1240-44 5th Avenue (www.SocketSite.com)
On the market for $2,389,000 this past September, reduced $2,280,000 in November, and then withdrawn without a sale, the newly constructed duplex at 1240 5th Avenue is now being billed and raffled as the “San Francisco Dream House.”
1240 5th Avenue: Kitchen
From the Dream House site (with photos, floor plans, and details):

The San Francisco Dream House Raffle is a large fundraiser. The raffle aims to raise funds for Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in its continuing effort to support the arts in San Francisco. In addition to supporting YBCA, the raffle will be giving away over 370 prizes, of which the grand prize is a $2.4 million San Francisco dream home or $1.8 million in cash.

We can’t argue with the Yerba Buena cause, but the market might argue with that “$2.4 million” valuation. And no word on any arguments over what was there before:
1240 5th Avenue: Before (Image Source: MapJack.com)
UPDATE: Now about what’s really not there right now
San Francisco Dream Home (1240 5th Avenue) [sfraffle.com]

55 thoughts on “Can’t Sell? Raffle! 1240 5th Avenue: The “San Francisco Dream House””
  1. clever. owner enters into to an arrangement to sell his home to YBCA for at least market price (or likely more — does anyone have the details?) and YBCA gets to raise $2.5M dollars. everyone wins.
    note: no more than 37,000 tickes will be sold at $150 each
    If fewer than 34,000 tickets are sold by 5pm Friday July 10, 2009, the raffle will be held as scheduled, and prizes will be awarded as advertised with the exception that the Grand Prize winner will receive a sum equal to 50% of the Net Raffle Proceeds, not to exceed $1,800,000.

  2. Does anyone think they will be selling more than 34,000 tickets at $150 a pop?
    Nope? Then this is a lottery. I thought those were illegal.

  3. So … I can spend $150 for an expected return of ~$48?
    Probably one of the better deals you could make on SF real estate in 2009, all things considered.

  4. Um….what style do folks think this is?
    I’m no expert, but with the red tile roof combined with front bow windows and those balusters on the entry staircase…I can’t make heads or tails of it.
    It does seem to fit in well with the surrounding homes, though.

  5. Shame about the tree–was that a monterey cypress cultivar? I wish the lines of curbside lollipop trees were broken up with the occasional “something different”.

  6. Trees are not exacty in short supply ya know.
    SF — land of fruits, nuts and flakes.
    The house looks great btw.

  7. The photos are horrendous! Much of the furntiture is photo shoped in. A couple of the photos are spliced together creating weird vanishing points, like some early renaissance painting. Some are more like renderings than photos.
    Maybe that’s the style they were going for…
    I would be embarassed if I were YBCA.

  8. There have been a number of these raffles around the Bay Area–in Watsonville, Marin, and now here. They are legal in the way they raise money for a non-profit. And as far as I know winners have NEVER taken the house, they have always gone for the money. The latest one in Marin was the same house that has been “raffled off” twice, and presumably will come up for a third time next fall. I’d sure go for the money, since I would hate to pay taxes immediately on a house I won.

  9. Much of the furntiture is photo shoped in. A couple of the photos are spliced together creating weird vanishing points, like some early renaissance painting. Some are more like renderings than photos.
    Could you give examples? I just looked through the pictures and I couldn’t clearly make out any furniture that appeared to be photoshoped in. Maybe I am nieve or don’t have a trained eye but I don’t see it.
    Personally I really like this house. It certainly passes the “Would I be proud to call this place my home?” test.

  10. I didn’t look closely the photos until someone said something – what is going on?
    The STAIRS are photoshopped into this one, along with everything else: http://www.sfraffle.com/PhotoDetail.aspx?Id=1130
    Some massive cloning on the floors here: http://www.sfraffle.com/PhotoDetail.aspx?Id=1090
    Apparently plants don’t have reflections and are flat outside: http://www.sfraffle.com/PhotoDetail.aspx?Id=1120
    The perspective on this is bizarre: http://www.sfraffle.com/PhotoDetail.aspx?Id=1150
    Amazing lighting: http://www.sfraffle.com/PhotoDetail.aspx?Id=1020

  11. I’m not so sure. But I think I saw this house some time early last year. It was asked about 1.25 or 1.5m. I can’t remember exactly. looked much older. it should be that somebody did some upgrade/maintaince job. Now it’s 1m more. Good job.
    [Editor’s Note: Must have been another as this was all new construction in 2008.]

  12. Drizzler,
    Imagine 2 railroad tracks disappearing off into the horizon. They converge on a single point or “vanishing” point. Parallel objects share the same vanishing point.
    Now look at this photo:
    Notice the kitchen countertops and cabinets (which are all parallel) are all pointing to one vanishing point roughly in the center of the photo. Now look at the window to the far right. The top and bottom of this window should be going to the same vanishing point, since according to the floorplans it is parallel with the kithen. But yet the top and bottom are converging on some other point. Likewise for the dining table, not to mention it seems oversized compared to the bar stools.
    I could go on (and on), but hopefully that illustrates some of it.

  13. Man, those are bizarre images. They made me double check to make sure that I didn’t absent mindedly tear off another square of blotter. I’ve got no explanation for the weird effects.
    And regarding those pre-fab balusters, I’m getting tired of seeing those things everywhere. They seem to be standard equipment on half of the suburban McMansions in built in the last 10 years.
    Isn’t there an old school custom wood fabrication shop still operating in SOMA somewhere ? Its the place that has manufactured the details for our beloved Victorians for over 100 years. They aren’t cheap but their work is peerless. I wish I could remember the shop’s name. They produced some custom crown molding for me that was amazing. Maybe some of the contractors here know the shop. They can make any authentic detail from stock wood.
    Despite the pre-fab materials the builder did pull off the effect pretty well. It’s the sort of house that you would mistake for authentic unless you studied it closer.

  14. I had it confirmed that the tree in the bathroom photo is a Transylvania shrub. No reflection in mirrors is a characteristic of this variety. Doesn’t go well with direct sunlight too.

  15. unearthly – not HDR per se though they did splice in some different exposures into the window frames, which is sort of the old fashioned (as in pre 1990s, pre-computer) way of achieving HDR albeit on a limited scope.
    Somebody toiled to produce this Lewis Carrol world though I don’t think that was the intent.]
    I’d love to know the real story here though will not hold my breath (though doing so does enhance the psychedelic experience).
    Back to the raffle story : given that it is unlikely that the winner will take the house over the $1.8M, any guess to whether the owner is still marketing the house ? If they find a buyer I guess there will have to be a seller’s contingency on the raffle outcome. It wouldn’t make any sense to refuse any real offers.
    And if you make an offer, do you deliver the contract in the form of a Mobius strip ?

  16. What’s the point of the spiral staircase? It seems to ruin a bedroom on the second floor. The 2nd Mater on the 3rd floor appears to have a normal staircase anyway?????? Or am i missreading the floorplan?

  17. Look at the high res press photos under the press section, for example this one http://www.sfraffle.com/Images/HousePhotos/HighResolution/1040%20Living%20Room.jpg
    Zoom into the planter on the left, look at the leaves, look at the reflection of the planter reflection overlaps the bottom of the planter ABOVE the floor, when you realize that you realize its not really there and is covering the faked reflection of the columns that ARENT THERE.
    Look to the top of the left column it is a cut and paste from the top of right column and overlays the bookshelf in away that is impossible.
    Look at the floor under the chair in the left corner, SITTING IN FRONT OF A DOOR, but look where the chair meets the floor and the floor meets teh fireplace bottom and the carpet edge, see that orange crayon color that looks like it was painted outside the lines, its because the whole floor has been stained the rich color to in photoshop.
    There are many such fakes like the columns not being there the, the spiral staircase is rendered in, the glass shelves in the hall/dining area dont exist( I believe the low marble pedestals are real ) but the give away is the gold mandalla on the left shelf is the reflection of the candle that is on the right shelf. That whole section shelves ad all are a cut and paste.
    In fact a brief review reveals that 85 percent of the look and feel is photoshopped including windows and architecture pieces like the columns and even the plaster detail in the center of the living room ceiling, as well as a lot of lighting.
    It is still a great house, floor plot and location, with a great idea to move it and I doubt this is much bait and switch, but poor form none the less.

  18. The timer on the raffle webpage that counts seconds to the one-hundredth is SO ANNOYING. It’s like having termites bore into one’s skull.

  19. Staging and marketing aside, this is a really, really nice big place. Love the “guest cottage.” A little foggier than I like it here, but the neighborhood is a good one overall. That this place could not fetch the November asking price is a pretty good indicator that this end of the market has tanked/frozen (we can argue about which one).

  20. I understand the first floor is taken up by the two car garage but still with a back patio I would have liked to have seen a better flow from the house into the back yard. Perhaps a one car garage and a family room downstairs….
    Still… I’ll buy a couple raffle tickets and grab the $1.8MM…. or whatever it ends up being after taxes. I have a better chance of making money off of this than simply buying stocks…. And if I buy 300 shares of Citi for the $300 I’d spend on two raffle tickets I’d just lose all my C money….
    Hard to believe that 300 shares of C were once worth about $16,500, or a really nice bedroom set, or a weekend shopping trip to NY.
    Now you have your choice of 300 shares of C… or two raffle tickets. 🙂 The worst part is you’d probably be better off buying the raffle tickets!

  21. See, your expected outcome from buying two lottery tickets is $96, while the expected outcome of buying 300 shares of Citibank is $0.

  22. I found my old invoice. The company that does amazing Victorian (and other styles in my case) restoration woodwork is Haas Woodworking, formally located at 64 Clementina St. They seem to have relocated to :
    Haas Woodworking Company
    (650) 588-1082
    184 Harbor Way, South San Francisco, CA 94080
    I wonder what is at 64 Clementina nowadays. That old workshop was a real piece of San Francisco history.

  23. Sharkjack: Amazing. One shot of the kitchen shows a double wall oven with built-in microwave above, and a separate cooktop and hood on the perpendicular wall. The other shot of the kitchen shows a range instead, with a dishwasher next to it. In fact, it would appear to be a whole different kitchen, except that some of it is exactly the same.
    What a crock.

  24. Oh.. Wait. It’s a duplex, lol… so there are two different kitchens. OK, I retract my comment. Can I blame it on the late hour?

  25. 2 observations:
    – the rules of this lottery are so complicated and it’s strung out over the next 4 months, i think you have to cut the expected payout even more for people who won’t bother.
    – there must some explanation but i can’t find any record of building permits on the sfgov website for permit tracking. have tried every iteration of “1240 5th avenue”. can anyone help?

  26. I’ll all for entering the raffle. Then if I win, I’ll take the $1.8 mil cash, and then offer $1 mil for the house. Can’t lose.

  27. That’s so true about the stock market. At least the last house raffle in Marin helped out some folks who were down on their luck…hard to imagine that from Wall Street right now. Anyway, this place beats my 700sqft studio apt. They can Photoshop in camping equipment, don’t care. I will gladly become a homeowner with a tax problem, or keep the cash and move to Santa Cruz.

  28. The balustrades don’t match the railing and they both certainly don’t match the roof. The entire neighborhood just got a little bit uglier with this one..

  29. PinknPearl…. You might not be able to afford the taxes on a $2.4MM house that you won…. I haven’t consulted with my tax guy so I honestly don’t know what the taxes on winning would be- and you’d be stuck with both state and federal taxes, I imagine. But if you’re looking to trade up from a 700 sq ft. studio you are probably better off taking the $1.8MM in cash, paying the taxes and then buying a place. If you want to take the tax advantages of a mortgage then you can put a whole lot of money down, pay a small mortgage and have a comfortable place.

  30. Jimmy (No Longer Bitter): Actually there are something like 387 prizes through all drawings and all are worth $300 or more…. if they are only selling 34,000 tickets then you have a slightly better than 1% chance of breaking even or coming out ahead…. and 387 people will. Whereas with Citi, everyone has the same chance…. and that’s most likely losing money, unless you want to buy penny puts…. 🙂 Besides what’s a little charitable giving for a raffle… even if it’s not tax deductible.

  31. I’m confused. Does this house really exist? Or is it really just a “dream” in that they give you the land, the floorplans, renderings, decor suggestions and you take the $1.8M pre-tax and build it yourself? Happy to help out YBCA but may just donate $50 directly and get the deduction.

  32. Heard about this a few days ago so I went by the house. It’s definitely there, looks much like the pictures from the outside (though even those are edited). It was around 7PM and some lights inside were on. Looked lived in, saw a bit of a “distressed” style “shabby-chic” desk with what looked like a toy truck on it in one of the high windows.
    My guess about the photoshopped pictures is they put them together for the earlier real-estate listing (when they were trying to sell it), either before the house was done (since it was completed not too long ago in late ’08), or just take while it was unfurnished. Not sure why they wouldn’t take new pictures now though. I got a couple shots of the outside of the house but there’s not much to see unfortunately. Considered knocking and asking for a tour though… 😉

  33. On that San Rafael Raffle house…its rules and website were identical to this SF House raffle. So the same person or group is setting up the raffle for both charities. From reading about the house that was used repeatedly in the San Rafael raffle I see the charity did not even own it. They had a leasing deal with the owner and paid them to keep it off the market. Kinda shady way to set this up but its legal. And they know people can’t come up with the $700-800k in taxes necessary to claim the prize so they will always take the cash offer instead. I would guess the same type of deal pertains to the SF house. I’m curious though, why was this supposed $2.4M house previously listed for $1.8M. And what’s with all the fake photoshoped pictures?
    Do a little research on the HGTV Dream home giveaways…there has been about a dozen of them…only two winners lived in them…one of them for a short while. This years winner will be announced this weekend. Expect it to be on the market soon since I doubt the winner has hundreds of thousands to pay for taxes on the prize.
    Anyway, here are the news links about the San Rafael/Marin Raffle house winners. Note the deal they had with the actual homeowner.

  34. We live next to the ” SF Dream House” and toured it when it was on the market. It did go through the permit process, which took several years. I personally inspected the plans before the old place (a dump) was demolished.
    The interior looks just as it shows in the photos–including the center medallion in the living room. Any photoshopping that was done was just to juice up the image quality, and no features were added that do not exist–including that unfortunately all-too-real spiral staircase in one of the bedrooms. There are 2 units included–the back unit is a small cottage which was completely gutted and redone. Two separate units, 2 separate kitchens, hence the disparity between the kitchen photos.
    The property was built on spec last year, and has never been lived in. It was listed for $2.389 mill, didn’t sell, and the price was lowered a little. Still no sale. It was listed on the internet for $1.89 million but that price was for the big house in front ONLY, with a separate internet listing for the rear cottage at $499,000. Very misleading, since the units are NOT separate condos. Guess that was just a come on….
    The house was “staged” twice. First time–the day after the building was finished. When the house didn’t sell they took all the staging out. Then it was restaged for the raffle publicity shots.
    By the way, SanFronziScheme–I believe you looked at the wrong house, the one across the street, which is a genuine Edwardian home at least 100 years old. There’s no way you could call the Dream House “shabby chic,” it is clearly new.
    In terms of design the place is an architect’s nightmare–mishmash of many styles and a weird layout. Maybe designed to be subdivided into more units in the future? A full bathroom in the garage? Huh? The interior has a very cold feel what with all the granite shelving and floors. But it is VERY substantial and well built. It’s the big white elephant on the block, that’s for sure!

  35. Network Timeout 9:49pm
    The server at http://www.sfraffle.com is taking too long to respond.
    The requested site did not respond to a connection request and the browser has stopped waiting for a reply.
    Oh oh….

  36. I found this “Dream Home” by driving through the neighborhood I thought it might be in. I was puzzled as to why they hadn’t offered a tour of the prospective property prior to ticket sales. Suspected it was offered for a much lower price earlier and couldn’t be sold then. However, it does seem to be a bargain to me. Certainly worth a modest gamble (aprox what I would spend on a one day trip to Reno. I am also ‘betting’ the winner could ‘dicker’ with the tax people as to the true appraisal value a year,after taking possession and paying the inflated rate (as required by the raffle committee)this year. I am not so sure the grand prize winner WILL take the cash instead. I wouldn’t. My dream is to return to the City to live, and this opportunity to do so looks very tempting. Am I the only one who sees that you could live in one of the houses and rent out the other to pay all your housing expenses? I’m in for second chance ticket.

  37. lol I went and saw the house and it’s real and who cares about the furneture? Don’t we all have our own style? Dont you have your own decore. Photoshoped or not it’s beeing raffled off as a house no furneture inclided. I do belive the home should be less at least 1.5M not 2.4… But you’re in SF by everything.

  38. I believe taking the cash is a better deal since the house would have to be worth more than $2M in today’s prices to be comparable. the after tax benefit received from taking the home instead of the cash is $0.3M, + if you try to sell it you would incur about $0.1M in closing and broker costs.
    The other thing is that if i come into a $1.8-2.4M lottery, why would I want to instead convert it into a $1.3M mortgage with a recurring $2,300 monthly property tax payment! I’ll take the cash and buy a $800K property free and clear!
    Cash: $1.8M less 50% income tax (State and Federal)= $0.9M
    Home: $2.4M less 50% income tax (State and Federal) = $1.2M

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