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: $2,000.
↑ A mystery: Where to find an apartment for the frugal (by SF standards, St. Francis help us) price of $2,000/month? The answer: Consult Dashiell Hammett, whose famous moniker hangs on a Lower Nob Hill building where the famed pulp writer once lived (one of several buildings that market themselves this way), on a street also named for the author of The Maltese Falcon as well. The apartment on offer is a one-bath 400 square foot studio, the same one that’s been hanging around since February when it last manifested in Comparisons. The lease includes cats, but with Hammett’s stories in mind, hopefully not catspaws.
↑ Making assumptions from his writing would lead one to guess that Hammett was more of a Tenderloin kind of guy, so it’s only appropriate to consider a competing apartment in that neighborhood on this same list. Here, a 1913 brick building very much in the mode of the Hammett place offers a studio of its own of indeterminate size for $1,995/month, although note that this price goes up $75 per head if the renter opts to bring in pets. (Those tropical fish are going to add up in a hurry I’m afraid.) A few blocks from Van Ness, the ad talks up the proximity to nearby eateries.
↑ A 400-square-foot apartment is a tight squeeze, but this is San Francisco—we can always go smaller. Even in the Outer Sunset, where renters often seek relief from downtown prices, this one-bath studio in a seven-unit building on Taraval and 28th Avenue pencils out to only 350 square feet, with an also-small price break at $1,895/month and a blocky, cyan-colored exterior. “No pets allowed.” Note that this another Craigslist home that confusingly dubs itself both a studio and a one bed, one bath apartment, which may affect how attractive of a deal it seems.
↑ On the other hand, there’s no ambiguity about this 400-square-foot pad in Visitacion Valley, which goes down in the listing as a one-bed, one-bath in-law apartment on Wilde Avenue, two blocks east of John McLaren Park. “Newly remodeled from top to bottom,” according to the ad, which also makes a pitch for “business travelers, vacationers, medical professionals, [and] tech workers,” which, along with the $1,999/month price tag, leaves no mystery about who that remodel had in mind. The ad doesn’t mention a pet policy.
↑ Finally, there’s the case of a “fully furnished studio in the heart of the Mission.” That part is definitely true, as the locale at 18th and Lexington is a fairly chase one; for $1,900/month renters get a “large fully furnished, basement style studio.” What the difference between “basement style” and just an actual basement may be isn’t immediately clear, but the dearth of visible windows in the photos (despite the presence of curtains) seems like a clue.
Which Rental Would You Choose?
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Lower Nob Hill Studio
Outer Sunset Studio
Visitacion Valley In-Law