San Francisco, California is one of the best known cities in the world. So what will spending a night in The Golden Gate City teach you about real estate?
Today, San Francisco is known as a business city; the epicenter of which is around 40 percent of all venture capital invested, and a popular tourist destination. However, what’s it really like in San Francisco? What trends are taking place now? What real estate lessons can be gleaned and applied to real estate everywhere?
San Francisco is known as one of the top tech capitals of the world. It may be bleeding some of this reputation to other U.S. cities, but there is no question that a lot of the next generation of technology will be designed there. You’ll find the headquarters of major technology firms and promising startups in and around the Bay Area.
Aside from the nonstop Uber rides and electric cable cars, it’s not the automated robot city of the future some might imagine. One of the most unique uses of technology may be found in a hotel minibar on the corner of Howard and Fifth. This hyper efficient fridge automatically bills your room if an item is lifted for more than 5 seconds. It seems a good deal for the hotel, but perhaps not so much for guests of a 4 and a half star hotel with kids. You can imagine your four year old rummaging around while you are still waking up in the morning, to the tune of $1,000 or more in fines on your credit card.
You can’t knock San Francisco for its green culture; it’s everywhere. In the above mentioned hotel, the lobby sports an interactive screen which shows energy, water, and deforestation impact in real time, and since the opening of the hotel. Even smaller restaurants with low budgets proudly shout about organic offerings. Virtually every store is big on energy and water savings. However, this has become so prevalent that it might make some real estate brands wonder if these are basic practices.
San Francisco is one of the best examples we have of disparity in housing, and the struggles of affordable housing. On one hand, you’ve got some of the most expensive real estate in the world; then there is a significant homeless problem. The cost of living is so high that many school teachers and other key workers are having a tough time affording housing. The problem is further compounded by the trend in moving to the area, and bootstrapping startups. Don’t be surprised if you see entrepreneurs living out of their Mercedes Benz. On the bright side, if you can’t afford to wash your car, it’s totally acceptable to say you are saving water. It’s also one of the only places you’ll see grown men navigating the city on foot peddled scooters.
Work at Home
Working from home is becoming more popular. Now, as you enter San Francisco via the Bay Bridge, you’ll see a giant sign encouraging people to work at home. Many of the city’s hottest startups, real estate firms, and tech companies are complying. Perhaps with the exception of Yahoo. Think twice before you unleash your plan of joining the scene in San Francisco. Think about alternative locations, and maintaining a remote real estate workforce.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
Silicon Valley has certainly developed a high volume of venture capital firms, startups, entrepreneurs, and tech minds. It certainly isn’t the only place. But it is one of the most notable in these areas. This concentration attracts more of the same. So how can you create new hubs in your real estate market? How can you highlight that this is the place to live and do business in a specific niche?
The Landscape is Transformable
Cruise by the Golden Gate Bridge and your captain is likely to mention that the lush green landscape that you see today was once just dust. The current landscape was supposedly kick-started by early army engineers who brought new trees. So not only can houses and yards be rehabbed and transformed, but so can neighborhoods, cities, and even larger portions of land.
Real Estate Values are all About Positioning
San Francisco’s Alcatraz is the perfect example of real estate positioning. The notorious prison island was originally a military fort to provide safety. Then became a maximum security prison for 30 years. Since being decommissioned as a prison, Alcatraz has become one of the world’s top tourism destinations. Tours are booked months in advance, and the experience can get expensive fast. Between cruising to the island, food, souvenirs, and $30 parking, there is a lot of places for your money to go. It’s all about how you present and look at a destination. Your destination could be far more valuable, depending on how you market it, and its local real estate.