1407 Golden Gate Avenue
Designed by William Armitage, 1407 Golden Gate was constructed in 1892 along with three adjacent buildings (including The Chateau Tivoli) for a lumber baron/shipping magnate.
1407 Golden Gate: Living
This TIC unit features high ceilings, a double parlor, a fair amount of original detailing, and monthly HOA dues of only one hundred dollars a month. No mention, however, of when to expect that special assessment to keep this lady in the paint to which she’s become accustomed.
∙ Listing: 1407 Golden Gate Avenue (3/1.5) – $749,000 (TIC) [Coldwell Banker] [MLS]
The Chateau Tivoli (1057 Steiner Street) [chateautivoli.com]

55 thoughts on “Barely In The Shadow Of A Baron/Magnate’s Manse: 1407 Golden Gate”
  1. The unit looks really nice, but $750k is not cheap to most people. The reason it is priced lower than similar large renovated units is (1) it’s Western Addition location; and (2) it’s a TIC unit in a 3 unit building. Because it is a 3 unit building (and not a 2 unit building) it must enter the condo lottery and probably wait 7-10 years to get condo status (and then you will still likely have to pay for some code upgrades in the process as well as the cost of condo conversion). Shared TIC loans require larger downpayments and have inferior terms to house/condo loans or you can get an individual TIC loan at a higher rate, so the loan cost on such a unit is going to be higher than a house or condo too.

  2. Why so “low”?
    1 – It appears it’s the lower unit.
    You get to be right over the shared parking.
    2 – The place could be a bit dark. All the pictures show it was taken on a beautiful bright day but all the lights are on…
    3 – No square footage whatsoever. Probably a 1100sf?
    4 – You’re a bit close to the subsidized housing that are not going away anytime soon.

  3. It’s cheap because there are no stainless appliances. Stuff a 6-burner viking in there and the price jumps to $999k.

  4. The broker on this property, Don Defranco is beyond fabulous. If you like the property, trust him 110%. He found us the perfect house.

  5. {{Just heard from the broker: Around 1600 sf/ $468 per}}
    That’s a decent sized place. And a low enough $/sf.
    Are they playing the bidding game or is this the actual market?

  6. “Are they playing the bidding game or is this the actual market?”
    You’ll know in about 10 days.

  7. I used to know someone who lived in the bottom unit. it’s one of the biggest flats i’ve seen in sf. if it’s the same building (there are a few nearly identical ones on that block) it had part of the basement too (though not a garage at the time) it was a little seedy… an endless parade of maybe seven flatmates. it’s been redone nicely, but it’s also further evidence of gentrification/negative densification. there will probably be a couple living in there now. the street is gorgeous architecturally, but close to the projects.

  8. We know the light on the tunnel is being worked on when we hear things like we are hearing about this home.

  9. “but it’s also further evidence of gentrification/negative densification”
    hj o’connor, I agree 100%.
    When you have a place put back to its original grandeur, few people will want to make it a frat house. And it’s in the affordability range of couples with steady office jobs downtown and one kid on the way. Boooring. One less for the rental market.
    Of course wait for the kid to cost money and the place to need maintenance and the numbers will look different…

  10. Beautifully done, although I also agree they really missed the mark on the kitchen. The white appliances look clunky and more suited to a lower end rental. The fridge is too deep and overlaps the glass door. And they neglected to put in undercabinet lighting, which is really a necessity as opposed to a “nice to have.” I think buyers will really be let down with this room.

  11. I’m pretty amazed to hear that folks are saying 750K for a lower level flat on Golden Gate and Steiner is cheap. The Turk street projects (Turkwood) are basically right there. They are offering 4% to the selling agent, so I don’t think the existing group or the broker think 750K is particularly cheap. This is a great flat but I would have priced it at 675K or something like that.

  12. In the market upswing in 36mos, this is a $1m unit – it’s old-world elegance — without the Edwardian cheapness. At this price it also differs from the Edwardian flats which always look ratty and need $150K of clean-up. (including $1m TIC on McAllister- sorry but true).
    Government housing (oops ‘subsidized housing’) is here forever unless SF gets over ‘it’s all good’ self, and Golden Gate Ave is a thoroughly unpleasant, SUV-is-king corridor which is generally unsettling to walk on anytime of the day in any direction.
    Notwithstanding — the unit itself has a wonderful urban townhouse feel, & with things looking up in J-town, NOPA & Alamo Sq. — this is a fab home and so much nicer than the ‘huge’ 1500sf Edwardian TICs all over the place.
    Just some frank comments from a neighbor on the other side of this block.

  13. I want to throw out a quick TIC versus condo question, see if anyone has an opinion.
    I own a 3 unit building (2 residential + ground floor commercial) in Nob Hill. It is in an NC3 zoning area, no garage. We have confirmed we can split the commercial from the 2 residentials, and condo convert (automatic – no evictions, etc. on the residentials). A pre-inspection indicates about 40k of work to bring it to code (mainly a non conforming deck).
    So: what is the Condo premium? These units would be 1600 per tax records, probably 1400-1500 once they accurately survey the ‘inside walls’. No parking is a big no-no but there is gated leasable parking right down the street. Its on the chinatown/russian hill side, north of washington, west of mason.
    We are probably going to hold for a few years because the rental is very strong (covers the loan, taxes, maintenance but not a great return on the sunk capital). Long term, the central subway will be a huge boon for us (southbay and bio-soma commuters given no parking). I’ve always heard the rule of thumb is 50k discount for parking, 50k for TIC versus condo. My thinking right now is that given the size of the flats, the parking discount is probably larger due to the target market (100k), but that a TIC in these lending conditions is a big nono (I certainly wouldn’t tie myself to some other dudes given the market uncertainty).
    Thoughts? What is the Condo/TIC premium on a nicely upgraded 1500 sqft edwardian in Nob Hill with no parking?

  14. Thinking of a rental with young people automatically as a “frat house” is pretty indicative of gentrification in itself. I can pretty much guarantee you the neighborhood even ten tears ago had precious few people who would have willingly participated in the Greek system. They would have been in the Marina or maybe Cole Valley.
    And it’s not exactly its original splendor, either, it was probably originally a single residence, not flats.
    If a nice couple moves in and has a kid, they’re probably going to want to move by the time the child is old enough to be interacting with neighborhood kids. Or maybe they can just shelter with private schools and security detail? Those flats are lovely, but are completely immersed in the neighborhood that got “blighted” clear cut, and redeveloped with high rise and low-density public housing. beyond gentrification.

  15. And it’s not exactly its original splendor, either, it was probably originally a single residence, not flats.
    While Chateau Tivoli (1057 Steiner) was originally a single-family home (for the Baron), this building was built to be apartments.

  16. OK, but that’s certainly baron with a lowercase b. Not feudal European aristocracy (though that can only help property values, can’t it?). Luckily, Victorian San Francisco was relatively free of titled aristocracy, or even Americans pretending to be (as in New England). Baron is mostly a courtesy title, anyhow. These days, you can buy the title with a deeded land, and insist on being addressed as Lord. And virtually nothing exists that be found on the web about illustrious baron/magnate (both just mean “rich person”) Daniel B. Jackson, other than in relation to the Tivoli house (which got its name from its second owner). Daniel B. Jackson (poss. 1859, Tenn. – 1917 ?, in which case his family likely owned slaves) only owned the Tivoli house for six years, and probably just built the adjacent buildings with surplus wood he acquired by raping old-growth forests in Oregon.

  17. This is a great place for a young person. Very well done. $750K Bargain City. If your seeking housing or renting I’d check this place out. $750K is simply the asking price – this is a major decline market. The monthly on this place with a conventional 30 yr @ 5.76 would fall close to 4000 per month (20% down). Plus the write off. This is a no [brainer] for a renter.
    Value brings such great joy..

  18. “This is a no [brainer] for a renter.”
    Can’t agree with you there. 1st things first – with 20% down you are taking out a $600k mortgage. The going rate for that type of mortgage right now is over 6%. But let’s make a nice conservative estimate of 6%. Mkay?
    So I’ll [try] the line by line P&L on this one for the first year:
    Mortgage: $40,881
    Maintenance (assuming a low 1%/yr): $7,500
    Insurance (assuming 0.6%) $4,500
    HOA $1,200
    Property Tax (@1.15%) $6,900
    – Tax Savings (ass. 28% Fed, 9.3%CA) -$14,807
    Or a monthly cost of ~$3,850/mo.
    This doesn’t take into account the opportunity cost of your down payment. Assuming it’s a low 3%, you’re looking at adding $375/mo to the cost of ownership. So, this comes to $4,225/mo – conservatively. I don’t see that as such a great deal. And chances are with this purchase, you’d hit AMT so the house deduction gets much smaller.
    Can someone explain to me why a person would rather own a property and pay more, than rent the same (or similar) property and pay less (much less)? appreciation? In this market?
    Frankly no person in his/her right mind would buy at these inflated prices. Not when there are equivalent rentals for significant savings.

  19. Until the price of a place like this gets to $575k, housing will continue to be in a bubble. That would bring the monthly cost of this place to about $3,250. Much more in line with what rentals are for a place like this.
    We’ve got a long way to go still. We’ll get there – either by rents rising, RE coming down, or a mixture of both. My money is on the mixture of both, with RE coming down harder than rents going up.
    Smart people don’t voluntarily pay more $$ – a lot more money – just for the pride of ownership- for something they can get the same use out of for much, much cheaper.

  20. Similar to Godwin’s Law stating “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one” I believe there’s something like an Unsocket’s Law which reads “As a SocketSite discussion grows longer, the probability of a statement of how renting a property would be cheaper, and therefore smarter, than purchasing it approaches one“.
    I think everyone gets it. Renting is cheaper on a base, short-sighted monthly comparison to purchasing. It’s been stated countless times. Please let that dead pony be. The usual counters of “home buying is emotive”, “buying makes monetary sense in the long term”, and “people capable of swinging a high six-figure or seven-figure property probably aren’t too concerned with a few hundred dollars per month difference” are also dead ponies – let us bury them all.
    On topic: I really liked this property being featured here – the price per square foot seems reasonable, the size and layout are great, and in this range you can’t get a much nicer exterior. Plus, it’s not too often I see a place I enjoy and might actually afford on this site. I’m not quite in the market yet, but if I was I could be willing to go up to asking (minus the cost of new kitchen appliances).

  21. Treeman,
    See the thread above for proof that your last comment is wrong. (Not saying you are not making a valid point, just that you are wrong.)

  22. hj o’connor,
    By Frat House, I meant a place with a constant flow of students and young singles who are sharing a lease, hopefully the chores and mostly the parties… To a landlord, that’s basically the same.
    I’ve rented out my places with 1,2,3 people on the lease, sub-leases, transfers, break-ups and such. I never discriminated, got all races and shapes and got to see things that confirmed prejudice and others that contradicted prejudice. I can tell you that the best renters I had were the ones that had 100% of the deposit in the place. “Sharing” only goes so far. When people fight, everything goes and the landlord becomes their smallest concern.

  23. FAA,
    Renting or buying is indeed a critical question to many people and should be “a” (if not “the”) fundamental analysis that a potential buyer should engage in. While you may be tired of the boring mathematical analysis many people are not familiar with the math and have not looked at it closely. We need to get back to basics and do the math! Any responsible person would do the math before buying and I fail to see how you equate this responsible analysis with the “prices always go up” crowd that bought houses the last few years using emotional analysis.
    Why do you think this math is “short sighted”? Because you don’t like the conclusions the math leads one to? You state that everyone gets that it is cheaper to rent than to buy on a short time frame but somehow come to the conclusion that this is simple-minded. Why? If you would have run the numbers at different times in history you would come to different conclusions–sometimes it’s cheaper to buy than rent. Obviously, the one variable in the equation that people are betting on is appreciation. When appreciation is going like gangbusters the math becomes largely irrelevant because any goofball can make money buying a house.
    We will now see who can do math. Many a goofball “owner” bought a house the last few years and bought on the following equation: Price = What I paid for it + 10% annual appreciation = Jackpot. That is simple minded math my friend–the people that did a rent vs. buy calculation were not engaging in simple-minded math. They were able to isolate the appreciation variable and make an informed decision on whether to gamble on appreciation occurring at a certain, known, level.
    The fact is prices are still out of whack unless one assumes an amazing rate of appreciation. It’s those emotive buyers that you amazingly lump in with the informed buyers will get burned by simple-minded math. They are the ones that have unwittingly and simple-mindedly bet their future on unsustainable appreciation.

  24. Things are changing for the better here. That’s a great block, despite its nearness to the projects. The houses on that block are beautiful. You just orient your life towards Alamo Square & the Divis corridor (slated for streetscaping early next year), rather than towards the projects. The projects are changing as expectations in the neighborhood change.
    We live closer to Divis & Alamo Square park, but in that area, and it has a lot of young families. Alamo Square is a gem of a park, always full of tourists, families with kids and people with dogs. Don’t miss the shoe garden. We’ve started to wonder if this is going to be the next Noe Valley.
    The TIC thing seems to be getting less and less relevant, and TIC prices are closing on condo prices.

  25. Responding to TREEMAN’s quote:
    “Frankly no person in his/her right mind would buy at these inflated prices…”
    My rebuttal:
    At $436 per sq ft – I wouldn’t call this INFLATED.
    Responding to another TREEMAN quote;
    Not when there are equivalent rentals for significant savings.
    My response:
    It depends on your situation. If your transient then again maybe I don’t buy – but at $465 a sq ft and if your young this can be a nice investment over the long haul. Take a 23 year old making decent money – does he/she rent at $3000 to $3500 a month or spend a little extra ($100 a month HOA, etc.) – and build a portfolio.

  26. Michael L. – how do you define portfolio? Because according to the dictionary, a portfolio is, “A collection of investments all owned by the same individual or organization.”
    Somebody stretching and spending nearly all of their income to get into ONE property is not a portfolio. It’s the absolute antithesis of smart investing, in fact.
    Coincidentally, I doubt there are many 23-year olds paying $3,500 in rent. They pay half that because they live with roommates. But following your example, to afford a $3,600 monthly mortgage payment, somebody would need to be grossing $11,250/month using a 32% back end ratio. That’s annual income of $135,000 per year. Most new college grads are lucky to make half that.
    Out of curiosity, are you a realtor?

  27. How does the magic word “portfolio” make buying a smart decision, all other thing being equal? So the young buyer can say, “well, I lost money on buying the house X years ago but at least I can say I had a portfolio. Sure. I would have lost far less by renting rather than buying but at least I have the comfort of knowing I am a homeowner with a portfolio.”
    Isn’t it better for a young person to make the smart financial decision–whether that be renting or buying. Advising someone to buy simply to have a portfolio is stupid and may do much more harm than good.

  28. Things are changing for the better here? Ha! They’ve been “changing” for years but always seem to slip-slide back into the sketchy neighborhood it is.
    Yes. One can ignore the bad parts if one orients oneself toward the happy side of the street. But you better watch your back! As with all blissfully naive people you will probably be “shocked” when the criminals strike.
    This is indeed a dangerous neighborhood. For a while there it had an even worse murder rate than Bayview and that was around 2007. You won’t have to live here very long before you have to explain what murder is to your children and how to avoid the criminals that are so prevalent.

  29. San FronziScheme: Sorry, that was probably offensive. I love this blog, but am also creeped out by the aire of speculation, the preciousness and ‘upscale’-ness, especially when it comes to new (and last central) frontier. knowing the place as housing stock for arty, young people, basically the kind of people (and elegant yet slightly dilapidated housing) who made san francisco such a charming place being pushed away by yet more of what is already dominant in marin, palo alto, most of the rest of the city. and i say this knowing full well that i know this place in an earlier phase of gentrification. and all the real estate hyperbole in regard to an area that was inhabited by more bohemian elements who traded safety for cheapness… now it’s no more safe but no longer cheap. just cheap compared to fully gentrified areas.

  30. Good comments hj. I largely agree. When I lived there I took over a spot in a flat that had a number of mostly younger Irish working class people there. It was cheap! And there are indeed some lovely buildings there. But it is not the Mission and a hipster would not fare as well in this neighborhood as he would in other gentrified areas like the Mission or Bernal or Noe, etc. True, the lower Haight has seen it’s gentrification and no gone back to seed and now Hayes Valley seems to be springing to life with the possiblity of hope and as one of the last central frontiers, as you put it so well.
    But some of the down and out people in this neighborhood do not look so kindly on the hipsters and other urban pioneers. Many of them grew up in poverty literally across the street from these young hipsters. The “locals” from the hood are not impressed and probably bitter towards the gentrifiers and others adding to their “portfolios” by buying great old houses in this hood.
    It can be very dangerous.

  31. There’s a big difference between maybe the last and latest phases of this building in particular. no idea how the building freed up to be rehabbed. i can guess. but the whole point of it is to sell high. This blog loves buildings that double in value (or try to) with exquisite renovation and a year or two. Great… but maybe just in places that were 3 million to begin with? poor-ish urban young people, hippie-ish people, people who have chosen to do something with their lives other than the path to greatest wealth, who did have a sense of community with the surroundings… that’s a lot different than a presentation of ostentatious wealth around the corner from the projects. faded elegance is different. and it’s not Tribeca, where plain facades hide total splendor. this place now screams “i have money and you don’t”.

  32. SfHawkguy quoted and wrote:
    “Yes. One can ignore the bad parts if one orients oneself toward the happy side of the street. But you better watch your back! As with all blissfully naive people you will probably be “shocked” when the criminals strike.”
    So true! when I moved to SF way back in 1979, I first stayed with friends on the corner of Waller and Steiner, considerably more towards the “happy side” than this property.
    Yes, the rule then was the same: to head south towards Duboce, Cafe Flore and all things “happy”.
    So 8 blocks in about 30 years. are you patient enough for this to be your “portfolio”?

  33. In response to posters responding to me (sic):
    “Renting is cheaper on a base, short-sighted monthly comparison to purchasing. It’s been stated countless times. Please let that dead pony be.”
    Well, if you read my post – on line #1, I was addressing the comment: “This is a no [brainer] for a renter.”
    Hence, the analysis. Apparently, it is not a no-brainer. To the original poster it may be. I wish him/her luck.
    “At $436 per sq ft – I wouldn’t call this INFLATED.”
    Ummm…. OK. That’s fine by me. I get my analysis is a short-term view and all (not taking appreciation into effect), but in this RE market, what amount do you want me to add in for inflation? Now, if someone expects me to buy that place and live in it for 30 years, then I can find a set of assumptions where it works out. But quite frankly, that’s starter home pricing out in SF. 1.5ba is not too child friendly either. So how much appreciation do I assume for 5 years? It won’t be much. And I can’t make those 5 years pay out by buying.
    And quite frankly the person who buys this won’t be in it for much more than 5 years (see frat boy discussion above).
    “if your young this can be a nice investment over the long haul. ”
    I don’t know a single person who would be in such a place for more than 10 years. Maybe you do. But you’re now justifying prices based on being in a place for 10 years.
    I won’t stop you from drooling at the ppsq. Go for it.

  34. I think Treeman brings up an excellent point. It’s been vogue around here recently to pan people who sell their places within 3 years for a loss.
    But…unless you’re in a job that you’re not going to leave, hitched, and with school-age kids, the reality is that anything more than a 3-year commtment to a place is likely guesswork. And, in SF, with its high proportion of singles and DINKs, the above describes a large segment of the population who have the financial wherewithal to buy in the city.
    I think this factor (the lengthening of the “holding period” for real estate appreciation) has made purchasing RE in the city much less attractive.

  35. If you would have run the numbers at different times in history you would come to different conclusions–sometimes it’s cheaper to buy than rent.
    When has it been cheaper to buy than rent in the City of San Francisco?

  36. As someone who is 45, married, and has one 3-year-old child, this is actually the type of place we’d love to be able to afford in the city and stay in at least 10 years. It’s still out of our reach, though. (Our combined income is about $150K and our current rent for a 2bdrm flat is $1650. We pay the same amount per month for our son’s preschool BTW).
    I’m curious as to where the people on this list think families are supposed to live in SF, when there are very few new units that are more than two bedrooms? This flat has three bedrooms AND a dining room! To some of us, that is pure luxury.

  37. SRRenter-
    I’m not saying it’s not doable. I just don’t know anyone who would be willing to share a bathroom with a 10 year old. Or a 13 year old. You may be OK with that reality.

  38. Wow, you must be very wealthy Treeman, to be able to afford to buy a house will all of those bathrooms.
    Good for you!

  39. SFRenter, we are perfectly happy in our 3/1, 1200 sq foot place with me, my wife and our two year old. We are even thinking of having another child. I doubt we will ever move. An extra bathroom might be nice, but not really practical.
    But then again, I grew up in a large family with only one bathroom, not a wealthy one like Treeman, where every child had his own bathroom, so I guess I am kind of use to the deprivation of sharing a bathroom.

  40. Hey man – it’s not personal. Not sure why you’re taking it that way. I personally don’t think 2ba is so much of a luxury (I do like your exaggeration of 1br per child), especially when you’re paying 3/4 of a $Million.
    Wealthy? Isn’t that what my position is anti? I’m stating that for $750k, you should get the “luxury” of 2ba. Maybe my wealthy family has twisted my sense of reality where I expect 2ba when buying an expensive house.
    I don’t begrudge anyone who is willing and able to do otherwise. Sorry you took it that way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I see flaws with this property, before stepping into it. Apparently a few don’t. More power to you.

  41. The realtors website for this property includes a floor plan under “features”. The plan shows one full bath, a half bath, and a sink in two of the bedrooms. It would seem to me that a little planning and cooperation would make these features function at least as well as two full baths.
    Also, with plumbing already roughed in to so many locations, plus easy access to the underfloor areas for remodeling because this is the lowest flat, it would seem relatively easy to make this a two full bath unit.

  42. No I am not a Realtor. An individual is never to young when it comes to compiling for the long run. At 23,24,25 you have to live someplace – and if your staying for the long haul – why in the world not? I am speaking this property at this price. I never said to spend ever last penny. I’d imagine the young person would have a 401K, A Roth, Some day trading stock, a few rentals in some of the surrounding areas plus this home. Believe it or not – more young folks have the $$ spirit then you’d imagine.

  43. Great advice. But how is a young person (or any person) supposed to achieve all of these things on average bay area salaries?
    “This property at this price” would carry a monthly mortgage of $4,585 with HOA, not the $3,600 number you threw out. Big difference. That’s assuming 10% down at 7%. To qualify for that payment, a household needs to gross $14,300 per month, or over $170,000 per year. How many recent college grads do you know making $85K/year, with $40K of cash laying around?
    This is precisely why running the numbers is so important. And why “rentals in surrounding areas” are a terrible idea – they don’t cash flow at today’s bloated wishing prices.

  44. @Dude:
    Few quibbles…your $4,585 doesn’t include PITI payments, right? With that we’re looking at closer to $5k cash outlay monthly basis…and I think you should have said:
    “How many recent *married/domestic partnered* college grads do you know making $85K/year *each*, with $40K *each* of cash laying around?”
    Bottm line, it’s not realistic to expect this kind of investment from a financially prudent 23 year-old.

  45. Dude:
    I’m running with the assumtion of 20% down – the differance form your estimate and mine.
    Regarding your comment about income earners.

  46. OK. With 20% down the P&I payment is $4,000 per month. More with T&I, as Foolio points out. Call it $4,250. So a household needs a monthly gross of $13,300 to support that payment, or annual income of $160,000. Nevermind the fact that very few 20-somethings have $150K laying around to use for a down payment (nor do most 30-somethings, for that matter).
    That means each person would need to make at least $80K/year to afford this place. Unfortunately, according to the article below, starting salaries for undergrads don’t even come close. Looks like the most a new grad can hope for is about $60K/year, and that’s the high point:
    Sorry Michael L. – it seems your assumptions are just out of touch with reality….much like San Francisco home prices.

  47. Dude,
    There are plenty of twenty-somethings running around SF with pretty good salaries. 24-25 year old lawyers can make 160K/yr (large law firms). 21 year old ChemE grads can make 70-80K/yr (Chevron, Shell, Genentech, start-ups, etc.). I-banking college and MBA grads (both groups often in their 20s) make mucho dinero as well. The list can go on.
    Whether those people would want to live in this particular area of SF is another question entirely. Downpayment is also another question mark. Probably only feasible if the bank of mom and pop is kicking in most of it. Six fig student loans can be a real obstacle to downpayments. 🙂

  48. It’s not a bad house. With a double parlor, FDR & 3 bedrooms (each with plumbing ala Victorian style) – there is room to make a 2nd bath pretty easily.
    FYI: it’s not fractional financing but it has a very good grandfather rate.

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