November 30, 2007

The ironic post of the week

MLS-2.com: Property Details
525 WILLOW ST, San Jose,CA,95125 – $599,000

525willow.jpg

Total 1 photos: Previous Next

2 Beds 900 Sq.Ft. Aprx. Guest Parking MLS#: 761286
1.0 Baths 4,356 Lot Size 78 Yrs Old Aprx. List Date: 2007-11-05

Description – 525 WILLOW ST, San Jose,CA,95125
Recently used as Office (zoned c)..great for small business..remodeled and upgrades includes dual pane windows, central AC, laminate floors, pre-wired cat5 and pbx phones, super location to downtown Willow Glen and easy frwy access. Street and rear parking. don’t miss it!

Thanks to Burbed Reader Brendan for this find.

It’s not every day that you get a chance to buy a house that was previously used by a Realtor. Since it was, you know that they’re selling it to you because now is a great time to buy or sell a home! You’ll also know that they’re doing you a favor by offering you the best home at the best price at the best location.

Who’s not a winner from this deal?

(BTW, be sure to ask if they have an appraiser and mortgage broker they recommend!)

Comments (7) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am






Tommy’s parents avoided being foolish

The other day, Burbed reader Tommy posted this comment:

“housing is the linchpin of our economy” – in NY [Burbed.com]
As for housing being considered retirement/rainy day funds: My folks felt that way and have refi-ed their way into $150K of debt. The funny thing is that their house originally cost something ridiculous like $25K in the 70s. I’m not looking to get into that kind of trouble and hope to have my house paid in full asap along with my cash hordes :)

Congrats Tommy! Your parents are sophisticated and not foolish. Let’s look at some advice from experts from 2005:

Home Equity at Risk

“If you paid your mortgage off, it means you probably did not manage your funds efficiently over the years,” said David Lereah, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors and author of “Are You Missing the Real Estate Boom?” “It’s as if you had 500,000 dollar bills stuffed in your mattress.”

He called it “very unsophisticated.”

Anthony Hsieh, chief executive of LendingTree Loans, an Internet-based mortgage company, used a more disparaging term. “If you own your own home free and clear, people will often refer to you as a fool. All that money sitting there, doing nothing.”

Congrats!

Comments (36) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:40 am

November 29, 2007

Quarter acre of land in Campbell + 2 people = $850k!

Reports

1560w.jpg
1560 W HACIENDA AV
Campbell (Campbell) 95008
Detached Single Family (Class 1)
Bed/Bath: 5 / 3
SqFt: 2,580
Lot: 12,035 sq ft
Age: 53 years
List Price: $850,000
Assoc Fee:
Remarks
DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH* TWO STORY HOME IN ROUGH CONDITION WITH DEFFEED MAINTENENCE**VALUE IS THE LAND**LARGE FLAT LOT IN NEIGHBORHOOD OF NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES*GREAT CANDIDATE FOR BUILD/REMODEL

Frankly, I’m not sure what “DEFFEED MAINTENENCE” is – is that when you starve the house so that it doesn’t gain weight?

In any case, that’s not why Burbed reader Sandi sent this to me – here’s what she had to say:

 Here is another gem…especially photo # 8 of 9…gotta love the owners,

1 laying on the bed and the other in the recliner. Looks like they can’t get up. MLS # 760244

Hm, let’s take a look!

1560a.jpg

Hm. Nothing unusual so far – just another classic reminder to potential buyers of how Bay Area houses don’t need any further investment once you buy them… let’s keep going…

1560b.jpg

Found ‘em!

So… are they included with the purchase price? Or not? One wonders!

Thanks Sandi!

Comments (18) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am

November 28, 2007

Everyone loves cars, right? Right? Zoom zoom zoom!

Dynamic features include a database property search with full color photographs of listings in Napa County.

2978k.jpg
Listing Details
Price: $440,000 (Sale) Property Type: Single Family
MLS#: 20727923 Year Built: 1941
Street Address: 2978 Kilburn Ave Lot Sq. Ft.: 5,227 (approx.)
City: Napa Acreage: 0.120 (approx.)
County: Napa Bldg Sq. Ft.: 765 (approx.)
Bedrooms: 2 2nd Unit on Lot: No
Bathrooms: 1 Status: Active
Partial Bathrooms: none
Comments
take advantage of the price for this nice house in napa.

Burbed doesn’t usually venture to Napa, but fortunately Burbed reader Cathy did and submitted this great find. Cathy had this to say:

Everyone loves cars, right? Right? Zoom zoom zoom!

Indeed. Everyone knows that cars and driving were invented in California – a reflection of our state’s innovative past. This house, located in the land where wine was invented, celebrates this past tradition. It’s only a matter of time before this becomes a national historic landmark – and let’s just say, they’re not making more of those!

Here’s an additional photo that the Realtor included:

2978kb.jpg

For those non-Californians are too dull-witted to understand what’s being implied in this picture, here it is: “Psst, there’s room for parking for 3 more cars here.”

Thanks Cathy!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

California beats New York in being unaffordable! WOOT!

Recordnet.com: S.J. sales prices holding steady
Statewide, just 12.6 percent of all the homes sold could be afforded by a median-income family, up from 11.7 percent in the second quarter, the group said.

Of 65 metropolitan areas ranked for affordability across the nation, San Joaquin County ranked 22nd, with 11.3 percent of median income families – at a median annual income of $60,300 – able to afford a median-priced house of $348,000.

California accounted for nine of the 10 least affordable metro areas in the country: Napa, Los Angeles, Salinas, Anaheim, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Merced and Santa Barbara.

Only outsider New York City made it into that group at the No. 7 spot.

This is a classic case of good news/bad news.

The good news is that California holds 9 of the 10 least affordable metro areas in the country. That’s 90%. New York City, which has nothing compared to California is at mere #7 HAH. Take that. We rule unaffordableness! Golden State stomps on the Big Apple and turns it into applesauce!

The bad news is that California became more affordable – going from 11.7% to 12.6%. I was really hoping that Santa would deliver a single digit affordability rate this year. Like 9.8%.

Here’s to hoping that 2008 will bring us there. I think there’s a good chance after the Superbowl – everyone knows that prices go up after the Superbowl.

What do you think?

Comments (6) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:32 am

November 27, 2007

Finally, a reasonably priced home in Palo Alto

MLS-2.com: Property Details
2951 SOUTH CT, Palo Alto,CA,94306 – $938,000

2 Beds 816 Sq.Ft. Aprx. 1 Car Carport MLS#: 759544
2.0 Baths 5,044 Lot Size 54 Yrs Old Aprx. List Date: 2007-10-25

What’s new on MLS-2: Search by % Price Drop // Search by “MOTIVATED SELLERS”

Description – 2951 SOUTH CT, Palo Alto,CA,94306
Excellent Midtown location! Quiet Cul-de-sac. Charming rancher, original condition, add your upgrades, make it special for you! Lovely backyard, perfect for entertaining, kids & pets. Excellent PA schools (buyer to verify attendance).

Finally, after a recent surge of ridiculously priced homes comes one that makes the Bay Area pride. At $1149 per square foot, this Palo Alto house highlights the excellence of the Bay Area. Why so much? Uh, have you heard of Facebook, Google, or VMWare?

If I could, I would feature houses like this day after day on Burbed. With some hope, some government assistance, some assistance from renters, and more – I just know we can do it!

What will you do to help us reach this goal?

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:23 am

Protesters at Countrywide because of Subprime loans

SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Business — Protesting lender practices
Nearly 50 sign-waving demonstrators chanted and marched outside the Countrywide Financial office on Frazee Road yesterday to protest the way the firm has handled soaring foreclosure rates in San Diego County.

Protesters yesterday said Countrywide and other lenders had steered many borrowers into subprime loans when they could have qualified for cheaper, conventional mortgages.

“Be right, be just, be fair,” said Nativo V. Lopez, president of the Mexican American Political Association. “Allow our families to remain in their homes.”

The protest was organized by Lopez’ group, along with the Mabuhay Alliance of San Diego, a nonprofit that assists minority groups, and the Greenlining Institute, a multi-ethnic research and public policy organization.

[snip]

As they marched along Frazee Road, protesters chanted “Fix our loans, save our homes.” Some of the messages written on signs they carried said, “Got Turkey? Countrywide home loans”; “Keeping my home should not cost me an arm and a leg”; and “Would you give your mom a subprime loan?”

I agree. Countrywide really should be doing more to help. If they don’t, houses will become vacant, prices will slide and… well… that’s just bad for everyone. If California housing becomes affordable, then anyone will be able to afford a home. Not just people who are unable to afford a home at a regular mortgage.

Frankly, Countrywide should be paying their subprime customers just to service them – after all, these are houses in California. They never go down for more than a year or 2. And then they shoot right back up!

Again, this doesn’t really impact the Real Bay Area – just posting this so you can keep up with the news in the subprime arena.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:22 am

November 26, 2007

This Monta Viste Cupertino house has lots of ____

Reports21685 OLIVE AV
Cupertino (Cupertino) 95014
Detached Single Family (Class 1)
Bed/Bath: 3 / 2
SqFt: 1,015
Lot: 5,227 sq ft
Age: —
List Price: $1,040,000
Assoc Fee:
Remarks
MONTA VISTA BUNGALOW*QUIET CULDESAC*ZONED PD (PLANNED DEVELOPMENT)*LIVE IN AND REMODEL OR REBUILD*FLOOR AREA AND SETBACKS LESS RESTRICTIVE THAN R-1* POSSIBLE USE FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES OR COMBO COMMERCIAL/RESIDENTIAL*LOTS OF

Oh noes! A cliff hanger! Lots of … ???

Burbed reader Jessica had this to say:

If the red fence outside doesn’t shock you, the green walls inside should do it. When they say “possibly use for commercial”, are they talking about the last picture?

We must look at the interior then!

Indeed! What a curious commercial development! What commercial operation could possibly justify that awesome bathroom and awesome price?  Hm…..

Thanks for the find Jessica!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

Subprime mortgages, Citigroup, Acorn, NACA

Citigroup Feels Heat To Modify Mortgages – WSJ.com
In Granada Hills, Calif., Natalie Brandon is fighting to keep the three-bedroom ranch house she bought in 1985 for $105,000. Mrs. Brandon, 51, does medical billing for doctors; her husband is a dispatcher for a local gas utility. Last year, she got a $625,500 mortgage from Argent, now owned by Citigroup. Her 7.99% interest rate isn’t set to rise until next June, but she already is behind on payments.

Over the past five years, she has refinanced her home five times, each time taking out cash and paying prepayment penalties. Last year, all she had to do to refinance was state that she and her husband earned a combined $100,000. She says she used the proceeds to pay off $30,000 owed on her white Lexus.

This year, she says, their income fell after she suffered a short-term disability. Mrs. Brandon figures if she sold her home today, she wouldn’t get more than $450,000 — what a nearby home sold for in foreclosure.

She has tried for months to get her loan modified, and missed her June and September payments. Last month, Damien Gutierrez, a Citi Residential home-retention manager, offered to fix her interest rate at 6% for 40 years, she says. One week later, she says, he said he was authorized only to offer her a five-year fixed rate. Earlier this month, Citigroup offered her a six-month trial at 6%, saying it would extend the modification to three years if she keeps up with her payments, she says. Mr. Gutierrez didn’t return calls seeking comment.

[snip]

Ana Cecillia Marin, a 36-year-old single mother of three, owns a 20-year-old ranch house on a dusty, garbage-strewn acre in Palmdale, Calif. She says she earns $34,000 a year managing flower sales at a Los Angeles food store and selling clothes on the side. She bought her house in 2005 for $385,000. By taking out a first and second mortgage, she was able to buy it for no money down.

At first, her ex-boyfriend helped make mortgage payments, she says, but his construction jobs dried up. She hasn’t paid anything for months on the $76,426 second mortgage serviced by Citigroup, and she has also fallen behind on her $308,000 first mortgage, serviced by a unit of Bear Stearns Cos.

Ms. Marin says she got a foreclosure notice on her first mortgage. Judging from recent sales of similar homes in the area, it’s unlikely that Citi Residential will be able to recoup money owed on the second mortgage in the event of a foreclosure sale, because the first-mortgage lender gets its money first.

“I’m afraid I’m going to lose it,” Ms. Marin said recently of the house. Already, she had moved most of her belongings into a wooden crate in the yard. All that remained inside were the mattresses on which she and her children sleep.

[snip]

For years, groups such as Acorn and NACA have pressed Citigroup and other lenders to step up mortgage lending to lower-income customers. When subprime mortgages began going bad, these groups began pushing banks not to lower the boom on borrowers. They have leverage. The Community Reinvestment Act requires banks to help meet the credit needs of communities in which they operate, and regulators often seek feedback from the groups when deciding whether to permit financial institutions to open new branches. The groups sometimes organize boycotts.

None of this has anything to do with the Bay Area, but I thought I’d just post it for fun so you can learn more about what’s going on in subprime land.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:36 am

November 25, 2007

“housing is the linchpin of our economy” – in NY

Have we seen worse of mortgage crisis? – Yahoo! News
Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a key member of Senate finance and banking committees, said borrowers are the ones who need relief. The playbook to bail out the economy would not be applied to the banks and mortgage originators, but money could be funneled through non-profit organizations to homeowners that need help, he said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“There is a worst-case scenario because housing is the linchpin of our economy, and more foreclosures make prices go down, that creates more foreclosures, and creates a vicious cycle,” Schumer said.

Fortunately, in the Bay Area, we’re more diversified than New York.

I’d probably say that it’s

  1. Web 2.0
  2. Software
  3. Hardware
  4. Biotech
  5. Clean tech
  6. Luxury car sales
  7. Financial stuff
  8. Tourism
  9. Garlic/Mushroom farming
  10. Housing

What do you think? Is housing the linchpin of our economy as well?

Actually, do you think Schumer was referring to the country as a whole?

Comments (18) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am