215 Lisbon
It’s nothing too fancy but two bedrooms and baths, a bit of original woodwork, and three of our favorite words (“pride of ownership”) all for under $500,000.
215 Lisbon Living
Okay, so by a buck grand and before any bids.
∙ Listing: 215 Lisbon (2/2) – $499,000 [MLS]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by passerby

    Looks in good shape from the overly brightened pictures. Price seems typical for the area, however.
    To Editor: We need more homes like these, less condo news. Majority of SF homes aren’t condos.

  2. Posted by oscar

    disagreed passerby, I enjoy the condo news and think the editor is doing a fine job.

  3. Posted by Gil

    The very dark trim windows and low wood panels are common in many older SF homes. Nice touch except when kept so darkly stained it really closes in the romm and makes it seem smaller. Isn’t the effect called something like wain’s coating?

  4. Posted by A.T.

    Apropos of the starter home discussion on another thread, this one almost gets there. If you ignore the opportunity costs of a $100k down payment and maintenance, this one is probably only a few hundred bucks a month more than renting a comparable place. But there is a $25,000 exit fee when you want to move. No reason to buy unless you are expecting substantial appreciation and/or expect to stay a very, very long time. Further depreciation over the next several years is more likely. And it only comes that close to the comparable rent because of record low mortgage rates. The price will take a further hit when the place sells into a market with much higher rates, as is likely.

  5. Posted by clark

    No the majority of units are not “condos” but single family homes do not predominate either. Technically speaking it’s rental apartments, but in terms of building type (multi-family i.e. condos + rental apartments, versus single family) multi-family accounts for roughly 2/3rds of the building stock. From the Planning Departments recently released 2009 Housing Inventory:
    “By the end of 2009, there were 367,116 dwelling units in San Francisco: 31% are single-family homes, 33% are in buildings with two to nine units, and 36% are in buildings with 10 or more units.”
    And remember the tenure split in San Francisco (depending on who you ask) is roughly 60/40 renter/owner.

  6. Posted by passerby

    I should have known someone had the time to rebut my statement with actual facts. I will retract the comment about mostly SFRs in SF, but leave the fact I prefer more of this type of news than condos.
    Sheltered in an SFR community in SF has made me lose sight that the city is renter dominated in multi-unit properties.
    On another subject, that 5% exit fee sure sounds ridiculous.
    Regarding the dark wood, it’s not too difficult to have it whitewashed like most do these days in order to move a property. It would provide that clean palette to work with.

  7. Posted by Zig

    Nice place for a small family
    I would prefer myself to be on the other side of Mission St in Mission Terrace but this area is not too bad
    I bet Mission Terrace gentrifies next

  8. Posted by Poor in Pac Heights

    I think it’s under $500,000 by $1000 bucks not just a buck…at $499,000 or is this fuzzy math…or we divding by $1000, so then it would be under $500 by a buck. Right? These are things I notice when i’ve been staring at spreadsheets for tooooooo long.

  9. Posted by Q

    Cute house. Drop the price to $350K and I’ll take it. Not saying it will drop to $350K, but that’s what it would take for me to move there.

  10. Posted by Pedestrianist

    Turn the garage into an in-law and we’re talking!

  11. Posted by Oceangoer

    Almost worth buying just to be within walking distance of great cities and countries if you are a travel lover: Persia, Russia, Naples, Peru, Brazil, London, Paris, Madrid, Athens, Vienna and Edinburgh

  12. Posted by resp

    actually it’s Wayne’s Coating

  13. Posted by R

    wainscot

  14. Posted by Hyperlexic

    Hi, A.T. -
    I don’t disagree about the entry/exit costs and the risk of depreciation, but I think the math actually looks pretty good, one you take into account the fact that a lot of your payment is paying down capital.
    Here’s what I see: $400k loan at 4.5% mortgage (seems to be reasonable) means (in the beginning) $1500/mo interest payment and $526.74 capital, total $2026.74. Figure another $4k year for real estate tax, call it $833/month, plus $2400 ($200/mo) for insurance and $100/mo for general maintenance, net total out of pocket is $3160. But take into account the tax savings (call it 40% on the interest and local tax, ie, $933/mo savings), plus take out the capital, and you’re left with $1700/mo.
    Looking at Craigslist, outer mission/exelsior, it looks like real houses rent for about $2400/month.
    So I personally think you’re looking at monthly savings of about 700/month, or 8400 year. That’s an 8.4% return on the $100k you invested, pretty decent.
    Am I right here?
    Mind you, like I said, this doesn’t take into account the exit fee or the risk of capital loss…

  15. Posted by A.T.

    Hyperlexic, we’re talking in the same ballpark, but I think you’re a bit aggressive in those assumptions. I see 4.72% on bankrate (record low). And you won’t save 40% through deductions. Run the numbers on turbo tax — it is quite a bit less, even for a high earner (who would have no interest in living here!) — more like 30%. People often overestimate the tax savings. And I’m betting that maintenance will run higher than $100/mo. on an old place like this. But we agree that with this new lower price range, and with record low borrowing rates, this one is getting close to rent parity and may be even better than renting. I’m being a little more conservative in my assumptions is all.
    So it primarily comes down to one’s assumptions on the price direction over the next several years and the length of time before selling (given that high exit fee).
    But we’re at least approaching sanity with this price range. I knew a lot of people who bought “starter homes” in the ’90s, and I bought one in 2000, because it cost less than renting from the outset, as it should in a rational market. We’re slowly but surely returning to the centuries-old trend.

  16. Posted by dkzody

    Nice, reasonable property at what seems to be a good price for SF. If I wanted a house in SF, I would certainly investigate.

  17. Posted by Rillion

    Assuming you do not have a lot of non-housing related deductions, at this price range the tax saving is very close to 30%. When I bought I ran the numbers several times in before and after scenarios.

  18. Posted by sanfrantim

    No offense to those who like the neighborhood, but this is not for me at any price.

  19. Posted by katdip

    I live in Mission Terrace, and can tell you this will go for way over $499K. That seems like a teaser rate to bring in multiple offers. I have friends looking to buy in this price range and this area, and they are seeing nothing decent selling under $550K. And anything under $500K needs major work – not just for aesthetics, but for livability. So if this is really in move-in condition (and there isn’t some horrendous issue that isn’t apparent from the listing) I bet it goes for $550-575K. It will be interesting to see if this pricing strategy works to bump it up.

  20. Posted by Marten

    It should go for less, since it is on only half of a lot per Google satellite.

  21. Posted by EBGuy

    Plenty of up and coming (to the courthouse) properties in this area. For instance, 320 Excelsior Ave. (4/3, 2449 sq.ft.) has a Golden (West Savings) parachute.

  22. Posted by sfrenegade

    Worse than that, Marten – 1000 sqft lot according to the tax record:
    http://www.redfin.com/CA/San-Francisco/215-Lisbon-St-94112/home/1167545
    katdip, will you give us an example of houses that sold in the area for $550K+? I agree that a lot of the houses in the neighborhood in the $350-400K range are either bank-owned, not in good shape, and have unwarranted space (although some are probably unpermitted at least 2/2s). But is there really a $150K-200K bump for this place?

  23. Posted by EBGuy

    RealtyTrac is showing 231 Lisbon (2/1, 1134 sq.ft.) Street heading for foreclosure soon. Perhaps it was that WaMu refi in 2007…

  24. Posted by katdip

    Thanks NoeValleyJim -
    I just noticed the tiny lot – that would certainly bring it down some. But using Redfin’s search engine like NVJ did shows that at least 11 of the 34 houses sold in the Excelsior in the past 3 months were over $550K, and 16 of 34 were $500K or over. That jives with my friend’s experience (who is looking in the excelsior, btw) – the decent ones went for more than $530-550. He knows because his max prices is around $530K, and he’s lost on at least 3 bids. I’m not savvy about the data, but would wonder how many of the cheaper ones were bank takeovers of defaults, or short sales, or other “distressed” properties. Can anyone check on that? And thanks SS for covering other parts of SF!!

  25. Posted by katdip

    SFrenegade -
    I didn’t predict a $150-200K run up – only $50-75K. That may not seem like a lot to you, but for some folks it is real money, and would represent a pricing strategy designed to “sell over asking!” I also think that prices out here are not really in free fall as some predict. Yes there has been a drop off from 2007 (obviously), but good houses are still selling at good prices. I don’t have the actual statistics, but anecdotally (from my same friend, who has probably looked at 75 houses out here in the last year), there seems to be a glut of crappy houses coming on the market either from foreclosures or people dying. Most of the foreclosures seem to be cases where the house was used as an ATM and none of the money was invested in improvements. So many of the “cheaper” ones need major work to even live in.

  26. Posted by sfrenegade

    katdip — sorry, I wasn’t criticizing the amount at all, and I apologize if it came off that way. It’s certainly real money.
    What I meant by $150-200K is that $550K as the target price you suggested minus $350-400K that I’ve seen for many houses on the market in this area is $150-200K. Definitely agree with you that there are a lot of crappy houses available for sale. I just didn’t realize that the difference between this place and one of the usual crap shacks is $150-200K.

  27. Posted by sfrenegade

    “I also think that prices out here are not really in free fall as some predict. Yes there has been a drop off from 2007 (obviously), but good houses are still selling at good prices.”
    I wanted to account for this separately because it’s more of a generally applicable comment vs. specific to your response.
    I’ve seen a lot of people on SS say something like “good houses are still selling at good prices.” But I’m not sure what the tells us exactly.
    During the boom, crappy houses sold at good prices, and good houses sold at great prices. In comparison, a well-done house selling at a “good price” that a crap shack sold for during the boom looks like a deal. But there are still plenty of crap shacks out there, and it’s not like they suddenly became crap shacks since the boom. Anyway, that’s why I think it’s slightly misleading when people say “good houses are selling at good prices.”

  28. Posted by katdip

    @sfrenegade: I am not an RE professional, or even an investor (I just find this blog fascinating). So my opinions should be taken as those from an-only-slightly-informed every-man. But I and my home-buying friends really can only afford houses in the $500-550K range. Certainly in 2004-2007 that meant total crap-shacks – gut and remodel or tear downs, which meant you actually had to be able to afford $600-700K. But reading the bears on this blog you would think there would be tons of bargains to be had in this market, with all the NODs, NOTs, etc, especially in this part of town. But in reality the decent houses still are priced out of our range, and anything “cheap” still needs 100-200K to be livable. So I wasn’t trying to make a broad statement about the market as a whole – i guess I was just coming to the realization that houses in SF STILL aren’t really affordable for the average joe.
    Also, I believe in apples to apples. So my prediction that this will go for $550K should not be seen as a runup of 150-200K from the worst houses in this area (as you suggest), but rather is based on what similar houses might be going for compared to the asking price. Only the market will prove me right (or wrong)!

  29. Posted by Citygal

    Prices above 500K for decent, move-in condition homes in the Excelsior sounds about right. For those who can’t quite successfully bid there, I suggest looking on the other side of McLaren Park in the Portola. There are some very nice homes, often with views, and it’s as quiet/safe as Excelsior, if not quite as well known.

  30. Posted by katdip

    Just an update from my friend who is looking here. Apparently the house is cute, but very small – think 1.5 bedrooms, max. The finishes are nice, but the downstairs room is only big enough for a day bed, and you have to walk through the room to get to the laundry. So it would be hard to make it a true second BR or even a guest room. As mentioned above the yard is tiny too, since it is a half-size lot. So this pricing is probably spot on, since this is closer to a condo than a SFR. And it likely rules out family buyers, who seem to be the norm out here.

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