November 20, 2012

Bring your contractors and do-it-yourselfers

Some of you seemed a little miffed that there was no featured house yesterday.  Worry not!  We have a complete piece of crap an exciting opportunity for you today!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader for keeping an eye on this Willow Glen wonder.

121119-westgate-mlslistings2417 WESTGATE AVE
San Jose, CA 95125
Offered at $749,000

Active Contingent
Type  Single Family Home
MLS #  ML81234991 
SqFt  1,897
121119-westgate-kitchenBeds  2 
Baths  1 Full 
Lot Size 8,400 SqFt
Year / Age  1949 / 63

Bring your contractors and do-it-yourselfers. This needs a total remodel or tear down and a new home. Many newer homes around it. Large lot near the gates at Willow Ranch. Take a look and make us an offer. This is a probate sale. Please use CAR form PPA and PAK. A real estate commission will be paid to the successful bidder only. SUBJECT TO OVERBIDS IN COURT

121119-westgate-familyHere’s what had to say while hoisting this listing over the transom:

Honestly this house made me speechless. The idea that someone would buy a 750k tear town in the south bay…is just absurd.

Oh come on, this is the kind of house upon which Burbed was founded, all the way back in 2006.  Three quarters of a million dollars for a house that’s, if not uninhabitable, at least suffering from some poor design choices? 

All we can say to that is… SUBJECT TO OVERBIDS IN COURT.  And… bring it!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

November 19, 2012

Like Google Streetview? You’ll LOVE Google Houseview!

Burbed reader nomadic informs us of a major Google Maps update.  Guess it’s not rolling out to everyone at once because we haven’t seen it yet.


Awesome sauce! This is going to change real estate, because now, who needs to wait for an Open House or an agent to put together a Virtual Tour?  With this new feature, you can see a home’s interior layout, room sizes, fixtures and decor with just a few mouse clicks.

Bunus: Think of all the homes that will now qualify for the Burbed Good Housekeeping tag of approval!


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

November 18, 2012

NAR survey says their website gets more traffic than anyone else

121117-survey-searchInman News has a fairly long piece about a new National Association of Realtards survey.  There’s plenty of self-serving results to this 120 item questionnaire that was sent to 93,000 homebuyers and gave them a whopping 8% response rate.

One eyebrow raiser is the net gain on sale of a home held 11 to 15 years.  Now, if you live in the Real Bay Area, you already know the answer to that because your money would have doubled in ten years.  But the survey says the typical seller gains 31 percent, or $54,000.  So the gains aren’t anywhere near enough, and this says the typical house is worth $174K. Since you can’t even buy a playhouse for $174K in the RBA, we know this survey was sent to the wrong kind of people.

And that explains some of the other curious results.

54% of buyers who used the internet used their local MLS site.  Can you even name your local MLS site?

More popular than “other” websites (such as Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, etc.) are local real estate agent sites and then  Followed by broker company sites. Uh-huhhhh.  And that doesn’t include mobile apps.

Nine out of ten buyers who used the internet to find their new home used a realtard in the transaction, compared to seven out of ten of those who live in 1950 and used the newspaper.  The discrepancy is explained by the fuddy-duddies either buying from a builder direct or buying a house from someone they already knew.  Not mentioned was the non-internet users also not familiar with another realtard tool: the telephone.

121117-survey-agentsMost important factor in choosing a neighborhood was its quality, followed by commute time, affordability, and closeness to family and friends.  Not mentioned at all was the #1 driver of home sales in the RBA: school quality.  Who gives a crap about the neighborhood if the kids get into a school with APIs over 900?

Buyers chose a realtard based first and foremost on their reputation, which is like saying people decide who to vote for in an election based on a politician’s honesty.  Whoops, that’s the second most important thing buyers look for.

And what did buyers expect the realtard to do for them?  The most popular answer was “Help me find the right home.”

You can see some highlights from the NAR report on their website.  Want the full report?  It will run you $150.

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

November 17, 2012

Sellers in the drivers seat

Burbed began in February 2006, when the market was running bubbly, the RBA ran clear to Seattle, and an East Palo Alto crapshack would run you $850,000. It's early days but we're seeing definite signs of re-carbonation. Burbed reader dollarbin sends in some further proof.

Of course this is Palo Alto. When ads like this run in East Palo Alto, we will have arrived. Again.

Did you check out last week's Palo Alto Weekly? There were at least two different full page ads from Realtards with groups of buyers looking for houses they can close by the end of the year. High end stuff too, 1.5 to 4 million. I can't find links online, but I can take photos of the ads from the physical paper, it might make an interesting weekend post.

Interesting is the word for them. Voyla!

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go wild. Buyers 1 through 6 are counting on you!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

November 16, 2012

One of the most saught after street in Palo Alto

After wasting everyone’s time far far away from the RBA yesterday, the least we can do is finish strong for the week.  And what could be stronger than a house full of curb appeal for an amazing low price?  How about a house full of Burbed appeal for an amazing price you can’t have, because the listing got canceled?  We’ll leave it to you to figure out if this is a new way to say Pending/Do Not Show.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Dr. Jim for sending this one in.

121115-ramona-movoto3284 Ramona St
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Loan Payment:  $4,966/mo
Bedrooms:  3
Bathrooms:  2
Size:  1,601 sqft
$/Sqft:  $905/sqft
Type:  Single Family House
Year Built:  1950
Lot Size:  6,250
Days on Movoto:  38 days
Neighborhood:  Midtown
MLS#:  81237014
Status:  Cancelled

Great Location Midtown home on one of the most saught after street in Palo Alto, home has good bones and sq ft. Bring your imagination to make this your dream home with few upgrades, North East facing lot with lots of sun light. Walking distance to El Carmelo Elem and JL Stanford middle.

121115-ramona-kitchenThe house has good bones, which you can dig up in the back yard.

And it also has sq. ft., namely 1601 of them.  But that’s not why Dr. Jim brought this princely palace to our attention:

Midtown Palo Alto crapshack for $1.45 million. And horrible ad copy to boot!

Oh dear, has Dr. Jim no poetry in his soul? Doesn’t he understand you have to to bring your imagination to 121115-ramona-bathroommake this your dream home with few upgrades?  And if you want a dream home with many upgrades, you should bring your stock portfolio.

Seriously, does nothing please you people?  It’s on a North East facing lot with lots of sun light.  That’s like two lots in one in only 6,250 sq. ft. to go with the good bones.

Bunus: The toilet is so awesome they show it twice.  Check it for additional good bones.

Mor Bunus: Check out the Movoto logo in the listing above.  The graphic designer let us know exactly what s/he thinks of the house!

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

November 15, 2012

Serious defects include well contamination

We’ve been spending too much time in Santa Clara County, which means we’re forgetting about the other eight counties in the Bay Area.  So let’s head north for today’s front-page feature.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Tom Paine for this deep subject.

121114-gravenstein-sawbuck4291 Gravenstein Highway S
Sebastopol, CA 95472

Listed for $535,800 on 2/1/12
Several price cuts, to $315K on 10/19
Sold for $310,000 on 11/8/12

1 Story Detached
3 bedrooms
2 bathrooms
2,535 sq ft
3.45 acres
13 years old
15 Photos
Style: Ranch
Lot Size: 3.45 ac
Mortgage Payment: $1,114/mo
Taxes —
Year Built: 1999
Subdivision: Sebastopol
Stories: 1
MLS #21202510

Nice piece of property on 3.4 acres. Cash only buyers. No financing. Serious defects include well contamination, rotted foundation and extensive wood rot.

121114-gravenstein-fireplaceHere’s why Tom thought this nowhere-near-the-Real Bay Area estate deserved to be all tarted up on Burbed:

Think of enjoying the beautiful views in the morning, sipping that cup of extra flavorful coffee and smelling the sweet scent of rot. And you get that special REO deed that doesn’t guarantee title as a bonus!

Can’t imagine why this didn’t sell faster.  Nothing is more authentically Marin than extensive wood rot.  But you get all this prestige at a Sonoma County price (complete with a Sonoma County address)!

This is also one of those listings we had to play Where’s Waldo with, because it didn’t show up on Redfin or several others.  Plus it had different listing copy with fewer but blurrier photos on Zillow:

121114-gravenstein-zillow4291 Gravenstein Hwy S
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Not for Sale

Zestimate $392,863
Rent Zestimate $2,458/mo
Est. Mortgage $1,371/mo

Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sqft: 2,535
Lot: 150,282 sq ft / 3.45 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1999
Fireplace: Yes
County: Sonoma
Legal description: MAP D5 151
Parcel #: 062240030
Per floor sqft: 2,535
Total rooms: 7
121114-gravenstein-bathroom# Stories: 1.0
Unit cnt: 1
Zillow Home ID: 15806148

Excellent country estate on over 3.4 acres. Home features tile entry, large living area with fireplace & fish tank, granite counter tops & island in kitchen, oversized master bedroom w/sitting area. Outside kitchen with built-in BBQ. Fantastic views of pastures, hills and seasonal creek. Pre qual with BOFA required on all offers. Cash buyers are subject to Deed restriction.

Bunus: Check out the listing history!


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

November 14, 2012


It’s been several days since we last featured a property in Mountain View, and that means every one that’s been sent in has gone Pending!  Here’s one of them you can no longer buy because you weren’t phoning your agent every single minute.

121113-craig-movoto2343 Craig Ct
Mountain View, CA 94043
Price:  $835,000

Loan Payment:  $2,798/mo
Bedrooms:  3
Bathrooms:  2
Size:  1,104 sqft
$/Sqft:  $756/sqft
Type:  Single Family House
Year Built:  1955
Lot Size:  8,000
Days on Movoto:  18 days
Neighborhood:  Thompson
MLS#:  81239158
Status:  Pending – Do Not Show
Go See This Home Make an Offer



The only thing this house is missing is a million dollar price tag.  It’s got everything else: eye-catching facade, listing pix pulled off Redfin and most of the other major sites (thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for Movoto!), ALL CAPS in the listing copy, along with a misused apostrophe and ENDLESS exclamation points!!!!!!


Bunus: Date stamps on the photos, too.  The only thing left to do is place your bets how high the winning overbid comes in at.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

November 13, 2012


Can you judge a book by its cover?  You’re going to have to if you’re interested in this beauty in Belmont!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader alyson for sending this foreclosed fortress in.

121112-hiller-movoto612 Hiller St
Belmont, CA 94002 
Price:  $624,900

Loan Payment:  $2,094/mo
Bedrooms:  3
Bathrooms:  2
Size:  1,970 sqft
$/Sqft:  $317/sqft
Type:  Single Family House
Year Built:  1953
Lot Size:  7,072
Days on Movoto:  15 days
MLS#:  81239349
Status:  Pending – Do Not Show
Go See This Home Make an Offer

Great opportunity to own a home in Belmont! Walking distance to schools, shopping and easy freeway access. This is great for 1st time buyers or investors. Only cash buyers for this property, the buyer(s) are to take possession with the occupant(s) in possession. There will be NO interior inspections for this property, only drive by.*** DO NOT DISTURBE THE OCCUPANT(S) *** Thank You.

Here’s why alyson sent us this listing:

“great for 1st time buyers” but you can only drive by before buying!


121112-hiller-mission-impWho says you can only drive by?  You have many other options!  You could also walk by, jog by, bike by, skateboard by, rollerblade by, or wait for the next snowstorm and cross-country ski by.

Also, if you’re really feeling adventurous, you could descend down the chimney wearing a cable harness like in Mission: Impossible, to avoid the laser-activated alarms this house is obviously secured by.  That’s why there’s no photos inside.


We do like how Movoto encourages us to Go See This Home when the listing copy tells us we can’t.

Bunus: Home sold for $640K in… 2004!

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

November 12, 2012

Downstairs bedrooms may be locked

Listings tend to fall into certain kinds of categories here at Burbed.  There’s your all around crapshack, usually sold for the land value and no pictures inside.  There’s your overbuilt flip that’s wrong for the neighborhood.  There’s your overbuilt “dream home” that’s wrong for any neighborhood, and its cousin, the nightmare home whose builder ran out of money. Burbed reader Tracy Tea House has found us something else entirely over in East San Jose: winner of the wtf tag.

121111-mtkenya-zillow1764 Mount Kenya Dr
San Jose, CA 95127
Not for Sale

Zestimate $434,672
Rent Zestimate $2,549/mo
Est. Mortgage $1,507/mo

Beds: 5
Baths: 2
Sqft: 1,884
Lot: 5,662 sq ft / 0.13 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1961
Construction quality: 6.0
County: Santa Clara
Last remodel year: 1961
Legal description: TRACT 2450 MT PLEASANT BOOK 132 PAGE1 7 LOT 792
Lot depth: 105
Lot width: 54
121111-mtkenya-kitchenParcel #: 64724054
Per floor sqft: 1,884
Total rooms: 7
# Stories: 2.0
Structure type: Other
Unit cnt: 1
Zillow Home ID: 19786732

Split level home with so much potential. Three bedrooms upstairs and two downstairs. Open floor plan with large living room. Inside laundry. Downstairs bedrooms may be locked but rest of the house is view-able. Large separate storage room outside, detached workshop. Some double-pane windows. Home needs front and back landscaping, has nice decorative stone wall. Good handyman special.

121111-mtkenya-livingWe’re not going to let a little thing like the house not being for sale stop us.  Besides, Movoto’s got it for $350,000.

Here’s what Tracy had to say when sending in this Alum Rock redoubt:

Do not drink before viewing these pictures!

Oh wow. Wrong in so many ways, but the picture of the kitchen is a first for me! This house just hit the market for 350K

What, you’ve never seen green cabinets before?  Oh, you mean this one.


We don’t think we’ve ever seen one of those in a kitchen before either.  Guess putting it outside isn’t that good an idea.


Bunus: Check out the (five years) old listing photos currently on Redfin.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

November 11, 2012

A Livability Index

We’re always interested in ways to measure how Special a place is.  A website called has a Livability Index that has some interesting assumptions.

First, let’s see what it makes of some places most of us agree are Not Particularly Special (by which we mean we wouldn’t live there for free and we also wouldn’t live there unless we were paid Larry Ellison’s stock options).

Here’s areavibes on Detroit.


Detroit, MI is “Somewhat Livable.”  The only “A” grade it received was in cost of living, and that’s because the city will pay you to take one of their excess houses so they don’t have to pay to tear it down.  We can’t imagine what kind of city would merit a “Completely Out of the Question.”  Let’s move another to another Perennial of Pwnage: Stockton.


I can see the new Civic Motto over City Hall (if they have any staff capable of hanging banners): Stockton! Four Points More Livable Than Detroit!  But they are an important four points, as Stockton is considered “Very Livable.”

We now move on toward the Bay Area, but not the Good Part.


When Stockton has finer amenities than you do, and their weather is better too, plus your housing costs are unacceptably high to anyone outside the Bay Area, what’s the point of even entering the race?  Let’s try a better zip code.


Ooooo!  Exceptionally Livable!  And what’s really exceptional is that if we type in an actual zip code, the score went down.


Good luck figuring out why.  Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle of Real Bay Area Living.


We invite you to try to score higher than that, either in the Bay Area, or anywhere else.  And we don’t want you to think these “grades” are completely pulled out of Mitt Romney’s car elevator.  Here, for example, is what the housing grade is based on:


Cupertino scores higher than average in every category.  Why would they be marked down for better numbers?

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go crazy.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am