North Bay Real Estate Report: 3rd Quarter 2013 Update for Marin, Napa, Sonoma

Later this week on Parascope we will feature our New Home Developments Interactive Map –stay tuned!


Updated Neighborhood Charts: South Beach, Noe-Eureka, Sunset, Potrero, Glen Park

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San Francisco Neighborhood Map

This map of San Francisco neighborhoods is according to the San Francisco Association of Realtors district and sub-district, Multiple Listing Service (MLS) specifications. Real estate values and prices, property types, age of construction, architectural styles, views, amenities, commercial districts and home sizes can vary widely between different neighborhoods. Indeed, San Francisco is more a collection of delightfully different neighborhoods than a homogenous entity.

If you adjust your screen view to a zoom of 125%, the map will be that much easier to read. If you click on the “Explore” tab above you will find more information about SF neighborhoods; if you click on “Home” you can quickly search for properties by neighborhood; and if you click on ”Market Dynamics” and then “Neighborhood Values” you’ll find analyses of home prices by neighborhood. Please use the “Contact Us” link if you have any questions.



District 1 (Northwest): Sea Cliff, Lake Street, Richmond (Inner, Central, Outer), Jordan Park/Laurel Heights, Lone Mountain

District 2 (West): Sunset & Parkside (Inner, Central, Outer), Golden Gate Heights

District 3 (Southwest): Lake Shore, Lakeside, Merced Manor, Merced Heights, Ingleside, Ingleside Heights, Oceanview

District 4 (Central SW): St. Francis Wood, Forest Hill, West Portal, Forest Knolls, Diamond Heights, Midtown Terrace, Miraloma Park, Sunnyside, Balboa Terrace, Ingleside Terrace, Mt. Davidson Manor, Sherwood Forest, Monterey Heights, Westwood Highlands

District 5 (Central): Noe Valley, Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights (Castro, Liberty Hill), Cole Valley, Glen Park, Corona Heights, Clarendon Heights, Ashbury Heights, Buena Vista Park, Haight Ashbury, Duboce Triangle, Twin Peaks, Mission Dolores, Parnassus Heights

District 6 (Central North): Hayes Valley, North of Panhandle (NOPA), Alamo Square, Western Addition, Anza Vista, Lower Pacific Heights

District 7 (North): Pacific Heights, Presidio Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina

District 8 (Northeast): Russian Hill, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, North Beach, Financial District, North Waterfront, Downtown, Van Ness/ Civic Center, Tenderloin

District 9 (East): SoMa, South Beach, Mission Bay, Potrero Hill, Dogpatch, Bernal Heights, Inner Mission, Yerba Buena

District 10 (Southeast): Bayview, Bayview Heights, Excelsior, Portola, Visitacion Valley, Silver Terrace, Mission Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Outer Mission

Some Realtor districts contain neighborhoods that are relatively homogeneous in general home values, such as districts 5 and 7, and others contain neighborhoods of wildly different values, such as district 8 which includes both Russian Hill and the Tenderloin.

From our NorCal network : The Artisan Group


15 Country View Lane
Danville, CA 94526
Offered at $2,885,000

For more information about this property or a referral to other areas of Northern California, please contact me.

Preparing Your Home for Sale

Preparing your home to show is not a matter of taste, but of strategy:

Is there anything that might be done that would result
in making you more money

Regardless of current market conditions, it has been shown time and time again that a well-prepared home will sell for a higher price and in less time than unprepared properties.

Many items that may be done cost comparatively little, and yet may dramatically enhance market response and value. However, from basic cleaning to full staging, anything that appears likely to add significantly more value (in achieved sales price) than what it costs to perform is worth your consideration.

Remember that most buyers and agents have little imagination: If a property looks appealing, they respond well, and if it doesn’t, they simply walk away without even thinking of simple remedies.

The options below range from items that every seller should undertake or at least seriously consider – because the return on investment is so clear – to options that may or may not apply to specific properties or make sense to specific sellers.


  • Thorough, professional cleaning of the entire house, including carpets, hardwood floors and windows. The kitchen and bathrooms, in particular, should look pristine for all showings.
  • Fresh interior paint, especially of main rooms, with light, neutral colors. Perhaps the best investment a seller can make.
  • Flower boxes for steps, walkways, patio, deck and/or exterior windows: it is incredible the effect this makes on buyers and the value this can add.
  • Remove clutter from shelves, tables, counters and desk tops, closets, refrigerator, bathroom cabinets, garage, basement and attic.
  • Remove unneeded or unattractive furniture to open up the room and make it appear larger.
  • Set the dining room table as if for an elegant dinner party.
  • Maximize light and enhance views as possible: new lamps, brighter light bulbs, adjustments to drapes and blinds, tree trimming. Minimize unpleasant views with decorative screens, window treatments or glazed windows.
  • Change the use of rooms to enhance value—for example, from child’s bedroom to adult’s bedroom, exercise room to media room or office, recreation room to den/library, basement to workshop.
  • Replace selected pieces of furniture or area carpets.
  • Fully stage selected main rooms, such as living room, formal dining room and master bedroom—a less expensive alternative to staging the entire house.
  • If necessary, consider wholesale carpet replacement, or the addition of area rugs. If there is hardwood flooring under carpeting, consider carpet removal and floor refinishing. Purchase new doormats and carpet runners.
  • Stage back patio, terrace or deck to look inviting; power wash or re-stain decks.
  • Stage the fireplace, bookshelves, hutches, coffee tables and end tables.
  • Order pre-sale pest and contractor inspections: remedy specific deficiencies as reasonable and cost effective. Get estimates for those major repairs you will not be undertaking. (Reports and estimates will be provided to prospective buyers.)
  • Make miscellaneous small repairs, especially those that improve appearance: replace broken windows and old light-switch plates, fix leaky faucets, touch-up paint.
  • Yard, lawn and garden work: weed, plant flowers, mow, trim shrubs and hedges; if necessary, re-sod lawn.
  • Fresh exterior painting, especially of the front of house, front door and/or front fence.
  • Re-glaze sinks and bathtubs; fresh grout in bathrooms.
  • Make pet arrangements for showing times and open houses; if possible, relocate pets for duration of showing period. Hide litter boxes and pet beds.
  • Have your home photographed by a professional real estate photographer once preparations are completed. The vast majority of potential buyers will first see your home through its photographs, and then decide whether to come see it in person.
  • To consider, if feasible: moving out for first week or two of intensive showing—sometimes sensible for Sellers with young children.

You might consider hiring a staging consultant, whose entire experience and only job is to help sellers identify options to enhance value.

“A study found that staged houses sold in half the time as unstaged homes
and…on average almost 5% more than the sales price for unstaged homes. 

The Week 


1376 Alabama Street

Seller Represented
Read more

From our NorCal network : The Artisan Group


173 Snug Harbor
Glenbrook, NV 89413
Offered at $4,250,000

For more information about this property or a referral to other areas of Northern California, please contact me.

Renting vs. Selling your Home

Depending on your circumstances, plans and current market conditions, renting one’s home instead of selling it may certainly be an option worth considering. Owning rental property may be a viable investment choice for you. However, there are additional factors to keep in mind as you make your decision.

1. In San Francisco, renters often reduce property value for the following reasons:

  • Rental properties rarely show as well as owner-occupied properties and renters often neglect basic upkeep and maintenance.
  • If your property is subject to SF rent control/eviction limitations – which most properties built before 1979 are – evicting tenants or paying them off to move without eviction in order to sell the home later may be prohibitively expensive, take long periods of time or even be impossible. (You should consult a landlord-tenant attorney.)
  • SF tenants under the rent control ordinance are now owed relocation fees upon eviction – thousands of dollars per tenant. Buyers will want to be compensated for that cost.
  • If it’s impossible to evict the tenants, then you have to show it while tenant occupied, which can bring up multiple issues pertaining to appearance, showings, open houses, and tenant resentment and lack of cooperation. It also makes it virtually impossible to perform any staging of the home to make the property show in its best possible light.
  • Many buyers don’t want to buy tenant occupied homes and those buyers willing to deal with the issue usually expect a significant discount on the price.

2. Managing a rental property and tenants can be a hassle—the calls about broken plumbing on Thanksgiving Day may not be something you wish to deal with. And if you hire a professional property manager, there will be a significant additional expense to deduct against the rental income.

3. If you are able to get the tenant to vacate the property prior to the listing period, a vacant house will have to be staged to show well. It costs money to stage an empty property and it costs money to keep the house vacant during the listing and sale period.

4. Renting for an extended period may affect the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion from capital gains tax for owner-occupied properties upon sale.

5. If you want to own rental property, you will typically get a better return on investment from multiple-unit properties than from single family dwellings.

6. You may need your proceeds of sale to purchase your new home.

Note: If you do decide you wish you rent out your home, Paragon has a very able rental department which specializes in this exact situation.

Anyone considering renting their home or evicting a tenant is strongly recommended
to consult with a qualified landlord-tenant attorney and the San Francisco Rent Board.
Speaking to an accountant about the financial ramifications is also recommended.
Paragon agents are not qualified to give advice on these issues.

Fiesta On the Hill – October 20, 2013


Fiesta on the Hill is a community based, high-profile and energetic Festival with an attendance of over 20,000 friends and neighbors from San Francisco’s Bernal Heights area, neighboring communities and the greater Bay Area. The event is in its 25th year and continues to grow and enhance the ethnic, cultural and economic diversity of the Bernal Heights District of San Francisco and surrounding neighborhoods.

Presented by the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, an organization devoted to community action, equity and justice in the Bernal Heights area, the 25th annual Fiesta is an alcohol free event that emphasizes the importance of well being to the vitality of the neighborhood. The event includes a petting zoo, pony rides, a pumpkin patch, non-profit booths, live music on two stages, great food and a great sense of healthy, inclusive community.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM PST
Cortland Avenue from Bocana Avenue to Folsom Street, Bernal Heights, San Francisco
No admission fee

For more information go to

Pros and Cons of Pocket Listings

Fair market value is that price a qualified, reasonably knowledgeable buyer will pay to a seller not under duress, after the property has been fully exposed to the market.
What was once an unusual way to market homes – outside of MLS – has become much more common. The question is: does this make sense for most sellers?

There are basically three reasons for trying to sell your home as what is variously called a pocket, off-market or off-MLS listing:

  1. Your highest priority and primary concern is confidentiality and privacy: you absolutely do not wish it to be public knowledge that you are selling your property.
  2. You don’t want to prepare your home for showings, have open houses or really make any effort at all. Perhaps you don’t even need to sell, but if someone is willing to pay you a certain price that you’ve already decided on, taking the property as-is, then you will be completely satisfied selling at that price.
  3. You believe that marketing and selling your home this way achieves the highest sales price, because buyers who do learn of it believe they’re getting a special inside shot at buying and step up aggressively.

Those are all valid reasons, but you should be aware of the potential trade-off you’re making.

One thing has become clear in the current red-hot market: it is not uncommon for one, specific buyer to be willing to pay significantly more than anyone else when they’re competing with other buyers. The reason behind comprehensive marketing, including listing the property in the Multiple Listing Service – which is probably the single best way of getting the word out to buyers and their agents – is firstly, to reach that highest paying buyer (in the effort to reach every possible buyer), and secondly, to orchestrate as big a competitive bidding situation as possible – or at least the fear of impending competition in that buyer’s mind. This typically brings about the best result for the seller.

Without comprehensive marketing, it is much less likely that this single buyer will hear of your home being for sale in the first place, as well as being much less likely that a dynamic competitive bidding situation can be orchestrated. In either or both of those cases, it is quite possible you will sell your home for less, and perhaps significantly less, than you could have.

If you do sell your home “off-MLS” in this market, it’s quite conceivable that you’ll find a buyer who will pay what appears to be a very good price. But there is simply no way to tell if you are getting the best price achievable, or even, by definition, current fair market value. This is especially true in a rapidly appreciating market. Might there have been somebody else, who, if they knew about the opportunity, would have paid more? There’s no way to know.

So, there are valid reasons to make the conscious decision to go the pocket listing-off market-off MLS route, as long as you realize that you might not get as high a price as you could have otherwise. What are not valid reasons are your agent or broker desiring, by not publicizing the listing to other agents, to “double-end” the sale (i.e. represent both you and the buyer) and thus earn twice the commission, or your agent preferring not to spend the time, effort and money to comprehensively market and show your home. In both those scenarios, your agent is putting their interests above your interests – which, by the way, is a violation of their legal, fiduciary duty – and you should find another agent to represent you in the sale of your home.

The quality of the agent working on your behalf—his or her competence, integrity,
work ethic and commitment to your interests—can make an enormous difference
in the outcome of your home purchase or sale: in money, stress, time, future happiness.