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Before & After: The Power of Good ‘Vision’

July 18th, 2012

One of our strengths is the capability to visualize every home’s potential. A simple remodel, paint job or design tweak can make a huge difference in a home’s ambiance – not to mention its perceived value. We can help assess the potential each home has and estimate the true cost to getting your dream house (or kitchen, or bathroom).

As listing agents, we also use this skill to stage the home so potential buyers can envision themselves living there. We’ve captured some before/after photos that do a great job conveying the power of good “vision.” (We’ll admit – using a good camera with a wide-angle lens gives the “After” photos that much more of a punch!)


We updated the exterior of the building with a strong paint color to give this smaller building a bold presence on the street.

Living Room

This home had been a rental property for 15 years, so it needed a fresh start. The owners didn’t live in town, so we oversaw the remodel to prepare it for sale. We restored and painted the trim, patched & painted the walls, and installed new floors in addition to adding interior design elements.

Eat-in Kitchen

Transformation doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Painting the cabinets white and adding new hardware took the entire room to a new level. Aside from the new appliances, this room’s new look was achieved for under $2,000!



Since the bedrooms were small, space planning was key. We tried to maximize the space so buyers could see the potential in each room.



We gutted and replaced the bathroom with a classic palette, using white subway tile and gray slate. The result is a timeless look that can easily be updated by adding trendy fixtures.



Even the garage got a clean-up to showcase its full size.


Improvements in the Outer Sunset

July 10th, 2012

The San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association (SPUR) has released its final Master Plan for Ocean Beach (we discussed the previous draft here). With improvements like restoring the dunes and adding bike & pedestrian improvements around the Cliff House, this plan could create a lot of value for the seaside neighborhood.

San Francisco Home Prices Rise

July 10th, 2012

Bloomberg recently reported that home prices are on the rise in San Francisco. The trend may continue, making now a good time to buy before prices rise further. Contact us for a personalized tour of properties that meet your criteria.

Yet Another Reason to Love the Mission

June 25th, 2012

If all goes according to plan, 2014 will bring a lovely new park to 17th & Folsom, complete with an amphitheatre/outdoor classroom, a community garden & greenhouse, and a playground. The San Francisco Planning Department is currently in the process of finalizing the concept plan, and its design can be viewed here.

Surf’s Up: Ocean Beach Master Plan Launches with an Art Installment

June 21st, 2012

Since 2010, SPUR (San Francisco Planning + Urban Research Association) has led a long-range planning effort for Ocean Beach. Their current draft of recommendations is intended to outline the issues facing Ocean Beach (such as erosion) and offer “implementable actions” to the agencies responsible for change in order to improve and preserve San Francisco’s beautiful western coast.

On June 6, an art exhibit celebrating the Ocean Beach Master Plan opened at SPUR’s Urban Center at 654 Market Street (suggested donation $10).

Neighbors Unite to Save Noe’s Town Square

June 18th, 2012

The parking lot at 24th and Sanchez where the Noe Valley Farmer’s Market currently takes place has been put up for sale. A group of neighbors known as the Friends of Noe Valley Town Square have joined together in an attempt to “preserve the lot as an open space park.” In order to do so, the community must raise $2 million (the city will donate an additional $2 million).

We love the community spirit of this effort! Those interested in helping out can visit the donation page here.

Before & After: The Power of Good “Vision”

June 10th, 2012

One of our strengths as an agency is the capability to visualize every home’s potential. A simple remodel, paint job or design tweak can make a huge difference in a home’s ambiance – not to mention its perceived value. Our expertise will help you assess the potential each home has and estimate the true cost to getting your dream house (or kitchen, or bathroom).

When we act as listing agents, we also use this skill to stage the home in a modern, neutral fashion so potential buyers can envision themselves living there. We want the home to show its absolute best so visitors can see its potential. We’ve captured some before/after photos that do a great job conveying the power of good “vision.” (We’ll admit – using a good camera with a wide-angle lens gives the “After” photos that much more of a punch!)

719 Castro Street

Living Room
The original architectural details in this Painted Lady were very much intact and quite appealing. The original Douglas-fir floors were in good shape and added to the overall elegance. We highlighted these features with a fresh contemporary paint palette and a new timeless light fixture. These improvements helped potential buyers experience the power of combining Victorian architecture with a modern aesthetic.



Kitchen/Dining/Sitting Area:
This area had all the ingredients for creating the ideal great room. It was open, spacious and light-filled. In order to maximize the space with we continued with the light gray walls, super white trim and added a large, eye-catching, modern table fashioned from airplane metal. Again, we took the opportunity to showcase the beauty of a modern sensibility coupled with old world charm. White couches, a natural wood coffee table and light gray walls enhanced the sunroom’s light and airiness.



Double Parlor:
We transformed the traditional Victorian double parlor into a master suite with a bedroom and sitting area. Removing the curtains allowed the sun into the room, brightening and freshening the ambiance.


Guest Bedroom:
We changed the light fixtures and added a headboard to make the bed feel more regal and substantial. Adding a mirror opened up the space, and the cool, neutral wall color is calming – perfect for a bedroom!


3rd Bedroom:
Formerly used as a workout room, this would be perfect as a nursery or child’s bedroom. We re-vamped the furniture accordingly. With just one window in the room, enhancing the natural light was imperative. Fresh paint helped the room feel airy while still maintaining architectural interest.

“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.