July 21, 2011

The Big Yellow House. In Alviso.

Many thanks to Burbed reader sonarrat for this find, in one of our favorite parts of San Jose!

1044 Catherine St, San Jose, CA 95002


SQ. FT.: 2,314
$/SQ. FT.: $292
LOT SIZE: 0.46 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Victorian
VIEW: Bay, Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Alviso (Santa Clara County)
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81118845
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 81 days

Alviso’s "La Montagne Boarding House" aka "The Big Yellow House" * * Built in 1890 this is a one of a kind historic treasure sitting on nearly . 5 acres * * Features fresh new exterior paint, full kitchen remodel w/ island, living room, dining area w/ wood burning stove, office/den, bedroom, mud room and porch * * 2nd floor has (4)bedrooms, full bath, attic storage * * Expansive water tower and loads of parking!!!

imageJust what you’ve been looking for, a one of a kind historic treasure, located in imagethe only place in the South Bay that could actually benefit from a mud room.  Plus it comes with an expansive water tower, just in case there isn’t enough mud on your almost half an acre.

Check out the grounds.  There’s loads of parking!!! And there will be plenty of mud.

Comments (38) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

38 Responses to “The Big Yellow House. In Alviso.”

  1. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    You know how sometimes they post photos of the surrounding community to get you excited about the location of the house? I wonder why they didn’t do that with this historic treasure?

  2. Sam_Adu Says:

    If I owned this house I would rent out the parking for $5 a spot during San Jose Giants games.

    On second thought, why would I want this place when I could get 65 acres near Mount Hamilton for cheaper?

    Burbed is my go to source for real estate ads but I haven’t seen many properties on here recently that I’d be interested in buying. Why not give Campbell some love? For instance, there is this beauty at 183 Dillon with a large retaining wall that makes the backyard resemble a prison:


    Just add barbed wire and you’d have your own fortress or prison. I’d stick my nana in the jail cell, er “separate guest cottage” that comes with the house. It reminds me of my old place in Acra…at 23x the price!

    Google Maps street view shows a balloon shop right next door and that the retaining wall in the backyard protects your sanity from a metric tonload of poopy diapers from Tiny Tots:


    I think you can use human poop as fertilizer on the concrete prison yard that comes with this house?

    Using my newfound Burbed lingo: the bottom line is that this house in Campbell has nearly $270k of instant equity built in. Es tu foutu?

  3. Sam_Adu's brother Says:

    Sam Adu is the best!

  4. Sam_Adu Says:

    Two thoughts on this place: I’d rent out all the parking space at this place for $5 a game during San Jose Giants games.

    Why would anyone buy this place when they could spend about the same amount and get 65 acres near Mount Hamilton as we recently saw on Burbed?

    Since starting to look for a house in the “RBA” Burbed has been my go-to source for real estate listings. I haven’t seen many places in Campbell on this website which makes me sad. Here is one particular listing at 183 Dillon that has caught my eye:


    What’s interesting about this place is that there is a HUGE retaining wall in the small backyard. Just add barbed wire around the perimeter and you’d have an instant fortress…or prison. It remind me of my old place in Acra at 23x the price.

    If I owned this place I would stick my nana in the prison cell, er “separate guest cottage” in the backyard. The “low ceilings”, “narrow” living room, and “uneven flooring” (according to the Redfin agents) would make it hard for her to escape at her age.

    Google Maps street view is showing a balloon shop right across the street and hiding behind that large retaining wall is a baby diaper recycling business. Maybe you can use human poop to fertilize that concrete prison yard?


    The bottom line, using my newfound ‘Burbed lingo, is that this property has nearly $270k in instant equity in it for the next buyer. Es tu foutu?


  5. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Alviso is kind of like New Orleans. It wants to be underwater literally not just figuratively.

    Who in hell would stay in a rooming house in Alviso?

  6. Danny Welsh Says:

    The color sure makes this house stands out. A very unique style and great backyard.

  7. madhaus Says:

    #2/4, yeah, we are overdue for some crapboxen in Campbell. I’ve got one in the queue as well, and I’ll take a look at the one you submitted here.

    #6, tell us why you haven’t purchased this place yet, as you seem rather enamored by it. $675,000 is not a lot of money (Reg. TM).

    Where the heck is Mr. redhead-Asian sandwich? I finally post a writeup that’s fewer than ten kajillion words and he isn’t here to appreciate it. 😉

  8. sonarrat Says:

    Just read that San Jose has the longest life expectancy of any city in the USA. If you’re going to be poor, at least you’ll be poor a few years longer!


  9. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    #6: ABC, Danny. A.B.C.

  10. madhaus Says:

    And very unique.

  11. sonarrat Says:

    And very haunted.


  12. madhaus Says:

    Plus that link says it was a bordello. Vallejo’s got nothing on us!

  13. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Alviso was a rockin’ place during Prohibition. There were saloons built on pierlike structures out on the Bay, they’ve since sank. I think some bordellos were run so that on paper they were boarding houses, the gals paid the madam a ridiculously high room and board charge, and it was up to her to make it and make enough to save, also.

    Another interesting note on old-time south bay squalor: I was driving around Sunnyvale recently and the Hotel Sunnyvale seems to be back in operation. That’s one creepy-ass old place. I bet it, and Paul & Harvey’s, have some real stories.

  14. sonarrat Says:

    There’s still some remnants of the old Alviso on the water that are visible if you take the ACE in from the East Bay. It’s called Drawbridge.


  15. Real Estater Says:

    Good news! Bay Area rent is on the rise.

    Renters are feeling the pinch. Some have decided to leave the Bay Area; others can’t afford to move to bigger apartments because of high rents everywhere; and some have moved in with their parents.

  16. Real Estater Says:

    Foreigners buying up homes in the Bay Area. Sound familiar?

  17. Real Estater Says:

    “Silicon Valley is the first choice because of the culture, the business environment and good education for the kids,”

    Melanie Johnson, a real estate agent for Coldwell Banker, said one of her buyers, a Hong Kong businessman who managed money for large companies like Citibank to buy buildings, “paid over $4 million, all cash, for a house here because they wanted their kids to go to school in Palo Alto. The kids had to be registered by Jan. 6 and I think they closed on that house in one week.”

  18. Real Estater Says:

    Good article on Palo Alto’s welcoming environment:

    A new resident, Ken Hawk, who moved to the neighborhood just two months ago, commented on how welcoming the community was.

    “It is a great sense of community,” he said. “The first day that we were here, a neighbor brought over a care package.”

    “The people here are fantastic and welcoming,” he added, commenting on how his new neighbors aided his arrival with a detailed list of contacts ranging from dentists to babysitters.

    Rest of story removed by moderator… quoting 1/3 of article is beyond fair use.

  19. nomadic Says:

    #6, I prefer the vibrant color of the bay down there. It’s so bright, you can smell it!

  20. Real Estater Says:

    >>Rest of story removed by moderator… quoting 1/3 of article is beyond fair use.

    Inconsistent hypocritical garbage. How many times have we seen Burbed quote more than 1/3 of articles and show entire RE listings with photos?

  21. madhaus Says:

    #20, you’ve been told on multiple occasions not to quote more than four paragraphs of any article. If you can’t follow that very simple guideline, then your comments can and will be edited or removed.

    Deliberately conflating news content and real estate listings is one of your silly games and I have no interest in playing. Continue causing trouble, though, and back into auto-moderation you go. I let you out after a week because I don’t enjoy pre-empting anyone here, and I believe everyone has the capacity for improvement. I am willing to admit that I made a mistake unmuzzling you, should you continue the nonsense that got you locked down in the first place.

    You are welcome to disagree with me. You are not welcome to break clearly stated rules because you disagree with me.

  22. Real Estater Says:

    Actually, you can’t follow your own silly guideline. You are operating a website, and yet you paste way more content from other places than what’s considered acceptable by yourself. It’s not a matter of disagree. You’re plain wrong.

    The news I’m posting are current, relevant, and accurate. On the one hand, you don’t like the sound bits; on the other hand, you have a mis-notion about posting longer pieces.

  23. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    The news I’m posting are current, relevant, and accurate.

    Relevant? LOL! Please someone explain me how flooding the Yellow House in Alviso thread with Palo Alto mushy mushy story makes it relevant.

    Looks like Real Estater badly needs to be guest editor for one day so that he can collect all Palo Alto mushy mushy stories from the real estate section of Palo Alto Weekly magazine and writes a nice post on Burbed.

  24. madhaus Says:

    I offered him the opportunity, but he says he’s much too busy handling rent checks. You know, I used to be a landlady, and endorsing a check takes about a minute. And nowadays, you can scan the check right from your house, you don’t even need to take a special trip to the bank!

  25. Real Alex Says:

    I already got the idea for the mud spa. Instant equity!

  26. nomadic Says:

    The new buyer should be this guy.

  27. Real Estater Says:

    Basically, Madhaus is slapping her own face by maintaining a guideline she does not adhere to herself. Until now she cannot offer a credible defense. Deleting a post is easy; providing a credible explanation is hard.

  28. Real Estater Says:

    SF rent market heating up as well. Fortune Magazine is taking note.

    Basically, rent needs to come back to the trend line so that it’s on par with home prices. The increase can be fairly dramatic over the next couple of years. There will be no place to hide, so the time to buy is now.

  29. Real Estater Says:

    Reader comment:

    Here’s my story. Two weeks ago, I listed a property on Craigslist (Wed). My tenant moved out the following Friday. I held open houses on Sat and Sun for 3 hrs each day. I had close to 200 people contact me about the property and/or came to see it. This was AFTER I raised the rent by $200/mo. By Sunday night, I had a bunch of applications and chose the best tenant from the list. I checked qualifications on Monday and made an offer on Tuesday. They happily accepted.

  30. Sunny(vale) Kim Says:

    The increase can be fairly dramatic over the next couple of years. There will be no place to hide, so the time to buy is now.

    Sunny(vale) Kim, the real estate investor, agrees with his Silicon Valley inspiration. It’s time for becoming real landlord, instead of a fictitious one.

  31. Santa Clara Dick (Real Estater) Says:

    Santa Clara Dick, the professional renter, thinks that his career in the big league may be coming to an end. It’s time to be an east bay renter.

  32. Guitar Mom (Real Estater) Says:

    I got a program that will automatically take sides and censor whoever doesn’t rub me the right way. You got reason? I got my finger on the delete button.

  33. SEA Says:

    “Renters are feeling the pinch. Some have decided to leave the Bay Area; others can’t afford to move to bigger apartments because of high rents everywhere; and some have moved in with their parents.”

    Renters moving in with their parents…

    And you think these not-a-lot-of-money people should buy?

  34. no estater Says:

    It’s always the time to buy. A million-dollar mortgage is better than throwing money away on rent…

  35. K Says:

    I worked in Alviso for four years. It’s still a superfund site, isn’t it? I don’t think I’d want to live there. Leave it all for the taquerias and TiVo.

  36. tuno Says:

    really cute house, but there is a huge green lagoon a couple of blocks away. spirulina?

    #27: “Deleting a post is easy. . .”

    And, apparently, often a good idea, when the posts are hostile and infantile.

  37. madhaus Says:

    #35, no, Alviso is now certified as completely cleaned up. See this link.

  38. AstroWallaby Says:

    A little late to comment on this one, but for all the bad things to be said about Alviso I completely adore that house as a historical structure. (Who doesn’t want a giant yellow tower in their backyard?) And it *is* right around the block from Maria Elena’s Restaurant, which is easily in the top 20 list of most fantastic dives in the Bay Area.

    What I think may be more interesting as a Real Estate disaster is the empty lot that is across the street from it. Up until very recently there was (still) a large, if somewhat weathered, sign promising that the aggregate parcel (it appears to be a clump of three 6000sq ft. lots) was to be built up with the sort of townhouse condos that sprouted like weeds on every precious inch of Superfund landfill developers could get their hands on in 2004. (I recall the sign promising to fit something on the order of a dozen units onto the property.)

    Anyway, according to Redfin that lot sold for $520,000 in 2004. (I have no idea if it had a structure on it at the time.) Since 2008 it’s been listed and delisted, what, five times? with prices between $225,000 and $160,000. That’s an investment that *totally* paid off. I assume there were additional losses in clearing the property and otherwise prepping it as it’s bulldozed flat and had a construction fence erected around it.

    I can make excuses for a beautiful house in a cruddy environment when it was built 120 years ago, but someone thinking that a cluster of brand-new ticky-tacky townhouses at #2 Feet-Below-Sea-Level Lane was a good idea? Yeah, right.

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