Hello my favorite people!

I am thrilled to announce that these missives now have a name and a permanent home on the Web, which allows archiving and reader commenting (yes, it’s officially a blog).   I have launched a new site, http://www.ClientsInTheKnow.com.  If you are receiving this email, you are already one of my “clients in the know.”  If you know someone else who should be, please don’t hesitate to pass this along.

Sip, Snack and Learn – San Francisco Residential Architectural Styles
Wednesday April 2 @ 6:30, Poleng Lounge at 1751 Fulton Street
Please join me and San Francisco Architect James Dixon at the Poleng Lounge on Wednesday, April 2 at 6:30.  As you sip a soju cocktail and snack on a few drums of heaven, James will teach us how we can distinguish different San Francisco Residential Architectural Styles.  By 8:00 I guarantee you will be able to tell a Stick Victorian from a Queen Anne in 30 seconds or less!  James and I will also stick around after to answer questions about architecturally sensitive remodeling and restoration as well as the best way to own a piece of history yourself.  Bring a picture of your home for expert analysis . . .and your friends who need to meet a great Realtor.  There is more info on my web site at http://www.jenniferrosdail.com.  For more about James, see http://www.jdarchitect.com
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Can This Really Be a Good Time to Sell?
The truth is, that although the reports saying inventory is rising are accurate, in San Francisco, we have a real shortage of very desirable properties.  And serious buyers are out there competing over them.  Just today I heard tales of 49 offers on a parkside 3 bed/1 bath in need of a little TLC, 18 on a 2 unit in Duboce Triangle and two on a TIC that thought the market had passed it by.  I expect that buyer activity will actually pick up even further in the coming weeks, after the lending environment has a chance to settle into it’s new guidelines for a bit.
I know it feels risky to think about making a move when all the news you are hearing is bad, but most of that bad news doesn’t really apply to our lucky City by the Bay.  If you are interested in finding out where your home would fit in the market right now, please let me know and I’ll provide detailed analysis – what you find out might just be a pleasant surprise!  

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Parking, in the Digital Age

How often have you parked at a meter that you underfed due to a lack of change?  Did you get a ticket?  With parking in most areas at about $3.00 a hour (that’s 12 quarters, folks) it can feel like you need to raid a laundromat everytime you run a few errands.  

Well, there is now a better way.   As you may have noticed, our parking meters in San Francisco have gone digital over the last 5 years.  Most of them now also have a diagonal slot that accepts a credit card like device called a Parking Meter Card.  You put the card in, and the digital readout tells you your remaining balance and then deducts a quarter every couple of seconds until you pull it out.  Sound easy enough?  Give it a try!

I estimate that this little device saves me about $1,000 a year in parking tickets.  I highly recommend that you check it out.  They can be ordered online at http://www.sfmta.com.  On that Web site, there is a full list of places they are available in person, but I know they can be purchased at the Powell Street cable car ticket booth as well as the assessor’s office at City Hall.

As if to underscore my point about desirable inventory, Paragon’s Upcoming Listings are only 3 this week.  As always, if you see anything that piques your interest or that of a friend, I’d be happy to get you in early for a private showing:

$985,000  /Corona Heights / BR/BA: 2/2  /  PKG: 1  Description:  Located above Castro, built in 2001, LR & DR open to front view deck that faces south, both rear bedrooms open directly onto a deeded patio. High ceilings, in-unit laundry,HW floors, FP, Lg closets, lower of 2 units

$949,000 / Noe Valley/  2 BR/2 BA, pkg, contemporary top unit, great location, outdoor space/Open Sunday, April 13th!   

$675,000 / Napa Valley /  899 Oak Leaf Way/  Silverado CC, 2 BR/ 2 BA, pkg. in rental pool, remodeled, membership to Silverado CC available with purchase (seller to credit half of the transfer fee).  

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I rely on your referrals to help my business grow and your support makes a huge difference. Thanks again for sending your friends, loved ones and associates my way whenever they have real estate business to attend to. If you are interested in knowing more about how the market is progressing, or know anyone else who wants the inside scoop, just call and Ill give you a play-by-play update.

See you soon!

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How Long do Things Last?

March 17, 2008

Hello My Favorite People:

This issue includes:

1.  A short market update

2.  An article on how long you can expect different components of your home to last

3.  Paragon’s upcoming and pocket listings.

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Market Report:  

The last two weeks on the market here are sales figures:

  • Single Family Homes:  26 over ask, 30 under ask and 14 @
  • Condos/TICs:  25 over ask, 36 under ask and  15@.  Note:  the under asks were concentrated in larger buildings…most of the overs were in 2 to 3 unit buildings.
  • 2-4 Units:  6 over ask, 6 under ask and 1 @

What does this mean?   Well, two years ago, the first like would have been more like 65 over ask, 15 under ask and 10@, so it is showing a lower volume and that buyers have more negotiating power, but it still indicates a strong market for sellers, particuarly if the property is very well prepared and agressively marketed.  It also shows a market that has slowed a bit in terms of volume, but from such a crazy peak that it is still quite active.  If you’d like info about how to prepare and market your home to be one of the “over asks,” just give me a call or shoot me an email.

And a word about our lovely mortgage market.  Any of you who are out there looking at loans these days know that a) rates are very volitile right now, and b) it’s very hard to get any loan over $417k with a reasonable rate.  I think the change in conforming loan limits that will be put into practice starting April 1 will affect this dramatically .  This change will create a secondary market for many loans that would previously have been either securitized or held in a bank’s own portfolio and will therefore free up some cash for banks to loan out in less liquid products.  Is this all greek to you?  I would be happy to explain if you really want to hear all my theories – just call or email. But if what you want is to know when this is all going to end, the answer is we don’t know exactly, but there should be some relief on the way in the next 4 weeks or so.  I don’t expect it to be immediate after April 1, because it will take some period of time for the new liquidity to filter down to the consumer level.

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How Long Does Stuff Last? (article courtesy of Cece Blase)

One of our managers recently passed out a report by the National Association of Home Builders and BofA entitled Study of the Life Expectancy of Home Components. That sounded like a big yawn to me at first, but once I dug into it, I found some surprises and interesting tidbits.  

So here’s how long some of our stuff is supposed to last–

Appliances:  When my sister and I were teenagers, we used to open and shut the refrigerator door over and over, hoping that there would somehow be something different inside. Eventually our mother would go a little buggy and yell, “Each time you do that is one less time it’s going to open!” Â We probably shortened our refrigerator’s life expectancy of 13 years. . .

Dryers also give out after about 13 years. And the shortest lifespans belong to the compactors (6 years), dishwashers (9 years) and microwave ovens (9 years). Â Gas stoves have the longest lifespan—about 15 years. No mention was made of toaster ovens– probably because those suckers last f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

Cabinetry and Storage:  Kitchen cabinets are expected to last 50 years— that’s long enough for them to look cool, then ugly, then cool again.  Medicine cabinets can hang in there for 20 years, which is unfortunate because they get a cruddy look about them after a few years of hard use.

Countertops: Natural stone can last a lifetime. Cultured marble countertops (think bathroom, not kitchen) can go about 20 years. I looked up Cesarstone– my new favorite counter material. The warranty only lasts 10 years.  I also dug around for info on how long green alternatives last, but all I learned is that PaperStone and glass composite countertops have ‘lifespans comparable to standard countertop material.’

Decks: It depends on region, but under ideal conditions decks last about 20 years.  I dread a  deck inspection when I sell a house because it’s alwys a hotspot for its exposure to wet leads to inevitable dry rot. Again, think green and check out Trex Decks.

Doors: Your exterior wood door will last as long as your house. Vinyl doors are only good for 20 years, which I think is kind of weird because vinyl is supposed to be more weather and water resistant. Maybe the framing warps or cracks?

Sinks and Faucets: Kitchen sinks made of modified acrylic (like Swanstone) will last 50 years. Kitchen faucets can go about 15 years. Showerheads last a lifetime and whirlpool tubs can go 20-50 years, depending on use.

Heat: Furnaces last 15-20 years. Standard water heaters give out after about 10 years. Â Tankless water heaters go more than 20. I love tankless water heaters, but am told that it can be difficult to retrofit our older homes for them.  

Roofing: If you want your roof to last more than 50 years, go for slate, copper or clay/concrete. Asphalt shingles last about 20 years. Fiber cement shingles can go 25 and wood shake can hang in there for about 30 years.

I have a copy of the complete report in pdf. Email me if you want one.

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Upcoming Listings.  This is advance notice of things Paragon either has coming on the market or are off market “pocket listings.”  If you see anything that piques your interest or that of a friend, I’d be happy to get you in early for a private showing:

$759,000  /  241 Carl        BR/BA: 2/1.5     / PKG:    0     /  33.33% TIC sunny Edwardian flat  I WILL BE HOLDING THIS OPEN SUNDAY 3/16, 2 to 4 p.m.  Please stop by if you’re around!
$1,675,000/ Noe Valley /  3BR 3.5 bath/ house-like condo, on 2 levels, over 3,100 SF. Open Sunday 2-4.
$1,049,000 / Potrero Hill/ 3BR/3.5BA/1PKG  Sweeping Bay views from atop Potrero Hill! High ceilings w/curved timber detailing. Hdwd/carpet, and hi-end finishes throughout. Granite in kitchen/baths. Decks off main living and bedrms. Roof deck off the Master suite. Shared elevator with the adjacent unit.

$995,000/ Nob Hill/  2BR/ 1 bath, garage pkg.  To-the-studs renovated TIC in a free-standing Victorian 3 unit.  Private yard, over 1,250 SF.  Seller will finance till conversion, which will be in about a year.  

$859,000   / Twin Peaks/ BR/BA:  2/2    PKG:  1    Description:  Top Floor gorgeous VIEW unit on a quiet Upper Market cul-de-sac.  Very sophisticated redmodeled kitchen & baths. In-unit Laundry. Deck.     

$639,000, South Beach/ 1+ BR/ 1 bath.  Extremely large 1BR Portside condo, over 920 SF, with study, HW flrs and private deck.  

469,000 / Lower Pacific Heights/  Charming, bright, top floor studio condo with sleeping alcove in 12-unit bldg, overlooking garden with panoramic downtown views.

Price Reduction:

New Price: 1,795,000/ Old prices: 1,835,000 / Eureka Valley / 4654-56 18th St.  BR/BA: 4/4.5     PKG: 1/1 Grand home w/apt.

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Finally, a repeat:  Save the Date

Do you ever get in discussions about what to call homes you see?  Is it a Queen Anne, an Italianate, a Stick or an Eastlake variant?  Is it an Edwardian or is it a Craftsman?  Is it a Spanish Revival, Eclectic or Colonial?  Sometimes, as we all love our homes and the City, these debates can even get rather heated…
Well, I recently met someone who knows all the differences and, not only that, is good at explaining them in memorable ways.  This brilliant person is San Francisco Architect James Dixon.
Your next question is probably, where can I see James and learn all about it.  The answer is at the Poleng Lounge on Wednesday, April 2 @ 6:30 p.m.  James and I are co-sponsoring an event entitled “San Francisco Residential Architectural Styles.”  There will be a slideshow and Q&A.  Be sure to bring a picture of your house for expert analysis . . . and your friends who need to meet a great Realtor!
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Thanks again to friends and associates who continue to send their referrals.  I rely on you to keep the engine of my business going—and am grateful for your support.

See you soon!

Save the Date

Do you ever get in discussions about what to call homes you see?  Is it a Queen Anne, an Italianate, a Stick or an Eastlake variant?  Is it an Edwardian or is it a Craftsman?  Is it a Spanish Revival, Eclectic or Colonial?  Sometimes, as we all love our homes and the City, these debates can even get rather heated…
Well, I recently met someone who knows all the differences and, not only that, is good at explaining them in memorable ways.  This brilliant person is San Francisco Architect James Dixon.
Your next question is probably, where can I see James and learn all about it.  The answer is at the Poleng Lounge on Wednesday, April 2 @ 6:30 p.m.  James and I are co-sponsoring an event entitled “San Francisco Residential Architectural Styles.”  There will be a slideshow and Q&A.  Be sure to bring a picture of your house for expert analysis . . . and your friends who need to meet a great Realtor!
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How’m I Doin’?
In these days of constant negative news stories about the economy and the real estate market, I found the map below reassuring.  The original source is Zillow, but I got it from the SF Chronicle.  If you want to know more about what your house is worth and how it has been performing as an investment in these reportedly uncertain times, please ask me and I will work up the numbers for you lickety split.
sf-map.jpg

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Upcoming Listing.  This is advance notice of things Paragon either has coming on the market or are off market “pocket listings.”  If you see anything that piques your interest or that of a friend, I’d be happy to get you in early for a private showing:

$329,000 /    Downtown  /  BR/BA:  0/1/0   Adorable pied a terre studio in fabulous location! Terrific Victorian details, built in Murphy bed.  Elevator building.  Leased pkg available @ Masonic Aud garage  $300/month.  

$525,000  /  SOMA  BR/BA:  1bed/1bath    PKG:    working on it.    Brief Description: A Fantastic 1 bedroom live/work condo in a terrific industrial brick conversion from 2000 has extra high ceilings, extra large bathroom with skylight, nice outlooks, fireplace and good closet space  in convenient location in SOMA  

$580,000   Daly City/Southern Hills/ 2 BR, 2 BA, 1-Car Prkng. (private, enclosed)Top floor Village in the Park condo near San Bruno Mtn. hiking trails.  Large loft area above kitchen can be used as 3rd bedroom or office.  Large deck off dining/living area.  1321 sq. ft. per tax records.  Pocket views.

$649,000 /   Parkside  BR/BA: 3bd/1.5ba PKG: 2 /1/2.  Charming tunnel entry home, eat-in kitchen, formal dining room and small deck. Nice yard and patio, huge garage and development potential down.  der carpets, fireplace.  Trust sale. On coveted block facing Sunset Blvd.  

$725,000    / Van Ness Corridor/ BR/BA:  1/1    PKG:  1      Brief Description: Almost 900 ft top floor end unit/ views N,E,S. Away from Van Ness. Quiet. Sliding doors to small balcony w/southern view, gas FP, FDR, Br w/ view sitting area

$1,375,000  /   Pacific Heights  BR/BA: 3bd/2ba PKG: 1.  Wonderful remodeled top floor condo in prime location near Laurel Village. Over 1700 square feet  PLUS fully wired office space (unwarranted) and huge deeded storage..

$1,675,000 /: Noe Valley /  3bd /3.5 baths      PKG: 1 car, garage       Brief Description:  House-like condo, top two floors of a two unit building. Nearly 3,000 SF, with decks, sun and space!  First open on March 16, can be shown prior to that.

Price Reduction:

$799,000   Old Price$ 859,000      Neighborhood:  Noe Valley   Address:  BR/BA: 2/1     PKG:        Brief Chic contemporary open loft like floor plan. Direct access to deck and southern garden.

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Thanks again to friends and associates who continue to send their referrals.  I rely on you to keep the engine of my business going—and am grateful for your support.

See you soon!

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