August 26, 2010

An Auspicious Contract Price But Inauspicious Outcome On First

Listed for $899,000 in July of 2005, the two-bedroom top floor loft at 346 1st Street #304 closed escrow that October with an auspicious recorded contract price of $888,000. This past March the unit was inauspiciously taken back by the bank.

Now listed for $669,900, perhaps it’s a prime opportunity for our head banging RAB to make an offer.

∙ Listing: 346 1st Street #304 (2/1.5) 1,617 - $669,900 [MLS]
Who’s Down With OPM In The Marina? [SocketSite]

First Published: August 26, 2010 11:45 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

Wow, how time flies. We put on offer on a place a couple doors down from #304 almost 2 years ago. It was about 100 sq. ft. smaller, also had a roof deck, but was not a corner unit, and not as nice. It went on the market on 8/8/08 for 1.125M, was reduced a few times down to $998K, and our offer was $835K in Nov. 08. We were not countered, and moved on.

While we were spending time in this building, talking to neighbors, etc., we ran into the owner of #304. I remember feeling very inferior to the guy, who also owned another unit at 18 Lansing (basically the same building), drove a really nice Porsche, travelled a lot, etc. He said he was interested in selling either or both units, if he could find a buyer who would appreciate all the work he'd done to fix them up, especially #304. Fortunately we couldn't afford the "appreciation", so to speak.

It's still a fairly nice loft, IMO, and the roof deck is nice, with a decent view of downtown that won't be wrecked by the building planned for Folsom & Essex. I'm guessing it'll go for about $770K.

Posted by: Dan Clark at August 26, 2010 1:05 PM

The optimal resident for this unit will have no desire to drive between 4-7pm on weekdays.

Posted by: EH at August 26, 2010 2:29 PM

Actually I like this place and I like driving, thank you very much. In fact, I like driving between 4-7 so much that I like to drive extremely slow in order to savor exhaust fumes. But I definitely don't want to drive far from home to get that.

Posted by: suspicious at August 26, 2010 3:00 PM

I'm guessing it'll go for about $770K.

For an industrial bland box?


At 669,900 it will still cost 1.5 times to own compared to rental.

It would be appropriate to see it sell for 444,000. That's what it's worth when all ownership costs are included.

Posted by: lol at August 26, 2010 3:07 PM

Though those repeated "4"s will scare off some superstitious buyers.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at August 26, 2010 3:16 PM

Hey give them credit for disclosure - I'm not sure it's the smartest marketing move to show pictures of the cars lining up to get on the Bay Bridge! Cough, cough.

Posted by: katdip at August 26, 2010 3:40 PM

I was cycling up Harrison and crossed 1st with my eyes all around for the crazy morning traffic. What a sorry-a$$ area.

Posted by: lol at August 26, 2010 10:28 PM

Looked at 304. It's a funky floor plan, which ain't saying much. Still trying hard to envision how it cold ever be a functional 2br. Mezzanine-as-bedroom should be billed a .5br, if there could be such a thing. No real closets of any kind...would require built outs or bring your own freestandings.

Views are good, deck is good, 1st street fumes and noise at happy hour..tolerable. Just don't ever leave the building in a 4 wheeled vehicle during rush hr.

Sq ft is all about layout, anyhow - and this plan spreads it out liberally. Pricing feels like high 500's in this market, not mid 6.

Posted by: alpha96 at August 26, 2010 10:45 PM

Although I rarely drive along this street, the far right lane is pretty empty at rush hour, as it's reserved only for right turns onto Harrison. If you're using it to get onto the Bridge, that's another story.
I can see how it can look like an industrial bland box to some. My POV is a little different, as I'm a commercial photographer. A live/work space such as this can be a very handy dual use space, so it really depends what you want the space to do for you.

Posted by: Dan Clark at August 26, 2010 11:56 PM


I'm the owner of the loft you looked at 2 years ago. No hard feelings about turning down your offer. We just decided to hold on to it and rent the loft out. I guess it's subjective as to which unit is "nicer" but as for the deck comparison, there really is no comparison in my opinion. 304's deck is realy small, concrete and not finished. Our deck is an over 400 SF finished wood deck and nicely landscaped with great views of the downtown skyline. We've entertained 20 people on that deck which I don't think you can do on 304's deck.

We're happy with renting out the unit but we'll see how the market looks next year. I'm not too optimistic so we may be landlords for a few more years.

Anyway, did you end up buying somewhere else?

Posted by: DKLoft at August 27, 2010 11:54 AM

I remember feeling very inferior to the guy, who also owned another unit at 18 Lansing (basically the same building)

I was unable to find the other unit; however, another property of theirs, 55 Northcrest, South SF, was taken back by the bank for $606,366 in April, 2009. It ultimately sold for $580k in Aug. 2009. It was financed for $765k (first & second) on an original purchase price of $850k. IndyMac Federal was the foreclosing bank, so maybe we can truly say, "your tax dollars at work". Also, their primary residence (in S. SF) -- bought for $900k in 2004 -- was refied for $1.012 million in 2007. I'll leave it to the professionals to handicap that one...

Posted by: EBGuy at August 27, 2010 12:26 PM

EBGuy, the wife is a realtor, so on the plus side they may have saved 2.5% on the purchases?

Posted by: sfrenegade at August 27, 2010 12:37 PM

"304's deck is realy small, concrete and not finished"

my wife points that I might be in error as she remembers 304's deck being really small but it may be finished with wood floors...can't remember exactly, can anyone who's seen the unit remark on this.

Posted by: DKLoft at August 27, 2010 2:46 PM

DKLoft, thanks for your input on this site.

Picture #12 of the listing for #304 looks like it may have wood floors.

Posted by: sfrenegade at August 27, 2010 3:33 PM

304's deck is a small unfinished rectangle-no wood florss, but it did bring up a question about how roof deck space is actually allocated in the building, since unit to unit it looked wildly different. Right next to 304 also has a pretty massive finished deck.

In many cases it kinda looks like a little eminent domain took place to expand out roof decks; with only a few units on top floor, doesn't look like there would be much protest? So how exactly is deckspace allocated up there?

Posted by: alpha96 at August 28, 2010 12:15 PM

If a unit has a deck then it is deeded to that unit. The only exception is the "shared" portion of the deck between unit 301(my unit) and 302. we each have a deck that is deeded to our units + we have a deck that is shared only by our 2 units. The only units that have decks are 301, 302, 303, 304 and 309, I believe.

Posted by: DFLoft at August 28, 2010 1:00 PM

@ DKLoft
Wow, small world, or maybe small blogosphere. No hard feelings here, either. We ended up getting a place at the Harbor Lofts (400 Spear). No roof deck, unfortunately, but it's a space that works for us.

Posted by: Dan Clark at August 28, 2010 7:05 PM

Well, I was way off with my guess. According to Redfin, it closed on 11/30/10 for 681K. Time to recalibrate myself ...

Posted by: Dan Clark at December 7, 2010 7:35 PM

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