House Flippers Hit 2014 Market

Many contractors and small-scale developers who snapped up properties with their cash in the last two years in San Francisco have completed high-end renovations and are now listing those homes for sale. They were able to buy at a time when the market wasn’t quite as hot as it is right now. And we all know that the successful flip largely depends on timing.

Here are three flips that recently came on the market, with their before and after renderings:
212 & 212A Chattanooga
Noe Valley

3BR/3.5BA (front) / 2BR/2BA (rear)
List Prices: $2,495,000 / $1,595,000
212 Chattanooga is the front house on a lot that holds two renovated houses. The front (above) was purchased in September 2012 for $750,000. It’s now a three-level home with a tiered main level that has direct access to a west-facing yard.

The rear house, 212A Chattanooga, was sold in the same timeframe for $450,000 as a tenant-occupied cottage. This property is accessed via a walkway that runs alongside 212 Chattanooga. There’s no parking for the rear house, but the idea of a “Vespa pad” is cute:
I liked both houses, though the downside to the rear property is that it’s oriented toward a large, unattractive rental building. Getting to and from the property isn’t glamorous via the narrow walkway. But the location is excellent, and I think it’d be ideal to purchase the entire property as a family compound. [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...]

What You Can Buy: Large Condos in San Francisco

San Francisco is a dense city, not unlike other popular urban areas. Many of its single-family homes and condos can average 1,000-1,200 square feet (or less). However, large condos are a fun find, and buyers who need more space typically snap them up quickly. Here’s a look at a trio of spacious units that recently hit the market:

620 Haight
Hayes Valley

3BR/2BA, 1827 sq feet
1-car tandem parking
List price: $1,099,000
I previewed the Edwardian top-floor flat at 620 Haight before it officially came on the market and was quite impressed with the space. This is a highly convenient location within steps to restaurants, bars, cafes and services, as well as a few blocks from two Muni rail lines. The unit features soaring ceilings, great period detail throughout and a nicely remodeled kitchen with plenty of room for entertaining. All three bedrooms are a good size (e.g., one isn’t a closet under the stairs). Bonus: There’s a private deck and shared manicured yard. HOA dues are $343.50/month. This unit was last sold as a TIC in 2005 for $1,110,000, after about $300,000 in renovations were completed.

881 Corbett #3
Twin Peaks

3BR/3.5BA, 2545 sq feet
1-car parking
List price: $1,549,000
881 Corbett #3 is the two-level penthouse in a three-unit condo building. It’s detached on three sides, which translates into great natural light, and there’s also a huge, west-facing terrace. You can also enjoy the stunning view deck off the living room. So this condo is all about views, light, and more space than you’ll get in Noe Valley for the price. There are three master suites, so if you have kids, they’ll appreciate having their own bathrooms. The seller has agreed to pay HOA dues through August ($349/month), and you also have the option of parking a second car in front of the driveway because you’ll only be blocking your garage. Last sold in January 2012 for $1.3M, it will be interesting to see how much this condo has appreciated since then.

323 Mississippi
Potrero Hill

3BR/3BA, 1775 sq feet
1-car tandem parking
List price: $1,249,000
323 Mississippi has a house-like feel, and is situated in an ideal Potrero location around the block from Plow, Farley’s and half a dozen other popular restaurants. The unit was expanded into two floors about six years ago with the addition of a master bedroom on the garden level. Unlike the more contemporary Twin Peaks condo, this one is in a building constructed in 1909. The owners have preserved the picture moldings, coved ceilings and other period details, yet have updated the unit for more modern living. Amenities include in-unit laundry, interior garage access, additional storage and shared yard. And oh, yeah—three bathrooms.

SF Market Sitters: 21 Days & Counting

In a market where new listings get multiple offers within a week or two, it’s important not to lose sight of the rare homes that are taking offers “as they come.” Maybe the list price started out too high, and buyers are fearing that the sellers are looking for a lot more than their asking price. Or maybe there’s something particularly challenging about the location or floor plan (that you may be able to live with). And of course, we can’t ignore the possibility that the seller is simply not genuinely motivated to sell. In any event, here are my picks for three weeks or longer:

405 Arguello #201
Inner Richmond Condo

1BR/1BA, 716 sq ft
1 pkg
Days on market (DOM): 77
List Price: $599,000

Yes, 405 Arguello #201‘s deck above is deeded and exclusive—and, you’re literally around the block from Clement Street’s restaurants and shops. This well-appointed unit is in a building that was constructed in 1991, and it has an open living/dining/kitchen area. Best of all, the unit faces the rear of the building, so traffic noise from busy Arguello is mitigated. There are six units in the building, and parking/storage are included. There’s also a common laundry area. HOA dues are a low $202/month.

243 Romain
Twin Peaks House

2BR/1BA, 925 sq ft
1 pkg
DOM: 21
List Price: $975,000

243 Romain is situated on the block that has the Market Street bridge, which lets you walk directly from your block to the other side of Market and drops you down either into Noe or Eureka Valleys. The house is on the smaller side, with less than 1,000 square feet. But the kitchen and bathroom finishes are reasonable, and there’s a cute yard. Buyers have probably stayed away because 243 Romain is priced at $1,054/sq ft, which is what new construction is fetching these days. However, at the right price, you can get a house vs condo in a walkable location. This is the third coming of 243 Romain, as the seller started out in May with the first of what has now become three listing agents, pricing the home at $1.2M. So technically speaking, the property has been on the market a lot longer than 21 days.

60 Escondido
Pine Lake Park House

5BR/3.5BA, 2956 sq ft
2 pkg
DOM: 24
List Price: $1,329,000

60 Escondido is a big, lovely house on a block that runs parallel to Sloat Boulevard at 34th Avenue. So you’ll hear Sloat traffic, but you’ll also be across the street from the shopping center that has everything from a grocery store to a post office. The house has been updated with a remodeled kitchen, and there are three bedrooms on the main level. Downstairs are two more bedrooms, a full bath and entertainment area. They started out with a $1,380,000 list price, which didn’t help in a neighborhood where the average house price this year has been $1,250,000.

If you’re interested in any of these homes, feel free to give me a shout at 415-823-4656/, and I’d be happy to assist you!

What You Can Buy: SF Houses

There are many neighborhood and property options in San Francisco. Today we take a look at four new single-family homes listings in different price points and areas. For those kicking off a house hunt who aren’t terribly familiar with the many neighborhoods in the city, this is a great way to start getting a sense for what’s out there:

754 Monterey Blvd

2BR/1BA, 1124 sq ft
Built 1924
1 pkg

Featuring an updated kitchen and bath, formal dining room and a lovely garden, 754 Monterey has lovely 1920s period details. Monterey Boulevard has four lanes of traffic, so if you’re very sensitive to noise, this may not be the best choice. But the location is convenient to 280, two bus lines, BART, City College, Safeway and more. The property last sold in 2009 for $633,000.

243 Romain
Twin Peaks

2BR/1BA, 952 sq ft (as per tax records)
Built 1908
1 pkg

The big selling point for 243 Romain is the floor-to-ceiling windows and deck that overlook the city skyline and homes in the background, as well as the secluded, landscaped yard. The house is definitely on the small side, but having those views really opens things up. At the corner is a footbridge that lets you cross Market Street, and drops you down into the Castro. Weather in Twin Peaks is generally cooler, foggier and windier in the afternoon, but the neighborhood is great for clearing your head and appreciating a more quiet environment. The house last sold in 2008 for $899,000.

770 4th Avenue
Inner Richmond

4BR/2BA, 2652 sq ft
Built 1914
2 pkg

770 4th Avenue is great for buyers who need a lot of bedrooms and space, as well as those who are looking for a property to update and make their own. All the details are there, from a living room with a fireplace and built-ins to wainscoting and wood molding. The 700 block of 4th Avenue is right off Golden Gate Park, and is one of my favorite streets in the Inner Richmond because it’s tree lined and has a lovely feel to it. 770 4th Avenue has been owned by the same family since 1973, and we’re told that they took great care of the property.

3110 Buchanan
Cow Hollow

2BR/1BA, 1066 sq ft (as per tax records)
Built 1900
1 pkg

An excellent condo alternative for buyers who are serious about living in Cow Hollow, 3110 Buchanan is s small Victorian house with a lot of charm in the form of bay windows, high ceilings, French doors and crown moldings. One of the bedrooms is half of the double parlor, and there’s a large eat-in kitchen that looks out on to the patio. Decent-size parking space, as well as washer/dryer hookups and storage. 3110 Buchanan is one and a half blocks from the heart of Union Street, and about five blocks to the Chestnut Street retail area. The block itself loses points in the charm department, as you’re adjacent to a motel. But the location is convenient, particularly for North Bay commuters.

Clarendon Craftsman Makes Comeback

The 4BR/4BA double-wide Craftsman home at 53 Clarendon in Clarendon Heights was last sold in a court-confirmed sale for $2,210,000 in October 2008. The new owners then fully renovated the property in 2009, and promptly put it back on the market in May 2009 for $3,485,000. That didn’t work, and another failed sales attempt was made later that year with a list price of $2,999,999.

It’s almost a year later, and the price hasn’t dropped much. 53 Clarendon is now listed for $2,899,000. With 3500 square feet of space and that extra wide lot to play with, you won’t be at a loss for a guest room. And you do get views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Sutro Tower, downtown San Francisco and the East Bay. I have to admit that the upstairs master bath is pretty sweet:

But will the $2.9M list price fly? Based on recent 4BR comps that have sold since January in the neighborhood, the list price doesn’t seem completely out of whack. But I do think the luxury market will continue to experience challenges–most notably where loans are concerned.

SF Market Shows Its Mood Swings

It’s always a kick to point out recent sales that are typical of the current market’s mood swings. Random examples of homes selling for well above or below their list prices pop up on a regular basis. And there were two good examples last week.

151 Mendosa in Forest Hill is a 4BR/3.5BA ocean-view home with 4250 square feet on a very cute cul-de-sac street:

What it lacks in exterior appeal, it makes up for in views, as this ornate dining room outlook attests:

The house was listed at $1,495,000 in early October, and closed escrow last week for $1,650,000. It helps to know that this particular listing agent is known for underpricing properties, but the point is that buyers are still falling in step with that strategy.

At the other end of the spectrum was 176 Palo Alto in Clarendon Heights:

The 3BR/1.75BA modernist home featured 20′ glass windows and lots of wood. Listed in September for $2,280,000, the property sold last week for $1,925,000.

Third Time a Charm for 1391 Clayton?

Purchased as a vacant lot in July 2006 for $995,000, 1391 Clayton was transformed into a contemporary 4BR/4.5BA, 2,900-square foot home with all the bells and whistles.

The Clarendon Heights/Twin Peaks property was then initially listed in the Fall of 2008 for $2,795,000, and withdrawn a couple months later. It then came back on the market in January 2009 for $2,695,000 and the listing expired in March of that year. I personally liked the home when I toured it, and was impressed with the views and finishes. It has a laundry list of gotta-have-it, high-end features, such as an elevator; chef’s kitchen with mahogany leather grain sandblasted granite counters; Berg & Berg Brazilian cherry flooring; an indoor-outdoor sound system; a wine cellar; four-car garage, and two view decks. I’m a little surprised no one has purchased the property, but I’m sure it has less to do with the house than the ability of potential buyers to come in with all cash, or obtain a large loan.

1391 Clayton gets its third chance to sell starting in two weeks, when it will officially hit the market at $2,695,000. Give me a call if you’d like to schedule a showing.

As the 21 Villa Terrace Turns

Featuring almost as many twists and turns in its floorplan as there are in its property history, 21 Villa Terrace hit the market again today.

The 4BR/4.5BA has four levels and 4,051 square feet, and was constructed in 2001 when it sold for $2,125,000. It then changed hands two years later for $1.9M. The current owners listed the home for $3,350,000 last year, and the price sunk to $2,950,000 before the listing expired. But it’s a new year, and 21 Villa Terrace is now listed at $2,795,000.

The home does have good space and fabulous views, but the kitchen is small and circular, and there are some odd angles involved:

As we’ve noted before, there are several luxury homes currently available in the Clarendon Heights/Twin Peaks area, so the competition is fierce. But I think that 21 Villa Terrace will work for a view hunter, as well as someone who needs a lot of square footage. Open Sunday, 2:00-4:00.

Luxury Market Heats Up in Clarendon Heights

The usually quiet enclave of Clarendon Heights—the area northwest of Twin Peaks—is a hotbed of activity this week thanks to six current luxury listings. (To put things in perspective, only six homes sold in the neighborhood in all of 2009.) Two of the current listings are on coveted Palo Alto Avenue. Both have great decks with massive views. But only one has a tree stump inside.

206 Palo Alto is the latest addition to the Clarendon Heights view home inventory. Owned by a designer, the 4,340 square foot, 4BR/3.5BA home listed at $4.2M was renovated over the past few years (including a two-story rear yard addition). It’s got the expected bridge-to-bridge views, from this deck—pictured on a day when the typical fog and wind in the area weren’t hanging around:

There are three levels that include a media room, library and accessible outdoor living areas on every level. They’ve even brought the outdoors inside, giving a tree stump its own room as an homage to nature:

206 Palo Alto was last sold in a less jacked-up form in 2003, for $1.3M.

Over at 20 Palo Alto, things are a bit more toned down:

The interior isn’t quite as stylish, but you still get a nice deck with stunning views (and a substantially lower, $2,850,000 list price):
The 5BR/5.5BA home has floor-to-ceiling windows, and a good floorplan:

The property is located on a cul-de-sac, which is nice and private, and there are also three levels of living space.

The sold inventory in Clarendon Heights has been at a significantly lower price point over the past few months (average of $1,525,155 since October). But the average cost of one of the current homes is $3,187,500. So clearly, there will be some waiting around for the current homeowners, as buyers in this price category decide where to spend their money.

And there’s more to come: Look for 30 Palo Alto for $3.5M, and 28 Clarendon at $3.5M in the near future.