Live your dreams in San Francisco.


Micro-neighhood: Yerba Buena




Yerba Buena was the original name of the Spanish settlement that would later become San Francisco, California. Located near the northeastern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, between the Presidio of San Francisco and the Mission San Francisco de Asís, it was originally intended as a trading post for ships visiting San Francisco Bay. The settlement was arranged in the Spanish style around a plaza that remains as the present day Portsmouth Square. The name of the town was taken from the Yerba buena (Micromeria douglasii) plant, native to the pueblo site. Franciscan missionary Pedro Font, accompanying the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of 1775-76, applied the Spanish name to the common native herb he found abundant in the landscape.The plant’s common name, yerba buena, the same in English and Spanish, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (meaning “good herb”).The earliest report of the use of Yerba Buena as a place name comes from the log of George Vancouver, who in 1792 sailed his ship HMS Discovery into San Francisco Bay and anchored “about a league below the Presidio in a place they called Yerba Buena”.


Location: Northeastern end of the Peninsula, between the Presidio and the Mission
Commercial: Shopping, shopping, shopping. Surrounded by shopping areas, galleries, restaurants, bars and recreation.






Residential: Condos, high-rises.

Accessibility: Accessible through all modes of transportation. Paid public parking garages are available if you don’t have your own.





Is it for you? Singles and couples as well as small families may love living here. It’s buzzing with activity any day of the week and its proximity to shopping and recreation makes it an urban professional/family dream.

Bus Line or Tour? The 33 Line.


“Transit lines lacing throughout San Francisco offer scenic views of nature (e.g., the greenery of the Presidio, the expansive Pacific of Ocean Beach) or architectural wonder (the Golden Gate Bridge, Cupid’s Bow), but the true beauty of the city, inside and out, can be seen in its entirety aboard the 33 Ashbury/18th.”…


Read more here. 


Neighborhood Snapshot: Hayes Valley

ghellie pilapil design


Location: As of April 2012, after changes to the district boundaries used by the Board of Supervisors, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association considers the neighborhood as a whole to be bound by Webster Street in the west, Van Ness Avenue in the east, Fulton Street in the north, and Hermann Street and Market Street in the south, with extensions as far west as Fillmore, between Haight Street and Hermann Street, as far north as McAllister Street, between Franklin Street and Van Ness Avenue, and as far south as Market Street, between Buchanan Street and Laguna Street.


History: Native people in many small bands, now referred to collectively as the Ohlone tribe, lived in San Francisco part of the year, gathering food in the Mission Creek area, which included seasonal Hayes Creek, and other parts of today’s city. Hayes Valley would have been thickly covered with wildflowers every spring.[6] When it was running in the winter, Hayes Creek cut diagonally through the current Hayes Valley.[7] It is now underground year-round.



Commercial: high-end fashion boutiques, classy coffee shops and dining options plus cultural recreation options

Residential: a mix of classic Victorian homes and mid/high-rises

Accessibility: Walking and pretty much all modes of transportation are viable. Street parking can be tricky so a private garage is advisable.




Is it for you? Hayes Valley is a mix of old SF charm and the reflection of our rapid gentrification. Families and single professionals will love this area. Raising a child in Hayes Valley is very common as it’s also one of SF’s “stroller neighborhoods”.

San Francisco and “The Ugly Law”


Most US states have their share of bizarre, borderline offensive and sometimes just very dated laws. Take North Carolina and it’s “Bingo games cannot last more than 5 hours.” law. Or how it’s illegal to sell your eyeballs in Texas. Bear Wrestling matches? Yeah, it’s prohibited in Alabama. Our dear San Francisco isn’t any different. For a decade (1860s-1870s), several major cities had something called The Ugly Law which makes it illegal for “unsightly” or “not-very-pleasant-to-look-at” people to appear in public.  The very first appearance of this law was said to be in 1897 in our very own city. One of the most commonly cited one is that from Paris, Illinois- The City of Paris Ordinance. It states:


No person who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or in any way deformed so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object or improper person to be allowed in or on the public ways or other public places in this city, or shall therein or thereon expose himself to public view, under a penalty of not less than one dollar nor more than fifty dollars for each offense.



Although some silly laws are still in effect in a lot of our cities and states, the San Francisco Ugly Law has long been gone from San Francisco. Do you know of other odd old or existing laws? Let us know!

To ________________, With Love.

‘Caress each Spanish syllable, salute our Italian saint. Don’t say Frisco and don’t say San-Fran-Cis-Co. It’s more like SanfrnSISco.” -Herbert Eugene “Herb” Caen, San Francisco Journalist/ Pulitzer Winner

Frisco (The One Locals Hate)

So who calls it “Frisco”? The common belief is that visitors/tourists do. And boy do a lot of locals get up in arms about it when they do. If even Jack London, himself wrote a short story called  “And ‘FRISCO Kid Came Back”, why does it evoke a “No” from a majority of locals? Did Herb Caen’s “Don’t Call It Frisco” novel start a revolutionary trend? Maybe. Or is it because it’s really not representative of San Francisco in any way. The mere shortening of a city name is just not enough to make it an unofficial nickname. Think about it. Should we forget about The Windy City and just call Chicago “Chic”? Shall we start calling The Big Easy “Norly”? Certainly not.

San Fran (The One That’s Meh at Best)


Another nickname that is believed to be popular with visitors and tourists. Let’s add young professionals who recently relocated from other states, if not countries. Some say it sounds like it has a cool factor to it. No it doesn’t. Stop trying to make “San Fran” happen. It’s not going to sit well with a lot of locals. It’s the whole being uncool stemming from trying to be cool situation we have here. Sure it receives less of a very adamant “No, don’t call it that!” reaction but it still isn’t acceptable by most native’s standards. In the end, it’s just as lazy and uncreative as Frisco.

Baghdad by the Bay (The One that Means Something)

A nickname from Mr San Francisco himself, Herb Caen. The Pulitzer winning journalist coined the nickname in the late 1940s through the book of the same name. The date it was coined is important since Baghdad isn’t exactly the same as it is now. The nickname is a reference to the exotic characteristics of the city- it being a melting pot of people from all walks of life, race, religion and sexual identity. It projects an image of San Francisco as a historical, cultural and intellectual epicenter.


Paris of the West (The One Not Many People Know nor Use)

Gilded Age Mayor James Phelan certainly popularized the phrase in connection with the “City Beautiful” movement and his pet plan to make the city over into a genuinely world-class cultural center. Phelan employed visionary city planner Daniel Burnham to draw up blueprints for a completely new San Francisco, plans which would have given San Francisco Parisian-style radial boulevards, classical monuments, and a massive park system. Though the city was practically erased by the 1906 Great Fire & Earthquake, that opportunity to make this neo-Gallic dream come true more or less passed us by.


SF (Short, Sweet and Acceptable) 


Pretty self-explanatory. This shortening of San Francisco is commonly used by both tourists and locals, alike.


The Golden City (Does Anyone Really Use This?) 


It sounds pompous, we know. With the Gold Rush and today’s tech boom, yes the city is generating “gold”. But already having a pretty prideful reputation, we doubt a lot of locals use this nickname.


Fog City (The One That Rings True)


Tourist Expectation: A sensuous white blanket embracing the city. Local Reality: Although beautiful, the fog sucks most of the time. That said, the nickname is one of those which actually embody a city characteristic. And for that, we can’t complain.


The City (The One For Bay Area Local-Use)


Come on, you know we all use it here. This is also true for most major metropolitan cities like New York.


City by the Bay (The Crowd Favorite) 


No explanation needed. It sounds good. It feels right. It rings true.

Neighborhood Snapshot: Bernal Heights

Suburbia. Bernal Heights has a “quiet village community” feel that makes it alluring as a home to young families; hence, its unofficial nicknames “Maternal Heights” and “Maternity Hill”. A common wisecrack is it's where young professionals and the so-called hipsters from the Mission go after they're done partying to start a family. Pet Lovers' Delight- dogs in particular. Boasting of multiple dog-friendly parks, living here with your furry companions will be an absolute dream. Take it in. As one of the "hills" of San Francisco, residents enjoy truly expansive and breathtaking views of the city.

History: It's origins can be traced back from the 1839 Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo Mexican land grant to José Cornelio Bernal. San Francisco financier François Louis Alfred Piocheowned then took ownership in 1860 and was responsible for smaller lot subdivision. Bernal Heights is known to have housed not only 1906 earthquake survivors but also shipyard workers from WWII. Oh and believe it or not, it used to be called "Nanny Goat Hill.

Find: Bernal Heights lies to the south of Mission District. It is bounded by Cesar Chavez Street to the north, San Jose Avenue to the west, US 101 to the East, and I-280 to the South.

Attractions: Cortland Ave commercial strip, SF Public Library, Bernal Heights Park

Eat, Drink, Be Merry:
 The Front Porch (
 Holy Water (
 The Lucky Horseshoe (
 Wild Side West (

Transportation: Muni 67

Our take: Families? Planning on starting one? Someone who loves the peace and quiet? This neighborhood is one not to miss if you're looking for a home.

If you're interested in being the neighborhood's newest homeowner or interested in selling your Bernal Heights gem, please schedule a consultation with Rebecca White.



Neighborhood Snapshot: Castro

Rebecca's Take: Castro District. What's not to love? Family-Friendly Noe Valley and Alamo Square are around the corner.  So is up and coming, hip and popular with the younger crowd Mission. Attractions: The 18th St strip, Castro Theatre

Eat, Drink, Be Merry:
Beso Bistronomia
Orphan Andy's
Hot Cookie
Kitchen Story

Must attend: San Francisco Pride, Halloween

Transportation: Muni 33, 37 and F, Church muni station

Zip Codes: 94110, 94114

Interested in being a proud Castro homeowner OR looking to pass on your lovely property to worthy new owners? Please contact Rebecca White. She will be delighted to assist you!

Noe Valley

Noe Valley is named after Jose de Jesus Noe, the last Mexican mayor of San Francisco. He used to own what is present day Noe Valley as part of his Rancho San Miguel. 
The neighborhood was developed at the beginning of the 20th century after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. 

The Vibe:

Noe Valley is home to hundreds of classic Victorian and Edwardian residential architecture- some of which still have their original facades. 
Noe Valley has one of the highest concentrations of row houses in the City. Noe Valley is currently home to many urban professionals, particularly young families with children 
as well as more mature residents who have owned homes there all their lives.  Noe Valley is now considered an upscale neighborhood where a well-maintained property selling for $2-5 million is not unusual. 

Walk Score & Getting Around:

Built-in garages and tons of street parking makes it viable to own a car in Noe Valley. The J Church and several tech shuttles run regularly and parts of Noe are close to the Glen Park and 24th St. BART stations. 

Restaurants & Local Businesses:

One of the best neighborhoods for coffee-and-a-bagel mornings and bourgeois sensibilities, many joke about Noe Valley’s “stroller population”. 
Given the current and neighboring area residents, it has attracted upper scale merchants. Expect handmade products, organic produce and higher end products when shopping.

Our Take:

Pet-friendly. New baby-friendly.  All around family-friendly neighborhood with true San Francisco charm.


Farmers Market, Noe valley Pet Company, Echo Furniture, Firefly, Fresca, Incanto, St Paul’s Catholic Church, Noe Valley Spa

Russian Hill

Russian Hill is another one of San Francisco’s “44 Hills” and one of its original “7 Hills”.  It is north (downhill) of Nob Hill, south (uphill) of Fisherman’s Wharf and to west of North Beach.  The neighborhood names goes back to the Gold Rush era when settlers discovered a small Russian cemetery on top of the hill.

The Vibe:

Russian Hill is one of the most idyllic residential neighborhoods in San Francisco. The home price tags are not exactly pocket change but in this case- very worth it. Home to the famous Lombard St- the most crooked street in the World (between Hyde St and Leavenworth St), it has the distinction of being scenic and iconic.  The views from the top of the hill include Marin County, Bay Bridge, Golden gate bride and Alcatraz.


Due to the steepness of the hills, do not be surprised to see stairways in portions of the sidewalk streets. Russian Hill also feature pedestrian-only lanes such as Fallon Place and Macondray Lane, both with breathtaking views. Several lines of muni run up and down the hills routing through various directions.


With its immediate proximity to the Marina, the Wharf, Nob Hill and North Beach, Russian Hill will never be at a lost for dining and recreation options from all sides.

Our Take:

Ideal for young families, empty nesters and professionals looking for a safe yet lively neighborhood to live in. Governor Gavin Newsom used to own a penthouse here from his mayoral days- you know it’s an excellent choice.


Lombard St, Alice Marble Park, SF Art Institute, The Stinking Rose, Nick’s Crispy Tacos, Gary Danko, The Bagelry, Frascati, La Folie, Atelier des Modistes

Quick Tip on Financing


As the events of the last few years in the real estate industry show, people forget about the tremendous financial responsibility of purchasing a home at their peril. Here are a few tips for dealing with the dollar signs so that you can take down that “for sale” sign on your new home.


Get pre-approved. Sub-primes may be history, but you’ll probably still be shown homes you can’t actually afford. By getting pre-approved as a buyer, you can save yourself the grief of looking at houses you can’t afford. You can also put yourself in a better position to make a serious offer when you do find the right house. Unlike pre-qualification, which is based on a cursory review of your finances, pre-approval from a lender is based on your actual income, debt and credit history. By doing a thorough analysis of your actual spending power, you’ll be less likely to get in over your head.


Choose your mortgage carefully. Used to be the emphasis when it came to mortgages was on paying them off as soon as possible. Today, the debt the average person will accumulate due to credit cards, student loans, etc. means it’s better to opt for the 30-year mortgage instead of the 15-year. This way, you have a lower monthly payment, with the option of paying an additional principal when money is good. Additionally, when picking a mortgage, you usually have the option of paying additional points (a portion of the interest that you pay at closing) in exchange for a lower interest rate. If you plan to stay in the house for a long time—and given the current real estate market, you should—taking the points will save you money.


Do your homework before bidding. Before you make an offer on a home, do some research on the sales trends of similar homes in the neighborhood with sites like Zillow. Consider especially sales of similar homes in the last three months. For instance, if homes have recently sold for 5 percent less than the asking price, your opening bid should probably be about 8 to 10 percent lower than what the seller is asking.