November 21, 2008

Riddle me this – how is this house near Santa Row?

3160 RIDDLE Rd San Jose, CA 95117
Price: $499,000


Beds:     3
Baths:     2
Sq. Ft.:     1,248
$/Sq. Ft.:     $400
Lot Size:     7,956 Sq. Ft.
Property Type:    Detached Single Family
Style:    Ranch
Year Built:    1948
Stories:    1
View:    Neighborhood
Neighborhood:    Campbell
County:     Santa Clara
MLS#:     80825854
Source:     MLSListings
Status:     Pending Without Release
On Redfin:     101 days
Unsold in 90+ days
Fixer-upper
Close to Santa Row, Looking for opportunity here your chance with great potential Large Lot, need you touch if you are handy and make nice return on your investment. Close to Santa Row, Nice neighborhood. Must sell,

Burbed reader nomadic had this to say:

Here’s a “riddle” – why is this house in soft focus?  To hide its wrinkles?  And why only exterior shots?

Someone needs to snap this one up for the holidays – it’s close to “Santa Row!”  You can even see the dome of the theater behind it in street view.  They even put it on sale early, slashing the price by 1/3 since it was listed in August – wow, the price cuts were weekly throughout the month; if they kept going every week they’d be paying someone to take it off their hands by now.

Wow, someone clearly has been keeping tabs on this house! So many riddles, so little time!

Come on everyone… if this isn’t a Black Friday deal, I don’t know what is. If I were you, I’d scoop it up now, so that you don’t have to wait in line at 3am to buy this house. It’s not going to get any lower you know – just look at the large lot!

Comments (72) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:23 am

72 Responses to “Riddle me this – how is this house near Santa Row?”

  1. RealEstater Says:

    Check it out. This house is pre-wired with Direct TV!

  2. sonarrat Says:

    The angles for the pictures were cleverly chosen to hide the view of the movie theater dome behind the backyard. Nice!

  3. nomadic Says:

    If this is a “detached single familiy home,” why does it have two front doors?

  4. bob Says:

    Its the ole’ Vaseline smeared lens trick. Used a lot in 80′s pop videos.

  5. JesusCrispy Says:

    This Realtor has a firm grasp of Realtorese. The listing is complete with random capitalization, poor use of punctuation, and a nonexistent command of sentence structure. This Realtor is also a master at bad real estate photography. Truly impressive.

  6. Pralay Says:

    Here’s a “riddle” – why is this house in soft focus?
    ———

    Soft focus means romantic. And romance is full of riddles.

  7. madhaus Says:

    Two front doors — illegal in-law unit! Alright! I can buy this house and rent out the former garage… wait, Redfin says it has a detached garage with room for 3 cars. Oh look, there it is in the back. Okay, I’ll turn the garage into another illegal in-law unit. That should be $3000 a month from both units. And if I rent out the main residence, that’s $4500! Sweeeeeeeet.

    Best of all, the tenants can walk to Century 21 and Winchester Mystery House in two minutes.

    A Riddle in a Mystery in a Theater!

  8. nomadic Says:

    All the regulars all tired out from last night’s festivities on the other thread?

    This Geithner guy looks like a good potential Treasury Secretary.

    http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=c85b418b-5237-4f54-891f-8385243162bd

  9. madhaus Says:

    Te audire no possum. Musa sapientum fixa est in aure.

    I can’t hear you. I have a banana in my ear.

  10. DreamT Says:

    Ssshhhh – someone is using the afternoon to recover from an insomnia bout.

  11. anon Says:

    Be vewy vewy qwiet…I’m hunting hamsters.

  12. madhaus Says:

    Hamsteh Season!

  13. Real Estater Says:

    All,

    The message from our local realtors is “sell now” in order to avoid a market downturn, and upcoming buyer’s market in 2009. As I mentioned previously, realtors are not particularly interested in propping up the market. As long as there are transactions flowing, realtors will be able to make money. Thus, there is really no basis to blame realtors for causing the housing crisis. The root of the problem was banks and mortgage lenders under an unregulated environment.

  14. anon Says:

    And appraisers. One shouldn’t forget that the realtors are also interested in seeing the highest transfer price because that increases their share. They are also interested in seeing the transaction go through.

    Somehow I recall explaining this on November 1st.

    I said: “When the music (credit) stops, people scramble to find a seat(home).”

    The moral of the story is: trade up while you can – prices are going to decompress.

  15. Real Estater Says:

    >>One shouldn’t forget that the realtors are also interested in seeing the highest transfer price because that increases their share.

    Realtors make at most 3% on the transaction. Their commission only increase modestly at a higher transfer price.

    >>They are also interested in seeing the transaction go through.

    Of course. In fact, in order to ensure a quick transaction, they have a tendency to influence you to sell at a lower price.

    >>The moral of the story is: trade up while you can – prices are going to decompress.

    For those seeking to trade, the market shift doesn’t really matter, assuming you sell and buy within a short period. If your home value drops, so does the value of the home you want to trade up to.

  16. nomadic Says:

    Yeah, sell now. Rent. And buy late next year.

    Did you notice this part?
    “Typically it takes a minimum of 3-5 years for prices to recover after a decline.”

    The real estate market moves so gradually, you can time it much easier than stocks. Oh well, the LIBOR continues to fall. Good for adjustable mortgages.

  17. anon Says:

    “Of course. In fact, in order to ensure a quick transaction, they have a tendency to influence you to sell at a lower price.”

    While they do want a quick transaction, there is a weighing between their desire for fast transactions and high sale prices.

    “For those seeking to trade, the market shift doesn’t really matter, assuming you sell and buy within a short period. If your home value drops, so does the value of the home you want to trade up to.”

    You are wrong. It is not a shift, it is a shift combined with a decompression. (I believe it primarily to be a decompression) As I stated before and you have been shown RBA property did not appreciate like the shit boxes did. If you are in a middle range home, you want to sell before the price gap works its way up into your range.

    There is now a massive price gap in the lower range which means that the knees have been cut out under the mid-range.

    Take what happened in the lower range. If someone had a shit box that was ‘valued’ at 500k a year ago, they could have sold it, put up 500k and moved to something that was a million. Now, after the adjustment, their shit box is worth 250k and the home that was previously valued at a million is now 950 or something. Whereas the delta was 500k a year ago, it is now 700k. Hence, the difficulty to move up.

  18. WillowGlenner Says:

    This type of house on Riddle is something I would be interested in, but this particular one doesn’t interest me due to it being behind the movie dome, and its still a little high for me. Houses in this area sell for 500K, but I like to buy a 425K, or around there and I see no reason for this Campbell area to be more highly priced than Cambrian, although it is.

  19. WillowGlenner Says:

    RealEstater, the only thing I take issue with from your PDF about peninsula real estate, is that they seem to be thinking interest rates will rise. I see no indication of that at all. In fact I can easily see 30 year mortgages at 4% again next year.

  20. WillowGlenner Says:

    anon, those 500K “shit boxes” as you call them have been declining since 2005. The low end fell first, and fell hard, 2+ years ago. It has been stagnant ever since. So in 2007 you were already seeing the result of that.

  21. madhaus Says:

    I am LMAO at the interesting adjectives Roger the Realtor is using above.

    Realtors make at most 3% on the transaction. Their commission only increase modestly at a higher transfer price.

    Excuse me, but what kind of person would deflect from real estate agent fees other than a real estate agent? Look at how many softenings he used in this one paragraph!

    Only 3%? That’s for each office, the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Total fee: 6%.

    Modestly? Their commission increases linearly. Find me a salesman in any industry who does not try to sell at a higher price to get a higher commission.

    Or maybe Roger is just funning with us. Maybe Roger has a Ph.D. from Stanford and pretends he is a stupid realtor. Maybe he doesn’t really live in Palo Alto. Maybe he really lives in Atherton or Hillsborough. Maybe he really has a trophy wife, a deb who is a manager at Yahoo or Google.

    Maybe that’s the real riddle.

  22. anon Says:

    “anon, those 500K “shit boxes” as you call them have been declining since 2005. The low end fell first, and fell hard, 2+ years ago. It has been stagnant ever since. So in 2007 you were already seeing the result of that.”

    Interesting. I haven’t watched them for as long as you so I would imagine you would know better. In any case, the point remains valid, and just goes to show how long it takes for things to ‘work through the system.’

  23. WillowGlenner Says:

    Yeah, madhaus I agree. RealEstater, there is no excuse for a 6% transaction fee on a real estate transaction. Why the feds haven’t confronted the NAR on commissions is beyond me. Since I buy REOs these days, and very rarely sell a house, I am comforted in the fact that banks negotiate VERY HARD with their LAs and almost nobody gets the full commission, for good reason. 3% or 6% overhead on a million dollar plus transaction for a few weekends of work is ridiculous.

  24. Real Estater Says:

    >>Only 3%? That’s for each office, the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Total fee: 6%.
    >>Modestly? Their commission increases linearly. Find me a salesman in any industry who does not try to sell at a higher price to get a higher commission.

    Yes, the seller pays a total of 6%, but each agent only gets 3%. Thus, each agent’s stake in the transaction is 3%. In addition, the real estate company (e.g. Coldwell Banker) takes a cut of that 3%. For junior agents, that cut can be as much as 70% of that 3%. As a result, pricing the house 10 grand higher is not going to make much difference to the bottom line for any realtor. They’d much rather achieve higher volume at the expense of lower transaction price.

  25. Real Estater Says:

    nomadic says,
    >>Yeah, sell now. Rent. And buy late next year.

    Are you taking your own advice?

  26. madhaus Says:

    Roger Realtor, who probably doesn’t work at Coldheart Banker, still insisting real estate commissions are modest. This is example of hard to pronounce martial art where you use your balance to throw off the other person’s.

  27. madhaus Says:

    You know who made out like gangbusters? It was the dude who sold this property to the current FB. He bought it for $180K in 1995 and got a $174.6K fixed loan on it.

    Then he sold it to the current loser. For (cough) $690K. Looks like he went with a solid bank too, New Century Mortgage. Known for their creative financing.

    No wonder he tried ELoan just 10 months later. Gosh, I love happy endings.

  28. zanon Says:

    I hate to agree with RE, but he is correct.

    Realestate agents care more about transactions happening than the sale price. Their 3% (each) commission per transaction means they are better compensated for making the sale happen 10% faster than for a 10% higher price. Of course, in crazy bubble markets where people are buying like crazy and prices are shooting up they make a mint, but in price vs number of transactions, they go for number of transaction.

    Freakanomics actually had a good section on this. Levitt looked at the prices real estate agents get when they sell their own house vs when they sell other peoples, and they found that they take *longer* to sell their own house but get a much better price for it.

  29. DreamT Says:

    zanon – There’s another possible explanation for the divergence between the result of selling their own home versus others’. They are always selling others’ home, good times or bad times – it is, after all, their job. But they probably have a better pulse on the market than the large majority of their clients, so I suspect that many of them time their house’ sale better than the average.

  30. zanon Says:

    Good point DreamT. I think they controlled for the year though.

    Anyway, it’s been a while since I read the book. You’ll love the chapter title!

    http://freakonomicsbook.com/thebook/ch2.html

    -zanon

  31. madhaus Says:

    So you are saying that the people who tell us not to time the market when buying/selling a home are timing the market when they buy/sell their own?

  32. zanon Says:

    This is a good piece too on the same topic

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.05/realestate.html

  33. anon Says:

    “So you are saying that the people who tell us not to time the market when buying/selling a home are timing the market when they buy/sell their own?”

    Well played.

  34. Pralay Says:

    Or maybe Roger is just funning with us. Maybe Roger has a Ph.D. from Stanford and pretends he is a stupid realtor.
    ———-

    Guys,
    I agree with Roger The Hamster Realtor that real estate agents wants more transactions. But that’s only half truth. What Roger The Realtor did not tell that sale volume gets higher in good housing market and gets lower in bad housing market. So for any real estate agent it is very important that potential buyers have positive outlook towards the housing market. That’s why no wonder that Roger The Realtor always paint a rosy picture of housing market – “all clear to take off”, “why not joining party” bla bla.

    And regarding “sell now to avoid a market downturn” – that’s just counterpart slogan of “don’t get priced out forever”. Different times, different market conditions, different strategy to increase sale volume – one for pushing sellers to sale and another for pushing buyers to buy.

  35. Pralay Says:

    Roger Realtor, who probably doesn’t work at Coldheart Banker, still insisting real estate commissions are modest.
    ——-

    Come on! Read post #24. He explained with all the details why it is justified.

    But just because he knows all the details and vehemently justifying realtor’s commissions that does not mean he is a realtor.

  36. madhaus Says:

    But just because he knows all the details and vehemently justifying realtor’s commissions that does not mean he is a realtor.

    Of course not.

    He’s a martial-arts instructor.

    Better yet he is a consultant. That means he doesn’t even have a job.

  37. Pralay Says:

    He’s a martial-arts instructor.
    ——-

    Now I know who broke all the engraved bricks in PA children library.

  38. Real Estater Says:

    madhaus,

    I hope you’re finding the latest series of exchanges to be educational. The point was never to defend whether the realtor’s commission is high or low, but to explain why making the sale is more important to them them than achieving the highest sale price. If you look at their advertising carefully, they frequently take pride in being the “top x % producer”. Coldwell Banker wants to make sure each of their agents understand the importance of volume. The more units they can move, the more likely they’ll move up in the company. The higher up they are in the corporate ladder, the lower percentage cut Coldwell Banker will take out of their 3% commission. Thus, being the top producer is what makes a real estate agent financially successful. Selling for a higher price will make a marginal difference to their real bottom line.

  39. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    The following two points are contradictory to each other:

    Point 1: >>So for any real estate agent it is very important that potential buyers have positive outlook towards the housing market.

    Point 2: >>And regarding “sell now to avoid a market downturn” – that’s just counterpart slogan of “don’t get priced out forever”. Different times, different market conditions, different strategy to increase sale volume

    ****

    If it’s always important to project a positive outlook, then there wouldn’t be a strategy of announcing the downturn is coming.

  40. anon Says:

    Therefore real estate agents had no part in artificially driving up values.

  41. Real Estater Says:

    WG says,
    >>RealEstater, there is no excuse for a 6% transaction fee on a real estate transaction.

    6% is only a guideline. Many realtors will give discounts, but you need to ask. There are also discount realtors that charge as little as 1%, or a nominal fixed fee, but you get what you pay for (or not pay for).

  42. Pralay Says:

    Pralay,

    The following two points are contradictory to each other:
    —–

    Of course our Roger The Hamster has comprehension problem. Point 1 does not have seller mentioned. It says “potential buyers” only.

    Therefore it does not contradict with point 2.

  43. Real Estater Says:

    >>Therefore real estate agents had no part in artificially driving up values.

    That’s a pretty safe conclusion. It’s the market conditions that drove up the prices. When there are multiple parties interested in buying the same property, overbidding is just a manifestation of the capitalist market forces at work.

  44. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>Of course our Roger The Hamster has comprehension problem. Point 1 does not have seller mentioned. It says “potential buyers” only. Therefore it does not contradict with point 2.

    Another Indian man argument. When a realtor issues their outlook on the market, do they have a way of making sure the “potential buyers” cannot read it? Is there some type of new firewall technology I’m not aware of? :-)

  45. anon Says:

    Oh, just refinance later. You deserve it. Now really is a great time to buy.

    Who came up with the concept of being priced out forever?

    And, would that not affect people’s motivation to buy?

  46. anon Says:

    What is a firewall?

  47. Pralay Says:

    Therefore real estate agents had no part in artificially driving up values.
    ——-

    Anon,
    Very often occasionally you will find some “oh just refinance” realtors or “on-going party” realtors, but that does not mean anything. Just trust what Roger The Realtor says. He knows better because he is a realtor.

  48. Real Estater Says:

    >>What is a firewall?

    Are you serious?

  49. Pralay Says:

    When a realtor issues their outlook on the market, do they have a way of making sure the “potential buyers” cannot read it?
    ——

    Another comprehension problem. Point 2 says “Different times”.

    I guess this clue should be good enough to comprehend. But of course it is Hamster. You never know.

  50. Pralay Says:

    What is a firewall?
    ——

    Anon,
    Blame it to his non-hitech profession (not him or his public school education).

  51. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>Another comprehension problem. Point 2 says “Different times”.

    So point 2 says point 1 is wrong, sometimes. Thanks for repeating the contradiction.

  52. Pralay Says:

    Probably he did not mean “firewall” in that context.

  53. Pralay Says:

    So point 2 says point 1 is wrong, sometimes. Thanks for repeating the contradiction.
    ——

    No, the post clearly says that in good market the realtors were pushing buyers with a very positive outlook of market. And with slogan “don’t get priced out forever”. Purpose? Increase sale volume.

    But in downturn market the realtors are pushing sellers (who are in denial) with a negative outlook of future market with slogan “sell now to avoid a market downturn”. Purpose? Increase sale volume.

    Different time, different market condition, different strategy.

  54. anon Says:

    “>>What is a firewall?

    Are you serious?”

    ???

  55. DreamT Says:

    “Do they have a way of making sure the “potential buyers” cannot read it? Is there some type of new firewall technology I’m not aware of?”
    RealEstater, you actually don’t know what a firewall does?

  56. Pralay Says:

    And, would that not affect people’s motivation to buy?
    ——-

    Didn’t motivate to join “on-going party”? Too bad! You are such a loser, anon. You are refusing to be wealthy. Home price doubles in every 10 years.

    Still not motivated?

  57. Pralay Says:

    RealEstater, you actually don’t know what a firewall does?
    —-

    Probably he meant “firewall” in DNS level. Like they do it in communist China.

  58. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    I’ll accept #53 as adequate explanation…for the point I was making to begin with.

    It’s publicly known that you have accused me of being a realtor on numerous occasions. Do you see me promoting “Sell Now” strategy under the current climate?

    If not now, how do you explain this contradiction (that I’m a realtor, but not promoting Sell Now strategy)? If you have falsely accused me of being something I’m not, I think an apology is in order here.

  59. Real Estater Says:

    anon,

    For you, firewall is that vertical thing sitting between your gas pedal and your car’s engine.

  60. anon Says:

    and, for you?

  61. Pralay Says:

    Anon,
    Give Brickster a break. He takes three more posts to comprehend the concept of “different times, different market conditions, different strategy to increase sale volume” which was clearly mentioned in #34. Somehow he always misses one or two words from a sentence then interpret it different way. And it is only half way. He does not get the fact that just like anything else in this world, realtors come in different stripes – some are smart, some are dumb, some have strategy 1 (ie. pushing sellers to sell) , some have strategy 2 (ie. parroting join “on-going party”). Probably it will take five more posts for well-rounded hitech Brickster to comprehend that.

    Of course it will take 10 more posts for him to explain what he meant by “firewall” and then five more posts to understand what is actually “firewall”. Give him break. Brickster is very slow.

  62. anon Says:

    Yes, I would imagine he was up all night composing those replies.

  63. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    It took you 3 posts to comprehend the point I was making at the start. Now with #61, you screwed it up again. If the point is merely “there are many different kinds and flavors of realtors”, shall we say, you are a realtor too :-) ?

  64. madhaus Says:

    Gosh, Roger the Realtor Brickster Martial Arts Instructor really is having trouble breaking through that firewall.

  65. anon Says:

    Bricks do not move of their own accord. Accordingly, they do not adapt and do not change.

  66. madhaus Says:

    Bricks do not move of their own accord. Accordingly, they do not adapt and do not change.

    Neither do Realtors.

  67. Real Estater Says:

    >>Bricks do not move of their own accord. Accordingly, they do not adapt and do not change.

    >>Neither do Realtors.

    Realtors do not change now? Yet another contradiction to Pralay!

  68. Pralay Says:

    Bricks do not move of their own accord. Accordingly, they do not adapt and do not change.
    —–

    Not only that, it cannot figure out that “different strategy” and “different flavors” are made in different contexts for different realtors.
    However, brick is good at making some hilarious point like “if it’s always important to project a positive outlook, then there wouldn’t be a strategy of announcing the downturn is coming“, when it is just a outcome of lack of comprehension. Bricks are bricks – even if there are names engraved on them. :)

  69. Pralay Says:

    Neither do Realtors.
    —-

    But that does not mean that their opinions don’t change. Not only they change their opinions but they sell their opinions as facts. And those facts fly through the windows all the time. :)

  70. Pralay Says:

    Gosh, Roger the Realtor Brickster Martial Arts Instructor really is having trouble breaking through that firewall.
    ——

    It’s very obvious that Roger needs to give a visit to Pai Mei.

  71. anon Says:

    Pai Mei has a wicked Fu Manchu.

  72. madhaus Says:

    Pai Mei has a wicked Fu Manchu.

    Gesundheit.


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