Luxury Home Buyers Land Cash Discounts—Finally

It’s been a while since we’ve seen substantial discounts on San Francisco luxury properties. Many have sold for over the list price, and in rapid-fire fashion. But I found three homes that sold for significantly under their list prices, and which were also paid for in cash.

This trio of homes had been on the market a while, which lends credence to my belief that you shouldn’t discount properties with lengthy days on market (DOM) if you’re…looking for a discount.

Here’s the story behind the latest crop of bargain luxury properties:
167 Buena Vista
Buena Vista/Ashbury Heights

4BR/3.5BA, 5500 sq ft
DOM: 151
List Price $4,995,000
Sale Price $3,850,000
Sold 10/22/13

167 Buena Vista first came on the market for around $5M in the Spring. It’s on a double lot, and has city views, with a top floor “flex space” that can be used for a gym and office. Even so, this was a home that had potential, which means someone could come in and spend another half million to really kick things up a notch. At $3,850,000, there’s now some room to spend even more cash and achieve that potential.

341 Filbert
Telegraph Hill

3BR/3BA, 2890 sq ft
DOM 192
List Price $4,250,000
Sale Price $3,425,000
Sold 10/18/13

Offering a garden setting at the base of Coit Tower, 341 Filbert is a four-level home built in 1995 that has Bay and city skyline views. There’s also an elevator in the building, in case you get tired of running to all the different levels. No charming period details, but those views are incredible. The only downside is a smallish kitchen with turquoise cabinetry. But with the $825,000 chop off the original price, it may be time to update the kitchen.

101 Lombard #414E
North Waterfront

2BR/2BA, 1550 sq ft
DOM 28
List Price $1,798,000
Sale Price $1,610,000
Sold 10/16/13

The sale of 101 Lombard #414E wasn’t as dramatic as the previous two. But $188,000 off the list price these days is nothing to scoff at. This is the penthouse corner unit, with direct views of the Bay Bridge, Transamerica Building, Downtown, Treasure Island and Coit Tower from most rooms. There’s an impressive master suite and two walk-out view decks, as well as a private and exclusive-use roof terrace. HOA dues are $1166/month and include a pool and 24-hour concierge.

Walk Score Winners: Eureka, Lower Pac Heights, Telegraph Hill

I specialize in finding centrally located properties for buyers, so I thought I’d showcase a trio of homes with excellent Walk Scores and which are situated in very desirable neighborhoods.

82 Chattanooga, Eureka Valley
92 Walk Score

82 Chattanooga (above) is a detached, 3BR/2BA single-family home with a remodeled chef’s kitchen, walk-out garden, two-car parking and various seismic and system upgrades. The floor plan is all on one level, so it has somewhat of a condo feel. But 82 Chattanooga is right near the J Church Muni line (like, the train runs behind the lot), and is about four blocks from Dolores Park. You’re also in walking distance of the Mission restaurants and cafes. Heading south, you’re about two blocks from Noe Valley’s 24th Street retail area.

8 Cottage Row, Lower Pacific Heights
100 Walk Score

8 Cottage Row (above) is part of the historical Cottage Row district. Cottage Row itself is a little side street situated between Bush and Sutter and Fillmore/Webster. This condo is a 2BR/1BA with about 700 square feet. It has a decent-sized kitchen and bathroom, two discreet bedrooms and a living room. And let’s not forget the in-unit washer/dryer. Only drawback is that the unit is located on the ground level, which means people can walk by your windows and look into the unit on both the Cottage Row and Bush Street sides. (But there are ways to address that.) Constructed in 1885, the four-unit building doesn’t have a garage. But for God’s sake, you’re half a block from Fillmore Street and near a variety of bus lines to downtown. HOA dues are $400/month, but they’ll be going down to $300/month at the beginning of next year.

368 Vallejo, Telegraph Hill
98 Walk Score

Have a hankering for a small single-family home pied-a-terre near the waterfront, Bay Club, Ferry Building and Jackson Square? 368 Vallejo is a 900-square-foot 1BR/1.5BA slice of a property that may do the trick. Featuring an open-plan kitchen, laundry, and office area across two levels, the home also has a sheltered patio. It was rebuilt in 2005 and has a nice sense of style. No parking, but who needs a car when you can step outside your door and walk everywhere from one of San Francisco’s iconic neighborhoods?

High-End San Francisco Condo Market Softens

I checked in on some recent condo listing sales last week, and found three that point to a softening luxury condo market. So let’s get to it:

That’s 261 26th Avenue #1 in the Lake neighborhood. The 2600-square foot 4BR/4BA unit had two levels, a deeded yard, one-car parking, and HOA dues of $361/mo. 26th Avenue was last sold in May 2008 for $1.4M. It was listed in March 2010 for $1,385,000 and was on and off the market a couple times (with one contract falling out due to buyer financing issues). The condo sold last week for all cash after 374 days on the market for $1,080,000.

455 Vallejo #PH, Telegraph Hill

455 Vallejo’s penthouse unit was a 2BR/3.5BA property had living room views of the Transamerica Building, city skyline and Bay/Golden Gate bridges. The 3100-square foot condo also had HOA dues of $2600/mo (which included earthquake insurance). It was listed in the Fall of 2010 for $2,995,000 and sold last week for $2,435,000.

229 Brannan #14E, South Beach

229 Brannan #14E was a 3BR/3BA view unit with two terraces, two-car parking and two storage spaces. Listed in the Fall of 2010 for $1,250,000, the condo consisted of two units that had been legally combined. Final selling price last week? $1,625,000.

Word to the wise buyer: If you’re interested in a high-end property and it’s been sitting on the market a while, it may be time to swoop in and get a deal.

Cottage Awaits Right Buyer on Telegraph Hill

Perched on the coveted east slope of  Telegraph Hill, 293 Union Street is a historic 2BR/1BA cottage that hasn’t changed hands in 40 years. The property is listed at $1.1M, and includes a one-car garage (rare in this neighborhood), as well as front and rear decks.

You step out the front door, look to your right, and see this lovely view:

And who wouldn’t appreciate this zen-like bedroom that leads right out to a cute brick patio?

To get the best feel for this part of Union Street (which doesn’t allow through traffic), check out the Google Maps view, which apparently also showcases the romantic antics of a couple horsing around near Montgomery.

This is one of those quintessential San Francisco properties that won’t be for everyone. But you can be sure that the right buyer will snap it up in due time.

Pac Heights/Telegraph Hill Smackdown: 2BR Condos

When it comes to two-bedroom condos in San Francisco’s north end, Pacific Heights and Telegraph Hill are popular choices. Today’s Smackdown pits two contemporary properties against each other in the same price range. Which would you buy?

First up is new listing 3110 California #2B:

This condo is located in a five-unit elevator building constructed in 2004. #2B has two bedrooms and two baths, a nicely appointed kitchen, and a master bedroom with a private, deeded terrace. There’s also an in-unit washer/dryer, one-car parking, and a large storage room. HOAs are $633.20/mo and include the services of a property management company. List price: $979,000.

In the opposite corner is 1940 Stockton #103:

#103 is in a 1981-built, seven-condo property. The unit is just under 1400 square feet and has 2.5 baths. There’s an open living/dining area, and the second level has an open loft master suite and the second bedroom, bath and laundry. A large private deck overlooking the shared garden rounds out this property. HOA dues are $485/mo. (Note that two pets under 25 pounds are allowed.) This unit’s been on the market for about 12 days, and last sold for $950,000 at the end of 2009. List price: $978,000.

So which condo wins the smackdown, readers? Make sure to post your vote in the comments section.

Good Deal: 2BR Telegraph Hill View Condo

Like a lot of properties currently on the market, 2017 Grant Avenue #1 was on the market last year at a much higher price. But the sellers have adjusted their price and their expectations, and I think this unit now offers good value for its $599,000 list price.

This first-floor condo in a 1960s-era, four-unit building has views of the Bay and Alcatraz, along with a galley-style kitchen. The size of the second bedroom is more suited to a home office or guest room (or both), and there’s one-car parking and storage. Square footage appears to be roughly around 750.

The unit was on the market initially at $698,000, and ended up at $659,000 before the sellers withdrew it in December 2009 after 101 days on the market. Its current asking price is definitely below that of other two-bedroom units in the area, though you need to take square footage into account. But for a buyer looking for views in a quintessential, classic San Francisco location, 2017 Grant #1 is a good deal.

Walk Score Winners: 2BR Condos in Russian/Telegraph Hill

We’re taking a look at 2BR condos with high Walk Scores today in the Telegraph and Russian Hill neighborhoods:

Let’s stop first at 520 Vallejo:

520 Vallejo
Telegraph Hill
List Price: $725,000
HOAs: $184/mo
1-car pkg
Walk Score: 98
This newly condo-converted, lower unit has in-unit laundry and a deeded patio. It’s two blocks from Columbus Avenue. There is a pet restriction limiting you to one pet with a 30-lb maximum weight. And one of the bedrooms is painted a bold red.

817 Union
Russian Hill
List Price: $775,000
HOAs: $304
1-car tandem parking
Walk Score: 92
Initially listed in mid-November for $799,000, the seller has come down a bit in price in the new year. This is also a unit in a newly converted condo building and it was remodeled in 2009. There’s a den in addition to the two bedrooms and hardwood floors. Maybe the seller is ready to make a deal.

524 Filbert
Telegraph Hill
List Price: $795,000
HOAs: $534.02
Walk Score: 94
This top-floor flat has restored plank floors, a sweet kitchen, formal dining room and great views. The dues are high now, but the fee is temporary because the roof is being replaced. It’s likely they’ll go back down to their normal $370 level after the project is completed. Though there’s no deeded parking with this unit, the seller has a leased space for $400/mo. The unit was last sold in December 2008 for $665,000.

[And if you’re wondering why I’m not linking to property Web sites, it’s because none came up in Google searches for any of these homes. Sellers, make sure you insist on a property site with professional photography if you want to compete for the buyers out there.]

Walk Score Winners: Pacific Heights, The Haight, Telegraph Hill

Here’s a roundup of some current condos that have excellent Walk Scores:

1835 Franklin, #1103
Pacific Heights
List Price: $825,000
Sq ft: 1400
HOAs: $1,165/mo
Walk Score: 100
If you can get past the $1,135 per month HOA fees, 1835 Franklin could work for you. This 45-unit building is right at Franklin and Sacramento. There’s a master suite, and views. The seller has agreed to pay the HOA dues for one year.

155 Central
The Haight
List Price: $799,000
Sq ft: 1660
HOAs: $303/mo
Leased pkg only/$330/mo
Walk Score: 94
Fresh off a $50,000 price reduction, 155 Central is awaiting its Santa Claus. This is a big Victorian condo in a nice Haight location, and the unit has great period detail. The seller has agreed to pay six months’ worth of parking.

9-11 Tracy
Telegraph Hill
List Prices: $799,000 (top); $749,000 (lower)
2BR/2BA, each unit
HOAs: $150/mo
2-car pkg, each unit
Walk Score: 98
These condos are smack dab in the middle of Telegraph Hill/North Beach, on a small street. The building was just condo converted, and is located behind Molinari’s Deli. For those who want to fall out their door and into one of San Francisco’s most coveted ‘hoods, 9-11 Tracy fits the bill. Prior to its condo conversion, the building was on the market earlier this year under a 9-11 Kenneth Rexroth address for $1,650,000.

Telegraph Hill TIC BOM

chestnutticNo, this is not a photo of a kitchen in a $2M house in San Francisco. It’s actually the kitchen in a $529,000 TIC interest over at 289 Chestnut #1 in the fabled Telegraph Hill neighborhood.

The 1BR/1BA TIC, situated in a six-unit building that was renovated throughout 2008, just came back on the market (BOM). There are three other units pending, and three available. I decided to highlight this one—not because I’m a TIC fan by any means, but because for this list price, it is virtually impossible to find a unit in this condition, in this location, for the money.

Granted, parking is leased at $200 per month. But for the space, finishes and location, this TIC is worth considering. There’s also a three-bridge view roof deck.

Financing is on an individual basis, of course, which involves more stringent loan requirements, higher interest rate and cash reserves.

Telegraph Hill Treat For a Friday

37calhounThe weather is great, the weekend promises to be just as good, so why not take a look at this dreamy, secluded Telegraph Hill home that just came on the market?

Built in 1920 and featuring unobstructed views of the Bay, Bay Bridge, and downtown, the 3BR/2BA has been tastefully remodeled. The living and dining rooms span the 45-foot width of the lot. There’s also two-car parking. The property is located on a cul-de-sac, at the end of Union Street. Current owners paid $3,200,609 in July 2003. Today’s price: $5,995,000. Go and get it.

Buyers in Hiding for SF Hideaway Homes

I stopped in at two very charming and unique cottage properties on a broker tour in mid October, and followed up to see how they were doing. Well, it turns out they’re both still on the market.

22 Bergen is a 3BR/2BA home with one-car parking, listed at $1,250,000. The house is at the end of a cul-de-sac, just off Hyde. The location alone should’ve sold this property by now, and it appears to be in good condition. I thought it was a nice condo alternative for those buyers who want to be in the Russian Hill/North Beach neighborhoods. But at more than $1,000 per square foot, it might be a tough sell.

Also heavy on the charm is 221 Greenwich:

This is a remodeled home listed at $1,975,000 that smacks of classic Telegraph Hill feel. You can only access it via the Greenwich steps, so this is not for someone shy of stairs. Once inside, there are two spacious bedrooms, two baths, and great Bay views from both levels. Though parking is leased one block away, the seller has agreed to pay the cost for one year. Definitely worth checking out. Unfortunately, the very aspects that make the home unique are probably dealbreakers for many buyers. Accessing the home is not easy—especially when carrying groceries or, uh, moving in. Parking is tight in the area. And again, paying $1,103 per square foot is probably prohibitive for most buyers out there right now. That level is typically reserved for new construction.