July 31, 2012


We haven’t had any Willow Glen properties in a while, or even not-really-in-Willow Glen-but-claiming-to-be listings.  Today’s featured home was sent to us by bmwman91.  Thanks very much for this #winning not-Willow Glen wonder.

San Jose, CA 95124


120730-glenkirk-kitchenBEDS:  4
BATHS:  2.5
SQ. FT.:  2,344
$/SQ. FT.:  $416
LOT SIZE:  8,288 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY:  Willow Glen
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81224337
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
120730-glenkirk-diningON REDFIN:  33 days


120730-glenkirk-familyHere’s why bmwman91 shared this house with us:

[The owners] are clearly savvy about cashing in on some of the instant equity that the last seller left hidden in the medicine cabinet in 2005, by listing it for $145k more than was paid for it at the peak. Maybe they need the extra cash to buy some furniture.

Since when was 2005 the peak?  This place might have topped out in 2006, easy!  But we agree about the furniture.  That table sure gets around!

One thing we aren’t sure about is what neighborhood this house is in, but it sure is not Willow Glen.  Google maps isn’t really helping, as it seems to have this house in a neighborhood dead zone.


120730-glenkirk-frontThere’s a few more names that pop up as you zoom in, but nothing for the area bounded by Hamilton, Leigh, Curtner, and Meridian.  We’re going to go with Cambrian with Campbell-San Jose as a second choice.  Maybe even Dry Creek.  But Willow Glen?  We don’t think so, unless it’s this not-Willow Glen neighborhood called “Willow Glen South Lincoln Glen.”  You know, where they have to point out it’s a REG Sale.

So readers, your job is to explain why this not-in-Willow Glen house is worth $145K more than it was in 2005.  Be sure to support your answer by referring to this fine example of a listing photo.


Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

July 30, 2012

Hooray for Crapshacks!

It’s been so long since we’ve featured a house like today’s property, and this site used to run almost nothing else.  Blame it on all the flippers out there trying to install granite in absolutely every building.

Today’s home hails from amazing Alum Rock, and was discovered by Burbed reader Tracy Tea House, who is our guest blogger this fine day.  We’re headed for Zillow, (Redfin link here) so hold on!  And before we go, be sure to give Tracy a big, warm Real Bay Area welcome for this guest post!

1761 E San Antonio St
San Jose, CA 95116
For Sale: $285,000


120729-sanantonio-frontZestimate®: $271,085
Est. Mortgage: $1,020/mo
See current rates on Zillow
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sqft: 937
Lot: 9,583 sq ft / 0.22 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1920
Parking: —
Cooling: —
Heating: —
Fireplace: —
On Zillow: 30 days
MLS #: 81224183

Brokered And Advertised By: Altas Realty Listing Agent: Clem Garcia

120729-sanantonio-backThere’s something about a North  East San José crap shack from 1920 that just gets my juices flowing. I start imagining the history, who lived there, what this part of California was like back then, so much closer to the time of  original settlement.

Then, I start thinking of the toxics, asbestos, old leaky containers and old buried tanks in the 9000 sf yard. Suddenly, the idea of tearing it down and building a flip doesn’t sound too bad… But, people are living there, in all  937 sf of it and they want almost 300K for it????


Still the pictures are intriguing. There is dirt, trash, chain link, Plywood fences, artful shadows, and so much more  in the mystery RV.  Then there are the “normal” houses nearby… How has this one remained all these years, and who will come on the scene to change it. Ok, I’m hooked I’ll add it to my many saved shacks, and send it to madhaus and burbed who I know will appreciate the art of this sale.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

July 29, 2012

A request for information

We get all kinds of mail at Burbed.  Here’s one that asks us for some advice.  Instead of our just sending our answer, wouldn’t it be awesome if we sent several responses?  Our readers are a fairly high-powered bunch, so let’s go!

Dear Burbed.com,

My name is Darren and I am a business student at <school not in the Real Bay Area>.  I’m taking part in a summer business incubator program in <city not in the RBA> where students create startup companies.  I believe the best businesses begin by solving a problem and I’m interested in building my business around helping real estate investors since this has always been an area of interest for me. 

I was wondering if you could take a few minutes to answer some of my informational interview questions below?  I am trying to determine what problems/inefficiencies real estate investors encounter that I could solve through developing a software solution.

I appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Darren <last name goes here>


1.)    What is the biggest hassle real estate investors have to deal with?

2.)    If you could wave a magic wand and change something about what you do, what would it be?

Here are our answers for Darren.  What are yours?

120729-ugly-house1.) The biggest hassle for real estate investors is buying a property and subsequently discovering that it wasn’t in the RBA after all.  Usually this is revealed right after the comps drop.

The second biggest hassle is when business students ask anyone running a website even remotely related to one of the topic terms to do their homework for them.

2.) What would we change?  We would find a way to monetize this site using advertisers who would pay us $1000 per pageview.  Also, we’d implement better email tools to direct these sort of blast requests directly to our readers who are here to help.  Plus we’d give ourself super powers.  No way are we letting go of this magic wand.  We may throw it open to our readership to suggest how to use it on people like Darren.  We’re debating between “sic a high-pressure real estate investment salesman on him” and “replace his computer with a motivational book.”

We’ll be sure Darren sees your answers.  Hopefully he’ll also answer some of our questions.  Our first one is “If you could be any kind of house, what kind of house would you be?”

This is also your Weekend Open Thread.  Feel free to tell us what kind of Open House you’d be as well.  If you could wave a magic wand and change something about the house, what would it be?

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

July 28, 2012

Most Fascinating Statement of the Week: Golden Bear Edition

Did you know that there’s a Real Estate department at UC Berkeley?  No, we don’t mean that Cal or the Regents are buying up foreclosed homes nearby.  There is an actual academic department that studies and teaches real estate.

120724-haas-logoAs an academic discipline.

To, among other students, real estate “professionals.”

At UC Berkeley.

The crown jewel of our taxpayer-funded college system.

Yes, there is an actual place called the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Urban Economics and it’s part of Cal’s Haas School of Business.  Here’s their mission statement:

The mission of the Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics (FCREUE) is to educate students and real estate professionals and to support and conduct research on real estate, urban economics, the California economy, land use, and public policy.

Well, that doesn’t have to be a crisis signifying the lack of integrity of academia, does it?  If they study real estate in a disciplined, methodical and rigorous manner, the subject could certainly be well worth the effort.

Then again, maybe not.

In Tuesday’s SJ Mercury News, Professor Emeritus Kenneth T. Rosen, who is the chairman of the Fisher center, was quoted for a story on the improvement of home values in the second quarter .  Let’s listen in on his brilliant observations on the problem of a stalled regional housing market due to negative equity:

“It’s becoming less negative as house prices are going up around the Bay Area… It only affects those people who bought at the peak two or three years. Part of the reason they have negative equity is that they borrowed a lot of money.”

Ya think?

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

July 27, 2012

Zoned Industrial; City will not allow change

Success breeds success at Burbed, and our coverage of Google Central just keeps leading to more submissions as close-in as possible. Today’s property is a real treat because it’s so close to everything.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for this mixed-use manse in Mountain View.

1941 COLONY St
Mountain View, CA 94043


120725-colony-shedBEDS:  3
BATHS:  1.5
SQ. FT.:  1,105
$/SQ. FT.:  $749
LOT SIZE:  0.27 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY:  Rengstorff
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81227723
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  1 day

Zoned industrial, currently used as a single family house, not allowed to increase the living sqft. Can be used also as mixed residential/industrial. Currently considered non-conforming use and can be kept this way. City will not allow to change the industrial zoning to residential zoning.

120725-colony-drivewayThis agent is such a defeatist! Of course the city will allow to change the industrial zoning to residential zoning.  The only question is, how much will it cost to encourage them to do it?  When you see what this house is near, the answer to whether it’s worth it isn’t just yes, but FOUKING HELL YES.

We’ve seen mixed residential/commercial zoning before, but this house enters a new paradigm for the Silicon Valley engineer/inventor who doesn’t want to be limited to just the garage.  Take a look at all you get just on your block!  Places to build things or store things or blow them up to the left, other is-this-a-house-or-a-wrecking-yard mysteries to the right.  It’s a win either direction you go.  


Plus, look at the  neighborhood we’re talking about!  It’s not often that the vehicles go so perfectly with the front yard decor.


And across the street, it gets even better!  No less than Burbed’s favorite townhouse community EVER!


If Burbed were a business that actually made any money, this house would be the place we’d be headquartered. So run out and buy the place, and start your Web 3.1 empire today!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

July 26, 2012

Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun

120725-bing-doublemintIt’s been too long since we’ve checked in with Burbed reader Tracy Tea House and her amazing collection of what-the-heck-is-THATs from the East Side. 

Today she’s back with another San Jose special for all you would-be Silicon Valley millionaires, but this one’s on the other side of the Valley.  Tracy likes Trulia for all her househunting needs, so let’s check in with them.

1454 Bing Drive Bing Drive
San Jose CA 95129


120725-bing-kitchenBedrooms: 4 24 days on Trulia
Bathrooms: 2 
Property type: Single-Family Home
Size: 1,650 sqft
Lot: 6,098 sqft
Price/sqft: $605/sqft
Year built: 1965
MLS/ID: 81224226
Zip: 95129
Listing agent: Michelle Carr-Crowe, ABR,ACRE,ALHS,ASP,CDPE,RECS,SRES, Top 5% US RE Agents
Broker: Just Call (408) 252-8900 Michelle Carr Crowe at Keller Williams Cupertino 

120725-bing-livingHURRY! Special Fourth of July HOT BUY! 1454 BING Dr., San Jose 95129, Open Sat. & Sun., 1:30-4:30 You and the people you care about are invited to see our HOT BUY! Effortless Elegance & Entertaining can Easily be Yours in this Lovely & Upgraded Lynbrook High Home. Featuring a Formal Foyer, Separate LR & FR & Skylight-Illuminated Dining, a Custom Tile & Oak Kitchen, 4 Light & Airy Bedrooms, and 2 Jaw-Droppingly Gorgeous Remodeled Baths, it all add up to Fabulous! Quality Upgrades include Dual Pane Windows, Copper Plumbing to the Main and Cement Tile Roof. COOL Central Air Conditioning, Wet

120725-bing-frontPut your best foot forward, invite the reader into your book with a great cover photo, you’ve got one chance to make a great first impression so always lead your listing with a terrific all-over picture of the house.  A photo of the house.  Not a photo of the flyer for the house.  Wow, this is worse than confusing Call by Name with Call by Value.  And in this listing the facade shot at left doesn’t appear until the fourth photo, but don’t worry, the agent put in another one right next to it in case you skip past.

See that green thing above the flyer and left of the price?  This property is “Active Contingent,” which means an offer was accepted but you just never know which contingency could derail the whole deal. That’s good news for you, because that means you can submit your own backup overbid!

For old times’ sake, head over to Redfin, where’ you’ll find:

  • 120725-bing-lynbrookDifferent first photo, plus photos of school signs (this one is second)
  • All home photos repeated
  • But the street name isn’t
  • Lot is 124 square feet smaller
  • San Jose address in the “Cupertino” community (while being 1.1 miles from Cupertino)
  • Pending Without Release (can’t figure out if that’s the same as Active Contingent since Redfin doesn’t define Without vs With Release)
  • A Virtual Tour link!
  • And different listing copy:

Effortless Elegance & Entertaining Can Be Yours! Fabulous Floor Plan Features Sep. LR & FR! Custom Tile & Oak Kit. Boasts Garden Window, Roll-Outs, Custom Details! Skylights! E-Z Care Laminate, Hardwood, Quality Carpet! E-Z Walk to Rainbow Park! E-Z Walk to Nat. -Recgnizd Cupertino Scls! Miller-API 981 & Lynbrook-API 943! Cool Central A/C + Private Hot Tub for Summer Family Fun!

It’s not enough to name the schools, now they also include the API scores. But the listing copy on Trulia is more deserving of the Burbed Seal of Approval.


Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

July 25, 2012

Holy Color Purple, Batman!

One thing we all love on Burbed is real estate photography.  We’ve had photos of just the floor, photos of messy rooms, photos of questionable decor, and photos of more toilets than you could shake a scrub brush at.  But today’s featured property looks at those fine examples of photo fail and says, “Oh yeah?  I can beat THAT.”

Thanks very much to Burbed reader DavidDavidDavid for today’s spectacular colorburst in San Carlos!

2388 BRITTAN Ave
San Carlos, CA 94070


120722-brittan-garageBEDS:  3
SQ. FT.:  1,370
$/SQ. FT.:  $554
LOT SIZE:  7,500 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY:  Howard Park
COUNTY:  San Mateo
MLS#:  81226555
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  4 days

Lovely ranch-style home on a large corner lot. Formal LR/DR combo with H/W floors, wood-burning fireplace, french doors lead to patio and secluded back yard. Updated kitchen with dark granite counter tops, stainless appliances & tile floor. Remodeled bathrooms. Recessed lights, New drive way, 2-car attached garage w/ extra storage. Fully lndscp front & back yard. Great schools/nbrhd. Ez fwy accs.

120722-brittan-sideyardHere’s why DavidDavidDavid (I hope I can call him D3 for short) nominated this home for some Burbed loving:

Yet a new achievement in HDR real estate photography! Scroll over to the third and subsequent photos; check out the blazing magenta colorization!

What are you talking about?  We don’t see anything amiss with these photos.

But we’ll keep looking in case our readers might notice any problems.


Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

July 24, 2012

TechCU conversion – Vote No [Not Snarky]

Let’s take a pause from examining the joys and wonderment of Real Bay Areal Real Estate, and look at a serious issue.

If you are a TechCU customer, you will soon be asked to vote on whether you want to convert the bank to… well… a bank. Or to keep it as is.

I’ve read through the literature, and I can’t seem to find any good reason on why this conversion should happen.

Worse yet, the phone calls, the literature, the raffle for free iPads for voting (seriously??) have all left a bad taste in my mouth.

You’re free to do whatever you want to do, but I’m planning on voting no on the conversion.

Here’s some more reasons why:


Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:26 am

July 23, 2012

This Mountain View House has easy access to Los Altos & Palo Alto!

Listed 7 days and pending already, no doubt because of the easy access to better towns.  Did we mention that Mountain View is hot, hot, hot?  If you don’t believe us look at the trees in these photos.

2546 DELL Ave
Mountain View, CA 94043


120719-dell-crapperBEDS:  3
SQ. FT.:  1,216
$/SQ. FT.:  $575
LOT SIZE:  5,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY:  Thompson
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81226069
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN:  7 days

Great location in Monta Loma Neighborhood! Incredible opportunity to remodel and make your own! Blocks from Monta Loma Elementary School. 4 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms with over 1200 sq. ft living space. Open living room and dining room, bonus room and large backyard. Attached 2 car garage. Just minutes from the New Village at San Antonio Center with easy access to Los Altos & Palo Alto!

120719-dell-backyardPlease pardon us while we try to reboot our eyeballs after yet another HDR attack.  We may also need some potassium iodade pills to mitigate any exposure to the radioactive foliage.

Now, can anyone explain why the realtard chose the “additional” pictures provided?  In addition to all three school facades and the Mountain View Performing Arts Center, there’s a photo of a US Bank with a Starbucks across the street.  Is this a subliminal suggestion that you’ll be rolling in dough from all the new homeowner tax savings?  Or is this photo merely there to show how awesome Downtown Mountain View is, a US Bank and a Starbucks, both! 

Because this is Downtown Los Altos.


The photo on the left is #24 from the listing. The photo on the right came straight from teh Googly Mapz, for 300 Main Street.  Obviously this view is far more classy than one of the Starbucks closer to this house.  Wouldn’t you rather sip your lattes at a more prestigious Starbucks in a mawbul kawlums zip code?  Heck, why didn’t the agent include a picture of Stanford?

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

July 22, 2012

Translating Realtardese to English as She is Spoken

Movoto’s blog has some pictures today that illustrate the disconnect between listing copy and what the house actually looks like.  They’ve encouraged other blogs to share it so here it is.

Agent Speak 101

Are there any phrasings you’ve noticed particular to Bay Area homes?  The first one we’ve noticed right away, having moved here from somewhere else.  And almost everywhere else this expression does not mean what they think it means.

The others are just part of the pleasure of living in the RBA, like paying more for the same groceries.

Some RBA Realtardese

Lingo What you think it means What it actually means
Huge Yard 120722-lingo-hugeyard-md

Acres and acres of space


There IS a yard.  At least a yard wide.

Close to

Three blocks from the bus


Close to freeway.  Real close.



Best part of town



Convenient to emergency psych ward

Now it’s your turn!  If you can provide pictures as well, we’ll add them into your comments for you.

Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:28 am