220 Anderson
We’re not so sure about the “Bernal Heights Beauty” moniker nor the potential to become “the talk of the neighborhood” with “a little” TLC, but we do see the potential for 220 Anderson, starting with a porch gate-ectomy (and followed by a sledgehammer or two).
∙ Listing: 220 Anderson (2/1) – $549,000 [MLS]

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by bernalkid

    Vinyl siding, this is the real SF!

  2. Posted by asiagoSF


  3. Posted by [anon.ed]

    [Why did you post 450K?]

  4. Posted by lol

    Location is pretty sweet. Potential to make a great home. At this price this will attract offers I think. I say it sells for 625K.

  5. Posted by hangemhi

    love the [Listing Agent’s] name – Pat Rock – no nickname problems there
    offer deadline Nov 1st – half block to courtland – look out above

  6. Posted by glennz

    I agree with the 450K guy.

  7. Posted by [anon.ed]


  8. Posted by Bernalite

    I agree in that it should sell for $450K, needs a lot of updating. But because its SF…it’ll see high 5s or into 6.

  9. Posted by jack

    I am guessing $675 to $725.

  10. Posted by dont get it

    Can someone explain the attraction of bernal to me? was there recently, and it looks like the sunset to me with more crime.

  11. Posted by A.T.

    If this little dump in this pretty crummy area goes for 725,000, I am immediately selling our place as it should easily fetch double whatever this place sells for.

  12. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    I won’t guess at the price but whatever it sells for will be essentially dirt value for this block. Though the house is habitable there’s a 95% chance that the buyer does st least a major remodel.
    Anyone want to guess what this would have sold for in 2007?
    More hack HDR photos in the listing. Ugh.

  13. Posted by Oceangoer

    Doesn’t the metal grillwork in front tell you something about security? Does me. And the pictures of the “garden” with dilapidated fence next door should give a potential buyer pause for thought.

  14. Posted by shza

    This neighborhood is not “crummy,” though obviously it’s not “real SF.” The bad parts of Bernal are to the south and east of here.
    That said, it seems they’d need to do a complete rebuild into a much larger 3/2 to make it worth their while and I can’t imagine the resulting property selling for over a million in this no-view (except maybe of excelsior to the south) block. So to do all the necessary work and have it make sense for the money, I don’t think you can really spend over $600k.
    MOD, I’d guess mid to high 7s in 2007. Ridiculous as it was.

  15. Posted by [anon.ed]

    I can’t call it sight unseen. But 450 is out of the question. That total fixer now pending on Elsie for 1.35M or so went for 550K last time around.

  16. Posted by Zig

    “Can someone explain the attraction of bernal to me? was there recently, and it looks like the sunset to me with more crime.”
    What an odd comment. One was built as early tract homes with uniform blocks over flat dunes
    the other is about as eclectic as it gets in SF with many homes build by the owners on narrow streets, some of which weren’t even paved until relatively recently.
    A friend of my family grew up in Bernal in a home his father built that looked like a cabin in the woods with a stove for heating.

  17. Posted by 47yo hipster

    I think the smart thing to do with this is not to gut it. Spend $75-100k to remodel, keeping existing layout in tack. And redo the exterior too, with decent siding. If it sells for $550, at $650 after remodel you have a very solid small home/condo alternative. Bonus if you can add another bath near the bedrooms.
    This’ll sell handily at list IMO.

  18. Posted by Rillion

    It depends, I’ve seen paranoid people put up extra security where it isn’t needed. At my vacation house the previous owner installed a metal security gate over the front door. A month ago we accidently left our garage door open and no one took anything (its full of tools since we are fixing the place up) and our next door neighbor recently left their front door open for a week and no one disturbed anything. We joked with our neighbors that if they had done that in SF they would have someone living in their place now claiming to be a protected tenant and demanding to be bought out.
    But the previous owner was a little old lady and felt more secure having extra security on her house. So the gate may say something about the neighborhood or it may not. Potential buyers should do more in depth research then just reflexively thinking, “hmm..gate, must be a bad neighborhood”.

  19. Posted by shza

    “I can’t call it sight unseen. But 450 is out of the question. That total fixer now pending on Elsie for 1.35M or so went for 550K last time around.”
    So if you consider this a total fixer/knockdown also (which many would — I don’t know why you’d want to live in this neighborhood if you were young and single/ in the condo market), then wouldn’t $450k be plausible? This is clearly a worse/cheaper location than Elsie.
    That said, I don’t see anything going for $450k here even if that’s the rational price, so I guess I’m not disagreeing with the conclusion. But it really ought to go for under 6.

  20. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Regarding those steel bar security partitions: those are usually a hangover from earlier days when crime was worse and before electronic intrusion alarms. I wouldn’t take them as an indication of the current state of crime in a neighborhood. If I owned this house one of the first changes would be to remove the bars and add an alarm system.
    (One of the most bizarre security bar installs I’ve seen was a house in Lucerne Valley (east of LA in the Mojave desert). It was completely enclosed in a steel bar cage that stood off a couple of feet from the house. Even the roof was covered in bars.)

  21. Posted by Bernie Hill

    There is also an REO at the top of Gates street, at the south end, that is listed at $474k. Better location imo – and if rebuilt could support a higher price point then this one.

  22. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Well this one looks to be in better shape than the Elsie one. But the 200 block of Elsie, which is what I referred to, is pretty much the same thing as this block of Anderson. Anyway, for this one to go for 450 it would probably have to be like 200 or 300 feet smaller than what they’re advertsing.

  23. Posted by Brahma (incensed renter)

    I would also like an explanation of the bernal mystique. I’ve been in the dark about it since the popping of the dot com bubble and the following expansion of the credit + real estate bubble, which is the point at which I really started getting interested in the local real estate market.
    Winding up the wayback machine to revisit Carol Lloyd’s column of Mar 19 2002, The madness shows no sign of abating in the SF Bay area (one of her most memorable, IMHO):

    Here’s but one example: a rat-infested two-bedroom house near Holly Park in Bernal Heights. “It needed everything,” said a friend who ultimately made an offer on the house. “In the upstairs bathroom, you could see the sky, [even though] there was no skylight. Pigeons were coming in. The toilet was just a hole à la a Tijuana gas station circa 1960. The house needed to be gutted, basically.”
    But because the little house was listed at “just” $380,000, it attracted interest. A lot of interest. When my friend’s real estate agent called to tell her the bad news, there had been 18 bids, and the winning bid was an all-cash offer for over $500,000.

    $500K would be over $602K in today’s dollars, so it won’t surprise me at all if, as lol guesses,this place sells for $625K.

  24. Posted by GeeWhy

    I think a lot of people who don’t put a high priority on being able to walk to a wide variety of stores, restaurants and amenities wouldn’t understand why Bernal prices are high. From this house, you’d be a 2-5 minute walk from several great restaurants, a library, a bookstore, three bars, a yoga studio, a dry cleaner, Bernal Heights Park, Holly Park, and numerous other businesses. You’re a 20 minute walk from the heart of the Mission. And there’s a lot of sun. For many people, this trumps the size or exterior appearance of a house.
    And as stated earlier, this was owned by a long-time Bernal resident. The bars are a throwback to rougher times, just as Potrero houses used to have a lot of bars.

  25. Posted by Lori

    I think it will go over asking, but not a ridiculous amount. Probably closer to $600K. The kitchen needs a pretty sizable amount of work. Not sure if the cabinets could be salvaged for a lesser priced update. No dishwasher seen, and where’s the fridge? The layout could use some help. Also some awkward angles in the bathroom.

  26. Posted by shza

    you’d be a 2-5 minute walk from several great restaurants
    Uh, no. I used to live a block away from here. There are no “great” restaurants on Cortland. The only one that’s at all worthwhile is Moki’s (strictly as a neighborhood/local place — I’d never travel to it from elsewhere).
    I always thought of Bernal as having the feel of a somewhat charming hamlet outside of SF — it feels like a small town, not a cosmopolitan area stocked with city-class amenities.
    The sun point is also overstated — it’s not like the Mission. You get plenty of fog from the south that doesn’t get to the other side of Bernal Hill.

  27. Posted by lol

    I’m a big fan of BH. For people working down the 280 it’s a great value alternative to NV and better than GP. For people who want more of the city I’d move north of course.
    In the 400s or 500s you’re competing with smaller condos or decent TICs, even rentals. Many families would start in these houses and spend a few 10s of Ks a year to make it more to their taste/needs. Contractors with low costs could be potential buyers as well.
    Heck, 549K could even pan out rental-wise. At least 40K/Y in rent potential.
    This being SF and everything being priced beyond rental ROI reason, I think it has a good 10-20% upside compared to pricing. I stick by my 625K guesstimate.
    The Gates property looks very underpriced.

  28. Posted by will i am

    how close is this place to the housing projects?

  29. Posted by BernalDweller

    Agree that ‘great’ is overstating the restaurants, but shza, you are definitely understating. Liberty Cafe, Vega, Piqueo’s, Vino Rosso, Blue Elephant Thai, Moonlight Cafe, all good spots with very different offerings, all on Cortland. Down the hill on Mission you’ve got Ichi and Angkor Borei, both highly rated. Emmy’s – good and fun. Front Porch. Blue Plate. Locavore. The dining choices available within walking distance to BH are pretty numerous. OK, some of these are a ten minute walk, not two, but you get the idea. To say there is only one decent restaurant near here is not true. Yeah, they’re not Gary Danko. But they are all perfectly good places.

  30. Posted by jack

    I was using this recent sale as basis for guessing $675 to $725.
    I’ve not seen neither houses from the inside, so this is solely based on numbers (2 bd 1 ba @ 1,000 sq.ft.).

  31. Posted by Dan

    Anderson just north of Cortland is lined with cute Victorian cottages, most of which have been fixed up, and is just a few steps from the restaurants and shops in the middle of the Cortland commercial strip. For those who love Bernal, it is an excellent location, and for that reason I think this will sell quickly with multiple offers.

  32. Posted by Willow

    “I’m a big fan of BH. For people working down the 280 it’s a great value alternative to NV and better than GP. For people who want more of the city I’d move north of course.”
    Not sure how prices compare between BH and GP but when I bought back in 2003 I found GP generally less expensive than NV but more expensive than BH. Cortland is not 24th St but it is probably marginally better than Diamond and Chenery Streets. Bernal weather is definitely better but you can’t beat GP for transit access to the Peninsula / Downtown SF / East Bay. It’s probably the most convenient location in the city for people who work down south.

  33. Posted by [anon.ed]

    “only one that’s at all worthwhile is Moki’s”
    I doubt many people would rate Moki’s as a good sushi restaurant by contemporary SF sushi standards. It’s Hawaiian, and it’s not very good Hawaiian sushi. Vega, Piqueos, Liberty Cafe and Emmy’s are all way better at what they do.

  34. Posted by shza

    I stand by my statement about the restaurants on Cortland. Seriously, the only restaurant I ever went to multiple times when I lived there was the one (and almost always for take-out). Otherwise, if you’re going out, why wouldn’t you leave the neighborhood and go to the Mission, which actually does have a few “great” restaurants (both higher-end like Delfina and cheap/fast like La Taqueria). If you’re eating in, there are better delivery options than any of the places on Cortland.
    But I do like Blue Plate (which is a 15 minute walk) though it’s more that dead man’s land between Noe, Bernal, Mission and Outer Mission than Bernal.
    Liberty Cafe is a prime example of a terrible restaurant (no exaggeration) that is overhyped by locals.

  35. Posted by shza

    I doubt many people would rate Moki’s as a good sushi restaurant by contemporary SF sushi standards. It’s Hawaiian, and it’s not very good Hawaiian sushi.
    You’re supposed to order the ribs there, fool. And I certainly never went so far as to say it was a “good” restaurant — my point about Cortland restaurants was precisely the opposite.
    My comment above on Liberty Cafe. You’re a booster or you hate food if you’re upping that place.

  36. Posted by [anon.ed]

    I’m not calling any of them “great.” They aren’t. But Vega, to me, is quite good. I agree with you on Liberty Cafe being overrated. But Moki’s, to me, is lousy and I both eat a lot of sushi and have given it four or five chances.

  37. Posted by shza

    Go there and order the ribs, fluj. I think you might be pleasantly surprised. I agree with you about the sushi. There’s actually very little SF sushi that I’d call great.

  38. Posted by shza

    ^^^ And Vega post-dated my time in the hood, so I can’t comment on that. Good to hear if it’s good. Take-out from Delfina Pizzeria or the place on Chenery was always a drag/required two people in the car.
    I’ll stop turning this into a food thread now.

  39. Posted by [anon.ed]

    “You’re supposed to order the ribs there, fool”
    Hhahahaha. No doubt. That was the problem.
    Liberty? It’s OK. Nothing to write home about. Funny, my girlfriend is a foodie and she thinks Blue Plate is god awful. I happen to like it. To each his/her own.

  40. Posted by Joseph

    I have been reading socketsite for a few years and have never had the urge to post but I need to post the following – I LOVE BERNAL HEIGHTS!!! After renting in North Beach for 11 years, my partner and I decided it was time to buy. And we decided to buy in Bernal Heights…SOUTH, (which according to the posters on this site is a crime ridden hell hole). Well, after 2 weeks here we have been welcomed by our neighbors, hugged by a shop clerk on Cortland and already had our coffee order memorized by the Martha Brothers coffee girls – things that never occurred on Columbus and things that feel very, “real SF”. The house referred to in this article is going to go over asking and whoever gets it is very lucky.

  41. Posted by EsEfGerard

    @Joesph – 2 weeks? sounds like you already drank the Bernal Kool-Aid. I’m sorry that they got to you.
    I doubt this property will go over asking (550k). This place is old – property tax records would indicate that the same family have owned this house since 1907 – and outside of a remodeled bathroom and shabby “updated kitchen” it will need a lot of work.
    There are many current listings at this price point in more desirable neighborhoods in SF.

  42. Posted by BernalDweller

    Nice try, Gerard, but the person who would choose Bernal Heights would not live in MIraloma. I shopped Miraloma hard before we bought, but it just doesn’t have what BH has. They are not interchangeable. The Anderson property will most likely go for near asking. Most of the fixers in good BH locations (north slope, west slope, or near Cortland) that have sold this year have gone for over 500.

  43. Posted by REpornaddict

    I thought Liberty Cafe was pretty good, actually.
    Hated Blue Plate, though, with a vengeance. Had something there (gnocchi I think) that was the worst I’d ever tasted, including my home cooking…!!!

  44. Posted by dont get it

    Whoa, looks like my comment sparked lots of interesting discussion about bernal. I expected cheaper ptrero hill, but cortland was more taraval or geary, than 18th or valencia. Maybe the weather makes up for it, but cortland seemed super depressing to me. and having to take the 24 everyday would make me poke my eyes out.

  45. Posted by tc_sf

    Didn’t Liberty change chefs & ownership?
    I used to think they were pretty good a long while back, but then they went a bit downhill somewhere around the ownership change. Recently I heard that the owners of Vega might buy them.
    I’ve always had a good experience at Blue Plate. Architecturally, both places have a “restaurant in an old house” feel. Which may not be in style anymore, but I find works well for that type of homey food.
    Locavore across from Blue Plate is also pretty good.

  46. Posted by shza

    and having to take the 24 everyday would make me poke my eyes out.
    Yes, the commute from this house to, e.g., the financial district (my old commute) is absolutely horrible. As I’ve said in other threads, my current commute to the fidi from Piedmont is nearly twice as fast.

  47. Posted by 47yo hipster

    You guys are missing te coolest eatery in BH- Deli Pub! With that aging Arab-hippie dude, the 70’s decor and plants and his pastrami and garlic sandwiches. Classic-old-funky-SF.

  48. Posted by rolfsf

    Yes, Liberty Cafe was recently bought by the owners of Vega (and Vino Rosso). The original owner died a couple years back and it was never quite the same under the interim management. We’re optimistic about the change!
    I’m so glad, personally, that most of you don’t get Bernal… it’s gotten a bit too popular and pricey as it is. It’s really horrible… you wouldn’t want to buy a house here… and if you do bid on one, definitely low-ball it. 😉

  49. Posted by 47yo hipster

    Long live Bernal!

  50. Posted by Dan

    New issue of Via magazine on Bernal:
    For sushi, ICHI on Mission St is the best! (They’ve won “Best of Bay” awards.) Good bars on Mission St– including now The Royal Cuckoo. The Bernal stretch of Mission Street may have been claimed by La Lengua, but it is still the main commercial strip for those of us in northwest and west Bernal. For me, it is easier to walk to outer Church (Incanto, et al) than to Cortland. Downtown, the East Bay, and the airport mean a short walk to the 24th and Mission BART Station. Bernal is a large and diverse neighborhood, and it is hard to generalize as some have done on this thread.

  51. Posted by [anon.ed]

    Nice one, Dan. No doubt.

  52. Posted by Jack

    I am taking back my $675-$725 guess, now that I’ve seen the house. I am now guessing $550 to $575.

  53. Posted by sfnative

    Bernal is not awful, but it’s a neighborhood one settles for and not where one chooses to live. I have a number of friends there, and they don’t hate it, but they all live there for a single reason. It’s cheaper than the neighborhoods where they would really like to live.
    Aside from the top-top neighborhoods like Pac and Presidio Heights, there are a number of great SF neighborhoods where people choose to live even if they could afford to live elsewhere. Castro, Inner Mission, Noe, Cole Valley, Upper/Lower Haight, Duboce Park. Bernal is not in that class. Except perhaps for lesbian couples, Bernal is where you go when you don’t want to leave the city and don’t want to live in the Bayview or Tenderloin, but just can’t afford these better places. There is a reason it’s so much less expensive than other neighborhoods.

  54. Posted by yeastbeast

    What’s with all the Bernal Haters in this thread?
    Bernal has many good qualities— a great village feel, very walkable, perfectly adequate services, easy access to 101 and 280, a relaxed family-friendly atmosphere.
    Crime and “street life” issues are way less of a concern than the Mission, where I lived previously.
    I’ve lived here since ’07 and couldn’t be happier.

  55. Posted by Dan

    Bernal isn’t necessarily cheaper than the other neighborhood sfnative lists, especially for a decent size view house. It does have some small cottages and houses on the periphery that are less expensive. But speaking for myself and my neighbors, many of us love living here, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. When I bought in Bernal, I looked at several houses in Noe, in Glen Park, and in the Castro in the same price range, but I’m glad I chose Bernal.

  56. Posted by BernalDweller

    Showing as contingent…

  57. Posted by jack

    Curious to see how this Anderson one will fare.
    Re: Bernal, I am looking forward to attending open house at 3745 Folsom ( The $999 price-tag is a little aggressive?

  58. Posted by shza

    ^^^^ Wow, those kitchens and that bathroom at the Folsom property are hideously ugly.

  59. Posted by shza

    Sorry – *that* kitchen and *those* bathrooms.

  60. Posted by Greg Samsa

    This place closed escrow yesterday for $571,000. Over asking. I’m surprised.

  61. Posted by jack

    Oooh, I won!
    As a prize, can I claim “Mr. Bernal” as screen name?

  62. Posted by rolfsf

    $589k – good call jack
    I was thinking low end of your range – it should keep some contractors employed for a while

  63. Posted by jack

    3745 Folsom closed for $970,000. Pretty decent result, it seems.

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