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August 23, 2013

1BR Condos a Good Bet for First-Time Home Buyers

A one-bedroom condo is typically not the ideal home. Who doesn’t want an extra room for guests or an office? But as prices escalate in San Francisco, first-time home buyers are finding that they can work with a one-bedroom unit, as long as it has reasonable space, isn’t tenant occupied, has affordable HOA dues, parking, and is located in a good neighborhood that’s central to retail areas and public transportation.

I set out to find some properties that meet this criteria and which I think are well worth considering for buyers in the $500,000-$700,000 range:

468 Tehama #3

HOA Dues: $436.78/mo

Blessed with a lovely outdoor patio, 468 Tehama #3 is a loft with just under 1,000 square feet that has hardwood floors, in-unit laundry, and a bedroom with a large walk-in closet. Common areas include a roof deck with pano views, and you also get storage and one-car parking. You can expect a fair amount of street activity in this location, but it’s a couple blocks away from the burgeoning mid-Market district that is growing by leaps and bounds. An excellent choice for downtown or Peninsula/East Bay commuters.

1483 Sutter #401
Lower Pac Heights/Van Ness Corridor

HOA Dues: $586/mo

The Sutterfield was constructed in 1993 and has 164 units. So it’s a larger, more established property than some of the other on this list. For the slightly higher HOA dues, you get 24-hour security, a fitness center, and outdoor spa. #401 has an open floor plan, with a pleasant kitchen and spacious bedroom. Storage and one-car parking are included. This location is in walking distance of restaurants and shops in Russian Hill, Japantown, Fillmore, the theatre district and multiple bus lines. Commuting to the North Bay and downtown are also easy from this location.

3453 26th Street
The Mission

HOA Dues: $230/mo

3453 26th Street is on the upper floor of a four-unit building that has nice 1920s period details. This unit was updated in 2008 and has an open floor plan with a good separation between the bedroom and living space. Features include in-unit laundry, skylight, and kitchen with breakfast bar. There’s a shared patio, one-car parking and large storage area. You’re not on the best block of the Mission, but I’ve seen worse, and you can supplement your furnishings with visits to the Salvation Army store at the corner. Ideal for downtown and East/South Bay commuters, as BART is a five-minute walk and you can easily jump on 101 or 280. Oh, yeah, and the Valencia corridor is half a block away.

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