March 21, 2013

This is why The Real Bay Area is Awesome

We get some interesting comments from people who don’t agree with our definition of what the Real Bay Area (RBA) is. Many seem to think that if an area is wealthier than its surrounding community, that, in and of itself, is sufficient for RBAhood.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The whole point of the RBA is that it is not only expensive, it is that you will pay a crapton of money to live there and the sellers can ask over three million yet treat you with complete and utter disdain. You will also end up with a house that isn’t even worth photographing. Today’s property illustrates this perfectly.

130320-waverly-redfin1801 WAVERLEY St
Palo Alto, CA 94301

5 Beds
3.5 Baths
2,982 Sq. Ft.
$1,105 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1932
Lot Size: 9,000 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 7 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Old Palo Alto
MLS#: 81307920
Style: Colonial
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, Mar 23: 1:30-4:30 pm
Sunday, Mar 24: 1:30-4:30 pm

Prime Old Palo Alto!Old world charm meets modern amenities! Lovely 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home. 2 master suites; one on each floor. Large family room adjacent to spacious kitchen. This home features a huge 9000 +/- sf lot. It is perfect for large gatherings & extended family visits. Updated kitchen and baths with tile counters and newer appliances.

130320-waverly-streetviewYes, this is a vintage home (just slipping in under our definition to earn the “old house” tag) in a desirable part of Palo Alto, but it isn’t being marketed as a teardown. It’s just that the agent obviously has better things to do than pull out the iPhone and snap a dozen listing photos.

Good thing there’s Google Streetview!  Isn’t this place just fabulous?

130320-waverly-streetview2Guess you’ll never know unless you show up at the Open Houses this weekend.  Also, many sections of Streetview around this house have been blurred out. Perhaps this home is owned by a highly-placed Googler.  This view around the corner from Tennyson was the best we could do.

But you’ve seen plenty of properties on Burbed showcasing Palo Alto. (Heck, we’ve visited Waverley Street so often they ought to rename it Burbed Boulevard.)  We were trying to make a point about the difference between RBA and not-so-RBA.  Let’s see what you could get for pretty much the same amount of money over the Bay and through the Caldecott.

130320-oaks-redfin6 GREAT OAKS Cir
Orinda, CA 94563

3 Beds
3.5 Baths
4,350 Sq. Ft.
$770 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1949
Lot Size: 2.32 Acres
On Redfin: 541 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 1
Community: Glorietta
MLS#: 40544806
Style: Contemporary
View: Other
County: Contra Costa

Original Frank Lloyd Wright designed home built in 1949. The stunning grounds were landscaped by Henry Matsutani who did the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Incredible opportunity to own a bit of history/ a work of art. All showings subject to screening process. Call agents for details.

130320-oaks-diningThat’s right.  If you’re willing to spend the same amount in Orinda, you can own a house actually designed by Frank Lloyd fucking Wright. Not only that, the landscaping is by the same master gardener behind the Japanese I-shit-you-not Tea Garden.  In Golden goddamned Gate Park. Which we think even Silicon Valley software dweebs have heard of. Plus the Orinda house is on more than two acres.

It’s also been for sale for a year and a half and has had two major price reductions.

130320-oaks-statuesBut in Old Palo Alto, you get a house on nine thousand feet, and you will like it.  And if you don’t plenty of others will, because this house has only been on the market for a week, and after the Open House you know the sellers will be receiving all seventy-nine offers the following Tuesday, and decide which of the no-contingencies-extra-cash-please-with-homemade-brownies-and-a-Tesla-Model-S begging letters they will accept.

And THAT, my friends, is the Real difference between the Real Bay Area and the Rest.

Thanks to the fun folks at Redfin Forums for inspiring today’s article.

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

23 Responses to “This is why The Real Bay Area is Awesome”

  1. DonnieJ Says:

    I had been hesitating to mention your activity in RedFin because it’s off topic, but you got to watch out in there buddy. I flee’d there (donjumpsuit) in December because that place is a serious “Running of the Bullz”. I felt like I was going to get trampled.

    Watch out in RedFin forums man. They are out to make madhaus soup.

  2. nomadic Says:

    Wow. I never thought I’d want to live in Orinda, but damn! Serious house porn.

  3. wahnny Says:

    According to Redfin, the Waverly property was built in the 1930s, renovated in the 1970s, and probably staged (updated kitchen/bathroom/appliances) for the open house. Yet the asking price is only 5 times the assessed value! Even accounting for inflation, shouldn’t home prices double every 10 years in the RBA?

  4. PK Says:

    #2 – Me too. I think Orinda is on my list in the future. Honorary RBA!

  5. Divasm Says:

    Yeah but apparently Frank wasn’t into bathrooms – I mean, 4300+ square feet and only 3.5 bathrooms? That is waaaay under today’s trend, haven’t we decided you need a bathroom for at least every 500 sq feet? So we’re shy 5 bathrooms! No wonder it’s been on the market so long!

    Clearly there’s an opportunity here for a bathroom flipper.

    And yeah, Redfin forums are chock full of folks who spend their time whining about how they can’t afford anything, then after they buy they have to spend their time justifying the purchase by insisting it will never go down in value, right?

  6. sonarrat Says:

    Here’s another tasty bit you could have for the same money – a 5000 sf mansion on one of the most famous parks in the world. Guess where!

  7. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    I would tolerate Frank Lloyd Wrong’s crap for those gardens. DAMN that looks amazeballz!

  8. Wendy Says:

    You can see the listing here:

    I drive by this house every day. Super cute, awesome neighborhood. Having a hard time believing the lot is that large.

  9. Wendy Says:

    You can see the listing here:

    I drive by this house every day. Super cute, awesome neighborhood. Having a hard time believing the lot is that large.

  10. madhaus Says:

    Yesssssssss! Virtual Tour! 35 pictures, no waiting!

  11. Real Estater Says:

    Basically it’s a Redfin error. You can see it here too:

    Who uses Redfin anyways? The UI is lousy.

  12. Real Estater Says:

    Inventory has picked up these couple of weeks. I see a few reasonably priced homes here and there.

  13. Petsmart groomer Says:

    > Wow. I never thought I’d want to live in Orinda, but damn! Serious house porn.

    Very nice house indeed. I never thought I’d one day look up where Orinda is.

    A typical FLW house, with all the water coming from the leaky roof?

  14. Petsmart groomer Says:

    This house on Waverley is dated, boring and on a corner lot. It will sell without a doubt.

  15. madhaus Says:

    It’s also just one block from Steve Jobs’ house, so you could definitely walk there.

  16. Real Estater Says:

    Let’s list some of our least favorite places. I’ll start:

    Walnut Creek, Orinda, San Ramon, El Cerrito, Daly City

    Not that these are bad places; just that these places totally lack the character of RBA. Spending even a day there feels too long.

  17. madhaus Says:

    Walnut Creek is Sunnyvale without Yahoo, 10 degrees more extreme temperatures, and with BART instead of CalTrain. Sunnyvale CUSD may be RBA, but it isn’t because of its innate charm.

  18. nomadic Says:

    Go to Cupertino for a complete vacuum of charm. Even Sunnyvale has Murphy Street to give it something…

  19. Real Estater Says:

    Don’t care about Murphy Street. Never go there anyway. It’s more about the intangibles, with the smart people and the tech vibe around. The magic fades when you leave the RBA.

  20. Real Estater Says:

    $3500/month rental, minutes from downtown Palo Alto

  21. nomadic Says:

    Either that’s in EPA or it’s a scam post. Too cheap to live up to all of those claims.

  22. Space for 7-14 vehicles, dance or artist’s studio, bowling alley, wrestling etc. [] Says:

    […] 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 […]

  23. nomadic Says:

    The Orinda house is tagged PENDING by Redfin! Looks a little fishy though because it isn’t noted on the property history like it normally would.

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