CATEGORY ARCHIVE: Real Estate Resources

January 8, 2014

A Free Earthquake Retrofit Fair, Costumes Not Required

Targeting property owners who need assistance to comply with San Francisco’s recently adopted mandatory soft story retrofit ordinance or who are interested in voluntarily retrofitting their building for seismic safety, the City of San Francisco will hosting a comprehensive Earthquake Retrofit Fair from 3pm to 7pm on January 28 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.

Nearly 60,000 Rentals In SF Are Currently Vulnerable To Collapse [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

December 13, 2013

A Sugar Free Holiday Tweet For Staying Plugged-In

If you’re looking for another way to stay plugged-in to a selection of our featured stories, highlights and breaking news, our twitter feed is now up and running @socketsite.

Posted by socketadmin at 12:30 PM | Permalink | (email story)

September 13, 2011

San Francisco Property Tax Rate Set To Increase 0.67 Percent

The proposed Property Tax rate for the City and County of San Francisco will increase from $1.164 per $100 of assessed value to $1.1718 per $100 of assessed value for the 2011-2012 Fiscal Year. Allocation of the tax dollars is as follows:

Fiscal Year 2011-2012 Property Tax Allocation

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors is set to vote on the increase this afternoon.

San Francisco's Property Tax Rate Ordinace for FY 2011-2012

Posted by socketadmin at 11:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

August 11, 2011

Assessed Values Drop $2.4 Billion In San Francisco, Appeals By 9/15

The assessed value for 18,800 properties have been reduced by San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder office, down $2.4 billion in assessed value with the Mission Bay (1,236 reductions) and South Beach (874 reductions) neighborhoods leading the way.

If they haven’t already, property owners in San Francisco should soon receive Notices of Assessed Value (NAV) letters confirming their assessed property value, and any reductions, for tax purposes.

Homeowners who believe their assessed property value is greater than their property market value as of January 1, 2011 can file an appeal by September 15, 2011 with San Francisco’s independent Assessment Appeal Board.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

January 14, 2011

Condo Conversion 2011: Are You Feeling Lucky Punk? Well, Are You?

2,170 units entered San Francisco’s 2010 condo conversion lottery, all hoping to be one of the 200 chosen. If you hope to have a chance of winning in 2011, at which point you can start navigating the chart above (click to enlarge), you’ve got a week to get your ticket(s).

It's Golden Ticket Day For 200 Condo Conversions In San Francisco [SocketSite]
San Francisco's 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Results [SocketSite]
San Francisco's 2011 Condominium Conversion Lottery Overview
Condominium Conversions in San Francisco

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (8) | (email story)

January 13, 2010

Assessed Value Informal Review Requests For 2010/11 Now Online

While we’re still waiting for the full results of the formal reviews, last year 3,432 informal reviews resulted in 1,683 reductions of 2009-2010 assessed values for San Francisco properties (in addition to 9,997 reductions that were proactively granted).

And in a few hours Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting will officially announce the acceptance of applications for informal review requests for the year 2010-2011. Applications are available online and requests must be made by March 31, 2010.

Office of the Assessor-Recorder: 2010/11 Informal Review Request [SFGov]
A 25.7% Drop In Assessed Value For A Plugged-In Reader In 2009/10 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

November 23, 2009

San Francisco’s 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Kicks Off

San Francisco TIC Sales And Lottery Applicants 2001-2008 (Image Source:

Ticket sales for the 2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery kicked off this morning and will run through 4:45 PM on Friday, January 22, 2010. The drawing for the rights to convert 200 units from TICs to condominiums in 2010 is scheduled for Wednesday, February 3, 2010. Around 2,000 tickets are expected to be sold (2,030 in 2008).

Full details with respect to eligibility and process as well as applications for first-time and returning applicants are available online.

2010 Condominium Conversion Lottery Details [SFGov]
∙ 2010 Conversion Lottery Applications: First Time | Returning [SFGov]
Demand for Affordable Housing Continues Strong []

Posted by socketadmin at 9:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (35) | (email story)

August 24, 2009

The Examiner’s First Free Weekend Open House Guide (In Print)

Examiner Real Estate Guide: 8/23/09

The SocketSite cross-industry scoop last week:

You probably won’t read about it in the Chronicle, but the scoop according to a plugged-in source is that the San Francisco Examiner is a week away from announcing the free publication of weekend open house ads through a deal with the San Francisco Association of Realtor’s new site.
Look for a test run and official announcement next week (or perhaps now a bit earlier). And expect a quick response from the Chronicle which counts on its weekend real estate section and related advertising for a significant share of its revenue.

The test run ran this past weekend.

Scoop: Examiner’s Move To Corner Weekend Open House Readership [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

June 22, 2009

Assessing The Potential Upside Of A Down Market: Tax Basis Redux

"Starting July 2, California homeowners who think the market value of their home as of Jan. 1, 2009, is less than its assessed value for 2009-10 can ask their assessor to revise it downward. Because property taxes are based on the assessed value, a successful appeal will temporarily reduce the owner's property tax bill."

UPDATE: A plugged-in reader adds,"you can start this process early, online, for sf county."

Appeal assessment if you think it's too high [SFGate]
Assessing The Potential Upside Of A Down Market: Property Tax Basis [SocketSite]
Residential Property Assessment Appeals (pdf) []
2009-2010 Request For Informal Review Of Assessed Value [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (19) | (email story)

May 18, 2009

Carl Terrace (415-437 Carl) Update: On Pace For A Sale A Year

Carl Terrace (415-437 Carl)

It was almost two years ago that a reader first wondered about the renovation of twelve units up at 415 Carl. And it was about six months later that they first hit the market.

Asking $489,000 in January of 2008, the list price for 415 Carl has been reduced to $399,000 while the list price for 437 Carl has been reduced to $499,000 (from $529,000).

Of the six TICs and six condos within Carl Terrace, ten remain unsold (including all six of the TICs). And the seller is now offering five year financing (interest only at 5.5% with a balloon payment) with 15% down.

Moving Pictures: Can You Help A Reader (And Us) Out? [SocketSite]
Two Of The TICs At 415 (And 437) Carl Hit The Market In Cole Valley [SocketSite]
Carl Terrace []

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

March 4, 2009

"Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines" Dated March 4

The official guidelines for President Obama’s $75 billion homeowner rescue plan: Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines (pdf).

We'll note the high-cost loan limits for qualifying loans (up to $729,750 for single units); that homes must be owner occupied and a verified primary residence; and income, asset and hardship screens (no modification if you can but are simply choosing not to pay).

Home Affordable Modification Program Guidelines - March 4, 2009 []
The Bailouts Are Coming But Is The Bay Area Dying On The Vine? [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (39) | (email story)

February 27, 2009

A $729,750 SF Home With $25,541 Down (2009 FHA Loan Limits)

2009 FHA loan limits were released on Wednesday. The limits for high-cost San Francisco: one-family - $729,750; two-family - $934,200; three-family - $1,129,250; four-family - $1,402,400.

FHA Mortgage Limits []

Posted by socketadmin at 6:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (105) | (email story)

November 25, 2008

New S&P/Case-Shiller Condo Price Index: San Francisco MSA Falling

S&P/Case-Shiller Condo Price Index: September 2008 (

According to the newly released S&P/Case-Shiller Condo Price Index, condo values in the San Francisco MSA fell 3.3% from August ’08 to September '08, are down 15.0% on a year-over-year basis, have fallen 17.2% from a high in October 2005, and have dipped below levels last seen in October 2004.

The SocketSite S&P/Case-Shiller condo footnote: The Condo Price Index includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda in the "San Francisco" index (i.e., the greater MSA) and is imperfect in factoring out changes in property values due to improvements versus actual market appreciation (although they try their best).

S&P Launches Condo Indices; Adds Seasonally-Adjusted Data [S&P]
September S&P/Case-Shiller: San Francisco MSA Decline Continues [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (63) | (email story)

November 20, 2008

Perhaps Not Disclosed, But We Might Suggest Some Discovery

326 Virginia

While we do like the mention of “new concrete foundation, electrical, plumbing and heating” (and the bonus rooms), we’re not particularly keen on the lack of any recent permit history (not to mention the "Hazardous Building" complaint) online.

And unfortunately (for more than one party), it is a trust sale and emphasizing “exempt from most disclosures” in the remarks.

∙ Listing: 326 Virginia Avenue (2/1.5) - $699,000 [MLS]
San Francisco Online Permit and Complaint Tracking [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

August 14, 2008

JustQuotes: It's Time To Make Some Property Tax Lemonade

"San Francisco homeowners are flooding City Hall with so many requests to reduce their property values that the tax assessor said today his office may not be able to meet the demand. So far, Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting's office has received about 1,000 requests for informal reevaluations - three times the number filed last year. Friday is the deadline to request an informal property reevaluation from the assessor."

"Formal requests for reassessment must be filed by Sept. 15 and Ting said anyone who does not hear back from his office - or does not agree with their assessment - should file by that date."

S.F. assessor overwhelmed with reevalution requests [SFGate]
Assessing The Potential Upside Of A Down Market: Property Tax Basis [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

July 10, 2008

Arterra Is About To Be Occupied And A Reader Seeks Some Advice

From a plugged-in reader:

A few weeks back I received my 30 day notice to close escrow on my unit at Arterra. I believe I will be one of the first people to close in late July. More important in a week or so I will do going through my unit "walk through". Can you or anyone provide advice on what to look for and how to handle this process? As a first time home buyer I am not really sure what to expect and any information would be very helpful.

We’ll suggest reading the comments on this thread: Walkthroughs At Infinity: A Chance To Share Your Impressions. We’ll invite others to add their two cents (especially those who have recently done the same). And we’ll look forward those housewarming(s).

Walkthroughs At Infinity: A Chance To Share Your Impressions [SocketSite]
Arterra (300 Berry) Sheds A Little More (In More Ways Than One) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (44) | (email story)

May 14, 2008

Subprime And Alt-A Statistics By County: The Feds Mortgage Map

Nonprime Mortgage Map For San Francisco: January 2008

Well, while a plugged-in tipster directed us to the site last week (cheers), another plugged-in reader steals a bit of our thunder and forces a pre-analysis publication by pointing it out this afternoon (yes, cheers as well). It’s the Federal Reserve's "Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States.”

Our thoughts will now have to follow (hopefully later this week), but a couple of hints as to what to see: December to January changes; San Francisco versus Contra Costa; and Subprime versus Alt-A. Remember, San Francisco is more an Alt-A than Subprime town.

Dynamic Maps of Nonprime Mortgage Conditions in the United States [New York Fed]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

April 3, 2008

Assessing The Potential Upside Of A Down Market: Property Tax Basis

“If your home is worth less than you paid, chances are you also can get a temporary reduction in your property taxes - without a battery of lawyers or dubious arguments about functional obsolescence."

"Some companies offer to submit a request on behalf of homeowners for $25 to $200, or a percentage of the property tax reduction. But there's no need to pay for this service.

“In most counties, you can simply call or write your assessor's office or download a form from its Web site and mail it in. It helps to provide recent sales prices for comparable homes in your neighborhood, but it's not necessary. The assessor's office will be looking at its own comps. If the homeowner and assessor cannot agree on a value through this informal process, the homeowner can file a formal appeal with the county's assessment appeals board.”

Assessors amenable to lowering home values [SFGate]
Residential Property Assessment Appeals (pdf) []

Posted by socketadmin at 6:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

March 13, 2008

Another Way To Virtually Explore A New Neighborhood:

Golden Gate Bridge via MapJack

From a plugged-in tipster: “Great new way to see SF neighborhoods - just enter an address and take it for a spin.” showcases a new level of mapping technology. What others have done with NASA budgets and Star Wars-like equipment, we've done on a shoestring budget, along with a few trips to Radio Shack. Specifically, we developed an array of proprietary electronics, hardware and software tools that enable us to capture an entire city’s streets with relative ease and excellent image quality.
Our coverage area doesn’t stop street-side, we also include walking areas such as Parks, Universities and famous walking streets.

And while it’s actually not particularly new, we’ll agree that it’s a great real estate resource.

MapJack []

Posted by socketadmin at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (18) | (email story)

February 7, 2008

The 200 (Out Of 1,944) Golden Conversion Tickets Have Been Drawn

The 200 winners in San Francisco’s 2008 condo conversion lottery have been drawn. 1,744 units have lost (and will likely roll into next year’s pool). And the redesigned SFgov website remains a good starting point for those wondering about the whole shebang.

UPDATE: The protest over the rules to which a few readers refer.

Condominium Lottery 2008 Winner List (pdf) [Department of Public Works]
Condo Conversion in San Francisco [SFgov]
TIC owners decry S.F. condo conversion rules [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:36 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

January 31, 2008

Redfin Rolls Out A Few New Features Including Listing Data Downloads

Redfin Screen Shot: Download Search Results

A few new features were rolled out on Redfin early this morning. The one that almost had us at hello: the ability to download basic listing data for up to 500 properties at a time.

As far as we're concerned it’s a step in the right direction (in terms of freeing the data and enabling custom analyses). And if/when they add a few additional fields to the download (such as sales, pricing, and permit histories), we’ll readily drop our “almost.”

A Safari into Freakish Depth [Redfin Blog]

Full Disclosure: Redfin is a sponsor of SocketSite but provided no compensation for this post.

Posted by socketadmin at 2:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

December 11, 2007

Current Foreclosure Activity In San Francisco As Mapped By Trulia

San Francisco Foreclosure Activity: 12-11-07

A plugged-in reader notes that Trulia has started mapping foreclosure activity in San Francisco as reported by RealtyTrac (which not only includes bank-owned properties but notices of default and scheduled sales as well). And while we are suckers for a good map (or graphic), we will note that the depth of Trulia’s property specific information suffers from the same weaknesses as the Yahoo Foreclosure Center.

That being said, Trulia currently maps 215 properties in San Francisco in some stage of foreclosure (mostly notices of default). The majority are concentrated in District 10 (which shouldn't catch anybody by surprise). And we will be tracking how that number (and concentration) changes over time.

[Full Disclosure: Trulia currently advertises in the SocketSite Marketplace (but played no part in prompting this post).]

Bay Area “Notices Of Default” Heading North? (So To Speak) [SocketSite]
Yahoo Unveils Underwhelming Foreclosure Center [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:35 AM | Permalink | Comments (23) | (email story)

September 25, 2007

They're Betting Against Us (San Francisco) On The CME

S&P/Case-Shiller Index: CME Futures 9/24/07 (

It was a little over a year ago (May 2006) that housing futures based on the S&P/Case-Shiller index for ten Major Metropolitan Areas (as well as a ten city composite) began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). And it was last week that the market was expanded to include contracts of up to five years in duration.

A few important things to keep in mind: liquidity and open interest in the CME housing markets are painfully low; the “San Francisco” index includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, Contra Costa, and Alameda counties; and the index is based on changes of single-family home values (and not condos). That being said, the market does represent real traders betting real money on movements in the local housing market.

And what say the traders about the San Francisco MSA? Well, as of today traders on the CME are betting home values in the San Francisco will drop almost 7% over the next year; 14% over the next two; and a total of 24% over the next four (down roughly 7% a year). And that’s the second to worst four-year performance of any of the ten markets (with traders betting that Miami will drop 25%).

Again, it’s a thinly traded market with significant bid/ask spreads (especially on the longer duration contracts), and it’s not specific to “San Francisco” county. But these are real dollars at work. It is another data point worth watching (if not for magnitude, then at least for direction). And yes, we'll keep you plugged-in.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Housing [CME]
CME Group Extends Offerings of S&P/Case-Shiller Housing Contracts [CME]
June S&P/Case-Shiller Index: San Francisco MSA Mimics U.S. Decline [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (34) | (email story)

July 19, 2007

SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (CII): Q3 2007 (SF)

SocketSite's San Francisco Complete Inventory Index (Cii): Q3 2007

Once again, if you’re truly plugged-in you’re already familiar with SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii) for San Francisco. But if you're not:

The goal of the Cii (pronounced “see”; we’re hoping Nintendo views it as flattery) is to paint a complete picture of housing inventory and new development in San Francisco; listed, unlisted, pipeline, and potential. In fact, we believe it represents a fundamental shift from the abstract to the tangible with regard to what’s in the works throughout San Francisco.

We’re now tracking the size, status, probability, and available inventory for nearly 200 new developments throughout San Francisco (20,000+ condominiums in total). And we’re keeping tabs on another 15,000+ “net new housing units” (including rental units) that are either proposed or on the drawing boards. All told, it's a potential inventory of 35,000+ housing units (i.e., the majority of San Francisco’s overall housing pipeline).

As it stands, in addition to the roughly 600 San Francisco condominiums (and 500 single family homes) that are listed and available for sale on the San Francisco MLS, we estimate that there are approximately 225 new condominiums that are not listed, but are currently available for purchase and occupancy. These condos include unlisted inventory in buildings ranging in size from 310 Townsend to The Palms.

We also estimate that there are currently an additional 1,150 condominiums that are actively competing for the attention of buyers and accepting non-refundable deposits in sales offices throughout San Francisco (examples include The Infinity, The Potrero, and The Hayes). And within the next six months, we expect to see an additional 1,000 condominiums begin marketing, accepting deposits, and competing for sales as well (think The Millennium, SF BLU, and Esprit Park).

Looking forward to 2008 we see an additional 2,000 new condominiums that are likely to start marketing/selling in the first half of the year (or relatively soon thereafter). And another 1,600+ that have a shot of making it to market in the second half of 2008. At the same time, keep in mind that at least 1,000 units have fallen out of the pipeline over the past six months (think 250 Brannan or Rincon Towers).

Beyond that (and for building by building updates) you’ll just have to keep plugging in.

SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii) [SocketSite]
310 Townsend: Two New Listings, (At Least) One New Price [SocketSite]
The Palms: Financing Incentives And Inventory Update [SocketSite]
An Incomplete History Of Prices At The Infinity [SocketSite]
The Potrero: South Building Sales (And Incentives) This Weekend [SocketSite]
The Hayes (55 Page): A Plugged In Buyer’s Facts (And Opinion) [SocketSite]
Millennium Tower: Sales Timeline, Additional Details And Renderings [SocketSite]
631 Folsom: Recently Christened “SF BLŪ” (And Down To 108 Units) [SocketSite]
Esprit Park (900 Minnesota): The Website (Sales Office This Summer) [SocketSite]
An Ode To Offices Or A Rethinking Of Residential? [SocketSite]
Rincon Towers: From Apartments, To Condos, To Apartments [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (15) | (email story)

July 6, 2007

Payday Loans For Property Owners?

We’re not sure if it was the matter of fact first two sentences that caught our attention (“Bill and Elaine Nolan paid top dollar when they bought their Tiburon house a few years ago at the height of real estate frenzy. Now, of course, the market is cooling rapidly.”) or simply the concept of “equity co-share/co-investment.” In either case, the Chronicle’s piece on Rex & Co. is worth a read (and perhaps some discussion).

A new way to tap equity without going into debt [SFGate]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

May 22, 2007

75 Miraloma: Not A Lot Of Depth (Although Wide And Tall)

75 Miraloma (Image Source:

According to a “plugged-in” reader’s comment, 75 Miraloma (another new construction home “bordering St. Francis Wood”) first hit the market in late 2004 with a list price of around $4,000,000.

Turned into a rental when it failed to sell, the property retuned to the market four months ago with a list price of $2,285,000. Four days ago, the price was dropped another $90,000 (3.9%). And while we haven’t been inside, as best we can tell there’s not a lot of depth to the property (although it does appear to be wide and tall).

∙ Listing: 75 Miraloma (4/3.5) - $2,195,000 []
The SocketSite Scoop On “Solaria” (166 Yerba Buena Ave) [SocketSite]
The Scoop On 168 Yerba Buena Avenue (And St. Francis Court) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (21) | (email story)

April 13, 2007

My Rent Is Too High, My Rent Is Too Low, My Rent Is Just Right


We can’t vouch for its accuracy, but as a “plugged-in” reader notes, might help shed some light on the question of what currently constitutes market rate rents. Potential landlords and junior analysts rejoice.

And as far as annual increases go (again, for what constitutes market rate), we’ve heard expectations of around 10% over the next couple of years in San Francisco. But that’s just one industry forecast.

UPDATE (4/14): If a couple of “plugged-in” reader’s suspicions are correct, the majority of data points used by rentometer are self-reported by previous users (rather than a mash-up of current listings). And if that's the case, then while rentometer might provide a fair measure of what people are currently paying in a particular area of San Francisco it’s not such a great measure of what actually constitutes a market rate rent (on account of rent control).

To Rent Or To Buy, That Is The Question (That Only You Can Answer) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 8:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (7) | (email story)

April 12, 2007

Rent Control In San Francisco: The Real Rules

In general, apartment buildings constructed before June 14, 1979; illegal units (such as in-law apartments); and single family homes and condos with tenants that moved in prior to 01/01/96 are fully covered by rent control which limits annual rent increases (1.5% from 3/1/07 to 3/28/08) and requires one of 14 “just causes” for an eviction. Tenants of single family homes and condos who moved in on or after 01/01/96 are only afforded the eviction protection. Again, in general.

Complete “unofficial” rules and regulations are available via the City of San Francisco’s Rent Board while the San Francisco Tenants Union maintains a relatively comprehensive overview.

City of San Francisco: The Rent Board [SFGov]
San Francisco Tenants Union: Rent Control in San Francisco [SFTU]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

April 6, 2007

Friday Focus: San Francisco’s Mayor's Office of Housing

San Francisco's Mayor's Office of Housing

Yesterday we featured the big and the bold (and perhaps the badass). Today, we head in a different direction sparked by some great comments, questions, and experiences (both first and second hand) regarding programs offered through San Francisco's Mayor's Office of Housing. Feel free to jump on an existing thread, or start anew right here.

And for the record, while we're on board with the stated goals of San Francisco's BMR program, we find the execution inefficient and prone to gamesmanship (from all parties involved). But there’s more to the Mayor’s Office of Housing than just the BMR program. And as a “plugged-in” reader writes, “I think the biggest issue is just finding out about these programs while you qualify.” Consider yourself "plugged-in."

Go Big And Go Home In Belvedere (The Tom Perkins Estate) [SocketSite]
A Little More Cake For Everyone At 2090 Vallejo [SocketSite]
Some Kind Of Monster In This Kind Of Market (2505 Divisadero) [SocketSite]
Transbay Citizens Advisory Committee Housing Presentation [SocketSite]
Mayor's Office of Housing [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

Yahoo Unveils Underwhelming Foreclosure Center

Yahoo Foreclosure Center: Example Listing

Earlier this week Yahoo unveiled its online “Foreclosure Center.” Or more perhaps more accurately, a marketing center for RealtyTrac (and other Yahoo partners), a subscription to which is required in order to access any detailed property information.

Based on a search in the Yahoo Foreclosure Center we learn that there is a five bedroom, three bath house somewhere on Marina Boulevard that’s headed for public auction at some point with an “estimated bid amount [of] $2353259.” That's compared to a search on PropertyShark which reveals that the property is located at 755 Marina Boulevard, it’s due to be auctioned on 4/11/07 at 2:00PM (on the steps of City Hall), and that $2,353,259 is actually the unpaid balance. Oh, and PropertyShark also notes the contact information for both the trustor and trustee.

Of course if you’re “plugged-in” to SocketSite you also know that 755 Marina Boulevard is currently on the market for $5,597,000 and has been refinanced six times since 1999. We’re just saying.

Yahoo Foreclosure Center []
PropertyShark Launches San Francisco Foreclosure Listings [SocketSite]
The $1,500,000 Half Bath On Marina Boulevard [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 4:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

Readers Put SocketSite’s Real Estate Forums To Work


One reader gets recommendations for where to buy furniture for small spaces, another solicits thoughts about moving to the Inner Sunset , and another is still looking for insight into whether a building will survive the Bay Bridge reconstruction. And as was certain to happen, yet another discovers the polling function (above).

Where to buy furniture for small spaces [SocketSite Forums]
Moving to the Inner Sunset (from SOMA/Potrero) - thoughts? [SocketSite Forums]
Building demo at bay bridge western approach? [SocketSite Forums]
The Infinity VS The OneRincon [SocketSite Forums]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:30 AM | Permalink | (email story)

April 2, 2007

It’s Official: Welcome To SocketSite’s Real Estate Forums

SocketSite's Real Estate Forums: Screen Capture (

Looking for a rough idea of what it might cost for a down to the studs remodel in San Francisco? Or perhaps you’ve been wondering what’s happening with the condo conversion of Rincon Towers? Well, you're not alone. And thanks to the SocketSite community (and Real Estate Forums), we’re starting to accumulate answers to, and insights into, these topics and more.

The Forums are an opportunity for "plugged in" people across the Bay Area to ask and answer real estate related questions, to share or debate ideas or insights, or to simply start a discussion that's top of mind (without being "off topic" on SocketSite).

We’ll highlight a few of the Forums features and functionality early next week (such as the ability for registered readers to directly exchange private messages). In the meantime, please consider taking a moment to poke around, register a profile, and join in the discussion. Speaking of which, can anbody answer a reader’s question concerning The Infinity’s total construction budget and profit margin?

Welcome to SocketSite's Real Estate Forums. And as always, thank you for "plugging in."

General cost to remodel in San Francisco? []
Rincon Center []
SocketSite’s Real Estate Forums []
Questions about the Infinity's total budget []
Another Way To “Plug In” (And Never Be Off Topic Again) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 5:00 AM | Permalink | (email story)

February 8, 2007

The Straight Scoop On HOA Fees

While you might not be interested in The Odeon per se, you just might be interested in our readers’ insights regarding HOA fees in general. Feel free to join the thread (or start afresh right here).

The Kind Of Email We Love To Get (And An Odeon Question) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (6) | (email story)

February 5, 2007

The Kind Of Email We Love To Get (And An Odeon Question)

The Odeon: Living Area

Besides tips, this is the kind of reader email that we love to get:

[A]fter months of looking, getting initially hot about certain developments . . . and then being very thankful later on that we didn't bite, we decided to take the plunge at OdeonSF . . . .

Our plan is to stay a minimum of five years, possibly as many as ten, so, we did buy in spite of the lackluster bathrooms and the odd use of cottage style plumbing fixtures in a decidedly warm-contemporary overall design scheme (the master bath tile, I fear must stay, but the plumbing fixtures...GONE!). That aside, we're thrilled about OdeonSF, our unit, our plans for it and our future there.

As well, a huge debt of gratitude to SocketSite, for keeping us "plugged in" and truly being a valuable asset in our search and ultimate purchase.

Our pleasure, congratulations, and just don’t forget our invitation to the housewarming.

Oh, and our “plugged in” buyer also has a question: “Ads indicate that [The Odeon is] nearly sold out and we suspect that's true, but wondered if you or your faithful have any further insight.” Unfortunately, we don’t. Readers?

The Odeon (181 O’Farrell): First Impressions And Pricing [SocketSite]
New Developments: Odeon (181 O’Farrell) [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (58) | (email story)

January 26, 2007

One South Park: An Overview And Car Stacker Question

One South Park: 1-26-07 (

A tipster forwards floor plans and an overview of all 35 condos that will comprise One South Park. Pricing “will start in the low $600,000's” with condos ranging in size from 681 square feet (junior one-bedroom, one bath) to 2,699 square feet (three-bedroom plus den, three and one-half bath, expansive deck); sales are expected to begin in April (targeting July/August 2007 for “project completion”).

And while all but one condo (#111) will be offered with parking, our tipster notes that twenty (20) of the condos will feature parking via a car “stacker” (the remaining 14 condos will feature a “deeded stall”). Our tipster wonders:

What is the impact of a car stacker on the value of these places? I would love to hear from SocketSite readers who have had an experience with a car stacker. Is it more hassle than it's worth?

Great questions (for which we have no answers or experience). Readers?

310 Townsend, One South Park, And A Tipster [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (40) | (email story)

January 15, 2007

PropertyShark Update: More San Francisco Maps

Map of San Francisco coded by year built (Image source:

In November, PropertyShark added free access to San Francisco foreclosure listings. Today, PropertyShark enhances their offering of San Francisco based maps and data “mash-ups” (including Recent Sales, Year Built, and Price per Square Foot).

We’re particularly fond of “Recent Sales” in terms of trend spotting, and “Year Built” in terms of context and neighborhood development (i.e., pre-1925 in dark blue).

UPDATE (1/16): PropertyShark responds to a couple of reader questions with regard to data accuracy. Our favorite line, “…SocketSite readers seem to be ahead of the curve on the real estate frontier...” And yes, flattery will get you everywhere.

PropertyShark Launches San Francisco Foreclosure Listings [SocketSite]
PropertyShark: San Francisco Maps [PropertyShark]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

January 12, 2007

Redfin: New Maps (Virtual Earth), Areas, And More

Redfin Map Announcement

Redfin is live with a new mapping platform (Microsoft's Virtual Earth), a new legend (listings in green, viewed listings in light green, and recently sold properties in blue), and expanded Bay Area coverage (“Napa, Sonoma, Santa Cruz & more Solano”).

It’s a great complement to their recent upgrade of property listing details. And it’s a smart move to let Microsoft worry about mapping technology (Redfin’s previous technology was homegrown), and let Redfin focus on real estate.

UPDATE: According to Redfin’s press release, they plan to leverage Microsoft’s Virtual Earth “to offer bird’s-eye views of neighborhoods, driving directions, mobile telephone integration and more neighborhood information about local attractions and retail shops.” And an “online agent chat” feature is live as well.

Going Once, Going Twice, Going Three Times... [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

January 8, 2007

Going Once, Going Twice, Going Three Times...

Despite an announced “withdrawal” date of January 1, as of early this morning (1/8/07) direct public access to the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service remains active and available. Any insiders care to re-set our reader’s expectations?

In related MLS search news, Redfin has upgraded their site to display open houses (not including broker’s tours), HOA dues, and anything else they’re “allowed” to show for listings on the SFAR MLS; local brokerages continue to launch their own publicly available search sites (with varying degrees of usability/functionality); and CleanOffer continues to gain momentum with their agent sponsored search tool (which requires an agent-client relationship and “commitment” to access).

UPDATE: A “plugged in” reader gets the scoop: “With the demise of MLS Alliance (which gave MLS users in the Bay Area access to each others’ listings), public web sites are the only vehicles available for listing information to be exchanged between users of different MLSs so, until [SFAR] can find a replacement for MLS Alliance, the [public access] site probably will stay up."

The Wrong Reasons (The Right Results?) [SocketSite]
Redfin Adds HOA and More For Each Listing [Redfin Blog]
About CleanOffer []

Posted by socketadmin at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

December 18, 2006

Just Ignore The Word “Bust”

“Bust” or not, we think Fortune’s “6 strategies” are generally sound advice:

1. Lower your expectations
2. Drive a hard bargain
3. Consider renting
4. Step away from the exotic mortgage
5. Shop for a rate drop
6. Keep an eye on your equity

6 strategies to survive the real estate bust [CNNMoney]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

December 7, 2006

Zillow Adds Listings (Zlistings?)

Zillow screen shot: Listings

Three days ago we wrote, “Perhaps our real concern should be for the MLS itself. Without some innovative thinking about how to effectively open it up on the front end (i.e., reducing the cost/restrictions of adding/sharing listings), its years could be numbered. (Cue the growing number of alternative listing and non-MLS based real estate search tools.)”

And as if right on cue, last night Zillow announced that they’re joining the fray. And it’s not only real estate agents, brokers, and builders who'll have the opportunity to plant free virtual "For Sale" signs with listing details and contact information.

Zillow maps now include red flags for homes that are "For Sale," yellow flags for homes that have recently sold, and blue flags for homes that aren't actively on the market, but whose owners might entertain an offer they can’t refuse. According to Zillow:

“Make Me Move™” [Zillow's] twist on what it means to be "For Sale." Here's the concept: Think about a price that would entice you to hand over the keys to your home and move. We think it's a unique and creative way for homeowners to test the waters and gauge interest in their home, even if it’s not actually on the market. Interested home shoppers can then contact them via an e-mail "anonymizer" to get the conversation started.

While Make Me Move is novel (and sure to drive traffic), we have to wonder how much time and energy serious buyers will invest engaging owners who are perceived to be simply “testing the waters” and haven’t committed themselves to parting with their homes (no matter the price).

We expect to see growing pains with regard to the quality and quantity of listings, and perhaps some seller apprehension with regard to the juxtaposition of list prices and “zestimates.” And in terms of agent/broker adoption, only time will tell if Zillow’s offerings are embraced as complimentary (additional distribution) or shunned as competitive (aiding disintermediation).

Regardless, it's a shot across the bow of the MLS. And it's another catalyst for industry innovation.

The Wrong Reasons (The Right Results?) [SocketSite]
We're Opening It Up! [Zillow Blog]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (28) | (email story)

December 4, 2006

The Wrong Reasons (The Right Results?)

San Francisco Multiple Listing Service

Two months ago, a tipster let us – and our “plugged in” readers – know that the San Francisco Multiple Listing Service (San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS) would be eliminating direct public access to listings “sometime soon.” That time is now four weeks away (January 1, 2007).

And while we might not agree with the primary motive of the SFAR (to establish individual brokerages/agents as a consumers first point of contact), we’re not overly concerned with the action. Innovative brokerages will offer publicly available MLS search tools which far exceed the features, functionality and usability of the current SFAR MLS tools. In fact, they already do. And they're just going to get better. (More on this soon)

Perhaps our real concern should be for the MLS itself. Without some innovative thinking about how to effectively open it up on the front end (i.e., reducing the cost/restrictions of adding/sharing listings), its years could be numbered. (Cue the growing number of alternative listing and non-MLS based real estate search tools.)

Sorry NAR, But No [SocketSite]
San Francisco Multiple Listing Service []

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (13) | (email story)

It’s Still Better Than Death

A friendly reminder that property taxes are due by December 11th this year (normally the 10th, but extended as the 10th falls on a weekend). And as Cece Blase points out in the "Buzz", extreme procrastinators can pay online (“payments received by 11:59pm on December 11, 2006 will be considered on time”). Convenience fees apply.

Keep in mind that you can also use the SFGov site to check the assessed value and special assessments for any property in San Francisco.

San Francisco: Property Tax Information & Payment [SFGov]
Cece Blase: SF Real Estate Buzz []

Posted by socketadmin at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

November 16, 2006

PropertyShark Launches San Francisco Foreclosure Listings

PropertyShark Map: 311 Marina Boulevard

Forget that rogue sea lion, it’s the shark that captures all of our attention today. PropertyShark added free foreclosure listings for San Francisco to its site this afternoon (fourteen currently listed).

For example, according to PropertyShark, 311 Marina Blvd last changed hands on 6/2/2004 for $2,350,000 and the property was refinanced on 6/14/2005 using two variable rate loans (one for $1,950,000 and another for $530,000). The property is currently in foreclosure (with an estimated unpaid balance of $327,573.97) and will be auctioned off on 11/27/2006 at City Hall.

At the other end of the spectrum is 3018 Casto Street which was purchased on 11/09/2005 with a $569,000 variable rate mortgage. A year later, the current unpaid balance on the loan is now $609,014.48 and the property is scheduled to be auctioned off on 12/04/2006 (once again, at City Hall).

If you’re not familiar with PropertyShark you’ll probably be a bit shocked by the depth and breadth of information that’s available for the vast majority of residential and commercial properties in San Francisco (not just foreclosures). Also added to the PropertyShark site today, a number of San Francisco property maps including land use and property outlines.

Rogue sea lion in S.F. menaces swimmers [SFGate]
Circling The Waters [SocketSite]
PropertyShark: San Francisco Foreclosures []
PropertyShark: San Francisco Maps []

Posted by socketadmin at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (14) | (email story)

November 1, 2006

A Better Model Than BMR?

An interesting article on an alternative home financing organization:

Ameen Housing Cooperative, founded in 1986, has helped 22 families buy homes in Silicon Valley and one family buy in Sacramento through a rent-to-own plan that avoids interest but still allows the cooperative to make a profit, in keeping with Quranic law.

A key distinction with Ameen's form of finance is that, unlike a traditional mortgage company, the cooperative shares risk with the homeowner. If a home's value increases, they both profit. But if the home loses value, they both take a loss.

And while Ameen addresses interest payments versus affordability, we can’t help but wonder if a similarly structured program wouldn’t make more sense, and be more efficient, than the city’s current “Below Market Rate” (BMR) program.

Islamic co-ops create happy homecomings [SFGate]
BMR Guidelines (San Francisco) []

Posted by socketadmin at 9:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | (email story)

September 26, 2006

SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii)

SocketSite Complete Inventory Index (Cii): 9/26/06 (

If you’re a regular reader, you probably know that we always include the following caveat on our San Francisco Inventory Updates: “Not including unlisted inventory.” Well, that’s about to change.

Over the better part of the past year we’ve been building a database on over 60 new developments ranging in size from 5 to 600 condominiums (6,000+ units in total). We track size, status, pricing, sales, and available inventory. And today, we’re finally ready to publish the beta version of our Complete Inventory Index (Cii).

The goal of the Cii (pronounced “see”; we’re hoping Nintendo views it as flattery) is to paint a complete picture of housing inventory and new development in San Francisco; listed, unlisted, pipeline, and potential. In fact, we believe it represents a fundamental shift from the abstract to the tangible with regard to what’s in the works throughout San Francisco.

For example, we estimate there are currently at least 275 condominiums that are not listed on the MLS, but are available for purchase and occupancy. These condos include unlisted inventory in buildings ranging in size from Glassworks to The Beacon. And based on recent sales activity, represent about a month’s worth of condominium inventory.

We also estimate that by the end of this month, there will be at least 750 condos actively competing for the attention of buyers and accepting non-refundable deposits in sales offices throughout San Francisco (examples include Broderick Place, The Infinity, and Arterra). For perspective, that’s effectively another two to three months of inventory. And by the end of the year, we expect that number to nearly triple as buildings like the Heritage on Fillmore, 888 Seventh, and The Hayes begin accepting deposits.

Beyond that, we’re tracking another 500+ condos that are under construction, nearly 3,000 that are in the works, approved or entitled; and a growing list of other large projects that are on the drawing boards. We’ll continue to refine (and build) our database and methodologies (hence the “beta” tag) in order to keep you “plugged in.”

And yes, we do plan to invest in some better charting tools…

UPDATE (9/27/06): Please keep in mind that our “pipeline” only includes developments which we consider to have a relatively high probably of breaking ground and competing for buyers in the not too distant future. Our numbers pale in comparison to the 25,000+ “net new housing units” that are considered to be in the overall housing pipeline for San Francisco. And last year alone, over 300 projects (representing well over 6,000 units) were filed with the planning department.

The Glassworks (207 King Street) [SocketSite]
A Sales Office Shakeup At The Beacon? [SocketSite]
Broderick Place: 83% Sold [SocketSite]
The Infinity: A Study In Contrast [SocketSite]
Arterra First Release: September 30 [SocketSite]
The Heritage On Fillmore (1300 Fillmore) [SocketSite]
888 Seventh Street (f.k.a. 601 King) [SocketSite]
The Hayes "Special" Open House (And Signature Cocktail) [SocketSite]
Five Years Late (And One “N” Short) [SocketSite]
The Californian on Rincon Hill: 375 Fremont St. [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (32) | (email story)

September 25, 2006

SocketSite’s San Francisco Inventory Update: 9/24/06

San Francisco Housing Inventory

It has been three weeks since Labor Day and new listings of single family homes, condos, and TICs continue to outpace sales in San Francisco (although the gap has narrowed). Over the past week, roughly 230 new listings hit the MLS and the inventory of Active listed units in San Francisco increased about 2.2%. The percentage of reduced listings is holding relatively steady at ~19%.

Based on last months sales, we’re looking at about 2.5 months of listed inventory. And as always, these figures only take into account Active listed inventory (but that’s all about to change). Be sure to “plug in” tomorrow for the launch of SocketSite’s Complete Inventory Index (Cii).

SocketSite’s San Francisco Inventory Update: 9/05/06 [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (20) | (email story)

September 22, 2006

Our Point Exactly

Three 'New Prices' in 94114

We have a funny feeling that “meanboy” was aiming for sarcasm with his “Quite a reduction” remark (and three comments) over on our “The Cost Coming Down?" post. Regardless, he illustrates one of our points from yesterday quite well.

965 Elizabeth was on the market for 74 days at $1,395,000 before being reduced to $1,195,000. According to “meanboy” it sold for $1,220,000. MLS statistics will record this property as having sold for 102% of list. More accurately, it sold for 87.5% of the original list price.

893 Elizabeth was on the market for 100 days at $1,495,000 before being reduced to $1,395,000. At some point it was reduced to $1,349,000 and then finally sold for $1,350,000. MLS statistics will record this property as having sold for 100% of list. More accurately, it sold for 90.3% of the original list price.

3777 22nd Street was on the market for 33 days at $1,650,000 before being reduced to $1,545,000. According to “meanboy” it sold for $1,550,000. MLS statistics will record this property as having sold for 100% of list. More accurately, it sold for 94% of the original list price.

We have no doubt that all three of these properties provided fantastic returns for their most recent sellers. But that’s not our point. According to the MLS, and any marketing materials, these three Noe Valley properties sold for an average of 1% OVER ASKING! More accurately, they sold for an average of 9.4% under their original asking prices.

It’s tough to set expectations for sellers, inform purchase decisions for buyers, and paint “a true picture” of the market without accurate data. At least that’s our philosophy. And that’s our point.

The Cost Coming Down? [SocketSite]
Sorry NAR, But No [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:13 AM | Permalink | Comments (17) | (email story)

September 11, 2006

The Walk-Through Calls It Quits

The New York Times real estate blog (“The Walk-Through”) officially called it quits this afternoon: “As you may have noticed, The Walk-Through has been awfully quiet lately. It had a good run, but we’ve decided to turn our focus to other parts of our real estate pages.” In related news, the number of unique visitors “plugging in” to SocketSite continues to grow (up about 30% last month).

In Closing [The Walk-Through]

Posted by socketadmin at 2:50 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

September 7, 2006

Think Olivia Might Be Interested?

1540 Newhall Street

The asking price for 1540 Newhall was recently reduced by $200,000 (12.6%). At 5,600 square feet it’s a lot of house for the money ($1,390,000), but it’s also a lot of money for the neighborhood. Then again, it is a “castle”…

∙ Listing: 1540 Newhall Street (4/2.5) - $1,390,000 [MLS]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (5) | (email story)

August 31, 2006

Yahoo! Real Estate Is Live

Yahoo! Real Estate

As you might have already heard, Yahoo! Real Estate is live. And while we haven’t had a chance to play around with it too much, we are wondering why Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s new Pacific Heights mansion is now located in Russian Hill. Or perhaps more importantly (especially to the Senator), why Yahoo! Real Estate lists it as still being on the market. Not exactly a great first impression.

Yahoo! Real Estate [Yahoo!]
Bathroom (And Market) Of The Rich And Famous [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

August 30, 2006

Got (Enough) Insurance?

The SFHomeBlog points out a relevant RealEstateJournal article concerning “the downside of the housing boom: Many homeowners are now significantly underinsured.”

...people who haven't updated their insurance policies in a few years may now be underestimating what it would cost to rebuild their homes, particularly in high-priced markets.

One of the biggest shifts by insurers in recent years has been the virtual disappearance of "guaranteed replacement cost" coverage, which promised to rebuild a home exactly the way it was, no matter the cost. Now, most standard policies provide only "extended replacement cost," which offers up to 20% or so more than the face value of the policy if extraordinary events push up rebuilding costs.

Insurance experts say many homeowners haven't grasped this shift, and may be woefully underinsured as a result.

For insurance purposes, the value of a house is based mostly on the rebuilding costs in a particular area, not on its market value. The policy isn't meant to include the value of the land underneath, which is why some homes, especially in desirable neighborhoods where land is pricey, need less insurance than the amount they would fetch in a resale.

And no, we’re not suddenly selling insurance.

Surge in Home Prices Leaves Homeowners Underinsured [RealEstateJournal] [SFHomeBlog]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

July 31, 2006

Subterfuge at 301 Bryant?

301 Bryant

Four days ago the original listing for 301 Bryant #101 (and its history of price reductions) was withdrawn from the MLS and replaced with a new listing at an even lower price (reduced another $39,000 and now “priced to sell!!”). Not to be outdone, #704 (which has been reduced four times) followed suit and was re-listed yesterday under a reduction free MLS number.

A friendly reminder that if either of these condos sell for even a dollar over their current listing prices they’ll be recorded as “Sold for Over Asking!” and not “Sold for 10% under (original) Asking!”

Three In 301 Bryant [SocketSite]
∙ Listing: 301 Bryant Street #101 (2/2) - $959,000 [Pacific Union]
∙ Listing: 301 Bryant Street #704 (2/2) - $925,000 [Coldwell Banker]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

July 26, 2006

ZMobile: Zestimates By Email

SocketSite has the inside scoop on getting "Zestimates" via email (Zillow Mobile).

Email (or text message) and include a property’s address, city, state (or zip code) in either the subject line or body of the email/text. Within seconds you’ll get a return email that includes a Zestimate, the number of beds/baths, total square feet, and date of construction for the property. (We’re guessing SMS access is right around the corner Arjun knows better.)

That’s right, you’ll no longer have to wait until you get home to Zillow your dinner party host (or date). And if you haven’t already heard, Zillow is also alpha testing an open API that will allow third-party websites to offer Zillow’s functionality seamlessly on their site.

Zillow Labs: Zillow Mobile [Zillow]
Zillow's Open API [Zillow Blog]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (4) | (email story)

July 19, 2006

Fun With Building Permits (And Complaints)

2918-2924 Pine Permits (and Complaints)

Our thanks to “jimmy” for pointing out San Francisco’s Online Permit and Complaint Tracking system. Pulling permits can help you figure out what’s really going on with that “renovation” down the street, the apartment building in which you live, or that home that you’ve got your eye on. Pulling complaints? That's just good clean fun. And please don't blame us if you become obsessed with checking out house after house (but feel free to blame jimmy).

Think Escher (Not Eichler): Comments [SocketSite]
Department of Building Inspection: Online Permit and Complaint Tracking [SFGov]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | (email story)

June 9, 2006

QuickLinks: Tips For Some Buyers And All Sellers

Tips for Avoiding Land Mines In New-Home Contracts [RealEstateJournal]
Here are just a few of the many clauses and codicils to be wary in the fine print of builder contracts.

Home Improvements to Avoid When Selling Your House [RealEstateJournal]
Avoid these seven deadly sins of remodeling if you want an edge over other home sellers in an iffy market.

Any others to share?

Posted by socketadmin at 12:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

May 31, 2006

Redfin is Coming Here

Four months ago we let you know that Redfin was coming to San Francisco. Today, ReyEstate announced that they’re here (albeit a bit confused).

QuickLinks: Power To The People [SocketSite]
So Much For Doing Your Homework [ReyEstate]

Posted by socketadmin at 7:58 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

May 22, 2006

Circling The Waters


PropertyShark is now swimming in the Bay Area. For those who are unfamiliar, PropertyShark provides property reports, comparable sales data, and listings (through a relationship with Trulia); aims to answer the following questions: “How much is it worth?”, “Who owns it?”, and “How much did they pay for it?”; and enables a whole new level of real estate voyeurism (names and addresses of owners and the ability to search for their phone numbers).

Don't forget that this past February the founder of PropertyShark released the following statement, “. . . in my opinion, computer-based automated valuations, such as those you will likely see at Zillow, are more likely to be wrong than right. Every property is an illiquid, unique asset, and a computer program cannot accurately predict the price it will fetch on the market," (so now about that "How much is it worth?" question...). And you’ve got to love the fourth line of the disclaimer attached to each of their reports: “Do not rely on this report to support investment decisions.

Property Shark San Francisco [PropertyShark]
QuickLinks: Power To The People [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

May 18, 2006

Read It Today (Because Tomorrow You Pay)

Columnist Bob Bruss offers up “10 key questions smart condo buyers should ask (but condo sellers hope their buyers don't ask)”:

1. What is the financial condition of the homeowner's association (HOA)? 2. What is the percentage of renters in the complex? 3. Is the condo complex professionally managed? 4. How do the monthly fees compare with similar nearby condo complexes and what services are included? 5. Has your condo seller prepared a defect disclosure report? 6. Has the condo unit been professionally inspected? 7. How good is the soundproofing? 8. Has the seller complied with applicable statutes? 9. Are there any special contracts or long-term leases affecting the condo complex? 10. Are there any negative influences to consider?

If you’re interested, you might want to read the full column today (free access at Inman through the end of the day and then by subscription only).

And while we’re currently working on a piece concerning the percentage of renters in a building (#2), we would like to believe that all of our readers already know the importance (and impact) of soundproofing (#7). [Note: there are now 5 units for sale in the 22-unit Midtown at 1452 Bush].

10 questions to ensure good condo purchase [Inman News - $]
Eighteen Percent Of (The) Midtown For Sale [SocketSite]

Posted by socketadmin at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

May 12, 2006

It's Time To Take Responsibility

June Fletcher, a staff reported at the Wall Street Journal, tackles the question, ‘Why is it so hard to get good data on housing-market prices?’ and offers up some great advice. Our favorite paragraph:

No statistic, no Web site and no Realtor can compare with your personal sleuthing, because there are so many intangibles that don't show up in the data. And ultimately, only one buyer and one seller can determine what any house is worth.

Okay, so sometimes it's ten buyers and one seller, but that’s quickly becoming the exception rather than the rule.

Navigating the Web to Find Reliable Housing-Market Data [RealEstateJournal]

Posted by socketadmin at 6:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

April 13, 2006

Much Ado About Nothing Really New (Again)

Last December, Microsoft unveiled Windows Live Local powered by Virtual Earth, which “integrates local search, mapping, driving directions and yellow pages with a bird's-eye view of major U.S. cities.” It’s a great tool, and we’ve used it on numerous occasions (see “Those Damn Neighbors” or “Are Ikkyu’s Days Numbered?”).

Today, Zillow launched “Bird’s Eye View Images!” (powered by Microsoft’s Virtual Earth). A nice addition, but nothing really new or proprietary. We’ve got to hand it to these guys, if nothing else, they’re marketing geniuses.

Microsoft offers a new angle on maps [CNET]
Those Damn Neighbors [SocketSite]
Ikkyu’s Days Numbered? [SocketSite]
That Zillow 'zestimate' isn't worth losing any zzz's over [LA Times]
It's called, getting "Zillowed!" [ReyEstate]

Posted by socketadmin at 3:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

April 6, 2006

Be Your Own Agent (And Get Paid Even Better)

BuySide Realty

BuySide Realty quietly launched in California this week under the tag line, “Where it Pays To Find Your Own Home”. The basic premise: you do the research, find the home, and determine what you want to offer while BuySide writes and manages the offer, and then guides you through the closing process should your offer be accepted. At closing, or within 14 days, the buyer receives 75% of the commission offered to the buyer’s agent (i.e. BuySide).

BuySide also offers online property search tools, free phone access to non-commissioned licensed agents (Realtors in fact), and mortgage pre-approvals (through a relationship with Chase).

Funny, just the other day we recieved the following note from a reader, “It kills me [some buyer's agents are] getting 3% for doing nothing except meet with us once or twice and than sign their name to the contract---it's been over almost two months since we heard from [our agent]. We did all the leg work and appointment making ourselves. It's a complete shame that there are a few that ruin it all for the rest.” Not to worry, the days of these few are numbered. (And perhaps we should actually thank them.)

And what’s really ironic? The 25/75 commission split is actually more generous than what the majority of buy side agents would get from their own brokerage (typically split 50/50).

Posted by socketadmin at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (3) | (email story)

April 5, 2006

Google Mashes Themselves?

Google Real Estate

As noted on ReyEstate, Google has started to release real estate specific tools for mining Google Base listings. Currently not enough content (i.e. listings) to make it very useful at the moment, but as the database expands, could this one day become the ultimate “Google mashup” in the real estate arena?

Google Enters the Real Estate Search Game! [ReyEstate]
Google Real Estate [Google]
Google Real Estate: Who gets hurt? [Marketwatch]

Posted by socketadmin at 1:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | (email story)

April 4, 2006

Zillow Is A Lot Catchier

San Francisco Residential Infill Map

While they might not be making any more land, according to the Pilot California Infill Parcel Locator (doesn’t quite roll off the toungue like Zillow, now does it?), there are at least 9550 potential residential infill parcels in San Francisco alone. “Such parcels are located in areas that have already been urbanized, but the sites are either completely vacant or have structures assessed at extremely low valuations, relative to the land itself.”

And while not nearly as fun as finding out what your boss’s house is worth, there’s nothing quite like knowing your frenemie's house is considered a prime candidate for infill.

California Infill Parcel Locator []

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March 24, 2006

Reader Question: What’s Really Going On? (Part I)

We recently received the following question from a reader:

“Several large [SOMA] condo complexes are in phase I, II etc and claim rates of 50% - 80% sold after just a few months. Everything else in the area looks like a standstill in my opinion. What is really going on?

In light of all the new San Francisco developments (and recent Commerce Report) we were inclined to go searching for an answer. One of our first stops, SOMA Realtor® Damion Matthews:

"Presumably the emailer is referring to The Watermark, The Beacon and The Palms, as they are the only "large" complexes in the area (if we define that as a building with, say, over 100 units). But The Beacon has been selling for a year, the Watermark for about 7 months, and The Palms for 2 months. While sales appear to have been good at all three developments, I put little weight in the claims that a sales agent makes about sales in his or her development. It's not that they lie, but they do spin. They want to make it look like they're selling out really fast. No surprise there. But the fact of the matter is that it's difficult for someone outside of the sales office to really know what the state of a project's inventory is. Sure, they can claim they're 80% sold out... but perhaps the developer has only released a third of its inventory. Those sort of details are not handed out freely. [Editors note: unless you read SocketSite…]

As for the re-sale market in South Beach, inventory and sales levels are not drastically different than a year ago. The big change is that it does take longer for the average condo or loft to sell. That's for a number of reasons: there's more inventory in South Beach now than there was last year (because of the new developments), prices are higher than last year, the best units in the area tend to not be for sale, and of course people are cautious about the future of the market. However, the number of units sold this year has exceeded last year's numbers, despite those problems.

Are re-sales in South Beach at a standstill? I don't see that. It's true that units with bad views take a long time to sell, but conversely those units with great views still sell quickly, and at a high price. Futhermore, people who buy those condos with great views like them and stay in them!"

Here is where we paraphrase: 1. Don’t believe everything you read (unless it’s on SocketSite…), 2. Premium properties tend to stay in demand (and hold value), and 3. Get ready for what we’re going to call a real estate “flight to quality (more on this next week).

Thanks Damion!

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March 22, 2006

Central What Way?

Central Subway Map

San Francisco CITYSCAPE has always been one of our favorite local sites - great little nuggets, tight community, and (mostly) intelligent discussions. Case in point: discussion of San Francisco's on-again, off-again Central Subway.

Plus, we can’t resist linking to posts that get us started singing AC/DC tunes…

High ... Subway to Hell [SF CITYSCAPE]
Central Subway: Overview [SF Muni]

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March 14, 2006

Finding A Contractor

According to the folks at Charles and Hudson, a San Francisco version of the Franklin Report (“surveying all of your friends and neighbors to find the best home services – and to help you avoid the worst!”) is coming soon. Also mentioned, Angie’s List.

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March 3, 2006

QuickLinks: Real Estate Acronyms (and Euphemisms)

Remember ‘Adorable’ Really Says It All? Well, the Matrix kicks off the weekend with a plethora of resources to help one understand all the real estate lingo, acronyms, abbreviations, and euphemisms. And we ‘SC’ (shamelessly copy).

Real Estate Lingo, Jargon and Acronyms Are A PITA [Matrix]
How to read a home listing [LendingTree]
Real Estate Acronyms [Acronym Guide]
A Short Guide to Real Estate Lingo and Acronyms [Realtor]

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February 22, 2006

Reader’s Tip: MLS DOM

A reader “tips” us off to a trick for finding a listing's DOM on the MLS:

"If you want to see the date a home goes on the market. Do a search for open houses, it will give the "DOM" days on market. That does not help if they take it off and then put it back on though. I was looking the other day and there is one on there for over 220 days."

Obviously not perfect, but a nice little trick. For example, condo #504 in the Marquee (a building we love) is having an open house on this weekend, has been on the market for 56 days, and is touting “1/2 yr of FREE HOA DUES!”.

∙ Listing: 151 Alice B. Toklas Pl #504 - $669,000 [SF MLS]

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February 8, 2006

QuickLinks: Power To The People

A busy week for web based real estate tools:
PropertyShark Announces [PrimeZone]
Zillow Launches []
Redfin’s Coming [Seattle Times]

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January 5, 2006

Slicing Up San Francisco

RentSlicer San Francisco

Billed as “Rental Property Statistics for the San Francisco Bay Area,” RentSlicer is the latest Craigslist/GoogleMaps mash-up to enter the market. They’re still working out the kinks (no Hayes Valley last time we checked) and seeding the data for monthly pricing graphs (nonexistent at this point), but otherwise a worthwhile tool.

RentSlicer Launches San Francisco [RentSlicer]

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October 3, 2005

First Housing Maps Now Trulia

Another housing “innovation” is upon us with Trulia Real Estate Search. Think MLS meets Google Maps meets your local agent's site.

Trulia is an independent and unbiased residential real estate search engine that gives you free and open access to real estate information.

Trulia helps you search homes for sale and other residential real estate property information directly from hundreds of thousands of real estate Web sites. As an independent information source, Trulia offers you tools and unbiased information to compare properties and locations.

For instance, according to Trulia, that property that we’ve been keeping our eye on at 300 Sea Cliff Avenue is priced at $2,640 per square foot (versus a local average of $551) and has been on the market for well over two years (versus a neighborhood average of 64 days). We're sticking with our original advice and "suggest waiting another year or two to see if they'll knock a little something off the asking."

SF MLS Quietly Removes Listing Dates [SocketSite]

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September 9, 2005

Not Such Trivial Knowledge

Know the difference between a Benjamin Moore Mulberry, Behr Plum Jam, and Glidden Valhalla? What about the difference between a Queen Anne Victorian, Gothic Revival, and a San Francisco Stick? Neither did we until readers tipped us to these two sites:

Colorcharts - billed as the “online library of manufacturer’s standard [paint] colors,” this site is ridiculously useful, informative, and addictive (perhaps even more so than Google Earth...).

Architectural Styles – San Francisco real estate agent Sharon Kramlich provides a fantastic guide to San Francisco’s numerous architectural styles (and some history).

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July 6, 2005

Yahoo! Follows HousingMaps Lead

Following in the steps of upstart HousingMaps, Yahoo! recently launched their own mapping solution for rental listings.

We prefer HousingMaps use of Craigslist data, but Yahoo!’s SmartView™ (which includes public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, etc.) is definitely a nice feature. And considering that HousingMaps is the work or just one person, we’d love to know how many people were on the Yahoo! team. Feel free to drop us a line if you have any insight.

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July 5, 2005

Tenant (And Landlord) Must Have

Moving to a new apartment? About to rent out your newly acquired income property? Either way, in order to minimize any disputes concerning security deposits, it would behoove of you to create an upfront written record of the condition of both the apartment and its fixtures:

· Inventory Checklist - pdf [CA DCA]

SocketSite Tip: Use the Inventory Checklist to help compare apartments/homes during a search.

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June 17, 2005

A Good Handyman Is Hard To Find

Trying to find a good handyman? Give No Job Too Puny a read.

Yes, it was written about New York but get over it, it’s still relevant, informative, and contains some good tips. And if you’re really struggling, just print it out and write “San Francisco” across every mention of New York, like so, “Few tasks provoke Paxil-bingeing like finding a good handyman in New York San Francisco.”

· No Job Too Puny [NewYorkMetro]

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May 25, 2005

Condo Conversion, TIC, and Ellis Act Overviews

Goldstein, Gellman, Melbostad, Gibson & Harris, LLP provides a trio of articles on Condominium Conversion, Tenancy in Common, and Owner-Occupancy/Ellis Act Evictions in San Francisco. Some spin, but generally well written and great overviews.

Keep in mind that recent developments (such as the Board of Supervisors recent application of Section 1386 of the City’s Subdivision Code) might not be reflected in the articles. So stay plugged in to SocketSite...


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