June 30, 2009

House in Mountain View comes with Guard Tower

278 N RENGSTORFF Ave, Mountain View, CA 94043 | MLS# 80926202
278 N RENGSTORFF Ave Mountain View, CA 94043
Price: $745,000

278
Beds: 4
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,344
$/Sq. Ft.: $554
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1955
Community: Thompson
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80926202
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 16 days
Complete interior remodel in the Monta Loma community, light & bright-this home features a new kitchen with stainless steel appls, granite counters & recessed lighting. Both baths tiled in stone, gorgeous new flooring. New furnace, water heater, insul, 2-pane windows, electric & wiring. Large by-landscaped. Close by shopping, amenities, commutes, Los Altos High. SELLER FINANCING AVAILABLE AT GOOD RATES

Let’s face it, with the economy not so well in other states, invaders might be tempted to come to the Bay Area to steal our treasure and bring it back to their savage states.

With that mind, it is obvious why the owners of this house built this guard tower. You and your family can take turns at night, peering out the windows, ensuring that any trespassers onto your property will be detected.

Or you can do this in reverse and make sure no one sneaks out of the house. Perhaps you’re a parent whose kids might not be on track to getting into Stanford – now you can be sure they’re not leaving until they’ve done their homework.

Either way, this is great for those who want to be aware of the surroundings. Spotlights not included.

Comments (52) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:33 am

52 Responses to “House in Mountain View comes with Guard Tower”

  1. PB Says:

    Should I rent or Should I not. :)

    http://www.businessinsider.com/henry-blodget-next-up-in-the-housing-crash-mcmansions-2009-6

    and this also

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/business/29loanmod.html

    - PBS

  2. anon Says:

    At first I thought 745,000 was too much for 1344sqft. Then I thought about the interrogations I could conduct in my very own guard tower.

    Sale Pending.

  3. madhaus Says:

    This house is a business opportunity! Put up some chaink link with barbed wire on top, and you can run a juvenile delinquent facility! Face it, not everyone is Stanford material. Plus, if any of them escape, they’ll be winged by all the minivans heading to Costco.

  4. R Says:

    Thanks for the business insider article link, lots of good stuff.

    “Why in the world would there be such an overwhelming sense of hope among the mid-to-high end homeowners that the prices of expensive homes would come roaring back? If not for interest only loans, Pay Option ARMs, stated income and 100% HELOCs the mid-to-high end would have never got there in the first place.

    Two years ago, a household income of $100k a year could legitimately buy an $800k home with almost nothing down and afford the payments using a Pay Option ARM. Now to buy the same house, you need $160k down and an income of $200k a year. The $800k home went from the majority being able to afford it, to only a few. ”

    “When I asked her [the realtor] what made her think the market would come back when rates were going higher, availability of credit was down, incomes were down, unemployment was up and willingness and availability of people to spend was down, she had no answer.”

  5. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    I say somebody offers them 400k, but only if they pre-install the barbed wire.

    However, with some sellers starting to see the writing on the wall, it makes lowballing a dangerous sport. I’ve put in two ridiculously lowball offers over the last year (one was about 20% of the asking price (80% discount) for a place that eventually sold for about 60% of asking). Now I’m afraid if I throw a lowball out there, somebody might take me up on it.

  6. nomadic Says:

    Today is a day to party. Not only is the first phase of troop withdrawal from Iraq complete, today is the bottom of the housing market! ;-) Jim Cramer said so. :-P

    http://www.businessinsider.com/cramers-greatest-hits-2009-6

  7. Hellboy Says:

    Re:”Let’s face it, with the economy not so well in other states, invaders might be tempted to come to the Bay Area to steal our treasure and bring it back to their savage states.”

    LOL! Nice Burbed.

  8. nomadic Says:

    For those of you who have said you want to invest (or short) the housing market as a whole, there are two new options available as of today:

    The MacroShares Major Metro Housing Up, an exchange-traded fund that tracks the cumulative change in the S&P/Case-Shiller Composite-10 Home Price Index, started trading today on the New York Stock Exchange with a value of $20.03 at 10:04 a.m. New York time.

    The Major Metro Housing Down, which allows investors to take the opposite position, betting that home prices will fall, began trading with a value of $30.92.

    Mentioned at the end of this Shiller article:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=atwY13VdQtLk

    I don’t know what the underlying securities are – didn’t research it.

  9. burbed Says:

    >LOL! Nice Burbed.

    Thanks. I’m thinking introducing more Roman metaphors to the site.

  10. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts418

    “California on the brink…”

    Wonder how the spinmeisters will handle that. ;-)

    And isn’t it interesting that virtually every article I come across describing California’s financial woes almost always invariably brings up Prop 13. Now I wonder why that is…

    Also interesting that when the Governator took office, he asked Warren Buffett for some advice. What was one of the first things Warren said?

    “Proposition 13 makes no sense….”

    How interesting….

  11. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Didn’t the governator then say “If Warren mentions prop 13 again, I will make him do 500 sit ups!”

    Prop 13 is pure retardation. It’s the exact wrong way to go about curbing government spending.

  12. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    #12

    Prop 13 was a triumph of greed and stupidity over common sense.

    What it basically created was a bedrock for a situation that was unsustainable. Voters merely always voted for services they wanted and voted against tax increases to pay for them. The end result was a state that had to resort to bond issues to continuously fund its debt. And without an inflation adjusted property tax system, it was only a matter of time before inflation eroded the coffers of the state treasury to the point where all of California becomes insolvent.

  13. PB Says:

    There are many people against prop 13, but I for one do not see anything wrong in it. It protect the long time resident from artificial boom in the properties. Only thing missing in the Prop 13 should be any time you get a appraisal done to withdraw equity should also be an event to modify the price.
    -PBS

  14. Gavin Says:

    The problem with Prop 13 is it introduces “magic” numbers into taxes. I define a magic number as one that may or may not reflect reality.

    The 2% limit on property tax increases per year is a magic number. Imagine a world where inflation is 5% a year and all prices including houses, incomes and other goods and services rise at the same rate. If property taxes increases are restricted, as under Prop 13 in 30 years they will fall from 1.25% of property value to 0.52% of property value.

    To see how arbitrary the 2% limit is you can ask the question, “why didn’t voters choose another number say 0.5% increase per year or why not -2.5% decrease per year?”

    A much more practical law is to have property taxes tied to inflation or incomes.

  15. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    PB : What’s wrong with it? How about being able to pass the tax base on to your kids? Or commercial properties getting to keep their tax base ad infinitum? It’s protectionist to existing businesses and residents while making new people shoulder the bulk of the bill, and drives DOWN homeownership as granny’s old house is a cash-cow rental unit given that you pay 1/10th the taxes of the neighbors who just moved in. You don’t pay the taxes, the new people do. You get the services but don’t pay the bills.

    Disneyland’s land use taxes are protected.

    Without it, taxes would be evenly distributed.

  16. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Well said sfbubblebuyer.

    Your overview basically adds credence to my original statement calling the California system a ‘third world hierarchy’. By instilling protectionism as you indicated, the subsequent generation has to shoulder the tax burden. And by maintaining the level of services, the poor and middle classes eventually begin to merge into a nice proletariat under the control of the elite bourgeoisie.

  17. A. Lewis Says:

    It’d be easy to modify Prop. 13 to have a few exceptions to protect the elderly or disabled on fixed incomes, and yet be meaningfully tied to inflation. It would do so much good, including acting as a mild dampener against housing bubbles (both by increasing supply b/c people aren’t as incented to hold on, and by reducing the benefit of homeownership b/c you have to account for more property taxes in the future).

    PB: unless you can address the ‘magic numbers’ argument (ht Gavin), you have no rebuttal. Explain why 2% is the right number? Every year forever?

    Prop. 13 exists because a minority of the rich and powerful used successful fear and mostly greed tactics to manipulate a majority into backing it.

    And of course, it saves a bunch of Californians a bunch of taxes. So would cutting the top income tax rate in CA to 0% tomorrow. Both are a bad idea.

    Prop. 13 was very sneaky because it didn’t do anything drastic to the property tax stream the first couple of years it was implemented. Took decades to slowly build up the monstrous damage.

    You might think that Prop. 13 would succeed in driving poor renters out of CA, and draw in rich homebuyers from other states that don’t have it.

    Funny, I don’t think it’s turned out that way.

  18. R Says:

    1. Remove commercial properties from prop 13 protection. This would be an easy sell since no grannies would be displaced from their home as a result of the move.

    2. Peg property tax increases to inflation. This way, assessments aren’t impacted by market hysteria but fundamental economics. If this isn’t enough protection, peg property tax increases to half or some other multiple of inflation.

  19. A. Lewis Says:

    I also insist that for any upwards cap that is allowed to remain there must be an equal and opposite downwards cap.

    No fair getting to reduce your much-needed property taxes during a downturn faster than we are allowed to raise them during an upturn.

  20. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Pertaining to how you could ease the state off of Prop 13, you could also grandfather in certain residents who are retired and on fixed incomes. But as a corrolary, remove the provisions in Prop 13 that allow the home to be trusted to children of the previous owners and be able to maintain the previous tax rate.

    As the other posters indicated, remove the provision for commercial real estate. That will likely be a nasty wake up call for some businesses, but TS. Businesses outside of California who don’t have similar tax laws seem to get along just fine.

    And as another sidebar, get rid of the idiotic 2/3 majority requirement for passing a state budget. Having that in there is like a Mom needing a majority from family members on what would be for dinner that day. There would be a lot of fat kids in that household after they voted for pizza and McDonalds on a daily basis.

  21. nomadic Says:

    At least when Michigan implemented a similar measure in 1994, they tied property values to a 5% increase or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. However, that seems to preclude any chance of a reduction when property values fall.

  22. Pralay Says:

    It protect the long time resident from artificial boom in the properties.
    ——

    That indeed was a problem. But Prop 13 wasn’t solution. As other explained already, what Prop 13 provided is plain simple protectionism.

    Two wrongs does not make a right.

  23. madhaus Says:

    There are so many problems with Prop 13 I can’t begin to address them all. Plus add in the nasty corollary proposition that requires a 2/3 majority to pass any bonds that aren’t statewide. Both these props passed by a majority vote, and both have provisions requiring a 2/3 vote to repeal them.

    I would like to circulate a proposition to amend the California Constitution to throw out any proposition language requiring more votes for repeal than were needed to implement them in the first place. That would be a great start to get rid of all these Prop 13 tax base exceptions for veterans’ pet-sitters’ hairdressers’ grandchildren.

    Remember when burbed wrote about some guy in Redwood City who wanted his Prop 13 tax base to go to his nephews and nieces because it was so important to him that the house stay in his family? the story came from a newspaper article or LTE. Then the guy actually wrote to burbed and it ran here as a follow-up article. Let’s just say I didn’t give him a nice big RBA hello. I’m sure my secretary, Herve, can look it up for me as I am far too busy to bother.

  24. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    The worst thing is that there were already ways to keep granny in her house when they passed it. It had NOTHING to do with keeping retired folks in their homes. Almost every county had the ability for seniors to apply for deferred taxes where they settled their tax bill upon settlement of their estates. The taxes were placed as liens on the property. If the property was less than the lien when grandma finally kicked the bucket, well, no skin off anybody’s nose. If the kids wanted the house, all they had to do was pay off the deferred taxes. And most of them didn’t even charge interest.

    Prop 13 was all about screwing over everybody who comes after you. Plain and simple. Businesses get to see newer competitors eat the tax turd, homeowners see newer residents eat the tax turd, all while bellowing about how they should never have to take a bite.

    Screw you all.

  25. nomadic Says:

    Hey computer-challenged Blackberry fiend! :-) Yes, you madhaus. Here’s your link. It wouldn’t have taken so long, but Vista gave me yet another blue screen of death along the way. Argh.

    You were referring to Daniel Petelin in RWC:
    http://www.burbed.com/2008/07/07/daniel-petelin-speaks-out/

    and the original:
    http://www.burbed.com/2008/06/02/daniel-petelin-and-the-18-million-dollar-house-in-redwood-city/

    I like the idea up above for re-assessing the tax basis when someone does a cash-out refi. Or at least cash out above 80% LTV with “value” set on original purchase price.

  26. Pralay Says:

    And the very first comment in that thread is from madhaus. I read it one more time…one more time. Someday I will try to write like that.

  27. PB Says:

    Sorry I was away all afternoon yesterday and did not see comments.
    Just to clarify I am not a owner, I am renter.
    Now coming to the point of Prop 13. I am may not be staunch supporter of prop 13 but I still do not see anything wrong in it.
    To go over some of the point mentioned
    Magic number: 2% – It should have been 0% but these things are matter of give and take. If inflation for last couple of years was 3-4%, peg the number at 2% percent so as to garner better support for initiative for it to pass. To be very frank any number that can get enough support for the initiative to pass is MAGIC number.

    Services: Do all people use all services equally. NO. If someone if staying in the same house for last 20 years. Most likely their kids have done their education and moved on. Why should they keep on contributing to local taxes for education. The list may go on.

    Infrastructure: Bigger cost of infrastructure happens when it is created not the maintenance. The people that move in first carry the burden of new infrastructure. It should be appropriate to let the get longer term benefit by lower taxes in the long term.

    At the end of it, let me me reiterate that I am not a staunch supporter as well as it does not benfit me right now. But in long term it is the right approach. People who stay in same house for decades deserves less taxes than people moving in for short term. Similar rules apply by means of rent control for renter also.
    -PB

  28. Pralay Says:

    Most likely their kids have done their education and moved on. Why should they keep on contributing to local taxes for education. The list may go on.
    ——

    Yes PB, most of the people should not pay for police services, because they never sought help from police or made 911 calls.

    Most of the people should not pay tax for maintaining fire dept because they never used that service.

    May be I shouldn’t pay for social security/medicare tax either because my parents are not living here in USA (why paying for someone else’s parents?).

    In fact wealthy people can argue that they never going to pay their fair share of tax because they don’t use most of the services (probably they don’t need police service either, as they can hire their own private security guard).

    I am curious what kind of tax model you are proposing that allows to sustain a society which would not look like a third world’s one.

  29. Pralay Says:

    Bigger cost of infrastructure happens when it is created not the maintenance. The people that move in first carry the burden of new infrastructure.
    ——

    Please give some example.

    For example, if someone bought a home in Palo Alto in 1980, what kind of infrastructure creation cost he/she paid which won’t be paid by a guy who is buying home in 2009.

  30. nomadic Says:

    another question on this:
    The people that move in first carry the burden of new infrastructure. It should be appropriate to let the get longer term benefit by lower taxes in the long term.

    Does government ever pay for an infrastructure project when it’s first built? In my experience, there’s often a bond issue (even the GG Bridge issued bonds) to pay for the project so that it’s paid for over the following decade(s).

  31. Trader Joe Says:

    Enjoy those state IOUs. Wow.

  32. Pralay Says:

    People who stay in same house for decades deserves less taxes than people moving in for short term.
    —-

    I am yet to understand the logic behind deserving less tax if one stays in “same house”. What if someone moves to another house in same city? He is also a long time resident of the city, right?

  33. CB Says:

    I buy into the argument that long time owners have already expended the same portion of their available income to city services as is the new owner on the hook for in their coming years.

    And, I’m not clear on why real property is somewhat unique in that even as a one time purchase of a material item, it is constantly reassessed and taxed based on an appreciating/depreciating value.

    I’m aware most investments are taxed at current value, but only until recently most buyers considered their home as only a possession and place to live, not an investment per se.

    In that respect, I don’t see why a home is not taxed at the current sales tax rate at the time of purchase and those taxes either paid in full at the close of escrow, or financed with interest payable to the county.

  34. Pralay Says:

    And, I’m not clear on why real property is somewhat unique in that even as a one time purchase of a material item, it is constantly reassessed and taxed based on an appreciating/depreciating value.
    ——

    CB,
    City has its infrastructures and services. So residents has to be taxed one way or another. If it is not property tax it will another way (resident tax?). Bottomline, people should to pay for the services. Taxing property happened to be convenient way to collect tax – historically.
    If prop 13 supporters wanted to keep granny in home, they should have provided a model that is sustainable in long term without taxing younger generation more. Yes, constant assessing home value and taxing people is probably a wrong thing. But Prop 13 is not right either. Both are wrong.

    Again, two wrongs don’t make it right.

  35. Pralay Says:

    In that respect, I don’t see why a home is not taxed at the current sales tax rate at the time of purchase and those taxes either paid in full at the close of escrow, or financed with interest payable to the county.
    —–

    That sounds even worse. If one lives in a house more than, say, 20 or 30 years, probably he won’t be paying any tax to county. But he will continue to utilize all the services provided by city/county.

  36. CB Says:

    Pralay, I’m with you on the dysfunction of Prop 13, the commercial component, the disparity, the stability of property income relative to sales/income, etc.

    And there would be nothing more satisfying to see a fat tax bill dropped on the steps of these boomers who’ve been sucking the last bit of blood from gen-x corpse for so long.

    But my staunch and unwavering position is that the current predicament that our state has little to do with revenue. In that respect I think our state has a dozen or so major issues to work out before Prop 13 needs to be addressed.

  37. nomadic Says:

    CB – you might find this amusing; you can balance the budget via spending cuts and/or tax increases:

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-statebudget-fl-2,0,6957202.htmlstory

  38. CB Says:

    The LA Times applet presents some black or white decisions. Most in education are kill all or kill none, a scenario that doesn’t represent reality all that well.

    And, while the LA Times may consider the fact that CA has the third lowest ratio of state workers to citizens in the country a boon to their tax em’ more editorial, I find the fact that our state is going bankrupt paying for so few people discouraging.

    What that exercise omits, and this a blaring omission IMO, is reform. The sole solutions are not taxes and cuts, as the narrative floating around the state media would have you believe.

    I think most Californians would take a further kick in the balls if there were reformative policies that came along with it, perhaps including changes in the way property is taxed and how state workers are compensated.

  39. nomadic Says:

    Sure it’s a rather simplistic model – they aren’t going to spend the time to create a complicated tool. It’s just something to fiddle with while looking at some of the areas that can be affected.

  40. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    But my staunch and unwavering position is that the current predicament that our state has little to do with revenue. In that respect I think our state has a dozen or so major issues to work out before Prop 13 needs to be addressed

    Actually, issue # 1 is the whole proposition system to begin with. I am sorry, but that concept takes the spirit of democracy and makes it look and sound like a Raffi record. The California recall farce should have been the first tell tale sign of how broken our system of government is in this state.

    Seriously. Has anyone ever seen something so asinine? It takes one of the core portions of check and balance concept of our republic and turns it into a farce.

    I have to admit that even though I am a staunch supporter of gay marriage rights, I think there was some level of poetic justice by seeing the vaulted prop system used as a tool of discrimination when prop 8 was put on the ballot. I just wish everyone could take a step back and realize the message there: that the logic behind a mechanism like the proposition system will ALWAYS invariably lead to individuals using the system for their own personal benefit at the expense of others. Prop 8 stripped the individual rights of an entire class of people and prop 13 pushed a massive burden onto an entire generation for the benefit of the prior one.

  41. steve Says:

    I take the madhaus view of Prop 13, but I think:

    1) it will be impossible to repeal, or even modify

    2) if it were repealed and property tax reverted to market, there would be a huge flood of supply.

    a contributor to the spread in market value and rental equivalent in SFHs is prop 13. take it away and the olders will sell rather than take the 20x tax hit. and the newsters, the won’t be able to afford to be so generous come lease signing time. as is, prop 13 artificially restricts supply because the carry cost of a house you have owned for 15++ years is too low to notice.

  42. madhaus Says:

    Wow, steve is touting the “madhaus view of Prop 13,” Pralay wants to emulate my RBA hello to Daniel Petelin (I want to call him Daniel Petulant, read his self-serving whine), and nomadic, who was kind enough to find my references, claims I am a corporate scum Blackberry-using clone. While I am digging all this attention, I’m wondering, did I ever mention anything on this site about using a Blackberry? How do you know I’m not running Linux on my no-name mobile device that I bought on woot for fifteen dollars?

  43. nomadic Says:

    I never called you scum! You just complain about tiny screens. Blackberry came first. But maybe you’re one of those Apple fanatics and use an iPhone. Or heaven forbid, Palm Pre.

  44. Herve Estater Says:

    > maybe you’re one of those Apple fanatics

    Real Apple fanatics use Newtons.

  45. Herve Estater Says:

    > Linux on my no-name mobile device that I bought on woot for fifteen dollars?

    Maybe it is time to put some houses for sale on woot… Imagine “Gables End” and “sold out” in the same sentence!

  46. nomadic Says:

    Herve, I have a Newton in a box around here somewhere!

  47. Herve Estater Says:

    > I’m wondering, did I ever mention anything on this site about using a Blackberry?

    I pralayed burbed and found that comment.

  48. nomadic Says:

    Thanks, Herve Estater! Thought I saw it around here somewhere. Nice way to coin a phrase too. ;-)

  49. Herve Estater Says:

    > Herve, I have a Newton in a box around here somewhere!

    Is it between your BeBox and your Altair 8800?

  50. nomadic Says:

    Right by my Palm Edge and Atari 800 computer.

  51. Herve Estater Says:

    Reduced to $690K.

  52. Real Estater Says:

    Let’s not waste any more time talking about Prop 13. It’s almost like talking about a giant asteroid hitting the earth and killing us all. It’s not going to happen.


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