May 11, 2011

Lots of Instant Equity, or Instant Submarining, in Pleasanton

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Shocked East Coaster for today’s find, which, alas, doesn’t have any marble columns.  It does have some other interesting features, like digits.  Lots and lots of digits.

1630 Laguna Hills Ln, Pleasanton, CA  94566


Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 4
Sqft: 4,000
Lot size: 12,444 sq ft / 0.29 acres
Property type: Single Family
Year built: 2003
Parking type: —
Cooling system: —
Heating system: —
Fireplace: —
Days on Zillow: 7
MLS number: 40513130
Listing website: Keller Williams – Pl…

An Absolute Masterpiece with Upgrades Galore! This Exquisite Single-Story Residence Offers: 4 bedrooms plus office and 4 full baths, 3 car garage.Exceptional architectural design and quality craftsmanship is evident throughout this 4000 sq ft Former Model. Must see!

Well, no wonder Burbed’s newest contributor calls him/her/itself Shocked East Coaster.  And at these prices, I’m not surprised!  Here’s what SEC has to say about this listing:

a super affordable $828,477/month

Must be something in the water

By the way, love your site. I am new to the bay area real estate craziness( market) and I truly can’t believe the prices out here.

imageWell, if you use Zillow instead of Redfin, I guess that’s what happens.  The latter site also has 9 photos instead of just 1, and the sky is much much much more dramatic.

They didn’t magic up any marble columns, though, just this sky that matches Princess Eugenie’s hat.

Comments (36) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

May 10, 2011

Tons of columns in Los Altos Hills


Los Altos Hills, CA 94022


BATHS: 4.5
SQ. FT.: 5,229
$/SQ. FT.: $708
LOT SIZE: 1.18 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Mountains
COMMUNITY: Los Altos Hills
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81052994
STATUS: Active



ON REDFIN: 173 days
Resort Living – pool, spa, cabanna, sauna, rock stream, beautiful views of hills. Two large master bedroom suites with fireplaces, blt-ins, walk-in closets and balconies. 4 bedrooms, plus office and library with step-down wet-bar. Open floor plan with public rooms seamlessly flowing into one another, high ceilings, sweeping circular staircase. Ideal home to showcase art collection. PA Schools



Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find!
If there’s something we can all agree on here at Burbed, it’s that adding columns will make any home look classier. And this is a great example. Just look at how those columns make this Los Altos Hills home, feel as if it were in Pompeii! It’s like whoa! Did I just take a flight to Rome? How did I get here? And how are there Palo Alto Schools here in Rome too?
The question I sort of wonder is: what kind of art collection would a potential buyer of this house have?
Feel free to submit links to your examples in the comments. I’m thinking… art from here!



Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:02 am

May 9, 2011


burbedguestbloggerPlease welcome sfbubblebuyer back to the front page with one of our favorite Burbed memes: Mawbul Kawlums!  The only real shame about today’s house is how incredibly tiny the pictures are, although there are more on the virtual tour.

Please give sfbb your best Real Bay Area Welcome as today’s Guest Blogger!

30 FOX HILL Rd, Woodside, CA 94062


BATHS: 4.5
SQ. FT.: 5,300
$/SQ. FT.: $896
LOT SIZE: 6.47 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Colonial
COMMUNITY: Skywood Area
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81117642
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 17 days

Absolutely gorgeous traditional style 5 bed/4.5 bath home with Bay and city views. This very charming custom home has been featured in many magazines. Warm fir floors, tall multi-paned windows, fine molding details and a wonderful floor plan are some of the many features of this exceptional home. The property is set on 6.47 acres and is minutes from Woodside town center.

Check it out! DOUBLE DECKER COLUMNS! Clearly this is a house of style and sophistication. Surely you can imagine having a ‘coming out’ party for your debutante daughter at this glorious estate! She could pull an ‘upper decker’ and wave to guests from the second story balcony flanked by not two, but FOUR glorious columns, with another four below her to hold her aloft on her princess pedestal!

imageThe listing agent also has taste and discretion by omitting pictures of the kitchen. Only the help see the kitchen. We’d rather not sully ourselves by crossing over a thresh-hold into an area where manual labor might be in progress! And note the profusion of windows to keep those lazy maids at work! Maybe you could hire one of the local urchins to smudge the windows for you to make sure the maids never have a moment to spare! Idle hands are the devil’s playthings and all that.

imageSpeaking of idle hands, you won’t have to worry about yours being idle as you laze around your pool ordering the butlers to march back and forth between the house and your chaise refreshing your lemonade and Southern Comfort. It really is amazing how hard you have to work to keep the household humming along. In fact, you better send the chauffeur out to pick up some more brandy. The Chesterwicks are coming over for a couple of rubbers of bridge tonight. It’s a pity you can’t get them interested in a PROPER card game like whist. Ah well, such is the life of the landed gentry in America.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

May 8, 2011

Cheapest Homes in 40 Years? Not Even Close…

Cheapest Homes in 40 Years? Not Even Close…

I have been wanting to discuss a horrifically misleading article for a week now: Americans Shun Cheapest Homes in 40 Years as Ownership Fades.

It is an object lesson in how an industry spokesgroup, engaging in biased analysis, used poor econometric models to create misleading data. That led to others making bad assumptions based on that data, which in turn leads to an unsupported conclusions. To wit, that home prices are now cheap (they are not) and home ownership is being shunned (it is not). Thus, the end result is a misleading article on residential Real Estate that is unfortunately based on these terribly flawed NAR metrics.

The reality is quite different than the spin. No, it is not, as objective data reveals, especially cheap.

This flawed data/PR flack/spin approach is how the NAR manages to get a false and misleading claims printed in major US media on an all too regular basis. “The most affordable real estate in a generation” nonsense in Bloomberg is only the latest hoodwinking they have pulled on journalists. Recall back in 2009, the Wall Street Journal and IBD were both snookered by the NAR’s seasonal adjustments (we discussed this here, here, here, and here).

Given the NAR’s track record when it comes to data analysis, anyone who makes any sort of purchase based on NAR spin is a fool who will get what they deserve.

All of this leads to our present discussion of Home Affordability. Back in 2008, I wrote an analysis of the Realtors’ model titled “NAR Housing Affordability Index is Worthless.” As you can see from the chart below, during the entire boom period of 1996-2006, there was but ONE MONTH where the NAR index said homes were not affordable. Indeed, that chart period extends from 1985 to 2008 — there was but a single month of over-priced houses.

How on earth did home prices NEVER become UNaffordable during the greatest run up in housing prices ever in the United States history? What sort of model refuses to allow homes to ever be perceived as unaffordable? We could only get that sort of thing from an industry source.

What? The NAR making things up? Providing skewed and biased information that might lead people to be interested in buying real estate?

That’s impossible!

But, if you do think it’s possible – check out the full article.

That said, I’m not sure why this matters…. isn’t unaffordability a sign of good financial health? I seem to recall that everyone was a lot happier back in 2006 when housing was unaffordable. Therefore, there’s only one way to restore happiness in America…

Comments (8) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:02 am

May 7, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg Done with Renting

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg buys house in Palo Alto

By Mike Swift and Pete Carey, SJ Mercury News
Posted: 05/05/2011 07:30:35 AM PDT, Updated: 05/05/2011 07:30:42 AM PDT

imageLong after he became a billionaire, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg still rented modest digs. But now one of Silicon Valley’s top tech celebrities has become a first-time homeowner, recently buying a large house in Palo Alto that is a 10-minute drive from what will soon be Facebook’s new corporate campus in Menlo Park.

Zuckerberg has lived in Palo Alto almost continuously since he moved Facebook to Silicon Valley straight from his Harvard dorm room in 2004. Now, with the fast-growing company preparing for a widely expected initial public stock offering and a move into its first permanent home in the former Sun Microsystems campus, Zuckerberg also appears to be settling down.

While the subject of the Hollywood hit "The Social Network" isn’t expected to move in for several months, his new home in a leafy and affluent Palo Alto neighborhood has more than 5,000 square feet, with a saltwater pool, a music alcove and five bedrooms for when friends and family of the Facebook founder come to visit.

Sources close to Facebook confirmed that Zuckerberg bought a house in Palo Alto, but declined to say which one. The real estate transaction did not close under Zuckerberg’s name. However, public records requests revealed a trail of clues leading to a property purchased for $7 million.

This newspaper is not printing the address because of concerns for the privacy of the sellers, who still live there, and Zuckerberg.


Don’t worry, this blog wouldn’t let a little thing like privacy stop us from Liking Mark’s new Mansion.  Or at least Friending it.  So, since the Merc was kind enough to give us a few details, such as more than 5000 sf, 17,000 sf lot and a $7 million dollar purchase price, it wasn’t that difficult to find:

1456 Edgewood Dr, Palo Alto, CA  94301


BATHS: 5.5
LOT SIZE: 16,995
STYLE: Single Family Residential
COUNTY: Santa Clara County
APN: 00311038
LAST UPDATED: April 14, 2011

Nobody would ever have suspected that “1456 EDGEWOOD DR HOLDINGS LLC” was actually the Facebook Dude.  Free Clue: Next time you buy a house, name your holding corporation after some people.

Here’s something fascinating, the house was listed for $5,850,000, which means the Zuckster overbid on this hot property down the street from the Beautiful Eichler with Poo!  Here’s what the GoogleCam has on this house:


We can give you a better view than that.  Whoever set up forgot to take all their pages down!


There’s page after page of house pr0n on this fact sheet, but just a look at the master bedroom suite description makes me wonder if this is really the ZuckerFriend we’re talking about:

  • Double interior French doors open to this personal retreat complete with crown molding, built-in speakers and a pocket door accessing the walk-in closet with custom built-ins
  • The light-filled spa-inspired master bath is opulently finished with Carrera marble flooring and slab countertops; marble slab baseboards are set beneath paneled wainscoting; two windows over the deep soaking tub with exposed nickel features welcome floods of natural light; additional appointments include Nuheat® electric heated floors, his and hers sink vanities with built-in mirrored medicine cabinets flanked by two wall sconces, a tremendous Carrera marble lined stall shower with dual showerheads and hexagonal tile flooring & a separately enclosed commode with skylight 


Bonus: Thrilling history of the property document has the address wrong on starting on the second page!

Update: Literally right after I uploaded this, Burbed reader San Matean shared this post from the Chronicle, with more pictures.  That’s the downside of a one article a day kind of blog.  However, the Chron in turn quotes the LA Times, which has this terrific description of the area from one of Mark’s new neighbors-to-be.

[The neighbor] described a neighborhood that is friendly but not that friendly. "Generally people do know who lives next door and across the street and say hello, but that’s about it," [he] said. He recalled that the most recent block party was held in 1976. "Everyone agreed we’d have to do it again," he said.

Palo Alto Online has the story too.  Honest, we had all this two days ago!

Comments (43) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

May 6, 2011

Bonita Means Pretty, and so is this Place: Pretty Awful

Thanks to Burbed reader Tracy for this, um, well, I guess you could call it a house.

338 BONITA Ave, San Jose, CA 95116
$354, 250


BATHS: 3.5
SQ. FT.: 2,000
$/SQ. FT.: $177
LOT SIZE: 1,332 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Central San Jose
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81116912
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 18 days

Two story, with separate living quarters on second floor. Has great potential, some updating completed, needs finishing. Property is situated at rear of flag lot. Single family, zoned R2, 2828 sqft interior, 7054 sqft lot per county records, buyer to verify zoning, permits & all square footage.

Here’s what Tracy had to say about this, um, delightful domicile:

Weird flag lot
Strange prices

imageOh oh.  When the listing says a lot is one size and the realtard says ignore that, it’s actually five times bigger, we know there’ll be hijinks aplenty closing on this one!

Also, if the listing figures are accurate, that means the FAR is 2000 sf/1332 sf = 1.50.  I don’t know what the allowable FAR is on an R2 lot, but I suspect it’s a lot lower than that, like maybe on the order of 0.5.

Plus it’s a really patriotic house.  Not only will you be rescuing the economy by purchasing it, it’s even on a flag lot!


Wow, the satellite imagery is so much more informative than the plat map!  image

Here’s a nice view of the house, complete with deck (CAN YOU GO ON THE DECK?) and a few dozen of the neighbor’s favorite vehicles.  And I call shenanigans on this realtard.  If 338 Bonita is a 7000 sf lot, that means it backs up to a trailer park full of 5000 sf manufactured tin boxes McMansions.

Also be sure to try to check this place out on Google Streetview.  Dick Cheney spent millions of our tax dollars on an undisclosed location.  You can have one for under $400,000!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

May 5, 2011

Huge Yard for income also

Today’s featured listing is from Burbed reader Tuno!  Thanks very much for this this fab find, the kind of listing that this site is famous for!

442 1st Ave, Redwood City, CA 94063


BATHS: 1.5
SQ. FT.: 810
$/SQ. FT.: $271
LOT SIZE: 6,975 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Dumbarton
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81054683
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 170 days

Huge Yard. Smaller home and its rented right now. Great income property they rent out part of the yard for income also. 2 bedroom 1 bath needs some love.

Here’s what tuno had to say about today’s house:

just an amazingly crappy crapshack that sold for 501K (!!!!!) in 2004.  it is so very, very awful.  and I *like* awful little houses.  but *yuck*.  and they claim as a selling point that part of the *yard* is presently being rented out!!!

They rent out… part of the yard… for income also.  And this is a 2/1.5 right?  Well 2/1 of that 2/1.5 needs some love.  That means there’s a perfectly content half bathroom.  And the inside pictures aren’t that bad as crapshacks go.  But the outside!  Ahhhh, and remember, this yard is working for you!


Look how many vehicles are parked here, obviously the property owner is making so much in rent he’s buying extra trucks and boats!  Remember: 1. Buy a house.  2. Rent some or all of it out.  3. Profit!!!!!!

Want to make even more money? TIME-SHARE!  Like fifty bucks to park in your yard during a big event near your house.  Or five hundred dollars to helpfully inform the cops the “bad guy” they’re looking for just headed toward the airport.  Rent your house, and then rent it during your tenants’ vacation or work hours; PROFIT MORE!

Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

May 4, 2011



Portola Valley,CA94028


BATHS: 1.5
SQ. FT.: 1,580
$/SQ. FT.: $474
LOT SIZE: 0.39 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
STORIES: Bi/Split Level
VIEW: Canyon
COMMUNITY: Alpine/Uplands (Los Trancos)
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81110302
STATUS: Active 




ON REDFIN: 48 days
This is a classic! Nice lot, great potential. View of Foothill Park and located on Los Trancos Creek. A magical setting! Great PV Schools and neighborhood. Spacious home with a family room off the Kitchen. LR with FP. Large lot! Lots of extra room on the lower level would be great for a utility room, workshop, extra bedroom? Make sure you see the lower level. DO NOT GO ON DECK. .. DO NOT GO ON DECK



Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find!
Herve was wondering this:
If the deck can collapse, why would I want to see the lower level?

I don’t think it says anywhere that the deck is going to collapse. I think that’s an assumption. And you know what happens when you assume: you make real estate prices fall.

Rather, I think the agent is trying to prevent you from developing TMJ… you know from when you jaw drops from standing on the deck and at the stunning view. It’s for liability reasons… I’m sure you can understand.

Oh, and by the way – this house comes with great private schools. You won’t be able to find private schools like that anywhere else!


Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

May 3, 2011

Still Gorgeous

Thanks very much to sfbubblebuyer for today’s featured listing.  Does it look familiar?  It should.

2524 Dekoven Ave, Belmont CA  94002



SQ. FT.: 1,480
$/SQ. FT.: $641
LOT SIZE: 7,900 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Bay, Neighborhood, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Haskins Estates
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81114658
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 28 days

4 years new. Still gorgeous. High ceilings, gourmet kitchen, level lot, secluded, serene, private. Area for dog run, children play yard, RV/boat parking, etc.

imageHere’s what sfbubblebuyer had to say about this listing:


Hey, the house that caused a 210 post-war… is BACK ON THE MARKET!

Surprisingly, it never sold at 1.05 million. Shocking, I know. Zillow lets us know they stared out at 1.14 million. After 3 years of watching housing tank they think that their precious house suffered a terrible loss of almost 17% and they’re now offering it for $949k. How generous of them! While other markets suffered 30-60% losses, Belmont is so special that 17% is a gift to the buyer!

It’ll be interesting to see if they manage to move the house this time. If the bought it for 750 and truly ripped it down to the studs, they’re probably selling it at ‘cost’ now. 200k for redoing everything in a house plus the outside seems about right. Unless you live somewhere non-special, where 200k would buy you a 3,000 sq foot new build.

I don’t think you understand this Spring Bounce idea, sfbb,  You see, prices in the RBA always go up.  Guaranteed.  That’s why this house is shaped the way it is:

2524DEKOVEN Up Arrow

I sure hope this place is still staged.  That would mean the show’s been running for three years!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

May 2, 2011

Who Needs Marble Columns when you can have Arches?

burbedguestbloggerPlease welcome Burbed reader A Lewis back to the front page, with another thrilling listing from, you guessed it, the East Bay!  We know it can’t possibly be in the RBA because that entire part of the region is a chasm of no-can-do, but let’s see the place anyway!

Please give A your bestest, warmest Real Bay Area welcome!

A few details in this East-Bay, non-RBA listing make it stand out:

1733 Elm St, El Cerrito, CA 94530


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 1,723
$/SQ. FT.: $334
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Other
VIEW: Hills, Wooded
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40519704
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 14 days

Built in 2007 by Arch John Rolf Hattam One block from BART, Separate APN from Sister build behind. Well designed spaces that create privacy throughout. Arch features everywhere, private and separate backyard, 2 car garage w/ interior acc. Eat in kitchen, laundry, home office rm, pier & grd bm foundtn

image#1) The Arches! So important, the architect added the word "Arch" to his name: "Built in 2007 by Arch John Rolf Hattam" "Arch features everywhere".

#2) Built in 2007 (OK, great!), and it’s a short sale (oooops!). I think whoever gave them the construction loan is now crying their way to insolvency.

#3) You get a twin sister for your home – and it’s so close, you can reach out the back bedroom windows to touch it! "Separate APN from Sister build behind." I don’t know what an APN is, so who cares, I bet it just means instant equity. If you look at the picture on Zillow, you can see the foundations:


The second one doesn’t seem to be for sale – maybe the builders are living there – and I’m sure you’ll get to know them VERY well.


image#4) The pictures, my god, the pictures. The place actually looks pretty nice from the thumbnails (and I was DYING to see those ARCHES!) – but the Realtor who stands to earn 3% by selling this beauty couldn’t be bothered to check his Redfin posting to find out he uploaded the thumbnails for the full-size pics. Let’s play a game: how few pixels do you need to tell a bathroom from a bedroom? Contestant #1: "Burbed, I can name that room with 250 pixels!" Contestant #2: "Burbed, I can name that room with 100 pixels!". Burbed: "NAME THAT ROOM!". 

image#5) The listing history: they bought the empty lot for $225k in 8/2004. Finished building in 2007 and started selling in 2009 (whew!), for $749k (thanks, Zillow, for filling in the blanks – Redfin, you are falling behind!), then a steady game of de-list, drop price, re-list, leading us to today’s bargain price of $575k for an almost-townhome in a decidedly non-RBA neighborhood. If you look at the estimates, you will see he is on the WRONG SIDE OF ELM St. to be listing over $500k. It gets better as you go ‘uphill’ around here, and sorry, this house ain’t uphill.


Nice and close to BART, though.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am