Simple Changes Unite Indoor and Outdoor Living Areas


Last year a former client called and asked me to help her find a home to buy in Noe Valley.  She wanted a home close to her daughter’s school and loved the neighborhood.

As you may know, Noe Valley is one of the most competitive real estate environments in San Francisco not to mention one of the more expensive.  Her budget was not quite large enough for her to afford a move-in ready home.

After a bit of scouting for a property that would work for her I located a home owned by a relocation company.  The relo company was located in Texas and did not understand the San Francisco market.

They didn’t have the house staged and they priced it above value.  In San Francisco nearly every home is staged and the asking prices are usually below market.  This marketing is very effective and usually produces multiple offers way over asking.  Clearly the relocation company thought they knew best.

The house had been on the market for 4 months and even after 2 price reductions it was still not selling.  Capitalizing on the fact that the relo company didn’t know what they were doing but insisted on driving the train we were able to make a low offer and buy it for less than market value without competition!

The house needed a new kitchen and updates but overall was in good condition.  The best feature of the house was the garage/first floor; a huge open space, undeveloped and above ground with direct access to the back garden.

I immediately saw the potential and sketched out a plan to add 2 bedrooms and 2 baths on the first floor.  When complete she’d have a 3 bedroom 3 bath house with a great room, west facing garden and 2 car parking.  For Noe Valley that is the perfect house.

Before we could start the renovations my client’s life took a turn that made Noe Valley an impossible place for her to live.  Set with a new challenge of how to flip this house I hatched a new plan.

I proposed a simple remodel, doing very smart renovations.  We updated the kitchen and bath, changed out some of the flooring, added new doors to the garden, removed the asbestos shingles from the front façade (to expose perfect redwood siding) and painted it inside and out.  We used the plans we had developed for the lower level in our marketing materials.

Once staged and marketed the house sold in 10 days, $58,000 over asking and making my client a 100% profit on her renovation dollars!

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Douglass kitchen before and after