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What $3,600 rents you in SF right now

Five new rentals, from Portola Place to Alamo Square

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: $3,600.

Front entrance with archway.
Entryway shows white walls, hardwood floors, and windows.
Empty room with hardwood floors, french doors, and ceiling fan. Via Craigslist
Bathroom with white tiled walls, skinny contemporary sink, bathtub, and mirror.

Other than the Golden Gate Bridge, Alamo Square is the most photographed spot in San Francisco, almost to a point that it’s a little tiresome. Fortunately for anybody interested in this Alamo Square rental for $3,600 per month, it sits on Scott Street, opposite the Painted Ladies, so at least the cameras will be pointed the other way. The top-floor, one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment here features French doors and a few stained glass accents to add a little variety to the otherwise white interiors and light-stained hardwood floors. Unfortunately, similar to many rentals these days, it doesn’t allow pets.

Entrance to cottage unit with red wood paneling. Staircase leads to front door. Small patio with hot tub and white chair.
Kitchen with white cabinets, white fridge, spice rack, and taupe walls.
Foyer with window emitting natural light, a tall bookcase, books, colorful window hanging in blue, green, and red. And a California tote bag on the floor. Via Craigslist

Cole Valley, on the other hand, rarely gets any treatment from tourists cameras—which is technically an injustice, but at the same time a relief for area residents. The promise of a “Cole Valley cottage,” per the one in this ad, sounds almost quaint, although the $3,550 per month price is decidedly metropolitan. “Surrounded by gardens and light,” the little place with the red siding sits behind the main house, with a separate entrance, one bedroom, one bath, and furnishings included. No word about pets.

Off white exterior of two-story home with right angles, blue garage door, front gate, and picture window.
Red curtains hang in the window of the dining room with circular table and plush gray chairs. A large circular mirror hangs on the wall.
A statue of Buddha sits in an alcove in the foyer, replete with wood flooring, mirror, iron sconces with candles, and an archway leading to the living room. Via Craigslist
Master bedroom with sea-green and gray curtains, bed with gray comforter, two square white lights.

A few blocks away on Newcomb Avenue, this home sits is in the Bayview. Per the ad, the unit “boasts many of the original features of the 1900s Edwardian homes such as the molding and built-ins, a formal dining room, living room, and a spacious kitchen.” But according to the SF City Assessor, the house dates not to the Edwardian period but instead to 1941, hence its emphasis on hard angles and its low-slung profile. The original flooring remains present. Highlights include three skylights and a one-car garage included. It comes with three beds, one bath, and an impressive 1,575 square feet for $3,500 per month. The ads says “pets considered on an individual basis.”

Contemporary kitchen with stainless steel appliances and white cabinets.
Master bedroom with white walls, nightstand with lights, and a white comforter on the bed.
Exterior of four-story, white square-ish building with orange and wood accents. Via Craigslist

This ad for the Waterbend apartments at 5880 Third Street and its two-bedroom home “with amazing amenities” claims it’s in Bayview. However, it actually resides in nearby Portola Place—just another sign of the buildup on the southeast side, as landlords and leasing companies alike increasingly want to put the Bayview name out there. The city dates the still relatively new complex here to 2016; the building’s site repeatedly praises its “simplistic design”—which does not mean what they seem to think it means, but presumably they mean minimalist. Although this particular two bed, two bath, 980-square foot example looks no more nor less complex than any other new construction. The rent is $3,535 per month. Pets will drive the price up $25-$50 per head, depending on the particulars.

Empty living room with hardwood floors chandelier.
Wood paneled bay window with horizontal blinds, hardwood flooring.
Two empty room with windows showing the trees outside. More hardwood flooring. Via Craigslist
Pink exterior of building, hit with sunlight, two stories. Lots of telephone wires outside.

And we conclude with a “very nice and spacious” two-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath lower flat” in the Outer Richmond pushing “beautifully refinished hardwood floors throughout, high ceilings, and remodeled kitchen. The ad mentions the remodel twice in two sentences, so apparently someone really wants to get their money’s worth on those permits—for $3,575 per month. No pets allowed at this one. Alas.


Which rental would you choose?

This poll is closed

  • 27%
    Alamo Square Apartment
    (77 votes)
  • 22%
    Cole Valley Cottage
    (64 votes)
  • 5%
    Portola Place Apartment
    (15 votes)
  • 15%
    Bayview House
    (44 votes)
  • 29%
    Richmond Flat
    (85 votes)
285 votes total Vote Now