September 20, 2011

Move in and make it your own. Your own housing nightmare.

Thanks to the sharp eye of Burbed reader SEA, we have found affordable housing in Palo Alto!  Thanks very much for calling out this place in comments.  Yes, sonarrat wrote this place up already.  I’m just adding some more context to the idea that you no longer have an excuse not to trade up to Gunn High School.


3980 El Camino Real #27, Palo Alto, CA 94306


SQ. FT.: 602
$/SQ. FT.: $45
PROPERTY TYPE: Mobile Home (Single Wide), Room Addition
COMMUNITY: Barron Park
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81116830
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 140 days

Now you can afford Gunn High School for your teenagers and Palo Alto Unified for your smaller children! This home is much less to own than it costs to rent in Palo Alto School District! Move in and make it your own.

If you make it your own, you’ll fit right in here!  The owners of the park make their own spelling rules!


imageYes, you can afford Gunn for your teenagers (plural) and Palo Alto Unified for your smaller children (plural).  You, your spouse, and your at least four children will delight in all 602 square feet of this expansive 3 bedroom, um, mobile home.  In a trailer park.  IN PALO ALTO.

I’m going to say this again.  Trailer park. In Palo Alto.  This is the real estate equivalent of a squeegee guy at the Ferrari dealership, or Jeff Foxworthy spilling beer on you at Bohemian Grove.

imageDid you ever think there were some properties that won’t gain value even with those amazing Palo Alto schools?  This is one of them.  140 days on the market, price reduced 4 times, and it’s still there for the taking. Part of the reason is the neighborhood, part of the reason is the neighbors, and most of the reason is you aren’t buying any land, you’re buying a tin box and the right to pay monthly rent to keep it in PALO ALTO.

Here’s what you need to know about this place.

imageMobile Home Information
  • Section 1 DOH/HUD Number: GBG1040CK
  • Leased Land
  • Unit Will Remain
  • Space Rent: $650
  • Manufacturer’s ID Number: Mayflowe
  • License Fee: $66
  • License Renewal Date: 2012-04-30
  • License Expiration Date: 2012-04-30
  • License Decal Number: EJ4778

imageThat rent seems kind of low for Palo Alto, actually.  I’m sure the park owner’s agent will be delighted to negotiate a new (read: more expensive) rental agreement with you, after you close on the cargo container and have the option of either loving it or lugging it to any other trailer park in Palo Alto willing to take you at the rent you’re willing to pay.

Remember those arguments you would have as kids, like whether Superman could defeat Captain America, or if  the 1978 New York Yankees could beat imagethe 1976 New York Islanders, or if an irresistible force could shift an immovable object or which would you rather do, be staked on a fire ant hill or have all your toes cut off with a rusty soda can?

This is the grown-up version of those questions.  Does the awesomeness of Palo Alto jack the price up, or does the loserdom of trailer park smash the price down?  How much is this sardine can going to finally sell for?


Burbed hasn’t done many mobile homes. In fact, last time we did one, the owner of the property requested the article be yanked. So we haven’t had lots of discussion on the many issues in buying a house on leased land, but check out the comments on that thread for some of them.  And here’s a brief history of this particular mobile home park.

The door of opportunity is OPEN! So move in and make it your own.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

14 Responses to “Move in and make it your own. Your own housing nightmare.”

  1. Sam_Adu Says:

    That yelp link you posted is hilarious and is exactly what I would expect for mobile home living.

    Sunnyvale also has a mobile home park on Mary and Evelyn called the “Mary Manor Mobile Estate”. I lived in the apartments right next door to them but I must admit I never experienced even one issue with that place….which is totally different than when I lived near section 8 housing in San Jose on the SJ/Campbell border.

    Thus it must be like so:

    mobile home living > section 8 neighbor living > living near a prison (I think) > living in a prison

  2. ES Says:

    Someone suggested you could buy this place, pay the space rent, use it as storage, and live in San Jose and send your kids to Gunn, and STILL come out way, way ahead in housing.

  3. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    I would use it to store empty boxes at best. But 650 a month to send 3-4 kids to palo alto schools isn’t bad. Until the kids jump in front of the cal-train instead of riding it back down to home.

  4. madhaus Says:

    If you read all the comments in the Owner Thread, and then read some of the links posted in there, you might have learned about some of the scummy tactics used by that particular mobile home community landlord. One of them is not showing the land lease paperwork until the “homeowner” has closed on the mobile unit, then presenting them with a huge rental contract which they aren’t allowed to take out of the office. By huge I don’t just mean expensive, I mean like 60 pages or so.

    As to why I posted the same property that ran two weeks ago, both sonarrat and I wrote up this listing simultaneously. When I saw sonar had beaten me to posting it, I scheduled mine much later. But I know some of you don’t like reruns, so I’m going to post a “bunus” listing for today.


  5. SEA Says:

    #1– Comparing mobile home living to living in a prison? Seems reasonable.

    What I cannot figure out is why this place isn’t selling sooner, as in priced for immediate sale.

    “Space Rent: $650”

    So you pay $650 in basic operating cost each month in hopes to sell for how much more? This place has already been on the market for over 5 months; that’s $3,250 in space rent on a $27,000 sale. Ouch.

  6. nomadic Says:

    Is Buena Vista Mobil Home Park subsidized/sponsored by Mobil oil? 😉

  7. SEA Says:

    Sure I sold before the peak, but I knew what had to be done once the RBA CEO suggested, “We are paying more for content every time we renew,” Hastings said about striking new content agreements. “We view that as a positive.”

    Paying the taxes due sure beat the alternative.

  8. Sam_Adu Says:

    The comments in this post are classic (especially #’s 6 and 7). It’s too bad that this property is so sad that it couldn’t even get its own listing for the day.

  9. nomadic Says:

    It did have its own day, Sam. This is the reprise. Here’s the first one:

  10. MS Says:

    The yelp review on the park is horrifying.
    Why would anyone subject their children to this?
    EPA WOULD be a better influence than this.

  11. Kim Says:

    I have a very good friend that lives In Buena Vista Mobile Home Park and have had the opportunity to spend time there. The Park is a friendly, family community and an affordable place to live for young families starting out and the retired elderly.

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