September 8, 2011

This Peacock is Looking a Little Less Proud

Today’s listing is courtesy of Burbed reader rotoiti, who alerts us to a frequently featured fiasco in Mountain View!


1755 PEACOCK Ave, Mountain View, CA 94043


SQ. FT.: –
LOT SIZE: 6,200 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential Land (Single Family)
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: North Shoreline
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81138265
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 1 day

Huge price reduction! Motivated seller! Price includes approved plans and permits from the city of Mountain View.

imageHere’s what rotoiti had to say about this place:

$1,380,000 for an empty lot, but with a pretty house … painting. List price reflects home being built by owner – what does it even mean? I have to pay 3x going price for the land in the area and then I have to pay for the house? Ugh, no.

Now when rotoiti first sent me this listing, this lovely illustration was indeed part of it, along with that insane $1.38M wishing price. (You can still find that withdrawn listing on a few places, like on Trulia.)

The painting’s been since pulled, and for that matter, so was the listing. But it’s back, and it’s better than EVEH! Without the painting, you save $652,000!  That’s so much instant equity you’re going to need to build an extra house to keep it in!  Good thing the lot is cleared for takeoff!


But that isn’t the best part. Burbed has featured this property not once but twice already!  Let’s fire up the ol’ Wayback Machine and have a look.  First, we ran this vacant lot amazing opportunity just seven months ago!


Only back then, the seller assured us there was a 4 bedroom 3 bath house on the place, or at least the price reflected that there was GOING to be one.  Even though the plans were approved, they’re not in the February listing, which was remarkably short on photos.

But this place has been on and off the market for much longer than that!  Try another year back!


Just how many times was this property listed, anyway?


And if we head over to Zillow, we can fill in some of those missing asking prices.


imageimageWow, my head hurts!  Either the seller was a couple who couldn’t agree on a pricing strategy (and went around behind each other’s backs signing listing agreements as well as hiring architects), or they were very suggestible and had a manic-depressive agent who couldn’t decide if this was a peacock or a pee pot.


Net result: Seven different listings (6 MLS and one FSBO on at wildly fluctuating prices since Summer, 2008, for a place that sold for only $674,000 at the peak of the Bubble.  No wonder, even at a reduced price, it’s still clearly worth an extra $54,000 for all their time and trouble.

Shake out your tailfeathers, strut on down, and pick up this display property today!

Comments (31) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am

31 Responses to “This Peacock is Looking a Little Less Proud”

  1. Sam_Adu Says:

    Lets please not be overly harsh on this listing. You should at least mention that the picture of the house is a Van Gogh worth at least $500k. Right?

    By the way, our old friend 2286 Riordan from Tuesday has now gone pending a record 10th time now. My WAG of 11 may come true!

  2. nomadic Says:

    +1 for today’s post for the “peacock or pee pot” remark.

    Maybe a +1 for yesterday if my comment from last night ever breaks out of moderation.

  3. z2amiller Says:

    What a strange sale. I can’t help but think that there is a sad story behind the buyer of this property.

    This isn’t really a great part of Mountain View. It isn’t as bad/crowded/superfund as some of the “Whisman Station” neighborhoods, but is right near the worst rated elementary school (Thaurkauff).

    No matter how many permits you have, a slightly-above-average size lot isn’t going to go for ~30% MORE than lots with actual livable houses on them. Comps within a couple blocks of this:

    (As an aside here, what’s up with Jane Hansen@Redfin? 80%+ of all of the notes she’s ever left on houses say something about sloping floors)

    Land value of this lot is probably close to half of what they’re asking. No one with that much cash is crazy enough to buy this lot without looking at comps, and no bank will finance something at $730K that will appraise at ~450K. (Will banks even finance lots/land?)

  4. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    I’ve lived in that neighborhood for a few months and all I can suggest is: Don’t disturb the tenants when you go to view this fine property. There will be an old couch or two, maybe a mattress fished out of a dumpster, and blankets and stuff under those trees, and a few local winos will have made this vacant lot their home. This area is indeed a short walk to Castro Street and Google, but it’s full of slum apartments, vacant lots with a hobo or two living the high life, right cheek-by-jowl with houses still valued at over a mil. On the street you see the most amazing juxtapositions; a Smart Car parked at the curb next to a Chrysler Cordoba with one window made of plastic sheeting and its occupant snoring inside. A shopping-cart pusher plodding down the sidewalk, nimbly passed by a couple of female joggers who look right out of Barbieland.

    And for some reason, this area has a lot of vacant lots. Waiting for foreigners with a suitcase full of cash, to buy ’em and put a house on ’em and pave over everything not covered by the house.

  5. z2amiller Says:

    PS, the current owners are getting jobbed on their taxes. The assessed value is about $700K resulting in a ~9k/year tax bill. My lot (As featured on Burbed!) which is about the same sized lot but IMHO a much nicer neighborhood (and by the way has a pretty nice house on it) has an assessed land value of $408K.

    I guess the city wants to get its pound of flesh and will doctor the assessment however it needs to to soak up $9k/year?

  6. SEA Says:

    What is going on here? I thinking about the days when people would guess how much above the asking price the property is worth. Today we compare vacant land to other options in the local area? I’m trying to recall that the value is in the land, not the ‘actual livable houses on them.’

    Remember the RRRReal RBA days when paying more implied a better deal, more to double? When will those days rerun?

  7. DreamT Says:

    #5 – Value is assessed by the county not the city. And in my experience, Stone’s staff is more amenable and reasonable than you’d ever expect.

  8. madhaus Says:

    I don’t understand why this place hasn’t been snapped up. Instead of selling it with a tear-down POS in the way, the seller has torn it down for you, leaving you clear for takeoff to build his dream house, or yours! No silly construction in the way like this opportunity in Palo Alto!

    Maybe it’s the banks’ refusal to lend more than 50% on lots and land that might have something to do with it? I assume current “owner” might be having a “cash flow problem” which is why they couldn’t decide whether to sell the place “with” or “without” the house painting.

    Edit: Link fixed, next time don’t be so danged vague.

  9. z2amiller Says:

    Oh so if the bank will loan 50% of the assessed value of undeveloped land, then that means that it’ll almost be like a typical 80/20 mortgage at this price… except the buyer will pay the 80% and the bank will pay 20.

  10. CB Says:

    #7, Same in Alameda. The Assessor is so reasonable that I suspect the Tax Collector (along with the rest of the county gov) doesn’t invite him to the holiday party.

  11. SEA Says:

    “like like this opportunity in Palo Alto!”


  12. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Since they bought it in 2007 for about 700k to plow under, they basically paid 700k for raw land, so I don’t feel they’re getting jobbed on the taxes. They thought it was worth 700k as raw land (more, if you count bulldozing costs!) so they should pay taxes on it like that.

    Of course, when you can demonstrate that your lot is assessed for more than houses on comparable lots sell for, you should be able to get a tax reduction on it.

  13. SEA Says:

    $9,000 per year for what?


  14. nomadic Says:

    $9,000 per year for what?

    To subsidize their Prop 13 neighbors who pay $900/year. Or less.

  15. SEA Says:

    Yes, of course all the neighbors paying $900 per year need someone to pay. It’s a little funny how the value is in the land, until the depreciation expense is computed, but when you only have land, well, uh, you’re depreciation expense is zero. Oh well.

  16. SEA Says:

    you’re? Wow. I should start spending an extra second on these messages.

  17. Real Estater Says:

    WTF? Another 447B stimulus plan? Does this President know how to do anything other than throw money at the problems? How is aid to the bankrupt States and the unemployed going to help create jobs? More tax cuts? I thought that was Bush policy. No wonder we are hitting the debt ceiling so quickly. Washington doesn’t get it. The reason people are out of work while corporations are raking in billions in profit is because U.S. companies are primarily hiring workers outside of the U.S. Yet there is no provision in this jobs bill to discourage companies from such practices. The right action for this economy is to let economics take its course and take on another recession. Getting another shot in the arm is merely a way of postponing the problem to the next President and the next generation. It’s time to say enough is enough.

  18. DreamT Says:

    “Does this President know how to do anything other than throw money at the problems?”

    Were you expecting him to legislate in Congress’ stead?

  19. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > $9,000 per year for what?

    You can’t put a price on respect.

  20. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > My lot […] is about the same sized lot but IMHO a much nicer neighborhood (and by the way has a pretty nice house on it) […]

    Yeah, we heard that one before. Your house is special, like all the other ones 🙂

  21. SEA Says:

    madhaus- Are you going to fix the link?

  22. nomadic Says:

    Nah, she’s just being a tease.

  23. madhaus Says:

    SEA, your first comment appeared to be a complaint about a typo, not a link (like like). Your second one neglected to mention which link (you do know I post a bunch of articles with links on the site). Are you under the mistaken impression that I can read your mind? Until my Deluxe TeleESPer arrives, please try to communicate more clearly.

    nomadic, in your dreams, Patchouli Dude. I have this image of you living in a moss-covered Fuller dome. Or a VW microbus (also with moss).

  24. nomadic Says:

    The link in #8 above. And what’s wrong with moss? It’s soft and earthy.

    I’m heading down to Santa Cruz for more patchouli. See ya!

  25. madhaus Says:

    Did you see the edit in #8? I fixed that link, not that SEA was exactly helpful in telling me which one was broken.

    Hey, if you’re headed to Santa Cruz can you score me some crystals? I need to adjust the feng shui in my Prosperity area.

  26. nomadic Says:

    I’ll see what I can do for you. Going to the Crow’s Nest before joining up with my drum circle on the cliff.

  27. SEA Says:

    Thanks madhaus. Given the frequency of my mistakes, I’d never complain about a ‘like like’ type mistake. I’ll be more clear in the future.

  28. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Price changed to $1,280,000 and yet the listing says:

    Huge price reduction! Motivated seller! Price includes approved plans and permits from the city of Mountain View. Owner and his partner are licensed contractors and willing to build a home on this lot for $1,280,00 which is approx. $225 per square feet according to the approved plans.

  29. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Priced changed again… to $645,579 (not including new house).

  30. Petsmart groomer Says:

    Price reduced one more time, to $575K.

  31. Our Peacock laid an Egg. On his face. [] Says:

    […] Sept 8, 2011: This Peacock is looking a little less proud […]

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