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Matthew Fuller, GRI's Blog

By Matt Fuller | Agent in San Francisco, CA
  • SF Blu in San Francisco sells out

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco  |  November 9, 2011 4:06 PM  |  877 views  |  No comments
    Congratulations to SF Blu in San Francisco! With one penthouse remaining to be sold, the building is essentially sold out. It has been a popular building with my buyers, who have appreciated the open floor plans and quality finishes. I've had plenty of buyers fall in love with the "F" floor plan, which is the 2 bedroom + den layout on the south side of the building. There are some phenomenal water views with this layout, particularly on the upper floors. 

    The one consistent concern I've heard from my buyers has to do with the automated car stacking system used in the garage. Only time will tell how reliable the system is. SF Blu isn't the first building in San Francisco to use automated car stacking systems to create parking spots out of thin air, but of all the recent major developments it is the only one that used car stackers. 

    On the positive side, the location has been a big winner. It's technically located in the Yerba Buena neighborhood, but most folks just think of it as being south of market. Regardless of what you call it, the location is convenient to numerous restaurants, shops, public transit options, and cultural institutions. Not to mention the Embarcadero, ball park, or the neighborhood's generally sunny and warm weather. 

    I'm not sure how long it will take the folks at Polaris to sell the last of the penthouses, which are beautifully done. I have a feeling it won't take long, though, and then it will be another big luxury condo building that has filled up with buyers, continuing the transformation of the neighborhood from an industrial after-thought to a dynamic and bustling San Francisco neighborhood. There are a few other luxury condo buildings other than SF Blu in the area that still have new homes for sale from the developer. If you are interested, just get in touch. 
  • Madrone SF condominium in Mission Bay neighborhood

    Posted Under: In My Neighborhood in San Francisco  |  July 21, 2011 8:15 PM  |  2,000 views  |  4 comments
    The Madrone in Mission Bay is the newest condo development that is currently under construction (July 2011) in San Francisco. The project is being developed by Bosa, and sits next to the most recent Bosa project, The Radiance. 

    The Madrone is a much larger project than the radiance, with triple the number of homes, and significantly more amenities, including an outdoor pool and sundeck in the middle of the building. Air conditioning will also be a standard feature of Madrone condo homes, something that homes at the Radiance were not built with. 

    The Madrone is currently being built, and the currently projected/expected move in date for residents is the fall of 2012. The sales office has already opened, and they have an incredible variety of floorplans to choose from, with lots of choices if you are looking for either a one bedroom or two bedroom layout. At this time, reserving a home at the Madrone requires a 3% deposit, with an additional 3% due in 2012 -  most likely towards the earlier part of the year, but I haven't yet seen the contract so I can't give you exact dates or requirements. 

    If the Mission Bay neighborhood has been amongst your choices for living in San Francisco, then you owe it to yourself to check out the latest edition to the neighborhood. The amenities and standard finishes promise to make it an excellent choice for urban condo dwellers in San Francisco. Want more information or to schedule an appointment at the sales office? Just get in touch today! 
  • What tools do you use to search the MLS?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco  |  July 11, 2011 9:27 PM  |  918 views  |  No comments

    Unlike markets like NYC, the San Francisco real estate market uses a common MLS system accessible to any member realtor that allows for the cooperative listing and sale of properties, regardless of brokerage, within the city of San Francisco. While there are some types of homes that aren't listed in the San Francisco MLS (some new construction, some that are part of the Mayor's office of housing, and the very few FSBOs in town), the overwhelming majority of homes for sale in San Francisco will be found in our MLS. How many homes is that?

    At any given time, there are usually between 1,500 and 2,500 homes listed for sale in the San Francisco MLS, and any way you slice it, that is a lot of data to sort and sift through. While one of the things a great buyer's agent will do for you is to help narrow that data into a manageable amount of data, many home searchers today often begin searching for homes before they begin looking for an agent.

    So as a potential buyer, what are your favorites websites to search for homes in San Francisco? And, more specifically, what about those websites is most important to you? Is it more important to have an easy-to-use search interface, or are you more interested in being able to store, sort, and share information about the homes that you like? Do you just sign up for an account at the first MLS search site you find, or do you spend time actively researching tools to search for homes in San Francisco (that's getting a little meta, isn't it!?)

    Are the tools that an individual agent offers you for searching the MLS important in your selection of a Realtor, or do you consider the tools and the Realtor to be a-la-carte items that you mix and match to best suit your preferences and needs? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

  • What you can expect as a first time buyer in San Francisco

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco  |  May 11, 2011 5:15 PM  |  1,016 views  |  No comments

    Thinking of buying San Francisco Real Estate? Curious about what you should expect during the purchase process? We've published a guide for the first time home buyer, and we've broken the process down into ten steps, from putting together your real estate team to what happens in the closing of a purchase transaction. We also try our hardest to cover everything that you should expect between those two points in the average San Francisco home purchase process. 

    Because prices in San Francisco are so high, buying real estate for the first time can be a cold-sweat inducing experience for a first time buyer, which is why we provide a clear road map about how the process works (including our particular local San Francisco customs) and what you should expect from your mortgage broker and buyer's agent during the real estate purchase process in San Francisco. If you are more visually oriented, you'll be glad to hear that we also include a step-by-step graphical flowchart of the home purchase process in San Francisco. 

    A few of the questions we do our best to answer:
    - What is escrow?
    - What strategies to use to get your offer accepted?
    - Want to know when your offer or counter offer is considered to be binding and accepted?
    - When do you need to bring money to the proverbial table?

    In addition to covering all of those items, we also cover contract contingencies that are common in San Francisco, inspections that many buyers choose to have, and the appraisal and financing contingency. 

    We hope you find our first time buyer guide for the San Francisco real estate market to be useful, we look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions for how we can make it better! 

  • South of Market loft for Sale

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco  |  March 30, 2011 2:23 PM  |  1,011 views  |  No comments

    250 Clara St. #4 is a SOMA loft for sale with two bedrooms and two baths in a 15 unit boutique building. Built in 2002, the building offers garage parking, additional storage, and a shared roof deck with views of Twin Peaks.

    Main Level
    The living space on the main loft level is finished with stained concrete floors. In addition to the open living and dining areas, the main level has an open kitchen with granite counters and a gas range for the cooking enthusiast. There is a fireplace and sliding-glass door access to a  small balcony from the living area,  which also has a large set of south-facing windows and high ceilings.  There is a full bathroom on this level, as well as the in-unit washer and dryer.

    Mezzanine Level
    The mezzanine space of this tri-level loft is carpeted and features a closet and full bathroom with shower over tub, making it perfect for use as a master bedroom. The area receives plenty of light from the windows on the south wall of the residence.

    Lower Level
    The lower level offers private and direct access to Clara Street, and also has a large closet making it perfect for an additional bedroom, office, or media/game room. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.

    Neighborhood
    The South of Market area (SOMA) is a dynamic and vibrant neighborhood within easy walking distance to numerous stores, clubs, restaurants, and parks. The Whole Foods grocery store on 4th at Harrison is a short walk away, as is the Victoria Manola Draves park (between 7th and 6th/Folsom and Harrison). Commuters seeking easy access to Cal-train, downtown, or the 280 or 101 freeways will be thrilled with the short distance to any of these transit options. And after a hard week at work, you’ll be able to take advantage of the diverse nightlife and numerous clubs located within walking distance.

    Listing Price: 599,000
    Address: 250 Clara St. #4
    City: San Francisco
    State: CA
    Zip: 94107
    Bedrooms: 2
    Bathrooms: 2
    Parking: 1 car garage (independent)
    Open Houses: Sunday, April 3, 2:00 - 4:00pm
    Broker's Tour: Tuesday, April 5, 2:00 - 3:30

  • Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco named one of the 10 best Urban Parks

    Posted Under: General Area in San Francisco, Parks & Recreation in San Francisco, In My Neighborhood in San Francisco  |  March 28, 2011 7:27 PM  |  1,420 views  |  No comments
    Hayes Valley Farm is a spot in Hayes Valley that is near and dear to my heart since my daughter spends time there on a regular basis with one of her after school programs. She has brought home a few vegetables that she helped to grow at the farm, and we’ve enjoyed them as a part of our dinner. I grew up suburban – not urban – so it makes me glad to see her participate in a program that helps her understand food comes from farms, not supermarkets.

    Sunset Magazine recently published their list of the “Top 10 Urban Parks” in America, and I’m thrilled to say that two parks in San Francisco made the list.  As  you might have guessed by now, one of the winners for best urban park in America is Hayes Valley Farm! From their article, the describe it as:

    Plunked down on what used to be a freeway off-ramp,Hayes Valley Farm is the urban equivalent of the back-to-the-earth experience you used to have to drive to. Just a block from a strip of boutiques, city farmers are growing kale, snap peas, and beets. Drop by to learn composting or take a yoga class. Free yoga; soil classes from $25; 450 Laguna St.

    The website for Hayes Valley Farm, which lists all of their upcoming programs, activities, and opportunities to be involved can be found at www.hayesvalleyfarm.com.

    Congratulations to all of the fine folks at Hayes Valley Farm who managed to turn an oddly configured plot of former freeway into a rich and wonderful neighborhood resource. Current “drop-in” volunteer hours are every Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 12:00pm – 5:00pm.

    And after an exhausting day of urban farming, be sure to take advantage of all of the great spots in Hayes Valley to grab a bite to eat, have a cup of coffee, or just enjoy watching the people wander past.

  • Millennium Tower San Francisco Parking

    Posted Under: Home Buying in San Francisco  |  March 24, 2011 5:38 PM  |  1,136 views  |  No comments
    Ah, the Millennium Tower. I’ve written a fair amount about it before, but I wanted to take a moment to dedicate a post to dissect parking at the Millennium Tower - not what you might expect at a San Francisco luxury destination.


    Millennium Tower parking pit construction, from transbay, via flickr

    For our fair readers who aren’t from San Francisco, or just choose to not keep up with the crazy that sometimes passes for our local governance (I knock it, but I also can’t think of any place else in America that I would like to live as much as I enjoy life here), SF has a “transit first” policy that was first adopted, as I understand it, in 1973 and has been updated over the years. Item #7 on the policy is the one that we are concerned with as it reads:

    7. Parking policies for areas well served by public transit shall be designed to encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation.

    The Millennium Tower is considered to be in an area that is well served by public transit (it could be argued that given the proximity to the now-under-construction transbay transit center it will someday be the most transit friendly location in all of San Francisco), so the way that the city decided to”encourage travel by public transit and alternative transportation” was to only permit 340 parking spaces for the 419 residences in the building. The logic being if you can’t easily park your car in the building you won’t drive a car at all and therefore will use public transit or alternative transportation (on the back of a supervisor clown perhaps?).

    For those of you who are even remotely good at math, by now you’ve realized that with 419 residences and only 340 parking spaces, there just aren’t enough parking spots in the building… So what does this mean if you are contemplating a condo purchase at the Millennium Tower?

    All parking at the Millennium Tower is valet parking. Even if your residence is guaranteed valet parking, there is a monthly valet fee (currently $155/month) that is in addition to the monthly HOA dues.

    The grandest residences at the Millennium Tower have two parking spots. Some residences have one parking spot, and like the little piggy that went to market, some residences get none.

    It is unclear to me if residences with parking are actually getting a deeded parking spot that you are guaranteed access to via valet parking service, or if it comes with a license to valet park a vehicle(s) in the building in perpetuity. My guess would be the perpetual license, but I’ll see if I can get that clarified.

    What is currently being offered with the residences for sale that aren’t guaranteed parking is a license to valet park for a period of two years. What happens in two years?

    Worst case scenario? No more room in the garage and you have to sell that car or pay for parking in a nearby parking garage.

    Best case scenario? Enough people don’t have a car so the HOA is able to continue to offer you a valet parking license for an additional period of time.

    Which scenario is most likely? Depends on if you are an optimist or a pessimist. The pessimistic parking perspective is that the building will quickly sell out and that everyone who buys in the building will be a full time resident with a car, in which case the laws of math dictate that there just isn’t enough room for all those cars and that valet licenses for many residences won’t be extended past two  years. The optimistic parking perspective is that the building will take a long time to sell out, and that even when it does many owners will be using it as a second, third, or fourth residence and will have either less cars than they are entitled to, or no car at all, allowing an extension of the valet license to those without a guaranteed right to park in the building.

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