October 22, 2011

Silicon Valley Luxury Real Estate’s Most Astonishing Webpage Ever

I read a lot of real estate sites in order to bring you Burbed-worthy features.  Recently, I found an agent’s special “Astonishing Homes” page that looked absolutely scrumptious.  Plenty of seven and even eight-figure high-end properties on acres of land with great schools.

Now I know absolutely nothing about this particular agent, but all these homes were on MLS. Member agents can detail any MLS listings in their region, and Sophia Delacotte put together a webpage with nicer luxury properties for people to get some real estate pr0n action.  But something was amiss when I took a closer look at the actual listings.


With ten different houses, that’s ten front facades and ten sets of details.  I have all that waiting for you inside, but before you join me, make your prediction how many of these ten estate properties:

  • Sold (pending within 7 days)
  • Sold (pending within 30 days)
  • Sold in a longer timeframe
  • Are still active on MLS
  • Had their listing withdrawn
  • Had a price reduction at some point

For “bunus” yucks, guess how many of these ten estate homes have marble columns.

Got your guesses ready?  Good.  Now, let’s see these Astonishing Homes and find out if you’re as Astonished as I was.

Ready to begin our tour?  I’ve provided some additional details beyond what Delacotte had on the Astonishing page.  The home write-ups are hers, my additions are underneath her home descriptions, and I’ve added the lot size after the house size in the Features.  I added in links to Redfin as well as the current ZEstimate for each house.  We know ZEstimates aren’t an ideal predictor of home values, but take a look at how they compare with asking and sales prices at the very high end.

I tried to locate any virtual tours or property websites for all listings.  Finally, I removed the listing price she provided in the home information, because there were multiple prices for some of these properties.  Some prices were reduced after Delacotte put the page together (which means she didn’t maintain it), and some were cut beforehand (which means she gave no context for the current asking price).

1. Expansive new 8 year old home: How much would you pay?

16000 Cuvilly Court, Saratoga 95070

4 bedrooms
4.5 bath
12,000 square feet on 6.2 acres
Built in 2003

For an expansive, new home on 6.2 beautiful, tree-covered acres, is $19.95 million really too much to ask? Bask in the California sun at your outdoor pool, and entertain with style in the lavish interior.

Listed: 7/12/2010 to 1/24/2011 at $19,950,000
Relisted 2/25/2011 – 8/18/2011 for $15,800,000
(-21% reduction)
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: $13,436,200 (-15% below last asking price)
Virtual Tour: Removed

Note: Is $19.95 million really too much to ask?  It must be, because nobody bought it for $15.8 million.  Some pictures survive on NeighborCity and I believe this house’s entrance is a MAWBUL KAWLUM win.

2. Dramatic Estate for Agoraphobic Drama Queens

27040 Old Trace Lane, Los Altos Hills 94022

6 bedrooms
7 bath
14,855 square feet on “almost 4 acres”
Built in 1992

This dramatic estate, situated on almost four acres of property, boasts an entrance salon, game room, theater, pub room, exercise room, wine cellar, indoor exercise pool, outdoor pool and guest house. With all that and more, you’ll never have to step foot outside this home.

Listed: 3/17/2008 at $25,000,000
Price Increased: 4/26/2008 to $28,950,000 (+16%)
Price Reduced: 5/22/2008 to $25,000,000 (-13.6%)
Listing canceled: 9/20/2008
Relisted: 8/30/2010 – 12/27/2010 at $24,950,000 (-0.2%)
Relisted: 2/1/2011 – 7/11/2011 at $20,500,000 (-17.8%)
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: $17,438,100 (-14.9%)
Property Website: Still there!  Includes slideshow with contemporary piano music. “Old Trace Lane Estate”

Note: I have a reason to step foot outside this home.  MAWBUL KAWLUMS!  Every time you leave or return, you can pinch yourself and say, “Ohmigawd, I live heah!”

3. Everything You Ever Dreamed of, Provided You Dreamed of Los Gatos

15681 Kennedy Road, Los Gatos 95032

7 bedrooms
13 bath
12,405 square feet on 3.58 acres
Built in 1991

Everything you ever dreamed of is right here in this magnificent French Chateau Estate. Main house 9,000 sf, 6 complete suites, gold leafed fireplace, music room, library, wine cellar. Guest house is 3,500sf with guest suite, caterer’s kitchen, ballroom, theater, game room, onyx bar. Infinity pool, impressive portico, band and dance area many more special features.

Listed: 11/7/2008 for $11,500,000
Price Reduced: 4/10/2009 to $9,950,000 (-13.5%)
Listing canceled: 11/22/2009
Relisted: 3/2/2010 – 4/2/2010 for $9,950,000
Relisted: 5/12/2010 – 7/12/2010 for $9,950,000
Relisted: 7/29/2010 – 8/1/2011 for $7,495,000 (-24.7%)
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: $6,370,700 (-15%)
Virtual Tour: Still there, with Pachelbel’s Canon

Note: Marble mammals!  Oh those silly French!  Plus, this is the Party House previously featured in Burbed, with the highest DHO number ever!  Also some kind of stone KAWLUM action going on there.

4. Hundred Year Old House in Our Favorite Zip Code You Can’t Remodel!

860 University Avenue, Palo Alto 94031

5 bedrooms
4 bath
4,527 square feet on 0.52 acres
Built in 1906

This colonial home sits on the National Register of Historical Places, and its architectural details are original. The house still retains its butler and maid quarters, and the carriage house has been conveniently turned into a 4-car garage and guest house.


Listed: 9/20/2008 – 3/12/2009 for $8,650,000
Relisted: 7/15/2009 – 1/2/2011 for $8,650,000
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: $7,352,400 (-15%)
Could not find a website or virtual tour

Note: The listing photos are still available on Zillow.  Also, Delacotte listed this University Avenue home in 95030 (Los Gatos), and for that reason alone should not be allowed within 25 miles of the Real Bay Area.  Finally, MAWR MAWBUL KAWLUMS OMG.

5. House #1 was 12,000 sf on 6 acres, but this one is a 5K/1  “massive estate”

19501 Rue De Glen Una, Saratoga 95070

5 bedrooms
7 bath
5,325 square feet on 1.06 acres
Built in 1994

Drive up to this massive estate on a driveway lined with roses. The gates offer a feeling of both security and grandeur, while the interior of marble fireplaces make the home feel like a luxurious getaway.

Listed: 2/10/2011 for $5,500,000
Current status: Active
ZEstimate: $4,675,000 (-15%)
Virtual Tour: Yes, with light jazz

Note: This is the fifth house on the list, and thus far the first one that’s still for sale.  Hurry, won’t last long!  Plus mawbul globes on gateposts.  Or maybe they’re just lightbulbs.

6. Worth Every Penny of the Original Asking Price (Your Pennies not Mine)

28080 Laura Court, Los Altos 94024

5 bedrooms
7 bath
9,212 square feet on 2.63 acres
Built in 2001

For space and seclusion together, this is the perfect home, worth every penny of the almost $10 million price tag. Built within the past decade, the house has Brazilian in-layed hardwood floors, marble fireplaces, stone balconies, and hand-carved mantles.

Listed: 8/2/2010 for $9,998,000
Price Reduced: 11/24/2010 to $8,998,000 (-10%)
Price Reduced: 3/24/2011 to $7,995,000 (-11.1%)
Listing Canceled: 10/14/2011
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: $6,546,200 (-18.1%)
Property Website: Still there, includes slideshow with contemporary piano music.  “Los Altos Hills Masterpiece”

Note: Photos still available on Zillow.  OMG are those KAWLUMS?  I found some in-layed in the back yard pergola, too.

7. European French Experience Sure to Impress Just About Anyone in California

27861 Natoma Road, Los Altos Hills 94022

6 bedrooms
9 bath
9,500 square feet on 3 acres
Built in 2010

A European experience in California, this French estate with double spiral stairs is sure to impress just about anyone.  Newly built with the finest details, you can find crystal chandeliers, wood paneling, a theater room, and a wine cellar.

Listed: 10/29/2010 – 11/14/2010 for $10,888,000
Relisted: 1/15/2011 – 3/1/2011 for $8,888,000 (-18.4%)
Relisted: 3/5/2011 – 4/5/2011 for $8,888,000
Relisted: 4/9/2011 – 5/10/2011 for $8,888,000
Current status: SOLD on 4/15/2011 for $8,300,000 (-6.6%)
ZEstimate: $7,548,000 (-15% below last asking price, –9.1% below selling price)
Virtual Tour: Yes, with light jazz

Note: If you want to actually sell your ginormous house, put as many 8s into the asking price as possible.  Palo Alto schools, as this place has (Nixon and Terman and Gunn, oh my!) don’t exactly hurt.  The listing pictures are still available on Redfin.  The virtual tour confirms there isn’t a MAWBUL KAWLUM anywhere in the entire house, although there are design elements suggestive of them.

Yes, you’re already at house #7 and this is the first one that managed to sell at all.  And it took five and a half months.

8. Just About Everything You’d Expect, Including Four Price Reductions after Batshit Insane 91% Markup

25810 Vinedo Lane, Los Altos Hills 94022

6 bedrooms
9+ bath
12,143 square feet on 4 acres
Built in 1998

A truly spectacular estate, this home has just about everything you’d expect with a mansion: tennis courts, a putting green, gardens, and private gated grounds. It sits atop four acres of land in the heart of Los Altos Hills.

Listed: 3/17/2008 – 8/15/2008 for $12,000,000
Relisted: 8/8/2009 for $22,950,000 (+91.3%)
Price Reduced: 12/10/2009 to $18,950,000 (-17.4%)
Price Reduced: 4/26/2010 to $16,800,000 (-11.3%)
Price Reduced: 5/13/2010 to $15,995,000 (-4.8%)
Relisted: 7/17/2010 – 1/8/2011 for $15,995,000
Relisted: 2/12/2011 – 7/13/2011 for $14,995,000 (-6.3%)
Relisted: 7/14.2011 – 9/15/2011 for $14,995,000
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: 12,743,500 (-15.0%)
Virtual Tour: Still Playing, with light jazz

Note: I have no idea why a place that couldn’t sell for $12M in 2008 would sell for $22M a year later during the biggest fracking credit crunch in our lifetime.  Maybe the house was dramatically remodeled and expanded it and we can’t tell because the MLS copy has been removed.  Maybe the new plumbing is made of those rare earths you can only find in China.  Maybe $12M is even more above market in 2011 and the seller is completely delusional.


9. Chance of a Lifetime! Non-RBA viable, thriving winery (no financials provided)

21850 Bear Creek Road, Los Gatos 95033

5 bedrooms
3.5 bath
3,400 square feet on 83 acres
Built in 1980

Chance of a lifetime! This is more than a house but a viable thriving, fully operational mountain winery. There are two homes on the property. The lot includes 4 legal parcels with approximately 8 acres planted with Pinot Noir grapes. There is an additional 4,750 square feet of wine caves.

Listed: 4/29/2010 for $7,900,000   …but there are listings back to 10/1/2008 on Redfin
Current status: Active
ZEstimate: $6,713,000   …but it was $1.33M on 8/1/2009. (-15.0%)
Virtual Tour: Yes, with Pachelbel’s Canon

Note: This is the Byington Winery, which is in Santa Cruz County (some of Los Gatos Mountains are in another county, tsk tsk).  Photos on Redfin are a delightful mix of much-too-small and almost big enough to see.  Nothing like spending millions of dollars for a property where the agent pays attention to all the little details.  Also, due to non-RBA location, instead of MAWBUL KAWLUMS you get rectangular stone pillars.

10. Desert style Estate with Deserted Listing and Website

19701 Hicks Road, Los Gatos 95032

5 bedrooms
6 bath
7,800 square feet on 27 acres
Built in 2010

Desert style estate with views of city lights and local parks. A new construction with walnut and mahogany cabinetry, granite and lime stone flooring and an amazing infinity pool.

Sold: 1/20/2010 for $67,500 (assuming that was before this new place was built)
Listed: 5/6/2010 – 5/5/2011 for $7,870,000
Relisted: 5/27/2011 to 10/1/2011 for $7,870,000
Current status: Off-market
ZEstimate: $6,676,300 (-15.2%)
Home Website: Once there was, but it expired

Note: Photos still available on Zillow.  Sorry, no KAWLUMS.

So, How Did You Do?

Of the ten Astonishing Homes, two are active listings, one sold in five months, and the other seven were taken off the market, in some cases after being listed for more than three years.  Six of them had MAWBUL KAWLUMS and two had suggestions of them.  The one house that sold did not have columns, just the suggestive trim.

The Astonishing Homes page was probably posted in late February or early March 2011, based on the prices included.  That means of these nice-looking homes featured six months ago, only one of them found a buyer.  Just ONE.  Out of TEN.  None of these homes are plagued with location fails such as airports, busy streets, or toxic waste dumps.  All except the winery are in definite you-have-arrived zip codes.

Nine of these houses didn’t sell.  Either all but one of those sellers were too deluded to price them correctly for the market, or they weren’t willing to do so.

I find all this ASTONISHING.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

17 Responses to “Silicon Valley Luxury Real Estate’s Most Astonishing Webpage Ever”

  1. Divasm Says:

    Interesting that Byington is for sale, I’ve tasted there. Their Pinots are not up to the quality of their neighbor

    David Bruce

    , but they’re decent. So they’re selling the property but not the label or business? Seems like it would take quite a bit to run a winery.

    At any rate, I don’t see the point of this website overall – how does it help her business to list this? People who enjoy Real Estate pr0n can look up that stuff for themselves, and people who don’t won’t find it useful. And it amazes me how many Realtards don’t seem to be able to update their websites with any frequency – this is why ultimately Redfin will change the way RE works, at least in the RBA.

  2. SEA Says:

    How many “Had a price reduction at some point?”

    Oh, I knew we were out of the RBA, where it’s simply impossible to over-price any property. If these were in the RBA the questions might be: How many had a price increase? How many sold for more than 25% over asking price?

  3. nomadic Says:

    I toured #4 a couple of years ago. If you go to Zillow, you can see a pic of the stained-glass window. They said it’s an original Louis Tiffany and is one of the largest in the world; supposedly worth a couple hundred grand.

    The house is also quite dark. The owners must be tree-huggers because they’re failing at the “lightbulbs & Drano” maintenance by using dim CFLs all over the place. I also remember going up into the attic where the ability to hear every rain drop fall on the roof highlighted the fact it doesn’t have one bit of insulation. Oh, so I guess they aren’t treehuggers after all…

    Still, a fairly impressive historic home if you’re into that sort of thing.

  4. madhaus Says:

    Added Redfin link to Hicks Road property.

    So is magic ZEstimate formula for high-end properties to take whatever the last asking price is and lop 15% off it? If you don’t believe me, look at every single ZEstimate in this article.

  5. Tracy Tea House Says:

    In East San Jo you can get an “Amazing Property” with vineyard for only 1.4!


  6. Divasm Says:

    Huh that observation about Zestimates is interesting. Who can possibly divine the secret recipe they use, it’s all over the place most of the time. I assume you’ve done a feature on them at some point?

    So few comments today, where is everyone? Today’s article clearly took a fair amount of research!

  7. Swan Says:

    Yes, excellent research! I couldn’t post until today because I had to spend Saturday recovering from a mawbul kawlum overdose!

  8. wahnny Says:

    #5 … WoW, the price seems pretty non-RBA (i.e., not unreasonable) for a 4300sqft house (with plenty of MAWBUL KAWLUMS) on 9 acres w/vineyard overlooking Silicon Valley! Wonder why?

  9. Real Estater Says:

    Palo Alto Weekly’s Fall Real Estate issue is out!

    Some excerpts:

    >>Ken DeLeon, a Palo Alto-based Keller Williams agent who works with multiple clients at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, regularly sees homes go for $100,000 to $250,000 over the asking price.

    >>Three weeks ago, one of his listings sold for $400,000 over. The bidding war, he said, was waged between a Google and a Facebook employee.

  10. SEA Says:

    I’m sure 427 Tennyson Ave, Ken DeLeon’s listing, is very representative of the larger Palo Alto market.

  11. nomadic Says:

    Looks like a good place for the next Occupy Palo Alto protest.

  12. A. Lewis Says:

    Wow, I was at Byington Winery on Sunday for a tasting/tour – no idea the place was for sale. So fun to see a listing I’ve been to. The Cave keeps nice and cool! Endless storage space if you’ve got things to hide. Like REALLY HIDE. Any wry comments, GilroyAlex? Think how many people you could support off the grid up here!

    They claim they make 6,000 cases a year. Someone work out the cash flow of buying this place for the winery alone – all the facilities are there.

    I thought the grapes tasted a little better straight off the vines than out of the bottle, but I’m not a good wine person.

    P.S. RealEstater is a realtor. Stop trying to tell us it’s a good time to buy in Palo Alto! Anecdotes about overbidding and just as good as anecdotes about prices dropping.

  13. A Tour de Force? This is at least a Tour de Sixce | Burbed.com Says:

    […] Even though this was sent in a couple of months ago, it’s still on the market.  If you read Saturday’s piece on Astonishing Homes, that fact won’t astonish you in the […]

  14. For Halloween Weekend, Here’s a Scary Treat for You from Burbed! | Burbed.com Says:

    […] Oops, Tuscaloosa now listed for $18.9 million.  Sorry about that!  Are you Astonished? […]

  15. Bay Area Prestige Index: Up from a Real Downer | Burbed.com Says:

    […] always realistic (take a look at both the homes in the zip code series and this collection of Santa Clara County astonishers if you don’t believe […]

  16. Petsmart groomer Says:

    25810 Vinedo is still on the market, now asking $12,995,000. It went pending without release in February but got relisted just 10 days later.

  17. Time-tested Los Altos Hills listing dares you to overbid [Burbed.com] Says:

    […] little less than a year ago we found an agent website listing ten big, expensive properties in the Real Bay Area (well, most of them were in the RBA). We dug in deep to see how the very high […]

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