September 10, 2012

WOW, NEW PRICE in Almaden Valley

Today’s amazing abode in Almaden comes to us courtesy of Burbed reader ChinoBoy.  Thanks very much for this fab find that shows what a real estate professional can do that you can’t: get the exact price that will get your house sold!

Or maybe not.  Read on!

120909-timberview-redfin6521 TIMBERVIEW Ct
San Jose, CA 95120
$914,950

4 Beds 
3 Baths 
2,450 Sq. Ft.
$373 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1984 
Lot Size: 6,230 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 139 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Almaden Valley
MLS#: 81215055
Style: Contemporary
View: Mountains
County: Santa Clara

WOW, NEW PRICE, Fantastic Pierce Ranch Blackwell home. Great floor plan with extra large master bedroom, plus bonus room. Formal dining room, wet bar, family room with fireplace, entertaining backyard, swimming pool with Jacuzzi. Mountain Views. Fully landscaped front and back. Updated kitchen, 3 car garage and top schools. First floor bedroom with full bath.

120909-timberview-stairviewAnd this is why ChinoBoy was kind enough to share:

House has been on the market for 122 days. 

If you look at the price history, 3 price reductions, and now today they suddenly raise the price.

Logically, if they had offers at the last price, it would have sold, so why raise the price again?

LOL i know, this market is ridiculous!

WOW!  Good thing we’ve got some “Agent Insight” to help you decide if this is a good choice.

120909-timberview-agentquote

Um, we can see that in the picture, Keith.  But, um, thanks.  Meanwhile, check out the price history!

120909-timberview-listing-history

WOW!  How’s that price increase working?  Does it make this house even more Special?

 

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am






September 9, 2012

Communal Living or 24/7 Startup Incubator?

British publication Financial Times visits Cupertino and discovers Silicon Valley startups and salons… in a very expensive frat house.

Over the rainbow

Communal living is back in vogue, especially among Silicon Valley’s young technology workers

120908-group-dinnerBy April Dembosky, June 29, 2012 6:52 pm

At first glance Rainbow Mansion appears to blend in seamlessly alongside its high-end Silicon Valley neighbours, nestled among the eucalyptus trees and driveway gates of Cupertino, about an hour south of San Francisco. The salmon stucco stretches around multiple bedrooms, balconies and turrets. In the front yard, a stone footbridge arches over a bubbling koi pond.

Inside, it looks more like a university dorm. Bean bags and mismatched couches sit at odd angles in the living room. A former dining nook, now christened “the mystery room”, is lined with hippie-style Indian tapestries on the walls and mattresses on the floor.

Seven people live here, from the ivy league of Silicon Valley companies, such as Apple, Google and Tesla. They are from America, the UK, Serbia and Moldova. While none are blood related, they call each other family.

“We’re not a frat house,” says Mike Grace, 26, a lab manager and researcher at Nasa. “We’re an intentional community.”

Excuse us.  A very expensive intentional community.  As in $7300 a month expensive.  Let’s see what they get for $7300, besides the built-in tech networking with their housemates.

120908-group-zillow21677 Rainbow Dr
Cupertino, CA 95014

Zestimate $2,509,411
Rent Zestimate $7,435/mo
Est. Mortgage $8,923/mo

Beds: 6
Baths: 4.5
Sqft: 5,127
Lot: 55,321 sq ft / 1.27 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1992

Description from Zillow: This 5127 square foot single family home has 6 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. It is located at 21677 Rainbow Dr Cupertino, California. The nearest schools are Regnart Elementary School, Kennedy Middle School and Monta Vista High School.

Wow, that rent Zestimate’s pretty bang on. Think Zillow’s model includes searching the Financial Times?

120908-group-website

120908-group-libraryIncidentally, the people renting the house have set up a website.  Note the third item on the ribbon: Press.  Several pieces have been written about this house, the sort of people who end up living here, and one the the successes launched from this very library.

Ever hear of OpenStack?  If you haven’t, Wired is happy to fix that, with its history of how it got started.  Yes, here at the Rainbow Mansion.  Oh yeah, and at NASA Ames.

NASA’s Chris Kemp decided that they needed scalable storage of their own rather than through their corporate partners.  Think Google Moon and Google Mars.  NASA has plenty of high-res space images, and they wanted to host them, but that meant they needed a new infrastructure.  And in bringing that project about, they not only crashed upon political shoals (a Congressional “inquiry”) but on the difficulty in creating open-source software when so many potential partners had commercial intents.  And eventually the project led to OpenStack… and several related cloud computing companies.

120908-group-frontThe founders of the group home explained that they started the house because Silicon Valley rents were high, so sharing a house was much less expensive.  Most of them were new NASA PhDs who came from elsewhere and knew each other through their academic connections.

People would leave, and new housemates needed to be brought in.  The residents are looking for people who want to change the world.

“Group living situations are not tremendously rare in the Bay Area,” he explains. “We have an unusually high percentage of rentals in part of because home buying is so tremendously expensive, and the leverage goes up as you get more people.

“What’s unusual is when you have a really intentional community, when you have a group of people who are determined to build something and really bring people together.”

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

September 8, 2012

Calling things what their logos look like

120907-logos-oaklandThere’s a cute piece over on Buzzfeed that renames all 32 NFL teams according to what their logos resemble, instead of what the team is actually called.  For your enjoyment and discussion purposes, we’ll share the Bay Area entries.

F’rinstance, you may recognize this as the official sigil for the Oakland Raiders.  According to Buzzfeed, this is actually the Oakland Swords ‘n’ Severed Heads.  They left out that the severed head had an eyeball removed.  Sloppy, sloppy. 

120907-logos-sfAnd this design on the right, which breaks out of grayscale, is for the San Francisco Forty-Niners, right? Not if you name the team starting 120907-logos-sdfrom the logo.  Then it’s the San Francisco Abbreviations for San Francisco.

Here’s one more, and also from California. Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for the San Diego Cartoon Character’s Hair!

I hope you see where this is leading. 

120907-logos-apples

Here is the corporate logo for a major tech firm, including a couple of guesses on how the image may evolve.  Got any better names for this company than the first thing that pops into your mind?  The far-future version looks more like Pac-Man.

120907-logos-starbux

Not a Bay Area company, but quite familiar to us.  Again, the last three entries are inspired guesses.  What is this a logo for, shampoo?  Contortionist classes?

120907-logos-firefox

This one’s tech-related plus the 21 December meteor strike leads to severe climate change.

120907-logos-winx

Flags getting bricked, vaporized, sliced, englobed, dissolved and now, speaking of flags…

120907-logos-w8

120907-logos-msA new logo was announced earlier this year.  Here’s the redesigned Greek flag at left, ready for when they leave the European Union.  We say it’s a Chanukah present.

Then the corporate parent got a logo update.  But when they changed the flag for the whole EU to go with…  We call it FourSquare®: A Way To Make You Pay $40 for a Game Court You Could Draw with a Piece of Chalk (ball not included).

 

120907-logos-sun120907-logos-chip120907-logos-xx120907-logos-asj

 

120907-logos-narCan you identify these tech company logos?  More importantly, can you name these tech companies based on what each logo looks like? We get

  • 8 purple magnets
  • A half-screened green eye
  • Red cable-wrapped beachball
  • Now landing on red runway 1

Surely you can do better than this.  In fact, surely you can do best of all with this one at right.  Or discuss anything else you wish in this Open Thread.

Comments (36) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

September 7, 2012

Excellent Los Gatos and San Jose Public & Private Schools

And we’ll finish up this shortened week of accommodation awesomeness with some new construction in Los Gatos!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for yet another example of Truth in Real Estate!

120906-panorama-redfin116 PANORAMA Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$1,999,000

4 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
3,000 Sq. Ft.
$666 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2012 
Lot Size: 10,100 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 126 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81216707
Style: French, Mediterranean
View: Mountains
County: Santa Clara

New Construction. Excellent Floor Plan; Gourmet Kitchen with Custom paint & glazed Cabinets with Professional grade Bosch Appliances; Walk-in Pantry; Alarmed Security Systems; Smart Wired for CATV/HDTV & custom audio system; Laundry with custom built Cabinets with Granite Countertops & skylight.

120906-panorama-tubNot another one of those backwards houses!  And by backwards we mean a “luxury” type McMansion that has an impressive address, but forgot to bring the school district along for the ride.  Let nomadic explain:

New construction for a premium in the slums of Los Gatos!

I’m calling them out because on the “features” tab it says: “Excellent Los Gatos and San Jose Public & Private Schools.”  They must be referring to private schools in Los Gatos, because the public schools (while quite good) are in the Union Elementary and Campbell Union High School districts.

120906-panorama-virtual-tour-features

120906-panorama-streetview-from-unionRedfin has the location all wrong for these houses on the Google map, which makes me think they’re taking liberties with the lot sizes too.  If you look on the map and pan down Union Avenue to just north of Leewood Court, you can see the two of them nuzzled together on the construction site. 

Wow, it looks AWFUL on the satellite view – worse than the view from Union. 

120906-panorama-redmap

The better-looking but much too close companion chateau finally went Pending a couple of weeks ago.  And given how lovey-dovey these two homes are, who wants to guess that the lot size of 10,500 is for both of them?  (Lot size of 117 is conveniently provided in acres to make comparisons quick and easy!  That’s 11,326 sf.  You’re welcome.)

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 6, 2012

Flip this Complex

Everyone loves a flip!  That is if by everyone we actually mean Burbed readers who enjoy realty fail that happens to someone else.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for this awesome apartment arrangement!

120905-latham-redfin2033 LATHAM St
Mountain View, CA 94040
$5,900,000

— Beds 
— Baths 
13,530 Sq. Ft.
$436 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1958 
Lot Size: 0.59 Acres 
On Redfin: 20 days
Stories: 2
County: Santa Clara
Community: San Antonio
MLS#: 81230709

Quality 26 Unit Apartment Complex in desirable Mountain View location. Unit Mix of (4) 2 bedroom 1 bath units and (22) 1 bedroom 1 bath units. Property has been very well maintained and has been significantly renovated by its current owner during 2011 & 2012. Attractive curb appeal, apartments open out to a beautifully landscaped central courtyard w/ deck and BBQ. Ext. painted 2011. 25 Apts have DW

120905-latham-kitchen120905-latham-leasing

If a single family residence flip is good, then this is 26 times better!  Especially because the seller isn’t going to bore you with a bunch of pictures of the interior, when you have no intention of ever living there.

The photo on the right is the only one that matters.  Flip on, Garth!

Comments (41) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 5, 2012

NOT for the faint of heart in San Mateo

Sometimes, we receive a submission that tells us to drop everything else in the reader queue and post it at once.  Today’s real estate ruh-roh is from Burbed reader TB.  Once you see the pictures, you’ll see why those initials are so apt.

120904-fallon-realtor732 Fallon Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
$299,000

Beds: 3 bed 
Baths: 1 bath
House Size: Not Available 
Lot Size: 0.11 Acres
Price/sqft: Not Available
Property Type: Single Family Home
Year Built: 1950
Neighborhood: Not Available 
Style: Fixer-Handyman Special
Stories: 1 
Garage: 1
Status: Active
County: San Mateo
Area: San Mateo County Approximately 1000 acre(s)
120904-fallon-garage1 total full bath
5 total rooms
1 stories
Type: Detached
1 car garage
Attached parking
Lot size is 20 or more acres
Utilities present: Sewer System Public, Water Public

We don’t often link to Realtor.com, and the missing info coupled with the conflicting info may be why.  They don’t know how big this house is.  The lot is 0.11 acres.  The lot is approximately a thousand acres.  The lot is at least 20 acres.  Close enough!

Let’s see if Redfin is any help.

120904-fallon-redfin

732 Fallon Ave
San Mateo, CA 94401
$299,000; reduced from $425,000 on 8/31/12

3 Beds 
1 Baths 
— Sq. Ft.
Built: 1950 
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 9 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 1
Community: San Mateo
MLS#: 40586991
Style: Fixer/Handyman Special
View: Other
County: San Mateo

NOT for the faint of heart. Major fixer, needs everything including foundation work. All offers will be considered.

Moving over to Redfin has provided way more information than the Official Site of the National Association of REALTARDS®.  We now know how old the listing is, we have the previous price, we have a lot size in a more useful measurement, we now know this is a short sale and that the listing is out-of-area, we have a Double Dog Dare Description of this property, and we have one of the first listings on Burbed ever to have a View of Other.  What could Other be when the default of “Neighborhood” really means “No view from this house.”  This suggests this home has something worse than no view.

No wonder all offers will be considered!  TB observes:

the photos probably don’t do the place justice.

They certainly don’t!  Have a look at them after the break!

(more…)

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 4, 2012

Retro Avatars are now Retroactively Available

120904-status-avatarsSay goodbye to the “mystery man” default avatar in comments.  Now they’ll be marked by a random pixelated identifier. And we’re not only doing it live, we’re doing it #retroactively.  Check your old comments; you’ll see you now have a unique retro avatar if you haven’t already set one up via Gravatar.

Insects, robots, monsters, vehicles, and some… you don’t want to say.  It’s a low-res Rorschach test! Feel free to whine about this change or let us know what some of the avatars remind you of.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 1:06 pm

An awesome opportunity to own this terrific value, 75% complete sold AS-IS

Welcome back from your three-day weekend!  That’s assuming you didn’t work all three days because you’re up against some arbitrary deadline.  And if you did, maybe you’re thinking you really need a vacation.  Today’s property is for you!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Dr. Jim for this superb bivouac in Big Sur!

120903-partington-redfin51422 PARTINGTON RIDGE Rd
Big Sur, CA 93920
$799,000

3 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
3,203 Sq. Ft.
$249 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2003 
Lot Size: 2.03 Acres 
On Redfin: 483 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Green Belt, Mountains, Canyon, Ocean
County: Monterey
Stories: 2
Community: North Big Sur Coast
MLS#: 81120578

The essence of Big Sur, an awesome opportunity, to own an amazing Big Sur retreat property. A private & serene location, on 2+ acres with dramatic vistas of the Pacific Ocean, along with the green and gold flowered hills of the rugged Big Sur Coast. This diamond in the rough, a terrific value, property being sold AS-IS. 2728 s. f. main house, is 75% complete, & a separate 480 s. f. cottage.

120903-partington-ocean-viewAnd here’s why Dr. Jim took the time to share this with you:

Just found your web site – love it!
What’s going on with this one?  The property history is bizarre.

Property history?  What about the tiny little pictures that don’t show the 25% of the house that isn’t complete?  Talk about an awesome opportunity… to take on someone else’s money pit!

120903-partington-exposed-beamBut Dr. Jim is right.  Head over to the Redfin link and check out that property history.  We’d include it here, but it goes on for so long that we literally cannot copy it into one screenshot. Instead we’ll send you over there to have a scavenger hunt, where you have to find the not-an-arms-length transaction, the foreclosure, the sale at more than twice the above asking price, and count the exact number of times it went pending.

And then there’s this, back when the property was sold 9 years ago (for more than today’s asking price), when those plans for a “2800 SQ FT DREAM HOME MOSTLY FLAT” hadn’t been acted on yet.

120903-partington-redfin-old-listing$940,000 Last Sold Price 
0 Beds 
1 Baths 
500 Sq. Ft.
$1,880 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1999 
Lot Size: 2 Sq. Ft. 
Sold On: Feb 25, 2004
HOA Dues: $655/month
Style: Cabin
View: Mountains, Canyon, Ocean
County: Monterey
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: North Big Sur Coast
MLS#: 80340955

PRIVACY, OCEAN AND CANYON VIEWS WITH THE COMFORT OF PAVED AND GATED ACCESS GARDENS BLOOM WITH FLOWERS ON 2.1 AC. APPROVED PLANS FOR 2800 SQ FT DREAM HOME MOSTLY FLAT. VIEWS OF THE OCEAN AND A NATIONAL PRESERVE WILL GUARANTEE YOU

Will guarantee you what?  Argh, this is like reading a mystery and someone tore the last page out of the book!  Maybe it’s “If you build it, the foreclosure will come.”

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

September 3, 2012

UPDATED: This Labor Day, Imagine Doing Less Labor

Are you working three jobs, or one job for 140 hours a week, just so you can become a Real Bay Area homeowner?  This Labor Day, why not just win an RBA house instead?  Burbed reader Divasm informs us of a charity raffle where this Menlo Park house is first prize.  The raffle tickets are $150 each, and yes, there is a quantity discount.

120902-dream-facade

120902-dream-ybcaFirst of all, does anyone know where this house actually is?  All the raffle site would say was “Central Menlo Park”  and “leisurely stroll to downtown.”  Perhaps one of our readers recognizes this 2006 Georgian joint.  Send it in and we’ll add more details about the home, but for now we’ll tell you it’s a 5 BR/5 BA and just under 5 thousand square feet (which means it missed it by that much on the ginormous tag) on a 10 thousand foot lot.  Plus the mawbul kawlums!

Second, did you know if you buy a raffle ticket like this, even though it’s for a legitimate charity, it is not tax-deductable? To be more specific, it is not tax-deductable unless you actually win something. Then you can offset the prize income with what you spent on the raffle tickets.

And finally, in trying (unsuccessfully) to locate the house, we came upon this older SF Gate story about house raffles.  It turns out that raffle prize homes are usually not claimed.  Winners usually prefer money instead of the house, so the first prize is not usually owned by the charity.  The actual owner usually leases it to the charity, with an option to buy should 120902-dream-suitcasethe winner prefer the house instead of the suitcase full of cash.

Why do winners prefer the money over the house?  If the prize is worth more than $5,000, get ready to fork over 25% of its value to the IRS.  So if you won this house, supposedly worth $4.1 million, you’d have an instant million dollar Federal tax bill before you can say “clear title.” 

But wait, there’s more!  Winning this house also means you’d have to pay closing costs.  And property taxes.  (That’s another $44,000, at least.)  And they’ll probably stick you for the transfer tax as well.

Now what would you pay?  Because if you don’t live in California, and you win a raffle like this from a California charity, then state income tax gets withheld off the top as well.  You’re supposed to pay it even if you do live here, but it won’t be withheld up front if you’re already an RBA resident.

120902-dream-ticketSo maybe you’re thinking, “Hey wait, I’m sitting in this non-RBA underwater house!  Why don’t I raffle it like these charities do?”  Sorry.  That’s illegal.  Private owners and commercial enterprises cannot run raffles.  Charities couldn’t either, until Prop 17 passed in 2000.  And the charity must register the raffle with the Attorney General’s office

Or maybe not.  The article is 3 years old, and there aren’t any raffle registrations beyond 2010 on the AG’s site.  With all those budget cuts, maybe you can get away with raffling your house after all!

And if not, enjoy your Labor Day.  We’ll be back tomorrow with more ridiculous realty.

Update: Thanks to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer, we now know where the house is! Thanks very much!

120903-dream-patricia3 Patricia Pl
Menlo Park, CA 94025
$3,999,999; listing removed 7/1/12

Beds: 5
Baths: 5
Sqft: 4,961
Lot: 10,890 sq ft / 0.25 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 2006
Parking: Garage – Attached
Zestimate: $3,396,723
Rent Zestimate: $8,161/m

DELIGHTFUL PROPERTY ON A PERFECT MENLO PARK LOCATION: Elegant and classic home in prime Central Menlo Park- Built in 2006 5 Bedrooms / 5 Bathrooms on 4, 961 SqFt – Size Lot 10, 800 SqFt Three levels with 4 bedrooms on 2nd floor Media Room – Wine cellar – Exercise room – Office – Laundry Room 5th bedroom and bath on lower level Graceful circular staircase – Brazilian cherry floors – OPEN HOUSE SATRUDAY JUNE 9, 2012:1:30PM – 4:30PM

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

September 2, 2012

CNBC: You’re Doing It Wrong in the RBA

Yesterday, we took a look at a CNBC piece on the difficulty of finding a million dollar home in the Real Bay Area, and how badly they missed the real story.  Two days later they tried again, and ran this piece (below) on Friday.  Not even close but no cigar, CNBC. More like in Lodi with little to smoke. 

Take a gander at this piece, clearly written to complement their first article, and discuss whether your like their housing examples or Burbed’s examples.  (Hint: the correct answer is CNBC.  That is if by “correct” we really mean “completely wrong.”)  They had the right idea, but they just couldn’t find the listings that show how awesome the RBA is.

What $2 Million Buys You in Silicon Valley

By Robert Frank and Paul O’ Donnell | CNBC – Fri, Aug 31, 2012 11:21 AM EDT

120901-cnbc-2-saratogaSilicon Valley’s dynamic, tech-based economy has inflated home prices in the area for more than two decades. But lately, thanks to a rash of IPO’s and the mobility of global wealth, relatively modest properties in the suburban towns south of San Francisco have been going for mansion-like prices.

Sales of homes for $1 million or more doubled in the towns south of San Francisco in the past year, passing Beverly Hills and Miami, where the sumptuous palaces snapped up by the rich look more the part.

The current boom is not the result of an avalanche of tech start-ups. Instead, the Valley has been flooded by employees of established companies like Facebook and Google, who enjoyed a personal “liquidity event” when their companies went public in the past few years.

This article is basically the other article, sentences scrambled around, and a few pictures of presentable homes to go with.  There is one and only reason we alert you to this article, and that’s the wretched hive of scum and villainy called the comments.  It’s the usual “Silicon Valley has fine dining, beach, mountains, biking all close by, and the weather is fantastic” versus “Are you kidding, I can buy a house like that for $105K here in East Fumbuck, Nebraska!”

Yes, but then you have to live in a house in East Fumbuck, Nebraska.

 

Comments (34) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am