December 31, 2012

Last post of 2012

Today is the last day of the year.  What was your favorite property of all the ones we pointed and laughed at this year?  Here are some for your discussion.

Top High End Properties

Belvedere Design House doesn’t sell, going up for auction

Unbelvble Gorgeous French Style Masterpiece Estate in Saratoga

Lafayette Mansion of Murders

Los Gatos house parks 7

Unbelievable New Millbrae House

Burlingame Mystery House

Los Altos Hills for only $20M

Sunnyvale Freedom is Slavery Inverse House

$4.2M Belvedere teardown

Woodside auction (never sold)

Live across the street from Steve Jobs, except you can’t cuz he’s dead

Brutalist Sebastopol spread

$9M house with meh kitchen

Saratoga red arrow spectacular

Insanely expensive PA house with Kawlums in the bathroom really

Too-big-for-the-hood Sunnyvale Spectacular, with Bunus Buyer in comments

Los Gatos luxury home plus HDR lesson

New and ugly house in Mountain View!

Top Not So High End Properties

8.5 foot wide lot in Alameda

Bayview Bargain

Santa Cruz Mountain High

Saught after PA street

Every Burbed cliche in Sunnyvale

Realtard goes there: Alameda bathroom flaunts all

San Mateo Photo Spectacular

I say, I say, I say in Mountain View

Instagram for Redfin

Mountain View house with free pets

Million dollar meth lab

Dead animal decor

Redwood City or Abbottabad?

Pair of houses across from psych ward

Adorable pink house in PA under a mil

This Castro Valley house is going places

Saratoga home for living!

Truly manificent, with angry commenter defending this neighborhood’s honor

Palo Alto! But deplorable condition

This one’s worse

Kids not included with house

House with themed rooms in Fremont

Perfect home in Walnut Creek

Good housekeeping in Menlo Park

Close to Santana Row!

Top Filler Pieces Not About Actual Houses for Sale

Lucky numbers in asking prices

Snout Housing of the South Bay

Worst. Ad. Ever.

Los Gatos family scamming school district?

(November) 2012 Proposition Voters Guide

New Luxury Trend: Tons ‘o Toilets

Make more money not selling houses than selling houses

Charter school lawsuit lunacy in Los Altos school district

Business student asks us to do his homework

Palo Alto is so awesome people live in their cars and park there

Spot the Meth Lab

NAR creates utterly useless stats, Movoto derives useless infographic, we uselessly point ‘n laff

Free Tesla with non-RBA house (cheaper w/o Tesla)

The other Official Burbed Ballot Guide to Everything (June 2012 election)

Facebook effect on SF (yes, SF) real estate prices

Deconstructing the WSJ’s doubleplusgood view of the housing implosion

Squatters sue Realtard

Painter of Light Kinkade switched off

Now is the Time to Buy or Sell a House. With Us.

Spot the Grow House

San Jose House found under Hoarder’s hoard

A dozen tenants in a SAn Jose McMansion

Silicon Valley high-flying homeowners who lost everything

Under $2K fine for house thievery

Secrets of Contracting Cheap

See if our 2012 predictions came to pass

Did we leave out your favorite Burbed house or article?  Which piece was your least favorite and why?  What would you like to see us cover more of in 2013?

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am






December 30, 2012

Prop 13, Meet Fork?

121230-prop13-forkWell, maybe a seafood fork.  A possible seafood fork.  Size extra-small.  In 2014.  Maybe.

The third rail of real estate may be getting some modifications, thanks to the new obstruction-proof California Legislature.  Now that both houses have 2/3 Democratic Party members, they could raise taxes without a single Republican vote of support.  But to modify Proposition 13, only an initiative passed by California voters will do.  The difference is that Legislators are now discussing these changes openly, sensing the era of tax cuts is also due for Fork Facetime.

California Democrats signal they want to reform Proposition 13

By Steven Harmon, San Jose Mercury News
Posted: 12/29/2012 01:00:00 PM PST, Updated: 12/29/2012 05:41:17 PM PST

121230-prop13-chartsSACRAMENTO — The third rail of California politics may not be as deadly as once thought.

Three and a half decades after the passage of Proposition 13 shook the political landscape in California and sparked a taxpayer revolt across America, voters appear to be warming up to the idea of reforming the initiative as long as protections for homeowners stay intact.

And the apparent sea change in public attitudes, combined with the two-thirds majorities Democrats now hold in both chambers of the Legislature, has emboldened some politicians to take aim at the iconic measure.

“It is time for a fix, because Proposition 13 is broken,” said Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco, who plans to introduce a bill next year aimed at forcing businesses to pay higher property taxes.

The landmark 1978 measure rolled back property taxes and capped yearly increases until a property is sold, but critics say one of its unintended consequences was shifting more of the Golden State’s property tax burden from businesses to homeowners.

121230-prop13-repealThis isn’t the first time we’ve noted the havoc wreaked by Prop 13, and we’re hardly the only ones doing so.

Reforms being discussed include a “split roll” where commercial property is handled differently from residential, and lowering the threshhold for parcel taxes from 66 2/3 to 55 percent.  58 percent of Californians polled supported the split roll concept, where commercial property would be reassessed every 6 or 12 months.  Residential property would continue with assessment at time of sale with a 2% maximum annual increase.  However, 60 percent of those polled still “support” Prop 13.

In addition, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano wishes to address a loophole where corporate-owned property isn’t even reassessed when sold, because more than 50% of ownership must change hands.  Corporations simply constructed shell entities to avoid the 50% trigger despite buying and selling their entire interest in real properties.  For exaple, the E&J Gallo Company bought the 1765 acre Louis M Martini vineyards by having 12 family members buy individual shares, each under the 50 percent trigger.  The property remains assessed at the original low value because of this maneuver.

121230-prop13-timeEven Google, a relatively new corporation, benefits from the complex dance of real estate partnerships, trusts, holding companies, and leases.  Some of their buildings sit on land owned by the pre-Prop 13 owner and his family trust, via a ground lease.  The 13.7 acre tract was assessed at $789,635 in 2009 and would have been worth $41 million without a single structure on it.  State law prevents land reassessment if a lease of over 35 years exists.  The buildings on the land were assessed at $38 million.

Before Prop 13 passed, business and residential property produced about the same share of state revenues, but now residential property generates 70 percent of property taxes.  California has also bid adieu to its excellent state colleges and universities, as well as its various public school systems, since property taxes helped fund the former and were primary support of the latter.

Feel free to grouse about money-grubbing state officials or the unfairness of our tax code.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

December 29, 2012

Shrink spent Client’s time talking real estate

Marin County psychiatrist disciplined over alleged real-estate talks with patient

By Gary Klien, Marin Independent Journal

MARIN COUNTY — A Kentfield psychiatrist was reprimanded by state regulators on allegations he used a patient’s therapy sessions to talk about the real estate business, the state medical board said.

Dr. Stephen Merritt Raffle was “grossly negligent” and committed “multiple boundary violations” by discussing his business experience and referring the patient to real estate lawyers and lenders, according to a filing by Linda Whitney, executive director of the board.

The board also alleged that Raffle failed to create or maintain therapy records over a period of more than three years, covering about 78 sessions.

Raffle was ordered to take courses in “professional boundaries,” medical record keeping and professionalism, the state board said. If he fails to complete the programs, he will have to end his practice.

Disciplined for talking real estate instead of the usual sex and violence? This counselor had his client’s financial health in mind! That has to be more important than discussing dreams about being chased by a giant cigar. And so what if he didn’t maintain records? We know a lot of real estate agents who aren’t all that great with paperwork either.

This is also your weekend open thread, so tell us how you feel about that.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

December 28, 2012

Relax and Golf at the Boulder Creek Hilton

Our post-Christmas closeouts continue!  Today we’re heading up the hill to Santa Cruz County to show that you, yes YOU!! Can!! Afford!! To buy a house!! Thanks very much to Burbed reader wahnny for sending us this bodacious Boulder Creek craptacular.

121227-hilton-redfin273 W HILTON Dr
San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95006
$49,900

3 Beds 
2 Baths 
1,400 Sq. Ft.
$36 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1965 
Lot Size: 0.32 Acres 
On Redfin: 21 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Boulder Creek
MLS#: 81242647
Stories: 2
County: Santa Cruz

Property damaged by 2006 slide on Boulder Creek golf course. Engineering reports and county reports on file. Drive by only. DO NOT ENTER PROPERTY. CASH OFFER ONLY.

121227-hilton-bathHere’s what wahnny said about this resort location:

Although the photos and listing appear to match the reality of the area (made worse with recent rains), the dreaming still continues.

You’ll be having pleasant dreams in this Golf Course abode!  They’ll be so amazing that’s why you’re only allowed to drive by. 

Nobody’s allowed to enter the property until you’ve paid your cash offer.  If that isn’t proof that The Bubbles Are Back, we don’t know what is.

121227-hilton-streetview

We’re sure you can clean up that 2006 slide on Boulder Creek golf course, if you can find where the engineering and county reports are “on file.”

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

December 27, 2012

Milpitas property well maintained and is ready for its new owners

Let’s continue with our post-Christmas clearance sales!  Today’s fabulous find is in the fantastic framework of Milpitas, or as its fun-loving denizens call it, “What’s that smell?”  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for flipping this one forward.

121226-clear-redfin1568 CLEAR LAKE Ave
Milpitas, CA 95035
$359,000

HOA Dues: $270/mo. 
2 Beds 
1.5 Baths 
1,008 Sq. Ft.
$356 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1971 
Lot Size: 810 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 21 days
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $270/month
Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
County: Santa Clara
Property Type: Townhouse
Community: Milpitas
MLS#: 81242591

Property well maintained and is ready for its new owners.

Or as PG notes:

It’s ready for a new agent too.

Oh don’t be such a stickler, Petsmart.  Just because the front image took a little rotation ride doesn’t mean the agent isn’t a knowledgeable professional.  Let’s enjoy the rest of the photos.

121226-clear-patio121226-clear-plants

Excellent.  Start with the exterior shots first and then lure your customers in.

121226-clear-bedroom121226-clear-dining

Here the agent skillfully picks up the wooden texture of the bed frame in both the dining room set and the beautifully shining hardwood floor.

121226-clear-kitchen121226-clear-living

Contextual linking continues in subtle ways with the kitchen towels suggesting whimsy, supported by the colorful devil-may-care display on the coffee table.

121226-clear-entry121226-clear-sink

Now it’s your turn.  Do you see the ingenious way the agent finds elements in common from the living room entry to the bathroom sink?  And nice job leaving out the throne entirely. You’d be surprised how many amateurs not only include it but have the seat raised high.

121226-clear-plants-plants-plants121226-clear-satellite

Ending the photo show with nature at her most bountiful, we also note this property has a location, location, location (!) in a popularly-populated planning potpourri!  You can find everything here!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

December 26, 2012

Post-Christmas Clearout in Alameda! SO MANY POSSIBILITIES

We hope you had a wonderful winter whatever and got all the toys you asked for.  But just in case you didn’t, we have some close-out specials for the end of the year!  Today, Burbed reader J from Alameda has some Island High Style for you.

121225-lincoln-redfin828 LINCOLN Ave
Alameda, CA 94501
$249,000

1 Beds
1 Baths
561 Sq. Ft.
$444 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1959
Lot Size: 1,275 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 76 days
Status: Active
Type: Detached
Stories: 1
County: Alameda
Style: Cottage
Community: Alameda
MLS#: 40592515

MOST UNIQUE NARROW BLDG. 150 FEET DEEP, FENCED IN LOT, BACKYARD PATIO, RESIDENTIAL (NEW ZONING R-4 RESIDENTIAL) POSSIBLE ART STUDIO PLUS GALLERY, LIVING IN AND WORK ON COMPUTERS, ANOTHER POSSIBILITY, SO MANY POSSIBILITIES OF HOME OFFICES. CLOSE TO BUS AND ALL TRANSPORTATION AND NEAR WEBSTER STREET.

121225-lincoln-backHere’s why J thought we’d be interested in this offering:

My Alameda black Friday nomination. Do not be fooled by first photo – its the narrow yellow building to the right. On a very busy street, not a great part of town. That maybe, just maybe, can be zoned commercial.

Happy Shopping!

Wait, Black Friday was last month…. oh, this was sent in last month.  That says we can’t possibly be in the RBA, because it’s still on the market!  So hurry before it isn’t!

And if you have any doubts that this listing is “MOST UNIQUE” at least the lot itself is.

121225-lincoln-satellite

Bunus: the broker has the same name as a famous television personality.  Double Bunus: also the same name as a VP at Alain Pinel, Saratoga, just to really confuse the customers.  (Plus 3 more real estate agents in California alone.)

 

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! Here are some ornaments for your tree!

121224-xmas-agentAh, Christmas time.  The toys, the food, the eggnog, the family visits, the decorations, the lights, and of course, the tree.  We wanted to find a simple ornament with a house for sale representation to wish you all a Happy Holiday, but instead, we found the ornament at right.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Now, we will be the first to admit that there are indeed excellent and knowledgeable real estate agents out there.  This blog acknowledges that there would be fewer people buying and selling homes if all of them were completely incompetent.  But this blog more importantly notes that it’s the bottom percentiles of the “profession” that help keep us in top material.

121224-xmas-realtard-cafeNow, if you have a Special Agent who you think would appreciate these thoughts on their tree, we swear we did not make this up.  You can actually buy this round ceramic ornament at CafePress.  And it will cost you $12.50.  Plus shipping!  And you can also get it in red ink (perfect for the foreclosure specialist).

Being the inquisitive, fun-loving bunch that we are, we decided to see if this ornament could be, well, improved.  Took us a while, and since none of us went to design school, it didn’t have the panache or the braggadocio of the simple ornament above.  But ours has something better.  A logo.

A completely derivative yet 100% protected-from-trademark-infringement-lawsuits-by-the-fact-that-it’s-obviously-satirical-and-would-not-induce-confusion-in-anyone-other-than-a-Realtard logo.

We wish you and yours a very Wonderful Winter Whatever.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

December 24, 2012

Great opportunity, fully furnish, for Christmas Eve!

While you’re busy getting your last-minute Christmas shopping and decoration and cooking done, think about celebrating the holiday with your extended family. Now think about what it means to turn home, hearth, family, and grandparents into that All-American concept of… making a buck off it.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader J.C. for showing us what the true spirit of the holidays is about.

121223-dunholme-redfin631 DUNHOLME Way
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
$1,395,000

6 Beds 
4 Baths 
2,852 Sq. Ft.
$489 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1976 
Lot Size: 10,176 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 65 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Sunnyvale
MLS#: 81238349
Style: Traditional
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Great opportunity for business , Clean private residence, elderly care facility , fully furnish, with pool.

121223-dunholme-dho-tvHere’s what J.C. thought when sending us this listing:

Complete with pictures of elderly residents that come with the home!

A perfect purchase to ensure you won’t be lonely this Christmas!  Or New Years!

We may or may not be taking tomorrow off, but we’ll have some year-end closeout sales waiting when we return. 

If we return.  Because we could have been reading those stone disks all wrong and the world could end this week.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

December 23, 2012

Sh*t Realtards Say

Here's a little something to keep you going into the holidays.

 

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:21 am

December 22, 2012

Are You Feeling Lucky?

121221-lucky-digitsWe sure hope so.  You survived the end of the world yesterday, didn’t you? (Those not surviving the end of the world, please stop interrupting.)  Now we’ve found a piece on Trulia on the numerology of home sales. 

This means you can continue your lucky lifestyle, thanks to Trulia’s research.  It turns out that a lot of home sellers put their favorite “lucky numbers” in their asking prices.

So what’s wrong with this pie chart at right?  Too many nines and fives, yet not enough eights, that’s what.  Everyone knows that eights are lucky.  Well, everyone in the Real Bay Area knows that.  The lucky numbers in the rest of the country say otherwise.

121221-usa-map

This consolidated map suggests that there aren’t any particular lucky numbers in the Midwest, the Plains, the Rocky Mountains or the Pacific Northwest, just a countrywide avoidance of the number 13 in prices.  And here’s some more on 8 as a lucky number.

121221-lucky-eights

121221-lucky-cupertinoWe took a spot-check of the asking prices in Cupertino, right now, over a million dollars (which is pretty much all of them).

We came up with one 1, one 2, one 6, three 9s, seven 5s, and a whopping ten 8s.    We just had to make a pie chart out of that.  Until today, we had no idea that donuts were a subset of pie.

If we then take the sub-million houses, we get an additional one 1, four 5s and two 8s.

We then compare with similarly sized cities (at least as to number of sales over a million) with rather different demographics.  San Rafael is majority white, and Oakland, while one of the most racially diverse cities, has a higher percentage of blacks than many other areas.

121221-lucky-sanrafael121221-lucky-oakland

Whoa. There’s 4s in Oakland, which is a very unlucky number in Cupertino.  All three cities have a strongly marked preference for 5 over 9, while nationally it’s the other way by almost 2 to 1.

We welcome your reasoning on why this would be, or anything else you wish to bring up in this Weekend-after-the-end-of-the-world Open Thread.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am