Alternatives for the Holidays

You may be looking for a nice condo in a central neighborhood in San Francisco. Perhaps your budget is somewhere in the $700,000-$900,000 range, which it most likely is if you need at least two bedrooms and parking. But perhaps you should consider a small house instead.

Houses with 1,000 square feet or less are definitely on the small side, but they can be excellent options if what you truly want is privacy, your own garden and washer/dryer and no HOA dues. Yes, you’re compromising on space, but you’re getting location and are avoiding sharing walls and outdoor space with neighbors. Here are three good properties to consider, and they’re all available:

518 Chenery
Glen Park
2BR/1BA, 958 sq feet

518 Chenery is conveniently located about two blocks from the Glen Park retail area and BART station. The home has lovely 1920s details and a remodeled, country-style kitchen. The living room even has a wood-burning fireplace, and there is a patio and landscaped garden. Drawbacks are small bedrooms and bathroom access through one of those bedrooms. But if you can come to terms with that, 518 Chenery could be the perfect place to celebrate Christmas.

1120 Elm
Western Addition
2BR/1BA, 850 sq feet

The Victorian cottage at 1120 Elm is a circa-1890 carriage house has all the period detailing you could want, from high ceilings to crown moldings. The home features a renovated chef’s kitchen, large bedrooms with ample closet space, unfinished basement and outdoor space. It’s situated on a cul-de-sac, which means there’s not much traffic coming through. The home is adjacent to a school and school yard, so you have to be okay with that factor.

221 Foerster
2BR/1BA, 989 sq feet

221 Foerster is a classic 1920s Sunnyside starter home. The main level has two bedrooms, updated kitchen and bathroom, as well as open living/dining areas. There’s a bonus room downstairs, and a large, level yard with apple and lemon trees. Sunnyside Elementary is directly across the street, which could be convenient for that family you may be thinking of starting. You’re a couple blocks south of Monterey Boulevard, and not very far from downtown Glen Park and the BART station. Freeway access is also quite easy from here.

Tiny Trio of Houses Returns to Glen Park Market

Sellers of three different small single-family homes in Glen Park are giving it another go in Spring 2012. All three properties were previously on the market and didn’t sell. (I came close to writing offers on two of them.) So what condo alternatives are available in single-family form?

49 Martha (at Stillings)
900 sq feet

49 Martha is a very appealing home that needs a bit of work. Though it’s a bit of a hike to the Glen Park retail area and BART station, the house has a nice, secluded setting and gets great natural light. It’s probably the most spacious of the three homes profiled here. The kitchen and bathroom are totally serviceable, and there’s also a room down off the entry where the washer/dryer are located. You could also use this room for guests or a family room. No garage, but there’s a parking pad at the base of the property. 49 Martha was on the market in Fall 2011 for $650,000, so the sellers have chopped the price a bit this time around.

26 Conrad (at Diamond)
692 sq feet

Situated in a superior Glen Park location, 26 Conrad has a nice living room with city and Bay views, and a remodeled kitchen and bath. The bedrooms are adjacent to each other and you have to go through one bedroom to get to the other. The rear of the lot has a small yard, with a detached garage. The basement is sizeable and is perfect for storage or a workshop. 26 Conrad was listed last Fall in the $650,000 range and didn’t sell, so the owners have bumped up the price and are undoubtedly praying for a happy outcome.

9 Harper (at 30th)
554 sq feet

“Attractive to the rise of the solo living movement&/or those wanting a less cluttered & less complicated life while reducing their ecological impact with a walkability lifestyle.” And so it goes in the marketing copy for 9 Harper, the smallest of the group. This house has ended up wedged between two properties, and is on the border of Glen Park and Noe. It’s fully detached and has a smidgen of outdoor space. On the market earlier this year for $499,000, 9 Harper is another home hoping to capture the excitement of the buyers storming the neighborhood in our Spring real estate season who won’t mind paying about $1,000/sq foot to be part of the “small house movement.”

Buyers Will Pay for “Done,” Even in So-So Locations

Despite most San Francisco buyers’ firm proclamation at the outset of their house hunt that they won’t pay for someone else’s renovation, many are doing just that. One trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing is that of buyers snatching up fully renovated single-family homes—and paying dearly for them, even if the homes are not in prime locations within a given neighborhood. (Because not everyone can afford a newly renovated home in the heart of Noe Valley, right?)

The latest example of this trend occurred recently at 124 Chilton, technically situated in Glen Park. The property looked like this only about a year ago:

However, 124 Chilton was renovated to unrecognizable levels over the past few months; the owners added a third story and horizontal extension, as well as completely revamped the first and second floors.

The result was a 3BR/3BA, 2510-square foot modern residence with high ceilings, high-end finishes, and a peaceful, landscaped garden:

124 Chilton is located on a cul-de-sac in Glen Park, but it feels more like Sunnyside. The block is on the south side of busy Bosworth Street, which lies between the house and the downtown Glen Park hub. That means that anytime you want to head to BART or a restaurant, you need to navigate along and across Bosworth, which may not be ideal if you’re also toting children.

However, the lack of geographical convenience didn’t deter five buyers, who submitted offers on the home fairly quickly. The winning offer is reportedly in contract for more than $200,000 over the $1,475,000 list price. So if you’re thinking of renovating your home on the outskirts of Noe Valley, for example, it might be worth exploring as we continue headlong into the new and improved 2012 San Francisco real estate market.

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.


SF Property Tax Update, Park Projects Progress

MarketTracker is ready to read! Get the latest news on San Francisco property taxes and why they’ll be increasing later this year. Plus, an update on the Dolores Park and Stow Lake projects, as well as an in-depth look at the Glen Park neighborhood (where our current mayor resides).

It’s all here in the September Zephyr MarketTracker.

Treasure Island Update, Latest Sales

We’re taking a step forward on the Treasure Island development plans. And Dolores Park just got a new neighbor. Read the latest in this week’s MarketTracker.

Plus, the battle between Glen Park & Jordan Park. It’s all here in the Zephyr MarketTracker.

SF Smackdown: Glen Park House vs. Noe Condo

When you’re looking for a three-bedroom home in a central San Francisco neighborhood for under $1M, the options aren’t vast. But I found two properties that I think are worth considering. The question is: What do you value—the privacy of a standalone house, more space, urban or lower-key locale?

In one corner is 84 Lippard:

I saw this 3BR/2BA, 1,224-square foot single-family home when it was on the market three years ago (listed at $849,000, sold then for $910,000). It’s listed at $875,000 now, which tells you a bit about the market for smaller homes in Glen Park right now. There are two bedrooms and one bath on the main floor, with a nice master suite downstairs that leads out to the yard. I recall being able to hear Bosworth traffic in the yard, given the close proximity to that street. But this home has nice 1920s details such as crown moldings. You’re 2.5 blocks from the heart of Glen Park Village, and about three blocks to the Glen Park BART station. 280 access is very easy. For recreation, you can bring the dogs or the kids to Glen Canyon Park, just down Chenery.

In the other corner is 1103 Guerrero at 23rd Street:

Located in a three-unit building that includes a commercial space currently housing a dry cleaners, 1103 Guerrero is a 3BR/2BA, 1,632-square foot condo with great period details. There’s a huge bay window with fireplace, nicely updated eat-in kitchen, dining room with fireplace and a nice rear deck. Listed at $895,000, the unit includes one-car parking. You’re ridiculously close to pretty much everything in the area, including the BART/Muni station at 24th & Mission; both 101 and 280; and every kind of restaurant you can think of. Guerrero is a little busy, as it’s four lanes of traffic. But that didn’t seem to hurt the Nove condo sales, which happened pretty quickly.

Which home would you prefer? Make sure to let me know in the Comments section!

Just Listed: Contemporary and Stylish Home in Bernal/Glen Park

If you’re looking for a spacious, modern and extremely appealing single-family home in close proximity to conveniences, BART and freeway access, look no further than my new listing at 68 Glen Court.

The 3BR/3.5BA single-family home is located on a unique street between Milton and Rousseau in what’s technically known as Bernal Heights, but which is a stone’s throw from the Glen Park downtown & BART. The three-level, 2150-square foot home is handsomely appointed, with rich designer detail and cherry hardwood floors throughout. There’s a gourmet kitchen, formal dining room with wet bar and two private patios. The top level features two master suites, and the third bedroom and bath are situated on the lower level, offering nice separation for guests.

Glen Court is a community of single-family homes, and is a surprisingly private and charming little street that was developed in 2004.

List price is $995,000, and the first open house will be Sunday from 1:00-4:00. Stop in and see me!

Open House Spotlight: 558 Chenery in Glen Park

If you’re in the Glen Park area and would like to check out a nice renovation this weekend, stop in at 558 Chenery, midway between the Glen Park downtown and Noe Valley’s 30th Street corridor.

The 4BR/3.5BA, 2,850-square foot home listed at $1,995,000 was on the market for a few months in early 2009 for $1,080,000 as a fixer. The current owners had purchased the property in an off-market transaction from sellers who’d owned the home for a very long time. When the house didn’t sell as a fixer last year, the current owners decided to take their chances and complete renovations themselves.

Finishes are high end, and I’m into the European porcelain bath tiles:

I also like the kitchen cabinetry and marble island:

The three-level home has three decks, radiant heating and walnut floors. Open Saturday from 1:00-3:00, and Sunday from 2:00-4:00.

Buyers Flock to District 4 for Single-Family Homes

There seem to be many buyers hunting for San Francisco single-family homes in District 4. In Realtors’ terms, District 4 is the area that encompasses Sunnyside; Miraloma Park; Westwood Park/Highlands; Mount Davidson Manor; Balboa/Ingleside Terraces; Monterey Heights; Sherwood Forest; Diamond Heights; Forest Hill/Extension; West Portal; Midtown Terrace; Forest Knolls and St. Francis Wood.

Many of these neighborhoods have homes that are worth less than $1M, and for single-family home buyers, that’s the sweet spot. I’m seeing a significant uptick in homes sales in the area, as evidenced by the number of properties that have gone into contract or are pending (in contract, with sale conditions removed).

No less than 37 single-family homes are on their way to closing sales, with an average list price of $1,001,451. Most were listed in the $700,000-$900,000 range. And many reportedly saw more than one offer. A total of 37 homes have closed escrow in the area since the beginning of the year, with eleven homes selling for above their asking prices (244 Santa Paula in Forest Hill was listed at $1,395,000 and sold for $1,520,000). But most sold for less than asking (most dramatically, 69 Amber in Diamond Heights listed at $1,250,000 and selling for $905,000, and Sunnyside’s 266-68 Monterey listed at $1,049,000 and selling for $700,000.)

There are 64 active listings in District 4, some of which have had significant and attractive price reductions. If you’ve been sitting on the fence for the past year but long to have a single-family home in the city, District 4’s neighborhoods will likely have something for you.