15 Surrey Street (Image Source:
As the 625 Square foot one bedroom and one bath 15 Surrey Street looked in August of 2007 when purchased for $731,000. And for the most part as it looks today.
Back on the market and asking $995,800 with “approved plans” for a 2,884 square foot four-bedroom and three and one-half bath Glen Park view home. As proposed:
15 Surrey Street: Rendering
For some strange reason a photo of its current state wasn’t included with the listing.
∙ Listing: 15 Surrey (1/1) – $995,800 [MLS] [Map]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by dub dub

    I think there is a great cookie store nearby, so it’s totally worth it, even if you don’t go through with the plans.
    Also (mapjack), there is a beautiful street lamp just to the left of the house (not as nice as the ones in Piedmont or Glenview, but still), so if you do go through with the plans, that defiant lamp will no longer look so out of place!
    It must really suck to be a solvent homebuyer in SF right now 🙂

  2. Posted by spellchecker

    “READY to brake ground”
    good grief!

  3. Posted by Embarcadero

    Hope springs eternal.
    And I didn’t know about the cookies, that’s a deal beaker right there.
    And yes, it does suck to be a solvent home buyer right now!

  4. Posted by gotoutintime

    You beat me to it spellchecker but here is another one: “Contractor/Investor Special or Anyone looking to built their dream home!”
    Ha Ha!

  5. Posted by SJM

    So only a million for the land and likely close to that for construction? $2 million for a home in Glen Park? What could go wrong? There are many better neighborhoods to choose from at that price point and below right now. Seems like wishful thinking. Since when are approved plans worth a $250K premium?

  6. Posted by Snowball

    ~$280,000 for permitting. In SF, that’s about right.
    So the “lucky buyer gets to spend $300-$400 per square foot to build the house Total cost will then be $1.8M-$2M.
    That’s why I left for South Florida. The brand new 6,000 square foot luxury home around the corner from me just sold for $1.9M

  7. Posted by sparky-b

    the “brake” they are referring to is the one put on by the construction lender.

  8. Posted by garrett

    $995k?? the buyer has to demo the old building and then pay for new construction? am i reading this correctly… by the time it’s all said and done, somebody is going to have to spend about $2m and a couple of years building and fighting with neighbors? hhmmm…

  9. Posted by Trip

    As I’ve often said, we need contractors to tear down dumps like these and replace them with decent homes — that is a great service and good for the city. However, it looks like these guys paid about $500,000 too much for the land to make it really pencil out. The Maher Muhawieh business plan doesn’t work anymore without a bubble on the back end of the project.

  10. Posted by justme

    As they say, it’s not just a river in Egypt.
    This must be the phase where the folks who simply refuse to believe that the bubble has collapsed come out of the woodwork for one last shot at glory. Isn’t it a bit silly on the agent’s end to get involved with something this ridiculous?
    Although the cookies do make it tempting.

  11. Posted by mike

    You must be kidding me? Asking $264,000 more than bought at the peak?? Must have been an expensive architect. Would be lucky if they got $500,000. As previously mentioned, demo’ing the old building and paying for construction would be another million (at least). Not including the potential legal battles with the neighbors for noise, etc.

  12. Posted by Gil

    “That’s why I left for South Florida. The brand new 6,000 square foot luxury home around the corner from me just sold for $1.9M”
    Know what you mean. We are looking to relocate to Portland/Vancouver in the next few years.
    Let’s see – 3300 sq. ft. on the Salmon River (you can fish from your 500 sq ft plus deck) on 1.5 acres in a heavily forested neighborhood outside Vancouver. Stunning woodwork inside and outside the home.
    Price – 450 K. We almost made an offer on such a place last May when we were last up there.
    I find it so amusing what goes for a deal (more like steal) here in SF. Its like the emperor has no clothes. Most of the housing stock here – attached, built out to the sidewalk and on 25 ft. lots – is really quite inferior. You almost have to live away from the area for several years as I did to have the blinders taken off and realize how poor the choices are.
    Another Florida advantage – no state income tax. That is why I may go with Vancouver over Portland – no state income tax in Washington.

  13. Posted by stylewylde

    I find this listing funny. Seriously LAUGH OUT LOUD HILARIOUS,

  14. Posted by insidesfre

    This is a high price for that particular lot in that particular location.

  15. Posted by sparky-b

    This is permitted so the legal battles with the neighbors are mostly behind you. There was no DR or complaint about the permitting so there probably won’t be neighbor issues.
    The permit is for a remodel, not a teardown. It would be better as teardown, it’s much cheaper to build. I still don’t think it will cost $1M+ for construction, more like $750K. But when you add the carrying cost, taxes, fees, etc. it is not a good deal.
    I think at $800K it will get bought by a developer.

  16. Posted by nowonderitcostssomuchhere

    We just completed a project around the corner from here that is slightly smaller square footage. Obviously, we think it’s a fantastic neighborhood (and Surrey is a great street – quiet with undergrounded utilities). And I don’t think that financing would have worked for us on this purchase price when you factor in construction costs (as of September last year, we couldn’t get a loan for more than 70% of the appraised value). I have no idea what our palce will appraise for now though…I wish them luck on that price (and I’ll scrape my jaw off the floor if they get it!).

  17. Posted by tipster

    Would someone even pay 1.5 to live in between the two shacks on either side?

  18. Posted by anonn

    Don’t pretend that the $2M Glen Park house is not something many of you haven’t seen on this website at least five or more times.

  19. Posted by Surrey Neighbor

    I live in the neighborhood and protested the plans for this house. The plans make it a complete story/floor taller than anything else on that side of the street. No need for that. Plus, the plans clearly stated the house had to be that big for the builder’s family to live there. You bet I’ll be protesting again if the new buyers try to use these plans. Please… someone buy the lot someday and build a reasonable home. The shack has to go – but not a MacMansion in its place.

  20. Posted by sparky-b

    Why didn’t you file a DR? or log a complaint to the plan checker?

  21. Posted by Sunnysider

    The comment above should be $50K off the list alone. Hope that any agent silly enough to show a client this are reading the board and know that at least one person will show up to the meeting to protest.

  22. Posted by Flabberghasted

    OMG WTF?

  23. Posted by sparky-b

    What meeting? You don’t have to have a new neighborhood meeting if you buy a permitted plan w/ the lot.

  24. Posted by OneEyedMan

    Now I see why Realtors still use all those silly cryptic abbreviations in their property descriptions – they don’t know how to spell whole words.

  25. Posted by PUAgent

    I almost did a spit take with my morning coffee when I saw the rendering: what an abomination. It is completely disrespectful to the neighbors and neighborhood. The planning department failed miserably here. It sounds like it might be too late, but if it ever comes to public hearing again, I ask Surrey the Neighbor or The Editor to update the site. I’d love a speaker card to say my piece.
    The good news is that natural selection has probably killed this one already. I expect the seller isn’t building it because even he can see that it doesn’t pencil out. They have priced this as a way to recover their investment and not at market value. Market value is about 1/2 of what they are asking and even that is pushing it.
    Buyers can get a nice, new house at 449 Chenery ($1.7M reduced from $2M) without the hassle and a lot value home just sold at 533 Laidley for $300K.

  26. Posted by jlasf

    sparky-b: “The permit is for a remodel, not a teardown.”
    Obviously, this is not a remodel. By looking at the plans,
    it doesn’t seem to incorporate any element of the existing
    So, if it’s permitted for a remodel, but is really a teardown,
    doesn’t that vitiate the permit? In which case, the new owner
    would be back at square one and have to go through the
    permit process again.
    At which point, Surrey Neighbor will be there to pounce.

  27. Posted by sparky-b

    without looking at the existing plan you can’t really say that. I would guess the existing property line walls are probably remaining, and the current back wall used as an interior wall. Ditto, the lower level walls. Just becuase the facade is changing doesn’t mean it’s not a remodel.

  28. Posted by sfrenegade

    sparky-b, since you seem to know the most about these things…are “approved plans” the same as “approved permits”? Your implication and Snowball’s implication suggest that they are one and the same.
    Is the contrast relevant only when you’re doing a teardown/rebuild?

  29. Posted by steve

    What are they smoking? This is what happens when the feds relaxed the marijuana enforcement policy.

  30. Posted by sparky-b

    In my mind they mean the same thing, but you should verify. Sometimes plans are sold as approved, but what is approved is only the site permit and not the building permit. This means that the planning dept. signed off on the shell, but building, mechanical, etc. haven’t review it. That process takes months with additional plans, reports, details and money. Sometimes the shell isn’t even permittable by building and it has to go back.
    In the case of this house, it looks like they have done everything but pay for the permit. I would want this done before I wrote an offer. That way you can see the plan changes, notes, and engineering. Also, the payment and pick-up starts the clock on appealing the permit, and the window will close before escrow closes.

  31. Posted by satchelfan

    As they say, “there’s a sucker born every minute.”
    All it takes is one.

  32. Posted by The Hawk

    If somebody remodeled that shack into such a beautiful home in my neighborhood, raising my property values, I would be angry as well.

  33. Posted by sfrenegade

    sparky-b, thanks for the clarification. You’ve cleared up most of the questions I’ve had when listings refer to plans (especially in cities that are extremely bureaucratic when it comes to building like SF, or Santa Monica as another example).
    My impression was that many Santa Monica “teardown” listings say plans drawn and some even say plans approved, but these sellers don’t have all of the permits required to actually do the work, and it will take a potential buyer lots of money and time to deal with city processes to actually build the place (assuming they actually like the rendering in the first place).

  34. Posted by EH

    The fact that there’s a garage in the rendering where the current front door is would seem to cast doubt on the “remodel” aspect.

  35. Posted by EBGuy

    Should have good feng shui; maybe that will drive up the price…

  36. Posted by sfrenegade

    EH — FWIW, that’s not impossible to do in a “remodel” because they can raise the house one level. Check out this place where the existing house was raised one level during a remodel:
    I agree that this is a particularly odd house to remodel in this manner, but it can be done, theoretically. My guess is that the planning dept makes it easier to do this rather than to do a teardown of a “historic” building.

  37. Posted by SocketSite

    Some insight into what passes for a “remodel”: 3961 25Th Street Before (And A Bit Of The During).

  38. Posted by noearch

    @PUagent: your myopic and extremely narrow mindedness shows how stuck you are…most real estate agents dont know good design anyway, so I’ll forgive you..
    But…..keep in mind..those houses adjacent to the subject property are also pieces of junk essentially and will get replaced in the future..much of the SF housing stock is nearing its 100 year mark..and in need of full replacment. the new house is appropriate, and within the planning and building code issues..the design is reasonably fresh, modern and appropriate.

  39. Posted by Legacy Dude

    I don’t even care about this place and wasn’t going to say anything, but have to commend noearch for that last comment. Half the “historic” homes in this city are ratty old shitboxes that were cheaply designed/built and never meant to last as long as they already have. Rather than preserve or “remodel” this shack, I would support tearing down the entire block and replacing it with something of appropriately higher density. This is a hovel on a hill, not Neuschwanstein. And it’s in San Francisco, not Ukiah. Onward and upward.

  40. Posted by sfrenegade

    “Half the ‘historic’ homes in this city are ratty old shitboxes that were cheaply designed/built and never meant to last as long as they already have.”
    Agree with noearch and Legacy Dude with respect to some of these “historic” issues. For example, I have no idea why we preserve “earthquake cottages” (i.e. those cottages built after 1906 very quickly to house people whose houses were destroyed) to the extent that we do. These cottages were clearly designed as a stopgap, and not as permanent housing. If we feel the need to preserve a small number of them to document SF history, the city should buy 3 or 4 of them and turn them into museums.
    Instead, we have this ridiculous policy of saving all of them, even though they are well past their intended lifetime. I seem to remember that recently the city had to redtag a house they thought was an earthquake cottage, and it was relieved that demolition showed that the house wasn’t an earthquake cottage. That’s just ridiculous — most of these cottages should have been demolished years ago.
    I’m all for preserving some of the history, but this city goes way too far (e.g. that crappy library in North Beach with its super-high-tech special shelves).

  41. Posted by noearch

    thanks. appreciate your support and comments as well..
    Let’s get real here. MANY houses in SF have no historic or architectural value..they were built cheaply to house ordinary families a century ago. They have no historic or intrinsic value, beyond being “what’s always been next to me…”(what many NIMBYS think).
    They will, and eventually, should be replaced with new housing stock. Yes, that housing will be larger, perhaps filling out more of the “envelope”..thats what the code allows.

  42. Posted by anonn

    Let’s be honest about something else. The same people who buy the fixed up, vertically expanded property, will be the same people who fight its identical neighbor from undergoing the same “remodel” five years down the line.

  43. Posted by sparky-b

    Per the editor’s comment, yes, that is what a remodel looks like. The picture he linked is from the rear yard and doesn’t show the 2 story facade that remained, but it shows the side walls and floor that remained. The city has calculations to follow and if you follow them it’s a remodel. If you don’t the permit takes much longer and gets an automatic DR, plus probably a historic review. It should be easier, and it would be cheaper and better.

  44. Posted by PUAgent

    I agree with Noearch and Legacy Dude et al that most of the housing product in SF is shitty and clap-trap. And much of the housing stock especially in Glen Park could be improved with a lit match.
    That’s why I am particularly appalled by the design of this home. Here is an opportunity to remove a POS and replace it with something nice. Instead they want to slap up a stucco box, stick some wood panels on it and call it modern design. It’s clear the design reflects construction budget over aesthetics.
    If built, that stupid thing will be blighting the neighborhood decades.
    I lived in Glen Park for many years and know the Surry streetscape well. This home is completely disrespectful to the street and neighborhood in terms of design. Look at the home at 449 Chenery, the new home on Penny Lane and the new, modern homes up on Miguel at Bemis- the builders and architects did a much better job there.
    This place belongs across the street from Noearch in the hodgepodge of crap that is Noe Valley. That way he can admire the wood panels as the finish cracks and peels in the sun: it’s more fresh and appropriate there.

  45. Posted by noearch

    oh, now I see you not only play a realtor on tv, but you’re also a design critic…
    ah, let’s get real for a minute. we all know that is just a “concept” sketch. I assume you know that’s not a “final” rendering of what is to come, but overall, it’s simple, fresh, and modern..
    could be wood panels, maybe not. could be metal panels or cement board what? at least it’s not some vile faux Victorian piece of crap..I see a lot of that in Glen Park..

  46. Posted by sparky-b

    I am with noearch, it is a loose “concept” at best. The city doesn’t even need a colored in elevation or a rendering to permit this type of work.
    At 104 Collins street, from earlier this week, the panels still look good from a 2000 install. They are Parklex, maybe these are to be as well.
    From the picture above the house to left looks to be stucco, so I don’t think that is out of Surrey character.
    Finally, have a look across the street and then report back on neighborhood character.

  47. Posted by philly

    all I can say about the new design is – “ugh” – it doesn’t warrant any other criticism…

  48. Posted by SocketSite

    The listing for 15 Surrey has been withdrawn without a sale.

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