For quite some time now I’ve had my eye on the neighborhoods on the backside of Twin Peaks and Diamond Heights – neighborhoods like West Portal, St. Francis Wood, and Monterey Heights. There are some lovely single family homes back there and it feels far away from the city without being that far at all. Last Sunday I found two that are a mere street apart and priced virtually identically – 155 San Pablo Avenue, listed at $2,375,000 and 60 Miraloma Drive, listed at $2,395,000.
What I didn’t take into account was that last Sunday was also Bay to Breakers, which effectively cuts the city in half and sequestered me on the north side of the course.
But it was too much to pass up such an interesting side-by-side comparison. Which one would I take if I could choose one or the other? And is $2.4m actually the price that either/both will go at?
First up – 155 San Pablo Avenue, listed at $2,375,000.
This was the first open house weekend and the place was lively. The house has a fantastic living room with high ceilings and an expansive view toward the ocean. What I’m realizing about these homes in the hills is that the orientation of your plot and house can make one home feel dramatically different from its neighbor. Similar to 2511 Baker Street, 155 San Pablo has a modest footprint and it stacks with the living room/dining rom/kitchen space on one floor and most of the bedrooms upstairs. All the space felt well used except for the “office” on the lower level which is probably best suited for overflow storage.
One detail from this open house – you could smell the new paint in the bedroom on the main floor. It wasn’t unpleasant at all, it just made me realize they had clearly put effort into staging. I want to do some research later on staging economics, and if there are any heuristics for how much lift you get from these cosmetic improvements.
Next up – 60 Miraloma Drive listed at $2,395,000.
As noted above this home is just a block away from 155 San Pablo but the feel is very different. It’s on the lower side of the street so you don’t have the same view, and it’s more north than west facing. It’s done in a Spanish style with really neat interior details like arched entryways, wrought iron, and mosaic tile around the fireplace. It also has a really cool texture on the whole exterior. On the downside, the layout is less than ideal. While it’s larger in square feet, the living area on the main floor is small and the large family room downstairs feels hard to access in the normal flow of a house. It also has a big garden, but again it’s two flights of stairs down from the main entrance.
These are both great houses and clearly belong in the $2-3m range. If I had to pick one though it would be 155 San Pablo Ave because the main level has a great concept for living + entertaining with the vaulted ceiling living room and nice flow from the kitchen to the patio and backyard.
Rather than estimate their sale prices as function of the features (square footage, layout, neighborhood, etc) as I’ve done in previous posts, I’m going to do something different and just guess what I think they will sell for. I’m curious how good my guesses are and if I can put down a line where the final sale price falls within +/- 4% of the guess. So, here we go:
155 San Pablo Avenue – I laid out a number line from 1.8m to 3.6m and chopped 100k increments off each side until I got down to a range where I couldn’t confidently chop increments off any more. That range ended up being $2.6m to $3.2m. I’m putting the line at $2,700,000 with +/- 4% at $2,592,000 – $2,808,000. For reference, Redfin estimates this home at $2,636,910 and Zillow estimates it at $2,453,429.
60 Miraloma Drive – I laid out the same number line from 1.8m to 3.6m and was able to chop it down to $2.0 to $2.6m. I’m putting the line at $2,250,000 with +/- 4% at $2,160,000 – $2,340,000. Again for reference, Redfin estimates this home at $2,463,090 and Zillow estimates it at $2,583,981.
That differential indicates that these homes really aren’t equivalents, and I think that’s right. They both present enough space and the right neighborhood to be $2m+ homes, but 60 Miraloma’s floor plan keeps it on the lower end of the spectrum while 155 San Pablo’s smart layout and view put it toward the higher end.
Let’s see what happens!