May 25, 2008

What do you like about the (Real) Bay Area?

Will stock options save the Bay Area? []
been_there_done_that Says:
May 17th, 2008 at 9:08 am

I loved the people and the culture out in Texas (there are smart progressive there contrary to what others believe). It was just too hot and humid for us that felt like I was trapped in our big beautiful house when I wanted to be outside doing things. In addition the bugs and having to drive so much really killed it for me.

I was born overseas (military) but I consider myself to be from the the bay area since I moved here when I was 6.

I love being able to go to the beach or to the redwoods on the weekend. I like being able to ride my bike all year around and go hiking when I like to. I’m not much of a partier.

Sometimes I feel we lose sight of how amazing it is that we can live in the Bay Area. How blessed we are. BTDT’s comment above reminds me of that.

So please, take a moment and share what you find truly awesome about this blessed place. Why is the Bay Area so awesome? Why is living anywhere else like being in a hell hole?

Comments (87) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:05 am

May 24, 2008

When thinking about leaving the Bay Area, a common mistake is made

Home sales jump 29% in the San Francisco Bay Area []
bob Says:
May 23rd, 2008 at 2:35 pm

uhhhh Real Estater ,
Did you read my initial response to your reply? What part of the: ” Me and my Wife make well into a dual six figure income. We could just as easily afford to buy a house in just about any BA city that…” did you not understand? Yes, at one time I made less, and now I make considerably more, as in more than enough to buy with my own personal salary if I chose to do so, but will not per my previous reasons which I care not to repeat.

been there done that: I grew up in ‘da South’- the land that makes anyone from California tremble with fear. The two most common and in my opinion lame excuses I hear from people who aren’t initiated are: “Oh… well how can you stand the heat, humidity, and the Christians?” Easy… Just as easily as I can also handle crazy hippies, long and wet winters, and insane traffic, the high cost of living, and pending threat of what will someday be a earthquake here in SF.

Just because you live in a hot region doesn’t mean you have to use AC. We actually had a huge ceiling fan mounted in the hallway. That sucker would suck huge amounts of air through the screened-in windows and wallah- nice cool, comfortable breeze. That and we had large trees planted all around the house. Also- back in the old days, people built homes with really high ceilings. I have an Aunt in Memphis. She doesn’t have AC, but her house actually stays quite cool. Heating- the same way. You can get by without using modern heat pumps.People from the BA aren’t used to dealing with any kind of weather that involves creative air conditioning solutions.

Anyhow, at the very least, having to drive and having to cool or heat a home seems like a really tiny negative in an otherwise sea of outright positives when comparing just how much better you can live in another city that just happens to not be the carbon copy of the Bay Area. I for one hope that where I move to ISN’T like the Bay Area at all.

This is a common mistake by people. The Bay Area by definition is the most important and best place to live. So by definition, no other place can be on par with the Bay Area because you cannot replicate it.

Besides, everyone in the Bay Area spends all their free time outdoors enjoying the beauty of nature after they wrap up their 14 hour workday (which, again, makes us special. Unlike slackers from the South who work 8 hour days.)

Sorry Bob, your argument is rejected.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:49 am

Does a report like Juliana Lee’s exist for San Mateo?

This site truly has some useful data:

Here’s an example:

Is there a site like this for cities in San Mateo county?

In general there’s so much less free data for San Mateo than there is for Santa Clara.

Pointers anyone?

Comments (14) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:38 am

May 23, 2008

Comment of the week

This was a long week for me – I’m not sure why, but I cracked up reading this comment:

Which photo of this million dollar Redwood City house looks better? []
ex-sunnyvale-renter Says:
May 22nd, 2008 at 7:04 pm

I can’t believe anything in Redwood City is worth this much, and must again ascribe the published price to a decimal point error – there’s an extra zero in the price.

Redwood City is where I joined a boxing club and quit because there was too much fighting going on.

Nice one ESR. Nice one.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 10:25 am

Palo Alto home price drops 16%.

KINGSLEY Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301
Price: $10,500,000

Beds: 4
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 5,025
$/Sq. Ft.: $2,090
Lot Size: 0.74 Acres
Age (Years): 85
Year Built: 1923
Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Mediterranean
Stories: 2 Stories
View(s): Neighborhood
Neighborhood: Professorville
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 763160
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 175 days
Unsold in 90+ days
Expanded, remodeled, restored 2006.Traditional floor plan. Grt for entertaining. All bedrooms w/ baths. Second family room upstairs. Professorville Estate on nrly 3/4 acre w/ detach garage w/ space for carriage house. Wide terraces to terrific grounds. Grand kit/fam rm. Banquet size dining room. Study w/ FP. Master suite w/ sitting room w/ tree top views. Attic and basement. Oak floors. 9′ celings. Elegant !

Burbed reader Madhaus suggested I post this. I hemmed and hawed. Indeed the price has fallen:

Listing Price History
Date Price
Nov 15, 2007 $12,500,000
Jan 21, 2008 $11,500,000
Mar 04, 2008 $10,500,000

I couldn’t decide whether to feature this or not. You see, featuring price drops like this is sort of like talking about suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge, or showing Bin Laden videos – you’re just encouraging copy cats and terrorists. Do you really want others to think that it is ok to drop your offering price? Do you really want to showcase people who drop their offering price? Is this at all ethical?

I’m not sure. I leave it to you readers – is the owner of this house committing insane fiscal terrorism upon Palo Alto? What should we as Bay Area citizens do to him/her?

Comments (29) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:22 am

Home sales jump 29% in the San Francisco Bay Area

Home sales in California jump nearly 27 percent
Home sales in California jumped nearly 27 percent from March to April as bargain hunters found it easier to get loans and pick up property on the cheap.

DataQuick Information Systems released statewide numbers Tuesday, after reporting similarly positive figures for the San Francisco Bay area, which saw a nearly 29 percent jump during the same period.

Booyah baby! Spring bounce is in full effect. Prepare to be priced out forever baby!

Comments (45) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:05 am

May 22, 2008

Which photo of this million dollar Redwood City house looks better?

I probably should’ve posted these a few days earlier… but nonetheless this is still rather interesting:

Well, what’s wrong with this house you might be wondering? After all, it looks pretty good. The garage is even a little sunken – that’s kind of neat.

Well… let’s take a look at a slightly different picture:

Wow. What a difference. I’m not photography expert, so I’d love some professional input here, but this is rather interesting. From a mini-mansion, this house now looks like it’s built for people like Yao-ming: Tall and skinny. Which is a good thing! After all, who doesn’t want to reduce their footprint on this beautiful planet of ours. 2100 sqft – of very skinny sqft. Maybe they should’ve used a new unit of measurement for this house!

Also, notice the difference in colors. What’s up with that? Any color experts here?

Is the second one, which I believe is the Realtor preferred one, better? Or worse?

Regardless, this is now $50k off – so it’s a great deal no matter which picture you like more. Go get it!

(Thanks to the very anonymous Burbed reader for this find.)

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

May 21, 2008

The City of San Carlos for is for sale at $879,950 – includes Caltrain!

578 CEDAR St San Carlos, CA 94070
Price: $879,950

Beds:     2
Baths:     2
Sq. Ft.:     1,590
$/Sq. Ft.:     $553
Lot Size:     6,500 Sq. Ft.
Age (Years):    84
Year Built:    1924
Type:    Detached Single Family
Style:    Contemporary
Stories:    1 Story
Neighborhood:    Cordes Etc.
County:     San Mateo
MLS#:     805063
Source:     MLSListings
Status:     Active
On Redfin:     3 days
This is an oppertunity for owner or an investor, this property appears to be on a Multifamily Residential lot in a great downtown location. R1 lot in a R3 zone, explor the possibilities with this in town home w/ large 3+car garage. R3 use District: Multiple-family dwellings or apartment houses in a single structure, family care home, two family dwellings in a single family structure;

Sweet. You can now buy the City of San Carlos. And if you look carefully, they even thrown in the Caltrain station! Who knew that San Carlos was only 6,500 sqft though.

But seriously, this is a great opportunity. Just think, you can buy this house now, live in it, and then in a few years, when the house prices has doubled, you can refi, tear down, and build a townhouse! Think of all the passive income baby!

Step 1: Buy house
Step 2: ??????
Step 3: Profit!

If this isn’t the best investment opportunity ever, I don’t know what is. But then again, I’m not an expert on building apartments. Could someone help me do the math to demonstrate how this would be immensely profitable?

(Thanks to Burbed anonymous reader)

Comments (32) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:57 am

Luxury Foreclosures – can it happen in the Bay Area?

Luxury Foreclosures –

The foreclosure signs that have been sprouting up in less-affluent communities since 2006 are beginning to appear in the well-off suburbs, attached to houses that once cost $1 million or more. Although those kinds of homes are in the minority now, real estate agents predict the numbers will swell.

In Loudoun County, 60 houses priced over $750,000 are among the 932 foreclosures and short sales — an exit strategy of selling the house at a loss with the bank’s blessing to avoid foreclosure.

Affluent neighborhoods have been able to stave off foreclosure longer, but the effects of once-popular loans, such as adjustable-rate and interest-only mortgages, are beginning to take their toll, economists and real estate agents said. The consequences are being seen in places such as Loudoun County, where the rapidly expanding population and income levels meant razing dairy farms for new subdivisions over the past two decades, as well as Fairfax and Montgomery counties, where new subdivisions proliferated and demand drove up prices.


While the expanding subprime market enabled lower-income borrowers with uncertain credit histories to buy and refinance property, interest-only mortgages allowed middle- and upper-income home buyers — and investors — to buy beyond their purchasing power, said Robert E. Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech in Alexandria.

“Who would have imagined that people would use this as an excuse to heavily leverage themselves?” said Lang, noting that higher-income people found ways to buy bigger, more expensive houses, endangering themselves just as lower-income, first-time buyers did. “And now they’re caught in the same way.”


After six years of record-shattering growth and building boom, Loudoun County faced one of the region’s steepest declines in home prices last year. The median price of single-family houses and townhouses sold last year was $492,000, down 8 percent from $535,000 in 2006, according to a Washington Post analysis.

Madhaus sent this in the other day. Could this happen in the Bay Area? Well… maybe. But in the Real Bay Area? Nah.

Let’s face it, this article was about Norther Virginia. And let’s face it, which company was the shining star of that area? Yep: AOL.

Is AOL the same as Google, Apple, VMWare, Facebook, Twitter, and all the other amazing Web 2.0 startups we have here? Nope. And that’s why Loudoun County is dying. Heck, they also don’t have the amazing GreenTech jobs that are about to explode here, nor do they have Biotech. And what’s Tyson’s Corner compared to the hot new Cupertino Square?

So this article is complete bunk. It’s comparing rotten bananas with amazingly beautiful and ripe CJ Olson cherries.

Comments (29) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:01 am

May 20, 2008

The beauty of America continues in Sunnyvale

04 America Ave, Sunnyvale

* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 2
* Bathroom: 1
* Year Built: 1940
* Lot Size: 3049
* Square Footage: 754
* List Date: 2/16/2008
* Garage Spaces: 1

Very clean, nice and cozy home. Easy access to freeways close to school and parks, move in condition you must see it to appreciate. Please bring all buyers and present offers.

Burbed as always been a fan of houses on America in Sunnyvale. Nothing says welcome to America quite like this house its friends.

Let’s face it, in these troubled economic times, you don’t know what might happen. Sunnyvale is one of America’s safest big cities, but this house just makes it that much safer with its steel mesh doors. Furthermore, at just 784 square feet, defending your castle will be extremely easy.

Again, you can never invest enough to protect the safety of your children. Good schools, great crime protection! You deserve a home in Sunnyvale. You deserve a home in America.

In this case, if you don’t buy the house soon, the dog gets it! Just kidding!

Comments (29) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am