September 3, 2010

Bank Owned!!! Rehabbed!!! Spacious Driveway!! Convenient Location!!!

Yesterday’s featured listing got a warm burbed welcome, especially from Ted O’Malley. So let’s spend another day in central Sunnyvale!

801 Birch Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086


Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 770
$/Sq. Ft.: $480
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Year Built: 1944
Community: Sunnyvale
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81043450
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 1 day
New Listing (24 hours)

Bank Owned!!! Rehabbed!!! Maintained 2 Bedroom, 1 Bath with spacious driveway and plenty street parking space. New Interior paint and New Carpet. Updated Kitchen and bath with granite counter tops and tile flooring. Hardwood floors, dual pane windows and a good size deck to entertain guest!!! A Must See!!!

So much to say about this New Listing.  A good size deck to entertain one guest.  Would that be a double pinochle deck?  Those have 98 cards.  Double pinochle, what does this mean?

I especially like the exclamation points in the copy after the terms “bank-owned” and rehabbed,” two terms not usually associated with realty gushing.  Does it have stainless steel appliances to go with the hardwood floors and “granite counter tops”?  That’s gotta cause an REO trifecta.

Also, you can’t beat the location, location, location of this place!  Not only is there a street sign right in front of your house so you won’t get lost, it’s in a great neighborhood!  Just take a look!


Convenient to so many places, like Central Expressway, Fair Oaks Avenue, and a really expensive place right across the street!  Wow, not every house gets a view like this one!  This is an historic property that you’ll get to admire every time you leave your house.  Formerly the Joshua Hendy Ironworks (built right after the 1906 SF Earthquake, thus even older than yesterday’s house!), it was acquired by Westinghouse in 1946. 


And it is a super view, because all 75 acres qualify as a Superfund site.  A few thousand gallons of PCB-laced oil in the aquifer won’t hurt anybody.  Plus it’s now an operating Northrop-Grumman Marine Systems plant, so you could nip across the street and see if they need any spare crane operators.  Alternatively you could sneak a few of their Trident II Launch subsystems under your sweater and sell them to any Russian spies you meet at the nearby Home Depot.

Be sure to admire the low-maintenance back yard!  The agent’s pictures truly don’t do it justice.  You have to see the whole place at once to appreciate the benefits of paving every square foot.  For one, the PCBs will stay in the ground where they belong!


Comments (33) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

33 Responses to “Bank Owned!!! Rehabbed!!! Spacious Driveway!! Convenient Location!!!”

  1. sonarrat Says:

    How could ANYONE on this planet look at that, seriously consider all the factors keeping it down, and say, “Yeah, this is worth $580,000.” At least the dump that my landlord bought in Evergreen had a huge lot.

  2. mike Says:

    sonarrat, you could say the same thing about someone paying today’s price of $369,900.

  3. Real Estater Says:

    There’s a good selection of houses available in Sunnyvale in the 300K and low 400K range. If you look carefully, some are even on the right side of 101, and in livable condition. Being in Sunnyvale, the location is convenient from a commute perspective. For entry level buyers, I would think these homes are worth considering.

  4. ES Says:

    This is walking distance to my job (near Wolfe and Kifer). Maybe I’ll go make fun of it at lunch.

  5. SEA Says:

    From $148k to $580k in just under 10 years? Probably went soon pending for that $580k in 2005.

    Yes, yes, I know there are probably hundreds of reasons why this is not, and never was, in the RBA, but I’d like to once again concentrate on the price, which almost quadrupled in under 10 years. With blinders on, only looking at price, this is very RBA like. It sold in 2005–one of the NO RBA SALES years. Now the price has gone down by 35%.

    All of this for “only $480 per square foot today?” I guess we’re talking about the “Pride of Ownership,” of a 770 square foot home.

    Foreclosed at $352k in 2010? How much was owed? The funny thing is I can hear the former owner talking about how the lender stole his down payment. You know, when the place is foreclosed, the lender gets paid (or the property as top bidder), but the (former) owner gets nothing (unless the sale is above what’s owned). Of course the way it’s supposed to work is the lender takes losses when the value goes down, but the “owner” takes profits when the value goes up. Yet another reason why I love America.

  6. madhaus Says:

    #1, a huge lot in this neighborhood is a negative. The bigger the lot, the higher the PCB and TCB count. Refer to the Westinghouse Superfund link for more details on the added bonus in the yard.

    When I think entry level house, contaminants are usually not part of the equation. Is it really worth poisoning one’s own children to avoid a long commute?

    #3, not only is this house on the right side of 101, unlike your property it’s also on the right side of Middlefield.

    #4 please do! Sometimes a property has something about it that only a visit could reveal. Perhaps there’s plenty of street parking for a good reason, like the PCBs made everyone go blind.

  7. maryjane Says:

    An entry level buyer would need a down payment of roughly $74,000.

    This really is an entry level house. It only has two bedrooms and one bath – the sort of place a couple planning on starting a family might buy. So you’ve worked hard to save up $74,000 and will probably need to get along on one salary for a little while and then pay a ton of money for childcare once the wife goes back to work. You probably thought you were doing OK. Then you realize this is what you can afford.

    I’d rather sit on my little pile of money and wait. I can rent in a MUCH nicer area and continue to save and maybe my salary will even go up. Convince me why I should buy now.

  8. Gallileo Says:


    You should buy now because if you don’t, you’ll be priced out forever! Errr…. Well, that was the reason to buy now in 2003.

    You should buy now because home prices will never be lower. Hmmm…. I guess that was 2008.

    Well, you should buy now because you’ll never have the chance again to have the pride of ownership that only owning a super-fund cleanup site can bring.

    I mean, how many of your friends can claim they own a toxic waste dump? How many of your friends need federal investigators to sign off on any excavations? It’s a unique thing about the location, and we all know that unique things about a location increase the value.

    Ahh, that’s the reason for you to buy now:

    You should buy now for the location, location, location.

    That one always works.

    See, you just have to think like our buddy RE, and you have a great reason. Put your money down now, and I want the buyer’s agent fee.

  9. maryjane Says:

    Does it really matter which side of 101 you’re on if you come out every morning and discover that your tires have melted?

  10. Real Estater Says:

    >>Does it really matter which side of 101 you’re on if you come out every morning and discover that your tires have melted?

    I’m sure it doesn’t happen every morning. In any case, consider the renting scenarios. It’s like a set of tires melted every other week, and that’s guaranteed.

  11. maryjane Says:

    Everything really does come down to location, location, location, doesn’t it? Sonarrat is right. What kind of mental gymnastics made people think that this was worth $580,000 and would someday be worth more? Only someone putting zero down could have thought this was a good idea. I’m convinced that someone having to put down 20% of anything is going to bring this price way down. Even if it went back down to $148,000 30K is too much to invest.

  12. SEA Says:

    “Inerteen was the Westinghouse trade name for an askarel consisting of approximately 60 percent polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB, Aroclor 1260) and 40 percent trichlorobenzene (TCB).”

    “Westinghous used Inerteen for weed control around the perimeter of the property and along railroad spurs on the property.”

    “Except for a single sampling point (PCB 729 ppm), PCBs were detected in the Parking lot at concentrations no greater than 210 ppm. The average PCB concentrations found in the North Parking Lot was 150 ppm. Westinghouse has stated their belief that the presence of the PCB’s in this area are a result of spraying of PCB fluids as a weed killer.”

  13. SEA Says:

    Real Estater- “I’m sure it doesn’t happen every morning. In any case, consider the renting scenarios. It’s like a set of tires melted every other week, and that’s guaranteed.”

    Ok, let’s compute the number of sets of tires. For simplicity, I’ll assume $1,000 for a set of tires, complete ($250 each). For simplicity, I’ll also assume a selling price of $370k.

    $580k-$370k = $210k, or 210 sets of tires. It’s been about 5 years, so that’s 42 sets of tires per year, or better than a set of tires every other week. Sounds like renting is a much better deal.

  14. SEA Says:

    As an owner, you must pay the property taxes, cost of capital, maintenance, and pay for whatever “Rehabbed” means (in this case it probably means paving the entire lot).

    From Redfin:
    “Property Tax
    Taxable Value
    $395,700 Land
    $63,300 Additions
    $459,000 Total

    $6,276 Tax (2009)”

    That’s $523 per month in taxes, or a set of tires every other month.

    Then as an owner, you have the cost of capital, which on $580k is probably another $24k per year, or another 24 sets of tires per year = 2 sets per month.

    Number of tires per year

    Loss on sale + taxes + cost of capital

    42 + 6 + 24 = 72, or $72k per year.

    Using Real Estater’s “It’s like a set of tires melted every other week, and that’s guaranteed,” that’s 26 sets of tires per year = $26k per year.

    By renting the owner would have saved $72k-26k = $46k per year, or 230 sets of tires over the five years.

  15. maryjane Says:

    >>I’m sure it doesn’t happen every morning.

    RE – ever the optimist!

  16. nomadic Says:

    You know, there’s nothing like “plenty of street parking” in a listing that makes me want to live there. (Just how much street parking does a 770sf house need, anyway?!)

    madhaus, they probably paved the whole backyard to discourage any future inhabitants from gardening there. It was a public service.

  17. Pralay Says:

    For entry level buyers, I would think these homes are worth considering.

    And these homes are worth considering for your 2 investment properties too. It has been two and half years since you are planning to buy your investment properties.

    Oh, wait. Holiday season is coming. Real Estater cannot buy now.

  18. Gallileo Says:


    In this ‘hood, you only need enough street parking to supply your small-business clients. If each deal takes five minutes, and you have thirty clients between midnight and two am, then you really only need about two spaces.

    Of course, your grow op needs an unpaved lawn or more basement space, so I guess this isn’t the place for an entrepreneur.

  19. maryjane Says:


    But a meth lab would only improve the chemical mix of the neighborhood.

  20. madhaus Says:

    #18, 19: Yesterday’s property had two basements.

  21. madhaus Says:

    #11, you win! Here are the mortgage amounts I found in PropertyShark.

    3/28/05: Grant Deed Resale
    First Mortgage: $464,000
    Variable Rate
    Ownit Mortgage Solutions Inc
    Agoura Hills CA 91301
    Second Mortgage: $116,000
    Fixed Rate
    Ownit Mortgage Solutions Inc

    And if that wasn’t bad enough, the homedebtor went and did a refi in 2007:

    6/26/07: Grant Deed Resale
    First Mortgage: $472,500
    Variable Rate
    Impac Lending Group
    Columbus Oh 43219-6009
    Second Mortgage: $126,000
    Fixed Rate
    J P Morgan Chase Bank

    So, the problem was there at the start with the same bank writing 100% of the sale coast. Then the idiot drank more Kool-aid because the pusher bank offered an additional $7,500 on a first and $10,000 on a second mortgage. Total amount owed: $597,500 minus any principal paid off before the NOD was issued on 6/1/09.

    So how did the foreclosure come in at $352k? That’s about $120K not accounted for.

  22. Gallileo Says:


    An excellent point–the cleanup is already budgeted!

    Lower cost of business==better ROI==RBA baby! Now there is your reason to buy now.

  23. bob Says:

    This house looks like it belongs in Death Valley or something. The yard looks perfect for small children.

  24. nomadic Says:

    Total amount owed: $597,500 minus any principal paid off before the NOD was issued on 6/1/09.

    Bwahahahaha – principal paid. Pshaw! You’re a riot, madhaus. This baby was probably interest only.

    It still cracks me up that a “rehabbed” crapbox with 770sf next to a Superfund site would have granite countertops.

  25. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > It still cracks me up that a “rehabbed” crapbox with 770sf next to a Superfund site would have granite countertops.

    Why is that? Some people prefer radon to polychlorinated biphenyl.

  26. nomadic Says:

    See? There are two very different reasons to find it funny.

  27. madhaus Says:

    Come on nomadic! Subtracting a negative number raises the amount owed! I figured the loan was one of those Option ARMs, and the FB defaulted when it recast.

  28. nomadic Says:

    The FB defaulted when he ran out of Kool Aid.

    The foreclosure came in at a low number because the last bagholder (Impac Lending) auctioned it off for whatever they can get. That’s my guess.

  29. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Meanwhile, in Denver:

    […] the company has claimed there was no harm to property owners or damage to property values.

  30. maryjane Says:

    #29 –

    >>The site has been remediated and converted into a national wildlife refuge.

    This place suddenly doesn’t seem so bad. I’d buy it for zero down and rent it out.
    You could tear out the pit bull pen in the back and plant organic veggies.

  31. Tuno Says:

    that poor tree on the sidewalk looks like it dipped one of its little root tips into the toxins

  32. Delightful Home in West Atherton with Many Upgrades | Says:

    […] to roast if you host a garden party.  But why did they pave paradise?  Is this house near a Superfund site too?  They weren’t kidding about the many […]

  33. sean Says:

    its a cool looking old house. itd make a cool recording studio. great place to set up shop cause peoples in that area are cool about playing there music loud. they would not care if my bass ratteled there windows at night.

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