April 5, 2011

A coupla dudes chillin’ in South Palo Alto talkin’ ‘bout stuff

Who doesn’t love Palo Alto?  Certainly not the Burbed reader who sent this in!  Thanks so much for all your finds, everyone, no matter what side of 101 they’re on!

1022 METRO Cir, Palo Alto, CA 94303
$1,388,000

image

BEDS: 4
BATHS: 2
SQ. FT.: 1,702
$/SQ. FT.: $816
LOT SIZE: 9,430 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STORIES: 1
YEAR BUILT: 1951
COMMUNITY: South Palo Alto
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81112215
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 9 days

Spacious 4 bedroom 2 bathroom with new carpet. Huge kitchen with island. Newly painted inside. Beautiful backyard with playground. Must see!!!

Of course we must see.  It’s in Palo Alto!  That’s like printing your own money!  Would have been nice if the agent had moved her car before taking that picture, though.  Then we could see the house like she asked us to.  So let’s have a look, courtesy of Google Streetview.

image

Whoa, looks like there’s a big ol’ construction project next door.  Hope they didn’t get too carried away.

image

Whoops!  Too late!  Fortunately there are no vehicles in the way of these other pictures:

image

Um, whoa… can you turn that wall down?

image

And, um, whoa… I asked if the agent could move her car out of the house picture.  She can’t even get these two dudes out of the living room.

image

image

imageLet me get this straight.  $1.38 million for a house, and they couldn’t even match the sink with the toilet?  And in the second bathroom, the shower curtain is pulled forward to hide another mismatched toilet, right?  That purple… it’s BA-A-ACK!

Now I know what those two in the living room are talking about.  They’re planning the décor for their next house.

Update: Agent moved the cars!!!  Maybe she shouldn’t have.  Moral: careful what you wish for, you may get it.

Comments (74) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

74 Responses to “A coupla dudes chillin’ in South Palo Alto talkin’ ‘bout stuff”

  1. nomadic Says:

    Is everyone speechless? This is the most ridiculous find in years and no one has a comment? The main house pic on Redfin today is even worse. I think this house ran away from EPA because everything in the pictures, from the two oil-stained “driveways” in the front yard to the two homies smoking on the couch, screams East Palo Alto.

  2. SEA Says:

    Is it worth the price to be on the wrong side of right streets?

    I’d suggest a POS for $1.4M is a good reason to avoid the area, yet that’s the same reason that cited for wanting to move into the area. This is a prime example of where I diverge with those who believe in Palo Alto We Trust.

    “…screams East Palo Alto,” at Palo Alto “print your own money” pricing. What would this place be worth in East Palo Alto?

  3. A. Lewis Says:

    That is a ridiculous find. The pic of the guys is priceless – who are these realtors? Does it have a good school district? Overpriced by a factor of 10.

  4. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Quick, put the cars back in front of the house! It looks WORSE with the cars gone!

    On the plus side, you can practice your indy car racing on your circular street. Don’t forget to pit-out down the side street every few hours.

  5. Ryan Says:

    Whoa! I can’t believe how cheap this house is!!! Uh…back it up…apologies…

    Whoa! I can’t believe how cheap this house looks!!! Just tawdry.

  6. madhaus Says:

    crapbox tag added!!! Print your own money faster!

    Also, I added the new main picture to the end of the article. Agree with #4, it DOES look worse. Even the street is oil-stained.

  7. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    This is the first house I’ve seen that needs a Brazilian Wax!

  8. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Those dudes probably live in the bushes there or in a shed in back. House Comes With Dudes.

  9. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    The Dudes Abode.

  10. anon Says:

    Dear Palo-Alto-Homebuyer-Bagholder-Who-Bought-In-2004-And-Now-Thinks-Their-House-Has-Gone-Up-In-Price-By-Sixty-Percent,

    Eat shit.

    Regards,
    anon

  11. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    If they’re going to drop a deuce like that on us, they should at least PRICE it like a PA deuce.

  12. SEA Says:

    #11- Note that fine housing price appreciation:

    “Mar 31, 2011 Listed (Active) $850,000 – MLSListings #81113857
    Apr 30, 2002 Sold (Public Records) $713,636 – Public Records”

    Assume 6% selling fees, and it’s still in the 700s. Oh, I know, the so-called overbidding will bring it right up to where it needs to be. Or is it that this place was never in the RBA–you know, someone paid $713,636 and that house had little appreciation.

  13. madhaus Says:

    #11, that’s crap-tastic! Love the empty and filthy pool, multiple views thereof. Also the sky is going all weird in some of the other shots.

  14. PerfectAngel Says:

    Also the sky is going all weird in some of the other shots.
    —–

    Don’t be so picky. Give these real estate agents some credit. These are the agents who used to get 3% commission by selling AS-IS properties without posting a single picture in listing. Now they have to make living by acquiring some sort of skills. Eg. learning how to photoshop. At least they are working hard on it.

  15. SEA Says:

    #13- That pool needs some Drano!

  16. PerfectAngel Says:

    someone paid $713,636 and that house had little appreciation.
    —-

    Considering the fact that home price doubles in every 10 years, the seller listed this property on time.
    He bought it on 2002. After lingering in market for nine months, it will be sold for $1.4M in 2012. It will prove that home price doubles in every 10 years.

  17. PerfectAngel Says:

    Love the empty and filthy pool
    —-

    The water from this pool vaporized and snowed on Sierra. That’s how the drought ended in California….officially.

  18. Mole Man Says:

    That’s more like midtown, especially for quick runs to the store and such. As caterpillars become butterflies, so Eichler homes transform into … Yikeslers?

  19. nomadic Says:

    #11, that’s a priceless throwback to the heyday of the bubble! None of you picked up on: Make offer subject to inspection please. ..

    That’s realtard-ese for “you can’t see this POS before making a serious offer on it. If we like your offer, THEN we’ll let you inside our precious home. Just prove you’re serious about buying it first.”

  20. Real Alex Says:

    Well, at least if you need a company for an NFL game, these dudes will be always handy. They actually add the value!

  21. SEA Says:

    #19- That “Make offer subject to inspection please.”

    Write a very attractive offer subject to buyer’s personal inspection, and then withdraw the offer after personal inspection. Next write a much lower offer–you know, you thought it’d look better in person, but alas, it was worse.

    And as always, your competent attorney is your friend.

  22. anon Says:

    Who needs those? A Realtor is like an attorney, financial adviser, accountant, and trusted friend rolled into one.

  23. Tuno Says:

    I can’t believe that monster house next door. it’s a true Piggy House, taking up its whole lot. from above it looks like it’s ready for a giant key to descend from the sky, to open up the entire neighborhood, in preparation for aliens to enter the earth. piggy new POS next to crappy old decrepit POS.

    #22 – LOL. Your Bestest Friend, the Realtor.

  24. madhaus Says:

    #22 you left out economist, prognosticator, psychologist and top-notch market researcher. Remember, Suzanne researched this!

  25. CB Says:

    Is everyone speechless? This is the most ridiculous find in years

    A day late to this one, but I don’t see this as extraordinary. Just another $1M+ POS in Palo Alto.

    My guess why this house is listed at a somewhat exceptional ripoff is the hail mary of hoping Mr Money Bags next store buys it for some breathing room.

  26. Banker East Says:

    Is this typical of Bay Area prices? My family will be moving from New York to the Bay Area in about 2 months. We’ll be looking for a place close to the Silicon Valley area. Our budget is around $2M. What can we get, and which areas do you recommend we look into?

  27. madhaus Says:

    Hey, #26, stick around, you will get a lot of good advice here. You will also get a lot of snarky advice here. Have a good sense of humor and you will learn a lot about the housing market here.

    For $2M you can buy in almost any area you wish. There are a very, very few where that is not enough, or where it’s almost enough but you’ll hate what little you can get.

    I am from New Jersey, and you will have to get used to how much less house you get for your money here. It’s not just that the land is worth more, houses are just smaller here. No basements or attics in most cases, too. Most people end up using their garage for storage and parking on the driveway.

    Where should you look? That depends what you value the most. Are you planning on sending your kids to public or private school? Where are you going to work and how long are you willing to commute? What’s more important to you: quality of the schools, size of the house, size of the lot, distance from the freeways/busy streets, age of the construction? There are too many variables to answer your questions just yet. But since I’m from NYC metro I may be able to tell you what areas are like the cities you prefer. Where do you live now and what do you like or dislike about it?

    I recently went to a friend’s new house in a nicer part of San Mateo. The house seemed very East Coast to me, it had a basement, big rooms, big big big deep lot, lots of extra rooms just because, nice wood trim everywhere. Oh yeah, and it was almost three million dollars. And San Mateo is not exactly destinationland. You would think for $3 million people would buy in a place that says “I am hella rich” like Hillsborough or Atherton or Woodside or Monte Sereno. San Mateo is a real mixed bag of a city, largest city on the Peninsula but dwarfed by both SF and SJ and a few others in Silicon Valley. Nice parts, crap parts, in-between parts. The nice area does look like Hillsborough, but that’s just some parts of it.

    Again, tell us more what you like, where you will be working (just the city is ok if you don’t want to name the employer), and we’ll throw some ideas at you. Keep reading the posts, and look at the old ones too to get some ideas. I hope this post (yesterday’s) shows just how out of line some of the pricing is. $1.4M for this garbage.

  28. Banker East Says:

    We live in a apartment in midtown Manhattan now, but we’re not looking for an apartment. Ideally we want to find a east coast style home. Doesn’t have to be that big. 2000 sf is all we need. I’ll be working in Palo Alto (the city of this post), so that’s probably the first place we’ll look. Kids will go to public school. Sounds like for our budget housing wouldn’t be an issue.

  29. nomadic Says:

    There are a very, very few where that is not enough, or where it’s almost enough but you’ll hate what little you can get.

    Let’s face it: you’re going to hate what little you get anyway, but it’s just the way it is. Get over it or rent. (Well, if you’re moving from NYC, then your expectations are probably reasonable.) :-) There’s plenty of upside to living here.

  30. madhaus Says:

    Actually, no, if you want to live in Palo Alto, you won’t get as much as you think you will. First, you’re coming from the NYC area, so you can’t compare the houses here with the houses in NJ and Connecticut and Rockland/Westchester. Next, Palo Alto is, well, Special. It’s one of the few places where the home prices haven’t collapsed, and there are people who will literally sell their grandmothers to get a house there.

    I suggest you look for the categories along the right side of the posts and click on Palo Alto, then start reading. Admittedly this blog looks for the worst excesses of the housing market, but it should still give you an idea what you can get for $2 million. You said something that’s very telling: “2000 sf is all we need.” That is a large house by RBA standards, and if you want Palo Alto, you may not get that big a house for $2 million.

    I don’t live in Palo Alto, I live in Sunnyvale. My house is nowhere near 2,000 sf. I think my kids’ rooms are literally 8×9 feet. Until 2009 my house was worth one million. (Everything has dropped around 15-20% around here, yes, even Palo Alto. The not-so-desirable areas have dropped more.) My house is 4 br, a living room, a kitchen, a garage. THAT’S IT. I think you can pick one up like mine today for around $900K. Oh yeah, and it’s more than 50 years old.

    So, $2M in Palo Alto? Head over to Redfin! You can put in your price point, how many bedrooms you want, square feet… just tell it Palo Alto and that’s what you’ll see. One good thing about Palo Alto (there are many good things about it): the school district and the city are pretty much the same. In most cities that is not the case, and you have to pay very careful attention to the school district boundaries.

    If you want an East Coast feel to the house, look in the older part of Palo Alto. Maybe restrict your search to zip code 94301, where the older homes are. These cost a lot because many of them are a reasonable walk to downtown and the jobs.

    South Palo Alto (94306, some of 94303) has the newer tract housing, some of it the crap you see like yesterday’s feature. Another place you might want to look is the southwest near Arastradero, some larger executive-type housing there, newer construction, but most of it probably well over $2M. Zip is 94304 there I think. Disadvantage of it is you have to get in the car to get to anything.

    Also look at Menlo Park, right over the border from Palo Alto and many nice areas as well. But you can get something for $2M in Palo Alto and you might as well go for the schools there.

  31. nomadic Says:

    My house is 4 br, a living room, a kitchen, a garage. THAT’S IT.

    That’s it? Do you have an outhouse in the backyard or do you prefer an old-fashioned pit? Garden hose for showers?

  32. madhaus Says:

    Nah, we just borrow the neighbors’ crappers.

  33. nomadic Says:

    On a more serious note, I always thought the Sharon Heights part of Menlo Park had some East coast flavor. Larger lots than PA too. Don’t know anything about what schools are like there.

  34. steve Says:

    sharon has las lomitas schools (outstanding), and for $1.8 you can buy a nice sized home in a pretty location. the knock on sharon is that there isn’t much to walk to. ladera shares the las lomitas district and is highly recommended in the 1.6 price range.

    CA school systems are odd, but the impt thing to know about the peninsula is that there are a decent number of choices k-8, but excellent public high schools are rare. that is a central driver of palo alto prices.

    places I’d look (assuming you want a short commute), downtown mountain view
    north los altos
    94301
    central menlo park and the allied arts area
    sharon heights
    ladera

    I went through an extensive housing search 2 years ago and settled in portola valley (also very nice), but with kids I’d probably prefer to be in walking distance to some downtown area like castro street in MV, main st in los altos, california or university in PA or santa cruz in MP. I’m also a big fan of more modern architecture, and there isn’t much of that in the above areas.

    good luck! (and, hi gang. still reading on occassion; really enjoying the contributions of expanded editorial staff.)

  35. SEA Says:

    “My house is 4 br, a living room, a kitchen, a garage. THAT’S IT.”

    Sounds like some pretty tough living conditions.

    Getting back to #26, “We’ll be looking for a place close to the Silicon Valley area. Our budget is around $2M. What can we get, and which areas do you recommend we look into?”

    Let’s use anon’s estimate of around $700k in annual income. Yes, I know, income does not matter, housing price appreciation is the income in Palo Alto, and so on.

    So we have ‘Banker East’ making more than not a lot of money, looking to spend much more than not a lot of money…

    My suggestion: Rent for a absolute minimum of 6 months in, or near, the area that is under consideration. I’m simply not into buying my own residence in an area that I have so little knowledge about.

  36. nomadic Says:

    Sounds like some pretty tough living conditions.

    Yeah, SEA. She could have been renting a bigger place, but then she’d lose out on the $500k+ in appreciation gained over the years.

  37. SEA Says:

    There’s a 10cc song in here somewhere…

    “The things we do for housing price appreciation.”

  38. madhaus Says:

    #36, but that’s not a lot of money.

    #34, you’ve been missed! Send us the listing to your house so we can viciously poke fun at it tell you what a genius you are for buying it!

  39. SiO2 Says:

    #26 Banker East – if you like bigger lots, check out Los Altos. Usually 12k sq ft. We don’t use acres around here. Palo Alto lots are usually 6k-9k for $2m. The flip side of bigger lots is less walkable, so that’s a decision to make.

    School districts boundaries don’t coincide with city boundaries, and it can make a big difference depending on where you are. There are some maps available but it’s not easy to find. There’s also the santa clara county office of education, which has a locator by address. Menlo Park is in San Mateo county, so that will be different. Menlo Park is cheaper than PA, and has great k-8 schools, but 9-12 is not that great as it’s shared with some less affluent areas. But I do know people who go there, the high-achieving kids tend to stick together, so it’s not too bad.

    Saratoga and Los Gatos are nice places, but farther down Hwy 85, and the commute to Palo Alto is not great. But if you can commute in off hours (e.g not 8-9, and not 5-7) then it’s ok.

    Cupertino has good schools (depending where you are) and is cheaper than PA, but not as nice. And the schools can be a pressure cooker.

    For my $2m, working in PA, I’d go for either PA or Los Altos. Probably Los Altos as you get more for your money; you could get something fairly nice for 1.5m, better than this dump for sure.

    To me, walking to a downtown is overrated as I don’t go out to eat that much. Walking to a grocery or school is much better. but again that depends on what you like to do.

    The suggestion of renting for a while is good too. It’s a pain to move twice, but you could get a feel for the area. And in case the job doesn’t work out, you have more flexibility. In the places you are looking at, monthly rent will be much less than monthly PITI, or even ITI. But a lot of rentals are either dumps, or flips gone bad where foreclosure is hanging over the owner ( and therefore renter) like the sword of Damocles. Or both!

  40. SEA Says:

    “And in case the job doesn’t work out, you have more flexibility.”

    Uh, yea… I know a guy who moved 2,000 miles for a great opportunity. He’d been with the company for many years, and he was opening up a new store. While he thought he was moving up in the world, opening the first west coast store, in less than six months the company filed for bankruptcy and liquidated the store–tossing him out. Whether or not he should have gotten a severance package doesn’t really matter, since it’s a Bankruptcy Judge making all the financial decisions.

    Not listening to the person who suggested to rent for a minimum of six months, he now owns a monthly payment with little income. He has few contacts in the local community. He wants to move back, but that’s very problematic now that he’s a loan owner.

    Pride of ownership.

  41. nomadic Says:

    #36, but that’s not a lot of money.

    Actually, the “+” indicates it’s something greater than not a lot of money. Maybe not much, but better than the negative equity of your newest neighbors.

  42. Banker East Says:

    Thanks for the advice everyone. Do we have anyone here from Palo Alto or Los Altos? Just want to know what it’s like to live there.

    I can probably go to as high as $2.5M, but prefer to not put that much into the house. Anyways, Bay Area price doesn’t seem too bad. Sounds like I’ll be able to find something.

  43. steve Says:

    renting for 6m is great advice. prop 13 (you’ll learn) results in a massive rental subsidy, and it also artifically constricts purchase supply.

    professorville and university south in PA are much nicer than los altos. at your price point, I would also look at central menlo park

    and, madhaus, thanks. I remain your biggest fan.

  44. madhaus Says:

    #43, steve, don’t be a stranger, I remain one of your biggest fans too. As far as I’m concerned, you’re the Palo Alto expert here.

  45. Banker East Says:

    How much room is there to negotiate? Would 5% off list be reasonable?

  46. DreamT Says:

    I second madhaus #44

  47. madhaus Says:

    Banker East, you’re getting a little too cute to be believable anymore. I call shenanigans.

  48. Banker East Says:

    Given the national housing downturn, isn’t 5% pretty modest? Is there something I should know?

  49. nomadic Says:

    Banker, you’ve purchased property before, yes? Don’t you think a better approach is to use comps to decide how much to offer?

  50. Banker East Says:

    No, it depends very much on the market. In a buyer’s market, I’d go as low as I can get away with. Otherwise, 5% seems typical for a normal market. I’m just asking the question, preferably to someone who lives in the city.

  51. madhaus Says:

    Don’t worry, Palo Alto is just like Manhattan. Very, very urban.

  52. DreamT Says:

    Banker East, it depends on whether and how many other offers were made as well as the pricing strategy. Typically in a multiple offer situation, especially a market with rising prices, you want to go above the asking price, particularly as a local sport is to underprice the market to attract a frenzy of multiple offers. In the depth of the recession (2009), you would see boring ranch/tract home attract 50+ offers to reach an easy 25% premium.
    On the other hand, some houses are priced slightly above market and may attract multiple offers, yet all of them under asking price (something a certain Palo Alto reader here has difficulty accepting). The market dynamics are extremely localized in the bay area and often, a few blocks make all the difference in bidder interest – much more so than in which shape the actual house is. My 2 cents in any case.

  53. nomadic Says:

    Here’s some data, free from the bias of opinion:
    http://www.redfin.com/city/14325/CA/Palo-Alto

  54. SEA Says:

    “No, it depends very much on the market. In a buyer’s market, I’d go as low as I can get away with.”

    What market do you as a buyer go as HIGH as you can get away with?

  55. SEA Says:

    “How much room is there to negotiate? Would 5% off list be reasonable?”

    Let’s take two homes both worth $1M. One is priced at $900k and the other is priced at $1.2M. Clearly one is likely to sell above asking price, and the other is likely to sell below asking price. If you strictly seek 5% off list, then you will be buying a place that was over-priced by 5% or more.

  56. Real Estater Says:

    Banker East,

    Don’t listen to these guys. None of them live in Palo Alto.

  57. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > This is the first house I’ve seen that needs a Brazilian Wax!

    Speaking of which, the price was trimmed a little bit. It is now $1,299,000. What’s with getting rid of the lucky 8s?

  58. nomadic Says:

    Huh, they lowered the price 6.4%

    Banker dude better shoot for 11.4% off list for his bids.

  59. PerfectBanker Says:

    Banker East, you’re getting a little too cute to be believable anymore
    —–

    Banker dude should meet SV Shopper dude who has a “big-on-education” wife and is looking for home almost five years (and losing bids in regular basis). Coincidentally both Banker dude and SV Shopper dude are from “Manhatten”. I think they will get along quite well.

  60. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > Our budget is around $2M

    $2M is not enough. I too think we just met Banker Eastater.

  61. PerfectBanker Says:

    Kids will go to public school. Sounds like for our budget housing wouldn’t be an issue.
    —-

    Manhattan people are strange! When they live in Manhattan, they send their kids to private school. But when they move to a state which is 49th in education, they send their kids to public school.

  62. madhaus Says:

    I don’t think #50 knows much about Manhattan. I offered to compare areas and suburbs of NYC to similar ones out here. Not a word about places #50 likes. Someone from Manhattan really moving out here would eagerly discuss NYC suburbs with a landsman.

    #60, agreed. #50 shows that same mix of avoiding direct questions by firing off new ones as our favorite purported Palo Altan. And an East Coast Banker who can afford a 2000 sf apartment (hint: much more than two million dollars) wouldn’t be moving to Palo Alto, anyway. Banking jobs worth moving from NYC for are in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Venture capital is not banking, a New Yorker in finance would never confuse the two.

    We won’t even get into the complete lack of IP connections from Manhattan this whole week. On the other hand, IP address in SV Shopper’s rented closet doing triple duty.

  63. SEA Says:

    It’s not the least bit suspicious that someone making $700k+ per year trying to spend $2M comes here for advice.

    What is this like helping a 6 year old select a $2 candy bar?

  64. PerfectBanker Says:

    You guys are spoiling the show too early. I was waiting for some conversation to start between Estater dude and Banker dude – one bragging about Palo Alto “life style” and another thanking his luck for being “posted” at Palo Alto.

    Anyway, considering the fact that Goolgers and Facebookers are not able to support the expected appreciation rate of Palo Alto home value, this has become Estater dude’s new dream – bankers, investors, billionaires from Manhatten, Shanghai and Hong Kong are being “posted” to Palo Alto to kick-start double digit appreciation. We all should help him to nurture his dream. Not spoiling it.

  65. madhaus Says:

    Spoiling the fun? I was waiting for another dissertation on how much Palo Alto is just like “Manhatten.” Especially the part where Palo Alto is more urban than San Francisco.

    Sometimes you have to use the stick, sometimes you have to use the carrot. In Palo Alto, you use carrot sushi.

  66. SEA Says:

    We all know that Palo Alto is where bankers want to live.

  67. Real Estater Says:

    Same old games by the trolls. Blame everything on RE. Madhaus, will you care to tell us where is Banker dude’s IP address coming from? I suspect his IP address is the same as Pralay. See how easy it is to make a claim?

  68. madhaus Says:

    The purported banker is posting from several places, including Mountain View and Foster City. Similar to another regular’s posting habits, but not whom you suggested, #67.

    Banker types aren’t into spoofing their IP addys. That’s an engineer move. I took the poster at face value but his/her actions and statements don’t add up to what s/he presents as.

    And it’s too bad it wasn’t a real banker person, imagine the great reactions we’d have from a real New Yorker who had never seen RBA housing or pricing! Man, a real NY Banker’s search for the perfect house in Palo Alto would have been awesome material.

  69. Alex Says:

    This POS sold for $1,200,000 on 5/18/2011.

    Tear it down. Build a new house. BOOM. Instant equity!

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