July 6, 2009

A good example of how Zillow is unreliable

290 CHIQUITA Ave, Mountain View, CA 94041 | MLS# 80929905
290 CHIQUITA Ave Mountain View, CA 94041
Price: $1,190,000

290
Beds: 3
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 1,565
$/Sq. Ft.: $760
Lot Size: 4,414 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Year Built: 2009
Community: Downtown
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80929905
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 3 days
Brand New Home. Spacious floor plan, open and bright. Elegant Hardwood Entry Door w/ sidelights. Chef’s Kitchen w/ Stainless steel appliances, lots of hand stained cherry cabinets w/ Granite slab countertops. Gorgeous imported Tigerwood floors, Importd Tile and Marble in kitchen ad Baths. Spiral Staircase. Double hung, dual pane windows AND lots more. A MUST SEE TO APPRECIATE. .. Open Sat/Sun 12-5

Thanks to Burbed reader K.M. for sending this in.

Unfortunately, I think K.M. got things mixed up when she wrote this:

Outrageous, asking price on this house is double the Zillow, surrounded by a parking lot in a sketchy neighborhood.

Now while it’s true that Zillow only provides a ZEstimate of $585,000, I think this is more of an indicator of how Zillow can be unreliable.

You see, Zillow still doesn’t have a strong model for the Real Bay Area. They need to improve their algos to account for “special”. It’s hard, but I bet they could do it if they just knew about this deficiency.

Anyone here know any Zillow employees that they can talk to about this?

Comments (183) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:54 am

183 Responses to “A good example of how Zillow is unreliable”

  1. aaa Says:

    While I do believe the RBA is vastly overpriced, Zillow is a joke.

    I live in a fairly large subdivision with a small number of floor plans. If I look up Zillow estimates for my neighborhood, I’ll see identical houses (same lot size, same floor plan, etc.) with house A estimated at 75k higher than house B (and these are only ~350k houses). Six months later I’ll look again and house B will be 75k higher than house A.

    Zillow also seems to use sales of nearby condos as comps for nice 4/2 houses. So if lots of townhouses sell in a given period, Zillow will think that the actual 4/2 houses are worth the same as the 2 and 3 BR condos and townhouses. It is comical.

    I’ve also found that the more user information an owner enters into Zillow, the lower it drives the Zestimate, regardless of what that information is.

  2. microtherion Says:

    This is a “brand new”, 1565sq ft home, the Zestimate is for a 1926, 700 sq ft home, which is presumably what stood on that site & was demolished for the new home.

  3. nomadic Says:

    Check out that kitchen floor! Whoah!

    And good luck trying to get any furniture up that staircase. What were they thinking?! Sure you free up some space but it’s so impractical.

  4. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Across the street from million dollar homes, eh? If you look across the street on the overhead view you see houses stuffed onto tiny lots that were cut out of what must have been a commercial parcel. It even has it’s own tiny street cutting through there so they could stuff houses way in the back and against the motels the block over. Terrible.

  5. anon Says:

    Bay area squalor.

    Accept no substitutes.

  6. jojo Says:

    After prices like these I feel like I am better off buying some mansion in texas and live off cd and doing part time flipping burgers at some local. Relatively speaking its probably better off there, flipping burgers living in a mansion with acres of lot or work in a cubical living in shi* hole here waking up to mariachi music played by the neighbors and disturbed by cop car siren at night.

  7. austindweller Says:

    Jojo,

    You realized something that I realized more than an year ago after just spending 2 years in CA. Actually I realized that in first 6 moths of my move to CA, but had to wait to get reimbursed for another relocation.

  8. DreamT Says:

    jojo, if that’s the best you managed to do in the bay area, you’re absolutely right. Happy burger flipping.

  9. austindweller Says:

    DT,

    Did you not understand the comparison ? Here it is one more time for you:

    Flipping burger in Tx gives you better quality of life than punching computer keys in CA.

    Now that does NOT mean he has to flip burger in TX or he was flipping burger in CA. I think it to be an exaggeration, but it sometimes I kind of like those.

  10. nomadic Says:

    DT – you’re posting to another “cubical” dweller. ;-)

  11. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Hey,

    In Jojo’s defense, I actually have an office in CA where I work and have climbed the corporate ladder to management. And I am STILL no better off than the burger flipper in Texas.

    So how is that for a comparison?

  12. steve Says:

    wtf does this mean in los altos:

    All offers will be contingent upon approval of the separate guest units. (link)

    Type: Detached Single Family
    Status: Active
    List Date: 05/13/09
    Price: $1,950,000
    Original List Price: $2,395,000
    Location: 940 LUNDY LN, Los Altos, CA 94024

    noticed it because of the new $445K haircut.

    btw, last sale, Aug 03, 1999: $1,500,000. if it doesn’t close by Aug, RBA owners’ right dictate that the new price to be $3M even, right?

  13. SiO2 Says:

    BAI-
    Let’s be generous and say that a burger flipper gets $10/hr. *40 * 52 =$20,800 per year.

    In management one should make at least $100k, probably more. Probably work more than 40 hrs/week, but then get vacation and holidays. Plus health insurance (worth $5-10k tax free). I’m assuming professional management, not burger flipper management. (this remark may sound snide but is not meant to be)

    The cost of living here is not 5x that of Texas. Individual houses, sure, but not the total cost of living. And I doubt that people making $20k/yr are buying mansions in TX. (well perhaps in 2005, easily qualified along with the famous Salinas strawberry pickers, but not now).

  14. steve Says:

    of course, BAI is correct. btw, I saw a 94306 4/2 that was just rented at $3200 a month. a house same condition / same location would sell for $1.3M right now.

    according to the handy, dandy NYT rent calculator, buying is a good move as long as you average 5% annual appreciation. anything less and you save money renting each and every year, forever.

  15. steve Says:

    oops, I meant to say of course SiO2 is correct re: management v burger flipper. my bad.

  16. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Is burger flipping like house flipping? Cause if it is, I’m heading down to In-N-Out right now and make my fortune in their parking lot! “GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT….ISH!”

  17. nomadic Says:

    jojo also mentioned a CD to help with expenses, so we don’t have to be too literal with the analysis.

    .
    Fun stuff from the hills of East San Jose:

    At The Ranch, specifically, nearly half the homes for sale —15 of 32 — are in similar straits. And of the 11 properties sold there since January, eight were distress sales. Even in the gated Country Club neighborhood, 34 properties are in some phase of mortgage default.

    “At one time, I used to tell people that every morning when you woke up, you made money,” said Bonnie Griffith of Windermere Silicon Valley Properties who has been selling homes in the Silver Creek area since the early 1990s. “Times have changed.”

    Although homes are starting to sell in greater numbers as the summer steams ahead, at least one real estate analyst expects foreclosures here will continue with equal force as the economy continues to stall.

    “I think the wave of foreclosures hasn’t hit yet in that particular community,” Dave Walsh, vice president of Alain Pinel Realtors in San Jose, said of The Ranch.
    (emphasis mine)

    http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12743787?source=most_emailed&nclick_check=1

  18. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    SiO2,

    I admit I an exaggerating somewhat. But the point is, the standard of living if one purchase equivalent property is no where near that of other areas in the country.

    To draw an analogy, a colleague of mine owns a home in Dallas that he bought in 2000 which now runs about $225k. He is in one of the more affluent areas of Dallas. Recently, burbed profiled a house in Los Altos going for about $1.3 mil or so which was built in the same year as my friend’s house, was smaller in square footage, yet is selling for a premium of nearly 6 times that of the Dallas house!

    Now I cannot be certain how pay scales function in Dallas. But from my knowledge of poking around on salary dot com, I found that I generally get paid about 25-30% more salary wise than I would get paid in Dallas. Yet I am expected to pay over 600% more for housing? It’s ridiculous. And it is one of the most telling indicators of the bubble.

    In the end, I understand that California homes should carry a premium. The weather is better here, the culture is also evident and there are more jobs. But how much of a premium should one be expected to pay for those “perks”?

    Historically speaking, from what I read, housing in California used to trade at a 30-40% premium versus the rest of the country. Which generally matched our 30-40% wage premium. Yet now, that difference is skewed to moronic proportions.

    In the end, we will get back to normality. But it is going to be a crappy ride. Many folks (like austindweller) decided not to wait around for that return to normalcy. And quite frankly, I don’t blame the guy. We are probably looking at 5-10 years of downside in real estate in the Bay Area before we return to trend line. Many folks will not be patient enough to wait that long so they will either catch a falling knife and be hating life years from now. Or they will opt to leave once the opportunity arises.

  19. steve Says:

    BAI, don’t forget the property tax impacts. since TX taxes only property, the 4% or so bite keeps prices way down. it also hurts landlords so supply is loose. here, courtesy of prop 13, supply is very tight.

  20. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    steve,

    Yes. I didn’t elaborate on that too much. Texas is more of a consumption based tax system (the way it should be) while California is more of a prudish “I was here first” tax system that defers the tax burden to subsequent generations and immigrants while giving leniancy to those here earlier. Gotta love Prop 13.

    What irks me is that they are still defending that thing. It’s like talking to die-hard religious nutjobs when they are attempting to explain how Noah’s Ark could have actually been real.
    Are you f&*king kidding me??

    There comes a time when we all have to step back, set aside our own personal dogma and selfish tendencies and simply accept reality for what it is. What ever happened to the notion of a fair playing field? How can one ethically justify a concept or mechanism that is CLEARLY designed to benefit one set of people at the expense of others?

  21. Pralay Says:

    At one time, I used to tell people that every morning when you woke up, you made money,” said Bonnie Griffith of Windermere Silicon Valley Properties…
    ———

    LOL! Another RealEstater‘s soulmate.

  22. steve Says:

    BAI, I’m not in favor of any asset tax, property tax included. if I had my preference, there would be no gov’t involvement in housing (no rent control, mortage deduction, prop tax, Fannie or Freddie, BMR requirements – the whole deal).

    if you are going to have property tax, I completely agree that prop 13 is nuts. there were many better solutions to the stated problem. (of course, the folks behind prop 13 had a very different agenda). but, at this point, I don’t know how you fix it. almost every residential property owner would suffer financially if it disappeared tomorrow. here’s why:

    1) rates aren’t going down for new buyers — they’ll stay high. the push for reform will be to generate tax income, so it is not like this is going to even out.

    2) ok, that isn’t quite correct, they’ll go down some but only because property values will freefall. all the oldtimers will dump rather than face the real carry costs of their homes, flooding the market.

    and, all the renters cheering for prop 13’s demise? they better have their 20% down and their tax returns all lined up because I am pretty certain the way the rent / home price spread will narrow is with rent increases. a lot of SFHs would not be rental stock if taxes were marked to market.

    so, typical RBA buyer who just put down $1.8M on his house and is bummed that his $20K tax bill is 10x his neighbors will be suicidal if his house drops to $1.4M overnight. the $5K he’ll save in taxes will be little consolation.

  23. jojo Says:

    Well, the burger flipper might have been tad bit extreme but considering 3bedroom condo with at least 2k sqft here costs around 650-700k(in worst areas) the 20% down payment for that could easily be the whole price for the same HOME out there in Texas. Obviously, lack of quality jobs may be a downgrade in Texas but you know making middle class income in California in terms of taxes is like getting D+ with 69.9999% average and having to repeat the course because you didn’t get a C- letter grade. You can almost say with lower income you might come out same as someone making $100k after taxes and benefits. Heck I remember hearing someone who made 20 bucks an hour cleaning flasks at a pharmaceutical company and did personal business on the weekends, made around $80k a month without reporting any of it to IRS, and still had the effrontery to get food stamps. So considering low taxes there and lower cost of living its not so bad for someone who made a decent savings in cali and move to Texas. After all many spent most of their life paying off mortgage/rent.

  24. Drew Meyers Says:

    Drew from Zillow here — so yes, there is an employee that can talk about this. Let’s get the major point out of the way first. Zestimates are a starting point to determining a homes’ value — not the end all, be all of home values. We absolutely recommend buyers consult with a local professional before making a serious financial decision. Further, we’re very transparent about our accuracy — our accuracy in Santa Clara county can be seen here (current median margin of error is 7.6%). For more background, please watch this video.

    To aaa’s comment, I want to address two things.
    1) “I’ve also found that the more user information an owner enters into Zillow, the lower it drives the Zestimate, regardless of what that information is.”

    This is 100% false – please stop spreading misinformation.

    2) The similar sales nearby (what you called the comps) are an output, not an input to the Zestimate algorithm — meaning just because those similar sales are listed on a particular home does not mean they are the direct reason a Zestimate is high or low from what you think it should be. We’ve created a video about the topic on Youtube that can be seen here.

    Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion.

  25. nomadic Says:

    1) “I’ve also found that the more user information an owner enters into Zillow, the lower it drives the Zestimate, regardless of what that information is.”

    This is 100% false – please stop spreading misinformation.

    I once claimed ownership of my house (a couple years ago) and my Zestimate fell more than 5% at the next adjustment. That was before prices were falling – and the Zestimate went back up after I “unclaimed” ownership. Guess that bug was fixed?

  26. SiO2 Says:

    Jojo, I think you are exaggerating a bit about housing prices here. For $700k you can get something that’s fine. In 5 minutes I found this:
    4066 SHONA CT
    2066 sq ft for 690k. A SFH, not condo, in a fine area. Perhaps not RBA but hardly the worst area.
    Certainly this would be cheaper in Texas though. And, more generally speaking, I do wonder sometimes why a non high tech worker would stay here. For example, an MD doesn’t make much more here than elsewhere. But a high tech worker has a better chance for opportunity here than elsewhere. (I’m not saying that there’s zero high tech elsewhere in the US, but it’s pretty clear that there’s more high tech here. Ipods aren’t marked “Designed in Indianapolis”)

    BAI, regarding the housing premium. I don’t know about CA as a whole, but when I moved here from the midwest in the early 90s, houses were about 3x my old city. At the peak about 6x. Now about 4x. Rents were 2x when I moved here, I don’t know now. CA as a whole may have been 30% more than average but it was a long long time since Santa Clara County was only 30% more than average US. I’ll bet pre-1950. (I saw an article in 1999 that started with a quote about traffic jams and high housing prices in Silicon Valley. That quote was from the early 70s. Unfortunately I could not find it, but it was interesting to see that prices have been high here since the early 70s.)

    Having said that, the big increase in the gap from 1950 to now is due to the development of this area, which is a one time event. So I would not extrapolate this same appreciation going forward.

  27. SiO2 Says:

    I hope to emulate A. Lewis.
    Exhibit A:
    http://www.abag.ca.gov/abag/overview/datacenter/housing/homesale.html
    Home resales from 82 to 95. In 1982, for SF bay area, was $128k

    Exhibit B:
    http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/census/historic/values.html
    Median home values, nationwide and by state. Adjusted for inflation, and unadjusted.
    Unadjusted, in 1980: US: $47.2k. CA: $84.5k

    It’s not perfect for many reasons. But it’s the best I could do in 10 minutes.
    From this I conclude that CA was 1.8x the US in 1980. And, SF Bay Area was 2.7x the US. Also, the SF number is 1982, which was in a deep recession vs 1980, so probably lower. And SF Bay Area is usually lower than Santa Clara County. So, even 30 years ago, there was a large gap, much more than 30%.

    BTW, if you look at the census site, you can compare CA vs US. The difference in 1940 was 1.2. 1950: 1.3. 1960: 1.3. 1970: 1.4. 1980: 1.8. 1990: 2.5. 2000: 1.8. So it really started to take off in the 70s, and peaked in 1990. That surprised me, that the gap actually shrank by 2000.

    This data doesn’t correct for lot size, home quality, etc, so there’s a lot of holes to poke. Nonetheless we see that it’s been a long time since SF bay area prices were anywhere close to the rest of the US.

  28. bob Says:

    Long time since I was on here. I see lots of new users. Anyway- Jojo, I too realized what you’ve observed probably 5-6 years ago. Part of it comes from growing up in the rural South. What you mentioned isn’t exactly far off the mark.

    My parents- whom are both squarely middle class ( Mom is a school teacher, Dad does maintenance) live in a 3 bedroom, 2 story house with 4 decks, one that’s enclosed, on 14 ACRES of land, with an in-groun heated pool, with an actual hiking trail up the side of a ridge behind their house, a 2 story workshop with compliment of tractors, golf cart, and other toys, a 20 foot camper, 2 newer cars, a greenhouse, an apple orchard, a hand-made split rail fence surrounding the whole property, and a 3 bedroom rental house they bought years ago that’s been paid for for years and is all cashflow positive, and 3 large vegetable gardens. Last time I checked the total value of all of what they own is around $180,000. Yes- for less than the price of a 1 bedroom studio apartment in the worst part of Oakland they own what would probably cost 5-10 million dollars in the Bay Area. They are not at all jealous of me or anyone else in the Bay Area or CA for that matter.

    All I can say is that I’ve saved enough to get the hell out of here, buy pretty much any house I want in any number of other states or cities for cash, put the rest away, and live a reasonable life.

    But on the other hand I could keep coming to Silicon Valley ( which I absolutely despise and hate with every ion of my body), put a “down payment” on some small, POS house in this “lovely” area- and pay more if the school near it is (gasp) actually functional, and basically be like all the other shmucks who think paying a small fortune just to live here is the cats meow.

    Trust me- you’re onto something and most people who live here simply don’t get it, nor ever will.

  29. nomadic Says:

    SiO2 – affordability is back!
    May 2009 national median: $221,600
    http://www.census.gov/const/uspricemon.pdf

    May 2009 California median: $230,000
    http://www.dqnews.com/Articles/2009/News/California/RRCA090619.aspx

    May 2009 SF Bay area median: $341,500
    http://www.dqnews.com/Articles/2009/News/California/Bay-Area/RRBay090618.aspx

    :-)

    The RBA median is still more than 2x the bay area.

  30. Herve Estater Says:

    > Drew from Zillow here.

    But who is Drew?

  31. steve Says:

    but Bob, doesn’t your mere presence here put the lie to jojo’s statement? if you truly could have led the good life without leaving home, why have you tortured yourself working in the valley all these years?

  32. Herve Estater Says:

    > why have you tortured yourself working in the valley all these years?

    Greed.

  33. anon Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ox1Tore9nw

  34. Herve Estater Says:

    > why have you tortured yourself working in the valley all these years?

    Is bob just another code monkey?

  35. anon Says:

    One like this?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4Wy7gRGgeA

    Probably.

    Bob – you do realize that bubblechasers like yourself are part of the reason that the bay area has gone downhill since the 80s and 90s, right?

  36. steve Says:

    anon, awesome! code monkey like fritos…

  37. SiO2 Says:

    Nomadic –
    That’s really interesting. CA median to US median is at a postwar low! So if anything, regression to the mean would imply that CA median should go down less than US median in the next few years. Or when there’s a recovery, it would go up faster than US median.

  38. nomadic Says:

    SiO2 – just meaningless aggregate data. ;-)

  39. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    I think in reference to bob’s statement, I can give an idea of why I am here. And the answer is simple: this is where my job happens to be.

    I grew up in Michigan, near Lansing and went to university in that area. When I graduated, which was in the late 90s, the job market was hot in Silicon Valley and I took a position here. I was not someone actively seeking riches. I just simply found a position I liked and decided to work there. (Still at the same company by the way)

    That being said, one of the major reasons I am still here is directly related to just bad timing. When I started working was near the peak of the dot com mania. When that bubble burst, there was a large amount of layoffs going around so I wasn’t in a great position to transition elsewhere. It took time for that unwinding to occur. We basically went until 2003 before things began to improve in the tech sector. But it was only a mere 4 years later that a second bubble formed and then bust. This one being in housing. And now, we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression. So unfortunately, like many, my decision to be here is not one of choice any longer. It is one of necessity. My job is here and I cannot easily transfer to another location and maintain my current job security.

    I have friends in other areas of the country in similar circumstances. One of my classmates is in Nashville and he was never a big fan of living there. But ultimately, he stays put because of the current economic climate.

    I think it would make an interesting case study if you actually polled California residents and asked them if they had the opportunity to leave the state for an area that is much cheaper from a cost of living perspective, how many would opt to depart? I bet you that percentage would be quite high. I know people that were born and raised in this area and even many of them have left California.

    The point is: we all know that the cost of living here is not adequately compensated by our current salaries. That is not in any dispute. And thanks to all the additional measures put in place to skew the tax burden to the subsequent generation, it isn’t getting any better.

    One additional sidebar in regards to Prop 13 since I discussed that topic beforehand. Many have stated that there is no solution. Well here is my idea for how it can be modified:

    1) Get rid of the idiotic supermajority requirement to pass a state budget. That is a crutch that will bankrupt this state if left unchecked.

    2) Repeal Prop 13 for commerical properties. Most businesses will be able to absorb a tax increase in their properties.

    3) Remove the provisions that allow property to be ‘trusted’ to family members while maintaining the current property tax level. That would encourage ‘trustafarians’ to want to sell the property rather than merely holding it as a speculative vehicle or a rental.

    4) Put a grandfather clause into the system that allows certain retirees and people on fixed income to not see an adjustment in their property tax value. For everyone else who is a working, able-bodied member of society, reset the property tax level to match the current value of the home.

    That’s my idea. Will it be popular with many? No. Because we have too many self-serving, pretentious douches around here. But it will eventually normalize the tax system here and get this state back on track.

  40. PA-S Says:

    Does anyone know what is the current property tax + water tax + school tax + ….. xxx tax for a texas home owner? my house was $55,000 in 1976 and sold for $89,000 2003 and pay ave $5000. tax per year. No income tax there.

  41. anon Says:

    BAI, you’re pretty much right on. There is an entire generation who has been victims of “bad timing” – as you know, you’re not alone.

    The only other comment I have is on the use of “will” in the following statement: “Get rid of the idiotic supermajority requirement to pass a state budget. That is a crutch that will bankrupt this state if left unchecked”

  42. Real Estater Says:

    BAI says,
    >>To draw an analogy, a colleague of mine owns a home in Dallas that he bought in 2000 which now runs about $225k.

    Your colleague bought a house for cheap, and it stays cheap. That is not a winning formula.

    >>I can give an idea of why I am here. And the answer is simple: this is where my job happens to be.

    It is not an accident this is where your job happens to be. This is the place where jobs happen.

    >>one of the major reasons I am still here is directly related to just bad timing.

    You came here in the late 90’s, and yet you never bought a house when house was cheap. It’s called bad decision making, not bad timing. Your timing couldn’t have been better. You had 2 chances to ride the bubbles, yet you missed them both. If you had bought a house, you’d be able to live in any other state now without having to even worry about working.

  43. Real Estater Says:

    Prop 13 is the choice of the people. There is no “they” about it. It is “we the people” who want it. If you think about it, it is only fair. No one should have a perpetual tax burden. When you buy a house initially, you should pay tax at “market rate”. As time goes on, your tax burden should decrease. By the time you retire, your property tax should not cause you to lose your home. It is the true spirit of ownership. You own it, and nobody should take it away from you.

  44. Pralay Says:

    As time goes on, your tax burden should decrease.
    —-

    You pay tax for the services – road, fireman, police. You call it burden?

  45. Pralay Says:

    If you think about it, it is only fair.
    ——

    There is nothing fair about your neighbor paying tax for you just because he/she bought his/her home 20 or 25 later than you.

  46. Pralay Says:

    It is the true spirit of ownership.
    —-

    And ownership has responsibility. Responsibility for maintaining the infrastructures – school, road, law-enforcement, parks etc. Prop 13 supporters don’t want to take that responsibility. True spirit indeed!

  47. Pralay Says:

    You had 2 chances to ride the bubbles
    —-

    What bubble?

  48. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    >>You pay tax for the services – road, fireman, police. You call it burden?

    Rentards don’t use such services? Is it fair that you don’t pay a tax for renting a home?

  49. R Says:

    “No one should have a perpetual tax burden.”

    I agree. Once you hit 50, all taxes should be abolished. Actually, screw that, let’s just eliminate taxes all together. Let’s put it to a vote. I bet abolishing all taxes will pass 80/20. After all, the people should decide if paying taxes is something they want to do.

    In all seriousness, there is a reason why California is the only state with a Prop 13 like system. It is absurd. Older people don’t lose their homes in the other 49 states. Property taxes are just one of the many things individuals need to save for before retiring.

    Prop 13 is going to have to go. It has bankrupted CA and destroyed education. It’s just a matter of when and what form the new property tax regs will take. I am guessing Prop 13 will be eliminated with respect to commercial property. I think the annual raise in property tax will also be tied to inflation with a cap. Think SF rent control.

  50. Pralay Says:

    Is it fair that you don’t pay a tax for renting a home?
    —-

    And landlord must be dumb enough not to take property tax into account while setting the rent price.

    Do you really think your argument makes any sense?

  51. R Says:

    “Rentards don’t use such services? Is it fair that you don’t pay a tax for renting a home?”

    Of course they do, and it’s reflected in their rent. Seriously RE, think before you type sometimes. It would save you a lot of grief.

  52. Pralay Says:

    In hindsight, let’s talk about tax benefit of renting (renter does not pay property tax) and compare with tax shelter of homeownership. ;)

  53. nomadic Says:

    Yeah #49 – let’s abolish all taxes! :-)

    Actually, one of the New England states had a vote last November to abolish the state income tax. It didn’t pass. Pretty amazing, eh? I guess people could see what reforms were going to be needed if it happened and didn’t like it.

    ah, here it is:
    http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Massachusetts_State_Income_Tax_Repeal_(2008)

  54. Pralay Says:

    I bet abolishing all taxes will pass 80/20.
    —-

    Do you seriously think baby-boomers will vote for abolishing all types of taxes? They do need your social security/medicare tax money – right from your payroll.

  55. Herve Estater Says:

    > Yeah #49 – let’s abolish all taxes!

    Except for bob, because no matter how bad it is here, no matter how good it is anywhere else, he’ll stay. He’ll bitch about it, but he’ll stay and pay his taxes. But he’ll bitch about it. Every day. Until he moves out. If he does. Maybe. One day. But he sure will bitch about it.

  56. DreamT Says:

    Herve – Am I reading right? A bitch tax? You should go into politics!

  57. Real Estater Says:

    R says,
    >>Of course they do, and it’s reflected in their rent. Seriously RE, think before you type sometimes. It would save you a lot of grief.

    Really? Do you have any proof of that? Most landlords cannot even be cash flow positive against their mortgage, let alone covering their taxes. Seriously, you should do some thinking before making a fool of yourself, again.

  58. Pralay Says:

    Most landlords cannot even be cash flow positive against their mortgage, let alone covering their taxes.
    —–

    Really? Do you have any proof of that? :)

  59. Real Estater Says:

    Bob says,
    >>All I can say is that I’ve saved enough to get the hell out of here, buy pretty much any house I want in any number of other states or cities for cash, put the rest away, and live a reasonable life.

    Bob, it sounds like a no brainer to me. WTF are you still doing in the Bay Area?

  60. Real Estater Says:

    >>Really? Do you have any proof of that?

    I guess for you, math is hard. Let’s take an example. How much is the house you’re renting worth? How much do you pay in rent?

    I’ll crank through the numbers and give you proof.

  61. Pralay Says:

    I guess for you, math is hard. Let’s take an example. How much is the house you’re renting worth? How much do you pay in rent?
    ——

    LOL! Math is hard! And making logical argument is harder!! It really does not matter how much the house worth today. What matters is that how much mortgage the landlord is paying.

  62. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    Sure, some assumptions needs to be made. Let’s say your landlord bought the house 5 years ago, and put 20% down. Just give us the numbers, and let’s see if he’s charging you for tax or not. Fair enough?

  63. Real Estater Says:

    All,

    If Pralay would follow through, it would not be difficult to see that rentards are not paying a fair share of taxes. Therefore, those that complain about Prop 13 are hypocrites.

  64. Pralay Says:

    Sure, some assumptions needs to be made.
    ——

    Two things
    – Your assumption is wrong. He is the owner of this property much much longer than 5 years.
    – One example does not prove that “most landlords cannot even be cash flow positive”.

    End of story.

  65. Pralay Says:

    If Pralay would follow through, it would not be difficult to see that rentards are not paying a fair share of taxes. Therefore, those that complain about Prop 13 are hypocrites.
    —-

    Hypocrite for what? I should offer landlord $200 more? And landlord should offer to county $200 more as property tax (voluntarily)? He pays tax what he is supposed to pay. I pay rent set by him.

  66. Pralay Says:

    Actually you are right, RealEstater. Many renters are also benefiting from Prop 13, because their landlord are benefiting. That does not mean that talking against prop 13 is hypocrisy.
    Only Realtard can make such an illogical argument.

  67. anon Says:

    go RE go!

  68. Jojo Says:

    People are forgetting that there is a huge “rent” for getting a home now. Its called association fees, insurance fees, and property taxes. They could easily be around $800-1000 per month that could be appended to your current mortgage.

    And lets face it, most people get mortgage to cheat taxes. After all if government didn’t give incentives like tax deduction on home loans (interest), this bubble wouldn’t be this huge or the state financial crisis.

  69. steve Says:

    this is timely. 3361 Emerson St 94306 just hit the market.

    Zestimate: $1.16M
    Previous rent: $3k/month
    List price: $899K

    priced for the market or priced for a low-end bidding war? I’m inclined to think the latter, but we’ll know in 10 days.

  70. nomadic Says:

    And lets face it, most people get mortgage to cheat taxes.

    Now you’re being silly. It isn’t “cheating” to follow the tax code and take the deductions allowed.

    As for the follow-up statement, I honestly don’t believe tax deductions had anything to do with the bubble. The deductions were there for decades before the latest cycle. Look at loose lending, low interest rates, etc.

  71. R Says:

    The fact that “RBA” properties are substantially cash negative are a product of them being overpriced, not property taxes.

    Properties in many areas CA cash flow within a few years, if not immediately. Ask WillowGlenner. Those owners all pay CA property taxes. Houses in many states are cash flow positive from Day 1, despite having heavier property tax burdens than CA. The problem with houses in the RBA isn’t property taxes, it’s the hefty premium that the RBA owner decided to pay.

  72. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Prop 13 is the choice of the people. There is no “they” about it. It is “we the people” who want it.

    Oh, GOOD. So that is how it works? Well, I guess that means all the gay people in the state of California should just accept the Prop 8 decision and move on. Afterall, it was a majority decision by “the people” and we are all about democracy here, right?

    Real Excreter, you need to brush up on your knowledge of how the founding fathers designed our constitution. If Thomas Jefferson saw what we did to California’s state constitution (with over 500 friggen ammendments!), he would have choked in his own bile.

    Our system is designed with three branches of government: Legislative, Executive and Judicial. It was designed this way to ensure that checks and balances exist and that majority rule could NOT be used to subvert the rights or privileges of an entire group of people. Apparantly, you lack understanding of that concept.

    But as other posters have indicated, what would happen if there was a prop to bannish all taxes? Peope would probably vote for it. Why? Because a large portion of the population is STUPID. Look at the 2000 and 2004 voting record of our country for confirmation of that fact.

    The point is, Prop 13 is NOT constitutional and you cannot weasle it into the argument by citing the ‘majority rule’ horsesh*t. It is and has been a devastating thing on our state’s fiscal budget and will lead to insolvency of Calfornia. WE HAVE A BOND RATING JUST ONE LEVEL ABOVE JUNK RIGHT NOW! Michigan’s bond rating is higher than ours and still douches like you are defending this thing? Well, the answer to that is simple: you are selfish and you would rather see everyone around you live poorly around you and you would rather see your infrastructure go to sh*t than have your property taxes go up. Pathetic Real Excreter. Absolutely PATHETIC.

  73. nomadic Says:

    Ah, BAI, I’m glad you got to the root of it at the end. RE has shown repeatedly that as long as he “gets his,” everyone else can (and should) go to hell.

    On another note, how do you figure Prop 13 is unconstitutional? Seems it would have been struck down by now if that were true. I’m curious how you’d argue the point though. (I mostly agreed with your proposed changes in #39, BTW.)

  74. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    On another note, how do you figure Prop 13 is unconstitutional

    The reason I consider it unconstitutional is it plays a form of favoritism. It is less evident, but exists nonetheless. Either way, home owners receive a specific benefit that does not equate in any form for those individuals who are not home owners. (such as renters) That is some tangential, I understand. But a more poignant view is that it creates a bias that is time-intrinsic. Those that benefit from it the most are those that were able to purchase property in and around the time that it was enacted. And thus, they receive the added benefits that it provides. Furthermore, I consider it unconstitutional by its effect in that the state has to compensate for the lack of inflation adjusted revenue by tapping additional revenue streams; i.e. incomes and sales taxes. Which are generally incurred more so by those in the subsequent generation.

    In the end, this is a question of fairness. And one cannot create a mechanism that is voter sanctioned which gives preferential treatment to a group of individuals at the expense of another. Simple as that.

  75. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Incidentally, I hadn’t noticed this additional piece of Real Excreter Fecal Matter until just now:

    You came here in the late 90’s, and yet you never bought a house when house was cheap. It’s called bad decision making, not bad timing. Your timing couldn’t have been better

    This was in regards to my statement about moving here in the late 90s.

    So my timing couldn’t have been better, eh Excreter? Well, let’s analyze that, shall we?

    1. Graduated from University of Michigan with Bachelors in Electrical Engineering, class of 1998.

    2. Arrived in Bay Area in August of 1998 upon accepting my first job. I was 22 years old with student loan debt and no savings. So I guess that was the perfect time to buy, eh Excreter? But wait, there’s more!

    3. Was accepted to Stanford MS&E program in 2000 and completed that degree in 2003 through part time Honors Cooperative Program. My company paid for part of it via partial tuition reimbursement and I covered the rest, which also ate away at my savings.

    4. In 2003, the dot com bubble had completely burst and the housing bubble was just in its infancy. By the time I had cleared my student loan debt and gathered enough savings for a modest downpayment, the housing bubble had burst in 2007 and is now (and is continuing) to decline.

    Yet you profess that my timing was just “perfect”. Well, thanks Excreter. Glad you cleared that up for me.

    Incidentally, there is one thing that I learned at Stanford that helped me tremendously in my future career as well as provide me with a unique ability to recognize bubbles when they form. And it is something that would help you tremendously in your attempts at intelligent discourse on this forum:

    MATH

  76. Pralay Says:

    Yet you profess that my timing was just “perfect”. Well, thanks Excreter. Glad you cleared that up for me.
    —–

    Because in Realtardized logic it is ALWAYS “perfect” time to buy home.

  77. R Says:

    Great post BAI, your situation about mirrors mine timing wise. Our time will probably finally come in 2011 or so, although we won’t get to take advantage of another real estate bubble. We will just be able to purchase a “normally” priced home, live in it, watch it appreciated with inflation, and benefit like all owners from the tax deduction and the wonders of prudent leverage. Not really a bad deal if you ask me. I would have been eternally screwed like many others if I had joined the insanity after completing grad school in 2004.

  78. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    R,

    2011 may be an entry point. But based on the charts I have seen, we likely won’t bottom until around 2014.

    To be totally honest, the more I think about it, the less inclined I am to want to be here. This state is a shadow of its former self and I would much rather take my business elsewhere at this point. I completely fail to see the reason to maintain employment in an area that is so screwed up from a tax perspective, that it literally makes me feel like a perpetual second class citizen. And I am getting to the point of being completely fed up with the pretentious and self-righteous nature of folks like Real Excreter. After living in this state for a little over 10 years, I can finally understand why the rest of the country has such a disdain for it. The whole place has become one giant snob fest. They tout their ‘superiority’ so often that it reminds of the old Looney Tunes cartoons where Wile E. Coyote used to have a business card that stated he was a ‘Super Genius’.

    Ultimately, even if housing normalizes in this state and even if they eventually get their house in order, it will be YEARS and YEARS of slow movement, with up, down and sideways action for quite some time. So I have to ask myself what I have to gain by staying here? The weather? Ok, fine, its nice. I guess it has to be for use to justify buying crapshacks here for ridiculous amounts of money. Hey, I’ll be outdoors anyway!
    So the point is: would you prefer to live in perpetual insolvency just for a few extra sunny days? Or would you prefer a high quality of life in a nice home, in a good neighborhood where it might rain or snow periodically?

    Whatever my eventual decision will be, one thing I know for certain is that I will NEVER over-extend myself to the point of fiscal irresponsibility just for the sake of owning some 50 year old box.

  79. nomadic Says:

    BAI (#75) – LOL! Nice.

    Clearly your problem runs much deeper. You were born to a family that just wasn’t rich enough. They could have paid for your schooling and given you a hand with your down payment. ;-)

  80. R Says:

    I am in the same conundrum BAI. The only thing keeping me here is my job. It would/will be hard to move in my profession. The sun is a nice added benefit. However, having spent four days at “home” for the 4th, it just reinforces how much better the quality of life can be. The bay area isn’t a bad place to live by any stretch of the imagination provided you have good education, but the quality of life is still much better where I am from. Maybe I’m just spoiled where I grew up.

    Still, to have to make around 175k just to buy a small crap shack (with a 5 foot set back from your neighbor) just doesn’t make any sense when you can afford the same thing making 100k elsewhere. Oh yeah, you also don’t have to consider schools in the equation. A premium based on school district is a completely new (and absurd) thing to me. I am a few years off from having to worry about it, but it amazes me that some (most?) school districts are apparently incapable of properly educating all students. It’s probably unlikely that I’ll end up raising my kids around here, but it still irks me to have that be a concern living around here. In Silicon Valley of all places.

  81. DreamT Says:

    BAI – Just a few thoughts…
    * Better to be pathetic than apathetic. The former encourages reactions.
    * Certainly you must have learned all the math you need by the time you reached Stanford? If not this country is in a bigger mess than I thought.
    * I graduated and moved here in ’98 at 22 as well. I agree with you that our generation was in general too young (by 5 to 10 years) to fully reap the benefits of the boom, except the few folks who rode an IPO by virtue of being at the right place at the right time. I don’t feel bitter about it though and I still see a future in this place. And do you really think the bay area is more snobbish than the east coast? Really?

  82. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    R,

    You know what is really telling for me is when I have conversations with former classmates of mine, from either high school or university. I’ve tried to keep in touch with as many of my former friends and colleagues as much as possible and the discussions I have are quite frankly depressing. You would think that I would be the one that is the envy of all. Living in highly vaulted California, enjoying the sunshine, living the big life. Yet in the end, its all an illusion.

    Of all of my friends who graduated at the same time as me, I am only one of two who does not currently own a home. (The other individual being, ironically, ALSO in the Bay Area!)
    I remember conversations I had with those friends post-grad and how excited we all were about entering the big world. One of my best friends ended up moving to Plano, Texas to work for EDS. (Now HP) Within three years of graduation, he had already purchased his first townhome for a grad total of $70k. This was a BRAND NEW, 1800 sqr.ft+ home. At the time, my friend, who was a new grad was making probably around $45k or so per year. So he ended up buying something that was not even twice his salary.
    Meanwhile, at the same time, I decided to go scrounge around the Bay Area just to see what townhome prices were like. I checked out a few in Campbell (this was in 2001), which were something on the order of 30+ years old. And the asking price was: *drum roll*
    $325,000!!!!!!

    So despite the fact that, at the time, I was making DOUBLE what my friend in Plano was making, the equivalent home (and I can’t even say equivalent since these Campbell places were smaller and older), were over THREE TIMES my yearly salary at the time.

    But in the end, I am kicking a dead horse. (Which would be a good nickname for the California budget! *nyuk nyuk*)
    Like we said before, is there really any point at this stage? Should I just relegate myself to being house poor for all eternity or should I just pick up and leave when the opportunity presents itself? I am very much leaning towards the latter.

  83. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    DreamT,

    I can’t speak about the snobbishness of the East Coast in any certain terms since I never lived there. I am sure New York and Boston have their share of snobs. As does Conneticut. I am only going by my own personal experience here in the Bay Area.

    When it comes to the future of the Bay Area, I am less optimistic than you. I honestly don’t see as much of a future here. The fastest growing cities in this country all reside outside of the Bay Area and California for that matter. Companies that made their home here are packing up and leaving while others are beginning to whither.

    In the end though, one has to ask the question: if a masters from Stanford is not enough to get you ahead in the valley, what exactly is? How can this state function if it creates a system whereby the lower class and the middle class eventually merge into one entity? Last time I checked, that is how communism rose and fell.

  84. anon Says:

    BAI, it’s true – your generation is one that has been really hit by the two bubbles. As you say, its really bad timing and unfortunate circumstances as your generation has entered life phases while these bubbles form.

    Hopefully you weren’t one of the many people who just studied engineering because they thought it would make them rich in the dot-com days.

  85. anon Says:

    “In the end though, one has to ask the question: if a masters from Stanford is not enough to get you ahead in the valley, what exactly is? ”

    It takes much more than that! It takes the ability to sign your name on a mortgage on multiple houses! A masters in EE is nothing compared to the power of leverage, compound interest, and the fact that they are not making any more land.

    heh heh heh…

  86. DreamT Says:

    “if a masters from Stanford is not enough to get you ahead in the valley, what exactly is?”
    That, sir, sounds like snobism to me. You get ahead with hard work, resilience and a positive attitude. Many people first fail before they succeed. Stanford merely opens more doors but is no substitute or guarantee of “getting ahead”.
    “a system whereby the lower class and the middle class eventually merge into one entity”
    That, sir, also sounds like snobism to me. If you were familiar with how “lower class” lives and their struggle to get by, you would realize the huge gap their life has versus ours. I realize your personal life fails to meet your standards so far, but I personally think your bitterness is misdirected. Maybe you regret not making certain professional choices in the past ten years, maybe you realize but refuse to admit to yourself that buying a Campbell condo in 2002 and sell in 2006 would have been the good move. You don’t sound like you have clear personal or professional goals so your ex-classmates are your measuring stick? It just seems to me that you’re setting up yourself for more years of bitterness if you continue to blame the world for not functioning the way you’d like it to be.
    P.S. Don’t take this post as a personal attack!

  87. Pralay Says:

    It takes much more than that! It takes the ability to sign your name on a mortgage on multiple houses!
    —–

    Ability to sign! Ha ha ha! That reminds me Sunny Kim who can make an unemployed guy rich in real estate, as long as he can sign.

  88. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    DreamT,

    No offense taken. When it comes to bitterness, I would say that is actually accurate. Of course I am bitter. I am bitter that I had the misfortune of having a front row seat for two of the biggest booms and busts this country has ever seen. (In sequence) I am bitter that I am part of a tax system that is corrupt, broken and downright biased. I am bitter that the turn of the century, a timeframe that Arthur C. Clarke used as a baseline for his famous novels was instead a disaster with an individual running the country that had the I.Q. of a melon.

    Call me bitter. That is fine. And if my statements sound snobbish, so be it. Personally, I define snobbishness as being an unfounded feeling of superiority. That kind of snobbishness exists when people believe they are better than others merely because of where they reside or the friends they keep. Someone achieving a degree from a prestigious school is not an unfounded achievement. It takes the very hard work that you were alluding to earlier. I don’t profess to think that a Stanford education is a guarantee of future wealth. Or any education for that matter. But ultimately, it should definitely not relegate someone to a drastically lower standard of living simply because one’s arrival to a given area was not ‘at the right time’.

  89. nomadic Says:

    R said: A premium based on school district is a completely new (and absurd) thing to me.

    May I ask where you are from? This was definitely an issue in Michigan when I left 8 years ago. It seems logical to me (while not optimal) that some areas will have better schools than others.

  90. steve Says:

    there is substantial truth in the above, but I’m surprised neither R or BAI has noticed the inconsistency in their central premise: this area sure is going down hill; all the companies are leaving; I’m leaving too as soon as there is a reasonable job somewhere else.

    yes, there are tax problems — I remember when companies were scrambling to relocated to TX in the early 90s. yes, housing is expensive — I remember when “everybody” fled to Oregon in the late 90s. but, guess what? people continue to move here for schools and jobs. this is the center of the tech and startup world. and why? because the labor pool is qualified enough that an MS from the Farm is common. if you are a need a certain type of employee, you HQ here. if not, you outsource.

  91. DreamT Says:

    BAI – Your Stanford degree didn’t relegate you anywhere. But it didn’t entitle you to anything either. It just opens doors right after you graduate. It’s a passport. It’s not even a statement of past hard work, although it tells the world that you can compete in an academic environment and have higher than average intelligence. In my opinion it has very minimal impact on what you life turned out to be eleven years later.
    You’re entitled to feel bitter, but I don’t think it will help you get closer to where you’d like to be. That was the essence of my post to you. There are small, companies who are profitable in the midst of a deep recession and need people like you and me. Your education also places you better than most to start your own company, now, in the past 11 years, or in the future. This require harder work than a typical management job, but your degree gives you an advantage should you decide to go that route. You cannot let yourself be bitter over elements out of your control, as with all that you listed in #88, or how will you ever be happy? (which let me remind you is your constitutional duty)

  92. R Says:

    “R said: A premium based on school district is a completely new (and absurd) thing to me.

    May I ask where you are from? ”

    Seattle area. And Steve, I’m not saying the bay area is going hill or that any companies are leaving. In fact the opposite might be true. I have no idea. I’m just saying from a quality of life perspective, I don’t think the bay area scores all that high. Certainly not as high as some like RE would have you believe.

    I am not anti-bay area at all, just questioning whether staying here will provide me and my future family the best life possible. Given that I too am the last of my friends to own a place, and despite making at least 50% more than most all of them, will own half the house when I actually purchase, I am questioning how I could possible answer that question in the affirmative. Thus, I would probably leave if/when the opportunity presents itself. If I stay long term, I’ll be happy knowing that the bay area is still a very good place to live, just not as special as some believe.

  93. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>Actually you are right, RealEstater. Many renters are also benefiting from Prop 13, because their landlord are benefiting.

    For once, you led a donkey to water, and it drank!

  94. anon Says:

    Prop 13.

    Keeping rents low while new owners like RE foot the bill.

  95. Real Estater Says:

    Amusingly, BAI and R are both starting to sound like Bob now.

    Don’t be confused here. BAI does not have a MSEE from Stanford. He has a MS&E. Big difference.

  96. Real Estater Says:

    BAI,

    When there’s a will, there’s a way. You just gotta be agile and make the right moves. DreamT arrived on the scene at around the same time, yet he owns a house (not a condo). I don’t buy your excuse that it cannot be done. When you saw a housing market that was all cleared for takeoff, what was the hurry to pick up that MS&E degree?

  97. Real Estater Says:

    For those who say they weren’t blessed with the right timing, what’s the excuse to hold back now? There are affordable homes throughout Santa Clara County right now.

  98. Pralay Says:

    For once, you led a donkey to water, and it drank!
    —–

    But yet RealEstater cannot prove that most of the landlords does not have cashflow positive.

  99. steve Says:

    R and Bob sound nothing alike.

    (and, for the record, I liked it better when it was EES, assuming RE is correct and the reference wasn’t to Mat Sci)

    finally, oh look, more news that the bay area is special: South Bay highways are sixth most congested in nation; San Francisco-Oakland fifth worst

  100. Pralay Says:

    Keeping rents low while new owners like RE foot the bill.

    You have too much hope, anon. He is promising to buy his investment property for more than a year now.

  101. DreamT Says:

    RE – BAI’s issue is not with homeownership but with personal expectations/standards. And in 1998, while I didn’t have a penny in the bank, I also didn’t have any debts, so different situation from BAI.

  102. Pralay Says:

    There are affordable homes throughout Santa Clara County right now.
    —-

    Good to hear! And it is getting better.

    BTW, where is RBA? :)

  103. Pralay Says:

    I don’t buy your excuse that it cannot be done.
    —-

    Who would care if an used car salesman does not buy “excuse” for not buying his car? :)

  104. Pralay Says:

    When you saw a housing market that was all cleared for takeoff
    —–

    LOL! All cleared for takeoff – that reminded me another one in September 2008. How high are we flying now?

  105. DreamT Says:

    I wonder if, just like houses, Stanford degrees can be double-edged… a liability rather than an asset, not just financially but also mentally.

  106. Real Estater Says:

    DreamT says,
    >>BAI’s issue is not with homeownership but with personal expectations/standards.

    You mean entitlement.

  107. Real Estater Says:

    DreamT says,
    >>while I didn’t have a penny in the bank, I also didn’t have any debts, so different situation from BAI.
    >>Stanford degrees can be double-edged… a liability rather than an asset

    BAI created his own liability and his own timing issue. The money he spent on the MS&E degree could’ve been used toward a down payment for a house.

  108. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>Who would care if an used car salesman does not buy “excuse” for not buying his car?

    It’s a legitimate question, which you have no answer for. Whenever we hear about your “used car salesman” response, we know that is the case.

  109. DreamT Says:

    “The money he spent on the MS&E degree could’ve been used toward a down payment for a house.”
    I’ll bite since he’s begging for it.

    Ok, but then how is he going to get that classy combination that attracts the best mate? And the respect of his coworkers? You can’t be serious and recommend homeownership OVER degree!

  110. Pralay Says:

    t’s a legitimate question, which you have no answer for.
    —-

    Of course an used car salesman would think that his question “why are you not buying car now” is a legitimate question.

    Does anybody else think so?

  111. Pralay Says:

    Ok, but then how is he going to get that classy combination that attracts the best mate? And the respect of his coworkers? You can’t be serious and recommend homeownership OVER degree!
    —–

    LOL! You mean “certain combination of diploma, address, and mate”? And zipcode?

  112. anon Says:

    Sitting in traffic is awful. There is traffic to spare around here. Please, everyone leave.

  113. Pralay Says:

    Unfortinately certain combination of diploma, address and mate does not help to learn correct spelling of summar and Star Bucks. :)

  114. Real Estater Says:

    DreamT,
    >>Ok, but then how is he going to get that classy combination that attracts the best mate? And the respect of his coworkers? You can’t be serious and recommend homeownership OVER degree!

    You’re missing the point. I never said he shouldn’t get the degree. I only suggested he didn’t need to pursue it at at that moment.

  115. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay,

    Do you drive a used car or new car?

  116. Pralay Says:

    You’re missing the point. I never said he shouldn’t get the degree. I only suggested he didn’t need to pursue it at at that moment.
    —–

    It gets really entertaining when a guy with ability to do reasoning and spelling no better than a Realtard talks about career options and advance degree. :)

  117. Herve Estater Says:

    > Do you drive a used car or new car?

    If he drives it, doesn’t it make it used? ;-)

  118. Pralay Says:

    Right, the moment dealer transfers sale info to DMV it becomes “used”.

  119. R Says:

    Well that’s a relief, I thought it would be at least 2011 before we would be all cleared for take off.

  120. Real Estater Says:

    Pralay says,
    >>the moment dealer transfers sale info to DMV it becomes “used”.

    You bought your car from a dealer? Who sold you the car?

  121. R Says:

    “The money he spent on the MS&E degree could’ve been used toward a down payment for a house.”

    Lovely, now Roger the Realtor is advancing putting off a Stanford grad degree to purchase a house.

    Assuming BAI did that, what would BAI’s down payment now be worth RE?

  122. nomadic Says:

    Thanks for #109, DreamT. Hopefully RE won’t be so prescriptive with his kids. But he probably has their whole lives mapped out for them already.

  123. Pralay Says:

    Lovely, now Roger the Realtor is advancing putting off a Stanford grad degree to purchase a house.
    —–

    What do you expect? From a Realtard’s viewpoint anything more than a course for getting real estate license is waste.

  124. Pralay Says:

    Hopefully RE won’t be so prescriptive with his kids. But he probably has their whole lives mapped out for them already.
    —-

    But atleast his kids are going to get preferential treatment. That’s what he is claiming……AND HOPING.

  125. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    Lovely, now Roger the Realtor is advancing putting off a Stanford grad degree to purchase a house.

    LMAO!

    And people wonder why I call him a troll?

    Yes, that is right. Put off the Stanford graduate degree to purchase a home at the EXACT RIGHT TIME that you somehow know in advance but can’t afford because you don’t have the income from the Stanford degree you are trying to get but can’t because you have to buy your house……

    Why do I suddenly feel like that android on that Star Trek episode that short circuited when circular logic was used on him? ;-)

    At least I’ve found one potential usage for realtards moving forward: if we are overthrown by an army of machines in the future a la The Terminator, we know who to tap to fry their brains with asinine logic! :-D

  126. R Says:

    “Yes, that is right. Put off the Stanford graduate degree to purchase a home at the EXACT RIGHT TIME that you somehow know in advance but can’t afford because you don’t have the income from the Stanford degree you are trying to get but can’t because you have to buy your house……”

    You were just a couple years off there too. By 2004, you could have flashed your Stanford admittance letter and got an interest only ARM for 180% of the purchase price of a million dollar home. Problem solved. RE is right, you missed out.

  127. Pralay Says:

    The funniest part is that he STILL thinks that people should take him seriously. :D

  128. no estater Says:

    Interest rates might be edging down again. RE, better buy your investment property now before you’re priced out forever!

    http://money.cnn.com/2009/07/08/markets/bondcenter/bonds_credit_market.reut/index.htm?section=money_markets

  129. Jojo Says:

    You silly, you can always go to san jose state.

  130. anon Says:

    I remember taking classes in community college in the 90s when it was $9 a unit. I guess they are making more education.

  131. austindweller Says:

    Interesting thread. I have a different take on education though. I believe that graduate education is an expense rather than an “investment in yourself”. It takes 2 years of income plus tuition which increases when you go to a IV school. When you make that “expense”, you better be sure that you have everything else required to turn that expense into an investment. Stanford does NOT impart any different education than UC Berkeley provide or for that matter UT Austin provides. The difference “could be” the fact that IV schools attract students who are motivated to start their own enterprise, have wealthy parents who can afford to fulfill the dreams of their kids, know people in key positions to make it worthwhile. The degree by itself is not something that really makes a difference. One who may not have some of the perks above could also benefit by associating with such individual. Anybody who wants to spend for the tuition of these schools needs to do a lot of soul searching for the reasons he wants to spend and also need to put ROI numbers on this. It’s same as spending for MBA and yeah buying a house. Is buying a house an investment or an expense ? Depends upon your reason for buying. For a multi-millionaire it’s an expense since he does not think about the returns. But for an average dude, he “has to” think like it is an investment, more so if the house is in BA, else he would dig a big hole for himself. Same thinking should be done before choosing degree/school. While deciding between graduate degree and house, I would think about the returns from both. Though I would think that the degree has higher potential to change you/your skillset as a person. As opposed to house being a passive expense hoping for a bubble.

  132. nomadic Says:

    Excellent point, austindweller. But I’d rather blame external forces, including my alma mater, for the lack of results from my graduate degree. ;-)

  133. austindweller Says:

    And just like any other investment, there could be surprises that you did not know/factor in. One can blame Stanford, California, BA or for that matter realtards like the one we have on this site. It still does not change the fact that you made that call/decision to spend for that degree/house. Sad as it is there is not much one can do about it.

    And yeah nomadic, I don’t consider blaming external forces preposterous. I mean I know people who decide to go for MBA at wrong time and after that could not even find a job that would pay what they were getting before just because some bubble burst when they were graduating. External forces do play a role and I would feel disappointed if I am affected and it would make me bitter. What’s so wrong about it ? And what’s so wrong about being objective about your own alma mater ? You paid for that education and you have right to opine about the worth of that program for your career.

  134. zanon Says:

    BAI: You have my sympathies, you did sit through the two biggest bubbles in history and failed to capitalize on either through a combination of bad luck, bad timing, and bad decisions. I graduated in 1998 as well, and I’ve seen all that money in my 401(k) go not nowhere. What a waste!

    That said, I like Prop 13. There’s no way I could rent my $1.5M house for $2K/mo without it. Since my rent is so reasonable, my living expenses are low, I like my neighbors, I love the weather (aren’t these long summer days the best?) Prop 13 only hurts people who buy now. It helps everyone else.

    btw. did no one else notice the massive cognitive dissonance of RE on this thread? He’s arguing that, because they are so massively cash flow negative, renting is better than buying! I’m writing to my mother as we speak…

  135. nomadic Says:

    I was just being facetious, but I wouldn’t discount the large role luck plays in one’s career. You’re correct that personal ambition, ability and effort are huge, but those chance connections made in a top graduate school could be invaluable. Of course, then you need to have the personal skills to (1) make them and (2) use them effectively.

    By luck, I don’t mean just connections either. There’s an element of luck in landing at the “right” company or having the “right” boss or mentor, etc.

  136. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    austindweller,

    You make a very excellent point. The ROI is absolutely something that needs to be factored into the equation when determining whether or not additional schooling is something one wants to pursue.

    When I was considering achieving a masters, I went through a pretty involved thought process when evaluating my options. An MBA is one of the first things I considered. But after further evaluation, I decided it was not the right fit for me. Primarily due to the fact that a really viable MBA, at least one that garners you the maximum potential of reaching the upper management chain, is essentially something that would have to be acquired from the top schools in the country. I have many friends who pursued MBAs, took time off work, incurred a huge amount of student loan debt, only to see it not reap the rewards they had hoped.

    I took that into account when I was looking at my own future career path. I had mentioned to my company that I was seeking a management path. But one of the criteria they have for younger workers moving higher in the ranks is their education. And a Masters degree was something they sought ofter. (But not necessarily an MBA)
    So after looking at my options, I discovered the MS&E program at Stanford. I had already written my GRE back in undergrad as a preamble to potentially getting a masters in the future. So all I had to do was apply. And luckily enough, I got in. The other added benefit that particular degree had was it offerred me the capability to pursue it part time while maintaining employment at my company. Which also allowed me to incur less debt and utilize the tuition reimbursement that the company offered. (I was also able to expense some of the additional tuitions outside of the standard reimbursement, which also helped)
    So in the end, I was able to attain a masters degree from a fairly prestigious school that helped give me the added ammunition I needed to enter the management chain.

    But like you said, my factors allowed this to realize a good return on investment. But that is not always the case, as you alluded to. A great example is a friend and colleague of mine who left the company at around the time I started my masters so that he could pursue his MBA from Berkeley. When he return to the company two years later, he was one level below me and making less money. So from his perspective (and he even admits this) the ROI has yet to be realized.

    Now there are many folks that say any education is a benefit. And perhaps on a perceptual level, that may be true. Knowledge is power afterall. But in the end, schools and universities are businesses and they often paint a rosier picture of one’s future should you attain their degree than might otherwise be the actual truth. (Hmmm, kinda sounds like realtors!)

    So in the end, the decision to pursue continuing education is definitely something that has to be evaluated thoroughly before one decides to spend hard earned dollars on it. But as I alluded to earlier, it does also speak of just how screwed up our system has become. If we are at the point where education can no longer justify itself as effectively from a monetary standpoint, than maybe this country is screwed.

    Maybe I should have just become an electrician. Minimal education, own your own business, nice tax write offs and no outsourcing. Guess the joke is on us techies. ;-)

  137. Pralay Says:

    Actually I find it very funny when some people talks about other people’s carrier decision as “waste” or “bad decision” or “worthless”. Just to put into perspective let’s read this commencement address:

    ELLISON TO GRADS: DIPLOMAS ARE FOR LOSERS

    Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Paul Allen can say the same thing. On the other hand Sergey Brin or Larry Page can argue otherwise.

    Bottomline, anybody can say anything. And most of the time these comments are meaningless.
    In the end, what matters is that if the person considered certain degree valuable for career (or other purpose) and decided pursue it. Someone else saying after 10 years “oh, that was a bad decision” is a nothing but bullshit comment.

  138. austindweller Says:

    Pralay,

    Schools are for average people. Extraordinary people you have mentioned don’t need them. And average folks could repent on the bad decisions. Have you never made one ? Do some soul seraching, you would find atleast one. And let me tell you those extraordinary folks did make many bad decisions too. Just that those did not translate into loss of money. We all human beings are imperfect. The best you can do is learn from your imperfections i.e. don’t make the same mistake again. Finally in a society not everybody is made for everything. You have to find where you could fit the best.

  139. Pralay Says:

    Schools are for average people. Extraordinary people you have mentioned don’t need them.
    ——

    You are missing the whole point. The question is not about what average or extraordinary people need or don’t need.
    What I was saying is that it is pointless to for person A to tell person B what he should have pursued or not pursued without understanding the background, personal situations etc. Larry Ellison thinks diplomas are for losers (irrespective of the person is average or extraordinary). I guess that makes you a loser (provided you have a diploma), right?

  140. Pralay Says:

    And average folks could repent on the bad decisions.
    —-

    You are damn right, austindweller. But what I find interesting is that YOU think someone else’s (not your own) Stanford MS&E degree is “bad decision” without knowing him/her.

    I guess Stanford University should be informed about your comment so that they can scrap MS&E program altogether – because whoever takes this program is going to be “bad decision” anyway. :)

  141. austindweller Says:

    It sounded so from the general tone of his discussion/comment. Apologies to BAI, if it isn’t so. I wish it has provided BAI the ROI he was looking for.

  142. austindweller Says:

    Pralay says:
    “guess Stanford University should be informed about your comment so that they can scrap MS&E program altogether – because whoever takes this program is going to be “bad decision” anyway.”

    I take it as a joke from you. Various people are made differently. A course that is good for somebody may not be good for somebody else. Finally, what matters is how many of your innet qualities/talents are fostered by certain coursework. It cannot be one solution fits all case.

  143. Pralay Says:

    It was sarcasm.

    However, your #142 contradicts with your following comment in #131:

    I believe that graduate education is an expense rather than an “investment in yourself”.

  144. nomadic Says:

    I thought only our pet troll had said BAI’s grad degree was a bad decision – because he should have bought a house instead!

    Your point in #37 is correct, Pralay, but your link was just a satirical speech that never actually occurred. (In case you didn’t realize.)

  145. nomadic Says:

    oops, #137

  146. austindweller Says:

    Expense is something that is done for intangiable benefits that may or may not translate into tangible ones. Investment is something that is done for tangible benefits with a certain probabilty. I think we are playing with words here. It has to be borne in mind while going to graduate education that by itself it has no benefits unless we apply what we learnt from it. It will differ from individual to individual. I also said in that post that “expense can be turned into investment” by able participant. From my personal experience I believe everything I learned in my masters education could have been learnt on job while getting paid. Certain wealthy individuals would make an expense for the sake of a degree. Certain individuals would want to take it easy from day to day grunt of work and learn something different from what they are doing slowly. For some career motivation by making contacts in IV schools will matter. No matter how you cut it I would put it into the above definition of expense, an intangible benefit.

  147. Pralay Says:

    Your point in #37 is correct, Pralay, but your link was just a satirical speech

    LOL! I didn’t realized that. :)

  148. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    From my personal experience I believe everything I learned in my masters education could have been learnt on job while getting paid

    I wouldn’t disagree with that. But couldn’t the same claim be made for virtually any degree? Given time, I could be an ER doctor with on the job training. I could be a tax accountant, a lawyer, or a code monkey.

    The primary premise behind any degree is that it is supposed to open doors and set a baseline standard from which the potential employer can gauge the viability of the candidate. After all, if you are looking at a pool of applicants for a job, education criteria is something that one can key on. Especially for those just entering the job market.

    And as I stated above, my decision to pursue a masters was directly related to the criteria my company dictated as being necessary for a management track. Sure, I could have eventually entered the same realm by racking up enough job experience. But it would have taken longer. The company sets criteria along the lines of 10 years experience to enter management without a masters but only 5 with one. (Actually took 3 for me)

    The point I think austindweller is trying to make (and I don’t disagree entirely with his view), is that a masters alone does not necessarily translate into any additional knowledge that would otherwise not be garnered through work experience.

    Either way, going back to Real Excreter’s viewpoint, his logic was just completely asinine. And circular, as I mentioned before since he has often advocated that entering the ‘Real Bay Area’ requires a pedigree from a prestigious school like Stanford. Then he goes on to claim that I should have purchased my RBA house first before pursuing my masters which he had previously indicated was the primary criteria for getting the RBA house in the first place!

    With that type of skill, my optimism for the ‘Mega Project’ is rapidly fading….
    :-)

  149. Pralay Says:

    From my personal experience I believe everything I learned in my masters education could have been learnt on job while getting paid.
    —–

    And your experience is nothing but anecdotal which cannot be applied for all kind of scenarios. Do you know that there are math PhDs who made lot of money by developing algorithms for monitoring stock market behavior?

    And guess what, RealEstater can tell you that you could make lot of money by simply buying some RBA homes. Why do you need ANY degree at all? :)

  150. austindweller Says:

    Pralay,

    I just expressed my “belief” based on what I experienced. You are free to beleive graduate education as an investment. And there could be fields where it would hold true, like medicine.

    But I have seen in corporations that graduate education does not give any edge for entering into management roles. It’s more about who can be more likeable to higher management, play politics, have a good mentor, is ready to burn midnight oil, is ready in his acceptance of faulty ideas of supriors etc.

    Do you know that there are math PhDs who made lot of money by developing algorithms for monitoring stock market behavior?

    Yes, but every math PhD does not get entry there. But regardless, that’s a good point. BTW, there are NonPhds doing that job too. And eventually they would get equal/more salaries as the PhD ones unless PhD has the qualities above to grow in corporations. I fact a fresh PhD would start lower than experience NonPhD.

  151. Pralay Says:

    And circular, as I mentioned before since he has often advocated that entering the ‘Real Bay Area’ requires a pedigree from a prestigious school like Stanford.
    —–

    Of course, getting degree from top university is the only way to “get raises and bonuses and live in the RBA”. Although he never could explain why his logical reasoning is so bad in spite of his education from top university.

  152. Pralay Says:

    BTW, there are NonPhds doing that job too.
    —-

    As BAI stated already, it can be said for any degree. There are engineers who are doing their jobs pretty well without any four year degree.
    If I apply your logic any four year degree can be termed “expense”?

  153. Pralay Says:

    I fact a fresh PhD would start lower than experience NonPhD.
    —–

    How do you know? It depends on the requirement of job position. Some position could require specialized skills for developing mathematical algorithms. Experience is irrelevant here.

  154. DreamT Says:

    BAI – Getting a degree due to a particular corporation’s requirements looks backward to me. I may be an exception, but I’ve always refused to let any company dictate where I should live, when I could take vacations or whether I was ready for a promotion or not. IMO it’s a mistake to take career decisions based on any one company’s demands.
    I also firmly held the belief at 18 that a phD is more likely to be a hindrance than an advantage in the corporate world. I haven’t changed my mind. You join the workforce later and are typically saddled with a narrower viewpoint and too much expertise. In business management you have to learn to rely on your intuition, and too much academia can be blunting.
    Not knowing the specific company you were at, I do think that getting a Stanford degree just to break into management isn’t a very smart move: it’s financially overkill and you can probably do better now that you have the degree.
    When common knowledge and logical reasoning battle with instinct, not once have I ever regretted to opt for instinct.

  155. DreamT Says:

    regretted opting for instinct… but by now everybody knows that I don’t proofread my posts :(

  156. did_it_all Says:

    Degree is an experience,
    Buying a house is an experience,
    Building a family is an experience.
    Tumbling weed is. Traffic is.
    Winning is, losing also is.
    Life is a continuous experience.
    Enjoy every ones of them. They are your life.
    If you enjoy the time you spend and fully appreciate the process. You have a good one.
    Nothing is forever.

  157. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    IMO it’s a mistake to take career decisions based on any one company’s demands.

    Sorry, but I completely disagree.

    Companies the world over already set baseline criteria for employment. Last time I checked, I see job postings with requisite criteria dictating the minimum to be considered for employment. Within the tech field, I always see ‘Bachelors in Comp Sci or equivalent degree’ as the primary stipulator for being considered as a viable candidate. So why may I ask should additional criteria not be mandated for other positions within the company?

    I do not consider baseline criteria for employment of any job position to be a ‘demand’. Like I indicated, the company I work for provided various criteria to be considered for moving forward. Every company I am aware of has a goals system in mind and if an employee wants to move forward in their career, they usually work out some sort of plan with their immediate managers.

    From my perspecitive, as I indicated above, my company had given the baseline factors they used to determine promotions and particular career tracks. While one could achive the particular track I was on without a graduate degree, the track could be accomplished faster with the degree. And as I stipulated, that is something I factored in when I calculated the ROI. When the numbers determined that it made sense from a fiscal standpoint, especially considering part of the tuition costs would be covered and I could maintain full employment simultaneously, the numbers all indicated that the long term investment in the degree based on the factors I was looking at indicated it made financial sense.

    How exactly is that type of logic any different to the determinant factors of home purchase, which is something that we have debated on this forum countless times? Over the long term, home ownership ‘may’ be viable depending on home cost, tax rates, mortgage to rent ratios and loan spreads. Provided that it can be demonstrated that over the long term, the decision can be demonstrated to be profitable, it makes sense. Whether that be a decision to get a degree, to buy a home, to open a restaurant, etc. In the end, it just comes down to the math and the risk assesment of the individual.

  158. DreamT Says:

    BAI, I don’t think you understood my formulation. Of course various criteria are required for various positions in any company. But deciding to pursue a Stanford master degree to achieve a certain position in a _specific_ company is what shocks me, for the simple reason that two years down the road there’s a reasonable chance you and the company (or your new manager) won’t be as good of a fit any longer. So, rephrasing my statement, personal future career choices independent of a specific company’s criteria should be the grounds for pursuing a degree, IMO anyway.
    Or moving to a new city. Or accepting (or refusing) a promotion. Again, I realize this is minority and possibly controversial opinion, so I am not surprised you and probably many others completely disagree.
    I’m sorry but I fail to see any similarity with determinant factors for home purchase. A degree is a fleeting time and financial commitment, an order of magnitude below a house purchase, and its value lies well beyond financial returns. If you mean that you pursued a degree at Stanford primarily for the financial ROI, then my posts probably don’t make much sense to you anyway.

  159. DreamT Says:

    A degree should be pursued to enable you to do something you like and are good at, second to increase your range of professional opportunities, third for the learning experience and the personal contacts, four only for pecuniary reasons. If you pursue a degree primarily to increase your earnings, you’re starting from a wrong premise: disappointment awaits because nobody is ever financially satisfied anyway. I’m sure I sound naive saying this (and other things) but I can’t help but draw BAI’s general bitterness back to personal dissatisfactions and misguided motivations, rather than the general economy.

  160. austindweller Says:

    If I apply your logic any four year degree can be termed “expense”?

    I have said from the beginning that I was talking about graduate education in particular. My “belief” about undergrad education is similar to what BAI has proposed for any degree:

    “The primary premise behind any UNDERGRAD degree is that it is supposed to open doors and set a baseline standard from which the potential employer can gauge the viability of the candidate.”

    It establishes basic minimum qualities, IQ, consistancy in work, perseverence etc. After that once you get a decent job, it’s all a matter of choice and my logic above would apply. Even there I would encourgae my kid to pursue UNDERGRAD education based on the employment opportunities (or in other words ROI). Reason is simple. I belong to “working” class as opposed to Relatard’s “executive” class.

  161. austindweller Says:

    And yes, undergrad degree is an expense which can be easily to convert into investment as opposed to graduate degree. In simple words: without undergrad degree, I would suffer big setbacks financially, personally, careerwise and a lot more etc. I would not make the same statement about graduate study.

  162. Pralay Says:

    Too bad that Sergey Brin or Jerry Yang could not convert their grad degrees to “into investment”. :(

  163. Pralay Says:

    On the other hand, in last ten years some high school dropout Realtards easily converted their six month course for getting real estate license into “investment”.

  164. austindweller Says:

    I doubt graduate degree has much to do with their success than their innet qualities. I bet they would be as successful even without those degrees. If not, why so many PhDs can’t become executives. What I mean is: There is no or very small correlation between graduate education and academic success. There is paper on this by Jefree Pfiper which became popular 4 years back. He drew a conclusion based on 25 years of data that there is no or very little correlation between MBA (let alone Phd and MS) and corporate success.

  165. austindweller Says:

    There is no or very small correlation between graduate education and corporate success

  166. DreamT Says:

    Strange, I would have suspected there’s inverse correlation in the aggregate, between length of post-grad studies and corporate success.

  167. DreamT Says:

    Correction: I would of suspected (keeping it readable for RealEstater)

  168. Pralay Says:

    I doubt graduate degree has much to do with their success than their innet qualities. I bet they would be as successful even without those degrees.
    —-

    LOL! I find very interesting that when I give example, you say “I doubt graduate degree has much to do with their success”. But yet you are too quick establish your argument by giving your own example (in #161). Not that I disagree with your viewpoint completely, but your argument is dubious at the best.

  169. Pralay Says:

    Strange, I would have suspected there’s inverse correlation in the aggregate, between length of post-grad studies and corporate success.
    —-

    Of course, it is a contrast between Bear Sterns (had office full of MBA guys) and Walmart.

  170. austindweller Says:

    Pralay,

    It’s called statistical inference. I know that there is a strong correlation between undergrad education and corporate sucess. Or in other words, not having undergrad education would adversely affect your chance of being “corporate successful”. Do you particularly oppose this fact ?

  171. DreamT Says:

    Pralay, I had PhD in mind rather than MBA. :)

  172. steve Says:

    whoa, you guys went nuts here.

    anyone looking for maximum ROI and graduating 1980-2005 should have become a bond trader.

    anyone looking for maximum happiness and living in a state that will be able to honor its pension and health care obligations should have become a fireman.

    and, the impact of B-school on your earning potential is entirely dependent on whether or not you went to one of the handful of schools that matter. yes that is elitest but it is also true. the MBA education itself is not valuable. instead, companies compete for alumni from top schools for the networks and the screening the schools’ admission process provides. if you went to the GSB or HBS, you did well, very well, almost bond trader well.

  173. DreamT Says:

    Aren’t firemen on-call, regularly having to unpredictably prioritize work over family (just like doctors and nurses) and work long shifts?

  174. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    steve,

    You hit the nail on the head. I was basically told that from various folks who attained MBAs from various schools. In the end, the school is really them mitigating factor when it comes to the viability of the MBA.

    That being said, perhaps my Masters was entirely un-necessary. I don’t profess that individuals could not achieve a similar set of success without one. But as I indicated earlier, I could make that claim about bachelors degrees as well.

    From my job standpoint, when I began working as a code monkey after graduation, how much of what I learned in my undergrad do you think I honestly applied? I don’t do too many second order differential equations in my field. That metalurgy class gave me nothing. Sure, its nice to know the Laws of Thermodynamics. But all that really helped me with is explaining why my PC needs a heatsink!

    In the end, I’ll honestly admit that much if not most of what I applied in my first few years on the job market was knowledge I had garnered in high school. Programming comes down to boolean logic and basic algebra, all things that I had a good grasp of in high school. All my writing skills were equally achieved in that timeframe.
    Come to think of it, I actually apply more of what I studied in my graduate courses in my current job than I ever did when I was working as a code monkey with just my bachelors. Several courses I took on risk analysis, E-Commerce and portfolio analysis are all things I apply on a daily basis.

    So in the end, I don’t entirely disagree with DreamT’s view or austindwellers. I have had similar arguments with stubborn MBA folks that continuously try to state that their degree was a good idea despite evidence to the contrary. So in the end, the viability of continuing education can be summed up as such: Does it make sense? It depends. Simple as that.

  175. DreamT Says:

    “Programming comes down to boolean logic and basic algebra”
    You write assembly or B? :P Programming comes down to savvy use of Google, deft typing skills and a large amount of copy paste, none of which I learned in high school!

  176. Herve Estater Says:

    > Does it make sense? It depends. Simple as that.

    Thanks for summerizing* the whole discussion.

    *keeping it readable for Real Estater.

  177. Real Estater Says:

    Wow, this thread has really taken off. I think in the Bay Area, a degree by itself isn’t a differentiator. Far more people own degrees than own houses. I’d much rather own a house than have any kind of non-essential degree.

  178. Real Estater Says:

    BAI says,
    >>So all I had to do was apply. And luckily enough, I got in.

    Along with 80% of the applicants. At least that’s what I remember from looking at a book on grad schools some years back.

  179. nomadic Says:

    Really? Stanford accepts 80% of its grad school applicants? I thought they were supposed to be an elite school.

  180. Pralay Says:

    80% acceptance rate for grad programs? Which school is he talking about? Alpha College of Real Estate?

  181. Frank Says:

    Drew missed the point that Zillow is basing their guestimate on a house that was torn down and replaced. It’s a common problem for Zillow, even when they have the current listing data on the new structure. Seems like they could write a program to identify homes where the historical data differs from the listing data, but then data quality has never been a priority at Zillow.

    Hope this helps clear up some of the confusion.

  182. Richard Wicks Says:

    I have a good example of Zillow “bullshit”.

    Go to the area code 94086, that’s Sunnyvale. Now limit your search to simply recently sold homes and max price of 300,000 dollars and minimum price of 150,000

    I know what you’re thinking, you’re not going to find anything but condos, and trailer parks.

    What you are going to find is DOZENS of homes, HOUSES, that have sold for this price, and the really odd thing is that the prices aren’t integrated into the surrounding housing market, or even included in the Zestimate, furthermore, these homes were never made available to the public to buy.

    What I smell here is either a massive screwup in data entry by Zillow, or a massive scam by our banking industry in this area where homes are being sold at very cheap prices with a loss to the bank, to selected insiders to make a quick profit at the expense of the share holders of the banks.

    Nobody seems interested in this story though.

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