April 8, 2008

1923 Middlefield Rd in Redwood City revisited (again)

1923 Middlefield Rd, Redwood City, CA 94063 – Property Details.


* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 2
* Bathroom: 1
* Year Built: 1927
* Lot Size: 1824
* Square Footage: 600
* List Date: 12/20/2007
* Garage Spaces: 1
* MLS#: 768782

Description of 1923 Middlefield Road, Redwood City

Does this seem familiar? It should!

February 2008:

August 2007:

Well this time the Realtor means it – this house really won’t last long this time. Don’t forget this sold in 2006 for $483,523.

So what are you waiting for? Better buy it soon before they start hiking the price!

Comments (25) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:52 am

Help needed in WordPress – any devs reading this?

Is there anyone here who regularly contributes to the WordPress source?

If so, I’d like your help. Since upgrading to 2.5, there are 2 things that are really making my life miserable:

A. “Press it” windows do not allow image uploading to succeed

Here’s how to demonstrate it for yourself:

1. Use the “Press it” bookmarket on a page.
2. Click “Add an image”.
3. Upload an image
4. Click full size
5. Click insert into post.

Watch as nothing happens – except that you get stuck with a giant white square. This flow works correctly if you start by going to Write Post intead.

B. Images have width=500 set

Same steps as above, but through Write Post. Why does the image width get set to be 500?
Anyone want to step up the plate and fix these? I’d greatly appreciate it.


Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:42 am

April 7, 2008

If you tilt a little, this San Carlos house will look even better!

2005 Howard Ave, San Carlos, CA 94070 – Property Details.

* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 3
* Bathroom: 1
* Year Built: 1947
* Lot Size: 4480
* Square Footage: 1120
* List Date: 3/12/2008
* Garage Spaces: 1
* MLS#: 784309


West-Side locale-close prox.to downtown,shops,parks,restaurants,EZ to freeways,transportation,airports.Established neighborhood of higher priced homes.There’s a bonus den,all appliances included,attached garage,spacious yd/patio area with mature fruit trees & roses.Electrical was updated.Air conditioning & central heat. Sold as-is to settle estate.Not a short sale,bank repo.,or court confirmation.

This was sent in by a Burbed reader who declined to be named. It looked to him that this house was going to topple over, and perhaps that’s why it’s a mere $700k.

I disagree.

I think that this is actually an artistic technique that the Realtor chose. By using an angle, the viewer is drawn in – his attention grabbed and stolen as he tries to figure out WTF is wrong with the photo. And by doing so, he has captured precious mindshare.

Further adding to the mystique of this abode is this photo:


The depth of this photo is amazing. The contrast of the fence outdoors and the lit woodpanels indoor seems to indicate that no matter where you go, you are stuck in this house. The green carpet means that whether you’re inside or outside, you’re there. The meaning is so deep my mind spins. I hear copious LSD will really help you appreciate this house.

Well, better buy it soon before this estate gets settled. Whatever that means!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:39 am

Rents rocketing up in San Francisco

The Housing Bust Shakes Up Rentals – Yahoo! Real Estate
Saturated Metro Markets

It’s no surprise that rents are rocketing up in healthy urban job centers with limited room for new apartment construction such as San Francisco, San Jose, New York City, Seattle, and the District of Columbia. But other metro areas with slow job growth such as Denver, Boston, Dayton, Memphis, and Detroit experienced a continuing trend of weak rental growth, according to a ranking of effective rent increases in 2007 for large metro areas compiled for BusinessWeek.com by Manhattan-based real estate research firm Reis (REIS).


In other coastal cities where the job market, housing market, and population growth have been robust, rent increases have accelerated. San Francisco was the top-ranked metro area for rent hikes last year. The effective rents jumped 10.3%, to $1,764, in 2007, compared with a 7.7% increase in 2006 and a 3.8% increase in 2005.

Art Swanson, chief operating officer for Lightner Property Group, which manages more than 300 apartments in San Francisco, says tenants in rent control apartments are unlikely to move out, so “a lot of people coming from out of town are paying the higher prices.” Swanson says there’s heavy demand for entry-level apartments, particularly studios, which are commanding higher rents.

“People are looking to take less to spend less,” Swanson says. “They’re being more budget-conscious.”

We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re #1!

Thanks to Burbed reader Anthony for this find!

Comments (38) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:26 am

April 6, 2008

“The Real Bay Area is just one party after another.”

Your advice needed [Burbed.com]
RealEstater Says:
April 3rd, 2008 at 10:08 am

Look, if buyers are paying more than list price, that’s a strong indication that the market is healthy. Folks don’t pay more just because they’re in a good mood. They pay because that’s the only way to get into a house.

Last year, and the year before, folks were also paying above asking. The Real Bay Area is just one party after another.

Certainly a fair point. I recently heard about one house in San Carlos that got 10 bids, all over asking – and another in Mountain View which practically had a wait list to enter the open house.

How’s the party going for you?

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:05 am

April 5, 2008

Has renting ever been cheaper than owning in the Bay Area?

Second Life house for sale in Mountain View [Burbed.com]
SiO2 Says:
March 29th, 2008 at 8:23 am

VFSW’s website is interesting, but the analysis is a little off. He’s comparing 2008 rent to the cost of owning in 1984. Of course it looks favorable.

FWIW, if you look at monthly cost vs rent, owning has not paid off for many many years in silicon valley. I rented a house for $1800 in 1992. Worth probably $360k at the time. Plus interest rates were higher, let’s say 8.5%. So assuming 20% down, the mortgage was 288k. 24.5K of interest, plus $4k of tax (1.1%) IS 28.5K per year. Plus some maintenance. Plus the foregone interest on the down payment. Rent is $21.6k per year. It’s a no brainer to rent right? Except that in 2008 this house would now sell for around $900k. And if you sell, the gain is tax free. Plus the interest paid over the last 16 years was tax deductible. So it’s not really that clear cut.
It is true that the rent to price ratio is less favorable now, and I personally would not own real estate to rent out. But the rent/own calculation has not penciled out in favor of owning for years. Yet people buy. Some people prefer to own, some prefer to rent. Nothing is wrong with either preference.

That brings up an interesting question – has owning ever been cheaper than owning in the Bay Area? Has it ever even been close to being break even?

What have you seen?

Comments (42) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:11 am

April 4, 2008

Belmont: Heck of a Wreck, Bring Your Check! Eco friendly! Green!

MLS-2.com: Property Details
2632 MONSERAT AV, Belmont,CA,94002 – $749,950

2632mons.jpg4 Beds 2210 Sq.Ft. Aprx. 2 Car Garage MLS#: 781531
2.5 Baths 11,500 Lot Size 44 Yrs Old Aprx. List Date: 2008-03-01

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

Description – 2632 MONSERAT AV, Belmont,CA,94002
Heck of a Wreck, Bring Your Check! Contractor’s Special with great up side potential! Newer level driveway, remodeled kithen, 4 large BR downstairs.Views from most rooms. Home needs new decks, repair to frplc, 2.5 BA’s need remodeling, smell from multiple pets, etc. but home has great potential and possibilities compared to comps. Priced very competively. Don’t miss this opportunity. Show & Sell!

It’s been a while since we’ve seen an eco friendly house, so here’s one. This house eliminates the need for wasteful watering and fertilizing, as the front yard has been paved over. Now you won’t be polluting streams and groundwater. You won’t be making our world toxic. You have more room for your fleet of Priuses and Ford Explorer Hybrids.

That said, I wonder why the house has smells from multiple pets – didn’t they just use the front y….


never mind.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am

Manhattan edges ahead of Bay Area – so close, yet so far

Manhattan Apartment Prices Hit Record High – New York Times
While most of the nation plods through a housing slowdown, Manhattan is experiencing its highest prices in history.

The average price of a Manhattan apartment in the first three months of this year was $1.7 million, up 33.5 percent from the same period last year, according to the real estate appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc., which processed the numbers for the brokerage firm Prudential Douglas Elliman.


A number of brokerage firms released data about the first quarter that generally showed the same trends. All showed that the median price of an apartment grew. According to Miller Samuel, it was up to $917,000 from $840,000, suggesting high prices for many types of apartments.

The median price for studios rose by 22 percent, to $490,000 from $401,000; and the median price for one-bedroom apartments grew by 12 percent, to $750,000 from $669,000, according to the Corcoran Group, a real estate brokerage firm.

I simply cannot express how disappointed I am in this news. It feels like every time our shining star cities (Cupertino, Mountain View, Palo Alto, San Francisco) get closer to beating Manhattan – that Manhattan slips away. So close, yet so far.

Readers – clearly you are not doing your part to help this situation. Why aren’t you helping our property values soar? You should be out there campaigning to tear down houses to save the environment! To allow 0%… no… -20% downpayments.

Damnit… what is it about Manhattan that allows it to constantly beat us?

Here’s what Renter4 recently said about Manhattan:

The place is dirty.

Check. We’ve got the Tenderloin.

It stinks of piss.

Check. We’ve got Market St. And University near Pizza My Heart sometimes.

The stockbrokers are really not so terribly pleasant to be around.

Check. We’ve got VC’s and wantrepreneurs.

The beaches are filthy.

Check. We’ve got Santa Cruz.

And the rats and the mumbling lunatics that erupt into foul-mouthed shouting at little children every five minutes… ye gods.

Check. We’ve got the Tenderloin.

And the one conviction that every New Yorker shares, no matter what their race or political leanings: IT’S ALL ABOUT THEM.

Check. We have Berkeley.

Come on folks. Let’s pull together and beat New York already!

(Thanks to Burbed reader M for this depressing find.)

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:30 am

April 3, 2008

Glut of Unsold Housing in “Fortress”? NO NO NO

Burbed reader Romana sent this to me – and I know why:

Glut of Unsold Housing in Santa Clara County
From the vaunted “Fortress” of Santa Clara Co. This is at the intersection of 3rd and Keyes. This is a condo complex. 2 bed room 2 bath, $488,000 HOA is $340 per month. They are all in denial. Hehe Larry M.1670971747_3rd-and-keyes-santa-clara.jpg

Yep, it’s from that infamous Bubble head blog – Patrick.net. BOOOO. HISSSSS. BOOOOO. HISSSSS.

Although it wasn’t stated, I think Romana sent this to me because of the outrage of how this is portrayed as being in The Fortress. Uh, how is this the Fortress.

Maybe Santa Clara is in The Real Bay Area. Maybe. But Fortress? NO WAY.

I’m glad I was able to step in and clear this up! Thanks Romana!

Comments (71) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:20 am

April 2, 2008

This home has great “bones”

For a mere $34k more than yesterday’s house in so-called expensive Northern New Jersey:

MLS-2.com: Property Details
354 MENDOCINO ST, Brisbane,CA,94005 – $574,000

354men.jpg2 Beds 830 Sq.Ft. Aprx. 1 Car Garage MLS#: 766978
1.0 Baths 2,400 Lot Size 68 Yrs Old Aprx. List Date: 2007-12-06

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

Description – 354 MENDOCINO ST, Brisbane,CA,94005
This home has great “bones” in an awesome location! Needs some TLC and this could be your dream home! Features hardwood floors, granite counters in the kitchen, updated bath and dual pane windows. Attached garage w/inside access, full basement has lots of possiblities. “As-is” sale only.

Burbed is a sucker for homes that have great possibilities! There’s nothing better than buying a house which enables you to have the freedom to completely redo the house – it’s a pride of ownership thing that most renters don’t get: spending money makes you more proud.

But this house has great bones says the seller! Let’s take a look!


Wow… great bones indeed. If you just widen that up a little, you could… uh… fit the SUV that’s in the driveway. Uh… yeah.

Maybe bones wasn’t a good analogy. What analogy would you use?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:10 am