SFisHOME re-launches it's blog

SFisHOME's new blog is blog.SFisHOME.com

We launch with 4 video walk thru's of 3190 Scott Street - Luxury Cow Hollow Condos

Lots of detail and video's - including this duplicate video - so watch it here - or view all 4 plus price sheets at blog.SFisHOME.com

#307 asking $1,049,000 - this with a south facing exclusive or deeded patio:


Ingelside hot, 32 Josiah not

Ingelside - south of Geneva Ave, west of San Jose Ave. An area that I confess I don't get to much, but went to 32 Josiah at the request of a client.

32 Josiah is a Banked owned REO asking only $302,000. Here's a walk thru of this 1 bedroom Single Family Home.

Rough shape, aye? Meanwhile in 2004 it couldn't sell at $450,000, but later that year when they dropped it to $399,000 it sold for $509,000. Ouch. An unfortunate over-bid story for someone.

Now at $302,000 representing a 40% drop if it sells at that price... and indeed it's apparently gone in and out of contract 3 times. Unfortunately to me that means serious flaws are probably being found during inspections, so it could sell for less.

Meanwhile Ingelide only has 6 Single Family homes with 2 or fewer bedrooms and 1 bathroom that have sold in the past 6 months.... only 1 per month, however, there are 8 homes currently in contract. That's smoking hot. 5 are listed for sale including 32 Josiah.


Things that make you go "hmmmm". 215 Moulton

215 Moulton St. Back on the market. But not "BOM".

Purusing new listings in Cow Hollow I came across 215 Moulton after having just seen it weeks ago. Naturally I assumed it meant it had expired or been withdrawn unsold. But actually, it did sell with a Close of Escrow on February 26th.

Not even 30 days later it's back on the market asking $59,000 more than it sold for last month. Definitely not a flip since that amount would not cover all costs of a purchase and sale. Someone had a change of heart. Hmmm.... wonder what the scoop is here?

Ahh - I just read all of the marketing remarks - this is the last sentence "On the market again due to job transfer."


3190 Scott St (um, Lombard) hits the market

3190 Scott St hits the market in San Francisco Cow Hollow district.

Note the entrance just a few steps from Lombard

3190 Scott is a 12 unit building, and so far 2 units are on the MLS, but you can bet all 12 are for-sale. I'll get a price sheet on Tuesday Tour.

3190 Scott St reminds me of 3208 Pierce pictured here:

Back in mid 2007 when 3208 Pierce was selling I thought 3208 Pierce was way over priced, but to my surprise it sold quickly. They were small for the money, many of the tiny balconies were facing Lombard making them virtually unusable. And even the main living quarters in many units were right on Lombard. Despite extra thick glass, you could definitely hear Lombard traffic quite well as I recall.

Looks like commercial space at the base of the building

3190 Scott is the same Vanguard agent as 3208 Pierce. No idea about the builder, but until I see it on Tuesday morning I'm expecting more of the same... except the price already appears a bit lower than 2007 as you would expect.


School lottery out - new rules in

San Francisco School assignments will be changing beginning Fall 2011 per the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) Board of Education
More at the SFUSD here

Here's the current assignment criteria
• Extreme Poverty
• Socioeconomic Status
• English Proficiency
• Academic Performance Rank of Sending School
• Academic Achievement Status
Full details of the above here.

Here's the new version
Elementary schools
1. Siblings already attending the school.
2. SFUSD PreK - students who live in the attendance area of the school and are also
attending an SFUSD PreK program in the same attendance area.
3. CTIP1-students who reside in CTIP1 census tracts.
4. Attendance Area - students who live in the attendance area of the school.
5. Densely populated attendance areas - students who live in attendance areas that do not have sufficient capacity to accommodate all the students living in the attendance area.
6. All other students.

Middle Schools are somewhat similar to Elementary, but right now High Schools don't have any of the same "attendance area" language, but they say "they'll try" after the other criteria.

Overall this looks like quite a dramatic change... although I'd like to hear more about what a "CTIP1-student" is and how you get into an "attendance area" SFUSD Pre-K since that's how it all starts.... speaking as the father of a 1 year old :)

Why so much Short Sale info on this San Francisco blog?

Why are we talking about Short Sales so much on this San Francisco Real Estate blog?

Short Sales appear to be more advantageous to just about everyone involved vs. Foreclosure. We've got a top 10 reasons on our web site, but here are a couple of main reasons we ALL should care about:

1. Short Sales tend to be better for your neighbors:
* in a Condo building the sooner you can get a HOA dues paying member in, the better for everyone. Yes Short Sales take a long time, but have you read my "Shadow Inventory" article yet? And did you know you can do a Short Sale without making one late payment (a new rule at many banks like BofA). A great idea if you want to protect your credit as much as possible.
* in Foreclosure junior liens are wiped out. I've heard varying opinions on this, but my understanding is the REO lender does not need to make up for the foreclosed owner's missed payments.
* just about anything can be negotiated in a Short Sale, including getting the new buyer or the lender to pay for some or all of the missed HOA payments.
* in Single Family homes you avoid empty homes that could attract crime and vandalism

2. Short Sales protect values FAR better than Foreclosures.
* per the BofA Portfolio Manager, Short Sales net the bank 12% to 20% more on average than Foreclosures. This is due almost entirely to what a Short Sale sells for vs. a Foreclosure. Part of the value difference are the damage often caused by out going home owners or by vandals to vacant homes.

There are many advantages for the Owner/Seller... the above two talk about advantages to the rest of San Francisco home owners. We ought to encourage Short Sales over Foreclosures when ever it makes sense.

More Short Sale info here:
Short Sale FAQ
Short Sale Advantages
Side by Side comparison Short Sale vs. Foreclosure

Bank of America's Short Sale Department

At a luncheon yesterday one of the quest speakers was Bank of America's Allen Seelenbinder, V.P. Portfolio Retention Manager of the Western U.S. A few interesting facts:

Bank of America beefed up their Short Sale department over the past 6 months from 100 employees to 1,400. And now instead of over 300 Short Sale files their "negotiators" are averaging 100 or fewer files.

BofA is also one of the banks using Equator.com - a third party processing system where home owners or their authorized agents can begin a Short Sale file. The big win here is that you can avoid faxing in hundreds of pages to get a short sale started. I believe he said in one month last year they received 10,000 faxed sheets of paper. Now 85% of their files are on Equator and he claims files and information no longer get lost (oh but for those pesky data entry problems I'm sure).

Finally, while he wouldn't say how long a Short Sale approval took before Equator and the employee ramp up, he says their goal is 90 days and they are currently averaging 101 days. Dramatic improvements since Oct '09.

Bankruptcy problems for homeowners in distress

At a luncheon seminar yesterday, even the guest speaker Attorney didn't want to touch the bankruptcy question since he didn't specialize in the area. So I can't and won't even provide an opinion on whether bankruptcy is an option for you if you're home is under water and you can't afford to keep up with payments. However, if in that situation, you ought to consult with a bankruptcy attorney to find out if it could provide any relief.

Unfortunately, per this New York Times op-ed piece from a Professor of Law at Columbia, it doesn't sound like there is much bankruptcy can do since 2005 when Congress changes bankruptcy rules.

This from the professor "the reforms created a system that makes it harder to file for Chapter 7 while doing nothing to make Chapter 13, once the savior of homeowners, useful in this sort of mortgage crisis."

He also says there's been a significant increase in paper work making it a "lawyer- and paperwork-centered system" which costs filing homeowners much more than before.

Still, the additional fees the Op-Ed talks about are less than $1500. In San Francisco with our high cost real estate market, that may be chump change for those facing larger than normal financial issues so a call to a bankruptcy attorney is warranted if you're considering a Short Sale or strategic default foreclosure.

Photo Phriday

Bay Bridge and Night Heron, originally uploaded by bstorage.


Short Sales in California - Schwarzenegger's take

Schwarzenegger says "I'll be back", or rather that the Legislature needs to bring back a new bill that extends Debt forgiveness on Short Sales. As one article put it "foreclosure city" if Californians are made to pay taxes on "phantom income". The Fed has the 2007 Mortgage Debt Relief Act which is good through 2012, so you're good on your Federal taxes if you qualify. But currently some CPA's are recommending people who sold "short" should file an extension on April 15th and hope that Schwarzenegger and the Legislature get it together before the final October deadline when you have to file.

Here's the paragraph from the Schwarzenegger press release letter:
I asked you to send me legislation that protects homeowners from being taxed on “short sales” when they are forced to sell their home for less than they owe on their mortgage. Instead you are sending me a bill that uses these homeowners as leverage to increase tax penalties for businesses. Send me a clean bill that protects homeowners from this tax immediately, and I will sign it.

Apparently the provision Schwarzenegger so detests is one where companies or individuals who file for refunds fraudulently would be penalized if discovered. Gee, sounds onerous. Thanks Governator for holding up a much needed law because an included law irks you.

Also in the press release is his request for an extension of the $10,000 new home tax credit. His belief is new housing should be built which puts construction workers back to work. I don't know much about the rest of the State's real estate markets, but I don't see how California really needs more new homes when so many sit empty due to foreclosure. But California government completely lost at sea.... what else is new?

San Francisco BMR units

How is the San Francisco BMR market doing?

"Below Market Rate" or BMR from the San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing (MOH) program seemed like a great program circa 2004 and 2005 when the San Francisco real estate market was climbing to the sky and many who wanted in couldn't afford to buy.

Today? Not so much. In '04 and '05 a BMR would be advertised for a couple of weeks, they'd then collect the offers, all of which were essentially the same exact offer since you were not allowed to pay more for it. And then hold a lottery to select which offer won. But today? I count 17 BMR's listed on the San Francisco MLS with an average Days on Market (DOM) of 81 with 6 over 100 days and a 7th closing in on 1 year on the MLS.

In the past 3 months only 5 BMR's have sold with average DOM of 85 days. So less than 2 are selling per month with 17 on the market.... that's about 10 months worth of inventory. Shockingly slow absorbtion.

Meanwhile, the Avg price per SqFt for the BMR's are around $400 to $425. Not exactly deals anymore, especially in neighborhoods like SOMA, Diamond Heights and Bayview where so many of these are located.

Meanwhile, average price per SqFt at a building like the Beacon, 250 King and 260 King, for 1 BR condos that have sold in the past 6 months is about $488. Why buy a priced fixed unit when for just a little bit more you can get market rate?

Update on 210 Mallorca - 5 offers?

On March 5th we called 210 Mallorca the "deal of the week". Word on the street is that we weren't the only ones to notice. Apparently there were 5 offers, 3 over asking. "Word on the street" aka rumors, are often wrong, so we'll report when the facts are in. But I'm not surprised. Clients ask for "deals" all of the time, but when something looks like a deals in a well covered part of town like the Marina, they quickly get bid up until they no longer are deals.


First San Francisco Neighborhood Stabilization Program sale?

260 King #543 - first San Francisco NSP listing?

NSP or Neighborhood Stabilization Program "was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. State and local governments can buy, fix up and re-sell foreclosed homes." per HUD.gov.

This is big news in other locales when the first NSP homes hit the market. Meanwhile, you'd think San Francisco would be last on the list for stablization money since our market came down well after most others. Yet 260 King #543 at The Beacon and on the MLS for 9 days has information in the "agent-only" remarks indicating that it is an NSP Condo.

This March 15th Fresno Bee article does a good job of describing this HUD program is working there.

HUD.gov provides this link - also provided by the 260 King listing. Per that link

Under NSP1, HUD allocated $3.92 billion on a formula basis to 309 grantees including 55 states and territories and 254 selected local governments. The program was designed to stabilize communities across America hardest hit by foreclosures. Grant agreements for these funds have already been signed.

Under NSP2, HUD allocated $1.93 billion on a competitive basis to states, local governments, and non profit organizations. The program objectives and eligible uses did not change under the Recovery Act, but the allocation process and some regulations on the funds have changed.

So how did San Francisco get HUD money? I thought I read something about San Francisco getting some stimulus money, but countless google searches later I'm stumped. But given the article below about a Beacon condo with a 40% drop in value, they've certainly picked the right building to try to stabilize.

Beacon Short Sale: 250 King St #450

A Short Sale at The Beacon: 250 King St #450

photo courtesy of socketsite.com (and I just noticed from a post referencing this unit when it first hit the market in oct '09)

40% drop in value if the sale goes through at the last list price of $360,000. 2006 purchase price was $599,000 according to tax records. That's some rough stuff for the struggling Beacon.

800 SqFt 1 bedroom Condo - leased parking and $550 HOA dues, but still, $360,000 looks like a BMR. In fact I came across 250 King St #450 when researching BMR's (San Francisco "Below Market Rate" Mayor's Office of Housing program). Unforunately among many terrible marketing mistakes on this particular listing, one is that the agent checked the "BMR" box in the MLS when it appears NOT to be a Below Market Rate unit.

Which leads me to my next post (above when it's ready) is how the BMR market is doing in San Francisco? Hint, not well.