Sitting high atop Liberty Hill or the new "Facebook Hill", this property offers spectacular downtown and bay views. Also, being within a short distance to Dolores Park would have been great for a family. However, the size of the existing house is relatively small, just 3 Bd and 3 Ba, as opposed to 5 bedrooms with 3 bathrooms and 2 car garage plus amenities. It might feel excessive but for a family of 4, they'd also need room for an au-pair or host relatives and friends.
Here is a summary of the challenges with this listing:
1) Steep slope site which would add more construction cost
2) No existing parking and sidewalk curb-cut
3) Max. cap to the living or conditioned interior spaces limited by the Dolores Heights Residential Guidelines
4) Small to cover the typical family housing needs
5) The price target was very high
And, here are the advantages:
1) The condition of the existing building was in a great shape, allowing the new owners to move-in immediately
2) Excellent location
3) The values of the houses in the neighborhood would support a high-end or luxury development;
4) As an investment, it would need a deep pockets developer to improve the property.
Taking into consideration all these facts, the market for this property narrowed significantly.
In order to increase the size of the target market, Mark had to come up with a strategy that would cover the requirements coming from both markets, the typical family and investors. The only way to do that was to bring out his listing's development potential. But how? Here are the options:
Casually bringing up to the potential buyers that it might have development potential. This would be too weak for someone to place an offer, could trigger liability and creates distrust since realtors don't have the expertise to state this without a document to back it up.
Hire an architect to perform a zoning analysis for this property. This would be great because it takes out of the Realtor's plate the liability issue but it'd be cost prohibitive for the listing's marketing budget.
Take on the site analysis and architectural design support coming with the CityStructure Open House Pro event. This package gives visuals and data of the potential development, takes the liability off Realtor's plate and transforms the Realtor's open house into a professional informative event. All these at a fraction of the cost of a traditional architectural studio.
Mark decided to go for the obvious choice, the CityStructure Open House Pro event. This package offers Value Added with New House report and personal or virtual architectural design presentation of the property potential during Realtor's open house.
Our team had to spend additional time to put it together because the existing house sits on a very steep lot. In order to get as accurate as possible with our analysis without a survey in place, we reconstructed the topography of the lot as well as the neighborhood context, such the adjacent buildings.
Based on our planning and building permits check for this property, we discovered that the existing house was benefiting from a backyard setback variance. Given this allowance, if the new owner would want to keep the existing house and just expand at the front yard and add one more storey at the street level, it'd have a larger house than building a brand new house in place. Regardless which way the new owner would decide to take on, the zoning regulations and design guidelines would allow to build a house of approx. 5,140 sqft, significantly bigger compared to 3,360 sqft of the existing house. These numbers include all the spaces in the building, conditioned and unconditioned, and are taken from the outside face of the exterior wall.
We were excited to see that the property could be developed significantly, however there was one more obstacle- Dolores Heights Residential Design Guidelines. These neighborhood guidelines were put together and overseen by the Dolores Heights Improvement Club. Based on their documentation, there is a limit to the size of the finished or conditioned spaces. This limit is calculated based on the size of the lot. In our case, even though the owner could build a house of approx. 5,140 sqft based on the zoning regulations, the maximum size of the interior conditioned space is 2,324 sqft. Usually, the owners don't condition or heat spaces like garage, laundry room, storage, mechanical room or other similar spaces. So, these areas would not be included in 2,324 sqft maximum limit.
Regardless of the obstacles, we were happy that we uncovered for Mark and his client an approx. 1,780 sqft of possible additional building area with 1,214 sqft conditioned space. The additional space, if approved, would definitely cover the needs of a typical size family. With City Structure report in hand, Mark was able to use visuals and data to explain prospective buyers that there is room to build additional space and enable investors to run their back of the envelop calculations.
The Final Result
Grabbing the consumer’s attention isn’t enough; you have to keep that attention for at least a few seconds. This is where the benefits of a concrete report always available with the product came handy for Mark.
680 Sanchez Street, San Francisco
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