Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Distressed Properties mostly in the rear view mirror

PropertyRadar (formerly Foreclosure Radar) reports that San Francisco has the smallest percentage of distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) of any county in California.

Compared to the same time last year the percentage of distressed properties has dropped by ten points from 34.8%.

Four of the five counties with the lowest percentage of distressed properties are in the Bay area:  San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin and Alameda.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


A potential client recently asked the following:  "Is the area around 1080 Potrero Ave. safe?"

Here's the essence of my response:

This is a tough question to answer not just about this particular address but in general. Your definition of safe is not likely to be the same as mine.  Your background and circumstances will define what you consider "safe" as much as crime statistics.

And, compared to what? What's your frame of reference?  Do you currently live in San Francisco or the Bay area.  Are you moving here from elsewhere?  Urban, suburban, rural?

There are several tools available on the web that try to characterize and/or quantify the level of crime in a particular area.

Trulia has one under "Community Info" that's a good start: 
(Plug in the zip code for the address in question.)

There's also another great tool: 
(Plug in an address or just click away. You can see what's been reported to the local police department around an address.   Then look at a different address for the same time period.)

Here's some other ideas to consider:

  • Spend some time in the neighborhood.  Visit at different days of the week and hours of the day, evening and night.
  • Talk to the local police station staff.
  • Contact the San Francisco SAFE organization that works with the police department to organize neighborhood watch groups.  Ask if there is a group where you're considering moving and, if so, have them put you in touch with them. 

And keep this in mind:  real estate agents are generally reluctant to give an opinion about the safety of a neighborhood because it's all too easy to run afoul of the Fair Housing Act which requires us to avoid "steering" buyers away from or toward a neighborhood based on race, color, or other protected categories.  This is a situation where you really need to do your own research and reach your own conclusions.

Monday, July 1, 2013

New Highest Price for Residential Property on Potrero Hill

You may recall in an earlier post I mentioned a property on the market that had negotiated an easement with their neighbor that would protect their view (something of a rarity in San Francisco).

Well, that property just closed escrow for the highest price ($3,660,000) for a residential property since records have been kept by our multiple listing service.  The property is located at 827 De Haro Street.  (Click the link for more photos and listing information).

The sales price is approximately 15% over asking.

Technically, the property is a two-unit building.  Here's the agent's public description from the MLS.  (I get a kick out of the lack of vowels.  It reminds me of when we paid for advertising by the number of characters in the ad.  Or, a more current reference, a text message version of the description.  The truth is more mundane -- our MLS still limits the description field to 750 characters -- this is just two shy of the limit).
1-of-a-kind custom Potrero Hill VIEW hm blt in 2005. 4 bdrms/3.5 baths incl 1 bdrm legal unit. Elev to every lvl, incredble VWS from every lvl & unsurpassed finishes thruout. Top lvl includes huge LR w/expansive City & Bay views, fireplac, 2 patios, open flr plan w/ dining area, all great for indoor-outdoor entertaining. Kitchen has all the bells & whistles w/ a center island. Mster ste feat a prvt patio w/ views & hot tub, huge walk-in. 3 bdrms on middle flr w/one perf suited for home office w/flr to ceiling blt-ins. Garden legl unit is an open flr plan w/2-tiered living/dining area, firepl & direct access to yd, also w/spectac views. The spectacular views north are protected by a recorded view easement restricting ht of neighbor's hm.
Although not included in the MLS, tax records say the building has over 5,000 sq. ft. of living space.  So, on a price per sq. ft. basis, this would be considered "a bargain" compared to most single family homes in this price range selling for upwards of $900/sq. ft.