October 25, 2010

Offers Will Not Be Reviewed

Happy Monday everyone!  And here to start your work week off is Burbed reader sonarrat with this guest post.  Please give a warm burbed welcome to sonarrat!

Let’s go a little south of usual, shall we? After all, we still need people to pick the strawberries and attend the McDonald’s drive thru window. If you’re willing to make the drive over the Hecker Pass into Santa Cruz County every day, you can find some mighty affordable digs. So let’s take a look at an example of how our true working class lives.

42 9th St,  Watsonville, CA 95076


Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 612
$/Sq. Ft.: $173
Lot Size: 8,624 Sq. Ft.
Property Type:
Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Year Built: 1930
Community: Watsonville
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 81050457
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 8 days

Bring it on! Classic 1930’s cottage-style home needs some love. Opportunities abound for those willing to put in the work. Very central location, towards the end of a not-through street. Days 1-7: Offers will not be reviewed. Days 8-12: Offers ONLY from NSP buyers, Municipalities, Non-profit organizations and Owner-occupants will be reviewed. Days 13+: We will consider offers from all buyers.

At $106,000, this little charmer is certainly within the reach of the working class. It’s on a dead end street for privacy, but just one turn from the highway.


Let’s look at the sales history:

Oct 15, 2010 Listed $106,000 — MLSListings #81050457
Feb 12, 2010 Sold (Public Records) $135,000  — Public Records
This home was foreclosed and bank-owned.
Apr 22, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 11, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 11, 2009 Relisted — — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 05, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 02, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Mar 27, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Mar 04, 2009 Listed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Feb 27, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jan 30, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jan 15, 2009 Relisted — — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jan 09, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #1
Sep 12, 2008 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jul 08, 2008 Listed * — Inactive MLSListings #1
Nov 03, 1994 Sold (Public Records) $133,000 — Public Records

What a terrific investment! Look at that historical return of, uh, well, you can still rent it out, right? Once upon a time, people said that anywhere in California was a good investment that could only go up. Clearly, though, there must be a reason why this Bay Area property is listed lower than its price in 1994 – not a boom time for real estate by anyone’s measure. So let’s take a look at the copy:

Days 1-7: Offers will not be reviewed. Days 8-12: Offers ONLY from NSP buyers, Municipalities, Non-profit organizations and Owner-occupants will be reviewed. Days 13+: We will consider offers from all buyers.

Oh, of course! There are so many people clamoring to own this small, crappy corner of the Bay Area, they can’t even list the property without a 7-day grace period to hire a crack staff of 50 people to review the mountain of offers. Sweet! The boom is back, everyone!

Comments (44) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

44 Responses to “Offers Will Not Be Reviewed”

  1. nomadic Says:

    Love the euphemism for dead end street. Kudos to the agent for creativity.

    What’s an NSP buyer?

    So, we’re on day 10. I wonder if there’s been a single offer yet.

  2. anon Says:

    This shitbox would have been “worth” 850k in the boom.

  3. Real Estater Says:


    Use your head. Can any place that end with “ville” possibly participate in the boom?

  4. sonarrat Says:

    Danville surely participated in the boom. As did everywhere else in California, up until about 2006. The places far from any cities were hit first, then inland cities, then finally the Bay Area. It was a tidal wave that we should have seen coming all the way from Eureka on down.

  5. SEA Says:

    Real Estater- “Can any place that end with “ville” possibly participate in the boom?”

    Are they making any more land?

  6. madhaus Says:

    Don’t be silly. Ville is French. French is so RBA it makes El Palo Alto woiking clayuss.

  7. Pralay Says:

    it makes El Palo Alto woiking clayuss.

    That’s true only for one-car garage properties at the Wrong Side of Middlefield.

  8. madhaus Says:

    #7, how about Professorville? That couldn’t have participated in the boom either.

  9. WillowGlenner Says:

    I wonder what the backstory is with this shack. Was the highway widened in the 90s or something to render the property useless? Because ordinarily, pretty much everything has doubled from 1994 prices…. except that based on what houses sold for in the outskirts of San Jose in the early 90s, $133K seems way too high for that time.

  10. sonarrat Says:

    I’m pretty sure the Hecker Pass Highway hasn’t moved or changed since before I was born.

  11. CB Says:

    I hate to sound pretentious, but the symbolism of a dead-end life is too apparent on this “not-through street”. Even the thoroughfare that can transport your hapless existence to a better place is close enough to tease your aspiring soul, while access is hindered by the torturous reality of a sound wall you will never conquer (in a used Hyundai).

  12. Tuno Says:

    As soon as I saw the photo of this house I expected it to be followed by a listing of an identical RBA house that was priced at seven times as much.

  13. anon Says:

    “I wonder what the backstory is with this shack. Was the highway widened in the 90s or something to render the property useless? Because ordinarily, pretty much everything has doubled from 1994 prices…. except that based on what houses sold for in the outskirts of San Jose in the early 90s, $133K seems way too high for that time.”

    This, ladies and gentlemen, is the sound of someone’s head exploding..

    Wait a second – something’s night right here. Everything’s worth twice as much as it was in the 90s, right? Because the economy is in better shape and everyone’s making more money, right? That’s what they told me – double every 10 years. It’s bad enough its been 16 and things haven’t even doubled. Wait… This can’t be. Something’s up with this house – something must have changed since it changed hands so many years ago. It’s not that land and housing hasn’t really appreciated since the mid 90s, is it? If this is the case, then I’m worth less than a third of what I thought I was just a few years ago… no no… the house. This house must have undergone some change. Yes, that’s it. This house became less valuable. Unlike the homes which list me on the deed. Those haven’t changed and must have at least doubled in value, if not more. Yes, that’s it. I’m sure of it. What’s up with that house?

  14. Tuno Says:

    I hate to break this to everyone, but I just visited this house (and its street) via Street View, and they were not any more depressing than many Silicon Valley houses and streets. Maybe a little *less* depressing, since there weren’t a million cars parked in the street, so there wasn’t that crazy-crowded feel to it.

    However, it is still way overpriced. If someone who picks strawberries earns about $7 per hour, and has work for a bit over two thirds of the year, that would be about 12k per year income. times about 2.5: I’d say $27,500 would be right for this place. As a home.

    Given its location, the fact that it’s not a through street matters; otherwise it would be invaded by the rather busy Main Street.

  15. nomadic Says:

    Whoa, what’ with Street View? Is there a hill or was the driver slamming on the brakes while taking the shot in front of this house?

  16. SEA Says:

    anon- I think it’s time for you to go directly to the RBA. Do not pass go. Do not collect $500k.

    Tuno- Is that 2.5 times income a joke?

    WillowGlenner- I thought the value was in the land? Maybe I’ve been in the RBA too long? I don’t really know, but maybe this place needs some new light bulbs and Drano. Can’t think of much else.

    Yesterday 60 minutes had a segment on the former RBA.

  17. Real Estater Says:

    Is there any reason for Bob to go to Austin now? This place out-cheaps Austin.

  18. Real Estater Says:

    >>#7, how about Professorville?

    There’s no such city called Professorville.

  19. SEA Says:

    Is Professorville a place?

  20. madEstater Says:

    #19, why are you wasting my time asking questions I have already answered? Do you live in a city that ends with -ville? Is that why you’re so defensive? Can you express your home’s value in Watsonville Units?

  21. WillowGlenner Says:

    WillowGlenner- I thought the value was in the land?

    The value is in the land in silicon valley, but what about Watsonville? I’m afraid I just don’t know. The problem is there are places in San Jose that sold for $150K in 1994 that looked MUCH better than this, and close in to Silicon Valley besides. Obviously I am not talking about prime real estate or anything but generally if you went to Milpitas or South of Blossom hill circa-1994 there were properties around this price, so why was this shack in friggin WATSONVILLE so expensive then? I don’t know.

    Here is the type of house that sold for $130K in the early 90s in San Jose. This one was $144K in 1988 but housing prices were flat or declined in the early 90s so its close.

  22. WillowGlenner Says:

    SEA: re: 60 minutes

    I saw that 60 minutes piece and was wondering if any of you had comments on it. These are my observations.

    As Scott Pelley said in the dialog, “these are people in their 40s 50s and 60s”- how many of you hoped to retire with the company you were working?

    The problem is that in addition to the nationwide unemployment crisis, we have age discrimination in Silicon Valley that has been present since the 70s. These same people would have had a hard time finding work at any time, here. I remember when I first started working in the 80s, most of the very senior engineers in industry at that time were worried about losing their jobs, while a cheaply compensated kid like me had no issues at all. The big hirers today like Google aren’t going to touch these people.

    Then Pelley mentioned that San Jose has lost 75K jobs and mentioned some empty office buildings, those see- through buildings have been a problem since the dot com bust. Its meaningless, again we have had see through buildings in Silicon Valley forever, I remember driving out to the Red Lion in 1985 which is where Cisco is today and seeing all these empty office bldgs, obviously some soft of tax incentives exist to build these. The only time when San Jose/Santa Clara had full occupancy on office buildings was the 90s.

    So in general, I appreciate the spirit of the unemployment piece showing that it isn’t just Ohio having employment problems but for those of us that live here, there was a little subtext missing.

  23. Real Estater Says:


    If you don’t buy a house when you were young and had the earning power and job security, you will be like one of these people in the 60 Minutes piece when you get to 50 or 60. Look at Madhaus for example. Does she worry about not having a job? NO…! You cannot layoff a person who is not in the work force. Her house is almost entirely paid for, and she lives in a million dollar house in the RBA with good schools.Compare her to those people in 60 Minutes who need to cash out their 401K to keep up with the rent.

  24. Real Estater Says:

    Believe it or not, Silicon Valley is either facing or about to face a labor shortage:


    Between Google and Facebook, those with the right skills are being sucked up quickly. The market dynamics is such that other employers in the area have to start competing for talent, or they will be screwed. The article says the average salary is $96,299. In reality, offers for experienced folks are commonly going out in the mid-teens these days.

  25. Alex Says:

    Sure, Silicon Valley is either facing or about to face a labor shortage.

    Tell that to all the unemployed. Estater, your douche-ness is amazing.

  26. madEstater Says:

    #25, can you express douche-ness using Watsonville units?

  27. DreamT Says:

    The valley is always facing a labor shortage. The same folks keep hiring each other, what do you expect? 🙂

  28. Alex Says:


    I doubt that there is a bigger douche than Douche Estater in Watsonville, except perhaps for ambulance-chasing lawyers.

    If I have to guess, it’s probably 100 Watsonville units. Maybe only 6-7 units if expressed in New York units.

  29. Real Estater Says:


    It’s a tale of 2 job markets. There’s a shortage for skilled workers. On the other hand, there’s an unemployment scene among the unskilled or less skilled, particularly those without good college degrees. Basically, we’re touching different parts of the elephant. This is why there’s a tale of 2 housing markets as well: RBA and non-RBA. The professionals with 6 figure jobs don’t want to mix with uneducated folks like you.

  30. SEA Says:

    WillowGlenner- Your basic claim is “It’s special here.”

    But I’ve heard all your basic claims all around the country, including, “It’s special here.”

  31. Alex Says:

    #29 Estater,

    You’re delusional as always. I know plenty of engineers with 10 years experience who are unemployed.

    You’re right on one point. I wouldn’t want to mix with uneducated, pretentious douches like you. I find the poor to be more genuine and nicer than shallow wannabe RBA-shitheads.

  32. CB Says:

    #21, that is a very good point. I’m reminded that my parents purchased their Almaden home in 1984 for 160K. It’s now worth $1.2M. Using the the double every ten years math, this Watsonville home should have been worth 65K in 1984 — 41% of the Almaden home, though today it is listed at about 8% of the Almaden home.

    I think the greater point is to avoid locations that are either fully priced in (Palo Alto, Los Altos, MV) and locations that will never be valued (Watsonville, EPA, etc).

  33. CB Says:

    I was about to lend some support to RE’s argument regarding qualified talent (with the caveat of reasonable salary requirements) in the research arena, but post 29 reminded me that he’s just a dumshit, so forget it.

  34. nomadic Says:

    I find it funny that RE would imply that he’s in the group with specialized technical skills.

  35. Pralay Says:

    I find it funny that RE would imply that he’s in the group with specialized technical skills.

    May be Real Estater is not as dumb as he sounds here.

  36. madhaus Says:

    #32, yes, you want to buy only in Future RBA. The problem is right now the RBA is contracting. Wait until only a block of University Avenue is in the RBA and then buy somewhere that wasn’t in the RBA but is about to join it.

    How about Gables End?

  37. Tuno Says:

    #29 RE: “Basically, we’re touching different parts of the elephant.”

    ummmm . . .

    Re the 60 minutes piece: it was very strange during the bubble to see so many people with oddly high-paying jobs. Now we’re back to the 70s. Horrible unemployment, and folks working in jobs that they are entirely overqualified for. Yes, there’s age discrimination around here, but these people are doomed, job-wise, even if they move. And, it’s going to get a lot worse. As Mish puts it, there is no engine for jobs. Living with their elderly parents is going to start looking really good for a lot of boomers, who can bring along their recent college grad kids.

    All this, and commodity spikes, too. once the wheat and corn increases work their way though to food prices, people are *really* going to be freaking out.


  38. SEA Says:

    Where is there no age discrimination? I’ll send all those “people in their 40s 50s and 60s” in that direction.

  39. Real Estater Says:

    It’s not so much age discrimination as it is skills discrimination. Companies like Google that thrive on innovation can’t afford to hire deadwoods that haven’t updated their skills, or who can’t think fast and produce results.

  40. Tuno Says:

    There is *less* age discrimination in, for instance, New England and Florida. still plenty, but less than here; here it’s ridiculous.

  41. SiO2 Says:

    RE is on to something, although perhaps could phrase it better. I am hiring a few engineers and it’s hard to find people with the right skills, who can pass interview questions. (I’m not talking about Google type questions such as “how many garbage people are in the US”, but stuff like “explain in detail precisely what your role was on this project.”) Not as hard as 2000, but harder than 2002 for sure.

    And the high tech companies are doing well. Check out the earning reports.

    But for non-engineers it’s a different story. Also for people straight out of school, without experience, it’s hard to find a job.

  42. WillowGlenner Says:

    WillowGlenner- Your basic claim is “It’s special here.”

    You know, I actually wasn’t trying to say that. My only point was that when I saw that 60 minutes piece my first reaction was “what the h…?! Who is going to hire this 55 year old woman whose prior job was in REAL ESTATE”? I just think if they are going to focus on Silicon Valley and make a point about unemployment, there should be some 30 year old engineers on there looking for work, and there were NONE. There was only one guy who seemed like a bona fide silicon valley professional on that show, he was the guy taking the job at Target a former optical router engineering manager. Now HE may have a legitimate hardship in this economy, but those other people seemed like permanent hardship cases to begin with.

    We all know the dot com bubble overcompensated thousands of people but in my opinion it was nothing like the real estate bubble which overcompensated thousands of WORTHLESS people. How marketable are “home staging” skills? Or loan brokers? Or appraisers? These people from the real estate industry were all fairly below the bar in terms of talent, now our economy has to absorb them and lots of them happened to be here, in SV. But their story is the same everywhere.

  43. SEA Says:

    WillowGlenner- I spent some time in the Midwest. The question was exactly the same.

    Who is going to hire a XX year old?

    And guess what–I met quite a few so-called “Real Estate Professionals” in the Midwest that had the same question.

    There’s plenty of former automotive engineers in the Midwest. How about the highly skilled Boeing employees of the PNW? I’ve been in other parts of the country, and the song remains the same.

    If anything makes the SV area special is that the former optical router engineering manager working at Target took a much larger pay decrease than the automotive engineer in the Midwest working at Target, and even if the two pay cuts are equal, the cost of housing in the Midwest is, what, about 10% of the RBA? Yet both seem to equally cry about how bad things are, there’s just an extra zero on the end of the SV pricing. It really is that special in SV…

  44. DreamT Says:

    Intuitively, I’d suggest that an XX year-old who has held various roles in various company sizes for 2 to 5 years each company, will not have a hard time justifying why he/she can be a better choice than a 30 year old.
    Whereas the guy who has been doing roughly the same thing at the same place for the past 15 years should not cry if a 30 year old is deemed having greater value potential. Adapt quickly and evolve, or die.

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