November 4, 2010

Property Prestidigitation in Palo Alto

Imagine my surprise when I found a reasonably priced new house in the better part of Palo Alto, on a 10,000 square foot lot, yet!  How could this be?  Were they giving away the house?

651 Homer Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301
$1,399,000

image Beds: 3
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,666
$/Sq. Ft.: $840
Lot Size: 10,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Craftsman
Stories: 2
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 2010
Community: Downtown
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81050352
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 14 days

1 of 3 brand new detached homes at Homer Place! Classic arts and crafts design in the tradition of Old Palo Alto. 2-3 blocks from Downtown Palo Alto.

What’s the catch?  It’s certainly walking distance (2-3 blocks) to University Avenue, just like they said.

image

Although that lot looks like it’s kind of… full.  Better take a close-up shot.

image

What the — there are three houses on one lot!  But the listing above clearly said 10,000 square feet.  And amazingly enough, the listings for 649 Homer and 653 Homer (pending without release) are also for 10,000 square feet!  Is that what this “Homer Place” is referring to?  And how come next-door multi-family property 643 Homer also sits on, what a coincidence, a 10,000 square foot lot shaped exactly the same!

image

This doesn’t look like a house built in 2010!  What is going on here?  Is Google using old Streetview photos again?

image Take a look at the first picture again, in the listing above.  Notice how on the right edge of the photo, there’s that bit of somebody’ else’s house?  Now let’s have a look at 649 and 653 to see if they have that claustrophobic feel.

Oh, oh, this photo of 649 looks awfully familiar. Where have I seen it before?

image

 

So let’s move on to 653.  Does it look the same too?  Not quite.  But I have the same sense that the photographer couldn’t comfortably turn around.  You’d have to do the same if you plunked down three houses on a 50 x 200 foot lot.

image How can I tell that these Single Family Residences (SFRs) were wedged in using a shoehorn, or maybe some Tokyo subway car professional shovers?  Because the listing agent didn’t bother showing us any actual land.  Instead, they proudly display… the deck.

Oooh yeah, going to water my own lawn here.  Provided I keep it in a planter box on the deck. 

You don’t have to check the deck views out at the other two houses.  They’re all exactly the same, as is every single photo except the different exterior between 651 and 653.  After all, does it matter which one you buy?  Probably not, except 651 is the bargain at $1.39M.  653 (pending without release) goes up to $1.49M and 649 is in the snooty part of the lot, with an ask of $1.59M.  I can’t figure out if that means it’s up front on Homer, next to the crappy buildings all around, or if it means it’s in the back, down a narrow driveway nobody is allowed to park on.

649 was the original property address, and the original lot sold for $1,495,000 in February 2006.  But great news!  That apartment next door was sold this year.  Maybe the buyer will tear down the 1961 eyesore and build three more houses exactly like these!  Then each of the six houses will be on a 20,000 sf lot.

Remember, they may not be making any more land, but they can sell the same lot to as many different houses as it takes.

Comments (28) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

28 Responses to “Property Prestidigitation in Palo Alto”

  1. SEA Says:

    Three new homes were there was only one… We all know that ‘they’ are not making any more land.

  2. nomadic Says:

    I thought 94301 had better zoning ordinances than that.

    Well, at least the builder had enough sense to put only a one car garage on each house. Sucks if you have a second car and no land to park it on though. Maybe you could rent a space from the apartment lot next door.

  3. SEA Says:

    Garages are just a really good indication that the land is not valuable.

  4. Pralay Says:

    The street view looks like a bunch of mobile homes are placed there. At least in appearance it looks like so. And what is that white car? Is that Porsche? ;)

  5. Pralay Says:

    I can’t figure out if that means it’s up front on Homer, next to the crappy buildings all around, or if it means it’s in the back, down a narrow driveway nobody is allowed to park on.
    —–

    But hey, at least they live pretty close to “University Ave. mansions”. Just think about that.

  6. Real Estater Says:

    A few weeks ago I echoed Cramer’s sentiment that the stock market was all clear for takeoff. Look at the market today.

  7. Real Estater Says:

    >>The street view looks like a bunch of mobile homes are placed there.

    What a dumb ass. This is a construction site. Of course there are mobile homes stationed there. As a matter of fact, there are multiple projects going on within a couple of blocks. Due to lack of land, old apartments are torn down to make way for more million dollar condos like these. Some units have already sold.

  8. SEA Says:

    Real Estater- Did you even look at the street view?

  9. nomadic Says:

    Nope. He’s just talking out of his ass as usual.

  10. Pralay Says:

    Real Estater- Did you even look at the street view?
    —–

    Why asking? Isn’t it too obvious?
    I actually doubt he read the posted feature today.

  11. madhaus Says:

    #8, 9, 10, he cannot admit PA planning commission okayed this project or that a Real Estate agent could lie so blatantly in a listing. Especially a listing in #73.

    Maybe it is even worse and the homes are condos on leased land. Immobile homes.

    A crowded mess like this may be good for nearby property values but not for nearby quality of life.

    #2, great catch on the one-car garages. Not too many people willing to purchase here only have one car.

  12. Pralay Says:

    A crowded mess like this may be good for nearby property values but not for nearby quality of life.
    —-

    And think about crowded schools. Can you imagine the kids from these condos and Real Estater’s kids going to same crowded school?

  13. Real Estater Says:

    >>Real Estater- Did you even look at the street view?

    Did I look at the street view? I jogged on the actual street itself today!

  14. SEA Says:

    Real Estater- How many mobile homes did you notice on that jog?

  15. madhaus Says:

    Lots of mobile homes in this zip. You can cram those in even tighter than these featured places. Much better use of the valuable land than silly old R1 detached residences.

    The external website calls Homer Place’s offerings “townhomes.” They each have a private parking space in addition to that generous one-car garage.

  16. Pralay Says:

    Did I look at the street view? I jogged on the actual street itself today!
    —–

    TranslationTransaction: No I did not see the street view. But I am not going to admit either. Instead I am going to make up and tell something that will sound fancier than “street view”.

  17. Petsmart Groomer Says:

    R1 zoning is so passé. At least the houses, or townhomes, are built. 154 Bryant is still only a drawing.

  18. Pralay Says:

    154 Bryant is still only a drawing.
    —-

    At least it change the status from “soon pending” to real pending – after four months since the list price change.

  19. Pralay Says:

    Pretty soon there will be mobile homes installed at 154 Bryant. And Real Estater will notice them while jogging.

  20. Real Estater Says:

    This must be a bad week for Pralay. Stock market reached 2 year high. Toyota profit quadrupled. Starbucks net income doubles (and I’m a contributor to that).

  21. Pralay Says:

    Starbucks net income doubles (and I’m a contributor to that).
    —–

    And we can see that. Real Estater is able to spell “Star Bucks” correctly!

    Why buying something from a Seattle (that’s non-RBA right?) company? I thought Real Estater would buy coffee from local coffee store Coupa Cafe. May be he couldn’t spell Coupa Cafe correctly and therefore couldn’t find it either.

  22. Pralay Says:

    This must be a bad week for Pralay.
    —-

    Why bad week? I did not buy anything at the Wrong Side of Middlefield and watch equity dropping every week.

  23. Real Estater Says:

    151K jobs added in October. Things aren’t getting any better for Pralay.

  24. A. Lewis Says:

    Real Estater, please be sure to tell us the right to time to sell our stocks, too – so we can get out at the top.

    Didn’t you claim you called the last top (and bottom) correctly, too? We eagerly await your excellent investment advice.

    But I’m curious – let’s say we had a spare $500k lying around – should we have invested it in the stock market last Oct. 5th, when you said cleared for takeoff, or should we have put a down payment on a house in the RBA? Which is the better investment?

  25. SEA Says:

    “please be sure to tell us the right to time to sell our stocks, too – so we can get out at the top.”

    If I remember right, Real Estater’s buy signal was DJIA at 9k, and the sell signal was DJIA at 11k. But that became a buy signal, since the market went up, or something.

    “let’s say we had a spare $500k lying around”

    That’s not enough money to discuss. As a Real RBA resident, you really need a minimum of $2M lying around, and then you ‘invest’ the $500k in a RBA house, and use Other People’s Money (you know you want a big tax refund), and the remaining $1.5M is ready for takeoff.

    Now your RBA property is a sure bet, so even if you take some risk with that $1.5M (which is only 3x not a lot of money), you’ll be fine. It’s a sure thing. No worries.

    And remember, a proper RBA afterlife begins with a proper RBA burial in the correct RBA cemetery.

  26. Pralay Says:

    151K jobs added in October.
    —-

    LOL! Too bad, hiring those dead woods back is not good enough.

    While the report was a generally positive sign, the job market is still very fragile. The labor market needs about 150,000 jobs per month just to keep pace with population growth, and at least 300,000 per month to make a dent in unemployment, Bronars said.

  27. Pralay Says:

    should we have invested it in the stock market last Oct. 5th, when you said cleared for takeoff,
    —–

    All clear to takeoff? That he said on September 9, 2008. Do you know what was DOW then? About 11420.
    Today 11426.
    Just imagine how much money you would have made if you listened to Real Estater’s “all clear to take off”.

  28. Pralay Says:

    Didn’t you claim you called the last top (and bottom) correctly, too? We eagerly await your excellent investment advice.
    —–

    There is only one investment advice: BUY HOME IN RBA. If you don’t, you are loser. If you don’t, you are a rentard. If you don’t, you are not going to get a trophy wife.
    Remember RBA housing market bottomed at January 2009? Just imagine how much equity Real Estater’s home gained since January 2009. You are already 20 months late since the bottom. Just imagine how much money you would have made, if you bought this property in last summer. Pretty soon this property will be relisted for $4M. Buy it before price goes up, rentard.


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