July 27, 2010

Location, Loocation, Looocation – Part II

In a previous post, I asked whether location was all there was to pricing real estate.  Looking at several homes on the same street, their position, and their list prices would help answer this question.  The first home was a small 2/1 in a “fantastic location” for just under a million.  Let’s see what’s on the same street but on the Other Side of that cruel boundary between sort of good and Real Good: Middlefield Road.

365 Lincoln Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301


Beds: 8
Baths: 4.5
Sq. Ft.: 5,505
$/Sq. Ft.:$1,452
Lot Size: 0.72 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1907
Community: Professorville
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81024865
Source: MLSListings
Status: Pending Without Release This listing is in escrow, past inspections and waiting for loan funding. "Without Release" indicates that the current buyer doesn’t need to sell a home to buy the new home.
On Redfin: 62 days

Special Opportunity to own one of Professorville’s largest lots & historic homes. Built in 1903 by Stanford Professor Leander Hoskins, this graceful craftsman style home is 5,511 sq ft & has 8 bedroooms & 4 bathroooms on a 31,500 sq ft lot. Fine example original craftsman woodwork. A broad inviting veranda welcomes visitors. Walk to Downtown & Stanford University. Please do not disturb occupants

That photo looks a bit… threatening.  Lights are on but it’s still daytime… but not for long!  The house seems like it’s crouching down low, preparing to spring onto your chest, knock you down, rip out your throat and force you to sign an eight million dollar real estate offer without contingencies.  And no eights in the price, yet!  But it’s a “Special Opportunity.”  It’s so special, the “bedroooms” and “bathroooms” are pre-stocked with extra haunting ooos.

It’s sooo special, that you’d better be able to handle the cognitive dissonance of a “broad inviting veranda” that “welcomes visitors,” except you’re not supposed to “disturb the occupants.”  Guess that broad inviting veranda is off-limits, eh?  But ask yourself, what kind of occupants would there be in an 8/4.5 near a major university?

Two words.  Frat house.  With extra ooos.  Take a look at the photo above, again.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Vampire frat house.

While you put on your carbon-fiber neck protector, savor this lot.  Look how it takes up the space of more than four tall or two grande properties, and just lolls onto both Lincoln and Waverly like a well-played Tetris piece… without actually being on the corner!


Heh.  I said loll.  And lolling is what you get to do when you live on the Better Side of Middlefield.  Too bad you can’t buy the Vampire Frat House, though.  It’s pending, and loooks like it was delisted a month ago, probably when someone walked in and said “Ooo!  8 bedroooms and 4 bathroooms!  Sooold!”  Loooks like you’re priced out forever, but the ooout-of-tooown sellers are making the city very happy.  The old tax valuation was (ooo!) $175,246.

To be fair, I went up and down the street loooking for unsightly vehicles, but this was the worst to be found.  The next worst was the Post Office truck.  But I do like how this photo shows the hired help gazing longingly at a house he wishes he could live in.


You see, this is the Better Side (even if you have to leave garlic on each windowsill)!  The neighbors keep their cars tucked behind hedges and trees, so only the transient workers’ jalopies remain.  Next time, we’ll Return to the Dark Side. Be there or be a Tetris piece!

Comments (33) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

33 Responses to “Location, Loocation, Looocation – Part II”

  1. Real Estater Says:

    You mean the same looocation as this house?

  2. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Nice house! Big win for Paloo Altoo with the new property tax!

  3. Real Estater Says:

    You get a lot of house and land for the money with this property. Here’s its sister property in the vicinity:


  4. sonarrat Says:

    “wholesome California Arts & Crafts’ ideals of simplicity, artistry, & a life in closer harmony with nature.” I guess that means no air conditioning.

  5. nomadic Says:

    I guess that means no air conditioning.

    Probably no insulation either.

    Zoning: R192. Could that mean it’s a historic house with special tax rates? There are some houses around here that you have to maintain the historic integrity of the exterior and in return, you get REALLY low property taxes.

  6. Gallileo Says:

    It’s a beautiful house. Needs a little work. It isn’t on the corner because years ago they sold off the servants’ quarters–at least that’s what I’ve heard.

    The big property tax boost should save Palo Alto Schools for another year.

  7. bob Says:

    I’d love to have a little of whatever the person who buys this is smokin’. $8 million for this? Yeah- its in Palo Alto and all, but seriously?

  8. Pralay Says:

    Looks like Real Estater listed his home for sale. Last month he gave us some “solid hints” (and more solid hints and more more hints) about his home. Now, look at this listing. It is wrong side of Middlefield. The description in listing:

    Cozy 2-story home in highly desirable Palo Alto Community Center; 4b2bth, spacious LV & Dining rm; Private master bdrm upstairs; Quiet bckyrd w/ mature trees along property perimeter; Tree lined street [Hint: I live on a tree lined street], quiet neighborhood [Hint: I’m away from busy streets and power lines], surrounded by houses of stylish architectural details [Hint: University Ave. mansions are on the “wrong” side of Middlefield.]; Walking distance to libraries [Hint: I can walk to Children’s Library], community center, parks, schools; Short Distance to downtown shopping and restaurants [Hint: I can walk to University Ave.].

    2007 sale price: $1.7M
    Listed now: $1.35M

    I agree that nobody would pay him $2M for this.

  9. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > Now, look at this listing.

    Right next to the house I toured a few weeks ago. Neighbourhood is alright. This one on Fulton is kind of weird. I’ll go check it out this week-end if it’s open.

  10. SEA Says:

    “2007 sale price: $1.7M
    Listed now: $1.35M”

    Sounds as if it might be a genuine RBA home. I’m thinking buy now and sell in seven years. Alternatively, 10 years ago this place must have been worth about $675k.

    Let’s see–since it’s a real RBA home, it’ll be worth a minimum of $3.4M in 2017. Assuming a final sale price of $1.35M, no sales commissions, and so on, the incentive to hold for seven years is $2.05M [$3.4M-1.35M].

    I wonder why the owner is passing the opportunity to take a $1.35M asset and turn it into a $3.4M asset. Sure he might have to change a couple light bulbs, and who knows, he might have to buy a bottle of drain cleaner, but for over $2M?

    Buying this $1.35M home should be viewed as a great opportunity for the buyer, right?

    Let’s ignore the $350k that the current owner is losing–that an aberration on how the price doubling works, right? If Real Estater doesn’t live here, I suspect he will be buying this great opportunity!

    I suspect, however, that given the $2.05M that can be realized in seven years, someone will be willing to pay more than $1.35M for this place. What’s that about buying instant equity?

  11. nomadic Says:

    Regarding the house on Fulton; that is no way to flip a house. They’ve been there three years and haven’t ripped down that horrible wallpaper? It’s been on & off the market for 18 months – time to stage it!

  12. Gallileo Says:


    Current owners have only owned for a couple of weeks. It was seized in foreclosure not too long ago.

    Plus there are two other similar houses for sale on the same block. Plus the house from burbed earlier (linked below) is just down the street–this block is what happens when you are one block the wrong side of middlefield–no RBA for you!


  13. nomadic Says:

    It was seized in foreclosure not too long ago.

    No Galileo. No. No no no no! (stomps foot) That cannot be. This is Palo Alto. Foreclosures do not happen in Disneyland!

    Well, the people who bought it in 2007 must have been really bad, stupid people.


  14. Pralay Says:

    There is no such thing as foreclosure in Palo Alto.. This home on Fulton must be from East Palo Alto.

  15. Real Estater Says:

    >>It was seized in foreclosure not too long ago.

    Pralay was fired from his job also.

  16. Real Estater Says:

    >> Last month he gave us some “solid hints” (and more solid hints and more more hints) about his home.

    And here’s the last hint…drum-roll: My home is on the right side of Middlefield.

    Remember, Real Estater never lies.

  17. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > Remember, Real Estater never lies.

    It’s not a lie, if you believe it.

  18. DreamT Says:

    Real Estater’s house is both on the right side and on the wrong side of Middlefield (as long as you’re driving North)

  19. nomadic Says:

    My home is on the right side of Middlefield.

    You left off the part about driving north.

  20. Pralay Says:

    My home is on the right side of Middlefield.

    Remember, Real Estater never lies.

    And Real Estater’s definition of “right side” is similar to Bill Clinton’s definition of “sex”.

    He never lies. He just redefines. 🙂

  21. Pralay Says:

    They’ve been there three years and haven’t ripped down that horrible wallpaper?

    Changing wallpaper? Real Estater couldn’t think about it. He changed bulbs occasionally and fixed plumbing with Drano, but couldn’t “really think of anything else”.

  22. Real Estater Says:

    >>They’ve been there three years and haven’t ripped down that horrible wallpaper?

    Pralay has been around here for 3 years, and still doesn’t have a kid.

  23. Pralay Says:

    That depends on the definition of “kid”. 🙂

  24. nomadic Says:

    …still doesn’t have a kid.

    Does this site increase the risk of pregnancy or subliminally encourage procreation?

  25. Tuno Says:

    “Pralay has been around here for 3 years, and still doesn’t have a kid.”

    what are you, RE, his grandmother?

  26. Alex Says:

    Pralay has been around here for 3 years, and still doesn’t have a kid.

    Faux Estater, are you sure those kids are yours? I’ve been banging your wife awfully hard while you were away on your super-duper-multi-timezone-megaproject.

  27. anon Says:

    lol – RE is a debt slave for the worst house on his block.

  28. Location, Location, Location, At Last | Burbed.com Says:

    […] at several listings on the same street.  First there was the English Garden Shed, then the Vampire Frat House, and our latest Lincoln link was Limestone and Marble and Rock, Oh My! (the one with MAGICAL […]

  29. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    Sold for $7M.

    To sum it up, all 4 houses in the “location^3” series sold for below asking.

  30. anon Says:

    only a million below begging price?

  31. Real Estater Says:

    >>To sum it up, all 4 houses in the “location^3″ series sold for below asking.

    So says the amateur. The way mega homes are marketed is different from low end. At the low end, you want to under-price the home to attract multiple offers. At the high end, there’s usually only 1 or 2 buyers, so you over-price it to allow room for negotiation.

  32. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    > At the low end, you want to under-price the home to attract multiple offers

    Like that one? Anyway, I was just stating a fact. No opinion given.

  33. SEA Says:

    Finally! Real Estater admits:

    1. It’s possible to “over-price” a home.
    2. It’s possible to “under-price” a home.

    Now if we can just get him to admit that the final sale price is the same in both cases. Or, alternatively, given he has structured homes on a high end and low end, there must be a home in the middle that should be priced very near fair market value. The questions are:

    1. Does under-pricing a home increase the final sales price?
    2. Does over-pricing a home increase the final sales price?
    3. For the home in the middle, is it the best strategy to price near market?

    The above questions assume we have defined “low end” and “high end” nicely. If someone over-bids on a $2M PA home, does that make it a “low end” home?

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