December 22, 2010

Cheapest House in Atherton… Um, Cheap House in Menlo Park

In trying to get you another Black Friday DEAL, I found a DEAL myself and hired an overseas contractor to write today’s column.  Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and what I got was neither in Atherton nor the cheapest house in Menlo Park.  It is, however, like all Real Estate, a DEAL.

3501 Middlefield Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025


Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 960
$/Sq. Ft.: $500
Lot Size: 5,300 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1951
Community: County Area/Fair Oaks Ave
County: San Mateo
MLS#:  81013973
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active On Redfin: 274 days

image This home has been "beautifully remodeled!" That means the previous owner has added "value"!  Which begs the question: why would someone bother to do that when the house is not even on the wrong side of 101!?  The overbidding should just flow naturally.  This slice of Silicon Valley is quite the diamond in the rough.  Or is it just the rough part?

Every house has a story and this one is no different.  Let’s see what the savvy investors behind this gem have been up to.  The house was purchased in 2007 for $650,000, so we can be assured that the buyer will have made out well.  After all, when something is that inexpensive, it has nowhere to go but up! 

The buyer’s pride of ownership must have run out 3 years later because it looks like they decided to list it earlier this year for only $599,000.  Looks like someone (maybe the realtard?) must have slipped in a negative sign when they were calculating the appreciation on the ’07 sale.  But buyers love their sweet deals and this one is no exception.  Someone must have noticed the (mistakenly entered?) rock bottom price and tried to buy it because it went pending without release just 3 months later.

Strangely, it didn’t close.  No doubt it slipped out of a sale because the owner, in a fit of rage, realized that the realtor had miscalculated their expected appreciation and backed out.  What we can know for sure is that whatever buyer was interested in this fine gem was standing by with a 20% down payment ($119,800), a 780 credit score and a six figure W2 job, so securing financing wasn’t an issue.  That poor, unfortunate soul missed out on the sweet, sweet depreciation.  I meant appreciation.  My mistake.  Fortunately, their loss is your gain and this estate is once again on the market!

But, enough with the history – what’s with that weird layout?  To start, there’s no windows in the center of the house.  Now that may seem like a bad thing to you, Mr./Mrs. unisex property buyer, but the copy also kindly explains that, while some landscaping has already been done, you still have room to create your own oasis.  If you had any doubts before as to whether or not you would be able to put plants in the ground at this location, your concerns should be put to rest. 

And, when you’re not enjoying the oasis you created, you can always go around back where you will find a pool filled with more possibilities!  Here, you can either re-line the pool or fill it in!  It’s your choice what to do!  Sure, doing nothing is always an option, but smart investors like you know that in order to "add value" you have to do something (anything).  Whether you decide to remove or re-line the pool, you can be sure that you will recoup your "investment" threefold when the next buyer comes along.

image Not every home listing comes complete with a picture of the street signs just down the way.  Fortunately for you, lucky buyer, this does.  The street signs say that this is a neighborhood street.  That’s important to know because it tells you that this isn’t just any street.  It’s a neighborhood street.  The kind where people are neighbors and they go about doing neighborly things like lending each other cups of sugar or engaging in civil discourse about the topics du jour.  Or maybe that’s not what it’s saying. 

Perhaps the sign is a warning about your neighbors.  A warning graciously placed there by the city of Menlo Park to tell you that your neighbors… are a little bit slow.  Maybe it’s saying that you, too, could be a little bit slow as well… if you are quick enough to catch this knife.

Comments (22) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:44 am

22 Responses to “Cheapest House in Atherton… Um, Cheap House in Menlo Park”

  1. Alex Says:

    Madhouse, you’re trying too hard.

    Sarcasm should flow smoothly, in 100 words or less.

  2. sonarrat Says:

    Actual cheapest house in Menlo Park (that’s not Belle Haven or North Fair Oaks):

    It’s even got a long ominous table for those impromptu board meetings!

  3. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    I used to live in this neighborhood. It’s not REAL Menlo Park, it’s unincorporated, and you send your kids to a 90% spanish speaking grade school that scored 913… NEGATIVE 913… on the API scale. (Okay, that’s not true, it’s more like 513.)

    And the neighborhood street sign is there because Menlo Park and Palo Alto hate well designed traffic flow, so all of their exits off of freeways dead-end into residential neighborhoods, or at best, El Camino. Nothing connects 101 and 280 once you get past Woodside Road.

    Consequently, commuters stuck on Marsh trying to get through the massive f*ckup that is Menlo’s traffic grid start cutting through neighborhood streets to avoid the light and get down to Middlefield. Consequently, those neighborhoods have put up mini-round abouts and chicanes to try and slow the mad rush of crazed commuters down to a speed slow enough that their pets and kids have a shot at seeing them before becoming impromptu hood ornaments.

    Oh, and there are no sidewalks because it’s unincorporated. So that increases the rush-hour pedestrian bumper car fun.

  4. nomadic Says:

    Nice post, sfbb. I was just going to ask what was with the bizarre artwork above the fireplace, until I realized the TV was on.

  5. SEA Says:

    “This home has been beautifully remodeled! New Bathroom with granite & marble, New Kitchen with new cabinets and appliances, New double paned Windows, New Paint, New Roof. The pool needs a new liner or can be filled in. Yard has had some landscaping but there is room to create your own Oasis! What Value at this price!Entrance on 9th. Great Neighborhood!Menlo Park at this Price”

  6. SEA Says:

    What causes the “the buyer’s pride of ownership” to expire in only 3 years? Aren’t homes supposed to last longer? Why is it so many are resold so quickly?

  7. Mole Man Says:

    These county streets were originally straight and clear for maximum traffic flow. That turned them into drag strips until activists got the roads redesigned with devices that slow some of the flow. When Middlefield and Marsh get backed up enraged commuters and white van men still drive through the area at highway speeds, though it takes some skill now and people have crashed as a result of the devices and at least one person has died after wrecking on one of the mini circles. Yes, New Urbanism can kill, but is this a tragedy or a victory?

    As a bonus this house is directly across from the entrance to Saint Anthony’s where the downtrodden gather to receive free food and services, so the new owner can always be sure of their high relative social status and worth and there will always be new and interesting people to meet and share conversation.

  8. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    I know I used to see how fast I could fishtail through the circles when I lived there. I was trying to get them to film a movie “Menlo Park Drift” but nobody seemed interested in financing the venture.

  9. nomadic Says:

    Too bad it doesn’t snow in Menlo Park. Those circles would be fun.

  10. madhaus Says:

    #1, can you tell the contractor was paid by the word?

  11. SEA Says:

    Yet the contractor left out part of the text…

  12. madhaus Says:

    #11, that’s because she wasn’t paid for quoting other text. You get what you pay for. See if I ever spend 18 cents with that agency again.

  13. sonarrat Says:

    By the way, cheapest house in Atherton:

    That’s 208 Selby Lane, in case you don’t want to register. That’s the one block of Atherton that has all small lots and tract homes like Redwood City.

  14. cardinal2007 Says:

    One of the problem I had with North Fair Oaks when I lived there is that they have these bulb outs on the the side of the street on both sides in a set up that only allows one car to pass at a time, since the streets are not one way if you and another car end up there at the same time you get a problem. There is no rule as to who goes first, and yielding can cause issues, like the time I yielded to the car on the other side, then a car showed up behind me, and both cars decided to pass by me at the same time, ending up a few feet of each other unable to go until one reversed out of the weirdly designed things.

    Lack of sidewalks, poorly kept roads, and bars and bodegas on many street corners, I lived there for 1 quarter while I was at Stanford. I wasn’t a big fan.

    North Fair Oaks is also not part of incorporated Menlo Park, or Redwood City, granted I think it might be better than parts of incorporated Menlo Park, like the wrong side of 101 for example.

  15. nomadic Says:

    They have those things in the UK too, but they put a line across the lane on one end. Whoever has the line on their end has to yield to the opposite direction.

  16. sonarrat Says:

    #14, the rule is the biggest truck always goes first.

  17. SEA Says:

    I think Alex is suggesting to only spend a dime.

  18. jhon Says:

    Having a fixed rate mortgage is one of the more common types of loans or buying a home.Mortgages

  19. madhaus Says:

    Okay this is really bizarre. Go click the link to Redfin and it’s a completely different house and set of pictures now. It also says it’s pending as of 1/11/11 but it looks like an off-market property that last sold in 2007.

  20. SEA Says:

    “Go click the link to Redfin and it’s a completely different house and set of pictures now.”

    Same place:

    Take a look at the satellite image, and pay particular attention to the shape of the roof. If you zoom in, you might be able to notice the shadow of the satellite dish (on your left as you look at the photo–west side). Both the shadow and dish are very obvious in the photo above.

    The main listing photo on burbed shows the view from Middlefield, but the photos on the new listing show the view from Ninth.

  21. madhaus Says:

    My poor head can’t handle these houses with two facades and agents swapping in different pictures after the house goes pending (and doesn’t come out).

  22. nomadic Says:

    The agent didn’t swap pictures. The listing just reverted back to the 2007 sale and pics when the listing was yanked.

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