We’ve all heard stories of REALTORS getting attacked by weirdos. Folks in our business have been robbed, raped, beaten and even killed.
And while the worst things I’ve heard recently in San Francisco involved an iPhone stolen from a fellow SF Realtor’s open house, and scams involving Craigslist, it seems agents in other parts of the country have a lot more to worry about than a stolen phone.
In other parts of the country, especially where foreclosures are high, agents have taken to wearing bullet proof vests, carrying Tasers and even guns, YUP, guns. Just Google “Realtor Attacked” and you’ll see why!
I can’t say I haven’t thought about my own personal safety from time to time when I’ve shown up at a creepy looking house with a creepier looking seller on a listing appointment that doesn’t feel quite right. Unfortunately, it’s still illegal for us to pack heat to our listing appointments, but don’t think I still don’t take precautions when I get out there and risk my life in the pursuit of doing my part of helping those that need San Francisco real estate assistance. I still got a trick or two up my sleeve. 😉
Archives for February 2011
Based on the pic above, you might think San Francisco has just gotten slimed. (Yes, this is a bad reference to the 80’s, the Ghostbusters and even Nickelodeon’s Double Dare – yes, I’m probably dating myself, but if you knew what I was talking about, you really have no room to judge. ;-))
What you’re really looking at is a heat map that focuses on areas that are the most transit friendly.
Lucky for us San Franciscan’s, our transit situation is pretty bright, even WITH all of the drama that our lovely MUNI brings us on a daily basis – from crashes to late running buses to financial woes (visit the N-Judah Chronicles to get a good scoop on all things MUNI), we’re still probably one of the luckier cities in the nation. (I mean, I’ve been in places that have NO public transportation on weekends at all!)
In one study, it was found that a good WalkScore added significant value to a property:
More than just a pleasant amenity, the walkability of cities translates directly into increases in home values. Homes located in more walkable neighborhoods—those with a mix of common daily shopping and social destinations within a short distance—command a price premium over otherwise similar homes in less walkable areas. Houses with the above-average levels of walkability command a premium of about $4,000 to $34,000 over houses with just average levels of walkability in the typical metropolitan
And being that a good WalkScore adds value, I can only surmise that a good TransitScore adds value as well. (In case it needs explanation, a good Transit Score judges how easily accessible public transportation is from a specific address.)
From Zillow’s Blog:
Transit Score provides a 0 -100 rating for more than 100 cities where public transit data is available. Ratings range from “Rider’s Paradise” that offer world-class bus and rail service, to areas with limited or no nearby public transportation.
How do they do it? A Transit Score is calculated by assigning a “usefulness” value to nearby transit routes based on the frequency, type of route (rail, bus, etc.), and distance to the nearest stop on the route. The “usefulness” of all nearby routes is summed and then it is normalized to a score between 0 – 100.
Now, while a good Walk Score has already proven to add value to a property, based on the frequency of buyer requests for locations near easy public transportation, I’d be willing to put my money on the fact that there’s a correlation between a good Transit Score and an increase in property value.
Either way, you can visit www.walkscore.com or their page for public transportation at www.walkscore.com/transit-score.php to find out whether your home or the home you’re considering purchasing has the added bonuses of walk-ability and transit-ability. 🙂
And of course, if you’re looking to buy or sell a walkable, transitable, or for that matter, any home in San Francisco, give me a shout – we’ll see if we work well together to achieve your SF real estate goals. 😉
If you’re at Fort Point today, you’re probably a tourist or you’re wearing a wetsuit!
This photo from 1890 is from the Golden Gate Recreation area from Above Fort Point – but if you notice, something is missing. It’s big, it’s red, and it’s being retrofitted right now! (Yes, it’s the Golden Gate Bridge if you hadn’t guessed.)
Fort Point was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers between 1853 and 1861 to prevent entrance of a hostile fleet into San Francisco Bay during the Civil War. Between 1933 and 1937 the Fort was used as a base of operations for the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Today, it’s not just a place to go and explore history, but it’s also one of the most unique surfing destinations in the world.
The photo is brought to us courtesy of Bennett Hall, and was hand-tinted by him as well. It comes from his collection of San Francisco Images, the original photo is mostly like attributed to Taber/Watkins
This image is on display publicly at Momos Restaurant and in the US District Courts Exhibits at 450 Golden Gate Ave
US District Courts San Francisco Bay Area • Community History exhibits, 2002-2011.
A little bit about the guy kind enough to provide us with such an awesome pic:
Bennett Hall, San Francisco native, photographer and design, operates a San Francisco studio dedicated to sustainable U.S. forested custom picture framing at lower prices for everyone. Currently, Hall is selling his 30-year collection of framed and unframed San Francisco, and world historical photography, personal art photography and other collectible pieces at clearance prices. Services for businesses are emphazed through Hall’s company Business Image Group, creating graphical environments that express the culture, history and marketing messages of his clients.
If you were signed up for Zephyr Real Estate’s Market Tracker, you’d already have an awesome newsletter in your email inbox waiting for you to open it right now.
The newsletter would have the latest San Francisco home sales (sortable by neighborhood or property type), the latest SF property listings (also sortable by neighborhood and property type), and some interesting tidbits about the City too.
Don’t believe me? Check out this week’s edition for yourself by clicking here.
And if you LOVE it (and how could you not?) sign up here. 🙂
It’ll pop up in your inbox every two weeks and it will complete your life. And if it doesn’t (though I’m sure it will), you can quickly and safely unsubscribe. 🙂
If you weren’t already up around 6am this morning, then I’m SURE you were woken up by the torrential rains that were coming down here in San Francisco. I thought it was raining INSIDE the house, it was so loud.
And while it may not be pouring right now….. it’s still C-C-C-C-COLD!!!!!! I can barely feel my fingers as I type this. Why anyone would want to live in a place that has this kind of teeth chattering weather all winter long is beyond me. I’d really like my San Francisco summer fog back, please.
So…. to cope, I’ll be on my couch, catching up on realtor chores, drinking copious amounts of hot tea (there may be rum involved later) and wearing my Snuggie. Yes. I have Snuggie. Don’t judge.
Hope the rest of you have a plan to keep yourself nice and toasty.
And as for the snow that’s been forecasted? Check here for current updates! 😉
In light of the recent earthquake in New Zealand and the fact that in any given week, California land is shaking dozens of times, I thought this would be a good time to share these natural hazard maps with you again. Looking at the USGS Map, just in the last day, the Cloverdale area, about an hour and a half north of San Francisco, has had dozens on little shakers.
And in case you don’t already know – San Francisco is kinda known as prime earthquake country. But where you live has an impact on how an earthquake might affect you (and how much shaking your home will do.)
So I thought I’d throw a few maps up here for readers that are curious about the location of natural hazards in San Francisco.
Click on the map for a bigger view, and to be taken to the source of the map.
San Francisco Liquefaction Map
San Francisco Natural Hazards Map
My personal favorite, which is sort of a hazard because building a house on water is never a good idea, is a map of all of the creeks, marshes and landfill throughout historical San Francisco. This map is from the 1890’s. As with the others, click to see the map full size, and to see the source.
San Francisco Historical Creek Map
And finally – if you’re curious about the last little rumble you felt – check out this map which will show you the size and magnitude of the most recent earthquake.
San Francisco Recent Earthquakes
If you’ve been reading this San Francisco real estate blog since it’s creation in May of 2007 (sheesh, has it really been THAT long), you already know that I’m a HUGE fan of the San Francisco Zoo, and that I take great pride in the fact that a portion of the proceeds from every one of my transactions goes to the SF Zoo.
They have some of the most amazing animal keepers there that truly go above and beyond, not just to take care of the animals, but to educate the public about conservation efforts that can help make sure that these animals will be around and in the wild for future generations.
And so, I just have to say that I would find it very fitting if the rumors are true!
Well, Silent Knight, a sea lion shot in the face by some a**hole with a shotgun in Sausalito has been nursed back to health since his arrival at the Marine Mammal Center in December. His injuries left him blind in both eyes, but remarkably, he’s otherwise recovered quite well from the ordeal.
(As an aside, a KTVU article reports that “The vet treating the sea lion said he’ll see at least ten sea lions shot each year. Last year, a Sacramento man spent a month in jail and was fined $50,000 for shooting a sea lion that stole his fish.” Can I just say “WTF?” A mere month in jail for such a cruel act???? Really? Probably better to rant about that on another forum, but seriously…. it’s time to get tougher about acts of animal cruelty!)
Anyhow…. now that Silent Knight is getting better, and the Marine Mammal Center has to find him a permanent home, there are rumors floating around that our very own SF Zoo will be the place where the noble guy can live out the rest of his years.
My fingers are tightly crossed that he does, indeed, end up there and can serve as a symbol of how regal these creatures are and, inadvertently, as a sad reminder of how cruel mankind can be and maybe, just maybe, can help prevent future animal cruelty from taking place.
I snapped the above picture today while I was lost in the Union Square Garage. It wasn’t that I forgot where I parked my car – I clearly remember that it was parked in 3E. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how to actually GET to 3E. Saying it was a long day wins the understatement of the week award! 🙂
After seeing this sign over and over and over on my way to hiking through the concrete parking jungle, I was reminded of a post I’ve been meaning to write.
Ideally, if you are selling your home, especially in today’s San Francisco market, you want to take advantage of the recent surge of SF home buyers and present your home in the best light possible – which means you move out and get that bad boy staged.
But sometimes, that’s not always possible. Sometimes, you need to live in your place during the selling process.
And while step one is getting your place looking uncluttered, clean, adding some welcoming touches (this is all stuff for another blog post), step two is stashing all of your valuables!
Why? Well, as I’m sure you know, part of the home selling process is the quintessential open house. And an open house means dozens, if not hundreds (if it’s marketed properly) people coming through that open house, with just a single real estate agent there answering questions.
Now, the majority of open home visitors are honest people. They’re out and about on any given Sunday checking out some awesome homes in SF. But not all are honest. In fact, some are downright shady. Yes folks, there are people out there that will steal your stuff!
Now, some things are obvious.
Hide your pearl necklaces, your Aunt Dottie’s fine china, and your diamond tiara.
Other things are not so obvious.
- Hide your prescription medications (from opiates to painkillers, there’s a demand for this stuff)
- Hide your costume jewelry (if you have good taste, the thief coming to your house might also)
- Hide your bank statements, social security statements, etc. (identity theft is growing rampant and no need to give someone your address AND the rest of the info they need to steal your life)
- Hide mementos that have any sentimental value to you (that dancing hula girl you had on the dash of your first car? someone else might think she’s as cool as you do)
- Even hide your over the counter medicines (some, like certain decongestants, have chemicals in them that some people use to make methamphetamines!)
Now, this is NOT a comprehensive list. First, try using some common sense. If you can’t decide what to keep and what to stash, ask your Realtor. We have a good idea of what items should be put away. You might want to get a safety deposit box and/or entrust a friend with their safekeeping.
Oh, and while these additional items below, in theory, shouldn’t even need to be listed, they should ALSO not be left around during open houses – some for safety/security reasons and others just because you’re trying to sell your house and not scare/turn off potential. Oh, and ALL of these items are things I’ve ACTUALLY seen FIRSTHAND at property showings! :-/ Listed in no particular order:
- Dirty underwear
- Marijuana (even if it IS San Francisco and you DO have a prescription)
- Naked pictures of your fiancee (even if they’re framed as “art”)
- Dog poop (it’s bad outdoors, it’s WAY worse indoors!)
- And, er, um, adult toys/movies/magazines
I’m sure this list, just like the last one, is NOT comprehensive. But hopefully it at least gives you some food for thought and if not, at least a good chuckle. 😉
If you’ve been working with a good and honest mortgage broker, you’re already getting the lowest rates possible. A good mortgage broker knows that providing folks with lowest rates and best terms is the right way to do business, regardless of the amount of his paycheck.
A good broker knows that they are only as good as their reputations, and unless they’re honest and upfront with every client, they won’t get repeat business. (Which is THE way to do business – ANY kind of business, whether you’re in real estate or you’re a dentist,
But not every mortgage broker works that way, especially when you consider that if a loan has higher interest rates and higher points – the mortgage broker makes more money! Yikes!
The new rule will change things though – the way brokers will soon get paid will be a fixed commission that is no longer tied to loan terms. Yay!
The new rule comes from the Federal Reserve and is called “Loan Originator Compensation amendment to Regulation Z” and the rule kicks in April 1st of this year (2011).
So if you’ve been dealing with a broker that’s been putting their paycheck in front of your needs, your loans, be it for a purchase or a refinance, will get cheaper.
Though if you haven’t been dealing with some honest, (shameless plug for my favorite mortgage broker alert!) like Tim Higbee from Guarantee Mortgage, then, well, you probably won’t notice much of a difference. Honest brokers like Tim have been putting their clients’ needs first for years. 🙂
There are just under 100 unique and distinct districts in San Francisco according the the San Francisco Realtors Association.
Other sources will list just over 100. But no matter how you count them, there’s no denying that there’s A LOT of variety when it comes to what neighborhood you ultimately choose to call “home!”
Whether you like your neighborhoods full of nightlife vs. life on the quiet side, completely urban vs. bordering nature, or if you prefer your shopping high-end vs. funky and thrifty, there’s a neighborhood for you here in SF.
You want views? Hills? Public schools? Walkability? Something trendy? Something polished? Something family oriented? A single person’s dream? San Francisco has it all.
But how do you decide which San Francisco “Nabe” is right for you?
Well – I suggest using BOTH of these sites to find out.
1) Visit Zephyr Real Estate’s neighborhood guide. Zephyr has 89 districts in San Francisco and has broken them up into little blurbs of digestible information. Neighborhoods have a description, photos, links to available homes for sale, real estate market statistics, demographic info, and in many cases, even a short video highlighting the neighborhood in greater detail. It’s polished, easy to read and the SF real estate stats and available listings are constantly updated.
2) Visit NabeWise. This site splits SF into 104 districts (frankly, more accurate than our SF real estate board if you ask me – Lower Haight gets its own home here, whereas our board lumps it into Hayes Valley.) The only way I can really accurately describe this site is the Yelp! of local neighborhoods. It features a neighborhood summary, highlights, lowlights, maps, trends and most importantly, in my opinion, reader reviews. People can post photos, videos and review their own neighborhoods and those which they frequent. You get a glimpse of the neighborhoods both through the eyes of locals and those that step foot there along their travels. You can see who lives there (hipsters, beautiful people, students, liberals) and so much more. I personally just started playing with the site and managed to squeeze out one review of the Outer Sunset. But so far, I’ve really enjoyed reading other people’s opinions of the various San Francisco hoods.
So, Zephyr Real Estate’s neighborhood guide will give you the polished presentation that markets each neighborhood, while NabeWise will give you an insider’s scoop and actual people’s perceptions of every nook and cranny in San Francisco that you’d want to call “home.”
And of course, if you’re considering buying or selling a home in any of these awesome neighborhoods, well, you know who you can call! 😉