4545 25th Street
By the numbers for 4545 25th Street: purchased twenty months ago (2/16/07) fully renovated for $2,725,000, listed two months ago for $2,895,000, and then reduced three weeks ago to $2,695,000; three stories, four bedrooms, and four and one-half baths.
4545 25th Street: Kitchen
Classic exterior, good location, and floor plans online (if you like those kinds of things). And while once touted as a sign of Noe Valley strength (based on its original asking price) and then as a sign of weakness (following its cut), we’ll wait for an actual sale to see.
∙ Listing: 4545 25th Street (4/4.5) – $2,695,000 [MLS] [Virtual Tour]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Anyone knows why the owners are selling? This looks like the kind of house I’d want to grow old into (if my knees hold on long enough).

  2. Posted by dub dub

    SFS: I wonder if the owners ever moved in? 🙂

  3. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    Nice timing! Buy at the peak, and follow the market down the slope of hope….
    BTW, taxes on this place were $32,244 last year. And the taxes on the house right next door to it (4547 25th Street)? $1,053. A differential of 2,962%!! It’s a good thing there are so many wealthy people in this city willing to subsidize the old timers! Otherwise, SF might have a budget problem….

  4. Posted by Michael L.

    I like the lot size – any idea how large the lot is?

  5. Posted by DanRH

    beautiful place, but not a fan of the location – sorta steep streets if I remember that area correctly.

  6. Posted by chuckie

    Hey Millionaire, nothing misses your eye. I was thinking about the taxes too.
    Here’s a Noe 3/3/parking/views condo. Now listed $54,000 below its Oct 2006 price.
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/525-27th-St-94131/unit-2/home/1986968

  7. Posted by amused

    Renting in Marin?
    How utterly tragic and boring.

  8. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    chuckie,
    “Now listed $54,000 below its Oct 2006 price.”
    Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. That owner is looking at a $150K capital loss in two years (after selling costs), and it could be worse. Much worse if he waits too long.
    Still, it looks like that owner is being sensible. 3 price cuts ($200K total) in 6 weeks demonstrates “motivation”! I hope for his sake that he keeps cutting quickly until it sells. The buying pool shrinks every day…..

  9. Posted by San FronziScheme

    525 27th is not the “real” Noe. You crossed Clipper 😉
    Nice view. But I’d want an SFH for that price.

  10. Posted by satchelfan

    That buying pool will continue to shrink given the dismal forecast in the unemployment rate.
    Goldman is forecasting 8.5% unemployment by the end of next year.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/Goldman-forecasting-biggest-rise-joblessness/story.aspx?guid=%7BC174CCA5%2D803B%2D4656%2D9340%2D5591106B08D8%7D
    Although San Francisco has been some what insulated from layoffs, I suspect it won’t be long before jobs will be hit in the big city.

  11. Posted by tipster

    This home is beautiful.
    Too bad this homeowner will lose so much money. It wasn’t going to get a 2007 price two months ago, and my sense was that almost everything at the high end just dropped about 15% in the last month, so he could be looking at something like a $500K loss.
    But all it takes is one buyer, so you never know. It’s a pretty nice place!

  12. Posted by jessep

    Not close to J-church. boooo…

  13. Posted by sparky-the-bear

    I would recommend a move to Orrville, Ohio. Where they recently voted democratic, and are hiring 200 people at Smuckers to man the purchase of Folgers. I am sure that there are some houses that could be bought for 2 years taxes on this place.

  14. Posted by Jack M

    By pointing out the difference in taxes between two houses on the same block ($32,000 vs $1,000), you have raised the specter of an unfair property tax policy provided to us by Proposition 13.
    I wonder that if that law was challenged in the courts today, if any judge could hold it constitutional, based on the horribly unfair nature of the tax burden.

  15. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “Renting in Marin?
    How utterly tragic and boring.”
    Boring, yes. Most of us moved here for the school system. We know of 4 renting families on our small block in probably the best school district in Marin. Each pays between $2,800 and $3,700 per month (each of the houses is “worth” $1M+, down from $1.3M+ two or three years ago).
    Tragic? Well, by happenstance, since we moved here in mid summer 2008, there have been 4 houses for sale. Each will cause a large capital loss to the people selling it, at the listed price. Unfortunately, not one sold (two have been withdrawn, and one is languishing for more than 150 days at $200K below its 2006 purchase price, and will likely require another $200K reduction to move). Now, that’s tragic!
    Oh, BTW, I do hope they keep paying their property taxes. The only reason the owners of the rental houses can afford to rent them to the families who are here for the schools is because prop 13 effectively fixed the taxes at about 1/10th what the tragic would-be sellers are paying. (At least two of the owners are retired and living out of state.)
    Those rent levels are rouding errors in our family budget (if we had a budget!). I hope those prospective losses for the tragic sellers are rounding errors for them! In the meantime, like I said, I hope they keep paying their property taxes (ranging from $18K to $35K!. Good schools don’t come cheap! Except of course for laughing millionaire renters….

  16. Posted by spencer

    : Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin = Satchel. Yeah! Welcome back

  17. Posted by Jack M

    It’s such a delight to read posts from people who spend $3,700 a month for rent and then talk about how that represents a rounding error in their budget. And you wonder why people didn’t have any trouble voting for a Presidential candidate who said he would only raise taxes on the rich? I prefer my millionaires to be more like Warren Buffet and less like Mark Cuban.

  18. Posted by San FronziScheme

    A million-dollar home should command 6 or 7K in rent to be worth buying/renting.
    If the rent you can get is only 3 or 4K, then either the rent is dirt cheap, or it is not and by far a million-dollar home.

  19. Posted by EBGuy

    It’s such a delight to read posts from people who spend $3,700 a month for rent and then talk about how that represents a rounding error in their budget.
    Uhhh… he’s laughing precisely because he is not paying on the high end of the rental scale. Think closer to $3k.

  20. Posted by vox

    “It’s such a delight to read posts from people who spend $3,700 a month for rent and then talk about how that represents a rounding error in their budget. And you wonder why people didn’t have any trouble voting for a Presidential candidate who said he would only raise taxes on the rich? I prefer my millionaires to be more like Warren Buffet and less like Mark Cuban.”
    More dough and less douche?

  21. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    Actually this is the “real” Noe Valley because it is North of Clipper (and therefore closer to 24th St.). it is very high up and on a steep hill (just look at the way the street drops down in the picture). So it is better for view people than people who want an easy walk to 24th. But it is definitely a nice place.

  22. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “If the rent you can get is only 3 or 4K, then either the rent is dirt cheap, or it is not and by far a million-dollar home.”
    Bite your tongue, SFS! I am assured by real estate agents every weekend that the houses in this litlle idyll are worth every penny the hapless would-be sellers paid a year or two ago!
    The agents also tell me that you can’t rent a place around here (every house “worth” more than $1M, and 3 or 4 of the 25 houses on the street were purchased for more than $2.5M) for less than $5K per month. “Look at craigslist”, they say. I guess we – and the other three families paying on average about $3K per month to rent on this very street – don’t exist!
    Well, when it comes to paying $20-30K in property taxes to support the great school system here, we don’t exist. Thanks again, prop 13!
    (I never figured out why everybody bellyaches about owning something. I guess they’re worried about being priced out. Laughing millionaires never worry about that…. Prop 13 makes renting in a great school district dirt cheap (compared to buying), so what’s wrong with having all the recent buyers in the area subsidize our kids’ educations?? Isn’t the system working as intended? If not, the powers that be could always change it….)

  23. Posted by FSBO

    For all who think that renting in Marin and sending your kids to RUSD (Tiburon) is tragic and boring, please keep thinking that way – it’s keeping rents low. LMRiM knows!

  24. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Laughing Mil,
    Good thing you’re on the winning end of Prop 13, even without being a old-time homeowner.
    The real pain is having bought at the top AND renting out your place. Not only you’re asking less what the mortgage costs because you grossly overpaid, but you’re shelling huge property taxes! Double-whammy.
    No wonder some late-buyers are putting their houses on the market ASAP. Their costs are enormous and they can’t really “wait it out”. Better sell now than have to discover the real market price of your “investment” in a couple of years when all your cash is depleted.

  25. Posted by noearch

    Fronzi- you need to get out of the “Home” more often and walk NV..I do believe this is still Noe and I suppose near the heart of it. whatever that means.
    Kitchen is faux french castle, fake looking.
    Baths are quaint but I suppose serviceable. a bit too period.
    Garage door is a Home Depot Special.Doncha just love those cute little arched top windows in the door? perfect place to park your horse and buggy.
    Rear deck is visibly all about pure cheapness. look at the spindly posts on little concrete blocks, exposed steel plates. yuck. cheap, ratty railing too. For this money you expect a finished deck system, with glass railings, and no exposed crap.
    when it gets to about $2.3 m it will sell.

  26. “when it gets to about $2.3 m it will sell.”
    I hope for this seller’s sake that you know less about pricing than you do about architecture (I’m certainly no expert, but you seem to know what your talking about in your field)!
    If you’re right, that will mean a more than a $600K “loss” to the seller after typical selling costs (including the $40K or so after tax $$ supplied to the grifters who run SF through prop tax). That’s over THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS per month pissed away – and that’s even before any mortgage cost.
    Wow, if you’re even close to being right on the final pricing, this seller is going to be very unhappy. More than $1K per day of pure nondeductible loss – day after day for 600 days (so far) – is more than a rounding error even in most laughing millionaire households!
    Any bets from the bulls out there on what 4545 25th will ultimately fetch?

  27. Posted by Nic

    you can rent this for $9800 per month

  28. Posted by kthnxybe

    I agree with Noearch that the remodel makes it look like new construction in the worst possible way. I do really like the floor plan, though.

  29. “you can rent this for $9800 per month”
    No thanks. I don’t mean to hijack this thread (too much), but to give readers just some idea of how crazy the rent/buy is in the SF Bay Area, take a look at this one which hasn’t rented at $4950/mo (the ad has been running for a while):
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/nby/apa/909254384.html
    I love this line from that listing:
    “Originally listed at $6,750.0. Take advantage of the weak economy to get a great price on a suburb [sic] home.”
    The “Zestimate” for that house is $3.78 MILLION!! So, even assuming Zillow is high by 30% and the house is only “worth” $2.9M, that’s 587x monthly rent! And it’s STILL not renting!
    We might look into this one. If they’ll cut it ANOTHER $1K, maybe we’ll take it and keep our current rental as a workshop and storage place for toys….
    Remember when all we heard a few months ago was how “rents were screaming”?

  30. Posted by paco

    ooookay, laughable millionaire(?),
    tell everyone how you’ve made millions and yet still never bought a house.
    it hard to imagine a good sized portfolio or life w/out some real estate.
    ..or maybe you are saying that ‘while rent is a rounding error in our family budget, actually buying a place in a good school district is beyond our dreams’..

  31. Posted by diemos

    “it hard to imagine a good sized portfolio or life w/out some real estate.”
    It’s amazing how entrenched that attitude is, that one cannot have arrived without holding title to a piece of land.

  32. Posted by marko1332

    Paco-
    It’s not really that difficult to have wealth and no real estate, all one needs is an ex-wife.

  33. Posted by chuckie

    ha ha marko, just yesterday a Filipina lady at the coffee shop was telling me how her ex husband has been trying to evict her out of their Palo Alto house!

  34. Posted by paco

    yes diemos,
    it is an entrenched idea; hearth and home.
    and my point is to challenge ‘so called millionaire’ to tell us
    that despite having all kinds of money he does not want to buy.
    in my ear it sounds like this fellow has money if he rents but does not have enough money to buy. he then rationalizes to all that its foolish to buy thereby making himself feel better.
    and please note that he frequently checks out the san francisco real estate scene despite not living here or wanting to buy. so my question is, why? is it only to tell those who are looking to buy that they are stupid? is that why you haunt this board?

  35. Posted by diemos

    paco,
    ah hearth and home, I just can’t say enough good things about it. A place to keep your stuff, a place to lay your head down at night and keep the rain off of it.
    But the social stigma involved with renting is ludicrous. When I retire I shall own a home outright so that my need for shelter has been prepaid during my non-income earning years. In the meantime I shall own only if it is a better investment than renting. I’m not going to overpay for an asset during the biggest bubble in history just so that I can avoid the shame (Oh! the shame of it! Snort.) of being a renter.
    “is that why you haunt this board?”
    You read about this stuff in books and you can’t quite believe it. The south sea bubble, the great depression, the japanese housing bust. You read the quotes from those times, look at the behavior and wonder how people can go collectively insane like that. Around 2004 I first realized that we were doing a repeat of the roaring 20’s, creating false prosperity by piling unpayable debt ever higher, and it would inevitably lead to a collapse in asset prices, financial crisis and depression. Since then SS has been an endlessly engrossing window not only into the market but into the psychology of the participants. You only get to live through these times once. (I hope.)
    “is it only to tell those who are looking to buy that they are stupid?”
    It’s not a question of stupidity but mass psychology. It’s incredibly hard to watch everyone around you have free money dumped on their head and not want to join the bandwagon. The bubble participants all look like winners during the upswing and who want’s to go to cocktail parties and admit that they’re a loser? To be patted on the head and told that, “You just don’t get the new paradigm. You just need to have the guts to swing for the fences. etc.”
    But mass insanity can only last so long and in the end economic fundamentals always reassert themselves. My favorite quote from all the other bubbles that have ever happened, “It’s different this time.”

  36. Posted by fluj

    I lived in this house for a time while another property I owned was being developed. I had a Thanksgiving dinner there. My girlfriend made her first Thanksgiving turkey for my family that day. I almost spilled the turkey going down the stairs on our way over from her house in Lower Pac Heights to this address! Boy, that would have been a bad one. So, um, listen up for a sec. I know this property.
    The last sellers of this home made a nice return, it was spec. They bought it for 1.05M. So do the math and skew your numbers, according to something you read on the internet sometime. Because most of you who postulate on residential development have never developed anything in San Francisco. You know who you are.
    Anyway, I told those guys to ti advantage of a particularly cool attic space upstairs, above one bedroom. It was actually my bedroom. There was a vaulted space there with two small rooms and they had big views. They could have perhaps put dormers on that space and created expansive views. They heard me out, they are really smart and cool people, but they chose not to do it. The reason was that that would have made it four levels, requiring sprinkling. Too bad. Because as high up on 25th as this one is, it lacks the sort of views one would expect.
    Those of you comparing the original asking price to the current list price should not be posting on real estate blogs, really. Because that’s not the story, you know it, and you are a sensationalist troll. The story is that they didn’t get what they asked last time. They changed realtors, and ultimately accepted a lower price. Right now it is currently priced less than one percent under its last sales price. Let’s watch it and see what happens. It’s a lovely property. Not to my taste, but to a middle of the road aesthetic. It’s very large, but it lacks views. If it goes for asking price, then hey, that is less than one percent under asking, now, in this r.e climate.
    Disclaimer, I don’t care what happens here. I have no hope, no attachment, nothing. I thought the last sellers bought it for too high, truth be told. We actually passed on it for that reason. But hey, they turned a nice profit. What’s funny is that the same house, the house this one used to be, still costs at least 1.05M easily, now. The house this one used to be is on just about every block of Noe Valley.

  37. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “I thought the last sellers bought it for too high, truth be told.”
    LOL. See, nothing to worry about, the previous sellers simply overpaid! It happens, you know…

  38. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    @diemos,
    “I’m not going to overpay for an asset during the biggest bubble in history just so that I can avoid the shame (Oh! the shame of it! Snort.) of being a renter.”
    I found the opposite when we were renting in SF. Everyone was really nice to us, and they all thought we were “loaded” because we didn’t work. Perhaps they just thought we were a little crazy. This was when prices were going up.
    Now, prices are clearly gong down where we live in Marin, and the damage is looking substantial to people who really stretched to live here post-2003 or so. The old timers who pay $1K in property tax are great. A real slice of what life must have been like in the 1960s here (and most of them have lived in the houses since them). The newcomers seem resentful. Now, that prices are going down, it must grate on them paying $10K in after tax dollars per month to live in the same houses that the renters are paying $3K per month to live in. Or, maybe they just don’t like us! (nah, never happen….)
    “You only get to live through these times once. (I hope.)”
    God does have a cruel sense of humor. I still can’t get over the timing of Dr. Richenbacher’s passing – right at the cusp of the collapse he spent so much of his life’s work trying to address.

  39. Posted by diemos

    “I still can’t get over the timing of Dr. Richenbacher’s passing”
    I’m just glad that the “Maestro” lived long enough to be revealed as con man he is.
    I always said his picture would be in the ecyclopedia right next to John Law under the article, “How to bring a great nation to it’s knees by debasing it’s currency.”

  40. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “I’m just glad that the “Maestro” lived long enough to be revealed as con man he is.”
    And just think. We’ll live long enough to hear the debate over Bernanke:
    “Was he a fool because he took the job knowing that he didn’t understand economics, or was he simply a fool because he did understand economics but took the job anyway?”
    It shouldn’t be too many years longer….. I wish him luck trying to hold back the tides!

  41. Posted by fluj

    “I thought the last sellers bought it for too high, truth be told.”
    LOL. See, nothing to worry about, the previous sellers simply overpaid! It happens, you know
    OK then. So your opinion is that 1.05M was apropos for a 3/1 Noe semi-fixer in 2004, and now?
    Naaah. I think your opinion is merely that you are a contrary lad.
    I’ll give you more credit than you deserve tho, for the sake of fun. To address what you quoted, if that is precisely what you gathered from my post, then as the Aussies say, good on ya mate. But you clearly are not Satchel.
    So that begs the question, why the riff on Satchel? Undefined juvenile agendas don’t play that great in this forum, FYI. On the bus, off the bus, halfway on the bus, leaving the bus, waiting for the bus, watching the bus — all of that is fine. Making fun of somebody who is no longer watching the bus, while dissing someone on the bus, all from across the street? Weird. I hope you and Mrs. Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin — a saint, that woman — have a pleasant Saturday afternoon.

  42. Posted by diemos

    “I wish him luck trying to hold back the tides!”
    I suspect that as an academic he just couldn’t resist the opportunity to try out his theories.

  43. Posted by diemos

    “Disclaimer, I don’t care what happens here. I have no hope, no attachment, nothing.”
    I have no doubt that you have no direct interest in this property. But you care very much what happens to values in this area.
    To quote you, “Don’t kid a kidder.”
    But I’m glad to see you’re back, the joint just ain’t the same without you.

  44. Posted by sparky-the-bear

    I don’t think so diemos, I think most agents will get all kinds of action when we see the ’02 prices.

  45. Posted by Trip

    “you care very much what happens to values in this area.”
    I don’t know if fluj owns any property in this area and thus has an ownership interest in values, but as I’ve said before, his professional interest will be far better served by property values continuing their downward acceleration and reaching the bottom sooner rather than later. Attempts (or wishing) at keeping prices elevated longer are counterproductive. Those who represent buyers and sellers of SF homes are getting creamed right now because there are no transactions taking place. Buyers have stopped buying because they don’t want to throw away their life savings on a quickly depreciating asset — and they can’t get financing for the big loans still needed to buy at these prices. When we get to the bottom, and we have a long way to go, volume will pick up and commissions can once again be earned. One would think realtors would have picked up on this by now — but I guess the no-work, easy money days of 2005 are hard to let go.

  46. Posted by diemos

    “I think most agents will get all kinds of action when we see the ’02 prices.”
    Oh indeed. There will always be a market and “this too shall pass” but the revenue stream that the 2005 prices and turn-over rate created for realtors is not coming back for a very long time. Even once the market has cleared.

  47. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “I think most agents will get all kinds of action when we see the ’02 prices.”
    LOL. Just like the stock salesmen are seeing all kinds of action now that stocks are back at ’02 levels! And by action, I mean pink slips….
    “I suspect that as an academic he just couldn’t resist the opportunity to try out his theories.”
    You’re probably right, diemos. Did you see the quote from Faber recently that’s been making the rounds (since he’s actually made some real $$ by accurately forecasting markets with some consistency, I tend to listen to what he says):
    “Bernanke is a disaster … I wouldn’t hire him as my gardener….he’s intelligent, he’s a nice man and all that, yes, of course….but he’s an academic, he doesn’t know anything about economics…. The only thing that would make me happy is if he would just resign.”
    (Marc Faber in a TV news interview, 30 Oct 2008)
    I’m w/Faber on this, time for Bernanke to close up shop, go back home to Princeton, and give Adam Smith a chance at the job….

  48. Posted by diemos

    “Bernanke is a disaster … ”
    I’m not sure if anyone would have been any better. The system is inherently flawed, too much positive feedback for stable operation, and as you note, he inherited a poisoned chalice. I’ve actually been amazed that he and his alphabet soup of lending facilities have managed to keep things levitated as long as it has.
    You know I’ve never agreed with your Austrian “Let’s let everything blow up and then pick up the pieces” plan. The real economy has contracted enough to break the commodity bubble so now there’s headroom to do some fiscal stimulous without risking inflation. I’d like to see people put to work building the new energy infrastructure that we’re going to need. HV DC grid to move electricity around the country. Railroad electrification. Solar thermal and wind build out. Nuclear too.
    This contraction is making real resources available and we might as well put them to use creating something useful rather than just throwing a bunch of people out of work to live under underpasses and beg for scraps.

  49. Posted by FSBO

    I’m in the Bernanke-is-a-disaster camp – and I believe that the Fed has been exposed as flawed and corrupt. The greatest villian (among the many) has to be Hank Paulson. The Axis of Evil (Treasury, the Fed, Goldman Sachs) has done more harm to Americans than Bin Laden could ever dream of. And they’ve only just begun.
    I’m skeptical of infrastructure stimulus. Yeah, it might be better than just forking the money over to the Friends of Hank (or GM or Ford or the 3-headed dog from hell). And I’m glad that FDR built the Blue Ridge Parkway – but TVA and almost everything else in the New Deal was a colossal waste of money. Whatever hopes you may have for the Obama administration, do you really trust congress and our current institutions in Washington and most state capitals to spend taxpayer money wisely?

  50. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “I’m not sure if anyone would have been any better.”
    I couldn’t agree more, except that *no one* would have done much better! He was foolish for taking an impossible job, if his goal was truly (as they claim) to avoid a depression. Hard to trust someone with that sort of misjudgment.
    Now, of course, if Bernanke’s true goal was to in fact cause a credit deflation by tightening the money supply from February 2006 onwards because TPTB feared an all out collapse of the credit infrastructure if things had gone on as they had….. hmmmm, well the jury is still out. I would assume his true goal in that scenario would have been to cause a deflation, maintain the ability of the USG to fund itself by maintaining a relatively steady to strengthening USD, aggrandize further power and centralization of the levers of economic powers in the Fed and the USG, and yet still avoid a 1930s-style depression (he is the “expert” after all in that period, not that you’d know it from listening to the false congressional testimony he’s given). In that scenario, well, he might still be successful!
    “I’m skeptical of infrastructure stimulus.”
    So am I. No one would argue that the US needs some sensible investment. However, simply mouthing the platitude doesn’t ensure that it gets it. Here’s how it goes: suppose (by accident) the USG picks a project that actually makes real economic sense, say, a nuclear power plant in the Central Valley or a promising innovation that makes internal combustion engines 75% more efficient. Well, in order to get that one funded, 3 other congressional districts have to be “bribed” with their own pet projects – and economic efficiency is the last thing anyone cares about. When it comes time to hire the workers, it will be union scale wages, 25% minority set-aside programs, “preferred” suppliers, proper ratio of female to male, proper racial composition to “reflect” the community, etc. All the massive regulation of government will be brought to bear on the “workday”. It won’t be like going flat out in a Silicon Valley start up. It will be regimented, impossible to fire lazy of unproductive workers, etc. (Many of my family members are civil servants – cops, firefighters – believe me you have no idea how much we pay for so little!) And, since there is no profit motive, a massive array of bureaucrats to ensure that the plan is proceeding, replete with teams of lawyers to fend off the inevitable lawsuits (when the USG or a state does something, immediately all sorts of constitutional questions are raised).
    Didn’t Carter start the Department of Energy with one of the primary goals being the ensuring of sustainable and independent sources of energy. Now, DOE has 60,000 employees (all with massive benefits and on GS pay scales) and a budget of more than $30 billion per year. After 30 years of this, how are they doing in reaching their goal? BTW, how is LBJ’s “War on Poverty” progressing?
    America is a very different place than it was in the 1930s. If you think the New Deal contained huge elements of waste, you ain’t seen nothing yet! 17 years and we still haven’t finished the Bay Bridge, more than 4 times as long as it took to build the bridge (and island) using 1930s technology if I’m not mistaken! This mess won’t be your grandfather’s WPA that’s for sure!
    We’ll be incredibly lucky if our “infrastructure” projects have any more economic viability than those undertaken by Japan throughout the 1990s and 2000s. In fact, I’m betting against it and expect a controlled crash of the US economy straight into the ground.

  51. Posted by laughing millionaire buyer

    I want to point out one thing that appears to be lost on the laughing renter. There are a lot of us out there that made some serious cash by buying in 01-03 and selling recently…

  52. Posted by laughing millionaire buyer

    And after glancing at some charts, it looks as though as long as a homeowner didn’t buy in SF at either of the peaks, (’99-’00, or ’05-’07) they should be in the black. So, exactly who are you laughing at laughing millionaire renter? The people who unfortunatelty bought something at the peak, or the rest of us who are in the black?

  53. Posted by diemos

    “There are a lot of us out there that made some serious cash by buying in 01-03 and selling recently… ”
    We’re well aware of that. We’re just also aware that the depression that we’re currently sliding into is the price that has to be paid for all that free money that was handed out.

  54. Posted by Laughing Millionaire Renter in Marin

    “There are a lot of us out there that made some serious cash by buying in 01-03 and selling recently… ”
    No doubt.
    So, tell me, what are YOU doing with all that cash now that you are out of the SF real estate market (I assume that you – like me – are smart enough to have now found an equivalent rental at 1/4 to 1/2 the carrying costs of a comparable property)? I’d love to hear your sophisticated strategies. I know something about trading and asset allocation myself… and I am always looking for ideas.

  55. Posted by Laughing millionaire buyer

    GE Bonds may have a pretty good return on investment as I doubt the government would ever let GE die, and they have a nice return rate.

  56. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    LMRM – In addition to energy policy the DoE is also responsible for research and production of WMDs, specifically nuclear weapons. I’ve always thought that electricity generation and H-bombs made strange bedfellows and can’t really understand why these two wildly disparate domestic+military missions are managed under the same roof.
    A large part of that $30B budget goes to military projects and many are under black budgets. Are we getting our money’s worth ? I dunno. How much should it cost to construct computer simulations of the yield of a 5 year old H-bomb ? Millions go to that little task alone.

  57. Posted by waiting2nest

    Question for Laughing Million BUYER:
    Would you buy RE TODAY? Why or why not?

  58. Posted by paco

    ok waiting,
    i’ll answer your query. its always a good time to buy certain types of re. for example; a fixer on a good block selling at a good price b/c more people have trouble with getting a mortgage, or a multiunit in a good neighborhood that has a lower price for that same reason. don’t forget the newly remodeled house in a good area that needs to be sold at a bad time b/c of a job transfer or some such. then there are all those newly built condos in south beach-think high prices and lots of inventory…okay, maybe i am kidding about those…

  59. Posted by ex SF-er

    I’ll just add one thought to this thread.
    is the govt wasteful? yes.
    is private enterprise wasteful? hmm….
    the boondoggle that has become American capitalism is wasteful at best.
    I’m not sure which is “more” wasteful. However, it is clear that govt waste tends to be spread around many players, whereas private waste tends to concentrate the benefits at the top.
    I think this as I just got word that our CEO makes as much in 1 day as I make in a year. And I’m well into the 6 figures myself. then we have the CIO and CFO and all the rest.
    almost every industry today seems to have inordinate amounts of waste… except it’s concentrated at a few choice individuals. You know, can’t have them making less than $50 Million a year or they may go somewhere else.
    Here’s my plan: why not have the govt take over these unsuccessful wasteful private “too big to fail” organizations (like GM, ford, chrysler, AMTRAK) and then put those workers AND EXECUTIVES on the govt payscale and then have them cross over into mass transit solutions like high speed rail.
    if we’re going to spend $100’s of billions to bail out PRIVATE “unwasteful” AIG then I figure we can spend half that to retrain the Detroit workers how to do mass transit and improved energy transportation.
    just a thought.
    FWIW: our economy and country are a travesty and a joke, from all sides. So I’m no govt lover either. but if we’re going to be a joke then why not try to avoid Brazilification.

  60. Posted by laughing millionaire buyer

    waiting- Yep, call me indoctrinated, but there is just something about owning a property… I’m currently renting, but looking for a home that is half the price and size of my previous.

  61. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Now you are talking ex SF-er. I am hoping the new Administration does exactly that.
    I don’t think our country is a joke though, the last eight years (28 really) have been pretty bad, but we mostly have good people who work hard and have an impulse to do the right thing. Somewhere along the way we lost our bearings though, no doubt. There is a big mess to clean up.

  62. Posted by LMRiM

    Looks like the owner of 4545 25th Street just can’t deal with the prospect of eating a more than $200K capital loss. It got pulled off the market, and is now up for rent at a wishing price of $8500/mo:
    http://www.sothebyshomes.com/norcal/rental/0084129
    It was last for sale at $2,695,000. The rent/buy crowd will have a field day with this. This is almost certainly a cap rate of less than 2%. It would take the owner 4 months of rent at the wishing price (which he won’t get) just to cover the $33K+ property taxes. Good luck.

  63. Posted by unearthly

    Now asking $7800

  64. Posted by LMRiM

    The owner of 4545 25th actually paid $2.725M for it two years ago exactly (sold 2/2007).
    $7800 rent is 1/350th the purchase price (350x monthly rent or 29 GRM. I generally like to see even more subsidization of renters by owners, and have rented my places at implied multiples in excess of 400x.
    This is a tough spot for owners who bought at inflated prices. Obviously, the owner here would prefer to unload this albatross, but the one-two punch of the market and seller loss aversion has him trapped.
    I think values will go down a lot from here in this neighborhood, but of course no one knows for sure. In any event, people stuck in this sort of position are transformed into “hold and hope” investors, trying to slow the cash bleed by finding a renter.
    It could be a long haul – like 10 years – if the erstwhile seller here wants to get the price he orginally paid two years ago. I think the rent needs to be cut to an implied 400x on a $2.5M valuation, so $6K/mo or so, in order to attract a stable, long-term and desirable tenant to offset some of the cash bleed for what could be a loooooong time. In three or four years, inflation may allow him to raise the rent. At least a little.

  65. Posted by anonn

    This house, as I said above, is flawed. It is way up on a hill and it is without views. It is also deeply vanilla TM. In my opinion the design is quite dated. Very HSC 2002.

  66. Posted by LMRiM

    This house, as I said above, is flawed.
    Too bad the realtors didn’t tell the guy who plunked down $2.725M in cold hard cash back in 2006 that the house is flawed, on a hill and vanilla. He is now trapped, paying on a depreciating asset in which he clearly doesn’t want to live (and probably isn’t living, I’d guess).
    What do you think the market value would be today, flujanonn? What do you think the right rent would be? That would help me come up with a fair value estimate.

  67. Posted by San FronziScheme

    I used to live 2 blocks from there at the time of the last sale. This is one of those deals that had me and wifey scratch our heads and move to better central and more valuable locales. BTW, the house I lived in is currently rented for 1/2 this wishing rent since september. Sure it’s a pocket rental deal, but 6K+ is still very very steep.

  68. Posted by anonn

    I meant to say HGTV. Not HSC.
    There you go with a “Realtor Bash TM.” Coupled with a request?
    Not having it. Buzz off. I don’t give a crap about your stupid fair value retardizational estimates.
    2.725M in “cold hard cash” it was not, finance pro.
    The fact that it has been on and of the market a few times is relevant, but not definitive. This is not a wrap. They might just bring it back on in the spring, and get somewhat close to what they need. Who knows?
    The house that leapt into contract in a matter of days two blocks down the hill might be a decent indicator of value. Watch and see.

  69. Posted by Geo

    Just Re-listed at $2.625…

  70. Posted by LMRiM

    Wow, a 2.5% cut. After it sat there for months.
    I just don’t understand these sellers. It’s hard to value unique assets like real estate. With these miniscule price cuts, they are doing their best to signal that the market is declining and that there are no real bids near where they are listing. IMO such sellers are contributing to the impression they are on the wrong side of a market that is sliding down the slope of hope.
    Why not cut the price to something below even a worst case estimate of selling price right now? That way, multiple bids would be assured, and relying on people’s standard behavioral biases should generate a “loser” in the auction who will pay way over market value (the well known phenomenon of the “winner’s curse”). Or has the market deteriorated so badly that the sellers are rightly fearful of the lowball bids that would come in…..

  71. Posted by Geo

    I agree, a death by a thousand cuts only reinforces the belief that it will get cheaper….
    The risk is you set a much lower bar and it still doesn’t get a bid, but I think this risk is relative low if you are careful — I have seen properties selling within a week or two in St. Francis Wood when priced right…

  72. Posted by jessep

    I love the facade of this house. Call me crazy, it’s just gorgeous 🙂

  73. Posted by Geo

    Looks like it was pulled off…

  74. Posted by fakename

    this house just sold at 3.8M – guess it was worth it after all!

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