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April 2, 2018

What You Can Buy: Forest Hill

The charming, Carmel-esque neighborhood of Forest Hill doesn’t often have much inventory. It’s a geographically small area, with low turnover and homeowners who love where they live. Most of the homes have fantastic period detail, with styles such as Tudor, Spanish Mediterranean, Arts and Crafts and Edwardian.

World-renowned architects like Julia Morgan, Frank Lloyd Wright and Bernard Maybeck have designed homes in the neighborhood. Located in the center of the city, Forest Hill is a stone’s throw from the West Portal retail area, and is served by its own Forest Hill Muni station to downtown.

You typically will get more for your money in Forest Hill as opposed to, say, Noe Valley. The houses are large and are ideal for buyers who need a lot of space. The average home price over the past year was around $2.4M. And here’s a tip: The closer a home is to the Forest Hill Muni station or the West Portal area, the more chance there will be of a high overbid.

There are four houses on the market right now in Forest Hill, which is the most inventory I’ve seen there in a while. I visited those properties on broker tour recently, and wanted to give you a snapshot of what’s available. First, here’s a map of Forest Hill, with each property plotted (click on the photo to enlarge):

98 Sotelo
6BR/4BR, 2825 sq ft, 1 pkg

98 Sotelo is a large house with excellent Bay and Golden Gate Bridge views. It kind of rambles around, with four levels and lots of rooms, and is a fixer of sorts. The kitchen and baths need updating, and a few floor plan adjustments could better tie things together. There isn’t hugely usable outdoor space, so this one is more about the views. The house was last sold in 1989 for $425,000. It’s a great fit for someone who wants a project house. (Listing courtesy of Pacific Realty Co.)

340 Magellan
4BR/2.5BA, 2787 sq ft, 1 pkg

This stately Edwardian at 340 Magellan is perfect for a family of 25. Seriously—all four bedrooms plus the sunroom are on the upper level, there’s plenty of space on the living level and a good-sized yard. The house is in a great neighborhood location; it’s a ten-minute walk to the West Portal Muni station and retail area. (Listing courtesy of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services)

10 Marcela Avenue
3BR/3BA, 2200 sq ft, 2 pkg

10 Marcela has a storybook feel to it inside. Between that and the fact that the upper level is reminiscent of a charming B&B, you half wonder when the complementary wine tasting will be happening in the living room. Kids will love this house with all its angled, funhouse-y ceilings upstairs and interesting doors. There’s even a Tatami room with a soaking tub in the yard. Last sold in 2014 for $1.9M, 10 Marcela has since had a kitchen remodel and interior/exterior paint job. Location is very close to the Forest Hill Muni station for downtown commuting. (Listing courtesy of Partner Equity)

280 San Marco
5BR/3BA, 2770 sq ft, 2 pkg

Tucked away at the end of bucolic San Marcos Avenue, this spacious home is heavy on glass accents and platform-style living. If you don’t mind going up and down various staircases, 280 San Marcos could work for you. Finishes are nice throughout, and the beamed cathedral ceilings give the interior a very airy feel. There are also lovely hill and ocean views. (Listing courtesy of Founders Real Estate Services)

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