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What $2,500 rents you in San Francisco right now

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Five new rentals, from Bayview to Noe Valley—which one would you call home?

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, a regular column exploring what you can rent for a set dollar amount in different neighborhoods. Is one person’s studio is another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $2,500.

↑ Beautiful old buildings in San Francisco tend to rely too much on showing off the bones of their gorgeous common areas and spare too little attention to the actual apartments themselves, which are much more straightforward. That said, now and then a building does earn that lingering spotlight, like in the case of the truly stately 1755 Van Ness building on the edge of Pacific Heights. Early twentieth century architect Albert H. Larsen designed this lustrous 50-unit building in 1928, and every inch of it still works. The upstairs studio apartment for rent ($2,395/month) is of course more modest, but some renters might find the eye candy downstairs sufficient anyway. The ad doesn’t mention pets.

↑ This competing studio for $2,500 doesn’t boast any noted architects or decadent entryways, so it’s on the lookout for charms purely its own, like the stained glass windows, pentagonal doorways, and quite barren but still resilient backyard. It also doesn’t hurt that potential tenants might be bitten by the location bug, as this place is set in Noe Valley, around 25th and Castro. No word about dogs here, but cats are okay, and one has presumably already taken over the floorspace in front of the sun window up front.

↑ Although it may never be as prestigious or centrally located as neighborhoods like Noe Valley and Pac Heights, Bayview just plain does some things better. In this case, $2,290—technically a bit below the threshold for this price point, but cheated in this time for the sake of a more interesting slate of homes—rents a two bed, one bath duplex dubbed a “five room beauty” on Palou Avenue. And yes, those with a predilection for woodwork should find all five rooms beautiful, even down to the “handmade tiles” in the kitchen. A lot of that wood looks a bit worn in the photos, but by some reckonings that goes to show it’s good value after all of these years. One value that’s unfortunately missing: A welcoming attitude toward non-human residents.

↑ And then there are some homes, like this “cottage” in the Outer Richmond, where it’s hard to tell what it’s really going for, but at least whatever the idea is it’s not feeling shy about it. Behind the pale lemon-yellow shingles and startling but not altogether unpleasant red trim, there’s a one-bed, one-bath, 700-square-foot “sweet and pretty” home with a color scheme that, in some of its better moments, might put observers in mind of gingerbread but at other times just looks unfinished.

↑ On a similar note, this one bed, one bath Mission apartment sits in a midcentury 1962 building that might have had something going for itself 50 years ago, but now looks a bit faded from street side. Still, the landlord is hedging for $2,500 purely on the strength of the neighborhood alone, “close to the 24th Street bart station, Google shuttle on 24th and Valencia Street.” Time will tell if that’s enough. Once again the offer is characteristically mum on the pet situation.


Which Rental Would You Choose?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Pac Heights Studio
    (156 votes)
  • 21%
    Noe Valley Studio
    (85 votes)
  • 26%
    Bayview Duplex
    (103 votes)
  • 4%
    Richmond Cottage
    (17 votes)
  • 7%
    Mission Apartment
    (30 votes)
391 votes total Vote Now