August 28, 2007

Apples To Oranges Within The Same District Block Building Condo

2040 Franklin Street #1207 (The View)

Two weeks ago $196,000 (16.4%) was shaved off the asking price of 2040 Franklin #1207. And as best we can tell, the grand views (and “Euro Style” remodel) remain available.

On the surface, a sale at the reduced list price of $999,000 would appear to represent annual appreciation of 10.4% a year ($230,500 over its purchase price of $768,500 in January 2005). Of course that wouldn’t account for any of the time, energy, or expense invested by the sellers in a “sparing no expense” remodel of the condo (think Sub-Zero, Miele, built-ins, and marble).

A remodeling budget of $100,000 would cut that "appreciation" in half. An even larger budget and…well, you get the idea. And yes, we'll keep you posted.

∙ Listing: 2040 Franklin #1207 (1/2) - $999,000 [MLS]

First Published: August 28, 2007 9:59 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

"Top Quality Euro Style Remodel"

Read: Ikea

Posted by: anon at August 28, 2007 10:27 AM

I’d be surprised if they installed SubZeo/Miele along with Ikea cabinets. (Not that there’s anything wrong Ikea.) Possibly some of the storage but it’s difficult to tell from the photos.

Posted by: Anna at August 28, 2007 10:44 AM

at over $900/ sq ft. + 634.00 in HOW dues, this place looks like it has some more room to come down. This is not exactly the best part of Pac Heights. I like the location and the apt, but i don't think the prce is right just yet.

Posted by: Spencer at August 28, 2007 11:06 AM

Yes, looks very Ikea to me. Actually I like Ikea, especially for the kitchen (use their more expensive lines), and I have seen Ikea kitchen in remodels for 1M to 2M SFR's, so nothing wrong with that.

It only means the remodeling may not have cost that much.

Posted by: John at August 28, 2007 11:19 AM

I like plain white shiny Ikea kitchen cabinets. Not expensive but way more simple and chic than many far more expensive kitchen cabinets.

Posted by: not amused at August 28, 2007 11:27 AM

We tried to sell our condo at 1835 Franklin #1201 and after 2 price reductions we took it off the market. We didn't have any interest at any price.

Posted by: Iona Derman at August 28, 2007 12:14 PM

"We didn't have any interest at any price."

Surely there'd be plenty of interest at the RIGHT price.

Posted by: condoShopper at August 28, 2007 12:25 PM

Pacific Heights? Or Van Ness corridor?

Posted by: gh at August 28, 2007 12:36 PM

Not trying to hijack the thread, but 1835 Franklin can be tricky. Many of the units are beautifully done but all the rooms in half the units all look down on Franklin, which is pretty noisy. Great building, not so great location.

Posted by: Lori at August 28, 2007 12:51 PM

Agree about the noise. Franklin is one of those one-way streets with synchronized traffic lights, so the traffic up it is pretty incessant.

Posted by: Amen Corner at August 28, 2007 1:39 PM

Agreed that Franklin is tricky and the noise seems to be the biggest detractor. Most of the units are indeed beautifully done at 1835 with magnificant views from the upper floors. A slight correction though only the 01 units face Franklin, the 02 & 03 units (which are smaller) face the back of the building.

Posted by: Iona at August 28, 2007 1:48 PM

I have to wonder (out loud) to people who bought between 2004-2006: if it's common knowledge NOW that the market was inflated in those years and low interest rates made it easy to borrow $, why o' why do you still think that your $768,500 condo is now worth more than $1 mil? Do we need to sit these people down and have a come to Jesus moment? If you bought it for $768,500 - it's worth LESS than that now. Hate to be the one to tell you that, but sometimes tough love is the best love.

Posted by: rg at August 28, 2007 3:28 PM

I think that 'Come to Jesus' sit-down is happening with all the Pulte, Hovnanian, and Centex built homes in Sacramento right now. They'll be having the SF meeting for all the new condo owners here in October. This is going to get uglier before it gets better.

Posted by: gh at August 28, 2007 3:48 PM

Is the "one bed" actually a murphy bed (see picture 4 of 8 in the MLS listing)? If it is, isn't this considered a studio, not one bedroom?

Posted by: Can't think of cool name at August 28, 2007 4:50 PM

Can anyone gather whether this has in-unit laundry? It sounds like it might be shared?

Posted by: me at August 28, 2007 5:00 PM

"Can't think..." -- It definitely looks like a Murphy Bed! A $1M studio/2 BA. That's gotta be a first...or are we in Manhattan?

Posted by: BT at August 28, 2007 6:07 PM

The photos are not very good. This actually looks like it may be a decent place, but something is funny about it. OK size -- 1100 sf. But from the photos it looks like half that. Miniscule kitchen, couple of small rooms, and no bedroom. Hard to imagine anyone would look at this listing and think it was worth going to look at with a $1M price tag.

Posted by: Trip at August 28, 2007 6:12 PM

I use to rent in this building. No in-unit laundry. Each floor has a shared laundry room. It is not terrible, but far from ideal.

Posted by: db at August 29, 2007 6:29 AM

My wife pointed out this entry to me (she is much more forgiving of unvetted commentary than I), and I'm once again reminded of why I take with a grain of salt reader comments published on muckraker sites; a few pieces of verified information (in this case previous sale price, market conditions, physical location, MLS listing photos) are extrapolated into catalogs of uninformed speculation, masquerading as fact. This problem is endemic to all sites of this type; if site owners were obligated to verify the info they publish, it would become impractical to run the site (credit bureaus have the same problem); hence the “Wikipedia-ization” of “knowledge” in the blog-o-sphere and the web generally.¶

This thread is an excellent case in point. The postings here make clear that no-one has visited the unit, rendering any comments about the interior poorly informed at best, and vicious speculation at worst (i.e. "Top Quality Euro Style Remodel" Read: Ikea"). ¶

During our home search, we visited this place. The cabinetry is IP20 (a German line which uses the same Hafele hardware, laminates, and paintable finishes, as Poliform, Varenna, Bulthaup, Poggen-Pohl and Studio Becker, to name a few); the kitchen is Arclinea, populated with high-end, expensive kitchen appliances (the Sub-Zero alone runs $7K); and the place is filled with bucketloads of very sweet finishes (i.e.Vola and Duravit plumbing fixtures, bamboo flooring; built-in sound system, Bruck lighting system on Lutron digital switches, Hunter-Douglas window treatments, etc.) Anyone familiar with modern design will recognize many of these names. Oh yeah, it’s also not a studio; it’s a full sized 1-bd (formerly, apparently, a 2-bd, hence the 2nd bath); the Murphy bed’s for overnight guests. I offer this lengthy (though not exhaustive) list to make a point: there’s no substitute for hard data.¶

So folks, now there’s at least one more-informed comment in this thread to counterbalance the less-informed ones; unless of course I’m lying about having visited the place, in which case all we’re left with here is confusion and doubt.

Posted by: Lance at August 29, 2007 12:59 PM

Iona, my husband and I would be thrilled to buy your 1835 Franklin unit as I have seen many others in the building. But I have a suspicion that our budget is far below your asking price. If you're looking for a charity case, let me know. ;)

Posted by: Lori at August 29, 2007 12:59 PM

Lance, what were your deciding factors against the unit that you determined when you passed over the unit? You make valid points about its construction, but don't mention why it wasn't "the one" for you.

Posted by: Lori at August 29, 2007 1:04 PM


We have decided to wait a bit before we pull the trigger on any purchase in the City; we thought we were buyers, but we're no longer sure.

Posted by: Lance at August 29, 2007 1:11 PM


We pausing before buying; I may need our down-payment for a business opportunity.

Posted by: Lance at August 29, 2007 1:14 PM

Lance, thanks for the helpful info but spare us the condescension. None of the features you mention is apparent from the MLS listing or photos at all.

You visited it, saw that it was much nicer than one could ever imagine from the MLS listing, and did not buy. Nor has anyone else bought it even after a whopping price reduction. Sounds like the comments on this thread have it pretty much right.

Posted by: Trip at August 29, 2007 1:19 PM


I apologize for the condescension; it was intentional but inappropriate. Still, you kind of make the point for me. The photos undeniably do not do the place justice, and the features I saw couldn't be seen from these (or ANY) photos. Further, we don't know what the sale status of this place is post price reduction (although I grant the MLS listing doesn't indicate that it's in contract). In the meantime, if we took the comments on this thread at face value, we might well conclude that this is an IKEA-furnished, studio unit located in the Van Ness corridor. I'd say there's more wrong than right in this thread, and frankly, the "article" kinda smacks of muckraking demagoguery. The flaws in the marketing of this place notwithstanding, threads (and I dare say sites) like this only confuse, not clarify.

Posted by: Lance at August 29, 2007 1:40 PM

We would love to sell you our condo, but at this point I don't think we could break even. Here's what the place looks like:

Posted by: Iona at August 29, 2007 1:59 PM

This is the perfect one of many examples of homes that are for sale, but not on the MLS.

Iona, that's a great place and you've done it up beautifully. If you disclose your last asking price, people here might be able to give you some (hopefully constructive) tips on what to do.

And Lance, the posts to which you refer are part of the blog game. When a property doesn't sell, or fetches a low price, the "real estate always goes up" crowd jumps on it and explains that, prices haven't fallen, the kitchen must be ikea, location is bad, etc. Anything to deny that prices have fallen.

Part of the blogosphere - don't let it get to you.

Posted by: tipster at August 29, 2007 3:09 PM

We listed our condo originally @ 1,349,000 we then lowered it to 1,299,000 and then for a very brief time we lowered it to 1,249,000. It's a beautiful 1550 sq ft condo w/killer views but @ 1.249 we felt like we were giving it away. If anyone has any ideas re: price or anything else relevant please advise.

Posted by: Iona at August 29, 2007 4:18 PM

I happen to like this unit, as well as Iona's. My fiance and I in the early stages of hunting. Unfortunately, we max out around $800k - $850k.

Posted by: r at August 29, 2007 4:26 PM

Who wouldn't pay a million bucks for Poggen-Pohl and Arclidea, and Duravit plumbing fixtures? No price and no interest rate is too high to live in such sumptuous luxury!

The price should be at least $3,000,000! No, wait--make that $4,000,000! (After all, real estate only goes up!)

Posted by: Irrational Exuberance at August 29, 2007 5:00 PM

$800 psf with those views in that neighborhood would be reasonable (except for the item discussed below), but that depends on the HOA fees.

You have plenty of square footage, but that kitchen is downright claustrophobic. No one is going to pay over a million in that neighborhood for that kitchen. Why wasn't it expanded into the dining room? It certainly looks like you had the space. Would structural issues or a HOA hold you back?

I think that kitchen is your problem. It's pretty but too small for that price point. But before you spend any more money on it, I'd wait to see what prices do in light of the new mortgage qualification standards. If you have to do a bunch of work and all you can get is 1.0M after you spend 150K, if you can hold it for 10 years, I wouldn't invest a bunch of money into anything right now.

You must have listed it very recently. I would think that more than a year ago, someone would have grabbed it for the space and the views and did the remodel themselves. As of last year, buyer's appetites for remodels that would not involve an expansion (like into a garage) died down.

If you think you want to sell in the next 5-10 years, you'll never get a better price than now. If you need to sell, I'd start at 1.0M and plan to drop it or expand the kitchen if you can if it doesn't sell.

Posted by: tipster at August 29, 2007 8:59 PM

Iona, thanks so much for sharing the pictures of your beautiful condo. I believe I saw it when the previous owner had it up for sale, because I remember the dark stained wood floors.

I have to agree that the photos make the kitchen look very narrow. I'm not sure there's much you can do about that except open the kitchen up to the living room (if allowed by your HOA), which I did in my previous condo in a different building. It made a huge difference in the feel of the unit.

Did you stage the unit when it was for sale? My other comment is that there are a lot of pieces of furniture in this unit, and althought they are gorgeous, they are very large. There are a lot of pictures on the wall. Sometimes people get distracted looking at all your personal items and lose sight of the unit itself.

One last comment, which others may disagree with, is that the interior design doesn't match with the exterior design nor the date of the building, which I believe was the mid 60s. If I were to go into another unit in this building, I wouldn't expect traditional design such as the style of cabinets, furniture, crown moldings, etc. You may have had people walking through who expected a more modern design and were surprised when they were met with a more traditional style.

At any rate, I hope that whatever you decide to do that it turns out well for you. I only wish I had the budget to take it off your hands.

Posted by: Lori at August 30, 2007 12:32 PM

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