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Scam artist or sweet grandmother?

What to make of Su Wan? The 70-something San Francisco grandmother may only look sweet, according to allegations from local real estate agents and former tenants. Wan is under fire for scamming in order to get money, fancy meals and even a ride to grocery stores.

“I don’t know what a con artist or scammer profile would be, but she certainly doesn’t fit that profile in my mind,” San Francisco real estate agent Robyn Chan told NBC Bay Area. Chan said she first met Wan in late 2009 when Wan said she was possibly interested in buying a fast-food restaurant. “She wears a Rolex, Coach shoes, Gucci handbag, St. John outfits. … She showed me bank account (information) to show that she can buy the property with all cash if necessary.”

However, Wan gave Chan a bit of the heebie-jeebies. Later she found out that Wan was well known for posing as an investor and doing more than her fair share of mooching. That wasn’t a surprise to Century 21 real estate agent Thomas Nguyen, who said she was very smart – and a scammer who bilked him out of two days and nearly $200 in meals and groceries for her. At the same time, she refused to discuss business after the first day of contact.

When Nguyen spoke with another agent in his office, the agent told him he too had been contacted and scammed by Wan. “I went to law enforcement already; it seems like they’re not going to do anything,” He told NBC Bay Area.

Here’s a tip: when a would-be client asks you to purchase a designer purse, just say no.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Condos a relative bargain in SF? Think again

So buying a condo is less expensive than purchasing a single-family home, right? Not according to Paragon Real Estate Group’s recent research, which finds that there is just a 12 percent difference in median prices between condos and single-family homes, with $1.075 million the median for those homes sold between March 1 and August 31 and $950,000 the median for condos and co-ops.

This report was featured last week on the SFGate website. The article noted that Paragon had also found that tenancies in common are still a relative bargain at a median price of $805,000. That said, TIC sales are on the decline, with slightly less than 200 units sold between January 1 and August 31 – or, in terms of percentages, just 5 percent of the city’s market.

Now let’s look at condos and single-family homes, which respectively make up 46 percent of San Francisco sales at 1,864 sales and 37 percent of San Francisco sales with 1,513 sales. These sales were recorded during the same period as that of the TICs.

So what’s going on here?

Well, one major factor is the multiple newly built projects that are hitting the market at crazy per-square-foot prices. In some cases, as SFGate noted, these are more than $1,300 per square foot. These figures are bringing up values in areas such as Potrero Hill, the Inner Mission, Hayes Valley and the Market Street and Van Ness corridors. A rising tide lifts all boats, and average and median values in these neighborhoods are headed skyward.

Low single-family inventory is also at play here. There seem to be many more condo sales in the $750,000 to $1.49 million range, while condos and single-family homes are equal in the $1.5 million to the $1.99 million range. Go to the ultra-high end, though, and there are 178 single-family sales as opposed to 118 condos. (Note that this high end represents sales between $2 million and $4.99 million.) Remember that there are still condos being built, while very new single-family homes are being added to the mix.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

This Weekend: Wu-Tang Clan

Can you believe that the Wu-Tang Clan has been in the business for more than two decades? It’s true – and they’re bringing that funk and expertise to The Warfield on Saturday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. Tickets range between $50 and $67 and can be purchased here.

Wu-Tang came onto the scene in 1993, when the Staten Island, New York band hit the hip-hop world and turned the standard concept of a hip-hop crew on its side. That was only in part because of its musical sensibilities and also in part because of how it was structured – as a loose congregation of nine MCs, forming a bit of a de facto support group. They worked to take over the record industry as profitably as possible, establishing the band as a force with its debut album and then spinning off into as many side projects as they could.

All nine members work under various psudonyms. These include Prince Raheem, Chief Abbot and Bobby Steels as well as Joe Bannanas, Dirt Dog and Method Man Rolling Stone has hailed the group as the best rap group ever, while NME said in 2004 that it was one of the most influential groups in the last decade.

The group often performs with acts such as Killa Beez, Easy Mo Bee, Pete Rock, Nas, Mobb Deep, Method Man and Redman and Busta Rhymes. Producer/rapper Kanye West has built his career on influences from the Wu-Tang Clan as well.

The Warfield is located at 982 Market Street in San Francisco. For more information, call (415) 345-0900 or visit the theater’s website.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

From our NorCal network : The Artisan Group

1

2950 Trinity Road
Glen Ellen, CA
Offered at $1,695,000

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

350 8th Apartments on rise

Wondering what’s going on at 8th and Harrison in San Francisco? Wonder no more. The former three-acre bus depot is the future home for 350 8th Apartments, on which ground was broken earlier this year. The ceremonial groundbreaking for the project, however, is set for next week.

So what exactly is this project? According to SocketSite, it’s a mix of 410 flats, lofts, and two-story townhouse apartments, which will begin coming online in November 2015. Following this fairly soon will be the project’s 5,400-square-foot plaza and café at the corner of 8th and Ringold.

Spearheaded by Associate Estates Realty and AIG Global Real Estate, the latter of which is financing the $220 million project, the development will also include 315 off-street car parking spaces as well as 414 parking spaces for bikes, which will be mostly underground or within the site’s interior. There will be 44,000 square feet of open space in the development as well as more than 20,000 square feet of ground-floor retail, arts and commercial space.

The project is discussed extensively in the San Francisco Planning Department’s Environmental Impact Report, which mentions potential issues including:

  • Concerns regarding existing noise
  • Concerns regarding down-zoning lots along Mission between Seventh and Eleventh Streets
  • Existing pedestrian conditions
  • Maximum housing production
  • Retention of Residential Enclave District zoning, which will limit the potential for new housing.

The Environmental Impact Report also looked at transportation systems proposed by the city in connection with city planning for Western SOMA. These included:

  • Posting of “Truck Route” signs on Ninth, 10th, Harrison and Bryant Streets in the studied area
  • Installation of new signalized midblock crossings at several intersections
  • Installation of streetscape and traffic-calming improvements on Minna, Natoma and Ringold Streets

Opinions on the project? Let’s hear them!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Development may be headed to southern side of Mission

Curbed SF is reporting that the Mission may be the next site for another big housing development in the city … and this time, that development may be taking place on the district’s southern edge. This project, according to Curbed, would be on South Van Ness and 26th Streets, close to Cesar Chavez. This is a break from what’s been going on lately, which is that the great majority of new construction has been taking place in the Mission’s northern end.

So who’s in charge of this whole razzmatazz? It’s Lennar Urban, who has brought us huge new developments slated for Candlestick Point, the San Francisco Shipyard and Treasure Island. According to the Preliminary Project Assessment, which Lennar filed on Sept. 15, the proposal entails demolishing an existing commercial building and constructing a new six-story, 64-foot-tall, 181,400-square-foot mixed-use residential building on three adjoining lots with a total area of 35,714 square feet. The proposed new building would include 160 residential units and 90 parking spaces within a 34,600-square-foot underground garage, as well as 1,740 square feet of ground-floor commercial space. On the ground floor there would be a leasing office, resident amenities room, utilities room, 26 residential units and more than 7,800-square-foot courtyard. Most of the remaining 134 studios, one- and two-bedroom units would be on the second through sixth floors, with the top floor limited to the existing lot fronting South Van Ness Avenue.

There would be 64 two-bedroom units, with the average size of all units set to be 890 square feet. Moreover, Curbed notes, there doesn’t seem to be all that much in the blocks around the planned new development, minus an AutoZone and a gas station. Since there were no images submitted with the application, it’s hard to tell what it’ll actually look like. Stay tuned.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

Are you ready for your open house?

A good agent knows how to prepare for their open house. In fact, the best ones treat the event like a party – they are ready to entertain and act like the good host or hostess that they are. Having a welcoming attitude and the right environment can make all the difference between selling a house and watching it sit on the market for another week.

In San Francisco, we sell a lot of condos. That process is more complex (no pun intended!) to hold open. So here are a few suggestions for doing it right:

DO: With a condo listing, have a helper in the lobby to guide visitors to the unit. You don’t want to lose people.

DO: Make sure you can be easily reached when you are inside the home. Being certain that the buzzer will reach the unit is important – again, you don’t want to lose people.

DO: Have a doorstop. There’s nothing worse than propping open your front door with a pillow (see accompanying photo) or a statue of some sort.

DO: Have toilet paper. It’s necessary.

DO: Have a way for visitors to get rid of trash. A small trash bucket under the sink will do the trick nicely.

Here’s my suggested Open House Bag of Tricks:

  • Trash can
  • Toilet paper
  • Cleaning rag
  • Scotch tape
  • Duct tape
  • Tape measure
  • iPhone charger
  • iPhone speakers
  • Doorstop (again, see accompanying photo for illustration of exactly why you should have this)

Remember, if you’re throwing a party, you should be the best host or hostess you can possibly be. You’ll be so grateful once that deal goes into escrow!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

This Weekend: WaterWorks

Ever wonder what lies beyond our water infrastructure? Wonder no more. On Saturday, Sept. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and its city partners are hosting an afternoon of hands-on activities and workshop at the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant. The plan is located at 750 Phelps Street.

The planned activities for the day include:

  • Interactive zones where you can learn about emergency preparedness, conservation, investment and workforce and pollution prevention. There is also a Kids’ Zone with fun, educational hands-on activities and an interactive walking event where you can get a behind-the-scenes plant and water-wise gardening tour.
  • Event workshops. These include:
    • “Making Every Drop Count”: an introductory talk that shows the many ways to save water in our yards, surveying different watering solutions and how they can be combined. This will also include an introduction to innovative sprinkler and drip-irrigation solutions, as well as system automation.
    • “Turning Waste Into Plenty”: a look at rainwater and graywater systems that can lower demand on the city’s water delivery and sewer systems. Attendees will learn how to save rain and recharge groundwater, keeping once-used water to water plants. The city’s Laundry to Landscape program will also be highlighted.

All attendees will be entered into a raffle to win a water-efficient toilet worth $250. Think about it. It would be a great Christmas gift!

For more information, visit the WaterWorks page or call (415) 554-3289. The event is free, but you need to reserve tickets through EventBrite. Do it today – you don’t want to miss out on the water-related event of the century (or perhaps this weekend)!

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com

From our NorCal network : The Artisan Group

image010

333 Corrie Place, Alamo
Offered at $7,499,000

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

Paragon’s updated interactive home value map is here!

We at Paragon have updated our interactive home value map of San Francisco based on median sales prices in order to reflect 2014 sales reported between March 1 and September 15. Presidio Heights came in with the highest median house sales price at $5.95 million, while Yerba Buena had the highest median sales price for two-bedroom condos at just under $2.8 million.

You’ll find the map here.

A little bit of context: the sale of new-construction condos this year significantly increased median and average values in neighborhoods including Duboce Triangle, Mission Dolores, Potrero Hill and Hayes Valley. However, some neighborhoods had relatively few sales during this period, which may slightly skew results. This analysis excludes below-market-rate sales.

Keep in mind that these value statistics are generalities and can be affected by factors including:

  • Average home size (which can vary widely by neighborhood)
  • Current buyer profile
  • Inventory available for purchase
  • Interest rates
  • Big changes in the new-construction, distressed or luxury home market segments
  • Other economic and market factors

It’s also pretty difficult, if not impossible, to understand how these values apply to any one particular property without a specific comparative market analysis. If you’re looking to get more specific, get in touch and I’ll do my level best to help you as much as I can.

If you’re looking for more resources on long-term neighborhood value trends, Paragon has an article on that exact topic. The charts in this piece track San Francisco MLS home sales by neighborhood, by average or median sales price and average dollar per square foot over the longer term. Average sales price differs from median sales price; keep in mind that statistics can fluctuate for other reasons besides change in value.

Dreaming of San Francisco? Cece Blase offers local advice to San Francisco buyers, sellers and owners– and feeds the dreams of those who wish they could live in Tony Bennett’s ‘City by the Bay.’ Call 415-577-0809 or email cblase@paragon-re.com. www.ceceblase.com