I was in Escrow on Prentiss Street last month in Bernal. It was a lot of house for the money but the view was the freeway very much like your situation. My buyers had looked long (46 properties) and hard because they wanted to live in Bernal. Bernal is an interesting neighborhood as one side is night and day from the others and there are definitely some areas that bring in better prices and that are more desirable. The bottom line is this. Whether you are planning to live there for 5 years or 10 years it is an investment. The freeway is not going away anytime soon. If you are asking yourself about the view so will the people who consider buying it from you in the future. Some will weigh the zip code and size of the house higher than the view and some will not. Will it always be a handicapping issue? Yes, to a certain extent. This is an issue that price will usually will overcome. What is more important to you living in a house in Bernal with a view of the freeway near the projects or living in another up and coming neighborhood with a similar sized house, back yard and no freeway view? My clients dropped out of the Bernal escrow and choose a place in the Excelsior and never looked back.
If you are currently interviewing agents to work with you, I would be honored to be among them.
Zephyr Real Estate
415 377 8810
Another neighborhood you might consider is Excelsior, which is just down the road from Bernal. Great values there, and a lot of first-time home buyers are turning to the area for the space they need.
Feel free to check out my blog, Inside San Francisco Real Estate, for coverage on Bernal, Excelsior, and a lot of other neighborhoods. I live on the Noe/Mission border and predominantly sell homes in the south part of SF.
We are very familiar with this neighborhood and have recently sold a TIC on the north slope, currently have a 3BR 2BA home listed in Bernal near cortland, and sold a duplex near Mission Street last year. As Danielle pointed out there is a wide variety of desirability and values depending upon what part, and these not only have impact on pruchase price but on resale value as well.
If you need an agent or broker, I recommend you interview 3 reputable ones - the others here definitely fall into that category - and decide who best meets your needs in terms of knowledge and experience, as well as understanding your goals and ability to offer a level of service in accord with your specific requirements.
Obviously we're happy to be one of those to help and I'm available for a no-strings consult if you need representation.
Lance King/Managing Broker
I'd be happy to help. As Bernal resident since 1983 I can offer you great insight.
Are you currently working with an agent, if so - I don't want to interfere and you should ask them!
Zephyr Real Estate
Bernal Heights is a great neighborhood and right now, there are some amazing values.
That said, it is a big district with great variation in property values. There are good values throughout and whether or not it is a good buy is relative.
What makes a smart purchase south of Cortland near Crescent is different than north of Cortland near the park.
In other words, it really depends on the specific house, block, and terms (price mostly). It might be a good idea for you or it may not be.
To give you professional and trust-worthy advice, an agent really needs to know more about you and your specific situation. If you are not yet happily working with a Realtor, give me a call and we can chat.
PS. My blog has lots of market info on Bernal Heights real estate and home buying tips.
Danielle Lazier, Zephyr Real Estate