Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco News and Events

Could the San Francisco Zoo be Getting a New Noble Resident?

Comments Off on Could the San Francisco Zoo be Getting a New Noble Resident? 23 February 2011

If you’ve been reading this San Francisco real estate blog since it’s creation in May of 2007 (sheesh, has it really been THAT long), you already know that I’m a HUGE fan of the San Francisco Zoo, and that I take great pride in the fact that a portion of the proceeds from every one of my transactions goes to the SF Zoo.

They have some of the most amazing animal keepers there that truly go above and beyond, not just to take care of the animals, but to educate the public about conservation efforts that can help make sure that these animals will be around and in the wild for future generations.

And so, I just have to say that I would find it very fitting if the rumors are true!

What rumors?

Well, Silent Knight, a sea lion shot in the face by some a**hole with a shotgun in Sausalito has been nursed back to health since his arrival at the Marine Mammal Center in December.  His injuries left him blind in both eyes, but remarkably, he’s otherwise recovered quite well from the ordeal.

(As an aside, a KTVU article reports that “The vet treating the sea lion said he’ll see at least ten sea lions shot each year. Last year, a Sacramento man spent a month in jail and was fined $50,000 for shooting a sea lion that stole his fish.”  Can I just say “WTF?” A mere month in jail for such a cruel act????  Really?  Probably better to rant about that on another forum, but seriously…. it’s time to get tougher about acts of animal cruelty!)

Anyhow…. now that Silent Knight is getting better, and the Marine Mammal Center has to find him a permanent home, there are rumors floating around that our very own SF Zoo will be the place where the noble guy can live out the rest of his years.

My fingers are tightly crossed that he does, indeed, end up there and can serve as a symbol of how regal these creatures are and, inadvertently, as a sad reminder of how cruel mankind can be and maybe, just maybe, can help prevent future animal cruelty from taking place.

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco History, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Property Profile, San Francisco Videos

San Francisco Fire Engine Tour Business – Now 50% Off!!!

1 Comment 14 February 2011

Many of you remember the historic Firehouse 33 at 117 Broad.  This unique San Francisco property had a long history on the market while the search for new owners, ready to respect the building’s history and integrity, were sought out.  In 2010, when I took over the listing of this unusual San Francisco home, the property was featured on Yahoo.com in their real estate and finance sections, NY Times , Zillow, Curbed SF, CNN Money, and SFGate, JUST to name a FEW!

And after 3 years (and 5 agents before me), I can proudly say that I helped sell Firehouse 33 for $875,000 in December!  The new owners, also in love with the integrity of the Firehouse, have promised to cherish and preserve its history!

But, the story of the Firehouse and its place in San Francisco history isn’t completely over!

Robert and Marilyn Katzman, the sellers of Firehouse 33 after living there for 33 years, had hoped to find someone that was ready to slide into their entire fiery lifestyle, which included the Firehouse, the memorabilia and their amazing World Famous San Francisco Fire Engine Tour Business. However, the new owners of Firehouse 33 already had careers they loved and they had their own furnishings.

And so, once the Firehouse sold, it was time to finish the rest of this chapter for the Katzmans.  They had an estate sale so mind-blowing that it was even covered by the California Home & Design Blog, and this took care of the memorabilia.  But San Francisco Fire Engine Tours & Adventures still has not found the right owner.

They started the business in 1998 and in a short time the business’ popularity had spread like a wildfire all over the world.

Featured in guide books worldwide in a variety of languages and featured on The Travel Channel, regional travel shows, on airline arrival films, news & magazine travel articles and web sites, create an ongoing demand for this tour.  But it is the AMAZING word of mouth advertising that REALLY separates this tour business from the rest!  And now, it’ll be much more affordable for the right person(s) to step into the Katzman’s fireboots… and make it their own!

So now, with two big parts of this chapter of the Katzman’s firelife complete, they have decided that the best way to sell a fire related business is, well, to have a FIRE SALE! 🙂

The business (when it was listed together with the Firehouse) was listed at $249,000.  But as of today, the Katzman’s will entertain offers starting at $125,000!!! Yes folks, that’s 50% off!

To further entice you, here’s a little note from the Katzmans to give you a glimpse into the life they’ve enjoyed while running the San Francisco Fire Engine Tour Business:

“It was our dream to become part of the fabric of San Francisco. We Love This Beautiful City and we had always loved taking friends and visitors on adventures. When The Big Red Shiny ’55 Mack Fire Engine came into our lives, our entrepreneurial spirit kicked into high gear.  We knew there was something magical about this Fire Engine and we were right .  Everyday is filled with smiles and happiness and to be able to make a living having so much fun has been a dream come true”.

So, if you have always dreamed of making a living entertaining people in your own unique show on wheels (or maybe just got bit by the bug while reading this post) please give me a shout! Whether you have lots of personality, energy and desire OR just have the talent to hire the right people to work for you, this may very well be the opportunity of a lifetime for you!

It’s the perfect time of the year to get up to speed before “the season”.     And at 50% off, you can now afford to get behind the wheel of the amazing San Francisco Fire Engine Tour Business yourself!

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate

There’s a Whole Lot of Cranky San Francisco Realtors Out There

2 Comments 13 February 2011

These days, you might be seeing a lot of SF Realtors walking around with more gray hair, muttering curse words under their breaths and breaking out to into hives.  You see other SF real estate agents pulling out clumps of hair, going into cold sweats and breaking apart their computer equipment with hammers.

So what’s going on?

It’s not the real estate market.  The SF market is actually doing remarkably well as compared to the last few years.

So what has us going crazy?

First, the back story…..

Well, as technology improves, we as a real estate industry have been working towards paperless transactions.  For years now, in San Francisco, we’ve been using technology (most of it web-based) that was brought to us by the California Association of Realtors (CAR).  It was called WinForms and it had all of the forms we needed to do our jobs.  It had both California forms and San Francisco forms (because, come on, we do EVERYTHING differently in San Francisco, so of course, our forms need to be different too!)

In addition to WinForms, we were able to use DocuSign to quickly and efficiently create electronic signatures on documents.  It meant we could email a contract or a disclosure to a client for their electronic and binding signature.  No faxing and more importantly, no paper.  All forms were saved as PDF’s.

Well, the San Francisco Association of Realtors (SFAR) at some point decided to add a new system to the mix to host the San Francisco Forms and more.  The idea was to integrate four separate components – Tax Records, MLS, Form Writing AND Electronic signatures.  The Forms component is run by a company called InstaNet and is called Transaction Desk.  The Electronic Signature component is called AuthentiSign.  In theory, this entire 4 part system was supposed to work seamlessly.  All integrated, saving us time and resources, like paper work.

But like a lot of things that are supposed to work great in theory, in practice… they don’t always fall into place the way that they should.

So where does it go wrong….

If  we compare the CAR to mommy and the SFAR to daddy, and San Francisco real estate agents to the children, all the poor kids know is that mommy and daddy are in the middle of the a NASTY divorce, the kids are stuck in the middle and mommy and daddy are each talking some crazy smack about each other and we don’t know who to believe.

We’re not really sure the details of the story.  But as SF real estate agents that aren’t involved in the divorce, we don’t know what to believe.  Mommy says daddy is a deadbeat that owes her money.  Daddy says mommy is a liar and is just a stubborn bitch that isn’t willing to compromise.

In December, we were told of this awesome product the SFAR was going to bestow upon us.  Shortly after, we were told the CAR was taking away the use of our forms on their platform.  They created their own forms for SF agents to use, but SFAR told us not to use those forms – they’re sub-par (and I’ll admit, they are.)

An agreement was struck to give us use of the SFAR forms on the CAR platform till the end of January (if you’re keeping track, mommy and daddy fought for two months before the divorce settlement) and as of February 1st, we were left along with just SFAR’s platform.

Now this would all be fine and well – except for a few major problems.   The SFAR’s platform is still not fully functional.  The interface is cumbersome, there are lots of bugs in the system and parts of it, like AuthentiSign don’t work at all.  As far as AuthentiSign goes, we were told it was all fine until 1 email mid-last week from one of our Zephyr managers that is trying to help navigate this mess and then finally, an email from the SFAR on Friday telling us THAT part just doesn’t work!

Since SFAR announced to members that it will be providing Authentisign™, Instanet Solutions’ electronic signature service as a free member benefit, many REALTORS® have tested it out and provided us with invaluable feedback.

Although Authentisign™ integrates seamlessly with Instanet Solutions’ TransactionDesk™, and allows documents and forms requiring signatures to be easily e-mailed, faxed, or uploaded into a signing, there are some aspects of the service which are in need of improvement in order to meet the expectations that SFAR has for the service. For example, members are reporting that they are unable to complete signings and that the templates needed to facilitate automated tagging of forms are not yet in place.

Authentisign™ is the most recently developed component of the TransactionDesk™ platform, and unlike the balance of the system, is not yet ready for member use. We apologize for any inconvenience the premature offering of the service has caused.

As we wait for the updates, SFAR is advising members to continue using DocuSign® for the time being. Once Authentisign™ is updated to be a reasonable substitute for DocuSign®, members will be able to take full advantage of this free service.

Now let’s not forget, we’ve been going to trainings on the new system and struggling to make it work for almost 2.5 months. If we were to add up all of the hours wasted by all SF Realtors spinning wheels on a product that doesn’t work, I’d guess it’s in the thousands.  And while, at least at Zephyr, our support staff is doing the best they can to try to help us work through the kinks, we’re still left with a lot of frustration.  To give due credit, the powers that be ARE working on the bugs.  But in the meantime, several San Francisco agents have even started a support group on Facebook – together we cry, laugh and report problems that hopefully get reported back to the software developer.

Ultimately though, we really just want mommy (CAR) and daddy (SFAR) to get back together.  We’d like them to both be there for us like they promise they will be when they collect our dues.  We’d like them to be honest with us and tell us where things really went wrong for them.  And, of course, we’d like them to figure out a way to make it so that we don’t have to resort to a variety of creative backwards solutions to get our jobs done without pulling out more clumps of hair.

Mommy, daddy, if you’re listening…. please make up.  Your children are the ones suffering in your divorce and soon, we’re all going to need to go to family counseling. :-/

San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Luxury Real Estate, San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate

THE 7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco!

Comments Off on THE 7 Best Neighborhoods in San Francisco! 11 February 2011

Here’s a little sumptin sumptin from this week’s edition of Zephyr Real Estate’s “The Market Tracker”.   Besides getting the scoop on ALL of the recently sold AND recently listed properties in San Francisco, you also get cool little SF Tidbits like this one.  Sign up today so you don’t miss out on the bi-weekly awesomeness in your inbox!

7 Best Neighborhoods in the City

7X7 Magazine recently ranked the Best 7 ‘Hoods in San Francisco. Here are the results:

Best For Families: OUTER SUNSET. 30% of the homes have kids, several high-ranked public schools, the ocean, parks, golf and the zoo.

Best Transit: DOWNTOWN/SOMA. Market Street corridor, BART, six MUNI lines, countless bus lines.

Best Restaurant Scene: THE MISSION. 84 Zagat-rated restaurants.

Most House for the Money: NORTH PANHANDLE (a.k.a. NOPA). Average $243 per square foot, $635K median sales price.

Safest: THE PRESIDIO. 19 crimes per half-mile radius.

Most Walkable: LOWER PACIFIC HEIGHTS. The strip of Fillmore from Sacramento to Eddy has just about everything you could need within a few blocks. Dining, shopping, live music, parks, and even a good hospital (CPMC).

Most Luxurious: SEA CLIFF. Oceanfront property and a median sales price of $2.4 Million says it all.

More Notable Numbers:
Youngest Denizens: THE MISSION. Average age is 34.
Oldest Denizens: CHINATOWN. Average age is 48.
Most singles: CASTRO. 66% Single (followed by Marina with 62%).

NOTE: Information was presented by 7×7 Magazine and gathered from 511.org, Craigslist, City and County of San Francisco, Crime Mapping, Golden Gate Mothers Group, Great Schools, Trulia, Yelp, the US Census Bureau, Zagat and Zillow.

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco Mortgage & Financing Info, San Francisco Neighborhoods, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate

TGIF San Francisco! Frickin TGIF!

Comments Off on TGIF San Francisco! Frickin TGIF! 11 February 2011

Man, what a week!  I feel like I’m running on empty and am looking forward to getting a few hours to refuel this weekend!

I’ve been a little light on the San Francisco real estate postings, but between writing offers for clients and working on getting an FHA Short Sale listing pre-approved by the lender in the fabulous Diamond Heights Village (which, by the way, this large 1BR unit has some AMAZING views of San Francisco!  and a pool at the complex to boot!), prepping a magnificent single family home listing in the Inner Sunset (3BR’s, Edwardian details and a yard that forces you into a state of deep relaxation), fighting various wars against technology (the machines are winning…. grrrrrr!) AND overcoming the spring fever caused by last week’s February heat wave here in SF, I’ve just been too swamped/unfocused on blogging to put out a worthy real estate related post.

And today, well, today it not much different, except I do get to catch up with some clients and finally see their little boy!  AND celebrate another client’s birthday too, so at least I’ll get to play a little in between working a lot!  🙂

But I DID want to quickly share with you a reminder that when I’m not writing about SF real estateand all the other awesomeness this City has to offer here on this blog, I’m reading about it and sharing the scoop on my Facebook Page (which also feeds to my Twitter Account if that’s more your style.)

A few examples of recent tidbits that I shared?

So don’t forget to “like” my Facebook Page or Follow me on Twitter to stay up to date on the various articles that relate to SF real estate, mortgage tidbits and general awesomeness (or in some cases, like Leland Yee’s tolerance for torturing sharks, crappiness) that goes on in San Francisco and beyond!

But that being said, you know I love me some SF real estate, 😉 so Monday you’ll be able to check back here and get a scoop on the latest market conditions.

In the meantime, TGIF and wishing you an AMAZING weekend! 

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Videos

Brrrrr….. It’s Cold in San Francisco (NOT!)

Comments Off on Brrrrr….. It’s Cold in San Francisco (NOT!) 09 February 2011

I almost caught myself complaining today that our February weather had dropped from last weeks high 70’s to today’s (brrrrr) mid 60’s.  I mean, I had to wear a jacket, in SF, in February.  How inconvenient!

But then I saw this post while browsing Laughing Squid’s blog.

And then I had to laugh at the superiority of San Francisco!  HA!  Snow Day?  We don’t need no stinking Snow Days!

And then, I caught this post on Uptown Almanac’s site featuring the video below.  Which made me stop laughing and feel bad for the rest of the country.

And then I got over my feelings of sympathy and started laughing again!

Hey, they could live in SF if they wanted to! 😉

Hmmm….. do you think that our near perfect San Francisco weather has anything to do with the overall resilience of SF’s real estate market?  I’d say so!  Cheers to not having any snow days!!! 😉

(And yes, I’ve lived here in SF since I was 2 years old, so I’m well aware that our winter months aren’t usually THIS mild, but I’m relishing in it while it lasts!!!  You should too!!! 🙂 )

Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco News and Events

Win Play Tickets! Just Share Your Favorite San Francisco Quote!

Comments Off on Win Play Tickets! Just Share Your Favorite San Francisco Quote! 08 February 2011


Like free stuff?  Like San Francisco?  Like doing free stuff in San Francisco?

All you have to do is submit your favorite quote about San Francisco, either in the comments below or by email no later than 5pm on Friday the 11th for your chance to win!

(And the quote doesn’t have to be real – I just found out one of my go to Mark Twain “quotes” about San Francisco’s infamous weather wasn’t even really said by Mark Twain! My life has been changed FOREVER!)

Win a pair of tickets to the West Coast premiere of Harper Regan at the SF Playhouse and  choose the performance you want to see – either Tuesdays 7 PM, Wednesday 7 PM, or Thursday 8 PM, now through February 17th.

From the National Theatre in London comes this riveting drama named “Best Play” by the Guardian UK newspaper.  For moe information, visit www.SFPlayhouse.org.

Green Living in San Francisco, Misc Musings from Your San Francisco Realtor, San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco News and Events

Get Over Yourself, San Francisco (Except You *ARE* Marvelous, Baby!)

Comments Off on Get Over Yourself, San Francisco (Except You *ARE* Marvelous, Baby!) 03 February 2011

According to KCBS, San Francisco is the vainest City in the United States.  Now, JoMama, a commenter on KCBS’s story so eloquently puts, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in everyway.”  (JoMama’s statement is so awesome, that I’m going to pretend she really spelled “every way” and not “everyway” – but hey, we NEED a little Wabi-Sabi to REALLY be perfect, right?) 😉

The article goes on to say:

A survey by the online magazine The Daily Beast ranks the city by the Bay as the most vain city in the country, more narcissistic than New York or Los Angeles.

The survey’s criteria compared how much people spend on personal trainers, spas and cosmetic products, and where the populations rank on the obesity scale.

Healthy San Francisco aside, the KCBS and Chronicle Insider believes banning toys in Happy Meals and similar legislation under the rule of two consecutive glamorous mayors, Willie Brown and then Gavin Newsom, only make the city seem that much more self-absorbed.

SFist also picked up the story.  And they didn’t try to dispel the myth of SF’s perfection (and c’mon, we know San Franciscan’s are perfect – even our gas smells like roses!), they did point out that vanity, actually has NOTHING to do with “how much city residents spend on average a month on personal-care products and services such as cosmetics and spa treatments; the percentage of the city’s population not overweight; and the percentage of the population that belongs to gyms.

In fact, vanity has to do with excessive pride in one’s appearance or conceit (ok, have you SEEN the folks at Critical Mass, for instance? conceited?  really? self-righteous, maybe, but conceited?), or something without real significance, value, or importance.  (Um, I don’t see how maintaining a healthy weight to try to keep from having a heart attack is without value or significance.)

In fact, we here in San Francisco, care about things outside of ourselves.  We constantly make the list of the Greenest Cities in the U.S.  We helped to spread the idea of “no kill” animal shelters to the rest of the country and beyond.  We’re charitable.  We have the 18th largest economy IN THE WORLD! And we know how to have a good time! 😉  SF ROCKS!

So really, we’re not vain, we are just confident.  I’d even go so far as to say that we’re cocky! 😉

But just like JoMama said, “It’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in everyway!” 😉

Have an amazing weekend you MARVELOUS San Franciscans!  You’re so perfect, there’s no way that you can’t!

San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Buyers, San Francisco Real Estate Info for Sellers, San Francisco TIC (Tenancy in Common) Info

San Francisco Realtors and Homeowners Support Condo Conversion

Comments Off on San Francisco Realtors and Homeowners Support Condo Conversion 31 January 2011

Fair warning….. this post is taken STRAIGHT from an email from the folks at Plan C, an organization of moderate voices that support San Francisco home ownership and, thus, condo conversion.

San Francisco’s condo conversion lottery requires luck, patience and nerves of steel, but Plan C and its supporters (SF Realtors and property owners to name a few) are yet again, hosting a rally supporting changes to the current condominium conversion rules that would allow TIC owners a chance at owning more than a fractional interest in their properties.

So here’s the scoop, straight from Plan C’s mouth, er, um, email:

Wednesday morning, February 2nd at 8:15AM (before the condo lottery that is scheduled to be held at 9AM),  Plan C San Francisco, in conjunction with the Small Property Owners of San Francisco, will be sponsoring a rally for Condo Conversion reform.

This is one of your primary opportunities to bring attention to the fact that City Hall has failed to support homeownership for the thousands of people that seek it as a means of solidifying their place in our community.

If you are a first-time homeowner please take the time to attend this important event! Let’s show our city’s elected leaders that those seeking housing stability through ownership are the lifeblood of our city. You are the teachers, healthcare workers, public service employees, first responders, even members of our very own Board of Supervisors that are seeking to put down roots in our community. Public policy should be helping you to stay in San Francisco not harming you.

If you are not able to attend, we encourage you to contact the Mayor and city supervisors through our website. Write a note identifying yourself and tell them your story. Tell them that you support overall reform of the completely broken condo conversion process. Tell them that your only path to homeownership was through the purchase of a TIC, but the financial stability you seek won’t fully come until you can convert your shared interest into a condominium. Tell them that as a former renter you are tired of being ignored and vilified for pursuing the American dream.

You can e-mail the Mayor and city Supervisors here. After you have written your e-mail, only click “submit” once. Although it may look like you message has not been sent, it has!

Learn More About Plan C

To learn more about Plan C visit www.plancsf.org

San Francisco Local Resources, San Francisco News and Events, San Francisco Real Estate, San Francisco Real Estate Resources

PG&E – San Francisco’s Big Bad Wolf

Comments Off on PG&E – San Francisco’s Big Bad Wolf 17 June 2010


I hate meter reading day.  In fact, my alarm just went off to notify me that it’s time for me to call PG&E and give them my gas & electricity meter reading. 

But, I hate meter reading day.  Sometimes, I forget.  And the rest of the time, it’s just a pain in the ass. 

Unfortunately, my meters are located in places where PG&E can’t see them from outside my house.

So when I heard about PG&E Smartmeters, I was SUPER excited.

But the wind has been taken out of my sails somewhat.  Seems PG&E’s mew smart meters aren’t that smart.  They’re full of errors.  BOOOOOO!

In fact, apparently there’s SO many errors that the San Francisco City Attorney has asked them to slow their roll.

For the full article, click here. 

And of course, whether you own SF real estate, or rent in the City, you might be affected by this too. 

In my fantasy world, PG&E will work out the kinks, fix the errors and make my meter reading life easy.

Till then, I’ll be calling it in manually. Bah humbug.

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About the Blog

Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog was created to share insights about San Francisco Real Estate and about San Francisco living. Written by Luba Muzichenko, an "almost-native" San Franciscan and a local Realtor® with Zephyr Real Estate, Luba’s San Francisco Real Estate Blog is meant to inform you about a variety of good things and happenings around SF and its unique neighborhoods, about buying and selling homes in the City and about the real estate market in general. If you like what you see, please tell a friend.

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Luba Muzichenko
Top Producer
Certified Residential Specialist®
Zephyr Real Estate
415-307-1392 (cell)
[email protected]
DRE License #01768716
Top Agent Network 

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