What Are You Looking to Accomplish in San Francisco Real Estate?
Hi, we're Kevin Ho + Jonathan McNarry (and with our black labrador retriever Raffi) are dedicated, top-ranked and producing expert San Francisco realtors at Vanguard Properties. We live and breathe real estate 24/7.
We work with buyers and sellers and truly care about meeting and beating our clients' goals.
In any case, you're in the in the right place if you want engaged, personable, and energetic San Francisco real estate from agents who are truly caring, comprehensive and thoughtful. So, let's begin!
This is us — Kevin, Raffi and Jonathan.
- Informed Perspective. As homeowners ourselves we bring an informed perspective that’s also rooted in our experience of representing both buyers and sellers. We also strive to stay current and alert to our market.
- Full Service (and more). From design to diligence, financing to closing, clients benefit from our thoroughness, experience and vision to realize a property’s potential.
- Big-Picture View. We analyze real estate on multiple levels from data to personalities so our clients can decide wisely.
- A Deep Bench of All-Stars. Our clients get access to our network of professionals and that of Vanguard Properties, the leading luxury brokerage for the city and the region.
- We are Realtors Who Love (and Use) Tech. Even if you don’t know how to use tech we do so you don’t have to!
Q U I C K L Y :
(Click on each topic to expand)
OUR NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE
Grow your success, wealth and happiness together with Kevin+Jonathan (and Raffi).
WELCOME to San Francisco real estate with me, Kevin K. Ho, and my partner Jonathan B. McNarry — Kevin+Jonathan. We’re partners in life and in business and we live and breathe real estate with our big black lab Raffi, who is himself a real estate super dog (you’ll see him at open houses, marketing videos and in person). We’re involved, active and successful professionals who rank in the top 1 percent of San Francisco real estate agents. We work at Vanguard Properties, the leading locally owned boutique San Francisco-based brokerage, known for its powerful top-quality branding, LGBT roots and development prowess.
Join Our Successful and Loyal Client Base
Our clients have bought for less and sold for more in one of the most competitive markets in the world. Better yet, our clients are buyers and sellers — a true testament. Why? We are plugged-in, empathetic and responsive. Our approach to real estate is special — we understand that our clients value on our expertise, service and support in making such consequential decisions in their lives. We view our clients as extended family and we take care of them like family with heart, soul and consideration.
Explore our site, read our reviews and take a look at our seller and buyer successes to see how we stand out from other San Francisco agents.
And of course, be sure to contact us today to put all of our knowledge, personality and experience to work for you!
Kevin K. Ho, Esq.
Top Producer & Top 21 Club Vanguard Properties, Realtor (dre 01875957), attorney (sbn 233408) Member: SFAR MLS & Technology Committee, SFAR, CAR, NAR, Residential Builders’ Association, State Bar Real Property Section, Bar Association of San Francisco, the AIA, Top Agent Network (Top 1% of San Francisco Agents)
Jonathan B. McNarry
Realtor, Vanguard Properties (dre 01747295), Top Producer, RN, Notary Public, SFAR, CAR, NAR (Top Agent Network, Top 1% of San Francisco Agents)
“You’re such the joyous real estate agent!”
— Belinda P.
Duboce Park Owner, San Francisco
“Nobody puts in the time and effort like you guys do.”
— Howard E.
Luxury Developer, San Francisco
Click to see the answers.
Q: What's up with list prices in San Francisco? Are we just being gamed? Why not price accurately?
ANSWER: One of the realities you’ll should come to accept (and expect) in San Francisco is that a property’s list price is inconsequential for the most part. Unless you’re talking new construction buildings, it’s better to think of a list price as a ‘starting’ price. While you can bristle and grumble about this generally practiced convention (overall statistics show that 3 of every 4 listings — 75% — sell for over list price), the sooner you come to move past the merits of the convention, the sooner we can meet your goal of getting property here. Real property valuation will be informed by area sales, an agent’s pricing history, development or remodeling potential and area trends.
Ascertaining a property’s real value is all the more reason to be working with Kevin+Jonathan.
Q: Why buy property in San Francisco? Isn't it overpriced? Or is it just expensive?
ANSWER: This answer is not brought to you by the local chamber of commerce, but it might as well be. San Francisco is a unique, nutty and rare place where people want to live, work and grow. Think about the last time you saw tourists taking pictures of the Painted Ladies or of some random Victorian. They’re taking pictures of someone’s house. The City is also expensive because there are so many people who want to live here and land is finite. Add in public policy concerns about social justice, rent control, development, the fog, access to transit and other things like Prop 13 and capital gains and you’ll start to make sense of why the City’s annualized appreciation for real estate has been at 6-7% for the past 30+ years.
This is all the more reason to get fully educated on value, potential and context with Kevin+Jonathan.
Q: What's Up with Square Footages for San Francisco? 0 Square Feet?!
ANSWER: Determining a property’s square footage in San Francisco can be extremely difficult. It’s so difficult, in fact, that many property listings will simply say the figure is ‘unavailable,’ or the space for the number is blank and — worse yet — a property’s square footage is a big, fat, round “0.” Are we living in a quantum singularity?! No, Mr. Hawkins, we’re not living in a warped singularity (it’d be a tight squeeze) in San Francisco (although sometimes it may feel like it).
What we’re seeing is that many real estate agents are too apprehensive to list a property’s square footage for several reasons, including:
- Varying measurement standards: do you count hallways? Wall thickness? Closets? What about warranted and unwarranted spaces? (Consider the differing outcomes between a graphic artist, architect and appraiser for example)
- Purposeful omissions: It’s commonplace that official tax records are inaccurate because many property remodels are done off-book without permits, which is rooted in the fear that applying for a building permit will destroy Prop. 13 property tax rate lock protections by triggering a reassessment of the entire property. While true, the precise reassessment methodology is elusive it’s noteworthy that official measurements won’t count hallways and closets.
- Practical useful living area: With pitched roofs, bay windows and other architectural quirks useable living area will necessary vary from someone who is 7 feet tall versus someone who is 5 ft, 5 in tall, right?
Ask Kevin+Jonathan about how this fits into the larger picture and how it will matter to you as a buyer or seller.
- Varying measurement standards: do you count hallways? Wall thickness? Closets? What about warranted and unwarranted spaces? (Consider the differing outcomes between a graphic artist, architect and appraiser for example)
Active and Recent Listings
We prepare properties like no one else. See some examples.
What Will Your Experience Be Like?
EXPERIENCED DEVELOPMENT + INVESTMENT SELLERS AT SF BORDER
"Kevin & Jonathan are an all-star team and simply put, they get the job done right."
— Paul & Karen
Trades and Attorney, Sellers of an investment property who gained 40% in value after 14 months of ownership after following strategic updates to a charming single-family house at the Daly City-San Francisco border
Issues Handled: Departing tenants, dated finishes, remodeling, pest control clearence
Advantage: Previous successful renovations, previous pest-control-lender issues
FIRST TIME BUYERS IN DOGPATCH WHO FOUND A BRAND-NEW HOME QUICKLY
As first time homebuyers (and in SF no less!), Kevin helped my wife and I navigate the process from beginning to end. With his exceptional help, we were able to quickly find a place we loved. As others have mentioned, he is extremely responsive and his prior legal background helped in explaining the various contracts we were looking at. We will definitely use Kevin again when looking for our next home and highly recommend him to everyone out there.
— Arun & Maelle
Tech, Buyers, New Construction in Dogpatch
Issues Handled: New construction considerations, job transition to new and lending, location education
Advantage: Previous successful sales with listing brokerage and 1st phase of development, lender experience with similar scenarios
OUT OF TOWN SELLERS WHO ENTRUSTED RENOVATION TO US AND SOLD FOR A RECORD PRICE IN 7 DAYS IN THE RICHMOND
At $245K over asking and $441K over initial estimated sales price they knocked the sale of my husband’s condo out of this world. I wouldn’t be surprised if they set a sales price record for the area! Kevin and Jonathan are without a doubt the most amazing real estate duo we have ever met. They took my husband’s tired old pink-carpeted condo and transformed it into a beautifully chic contemporary home.
— Lydia & Patrick
Office Manager and Out-of-Town Realtor, Seattle-based Sellers of a Richmond District Condominium
Issues Handled: Maximizing investment dollars for staging and remodeling, HOA membership, estate issues, location, dated building, out-of-state sellers
Advantage: Previous legal experience, design skills, professional network of trades people, vendor discounts, previous remodeling experience, previous trust-seller clients
FIRST TIME BUYERS IN NOE VALLEY WHO GAVE UP BUT MOVED QUICKLY WHEN AN OFF-MARKET LISTING CAME UP
We worked primarily with Kevin on our search for a new home in San Francisco. As first time buyers unsure of exactly what we wanted, not to mention where in the city we wanted to be, Kevin was very patient and generous with his time in order to help us figure out what would best fit our desires and budget. With the training and attention-to-detail of a lawyer and the eye of a designer, Kevin has all the right skills. He is personable, professional, hard-working and well-connected amongst agents in the city.
Kevin ultimately found an off-market property in Noe Valley, at the right price, that is perfect for us. He knew it, we knew it, and within 24 hours of seeing the property we had a signed contract. We were able to move with speed and confidence because of our trust in Kevin, the time he took to educate us in advance throughout our search, and his outstanding market knowledge.
We are nothing but happy with our new home and with the outstanding service Kevin provided. Even now, Kevin and Jonathan are only a text or email away with recommendations or answers to our questions. We highly recommend working with K&J!
— Andrew & Kaitlyn
Finance + HR, Buyers of an Off-Market Noe Valley Condominium
Issues Handled: Losing out on previous multiple-bidding situations, location education
Advantage: Previous successful area sales and deep knowledge of neighborhood, understanding of remodeling
SELLER AND BUYER SUCCESS
When I had my first phone conversation with Kevin and Jonathan over a year ago, my gut told me that THIS is the team I want to work with when the time came for me to sell. I didn’t even bother interviewing other agents.
— Clodel G.
Tech, Retail Applications, SOMA Income Property Seller, Excelsior Fixer Buyer
Issues Handled: Commercial + residential tenants, purchase and sale, staging and remodeling, location
Advantage: Previous commercial tenancy knowledge, awareness of construction costs, professional network, neighborhood knowledge, ability to craft marketing to different buyer types (investor vs. owner-occupier)
PREEMPTIVE OFFER WINS SPECTACULAR PROPERTY
Kevin was an ideal agent. He listened to our needs and brought a ton of SF neighborhood knowledge to the table. We had a pretty set idea of what we wanted coming into the process, but Kevin helped us see the potential of expanding our search into new neighborhoods. Behold finding the gem of Castro/Corona Heights. The reason we didn’t have it on our list was because we didn’t even know it existed. Now we have made a home in one of the most idyllic places in SF thanks to Kevin’s expert insight. Not only did he secure the picture-perfect location, but our new home has exceeded all expectations!! Kevin helped us make a preemptive offer on our place because he had his ear to the ground and got us in earlier than any other agent could have. If this spot had gone on the market there would have been a bidding frenzy that we most likely wouldn’t have been able to keep up with. We owe it to Kevin for the help in getting us in early and snatching up this beautiful condo before anyone else got the chance. MASSIVE THANKS!!!
— Colleen & Meghan
Tech, Buyers, Sisters Pre-emptive Offer Win in the Castro
Issues Handled: Family purchase, previous multiple-offer bidding, punch list items, location education
Advantage: Being privy to off-market listings within Vanguard Properties, use of technology to show property to all decision-makers, deep neighborhood knowledge and of area sales, vesting issue awareness
Read All About It...
What Makes Kevin + Jonathan Tick?
We genuinely love what we do — we have heart: To us, real estate doesn’t feel like work — it’s just what we do.
Our clients know they’re working with always approachable, continually engaged and authoritative top-producing professionals and a happy, mellow and friendly big black dog Raffi who likes to wag his tail too.
Kevin K. Ho
Kevin has been an invited commentator/expert on Curbed SF, quoted and featured in the New York Times and interviewed a number of times on local television news sharing his thoughts about real estate trends and developments. Kevin, who is from Iowa originally, has lived in the U.K. and has a Master’s degree, a law degree from U.C. Berkeley’s School of Law (Boalt Hall) and a BA from Washington University, St. Louis. He speaks Cantonese and was a reporter and blogger before going to law school. Kevin still carries his law license ‘just-in-case’ he needs it and practiced as a business attorney in the City and as a mediator for 5 years working with the City’s Office of Citizen Complaints — which handles citizen complaints against the SFPD — before focusing on real estate exclusively starting in 2010 after Jonathan said it’d be a ‘good idea.’ Indeed it has proven to be. Kevin is the chatty one, has the ‘vision’ thing and casual one.
Jonathan B. McNarry
Jonathan, who was born in the U.K. and raised in Atlanta comes from a family of real estate developers — he had his first open house sign up when he was just 6 years old! He worked in large-scale, high-end, subdivision development there and has been in the Bay Area for 10 years. Jonathan has also worked as a critical care, rapid response ICU nurse at UCSF with Board certifications and was also EMT/Paramedic. He is a Notary Public. He’s also worked in banking and insurance but real estate is in his blood and his role in this powerhouse team is of the details man, the well-dressed one who offers perspective, class and humor to the mix. He’s the ‘get-to-the point’ one.
Raffi was born in Marin County came from a litter where his brother was top of the class who now works in Michigan while his other brother works with folks with diabetes in the East Bay. Raffi trained with the Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael and joined Kevin+Jonathan’s family in 2012. He’s starred in a number of real estate tour videos for Kevin+Jonathan’s property listings and often sits open houses, finds the best place to nap during property visits and inspections for Kevin+Jonathan’s buyers. His favorite activity apart from waiting for treats and saying hello to new people is lounging around at Duboce Park, which he frequents nearly every day. Raffi is the silent one, the especially sweet one who will always make himself at home no matter where he’s at.
Live Market Data!
September 30 – October 6, 2018
August Sale Prices in San Francisco
Sept 2018 SF Sales Data
(compared to 2017 sales figures)
145 single-family houses sold (-18.1%)
- Median: $1,584,500 | +15.9%
- Average: $1,944,435 | +10.5%
159 condominiums sold (+2.6%)
- Median: $1,200,000 | +7.6%
- Average: $1,317,591| +5.2%
(Source: SFAR MLS September 2017 and 2018)
Do You Mean the Median? or the Average?
Picking which figure will impact your results and observations
When folks talk about data you’ll remember there are the 3Ms: median, mode and mean. We’ll only concern ourselves with two: Median figures are prices that are in the middle, the midpoint — with prices 50% above and 50% below the number reported. The mean (average) figure is, well, the total when you add up all data and find the mathematical average. If there is symmetrical data array then using the mean is better, if there isn’t then the median is better to use, which is what we see in real estate.
Listed & Sold! $607,500
Listed & Sold! $1.27M
Listed & Sold! $1.4M
JUST SOLD: 140 S. Van Ness, No. 1022
ALL OVER THE MAP
See Where Kevin+Jonathan’s Buyers & Sellers Have Succeeded
It’s Time To Get Started With Kevin+Jonathan
Representing a loyal, diverse and ever-growing client base, Kevin Ho and Jonathan McNarry of Vanguard Properties deliver unmatched professional real estate services for buyers and sellers in San Francisco. They’re good at what they do and watch out for their clients’ interests with comprehensive and analytical advice to ensure their clients make the most informed decisions.
More than 605 Smart Folks Subscribe and Read Our Insider’s Newsletter. What do they know that you don’t?
In the Know with Kevin+Jonathan …
THIS IS NOT YOUR AUTOMATED NEWSLETTER
We spend hours looking at, researching and writing about San Francisco’s real estate markets for our exclusive insider’s newsletter that we send to our private list of clients every 2 weeks (sometimes more often than that, sometimes more than that). Yes, you’ll see our typos as this newsletter is written by actual humans with thoughts and commentary to boot.
Besides our typos, our readers get access to….
- Shhh. It’s a secret: Exclusive & Advance Listing information for properties being sold ‘off-market’ or are otherwise ‘coming soon’
- Tall Tales of Real Estate Sales, i.e., Stories of the Week — our readers learn the details of how and why a property sold with how many offers, what the sellers were thinking, etc.
- Our Commentary & Perspective on San Francisco’s mix of markets
- Early Access and leads on new developments, trends and mortgage rates from Vanguard Properties’ preferred lenders and much more!
And, yes, your contact information stays private with us. With all that why are you still buying real estate in the dark?
Sign up now!
I love the style of your newsletter! It is so informative and fun! I love to see what is happening in my neighborhood too.
Homeowner + Buyer, Noe Valley
Kevin listened to our story and took the time to understand who we were and our personalities and then asked more than a few more questions to narrow down where we should live. His advice definitely helped us narrow down the choices and helped us with the all important targeting of our search. [H]e gave us very candid and honest responses to our questions including dissuading us from a couple of apartments that in retrospect would have been completely wrong for us.
When we finally found a place that we unquestionably loved, Kevin guided us through the process in winning a bidding war before the house even made it to its first public open house. He helped quell a lot of the eleventh hour jitters and pushed us in the helpful way not the overbearing way. Ultimately, we were absolutely delighted with the purchase and he was integral in the process and could not recommend him more to others.
— Mitchell & Debbie
Buyers, Relocated from New York, SOMA
A Seller and A Buyer in the Same …
If there was one word to describe my experience with Kevin and Jonathan, it’s “smart”. They know the current environment and also helped educate and guide me to getting both buying and selling done. After selling, I had a lot of fear I wouldn’t be able to find a new home. I’ve heard countless stories and read countless articles of buyers losing out to cash offers and it was discouraging. With their help, we were able to orchestrate a truly competitive non-cash offer. I honestly didn’t think this would all be done before 2018 arrived, and now I’m an extremely happy client.
Seller and Buyer, SOMA + Excelsior
We live here. We work here. We thrive here. When you’re looking to buy or sell in the Bay Area trust Vanguard Properties to lead the way.
Being ranked as the top LGBT, locally-owned and operated business in San Francisco, Vanguard Properties has sold billions and billions of dollars worth of property in the City and the Bay Area. No one knows San Francisco and the Bay Area like Vanguard.
At Vanguard Properties we are committed to understanding your individual needs. We promise to provide you with the kind of quality service that will exceed your expectations. Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of sincere effort, intelligent direction and skilled execution. Kevin+Jonathan are proud and happy to be apart of such success. We realize this success is thanks to our clients, friends and colleagues. Thank You!
Learn more about Vanguard Properties HERE.
We couldn’t be happier with the service we received from Kevin.
He’s personable, helpful, tech-savvy, and extremely dedicated! Kevin is a very opinionated realtor, but I say this in a good way. There were many homes that we were willing to bid on in what was a very challenging market, but thankfully Kevin kept our best interests in mind. Rather than going for a quick close, he actually talked us out of a few homes to make sure we stayed true to our criteria.
—Aaron & Ashley
Buyers, Charming Victorian (Noe Valley)
A Norm of $1,000/sqft? How'd That Happen in San Francisco?
$1,000/sqft?! That Happened in San Francisco A While Back. Here’s How.
A brief look at recent price history growth in San Francisco since 2012
Average dollars per square foot is a rough measure of prices and property values in San Francisco that, when tracked, reveals how prosperity and price growth has spread from north to south over the past several years since the start of the post-2008 financial crisis’ recovery period. The maps we made show when $1,000/sqft became the prevailing norm as the real monthly data will show if a given area sustained that price level. Some areas are still waiting to cross this threshold while others are moving to the $2,000/sqft range ever so slowly.
For the time being, you should assume the baseline is $1,000/sqft and know that the real price and value for a property will go up or down depending on all the factors you can think of plus many more that you can’t know.
A First: San Francisco’s Citywide Average Dollars-Per-Square-Foot sold price broke that $1,000/sqft barrier in November 2017 according to MLS figures.
Even using the more lenient median dollar-per-square-foot measure, San Francisco’s citywide figure crossed the $1,000/sqft threshold in February 2018.
I must say that your entire property from stem to stern, showed Spectacular! Was it staged, or were the furnishings the Seller’s? In any event, everything was extremely well balanced — the pictures, art work, mirrors, window treatments, lighting fixtures, interior & exterior paint jobs, back yard, and the total ambiance that the two of you created in your presence with your cordiality & friendly personalities, made this one of the best open house presentations that I have ever experienced in 40 years as a Realtor!
Needless to say, your asking price is perfectly priced and it is most likely that you will receive multiple offers! All the best to you both!
— Longtime Noe Valley Real Estate Agent.
Needless to say, the property received 5 offers and sold for a record price well over its list price.
We received a lot of good offers… but based on our past relationship and how smoothly it went, I pushed for your offer.
— Listing Agent, San Francisco, Corona Heights
(Our Buyers closed on property beating out 2 other offers)
I presented your clients offer to my sellers and told them about you in particular and encouraged them to go with you.
— Listing Agent, San Francisco, Eureka Valley
(Our Buyers’ offer was accepted instead of going to market)
Your clients got the property because of you!
— Listing Agent, San Francisco, Haight
(Our Buyers closed on property beating out 1 other offer)
ONE OF OUR SECRET WEAPONS:
Raffi the Dog
2 AGENTS, 1 DOG, TOP 1% OF SAN FRANCISCO AGENTS.
People will notice a handsome dog like Raffi, right? Yes, they do.
In the battle for people's attention Raffi wins as stands out and will draw people's attention too; so many buyers remark they came to see a listing with 'the dog.'
Can We Pet Him?
How do you get folks to stay at a property longer?
Yes, You Can Pet Raffi.
Having folks stay a bit extra at a property is a good thing. And if people want to pet Raffi...
The New Kids...
Instead of kids, people are getting dogs...
Yes, there are more pets in SF than kids
Raffi is better behaved than most people, so he's gonna be great at open houses.