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“The Castro” or “Eureka Valley”: What do you call it?

May 23rd, 2012

Whether you’ve lived in San Francisco for decades or days, there are always fun factoids to learn about our fair city. This week, we went down the Google rabbit-hole trying to find out whether there was a difference between the Castro & Eureka Valley, and where the names came from.

Noe, Castro, Sanchez, Valencia and Guerrero were all prominent Mexican ranchers, according to the Noe Hill blog, for whom streets and peaks were named in 1854. Wikipedia confirms that the Twin Peaks are named Noe Peak and Eureka Peak and therefore lend their names to the valleys below them. And Wikipedia further clarifies that the Castro is technically a neighborhood within Eureka Valley.

Why was it named Eureka Peak instead of honoring another Mexican rancher? That stems from the gold rush era, when “eureka” became the state motto of California after gold was found in Sutter’s Mill in 1848.

No matter what you call it, it’s a fabulous area! Contact us if you’re interested in becoming a part of the neighborhood.


Divisadero’s Bi-Rite: Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

May 23rd, 2012

Like many of you, we are pretty excited for Bi-Rite to open on Divisadero Street. Between adding a gourmet food outpost & recently completing a restoration project, the Divisadero Corridor neighborhood is reminding us of the successful rise of another Corridor (ahem, Valencia). According to local blog Haighteration, however, Bi-Rite & its famed Creamery recently pushed back opening until October 2012. While this is probably good news for our waistlines (did you know you can get Salted Caramel by the pint?), our tastebuds are not taking the news well.

Waistlines aside, the delay could also be good news for potential homebuyers. If the Divisadero Corridor’s popularity rises further after Bi-Rite arrives, so could home values and prices. Dream of living within walking distance of Bi-Rite? Call us to check out listings in that area.

Facebook’s IPO: Should Buyers Worry?

May 18th, 2012

Mark Zuckerberg rang the stock market bell this morning, and buyers who aren’t Facebook employees may be feeling pressure to snap up SF real estate before the IPO lockup period ends in November and the Facebook cash floods the market.

Stressed? Don’t be. Sure, we’ve seen some crazy things happening lately, but the reality for many buyers might not be so scary. The current ‘boom’ is being fueled by a lack of inventory as many sellers wait for these techies to become liquid. When they do, the increased supply of homes may balance out any high demand created by the IPOs. And keep in mind that Facebook is a pretty small company, with just over 3,500 employees – some of whom might want to save their money, and some of whom may choose to settle in the South Bay. Finally, given the stock’s mediocre performance today, there may be fewer millionaires than anticipated.

Need a little more reassurance? Prices still are not where they were at the peak of the market in 2006. Rates are historically low making this a good time to buy. Multiple offers in San Francisco are a way or real estate life. Even in 1985 there were multiple offers. A good piece of property will always attract attention. Today’s difference is that prices are set purposefully low. You need to be educated as to prices and comparable sales so that you know what a property that fits your parameters is worth in today’s market. Only a good real estate agent who has seen lots of property and followed sales prices can help you know that you are paying the right price for the property you buy. IPOs aside, a well located property with a modicum of charm will always hold its value in SF and will, don’t forget, always attract more than one offer.

Certainly there are more factors influencing the local and national real estate markets than Facebook’s IPO. Despite the hype, talk, and excitement surrounding Facebook this week, there is always more to consider when it comes to real estate valuation in this complex city. We don’t have a crystal ball but we do have a lot of experience navigating through markets just like this. We invite you to call us with your questions and concerns.

New App Helps You Find Sun in SF

May 16th, 2012

The answer to every SF resident’s prayer, a free new iPhone app called SF Climates offers a weather forecast for each SF neighborhood. Besides helping you figure out what to wear, it’s a fun tool for prospective homebuyers to learn about SF’s microclimates. If you want to live in a sunny neighborhood, for example, you might consider the Financial District in addition to the Mission!

How to Win In Today’s Competitive Marketplace

May 10th, 2012
When we saw a 20th Street fixer-upper list for $849,000 and sell for $1.4 million last week, our suspicions were confirmed: SF real estate is in the early stages of another boom. We saw it again with a Dolores Street property selling for $400k over asking, despite a difficult floor plan. Last Sunday, about one-third of the open homes we visited were already in contract! All this competition in the marketplace can seem scary and disheartening to first-time buyers, but you CAN still succeed in this climate, and we’re here to help you do just that. 

Find the right home, pay the right price
The 20th Street home that sold for $550k over asking? It was severely under-priced. We know because we toured the property, analyzed comps, and have the experience necessary to anticipate true home values. In this marketplace, you simply can’t rely on online search tools or listing prices for accurate valuation. You need a good agent to set expectations so you don’t waste your time seeing properties that will sell outside of your price range or get discouraged when that happens. We didn’t send our $850k clients to tour this home because we knew it would sell for what it was worth (in fact, we had estimated a sales price of $1.3m).

Of course, you don’t want to overpay, either. Regardless of its tony address, the Dolores Street house will need a solid $500k of work to make it livable. This is going to be an expensive and arduous project for the new owners, and in our opinion they overpaid for this hassle. The true value of the property is well under the $2m they’ll have spent when all is said & done.

Keep calm & carry on
As a new homebuyer, it’s very easy to get caught up in the excitement of house hunting. We’re here to temper that emotion so you can make smart decisions. We’ve been doing this for 30 years, and we’ve seen boom markets crazier than this one. We’ll help you find the right home and pay the right price so you get the home without overbidding. Contact us at any time to ask any of your SF real estate questions – we’re here to help!

Duboce Triangle Developments In Full Swing

May 7th, 2012

The Duboce Triangle Neighborhood Association’s latest newsletter detailed the whopping 900+ soon-to-be-built housing units in the Upper Market corridor. Construction has already begun at several of the twelve sites, and more is on the way.

Given its prime location in the city and its easy access to Silicon Valley, Duboce Triangle’s popularity is on the rise. The demand for houses in this neighborhood is up, and our sellers are receiving well over their asking price as the new tech crowd moves in, making it a good time to buy or sell here.

We certainly love being in Duboce Triangle! Come visit and we’ll tell you more about this charming and coveted neighborhood.

What Kind Of Mortgage Should You Get?

May 3rd, 2012

With all the different products on the market, this question can be downright confusing. While there’s no substitute for talking to a reputable mortgage broker (contact us for referrals), it’s helpful to know your options. This article does a pretty good job explaining the various offerings so you can familiarize yourself with them.

Good News For The Dogpatch

May 1st, 2012

Home to our Hot Property of the week (the gorgeous new Millwheel development), the Dogpatch neighborhood is about to see improvements made to its Pier 70 area. Concepts for the long-awaited renovations are scheduled to be presented this summer. The plans will attempt to “create a hub of innovation on the city’s central waterfront,” according to the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR), who will be hosting a lunchtime forum on May 23rd to discuss the project.

The San Francisco Port Department claims that, pending the updates, “Crane Cove is set to be one of the most celebrated new parks in the City … The completed park would include a variety of landscape and plaza areas, 1,000 feet of Bay shoreline opened, and views of the dry dock, skyline and Bay.”

The SF Chronicle envisioned an even more ambitious use of the space, suggesting it to George Lucas for his new digital media production facilities. “One of the buildings, originally occupied by Bethlehem Steel, was the location of a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” and still has a theater on its upper level,” claims the Chron.

If you’d like more information about the Dogpatch neighborhood or would like to tour the brand new Millwheel properties, contact us!