Why Oh Why Would This House Rent for $9995 a Month?


Neighbor Jack noticed something odd this week on the List of Craig: A “Victorian” house on Bennington available for rent at the gobsmackingly high figure of $9995 per month.

What could possibly explain this? Yes, it’s a single-family house with a garage and back yard. But the building itself looks rather unremarkable, with a stucco facade, aging wall-to-wall carpet, and exterior windows that feature those sad fake window panes. The listing doesn’t even include any photos of the kitchen.


Perhaps the house sits on a diamond mine? Or perhaps it includes a vast underground rocket hangar and orbital launch facility?

A quick aerial survey of the premises via Google Maps disproved those theories, so Bernalwood sent an email to the landlord to inquire about the logic of the $9995 monthly rent. We were told:

The reason I am asking $9995 is because my mortgage payment alone is $10,000 and that does not include, taxes, insurance, repairs, etc,. plus it has one of the biggest backyards in Bernal Heights.

This seemed questionable. The yard is definitely nice-sized, but 24 Bennington is hardly big enough to host, say, a backyard motocross track like that giant yard on Alabama.

Plus, a $10,000 monthly mortgage seems far-fetched, especially since a records search shows that the current owner bought the house in 1994, and that it’s been on and off the market several times in the last few years.

So maybe — just maybe — Bernalwood had been fed some heavy-handed shading of the truth regarding that $10,000 monthly nut. Still, why would anyone seek $9995 a month for a place like this?

We turned to celebrity CurbedSF real estate blogger (and suspected Bernalphile) Ms. Sally Kuchar for guidance on the matter. This was Ms. Sally’s hypothesis:

Who knows why it’s that much, right? Anyone can basically put anything on Craigslist. The current owner may have read an article in the Chron that said Bernal was the hottest neighborhood in town for all we know, and decided to try to put it up for rent for a crazy amount of money.

I did a search on several other sites (Zumper, Lovely, Trulia, etc) and Bernal’s pretty much averaging in the $3,000 – $6,000 per month range for single-family homes. That said, when people read these articles all over about how rents are skyrocketing, sometimes they try to cash in by listing their abode for a lot of money with the hopes of some bazillionaire being stupid enough to sign a lease for it. Or their neighbors tell them how much they’re making from Airbnb (usually exaggerating that number) and they think “I can do that too!”

I saw a lot of this when the America’s Cup was coming up. “Oh! We have a house on the Marina Green! Let’s rent it out for $45,000 a month.” These people didn’t get their homes rented for that much, but an A for effort. Or something.

So there you go.

But hey, if you’re a gajillionaire who would like to rent this “Victorian home” for $9995 a month, Bernalwood is quite sure the landlord would be happy to discuss the matter with you.

PHOTOS: 24 Bennington, via Criagslist

35 thoughts on “Why Oh Why Would This House Rent for $9995 a Month?

  1. Re: “[m]y mortgage payment alone is $10,000 and that does not include, taxes, insurance, repairs, etc”: Bro, do you even invest?

  2. This home has been listed as a short sale at least twice over the last two years. I believe the asking price was short of $500k at the time. I looked at the property out of curiosity. I wouldn’t pay $2000 a month in rent for it. The foundation/floors were sloping, poor natural lighting, had odd room configurations like people just randomly put up walls themselves; a true mess. The home has potential for a buyer given it’s large lot, but be prepared to spend A LOT of $ refurbishing.

  3. That he bought in 1994 is not very relevant, he may have used his house as an ATM and re-fi a few times. So if he refied at the top at $2.4Million, that would be $10,000 at 5%. I’m not saying you should pay that much, but it might cost him that much if he was dumb enough to get the cash out, squander it, and if a bank was dumb enough to value the property that high.

  4. I was at a conference once where someone said San Francisco has a ‘faith-based housing market.’ The seller convinces someone to buy at a ridiculous made-up price, and that sets the comps.

    • This goes hand in hand with the high-priced food comment I made earlier — when something is perceived as trendy the vendor can charge high prices. Start spreading the word that Latino people live in Bernal and the neighborhood will no longer be trendy. Latins are not trendy these days, except, I s’pose tango dancers…

  5. Why Oh Why Would This House Rent for $9995 a Month? Simple. $10,000 a month seems like too much money. Gas stations price their gasoline at $3.599 rather than $3.60 for the same reason. Well, you wanted to know…

  6. In early 2012 this house was listed for sale. It was viewable by appointment only, and you had to put an offer on it to get an appointment. The most facacta scenario imaginable, but the property is huge and the backyard is crazy cool. So we made an offer. Long story short, we got jimmied around by the seller’s agent until he figured out that the guy had several tenants living there, all paying separate rent, and he was in mortgage trouble with his bank so was listing it as a way to give his bank the runaround while he sat on the place and collected more revenue. So it was not a legitimate listing, and the seller’s agent removed himself from the situation once he figured out what was going on. I can’t speculate on the personage of this owner, but I would recommend no one do business of any kind with this property.

  7. The whole scenario seems sketchy. Prospective tenants will not give a hoot what kind of bills the owner is responsible for. To ask such a ridiculous rent for a rundown piece of…property is crazy. If the backyard is so large and it’s a selling point, why no pics? The rest of the house must look pretty bad since no other pics are posted either.

  8. I put in an offer on this place when it was on the market back in ’12. Like Jeremy our experience was weird, they just never responded to our offer at all. Interesting to hear that it was a some kind of mortgage scam.

    The yard is awesome, with a gate out onto bocana street. Great location too.

    It seemed to us that there was something weird going on up in the second floor. Definitely multiple tenants, some perhaps running a business out of their part of the place.

  9. I agree, that’s a silly and obscene amount of rent and the lister is unlikely to get it. But there are some of us who think $3k – $6k average rent for a single a family home and selling prices of $1 million are also problemmatic. What we pay for our homes and capitalism is not gravity. It is not a force of nature. There is choice involved. If someone pays it, then that becomes the “going price”.

    • The rent is considered “silly and obscene” only by those who would never pay it. But just the other day the NYSE just anointed a whole new crop of billionaires at Twitter, people who are willing to pay “silly” and “obscene” amounts of money. I know because a “silly and obscene” condo complex is opening right across the street from Twitter, and Brian Goggin was commissioned to put up 13 “silly and obscene” glass and metal pianos that will appear to be falling out of windows onto Market Street. (He’s the guy behind Defenestration at the old hotel on 6th and Howard.) He’s getting so much “silly and obscene” money from the builder that he’s hired 20 people including 4 of my friends to build this art work.

      What I’m getting at is this: Many of you folks have already paid high prices for your homes and for your rents because you desired to live here. Now, a newer, younger crop of people with even more money than you are coming here and doing the same thing, but now you resent it.

      Can’t have it both ways.

    • Okay, I’ll go with that. Help me move back to Bernal. When you do that you’ll get (1) someone who books GREAT entertainment (I used to put on shows at the Odeon bar), (2) someone who spends money in the neighborhood (I’m a regular customer of Blanca’s hair salon, Copy Central, Wild Side West, Progressive Grounds, and lots more, (3) a good neighbor – When Joe the anti-graffiti painter, sold his building on Fair, he gave me $200 out of the blue for having been a good tenant.

      Also, you’d get (4) a computer tech who specializes in small business, especially at-home businesses, (5) someone who spent a number of years with the Northwest Bernal Alliance, the neighborhood association that managed to turn the Mission corridor between Cesar Chavez and Randall from a combat zone into a liveable neighborhood. We put conditions on liquor licenses requiring stores to shut at midnight in order to discourage people from hanging out around the stores. This resulted in a huge drop in crime. I also edited the NWBA monthly newsletter for 2 years, reaching lots of new people who subsequently became members.

      And, you’d get a public transit activist who has spent time on community advisory panels doing everything from planning the T-Third Street light rail to re-aligning bus stops along Mission, and rerouting Muni lines so that the Bernal area would continue to be served, even after a devastating funding cutback.

      So, that’s what you’d get if you lured me back to Bernal.

  10. per usual, this gets off topic. Point is…this property is right next door to us and we KNOW it is a pit owned by a not very nice man. But I don’t want to get sued for libel, so won’t elaborate…if someone is willing to pay, then so be it..I just hope the kids that got evicted were paid their $5000 each under the Ellis act.

    • if those kids were evicted under the auspices of the Ellis Act, then renting it out at all is illegal for a decade and the evicted folks get to move back in at their previous rent. The whole premise of the Ellis Act is that the property is removed from the rental market.

      • And I don’t think you can Ellis a detached, single family dwelling, as they are mostly exempt from rent-control ordinances. Evictions still require just cause, but he may have just raised the rent to get rid of them all. One the other hand, if he was renting the house to multiple people, akin to a boarding house (vs. a group of or single lease-holder), he may have waived that exemption.

        It sounds like the best case scenario is the bank takes the property back and sells it to someone that actually gives a shit about their neighbors.

  11. Feh. It is amusing to see someone set too high a price for something, but not much more than that. Fools would pay so high over market. That’s all.

    The bigger story would be if it gets rented.

  12. The tenants are gone, sale pending on Redfin. The neighbors will live with a construction site for long time, but better for everyone long term.

  13. The property is worth it, at least in the current Bernal market. In two years we’re all going to see a nice new house sitting there. Most of the houses I viewed in Bernal in 2011/12 are now remodeled and sold at a significant, often spectacular, profit. Pretty interesting to watch.

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