May 14, 2011

Another Dude Who Wants to Die in His House

Here’s a piece from a blog that covers many things San Francisco, but not necessarily real estate.  What caught my eye was a few familiar themes.



There’s been lots of articles in the paper recently about owning a home being a bad thing. I was always scratching my head about this until I realized I’m one of the few people left that was born and raised in San Francisco and is STILL HERE. Most of the people you’ll find in San Francisco are lucky to have lived here for twenty years at most, so it’s time I gave you a little history lesson about San Francisco real estate.

Now for most people here they don’t remember the time when a house was affordable because they aren’t, well, old like me. I was born in 1962 and my parents had bought their four bedroom house in the Sunset in 1954 for a whopping $18,300. Yes, you saw that right, there isn’t a couple of extra zeros on that number. The builders, McKewan Construction were asking $23,500 and my parents underbid the asking price and got it. The early 50′s was a buyer’s market.

Head on over and check it out, it’s not a very long piece but manages to hit most of the Heavy Hitters of the Real Bay Area:

  • Prop 13 is awesome, because
  • You should have bought 35 years ago
  • My parents were smart about real estate
  • It’s Special Here, and if you don’t see this
  • You’re Not From Around Here
  • I Intend to Die in This House

And this dude is younger than I am.  He sounds like my grandfather:

I used to hate the crotchety old guys who would sit out in front of their houses in a lounge chair watering their lawns talking about why, I remember back when we… fill in the snide comment of your choice. I want to be that guy when I’m in my 70′s.

Comments (31) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:54 am

31 Responses to “Another Dude Who Wants to Die in His House”

  1. Tracy Tea House Says:

    On Clayton road, those people back 35 years ago spent a few hundred for a shack, and I think someone took the advice in this article and already died in it!
    14750 CLAYTON RD, San Jose – East Valley, CA 95127

    The MOST appalling situation, I can’t believe I was tempted out to even get near it, let alone see it… Maybe renting is a good thing, because, after seeing this foreclosure, I’m thanking my luck for the LLFH
    (“Land Lord from hell.”)

  2. Eric Says:

    Thanks for the trackback. Any publicity is good publicity.

  3. Sprezzatura Says:

    That dude should die in that house – of embarrassment, OMFG is it ugly!

    One wonders if the kitchen hasn’t been updated since 1954 either.

  4. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    In 1954 a regular ol’ “ranch” house was something on the order of 6 grand in a regular ol’ California town like Huntington Beach.

    That’s the same proportion as say, a regular ol’ house being $200k and in SF being $600k.

    That being said, the best time to buy has always been a generation ago, and then get it given to you.

    This is the #1 method of being a “high achieving home owner” in SoCal. The #2 method is to be a cute young thing and marry some old toad, and uh, “service” him for umpty number of years and then get the house left to you. It’s #2 not only because of the disgusting “work” involved but because the old guys have a sneaky way of leaving the house to their kids, grand-kids, niece or nephew etc. SoCal is thus full of newly impoverished “realt-whores” of this other sort.

    GOD that house is ugly! Pthalocyanine Blue, anyone?

  5. nomadic Says:

    Struggling to pay a $650 tax bill, yet they’re “doing pretty good?” Congratulations on choosing the right parents 49 years ago; otherwise I guess you’d be a renter for life. Too bad America doesn’t offer opportunities to people not born into the right family.


    I don’t think this guy needs to wait around until he’s 70 to be “that guy.” He already is.

  6. nomadic Says:

    The first comment (by “John”) on that blog sounds just like our bob.

  7. nomadic Says:

    Oh, the response was to “Bob” so I guess he gets around!

  8. Petsmart groomer Says:

    “John” also shows his bold use of grammar bob is so famous for.

  9. madhaus Says:

    John forget to mention how much nicer people are in real places like Atlanta, Raleigh, and Austin. Odd that he forgot.

    Glad Eric appreciates the publicity. I am not sure that’s his house, though. Might just be there to catch the reader’s eye.

  10. SEA Says:

    Last time I hit on the roulette table I let everyone know how great #27 was. Unfortunately for them, when they tried to duplicate my success, the game was not as fruitful. Then I had to tell them: You should have bet back when I did.

  11. Real Estater Says:


    Do you still long for life in Tennessee? I pray that your parents bought flood insurance.

  12. Alex Says:

    What a great house…

    for me to POOP on!!!

  13. SEA Says:

    Tennessee isn’t the big problem area–How about the opening of the Morganza Spillway for the first time in nearly 40 years, and the only time to control flooding.

    Hopefully the Old River Control Structure will survive, but for how long?

  14. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Easter Eggs Homes of San Francisco series can be found here:

  15. tuno Says:

    if Gilroy Alex’s figures are right, we’re on our way back to the good old days; you can easily buy a house in the Sunset for 600K now:;_ylt=AiZwTbIfLcVH9s8vazvlkZRn47Qs

    for example.

    I’ll admit that it isn’t as big as the one in the article. on the other hand, 600k is the asking price here. and prices will go down more, I’d expect.

  16. tuno Says:

    If there’s something horribly wrong with this one, it isn’t immediately obvious:;_ylt=AlmN_hB_PQTQfdmK5tB192pn47Qs

  17. tuno Says:

    Also, if you go to there are a number of houses in foreclosure in the Sunset. And there are a LOT of houses in “preforeclosure” there.

  18. pianist Says:

    @ The Gilroy Alex – in 1956 my parents bought their 1st rancher in Anaheim for $13,500. 3 bdrm, 1 bath, no frills, GI Bill. In 1957 my husband’s – Buena Park for $16,000. 4 bdrm 1.75 bath, a larger house for that era, GI Bill.

    I find it hard to believe there were any $6000 houses (besides shacks) in Huntington Beach if Anaheim and Buena Park were more than double that for basic homes. Where did you get that number from?

  19. Real Estater Says:

    >>If there’s something horribly wrong with this one, it isn’t immediately obvious:

    Maybe because there is no yard, and the neighbor is like within breathing distance? Or is it because of rent control in SF, so that no investor wants to touch it?

  20. Real Estater Says:

    >>in 1956 my parents bought their 1st rancher in Anaheim for $13,500. 3 bdrm, 1 bath, no frills, GI Bill. In 1957 my husband’s – Buena Park for $16,000. 4 bdrm 1.75 bath, a larger house for that era, GI Bill.

    Another example of homes doubling in price every ten years, and this is not even in the Bay Area.

  21. tuno Says:

    #19 – the place has a yard; didn’t you read the listing? It’s small by suburban standards, but a real yard by SF standards. I’d move there in a second, if it weren’t for the commute my husband would then be stuck with. Who wouldn’t prefer SF to the peninsula????

  22. San Jose Craig Says:

    Hey Tuno,

    This neighborhood isn’t really in the city is it? Parking and commuting in the fog aren’t exactly strong selling points either.

  23. SiO2 Says:

    Tuno, I prefer south bay to SF. better schools (unless you are lucky to get into one of the magnets in SF), bigger yard, less crowded. SF certainly has its charms but for family with small kids I find south bay to be better.

  24. Eric Says:

    Just so all the haters get it straight. That’s not my house. It’s a house by the beach that looked funny to me so I used that picture instead of my own home. I didn’t want the jealous people to be egging and defacing my house.

    Eric the crotchety old man

  25. nomadic Says:

    Jealous of what?

  26. JuJu Says:

    Agree with SiO2. SF is good for 20 year old but bad for families.

  27. madhaus Says:

    #24, something is wrong with the economy when nobody can afford a house unless one’s grandparents had the foresight to have only one grandchild and put him/her on the title.

    Stick around this blog, by the way. You can follow the arguments over whether your house value is going to double in ten years or continue falling.

  28. Dewane Says:

    I guess I’m envious, but envious in the way that I’d envy a lottery winner. No work, no scrimping, no plan, just “here’s your house because your grandma knew how to game the system”. Hard to know what to take from this story – it’s like reading about a Getty or something – has no relevance to my life.

  29. SEA Says:

    Translation: All you new owners are subsidizing my $650 tax bill. Suckers!

  30. Real Estater Says:

    There is really no reason to be envious. All you need to do is buy a house, and you will be envious of yourself sooner or later. That’s the beauty of it all.

  31. madhaus Says:

    Yes, the “owners” of today’s listing are beside themselves with envy.

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