September 22, 2009

This townhouse in Sunnyvale is very quiet. It is very quiet.

333 S BERNARDO Ave Unit VERY QUIET, Sunnyvale, CA 94086 | MLS# 80942019
333 S BERNARDO Ave Unit VERY QUIET Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Price: $560,000

Beds: 3
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,444
$/Sq. Ft.: $388
Lot Size: 2,275 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Townhouse
Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
Year Built: 1977
Community: Sunnyvale
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80942019
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 5 days
Private and quiet unit. No neighbor to the left or behind. Light and bright end-unit townhome with all the bonuses: remodeled kitchen with large pantry, crown molding, master bedroom suite with vaulted ceilings and 2 walkin closets, large 2nd and 3rd bedrooms, large backyard for kid or pets. Dual-paned windows. Inside laundry room. Cat-5e wiring. 2 car attached garage. Pool area just steps away.

This caught my attention the other day. I think this townhouse is very quiet. It’s very quiet. Very quiet? Very quiet.

In fact, this specific townhouse at 333 S Bernardo is so quiet, people have been known to say “Yeah, just take a left at Very Quiet, and park on the left.” It’s world famous practically!

Let’s take a look at this other part of the listing – large backyard for kid or pets. Note, if you have multiple kids, this large backyard will be incompatible.

But, a picture is worth a thousand words, so judge for yourself:


Is that a large backyard or what! (Very quiet)

Comments (37) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:26 am

37 Responses to “This townhouse in Sunnyvale is very quiet. It is very quiet.”

  1. CB Says:

    The prices other people pay to live in ho hum Sunnyvale (and Mountain View) always cheer me up.

  2. nomadic Says:

    Another thing that is incompatible: “pool area just steps away” and “very quiet” unless it’s a LOT of steps away.

  3. gallileo Says:

    But won’t be quiet everyone keeps talking about it. People streaming in, checking it out. Just destroying the quiet.

  4. ES Says:

    Looks like it already sold? Wow. A friend of mine that I grew up with nagged her husband into buying a rathole condo in Sunnyvale for $400+ at the peak. Appraised in the $200s when they tried to sell. They let the bank take over and moved in with her parents. Pride of Ownership!

  5. A. Lewis Says:

    A journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step…

  6. burbed Says:

    It’s one of those quiet pools.

  7. I_love_SV Says:

    I saw this in person two weeks ago when it first went on the market. The front door is right next to the community pool. The doorbell to the place is actually on the gate to the pool. The exterior of the entire complex is quite run down (at least to me it was). It definitely needed new paint. The upkeep of the exterior is quite poor considering the HOA was like $275. Looked like everyone had a different garage door and almost the same color but not quite. The roof seemed pretty old and crappy as well. There was a lot of creaking in the floor upstairs. There was a leak from the upstairs bathroom into the kitchen cabinets but it was fixed (cost was about $11k including new cabinets and Corian countertop). There is a huge pantry (seemed quite useless and a waste of space to me). The carpet was a little old. And the space downstairs was not very big at all. The yard in the back was actually quite big for a townhouse and big enough for a small playground.

    But, it was like the pool was your own. And yes… it was VERY QUIET there.

    My wife and I thought about putting an offer on it, but in the end we decided not to. Glad we didn’t.

  8. Joe Says:

    #7: Sounds like $560k to me 😀

  9. Herve Estater Says:

    > exterior of the entire complex is quite run down
    > needed new paint
    > upkeep of the exterior is quite poor
    > roof seemed pretty old and crappy
    > lot of creaking in the floor upstairs
    > leak from the upstairs bathroom into the kitchen cabinets
    > carpet was a little old
    > downstairs was not very big at all

    And you thought about putting an offer on it?!?

  10. bob Says:

    In the investment world condos and townhouses are known as white trash investments. It makes zero sense to “buy” something that is:

    A: Attached to other units
    B: requires additional fees- aka- HOA fees
    What’s the point? You are still in effect still “renting”.

  11. I_love_SV Says:

    #9 – Yes, we thought about putting an offer on it because we are in a situation were we need to buy something within a year. Also, we want to be in Homestead area, but on a tight budget. I can live with those factors.

    #10 – I completely agree. I hate HOA fees and being attached to other units. But, I will only buy what I can afford. I don’t plan on foreclosing my home in 5 years.

  12. BuyersAreIdiots Says:



    I think it ONLY makes sense in cases where you are receiving massive services and have a stellar location. Like a beach front Miami Beach condo or a Penthouse in Manhattan. Especially those that have a concierge and various amenities like gyms, gated access, 24 hr. service, etc. But yes. In general, I fail to see the point in making large sums of money for something that definitely doesn’t provide much over and above a standard rental.

  13. sonarrat Says:

    Agreed bob, I’d rather get an old hole of a detached house than a nice townhouse. Full control of your property is key, and today’s builders realize that – which is why you can’t get that control anymore! But I wouldn’t own a property in a tract development either. I’d rather buy an acre on Crow Canyon Road and put a doublewide on it.

  14. bob Says:

    if all you can afford is a townhouse, then perhaps it would be best not to buy at all. The problem is that townhouses and condos are the first the lose value and the last to gain. To me buying a house is about the carrot of one day not having to have a liability in the form of a payment. An HOA is such a payment and what’s more, there is a very real possibility that someday more rich people would move in, form a voting body that wants more stuff, and suddenly the HOA fees go up. I know because my Brother’s GF has a condo she paid $100k for 10 years ago. Her HOA fees are now $450 a month, which is almost as much as her mortgage. Assuming she’s there another 10 years, who knows? It could go up to $800.

    So bottom line- I would not even think about a townhouse. “owning” a home I suppose is a warm and fuzzy thing. But when that home comes with a monthly rental fee- which is basically what an HOA is, then you’re basically blowing money down the toilet.

  15. BuyersAreIdiots Says:


    Well said. HOAs are a big issue now for many folks that bought into new developments which are now under occupied, thus causing their HOAs to skyrocket.

    But like was alluded to earlier: the whole point of home ownership is to lock in your rent. An HOA completely defeats that purpose. I don’t want to be retired and paying HOA and property tax when I am already on fixed income by that point.

  16. I_love_SV Says:


    You’re right. I am truly against HOAs. I live in a townhouse now. HOA went from $199 to $300 in 10 years. The HOA used to cover the cable bill ($50), now it does not. There’s actually an HOA meeting tomorrow. 🙂

    My wife has been itching to buy something for 3 years now. Thankfully, I’ve been able to postpone it for so long. But, I don’t think I will be able to hold her down for another year or two. We grew up in the Homestead area and would like to stay here. We can’t afford the houses in the area, so we decided to look at townhouses. For now, we are looking…

    We’ve also been looking at single family homes in Santa Clara. Lots of stuff we can afford, but then she doesn’t like the schools. So there’s a trade-off that we will need to come to terms with.

    To be honest, I really want to wait till end of 2010 or early 2011 to see what happens before I pull the trigger. I’m concerned/looking forward to all those option-arms and alt-a loans that are going to reset. I’m not trying to time the bottom (everyone I know keeps saying I am… really pisses me off). I don’t care for the interest rate much either. I just want the security of knowing that my loan will be less than the value of my home for at least 10 years.

  17. I_love_SV Says:

    Oh, and if anyone is ever offered a time-share… DON’T DO IT!!! It’s like an HOA.

    My wife got suckered into a “trial-membership”… Luckily it only lasts for 1 year.

  18. R Says:

    I Love, there is zero reason to buy right now given your situation, which is similar to mine. In fact, you can’t afford not to wait. If you buy now, you’ll be making much higher monthly payments on a depreciating asset, which makes no financial sense. Not to mention the down payment you’ll be forced to make. Right now, cash is king and so I’d be extremely careful putting it into a house that’s going to lose value over the next couple years. Keep it safe in an online savings account until things have sorted themselves out. It’s all risk and no reward purchasing right now for a first time home buyer.

    Prices are still well above historical levels. Throw in a poor economy, tons of Option ARM resets (see recent SF chron. article), and a general pessimism about real estate and you have the recipe for at least another 20% haircut in most areas. One can’t precisely time the market, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to look at a housing price chart to determine which way prices are going, especially when you factor in things like the economy and Option ARM resets. Good luck with whatever you decide but be careful, especially if you’re taking advice from someone who stands to profit from your decision to buy.

  19. CB Says:

    There are plenty of good condos and townhouses with HOA fees that can be justified. This is not one of them. For this payment, which I estimate at over $3200 with HOA, you can buy a very nice SFH with good schools in another city. You just have to learn to give up all the prestige of living in an ultra-uber-elite city like Sunnyvale.

  20. CB Says:

    In fact, you can’t afford not to wait.

    Is this the downside version of “buy now or be priced out forever”?

  21. I_love_SV Says:

    #18 – You’re absolutely correct. That’s why I’ve been trying to hold off. And thank you. I hope things work out for you too.

    #19 – I don’t know about Sunnyvale being ultra-uber-elite. To be honest, I find that a lot of the city is turning into low-income ghettos. I really have no idea how this is happening. Must be rentals.

    Also, there seems to be an influx of cockroaches (literally). Must be the rentals as well.

  22. bob Says:

    Time to put the foot down. No offense but your wife is reacting to her strong nesting instincts which aren’t tied to financial common sense. If anything, buying a townhome right now would actually in my opinion not be putting you in a situation of security- which people generally associate with a house.

    Hell- there are pretty nice houses, as in actual historically interesting houses( old Victorians) out where I live for the price of this POS townhome. Yes- its in the east bay, but if she is desperate to nest, that’s how you could do it and have a real home with a real yard.

  23. nomadic Says:

    We’ve also been looking at single family homes in Santa Clara. Lots of stuff we can afford, but then she doesn’t like the schools. So there’s a trade-off that we will need to come to terms with.

    DreamT and/or madhaus could tell you about the part of Santa Clara that has Cupertino schools. You might find SFHs that are affordable for you there.

    Do you own the townhouse you live in now? If so, that could put a serious cramp in any plans to sell and move to another one now. You certainly wouldn’t want to buy without selling the current place first, but I’m sure you already know that.

  24. CB Says:

    #21 I was being ultra-uber-sarcastic about Sunnyvale.

  25. Herve Estater Says:

    > I can live with those factors.

    Understood. You just caught me by surprise by saying all these negative things before you said you considered making an offer 🙂

    Since DreamT seems to be too busy talking about Real Estater’s possessions, I’ll mention these houses in Santa Clara (both with Cupertino schools):

    3479 Mauricia Ave

    181 Woodhams Rd (this one is pending already but it gives you an idea of what you can find for almost the same price as a townhouse)

  26. DreamT Says:

    The Mauricia one draws quite a bit of interest, there’s pretty much no traffic on that street since it’s a loop. The Woodhams one has been sitting for a while then went reduced, I believe, and gets its share of school traffic. But yes at the moment you can get a SFR in SC CUSD for ~ 600k as opposed to 800k two years ago.

  27. CB Says:

    The pond and pool of the Mauricia property make it a nightmare for the parents of a toddler.

  28. nomadic Says:

    Nothing a couple truckloads of dirt can’t fix. Or a safety fence.

  29. Herve Estater Says:

    > there’s pretty much no traffic on that street since it’s a loop

    Soon you’ll see a Porsche doing laps…

  30. UnrealAlex Says:

    No place is quiet in shitbucket Slummyvale.

  31. Herve Estater Says:

    > No place is quiet in shitbucket Slummyvale.

    You clearly haven’t been to downtown Sunnyvale on a Sunday.

  32. steve Says:

    You should expect HOA fees to increase over time; just like everything else in the area. And, fees in the $300 range, depending on the development, and hardly unreasonable.

    Now, in this case, maintenance was poor. But, HOA typically covers:

    earthquake insurance
    structure insurance
    pool guy
    exterior items (roofing, siding, painting)
    all expenses related to common areas

    For a SFH, costs for these exceed $5K/year. These are the costs people fail to budget for or remember when looking at their homes as investments.

  33. I_love_SV Says:

    #23 – No, we don’t own this townhouse we are living in. Renting from family.

    #25 – Thanks for the links. I will take a look into that area.

    #30 – The area around Cherry Chase is quiet. This featured townhouse is also very quiet, but only because it’s far enough away from Bernardo. Bernardo is very busy and I didn’t like that either.

    #32 – This townhouse did not cover earthquake insurance from what I recall.

  34. anon Says:

    “These are the costs people fail to budget for or remember when looking at their homes as investments.”

    Indeed they are. I remember discussing this at length with ol’ real estater. As usual, he couldn’t wrap his mind around the concept and therefore he resorted to changing the subject and insisting that real estate is a great investment.

  35. Pralay Says:

    These are the costs people fail to budget for or remember when looking at their homes as investments.

    There is no cost for real estate investment. No budget required. You just have to live in it – with 100% utility.

  36. anon Says:

    Boy its so hard to “buy” real estate and hold onto it. I can’t imagine why it isn’t a sure-fire investment!

  37. I_love_SV Says:

    The real-estate agent was trying to convince me that the roof is in excellent condition and roofs typically last a minimum of 40 years. I’d like to have what she is smoking.

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