August 31, 2010

Best Real Estate Blog for Where?

If you’ve managed to miss reading this site the last few weeks, you might have not have noticed that burbed was nominated for, and won, this award from Zillow:

There’s one problem.  It turns out there was also an award for Best Blog in San Jose Real Estate, and burbed wasn’t even nominated.  So that means we can’t discuss Palo Alto anymore. 

Good thing burbed reader AJT sent in this San Francisco property, along with a comment about walking by the place and then finding out it was for sale.  And even better, look what was listed two years ago, thanks to Herve:


Burbed reader Herve thought it would be good to point this unique property out. Apparently it’s been on the market 2 years ago for $75 million (really?).

In any case, it is now just at $48 million – another sure sign the real estate market has bottomed out and that it is now a great time to jump back in.

Just think, if you got a smart enough mortgage, you could easily buy this and get at least $22 million in instant equity. Wowsers!

What are you waiting for?

Wowsers!  If the price was cut from $75 million in 2006 to $48 million in 2008, then it should be down to $31 million in 2010, right?

2901 Broadway St, San Francisco, CA 94115


BATHS: 7.5
SQ. FT.: –
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached, Single-Family Home
STYLE: Custom
VIEW: Panoramic, City Lights, Water, Bay, Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Downtown, Marina, Ocean, Park, Garden/Greenbelt, Hills, Mt. Tamalpais, Twin Peaks
COMMUNITY: Pacific Heights
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 322933
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 1226 days

Italian Renaissance hilltop mansion on the Gold Coast, near Presidio. Expansive Golden Gate & north Bay views from almost every room. Grand reception hall. Elegant formal rooms. Graceful marble stair leads to family level. 7 bedrooms, 7.5 baths. Master suites. Library. Music room. Office. Rec room. Elevator. Period details. Private winding drive. Garden. Private tennis court. 2007 San Francisco Decorator Showcase. Property history & floor plans on property and agent’s website.

$45 million?  Someone doesn’t understand that if the house won’t sale, your price is FAIL!

I want to look at that “Days on Redfin” number again while my eyes pop out.  1226!  You’d almost think they don’t care if they sell the house or not!  Perhaps the tenants are paying almost enough rent to cover the heating bill.

For the garage.

I’m sure the Assessor’s Office is keeping an eye on this one, as it only paid $7,000 in taxes last year.  To give you an idea how little that is, if you were to buy this house and put $9 million down, your 15 year fixed loan of $36 million would cost you $261,000.  A month.  And that’s assuming you could get the 3.75% mortgage rate Redfin helpfully put in for you.  Do you think you’d have to apply for a jumbo?

One last thing about this expensive, er, expansive, listing.  Here’s what Redfin has to say about the 2008 observation:

The seller has requested that all public comments be removed from this listing. Per MLS rules, we are not allowed to link to blog posts about this home.

Fortunately, we are.  Otherwise we’d have to keep following up on 13 Lucky Street.

Comments (71) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

August 30, 2010

Let’s go swimming in this Millbrae pool!



Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 2,640
$/Sq. Ft.: $371
Lot Size: 0.48 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Bay, Neighborhood
Year Built: 1964
Community: Mills Estate
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81035900
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 12 days
Great Fantastic House Pool , Huge Back Yard.

Thanks to Burbed reader SW for this find!

Here’s what SW had to say:

I’m not sure if Millbrae is RBA or not, but there’s something special about a short sale on a place asking 2X its last selling price.

Combine that with the epic realtor description- "Great Fantastic House Pool , Huge Back Yard.", and you’ve got yourself a winner.  That great fantastic house pool happens to be green.  Not like environmentally aware green.  Like teeming with polywogs, malarial vectors and clumps of blooming algae green.

Let’s take a look!


I think the listing forgot to say that this is an “organic” pool.

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:29 am

August 29, 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thank you to all who voted for Burbed!

San Francisco Real Estate

Now, this is an award winning website!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:45 am

August 28, 2010

Location? Forget it — Price is All You Need

You’ve all heard the real estate joke that if you ask an agent what the key point is in selling real estate, she’ll answer, “Location, location, location.”  Of course if you ask her what kind of car she drives, she’ll also say, “Location, location, location.”  Well, stop the presses.  Redfin says they’ve found the real answer.

Redfin: For Real Estate Listings, the First Week Is Crucial

By Emily Peck

Trying to sell your house? Many sellers put their home on the market at a wishful-thinking price, figuring that they could just lower it later.

That strategy could be a misfire. According to a new analysis by Redfin Corp., a Seattle-based brokerage that operates in nine states, a listing gets the most attention online when it’s new to the market. The week that a listing hits the market, Redfin estimates that it gets nearly four times more visits on real estate websites than it does a month later, likely the earliest time that a seller will consider cutting the price.

Redfin looked at traffic to listings in Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine, Calif., Washington, D.C., Boston and Chicago. They considered listings that debuted in the first three months of 2010, sat on the market for at least 60 days and had undergone at least one update. The site used its own traffic data to estimate what traffic would be like to other real-estate sites.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a graph is probably worth a teal deerRedfin’s numbers indeed tell the story:


Okay, red line is web visits to new listings, green line is visits to updated listings.  Clearly new homes, never before listed, get the serious traffic, and soon.  Price it wrong, and you’ve lost your chance, because most of your potential buyers won’t be back.  The little spikes at 30 and 60 days are no doubt the bottom-feeding bargain hunters using the filters.  Is that where you want your home to be?

Redfin also notes that half of all listings don’t sell within a yearSo, if you want to sell your house, even if you live in the Real Bay Area, it’s time to do away with your wishing price.  Unless you don’t believe in useless aggregate data.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

August 27, 2010

Bay Area has the most millionaires… almost

New York Has the Most Millionaires

By Robert Frank

New York’s millionaire population has now surpassed the boom times of 2007.

According to the new Metro Wealth Index, created by consulting firm Capgemini, the New York Metropolitan area had 650,000 high-net worth individuals, or people with $1 million or more in investible assets in 2009. That is 18.7% higher than in 2008.

Once again, the New York area topped the list of metro-area wealth centers. Its total was greater than the combined total of the next three runners up–Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington.

Of the top 10, Houston posted the the fastest growth, at 28.9%. But all enjoyed strong growth.

Here are the tallies of millionaires for the top 10, along with the percentage growth:

New York – 667,200, +18.7%

Los Angeles – 235,800, +13.3%

Chicago – 198,100, +15.1%

Washington, D.C. – 152,400 +19.3%

San Francisco – 138,300 +14.5%

Philadelphia – 104,100, +20.1%

Boston – 102,300, + 14.4%

Detroit – 89,100, +12.1%

Houston –- 88,200, +28.9%

San Jose — 86,500, +24.5%

Yeah, but if you add San Jose and San Francisco together, the Bay Area would be ranked at #3 after Los Angeles – at 224,800. And this probably excludes all the thousands of millionaires in Atherton, Palo Alto, etc. That’s probably at least 12,000 or more, which puts us at #2 with 236,800!

And if you think about it – NY has 8 million people. That’s just .08 millionaires per capita. From San Francisco to San Jose, there’s 3,236,662 (and this includes non Real Bay Area like Gilroy!). That puts us at… .07 millionaires per capita.

Damnit! So close! Come on people! Let’s get some more millionaires going out there. Facebook! IPO already!

Comments (98) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:17 am

August 26, 2010

With an Amazing Curve Apreal

This listing was sent in by burbed reader sonarrat.  Here’s what sonarrat had to say about this absolutely sparkling home:  “Sparkling isn’t really the first thing I think of when I look at this house.  More like manufactured home.”

1039 Alderbrook Ln, San Jose, CA 95129


Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,330
$/Sq. Ft.: $744
Lot Size: 7,313 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Ranch
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1957
Community: Cupertino
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81039029
Source: MLSListings
Status: Pending With Release 
On Redfin: 17 days

This absolutely sparkling home uplifts you the moment you lay your eyes on it. How often you get inspired by a home? With an amazing curve apreal, you will feel right at home. This home is warm & inviting. Newer roof, new crown molding, hardwood flooring, fresh paint, Huge Corner, New window and Front Patio ect. Top cupertino schools!

How often do you get inspired by a home?  Plenty of homes on burbed have been inspiring, as in leading to some incredibly snide copy and even better reader reactions.  Usually they have something notable about them, such as being insanely expensive, or having a lousy location, or not bearing much resemblance to a residential structure.  This one?  I am having a reaction all right, but uplifting doesn’t describe it.image  It’s closer to ennui crossed with sticker shock.

Yawn.  Another million dollar crackerbox with Cupertino schools, San Jose services, and five 8s in the asking price.  And it’s pending after only two and a half weeks.  Must have been that amazing curve apreal or the Huge Corner.  I’m kind of amazed that it sold so fast when they only put in one New window.

Wait, 7300 square feet is a Huge Corner?  Maybe it is compared to the zero lot line of a manufactured home.  This picture provided by the agent certainly seems inspired by the trailer park.

What do you think?  Is this house absolutely sparkling?  Are you uplifted?

Comments (42) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

August 25, 2010

If you want to live in a green-ish house in San Jose…


1578 MISSION SPRINGS Cir San Jose, CA 95131


Beds: 3
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,630
$/Sq. Ft.: $429
Lot Size: 3,500 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Spanish
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1989
Community: Berryessa
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81035786
Source: MLSListings
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 27 days
Gorgeous NSJ 2-story house w/ Lots Upgrades, 3Bed 2.5Ba, Open Floor Plan w/ High Ceil. Upgrade Kitch. , New Top Quality Berber Carpet upstairs & New High-end Laminate Floor Downstairs, European Style Curtains in All Rooms, Beautiful Landscaped Backyard w/ Professional Pergola on Desired Corner Lot. Relaxing & Convenient Living to Golf Course, Supermarket, Costco and Park. A must see.
Thanks to Burbed reader sonarrat for this find!
Now, I’m not a professional architect, nor do I play one on TV, but yeah I’d have to agree with sonarrat that something looks a bit off in this house. Is it the charming green piping (which curiously is not mentioned in the listing? I mean, I’d expect a realtor to absolutely rave about something like that!)? Is it that funny window above the garage?
Any architects out there? What do you think makes this house look funny, aside from the fact that one of the biggest selling points is that it is near a Costco, and yet it is a mere $429 per square foot?
Comments (17) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:38 am

August 24, 2010

Lonely Spec House Needs Care, Decor, and Your Bank Account

Here’s a house that’s been on the market almost half a year.  Not only is nobody living in it now, nobody’s lived in it ever. burbed agents worked hard to find out why,

26462 Purissima Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022


Beds: 6
Baths: 7.5
Sq. Ft.: 11,000
$/Sq. Ft.: $808
Lot Size: 2.03 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Year Built: 2010
Community: Los Altos Hills
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81010120
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 173 days

This extraordinary new estate is adorned w/ Old World Roman architecture. Spanning 2 levels, the approx. 10,000+/- sq ft main house offers 4 bedrooms, 2 offices, theatre room, & fitness room. Guest house includes 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, & full kitchen. Other amenities include 7 fireplaces, waterfall, pool w/ spa, sauna, wine bar, optional elevator, & room for tennis court. Excellent Palo Alto schools

purissima1You know what Old World Roman architecture means, don’t you?  If you don’t, I’ll give you a hint.  Dat’s right!  MAWBUL CAHLLUMS.  I think this property might set a burbed record for its sheer columnosity.  These pictures were lovingly borrowed from the property website and should give you the idea.  Just look for the helpful red arrows so you can count how many columns are in each picture.

Go ahead, count the arrows.  I definitely agree this new estate is extraordinary, but then again, things can be extraordinary without necessarily being good.  Like extraordinary rendition.


purissima4 purissima5



No, you aren’t seeing things.  There are columns in the MUD ROOM above.  Why a house in a semi-arid region like Northern California needs a mud room is something for you to ponder on while you check your bank account.

purissima9 purissima10

purissima11 purissima12

Had enough of that magnificent stairway?  Let’s check out the back yard.  Column WIN!  The structure in the center of the first picture below is the guest house.  Only 4 columns.  Not even as much as the decorative set of arches by the pool.

purissima14 purissima15

purissima16 purissima17

But… problems in paradise: there were cracks forming on the paving under that big balcony in that last picture above.  The house was finished this spring.  Should have used real marble!  That’s a waterfall in front of the guest house (columns foreground).  It was a great idea, but not for the reason you may think.


That’s the guest house on the left (above).  So, you thought the mud room was a funny place to put marble columns?  How about taking Mike’s advice and put some in your kitchen!  Or your bathroom!  Oooh-la-la!

purissima7 purissima13

Unfortunately, those MAWBUL CAHLLUMS not only weren’t sold by Fred Armison personally, they aren’t even made of marble!  They’re hollow tubes of concrete!  You’d think for almost nine million dollars the builder would spring for the real stuff?

You’d also think for that many big ones they’d spend a little bit to stage this place properly?  You’d think wrong.  This is what you see when you view each bedroom:


Nothing says, “I’ve got money and power” like a completely empty room.  And when I say empty, I mean there isn’t even a thumbtack on the inside of a closet door.  This house just reeks of empty, as you can see from playing Debbie Does Doric above.  There’s even empty spaces where the builder couldn’t figure out what to do with them, so he turned them into randomly shaped closets in unexpected places.  It’s like those tiny balconies on the second floor of the front of the house.  Those balconies were barely a foot deep.  So you have a room with no window, just a french door to a decorative balcony.

Oh yes, the waterfall.  The waterfall is there to deal with the reality of the lot:


Not quite easy freeway access, but almost!  The waterfall is there so you won’t hear the gentle susurrations of Interstate 280.

In summary, I think this house is still empty because it looks like it was designed by someone who grew up poor and thinks this is how rich people live.  You know, as many faux marble columns as possible.  Faux!  That’s French!  That’s good, rich people speak French!  Heck, call it a faux mansion!

But there is one fantastic feature the agent forgot to mention.  Since nobody ever lived in this house, nobody ever died in it either.  It’s guaranteed to be ghost-free!

Comments (67) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

August 23, 2010

Go Jump In 9% of Your Own Lake

This property is a burbed two-fer.  It’s both a multi-million dollar listing… and the house is probably only being held together by the termites having a big ol’ group hug.  Yup, expensive signature showpiece or overpriced pile of crap?  How about both!  It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!

Many thanks to burbed reader sonarrat for this fantastic find!

1005 Lakeview Way, Redwood City, CA 94062


Beds: 4
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 3,820
$/Sq. Ft.: $667
Lot Size: 1.01 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Spanish
Stories: 1
View: Lake
Year Built: 1926
Community: Farm Hills Estates
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81040895
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 5 days

Opportunity to own this one of a kind Lake front property. Over an acre of completely useable land on privately owned Emerald Hills upper Lake, Lake Lynda. Build, develop, subdivide, or restore this tranquil property. FISH, SWIM, BOAT, in your own backyard. TRUELY A MUST SEE!

Yes, indeed, this is a privately owned lake, and this house comes with 1/11th of it!  But, do you see a house in those pictures above?  There’s supposed to be a big house on this one-acre lakefront property, but the agent seems to have neglected to post any pictures of it.  Instead we get 9 photos of the lake.

And PropertyShark (registration required) says there is a small house at this address: 600 square feet, with a grand total of three rooms. Plus a 630 sf garage.  You’d think a house built in 1926 would know how big it is by now. Here’s the one room the agent was willing to show us:image

Wow, they sure knew how to party in 1926.  Just imagine 3820 square feet of house needing to be restored.  Or 600.  TRUELY A MUST SEE!

Also, the agent is making a very big deal about the privately-owned lake, so let’s take a good look.


Whoa…. that lake may be green, but I don’t think I’d call that shade Upper Emerald.  I’d go with Acme Algae or Summit Scum.  Now, can we get a peek at the house?  Google Streetview can take us where no agent dares.


Uh,,,, yeah, that’s a roof all right.  And a roof job.  A very expensive-looking roof job.  Maybe it’s a good thing the house is hiding under the driveway.  So: floor wax or dessert topping?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

August 22, 2010

Please be sure to vote for Burbed today! Last few days!

UPDATE 8/22: Last few days! It’s the final stretch! If you haven’t voted already, keep voting! Thanks!

UPDATE 8/18: Whoa… Burbed is now behind at a 35.9, while the leader is at 36.1%. If you haven’t voted already, please vote. Try a different browser if you’re having trouble.

[This is a Sticky Post] Thanks to the folks who nominated this site! Be sure to vote!

San Francisco Real Estate

Zillow People’s Choice Best Real Estate Blog Award Guidelines – August 11 to August 25

Contest period: Voting opens at 12:01 a.m. (all times Pacific Time) on August 11, 2010, and closes at 11:59 a.m. on August 25, 2010.

Who can vote:  Everyone is eligible to vote. One vote per person per 24-hour period.

Comments (72) -- Posted by: burbed @ 10:30 am