One Way To Buy Real Estate In San Francisco!
Drive down the street in one of your favorite neighborhoods and look for curb appeal of a different sort.
Look for double parked trucks and moving vans, they are easy to spot. Or look for any construction activity in front of a property that is worth pursuing. Write down the address and call your Realtor to check it out.
That’s what happened in Pacific Heights recently. Potential Buyers drove by and recognized a stager moving furniture into an attractive house on one of prettiest blocks in the city. They stopped the car and inquired within.
They found that the property was listed, although the Seller was waiting for these final preparations to be completed before the Seller’s agent would place the property on the MLS. The next morning an offer was on the Seller’s agent’s desk that (by law) had to be immediately presented to the Seller. In turn, the Seller accepted the pre-emptive offer that exceeded the Seller’s expectations from a very observant tenacious Buyer.
The property did hit MLS as “Active” and then immediately changed status to “Active Continue to Show” with an asking price of $6,895,000 with numerous pictures of a 6 bedroom – 4.5 bathroom fully staged pristine home with a partial view.
The bad news is that with the 2007 pent up demand in the high-end market in San Francisco, before my Buyer could even view the property, my buyer through an MLS automatic responder emails me, “Does this mean the house was sold and ….they just have it on for comp [comparable sales] purposes? Sounds like Clay St.” Sad to say, my answer was “yes”.
Now that was twelve days ago. To check the MLS today to see if the “Active Continue to Show” status has changed to either “Pending” or “Sold”, the search results show “0 listing(s) found”. That’s a new one on me. Was the Seller’s agent really able to have the MLS erase the property from the MLS(?)
In the San Francisco high-end market, it is not uncommon for property in move-in condition to get multiple offers within one or two weeks of marketing, have an accepted offer, and close escrow very quickly. And it is also not uncommon that the Seller and Buyer authorizes that the sales price be undisclosed in MLS at the close of escrow. This is done in the MLS by having an asterisk placed next to the sales price showing the original asking price.
Also the sales price and/or the transfer taxes may be hidden from the public records at the San Francisco County Recorder’s Office. Years later, one may be able to decipher the original assessed value in the public records, yet by that time it is history.
In the end, using high-end comparable sales (or word of mouth) to determine what other buyers paid for a property in writing an offer is sometimes fruitless. A better approach is to ask yourself, what are you willing to spend to get your San Francisco trophy home in either a pre-emptive offer or a multiple offer and exceed the Seller’s expectations?