How high? How far?

Recently I said that a shortage of inventory was driving prices up again. This week, I want to actually show you sample properties that sold well above their listing price.

This sampling represents a variety of locations and property styles. To make this topic appealing to all, we are generally sticking with better-known neighborhoods. If you would like information on selling versus list prices in parts of the city such as west of Twin Peaks or over by Ocean Avenue, email me and I’ll be happy to send you information on how property is selling in those neighborhoods.

The address links take you to online presentations from our local MLS. I’m afraid it’s not the sexiest format out there, but it seems only fair to create a level playing field for how the homes show up on your computer screen. You also avoid getting seduced by fancy moving images or weird music that comes on at inappropriate times.

Examples of selling prices far exceeding listing prices this year are:

707 3rd Avenue

A gracious 3BR/1.5 Edwardian house with a fancy remodeled kitchen, lots of period detail and expansion potential.This Inner Richmond location is a popular alternative for buyers wanting a larger single family but are priced out of neighborhoods like Noe Valley. On a great, close-in block, this home is also walking distance to Golden Gate Park.

Listed for $1,495,000

Sold for $1,827,000

40 Joost Avenue

A smaller 2BR/1.5BA single family home that is characteristic of the Sunnyside neighborhood. Buyers are discovering Sunnyside as it offers smaller, more affordable houses and good proximity to the Glen Park BART and the freeways. This home was owned for many years by a well-known cabinet maker, but he also seemed to be a fan of tile work as well. . .

Listed for $899,000

Sold for $1,110,000

763 Chenery

This single family 3BR/2BA “checked all the boxes” on a home-shopper’s list. It had the look of a quintessential, San Francisco peaked-roof Victorian with the added boost of being just steps away from Glen Park Village shops, BART and the on-ramp to the 280 Freeway. The combination kitchen-family room communicated directly with the back yard. The only small downside is a division of bedrooms between the top and lower levels.

Listed for $1,749,000

Sold for $2,250,019

353 Park Street

Another classic 2BR/1.5BA peaked roof Victorian house, just steps away from Holly Park on Bernal Heights’ south slope.

If you’ve never been to Holly Park, it’s time for a visit. This is a magical little spot close by Mission Street and not too far from Cortland. Like many Bernal homes, this one had a slightly awkward floor plan, but it was easy to see what needed to be corrected and how.

Listed for $1,025,000

Sold for $1,400,000

355 Buena Vista Avenue #701W

1BR condo in the Park Hill complex. Park Hill is another place worth visiting if you’ve never been, with beautiful, gracious architecture in a stunning setting directly across from Buena Vista Park and just up the hill from the Haight Ashbury. This particular unit was on the top floor, extensively redone and showed like a dream. Even so, the selling price one was jaw-dropping since sales in the building over the past six months have been in the $640,000-730,000 range.

Listed for $899,000

Sold for $1,100,000

942 Treat Avenue

Victorian 1BR/1.5BA condo-flat that was “dripping with period character” (not my words). The lower bedroom/bath count is compensated by 1000+ square feet with a formal dining room, large eat-in kitchen, back deck and common yard hot tub. This home has parking but it’s tandem, which means you have to have your neighbors keys and park end-to-end. If you look at the photos, make sure to go all the way to the last one to see some exterior “misguided improvements” made by former owners years ago. This property is in the heart of the Mission District.

Listed for $779,000

Sold for $940,000

138-140 Eureka

Classic 4U Edwardian building with one-bedroom Romeo style flats. We call this particular style of building “Romeo,” perhaps because windows in the central stairway offer some romance as they overlook the street. Inside each front door, you are greeted by a long hall feeding into a series of rooms. This layout holds appeal for some because there is depth to the floor plan and you can’t see all of the living space at one time. Great Castro Village location within walking distance to everything. All tenant-occupied with monthly rents ranging from about $1,250 to just north of $2,950.

Listed for $1,499,000

Sold for $1,808,625

342-A Hayes Street
2BR/2.5BA townhome with a stellar WalkScore location in the heart of Hayes Valley.
Built in 1996, it had a crisp, contemporary feel with pleasant treetop outlooks. Smaller square footage was overcome by extra tall ceilings and a two-level floor plan. Separate master suites broadened the home’s appeal to Millennials who might want a roommate. Having restaurants and coffee shops like Arlequin, Absinthe, Sugar Lounge and Blue Bottle Coffee just outside the front door didn’t hurt either.

Listed for $1,050,000

Sold for $1,310,000

2931-A Fillmore
Unique 2BR/2BA condo in a superb Cow Hollow location just half-a-block above Union Street.
The building also has some distinctive architectural features with an unusual double-arched façade. Inside, the home’s vaulted ceilings, skylights and a loft level must have made it seem like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Extra perks were parking and an outdoor deck with views to the Golden Gate. This home wins our prize for going furthest over at 139% of list price.

Listed for $1,385,000

Sold for $1,925,000

I have chosen extreme examples, but overbidding is happening nearly every time in this market. To give it some statistical context, only six out of the last 31 properties to sell over the past two weeks sold at or below asking, with the biggest “bargain” selling for 93% of its listing price.

So what can we learn?

Two conclusions to draw:

  1. If you’re a buyer, do your online searches at listing prices below your price range. Roughly half of all houses sell within the first thirty days for an average 140%over asking. The median is less frightening- about 120% for single families and 110% for condos. But this still means that if your price range is up to $1,200,000 for a single family you might want to look at new listings priced no higher than $999,000.
  2. If you’re a seller and have a “make-me-move” price, you might want to call us to see if the market can match it. Keep in mind that your Zillow estimate may be inaccurate, especially in neighborhoods like Potrero Hill, where prices can vary dramatically block-to-block (I’ve seen them Zillow estimate too low as often as I have too high). Your property’s “hotness” will also depend on its rarity. Certain neighborhoods, like Hayes Valley, have a dearth of inventory right now and anything near Dolores Park remains highly coveted. We are also seeing a resurgence of interest in condos in the City’s classic Northern District, like Pacific Heights and Russian Hill. All of San Francisco is a hot commodity right now, however, regardless of location. So if you want to know what your home is worth today, please feel free to get in touch.

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

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