2207 25th Street Circa 2003
In 2003, the “rustic Potrero Hill cottage” at 2207 25th Street was purchased for $400,000.
Six years later, an anonymous complaint noted new rooms were being added to the cottage without a permit, a few months after which plans were filed to “repair and replace [the] rear end of [the] house as necessary” and a permit for the work was issued.
Soon thereafter, another complaint reported “building a unit at the rear of the house without a permit” and then “major excavation…exceeding [the scope of the permit].”
A plugged-in tipster takes it from there:

After investigation by a building inspector as a result of [the complaints], the City became aware of the work being performed outside the limitations of the permits the owner had pulled and froze all buildings through the issuance of two red tags.

Majority of previous building was demolished…outside of permit scope, although the front facing façade was left for the most part intact. Two retaining walls had been added by the current owner before the red tags were issued.

2207 25th Street 2012
The plans to “repair and replace” the original rustic cottage were reinstated last month. And this week, the red-tagged 2207 25th Street returned to the market listed for $525,000 with “approved plans” for a single-family residence, but do see our previous sentence.
If you ever hear, “who really cares?” or “what’s the worst that could happen?” when presented with unpermitted or unwarranted work, well, now you know.
∙ Listing: 2207 25th Street – $525,000 [Redfin]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Dan

    So, will the next owner have any problem tearing the shack down and building a decent size house?

  2. Posted by Eric

    Any experienced contractor/engineer with an understanding of city policy should be able to navigate the situation with ease

  3. Posted by Zefabes

    There is no easy navigation with a section 317 violation. The house was cute and the owners did tons of illegal work. Planning is going to be all over this one. This is not going to be an easy one and I would never buy it at this price. This is a nightmare to deal with.
    Violation are attached to the property, so the new owner will have to deal with it and Planning will not go easy on the new buyer.
    Listing Agent should be hung for saying that the Red Tags will be easy to deal with.
    Good luck to the new buyer.

  4. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    RH2 lot; the sellers could have legally built a secondary unit here, but perhaps didn’t have the money to do a legitimate job and so tried to pull a fast one.
    The seller is probably mumbling to themselves the villain’s lament so often heard at the end of saturday morning scooby do cartoon adventures…”and it would have worked, too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling neighbors!”

  5. Posted by Eric

    An experienced structural engineer is capable of handling a situation like this…”the listing agent should be hung” is a fairly unnecessary escalation

  6. Posted by Victor

    @Eric. Zefabes is referring to the actual Redfin listing/description in which the listing agent specified, “Existing plans for SFR approved, but currently Red-tagged which is easily solvable; however, buyer undoubtedly should redesign project.” (You can click on the link in the article and see for yourself).

  7. Posted by Debtpocalypse

    It’s chabby chic as is. Probably merits cover article treatment by Dwell.
    Isn’t there a historical justification for not tearing it down?
    How are we supposed to know San Francisco’s glorious past if we tear everything down every 75 years and start from scratch?

  8. Posted by futurist

    We’re not tearing down everything every 75 years. This city is full of classic, preserved Victorian and historic buildings.
    I don’t know if this building has historic merit or not, but certainly any owner performing remodeling work without the appropriate planning and building permits is simply trying to cheat the system.
    Not cool. Not acceptable.

  9. Posted by REpornaddict

    Yet another example of unnecessary government interference with the right of property owners to do with their property as they think fit.

  10. Posted by unwarrantedinlaw

    It’s important to keep in mind that the best of architecture, from San Francisco’s Victorians to Martha’s Vineyard’s sea captain houses, was built without any government interference, very little or no permitting, and no input from fat, overpaid, useless, parasitic city “Planners”.

  11. Posted by oscar

    If it sells for this price, it will be craziness. Owner will have a 30% gain from when he bought in ’04 but now the place is unlivable. I understand that ’04 was before the last peak in prices, but still.

  12. Posted by futurist

    Ok, so to those above who think that property owners should be able to do with their property “as they see fit”, and without “government interference” how about this prospect?
    I live next to you in Forest Hill and I’m going to tear down my house and build a new one that is 6 stories high and build it out to within 5′ of my rear property line. I am also going to add a number of property line windows facing your rear yard and include a roof deck with a large sound system and extensive outdoor lights.
    or this:
    My historic Victorian in Noe Valley is only a single family home, one floor over garage. I am going to remodel it by converting it to 5 living units. The existing 2 car garage will be converted to 2 units; I am removing all on site parking; I am adding two floors to my home, which will be only about 22′ higher than your adjacent single family home. My new 5 unit apartment building will only extend about 28′ past your rear deck, blocking out (well not that much) sunlight from your yard. Parking should not be much of a problem on the street. Oh, additionally I am going to extend the front of my new property to the front property line; I see no reason to have a set back like my other neighbors currently have.
    Now what?

  13. Posted by Michael

    “Yet another example of unnecessary government interference with the right of property owners to do with their property as they think fit.”
    Yeah, why should the city get involved when excavation work threatens neighbors’ foundations or when unpermitted construction creates a fire hazard which could burn down the block?

  14. Posted by sparky-b

    I think as long as you don’t put in granite countertops that should be fine.

  15. Posted by futurist

    @ sparky-b:what is this continued obsession and negative commentary about granite countertops?
    They seem to be a symbol of something horrible by many here.
    Help me out. What’s the problem? what’s the issue?
    They are durable, they are not expensive, they last forever, they are easily replaced by the new owner.
    What’s really going on?
    Full disclosure:I do not have granite countertops in my new kitchen; we have solid surface which looks like concrete. Don’t hate me.

  16. Posted by sparky-b

    I don’t know, I’m with you. I was making a joke, based on the Western Additional Vic post where that came up a few times. I asked what people had against it and I didn’t get an answer (I’ve asked before and not gotten an answer either).
    I was thinking, What would these commmenters want in that house, Caesarstone?, no they would say “don’t Dwellify it”, what would be acceptible?

  17. Posted by futurist

    I hear ya. It’s a pretty funny reaction to a pretty normal and good material.
    The complainers here never seem to have a good answer, except to complain more.

  18. Posted by Topher

    The listing agent should be hung??? Hah, the listing agent has been hung for years. Time to play catch up Zefabes

  19. Posted by lol

    This reminds me of the guys who tried to redo their foundation all by themselves a few years back and saw their house tip over the one next door.

  20. Posted by Jim

    I know a great permit expediter named Jimmy Jen who can turn this thing around.

  21. Posted by NoeNeighbor

    I thought that granite stained really easily; other than that I don’t know why people have issues with it.

  22. Posted by Sausalito_Res

    Granite counters are fine, but they are overused and have become a cliche in remodels/new homes. Almost as if there is no other acceptable material.
    I don’t know what the kitchen designers will do when we eventually reach Peak Granite.

  23. Posted by sparky-b

    Marble is stained really easily, not granite.
    Sausalito_Res: They are used a lot because they are the best for cost and function. You started out this duscussion with this comment in the other thread:
    “A reasonably modest amount of money, judiciously spent (exterior paint, blinds, floorcoverings, some work in the kitchen, bathrooms?) would make this place very liveable for a family without great wealth.
    Why must every old house in the city be tarted-up as some sort of Architectural Digest wannabe? San Francisco is losing its soul, one old house at a time.”
    So you don’t want cliche, or expensive or tarted-up. I will guess you also don’t want Dwellified. But if you want good for a family where does that leave you? butcherblock, tile, plastic laminate.

  24. Posted by Rillion

    “They are used a lot because they are the best for cost and function.”
    Well at least that explains granite countertops, there is no excuse for stainless steel appliances though (more expensive, ugly, overused).

  25. Posted by Zefabes

    Thanks Victor for clarifying what I was referring to when I suggested that the listing agent should be hung, that was indeed the reason.
    What really bothers me in this kind of listing is that the Owner clearly broke all rules and is trying to get away with a profit. The complaint is attached to the property, not the owner who committed the crime. He is selling and the new buyer will be the one who will have to deal with the mess and pay all the fines. It leaves the criminal unpunished and maybe even rewarded for his crime.
    Planning and Building department should really adjust their approach on this kind of problem.

  26. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    Zefabes, your comment is why the ultimate sale price should be very, very interesting.
    Just going on what I’ve read, the way this should play out is that the buyer would make their offer and/or closing contingent upon receiving a building permit, any and all fines being cleared, etc., but of course here the seller is demanding an all cash, “as is” sale.
    Given that, in a rational expectations world, the buyer should apply a steep discount to the offered price to account for both the knowns (fines) and unknowns (finishing the building, and the risk involved in getting permits, etc.), as oscar alludes to above.
    If I were in the market for a fixer in this ‘hood, I’d offer 45% to 55% discount to the asking price. But I wouldn’t expect to have that offer accepted. The seller and the listing agent are trying to lure in one of those kinds of people that P. T. Barnum famously said is born every minute.

  27. Posted by lol

    People get away with bad behavior all the time. The market often does the punishing but sometimes it doesn’t.
    On this botched redo, your only chance at justice is Karma or whatever your belief du jour is.

  28. Posted by mkk

    “Existing plans for SFR approved, but currently Red-tagged which is solvable”
    looks like the agent removed the word ‘easily’ from the text that Victor quoted three days ago 😉

  29. Posted by R

    “seller is demanding an all cash, “as is” sale”
    I don’t think the seller is demanding that, I think they’re just stating that you can’t get a mortgage on this place.

  30. Posted by lyqwyd

    In some ways the seller has already been punished. They’ve spent a bunch of money on this project, and no matter what the sale price is, the final sale price would have been higher if they had simply done nothing.
    Personally I hope it sells for less than they bought it for and they lose a bunch of money. But they have been punished for their stupidity and greed.

  31. Posted by Sausalito_Res

    I wouldn’t object to granite if it wasn’t treated as de-rigeur in just about every kitchen in homes featured on this website. It isn’t necessarily the most attractive countertop material for every kitchen. Designers should show some imagination.
    I have seen some beautiful (and durable) countertops made from other materials. A variety of types of tile, as well as highly varnished wood, come to mind immediately. And as far as laminate goes, I’ve seen a lot of crummy granite that doesn’t look as good.
    15 years from now, when the style gods decide that granite is no longer the must-have counter material, landfills will be brimming with the stuff.
    Anything that gets overdone eventually becomes passe.

  32. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Granite is good because it is mostly seamless (especially important when rolling out dough but in general makes the surface easier to clean) and burn resistant.
    I agree that its choice seems to be mostly style driven and it will be a shame when it goes out of style, causing a lot of nice stone to be ripped out.

  33. Posted by mikey woodz

    In contract

  34. Posted by reanto39

    It’s well worth stopping by an open for this place, just to see it, absolutely amazing. Sort of feel sorry for the owners but what were they thinking?

  35. Posted by SocketSite

    The sale of 2207 25th Street closed escrow today with a reported contract price of $450,000. And yes, the “currently Red-tagged which is easily solvable” line in the listing was removed by the listing agent following our post.

  36. Posted by Jack

    It will take you 6 months to get a permit in Doraville GA. The township is worse than the Federal Government. People coming and going all the time down there. Many contractors avoid work there.

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