San Francisco Real Estate

Although Realtors are credited with dividing up San Francisco into ten Districts, no one can account for the famous quote of Julius Caesar delivered "high" atop Telegraph Hill:

"Omnia San Francisco in decem partes divisa est."

District 1 ... District 2 ... District 3 ... District 4 ... District 5

District 6 ... District 7 ... District 8 ... District 9 ... District 10


For years I taught Real Estate, The Buyers' Perspective, at The Learning Annex. It was the early 90s and we were in the midst of a recession. I flashed the prices of single family Sunset [District 2] homes on the screen: circa, $250,000. I told the folks that using a 6% rate of appreciation, according to the Rule of 72 these homes would be worth nearly half a million dollars in 12 years. Laughter all around. Never happen!

An article in the Marin IJ shouted out that Belvedere homes had lost 25% in market value.

And I represented two East Bay buyers in a rare process called ..... a Short Sale.

But that was another era.

So out of curiosity I developed two tables of SOLD prices, plus number of homes sold, going back to 1987:

There were always a number of folks who felt that the go-go 80s would never return. I told them that I was not there as a sales guy urging them to buy: but simply teaching them how to do so ..... should San Francisco real estate ever again appreciate. The only one competent to predict the market would be Miss Cleo.

Referring to neighborhoods by subdistrict, such as 5C, is efficient, when communicating with agents. But Noe Valley is more ..... romantic. Just as Pennsylvania 6 5000 is preferable to 736-5000.

There are undoubtedly many reviews/sources for neighborhoods. Two that I've used are San Francisco Days and SF Gate.


All jurisdictions with which I am familiar impose point-of-sale requirements upon the seller, responsibility for which may, sometimes, by negotiation, be transferred to the buyer. These include upgrading sewer laterals [Berkeley], City Inspections [Mill Valley], water conservation inspections [San Francisco] . . .

In San Francisco sellers are required to disclose the status of permits taken out against the property since it was originally constructed. The document is called a Report of Residential Building Record, or 3R report. Expect errors.

Two, sellers must have a water-conservation inspection performed at every transfer of title. On the other hand, energy conservation inspections need only be done once. A City pamphlet provides the detail.

Three, State statutes and San Francisco ordinances require the removal of underground storage tanks. So it behooves buyers to check whether they exist on the parcel. Sellers customarily provide for an inspection by a tank removal firm. The inspections are based on visual indicators such as pipes running from the garage into the sidewalk. The closest we experienced was at a home on Lake Street. The seller-Estate refused to pay for a physical inspection. My clients wanted the home badly enough that they paid for the cost of breaking up the sidewalk, inserting prods into the subsurface, and replacing the affected sidewalk. No tank was located. Folks in the business believe that in some abandoned attic there is a pre-1906 list compiled by the oil companies that would drive around Pacific Heights are service the tanks. If only .....


Since the mid '80s San Francisco has permitted the annual conversion to condominiums of 200 units (not buildings) in two-six unit buildings. Except for two unit buildings, both of which are owner occupied, this is done by lottery. Until the units are actually converted, the owners of the apartment building are tenants in common [TIC] with specified percentage interests in the whole, together with exclusive rights to occupy a particular unit.

More details on the process, together with links to Attorneys Andrew Sirkin and David Gellman are at my Condo Conversion page.


With address in hand one can track online permit history, zoning, complaints for a given parcel.


Whether you intend to rent a home or to invest in San Francisco real estate you should consult the Rent Control Board website.

Basically, the Rent Control Ordinance applies to properties for which a Certificate of Occupancy was first issued before June 13, 1979. Regulation is in two areas:

* Annual rent increases may not exceed the limit set by the Board; provided that the landlord may readjust the rent for a unit when the tenant vacates; and, provided that rent increases on single family homes and condominiums are no longer controlled for tenancies commencing after January 1, 1996; and,

* Tenants may only be evicted for one of the fourteen reasons set forth at Section 37.9 of the Ordinance.

There is an excellent overview called Tenant Evictions in San Francisco, June 2012 by R Boyd McSparran and Jeanne Grove of the Gellman Law Office.


The San Francisco Unified School District website includes all of the County Schools. Each school's Accountability Report Card [SARC] is located at the link for that school.

Any school can be compared to other schools in the District, the County and the State using the Education Data Partnership site. From the "Reports" menu select "Schools". After entering "San Francisco" in the County field, then select any elementary, middle or high school district. Then, from "Related Links" choose "Compare Schools". In the grid for "Compare schools" pay attention to each field to insure that the result matches your search: eg, comparing one school to all in the County.

There is an online Guide To Private Schools with links to most of the private elementary and high schools in The City.

All information on this site is deemed accurate but should be independently verified.
In addition, some information is date/time sensitive.

Copyright ©1996 through current year
Leopold A Rodriguez
All Rights Reserved