Empty condos after overbidding home sales in San Francisco

Lets have some more investigative fun with home sales. This time on my home turf, San Francisco. In particular the condo next door that I tried to purchase in 2015 and my experience with a string of LLC’s that paid $$1,410,000 over a $979,000 asking price and never moved in! 601 4th St Unit 118

Lets look at the numbers, which aren’t too important other than the 41.8% over asking price purchase on 5/20/2018 that beat my family from owning the condo.

9/18/2018 Listing removed $5,250

9/6/2018 Listed for rent $5,250

5/20/2015 Sold $1,410,000 +41.7%

4/18/2015 Listed for sale $995,000 +40.1%

4/21/2010 Sold $710,000 -6.5%

12/8/1995 Sold $305,000

Some might say, “Well they couldn’t find a renter and that’s why nobody moved in.” If that’s the case, notice it took only 12 days from the unit being Listed for rent to Listing removed at $5,250 in September, 2018.

But that’s not the fun part of San Francisco outrageous overbidding. Finding the answer to “who’s the buyer?” Chinese? Rich techies? Lets go for a ride!

The buyers agent was Jessica Lee and the Buyer was Heublein 118 LLC - 610 El Camino Del Mar, San Francisco, CA 94121

So who lives at 610 El Camino Del Mar, San Francisco, CA 94121? Well the owner is Maple Oak Llc, but who gets mail there?

A cheap search shows three people, all with last names that my uneducated self believe are chinese origin, Helen Chu, Mark Heng, and Robert Malland Llng (I think llng one is incorrect). Mark comes to San Francisco by way of Sarasota, FL. If I know anything about FL it’s full of shadiness in real estate, so I feel like digging into him.

It looks like we’ve got the correct Marc as another cheap search says he owns Jade and Ivory LLC  which does the following:
Services Provided

Barn Design & Construction, Custom Homes, Home Additions, Home Extensions, Home Remodeling, Home Restoration, New Home Construction

Areas Served

Alameda, Albany, Alto, Belvedere, Belvedere Tiburon, Berkeley, Brisbane, Broadmoor, Colma, Daly City, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Marin City, Mill Valley, Muir Beach, Oakland, Piedmont, San Bruno, San Francisco, Sausalito, South San Francisco, Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, Tiburon

What else can we find about Jade and Ivory LLC? Real Estate management company Delaware corp. What other names is Marc associated with?

1550 Park Ave, LLC Active 2018 2 members - What’s 1550 Park ave?

Heublein 118 LLC Active 2015 2 members - Condo of topic

Metric Development LLC Active 2015 2 members Owns a number of other properties in Albany, CA with Steven Verner

Jade & Ivory LLC Active 2015 Real estate management company that owns one thing:

PHoenix Lofts 407

1 Clarence Place 17 LLC Active 2014 condo SF $1,700,000

Oriental Warehouse 312 LLC Active 2014 condo SF sold 2012 $1,101,000

Clocktower 320 LLC Active 2014 condo SF sold 2014 $1.4 mil

Squaw & Brave LLC Active 2014 Squaw & Brave LLC ? Not sure what it does

10 Saint Bernard Lane LLC $8 mil property in Tiburon, CA owned by both Helen and Marc.

"om & prana"

It looks like to get that Heublin building for 43% over asking required another member to join in, which was Aec Eat LTD. AEC EAT ltd is where the money is at.

Finally after hours of looking up what properties all these different LLC’s own what we find is a number of addresses associated to some of these LLC’s go back to Singapore.

At the end of the day, it’s a complicated weaving of dozens upon dozens of LLC’s with no clear “origination of capital" other than Singapore. Sure it’s a property management company, but it doesn’t seem to be a successful strategy other than buy and hold based on someone else’s money. Given this level of real estate investment strategy is far over my financial knowledge I don’t know what the game is. Maybe Marc is the merely the broker on the LLC on behalf of foreign buyers, which would make the most sense.

So when everyone talks about home prices are out of control due to “Low interest rates”, that’s only a small fraction of the story in places like SF where these brokers/buyers own dozens upon dozens of homes that are doing the overbidding. It’s not rich techies winning the bids. It’s these types of buyers that own most of the stock in SF. I wish home purchase data was released so that I could put it into big data notebook, like Jupyter or Zeppelin and map out the relationships of buyers and what properties they own. This type of data would be useful for Cities to properly implement policies to protect normal families from getting baked over the coals overbidding against people that aren’t even going to move in. In my eyes, I call them real estate manipulators, just like currency manipulation.

Anyways, when I did the research originally back in 2015 I immediately packed up my money and walked away from the real estate market for buying a personal residence. When the foreign money calms down I’ll come back.

Daniel ScarberryComment