March 31, 2013

Easter Eggstra: What’s in Your RBA Easter Basket?

130331-easter-failbasketHappy Easter! This means NOW is the time for Spring Real Estate selling season to begin Bouncing in earnest. We’ve been telling you about Bay Area Bubble 4.0, so just imagine how much win Real Bay Area home prices will have starting tomorrow!

That’s not all the Easter Eggs we’ve found under our bedecked and bowtied basket! Here’s a few more the Burbed Bunny brought to beaucoup browsers.

 

130331-easter-failpricesWe appreciate all our readers who send us awesome listings (and you know by awesome, we mean something that is exactly the opposite of awesome). If you have a great example of Real Estate Fail, send it to one of our email contacts in the upper right corner.

Best of all is when you visit an Open House and take some photos of things that the agent didn’t think best reflected the property’s best features. Yes, we love your photos too!

We also love our readers’ comments. Please be sure to stop by and show each listing as much love as it deserves.

Finally, we’re going to be part of another Big Blog Bonanza. Tomorrow begins a new month, and we’re going to be joining the fun with over 1700 other blogs in the April 2013 Blogging from A to Z Challenge. For many bloggers, the difficulty of merely writing one post every day brings anxiety, fear, or wrestling with the dreaded blogger’s block. We’ve been putting out an article pretty much every day for seven years, but having topics line up with the alphabet will give us an interesting tour of the Bay Area.  Feel free anytime to nominate some suggestions for letters to come!  We’re still wondering just what to do with that pesky letter X.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 pm






We’re Number One! We’re Number One!

130329-disposable-successLast week Richard Florida found himself defending his research from an amusing little pissing match started by Joel Kotkin. The argument was over whether “creative class” metros drive the economic engines (Florida) or whether suburban sprawl has it all (Kotkin).  Florida himself dubbed this dustup Flo-Ko. So instead of looking at just which areas are the most “economically advantaged” (a PC way of saying loaded with rich bastards), he addressed X’s objection and decided to subtract out the cost of housing from the index.

What’s left is a disposable income advantage index of the 20 metros with the most money left over after paying the housing nut.  And, you guessed it. Silicon Valley, as represented by the MSA called San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, is totally first on the list.  Let’s take a gander at the top five.

Rank Metro Name Income after Housing: Month Income after Housing: Year
1

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA

$3,901

$46,812

2

Durham, NC

$3,513 $42,156
3 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA $3,441 $41,292
4 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA $3,342 $40,104
5 Trenton-Ewing, NJ $3,270 $39,240

New York was Lucky #8, Seattle came in at Less Lucky #13 (right behind a couple of Connecticut metros), and Philly brought up the bottom at #20.  This scatter graph shows how the housing costs versus income data looks, and that’s Silicon Valley in the extreme upper right.  You should see datapoints labeled as you hover over them.

What makes a metro have so much disposable income?  There’s a high correlation between number of knowledge worker jobs (that creative class thing again), at 0.73, high incomes (0.60) and number of college grads (0.53).

Inotherwords, Florida 1, Kotkin 0.  x1000.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 30, 2013

Priced Out Forever? There’s an App for That

And now for your weekly dose of gee-whiz, tech news!

Real estate apps can help, overwhelm homebuyers

By Dan Nakaso, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   03/29/2013 06:00:00 PM PDT; Updated:   03/29/2013 06:57:43 PM PDT

130329-apps-truliaRaj Aurora has been searching to buy his first home for the last three months, but hasn’t wasted time looking at condos he knows he won’t like and hasn’t even needed to meet his agent, all thanks to real estate apps that Aurora downloaded on his iPhone 5.

"We’ve already eliminated 20 to 30 houses without driving around," said Aurora, a 42-year-old chiropractor and part-time Web developer from Danville. "I don’t want to sit with (my agent) for eight hours driving from house to house. I’d rather hang out with my dog and my friends."

Aurora instead checks out properties virtually by glancing at his Zillow and Trulia apps throughout the day, then reviews any possibilities via text or email with his Danville real estate agent, Kevin R. Kieffer of Keller Williams Realty, whom Aurora has yet to see.

We think the Merc headline has an extraneous comma.  We also think Mr. Aurora doesn’t need to see Mr. Kieffer as long as Bay Area Bubble 4.0 ensures that homes are sold faster than they can be listed.

If you’ve been reading this site for more than a few days, you’re already aware that there are several real estate sites out there that have information on homes for sale. And if you’ve spent any time on the sites themselves, they probably let you know about their various apps for different devices.  Because, if you don’t want to be PRICED OUT FOREVER, you have to be ready to look at new listings at any possible moment, day or night.

130329-apps-zillowAlso, if you’re anything like Raj Aurora, you will do absolutely anything to avoid coming into contact with people you don’t have to.

This is your weekend Open Thread.  Let us know which, if any, real estate apps you use to find those open houses you’ll be looking at later today.  Be sure to mention the superiority of whatever hardware you’re using it on as well, because if you don’t have enough respect for your zip code, at least you can have it for your mobile device. Or talk about anything you want at all.  Remember, this isn’t having to actually talk to other people, so you can say anything.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

March 29, 2013

This home is a work of art by true artist’s artistry

We’ve made comments about certain property listings where the photos seem more suited to an art gallery than a home website. Today’s house, though, is in a class by itself for serious WTFness. This San Jose museum masterpiece is so moved miles more than the masonry mainstream that it was nominated by two different Burbed readers within 24 hours: z2amiller and mtv-renter.

Grab your AudioTour listening device, slip on your headphones, and enjoy these curated images from a Cambrian townhouse available right now through your favorite real estate professional.  Or pick your least favorite realtard just to make ‘em have to look at it.

130328-hollyleaf-redfin5692 HOLLYLEAF Ln
San Jose, CA 95118
$485,000

HOA Dues: $329/mo.
2 Beds
2 Baths
1,102 Sq. Ft.
$440 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1973
Lot Size: 2,120 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 9 days
HOA Dues: $329/month
Style: Traditional
Community: Cambrian
MLS#: 81308592
Property Type: Townhouse
View: Green Belt, Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

This home is a work of art! Upon entering you will be amazed at the artistry of the tile floors and walls These amazing mosaics were designed by a true artist. This colorful home features a remodeled kitchen with granite counters updated appliances copper sink double pane windows 2 spacious patios 2 car garage and a great location in the complex across from a green belt Must See one of kind Home!

Tile? That roof above looks just fine for a place in California.  Although somebody please give this listing agent some punctuation.

130328-hollyleaf-patio130328-hollyleaf-patio2

Ooooookay, the patio is just a touch on the loud side.  Things are about to get louder, so click on through. Warning, eye protection is strongly recommended.

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Comments (25) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

March 28, 2013

Space for 7-14 vehicles, dance or artist’s studio, bowling alley, wrestling etc.

Most of our submissions come to us via email (contact info available in the upper right hand column).  Today’s featured fortress, from the wilds of San Jose Country Club near Santa Teresa del Fuego, was passed on to us via the Bat Signal. A Redfin Forums reader started a new thread and suggested that this home ought to join the Real Bay Area Is Awesome article, better known as What Can You Buy In The Bay Area for $3.3 million?  Well, let’s find out, courtesy of Burbed Reader HomeBuyer25!

130327-country-redfin5752 COUNTRY CLUB Pkwy
San Jose, CA 95138
$3,350,000

HOA Dues: $120/mo.
7 Beds
8.5 Baths
13,100 Sq. Ft.
$256 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2006
Lot Size: 0.53 Acres
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $120/month
Style: Mediterranean
View: Bay, Green Belt, Mountains, Canyon, Neighborhood, Valley, City Lights, Golf Course
County: Santa Clara
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
Community: Evergreen
MLS#: 81309594130327-country-xmas

Prestigious Silver Creek Valley Country Club! Premium oversized parcel 23,140 sq. ft. featuring 13,100 s. f. residence w/ separate full guest quarters. Space for 7-14 vehicles, weight room, full basement, extra rooms for storage, dance or artist’s studio, wine cellar, bowling alley, wrestling etc. Amenities include radiant heated marble slab floors, 22 ft foyer, gym & theatre, 600 amp panel etc.

130327-country-kawlums600 amp panel? Sold!  And that’s just for starters!

Because you know what else this place has? Elegance! Prestige! Why it’s boisting wit’ klayuss! Why? Kawlums!  Everything’s better with kawlums!

Although, not so fast. A look at the property history suggests this place has been on the market a lot more than one day. Or one time.  Take a look at the death throes of someone’s dream:

130327-country-history

130327-country-kawlums2Hey, the price has been going back up for almost a year! Even the short sales show that Bay Area Bubble 4.0 is firmly inflated!  Blurry pictures, Christmas at Easter, more than a 50% haircut with amazing price history going back six years, and if you spent this much money in Palo Alto, there wouldn’t be a kawlum in sight!

Is that #winning or what?

Now, everyone submit your best prediction on what will be the winning overbid!

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

March 27, 2013

The Bay Area is “Ground Zero”

Real Estate “Flash Sales” Prove Market Is Hot

If you’re looking for a home in the Bay Area, you will probably need two things on your side: luck, and a lot of cash.

Those who aren’t willing to compete with up to dozens of other offers on a home are now trying to buy it – hours after it’s listed on the market.

The new trend has been dubbed by realty experts as “flash sales” – any sale that happens within 24 hours.

For example, a home in East Palo Alto on Gates Street was put on the market on March 19. It got nine offers the same day and sold for above asking price within 24 hours.

Glenn Kelman, CEO of online real estate brokerage Redfin which is set up in 19 U.S. markets, said that trend is growing in the Bay Area and calls it “Ground Zero” for an incredibly hot housing market, one that experienced an incredible boom at the start of 2013 in January.

I hate to be the kind of person who brags, but… well… told you so.

Oh, I forgot. We’re in the Bay Area. I need to humble brag.

I’m so amazed and honored to be proven right.

The Bay Area is back, baby. It’s Ground Zero!

Just how special?

Ken DeLeon, a realtor, said his latest listing is a 1200 square foot home in Palo Alto that he just put on the market Thursday. “The amazing part is just within 24 hours, we already had a client with a Chinese all-cash buyer offer us more than 300,000 above and we said, ‘No thank you, please wait,’” DeLeon said.

He and other realtors said they’re still catering to those wealthy foreign buyers, mostly from China and Russia; however, with historic-low mortgage interest rates and an inventory that’s also hitting record lows, they said the competitive cash offers are no longer limited to the high-end homes.

Hey Realtors – I gotta tip for you: Price the house in RMB. Why? There’d be even more opportunities to add 8’s to the price!

“There are sometimes traffic jams outside open houses,” said Kelman. “Folks get worried they can’t wait for the offer deadline on Sundays, so they make a preemptive strike to try and buy it on the spot.”

Forget waiting 3 hours to eat brunch at Mamas, or camping out 3 days to enroll your kids into pre-school… now you have to camp out a week to attend a open house.

Hold on for a sec.

I had to get a kleenex.

The tears won’t stop flowing.

This is so beautiful.

The Bay Area is back. Better than ever.

This is the year where the $ per square foot in the Real Bay Area will beat the average $ per square foot for Manhattan. You heard it here first.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am

March 26, 2013

Photopalooza at Wiz Wigwam that Was Woz’s

As promised, today we’ve got pictures, pictures, pictures from our onsite visit to Steve Wozniak’s old digs. We’ve already featured this house three times, so we’ll just stick to what we found at the Open House this Sunday.  And of course, here’s the listing again.  Note that if you missed it, you have another chance to check it out. On Easter Sunday.

130323-wozhouse-redfin300 SANTA ROSA Dr
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$4,395,000

6 Beds
7 Baths
7,500 Sq. Ft.
$586 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1986
Lot Size: 1.19 Acres
On Redfin: 12 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81307599
Style: Modern/High Tech, Contemporary
View: Mountains, Canyon, Valley
County: Santa Clara

Originally built for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, This exquisite 7500 sq/ft, 6 Bed, 8 Bath on 1.19 acres, minutes to Los Gatos Blvd, combines post-modern style with majestic natural views. It is a natural abode full of light and warmth Euro chefs kitchen, wraparound terraces. Recent major re-design and renovation, one of a kind indoor/outdoor kids play area, pool w/ waterfall, Koi Pond +++.

Upcoming Open Houses

Sunday, Mar 31: 1:00-4:30 pm

130325-wozon-sculp4saleAnd now for what we discovered!  First, the minute we walked in, we were stunned to see that the place was set up like an art gallery. This was a surprise for a couple of reasons. First, Open Houses are there to showcase the real estate, not the décor, and second, the comments on several of the stories we linked to on Sunday implied that the listing photos were a little, um, minimalist.  Which is a fancy way of saying lots of white paint and little else.

It turned out that not only were most of the sculpture and paintings in the house labeled as if we were in a gallery, they were for sale and the painter and her daughter were there to talk to any interested patrons. The sculptor was her mother (not present). The least we could do is link to their website and show a couple more works of art. Then we could remember that we’re a real estate site, not a fine arts portfolio. And then we could not say anything about the art as our readers excel at critical commentary.  Especially the critical part.

130325-wozon-painting4sale130325-wozon-painter

130325-wozon-music130325-wozon-doorwayYou can check out the listing photos if you want to see the major public rooms and some shots from the master suite. We’re going to show you what they didn’t.  On your left is detail from the music room, and we don’t think this is where they invited the string quartets to play Mozart.  Also the agent helpfully pointed out that this counts as a bedroom, as it has a closet.  The doorway on your right is off the music room and leads to one of a large number of baths.  We’ll get back to them later.

Those baths, the kids’ secret playspace, the cave, and much more await when you click on through!

(more…)

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

March 25, 2013

A few odds and ends, mostly odds

130324-odds-poleWe did make it over to the old Wozniak place during yesterday’s Open House. And we took pictures.  Lots and lots of pictures. We can assure you that some of the notable improvements to the property, such as the fireman’s pole, the cave, and the twisty little maze of passages, all different, are still there.  Here’s just a taste of the photoblog to come.

You may have also noticed that we’ve been moving the furniture back and forth on our pages. Some of the new additions seem good, and some just aren’t working out quite as well as we’d like. Notice that little Redfin sign where it says “location, location, location?” That links to our growing photo Collections over there.  Please check it out.  Another thing to check out is our twitter feed (and yes, we know we should be posting the feed right to the site. A site redesign first would help. We’re working on it, really. Why do you think we keep moving the furniture?)  The sharing options don’t seem to work as advertised, f’rinstance. Anyone want us to try the thumbs up/down again? We kind of miss them. (This allowed you to vote yea or nay on both posts and comments.)

Blog Blitz BadgeFinally, we joined into a Blogtacular scheme called the Blog Blitz. We think it’s a good idea, and if you write your own blog, you can also be part of it. By joining the group, you agree that when DL Hammons, who started it all, says “Everyone Blitz this Blog!” you will head over to the chosen site on the appointed day and post some helpful or encouraging comment there. It’s true, people who write blogs love it when their readers post something useful.

Now, in the case of Burbed, “helpful or encouraging” does not necessarily mean “I love your blog and read it every single day and twice on Sundays!” (although we don’t object 130324-odds-wozroutersto such fawningly overdone praise either). Useful would be either informing us about the property of the day or sharing something related to it or making a snarkilicious observation. All this goes to say if you join us in signing up for Blog Blitz, please read whatever blog you’re asked to post in before chiming in with “Me too! All the way!”

We’ve listed the participants below (if this LinkyTools code works properly) and you can join in right here. If you don’t see any blog list (we’re #127, which is 2^7-1, perfect for a Silicon Valley-based site), then obviously the script stopped working, so head over to DL’s site and sign up there.  Who knows, maybe someday we’ll be blitzed and for one delightful day, we’ll be back to the glory days of a 150+ comment thread.

Or you all could start talking more.

Blog list after the break.

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

March 24, 2013

Steve Wozniak’s House for Sale. Again. This time media creams themselves.

Steve Wozniak’s former Los Gatos mansion for sale for $4.4 million

By Dan Nakaso, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   03/19/2013 06:19:05 AM PDT; Updated:   03/20/2013 02:22:17 PM PDT

130323-wozhouse-wozLOS GATOS — A six-bedroom, six-bath home formerly owned by Apple (AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak — complete with a bedroom mural of the "Little Mermaid," outdoor grotto and firefighters pole for the kids — is up for sale for $4.4 million.

The 7,500-square-foot home on Santa Rosa Drive near Shannon Road includes lots of high-end finishes and a few low-end personalized touches from Wozniak, such as the initials "S" and "W" that were scratched inside a drawer in the music room, said realty agent Arthur Sharif of Sotheby’s International Realty, who is listing the property.

In a brief telephone interview from an airplane as he prepared to fly from Florida to San Francisco on Monday, Wozniak told this newspaper that he liked the original three-bedroom home when he bought it for more than $1 million about 1986.

"I liked the architecture very much but the home kind of grew as my family extended," Wozniak said.

130323-wozhouse-redfin300 SANTA ROSA Dr
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$4,395,000

6 Beds
7 Baths
7,500 Sq. Ft.
$586 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1986
Lot Size: 1.19 Acres
On Redfin: 12 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81307599
Style: Modern/High Tech, Contemporary
View: Mountains, Canyon, Valley
County: Santa Clara

Originally built for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, This exquisite 7500 sq/ft, 6 Bed, 8 Bath on 1.19 acres, minutes to Los Gatos Blvd, combines post-modern style with majestic natural views. It is a natural abode full of light and warmth Euro chefs kitchen, wraparound terraces. Recent major re-design and renovation, one of a kind indoor/outdoor kids play area, pool w/ waterfall, Koi Pond +++.

Upcoming Open Houses

Sunday, Mar 24: 1:00-4:30 pm

130323-wozhouse-arielYes, open today! Burbed meet-up!  The password is When can I submit my overbid?

News media from all over are falling all over themselves reporting that a house once owned by Steve Wozniak is for sale. For some reason, when it was for sale last year, this did not happen.  We mentioned it, though.

130323-wozhouse-currentIt’s interesting reading all these sites. You might learn something if you do, like where Woz is living now. (Yes, that’s it on the right.  Where he is now, not the place above.) 

And the comments show most of them haven’t sussed to the fact that Woz hasn’t lived at the Santa Rosa house since 2004.  Some of the improvements he put in the house are still there, but articles don’t mention all of them. The secret kids’ room complex is still there:

It’s a warren of rooms accessed through a tiny, kid-size door surrounded by elaborate molding with a dinosaur design. The complex is a series of little rooms, nooks and crannies connected by ladders, stairs and crawl spaces. Any child would love to wiggle through the complex and curl up on the floor pillows with a book or toy. You can exit via the dinosaur door or slide out on the fireman’s pole.

The listing history is fairly interesting. After the curve-inducing renovation in 2006, the house was listed for even more (we heard ten million but it’s not in Zillow’s listing history).  Whoops.

image

Also, don’t worry about The Woz running off to Australia.  That’s not planned for a few more years.  So if you do buy his old house, feel free to ring him up and him the best way to unstop the grotto drain.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

March 23, 2013

Flash sales: DOM <= 1

Want to look at Open Houses but inventory is too low? Here’s yet another reason why Bay Area Bubble 4.0 is in full swing for Spring: Flash sales. Redfin coined this term for a house that’s in contract within 24 hours of being listed.

They also made a list of how many flash sales there have been in the last five months in each of the markets they cover, and San Jose came in 15th out of 15 with 74 quickies. San Francisco didn’t even make the cut at all!  All-time flash sales champion? Phoenix, with 540.

130322-skyline-redfin8271 SKYLINE Cir
Oakland, CA 94605
Sold for $650,000

3 Beds
2.5 Baths
2,090 Sq. Ft.
$311 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1998
Lot Size: 10,119 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Dec 26, 2012
HOA Dues: $140/month
Style: Traditional
View: Bay, Greenbelt, Water
County: Alameda
Type: Detached
Stories: Split Level
Community: Skyline/Oakknoll
MLS#: 40598366

Amazing Oakland hills. 3/2.5 w/ extra office space. Incredible living space with 10ft ceilings, beautifully appointed thru/out. Chef’s kitchen with custom island, grnite, countertops, s. s. appliances. Electronic window coverings, deck with bridge views, gorgeous pergola/ backs to open space. Perfect!

This Skyline Circle home in Oakland was a Flash Sale and is featured on the Redfin Blog. It sold quick, and for list price. This is how we know Oakland, even in the hills, is not the Real Bay Area. Everyone knows Real Bay Area homes sell way over asking.  Also RBA homes don’t fester on the market for a year and a half until the Bubble finally blows up again.  The HOA dues are just the sickly sweet icing on the Not RBA cake.

130322-skyline-viewLocation: Oakland, CA
Listed By: Lynda Divito, Redfin
Listed: December 14, 2012
Pending: December 14, 2012
Closed: December 24, 2012
List Price: $650,000
Final Sale Price: $650,000

“This house never even hit the market! We had a brokers’ tour in the afternoon on the very same day the house was to hit the market. A broker came in with his buyers who offered all-cash at full list price and with the quick closing we had requested, making it an easy choice for my clients to accept their offer that same day.” - Lynda DiVito, San Francisco Bay Area Redfin Agent

Planning on visiting any Open Houses today? Let us know of any suitcases full of cash changing hands you see. This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so sky’s the limit!

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am