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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.

“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!