Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stage 41, Sunnyside (district 4s)

(You can click on most images and they will display in a new window and display larger.)

My goodness, it's been a while since our last stage. If you were to drive the districts of our city in the order that we have featured them on this tour, you'd be amazed at how truly different one is from the other. This week is no exception. If you drive from Westwood Park into Sunnyside your world is going to turn upside down. Not necessarily in a bad way, but it is just amazing how a street can be so much more than just a street. It can literally be the border between cultures, income brackets, and lifestyles. That border being Ridgewood. Trees suddenly become less abundant, cement shows up in places it shouldn't (front yards), and cars suddenly crowd the streets and your sights.

Home on Gennesee

When we tour Sunnyside, the differences we notice south of Monterey Blvd are striking from that which we notice north of Monterey. Homes on the south side are much more run down, there are a lot of concrete front yards, cars are parked everywhere, the area feels much more dense, and there is much less greenery. That doesn't mean there aren't a few standout homes and homeowners loving their location and taking care of their investment. However, from outsiders looking in, the evidence is there.

Homes on Staples looking east

Homes on Hearst near Congo/Detroit

Homes on the bottom of Staples

Lots of terraced yards

Amazingly enough, if you cross over Monterey to the north there is that much more pride of ownership and the area feels much more "neighborhoody", if you know what we mean.

Joost (Named after the guy that "founded" Sunnyside)

Different variations of the same thing (Joost)

Views to the south from Corner of Baden and Mangels

Homes on Baden

Again, exceptions apply, such as this home on the corner of Baden and Mangels

If you think about it, and refer to the map above, the less desirable and more dense areas of this district are closer to the I-280 (makes sense). As you get further away from this side of the district, and consequently closer to Glen Park, Miraloma Park, and Westwood Highlands you get much more of that "San Francisco" feel so many of you seek.

Homes in this area are generally around 1300-1400 square feet, and you can actually find some pretty good deals for your money here. Some homes sell quickly, and some sit. The ones that tend to fly off the shelf are either priced extremely low or one of two more total disrepair, or complete turnkey, move right in. The homes that are kind of in the middle of this range tend to sit a bit longer. This is one area of the city that tends to see a little bit more susceptability to market fluctuations such as the recent "credit crunch" we're experiencing.

Let's talk weather for a second. Whoever named this area "sunny" side was clearly off their rocker. ;-) Summertime is shrouded in fog, and there is a pretty brisk wind that blows from west to east through this area from Spring until Fall...the same wind that plagues the entire city, so don't think Sunnyside gets the short end of the stick. Beyond that, there are pockets of this area that are relatively protected from the wind, so don't rule it out if wind isn't your thing.

The commercial area closest to Sunnyside is Monterey Blvd, which happens to be a wide four lane road lined with trees on both sides, and down the middle. There are some great restaurants on this street, as well as all the conveniences you've come to love. It's quite nice, really. Something else to note is that a large percentage of this district houses the campus of San Francisco City College, but if you pick a home north of Monterey, you'll hardly know it is there.

This is the only part of town where you can order money, cash a check, eat coffee and donuts, and chase it back with a slushpuppy 24 hours a day. ;-)

Monterey Blvd.

That ought to give you a pretty good taste for the area. As with anything in life, if you're going to jump in, don't trust one opinion. We invite you to drive or walk the area on your own should you be considering a purchase here.

We're out...have a good weekend, and thanks for reading.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Stage 40, Westwood Park (4r)

My goodness it's been a while since our last Stage. Sorry. It appears the market is not as bad as you'd think. ;-)

Continuing our Tour this week, we sneak past the gates of Westwood Park, get a neighbor's take, and of course throw some photos in to give you the visual. To kick it off, you owe it to yourself to read up on the history ( It's a very short read and packed with pertinent information. Next, since we are a real estate site, we thought you'd like to see a quick snap of the latest sales stats:

For the most part, as with the rest of the city, the turnkey homes in the "good" parts of this area that are priced right will sell quickly. If the home has a ding on it's record, it might take a bit longer to sell. There is actually a home that is not listed on MLS, but is definitely for sale. Its address is 143? Plymouth (neighbor didn't have the exact number). The tenants have just been evicted, the place needs a new roof, and it is ready for your personal touches.

From an outsider looking in perspective, the "upper" areas of Westwood Park (North of Wildwood) are definitely less dense, have fewer cars parked on the streets, and are much quieter. These homes tend to sell a bit quicker than the ones to the southern border, simply because they seem a bit more "Monterey Heightsy". The homes around Miramar tend to be a bit bigger, as are the homes closer to Monterey. The area is very quiet, has tons of trees, nice front yards, and feels very suburban. It is a short walk to any of the commercial areas on Ocean Blvd. (to the south) or Monterey (to the north and east), as well as all the great shops in West Portal (not toured yet). As it is a hilly area, there are some decent views from many of the homes. If you don't like hills and absolutely must have a flat street to live on, Southwood or Greenwood are the ideal choices. Of course when you get down in that area (the south east corner of the district) you get a lot of San Francisco City College over-flow parking and activity.

Overall, this area is yet another solid choice in neighborhoods, has a great vibe, is very much "San Francisco", and is an ideal choice for those with kids and pets. The weather is a bit foggy in the summer, but access to all points north and south (I-280) is a breeze.

So how about a few photos to give you the visual. (More than a few actually ;-) )

Home on Faxon

Home at corner of Westwood and Pizarro

Home on Miramar (loving the statues)

Home on Miramar @ Northwood

Eastwood Street

Home under remodel on Southwood

Its neighbor on SouthwoodMiramar
Home on North side of Miramar

The home literally across the street from the above home on Miramar

Lots of tequila consumed in this house ;-) on Plymouth

Home on corner of Greenwood and Valdez
ValdezHome on ValdezGreenwood
Plymouth and Montecito and Northwood cornerNorthwood

So you get the picture of what the area looks like...we hope.

Here's what a resident of Westwood Park has to say:

Westwood Park is one of those places in the city that nobody seems to know about. Not so different than other places around here... like Sunnyside [touring that next week], Westwood Highlands & Miraloma Park. People who live in other parts of the city don't have any reason to know about them. It's a bit of the burbs in the city, for sure.

I love the history of the place (be sure to take a look at the great advertisements of the period -- they are entertaining.) If a buyer is interested in the Arts & Crafts period, this is definitely a place to take a look. The houses have a lot of Gumwood or other wood detailing, tile fireplaces, front porches & green areas. Most of the houses are different from one another, but together, are cohesive.

There are all types of people here ... many families, gay couples, blue collar, white collar, old & young. For the most part, there is a neighborhood pride ... but, I think a lot of this area is in transition. One block will be nice...the next one might look neglected.

The area is managed by an association. There will be grief provided to anyone trying to add on w/o permits. The associations concern w/your business can be annoying, but overall, I think it is a good thing for the benefit of of the homes & neighbors. There is a yearly bbq/meeting put on by the association that makes you feel like you are in a small town back in the 50's. The fire trucks and mounted police come, kids running around, association members & city supervisors getting to know the people. It's a potluck. Neighbors meet & greet.

It's also a great location if you travel South a lot .. easy freeway access .. and fast to get into town or out. Many of the lots are bigger than average S.F. size .. ours is over 5000 sq ft. Not a far (just under a mile I think) walk to West Portal and quick access by car to the coast.

[removed to protect privacy]

There is a cute 2 br house for sale up the street that's been sitting. Not sure if it is just priced a little too high for this market or things really are bad [they're not that bad]. There seem to be a lot of people who bought at the peak or close to it now trying to sell and make that $100k + they keep hearing they should make on their "investment" - probably not going to happen right now. One person I know on this street decided to rent their house out rather than sell because they were not going to get the $1m+ for their 2 br they had planned to get. It will be very interesting to see whether things pick up a bit next year or whether they continue to fall some. What is your guess??? :-) [You surely know us by now...we never predict, because we don't know.]

I've become a bit of real estate junkie after all of our searching, buying and selling. I don't really have a good reason to read your newsletter at this point [please retract that statement] .. but I do. It's like my version of a soap opera waiting to find out what happens next. I still check the comps every week. [And you should.]

[removed because....] just rambling now, while drinking a glass of wine and having a one-sided conversation ... :-)

It's never one-sided if it's on our site. We happen to have a couple thousand people that read this, so don't feel lonely. Enjoy your home, Westwood Park, and all the fun that goes with home ownership. And for all you folks living in Sunnyside or West Portal, time to send us your take on your areas as we'll be coming there next.

With that, we bid you adieu. Until the next tour....

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Stage 39, Westwood Highlands (4p)

Way back when we did some of our first stages of this tour, we received a great insider account for Westwood Highlands, and its time has finally come to make it to our pages. We really enjoy reading them and receiving any information about your area you'd like to share. Just send it to, and we'd be happy to post it along with our stage. Without further adieu, from "M.O.":

"Thanks for your great newsletter! I enjoy reading it every single week and think it's a phenomenal resource.

I know it's a ways off but I'd like to provide input on my neighborhood -- Westwood Highlands (4-P). Talk about hidden's a charming neighborhood of 280+ homes built in the 1920's on Mt. Davidson that's tucked between St. Francis Wood, Monterey Highlands [Heights] and Sunnyside. The detached houses represent that by-gone era of charm, detail and craftsmanship with great curb appeal. Westwood Highlands is very much like West Portal, but only with more of a 'neighborhood' feel with the winding, cozy streets, and better freeway access. The views are magnificent and the streets quiet. [We have not yet toured West Portal, or Sunnyside, so send us your insider report to]

The neighborhood is 'governed' by an association formed in the 20's when the houses were built. That association is still alive and well and exists to protect the quality of life and homes in the neighborhood.

People are pretty friendly and stay put for a long time. They are super protective of the neighborhood, even going as far as to walk through open houses to see if there are any illegal upgrades or rooms. At least that's what I assume after what happened to my husband and me when we bought our house on Hazelwood [last] summer.

[removed for preservation of privacy]...[Other than that experience,] our small backyard, and the occasional whoosh of a BART train (crazy how sound travels!), we're thrilled with our new digs, views and area. We plan to stay put for the long haul." [Thanks for your input and enjoy your new digs. Now for some pictures.]

First some quick averages for this district:
Single-Family Homes averages (no condos or multi-unit) Listing price: $1,065,250; year built: 1914; List price/square foot: $595; Days On Market: 28; Sales Price: $1,123,219; Sale price/square foot: $663

Hazelwood looking west
Typical style of home on Cresta Vista Views to the south
From Hazelwood and Los Palmos looking east
Brentwood at Valdez
Valdez home
Home on Plymouth at Mangels
On Valdez looking north
Nice home on the corner of Valdez and Mangels
Cresta Vista construction. Can't wait to see what comes here.
Los Palmos brown shingle needing some luv
Views up the hill towards Cresta Vista from Hazelwood and Los Palmos intersection

And we're done. Thanks for reading, we hope you come back next Friday for another stage of our tour to open your eyes to our wonderfully diverse city and the property that makes it up.