What You Can Buy for the Holidays

There are a few intrepid sellers who have just listed their homes and would undoubtedly love to be in contract before Christmas. Here are four new listings that I think will definitely achieve that goal, if not be actually sold and closed by December 25th. If you’re a buyer, it’s time to move quickly! Be decisive, and choose your calendar timeframes strategically because banks and title companies close early on Christmas Eve/New Year’s Eve, and are closed completely on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

1925 Pacific #6
Pacific Heights Condo
3BR/2BA, $1,675,000
The Deets: 1925 Pacific #6 is the one you’re looking for if you want a top-floor condo with a Bay view in a handsome Edwardian building.
Perks: Master bedroom has a view of Alcatraz, eat-in kitchen, one-car parking.
Location: Four blocks to Union Street and about nine blocks to Fillmore Street’s cafes and restaurants. Two blocks north of Lafayette Park. Excellent for commuters who want to jump on Van Ness/101 or grab a bus downtown. [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…]

1645 Pacific: Old World Design with a Modern Touch

The brand new, 39-unit condo project at 1645 Pacific is officially one of my favorite new developments on the market. I toured the building this week and was impressed with developer Grosvenor America’s and Richard Beard and BAR Architect’s efforts to construct a building inspired by the old world design that’s pervasive among many homes in Pacific Heights, Russian and Nob Hills.

The nice thing about the building is that it doesn’t look like it was transplanted from SoMa, and fits in with the neighborhood’s character. From the sculptures that adorn the facade, to wrought-iron balcony rails and pre-war design elements, 1645 Pacific looks as if there was some real thought put into the overall design. The lobby has high ceilings and grand chandeliers, and all floors are serviced by an elevator. There will also be a concierge/doorman, secured bike storage, a car-sharing service and common rooftop terrace with sweeping views. [Read more…]

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…]

What You Can Buy: View Condos

San Francisco properties with views of the hills, city skyline, ocean or Bay command a premium. The whole “million dollar view” tag line really does ring true for some homes.

And when it comes to condos in centrally located neighborhoods, views are the icing on the cake. View condos certainly fall under the “luxury” category, and they’ll typically cost above the $1M average for a two-bedroom unit.

I surveyed the market and picked out my favorite three view condos to spotlight today:

657 Corbett #3
Twin Peaks

4BR/3BA, 2101 sq ft
1-car parking
HOA dues: $316.22/mo
List price: $1,495,000
657corbett657 Corbett #3 is the penthouse condo in this four-unit building, and it certainly pulls out all the stops. The two-level residence features walls of glass with stunning views of downtown, The Bay and beyond. And it’s a corner unit, so you also get great east and south views. Three bedrooms are all on the same level, with the fourth bedroom on the main level. Though you’re not in the heart of a retail area, the reason to live on Corbett is for its views. Because let’s face it, you don’t get views in the flatlands of the Castro. Quick comp: #1 on the first floor of 657 Corbett is a 4BR/3BA unit with 2007 sq feet that’s in contract with a list price of $1,395,000. [Read more…]

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

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’s Luxury Market Sticks to Seasonal Trends

The high-end, luxury market in San Francisco (sales of $2M+) hasn’t pulled any fast ones so far in 2013. As is typical for homes in this range, Spring and Fall have seen an increase in volume, with cash buyers unsurprisingly making their rounds.

A total of 269 houses sold citywide for $2M+ in the time period January 1-October 21, 2013. And buyers for 13 of those properties paid cash. Eight of the total homes sold changed hands for $10M+.

On the condo front, 93 units sold for $2M or more, with 24 selling in cash transactions.

Selling patterns also subscribe to the list low, sell higher practice that San Francisco has been seeing for most of 2013. For example, 60% of house and 43% of condo sales in the January-October time period closed for more than their list prices. (But in many instances, the gap between list and sale price was not dramatically different.)

The most popular neighborhoods for luxury house cash sales were Noe and Eureka Valleys, the Marina and Pacific/Presidio Heights. Condo buyers flocked to Russian Hill and South Beach for their cash purchases. Tech money is driving many of the purchases in the south end of the city.

But pricing has been key; 42 houses and 39 condos in this segment of the market were either withdrawn or simply expired. Not every buyer is throwing money at just any property.

You can expect to see volume trail off after Thanksgiving, so it may be a good time to consider one of the 66 single-family homes or 40 condos currently available in the luxury segment. The end of 2013 is fast approaching, and buyers are well advised to look for “bargains”—particularly in mid- to late December. Though most high-end buyers retreat from the market in winter, I think it will be a good time to pick up an awesome trophy property.

And of course, if you’re considering selling or buying, please do contact me. I’d be happy to talk with you about your options!

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.

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

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

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

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.

What You Can Buy: North End Condos for Up To $1M

It can be a challenge to find a 2BR condo with parking in classic San Francisco neighborhoods such as the Marina, Nob Hill, and Pacific Heights. Today we look at three properties that fit into that price range:

1655 Chestnut #302
The Marina

2BR/2BA, 1100 sq ft
HOAs $523/month, 1 pkg

The Scoop: One of the few properties that isn’t in a liquefaction zone in the Marina, 1655 Chestnut #302 boasts a top-floor position in an 11-unit building, along with neighborhood views from the living/dining areas. Well appointed with Brazilian cherry wood floors throughout, the unit has a remodeled kitchen with high-end appliances, and skylights. The building has a roof deck, garden/BBQ area, storage, and an elevator.

The Location: 1655 Chestnut is about three and a half blocks from the heart of the Chestnut Street retail area, so you’re out of the fray a bit and don’t have to deal with constant activity outside your door. It’s also an excellent location for North Bay commuters, who can jump on Lombard and head to the bridge. Many bus lines run nearby to downtown, as well.

Background Check: The unit last sold in 2007 for $951,000.

939 Jackson #202
Nob Hill

2BR/2BA, 1088 sq ft
HOAs $397/month, 1 pkg

The Scoop: 939 Jackson #202 is perfect for the Nob Hill buyer on a budget. Though you don’t get views, you do get decent space in a newer, 2005-built property. The unit has nice finishes and an open kitchen/living/dining room floor plan. Bedrooms aren’t huge, but are nicely painted. Jackson is right on the cable car line (though the unit is located at the rear of the second floor, so it’s quiet). And there’s a great roof deck with 360-degree views.

The Location: The only problem here is that you may have more house guests than you might want; you’re in walking distance to North Beach, Russian Hill, Chinatown, downtown, and Union Square.

Background Check: #202 just sold in June 2012 for $903,000. #301 in the building is currently in contract with a list price of $949,000; that unit had views from every room and was one floor up.

2315 Divisadero, Unit S
Pacific Heights

2BR/1.5BAs, 1115 sq ft
HOAs $432/month, 1 pkg

The Scoop: My favorite of this trio, 2315 Divisadero unit S has newly reinvigorated common areas and gets great natural light. It’s on the top floor of a nine-unit building constructed in 1962, and has an open dining/living area. The kitchen is on the small side and is tucked at the rear of the unit, but it’s totally workable and clean. The master has only a half bath, but it’s better than one bathroom for the whole place. The unit’s hardwood floors have recently been refinished, there’s a wood-burning fireplace, and designer lighting fixtures. And don’t forget about those common areas, they’ve been painted, had carpet replaced and new front doors for each unit installed (with plantation shutters for the hall windows on the way). There’s an elevator in the building.

The Location: Though you’re right on Divisadero, the unit is quiet with the windows shut and you can’t beat the central location.

Background Check: Six of the nine units are rentals, so your choice of lenders will be limited to First Republic. No 30-year fixed loans available, but you can get a 15-year fixed at a low interest rate.

Heights Smackdown: 3BR House vs Condo

Pacific Heights and Corona Heights are two very different neighborhoods. But today we take a look at what you can get for your money in both places in the $1,350,000-$1.4M range:

1907 Lyon / Sacramento
Pacific Heights
3BR/1BA, leased parking

Boasting nice curb appeal and period detail, 1907 Lyon is situated on the border of Pacific/Presidio Heights and is within walking distance of Laurel Village, as well as the shops and restaurants along Sacramento Street (not to mention the Presidio itself). The house is more of a condo alternative, given that it’s smaller in scale than the larger homes you typically see in the area. No yard, but you have all three bedrooms on the upper level, and a generous living space downstairs. The kitchen and bathroom are nicely remodeled. (Yes, there’s only one bathroom, but you can expect a compromise when you’re looking in this price range for a house in Pacific or Presidio Heights.) There’s no garage, but the sellers have leased parking at a garage half a block away, across from the library and are including one year’s worth of parking in the sale. There are also plans available for adding that second bathroom on the main level. 1907 Lyon was last sold in 2009 for $1,230,000.

84 Mars
Corona Heights
3BR/2BA, 1 pkg

At the other end of town is the condo at 84 Mars in Corona Heights. This multi-story property houses two condos, and 84 Mars covers the top two levels of the building. And the good news is that there’s an elevator. The living room features soaring ceilings, a gas fireplace, private balcony and views of the City and Bay. The master bedroom upstairs has a bathroom with limestone finishes, a steam shower and Jacuzzi tub, and overlooks the garden. The third bedroom is a loft-style space and overlooks the living room. Location is convenient to the Castro and Cole Valley, though you can expect a bit of a walk to each. 84 Mars was last sold in 2007 for $1.2M.

Buyers Turn to TICs in Tight Market

As condo prices climb and low inventory persists in centrally located neighborhoods, San Francisco buyers appear to be more willing to take on TICs.

A total of 66 TIC interests sold in the last quarter of 2011, at an average price of $594,127. However, buyers snapped up 94 TICs in Q4 2012, and the average price shot up by about 9% to $645,091.

In a city where the average condo price is almost $1M, TICs still represent a more affordable path to home ownership—particularly where 2BR units are concerned. Almost half of the TICs sold in the last quarter of 2012 were 2BRs, with 1BR TICs representing 32% of the total sold. The least popular TIC type was the 3BR+ unit; only 22% of buyers purchased those.

The TIC market has always been a niche one, with far less units selling than that of condos. (For example, 671 condos sold in Q4 2012 in comparison to those 94 TICs sold in the same time period.) But those TIC numbers could increase in 2013, particularly in neighborhoods such as the Mission/Mission Dolores, North Beach, Lower Pacific Heights and NoPa, which represented the most popular areas for TIC sales late last year.

I checked out a few TIC offerings on my broker tour last week, and in most cases, listing agents reported distributing multiple disclosure packages to interested buyers, as well as offer deadlines. There was a time when TICs would sit on the market for an average of 90 days, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in the current market.

TICs still carry unique risks. For example, the type of financing they require (fractional) lets you avoid a lender foreclosing on the entire building. But you’re still on title with multiple owners, which requires everyone to share responsibilities such as paying property taxes. And fractional financing is only offered through adjustable-rate loans, which can increase over time and leave you vulnerable to higher mortgage payments in the future. Additionally, your lender pool will be small. So if you’re looking to refinance, you’ll be limited to the interest rates those two or three lenders will be offering.

But a TIC is a bonafide homeownership opportunity in a city where rents have managed to hit all-time highs, and where a 2BR condo costs an average of $919,796.

First Look: The Heights Condos in Pacific Heights

I toured The Heights yesterday, a 13-unit, two-building condo development on California and Divisadero on the border of Pacific Heights/Lower Pacific Heights. There are two- and three-bedroom residences available, all with parking and unique floor plans. Finishes are all high-end, running the gamut from Bertazzoni ranges and Liebherr refrigerators to Carrera marble and quartz countertop islands and Heath Ceramics backsplashes.

The more desirable of the two buildings fronts California Street and has nine condos over a commercial space (and an elevator). Four of the units have list prices ranging from $1,249,000 for a 2BR/2BA, 1273-square foot condo to $1,949,000 for a 3BR/2BA, 1920-square foot unit. (They’re waiting to see how sales go on these initial units before pricing the remaining condos, which range in square footage from 1,371-1,693.)

I liked the least expensive unit of the bunch, which was #3C. This is a 3BR/2BA for $1,249,000 and it had a great patio that spans the width of the unit and is situated right off the main living area:

The bedrooms in #3C all face a small interior courtyard, so you don’t get any views. But this unit is all about the outdoor space. The master is one floor up, so it’s pretty private if you want separation from a guest bedroom.

I also walked through the top-floor units, many of which have large private rooftop spaces accessed via staircase within the condo. The floor plans vary; for example, in #8C (listed for $1,949,000) the bedrooms have south-facing outlooks and get great light.

The building that fronts Divisadero has four condos and is a little less posh. Its units range from 1,768-2,000 square feet. There’s no elevator, for example. #1 has a small kitchen area, though nicely done:

There were two bedrooms on the main level, and a staircase down to a family room and bathroom:

#1 didn’t get great natural light, but it does have usable space.

I liked #3 a bit better. That has two bedrooms on the entrance level, and includes a master bedroom with a cute bathroom “window” that reminded me of a hotel I stayed in during a Bali holiday:

The upper level in #3 has the same open living/dining/kitchen floor plan, with a skylight over the dining area and a staircase to the private rooftop area. There’s also another room that has a closet and is being called a bedroom. But as there’s no window, I would define this as a den.

There’s no pricing available for the Divisadero building just yet; they’re basically seeing how things go with the first four California building unit sales. Offers on the first four units will be reviewed on January 21st or 28th, depending on which condo you’re interested in.

HOA dues are between $300-$500/month. The commercial spaces so far include a vegan restaurant, dentist’s office and “something really exciting” that’s not been announced yet. There’s storage available and there are 18 parking spaces, which means you can try to arrange for more than one space if you get in early enough.

Overall, I liked the California building and thought the units were priced realistically (a bit more than $1,000/sq foot) for new construction in a central area that doesn’t often see much “in-fill” development. (It’s not as if you can plop a 13-unit development in the middle of a prime Pacific Heights block.) Based on my recent sales in other new developments, I can say that $1,000/sq foot is roughly the going rate, particularly if you’re getting parking and private outdoor space. You can check out the Web site here for floor plans and more details on the development. I’m a fan, and would be happy to take you through the project if you’d like. Just give me a call at 415.823.4656 or email at ebermingham@zephyrsf.com.

Holiday Roundup: What’s Left?

Every year at this time, San Francisco real estate inventory begins to dwindle. Our broker tour sheets go from 40 pages to five, and less sellers put their homes on the market. However, there are some solid properties out there that are worth considering. I decided to showcase three of them today, in case they might fit your bill:

901 Rockdale
Miraloma Park

3BR/2BA, 1 pkg

Though it has odd curb appeal, 901 Rockdale has a nice floor plan and convenient location. This 1928 Tudor-style house has a living room with cathedral ceilings and a fireplace, and the window perfectly frames the Marin Headlands and surrounding homes (above). The formal dining room leads to the remodeled kitchen, and there are two bedrooms on this level. Downstairs is a third bedroom and separate bath. Square footage is on the small side, so this isn’t a sprawling home that could accommodate a lot of people. 901 Rockdale initially came on the market listed at $1,025,000, but fell out of contract and came back on at the current $1.1M price. This may be a good time to negotiate something. The house is situated just across Portola from the West Portal retail area, and is also right down the road from Mollie Stone’s.

2295 Vallejo #401
Pacific Heights

1BR/1BA, 1 pkg

There’s a limited number of homes in San Francisco with these kind of views, so you pay dearly for them when such homes become available. In this case, you have a roughly 830 square foot, top-floor condo in Pacific Heights Place, a 43-unit building constructed in 1975. The kicker is the private terrace that’s perched above Vallejo and Fillmore Streets. 2295 Vallejo #401 has been recently remodeled, but this is all about the views, terrace, and prime San Francisco location. The buyer for this unit will value the latter two attributes above all. HOA dues are $423/month, and there’s an elevator in the building along with shared laundry. This condo has been on the market at this price since the summer, so maybe there’s a buyer out there who can break the stalemate?

365 Connecticut
Potrero Hill

2BR/2BA, 1 pkg

On the market since the end of November, 365 Connecticut is a well-appointed first-floor condo in a two-unit building. This property has the elusive second bathroom, along with a remodeled kitchen and nice period details throughout. There’s a spacious shared yard, as well as one-car garage parking, extra storage and private washer/dryer. HOA dues are $250/month. The location at Connecticut and 18th is exactly where you want to be in Potrero, so for anyone looking for a nice condo in a good Potrero location, 365 Connecticut is it. This unit last sold for $800,000 in 2006.

Please contact me at 415.823.4656/ebermingham@zephyrsf.com if you’d like to see any of these properties. I’ll be here for the holidays.

Smackdown: Pac Heights Condo vs. Anza Vista House

What can you afford at the $900,000 price point when it comes to a house or a condo in two very different neighborhoods? We look at two options in the current inventory—one in a classic San Francisco neighborhood, and one that’s in a lesser-known but convenient location. Which would you choose?

1950 Gough #201
Pacific Heights
2BR/1.5BA, 1210 sq feet

This spacious condo at 1950 Gough #201 is located in a 1920s elevator building across from popular Lafayette Park. The unit faces Clay Street, with views to the park. There’s a beautiful bedroom with a wall of windows and walk-in closet, and another bedroom with two walk-in closets. The kitchen has been remodeled, and the full bath features classic white tile. One-car parking is included; laundry is shared at the garage level. There are 35 units in the building, and HOA dues are $567.67/month. This condo is an excellent fit for buyers looking for a well-appointed unit with classic San Francisco architecture in a Pacific Heights location that’s close to Fillmore Street, the Van Ness corridor and bus lines to downtown. 1950 Gough #201 was last sold in 2010 for $927,500, so we’ll see what the current market yields.

2070 Ellis
Anza Vista
2BR/1.5BA, 1327 sq feet

Built circa 1900, the lovely Victorian single-family home at 2070 Ellis has two bedrooms plus a double-parlor space (meaning you don’t need to make half of the double parlor a bedroom). There’s a remodeled chef’s kitchen, family/dining area, and French doors to a large patio/garden. And two-car parking, too. The only drawback here is the location, which is sort of between Lower Pacific Heights and NoPa, and adjacent to Western Addition. However, if it’s convenience you’re looking for, 2070 Ellis fits the bill. You can catch the Geary bus downtown, and walk to the aforementioned neighborhoods.