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 another person’s townhouse? Today’s price: $4,700.
Sometimes the best asset an apartment has isn’t even the apartment itself. Case in point, this Russian Hill home at 990 Bay next to Fort Mason presents a truly gorgeous Beaux-Arts lobby and common area (circa 1928) that blows the rest of the building away. The apartment itself is not without its charms—e.g., bay windows in the living room sporting an indentation so mild as to be almost invisible to the eye—but the building really does put its best foot forward downstairs. The vacancy is two beds and one bath for $4,595 per month; building management says pets are okay, but they do bump the monthly rent up an additional $50.
Ordinarily the Curbed Comparisons formula demands homes as different from one another as possible, but in this case the contrast of two homes that on paper are virtually interchangeable proves highly valuable. First, in the Outer Sunset near Quintara Street a “fully remodeled residence” offers three beds and two baths. The leasing agent promises “kitchen has been completely renovated with new stainless-steel appliances, new counters, and new Burgundy cabinetry,” “brand new floors,” and “both bathrooms have been fully remodeled.” And you don’t have to look any further than the gray-stained floors or frosted glass vessel sink to see what changes have been made to this circa 1940 setup with the strawberry pink exterior. It’s $4,695 per month, and pets are okay here.
Meanwhile, this competing “wonderful single family home” is also in the Sunset, just a few blocks away on Moraga near 17th Avenue (the Inner Sunset, not the Outer). It’s also a three-bed, two-bath home that dates to around the same period (1935 in this case). It costs just slightly less at $4,650 per month. The two are very close in terms of specs, but centuries apart in terms of aesthetics, as this Moraga house, save for the kitchen, hasn’t seen a remodel or renovation in decades, instead banking on its “beautiful period details, including dark wood doors, decorative plaster molding, and hardwood flooring” to appeal to potential renters. All the wood paneling around the fireplace is a particularly vintage touch.
The Presidio presents a “townhome with balcony above Crissy Field.” Sales listings for homes in the same complex date the construction to the 1970s. The ad promises a “beautifully remodeled with a dine-in tiled kitchen, large living and dining area, master bedroom with en suite half-bath.” The aforementioned balcony does indeed overlook Crissy Field to the east, which means that to peek at the Golden Gate Bridge views just 2,000 feet away, renters will have to step outside. The rent comes to $4,700 per month. The setup is three beds and one and a half baths, and there’s a limit of two pets per household.
Last of all, Pacific Heights features a two-bed, two-bath high-rise corner apartment (private deck included) for $4,695 per month, It comes with an open floor plan, floor-to-ceiling windows (note the difference between these and the wall-of-glass design in more recent buildings), and, as is often the case, the leasing agent says “property has been remodeled,” although the details remain scant outside of double-pane windows and granite counters. Pets are in good here too.
Which rental would you choose?
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Russian Hill Apartment
Outer Sunset House
Inner Sunset House
Pac Heights Apartment