December 31, 2008

$1374 per square foot in Palo Alto – the last house of the Year!

2326 HANOVER St, Palo Alto, CA 94306 | MLS# 80845686
2326 HANOVER St Palo Alto, CA 94306
Price: $1,195,000


Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 870
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,374
Lot Size: 6,250 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Spanish
Year Built: 1928
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Neighborhood: College
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80845686
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 34 days

I thought I’d close out the year on a happy note with this great find from Burbed reader Steve.

At $1374 per square foot, this 2/1 tear down exemplifies the best of the Real Bay Area. This house is the shining beacon of hope in these dark and difficult times. It is the landmark that all other houses can aspire to. It provides hope, and a glimmer of what’s to come.

Like a fine champagne, this amazing Palo Alto house sits, waiting for you to savor it. Go for it. Let’s wrap up 2008 in style.

Comments (19) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:30 am

December 30, 2008

Affordable single family home in San Francisco – no problem!

127 BROAD St, San Francisco County, CA 94112 | MLS# 80778010
127 BROAD St San Francisco County, CA 94112
Price: $390,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 783
$/Sq. Ft.: $498

Lot Size: 2,495 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Ranch
Year Built: 1900
Stories: 1
View: City Lights
Neighborhood: Other Area
County: San Francisco
MLS#: 80778010
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 312 days
Unsold in 90 days
Big price reduction, great investment opportunity for investor or first time buyer. This semi-detached house is Zoned RH2. It has 2 Bedroom & 1 Bath, living room, kitchen, new water heater, new fenced. One block to street car, close to school, shopping, transportation and freeways, great location, great price. House is vacant, lockbox on.

Thanks to Burebd reader Sonarrat for this find. Hah and to think that people say San Francisco isn’t affordable. Sure it is – anyone can afford this house. At $390,000 it is an absolute steal. And it’s a very reasonable $498 per square foot.

Here’s another photo that the realtor thought would be helpful in your decision making:


How cute! Note that the house is zoned RH2, so there’s definitely the potential to expand and monetize this lot to its fullest potential.

Is this a smart, affordable investment in San Francisco? I think so. Don’t you?

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:52 am

December 29, 2008

$150,000 price cut at The Palms SF – not a surprise

555 FOURTH STREET #521, San Francisco, CA 94107 – presented by Daniel Hershkowitz

555 FOURTH STREET #521, San Francisco, CA 94107


* 2 bedrooms, 2 baths
* Contemporary Classic in the Heart of San Francisco
* Designer Italian Kitchen w/ Finest Cabinets, Counters & Appliances
* Light-Filled Living Room w/ City Views & Balcony
* Spacious Master Bedroom w/ His & Her California Closets & Sleek Master Bath
* First Class Amenities — 24hr Concierge, Full Gym, Yoga Studio, Business Center, Billiards, Theatre
* MLS# 341320

Thanks to Burbed reader Andy for this find.

I hate to say this, but wasn’t it obvious that the price would be cut at places like this in SoMA San Francisco? I mean, come on – there is seriously nothing there. Sure there’s a Whole Foods, but it is truly dinky. And culture? Give me a break.

It’s no secret that everyone is flocking to places like Cupertino. Heck, just look at the size of the Whole Foods there! And the choices of eateries definitely beats SoMA. Afterall, there’s Cupertino Square. Take that Metreon!

Sorry SoMA San Francisco. You were cool earlier this decade – but now it is Cupertino’s time to shine.

Comments (92) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:37 am

December 27, 2008

Thank you Aaron!

Thank you Aaron, for contributing to Burbed!

For those of you who haven’t contributed to Burbed, there’s three easy ways:

1. Tell 23 of your friends about Burbed. The more readers and contributers, the better!

2. Use paypal.

3. Sign up for web hosting service through Dreamhost!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:18 am

December 26, 2008

A healthy $1025 per square foot house in the Real Bay Area

629 Kingsley Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301 Professorville MLS# 80846292 – Property Details



* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 3
* Bathroom: 2
* Year Built: 1915
* Lot Size: 2500
* Square Footage: 1536
* List Date: 11/20/2008
* Garage Spaces: 1
* MLS#: 80846292

Heart,soul and style remain in this lovingly restored, expanded 1915 Cottage. Innovative design and finish work by master craftsman preserve the character and create one-of-a-kind quality, style and ambiance. What’s ?Old?-Its story, its charm, 3 ?wavey?-glass orig. windows, 1915 wood flrs, and its loc. w/in walking distance to Univ Av, Lucie Stern, Stanford etc. What’s ?New?-nearly everything else

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find. What a fitting way to close out a joyous week such as this. $1.575 million. A healthy $1025 per square foot. It’s like the shining star on top of the Christmas tree. What a beaut!

Can you think of a better way to end the week?

God I love this season!

Comments (41) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:31 am

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas! Here’s a gift from Burbed!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Here’s my gift! An article from 2006! Enjoy!

Nightmare Mortgages
Risks or not, the accounting treatment is boosting reported profits sharply. At Santa Monica (Calif.)-based FirstFed Financial Corp. (FED ), “deferred interest” — what an outsider might call phantom income — made up 67% of second-quarter pretax profits. FirstFed did not respond to requests for comment. At Oakland (Calif.)-based Golden West Financial Corp. (GDW ), which has been selling option ARMs for two decades, deferred interest made up about 59.6% of the bank’s earnings in the first half of 2006. “It’s not the loan that’s the problem,” says Herbert M. Sandler, CEO of World Savings Bank, parent of Golden West. “The problem is with the quality of the underwriting.”

In the middle of one of the hottest U.S. markets, Coral Gables (Fla.)-based BankUnited Financial Corp. (BKUNA ) posted a $14.8 million loss for the quarter ended June, 2005. Yet it reported record profits of $23.8 million for the quarter ended in June of this year — $20.9 million of which was earned in deferred interest. Some 92% of its new loans were option ARMs. Humberto L. Lopez, chief financial officer, insists the bank underwrites carefully. “The option ARMs have gotten a bit of a raised eyebrow because we generate and book noncash earnings. But…it’s our money, and we do feel comfortable we’ll get it back.”

Even the loans that blow up can be hidden with fancy bookkeeping. David Hendler of New York-based CreditSights, a bond research shop, predicts that banks in coming quarters will increasingly move weak loans into so-called held-for-sale accounts. There the loans will sit, sequestered from the rest of the portfolio, until they’re sold to collection agencies or to investors. In the latter case, a transaction on an ailing loan registers on the books as a trading loss, gets mixed up with other trading activities and — presto! — it vanishes from shareholders’ sight. “There are a lot of ways to camouflage the actual experience,” says Hendler.

To get the deals done, banks have turned increasingly to unregulated mortgage brokers, who now account for 80% of all mortgage originations, double what it was 10 years ago, according to the National Association of Mortgage Brokers. In 2004 banks began offering fatter sales commissions on option ARMs to encourage brokers to push them, says Gail McKenzie, assistant U.S. attorney in Atlanta, who is investigating mortgage brokers for improper practices.

The problem, of course, is that many brokers care more about commissions than customers. They use aggressive sales tactics, harping on the minimum payment on an option ARM and neglecting to mention the future implications. Some even imply verbally that temporary teaser rates of 1% to 2% are permanent, even though the fine print says otherwise. It’s easy to confuse borrowers with option ARM numbers. A recent Federal Reserve study showed that one in four homeowners is mystified by basic adjustable-rate loans. Add multiple payment options into the mix, and the mortgage game can be utterly baffling.

Billy and Carolyn Shaw are among the growing ranks of borrowers who have taken out loans they say they didn’t understand. The retired couple from the Salinas (Calif.) area needed to tap about $50,000 in equity from their $385,000 home to cover mounting expenses. Billy, 66, a retired mechanic, has diabetes. Carolyn, 61, has been caring for her grandchildren, 10-year-old twins, since her daughter’s death in 2000. The Shaws have a fixed income of $3,000 a month that will fall by about $1,000 in November after Billy’s disability benefits run out. Their new loan’s minimum payment of about $1,413 is manageable so far, but the fully amortized amount of about $3,329 is out of the question. In a little over a year, they’ve added some $8,500 to their loan balance and now face a big reset if they continue to pay only the minimum. “We didn’t totally understand what was taking place,” says Carolyn. “You have to pay attention. We didn’t, and we’re really stuck here.” The Shaws’ lender, Golden West, says it routinely calls customers to ask them if they are happy and understand their mortgage loan.

Analyst Frederick Cannon of Keefe Bruyette & Woods says most banks don’t apologize for their option ARM businesses. “Almost without exception everyone says [the option ARM] is a great loan, it’s plenty regulated, and don’t bug us,” he says. In an April letter to regulators, Cindy Manzettie, chief credit officer for Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, said it’s not the “lender’s responsibility to help the consumer determine the appropriate payment option each month…. Paternalistic regulations that underestimate the intelligence of the American public do not work.”

There’s plenty more to read. What a great gift!

Comments (33) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:21 am

December 24, 2008

Contractor’s special! Fixer-upper! Needs work! In San Jose

6111 JASON Ct, San Jose, CA 95123 | MLS# 80849254
6111 JASON Ct San Jose, CA 95123
Price: $239,900
1307251822_6111 Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,363
$/Sq. Ft.: $176
Lot Size: 7,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Year Built: 1968
Stories: 2
View: Neighborhood
Neighborhood: Blossom Valley
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80849254
Source: MLSListings
Status: Pending Without Release
On Redfin: 8 days
Bank owned, priced right, contractors special! Fixer-upper. Needs work, but great price. Buyer to verify square footage and lot size. NO FINANCING – CASH OFFERS ONLY.

Thanks to Burbed reader Michelle for this find!

You could make fun of this, or you could notice that it is already Pending Without Release. Seriously… $239,900? Some people can just charge that to their credit card!

So… guess what. It’s too late for you to buy this for your son/daughter. Boy is he/she going to be upset tomorrow when he/she finds out that Santa couldn’t deliver his/her dream play house.

You just failed as a parent.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:17 am

December 23, 2008

San Jose House – perfect for aliens

1022 GLITHERO Ct, San Jose, CA 95112 | MLS# 80849611
1022 GLITHERO Ct San Jose, CA 95112
Price: $349,900

Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,178
$/Sq. Ft.: $297
Lot Size: 7,841 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Ranch
Year Built: 1977
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Neighborhood: Central San Jose
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80849611
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 6 days
Seller says: SELL!! Check this price and write your offer * Updated kitchen w/ granite counters * updated baths w/ granite counter/designer tile * tile & hardwood floors * Huge corner lot * tile roof * Some finishing touches needed * buyer to check permits * Close to downtown/San Jose parks/freeways and schools * Thanks!

At first, I really didn’t understand why Burbed reader Garret sent this to me. After all, it looks like an ok house to me. Great price! Not in the Real Bay Area, but pretty close.

But then Garret suggested I look at some aerial photos. Oh.


Wow… they’re not kidding when they say that foreigners are coming in to snap up real estate in the Bay Area – real or otherwise! Forget China, India, Russia! Forget about putting 888 in your prices! Now you have to aim really high – and look at the intergalatic market! What will people from Zimblethrop9 say when they look at your house from their planet? Will your house have the necessary roof appeal? Will it have an emergency launch pod in the backyard? How will you compete for these intergalatic dollars?

(And what’s going on in the upper right corner of thos photo?)

So many questions, so little time. All I know is that the RE market is going to shoot for the stars next year!

Comments (41) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:21 am

December 22, 2008

What type of grass is this in Los Gatos?

Los Gatos (Los Gatos) 95032


A Beautiful home with a clean 6 bedrooms & 3 baths
in a Cul-De-Sac in Los Gatos. Best schools!
There’s too much to say & too little space to list.
There’s a New Roof, New Paint (inside and out)
newly refinished hardwood floors,
new carpet, new floor tile. Covered patio with
gates that open to park small RV, boat, extra cars etc!
Also great area for cooking outside in addition to the
back- yard/patio! There’s easy access to
everywhere including Hwy 85 & 280.

Was $989,950
Now $872,250 !!

Thanks to Burbed reader Derek for the find.

Overall, this is a pretty fair house. In fact, it might even be a bargain. But what’s going on in the bottom right corner of the photo?


I’m no green thumb. Could someone out there help identify what type of grass they’ve planted?

Comments (49) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am

December 21, 2008

Bay Area home prices still in free fall – except for Coastal Bay Area

Bay Area home prices still in free fall
Bay Area home values plummeted to an eight-year low in November, as discounts on foreclosed properties continued to draw buyers and drive down prices.

The median for the nine-county region fell to $350,000, a 44.4 percent drop from a year ago and the lowest level since September 2000, according to MDA DataQuick. The median means half of homes sold for more than that amount, half for less.

Nearly 50 percent of the properties that sold during the month had been repossessed in the last year, the San Diego real estate research firm said. Among all home types, 5,756 traded hands in November, up 12.3 percent from a year ago. Transactions were down 24.4 percent from October, in part because there were fewer than normal business days last month.

Because foreclosures are swaying prices so much, values continue to hold up better on a relative basis in the coastal markets that have had fewer repossessions. San Francisco saw the smallest year-over-year decline in its median, although it was still a significant drop: 20.5 percent to $648,000. The hardest hit county was Contra Costa, where prices sank 49.9 percent to $265,000.

Perhaps that should be the new term – instead of Real Bay Area, Coastal Bay Area.

Contra Costa – they really should just change the name to “Contra Money”

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 6:11 am