@Eric18 Exactly! I forget the exact prop number, I believe it was prop B or C, but it reversed a 7 year process to build housing on the Embaracdero. Whether or not you were in favor of this new condo/residential development on the SF waterfront, you have to remark how ridiculous it was that after following 7 yrs of procedure to get this project off the ground it was stopped by a city wide proposition. NIMBY indeed.
@Allison @susan tidebeck The commute from SF to Mountain View can be pretty gnarly depending on traffic. I had a 10am meeting at Google yesterday, I left SF in a car at 8am, dropped off my husband on the way and didn't make it to Google's campus until 9:50. From where I live I could have taken a MUNI bus to Cal Train for $2 and then paid $10-$12 per direction to get to Mountain View (and then of course hopped on another bus or took a taxi to get to the campus), and it would have taken at least the same amount of time, if not more. I'm glad to see that the city is charging for use of the stops, but I also don't think that the Google, Facebook, EA, etc. buses are the problem. In fact I think they do a great deal to keep cars off the road and make the commute to the South Bay easier to on everyone. What really drives me nuts is that the city of San Francisco offers huge tax breaks to companies like Square and Twitter to have their offices downtown, but they won't offer tax breaks to incentivize builders to make low and middle income housing. So we end up with people getting evicted to build luxury million dollar condos. Anyhoo, that was tl;dr, but just my impression as a SF resident.
This reminds me of this amazing video a cartoonist I love made about Ash Ketchum teaching Pikachu how to disguise a fart. I know, that sounds just..AMAZING WATCH IT, IT IS THE BEST I SWEAR! http://natazilla.tumblr.com/post/11074050241/this-is-that-thing-i-started-drawing-a-long-time
@aetataureate hahaha, that is a brilliant idea! So evil, I love it.
@aetataureate It is so crazy! I know a few people who did this, and they think it's what sealed the deal for their homes. Almost all buyers are encouraged to do this in the Bay Area now. It's great if you have cute young kids, or maybe a dog. One couple I know even did some creepy internet research on the homeowneres of the place they were trying to buy, and then wrote in similar interests into their seller letter. They also did a photoshoot in a park with their dog, and won the bid on their house. I am very happy for them, but it just sucks knowing this strategy will probably not work for me :(
Just to follow up because I ran out of time to edit my previous comment...again I don't really know if our seller letters ever helped or hurt us. I know it's my own insecurity as a mixed race person, but I always feel self conscious about this aspect of home buying. I also feel angry that we need to send a letter basically begging a seller to pick us to buy their home even though you can afford it, and I think it's ridiculous that you need to send a profile of yourself and a photo. FHA buyers are being priced out because there is a misconception that those loans are more risky, but the reality is that they only take 5 more days to process than a full cash bid. It means that first time home buyers, people who didn't inherit a sum of money, or basically just anyone who's not speculating on the market can't afford to buy a home unless you overbid around 15-25%.
As a fellow San Franciscan, this article definitely hit home.I grew up in the Bay Area and now work in SF. I am in my late 20s, and have a pretty great salary working in tech/entertainment. Together my husband and I earn nearly $300k annually, and we couldn't buy a home. Usually I shy away from letting friends know what I earn because sometimes it's awkward afterwards, but I wanted to share in this context. It is SERIOUSLY CRAZY that with our annual earnings together we couldn't buy a house. We were outbid on everything all over the Bay Area by 20-25%, and usually by cash buyers. Even though we can easily afford the mortgage on a moderately priced home ($600-$750k), we were never picked because we were competing with investors. Another thing that made me sad (and I cannot comment on if it really made a difference), is that to win a bid you often have to send a letter and a photo to the seller. We're a mixed couple, I'm half black, half white, and my husband is Hawaiian Filipino, and I imagine we're not the family most homeowners are looking for when it comes to the "pick us! and our white picket fence family for your home" letters.
I do actually have personal experience with this. My parents paid for my half-sisters full education at UC Berkeley, but she opted to take out equal loans so she could live abroad several times. Now she tells people she had to pay her way through school. Despite the authors tone, I think if anything we can all agree that students considering student loans need more information about what that debt will mean for their future. My sister didn't fully consider that. She just took all the money the UC would give her and spent it like many bright eyed young people would.