Hello Sutro Tower, Hello Moon

Today is San Francisco broker’s tour, which means I’m writing this while I drive around and look at home across the city. That’s a joke, folks… I don’t actually write this while I’m driving. Or between houses. Or while stopped at traffic lights and intersections. I don’t even dictate it to Siri. If you haven’t  yet noticed, I have a bit of a fascination with Sutro Tower. I’m far from being the only San Franciscan that loves to plaster the internet with images of our godzilla-like-robot-tower.

Hello Moon!

As I was out last night, I noticed the moon hanging nicely next to Sutro Tower. Apparently, the moon is also a big fan of our wacky tower and showed up early to get a nice view before the sun turned the lights out for the evening.

And fortunately for me, there was no traffic behind me so I could actually stop my vehicle (safely) and snap a few pics of Sutro Tower and the moon. This version has been cropped and tweaked in Lightroom, but I assure you I *did not* cut and paste the moon into the image. I’m just not that good at photoshop, and besides we all know that reality is much stranger than fiction.

Hope you enjoy the photo. My legs are still a little tender after Sunday, so I’m hoping that the homes on broker’s tour today are ground floor flats or in elevator buildings. But even if today’s tour is filled with stairs, I’ll be there – climbing up and down stairs across the city… because just like the moon, I can’t get enough of this city and its awesome homes.

Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Sorry about that traffic jam

Marathon runners are a strange group, and I feel like I can say that without being judgemental since I include myself in that group. We’re strange for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that we enjoy running 26.2 miles (a strange and arbitrary distance if ever there was one). San Francisco’s annual marathon was yesterday (as well as half-marathons, 5ks, progressive races, fun runs, and just about every other combo you could think of) and I was out there running it (on a whim, but that’s another story).

26.2 Miles Later…

The marathon follows a beautiful course that highlights so many beautiful parts of the city that I won’t name them all here. But it also manages to completely mangle traffic until early afternoon, so I wanted to take a moment to apologize about that.

If you woke up and – for example – couldn’t back out of your garage on Haight Street because thousands of runners kept running (or walking, or limping) by I’m sorry about that. If you made brunch plans across town and arrived an hour late because you couldn’t get across the city and sat in traffic (on a Sunday morning!) cursing marathon runners, I’m sorry about that too. And if you were late to church, I’m sorry about that too but I’m also hopeful your church believes in a forgiving God, so hopefully no one ended up eternally damned yesterday…

While I was out running the marathon, I also noticed a few teams running together. I think the google running team probably had the best algorithm for optimizing their speed, distance, pace, and projected finish time but all anyone could think was “Oh man, the Apple team looks so much more elegant.” The Apple running team, of course, could neither confirm nor deny their existence. Yelp also fielded a running team, and I think they all would have finished a little faster if they didn’t pull out their iPhones to review every water station. I mean really, people, it’s free water. How can you not give that five stars?

And finally, I’d just like to end on a high note with an enormous Thank You to:

  • Everyone who came out to cheer the runners on. You probably didn’t come out to cheer for me, but your good vibes and enthusiasm are always contagious. So thanks!
  • To the volunteers who helped keep us hydrated and safe. We literally couldn’t have done it without you, so thanks!
  • To the volunteers who followed behind us and cleaned up the mess we left behind (you try getting a dixie cup in a trash carton after running for hours). Thank you!

See you next year! (June 16, 2013 for those of you that make brunch reservations really far in advance and don’t want to be late).


Lottery Bypass – Condo Conversion Update

Tenancy in Common lottery bypass legislation was proposed several months ago, so I wanted to take a moment and update you on where the legislation stands and why supporting it is so incredibly important.

A row of homes on 17th St. in San Francisco.

For those of you that are so inclined, you can read the draft legislation (pdf file). Here’s a summary of important points about the TIC lottery bypass that is being proposed:

  1. It does not increase tenant evictions– tenants that want to continue to rent their home in a building that converts through the proposed legislation will receive incredibly generous leases. The way the legislation is currently written with is as follows:”No subdivider or subsequent condominium unit owner shall refuse to renew a lease or extend a rental agreement to any non purchasing tenant as of the date the building makes the fee payment pursuant to Section (c) above. Any extended leases or rental agreements made pursuant hereto shall expire only upon the death or demise of such tenant or the last surviving member of the tenant’s household, provided such surviving member is related to the tenant by blood, marriage, or domestic partnership, and is aged 62 or older at the time of death or demise of such tenant, or at such time as the tenant voluntarily vacates the unit after giving due notice of such intent to vacate. Each lease shall contain a provision allowing the tenant to terminate the lease and vacate the unit upon 30 days’ notice.
  2. It raises a lot of money for the city in a tough fiscal environment-“The fee amount is $20,000.00 per unit. Said fee is reduced for each year the building has participated in the condominium conversion lottery up to and including the 2012 lottery in accordance with the following formula:
    (1) 2 years of participation, 20% fee reduction per unit;
    (2) 3 years of participation, 40% fee reduction per unit;
    (3) 4 years of participation, 60% fee reduction per unit; and
    (4) 5 or more years of participation, 80% fee reduction per unit
  3. It does not change eligibility requirements – Building that were already excluded from the lottery or condo eligibility because of a building eviction history or other factors that might exclude a building still apply. This is by no means a “collect $200 as you pass go and condo convert” opportunity. It is expensive, and it is only open to buildings that have already been in and qualify for the lottery!

What Happens Next?
The fill-the-city-coffers-with-condo-conversion-fees legislation has been assigned to the Land Use Committee of the Board of Supervisors.  The three-person committee will vote on whether or not to approve the legislation and send it to the Board of Supervisors – you can find agendas and meeting minutes for the committee here.  The bill can die in committee, but if it does make it to the Board, then it will need 6 votes (out of the 11 supervisors) to make it to the Mayor’s desk.  Mayor Lee has been very quiet about whether or not he will sign it.

What Can You Do? 

  • Get Involved – The good folks at Plan C have been working hard to help supervisors understand how important passing this legislation is.
  • Contact your Supervisor and express your support for the “one time lottery bypass condo legislation.” Give them a call. Then an email. And a real old-fashioned letter too!
  • Share your story with us! We’d very much like to put a human face on this legislation, so please share your story about how being able to buy a TIC has kept you in the city, or how the ability to condo convert will impact your decision to remain in San Francisco or leave the city. We’d be happy to come out and make a video, take a photo of your building, or otherwise help you in putting a very human face on the middle-class dreamers and do-ers that will be most impacted by this bill.

1242 – 1244 Pierce St.

Yesterday we wrote about an amazing Glen Park single family home (already in contract!), but today we are going to switch gears a little bit and write about a sweet two-unit building in the Western Addition. The property is 1242 – 1244 Pierce St.between Ellis and Eddy streets.

1242 – 1244 Pierce St., image courtesy of Patrick Lowell

The upper unit is a nicely done two-bedroom, one-bath flat that has been nicely remodeled and will be delivered vacant. The lower flat is a one-bedroom, one bath flat that is currently tenant occupied. There is a large and sunny rear year that both flats have access to. As I’m sure you’ve noticed from the picture, there is no parking for the building, which is a bummer. On the upside, though, the building may qualify for the TIC lottery bypass, and it might just be a great candidate for condo conversion.

While some of you might hear “Western Addition” as the location and tune-out, in a lot of ways it’s a sweet location. It is just a few steps from the redone Kimbell ballpark and soccer fields, and the Fillmore Farmer’s market is about a block away.

1242 – 1244 Pierce is also very close to the Divisadero corridor, so for those of you that purchase a home based on proximity to the tech shuttles, you aren’t far from any of them that make stops along the Divisadero corridor. Plus, Little Star Pizza isn’t far away, and how can you not like that?

I am not the listing agent for the property – that lucky individual is Patrick Lowell, a fellow Zephyr Agent.  He’s a sharp guy who has a GRI just like me, and here’s a link to his website. This property appears on our blog courtesy of Patrick Lowell – thanks for letting us write about your two unit listing! If you are interested in seeing this property and don’t have an agent, please drop us a line. If you aren’t ready for that kind of committment, though, we totally understand – you can find an open house schedule on the property website.

The End of an Era

The end of an era… a few weeks ago, we got a company-wide email that Peter Stupar was going to be ending his real estate flyer distribution service.

So this post is to mark the end of an era – he started about 23 years ago, and every single week he reliably picked up property statements from all of San Francisco’s top real estate offices and delivered them to all of the other top real estate offices. He was the original sneaker-net, although it was actually more like a “drive-around-town-net.”

Good Evening and Thanks, Peter Stupar!

When I first started in the business – almost a decade ago – if you had a listing and you wanted to make sure everyone knew about it, you had to make sure that you paid Peter Stupar to deliver your property statements. It went something like this:

  1. Make a lovely property statement.
  2. Print it out in black and white.
  3. Make 700 copies of it on the office copier.
  4. If you were feeling really creative you could use colored paper!
  5. Leave a check for $60 bucks (I think) and a pile of paper 700 sheets thick at the front desk
  6. Wait a few days…

This service continued up until July of 2012! I honestly have to say I’m amazed that he lasted as long as he did. I’m pretty sure that real estate flyer distribution wasn’t his full-time gig, and that his passion in life isn’t distributing flyers, but is rock concert photography. Either way, July 2012 marks the end of paper property distribution for real estate in San Francisco.

So thank you, Peter Stupar, for your years and years of tireless assistance in helping San Francisco real estate agents flood other real estate agents in reams of paper. Before the internet came along and made his service obsolete, his flyer distribution service was the way to get the word out, and his service featured in many a listing presentation back in the day.