March 31, 2011

Tree Fell on Home, Buyer to Verify

Burbed gets some pretty amusing listings sent in, but this one stands head and shoulders above most of them.  Or should I say it made quite an impact.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for sharing it.  

21431 BERTRAM Rd, San Jose, CA 95120


SQ. FT.: 852
$/SQ. FT.: $205
LOT SIZE: 6,348 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Almaden Valley
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81104744
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 56 days

SHORT SALE. Contractor Special!!! Beautiful Creek Setting. Tree Fell On Home. Buyer to Verify Allowable Re-Build With County. In A Historical District. Do Not Go On The Property!!! View From The Street. Offers are still being taken. They will be presented to 1st lender when negotiations are completed with second.

I really appreciate truth in advertising, and real estate is one field where creative descriptions (which is a rather fancy way to say “lies”) are the norm.  So a listing that calls it like it sees it is truly more than a breath of fresh air.  Observe the economy of prose that tells nothing but the unvarnished truth.

imageSHORT SALE.  Ahoy, bank trouble ahead.  Contractor Special!!! Yes, that often goes with Short Sale, usually. Lots of exclamation points, agent is excited.  Maybe agent owns a hardware store? 

Beautiful Creek Setting. That’s true, and here’s a nice picture of the beautiful creek setting.  So far, this listing reads like most of the distressed properties we’ve seen FBs lose when they couldn’t pay their bubblicious loan payments.  So, no surprises yet, but wait, there’s more!

imageTree Fell On Home.  Oh. My. Definitely. Short, descriptive, and resonant.  Hemingway couldn’t have said it better. 

Buyer to Verify Allowable Re-Build With County.  Beautiful.  A few choice words with just a hint of endless bureaucracy and red tape.  This property is a complete crapshoot: you pays your money and you may not get to do anything with it. We’ve moved from Hemingway to Kafka.

imageIn A Historical District.  See. this place isn’t a complete loss!  Here’s a lovely picture to show why you’d want an uninhabitable 1923 structure.

Do Not Go On The Property!!! View From The Street.  Now the writer injects a note of warning into what had been informative and down-to-earth beforehand.  The plot thickens!  Plus they don’t want you on the property because this is one ginormous liability suit just waiting to happen. 

imageOffers are still being taken. The listing concludes on a note of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity.

They will be presented to 1st lender when negotiations are completed with second. Hope, with a bemused eyeroll.  This admitted disaster is not only a short sale, there are negotiations with not one, but two banks.  That’s going to make dealing with the county planning department as easy as falling off a log.

Wow! Now tell us the bad news.

This listing spoke the whole truth. This is definitely a Contractor Special, in the sense that certain kids are “Special.”  View it from The Street!

with treeUPDATE: Burbed reader nomadic sent in two more pictures taken right at the site later today (3/31/11) plus some on-site commentary.  I hope they were viewed and taken from The Street as advised. 

Here’s what the tree house looks like now.  I didn’t take a long shot to show that 2/3 of the house wasn’t crushed – it appears that the front room (main living area) was flattened, but not the rest.  Too bad another picture I took was too dark to show the kitchen where one wall was missing.  There were GRANITE countertops!

firewoodIn the background you can see how massive the fallen branch was.  There is more of the same tree hanging over the next door neighbor’s house.  To be fair, I’m not sure the owner would have known what a risk there was.  The tree doesn’t look completely dead.  It’s one of those scrubby looking oaks or something.  There are many huge trees all along that street and nearly every home could have one fall on it.

Here’s the firewood pile nearby; I’m pretty certain it was the fallen branch.

The firewood had better be included for $175,000.

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

23 Responses to “Tree Fell on Home, Buyer to Verify”

  1. sonarrat Says:

    How can this be a bad deal when you can walk to Michelin-rated La Foret? Magnificent! Never mind that you don’t actually have a usable structure!

  2. ROI Says:

    They should have just advertised “Very unique Tree House!!!!”

  3. nomadic Says:

    That’s going to make dealing with the county planning department as easy as falling off a log.

    Well done, madhaus.

  4. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Other phrases they should have used :

    ‘Log’ cabin
    Ample firewood for fireplace
    Natural lighting

  5. nomadic Says:

    Hey, it turns out the occupant of the house was dropping a log in the bog when the limb fell.

    I tapped into the area news line for some interesting facts about this place.

    1) It goes to show one hazard of being a renter: the occupant was renting the place and therefore subject to the owner’s maintenance, or lack thereof. (Also goes to show the appalling number of owners who don’t know how to care for their rather large “investments.” Drano and light bulbs, my a$$.)
    2) The tree did not fall during a storm. It simply fell because the owner did not trim and maintain trees on his property.
    3) The renter was in the house – in the bathroom as alluded to above – when the roof came crashing down one morning. Poor guy is lucky not to have been crushed to death.
    4) Insurance will not pay for the repairs because it was owner neglect and not weather that caused the calamity. (I’m liking those C-words today!)

    BTW, that’s the newly refurbished Casa Grande in the background of the creek shot.

  6. SEA Says:

    “Insurance will not pay for the repairs because it was owner neglect and not weather that caused the calamity.”

    Maybe the casualty isn’t a covered loss in this case, but there are other cases where insurance companies refuse to pay for covered losses. There are numerous examples in NOLA.

    That said, I expect this statement to apply to PA real soon: “Drano and light bulbs, my a$$.”

    Oh, and one more thing–while generally landlords are not responsible for damage to the renters property, in this case there appears to be specific neglect on the landlord’s part. I am not an attorney, but neglect of this sort could very well lead to direct liability for the contents to the landlord.

    How expensive might this be?

    “The city of Seattle has agreed to pay nearly $1 million to compensate a family whose home was severely damaged during the manhunt for Maurice Clemmons, according to a document released by the city’s Risk Management Division.”

    “About $250,000 of that amount is designated for restoration of the house. The rest is to compensate the family for a host of expenses and losses, including rental payments for transitional housing, lost wages and damage to personal property.”

  7. madhaus Says:

    Thanks for that detailed update, #5! I think this one is destined to be a Burbed Classic, except the Best of pages seem to have been eaten by the blogroll.

  8. SEA Says:

    Talking about Burbed Classics, when’s the RBA map going to be updated?

  9. nomadic Says:

    #6, the owner is just lucky the guy wasn’t killed.

  10. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Hahahaha! No wonder the tree was left in the house. The insurance company wins again! I’m pretty sure them paying claims is a complete myth, an urban legend. You’ve got a better chance of taming a pokemon than getting money out of an insurance company.

  11. SEA Says:

    #9- As far as financial liability, killed is the best–the dead are difficult to parade into court.

    The worse is a major disfigurement. They get wheeled into court and testify.

  12. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    What grows up, WILL fall down.

    Chain saws scare me but one of these days I need to get one and learn to use it. Meanwhile, this gives me a craving for more hand-powered tree tools, I can do a lot around here wif my little muscles.

  13. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Those little flip-open branch saws are great, Gilroy. I used one to take down 30 feet of old shrubbery (12+ feet high) bushes along a fence I needed to replace. They take decent sized limbs off at a respectable clip as well. Unless you’re doing a whole grove at once, it’d do nicely for homeowner maintenance of big shrubs and trees.

  14. madhaus Says:

    Come on this is like the best Burbed caption contest EVEH!!!

    – A tree falls on Bertram
    – If a tree falls on a short sale, and nobody pays off the note, does it move underwater?
    – Light and Bright! Airy!
    – Natural furnishings
    – Stanford Tree will do anything for attention

  15. PerfectAngel Says:

    – Landlord wanted short cut in maintenance. Got a short sale instead.

  16. DreamT Says:

    money doesn’t grow on trees – verified!

  17. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    sfbubblebuyer – I’ve learned to buy only serious contractor-grade stuff. I can use one of those pruning saws that’s on a long pole, for sawing off branches that are ‘way up there. I could use some good pruners, a good bow saw, etc.

  18. anon Says:

    If a tree falls on a renter does anyone care?

    heh heh… Drano and lightbulbs… even a complete newbie to real estate couldn’t be so silly.

  19. PerfectAngel Says:

    You know, probably landlord had to refund the rent amount in prorated basis from the day tree fell to remaining of the month. So he is saying to himself: Damn! I wish the tree fell on tenant. If it did, I would not have to refund the rent. Traitor tree. I planted it, I watered it. Now it could not even kill the tenant.

  20. madhaus Says:

    nomadic sent in two new pictures of this house so the article has been updated. Quite something.

  21. DreamT Says:

    now you can officially say:


    (especially after a hot day like today)

  22. Pictures, We Need Pictures [] Says:

    […] the left is one of my favorite photos from a Burbed listing.  We had to give the agent props for including this in on MLS, because it was awfully hard to […]

  23. nomadic Says:

    Sold for $98,000 9/23/11. I went by this place at lunch today and they are finally rebuilding. The un-crushed piece of the house is still there, the debris (and offending tree) have been removed, and new floor joists are installed over the formerly squashed part of the house. I love that the lead picture was never changed.

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