Thursday, April 07, 2011

Crashed And Burned!

Obviously, it's been a while since I've done a stage of the tour. I started this way before video was easy to do, Facebook was merely a blip on the radar, and Twitter was (what was it?) There are many ways to share knowledge and get advice on neighborhoods and I just ran out of time to get to the next hoods.

I still know WAY more about San Francisco neighborhoods than 99% of agents in this city, so if you have any questions or are considering a move to San Francisco I'd be more than happy to help. Just give me a shout: alexclark @ gmail . com (separated the email intentionally as I'm bombarded with spam).

I can also suggest you check out my blog,, and my latest venture for "not on MLS" real estate opportunities,

It was a good ride here on the TDSF, but it had to come to an end. But now you know where to find me, so don't be shy.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Stage 52, Duboce Triangle (5j)

(Click Image for Larger View)

Vienna might have the Bermuda Dreieck, but not only does San Francisco have the yuppie watering holes in the Marina oft referred to as "The Triangle", but we have our very own district that is actually cut out like a triangle as well, Duboce Triangle. It is perhaps the only district in San Francisco which has a name that matches it's shape.

If you look at the map above you'll see it is bordered by Castro, Duboce, and Market Streets, situated very close to the geographical center of San Francisco. Duboce Triangle is a vibrant, lively, and in some places a little rough around the edges (just as any good city neighborhood should be) district close to just about anything anybody could ever need. The north end of this district is a hop, skip, and a jump away from both the stores on the southern end of Divisadero, as well as the vibrant urban beat of the Lower Haight. On the south end of the district you're a stone's throw away from the Castro and all it has to offer, including some of the great establishments on Market Street. If you yourself are a bit more edgy (thinking tattoos, piercings, artistic, etc.), you'll probably gravitate more towards the Lower Haight part of this district. If you don't like rainbow flags hanging from buildings and homes, be warned, Duboce Triangle has many.

Public transportation is all around, Safeway (grocery store) is walking distance from any home, as is the great corner store on 14th St. and Castro (Courtney's Produce). McKinley Elementary is on the edge of this district, and if you need to get your body pump on, Max Muscle promises to be a good fit (for some). There is a great, extremely dog friendly, park (Duboce Park), which also has a great little playground, a hospital (CPMC Davies Campus), restaurants galore (many with great outdoor seating), and a proximity to all points of the city that is hard to beat, not to mention the J Church runs right on and picks up passengers on Duboce.

As for the homes vibe, if you're looking for big trees lining the streets and an abundance of Victorians and Edwardians, then this area is for you. Not too many steep hills either, and you can even find a home on a flat street. You'll notice a lack of photos of homes with this district as the trees tend to obscure a lot of the homes (the photo worthy homes that is). There is definitely a higher percentage of mixed use, high density living here than there are single family homes, but that doesn't make it feel any less neighborhoody.

Generally, the homes are very well cared for, but as is the case with every district, there are a couple forgotten homes here and there. If you have a problem living close to commercial/industrial spaces, then definitely don't look for a home near the Market Street side of this district, especially the east end of 15th St. That's not to say there aren't great homes on the south end of Noe as it meets Market, but just keep it in mind, commercial areas are all around.

Homes tend to sell pretty quickly in this area if they are priced right (heard that before haven't you?), but they do not appeal to as wide of a buyer pool as some other areas of town simply for the reason that this area can be a bit more "edgy" than others. But that's what I personally like about it.

There is also a great art studio that was previously for sale (Belcher Studios), and the residence came along with it. I'm not quite sure what happened with that sale, but if you're interested, drop me a line and I'll look into it.

As for the weather, it's great! Sunny in the summer, thanks to the ridge to the west (blocks the fog) and sunny in the winter (when it's not raining). Wind is not too bad either.

That ought to give you a pretty good sense of this area, so on to the photos...

Courtney's Market on 14th and Castro

Big Green Monster on Walter
15th Street Homes near Market
A modern home in otherwise Victorian country, Beaver at Noe
Trees everywhere!
There is a home hiding behind there on Beaver
Great cafe/restaurant on the corner of Noe and Market
Belcher Studios.  The art hiding behind these walls is incredible. 
Home on Noe
Duboce Park Cafe
Homes on end of 15th St


The forgotten soul
Duboce Park.  Huge grassy area for the dogs.  Pick up after your pets!

That's going to do it for another stage of the Tour de San Francisco (real estate). Thanks for reading. Happy house hunting, and get out there and explore this great city!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Stage 51, Clarendon Heights (5h)

Has it really been four months since the last stage of the Tour? Wow! Well then...on with things.

Every time I drive around these nano-markets and really take a close look at the homes and all the different streets, properties, and people living in these tiny little areas that make up the larger city we call San Francisco, I'm reminded just how great this city is, and how unbelievably unique each and every home is. Clarendon Heights is certainly no exception.

Clarendon Heights is nestled into the northeastern slope of Twin Peaks and as a result many of the homes have absolutely amazing views of downtown San Francisco. Some homes have Golden Gate and Bay Bridge views and I'd bet that on a clear day these lucky owners could even see the Richmond Bridge way up north. One downside to living on this hill with these amazing views...fog and WIND! Yes CAPS is necessary. In the spring and summer the wind absolutely whips over the mountain and funnels down into the Cole Valley banana belt that enjoys more sun because of the mountain that blocks all that fog and wind...Clarendon Heights is that mountain. The fog hangs up and creeps over this hill like an army marching in. Some people ask why I focus so much on the fog. That's a simple answer, every single client I've ever worked with has discussed either not wanting to live in the fog, or not minding it. Weather is an important part of "location, location, location". To me the wind is more of an issue, but what do I know.

The architecture you'll find in this area covers the entire spectrum from Tudors, to Italianesque Villas, to Mid-Century boxes, to the ultra sleek modern homes you might see in a magazine. For the most part homes in this area are very well cared for, especially on the more western edge of this district (St. Germain, Mountain Spring, Glenbrook streets). When you head to the east there is a little pocket of nice homes, but there just doesn't seem to be that same pride of ownership (Racoon comes to mind). Generally, homes in this area (like most in the city) sell well. But as the market has changed, so too has the desire for high end big viewed homes with a very small pool of buyers.

So what about traffic? Clarendon and Twin Peaks are pretty heavily traveled and there is a good amount of road noise and accelerations going on, as many people use this route to get from areas like Forest Hill, and West Portal to Haight-Ashbury, Downtown, and other points in the northern part of the city.

Recreation? Hill climbs. Lots of them. Stairs, and possibly hang-gliding if you're so inclined. Joking aside, there are some walking trails near Mt Sutro, there are great views to be had from Tank Hill, and you could certainly build your quads for a cramp-free ski season, otherwise, I'd consider major recreation a bike or car ride away.

All in all, Clarendon Heights is yet another gem of a district. The views (as stated) are amazing, the homes are mostly awesome, and the location (in my opinion) is top-notch. If you don't mind a bit of fog, and a lot of wind, you might just consider Clarendon Heights in your home search.

Enough chatter...on to the photos:
You know all those homes you see up there nestled under that massive Sutro Tower?  That's Clarendon Heights. 

This shot taken from 17th St. looking up the hill.  This is the north side of the district. 

These are the hills and homes on the east side of the hill and district looking up towards Twin Peaks road that winds up the hill.  Streets nestled up here are Villa, Greystone, Pemberton Place, Racoon, Crown Terrace.
Villa looking up to Twin Peaks.

That home up there on the right of the pink home has got to be the highest (elevation) home in SF.
Home on Clarendon close to where Twin Peaks intersects.
Somehow this photo reminds me of something you'd see clinging to the Cinque Terre, although not as nice. 
Crown Terrace homes have a lot of color.
and character
Sucker for the modern ones...Crown Terrace
The last home on the block.  DO NOT drive a large car down this street! Crown Terrace that is. 
Crown Terrace looking back to Twin Peaks
The forgotten soul...Racoon.
Twin Peaks and Mountain Spring
Glenbrook and St. Germain.  Green grass and great views!
Saint Germain ends at Mt Sutro
A closer look at 130 Palo Alto (on the left in the photo),  the highest home in San Francisco. They should have some sort of plaque out front or something. Palo Alto
When you get near the end of Palo Alto, park, and walk down a bit further.  Very cool homes and area to see. 
Fly fishing anyone?  This shot taken on Palo Alto looking towards the Twin Peaks lookout area.    
Not bad views...
Palo Alto and Glenbrook corner home
Saint Germain

A favorite on Mountain Spring and Glenbrook

Diamond in the rough mid-century on Mountain Spring.
Spanish Mediterranean? 
70's and 80's?  These might actually even be Mid-Century...I'm just guessing on these. 
Mountain Spring has it all!

A Villa?

Mountain Spring continues to bring the different types and styles.

If Sutro Tower ever fell, assuming the prevailing North Westerly winds, Clarendon might actually be spared, because this thing would fall towards Midtown Terrace and Twin Peaks.
Mountain Spring views and a roof (shitty photo I know), but check that view...and the Mid-Century home that's hiding beneath.
Under that roof, you get these views. 
Ahhhh, so nice!  Clarendon gem. 
And that's gonna do it for another stage of the Tour de San Francisco (real estate).  Thanks for reading to the end, and I hope to see you back here again soon.  Don't forget...need help with real estate, you know who to call.