September 4, 2009

They’re giving away houses for free in Alviso

1397 MICHIGAN Ave, San Jose, CA 95002 | MLS# 80918267
1397 MICHIGAN Ave San Jose, CA 95002
Price: $379,999

Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,056
$/Sq. Ft.: $360
Lot Size: 6,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Traditional
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1940
Community: Alviso (Santa Clara County)
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80918267
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 125 days
Not a foreclosure or short-sale! 2nd unit is garage conversion. 2 units ($800/$2,000)could offset mortgage pymts. Big corner lot (6,000 sq. ft. )parking access in large yard and off street parking alongside main house. 2nd unit has compact kitchen, living rm. 1 bdrm, bath stall shower. Inspections completed/reports online. To be sold AS IS in present structural condition. Easy access to Hiwy237.

Let’s face it, Alviso just doesn’t get enough attention from Burbed. This house is shocking. They’re giving it away. Sheesh!

Let’s look at what you’re getting for free:


Wow. I’m totally digging those new teal countertops. You’ve gotta admit, you just don’t see those every day!

While we’re here, let’s learn more about Alviso:

  • Mail is not delivered in Alviso, but must be picked up at the post office.
  • After the 1970s, Alviso was treated like a socioeconomic backwater of the prospering Silicon Valley and struggled to restore its former vitality.

Personally I love this bit on the wikipedia.

Alviso 1981

And then…

Alviso 2007

Check out those AWESOME sidewalks! It’s walkable! Can you say gentrification?

Better buy now before it gets too hot for you to handle!

Comments (25) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:27 am

25 Responses to “They’re giving away houses for free in Alviso”

  1. nomadic Says:

    damn – that cool red bench was stolen!

    The most intriguing part to me: To be sold AS IS in present structural condition. I wonder what’s wrong with the structure?

  2. sonarrat Says:

    I’m shedding a tear at the concept that this house could rent for $2800 a month.

  3. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    The bench might be gone, but they totally upgraded the doors. Talk about gentrification!

  4. nomadic Says:

    sonarrat – maybe the drug dealers pay a premium for “enterprise-friendly” landlords.

  5. cardinal2007 Says:

    On redfin there are a bunch of phantom lots split up in a grid with easements for roads, but it is all on wetlands. Seems like someone subdivided the area for a much larger city, and then no one actually filled in the area.

    So that brings me to a few questions, is the area prone to flooding? Is there risk of liquefaction here? Should one get flood and earthquake insurance? They mention no mail service, what is the fire service like. Too many questions, but it seems that some of these might be risks someone buying there might have to take.

  6. steve Says:

    is alviso prone to flooding? it spent much of the winter of 1983 under water, and parts are 13 feet below sea level.

  7. Pralay Says:

    Did they raise the train track or the grocery store is sinking? In 1981 picture the train track and the grocery store building in same level. But in 2007, the building is down.

  8. BuyersAreIdiots Says:

    $2800 to rent this??

    Well, according to craiglist, this is what you can rent in Los Gatos for $2800:

    3 bedrooms 2 1/2 bathrooms +Den with balcony
    2 car attached garage
    Hardwood floors downstairs, carpet upstairs
    Separate laundry room
    2 balconies
    2 fireplaces
    Central air conditioner and heat

  9. UnrealAlex Says:

    Alviso’s something like 15 feet under sea level. A friend of mine built a geodesic dome house after buying land cheap after the last big flood which was in the 90s so no one remembers it now (anything that happened more than 5 years ago never happened, saves us Americans learning history).

    The top level of the geo-dome is above the water level in the next flood, but he’ll have to boat a LONG way to get to land. And dry rot is busily eating up the top part.

    Alviso would be a great site for some kind of independent film. A sort of “Salton Sea” for the bay area.

  10. CB Says:

    Jesus, Alviso is one of the most gawd awful places to view by satellite.

  11. CB Says:

    Christ, there’s a missile hidden in Alviso.

  12. Joe Says:

    Zillow has the price estimate at $194k 10 years ago, this is likely true value of this property now (not taking into account today’s lower interest rates).

  13. UnrealAlex Says:

    Oops ok 13 feet underwater.

    It is truly a God-awful place.

  14. Pralay Says:

    Christ, there’s a missile hidden in Alviso.

    LOL! That means Alviso’s home value goes up by $300K. Alviso is protected from North Korea or any other countries in Axis of Evils.

  15. nomadic Says:

    No Pralay, they’re just more serious about protecting their soccer fields than Palo Alto.

  16. anon Says:

    Ahhh, does everyone remember the days when you could buy a house, slap on some new paint and then flip it for $100,000?

    Too bad that’s gone.

  17. Zak Says:

    I had been to Alviso more that 10 years ago when a friend took me to his favorite Mexican restaurant. I was surprised to see how desolate the whole town was.

    Now google maps shows several new communities in this area. Looking at all the swamps around the town does not give me a good feel for these communities.

    What surprises me is that they will give building permits to build on a swamp but not to the west of 280. There is some half baked story about west of 280 being unsafe because of earthquakes.

    I will go ahead and say my mind though I know I will regret it. The rich snobs in Palo Alto and Saratoga really want to keep the suburbs out of their backyard. They have their wonderful community, great schools and plesant commute. Who cares about the rest of the masses!!!

  18. anon Says:

    life’s just so unfair…

  19. DreamT Says:

    I thought Palo Alto and Saratoga were the suburb?

  20. Real Estater Says:


    Your statement doesn’t make sense. West of 280 is a protected area due to environmental reasons. What does it have to do with Palo Alto or Saratoga? Palo Alto is already situated right next to East Palo Alto. How do you explain that?

  21. Nat Says:

    All these new homes built in the Alviso swamp do not have first floors. These homes have generous garage/parking in the first floor and dwelling is in second and third floors. The homes are not handicapped friendly since you have to climb the stairs.

  22. Pralay Says:

    Palo Alto is already situated right next to East Palo Alto. How do you explain that?

    You must be loving people from your neighbor city. Is that what you are trying say? “Please come here and live NEXT to us. Please name your city East Palo Alto. Palo Alto and East Palo Alto – brother-brother“. Were you one of those real estate brokers of 1960s who used to put their cards in mailbox with note a black family moved next door? If so, I understand.

    Oh, but live next to us BUT don’t come to Palo Alto to play soccer or have BBQ.

    If East Alto was a swamp like Alviso today, what are the chances it would become East Palo Alto?

  23. MSG Says:

    Well, my wife and I are finally gonna jump on the house owning bandwagon soon. We put in an offer for 320k on a house in Monterey and it got accepted. It was a short sale. House needs some work, but we were quite surprised on the neighborhood and the house itself. The house sold in 2006 for 789k. Geezus.

  24. Real Estater Says:


    That sounds like a great deal. Congratulations!

  25. Doris Says:

    After long research and interviewed with Alviso residents many times, I decided to buy a vacant land to build my dream home in Alviso.

    Some concerns were frequently mentioned about Alviso:
    1. Bad smell
    I had been Alviso many times when I smelled bad from Milpitas and I-880, there was no problem at all in Alviso. The water treatment plant and landfills east of Alviso do cause some smell, but the smell floats east right over Milpitas, and not south and west into Alviso.

    2. Flooding
    Major flood project completed on Lower Guadalupe River in San Jose, The river now has 100-year flood protection.

    Alviso has three roads to connect 237 freeway, the most convenient location to reach high tech workplaces.

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