Hot property: Self-sufficient, solar, special

The home Hans Bos bought to get into the market in 1998 had seen more than 100 years of tinkering, if the misty tales of its origin are correct.

But there’s no doubt that he added a modern twist in keeping with the spirit of San Francisco.

The CEO of policy-research firm Berkeley Policy Associates installed a solar array that looks large on the petite house, and now he pays nothing for electricity. The home is electrically self-sufficient.

“The thing that really prompted us on it was the run-up to the Iraq war,” Bos said. “The day those discussions really started to heat up, I went online and found out about the rebates.”

He still pays a natural gas bill to heat the house and a $5 monthly service charge, but otherwise hasn’t paid for electricity since April 2003, he said.

The house, 55 Laidley Street in the Fairmount Heights neighborhood overlooking NoeValley, is made up of three parts, according to Bos and Redfin agent Gina Pio Roda. An appraiser said the oldest, middle section was likely built prior to the street’s construction in the 1880s, Bos said. It has very low ceilings, and the floor of the house was old-growth redwood that sat directly on the dirt, without a foundation — and was still solid when Bos had the floor opened up to do work on the property. He’s since installed steel reinforcement in that section of the house.

The other two sections, back and front, were likely built in the 1920s and 1940s. They have traditional foundations and slab floors, Bos said. And he and his girlfriend have spent the years making home improvements, though they were on the same tight budget that prompted them to buy this particular house in the first place, Bos said. They installed gas heat as well as an IKEA kitchen.

“It’s not a fancy kitchen, but it’s a nice kitchen, a very workable kitchen,” he said.

The lot is more than twice the size of the house, and features front and rear gardens.

Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $699,000

Property tax: $9,087*

The property: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, 520 square feet per tax records (seller estimates closer to 800).

Notable: Solar array, 1,920 square foot lot, hot tub, history, quiet street, front and back gardens, views of Mt. Diablo, St. Paul’s Church and City Hall.

Agents: Regina Pio Roda and Chris Diez, Redfin, (877) 973-3346.

* Estimate based on 1.3% of asking


Where: San Francisco

Asking price: $479,000

Property tax: $6,227*

The property: 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 572 square feet per appraiser

Description: One of six units in a TIC building — a Queen Anne Victorian near Union Street with hardwood floors, a remodeled kitchen and leased parking.

Notable: Wood-burning fireplace, bay window, Bay views, assigned storage, updated heating, Andy Sirkin TIC agreement, new roof, shared garden.

Agents: John LePage, Zephyr Real Estate, (415) 695-7707,

Where: Pacifica

Asking price: $599,995

Property tax: $7,800*

The property: 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,000 square feet

Description: Pacific Manor neighborhood home on quiet street with trees; house has new paint, new carpets, vinyl siding, new metal garage door.

Notable: Walking distance to park and school, views, hardwood entryway floor, yard, outbuilding in the back, manmade pond setup, gas stove, dishwasher.

Agents: Robert Garrison, Garrison Properties, (650) 755-2969,


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