San Francisco’s connection to wealth is an old one, starting during the Gold Rush, when people from all over the globe flocked to the city. From there, the beauty of the area and its temperate climate led to a population boom and an influx of wealth that continues to this day.
With its rolling hills, unforgettable views, iconic Victorian houses, and stunning bridges, the crown jewel of the Bay Area has repeatedly been named the hottest real estate market in the country.
High-End Home Must-Haves
For an insider’s view on what drives high-dollar sales in one of the busiest regions for home sales, we turned to Monica Pauli of Coldwell Banker Previews International in San Francisco. As one of the top one percent of Realtors worldwide, Pauli’s success is based on having a thorough understanding of what luxury buyers want in a residence.
So, what is the number one thing that excites people who have millions of dollars to spend on a home? Turns out the old real estate mantra–“Location, location, location”–applies to today’s elite now as much as ever.
“In San Francisco, most buyers are looking to be in a great neighborhood near restaurants and shops–meaning the area has good Walk Scores and transit options.” (A Walk Score is a proprietary measure of the “walkability” of any address, based on an analysis of hundreds of walking routes to nearby shops and recreation.)
But proximity to local amenities isn’t the only aspect of location that makes a home a prize-winner: Also of primary importance are the views. In the city, panoramas of the Bay–especially if you can see the Golden Gate Bridge or Alcatraz–are highly sought.
More Hot Home Features
Location aside, what else are buyers looking for? Here are some of the most popular and interesting features of homes selling in the city of San Francisco:
Outdoor space: With the city’s characteristic small lots, square footage is at a premium, so decks, yards, and gardens where homeowners can appreciate the area’s beautiful weather are strong selling points.
Social spaces: Pauli says that buyers consistently look for a home with a good flow for entertaining. For example, attractive floor plans might feature a large family room that exits onto a patio, a spacious kitchen with great views, or a combination living room/dining room that opens to a courtyard.
Good lighting: Beautiful natural light is always a huge plus, but clever hidden lighting (so you see the illumination and not the fixture, like with under-cabinet lights), task lighting, and artwork accent lights are also desirable. Ultimately, the goal is to have many different layers of lighting at varying heights throughout the home.
Other big plusses: Pauli says that updated kitchens and bathrooms, lots of great closets and storage, and homes with spaces that can be used in a variety of ways are always popular with buyers. For example, imagine a loft that can be used as a home office, playroom, or home gym, or a built-in desk and bookshelves installed along one wall of the living room, which can be tucked out of sight behind a wooden sliding door when not being used.
Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams
You may not ever fix and flip a home for San Francisco’s elite. However, with a little planning and ingenuity when choosing and constructing investment properties, you can build in some of the high-end features that help luxury homes sell for over asking price in one of the most desirable cities in the world.
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