[MetroActive Features]

[ Features Index | SF Metropolitan | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

House Hunting

[whitespace] home Anybody Home?: A "clssic, spac Edw 3bd 1.5 ba" house in San Francisco is mighty expensive these days.


Sunday is the day to check out other people's homes

By Millie

For a sunday wandering through homes of every description, consult the Open Homes guide in the Sunday Chronicle. It's the most comprehensive--on a recent Sunday there were two full pages of open houses to choose from. Every San Francisco neighborhood was represented. Alamo Square, Noe Valley and the Sunset had columns of listings, while exotic-sounding neighborhoods like Sherwood Forest and Westwood Highlands had only one or two. Peruse the ads beforehand and pick out your favorites or just park in your desired neighborhood and follow the sandwich board Realtor signs that pepper the sidewalks on Sundays for an impromptu tour.

A "clssic, spac Edw 3bd 1.5 ba" on Caselli looked interesting and was conveniently located for further inspection. At the top of a steep flight of stairs, the door was open. Although no one was in sight, the sound of a chatty, middle-aged, well-dressed Realtor (think your mother's version of "corporate casual") rang unmistakably through the empty house. As soon as she saw prospective buyers politely poking around, she quickly clicked off her cell phone and played the gracious host.

"Hello! It just fills up with light on a sunny day and you can see the Bay Bridge from the upstairs bedroom. Go on up and look." She offered informational fliers about the property. "It's a very solid property," she assured in a conspiratorial tone. "The neighbors are great. Both sides."

The house at 121 Caselli Street features a pretty traditional Edwardian floor plan with a spacious living room and dining room downstairs and three smallish bedrooms upstairs. Great for a professional couple with small kids or a dog. Not so good for a family with teenagers. Lots of great dark wood detailing. Hardwood floors throughout. Kitchen needs a little work. It's functional but not so appealing. Best of all is the huge terraced garden in back. It's overgrown in the perfect way and could provide hours of entertainment for someone who likes to garden or likes to watch their partner garden. However, $565,000 for the whole shebang seemed a little steep.

"It's just so depressing," says Cody Hoover, a film student in San Francisco who's been checking out open houses with his partner, a graphic designer, for the past year. Hoover contends that even in Oakland and Berkeley the real estate market is completely overinflated. "They want half a million dollars for a dump, and you know you're going to have to put another $50,000 into it. It's just not worth it. Real estate in Palm Springs is more reasonably priced." Ah, but who wants to live in Palm Springs?

On the upside, Hoover does experience a unique thrill getting a peek at some of the weird things people fill their homes with. "I love the homes of old people. Every light fixture in the entire house is a crystal chandelier."

Back at 121 Caselli a well-dressed single man appeared briefly, darted about and said thank-you on his way out the front door. Otherwise, the place was empty. When asked why she thought the well-dressed man didn't stick around, the Realtor responded, "After wandering through a bunch of homes, people become pretty clear about what they want. Either this place had it for him or it didn't. He probably knew as soon as he drove up. Watch: he'll be the one to make an offer."

When asked if she expected a big day, she replied, "It's a gloomy day, that's not so good. Also, it's Folsom Street Fair. Plus there's a Giants game." Who knew the Folsom Street Fair keeps prospective home buyers away?

For more information on 121 Caselli, call Mindy Kershner, Tower Properties; 415/552-6300, ext. 104.

[ San Francisco | MetroActive Central | Archives ]

From the October 19-November 1, 1998 issue of the Metropolitan.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.

Foreclosures - Real Estate Investing
San Jose.com Real Estate