Gabrielle Dahms

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Richmond District Homes & Lifestyles - The Millenium Tower - Who Is to Blame?

Inspectors claim they "don't remember" hearing about sinking Millennium...

San Francisco's own Iran-Contra defense.

15 hours ago

Richmond District Homes & Lifestyles - More San Francisco Bike Share Locations

Bay Area Bike Share Announces 50 More Proposed Locations, From Hayes...

Phase 2 of Bay Area Bike Share's expansion will extend bike service to Hayes Valley, the Western Addition, Divisadero, the Haight, Dogpatch, and more.

2 days ago

Richmond District Homes & Lifestyles - Tired of renting? The Advantages of Home Ownership If you have been renting for some time, you may already be considering buying your own home or condo and becoming a homeowner. While renting can be advantageous under certain conditions, homeownership carries a number of benefits that renting c ...Read More

2 days ago

Richmond District Homes & Lifestyles - Nourse Theater Installations

Vacant SFUSD Building At Fell & Franklin Gets Jazzy Jim Marshall Photo...

The new display showcases the work of photographer Jim Marshall, who made his name documenting musicians of the '60s and '70s.

3 days ago

Tired of renting?

October 20th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

Tired of renting

The Advantages of Home Ownership


If you have been renting for some time, you may already be considering buying your own home or  condo and becoming a homeowner. While renting can be advantageous under certain conditions, homeownership carries a number of benefits that renting cannot match. And of course, homeownership is an integral part of the American Dream.

Rents in the San Francisco/Bay Area are sky-high and often it is cheaper for people to own their own home or condo in this market. Clearly, the exact individual circumstance dictates what is prudent and advantageous here.

Interest rates remain low at this time and although they are likely to go up, homeownership remains attainable. The biggest issue with increasing interest rates is the size of down payment home buyers can afford.

You might be tired of renting because your needs for space have changed, because there are maintenance or management issues for your rental, or because you understand the financial and emotional benefits of owning a home. These benefits include:

  1. The ability to build equity every month.

  2. Mortgage Tax Deduction Benefits

  3. Building Wealth over Time

  4. Creating Leverage

  5. Living in the home or condo of your dreams

Consider your situation, then make your move toward homeownership.

©SFRE 2016

If you are considering selling property in San Francisco, click to get your free preliminary market analysis.


Understanding Closing Services

October 18th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

Understanding Closing Services

Title companies provide closing services, meaning the handling of all paperwork necessary to close a real estate transaction. Aside from this paperwork, the title company also handles receiving and sending money related to a specific real estate transaction. Closing services also include getting the deeds executed and recorded, an important step that insures their legality and validity.

There are fees for these services, generally between 1-2 % of the purchase price. Closing costs apply to both home buyers and home sellers but sellers often pay more because they have to satisfy property taxes and real estate commissions. If a home buyer is taking out  a loan, many of the closing cost charges are associated with the loan.

In San Francisco real estate transactions it is customary for the buyer to pay the title and escrow charges.  Like anything else this item can be negotiated, though it rarely is. One way to negotiate the closing costs is to ask for a certain amount of credit from the seller toward the closing cost versus asking for a lower purchase price.

©SFRE 2016

If you are considering selling property in San Francisco, click to get your free preliminary market analysis.


Title Insurance – Why You Ought to Have It

October 13th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

Title Insurance - Why You Ought to Have It

One of the important roles of a title company is to provide an insurance product that guarantees that the buyer is acquiring it without anyone else having a claim to the property. As a part of this process, the company searches the history of a property’s title to find every claim against it. These are searches that happen via public records.

The title company issues a preliminary title report to find out what needs to be paid off so that the buyer gets clear title and the seller walks away from the property without any obligations.  Title insurance protects the interest of property owners and lenders against false title claims by previous owners or lien holders.   The facts uncovered during the initial search will determine a number of items:

A.     The seller, is in fact, the legal owner of the property.

B.     That the ownership being sold is currently and accurately vested with the seller.

C.     The presence of any unsatisfied liens (loans, mechanic liens, child support liens, etc.) which must be satisfied before “clear title” can be conveyed.

D.     Existing restrictions, easements, rights of way or other rights granted to others are not owners which may limit the right of ownership.

E.      The status of property taxes and other public or private assessments.

Title insurance is a onetime premium based on the amount of the sale or mortgage and remains in effect as long as the owner or their heirs retain interest in the property. If a claim is made against the owner the insurance company protects the insured by:

A.     Defending the title, in court if necessary at no cost

B.     Bearing the cost of settling the case, if it proves valid in order to protect your title and maintain possession of the property.

Title insurance provides the homebuyer (and new homeowner) with peace of mind. It’s a good idea to have it.

©SFRE 2016

If you are considering selling property in San Francisco, click to get your free preliminary market analysis.


The Pacific – Upscale Condos in Pacific Heights

October 11th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

The Pacific Upscale Condos in Pacific Heights

The Pacific in Pacific Heights is unique in several respects. It represents a condo development in a neighborhood that sees very little new development. Additionally, The Pacific is the product of the re-imagined former University to the Pacific School of Dentistry, which utilized the former structure and kept only one specific feature from it: its high ceilings.

The arrival of The Pacific truly signals San Francisco’s status as an international city and the prices to reflect this. The Pacific’s sixty-six luxury condos range between $1000 and $4000 per square foot for one-, two-, and three- bedroom condos, townhomes, and penthouses with private terraces.

Along with amenities such as a yoga garden, valet parking, and concierge services, much of what contributes to The Pacific is the neighborhood it is in – Pacific Heights. Pacific Heights offers parks like Alta Plaza and Lafayette Park, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes on Fillmore Street, and often spectacular views of the Golden Gate.  Sales for units at The Pacific have begun in August.

©SFRE 2016

Click Here For A Free Weekly List of Just Sold Homes.

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SF/Bay Area Traffic Woes

October 6th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

SF Bay Area Traffic Woes


Traffic in San Francisco and the Bay Area is heavy, often gridlocked and unlikely to get better anytime soon. Rush hours are now extended and feel LA-like. Many commuters spend considerable time sitting in traffic, a fact that affects their quality of life and now makes it more difficult for employers to attract talent.

The issue of San Francisco/Bay Area traffic is a urban planning issue but urban planning takes time and long-term solutions are many years away. Those would include expanding BART & Caltrain coverage and capacity, improving other public transit options, improving carpool incentives, providing telecommuting options etc.

In San Francisco proper, traffic in the eastern part of the city is heavy most of the time. SOMA, South Beach, the Financial District (FiDi), and the Embarcadero have become a nightmare to pass through. This affects businesses, commuters and even pedestrians. Traffic enforcement also suffers because no one, including traffic officers can get through.

Many other parts of the city are affected as well and in a city that was definitely not built for cars and certainly not for the number of cars now on the road here, this is a huge problem. No true solutions are on the table at this time, not even the city’s re-design of major thoroughfares.

Read more about this important topic here.

©SFRE 2016

Click Here For A Free Weekly List of Just Sold Homes.

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Bay Area Real Estate Investing

October 4th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

Bay Area Real Estate Investing

Real Estate Investing in the San Francisco/Bay Area may well be an oxymoron due to the high property values here. Most investors are seeking cash flow and consider property value appreciation an added boon, if and when it occurs.

Finding homes, condos and apartment buildings which produce cash flow and employ the principle of leverage in the San Francisco/Bay Area can be challenging. San Francisco proper falls well outside those parameters.

The good news is that according to RealtyTrac several up-and-coming East Bay neighborhoods offer both opportunity and return on investment (ROI). They are broken down by zip code below:

Zip Code Community ROI (2015)


94544 Hayward 34.4%

94531 Antioch 24.7%

94520 Concord 33.3%

94603 Oakland 36.7%

94605 Oakland 48.6%

94621 Oakland 73.3%

94801 Richmond 93.5%

As always, doing one’s homework is essential. And of course, past returns are no guarantee for future returns.

©SFRE 2016
Click Here For A Free Weekly List of Just Sold Homes.

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Overbidding on Residential Real Estate in the SF/Bay Area

September 28th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

Overbidding on Residential Real Estate in the SF Bay Area

Unlike many other real estate markets in the country, the San Francisco real estate market as well as the greater Bay Area real estate market generally has overbidding in place. And although the market has recently leveled off a little, many of its pockets still draw several offers and overbids. It still is a seller’s market.


Overbidding amounts to offering more – sometimes substantially more – than a given property’s asking price. According the San Francisco Business Times, the statistics as of August 2016 break down as follows:

Average overbid:

San Francisco 9%

Oakland 17%

San Mateo County 5%

Marin County 2%

Contra Costa County 5%

Alameda County  8%


An additional note on the San Francisco real estate market and overbidding:  new construction in San Francisco’s condo market has brought more inventory and continues to do so.  That means there is more downward negotiation possible now but note that this entirely depends on the building, the condo itself, the location, and the amenities. For single family homes overbids continue in San Francisco.


©SFRE 2016

Click Here For A Free Weekly List of Just Sold Homes.

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San Francisco Neighborhood: SOMA & Yerba Buena

September 20th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

San Francisco Neighborhood  SOMA and Yerba Buena

South of Market (SOMA) is a huge district, sprawling from the Embarcadero to Eleventh Street, between Market and Townsend. The neighborhood is a patchwork of warehouses, swanky nightspots, residential hotels, art spaces, loft apartments, furniture showrooms and small and large Internet companies.

Although a lot of building has gone on in recent years, it is still not densely developed. SOMA landmarks consist of te Metreon, Yerba Buena Gardens, SF MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), the Moscone Conference Center, and a number of other museums.

Due to the history of SOMA and the way the neighborhood has been developed since the late 1980s/early 1990s, most buildings here are contemporary. While there are some (few) single family homes left in the neighborhood, they sit in the less developed part of SOMA, which is the area west of 5th Street. However, since the arrival of Twitter headquarters at 9th and Market Streets, that area is currently undergoing considerable development, much of which involves rezoning.

For a sense of what SOMA once looked like and the forces at work then and now, read Yerba Buena: Land Grab by Chester Hartman (published in 1974), and see Janet Delaney’s South of Market images.

Property values in SOMA vary in accordance with whether the condo, TIC or home is located east or west of 5th Street. The condos east of 5th Street, many in hi-rise buildings such as the Infinity, and One  Rincon Hill, tend to be pricey and hi-tech. In the area west of 5th Street, exact location plus an individual property’s appeal and amenities tend to drive prices.

©SFRE 2016

Click Here For A Free Weekly List of Just Sold Homes.

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San Francisco’s Cole Valley

September 15th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

San Francisco s Cole Valley

San Francisco’s Cole Valley is tucked away a few blocks away from the south-eastern end of Golden Gate Park. It’s proximity to the USCF Parnassus Campus as well as to Ashbury Heights and the Upper Haight make Cole Valley a sought-after neighborhood, especially because Cole Valley consists of only a few charming tree-lined streets and often stunning homes.

Cole Street is the commercial vein of Cole Valley; it offers cafes, restaurants, and some small shops as well as the historic and amazing Cole Hardware store. Craig Newmark of Craigslist once called Cole Valley home. The neighborhood attracts families and young professionals, has a community vibe, and is quiet. Homes in the hills surrounding the Cole Valley generally offer spectacular views. Home values tend to be high as the homes here are well-maintained and inventory tends to be low.

Recently, Cole Valley has seen several of its mom-and-pop stores abdicate to development. The Cole Valley Garage is currently undergoing renovation and becoming, among other things, a yoga studio. Cole Valley’s blog provides additional info.

The neighborhood is centrally located and offers various public transportation options, including the N-Judah stop at Cole & Carl..
©SFRE 2016

Click Here For A Free Weekly List of Just Sold Homes.

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San Francisco’s Millenium Tower

September 8th, 2016 by Gabrielle Dahms

San Franciscos Millenium Tower

San Francisco’s Millenium Tower, the prestigious 2009 hi-rise building in SOMA, is sinking. While some settlement is natural to all buildings, the Millenium Tower has sunk a considerable amount to date. Ordinarily a building of the size of the Millenium Tower ought to be built on piles that are drilled to bedrock but it appears that this is not the case here.

The tower sits adjacent to the massive Transbay Development and the Millenium’s developer has asserted that the building’s sinking is directly linked to the Transbay Joint Powers Authority’s construction activities. Other buildings adjacent to the Transbay Development include the Salesforce Tower and 181 Fremont, another hi-rise under construction, have piles drilled to the bedrock in place (according to TJPA).

Both the developer Millenium Partners and the Millenium Tower HOA assert that the building is safe. However, inquiries, review actions, and lawsuits are just beginning. The San Francisco Association of Realtors has created a special Millenium Tower Advisory.

The Millenium Tower owners may face sinking property values, given that uncertainty does not appeal to real estate buyers and that lenders may decide to hold off on loans for the building..
©SFRE 2016

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