689 Brunswick
Purchased three years ago for $658,000 (with a variable rate first mortgage of $526,400 and a fixed rate second mortgage of $131,600), 689 Brunswick has been on the market for 71 days and is currently listed for $699,000 (having been reduced from $714,417 two weeks ago and $704,407 the week after that). A sale at asking would represent annual appreciation of 2.0% over the past three years.
According to the listing the house is being used as an “unofficial” boarding house “but the owner, who lives there, will turn it over vacant” (perhaps another chance to get in good with the neighbors). And yes, “may require lender’s approval of a short payoff.”
And as an aside, we can’t help but imagine how the addition of just a tiny bit of grass might enhance the curb appeal of the home (and would welcome any others’ Photoshopping handiwork with open arms):


689 Brunswick with 'grass'
UPDATE: Okay, so we have to admit we were thinking more along the lines of photochopping the landscaping or façade to improve the curb appeal (and greenness of the home), but then again it is Friday:
“In preservationist-happy SF, houses with history hold extra appeal. A historic photo and a bit of history (possibly the one-time love nest for Mayor Schmitz) add a bit of dash to this otherwise Caspar Milquestoastesque dwelling.”
689 Brunswick circa 1906
∙ Listing: 689 Brunswick (3/1) – $699,996 [MLS] [Map]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by MysteryRealtor

    Hmmm. Informal boarding house? Sounds like someone ought to let code enforcement know about that.

  2. Posted by Trip

    My favorite line in the listing — “Let your imagination lose.”

  3. Posted by Satchel

    While it was certainly foolish to buy this property in 2004, the buyer is no fool.
    He did things right. He bought with 100% other people’s money, as long as you believe the info given in the writeup.
    Also, check the tax records (available on-line). It’s tax defaulted – not a penny paid last year or this year (I can’t see earlier years online). Now, when he throws the keys on the roof – which is basically a certainty at this point – the only people who will be out are those neighbors that put their own money down.
    BTW, I am seeing more and more tax defaults in SF proper, and at all price levels. Take a look at 414 Foerster – already foreclosed and for sale at $716K (last sale $770K). Or, at the upper levels, take a look at 135 Fernwood. Sold for $3MM in 2005, and that’s tax defaulted as well – never a penny paid according to the public records.

  4. Posted by TJ

    100% financing in San Francisco and it’s not in Bayview? Must be the only one.

  5. Posted by sanfrantim

    Anybody else notice the palindromic listing price – 699,996? That’s sure to bring good luck. Maybe there also is a statute of a saint buried under all that concrete.

  6. Posted by eddy

    What is that 3rd picture of? Why are the houses leaning?

  7. Posted by Dan

    “Informal boarding house? Sounds like someone ought to let code enforcement know about that.”
    Sounds like someone did. This building permit was issued:
    1/9/2006 #200601091735 Comply w/nov 200564866 remove walls built w/o permit @ g/f behind garage.
    Issued
    Apparently the work was never done, since the in law is still being advertised.

  8. Posted by Jimmy (Bitter Renter)

    What with the excellent location and convenient in-law addition, I’d say this property will close escrow in 30 days or less for $50k above asking (with multiple offers, of course).
    Its only a matter of time before buyers realize the screaming bargain that’s being advertised here.

  9. Posted by jim

    Nice photoshop. I would say “lipstick on a pig” but it actually DOES improve curb appeal. Bravo!

  10. Posted by Wayne

    Satchel..135 Fernwood paid their property taxes.

  11. Posted by Satchel

    Wayne,
    Thanks for that – I should have checked just before I posted. They just paid their property tax on 12/26/2007 – two days ago! It also looks like they caught up with their taxes from the prior year. I can assure you, that when I checked last (I think 12/24/07), the status was “Tax Defaulted” on the bill.
    It looks like they just got a rental tenant in there (perhaps a corporate relocation). Do you have any info on this? If this is true, I would love to know what the rental value is.
    The property was advertised (while in its tax defaulted status) on craigslist for a few days in early December. Asking rent was about $13K per month. Any info that you have would be greatly appreciated!
    Once again, thank you for correcting me on this. Let me say, that as of two days ago, the public records indicated it was tax defaulted and that no property tax had been paid in 2006.

  12. Posted by Satchel

    Wayne,
    I checked again on 135 Fernwood. If you click on “click here to view previous year’s tax payments”, you’ll see that the site is still showing that last year’s tax payments of $35,786.31 have NOT been paid, although perhaps the system has not been updated fully? The bill no longer states that the property is “Tax Defaulted”.
    It’s only interesting to me because this was a very high end flip that flopped, and it might be interesting for Socketsite readers because it was featured here (for sale @ $4.3MM).

  13. Posted by frank C

    I think these classic SF stucco homes are really nice places to live, with good layouts, a chance to dig out the lower level and add living space, and no victorian megadollar paint jobs necessary every 10 years
    And yes, they are homely, which should make them bargains. One day. Again.

  14. Posted by secki007

    **WHY HAS NO ONE COMMENTED ON THE REAL ESTATE AGENT’S CAR IN THE FIRST PHOTO ON THE MLS??!!** Oh the laughing, it burns. it burns so bad.

  15. Posted by RT

    Looks pretty interesting at $609/sqft. What area of the city is this? Is this a decent location? Thnx!

  16. Posted by Dan

    It is Crocker Amazon / Outer Mission, right on the Daly City border.

  17. Posted by EH

    I hereby nominate the neighborhood nickname to be “Concrete Amazon.”

  18. Posted by EH

    secki: Admit it, you’re just jealous of their company car perk.

  19. Posted by DavidQ

    Eddy,
    Given the condition of the picture, the fact that Schmitz was mayor of SF in 1906, and the conspicuous lack of “Obama 2008″ signs on the Victorian-era houses, I’m going to go with “major recent earthquake” as the reason for the house lean.

  20. Posted by FSBO

    Satchel: Regarding 135 Fernwood, I suspect that you are right that the owner stepped up and paid last year’s taxes together with the Dec 07 installment – for a total of about $53K. I guess if he/she rented it at $13K/month and got a security deposit that would have helped their immediate cash flow. Looks like a nice place – but $13K is a lot to pay in rent (although it’s probably less than 1/2 the total ownership cost). It does look like a flopped flip: purchased in Dec 05 for $3.0M (after paying well above the asking price of $2.785M with only 12 DOM) and then “completely restored in 2007″ (although it doesn’t look like they needed to do much).

  21. Posted by Satchel

    FSBO,
    It is a **very** nice place. It is definitely a flip that flopped. Although not much needed to be done to the place after it was bought for $3.0MM, that did not stop them. I am local to the neighborhood and saw it every day. They had a crew there more or less full time for 6+ months. They finished about 1,000 square feet of space in the lower level to a very high standard, and added 177 square feet as well. The plans are floating around – google 135 fernwood and you will get to the listing website that has a list of all the work that was done. Lots of landscaping, and general repainting and updating throughout the 6,000 square feet of living space. Who knows what it cost, but I’d guess $500K or so judging by all that was done (check the plans and see what you think). The quality of the workmanship is high, unlike (for example) 190 San Pablo, a nearby house featured on Socketsite a month or so ago that is also a flip.
    It sat empty from 12/2005 until just a few days ago. They tried to sell it in the summer of 07 for $4.3MM. I heard from a broker that it garnered a “contingent” offer at $3.7MM, which fell through when the buyer couldn’t sell his house. It was relisted at $3.9MM and taken down within a month or so (although the listing was curiously still up in the broker’s window a few weeks ago).
    Carrying costs on this place have got to run $250K+ per year. From my point of view, just another example of how this bubble caused even people with significant means to misallocate and waste their capital. Right now, in the neighborhood, there are about 4 or 5 other flips bought at or near $2MM that are in various stages of completion. All are chasing the somewhat elusive “Asian family” buyer. We’ll see how this works out…..

  22. Posted by Mole Man

    AltaVista works too. Here is the official listing site (wait for the Flash to download everything up front), and here is the socketsite posting (proper HTML, no waiting).

  23. Posted by socketsitereader

    I predict that 689 Brunswick Street will sit on the market for a while longer. There are current four homes listed on Brunswick Street. Three of the four homes have been on the market for three months or longer: 787, 672 and 689 Brunswick St.
    787 Brunswick with 1434 sq feet, previously sold in April 2005 for $628,000, is currently listed for $698,888. It has a great back yard.
    689 Brunswick: Once all the final costs are reflected (5% commission and other closing costs), I believe that the return on investment would be closer to 0%, if not negative.

  24. Posted by Satchel

    Interesting info about 787 Brunswick. I’ll be surprised if the “owner” of that one doesn’t ultimately throw the keys on the roof and walk away.
    According to the public records, 787 Brunswick is tax defaulted as well:
    https://services.sfgov.org/ptx/PropertyBill_Print.asp?ID=DJQXRUWWXZZTWPRWPSEXGJMUCRLKLXQAIIDXPRAQDDAXTFPYZS
    Again, it looks like not a penny paid since it last sold (just going by the public records – I don’t have any personal knowledge of the situation):
    https://services.sfgov.org/ptx/PaymentHistory.asp?Block=6491&UserID=DJQXRUWWXZZTWPRWPSEXGJMUCRLKLXQAIIDXPRAQDDAXTFPYZS&Lot=10&BlockSuf=&LotSuf=&TaxYear=2007
    So far, the credit “crisis” has largely been contained to subprime. As the pay-option “prime” and Alt-A ferment over the next year or so, I guess we will find out just how wealthy and “special” SF really is.

  25. Posted by plantguy

    Can you Photoshop the fridge, the oil stained driveway, the crackhouse venetian blinds and the ‘icicle’ Christmas lights?
    It would be a start anyhow

  26. Posted by Tracey

    We bought a similar homely home (I think ours was much more hideous) but I think Mark Pellegrino did a really nice job with the makeover, especially considering what he had to work with:
    http://www.hgtv.com/hgtv/rm_home_ext_entryways/article/0,1797,HGTV_3732_2932991,00.html
    It’s a little bright for my personal taste, but it’s worlds better than it was, and it’s home!

  27. Posted by socketsitereader

    Tracey: Great job. What a great difference between the before and after photos. With limited water I am considering going low maintenance on my front lawn. I’ve got some good ideas for my house based on your photos. Thanks.

  28. Posted by Dan

    Tracey:
    How did you get hooked up with HGTV?

  29. Posted by may

    Can someone tell me what “Asian family” buyer means? I’m Asian, and I have a family. Just trying to figure out why people are chasing me…

  30. Posted by james

    doesn’t this agent specialize in reo’s and pending foreclosures?
    i think he overdid his car a bit to make sure he could deduct it.

  31. Posted by james

    i’m still bullish on any of the nicer or new hoods in the city but these fringe areas have to come down to pre bubble prices:
    Mortgage Details
    Lender # 1 Wmc Mortgage Corp
    Loan amount # 1 $526,400
    Rate type # 1 Variable
    Lender # 2 Wmc Mortgage Corp
    Loan amount # 2 $131,600
    Rate type # 2 Fixed
    someone offer to pay just the 1st on this and see what the bank says?
    they aren’t going to get much more in the next 2 years, imho

  32. Posted by mike

    Several of you appear to be good with finding information. Satchel was able to find out out the property tax status for 787 Brunswick immediately. James, you were able to determine the outstanding 1st and 2nd loan balances for 689 Brunswick. Where do you go on the internet to get this information? Thanks.

  33. Posted by james

    here’s where you can play internet detective on anyone’s property tax in sf:
    https://services.sfgov.org/ptx/intro.asp
    all you need to know is the property address
    here’s where you find things like outstanding loans or even what kind of permits they filed for remodels:
    http://www.propertyshark.com/mason/Accounts/Motd/
    you have to sign up for an account but it’s free
    they have great free foreclosure info on that site too

  34. Posted by mike

    James– with much thanks!

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