Of Interest

Freshly updated map of what’s going up around town


Interested in what’s happening with new developments in San Francisco? Click the link below to view the interactive map…


Source : Parascopesf.com

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Get There!

I get around town.  A lot.  This involves three things:  driving, parking and walking.

A long time ago, I shared with you the parking meter card thing, but the city has mucked that up by using different kinds of meters, only some of which accept the cards.  But now the City has a program using an APP called PaybyPhone.  It also works with Android and Blackberry, but I use it on my iPhone.  (If you don’t have a smartphone, you can place an actual telephone call to them.)  Each meter has a number on the back (in very large type) and side and you just type in the number and go.  It even reminds you when the meter is going to expire and you can add more time where allowed without returning to the car.  Long line or long lunch – no problem!

They charge 45 cents extra each time you use it, which might seem like a lot but considering the THOUSANDS I am saving in tickets it seems a small price to pay.

ONE CAVEAT – BEWARE:  you must register the license plate of your car to use this because it doesn’t actually put time on the meter, just in an online system that the ticket folks can see.  (I learned the hard way when I used it with a rental and got a ticket.)

Also, one of my goals in 2012 was to walk more.  And the result is that sometimes I walk far from where I need to get next and I am either tired or out of time to walk back.  Sometimes I use the great MUNI app and take the bus but when things are really tight or the bus doesn’t come, I use UBER on my phone to magically summon taxis and black cars to retrieve me.  This has given me a level of freedom I didn’t have before to squeeze in an extra walk and I am really enjoying it.

It’s the little things as they say… they make city living easier and more productive for me and I hope they do for you as well. read more →

Let your supervisor know if you are sick of the pants-free parade

I know I am.  I do not enjoy seeing George Davis’s altogether every time I am near Castro & Market.  It makes my son uncomfortable and, you know what?   Me too.  At an appropriate public event, I don’t mind if people are nude or scantily clad, but this daily parade of the pants-free should be stopped.  It’s bad for the city as a whole and for the health of the generally very inclusive Castro neighborhood specifically.

Natalie Rome of Paragon is quoted in the Chronicle today as saying that George and his band caused a couple to steer clear of the area.  I had the same thing happen this summer as well.  To read the Chron article, click here.

Supervisor Scott Weiner has proposed a ban on public nudity.  While it might be better if a supervisor with a different last name sponsored the legislation, his name may help the whole thing catch on.  My thanks to you Scott for taking a  potentially unpopular stand and talking about what we’ve all been trying to ignore lately.  To contact your supervisor to let them know you support (or do not support) the measure, click here.

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Watch Out for Those Flashers

One CLIK wrote last week that she’s been “flashed all over town.”  I was initially concerned but I started giggling when I realized she was talking about all the red light cameras.  Running a red light is going up to $436.  She has kindly passed along this article on the shockingly high new traffic and parking fines that went into effect this month.

Apparently handicapped zone parking violations are going up to $976 and so is stopping in a bus loading zone.  Nearly $1000 to drop someone off when the buses don’t even use them half the time?  If you’ve ever been on tour with me, you know I fearlessly use driveways and double park but am terrified of ramps and hydrants.  I fear you will all be forced to follow my example or risk bankruptcy.

To read the article, click here.  And thanks, you know who you are, for sending this along. read more →

Taking Stock – Lucky to be in San Francisco

At the end of the year it’s time to take stock and consider that we have a lot to be thankful for here in San Francisco.

For starters, Trulia has designated SF the #1 of best American cities to invest in real estate in 2011.  That means that if you’re holding property here, or planning to buy, you are on the right track for the long term.  Being on this list means that our overall outlook is good for us on jobs and other things – not just that values haven’t fallen as much as in some other places.  To see the article click here.  If you want to check in on how you’re doing, please call me any time for a market analysis update on your properties.  It’s possible that your specific situation would be improved by trading up, acquiring another property or even selling right now.  I’m happy to weigh in and provide the information that will help you make good decisions when you’re wondering.

For those who can’t resist a little schadenfreude, the list of the worst places to invest in 2011, can be found here.  (WARNING:  if you are on vacation and real estate seems too cheap to be true in one of these worst places (or anywhere else), be careful!  The fundamentals of the community will ultimately drive real estate prices in to the future and what it means to be on this list is that the fundamentals are not strong.)

As far as my own business, I have much to be thankful for as well.  2010 was another challenging but successful year solving real estate problems brought to be in large part by YOU – my wonderful Clients In the Know!  I can never thank those of you enough who consistently remember that I’m here to help you and yours with real estate and related issues.  I really appreciate your faith and trust and I look forward to the next set of challenges I’m sure you’ll be bringing me in 2011! read more →

A Birthday to Remember – Prop 13 turns 30

When I was in college and struggling with tuition hikes because the California budget was in turmoil (sound familiar), I challenged the wisdom of Proposition 13* to my grandfather, Elvis Horn. He said, “Well, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea. But lookit, if a fella came to you and said he was gonna cut your taxes by 90%, wouldn’t you vote for ‘im?” Well, 30 years ago, a lot of people felt the same way as my grandfather, and we have been living with the legacy of the Jarvis-Gann revolution for good and bad since then. I thought, for those of us who could use a refresher on how we got where we are today, that this article on the history and effects of Proposition 13 was a good review. 

*Proposition 13 is the law that requires a 2/3 vote to increase taxes as well as the law that fixes property tax assessed values at purchase price plus 2% per year of ownership.  It has been called “rent control for owners.” read more →

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Decide to Stop Feeding the Frenzy

Last week, news was that even San Francisco had been tagged a “declining market” by some institutions and that downpayment requirements were going to go up by at least 5% for loans financed by Wells Fargo and other leading lenders.  This was based on the requirements of the quasi-federal Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for higher downpayments in troubled real estate markets and was not good news for buyers who have seen their minimum downpayment requirement go from 5% to 10% to even more already in the last 6 months. 

One of the objections to this is that high performing sub-markets (such as the northern 2/3 of San Francisco) were being unfairly penalized and actually damaged by this kind of requirement.

This week, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reversed their policy, and will have the same downpayment requirements whether a market is flagged as “declining” or not.  Read the whole article here. read more →

SF Population at an All Time High

An interesting article in the San Francisco Chronicle was pointed out to me by Barry O’Leary of Residential Pacific Mortgage this week.  It talked about the job and population growth San Francisco’s been experiencing.  I’ve been talking lot about the “micro-market” nature of real estate in the Bay Area, with San Francisco’s piece of that performing counter to the general state-wide trends.  I think these numbers on the currently crowded state of affairs really help to explain things . . . it’s not just that we’re all crazy in this lucky City by the Bay.  We have such a vibrant depth to our economy that when one part seems poised for failure, another part takes up the slack.  Read the article here. read more →