CFAH

Purchased for $1,635,000 in May of 2014, the two-bedroom Onyx penthouse unit #406 at 415 De Haro Street, in the flats of Potrero Hill, returned to the market listed for $1,735,888 last September, a sale at which would have represented appreciation of 6.2 percent for the well-finished condo over the past 34 months or roughly 2.2 percent per year.

Reduced to $1,695,000 in October and delisted for a few weeks, the “stunning top floor, corner view residence…designed for buyers with exceptionally high standards” was re-listed for $1,575,000 in January, with 1,274 square feet of space, two external storage units and deeded parking for one car.

And yesterday, the sale of 415 De Haro Street #406 closed escrow with an “over asking!” contract price of $1.635 million, the same price which the seller had paid for the penthouse three years ago (and 5.8 percent below its original list price from last year).

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by matteo

    selling for the same price it was purchased….i guess is not so bad to live three years for free.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      Taking into account mortgage interest (or an under-priced cost of capital), taxes, fees and transaction costs, the effective cost of owning this unit over the past three years was likely around $375K or $11K per month and slightly more than free.

  2. Posted by Snowbored

    The seller was relocated to LA for their job and needed to sell, in a decidedly mixed environment for higher end condos with a lot of inventory on the market and coming on the market at a less common time of year for sales. The realtor played games, and the “over-asking” deserves calling out. The seller took a hit on the realtor fees so it wasn’t exactly free either. Buyer beware if you buy in a charged seller’s market and need to leave within a few years.

    Keep in mind that while movements in the sale price of a single condo are a great measure of what that exact condo sold for, they’re not necessarily a great measure of appreciation or changes in value of the market in general, and are susceptible to the details of that particular condo and its seller, as opposed to movements in the Case-Shiller Index.

    [Editor’s Note: See the agents response below.]

  3. Posted by Amewsed

    This is a loss if you are adding in the costs of broker commissions on the sale. At 5%, commissions paid by the seller would have been $81,750.

    Tired of brokers manipulating the days on market and/or asking price/selling price numbers. The tactics are overdone and counter-productive.

    • Posted by Gorkem

      $81,750 is a lot of money, any chance they agreed on a fixed fee with the broker? A unit like this requires very little broker work, I know there are a ton of brokers reading this site so please correct me if i am wrong.

  4. Posted by SFAgain

    It’s amazing that brokers think all these moves – the positioning of a sale, taking a property off market, etc. – really work in a fully transparent marketplace. When you see the changes listed on any of the online sites, it just makes you even more suspicious of a property. It may now be counter-productive. It’s as if many agents are living in 1990. Then, if you are a buyer, they often criticize the web sites like Zillow or Redfin. For some agents, I suppose, there’s a real search for adding value here beyond papering a deal.

    • Posted by Dandywhatsoever

      Anybody watching for a while will see through the tricks, but someone just starting to look will see a low “days on market” and nothing else. Some people buy right away – and that’s who they are aiming it with these hijinx.

    • Posted by Frank

      Well said and thank heavens for (i) redfin making the MLS consumer friendly and (ii) the permanent repeal of the Internet Listings Display policy in 2008 that would have allowed brokers to selectively withhold listing data from sites like redfin.

  5. Posted by anon

    Ouch. Transaction costs kill you.

    Another is 33 Pond. Sold for $1,200,000 in September 2014. Just closed today at $1,435,000 (was listed at $1,195,000). Up nearly 20% in a little over 2 years.

    Good luck to any bargain hunters out there.

    • Posted by SFAgain

      That’s funny. It had a price cut and then went over asking 30 days after listed at the lower price?

    • Posted by anon2

      Looking back further, it looks like 33 Pond sold for $1,591,000 in May of 2005.
      So after 12 long years, still down 10%. And heap transaction costs onto that.

      What really kills you is getting in at the top of the cycle. And that’s why people are so focused on trying to determine when the market turns from going up to topping out.

      [Editor’s Note: The 2005-era sale was for the two-unit building (33-35 Pond) which was subsequently condo converted and split in 2008.]

      • Posted by anon

        The 2005 sale was for both units. The 2017 sale at $1,435,000 was for just one of the units. They were remodeled after 2005. Serious appreciation since 2005 any way you cut it. But I agree it can hurt to buy at a market peak.

  6. Posted by Frank

    I’ve been tracking this property (on the wish list) and have been puzzled by the actions taken by the broker/seller:

    1. Agent/owner. Listed property 9/30 ahead of the election. Historical data shows property sales drop in an election year esp. weeks before an election. Assuming mortgage payments around $5k / month and property taxes at $1.5k / month, waiting until Feb to list (post election, and when more buyers are out) would still have been a smarter move.

    2. Agent. Delisted from Jan 3 – Jan 25, not long enough to reset days on market (as I understand you need to wait 30+ days to do this). The property came online with a new price BUT 95 days on market… Sure this is superficial and people will figure it out but it puts the seller in a weaker position and reduces the buyer pool some of who filter by recent listings.

    3.Agent. Lauding the property sold for over asking when the agent made more on the sale of the property than the homeowner that had lived there, paid the mortgage, property taxes, HOA fees etc. In my book that’s disgusting. Dropping the price and claiming a sale over asking is super shady.

    To me this is a realtor acting in their own interests rather than the interest of their client.

    Grade for this realtor: E-

    • Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

      Pretty sure dear leader is the one lauding this trade as “over asking,” not the listing agent. Otherwise, I am sure the agent in question is going to take your commentary to heart, think long and hard about your careful analysis and make life-changing decisions based on it.

      • Posted by Frank

        Re agent lauding – he pretty much confirmed this in his comments on this post.

        Re taking commentary to heart – one can only hope.

  7. Posted by Pero

    One thing to take into consideration:
    Seller got a nice tax deduction on his mortgage interest in 2014,2015,2016. We don’t know how big his mortgage was and which tax bracket he fell into, but I assume that he/she could have easily saved 20-40k in taxes per year. That offsets some of the sales commissions.

    • Posted by SocketSite

      You know what they say about assuming, especially if u’re not familiar with the impact of the AMT for those with incomes large enough to support the purchase of a home in this range.

      • Posted by anon

        AMT isn’t going to affect the mortgage interest deduction except in rare circumstances, and even then not in a material way.

        Still a high cost for a “free” condo.

        • Posted by SocketSite

          If one thinks the effective tax savings from owning this home would be anywhere near $40K per year, they should definitely consult an account (and perhaps a good attorney to start working on their defense). Even an “easy” 20K would be a stretch.

          • Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

            Anyone who thinks that just by purchasing a home she will get to “live for free” needs to curb her enthusiasm.

          • Posted by Pero

            I know what they say about assuming and – as clearly indicated above – 20-40k is a guess. All the costs of reselling a property like this after a 2-3 year period are valid. However, the picture is incomplete without considering some cost-offset through mortgage interest deductions. The alternative to buying a place like this would have been to rent it for 2-3 years. In this scenario, no mortgage interest deduction would have been possible and an annual rent for such a place could have been around 40-60k before HOAs. How does the deal look like now?

        • Posted by moto mayhem

          you must be joking. AMT cuts the mortgage deduction by at least half.

          • Posted by anon

            Nope. Look at the AMT worksheet. Only AMT hit is interest for a second home or if you refinanced and used the proceeds to buy a boat or something other than paying off your mortgage.

    • Posted by matlaw

      Usually offset by property taxes, no?

    • Posted by matlaw

      Am I missing the shower curtain rail/glass wall in that second bathroom?

  8. Posted by SFAgain

    Looks like 775 Noe might have a similar 2014-2017 story.

  9. Posted by Willow

    The buyers agent didn’t do a great job either. Paying the 2014 price is not exactly a steal. It’s a fairly generic unit and there’s lots of inventory at this price point. Given the circumstances of the seller, I would have negotiated much harder.

    • Posted by bachman_erlich_overdrive

      Is this really a “fairly generic” unit? Double height windows with very well-executed modern finishes? I don’t know this part of the market very well, so I could be wrong, but this looks like a pretty thoughtfully-executed design. More so than most of the same size/type we see here.

      I would be curious to see a couple of other examples that you think match this unit in terms of design at this price point. I think it’s very well done.

      • Posted by Willow

        OK, I’ll give you the double height windows although there’s no real view to speak of so it’s not that useful.

        Modern well-executed finishes… Really? Every new construction unit in SF could make that claim. I checked this building out and there’s nothing special about the finishes. Not to say it isn’t a nice unit but $1.635MM for 1274 SF is not exactly great value.

        • Posted by Frank

          Willow, did you read the listing before commenting?

          1. Liebherr counter depth refrigerator – that’s $5k+ right there.
          2. Remote control shades – probably $20k
          3. Multi zone radiant heating – $$$$
          4. Pental quartz countertops $$

          If you goto those lengths one has to assume the rest of the fixtures and fittings are of similar quality. Hardly typical of new construction in SF.

  10. Posted by Tom Thumb

    There’s no deflation in America. This was sold at a loss in terms of real dollars.

  11. Posted by Eric

    Dear Snowbored,

    Although I appreciate your opinion, it has two nuanced inaccuracies.

    1) The owner didn’t “have” to sell, but he definitely “wanted” to sell.
    2) The Realtor didn’t “play games” with the listing/sold price. I know this for a fact because I am the Listing Realtor you speak of.

    Quite simply, the Seller continued lowering his asking price until buyers started responding with offers. Once he reduced his price below what he originally paid for it, several buyers became interested, and the seller received multiple offers. The winning offer was higher than his asking price, and it happened to be exactly what the seller originally paid.

    Given the SF real estate market slowed down in the fall & holidays, my client was pleased that buyers voluntarily bid the price back up to his original purchase price.

    In the end, the new buyers are excited to call 415 DeHaro St. “home”, and the seller is happy to have sold his house for more than money than his lowest listed asking price.

    Respectfully,
    EJ

    • Posted by Snowbored

      Inaccuracies are typically about facts, not opinions. My reference to playing games is merely my attempt to summarize the entire gist of this post and dismiss it, and move onto my main point about the motivated seller and not how every sale has a story and maybe shouldn’t be taken as a trend – a point which is actually friendly to your cause. One of Socketsite’s favorite pastimes is to point out when realtors brag about selling over asking after the price had actually been dropped, as happened here. You can disagree that I called this playing games, but it’s my opinion.

      The seller took a hit to sell their place in this market so soon after buying it. Whether there’s much space between “really wanted to” and “has to” is splitting hairs a touch. We can probably agree they were “motivated”, no?

      • Posted by anon2

        “and move onto my main point about the motivated seller and not how every sale has a story and maybe shouldn’t be taken as a trend”

        But all trends start with individual sales and in previous years, everything seemed to be flying off the shelf quickly and with good appreciation.

        If a seller was so motivated that they had to close an sale unusually quickly, then you might be right in dismissing that sale as reflecting the market. But what really matters isn’t the sellers motivation, but buyers or the lack thereof. On the market since September and there was presumably no buyer interest above the price it sold for.

        I agree with you about playing games with lowballing the listing price. Though that’s become so commonplace it’s hard to place much blame on individual agents. And this property shows why the practice becomes a bit self defeating. If under-listing is so common, buyers and buyers agents quickly catch on and stop wasting time chasing list prices. i.e. If you want to find a property in the $1.5M range, looking at properties listed at $1.5M was just going to waste a lot of your time. And so even agents who would like to list at realistic prices have an incentive to under list. Because if buyer looking for $1.5M properties have learned to avoid $1.5M listings and you are listing a property that you honestly believe will go at $1.5M, then if you list at $1.5M you’re missing out on a set of buyers.

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