1824 Magellan Drive, Montclair
It’s across the bay. And we can’t vouch for it. But a plugged-in tipster recommended it, and there’s a chance you might like, so we’re rolling the dice. In our reader’s words:

My friend has a house up for sale in Montclair that is open this Sunday. I’ve worked with the same Architect before that remodeled the space for our house which won some awards. This house in Montclair is very well done and worth a look.

Visually the rest of the house is similar to the main living space. Each room has been updated with new electrical, hardware, [hardwood] floors refinished, new exterior paint, new fixtures throughout…and new interior paint in the style of the main remodel.

The 2 bathrooms are currently still period retro from the 30’s/40’s and are clean and painted, but not remodeled. The owner has designs for the master bath to be remodeled that are included in the sale.

If you happen to take a look, let us know if we should continue to trust this tipster (we do keep track). And yes, while it’s entirely possible that our tipster and his “friend” (or architect) are one and the same, as long as our reader’s benefit we really don’t care.
∙ Listing: 1824 Magellan Drive, Montclair (2/2) – $818,000 [Berkeley Hills Realty]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by fred

    How about a picture of the outside of the house?
    [Editor's Note: There should be one attached to the listing.]

  2. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Picture perfect staging always makes me think: are they selling the house or the furniture?

  3. Posted by anonandon

    There have been a couple of discussions on this site recently that have caused me to seriously consider moving to this part of the East Bay. As a condo dweller, the idea of getting a home in the hills for what my unit would probably sell for is seductive. I also think that this part of the East Bay has some of the last Bay Area shopping districts that are not loaded with chain stores, and instead include some of the most interesting restaurants and bookstores in the area. (As well as bakeries, cheese, wine, etc.)

  4. Posted by Ryan

    I dont see a picture of the outside on the listing’s page either… that would be nice.

  5. Posted by fred

    To see the outside picture, click on the link “view all photos (6).” It is kind of funny how the outside of the house is de-emphasized in the marketing. I suppose that means it is not so great.

  6. Posted by dub dub

    Well, location-wise I think it’s pretty good. An excellent public elementary school within walking distance, and the village itself is only a slight walk down the hill — not too crazy.
    Haven’t seen the house itself of course — if I do, I’ll let you know!

  7. Posted by Ryan

    oh yeah. the front of the house has a little charm for sure. 818k seems awfully low for Montclair, maybe I need to brush up on my East Bay Comps…?

  8. Posted by pvc

    At least from the listing, this house looks great for the money. Compared to SF or any nice neighborhood in LA this is a steal.

  9. Posted by Willow

    Knowing Montclair fairly well, the pricing on this home seems reasonable if not on the high side given it’s not a complete remodel and only has two bedrooms. (Remember people this is not SF!)
    Anonandon: It’s too late…the chain stores have already come to Montclair Village.
    Bellanico, one of the best new Italian restaurants in the Bay Area, just opened in the Glenview district which is a short 5 minute drive down the street. Think Delfina minus the Delfina price…

  10. Posted by John Madden

    The Googlemaps streetview makes it look pretty nice…..except for the [Removed by Editor] broad opening the trunk of her Prius.

  11. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Not related in any way to the previous post: cycling is good for your figure and has unbeatable MPG numbers.

  12. Posted by Mole Man

    This is probably close enough to Montclair Village that one could walk there, but on the down side that might mean being close enough to Snake road to hear all the zooming traffic coming up and down the hill. Nice looking kitchen.

  13. Posted by John Madden

    I apologize for my previous post…..it doesn’t look like a Prius after all.

  14. Posted by San FronziScheme

    No need to apologize. You are 100% right. It is definitely and positively a Prius.

  15. Posted by dg

    Much much better deals to be had in Montclair than this. This is overpriced. 2 bedrooms, small lot, and over 800k? Look around in this area at this price point and there is much to be had.

  16. Posted by deshard

    Wonder what the bedrooms and bathrooms look like. If they’re as handsome and thoughtful as the kitchen and living areas are then it’s a jewel. Anyone seen?

  17. Posted by relocated

    I relocated from LA recently and ended up purchasing in Oakland (3/2 near Piedmont border with good elementary school in walking distance) after spending several months looking at condos in SF (couldn’t afford SFH anywhere). I feel that Oakland is shockingly underrated, and if you’re in close proximity to BART, AC transit or casual carpool, FiDi/ SF is extraordinarily accessible (and stress-free).
    Great little neighborhoods all around Oakland protect unique identities just like small neighborhoods in SF (Grand Ave, Lakeshore, Piedmont Ave, Lake Merritt, Montclair and Rockridge).
    Montclair is a bit more remote if you work in the city, and the housing values have dropped a little more there.
    Overall, I think that quality of life seems higher to me than where I would’ve ended up in SF and shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand by people looking for housing in the Bay Area… (of course, I’m married with a child, so that changes my perspective).
    Sorry for the poorly written post, brain tired…

  18. Posted by invented

    Montclair AND Oakland homes in same week? and Oakland downtown recently? Socket – thanks for admitting that SF – despite its amazing marketing machine — is more than The Hayes and 1 Rincon — and 4 seeing the Bay Area as an integral connected region. Oakland — if anyone goes there –is happening and gorgeous, undiscovered – it’s Portland just 10mi away. Leafy, diverse, broad streets livable, stunning period architecture. There’s fascinating development happening all about — great to see you embrace the broader region. The environs drives our city; SF would become an utter romantic relic (more than it already is) without the convergence of talent, patronage, and business from all surrounding counties. More please!

  19. Posted by searching

    Hard to call these areas of Oakland “undiscovered,” as many of my colleagues looked actively in areas like Piedmont and Rockridge before deciding that prices were still far too high for even two-professional families.
    Open houses for nicer homes seem to be well attended, and what is selling seems to be selling quickly. But particularly in Rockridge I’ve seen several properties go rental recently after languishing (despite price reductions) for months, and inventory seems very low right now.

  20. Posted by EBGuy

    Look around in this area at this price point and there is much to be had.
    Check out the foreclosures on Trulia — a nice smattering of the green pushpins. I’d say this area is “up and coming”. Rockridge, you’re next..
    FWIW, Piedmont is in a class of its own (schools) and part of Fortress East Bay (BAP – Berkeley, Albany, Piedmont), which seems to be holding on — for now. Met someone at the playground who was bemoaning that fact that a 4/2 couldn’t be had for less than $850k in the PRoB. They were in the process of closing on a house but were running into some… uhhhhh… loan issues.

  21. Posted by paco

    somewhat OT,
    looks like the type of modern kitchen no arc may have been talking about (for 719 ashbury). looks nicely executed as well.

  22. Posted by solid

    Piedmont – small, expensive, old homes ina fantastic neighborhood. you are paying for the school district — i have met numerous teachers who work at their high school, and it seems to be a special place.
    Rockridge – reminds me of Hoboken. Younger crowd who BARTs to work. Trader Joe’s and Safeway, good restaurants and shopping. Great value when compared to most of SF
    Montclair – you can get huge homes here for the same price as this 2/2….4/3s and 5/3s for the same price….some with awesome views. But not walkable BART and tough to get into the city if you want…
    Oakland/Berkeley Hills – also can get amazing homes, HUGE, for the same price as a 1BR in the Infinity with bridge to bridge views
    I highly recommend he East Bay, especially if you work in Oakland….Any thoughts..

  23. Posted by liberty

    whatever… Still x the bridge B&T.

  24. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    If you live in most of Berkeley or in Rockridge you can walk places and maybe even take BART into SF to work. In Montclair, you are going to be living the suburban lifestyle: driving everywhere with a long commute in traffic to work. You might as well be in Walnut Creek, except the schools are better in WC. Not for me, no thanks.
    There are some interesting neighborhoods in Oakland, like the area east of Lake Merritt especially on Grand, Jack London Square, Downtown (not for the faint of heart), perhaps even Fruitvale or Chinatown but this is not one of them. For me at least.

  25. Posted by G-man

    It’s happening! Urban flight. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been surpised by how many times the conversation of moving to the ‘burbs has come up recently. It goes like this: “why would I get a crappy 2br condo in SF for $1mm when I can have a 3BR home in Marin and a yard?.” And now–twice on Socketsite in one week. The value/$ disparity between SF and the ‘burbs has grown considerably. What this does to SF real estate prices will be…interesting. I have my popcorn.

  26. Posted by mygosh

    G-Man –
    I guess you just don’t like paying $700-$900/month in HOA fees.

  27. Posted by oaklander

    I moved to Oakland eight years ago from SF (after 10 years in Noe Valley) to buy a place and can vouch that my quality of life is many times higher now. But ultimately it’s a matter of aesthetics. If SF resonates enough with you, then pay the premium to be there, but when many of us measure our day-to-day quality of life (commute, convenience, housing, weather), there’s no reason to pay the premium.

  28. Posted by sf

    Once you cross those bridges and tunnels everything starts to look disappointingly the same.

  29. Posted by SF2OAK

    As you probably guessed I made the switch from SF 2 OAK about a yr. ago. the weather is better, generally people are friendlier (and I fortunately have not been a victim, yet.) However OAK has some HUGE problems, a truly dysfunctional government AND not the dynamic$ of SF to cover over it, the movers & shakers still reside in SF. a lot of the populace is also dysfunctional- not the demographic that reads SockeSite but there’s a vast class of uneducated, uninspired and simply criminals or parolees- look at the “wild” crime sprees of the restaurant robberies and in the yr. that I’ve lived here this has not been the 1st of this type. Most of this board will be residing in Piedmont, Montclair, Crocker, rockridge maybe JLS but there are vast tracts in the flatlands that sop up tax $ and cost big bucks. The high school graduation rate in OAK is a shocking 45.6% compared to SF’s 73%. If you are looking at schools there are very few public schools I’d consider in OAK. Taxes are high here RE tax is the highest of any county in BA (and somehow the local government cannot seem to spend your money w/ any fiduciary accountability. These chickens will come home to roost.

  30. Posted by oaklander

    sf,
    Really? Marin, Berkeley, Oakland, Kensington, Lamorinda all look disappointingly the same? There’s a lot of unwarranted chauvinism in SF, imho. And I say that as someone who lived in SF for 13 years.

  31. Posted by Foolio

    As someone who’s softened on the SF market and is looking across the Bay now…could everyone PLEASE SHUT UP????
    Before you know it, I’ll be competing again with Googlenaires and DNAers for $2M shacks and people will be talking about the “Real O-Town.” ;-)

  32. Posted by Boo

    The argument of Oak/Berk vs. SF is sort of silly. They provide a set of different amenities. You don’t buy in Oak/Berk as a substitute for SF. If you do you’ll be dissappointed. There is no substitute for SF. That’s why it’s so damn expensive. You live Oak/Berk because you have a differnt set of needs or different level of income than those that live in SF.
    I lived in Montclair for a little over a year and spent all my time in SF so I moved to SF. But I’m glad to have friends living in the Rockridge area. I really like it there. I love to stop by and grab food on College and some spots on Telegraph and stroll the nice neighborhood streets. But I’m not moving there…yet. Wife and kids might change that.
    And Marin, Berkely, Oakland, Kensington etc are not all the same as sf says. The Bay Area is extremely fortunate to have areas like these as options. I grew up on Orange County. That place sucks. Worse now that when I grew up there. Talk about boring and bland. Geeze. Well… the beaches are nice.

  33. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I can buy a big 3BR home with a yard in Marin for the price of a small condo in SF? What part of Marin? Mill Valley? Sausalito?
    Somehow from reading DQ, I had thought that prices in Marin had not dropped, but I must be mistaken as I have not been following the market there at all.

  34. Posted by dg

    NVJim, probably only in San Rafael at this point as Mill Valley and the mid to southern Marin areas havent really shown the drops yet at San Rafael and Novato (not even really Marin-like to most).

  35. Posted by sf

    Your boasts about traffic in Oakland being great have me in stitches. Are you insane? E.Bay has prevented any kind of public transit development or freeway widening, and the traffic is the worst I’ve ever seen in this country, comparable to L.A. The quality of life scale you use must not take into effect toxic diesel fumes from the 880 and shipping yards, which are being linked to high cancer rates in West Oakland. Oakland is not a great city. SF is. That’s how I choose where I live. Some people are different. This is an SF oriented site after all.

  36. Posted by dgM

    Uhhh.. Montclair is nowhere near 880 or west oakland. in the areas primarily being discussed (piedmont, montclair, rockridge, etc) you dont have to get on 880. 24 to 80 to the city.
    880 is ridiculous, i agree.

  37. Posted by michiko

    dg,
    I won’t talk down my own neighborhood but Sausalito and even MV bear watching. Marin schools are #1 in the country.

  38. Posted by dg

    michiko- I am with ya. I know people waiting for MV to show more weakness to buy something up there…. it is coming. The concentric circles effect holds true in many/most locales.

  39. Posted by sf

    Don’t kid yourself- Montclair, Piedmont, Berkeley Hills etc. can be confused with any upper middle class suburban development in this country right now.

  40. Posted by RenterAgain

    “It’s happening! Urban flight. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve been surpised by how many times the conversation of moving to the ‘burbs has come up recently.”
    Um… that’s been happening for a LONG time, now. Lots of folks move out of SF when their kids get to be school age. Or earlier, when they want a yard or a place to park their station wagon.
    I’m with Boo. There are a lot of great neighborhoods with character in the East Bay. I’ve lived in various neighborhoods, both as a renter and an owner, and was able to get to much of what I needed by foot or by bike. I still work in the East Bay and would prefer to live there, but my DH works in SF and very much missed living here. To sf: Can you find great craftsman homes, victorians (yes, they do exist outside of SF), and Julia Morgan designed homes and churches in “any upper middle class suburban development in the country”? Really?

  41. Posted by LIberty

    Those who move out of SF more often than not is because they can’t afford what they want in SF.
    So let’s face it, in most cases, it is the OBVIOUS economic constraints that force people to move. So one can talk up Oaktown or any other area all you want, but the fact people have to compare them to SF means they really want to live there instead.

  42. Posted by sf

    I actually find LA/ Beverly Hills has way more character in its architecture than anything you can find over in those smoggy hills across the bridge.

  43. Posted by dg

    “Don’t kid yourself- Montclair, Piedmont, Berkeley Hills etc. can be confused with any upper middle class suburban development in this country right now.”
    sf, this statement could not be further from the truth. so based on this and your other post, is it safe to say you have not spent much, if any, time outside of the Bay Area and LA/Beverly Hills?
    Pretty funny you use the word “smoggy” and even talk about LA in the same sentence! LOL

  44. Posted by RenterAgain

    Liberty,
    I have many friends and aquaintances in the East Bay who would not want to live in the City. Why? Weather’s worse, lots of grit, too much noise, population density too high, difficult to drive, etc.
    Montclair is woodsy, quiet, and definitely not smoggy, sf. You can also easily commute to downtown SF with a direct bus to BART or by casual carpool. It’s not my cup of tea because it’s not a good walking neighborhood (no sidewalks) and I don’t like the narrow winding streets (easy to imagine getting stuck in a fire or earthquake). Plus many of the houses in Montclair are ugly. But Montclair is a good option for people who work in the City but aren’t really “city” people.

  45. Posted by dub dub

    @RenterAgain — finally, an honest (and correct) assessment of montclair by someone who has probably actually been there!
    To some others: thanks for the hilarious (if clumsy) trollfest :)

  46. Posted by pvc

    Architectural character in Beverly Hills? You’re smoking crack. I live in LA and there is definitely some interesting architecture here, but precious little of it is to be found in BH. BH started the Mansionisation trend of giant lot-line to lot-line boxes with tacky pillars and other ridiculous design elements – often (derisively) referred to as Persian Palaces. Take a stroll down any street in the flats – the one unifying theme is total architectural incongruity. Beverly Hills is tacky and ostentatious, even in comparison to other affluent neighborhoods in LA – Brentwood, Santa Monica, Bel Air, Pacific Palisades. The East Bay blows it away in terms of architectural and cultural character.

  47. Posted by anonarch

    The East Bay has some of the best regional architecture in the Bay Area, especially near Rockridge and Berkeley. If you are into the Arts and Crafts period, check out the Berkeley Heritage website
    http://www.berkeleyheritage.com/
    Julia Morgan, Bernard Maybeck, Coxhead, Ratcliff, and then the later period of NorCal modernists. While San Francisco was building tacky Victorians with prebuilt decorative details out of catalogues, the East Bay was exploring individualistic designs that embraced the regional climate and landscape and was at the forefront of the Arts and Crafts movements, as well as embracing Asian influences in the 40’s-50’s & 60’s in a new “Pacific Style” of residential design. Whenever I am showing visiting designers around the Bay Area, I spend more time driving them over to the East Bay, than I do making excuses for the bad designs going up in SOMA, downtown and other parts of “the city”. San Francisco is beautiful because of its natural setting, not because of any great collection of architecture. You have to go to Chicago for that kind of urban experience.

  48. Posted by sf

    I’m sorry, but you can point and reference whatever you’d like, but in reality, I have driven through the eBay hills, and the houses are ticky tacky stucco FUGLY!!!

  49. Posted by sf

    Yes, the grand mansions of Pacific Heights and victorians of Alamo Square count for nothing. Your stucco 6,000 sq. ft. ranch home is just so overwhelming, it brings tears to my eyes. It deserves the 510 area code! Go Raiders!!!

  50. Posted by sf

    In reference to: “I spend more time driving them over to the East Bay, than I do making excuses for the bad designs going up in SOMA.” So can you please point out a 60 story tower in eBay that is the world’s tallest and most prominent structure cross braced by an exoskeleton with a 4 story liquid mass tuned damper on top in earthquake country? Or are you still mesmerized with wood framing?

  51. Posted by SF

    6 car garages!! A design element only found elsewhere in L.A.! Go eBay!

  52. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    You are all right, actually, and watching you argue over what East Bay is really like it is like watching the six blind men arguing over whether an elephant is more like a snake or like a tree.
    The only one that is wrong is the guy claiming that you can do a rush hour commute from the hills to the Financial District in 20 minutes. Maps.google.com says “up to 1 hour in traffic” and that is actually on an average day, not a rainy day or a day with a bad accident.
    I was in Tilden Park last weekend escaping the fog, and as we left I started timing my drive home. It took 37 minutes to just get to the Fremont exit. My wife would not indulge my desire to drive to my place of employment, park the car and walk to my office. Probably just as well.
    This was a Saturday afternoon, mind you, with no Bridge traffic and a Fast-Trak to zoom past the toll booth.
    But try it for yourself, if you don’t believe me. There is a reason all those casual carpool spots exist and it not just because of the goodness of humanity.

  53. Posted by sf

    Just beware the toothless hillbillies and soul less soccer moms driving suburbans, they really gather over there in eBay like flies on poop.

  54. Posted by OverSF

    This is really so strange. Residents of the SECOND largest city of the Bay Area putting down other locations in this region because they are not within the borders that perscribe urban sophistication. San Francisco is the Tourist Zone of the Bay Area, that’s all. It is not the economic center, nor does it contain the cultural scene it did 50 years ago (for what was left went to Los Angeles long ago). You can put down someone living in the Berkeley Hills, but why? You don’t hear people in London putting down someone for living in Swiss Cottage, and you don’t hear L.A. people slamming someone for living in Santa Monica, but there is nothing as provincial and small minded as a San Franciscan.

  55. Posted by dub dub

    First, I’ll feed the trolls, but comments on *the house* below! :)
    \_ @jim a./NVJ — a friend’s commute takes 35 min from the mission to somewhere in north beach (her number, it’s probably higher). When buses foul it can take 50 min home (her numbers).
    Some folks *in Noe* tolerate worse commutes down the peninsula than anything you’ll endure from *this house* to SF.
    And god help you if you live in the outer sunset or richmond. Most commutes suck, even within SF, and you are not exactly adding to the discussion with ridiculous east bay timing runs to dispute a 20-min hills->fidi claim which I do not actually see on this thread!
    For those who want to know: You can *generally* casual carpool into the city from park blvd in just under 30 minutes (longer with *bad* traffic issues) — my now-wife used to do it years ago. Living In Noe At The Time (all smug and whatnot), I was incredulous (I’m sure I “timed things” too), but it works, and you come back on an air-conditioned express bus. Not my cup of tea, but neither is waiting for/riding muni/bart/caltrain, or riding a corporate cattle car. And for all I know, there are better commute alternatives for *this house*.
    =============
    Back OT everyone: I drove by the house yesterday, and it’s definitely walkable to the village (I’m someone who drove to Bell market while living in Noe, so if I’d walk it, you would too).
    You’ll be able to walk your kid(s) to montclair elem. school, which is an outstanding public school (and you will not have to win SF’s russian roulette to get into).
    The house is on the upside of the hill, and a bit more cut-in/steep than I like. The street is more charming than implied by google. If your head won’t explode considering this area, it’s worth your time, if only to educate you on what’s available.
    I didn’t even know about montclair when I lived in SF, and I’m happy SS features these alternatives occasionally. Some have flexible lives, or don’t even work in the city, and these places can be fantastic choices!
    If I were an SF wage slave (no flexibility, could not telecommute), I would almost certainly live in SF over the east bay, but hey, maybe they’d let me live under my desk! (I could also change jobs).

  56. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    LA people slam “The Valley” all the time. Have you ever spent any time with a real Los Angeleno? And don’t even get them started on Orange County.
    If you want real provincialism though, you have to talk to a New Yorker. They are all convinced that the world revolves around Manhattan.
    But I don’t really see the point of making fun of the good citizens of Berkeley and Oakland for being unsophisticated. They are at least as broad minded as we are.
    Civic pride is fine, but too often it devolves into some kind of put down contest.

  57. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    dub dub, you apparently missed the discussion on the 140 St. Germain house, where one gentleman who lives in the Berkeley hills claimed that his house was a 20 minute to the Financial District.
    And far from being off topic, commute times from a particular house being discussed to job centers could hardly be any more on topic. To my point of view, at least.
    So your fiance could walk from her house to a casual car-pool pick up spot, wait in line for the pick-up, ride across the Bay, then walk to her office in 30 minutes? Not bad, if true. I have never tried it, so I don’t really know either way. I’ll take your second-hand word for it.
    Outer Richmond to downtown is about 35 minutes on the 38L. There is some variability in the commute, but no more than there is in crossing the bridge. This only counts time on the bus though, but it runs every three minutes or so.

  58. Posted by sf

    I think SFers are more entrepreneurial and have better jobs than those having to commute in the bay bridge everyday during rush hour to get that flat rate salary every year. So rush hour traffic was never an issue for me.

  59. Posted by anony

    “I think SFers are more entrepreneurial and have better jobs”.
    Really? Are you sure you are not writing about the Peninsula? The number one employer in San Francisco is tourism realted jobs (hotels, restaurants, etc.), as well as government services. San Francisco does have a distinction of having the most bloated civic government IN THE COUNTRY and the highest percentage of trustafarians in the USA (google this if you don’t believe me), people living off the work of their parents, not producing, but attending every Nimby meeting to stop progress. I live in Cow Hollow and most of my neighbors have never worked a day in their life or created any benefit to society.
    The East Bay is home to some of the most famous living authors, composers, artists, and chefs in the Bay Area.

  60. Posted by sf

    It’s great to have people want to come here, and from all over the WORLD too!! I know it’s something that other Bay Areans are quite jealous of.

  61. Posted by sf

    I think your comment speaks more to Cow Hollow, anony, who I agree, are *mostly* complete useless creeps.

  62. Posted by Kim the Midwife

    My jaw is hanging open. I really am stunned by this debate. Please may I state what should be obvious? There are places to live. Some of us like some locations better than others. Some have means to live in selected areas. Thank goodness for the variety! What a boring (and crowded into one spot) world we’d have otherwise.
    I lived on the Eastern Seaboard for much of my life, then in SF for 8 years and now Oakland for 6. I’ve liked all of it for different reasons. SF is not “the best,” although I prefer the general politics and openness of the whole Bay Area to other parts of the US.
    Get over it, people.
    I love to visit SF, live in Oakland.

  63. Posted by jessep

    People on this website are so cynical. It’s kind of mind-blowing.

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