May 22, 2007

How to save 17% on your BBQ groceries this Memorial Day

As you may recall, last Thanksgiving I found that the exact same groceries at Safeway in the Bay Area were more than the exact same groceries at Safeway in Redmond, WA.

The point of this comparison was to see how Apple/Sony would compete against Nintendo/Microsoft. In that study, I found that on average, groceries cost 20% more here than there.

Which makes sense – have you seen Apple’s stock price? Have you seen our great weather? Of course grey poupon should be 30% more expensive here than there. Grey poupon is simply better here!

Well, Memorial Day is coming up, so I thought it would be fun to come up with a comparison for a BBQ. But to add a twist, I decided to compare groceries in the Cupertino, to groceries in Redmond, Washington – as well as Washington DC!

Yep, that’s right! There are Safeways there – and they sell the same Safeway Select stuff there. The Capital of Innovation versus the Capital of Politics vs the Capital of Rain.

Let’s take a look:

Cupertino DC Difference Cupertino Redmond Difference
Charcoal 4.99 3.69 35% 4.99 3.99 25%
A1 8.23 5.99 37% 8.23 5.45 51%
Foil 3.49 2.99 17% 3.49 3.49 0%
Butter 3.00 3.00 0% 3.00 3.00 0%
Pickles 3.69 2.99 23% 3.69 2.85 29%
Large Tomatoes 1.50 1.50 0% 1.50 1.25 20%
Corn on the Cob 3.19 3.29 -3% 3.19 2.99 7%
Pork Should Ribs 5.58 7.38 -24% 5.58 3.58 56%
Sausages 5.29 5.50 -4% 5.29 5.49 -4%
Coke 5.49 5.49 0% 5.49 5.49 0%
Ruffles Chips 3.49 3.49 0% 3.49 3.49 0%
Olive Oil 10.46 8.79 19% 10.46 8.39 25%
Dinner Rolls 0.39 0.55 -29% 0.39 0.39 0%
Ribeye Steak 10.99 11.99 -8% 10.99 10.49 5%
Ketchup 3.59 2.69 33% 3.59 2.59 39%
Mustard 2.49 2.04 22% 2.49 2.31 8%
Relish 1.49 1.49 0% 1.49 0.99 51%
Oscar Mayer Franks 4.99 4.29 16% 4.99 4.49 11%
Hot Dog Buns 1.69 1.19 42% 1.69 0.99 71%
Lettuce 1.49 1.79 -17% 1.49 1.59 -6%
Potatoes 0.32 0.25 28% 0.32 0.25 28%
Cucumbers 0.99 0.66 50% 0.99 0.99 0%
Chili 2.09 1.99 5% 2.09 1.86 12%
Appie Pie 6.99 5.99 17% 6.99 5.99 17%
Peach Pie 6.99 5.99 17% 6.99 5.99 17%
Ice Cream Sandwich 5.99 5.29 13% 5.99 5.49 9%
Paper Plates 2.19 1.99 10% 2.19 1.89 16%
Cutlery 1.99 1.99 0% 1.99 1.99 0%
Garbage Bags 7.99 7.59 5% 7.99 7.49 7%
Average: 11% Average: 17%

Woot! We win again! Groceries here are 11% more expensive than Washington DC, and 17% more expensive than Redmond, Washington.

Woot! We’re #1! We’re #1! Hurray! Huzzah!

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “WTF? Houses are 2x more expensive than renting, and now groceries are more expensive than in Washington DC, and Washington state – where they don’t even have an income tax? WTH am I doing here???”

Before you consider leaving the Bay Area, just remember that they don’t have any Chinese restaurants, Korean restaurants, Japanese restaurants, Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, gay-friendly, smart people, diversity, tech companies, snow sports, hiking, mountains, universities, In-n-outs, or 9 months of sun. And let’s not forget our cheap housing, amazing public schools, great roads, low taxes, lack of traffic, and our Governator.

I hope your BBQ turns out well!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:25 am

May 21, 2007

$1850 to rent a $585,000 house

I noticed this ad on Craiglist:

$1850 ***HOME***2 Bed / 1 Bath + Bonus Room w/Full Bath***HOME****
Great home on a beautiful 4000 square foot lot. Exceptional details of this home include:

2 Bedrooms, 1 Bath, recent remodeled kitchen, large secured back and front yard. Attached garage converted to studio (unwarranted) perfect for additional bedroom or home office. Large yard has water well available. Plenty of storage and large tool 15 x 12 tool shed. New Paint, and Carpeting. Kitchen appliances, window coverings and washer and dryer included.

·Two bedrooms and one bath.
·Additional unwarranted bathroom in garage, great for office or additional living quarters.
·Spacious kitchen plenty of newer cabinets, and counter tops.
·Large level back yard landscaped with garden area.
·This property includes a one car attached.
·Large and secured front and back yard.
·Recent work done to the home includes interior paint and carpeting.
·Conveniently located within walking distance to shopping center and freeway access.
·Extra storage throughout the home including large 15 X 12 tool shed
·All appliances included.

If you click the link, you’ll see that the house is none other than the one featured in early April on this blog:

What’s the 5th most affordable home in Redwood City like?

This is how I described it then:

Unfortunately, I was never able to enter the home. Why? Because I couldn’t find a parking spot!

Yep – on the day I was there, every inch of the street had been taken up by either a pickup truck, an industrial truck with landscaping equipment, a trailer, or an commercial van. Heck, I could barely find the house with all those tall vehicles on the street.

This is just a hunch, but I suspect that it hasn’t improved dramatically as of late.

But for fun, let’s do the math… according to this calculator, a 30 year mortgage w/10% down would run you $3442 a month. Or, if you got an Interest Only loan, it would be $2195 a month.

Hm… this calculator says that you will not break even after 30 years!

There’s just one mistake though: they forgot that Redwood City is special, that the equipment to detect illegal gun fire is working, and they’re not making any more Redwood City.

I bet you’ll break even after just 2 years. What do you think?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:28 am

May 19, 2007

Do you work for Adobe? or know someone who does?

Do you work for Adobe? Or have a close friend who does?

Could you contact me at


Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:29 am

May 18, 2007

Does it come with HIM?

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 722459
South San Francisco, CA 94080


This Single Family Residence has the following features:
MLS#: 722459 Approx Age: 65 Years Approx Sq Ft: 880
Detached Single Family 1 Story Cottage/Bungalow
2 Bedrooms 1 Bathroom 1 Shower over Tub
1 Tub Separate Dining Room Bonus Room

Oh wow! 800 sqft and it has a bonus room! Let’s check out the bonus room!


Um. Hm. Isn’t that what most people call a garage?
Well, in any case, if it comes with this, I’m buying it:


Swweeeeeeeeeeeeeet! I’ve always wanted to buy a house with a semi-setup flat panel TV, and a guy on the phone!

Now this truly is special!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:49 am

May 17, 2007

Readers! What's wrong with this picture?

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 717834
San Bruno, CA 94066


Open House Showing
Sunday, May 06, 2007 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
1:30 – 2:45

This Single Family Residence has the following features:
MLS#: 717834 Approx Age: 51 Years Approx Sq Ft: 720
Attached Single Family 1 Story Ranch
2 Bedrooms 1 Bathroom 1 Shower over Tub

Ok… so it says that there’s 1 shower over the tub.

So count how many things you can find wrong with this picture:


See anything? Post it in the comments!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:45 am

May 16, 2007

"Santa Clara County median home price rises to record: $803,000"

San Jose Mercury News – Santa Clara County median home price rises to record: $803,000
Santa Clara County median home price rises to record: $803,000
April Bay Area sales at lowest level in 12 years
By Sue McAllister
Mercury News
Article Launched: 05/16/2007 12:22:28 PM PDT

Home price trends across the Bay Area were mixed in April, with median prices falling compared with last year in counties with more affordable homes, and rising in the more expensive counties, a real estate information firm reported today.

Sweet!  Now, if you read the full article, or talk to those doomsters, they’ll tell you that there’s this math stuff that shows that prices aren’t actually going up.

But you and I know in our gut that this must be true. They’re not making any more land, Google, the weather is improving, and every day it gets more special here.

You heard it here first: median price in Santa Clara count will be $1 million by September.

And rent will soar – it’ll be $2000 a month for a one bedroom apartment. (Which would then resell for $750k when it converts!)

Comments (7) -- Posted by: burbed @ 3:29 pm

Please don't drink the hemlock

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 703901
Millbrae, CA 94030



This Single Family Residence has the following features:
MLS#: 703901 Approx Age: 89 Years Approx Sq Ft: 800
Detached Single Family 1 Story Cottage/Bungalow

89 years old, 800 sqft. $614,900. And a classic white picket fence. It’s the American dream! RIGHT HERE!

And just check out your neighbors:


Mm… Caltrain tracks, a power station, 2 giant complex, a rotting house, and other things that make your house special. This is your American Dream. RIGHT HERE!

Hey wait a minute… put it down! Don’t drink the hemlock! no! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am

May 15, 2007

Run your own airport parking service with this house!

755 Walnut St, San Bruno, California 94066 Homes for Sale and Real Estate
755 Walnut St, San Bruno 94066


Bedroom: 2 Bathroom: 1 MLS#: 715464 Square Footage: 950 $614,900
Year Built: N/A Parking Spaces: 1 List Date: 3/26/2007 Lot Size: N/A

755 Walnut St, San Bruno
Great starter hm 2bd 1ba w/ updated granite kit & new cab. The home has a good floor plan w/ a good sized living rm. hm allows for more parking. yd is very lrg w/ patio and a storage shed. Needs only minor cosmetics

Great starter home? This is totally underselling the house.

This is actually a great investment opportunity in disguise! The clue? “allows for more parking”.

Yep, that’s right! You can be an offsite airport parking service with this house! Look at the map – you’d be practically part of SFO! Throw up one of those driveway tents that they sell at Costco and BAM! You’ve suddenly got a $9 dollar a day revenue opportunity. You’ll pay off your $3400 a month mortgage in no time at all.

If you follow this great idea, you owe me 5 days of free parking. Thanks!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am

May 14, 2007

28.3% of Bay Area loans are negative amortization

Inside Bay Area – Short sales spike among homeowners stuck holding ‘easy-money’ loans
In the Bay Area, negative amortization loans soared from 1.7 percent of mortgages taken out in 2002 to 28.3 percent in 2005, according to San Francisco-based LoanPerformance, which keeps tabs on the mortgage industry. During the same period, interest-only loans increased from 12 percent to 43 percent.

San Joaquin County also saw similar growth. Negative amortization loans jumped from just 0.3 percent of loans taken out in 2002 to 21.1 percent in 2005. Interest-only loans went from 2.9 percent of loans taken out in 2002 to 37.5 percent in 2005.

That sounds alarming at first, until you realize that the Bay Area technically includes Solano county – you know, Benecia, Dixo, Vallejo etc.

While those are special areas – they’re not as special. You know what I mean?

We’re still safe! Phew!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:00 pm

Select All, Copy, Paste – repeat

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 710245
Brisbane, CA 94005

Georgous New Custom Built 4 Bedroom/3 Bathroom Home With Million Dollar Views! Large Living Room With Fireplace, Huge Kitchen With Granite Countertops & Stainless Steel Appliances, Amazing Masterbed (with Fireplace) & Master Bath (with jacuzzi tub), Recessed Lighting, Beautiful Hardwood Floors Throughout, and an Elevator.

This Single Family Residence has the following features:
MLS#: 710245 Approx Age: New Approx Sq Ft: 2630
Detached Single Family 2 Stories Contemporary
4 Bedrooms 3 Bathrooms 1 Stall Shower

Is it just me… or did someone copy and paste the first floor onto the second floor? I mean… really… doesn’t that look weird?

I guess with that million dollar view, you have to have some cost savings along the way…

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:14 am