June 30, 2008

Watch out for the downed power lines at this house

32 N Kingston St, San Mateo 94401 (Blossom Valley)

* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 3
* Bathroom: 1
* Year Built: 1947
* Lot Size: 4480
* Square Footage: 920
* List Date: 5/4/2008
* Garage Spaces: 2
* MLS#: 807005
2 Bedrooms 1 bath plus a loft (3rd Bedroom) with spacious kitchen, larger living room with fireplace, separate dining area with sliding glass door to large backyard with fruit trees. Extra room next to the kitchen could be improve to a family room or office

Last sold for $609,052 in 2007, is it just me or does it look like the power lines are falling into this house?

Doesn’t it also look like this house backs up against 101?

Fret not, neither is the case! This house is one street over from 101, buffered by some ugly looking rental(?) complexes, and instead backups against what appears to be a school.

But does any of that really matter? Just think about the instant $109k in equity you will earn by buying this house. I know that’s what I would be thinking of when I go to bed at night, looking out at this wall and window:

I’d scoop this up while you still can!

Comments (35) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:45 am

35 Responses to “Watch out for the downed power lines at this house”

  1. Hellboy Says:

    It doesn’t appear that anyone is living there now so you can move right in(-:…

  2. bob Says:

    The spackled over crack under the window there possible indicates some serious foundation problems. Stay away!

  3. madhaus Says:

    Date Price Appreciation
    Apr 29, 1999 $310,000 —
    Aug 08, 2003 $485,000 11.0%/yr
    Dec 30, 2005 $710,000 17.2%/yr
    Apr 13, 2007 $609,052 -11.3%/yr

    Wow, you could have $210,000 in instant equity if you go back to 2005!

    2003 price levels, baby. I’m going to party like it’s 1999!

  4. madhaus Says:

    Hey burbed, did you read the footnote to that $600K sale on Zillow?

    Transaction Not Included in Zestimate

    This transaction was not used in computing the Zestimate for this house due to anomalies we detected with this transaction. These anomalies can include unusual document or transaction types, sales between possibly related parties, unusually high or low transaction prices, or other data irregularities that might indicate the transaction is not a full-value, arms-length transaction.

  5. rick Says:

    Old house and lack of maintenance, this is not surprising. Actually the house that I live in has a couple of power lines pull from the power post like that as well, it makes me worried. I think it is because the older houses did not have the cable planned in ground.

  6. bob Says:

    I wouldn’t worry about it. That thick insulated power line is actually much better than the stuff in your house. There is also a giant fuse that goes from the post to your house. My Grandmother’s house had the same setup and occasionally a lightning storm would come and burn out the fuse, which required an electrician to come and replace. I’d actually prefer the wires to be above ground. That way you know that the wires aren’t getting chewed by varmits or getting pipes ruptured by roots.

  7. Pralay Says:

    Picture #4, #5, #6.
    Why do they want to show only the corners of the rooms – not the whole room? Those corners got to be more fascinating than the rooms! Or was it a 10 year old kid, who got his first digital camera in hand, taking those pictures?

  8. buckborden Says:

    Well, as the power lines say: DON’T TOUCH! (Unless you want to get burned!).

  9. madhaus Says:

    I forgot to ask when San Mateo acquired the Blossom Valley district from San Jose. I understand the theory of plate tectonics but you’d think we would have noticed a shift like that.

  10. rick Says:

    Thanks for the opinion. The only thing I worry about is the lines are broken somehow and left dangling in the yard, that can kill.

  11. mtv-renter Says:

    As energy costs get high, this house has a lot of possibilities.

    The $109k in instant equity will cover the cost of a Tesla Roadster, with tax.

    You could then use the power lines falling into your back yard to charge the thing! You will be laughing at those suckers who paid $5/gallon while you drive your electric wonder that you charged for free!

    Sign me up.

  12. WillowGlenner Says:

    thanks madhaus for pointing out Zillow is not including the forelosures in Zestimates anymore. These would artificially inflate prices in most cases. I didn’t realize Zillow had a way of telling something was a foreclosure or not. One thing for sure- Zestimates are much more realistic than they were

  13. madhaus Says:

    thanks madhaus for pointing out Zillow is not including the forelosures in Zestimates anymore. These would artificially inflate prices in most cases. I didn’t realize Zillow had a way of telling something was a foreclosure or not. One thing for sure- Zestimates are much more realistic than they were

    I dunno, WillowGlenner, did you see the Zestimate on today’s featured property?

    Low: $496,935
    Estimate: $613,500
    High: $638,400

    Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! This place will go for under the 2003 price.

    I wonder if the low Zestimate is a typo. The low eppraisal.com is $592,804, low on cyberhomes is $556,519.

    Oh wait, this is even funnier. eppraisal’s actual estimate is, are you ready? $697,417!

    It’s funny because it isn’t true!

  14. waiting_for_the_fall Says:

    The realtor must be under 4 feet tall, based on the angle of the picture.

  15. AmusedLurker Says:

    Is Shoreview now called Blossom Valley?

    I thought prices were supposed to be DROPPING. half a mil for an old fixer in Shoreview?? yikes. I think I’ll keep renting for now!

  16. WillowGlenner Says:

    They might have cracked the wall when an amateur put that new window in, also. I have seen that from time to time. Windows are something that needs to be installed by a professional

  17. rick Says:

    If this drops to 400k WG will buy it. 🙂

  18. WillowGlenner Says:

    nope I need a 8K lot size in an improving area minimum. This shoreview area of San Mateo doesn’t rate- I doubt I would consider it under any circumstances and the lot size obviously isn’t there. The house is fine though, thats the type of house you get for 400K.

  19. rick Says:

    Was it a pot hole in the street besides the large crack?

    Wow, you’ve been buying this kind of house and renovate it for rent? How much is the renovation cost? In a good area I would imagine this house is still selling like hot cake at 400k.

  20. WillowGlenner Says:

    Rick, well, to be honest this last house I just bought (and just took possession of) was a foreclosure which means it is in much worse condition than this San Mateo house. Seriously my new place looks like it has needed a new roof for years now, the eaves are a little deteriorated and there is some **really funky** wiring in the garage (maybe a teenage kid actually moved into the garage in some distant past), the floors have needed refinishing forever- and all other flooring everywhere else needs replacing etc. IOW typical foreclosure. So if you were really doing it right you would put 50K in the place and really fix it up, but I am not doing that. I am paying to paint in and out and some plumbing work, and new bath. Normally I don’t do a new bathroom but this was a section 1 item for this house (mold) so I had to do it. Thats it, total under $15K. I will make the other repairs over time- I just want to get somebody in there now – I have a good tenant with a small dog which I have no problem with in a house with this condition.

  21. bob Says:

    Even if you only slap on a coat of paint for 15k, you paid what- 420k for the house? I can’t remember if it was 400 or 420. I’ll go for the 400k amount. So after the “repairs”, we’re still talking 415,000 bucks. Putting the repairs aside, the house will need to rent for a minimum of $ 2,334.29 per month, which also doesn’t include property taxes. So perhaps more like $2,500.

    So either you are lucky to find someone willing to shell out a crapload of money to rent a dump, or you’re simply willing to have negative cash flow for who knows- 5-6 years before the market might start appreciating?

    Even after that, as someone who used to sell contractor materials, anyone with half a brain that sees that this house needs a new roof, floors, and likely other items is going to offer you less than if it was actually restored properly. I’d say that you’d actually be better off long-term if you fix the stuff now versus allowing it to deteriorate further. A bad roof is a sure way to ensure that significant damage can be done to the structure in just a few short years.

    15k sounds way to cheap for even a light touch-up. You’d better be checking your codes before you even think about renting it because I know for fact that as someone who used to deal with contractors day-to-day, the wiring, plumbing, and anything else related to safety had better be taken care of in advance.

  22. Crossroads Says:

    all that for just 15k$? how is that possible?

  23. rick Says:

    Thanks for the insight.

    I thought for this house you’d at least replace the window.

  24. sonarrat Says:

    I’m buying a foreclosed house too, but it isn’t in nearly such bad shape.. no kicked in walls or ruined carpet. A longtime owner spent a load of money fixing it up in 2005 with brand new electrical service, plumbing, furnace, water heater, ceiling fans, and double pane windows. Roof needs $500 worth of resealing. Pest report came back at $6200 but actual damage is minimal. The back door leading from the bedroom has no doorknob or lock. Needs a 220V plug for a dryer. Otherwise, it’s move in ready.

  25. sonarrat 94619 Says:

    Changed computers and forgot to put in my zip code. 😀

  26. WillowGlenner Says:

    Give it a rest Bob, its tiring. Now you are using code violations as some sort of rationale for why a cheap house on a large lot that is cash flow positive is a bad investment? That takes the cake. Plus this isn’t in Alameda, it is in a close-in desirable rental location. Houses ROUTINELY rent for 2500/mo around here.

    Crossroads, this is only a 1100 sq ft house, the one bathroom is the size of an apt bathroom and I used really basic materials. The paint in and out was under $5K, etc. Basically my repairs on this house are slightly better than what they do to apts when somebody moves out… you know they come in and replace a few fixtures paint and put in new carpeting for under a few thousand.

    Longer term I’m going to do some work but now… I just want to rent the place to the person who wants it. She has a dog and wants the school district so its probably a pretty long term renter, so no need for me to go overboard. I will do a good roof later this year or next.

  27. WillowGlenner Says:

    I have learned how to restore the old windows and will be restoring these in my new house. The old windows have a rope and pulley system and I’d say in almost 90% of the cases, the ROPE is frayed/disintegrated and people think they need to go out and get a whole new window. The new windows are like that one in the picture, nothing compared to the beauty of the original with the classic moulding etc., AND its expensive to put in new windows, and an amateur is likely to crack the walls doing it. I just buy some new window sash cord (available at some Ace HW or on the web), split the frame from the trim and remove the old cord and pulley, put on the new cord, use a little paint remover and graphite or some other lubricant in there, close it up and voila- BEAUTIFUL classic window that cost maybe $15 to repair.

  28. RealEstater Says:

    For most of you guys out there, the trick is to find a home that needs cosmetic work but has good bones. This may sound trite, but you’d be suprised how many buyers out there do just the opposite, and are willing to pay a big premium for a coat of paint.

  29. WillowGlenner Says:

    Yeah the really old homes around here are built of redwood. Not the eichlers, those are later on and poorly built, generally. But the old bungalows, typically one bathroom- those have the redwood and termites hate redwood!!! You will have far fewer pest problems in these than any other old houses. I remember one day looking up at one of the little, ranshackle-ish one-car garages in one of my houses and there was beautiful redwood up there. The original kitchen cabinets in these houses are also redwood- inside the cabinets was not refinished but the original cabinetry had an enamel paint, so I don’t know whether it is feasible to strip the paint from the original cabinets or not- but if you could, it would be beautiful. Also some old homes are bolted to the foundation which means for those homes there are very few cracks.

  30. Renter4 Says:

    Conversation’s clearly moved on while I was earning my down payment… however, I must point out to the peanut gallery that power lines are usually not usually so wispy-looking. That’s the realtor’s front layer of hair we’ve got in the picture, gentlemen. No need for fear.

  31. Herve Says:


    Sorry, the Tesla Roadster is now $109K excluding tax. At least we have a better deal than the Europeans: for them it is 99,000 Euros (excluding tax, which is even higher).

  32. Real Estater Says:

    Anyone wants to spend 109 grand to save gas? I have some properties in the East Bay I want to sell you!

  33. madhaus 94087 Real Cupertino Schools! Says:

    Anyone wants to spend 109 grand to save gas? I have some properties in the East Bay I want to sell you!

    Somebody has a bunch of instant equity to pass along to you! Buy now! Now now now! Before prices drop any lower and it gets foreclosed! Time is critical!

  34. Mole Man Says:

    The suburban tracts built in the 1940s were constructed with extreme economy. Not only is redwood very unlikely, the original sewer pipe, if it is still there, is likely to be Orangeburg which is basically tar paper that will eventually collapse.

  35. Stepford Says:

    Mole Man – My house was built in 1940 (peninsula) and it was made with redwood. I have also noticed other houses around here that have been torn down for remodels were also redwood. My architect said I won’t be able to replace the siding I currently have with the same high quality that was used then. I live in a hood which is mixed 1920’s and early 40’s. You are probably right about the tracts though.
    Interesting about the sewer pipes. Ours were replaced before we bought – I think by the city. I heard they tore up parts of all the backyards and a lot of landscaping was destroyed in the process ticking everyone off, but at least we don’t have to worry about collapsing pipes.

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