85 Buena Vista Terrace Kitchen
In April 2000 the restored single-family Edwardian at 85 Buena Vista Terrace sold for $1,820,000. In September 2008 it sold for $2,200,000. And in August 2010 it returned to the market with (mis)expectations of $2,595,000, was listed for $2,295,000 in September, and then withdrawn from the market two months later unsold.
Back on the market today with an official “one day” on the market and asking $2,095,000, to which year might a 2011 closing come closest for the Buena Vista home with an “estimated total interior space” (including the garage) of 2,827 square feet?
∙ Listing: 85 Buena Vista Terrace (3/2.5) – $2,095,000 [lifeonbuenavista.com] [MLS]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by curmudgeon

    I want to live there. And I want the furniture.
    For me, this is great real estate porn.

  2. Posted by jason

    Love the look, but I can’t seem to find the neraly 3000 sqft??? Looks smallish in the photos and floorplans. Two million plus to have one average-size living room to entertain in???
    [Editor’s Note: Flip to the second page of the floor plans for their square footage breakdown.]

  3. Posted by tipster


  4. Posted by A.T.

    Wouldn’t that 2827 sf calculation include the garage? With that out, it is a decent sized, but not large, home.
    Really nice place. I’ll guess 1.82

  5. Posted by mikel

    This place is sweet. Used to live on Buena Vista, definitely one of the best gems in the city. My bearish prediction it will fetch between $1.6 and 1.675. In June ’11

  6. Posted by curmudgeon

    Ah, so it’s really a 1900 square foot house, but with a full floor garage that has room for expansion. That’s 1000/square foot for the current livable space. Still a lot.

  7. Posted by tipster

    Where on earth are the floor plans? I clicked on every link on that website and didn’t see them.
    [Editor’s Note: Try our link to “estimated total interior space” above.]

  8. Posted by jason

    Thanks ed.
    1897 sf. makes a lot more sense. Well, except for the price. $1100/sf. Ouch.

    @tipster – the link is at the top of the “Features” page.

  9. Posted by anon

    @ 1100 psf we will hopefully see this linger, and ultimately sell for under its 2000 price. Sucks for the current owner but that’s what you get when you overpay.

  10. Posted by eddy

    There were a few really nice homes up there that didn’t sell and will be coming back. This area seems to have been run up and is now falling a bit more. No idea where this will close but this feels like 830-880/psf to me. It’s very nice, but I never understand why this sub-area commanded what was essentially PH/D7 pricing. The views can be nice, but you’re sort of trapped up there as a consequence.
    Thank you to the realtor for not posting 200 photos of the neighborhood.

  11. Posted by XYZFEED

    The house has 1,722 Sq Ft of living space according to public records.
    Check out this youtube video of the property

  12. Posted by tipster

    Oh geez. No way does this hit 2000 pricing. They could be looking at a half million dollar loss.
    I looked up the owner (wondering who would pay this much for something like this in 2008) and doubt he can take that kind of loss. Probably goes to foreclosure.

  13. Posted by anonee

    i have been inside and can tell you that this place feels small/cozy for $2M. so was $1000/sq.ft. the market in 2000?

  14. Posted by anonee

    now i get what the editor&tippy are saying-the market in bvista in the year 2000 was Over $1000/sq.ft. this guy did not overpay. its just that a lot of people Underpaid.
    anyway, i’d be happy to see the market in this area settle down to ‘only’ $1000/sq.ft.

  15. Posted by Fishchum

    XYZFEED – Why even bother linking that Youtube video of the property? It’s just a collage of the same photos that appear on the website.

  16. Posted by djt

    You can’t assume the garage area can be made into legally countable space. Take into account egress, ventilation, light, ceiling height, whether it can be heated and insulated, etc – it may not be possible.
    Enclosing the garage as livable space means it must meet today’s code including title 24 for energy. You can’t build it out to meet the current practices in the building or the practices at the time it was built. The buyer may have made this mistake and is now trying to pass it on to the next buyer, who will be shocked to find they have 2000 square feet, with zero ability to make more than a tiny fraction of the basement area into living space. And, if the space can’t be built to meet code, you won’t get a permit to do anything. For example, you can’t get a permit to add heat to a space that does not meet all the other requirements for habitability. Etc.

  17. Posted by anonee

    love how the edit plugs the garage sq.ftg. even tho nobody counts garage space as living space.
    easier to stretch than to accept the fact that they are trying to sell for $1100/sq.ft in this market!
    [Editor’s Note: We’re not plugging anything (unlike the estimate to which we linked). If you’re calling this $1,100 per square foot at asking, however, keep in mind you’re also calling it sold for $1,155 per square in 2008 and $955 per square in 2000.]

  18. Posted by A.T.

    Gotta love that $2.2mm 2008 sale (1277/sf). Otherwise we’d have anonee screaming “NO WAY would this place have sold for more than 1100/sf at the peak. SEE, prices are still at peak-like levels in good neighborhoods.”*
    *parody-alert: yes, he often asserts this point but not in these precise words.

  19. Posted by El Bombero

    “I looked up the owner (wondering who would pay this much for something like this in 2008) and doubt he can take that kind of loss. Probably goes to foreclosure.”
    That would be fine by me!
    Also, it will make the job of the realtors and shills on this blog a little easier. I can see it now: when this place sells in foreclosure for 30% under its 2008 price, they’ll all be here arguing that because it’s a “distressed sale” it actually shows that the neighborhood is UP, and that the houses are “holding up well” and that “nothing is inconsistent with the idea that we’ve had flat pricing for 1.5 years after a mild 10% dip” blah blah blah….
    – el bombero

  20. Posted by R

    “I looked up the owner (wondering who would pay this much for something like this in 2008) and doubt he can take that kind of loss. Probably goes to foreclosure.”
    Tipples: Where do you get this stuff? His name is way to normal for you to have any idea who he is. And more importantly, you have no idea how much money he has. Maybe his granny died and left him billions.

  21. Posted by hangemhi

    2008 listing has 2,095 SqFt
    2000 listing doesn’t show SqFt info
    The recent withdrawn listing had no SqFt info
    The current listing (with same agent as above) = 2170 SqFt
    So the fact that you had to dig and dig and dig to find a mention of 2827 SqFt where it also clearly indicates that includes the garage is just strange and mis leading. ed, you can do better than that.
    As can XYZFeed – in addition to a useless video – you are illegally not indicating who you are on your blog. Not even your name let alone your legally required DRE# since I assume you are an agent. Shall we report you?
    As for actual useful info – this was listed for $1.295M in 2000 when it sold for $1.82M. When someone goes 40% over asking, don’t blame those of us for wondering if they “over paid” back then.
    My guess for final sales price is $2 million. I haven’t seen the place so my guess is based solely on taking 20% off the late 2008 sales price which is slightly above what I presume the rest of the neighborhood has dropped by

  22. Posted by curmudgeon

    Yes, Tippy, how did you look up the owner? A likely owner I found is a Goldman Sachs managing partner, but I could be wrong, because I don’t know the ins and outs of figuring out how to use the internets to find owners of real estate.

  23. Posted by amused

    People REALLY haven’t figured out yet that Tippy-toes just makes stuff up? Weird.
    Nice house. But I agree with the general sentiment on the $/psf. I hope someone gets what they see as a great price, and that the current owner doesn’t get crushed by it.

  24. Posted by justme

    taking 20% off the late 2008 sales price

    $1.76MM, not $2MM. Not that bad a starting point, though. Just over a grand a foot. Seeing as how 55 BV up the block isn’t leaping off the market at less than seven-fifty per, 85 has some room to drop.
    Don’t get me wrong. I like the place. A view tub is a beautiful thing. I’m going to say closer to $1.9, which seems pricey psf to me, but the details are very nice and might rate it.

    When someone goes 40% over asking, don’t blame those of us for wondering if they “over paid” back then.

    *chuckle* Indeed.

  25. Posted by tipster

    curmudgeon, tax records show a local address for the tax bills. Some guy who works full time in NYC isn’t likely to have his tax bills sent to SF. Try again. There’s a much better one who works locally.

  26. Posted by anonee

    is it creepy to be stalking these guys? and then speculating on their potential losses? i would not want someone to do it to me…but maybe tippy is different from most folks..

  27. Posted by amused

    It is beyond creepy.
    SS now has [tipster] essentially outing two private individuals on separate threads while speculating in depth about their finances/life/prospects.
    Isn’t there a line somewhere? I understand why the records are public, but I don’t think SS should be used as a platform for dragging peoples’ information out into public forums.
    It’s crass.

  28. Posted by A.T.

    Oh, please. Tipster is not providing the owner’s name or even a link to the public source where it can be found in 60 seconds. This is crying “foul” over nothing.
    As for the 40% over asking in 2000, “asking” meant literally nothing in 2000. 11% over “asking” was the norm that year. Sellers way under-priced in order to create effectively an auction scenario. Heck, we paid 20% over asking for our place (there were 17 bids) and were told that was an amazingly good buy given the pattern, confirmed by subsequent comps. If the 2000 buyer was the only bidder – I highly doubt it – and bid 40% over asking then that was a mistake. If he was one of many, than he just paid what the market made him pay. Hey, he sold for $380,000 more to the chump who bought in 2008 so the “overpaid” label isn’t bothering him!
    Now the 2008 buyer truly overpaid, as did just about anyone who bought in SF between 2003-2009 (and probably 2002 or even earlier and 2010).

  29. Posted by curmudgeon

    It is creepy. I was sleuthing around to see what’s on the internet (It is a fascinating tool for research of this sort), but I’m not going to contribute to this “outing” any further.

  30. Posted by tipster

    It’s only creepy to dinosaurs like us. Twenty somethings look up online everything about everyone they meet. Facebook thrives on that “creepiness”.
    Get with the program!
    And besides, I think it’s good to remember that these are real people who are losing a substantial part of, if not all of, their life’s savings. The old saw about people in the Bay Area all being able to pay these losses from the coins on their dressers is way off. These people are losing huge sums of money. People are filing for bankruptcy over these losses.
    I personally know four people who filed for bankruptcy in the last year. Every case was the same: they stretched two incomes to make a house payment on a can’t lose investment, and then one of them lost their job. They tried to “save” the home by paying everything they had towards it, then started running up credit card debts to try to “hold on to their homes.”
    They are all in bankruptcy with nothing. Not one cent.

  31. Posted by R

    It’s funny how tipples always ‘personally knows’ 3 or 4 people that coincidentally prove the exact point he’s trying to make.
    It’s almost like he just makes it up.

  32. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “…I think it’s good to remember that these are real people who are losing a substantial part of, if not all of, their life’s savings.”
    This is probably the best lesson to be learned here. During the boom times we celebrated and congratulated when windfall profits tumbled out of real estate trades. Now that the tide is going out the RE boosters try to shut down the personification of the losses by shaming those who dig up the details. Though I wouldn’t go so far as say “ruined”, this bust cycle has caught a lot of recent buyers by surprise and destroyed a decade or more of their hard work. That is real pain and there are real people impacted. Their stories are important.
    Most posters here are discreet with personal information. They don’t have a vendetta against these strangers who’ve lost big time. I just opened a file that I keep on my desk of the last bid I placed in 2007, stretching significantly beyond my comfortable target price. I could have been one of these poster children of the bust. (my household went from two down to one salary for a while as well).
    The counter-meme that tipster and others present here is important to get a true understanding of the risks and rewards of playing in this game. Those who try to suppress this bad news are doing a disservice to potential buyers. Perhaps those who want to suppress this bad news profit from RE transactions and could care less whether or not another round of buyers gets burned during this bust. Now that’s creepy.

  33. Posted by sfrenegade

    “I just opened a file that I keep on my desk of the last bid I placed in 2007, stretching significantly beyond my comfortable target price. I could have been one of these poster children of the bust. (my household went from two down to one salary for a while as well).”
    I have a similar file with qualification statements for loans I “qualified” for that had little observable correlation to my income other than the fact that the amounts were too high. The frothiness of the market did not appeal to me, and I stepped out.
    With all that said, these same people were telling me how stupid I was not to buy a house and how much appreciation I was losing by not doing so. It’s the same level of offense to point out how stupid someone was to buy a house and point out the cold hard cash they lost.
    Several years ago everyone was listing how much profit they made on each successive house (ignoring what went to realtors, since appreciation was king). It’s really no different now, just in reverse. If this is offensive, why wasn’t it offensive then?

  34. Posted by curmudgeon

    I do not think it is offensive to discuss the amount of money being lost. I do think that naming names is not generally warranted, and deciding to armchair psychoanalyze the owner is distateful and most probably inaccurate. No one actually named names in this post, but we got very close.
    What is both fascinating and repellent is how easy it is to create the whole real estate “story” from a few nuggets found on the web. I created my own based on a few minutes of research. I was tempted to share my version (in part to contradict Tippy’s), but i don’t think that ultimately it is relevant.
    Suffice to say, someone paid alot for this property in 2008. Much more than they are likely to get in 2011. It’s not bad to point out that that is a very negative result, but I don’t think we need to go further than that.

  35. Posted by tipster

    It was brought up in the context of a prediction of its selling price. I guessed that the price was substantially below what the owner paid, and then looked up to see if the owner likely had the means to bring enough cash to the closing to sell at the market or would have to let the bank agree to short sell (which hasn’t been done) or foreclose if he wanted out.
    Thus, my prediction was it would not sell at all. Never named the guy or even described him. Just listed all my assumptions when making an educated guess. Nothing wrong with any of that.

  36. Posted by SocketSite

    The list price for 85 Buena Vista Terrace has just been reduced to $1,995,000.

  37. Posted by cav

    I’ve spoken to the agent and he knows the house isn’t close to the reported 2170 sq/ft. He used to post floor plans with total interior space, which showed the top two floors have 1897 of “interior air space” but that double counts for empty floor space like stairs’ ventilation, etc. The originally reported 1720 is right.
    The scary thing is that even at the fradulent 2170, it’s one of the most expensive houses in the city per square foot. A pretty house, way beyond it’s comps.
    A nicer house only a few doors down listed at the same time and same price, and after 5 months sold at 2.1 based on 3,000 sq feet

  38. Posted by SocketSite

    Last asking $1,995,000, the listing for 85 Buena Vista Terrace was withdrawn from the MLS after 144 days on the market without a reported sale.
    Once again, purchased for $2,200,000 in September 2008.

  39. Posted by El Bombero

    The would be sellers must be so happy that this place failed to sell – remember, it’s not a loss until you sell!!

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