October 11, 2011

I’m breaking up with Millbrae

Today’s Guest Blog is a feature by Burbed reader Divasm!  Thanks very much for this passionate post complete with onsite photos in the location, location, location setting of Millbrae.  So close to the airport, so convenient to international travel, and just minutes from SFO!

Remember, we love guest columns at Burbed (less work for us!) so if you have a listing you want to do justice to, you too can be on the front page!  Our contact info is at the top of the right column.

Waaaaaaay over here ————————————————————————————————————————->

And now, stop your typing and mousing and put your hands together for Divasm!


987 VISTA GRANDE Ave, Millbrae, CA 94030


SQ. FT.: 2,080
$/SQ. FT.: $409
LOT SIZE: 7,200 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Traditional
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Highlands
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81139349
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 26 days

Large 4 Br, 3 Bth home with spacious family room with full bar, on large lot. Kitchen has been updated, as have all 3 bathrooms. New carpets and painted interior. Green belt view from large picture windows in living room. Large attached 2 car garage with a large side room used as a work shop, and another side room for storage.

Dear Millbrae,

After last weekend’s round of open houses, we need to talk. Your proximity to San Francisco, your highly-scoring schools, all made you seem so attractive on the surface. You’re not as stuffy or pricey as Burlingame, not as ghetto as South San Francisco, not as housing tract-y as Daly City, and there’s no major gas pipeline activity (well, no more than normal). Perfect, right?

frontofhouseWRONG. I’ve tried and tried to make this work! I’ve been to open houses so close you can hear 280, and so near to El Camino you can smell the fast food. Houses priced comparably low because they’re right next to Capuchino High School (yet your kids go to Mills, because Capuchino is the low-scoring San Bruno school), and houses priced absurdly high for being on a major street…but oh wait, it’s Trousdale.

stairwayThis last one on Vista Grande wasn’t a spectacular failure, it was just another stupidly priced for it’s bad layout house. But somehow I can’t take it anymore. WHY are you charging $849,950 (was $849,000 but they upped it that 950…why not 888, I ask?) for a house that looks like every house in Daly City on the outside? On a street that is super narrow with a view of the airport?

And what is with that Winchester mystery house stairway leading to a brick wall at the bottom with a metal plate that opens to a cubby in the wall? MetaldoorAnd then, the piece to resistance, off that stairway, that wood-paneled, linoleum-tiled, rock-lined disaster of a room…what IS that? From one side it looks like someone’s sick idea of a dojo, then we see the bar and sports on the TV and think somebody’s trying to open a club in their basement…WTF is THAT, Millbrae, huh???

Regardless, I didn’t stick around to check out the power lines over the steep backyard or compete with the many buyers on cell phones to foreign investors, I simply threw up my hands and left. For good this time, Millbrae, I mean it.


Comments (24) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

24 Responses to “I’m breaking up with Millbrae”

  1. SEA Says:

    Millbrae to Divasm: Breaking up is hard to do.

  2. nomadic Says:

    What’s with the eppraisal estimate over $2M for this place? They’re trying to top Zillow for wild estimates of value?

  3. SEA Says:

    Maybe eppraisal has this place in the RBA.

  4. SEA Says:

    Netflix bankrupt within a year?

    In a comment the author suggests, “Netflix owns nothing. The bulk of their assets are the streaming content deals they’ve paid for, which are intangible and non-exclusive. They have no moat, no intellectual property, and their input costs are skyrocketing.”

  5. PKamp3 Says:

    Walk score of 32!

    The closest bar is the ‘Derma Care Lounge’ according to the Walk Score site. Doesn’t sound like a bar I’d drink at. Maybe the bar in the basement is a rational move?

  6. madhaus Says:

    Good god, that basement rec room isn’t a dojo! It’s a bizarro-world inside-out room, with bamboo shingles so you can pretend you’re actually outside the house, except it’s completely swallowed you like some Klein bottle of a Portal to Hell.

  7. * Says:

    prices have dropped to $600k-$700k on the west side of millbrae for the lower end homes. i expect it’ll be in the $500k-$600k in a year or two.

  8. SEA Says:

    This place reminds me of the Doss family in San Carlos. Note: January 2010.

    In summary: “We borrowed ~$1.3M, have five children running around with another on the way and little to no income. What should we do?”

    Borrowing $1.3M–cheaper than renting?

  9. nomadic Says:

    Looks like that was a classic liar loan. The records I found say he was self-employed with company income around $150k. A single income – self-employed – and a $1.3M loan? Insane for the banks to approve it.

  10. nomadic Says:

    Know what’s really cheaper than renting? Taking a loan for $1.3M and squatting. Or maybe he’s current on the loan again… The house hasn’t been sold or foreclosed. Found the tax info on the house, which led to the address:

    Interesting discussion here, but in most of it they are attributing the wrong house to him. He’s in San Carlos, not RWC.

  11. SEA Says:

    “Insane for the banks to approve it.”

    But prices can only go up, the value is in the land, blah, blah, blah…

    Maybe it’s an IO loan, so the monthly interest payments are only ~$5,500, assuming ~5% cost of capital. The Gilroy Alex’s fully loaded estimate of 1% of purchase price [=$13,000] is more than his gross earnings, for housing alone.

    And the $41,000–if he paid that, how much do you think would be applied to principal?

    Here’s the sales history:

    Nov 21, 2001 Sold (Public Records) $690,000
    Sep 15, 2006 Sold (Public Records) $1,295,000

    Up $605k, approaching 100%, in under 5 years. I’m sure it was worth it. The next few years were not so kind. Oh well.

  12. madhaus Says:

    Movoto never took the pictures down from when it was listed for the short sale, so have a look at the house!

    Several search results suggests he still lives there and has his own software company he runs out of the house. Now, what does his house have in common with today’s house, because I don’t see the connection. Are the sellers underwater?

  13. nomadic Says:

    Well, madhaus, the houses are similar in appearance…

    BTW, read page one of the fatwallet discussion if you want a laugh. My link went to page 2. There are some amusing comments.

  14. Divasm Says:

    The only similarity I see is that house in San Carlos also seems to have a semi-dojo-like room in the backyard.

    Now that I think on it, of the very few people I know in the Bay Area (not RBA of course) with more than 4 children, none of them are financially stable. But at least they own up to the commitments they’ve made (Hello! children are a financial commitment!) and aren’t asking for donations to support their family choices.

  15. nomadic Says:

    They’re both on a slope with the garage under the left side of the house. And are boring little ranches.

    I’m comparing the street view of each, not the listing pics.

  16. The Gilroy Alex Says:

    Software company ….. what could that mean? Credit card fraud? Identity theft? Some kind of money laundering?

  17. MS Says:

    Aw, Diva.
    I know there have been dustups about this, but (duck) have you looked in San Mateo?
    It’s a nice place to live overall.

  18. MS Says:

    And Diva, so soon you forget those with nine kids.


  19. Divasm Says:

    Wow this place just got lowered to…you guessed it…818,888! That’s a sure thing in Millbrae.

    Aw, thanks MS, don’t worry about me, on the same day we saw this loser we saw a place in Belmont we loved and we are now in escrow, doing our part to rid the world of shadow inventory. 🙂

  20. SteveP Says:


    Just curious: How much will you be paying, on your new house? Would it have made more sense to rent a similar house in Belmont, or did you actually manage to find a house that was cheaper to buy than to rent?

    If the house is more expensive to buy than to rent, then I am curious what your reasons are.



  21. Divasm Says:

    Short answer is we got a very good deal and the payments will be lower than rent.

    Longer answer is that we’ve looked for a long while for the house in which we will raise our children, the neighborhood in which they will be schooled, and the yard in which they will play. I rented for long enough so I don’t want anyone but me to decide the condition of said house or if it’s going to be sold. And really, we’re in it for the 20-year-haul at least, so if it loses a little value, so be it. It was purchased at below market enough so I’m not worried.

  22. dollarbin Says:

    That shingle bar is giving me a Tiki boner. They should stage it with some masks and ferns.

  23. root Says:

    Actually went check out this place. The inspection report shows lots of fungus problem.
    There’s a realtor there that is more interested in selling me his service instead of this house.
    His reason is if I keep working with redfin, I will never be able to buy a home as seller agents doesn’t want to sell to people represent by redfin.
    So sad, now I have to beg someone else to take my million dollar.

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