May 24, 2011

Pending five times? Is there a portal to hell in the basement?

burbedguestbloggerWell, you Burbed readers are a tough crowd.  I’ve been recovering from a nasty bout of fever, so I dialed in a quickie Open Houses and Open Thread on Sunday.  You guys, I swear!  I don’t think any column in Burbed ever got 5 negative votes before.  Even a listing credited to a commenter who collects thumbs downs the way East San Jose collects foreclosures did better than that!  

Good thing Burbed reader sfbubblebuyer sent in a great listing with commentary ready to go, so I can hide under the covers in my depreciating former RBA house until the recession is over.  Keep those contributions coming in, it means the zip code entries will be put off a long, long time!

Please give sfbubblebuyer a big, warm Real Bay Area welcome with today’s Guest Post from beautiful downtown Burbank San Carlos!

885 SUNSET Dr, San Carlos, CA  94070


SQ. FT.: 1,610
$/SQ. FT.: $465
LOT SIZE: 8,100 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
VIEW: Bay, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Beverly Terrace
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81008742
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 452 days


imageThis house is a short sell WAY below the prices of other houses in San Carlos, yet it has fallen out of escrow four times. (It’s in escrow again! Let’s see how long THIS one lasts.) Why would it be falling out of escrow when it’s almost not-a-lot-of-money less than other houses in the neighborhood? Nearby houses range from 1.1 to 1.6 million! Clearly there is a gaping portal to hell disgorging denizens of the netherworld into the house’s crawlspace! Or perhaps it has foundation issues that would make Bill Murray’s makeup artist blanch with fear. Perhaps Gilbert Gottfried lives in the house next door?


imageWhatever the reason, this house is slowly crushing the current owner’s balance sheet into a fine paste. Now’s the chance to buy it, slap in some mawbahl cawlums and flip it for 1.5! Get busy! I mean, think of all the flat screen televisions you could have! And you’d finally have the confidence to start that harem you’ve always wanted! BUY BUY BUY!

(But be sure to keep the Ghostbuster’s number handy in case that portal to hell thing turns out to be true.)

Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

19 Responses to “Pending five times? Is there a portal to hell in the basement?”

  1. SEA Says:

    “Nearby houses range from 1.1 to 1.6 million!”

    Down the street, 1045 Sunset Dr:

    “Same fantastic house with a crazy low new price! This tranquil home nestled on a private lot close to all the amenities that san Carlos has to offer is here. Situated in the San Carlos School District and offering 3 bed, 2 bath, Family room, office and pool is the best value to date! 2 car garage, extra storage and more!”

    Price: $709k.

    After an $842k foreclosure in late 2010, 2388 BRITTAN Ave sold last month for $685k.

  2. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Yep San Carlos is starting to feel the pain. And I think that house probably has some serious permitting issues. A 4/3 with two kitchens in 1610 sq feet is a bit sardine-esque.

  3. madhaus Says:

    Below 2002 pricing! Maybe this house is a combo of somebody died in it, pet odors, heavy smoker, loaded with history (hoarder lived here, you unpack it), foundation shift, and unmaintained poo.

    Was it owned by DSK?

  4. SEA Says:

    Starting to feel the pain?

    Oh Yeah! Today’s featured property sold in May 2002 for For $825k. I doubt it will sell for over that amount this year, so after nine years, this place is a loss.

    Yes, that’s right. Sure it should double after ten years, but after nine years, the price is under the old sale price, and that’s before selling expenses.

    If I owned property in the local area, I’d definitely be feeling the pain, even if so many claim that it’s cheaper to own.

  5. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    #4: Thanks for that link! Now I have to add Yello to my pandora playlist.

  6. SEA Says:

    I’d like to see price gradient maps for the Bay Area. Somewhere between this property, which has gone down in value after nine years, and the RBA, which has approximately doubled in value during the same time, there must be something interesting.

  7. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    It’s got to be a psycho neighbor or a sex offender next door. Or a psycho sex offender next door.

  8. tuno Says:

    40 million members of the Greatest Generation – selling their houses (well, dying)

    80 million Baby Boomers – selling and downsizing in retirement

    40 million Gen Xers – well, Gilroy Alex?? is our age bracket going to buy up 120 million dwellings?

    and then the Millennials – I don’t suppose they’ll be buying anytime soon, what with lousy jobs and college debt

    none of this will affect the RBA, I’m sure . . .

  9. * Says:

    “Even a listing credited to a commenter who collects thumbs downs the way East San Jose collects foreclosures did better than that!”

    i lol’d

  10. Alex Says:


    You forgot one big equalizer.

    The invaders from Mexico and China will want to live in the RBA and will continue driving up housing prices.

  11. Mole Man Says:

    Maybe every time it goes pending the buyer is notified they would have to clean up the meth lab that gave the house its unique odor.

  12. nomadic Says:

    Good thing California has a disclosure for that! (Seriously, they do. Not that meth heads are known to be honest about that sort of thing.)

    Apparently this is becoming a real issue for buyers:

  13. SEA Says:

    I should have know what was meant by “light bulbs and Drano.”

    Light bulbs-

    “Light bulbs are hollowed out and used to heat either powder or crystal Meth. The fumes are inhaled.”


    “[Meth] labs are characteristically small and make use of common household appliances, glassware and chemicals that are readily available in most stores. Some of the chemicals used are: starting fluid, Drano, alcohol and paint thinner.”

    And not being able to think of much else- You be the Judge as to why that might be.

  14. Swan Says:

    If you want to live next door to a sex offender, this is the house for you: Check the Megan’s Law site or A registed sex offender lives at 2375 Sunny Vista. Up until a few months ago, another sex offender lived across the street.

  15. DreamT Says:

    #14 – If you don’t want to live next to a sex offender, simply hunt for a house within a few blocks of a school. No need to even look up the sex offender registry.

  16. tuno Says:

    DreamT, that’s if you don’t want to live next to a *convicted, registered* sex offender. If you want to live next to an *active* sex offender, well, they probably *flock* to neighborhoods near schools.

  17. DreamT Says:

    tuno – ugh… sex offenders flocking? what a gloomy thought.

  18. Real Estater Says:

    >>This house is a short sell WAY below the prices of other houses in San Carlos, yet it has fallen out of escrow four times.

    Duh…maybe that’s precisely the problem? When the price is too good to be true, there is no way the bank will approve it. 40% of the short sales don’t close. Stay away.

  19. Lenora Sorensen Says:

    I owned that house from 1976 to 2002. I can tell you, definitively, NO permitting issues – every improvement we made had building permits, NO dead people, NO ghosts, NO smokers or hoarders, NO psycho or sex offenders, and NO meth labs.

    The problem here is a real estate agent who tried to attract the wrong market. This is NOT “ideal for a large or extended family” because the bedrooms are on three separate floors – which makes it impossible to supervise small children.

    This is the ultimate party pad for ADULTS: The street level entrance has a large living room and huge outdoor deck with a view of the Bay from the Bay Bridge to Santa Clara. Also on that level is the master bedroom/bath/changing room suite and a wonderful wet bar for parties. Yes, it is fully equipped to serve as a second kitchen, but it’s design function was for a very exceptional wet bar.

    Next floor down has two bedrooms, bathroom, big family room with outside deck/balcony, dining room and kitchen.

    Third level down is the pool changing room with a toilet, shower, changing room, storage cabinets, etc.

    The fourth bedroom (with its own bathroom) is entered from the street level down a short flight of stairs and, due to the private entrance, was used as a professional office, then as servant’s quarters, and as my teenage son’s ‘man cave’.

    Further down the stairs from that room is a huge solarium with built in bar-be-que, and outdoor furniture, covered to retain heat and block out rain. This is where I grew my orchids and other tropical plants.

    Surrounding the house on three sides is a $50K fence we had built using old growth center cut redwood. The wood must be treated each year with a redwood preserver to keep that incredible glow of the fresh cut wood.

    I had a full-time gardener/handyman working for me who built that waterfall and Japanese garden coming from street level down to the house entrance, a rock garden on the side of the house, then the landscaped terrace down to the pool with an ‘old English’ garden surrounding the pool and a “scent garden” of roses, jasmine, honeysuckle, etc. on the other half of the lower garden.

    When I sold the house, I made a 20 minute video tape, narrated by the gardener, touring those gardens, identifying some of the rare plants and outlining the correct maintenance schedule.

    I spent over $250K on improvements to the house, including 5 French drains, a completely renovated foundation, and the addition of siding with another layer of insulation to keep the house cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I put in all Corian counter tops and in two of the bathrooms, I put in matching Corian floors!

    When I sold the place, I “staged” it to show what it’s real nature is and it looked like a spread from Architect’s Digest. NOT for toddlers!!!

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