4121-4123 20th Street 2015

Purchased as a vacant two-unit building on an idyllic block, with “period details and wood floors throughout,” for $2.1 million in May of 2014, the Liberty Hill duplex at 4121-4123 20th Street returned to the market this past September listed for $2.25 million with a mostly gutted lower level, unapproved plans for a major remodel, and touting “big potential for either an owner user or developer.”

The re-sale of 4121-4123 20th Street has now closed escrow with a reported contract price of $2,071,850 and eight complaints related to unpermitted or unsafe work and a successful appeal of a previously issued permit which resulted in additional foundation work and expense having been logged between the last two sales.

As we noted earlier this year, new listings and reductions for unfinished flips in San Francisco have been on the rise.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Ohlone Californio

    a lot of flippers seemed to have gotten into the SF market right around the times that permitting became more difficult, and neighbors’ appeals voices became strengthened

    • Posted by Tony

      They also far overestimated the price ceiling. This city needs middle class housing, and it was only a matter of time before the +$1.5 million housing market got saturated.

  2. Posted by jamesjr

    Two blocks from the Zuckerbergs. Great location. I would have thought this would be an easy flip.

  3. Posted by NoeEnvy

    Living near the Zuckerbergs is 99% less bragworthy today…

    For what it’s worth this is more like 6 blocks away from them. They live on 21st east of Dolores.

    • Posted by Serge

      You sure about that? Their house is right next door to the house famous for a particular holiday display. It’s no more than 3 blocks away.

      • Posted by Futurist

        NO it’s not.

        • Posted by True

          Can confirm, it’s not next door to the holiday display house.

      • Posted by Orland

        It’s just up (west) from Guerrero.

        • Posted by Serge

          Yes, I was mistaken. Went for over $1350/ft in 2012… that’s quite impressive for 3 years ago.

  4. Posted by wonker

    Come now silly flippers, catching falling knives is not child’s play.

  5. Posted by AnonAnon

    Can you really call it a flip if all they did was partially gut it and didn’t even get plans approved. More of an aborted flip.

    • Posted by lyqwyd

      Yeah, my guess is they ran out of money part way through, or were amateurs and had no idea what they were getting into in SF, possibly both. Anybody who thinks they’ll be able to do un-permitted work of that scale in that neighborhood doesn’t have a clue.

  6. Posted by Jimmy The House Flipper

    Unpermitted work … never a good idea. Also I don’t really understand the rationale behind it. It allows the contractor to get away with substandard work… and the value of the permitted improvements or additional square footage isn’t reflected on the title, which reduces your appraised value. Perhaps someone can explain the value proposition better but having done both types of work, permits are the only way to go on a major project.

    • Posted by SFRealist

      Also, as a potential buyer, I’d immediately walk away from unfinished unpermitted work. Too many potential problems.

    • Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

      Value proposition: It makes sense when…

      – you can do competent code-exceeding work
      – hassle/cost/delay of getting permit is high
      – resale ROI of work is low. Systems upgrades for example fly below the radar of many buyers

      The last point kind of excludes flippers, so this is mostly owner-benefit since resale ROI fades over time.

      But hey, there’s always “unpermitted bedroom and bath” which does have resale ROI or you would never read those words on the MLS.

  7. Posted by DanRH

    Wow, interesting reading from that link about the permit appeal. That person that appealed took very good notes. This sounds like a nightmare situation for the neighbors. Glad to see it has since been sold and hopefully someone new comes in and fixes the whole thing.

Comments are closed.

Recent Articles