Here are tales from my two of my most recent sales in San Francisco, both of which happened from start to finish during the shelter-in-place orders. You learn a little something with every deal, and knowing just how far you can push a seller or buyer without losing the deal altogether is definitely an art form.
Representing the Buyer
715 Hampshire Street was originally listed at $2,150,000 in May of 2020. The seller (a known developer in the city) picked it up in 2015 with the intension of doing an extensive makeover and doubling the livable space. That owner did a little foundation repair, got it rented for a couple of years and then decided they may not want to be so leveraged in real estate heading into a pandemic. They figured this property was the lowest hanging fruit to recapitalize. After a month or two on the market without any offers, the price was dropped to $1,995,000 — below that ever-important psychological barrier of $2 million. That’s when my clients asked me if it might trade for a price closer to what they could afford.
The home has a large amount of space that is unwarranted (aka not legal living space) mostly because the ceiling height is too low. An excavation of the foundation in addition to an earthquake retrofit (think $250,000 somewhere down the line) would make that legal and livable square footage. In addition, this old Victorian has a huge undeveloped attic that if built-out will have some very beautiful sunset views. In other words, there is a lot of unrealized potential in the home that could be done over a period of time without too much disruption while you continue to live there — relatively speaking, by remodeling standards.
After about seven days of back and forth counters, with a very experienced and cool-headed listing agent, including at least one or two of “this is our rock bottom price” from both sides, we settled on a sales price of $1,850,000. It was lucky because the very next week a prospective buyer who wasn’t quite ready to pull the trigger earlier in the game came back in with serious buyer’s remorse over losing out. Their back-up offer was higher than where we finally sold, but fortunately for us, it was too late.
Representing the Seller
Loft 110 at 560 Haight is part of The Theatre Lofts, and this place is something else. List price was $1,095,000, and we sold 2.3% under for $1,070,000, which given the current seven-month supply of condominium inventory may turn out to be a great deal for the seller.
Originally we planned to come to market last year in 2019, but a building improvement that had been lingering and impacted our unit more than most curtailed that game plan. And then — Covid hit. Being a smart seller and trusting me enough to listen to counsel, we dropped our initial list price plan of $1,195,000 to $1,095,000 to avoid sitting on the market for months only to do a price reduction and possibly “follow the market down” later.
I was watching the condo inventory build up and the buyers for that start to dwindle. The list price was enticing enough, as was the large private deck and two-car parking, to attract 20 Covid-compliant showings. We had seven very viable suitors, but come offer day, each one dropped out until we landed with one offer at $1,050,000 — $45,000 below our already-discounted list price, with the possibility of one other buyer who “might” possibly come back with an offer. We had the conversation about countering the single below-asking offer at $1,095,000 list price, but in the end, the seller chose to split the difference and give the buyer in hand enough time to really think about it while we waited to see if the other suitor would show up. We accomplished that by giving the buyer two full days to respond versus the customary 24 hours. In the end, we only ever ended up with the one offer, the buyer responded to the counter offer in 24 hours and 560 Haight 110 sold for 2.3% under list.
Real Estate in San Francisco
The pandemic has influenced just about everything, buying or selling in San Francisco included. Still, experience goes a long way. If you’re looking at real estate in San Francisco, ping me and let’s talk about your options.