June 10, 2012

Round Up the Usual Suspects

Sometimes a real estate website will ask us to pass along some content they think might be of general interest.  Have a look at this “analysis” of home buyers from Movoto.

120609-breakdown-single-female-subtypes

The Usual Suspects: Breakdown of American Home Buyers

Who is the typical home buyer? The answer isn’t surprising. According to National Association of Realtors, the largest category home buyers are married couples. After this it’s single females, single males, and unmarried couples.

But that doesn’t mean each group looks for the same thing. Below are the four largest groups of home buyers. How do you compare?

120609-breakdown-nar-reportThe infographic itself (the above image is just one item from it) appears in the Movoto blog entry before the introductory paragraphs we quoted above. That’s a pity.  In the graphic, we don’t learn until the very bottom that the information it’s based on comes from those brilliant housing geniuses from the National Association of Realtards.  NAR is the wellspring of unbiased, spin-free information from professional real estate agents who have your best interests as their number one priority, that is if by “your best interests” I actually mean “their maximum profit.”

See the full infographic when you click on through, plus a few more comments from us.  But there’s more inside that NAR report than what Movoto offered, so perhaps we’ll be cherry-picking our own observations from this “study” at some point.  And of course, we welcome your observations.  Catch you on the other side.

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Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am






June 9, 2012

When your home won’t sell: An electrifying solution

As regular readers of this site already know, homes in the Real Bay Area don’t need to convince buyers of their value.  No matter how inept the Realtard representing it, even a turkey of a home within RBA limits will go pending quickly.

This isn’t the case for homes far, far away from the RBA. Thanks to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for this example of how to sell a house that has the misfortune of not being anywhere near Google or Facebook.

1501 GUTHRIE Dr
INVERNESS, IL 60010
$1,149,000 (Reduced from $1,490,000)

120604-guthrie-redfin

BEDS: 4
120608-guthrie-theaterBATHS: 5
SQ. FT.: 6,757
$/SQ. FT.: $170
HOA DUES: $17/month
LOT SIZE: 1.03 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family, 2 Stories
STYLE: Traditional
EXPOSURE: East, West
YEAR BUILT: 2001
COMMUNITY: Inverness
COUNTY: Cook
MLS#: 08047047
SOURCE: MRED
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 46 days

Wide open floor plan with granite, stainless, and maple kitchen w/ viking range and commercial hood. Hardwood floors throughout much of the home. !st flr. Theater, office, and sun room! Dining room is perfect for large dinner parties. All bedrooms with private baths and walk-in’s. luxurious master suite with sitting room, and high end master bath with vaulted ceilings, cherry cabinets, and marble. Huge deck.

120608-guthrie-kitchenWhat can you do if you own a ginormous housing tumor in flyover country and no longer wish to have it sap your precious bodily fluids?  You list it for sale and more than 30 days go by, which means, according to Jim the Realtor, that the price is more than 10% too high.  In this case, probably way more than 10%, as you’ve already cut it 23% without any takers.  It could mean that nobody wants your expensive mistake.

Clearly, more drastic marketing measures are needed.  Have a look at them by clicking on through.

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Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

June 8, 2012

Live-in, remodel to suit, or build anew

Let’s finish up the week with a visit to the wonderful world of Woodside.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for this rococo residence that may have you ralphing.

110 KENMORE Way
Woodside, CA 94062
$1,699,000

120607-kenmore-redfin

120607-kenmore-doorknobBEDS: 3
BATHS: 3.5
SQ. FT.: 3,460
$/SQ. FT.: $491
LOT SIZE: 1.04 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
STORIES: 1
VIEW: Mountains
YEAR BUILT: 1955
COMMUNITY: Woodside Hills
120607-kenmore-libraryCOUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81218775
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 21 days

Enjoy this spacious, single-level, View Contemporary features 3 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bath plus formal Library/Study, on a quiet, private cul-du-sac in the highly sought-after Woodside Hills community. Live-in, remodel to suit, or build anew to take advantage of this huge 1.04 * acre lot with sweeping western hill views. The home at its prime was featured in Architectural Digest and Gentry Magazine.

120607-kenmore-too-much-furnitureThat first sentence doesn’t scan at all.  It starts off telling you to enjoy the house but gets lost in panting over the features.  Just because you’re spending over a million on a house doesn’t mean you should expect a realtard capable of proofing his own copy.  Anyway, here’s why nomadic sent this property in:

This house isn’t that bad, but a phrase in the 120607-kenmore-laundrycopy is amusing: “the home at its prime was featured in Architectural Digest and Gentry Magazine.  When?  I’d guess around 1960.  Hmm, according to their website, Gentry Magazine (apparently a pretentious publication) was established in 1993.  That hardly seems possible!

120607-kenmore-gentry

120607-kenmore-kawlums1993?  Then what’s with the mermaid on the website?  Splash came out in 1984, and even The Little Mermaid beat the 90s by a month and a half.  But if you read the current issue online, page 5 has a much pricier place in Woodside with the same high-falutin’ terms as eBay.  Yup, a minimum bid and a Buy it Now price.

120607-kenmore-mantleOkay, back to this house.  “The house isn’t that bad”?  How could it be bad?  It has mawbul kawlums!  Some of the other photos, though, suggest someone with too much money and no understanding of the term “less is more.”  Because when it comes to the photos of this house, more is definitely not more.  Maybe someone should tell the agent that plastering his name prominently across every single listing photo only adds to that “gilding the gold-plated fixtures” feeling.

120607-kenmore-little-gentryAnd that doesn’t include the utterly pedestrian street name.  Look, if you have enough wealth to buy in Woodside, you do not want to live on a street that reminds you of your mother’s crappy dishwasher.  Maybe you could make a donation to the Mayor’s favorite charity in return for a declaration renaming the street Miele Manor or Bosch Boulevard.  If you need inspiration, start leafing through Gentry Magazine.

Coming soon!  We can’t wait!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

June 7, 2012

Price Reduction in Palo Alto! NOW is the time to BUY!

price-cut[7]Sometimes we try to go an entire week without mentioning the most Special Place in the Whole Real Bay Area.  This week, sorry, no such luck. 

Many thanks to Burbed reader Gallileo for this perfect Palo Alto abode!

2150 Waverley St
Palo Alto, CA 94301
$4,450,000, reduced from $4,975,000

120606-waverley-redfin

BEDS: 4
BATHS: 3
120606-waverley-kitchenSQ. FT.: 3,018
$/SQ. FT.: $1,474
LOT SIZE: 0.26 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Colonial
STORIES: 2
YEAR BUILT: 1928
COMMUNITY: Old Palo Alto
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81218701
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 20 days

ELEGANT COLONIAL IN ONE OF OLD PALO ALTO’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS LOCATIONS – ON AN AMAZING 11,200 SF LOT. SPACIOUS, OVER 3000 SF HOME W/ 4BR AND 3 BATHS. INCLUDES FORMAL ENTRY, FORMAL DINING ROOM, SEPARATE FAMILY ROOM, MASTER BEDROOM SUITE, DEN/STUDY & GROUND FLOOR BEDROOM.

Here’s why Gallileo sent this listing in:

2150 Waverley in Palo Alto is back on the market!  Originally featured in 2009 for nearly four million dollars, this beautiful home with ocean views didn’t sell.

120606-waverley-burbed-0911

120606-waverley-bedroomThis house has appreciated a cool million–twenty-five percent–in just twenty-eight months. All the way to almost five-million dollars! Surely if it didn’t sell for four-million while it was listed for nearly all of 2009, someone will pay five-million in the summer of 2012. You know, the luxury good effect and all that. It just wasn’t priced high enough to be prestigious before.

Just imagine how much appreciation if it still had ocean views, or if you could still walk to Steve Jobs’ house from here. Hey, his old place is just down the street. It just needs to be more 120606-waverley-kawlumsexpensive so it can be truly prestigious.

So why was the home marked up a million dollars since 2009 when it didn’t sell?  They didn’t spring for new listing copy, or expensive lower-case letters. But this time around, there are actual photos inside the house.  So now we know a secret: There’s a set of MAWBUL KAWLUMS in the john!

But speaking of million dollar markups, whoops!  Would you believe the seller reduced the price the very day we wrote this house up? Sure you would, but what you won’t believe is that a house in Palo Alto could be overpriced in the first place. It must be because the ocean views got misplaced.

You do realize if you don’t put your bid on this property in the next 15 minutes you’re going to be priced out forever.

Comments (76) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

June 6, 2012

Pinnacle of Contemporary Indoor-Outdoor Living

Here’s a moldy oldie that got stuck to the lining of the ol’ Burbed inbox.  Of course you can no longer buy it since it went pending in ten days and has now sold. But we can still enjoy it.  Many thanks to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for bringing this superb Sunnyvale shelter to our attention!  That’s right, Sunnyvale, one of the ten best places in the entire country to raise kids!

884 BROOKLINE Dr
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
Listed for $1,198,000; Sold for $1,288,000

120605-brookline-redfin

120605-brookline-livingroomBEDS: 5
BATHS: 3
SQ. FT.: 2,411
$/SQ. FT.: $534
LOT SIZE: 7,605 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 1
YEAR BUILT: 1967
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81214209
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Sold

Pinnacle of Contemporary Indoor-Outdoor Living * Landscaped Open Air Atrium * Spacious Living & Dining Area w/ Brick Fireplace & Glazed Cement Floors * Gourmet Kitchen w/ Granite Counters, White Frameless Cabinets, Island, Sitting & Eating Area, Italian Tile Floors * Master Suite * Pitched Roof * Two Car Garage * Landscaped Yards w/ Stamped Cement Patio, Lighting, Sprinklers, Fruit Trees * Cumberland Elem/Homestead *

brooklineThere’s no doubt that the Real Bay Area is hot, hot, hot!  But even here in the Corridor of Not Quite (which hugs El Camino Real), there’s hard evidence of overbidding.  This house sold for 7.5% above asking!  How else can anyone explain the sale price for this home that doesn’t have Cupertino schools or even the best Sunnyvale elementary?

At least the photographer did a nice job lining up photos 3 and 4 so everyone could really enjoy that pitched roof.

Too bad the same care wasn’t applied to the HDR.

120605-brookline-hdrsky

If those trees glowed any more the EPA would have to remediate the entire neighborhood.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

June 5, 2012

TWO OF THE HOMES ARE LEGAL

Special Reminder: Today is California’s Primary Election. If you haven’t already voted please refer to the Official Burbed Ballot Guide!

Let’s spend another day seeing what kind of house you can get if you’re willing to drive a little, save a lot.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Tracy Tea House for this magnificent Morgan Hill megaproject!

545 LIVE OAK Ave
Morgan Hill, CA 95037
$899,950

120604-liveoak-redfin

120604-liveoak-exteriorBEDS: 2
BATHS: 2
SQ. FT.: 2,006
$/SQ. FT.: $449
LOT SIZE: 3.28 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Country English
STORIES: 1
VIEW: Mountains
YEAR BUILT: 1946
COMMUNITY: Morgan Hill/Gilroy/San Martin
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81206317
120604-liveoak-groundsSOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 107 days

THIS PROPERTY IS LOCATED IN COYOITE VALLEY. THE LOT SIZE IS 3.28 ACRES. THERE ARE FIVE HOMES ON THE PROPERTY. TWO OF THE HOMES ARE LEGAL, THE OTHER THREE ARE LEGAL NON-COMFORMING. ALL OF THE HOMES HAVE SOME UPGRADES. OWNER LIVES IN THE FRONT HOME. TOTAL RENT COLLECTED ON THE OTHER FOUR HOMES IS $5,200.TWO OF THE HOMES ARE RENTED TO FAMILY MEMBERS AT BELOW MARKET RENTAL RATE.

What an opportunity!  There shouldn’t be any downside in buying five houses with permit issues and tenants related to the seller who expect subsidized rent forever!

120604-liveoak-satellite

“Bunus”: Large vehicle collection; negotiate possession.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

June 4, 2012

Why pay more in Silicon Valley? You can pay more anywhere!

Tired of high prices in Palo Alto and its environs?  Don’t lower your standards, broaden them! After all, with the return of the housing bubble, you can pay high prices all over the Bay Area!  And some sellers think you’ll be willing to pay high prices at the very edges of the Bay Area.  You’ll know housing insanity has returned when you see a house like this one for a price this, um, dreamy.

Many thanks to Burbed reader Tom Paine for passing along this super spread in Sebastopol!

2881 Scotts Right Of Way
Sebastopol, CA 95472
$898,500

120523-scotts-redfin

BEDS: 3
BATHS: 3
SQ. FT.: 2,567
$/SQ. FT.: $350
LOT SIZE: 1.82 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential, Detached, Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
STORIES: 1
VIEW: Golf Course, Greenbelt, Vineyard
YEAR BUILT: 1974
COMMUNITY: Sebastopol
COUNTY: Sonoma
MLS#: 21101823
SOURCE: BAREIS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 488 days

Unique property on almost 2.0 Acres. The home is located over looking the Sebastopol Golf Course to the South and grapes to the North. Horse facility for at least 5 horses, tack room, paddocks, stalls, and more. The backyard is landscaped and includes a beautiful pool and spa with a waterfall. Private driveway.

120523-scotts-fireplaceListed almost a year and a half ago for $998,500 and still on the market after a $100K reduction! Maybe it hasn’t sold yet because the right buyer hasn’t toured the house yet.  The kind of person who buys a house like this probably is cross-shopping Palo Alto.  The driveway (above) is just like what you get in fine Palo Alto houses, as is the excellent living room.

And just look at the kitchen!  Ready for your gourmet recipes, yum, yum, yum.  Then when you’re all cleaned up after dinner, well, lights out!

120523-scotts-kitchen120523-scotts-bedroom

Plus a really memorable street name, if by “memorable” we actually mean “wow, that is incredibly stupid.”

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

June 3, 2012

The Best Place to Raise Kids in the Whole Bay Area!

Kiplinger’s chooses ten cities across the US that are the best places to raise kids.  The criteria are:

120530-kiplinger-familyWe took a two-step approach to come up with our list of the best cities to raise kids. First, we looked for metropolitan areas with high household incomes relative to living costs, a large percentage of families with children under 18, and low crime rates. We weren’t seeking the cheapest places to live, but rather places where earnings potential is more than adequate to cover a family’s expenses.
Then, we honed in on a specific city within each of our top 10 metro areas that’s well-suited to raising kids based on educational factors (spending per student and the quality of local school districts) as well as fun factors (availability of public parks, playgrounds and libraries). We also looked at each city’s average income for families — as opposed to median income for all households — to give a realistic sense of how much it can cost a family to live in a place with so many kid-centric benefits.

So, high incomes, lots of kids, low crime rates.  Sounds like just about anywhere in the RBA, doesn’t it?  And they said they would pick one representative place for each of their “top 10 metros” based on school funding and quality, as well as kid-friendly public services.  The latter might disqualify a number of high-income RBA towns, since they assume everyone has their own 10 acre private park in the backyard.

Yes, the Bay Area got a city on the Top Ten list, and they picked… Sunnyvale?

120527-tenbest-sunnyvale

120530-kiplinger-sunnyvaleCity population: 140,081
Average family income:$123,647
Percentage of families with children: 32.6%
Metro-area spending per student: $7,345
Public playgrounds: 25
Silicon Valley may not be the most intuitive place to raise kids, but the area has more going for it than shiny condos and trendy tech jobs. The average family income is well above the national average, as are living costs. But when it comes to raising families, those costs can be worth it: Sunnyvale has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
Two of the city’s elementary schools were named “Distinguished Schools” for 2012 by the California Department of Education, and the neighboring Cupertino Union and Fremont public school districts boast some of the best test scores in the state. When they’re not studying, kids in Sunnyvale enjoy 476 acres of neighborhood parks and playgrounds, and one of the country’s largest children’s museums is in nearby San Jose. San Francisco is less than an hour away by car.

Excuse me.  That’s “World-Famous Cupertino Union School District.”  Here’s the complete list of Kiplinger’s top family-friendly cities.  Watch them toss away one of their own rules:

10. Stamford, CT (NYC)
9. Corona, CA (LA/Riverside)
8. Middletown, NY (1.5 hrs to NYC)
7. Sunnyvale (San Jose/San Francisco)
6. Appleton, WI (no metro mentioned, assume Chicago/Milwaukee)
5. East Grand Rapids, MI (no metro mentioned, assume Detroit)
4. Thousand Oaks, CA (LA)
3. Suwanee, GA (Atlanta)
2. Richland, WA (Tri-Cities)
1. Omaha, NE (boredom)

120530-kiplinger-la-palmsTop ten metro areas, eh?  Why is LA in there twice but no San Diego?  On what planet are the Tri-Cities, in Southeast Washington, a “major metro”?  Where’s Philadelphia?  Where’s Boston?  Where’s Washington DC?  Seattle?  Portland?  Houston or Dallas?

Here are the top 10 metro areas in the US, per the Census Bureau, using 2011 population.

1. NY/Northern NJ/Long Island (NY/NJ/PA)
2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana
3. Chicago/Joliet/Naperville (IL/IN/WI)
4. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, TX
5. Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, TX
6. Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington (PA/NJ/DE/MD)
7. Washington/Arlington/Alexandria (DC/MD/VA)
8. Miami/Ft Lauderdale/Pompano Beach, FL
9. Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta, GA
10. Boston/Cambridge/Quincy MA/NH

Note who is missing from the Top Ten.

11. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, CA
31. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA

Adding the population of the two together would move that more obvious metro into 4th place, after Dallas and ahead of Houston.  And the Census recognizes this.  The “Combined Statistical Area” is called San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland.  Many of the MSAs are also CSAs, but most of the larger ones are part of bigger CSAs. 

120530-kiplinger-omahaIf we use CSAs, the Bay Area moves to #6, behind NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Boston CSAs.  Rounding out the top 10 are Dallas, Philly, Houston, and Atlanta.

None of this explains Kiplinger’s bizarre picks for this list.  Some of the cities have 10,000 people and some are even bigger than Sunnyvale.  And any list that ranks Omaha, Nebraska first and isn’t called Places Warren Buffett Lives shows they’re just trolling us.

Sunnyvale was also seventh on the CNN/Money’s 2010 list of Best Places for the Rich & Single.

Comments (44) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

June 2, 2012

MERS so ubiquitous it ends up suing itself

Here’s a story out of Salt Lake City, Utah, but Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) is going to continue to be a headache all across the country.  Yes, even where it’s Special.

Bankers’ mortgage system survives legal storm in Utah

But lawsuit that catches couple shows gaps it leaves behind

120527-mers-lawyerBy Tom Harvey | The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published May 25 2012 02:07 pm • Updated 41 minutes ago

It says something about the ubiquity of the alternative mortgage registration system created by the nation’s bankers that it is now suing itself in a Utah lawsuit.

But even without that anomaly, the lawsuit is a bizarre confluence of factors that has caught a Draper couple in a situation where they bought a home based on a clean title report only to now be in court fighting to ensure the transaction was legitimate.

The case demonstrates both how much the Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Inc. bankers created in the mid-1990s has invaded the state’s traditional property registration system and how it also left cracks along the way.

And while MERS has beaten back a flood of lawsuits in Utah challenging its legality, it faces serious legal actions in other states over its usurping of traditional real estate recording practices.

Remember the wild and wooly days of the housing bubble, where anyone who could fog a mirror could get a mortgage?  That was because the investment banks figured out that they could slice and dice these mortgages, bundle them into securities, and sell them as AAA bonds even though they were 99.44% pure crap.  These CDOs (collateralized debt obligations) and the CDSs (credit default swaps) that “insured” them were popular, and plenty of money flowed into the mortgage market in search of the ten people who hadn’t bought a house yet.

120527-mers-shareholdersNeedless to say, with all this slicing and dicing of mortgages into creative (read: fraudulent) financing vehicles, the banks didn’t want to have to keep registering all these mortgages every hour another bond fund took ownership of them.  So they instead created a ginormous spreadsheet that listed the owners and figured that was good enough.  That spreadsheet was MERS.  This had the added advantage of starving county governments, because they were no longer receiving recording fees when mortgages changed ownership.  It also is a Full Employment Act for real estate attorneys, because it’s going to take years to dig out of this mess.

The really great news is while the rest of the nation is still dealing with fallout from all the foreclosures and lawsuits, we in the Real Bay Area are just getting started on Housing Bubble 2.0.  It’s going to be Better Than EVAH.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

June 1, 2012

Perfect for the Minimalist

We continue our look at crapboxen lower-priced homes.  Here’s another more affordable property that you can no longer purchase because someone beat you to it.  Didn’t we tell you the market was hot, hot, hot?  Why aren’t you running out there and buying a house right now?  Do you want to be PRICED OUT FOREVER?

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for passing along this excellent property in East Palo Alto.

533 WEEKS St
East Palo Alto, CA 94303
$260,000

120530-weeks-redfin

BEDS: 2
BATHS: 1
SQ. FT.: 1,170
$/SQ. FT.: $222
LOT SIZE: 6,325 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Traditional
STORIES: 1
YEAR BUILT: 1947
COMMUNITY: East of U.S. 101
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81214470
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 41 days

great property for invester or first time hom buyer.

120530-weeks-frontHere’s why PG shared this home with you:

9 words, 2 typos.  Close to Facebook, though.

And since a picture is worth a thousand words, best we share the rest of the photos.

120530-weeks-walkway120530-weeks-backyard

Isn’t this place charming?  Now look at the Google Streetview.

120530-weeks-streetview

Curb appeal!

Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am