March Goes Out Like Lion for SF Overbidders Club

Did you hear the roar buyers paying more than 25% over the list price for San Francisco homes in March? Well, I did. The SF Overbidders Club closed out the month of March making me wonder whether or not we can really expect April overbidding to be lamblike.

Overbidding happened across all property types this month, with healthy overbid averages happening:
Houses: 10.5% Condos: 9% TICs: 4.5%

But I found a home in each category that trumped those averages. Please welcome our newest SF Overbidders Club members:

465 Hoffman
Noe Valley House

4BR/4.5BA, 2 pkg, 4500 sq ft
List Price: $3,795,000
Sale Price: $5,105,000
Overbid Amount: 34.5%
What else can you tell me? Big, SoMa-style house with epic views.
465hoffman

338 Spear #7J
South Beach Condo

1BR/1BA, 1 pkg, 1025 sq ft
List Price: $849,000
Sale Price: $1,130,000
Overbid Amount: 33%
What else can you tell me? The buyer for this one-bedroom in the Infinity Tower 2 made a pre-emptive offer that the seller accepted. Marketed as a “unique floor plan of a large 1 BR plus den with a private patio for less than $850 per square feet!”, the buyer one-upped that proposition by paying $1102/sq ft.
338spear_7

49 Dorland
Mission Dolores TIC

2BR/2BA, 1 pkg, 1032 sq ft
List Price: $699,000
Sale Price: $926,000
Overbid Amount: 32.5%
What else can you tell me? TIC with fractional loans in a three-unit building. Parking tandem. Building Ellis Acted in 2004 by previous owners.
49dorland_2

Spotlight on Mission Dolores Park, SF Conserves Water

The latest Zephyr MarketTracker gives you the scoop on Mission Dolores Park’s renovations, and also takes a look at a couple properties on the market in this very popular neighborhood.

We also congratulate San Franciscans for leading the way where water conservation is concerned!

You’ll also see recent sales and a market overview. It’s all here in the current edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker!

What You Can Buy in March: 21 Days & Counting

The San Francisco market is low on inventory right now. That means you have to dig a little deeper to find buying opportunities, especially for properties in desirable locations. One of my strategies is to take a closer look at homes that have been on the market for three or more weeks. The possibility of multiple offers is lower, and sellers may be thinking about taking a little less on their list price.

Here are three properties that I think are well worth considering at the moment:
555 Bartlett #321
The Mission

Days on market (DOM): 48
1BR/1BA, 1 pkg
List Price: $629,000
555bartlett_321
I’m a big fan of 555 Bartlett, as I sold a unit there in 2010 when the building was constructed. Unit 321 has upgraded cabinetry and quartz countertops in the kitchen and plenty of natural light. This particular unit is on the third floor and overlooks the landscaped courtyard (that has a bbq area). Very convenient location near BART, Valencia/Mission restaurants and easy freeway access. One huge plus is the newly landscaped Cesar Chavez, which has really transformed the look and feel of the street. HOA dues are $375/month in this 58-unit building, and parking/storage are included. #321 last sold in 2010 for $452,500.

920 Monterey
Westwood Highlands

DOM: 28
4BR/2BA, 1 pkg
List Price: $1,695,000
920monterey_kitchen
920 Monterey is an excellent option for buyers looking for a spacious Spanish Mediterranean home that’s been remodeled and is ready to go. First off, there’s the kitchen (above). It’s well appointed and has an island! There are also three bedrooms on the same level, as well as a master suite downstairs with a sitting area. Shoot down Monterey and you can jump on 280 or the Glen Park BART station. 920 Monterey was last sold for $1,775,000 in 2006.

1488 Harrison #102
SoMa

DOM: 44
1BR/2BA, 1 pkg
List Price: $649,000
1488harrison_102
One of the best-priced lofts I’ve seen in a while, 1488 Harrison #102 is also very well maintained. In terms of outlooks, you’re facing Costco across the street. Though that’s not glamorous, it’s better than facing a brick wall and you’ll never be at a loss for toilet paper, wine or random electronics. There is a washer/dryer and full bath (full bath!) on the main level, and another full bath upstairs in the sleeping area. HOA dues are $419/month, and there’s an elevator in the building. From this location, you can walk to various SoMa and Mission restaurants and bars (Bar Agricole is around the corner). You’re four blocks from the Market and South Van Ness Muni Station, and you have very easy access to 101. #321 last sold for $350,000 in 2011.

2014 Welcomes New Members to SF Overbidders Club

2013 was the year that aggressive overbidding for San Francisco properties returned in full force. It does appear that, based on January 2014′s numbers, buyers are calming down ever so slightly when it comes to throwing money at houses and condos.

But I did manage to find three homes that attracted buyers who were wiling to pay 25% or more over the last price. Say hello to the latest members of the SF Overbidders Club:

746 South Van Ness #A
The Mission

3BR/2.5BA
List Price: $863,824
Sale Price: $1,210,000
Overbid Amount: 40%
Closed Escrow: 1/9/14
746svness
We can always count on a 3BR Mission condo to attract a cash buyer who’s ok with paying 40% more than asking. This unit is remodeled, with garage parking and patio, as well as a shared yard among the three units in the building.

237 Sanchez
Eureka Valley

2BR/1BA + in-law unit
List Price: $1,195,000
Sale Price: $1,500,000
Overbid Amount: 26%
Closed Escrow: 1/3/14
237 sanchez
Featuring a 2BR main house with a 2BR in-law unit downstairs, 237 Sanchez captured the attention of buyers who most likely really wanted to be in this Castro/Duboce Triangle location. No garage, but who needs one when you have Muni right nearby?

200 Amber
Diamond Heights

4BR/2.5BA
List Price: $1,299,000
Sale Price: $1,670,000
Overbid Amount: 29%
Closed Escrow: 1/10/14
200amber
It’s not that often that a cash buyer swoops into sleepy Diamond Heights and bids way up on a home. But that was the case for 200 Amber, an Eichler with a lot of bedrooms. Located half a mile from Safeway and the Diamond Heights shopping center, this house also has hills/canyon views.

Top 5 Food Neighborhoods in San Francisco

One of the requirements I often hear when talking with home buyers is that they want to be in walking distance or at least a short drive from restaurants. So I’ve put together a list of my top five neighborhoods that offer standout and diverse restaurant choices. Here you go (not listed in any particular order):

1. Hayes Valley. Home to high-profile restaurants such as Rich Table, Boxing Room, Jardiniere, Absinthe, and Zuni, Hayes Valley continues to supply locals with great food. There are also excellent cafes and wine bars like Samovar, La Boulange, and Momi Toby’s Revolution Café and Art Bar. And don’t forget about the variety of brunch/lunch spots, delis, and an endless variety of ethnic restaurants and food stands.

2. The Mission. There’s no disputing the Mission’s prominent standing in the San Francisco food world. The lineup is awesome, and includes mainstays like Delfina, Flour and Water, Farina, Limon, along with “newer” hotspots such as Locanda, Central Kitchen, St. Vincent, and Local’s Corner. Not impressed? Also consider the more casual eateries that include Little Star, Pauline’s Pizza, Pizzeria Delfina, Mission Beach Café, Boogaloos and Pi Bar. And if take-out is your thing, the tons of taquerias or standbys like Old Jerusalem and Good Frikkin’ Chicken will keep you going.

3. South of Market. The blocks are longer and restaurants more spread out. But there’s a heavy concentration of excellent restaurants in SoMa, from Salt House and Benu to Anchor and Hope, RN74, AQ and Ame.

4. Dogpatch. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that Dogpatch has the best neighborhood-level restaurants around. This area has really developed over the past decade, and restaurants and cafes are proliferating by the month. Some of the best: Piccino, Serpentine, Poquito and Piccolo. There’s also Yield Wine Bar, Kitchenette, Just For You Café, Oralia’s, and who could overlook The Ramp?

5. NoPa. This hot neighborhood boasts NOPA, Bistro Central Parc, Nopalito, Bar Crudo and Papalote Mexican Grill among its top places. More casual places like Candybar for desserts and Herbivore for vegetarian fare round out the offerings.

Where to Spend Your $3.6M: Clay or Capp?

Let’s say you have roughly $3.6M to spend on a single-family house. Would you spend it on a home in Pacific Heights—or the Mission?

You can’t find two more different neighborhoods, quite honestly. Pacific Heights is synonymous with mansions, Bay views, well-manicured streets, and its popular Fillmore retail strip. At the other end of the spectrum is the Mission, with its edgy feel, hip restaurants and penchant for street activity.

But two homes located in each neighborhood went into contract recently with very similar selling prices, and the question I have for you is: Which was the better buy? Here’s how things shake out:

2586 Clay
Pacific Heights

3BR/2.5BA
Built 1900
3-car parking
List Date: 10/18/13
List Price: $2,995,000

2586 Clay last sold for $1,850,000 in June 2009. The current owners extensively renovated and expanded the home, and apparently did everything right, from modernizing the kitchen and opening it up to adding a family room and rear deck. They also added a lower floor with a large media room, master suite and laundry. This is a great location one block from Fillmore and two doors down from Alta Plaza Park. The outcome? The sellers received six offers, and the property is reportedly in contract for $3,670,000.

507 Capp
The Mission

5BR/6BA, 4869 sq ft
Built 1905
3-car pkg
List Date: 9/27/13
List Price: $3.6M

Last purchased in September 2012 for $1,275,000, 507 Capp went into Grand Edwardian renovation mode shortly thereafter. The property was completely transformed and modernized, with three expansive levels. This location is deep in the Mission, and like most blocks in the neighborhood, is a real mixed bag. (Let’s just say that 507 Capp stands out quite a bit in the landscape.) The sale closed yesterday for $3,525,000.

So what’s the better buy? The classic Pac Heights Victorian or the huge Edwardian in the gritty Mission?

SF Overbidders Don’t Disappoint in October

Though overbidding activity in San Francisco this month has been somewhat run-of-the-mill, a few sales are noteworthy for the trends they represent. These buyers are officially inducted into the SF Overbidders Club for paying 25%+ above the list price:

88 Hoff #109
The Mission

1BR/1.5BA
List Price: $775,000
Sale Price: $975,000
Overbid Amount: 26%
Closed Escrow: 10/4/13

The sale of 88 Hoff #109 shows you just how much buyers are willing to pay for a loft space in what is now considered to be a prime Mission location. Situated on a street bordered by 16th & 17th and Valencia and Mission, this loft has that ginormous private patio (above), as well as a den area. Lofts continue to have their limits with respect to privacy and enclosed space. But with the average price for a 1BR loft in the Mission being $753,333 since August, it’s clear that something really resonated with this loft buyer.

514 Precita
Bernal Heights

2BR/1BA
List Price: $995,000
Sale Price: $1,255,000
Overbid Amount: 36%
Closed Escrow: 10/7/13

Bernal Heights’ single-family home market has been off the hook for a while now. So it’s no surprise that this 2BR home with bonus room, nicely done yard, and two-car garage right on Precita Park attracted multiple offers. The cash buyer who purchased this home actually didn’t pay top dollar; that honor goes to the buyers of three other 2BR Bernal houses which sold in 2013 for $1,325,000-$1,525,000.

239 14th Avenue
Central Richmond

3BR/2BA
List Price: $999,000
Sale Price: $1,600,000
Overbid Amount: 60%
Closed Escrow: 10/4/13

What does a big contractor special in the Central Richmond cost these days? If 239 14th Avenue’s sale is any indication, you’re looking at around $1.6M. (And it doesn’t hurt to have cash, which was the case here.) This 2580-square foot home on 14th at California has a huge basement, period detail throughout, and large yard. These all translate into renovation potential, and 14th Avenue’s buyers have already gotten their permits underway for the job.

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

5BR/1BA
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

4BR/2.25BA
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

5BR/1.5BA
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.

Just Sold: 2BR/2BA Mission Dolores Condo


Like the other 11 buyers who wrote offers on 130 Landers #C in Mission Dolores, my client was wowed by the spacious, two-level floor plan with a private deck just off the living room. The well-appointed unit features two large bedrooms, a master suite, and formal dining room, along with parking and storage.

Part of the Church Street Gardens development, 130 Landers #C has direct access to the park-like common garden with multiple seating areas, bbq patio, and sauna. It’s a great oasis in the midst of one of San Francisco’s most popular neighborhoods. My client will love living in his new home! List price: $815,000.

Where the Cash Buyer Competition Is

If you’re aiming to close on a property in 2013, it’s a good idea to size up the competition and hone your strategy at this point in the year. After all, we only have a couple months left before Thanksgiving (I know!), and inventory slows down right after the turkey leaves the table.

In very thick multiple-offer competition, the biggest wild card will be whether a cash buyer steps into the mix who’s willing to pay top dollar to buy a home. As most real estate fans know, cash sales don’t equal discounts, and cash buyers know that they have to offer a competitive price to win.

So if you’re looking at a hot property in a neighborhood that’s prone to attracting cash buyers, you may be out of luck. For buyers with loans, it’s unfortunately the way it goes: Sellers are looking for a sure thing, and a quick path to their proceeds so they can get on with their lives.

Cash buyers picked up 184 condos/TICs and 98 single-family homes from July 1-September 18, 2013. Where did they appear, and which neighborhoods were hit the hardest?

Eureka Valley, Lower Pacific Heights, Bernal Heights, Portola and Ingleside attracted many single-family home cash buyers in that timeframe, with a majority of the sales prices landing in the $600,000-$1M price range. A total of 18 homes sold above $2M.

On the condo front, neighborhoods such as the Haight, Noe/Eureka Valley; Lower Pacific Heights; Western Addition; Pacific Heights; Nob/Russian Hills; Mission, SoMa/South Beach were the most popular ‘hoods for cash buyers. Sales in the $600,000-$1.2M range were the most common, though there were quite a few sales in the $1.3M-$2M range, and six sales were above $2M.

Word of advice? If you’re looking for a home in the aforementioned neighborhoods and price ranges, and the property you like already has 15 disclosure packages out, it might be a good idea to move on to something else if you aren’t willing to pay top, top dollar and waive contingencies. Buyer burnout becomes quite common at this stage of the year, and a change in strategy is one you might want to discuss with your Realtor if you want to be successful in your house hunt by year’s end.

Strong Appreciation Expected in SF Market

With a 12.7% appreciation expected in San Francisco property values, our city is poised for strong growth in the near future.

Indeed, with 18.8% and 8.6% increases over the past 180 days in, respectively single-family home and condo/TIC prices, it certainly seems as if there’s no stopping the real estate juggernaut here.

We also check out San Francisco’s three most popular neighborhoods, along with recent sales stats in this edition of the Zephyr MarketTracker.

1BR Condos a Good Bet for First-Time Home Buyers

A one-bedroom condo is typically not the ideal home. Who doesn’t want an extra room for guests or an office? But as prices escalate in San Francisco, first-time home buyers are finding that they can work with a one-bedroom unit, as long as it has reasonable space, isn’t tenant occupied, has affordable HOA dues, parking, and is located in a good neighborhood that’s central to retail areas and public transportation.

I set out to find some properties that meet this criteria and which I think are well worth considering for buyers in the $500,000-$700,000 range:

468 Tehama #3
SoMa

$649,000
HOA Dues: $436.78/mo

Blessed with a lovely outdoor patio, 468 Tehama #3 is a loft with just under 1,000 square feet that has hardwood floors, in-unit laundry, and a bedroom with a large walk-in closet. Common areas include a roof deck with pano views, and you also get storage and one-car parking. You can expect a fair amount of street activity in this location, but it’s a couple blocks away from the burgeoning mid-Market district that is growing by leaps and bounds. An excellent choice for downtown or Peninsula/East Bay commuters.

1483 Sutter #401
Lower Pac Heights/Van Ness Corridor

$685,000
HOA Dues: $586/mo

The Sutterfield was constructed in 1993 and has 164 units. So it’s a larger, more established property than some of the other on this list. For the slightly higher HOA dues, you get 24-hour security, a fitness center, and outdoor spa. #401 has an open floor plan, with a pleasant kitchen and spacious bedroom. Storage and one-car parking are included. This location is in walking distance of restaurants and shops in Russian Hill, Japantown, Fillmore, the theatre district and multiple bus lines. Commuting to the North Bay and downtown are also easy from this location.

3453 26th Street
The Mission

$599,000
HOA Dues: $230/mo

3453 26th Street is on the upper floor of a four-unit building that has nice 1920s period details. This unit was updated in 2008 and has an open floor plan with a good separation between the bedroom and living space. Features include in-unit laundry, skylight, and kitchen with breakfast bar. There’s a shared patio, one-car parking and large storage area. You’re not on the best block of the Mission, but I’ve seen worse, and you can supplement your furnishings with visits to the Salvation Army store at the corner. Ideal for downtown and East/South Bay commuters, as BART is a five-minute walk and you can easily jump on 101 or 280. Oh, yeah, and the Valencia corridor is half a block away.

Mission Condo Seller Cuts to the Chase

I do appreciate when sellers of desirable properties situated in white-hot neighborhoods like the Mission bring their homes on the market for a price that at first seems aggressive, but on second glance, is actually probably dead on. In other words, why list low when you’re confident there are enough buyers out there looking for the type of home you have for sale—and willing to pay top dollar to beat out their competition?

Case in point: 736 Valencia #201, a 2BR/2BA condo with 1365 square feet, listed late last week for $1,550,000. The unit features an additional 1,000-square feet of outdoor space, and is situated in an eight-unit building constructed in 2010. The property is located right in the heart of the Valencia stretch at 20th Street. Boasting a spacious chef’s kitchen and other high-end finishes, 736 Valencia #201 has one-car parking and HOA dues of $436/month.

The current owner purchased the unit new in 2010 for $1.2M, and is now seeking a price that clocks in at $1135/square foot. This may seem eye popping. But if you’ve been closely been following the Mission market and new construction in San Francisco, prices are roughly $1000-$1200/sq foot, depending on the exact location, quality of finishes and overall amenities. Yes, 736 Valencia was built in 2010, and if this seller could get $350,000 more than he paid for it, props to him. But I won’t be surprised if someone pays that price or more, particularly with the continued low inventory in the Mission. There doesn’t seem to be any shortage of buyers willing to throw money at desirable properties in the neighborhood.

200 Dolores Approaches Spring Launch


A much anticipated condo development on the Mission Dolores/Duboce Triangle/Castro borders is 200 Dolores, which has been in the works for some time.

200 Dolores offers 13 elegantly appointed condos. Three of the units are located within the historic Victorian home that’s been moved and renovated, and the other ten units were constructed on the adjoining parcel and surround a central courtyard. Features include gas fireplaces, built-in television cabinets, recessed lighting, radiant heat floors, Ann Sacks tiling throughout and Wolf/Sub-Zero/Bosch appliances. There is an elevator in the building, as well as garage parking for all units.

Here’s a breakdown of the units, as per listing agent Anne Herrera at Sotheby’s International Realty:

One 1BR/1BA, approximately 680 square feet

Two 2BR/2BA, approximately 1015 and 1180 square feet (lower and middle units in the Victorian)

Nine 2BR/2.5BA, approximately 1095-1540 square feet, some with private roof decks.

One 3BR/3.5BAs approximately 2000 square feet (upper unit in the Victorian).

The project is expected to be complete at the end of May, with tours kicking off after the units are complete and showing at their best. Pricing will be approximately $1000 per square foot, subject to a final discussion with the developer as the units get closer to market.

I am a huge fan of this development and location. Of all the projects being constructed in San Francisco, I believe 200 Dolores will have the most “neighborhood” feel, given that it’s off Market Street and will provide a more peaceful environment than projects located at busy Market Street intersections. It’s also one block from the new Whole Foods that will be in the 2001 Market rental building (currently under construction), as well as Safeway. You can walk to the 16th & Mission BART station from here, as well as catch the Muni rail or bus lines along Market.

Give me a shout if these units are in your price range and you’d like to initiate a loan preapproval so you’re in position to make a purchase. At the risk of sounding like a used car salesperson, these condos will most likely sell out very quickly, so the more prepared you are, the more likely you’ll be able to beat out the competition.

Just Sold: Charming Mission Home


My clients just closed on a cool 2BR/1BA house in the hot Mission neighborhood on Friday. The home has lovely 1920s details and gets great natural light. It also has a very functional floor plan.

Situated within walking distance of a multitude of restaurants, bars, and cafes 1015 Florida also has good access to public transportation and freeways. List price: $665,000.