March 20, 2012

Downtown SF Living for an Amazingly Low Price!

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for finding one of those listings that seems like such a steal, you’ll be grabbing onto your wallet and wondering what the catch is.  Why, the catch is this consummate condo!  Why don’t you grab it before it gets away?

690 Market St #303
San Francisco, CA 94104


BATHS: 1.5
SQ. FT.: 1,275
$/SQ. FT.: $82
PROPERTY TYPE: Luxury, Tenancy In Common
STYLE: Contemporary, Modern/High Tech
VIEW: City Lights, San Francisco, Downtown
COMMUNITY: Financial District
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 393305
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 47 days

Live without limits in one of the world’s most romantic cities. Located in the celebrated Chronicle Building, The Ritz-Carlton Club San Francisco offers one, two and three-bedroom fractional ownership residences coupled with casually elegant service and amenities including valet parking, personal concierge, private fitness and member storage, daily housekeeping, residents’ lounge and more. This luxurious residence is 1,275 square feet with one bedroom and one and one-half bathrooms. Fine finishings such as a fully equipped chef’s kitchen, complete entertainment center, Italian marble bathrooms and wine storage come standard. The Ritz-Carlton Club San Francisco enjoys a pristine location in Union Square and is one hour from Napa Valley.

120319-market-streetsceneWhatever could possibly go wrong here?  Sure, Market Street is busy 24 hours a day and this unit is on the third floor, but the City sounds (as well as the smells) are what you’re signing up for when you buy a place in Baghdad by the Bay, right?  And the $1,398 monthly homeowner fees might come as a surprise after you slapped down the purchase price in cash, expecting to move in and only pay a pittance in property taxes.

But note that phrase “fractional ownership residences.”  That means this isn’t your condo.  Or rather, it isn’t just your condo.  You’ll be sharing it with some other people, and the listing doesn’t bother specifying how many.  For all you know, you get to use this condo from 4 to 6 am on alternate Thursdays in months without an R during Leap Years.

And it gets even better.  This yours-some-of-the-time pied-a-terre, located close to Nordstrom and lots of homeless people, is bank-owned!

But the good news is the whatever-it-is-they’re-selling comes with a parking space, so you ought to overbid twice asking.  Have you ever tried parking around here?

120319-market-ladderHere’s unit #301 in the same building, with an asking price half of this one, for three weeks a year.  It’s been sitting all by its lonesome for almost a year (maybe the three weeks are already up).  However, #301 is in an alternate 690 Market Street, which only has 49 units in the building, while #303 has 101 units.  Good thing this 690 Market will give you so many more fractional neighbors!

Can anyone find out how much you get to “use” #303, as opposed to merely “owning” it?  Can anyone figure out how many laws of physics were violated by these two condos (with the same photos) appearing on the same website?

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

February 28, 2012

Feel the WOW!

Silicon Valley may seem like the the only economic engine driving California in 2012, but let’s not forget there’s other places to live in the Bay Area.  Many of the high-paying jobs in San Francisco are in the same industry as those 50 miles south, which means many of you could consider living in a real city. 

Yet downtown SF and environs is everything that Santa Clara County is not: hip, cool, exciting and not a front lawn to be seen for miles.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for this eye-popping penthouse in SoMa.

1160 Mission St #2313
San Francisco, CA 94103


SQ. FT.: –
PROPERTY TYPE: Luxury, Condominium, Penthouse
STYLE: Contemporary
VIEW: Panoramic, City Lights, Water, Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, Downtown, Hills
COMMUNITY: South of Market
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 392733
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 45 days

Feel the WOW! factor as you step into this dazzling Philippe Starck-style top floor corner penthouse with super-luxury finishes throughout and sensational views from City Hall to the Downtown Skyline and Bay!Fantastic location close to Twitter, Zynga, Google and other red-hot technology companies in SOMA’s booming, world-famous technology center- AND close to Opera House and Davies Symphony Hall. 2 parking/ EXTRA high ceilings/$800K+ (per owner) custom designer finishes/high-end built-in audio-visual systems/motorized shades/stainless VIKING gas stove, refrigerator and wine fridge/Bosch dishwasher/Studio Becker kitchen and MORE!Full service building with fabulous Club Room, outdoor plaza with firepit, gym, 24-hr security & concierge-a MUST SEE!


Here’s what motivated Petsmart Groomer to share this place with the greater Burbed community:

What cracked me up… "$800K+ (per owner) custom designer finishes"
Bought 2 years ago for $1,145,000, on the market now for $2M.

Plus a firepit.  I’m feeling that WOW! factor already.  I thought you had to buy in Sunnyvale to get one of those.

120226-mission-tiesAnd, you also get 2 parking with EXTRA high ceilings.  That’s for buyers who absolutely must garage their London double-decker busses.

But those $800K+ (per owner) customer designer finishes mean this 1,613 sf condo (per county records) should be worth at least $8K more than as originally furnished.  Good luck with that wishing price.

The best example of the WOW! factor? $851.38 monthly homeowners dues.  You’ll feel the WOW! every time you write that check along with the mortgage.  Buy with Redfin and save $22,478.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:29 am

February 13, 2012

Unfinished century old cottage: It does not get better than this in our opinion!

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for this, um, property with views, views, views.

115 Telegraph Hill Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94133


SQ. FT.: –
PROPERTY TYPE: Single-Family Home
VIEW: Panoramic, City Lights, Water, Bay, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Downtown, Park, Garden/Greenbelt, Woods, Hills, Mountains
COMMUNITY: Telegraph Hill
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 373325
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Contingent – Show
ON REDFIN: 572 days

REDUCED ON 9/2/2011 BY $500K!!! Rare Opportunity to purchase a large RH-3 Panoramic View Parcel at the Crest of Famed Telegraph Hill. Panoramic Vistas, including the Golden Gate Bridge, SF Bay & Bay Bridge, Dramatic City Skyline, Coit Tower and Historic Pioneer Park. The cottage on the parcel is unfinished. THE OWNER IS MOTIVATED TO SELL QUICKLY! Nearby Homes are valued at over $10MM and are architecturally significant. BUILD YOUR DREAM HOME OR HOMES/MULTI-CONDOMINIUMS! Walk Score of 95! A Short Distance to The Financial District, North Beach, The North Waterfront, Bay Club and Key Transportation Corridors. Just steps away from the Renowned Grace Marchant Gardens and World Famous Coit Tower! It does not get better than this in our opinion!

120208-telegraph-coitHere’s why PG sent this one in:

555 days on the market. If only the buyers were as motivated…

Somebody was motivated.  It’s pending.  Took them long enough (and a 14% price reduction).  But why would they sell a “view parcel” and not mention how big it is?  Makes it a little difficult to build an “architecturally significant” place to fit in with the neighborhood if you don’t know whether the lot is 4000 feet or 40.

However, looking at the lot, perhaps we can infer the size by getting information from another home on the same block.  The map of the immediate neighborhood is below.

Unfortunately, this may not be the lot we are looking for.  The outlined parcel below is on Genoa Place, not Telegraph Hill.  Even more bizarre, the Redfin link to this property is:

No wonder nobody knows how big it is, nobody knows WHERE it is.


Here’s where Zillow says we should look:


I can’t find the cottage, though.  Maybe it’s cowering under the trees for fear someone will BUILD THEIR DREAM HOME OR HOMES/MULTI-CONDOMINIUMS!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

November 27, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in SF!

It’s Thanksgiving Weekend, and we’re scouring the MLS, looking for the best DEALS out there.  You can even find DEALS in hard-to-buy-in San Francisco.  How about a HOUSE for the same price as the cheapest house in San Mateo County?

Can do!  Just remember that we’re in San Francisco, so their definition of “house” is a little different than what we’re used in the ‘burbs.

1881 Oakdale Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124


SQ. FT.: 1,090
$/SQ. FT.: $91
PROPERTY TYPE: Single-Family Home
STYLE: Victorian
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 387365
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Contingent
REDFIN: 131 days

Probate Sale with limited authority requiring court confirmation. The subject property is in major disrepair and listing agent has been told that access can’t be provided, and that it may not be safe to enter the property. (no showings) There may be roof damage and fire damage, etc. It is highly possible that the highest and best use is as a tear down for lot value. Ratified @ $95,000 w/ No Contingencies, All Cash, 10 day close, buyer to pay transfer tax, title, escrow, and buyer to take responsibility for all point of sale compliances, As Is. Court Date for Overbid Feb 6th, 9am @ 400 McAllister SF. Must have Cashier’s Check at court. Disclosure package available and overbids will be on same terms, no contigencies!

imageThe listing says “no contigencies,” yet the status is Contingent.  Maybe this house was a Zen Buddhist retreat and you’ll have to listen to the sound of one hand clapping.  Or the sound of one “n” present.

So what does Contingent Status mean in a listing?

This means the sellers have accepted on an offer on the property, but success may still depend on passing a home inspection or the buyer’s financing approval. It may still be possible to tour these properties and submit a backup offer in case the current one falls through.

Given the condition of that staircase, just about anything could fall through.  You just can never tell.image

Lot value only?  Note the lot size above; nothing could be bigger. The public records say the lot size is a whopping 1642 square feet.  Plenty of room to build a rental apartment in the back!

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:05 am

November 22, 2011

Requires extensive remodelling in order to enjoy the 2013 America’s Cup

This San Francisco house was briefly mentioned in the zip code series this past weekend, and really deserves an appearance of its own.  It’s not just a really expensive house in San Francisco, it looks like it comes with a huge number of challenges opportunities waiting to happen!

2250 Vallejo St, San Francisco, CA 94123


SQ. FT.: –
PROPERTY TYPE: Single-Family Home
VIEW: Panoramic, Bay, Golden Gate Bridge
COMMUNITY: Pacific Heights
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 390207
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 50 days

Large, Italianate view mansion. Four floors of occupancy. Formerly occupied as 11 units and presently vacant. Conditional Use Authorization obtained in 2009 to merge 11 units to 2 units (home with apartment). Although most original details remain, the home requires extensive remodelling in order to enjoy the 2013 America’s Cup.


This looks like a house that needs an in-person visit, what with the MLS not specifying how large the house or the lot is, or showing very many pictures either.  When there are more snaps of the view than the house, you know it isn’t going to be “turnkey.”  Instead, get your work gloves ready, because you’ll be spending the next year and a half fixing up this place in order to enjoy the 2013 America’s Cup.

Wouldn’t it just be easier to watch it on television?

Anyway, the public records say the home is 7335 square feet on a 6187 sf lot.  No bedrooms but 12 bathrooms, formerly 11 units rented out.  Given how tight the rental market is in SF, how do you think the tenants were cleared out?  Arson?  Blackmail?  Cockroaches?  Dynamite?

Here’s a couple comments on this home from Socketsite, back in 2009 when another Pacific Heights home that had been chopped into apartments failed to sell and was withdrawn from the market.

imagePosted by: Jake at March 27, 2009 2:51 PM

This would have been a great house if left alone.
The problem is that there was a period from the
thirties to the fifties when large houses were treated as white elephants. Many of them have been returned to their architecturally natural use.

Including… I am pleased to report, the James Francis Dunn mansion on Vallejo, for which the Planning Commission, in a moment of unusual enlightenment, approved, Thursday, a “dwelling unit merger” of eleven to two units!

Hooray for common sense! Commissioner Borden observed that the purpose of denying mergers was to preserve affordable housing, and apartments on this street would not be affordable by any measure.
The building is owned by the Rossi family, who as they noted, contributed a Mayor to SF.

imagePosted by: Conifer at March 28, 2009 11:02 PM

Holy Crap! I can’t believe that unit merger went through! I thought it would be DOA so I never bothered to check the commission’s decision. It was absolutely the right decision. 2250 is arguably THE most beautiful home on Vallejo St and should never have been chopped up.

imageJames Francis Dunn is not the owner but the architect of this house, and he designed a number of “French Renaissance” apartment buildings throughout San Francisco.  This book on Pacific Heights homes states that building an actual house was a departure for Dunn, and features this nice line drawing above.

The SF Chronicle article on Dunn’s designs describes this house in a footnote: “2250 Vallejo St., in Pacific Heights, originally a single-family house, is a playful take on Italian Renaissance with beautiful proportions and detailing.”

That’s a lot of Frenchified talk for what’s really important.  KAWLUMS!  And finding an agent who can’t spell remodeling but can walk you through an eight million dollar transaction.  Best of all, this “architectural pastry” has the icing on its street name: associated with a large, prolonged bankruptcy.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

November 16, 2011

A Thousand Dollars per Square Foot? That’s *All*?

Here’s a house that will give the entire la-di-da zip code of 94301 the “You’re not wearing THAT cheap thing?” glare it so rarely gets.  Yes, today’s featured listing is asking more than double the $1000 a square foot altitude we’ve come to love near University Avenue.

Thanks very much to Redfin Bay Area Forums reader tarazet for this find.


86 Stanton St, San Francisco, CA 94114


SQ. FT.: 435
$/SQ. FT.: $2,644
PROPERTY TYPE: Single-Family Home
STYLE: Cottage
COMMUNITY: Eureka Valley/Dolore
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 382947
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 202 days

Two Buildable Lots and One Updated Cottage that sits in a little dell, down flagstone steps, with a terraced stone-paved front yard and grassy side yard. Two skylights, bleached hardwood floors, peaked beamed roof, bathroom with glassblock. Pedini Kitchen: Viking range, Carrera marble countertops. Great development plans available for viewing or develop your own.

imageHave we ever had a house listed for this much a foot?  This one cleared $2000 a foot, but isn’t anywhere as awesome because its high price is due to being on half an acre in Los Gatos.  Today’s house breaks the $2600 a foot barrier on a whopping 2347 square foot lot.  Now that takes some doing.

That’s right.  TWO buildable lots on the 2347 square feet.  I bet this house is perfect for two families as well.

Speaking of $2600, that’s exactly what this place rents for per month.  That means the price rent ratio is a delightfully buyer-friendly 36.86. Wowzers, you’d best jump on this place, because that hanging Ikea lamp probably adds at least an extra $75,000 to the kitchen.

Update: Price reduced to a million even last Friday.  It’s now a bargain at $2,299 a foot!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

October 21, 2011

partial City + Bay views

It’s just about time for another Real Bay Area weekend!  So let’s go to San Francisco for our last house of the workweek, courtesy of Burbed reader Bubbie Byer!


338 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122


SQ. FT.: 1,900
$/SQ. FT.: $436
PROPERTY TYPE: Single-Family Home
STYLE: Marina
VIEW: Partial, City Lights, Bay
COMMUNITY: Inner Sunset
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 389847
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Pending
ON REDFIN: 13 days

Delightful Marina 3bd/2ba home offers elegance + comfort. Main level-Spacious living rm has fireplace. Elegant Formal Dining rm, modern eat-in kitchen, 2 br + 1ba w/ skylite. Sliding door from 1br to deck/garden. The deck has partial City + Bay views w/ a level, grassy garden. Lower level has a small bdrm, bathrm + an inviting family room. W/ D in garage.

Here’s what BB had to say about the house:

imageFirst, the Marina is a 40 minute drive from that house.

The Spacious living rm stuffed with couches that look made from the skins of stuffed animals makes the room smaller. Watch your step on the way to the yellow kitchen and to check out the plastic faux-vinyl shower curtains. What a bargain for up to $10K in staging fees. They even put a crappy shower curtain in the bathrm "with small bdrm + inviting family room W/D in imagegarage." You mean like a garage conversion?

Recovering that 2003 equity just got harder as a result of "presentation."

Sold for $731,000 in 2003, and went pending in 2 weeks.  Admittedly when Bubbie sent it in, it was still listed for sale.

It did sell quickly for more money than in 2003, but in eight years, it should have almost doubled.  Therefore, we have confirmation that the Inner Sunset isn’t in the Real Bay Area.  Should have bought something in the Marina!

imageSpeaking of the Marina, since when is that a style of house as well as a (very expensive) neighborhood?  That’s a new one for me.

See, you can learn something reading Burbed!

Also have a look at the level, grassy garden, because Redfin says the lot doesn’t have a size.  Zillow says it’s 2500 sf.  Looking at the satellite picture, that would mean a 25 x 100 foot lot.

imageAnd every foot of those 25 are taken up by the house in front.  Does “single family home” mean something different in The City than it does in the burbs?

Those walls look like they’re touching to me.  Heck, those walls probably aren’t even holding the house up, because they’re leaning on the two neighbors’ houses.  The only homes on this block that have actual load-bearing walls are the ones on each corner.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

October 4, 2011

Sometimes being closeted is a good thing

Here’s another find from Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer, with many features you’re unlikely to find in the tract homes of the South Bay.


4033 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Listed for $839,000, Sold for $824,000


SQ. FT.:  –
PROPERTY TYPE:  Condominium
STYLE:  Victorian
COMMUNITY: Eureka Valley/Dolore
COUNTY:  San Francisco
MLS#:  384248
SOURCE:  San Francisco MLS

Welcome to 4033 18th Street. This pre-1900 Victorian condo delivers the best in urban living. The open floor plan combines the kitchen and living room into a generous open space accentuated by exceptionally tall ceilings. The bedrooms are large in size and each has a closet that can double as a sunroom or office. This home has hardwood floors, in unit washer/dryer, stainless appliances, granite countertops and an amazing designer shower. There is a shared rear patio with direct access to deeded side-by-side parking. Walk Score is 100!

imageYou get so much less house for your money in San Francisco, but they make up for it by showing more pictures on the MLS.  This condo, which is so small they won’t even tell us how many square feet it is, still manages to come up with 22 pictures by showing 6 views of every room.

Plus each large in size bedroom has a closet, you know, a small windowless area to store things, except these small storage rooms in San Francisco can double as a sunroom or an office.

I guess closet means something very different in San Francisco than it does in the South Bay, and that might explain why Tom Cruise doesn’t want to come out of his.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 13, 2011

Socialism in San Fran: “Cheap” housing for poor six figure income earners

Today’s featured listing is courtesy of Burbed reader Lars, so thanks very much!  Comments here can get a little raucous, so maybe it’s time for a my-political/economic-system-can-beat-up-your-political/economic-system rantfest.  Yes, this is a Below Market Rate listing.


1800 Washington St #314, San Francisco, CA 94109


SQ. FT.: 476
$/SQ. FT.: $590
PROPERTY TYPE: Junior, Condominium, Studio
STYLE: Modern/High Tech
VIEW: City Lights
COMMUNITY: Pacific Heights
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 382137
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 179 days

Luxury below market rate unit. Must be 1st time homebuyer & income eligible. Maximum income level for 1 person:$104,400; Two People:$119,250;Three People:$134,200.Offers submitted with: Application, loan preapproval, homebuyer education certificate/proof of class registration, and SF Purchase Contract. Please contact Realtor for application & more info. Unit avail. thru the SF Mayor’s Office of Housing & subject to resale controls, monitoring & other restrictions. See sfgov. org/moh for info. Fair Housing Opportunity. Offers are on a first come/first serve basis.

imageHere’s what Lars has to say about this property:

Not sure if this is good material for your blog, but I found this a bit absurd:

You can qualify to buy this 476sqft "below market rate" shoe box for only $281,000 if you are a first-time home buyer making less than $104,400 per year. Good thing that SF is taking care of the poor. Socialists! I wonder if the deal includes food stamps for the Whole Foods nearby?

I want to know why San Francisco property for poor people gets 23 photos.  Most of the crapboxes we dig up in Redwood City and East Palo Alto only have one exterior shot taken from the agent’s about-to-be-repossessed-Mercedes.  If you look at the listings we feature in East San Jose you get a second blurrycam of the kitchen where light from the window overwhelms the tired cabinetry and 1963 appliances.  (Maybe that’s imagenot a bug, but a feature.)

This listing isn’t like that place on Russian Hill with 82 photos, but it’s 28% of the way there!  So what if half the shots are building exteriors and common space, while another third are neighborhood eateries?  The typical Mountain View close-to-Google-and-nothing-else-to-recommend-it 3/2 has 9 pictures if you’re lucky!

This is so much better!  Example: Midnight snacking is easy, as the kitchen is just three steps away from your sleeping area!

imageHowever, the Whole Foods is three whole blocks away (but not too far to merit its own photo)!  That shouldn’t matter too much, as almost everything else will be passing right under your window.  Never mind a place on a busy street; this is a place on the corner of a fracking Federal Highway, and this unit is only on the third floor.


Hope you like the horn section, and I don’t mean from the SF Symphony 12 blocks south, nor do I mean marching bands parading down Van Ness. This is more of a spontaneous jam, as in vehicle horns from traffic on a six-lane thoroughfare.

imageAnd watch out for those resale controls, as this ten year old unit has already changed ownership three times.  But you get to go to the Mayor’s Office to apply!  Now that’s class!

And don’t fret about those strict income limits.  Grab yourself a couple of jobless roommates (they’re everywhere!) and you might just slip in under the $134,200 max.  That’s at least 148 square feet a person, lots of elbow room for SF housing!

So why deal with arbitrary rent hikes in a tight market?  Buy this place and deal with arbitrary HOA fee hikes instead! That extra $545 a month isn’t going to kill your budget, as long as one of your roommates can find a cash job off the books.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

July 19, 2011

Albion Castle produces 10,000 gallons a day of spring water

Today we have another terrific find from Burbed reader sonarrat!  Unfortunately, it’s been sitting in my inbox so long it’s growing mold, and what’s worse, those fickle sellers have yanked it from Redfin!  So, if you could convince them to sell again, how would you like your own castle?

881 Innes Ave, San Francisco, CA 94124


DAMN, missed it!  And look at the location it’s in, too!  Sounds classy! Foxhounds and riders and horns, oh my!  Here’s what sonarrat had to say about the place:

Albion Castle.. produces 10,000 gallons a day of spring water.. sounds great! …it’s WHERE??!

It’s in San Francisco! Let’s see where exactly… after the break, because I’ve got more to show you.


Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am