April 2, 2009

Disturbing and shocking and horrifying news from Atherton

99 WALNUT Ave Atherton, CA 94027

Price: $1,898,000

Mar 02, 2009

Listed

$1,898,000

MLSListings #80910509

Aug 03, 2006

Sold

$2,150,000

12.2%/yr

Public Records

2 WILBURN Ave Atherton, CA 94027

Price: $1,150,000

Mar 02, 2009

Price Changed

$1,150,000

MLSListings #80903228

Jan 20, 2009

Listed

$1,395,000

MLSListings #80903228

Dec 28, 2008

Off Redfin

*

Inactive MLSListings #3

Sep 06, 2008

Listed

*

Inactive MLSListings #3

Nov 07, 2006

Sold

$1,495,000

Public Records

9 ISABELLA Ave Atherton, CA 94027

Price: $2,795,000

Jan 21, 2009

Listed

$2,795,000

MLSListings #80903372

Jan 21, 2009

Off Redfin

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

Jan 16, 2009

Price Changed

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

Jan 16, 2009

Relisted

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

Nov 24, 2008

Off Redfin

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

Oct 19, 2008

Price Changed

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

Jul 29, 2008

Price Changed

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

Jun 10, 2008

Price Changed

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

May 08, 2008

Listed

*

Inactive MLSListings #2

May 06, 2008

Off Redfin

*

Inactive MLSListings #1

Mar 24, 2008

Price Changed

*

Inactive MLSListings #1

Jan 14, 2008

Listed

*

Inactive MLSListings #1

Dec 12, 1988

Sold

$2,130,000

Public Records

450 MIDDLEFIELD Rd Atherton, CA 94027

Price: $5,495,000

Feb 07, 2009

Price Changed

$5,495,000

MLSListings #80843332

Nov 03, 2008

Listed

$5,995,000

MLSListings #80843332

May 16, 2006

Sold

$4,975,000

20.5%/yr

Public Records

2 FLEUR Pl Atherton, CA 94027

Price: $5,500,000

Dec 18, 2008

Listed

$5,500,000

MLSListings #80849947

Apr 28, 2006

Sold

$4,995,000

Public Records

Egad! Thanks to Burbed reader Steve for sending this in. Wowsers. I thought times were tough… but still… even Atherton is being impacted? Sure not all of these are losses, but still – they’re not the soaring prices one would expect.

There can be only one explanation for this: BERNIE MADOFF.

I’ll bet anything that those kooky NYers once again conspired to sabotage the Real Bay Area in kicking Manhattan’s ass. It’s gotta be. What other reason could there be?

One of these days!

Tags:
Comments (94) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:34 am

94 Responses to “Disturbing and shocking and horrifying news from Atherton”

  1. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Well, it’s official. Atherton is now no longer part of the Real Bay Area.

    What’s left? Is the map updated yet?

  2. Real Estater Says:

    Looks like we have turned the corner. Dow is over 8000 now. Next stop should be 8500. We may be in the early stages of a new bull market. For those who have not invested new money into the market, it’s still not too late to get in now.

  3. Herve Says:

    These are just listed prices: they are purposely low to entice multiple offers. No downturn here.

  4. Real Estater Says:

    99 Walnut: Next to railroad track
    2 Wilburn: Next to El Camino
    450 Middlefield: Busy street

    Don’t know about the other two, but they are pretty expensive still. In any case, the smart money is in Palo Alto. Buy Atherton if you don’t care about money.

  5. R Says:

    RE, sell now before fundamentals come to the forefront again. I think this thing’s got one more big drop left.

  6. nomadic Says:

    Some light reading:

    A New Bull Market? Are you out of your mind?

    http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-merrills-rosenberg-a-new-bull-market-are-you-out-of-your-mind-2009-4

  7. steve Says:

    we had discussed a few of these in a comment thread a few weeks ago, so here’s the update.

    Isabella has all kinds of funky stuff going on with its 1988 sale, but it looks like was for a larger lot. sorry for missing this guys, but it is not an apple.

    Don’t worry, though, there are lots more ripening on the tree. you see, the only reason you buy in atherton is because you don’t care about money. if you ask nice they’ll give you some too.

    81 RIDGE VIEW Dr
    Atherton, CA 94027
    Price: $3,999,000

    Jun 17, 2008 Sold $4,100,000

  8. Joe Says:

    This bear market rally is purely speculation. Weak economic fundamentals remain and once investors see we haven’t “turned the corner” economically, this rally will reverse and retest the lows.

    Check out this interview video from Nouriel on the recession and where things are going over the next two years:
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232?video=1078630238&play=1

  9. steve Says:

    btw, my sense is still that LA and LAH are getting hit hardest, but this MP house caught my attention. despite the address it is far enough away from Alpine to be quiet and private – and it is in *perfect* condition. the only issue is the small lot.

    2607 ALPINE Rd
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    Price: $1,495,000

    Jun 02, 2000 Sold $1,650,000

  10. Real Estater Says:

    >>the only issue is the small lot.

    A small lot is a big issue.

  11. steve Says:

    RE, apparently it wasn’t in 2000.

    I don’t disagree with you, but there is already a modern 2700 sq ft house on the lot and, as you always say, people are busy. who wants to take care of a large lot ;)

  12. Pralay (@Changi) Says:

    RE, apparently it wasn’t in 2000.
    ——-

    You are right, Steve. It wasn’t in 2000 and it wasn’t in 2008. Even RealEstater was advocating for buying small lots.

    Buying a small piece of something still better than not having anything, because at least you have a starting point on which to build equity and trade up.

    Buy any piece man, even if it is a small one. Who cares about “issues” (and whatever it means).

  13. R Says:

    One more on the market – http://money.cnn.com/2009/04/01/markets/thebuzz/index.htm?postversion=2009040113

  14. nomadic Says:

    But Pralay, that only applies in 94301. ;-)

  15. nomadic Says:

    R, thanks for the article. I read it last night and couldn’t find it this morning. Here’s a good part:

    Still, Lynch is worried that investors, particularly in bank stocks, may be underestimating just how bad results will be for the quarter. Several bank CEOs, including the heads of Citi, BofA and JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), helped spark a rally in bank stocks by saying they were profitable in January and February.

    But Lynch pointed out the CEOs were careful to say they were profitable on an operating basis. Since banks still are likely to be forced to book massive losses on soured loans and securities in their portfolios, he thinks “more writedowns are looming” and that “earnings are not going to be as rosy as Wall Street is anticipating.”

  16. steve Says:

    oh, goodie, more updates

    1) 99 WALNUT Ave Atherton, CA 94027 is now $1,698,000. Last sale: $2,150,000 (08/03/2006)

    2) 2 WILBURN Ave Atherton, CA 94027 now up to 71 DOM. The bidding war is coming any day.

    3) 9 ISABELLA Ave Atherton, CA 94027 has been chopped to $2,475,000 – and it’s open this weekend.

    4) 450 MIDDLEFIELD Rd Atherton, CA 94027 is holding strong at $5,495,000 on this, its 150 DOM anniversay. Maybe that is because the seller paid $$$$$ to have it “redecorated by San Francisco interior designer, Michael Burg.”

    5) 2 FLEUR Pl Atherton, CA 94027 is now off the market. The smart palo alto money says it has been withdrawn.

  17. steve Says:

    damn, I have to post an update to my update. Fleur went through its own price reduction:

    Mar 08, 2009 Price Changed $4,750,000
    Dec 18, 2008 Listed $5,500,000
    Apr 28, 2006 Sold $4,995,000

    and entered contract. (thanks, google cache!) Unless it dropped out, it would have closed escrow yesterday. Here was the original property description:

    Stunning home on over one acre level lot in central Atherton. Completely remodeled in 2005. Extensive mill work, premium appliances, and programmable lighting & audio visual systems. Fenced pool with pool house/guest quarters. Master bedroom opens to spacious backyard. Flagstone patio with built in barbecue area. California indoor outdoor living at its best. 3 car detached garage.

    So, sellers, there is hope. Drop your price, take your loss and move on.

  18. Real Estater Says:

    Steve says,
    >>I don’t disagree with you, but there is already a modern 2700 sq ft house on the lot and, as you always say, people are busy. who wants to take care of a large lot

    Please don’t resort to a dumb, Pralay style argument. When I said who wants to take care of a large lot, the context was those 1 acre lots in Atherton. Buying an under-sized lot is never a good idea, regardless of what’s on it.

  19. Pralay Says:

    Buying an under-sized lot is never a good idea, regardless of what’s on it.
    ——–

    But but but, “buying a small piece of something still better than not having anything“. Why is it not a “good idea” NOW?

  20. Pralay Says:

    But Pralay, that only applies in 94301.
    —–

    Oh nomadic, I wish you were right. But to prove yourself wrong you just have to go only 13 posts down in very same thread.

    Like I said, having something is better than having nothing at all. In other words, having a house in San Jose beats renting in Palo Alto any day!

    Small lots are fine. San Jose is fine. Something is better than nothing. Having something is always a “good idea”.

  21. SB123 Says:

    Newbie here and my first post. Hi’s to all :)

    We are moving back to the BA after an absence of 10 years. My husband’s mother was born in Sunnyvale and he’s seen a lot of changes over the years (Cupertino used to be apricot orchards where Valley Fair now is and Mtn View used to be largely pea fields and other row crops).

    One thing we’ve noticed: rents are definitely coming down except for those rentals where it appears the owners are attempting to sit out the market by waiting to sell. Those units/homes are at wishing prices in the rental mkt, particularly in LA.

    One question: who are those getting laid-off? H1-Bs?
    I’m aware of which companies, just wondering who is being let go.

  22. nomadic Says:

    SB – it’s pretty widespread across the spectrum, but a friend in marketing just told me it’s hitting a lot of colleagues. I know a surprising number of engineers looking.

    Here’s some data comparing now to the dot-bomb days:
    http://farangbaa.com/?q=content/silicon-valley-unemployment-rate-reaches-record-high

  23. Pralay Says:

    I’m aware of which companies, just wondering who is being let go.
    ——–

    “dead woods”.

  24. A. Lewis Says:

    So, RE, I seem to recall you were going to buy again at 6000 or so, and again at 4000 or so, and be dollar-cost averaged on the way down. Since it never went below about 6500, obviously you held back some of your cash.

    Now that it’s up, and you predict only more up, what do you do with that cash? What’s the right price to buy at now for you? When will you be fully invested?

    I just want everyone to be able to follow your investing strategy.

    I’m sure you don’t just advocate sitting in cash, right? Interest rates are terrible…

  25. nomadic Says:

    Nice, A. I’ve been wondering too.

    On another note, Money magazine is forecasting a bottom for the SJ market in Q3 of this year:
    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_realestate/2009/snapshots/49.html

    And that prices will be at Q2-2000 levels then.

  26. sonarrat Says:

    But but but, “buying a small piece of something still better than not having anything“. Why is it not a “good idea” NOW?

    Anything can be a good buy or a bad buy, all depends on the price.. with all the dinky and/or zero lot line properties being floated by the new home builders, having land will be less and less of a requirement. Of course, the quarter-acre lots will only be worth more and more as a result..

  27. steve Says:

    Please don’t resort to a dumb, Pralay style argument.

    I think Pralay provides a valuable counterpoint to the “buy now or be priced out forever” cheerleading that characterizes so many of your posts. But, OK RE, since your sense of humor is absent today and you are ready to engage, let’s talk about this specific property.

    1) Has the lot gotten smaller since the last sale?
    2) Has the house changed for the worse?
    3) Has the Las Lomitas school district declined in quality?
    4) Did the lot moved further away from Stanford?

    No? OK, how do you explain the dramatic decline in value?

    2607 ALPINE Rd
    Menlo Park, CA 94025
    Current Price: $1,495,000
    Jun 02, 2000 Sold $1,650,000

  28. cardinal2007 Says:

    Of course, the quarter-acre lots will only be worth more and more as a result..

    I think that depends on zoning, if you’re allowed to build townhouses there it probably cost more for the land than if you’re not allowed to build on anything more than the existing footprint, if you can’t develop the land you’re just buying a yard, which is not to say it is bad, but the potential profits are less.

    As an example of how crazy that can get, in Lima, in the district I grew up, it is considered the 2nd best district to live in in that city, but people still earn nothing close to what people earn here, the median may be around $35k/yr. The land there costs so much that a 1/4 acre lot would cost you $1M, just the land, especially if the lot faces a park, or is zoned for 7 story buildings. That’s because lots facing parks are allowed to build condo buildings up to 4 stories, and they are at a premium due to better views. When I grew up there it was rare to see buildings over 2 stories, almost all the lots had attached SFRs. Now there is condo construction on almost every block.

    I suppose 1/4 acre lots in RBA are also worth $1M, but people here earn enough money to buy near that much.

  29. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    No? OK, how do you explain the dramatic decline in value?

    Due to the recent economic crisis, the Stanford Linear Accelerator no longer has the necessary funding to provide a large enough space-time bubble of absolute immunity to the entire Bay Area. Alas, Atherton is now outside of the subspace threshold and thus is reverting to normality.

    Due to its proximity, Palo Alto will be fine and will experience 10% annual growth so long as power keeps flowing to the cyclotron.

    Better hope we don’t have any roving blackouts anytime soon…..
    :-D

  30. zanon Says:

    SB123: Nomadic is right.

    Contractors are usually let go first. But they get hired again first too. Consultants have been laid off. Biz Dev has been laid off. I also know of engineers looking for work. Recruiters, of course, aren’t working right now.

  31. SB123 Says:

    Thank you very much to nomadic and Pralay for the links provided. I’ve bookmarked them both to show to my husband. Interesting info and discussion re housing as well. Currently, we are living below our means in order to save for a serious downpayment of 20 percent or more for a SFH. Seems like the difference between being a renter and a home buyer is the ability to make a downpayment.
    Thanks again :)

  32. SB123 Says:

    Thank you for that info zanon. For one thing, I’ve been watching rents in the SV for about 2 years now and what once went for $2k/mo is now advertised for $1.5k/mo. I’m noting other serious drops of about 3-4 hundred per mo on average. This would be for a 2BR/2BA place with an enclosed garage (1-2 car). Every little bit helps in saving up for that downpayment.
    As far as the engineering jobs, my husband is an engineering manager and there are very very few people in the world that can do what he does which is why he’s still employed.

  33. DreamT Says:

    “Seems like the difference between being a renter and a home buyer is the ability to make a downpayment.”
    Yes pretty much, which is why the discussion “which is better” or “which makes more sense” never actually made much sense to me – IMO it’s the wrong question to ask.

  34. nomadic Says:

    Depends where you want to live. In some areas you can rent a place for $4k/mo or buy with 20% (or more) down and have a $6k+ monthly payment for a comparable house in the same neighborhood.

  35. DreamT Says:

    Nomadic, SB123 didn’t say anything about owning in the same place you’d rent, but about the difference between being a renter and a home buyer.

    I tend to think that bob is an exception (holding cash but not buying), and that if you have enough cash for a downpayment, you TYPICALLY do become a homeowner within a couple of years – except if you went through a divorce or your work/lifestyle requires too frequent travels. Absolutely, you’ll probably not buy in the same neighborhood you would rent, but that’s irrelevant wrt the statement was agreeing with.

  36. nomadic Says:

    …which is why I said “depends where you want to live.”

    I’d say that someone who has enough for a down payment, in, say, East San Jose, may choose to rent in Campbell or Cupertino where they would prefer to live.

    Guess I’m not sure of your point in #35.

  37. DreamT Says:

    That’s a bit extreme of a counterpoint :P someone renting in Cupertino or Palo Alto may buy in Cambrian or Santa Clara. Someone renting in Campbell may buy in Blossom Hill. If the point is that one should be able to buy where they can afford to rent, I don’t find that defensible.

  38. steve Says:

    DreamT, I’m not feeling you on this one. There are only a few places that I would consider living. If I couldn’t afford to buy in one of those places, I’d rent instead. Unlike RE’s archive comment above, for me it would have been better to rent in Palo Alto then buy in Cambrian (or San Jose).

    The last time I rented, the cost of renting in a Steve-approved area was roughly the same as owning. That is when I bought, btw. Since then it has become almost 2x as expensive to own, a change that would make me more likely to rent (not own) for financial reasons. (That said, I’m in the market, but I am most certainly not buying as an investment.)

  39. Pralay Says:

    No? OK, how do you explain the dramatic decline in value?
    ——–

    It’s very simple to explain. All you have read RealEstater’s comment mentioned in #12. The guy who bought on June 2000 had a “starting point on which to build equity“. Now he is planning to “trade up“. It’s trading up baby, trading up. That’s why he does not mind to sell for less.

  40. DreamT Says:

    steve – To me you’re part of the “snobbish minority”, with the curse (or blessing) of too-high a standard. I’m pretty sure that most people who rent in Cupertino’s or Mountain View’s downtown condos feel like you do, but I don’t believe it’s the prevalent feeling in the bay area.

  41. steve Says:

    Pralay, good point but I like BAI’s theory better.

    I was bored so I wanted to break this down:

    difference between purchase and sale price: $155,000 (gross, best case now)
    5% commission: $74,750
    9 years of property tax: $163,350
    9 years of structure insurance and misc repairs: $30,000 (estimated)
    9 years of interest: $495,000 (5.5%, $1M loan)
    9 years oppt cost on 650K down: $281,645 (4% interest, net the 650)

    that’s $1.2M in non-recoverable loss, or the equavilent or $11K per month in rent. Think the 2000 buyer could have rented somewhere nicer for a bit less?

    Taking opportunity cost and mortgage interest out of the equation (silly, I know), that is still a loss of $423K, best case! That 423K for tax, insurance and costs associated with the sale (vastly underestimated btw, since it doesn’t include painting, transfer tax, title fees, etc) still works out to $3917 per month or roughly the rental value of this house. wow!

  42. steve Says:

    DreamT, guilty as charged but, in my defense, I value a very short commute (traffic makes me homicidal) and enjoy living near most all of my friends. I recognize how fortunate I am.

  43. bob Says:

    Looks like we have turned the corner. Dow is over 8000 now. Next stop should be 8500. We may be in the early stages of a new bull market. For those who have not invested new money into the market, it’s still not too late to get in now.

    RE, I’d be a bit cautious making such forward statements. For one, as I mentioned back in January, it would not be at all unusual for the market to rebound as much as 30%. The market was clearly oversold from Oct- February simply because there was a larger fear that we were going to hell in a hand basket. Now that it appears that we aren’t going to hell but are instead in a severe recession, the market is being overbought. These wild swings tend to occur during times of uncertainty. If you ask me, I’d say we’re probably due for a slight selloff followed by a period of flat performance for the next several years.

    The fundamentals are still far from being capable of supporting a healthy market. But if indeed this market turns for the good , then good for you- and myself as well since I too am invested and look at things from a long term perspective instead of trying to guess. You will never win guessing. Perhaps you can get lucky- which if things turn out well- you clearly experienced. But people who guess ultimately get burned and toasted. Just some words of advice.

  44. bob Says:

    In addition, the jobs report is due out tomorrow and its projected to be the worst in 26 years. Now that the market has real news versus just a bunch of feel-good feelings, the result from this report will be interesting to see.

  45. DreamT Says:

    steve – IMO a very short commute and proximity to friends falls in the same “intangible” category as many of the homeownership perks, which is why I cringe when the rent vs own discussion boils down to which is cheaper for any given time period – esp. since the majority of renters don’t look to invest in real estate initially, but to live in.

  46. DreamT Says:

    bob – But maybe the worse the unemployment numbers, the happier Wall Street, since it means the cost-cutting exercise was swift and deep?

  47. bob Says:

    bob – But maybe the worse the unemployment numbers, the happier Wall Street, since it means the cost-cutting exercise was swift and deep?

    The only thing to know about economics and Wall Street is that there are no correct, concrete answers. But as a rule of thumb, there’s a difference between unemployment as a result of corporate downsizing due to either changes in that particular company/industry ( a good example would be automation) and general unemployment affecting all sectors which would indicate an overall unhealthy economy.

    What it boils down to is buyer’s sentiment. But general unemployment is a leading economic indicator and with bad numbers, an economy has no means for long-term prosperity.

  48. nomadic Says:

    #46 – spinmeister! :-)

  49. nomadic Says:

    Yes, unemployment is generally a leading indicator but in this recession it’ll probably lag recovery, as has been pointed out by many economists. In other words, don’t expect unemployment to improve before the overall economy rebounds. (But the severe losses should decelerate at least!)

    I agree with you that the economy hasn’t found the bottom yet.

  50. bob Says:

    My gut feeling is that when there is an actual economic recovery, it’ll be more like the start of the recession, which occurred probably a year before anyone started calling it a recession. Meaning there will probably be a long and protracted period of unremarkable performance before everyone realizes that there is relative stability.

    I listen to numerous economic radio shows daily and the callers on these shows ( all from the Bay Area) are mostly in deep doo-doo. Lots of people with underwater properties and serious debt. I think average Joe is still in serious trouble. Thus even when the economy recovers, I believe the social implications for typical Americans will be very different than before. perhaps even humbling.

    Again- the recent overbuying on Wall Street is basically a gut reaction to the belief that we’re not heading towards a depression. The indicators are still awful.

  51. SB123 Says:

    DreamT:

    As far as my situation is concerned, you are spot-on regarding renting in one area and buying in another.

    Ex: we currently rent at $1,175/mo though we can afford $3k. After we move to the BA, these numbers will improve to where we can afford to rent a $4k place although we will rent a place between $1400-1500. Maybe we’ll rent even cheaper, anything less than $1400 will be additional icing on the cake.

    As you can see, we are willing to live low in order to achieve our goal which is home ownership. We are will to live anywhere except gang-infested areas or areas that tend to criminal activity. This gives us some options including living in a mobile home for about 2 years if living there falls within our price range.

    Now we wouldn’t consider buying a mobile home, this would be just a temp arrangement. Actually we would like to buy in Los Altos, but that may be too pie-in-the-sky, but we’ll see how it goes.

    So far, we’ve saved about $75k which is in cash and safely out of the Market.

  52. bob Says:

    SB123,
    I’m going to assume that you are an middle aged couple. Before you go out and buy that dream house, do you all have any kind of retirement saved up? I only ask because buying a house here will suck up most of your income, thus having a nest egg in advance would be highly advantageous.

    Lastly…. Why in god’s name are you moving back here? Its only the most expensive area in the US to live.

  53. nomadic Says:

    SB, don’t let bob scare you off. He’s miserable here; kind of masochist that loves to hate where he lives. ;-)

    bob – see #21. Looks like she has family here; or her husband does anyway.

  54. Real Estater Says:

    But but but Pralay, have you gone to an open house yet?

  55. Real Estater Says:

    Bob says,
    >>Before you go out and buy that dream house, do you all have any kind of retirement saved up?

    Bob, if you buy a Bay Area house, that is your piggy bank! Historically, the return is way better than any savings account.

  56. steve Says:

    But RE have you answered my question yet?

  57. SB123 Says:

    Hi bob:

    Yes, we have our retirement investments apart from our home savings account, thank you for pointing this out. the days where homeowners used their house as their sole financial asset are over.

    As far as why we’re coming back, our family is here, our grandparents, great-grand parents, and great-great grandparents are buried here.

    Until you’ve lived in another State, many which can be likened to emerging economy nations, you cannot imagine how wonderful and civilized California is – which is probably why 2/3 of us return to CA after living in another State for (about) 3 – 5 years.

    Now, I’m aware of all the criticism re CA, we’ve heard it all, but until you move to a State such as, well, New Mexico, and try to find a good dentist (there aren’t any – have to go to AZ) or doctor, or name that professional…well, you can hopefully see why. Most people here are what I would describe as “low-output” sorts. In CA, there is a lot more competition and the bar is set much much higher than NM.

    Another example: try going to your bank and the tellers have missing teeth and speak English with an accent when you arrive at the window. Further, bank fraud is very common here due to a lack of consumer protection laws (ex: the CA Code is about 230 volumes and NM State Annotated is 18). Which translates to gaping holes in the law and is filled with ambiguities and vagueness.

    The education here is really rotten. I would say that a Homestead High grad is the educational equivalent of a NM State University senior in NM.

    Thank you for the explanation, nomadic :)

  58. steve Says:

    RE 55, check steve 41

  59. Real Estater Says:

    SB123 says,
    >>Ex: we currently rent at $1,175/mo though we can afford $3k. After we move to the BA, these numbers will improve to where we can afford to rent a $4k place although we will rent a place between $1400-1500.
    >>We are will to live anywhere except gang-infested areas or areas that tend to criminal activity.

    Not sure where you live now, but for $1400-1500 a month, if you’re talking about renting a house, it will surely be a gang infested, if not roach infested area.

  60. DreamT Says:

    SB123 – That exercerpt (as some say in Palo Alto) was frightening. Surely it can’t be that bad if you live in the middle of a major city? After all some backcountry areas of California aren’t very sophisticated either.

  61. SB123 Says:

    Hi Real Estater:

    On Craig’s List, we are finding 100′s of rentals that meet our location reqs in Sunnyvales, Santa Clara, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Cupertino. In fact, I enter restrictions in the search terms in order to narrow the choices down. I’ve been bookmarking local property management firms to contact when we arrive to look at rentals in person.

    If we go higher on the rent, to say $1900, there are townhomes for that figure in Los Altos, although we probably won’t go that high on the rent, although we can afford it.

    We really rather deal with a management company as opposed to an individual landlord due to our concerns for landlord financial stability – something we haven’t had to consider until recently.

    We’re not limiting ourselves to a house, per se, but actually would rather rent a townhome or condo. Houses, we’ve found, tend to have too many problems whereas townhomes tend to be in better condition.

  62. DreamT Says:

    $1400 gives you a decent 2-bedroom apartment, although I known of a non-gang infested, non-roach-infested Palo Alto house ago that was renting for cheaper than that just two years ago.

  63. SB123 Says:

    Hi DReamT:

    Yes, its really that bad. Actually the locals warned us about the doctors and dentist (butchers who remove the wrong teeth, ugh). My former boss here goes to CO for lasik and Houston for surgery.

    I have several dentists, now one of which is in Tucson about 4.5 hours away. Albuquerque is 4 hours away, but we’d rather go to AZ because its more like CA. Albuquerque is like Palmdale.

  64. zanon Says:

    SB123: Craigslist rules in the Bay Area. Not like NYC where you *have* to get a broker. We actually tried to find one, failed, and got our place on Craigslist.

    I almost live in Los Altos. Totally nice area.

    Also, you saying rents are going down is *bad and wrong*. Rents are *RED HOT*. Do you have any idea what falling rents mean for house prices? I don’t think we need that kind of negativity here.

  65. steve Says:

    SB123, regarding comment 51, I am a bit confused. It sounds like you are looking to rent in Palo Alto or Mountain View. DreamT’s point was that you would rent in a lesser area to save to afford a better one. Is your ultimate goal to live in Atherton or Hillsborough, or are you disagreeing with DreamT?

    And, welcome back! bob will be leaving soon, perhaps you are interested in renting his house?

  66. zanon Says:

    Also, entry level Los Altos is about $2M. So, 20% down will be $400K. You’ll then carry a $1.6M mortgage, which comes out to well over $10K/mo.

    Financially speaking, renting is nothing like buying here. It’s much more than the downpayment. If you look at financing the cost of 80% of the purchase price, at a 30% fixed with historically low rates, you’ll pay 2-4x more than you would by renting.

  67. SB123 Says:

    Hi zanon,

    I guess I’m confused, what I meant to say is that I’m finding rents are or have dropped several hundred dollars per month as opposed to what they were 2 years ago – which is a good thing for those of us who are savers.

    Maybe you’re being facetious? (lol)

    Anyway, thank you all for your advice (well taken).
    I definitely will be back to visit – your comments are most instructive.

  68. DreamT Says:

    “DreamT’s point was that you would rent in a lesser area to save to afford a better one.”
    Actually my point was the opposite: buying a house typically pushes you farther away than you could afford just by renting. It sounds like SB123 is taking the opposite approach, which is quite brave.

    SB123′s depiction of NM is mouth-watering. I want to spend my next vacation there and meet creepy dentists.

  69. zanon Says:

    BOB: I agree with you, I don’t think the market as a whole has bottomed, although I do think financials have.

    The Govt is pouring so much money into that sector, and they are making such *huge* spreads, that they are raking in money. The question is, are they bringing it in faster than their assets are dying. Apart from BofA and Citi, I think the answer is yes.

    As for the broader economy, higher unemployment triggers higher deficits, which fund the private sector demand for saving. This is a good thing and will stabilize the economy (keep aggregate demand from falling farther). Unfortunately, the Obama administration has decided on a stable economy with high unemployment. At this point, the broader market will rally too. Good for the investor class, but not for the average joe. Expect energy prices to climb higher too.

  70. nomadic Says:

    eh, zanon, give the newbie a break! you can get a starter in Los Altos for $1.4M or less these days, especially if you don’t mind living in a time warp that hasn’t been updated in 50 years.

  71. zanon Says:

    SB123: facetious on burbed? Never!

  72. SB123 Says:

    Hi steve:

    I used to live in Burlingame, but no, Atherton and Hillsborough are not our goal. Los Altos would be nice however, if we were buy there it would most likely be a townhome and not a SFR.

    As far as renting – we are open to rent in the cities I listed above. We’re intentionally limiting ourselves to a particular rent range in order to save more for a down.

  73. Pralay Says:

    But but but Pralay, have you gone to an open house yet?
    ——-

    RE, how much percentage do you get for your pimping job? :)

  74. SB123 Says:

    “SB123’s depiction of NM is mouth-watering. I want to spend my next vacation there and meet creepy dentists.”

    LOL!!!

  75. nomadic Says:

    re #68, DreamT, have you been to Florida? I know of some people who moved down there from Michigan and found they would wait until school breaks to send their kids back up to MI for dental appointments.

  76. Pralay Says:

    that’s $1.2M in non-recoverable loss, or the equavilent or $11K per month in rent.
    ———-

    Hmmm. That sounds like Allen Stanford International “Piggy Bank”.

  77. steve Says:

    right now, in los altos, you can get a great house for $1.6 and a very nice townhouse sub $1M — prices are dropping fast. by next fall they might even approach reasonable.

  78. DreamT Says:

    “right now, in los altos, you can get a great house for $1.6″

    This left everybody absolutely speechless

  79. Real Estater Says:

    I have been to NM, CO, and AZ. SB123′s descriptions are pretty much right on. I have also been to many developing nations, and I’d rather live in those nations than in one of these 3rd world states. In developing nations at least you typically get to experience a lot of interesting things around you, where as if you get stuck in one of these 3rd world states, you’ll experience a life of total boredom. You may get a big house, but there’s nothing else to speak of. If you want your life to be one big emptiness, then by all means move out to the ROCs (Regions Outside of California).

  80. Real Estater Says:

    Bob says,
    >>RE, I’d be a bit cautious making such forward statements.

    It’s one thing to talk about things that have already happened (as you always do), it’s another to offer insight into what would happen next, and be right over and over again.

    >>For one, as I mentioned back in January, it would not be at all unusual for the market to rebound as much as 30%.

    But you didn’t act on it out of fear. What you need to understand is that any rebound is a good rebound as long as it makes you money. Any bubble is a good bubble if it makes you rich (and it’s not a bubble if it never pops).

  81. nomadic Says:

    After that post, I’d be rolling on the floor laughing if it wasn’t just so damn tragic. (Both points.)

  82. A. Lewis Says:

    RE, you’ve posted multiple times without responding to my question – are you still buying stocks? What’d you do with your un-invested cash? What’s your investment strategy now that you believe stocks are past the bottom?

  83. A. Lewis Says:

    Also, I lived in Colorado for 6 years, and although I’m much happier here, places like Boulder are almost Bay-Area like, so blanket generalization of the whole state as the 3rd world are worse than useless – they’re outright lies that distort the truth. So stop that.

    Denver is a very familiar looking big city in America, and has plenty of competent dentists. And a first class science museum, for example.

    Being able to drive 1-2 hours to world class skiing is also a nice feature of Colorado I enjoyed.

    Check out rents and housing prices in Boulder, CO on craigslist – pretty impressive trying to keep with us, I think! (We still out-class them, don’t worry).

    I’m a big fan of the ocean, and we have access to Lake Tahoe (and a million other things), but Boulder makes my top 10 list of cities I’d be willing to live in. Did you know it averages 300 sunny days a year? Beautiful winters there – pretty snow that evaporates quickly, avoiding the east-coast style grey sludge and ice thing as much as possible.

  84. Pralay Says:

    After that post, I’d be rolling on the floor laughing if it wasn’t just so damn tragic. (Both points.)
    ———-
    :) Isn’t it cute? On one hand he refuses to tell in investment strategy (well, it is apparent that there is none), but on the other hand he offers “insight into what would happen next“.

  85. Pralay Says:

    RE, you’ve posted multiple times without responding to my question – are you still buying stocks?
    ——

    His investment portfolio best described by Madhaus 10 months back.

  86. nomadic Says:

    erg, doesn’t look like he “followed the money” on that Yahoo call (2 posts down)…

    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=YHOO#symbol=YHOO;range=1y

    May 1, 2008: $28.67
    today: $13.34

  87. anon Says:

    LOL nomadic you mean the quote from RE: “On the taxable side, I have a portfolio of tech stocks, including a small stake in Yahoo. The Yahoo play is just another example of “follow the money”, “be where the billionaires are”, rather than any technical analysis.”?

    Looks like our buddy was wrong again. I think he could very well be batting a thousand…

  88. nomadic Says:

    Maybe he ought to cut to the chase and buy a 1,000 bulls. Fertilizer is a profitable business. ;-)

  89. Real Estater Says:

    Dow over 8000! This is the rally that just keeps on giving.

  90. Real Estater Says:

    Quote of the day:

    “I’m a big fan of the ocean, and we have access to Lake Tahoe”

    Author: A. Lewis

    Talk about rolling on the floor laughing!

  91. anon Says:

    I must not get it.

  92. nomadic Says:

    Mr. Punctuation-and-Spelling must not realize that “, and” can join what could have been two separate sentences. But it is kind of humorous if you run it all together and imagine (today’s watchword!) that someone could mistake Lake Tahoe for the ocean.

    Just another deflection of the scorn we’ve been heaping in our pet troll’s direction.

  93. DreamT Says:

    #48 – See, I was not spinning! ;) As the adage goes: if it’s bad for you it must be good for wall street.

  94. madhaus Says:

    #85, Pralay, wow, thanks for that trip down memory lane! I think the best investment in that portfolio has to be the Pokemon cards.


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