Don’t Forget About Lofts in San Francisco

49zoe
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...]

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:

1031-1037divisadero
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...]

Just Sold: Mission Condo on Labor Day Weekend

1587_15th_506
San Francisco’s competitive real estate market often demands that buyers and their agents move quickly. My client didn’t waste any time when I told her on the Friday before Labor Day weekend that a particular two-bedroom condo in the Mission was still available after a couple weeks on the market with no offers.

My client saw the condo on Saturday afternoon of the holiday weekend, and we quickly put together an offer that she signed…at the Giants game:
elizabeth_giants_offer!
The stars aligned and the seller accepted our offer on Sunday morning!

So my client is now the proud owner of a lovely 2BR/1BA with parking at 1587 15th Street #506 (list price was $769,000). She’s got downtown views and easy access to a great roof deck, along with public transportation in every direction. Much thanks to listing agent Carol Solfanelli at Pacific Union International for a smooth transaction, as well as Marco Nevarez at First Republic for getting the loan done with no drama and an excellent interest rate.

Rooftop Pool Preview at 1875 Mission

exterior
The gold address numbers have risen over at 1875 Mission, a former storage space that’s been transformed into 39 “L.A. chic” luxury condos. The building is situated on the same block as the Armory, between 14th and 15th Streets. [Read more...]

Spotlight on the Mission, Sunday Streets & Latest Sales!

Developers are heading east in the Mission, because let’s face it: There are only so many lots available on Valencia for condo buildings. The latest project to arrive is 1515 at 15th and South Van Ness. The current Zephyr Market Tracker looks at the details. And if new construction isn’t your thing, we profile some current Mission offerings that might interest you.

Plus, the deets on Sunday Streets, and all the latest market stats. It’s all here in the Zephyr Market Tracker!

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. [Read more...]

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 [Read more...]

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. [Read more...]

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.