June 8, 2015

$1.4M for a picture of a house in San Carlos

819 Sunset Dr SAN CARLOS, CA 94070



Congrats to San Carlos on reaching this milestone! It’s not every day when you can sell a picture of a house for $1.4M – that’s huge!

So, let’s see… add in another $400 per square foot to build this thing… that’s just a mere $2.8M total!

If that’s not a deal, I’m not sure what is!

What kind of deals have you seen lately?

Comments (32) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:32 am

32 Responses to “$1.4M for a picture of a house in San Carlos”

  1. Bill Lumberg Says:

    Wow, that seems crazy. Seems like I’ve seen lots in the Belmont/San Carlos area for a few hundred thousand. So they are asking $1 million for the plans?

    Here’s a Belmont lot, over an acre, for $100k.


  2. Alex in San jose Says:

    If I had 100k laying around loose I’d buy that lot in a heartbeat, that honestly looks like a good deal.

    But first I’d want to look at how much it’s going to cost to get a road in, the water situation, make a level place to build a house, and how the neighbors feel about a garden and chickens.

    Him, given the current bubble, I have a feeling someone has done all of that homework and in a normal market that land is worth closer to 20k.

  3. Alex in San jose Says:

    I’d say we’ll be at peak bubble when a 400 square foot studio apartment in Sunnyvale is $1500 a month and tech workers are sleeping on the “hot bunk” system like it’s 1999.

  4. KikiSC Says:

    I realized I have gone old. Back in my day, people bought “starter homes” for a sensible amount, then sized up as their family grew and sized down in late life. Now people use the houses like their wealth manager and plan for 2 generations, so houses never go on the market. Consequently, people can buy 1950s crapshacks that are either desperate for rehab or extensively remodeled, OR buy a new, attached, HOA (bonus government) condo or townhouse to have a contemporary lifestyle. For fun, search redfin for detached houses under $1m with no HOA. It’s sad. I don’t know what young people do these days.

  5. Bill Lumberg Says:

    “I don’t know what young people do these days.”

    We become a permanently renting underclass.

  6. KikiSC Says:

    I rented for decades; each lifestyle has its benefits and detriments. I liked the ease of movement/fungibility of renting. I like the stability of owning, but I also am “stuck here” although that works for me for now. On the plus side of owning, I am never using a cheap faucet again in life. Ever. Even if I wind up renting in some graduated care senior complex, I’ll install a decent faucet. Another “never again” is plunking quarters into a washer/dryer. Done. With. That. Just for context, the wheel of fortune is a wheel. One’s current circumstances are not one’s destiny. Having given a framework, I’ve been poor, rich; employed, unemployed; healthy, disabled; single, married … each status gets its turn as the wheel spins. All I can do is make some (not all, just some) choices that speed or slow the whirl.

  7. Real Estater Says:

    A lot of new folks moving into my neighborhood are 30 something’s, and there are tons of kids on my block. As a matter of fact, I would say my neighborhood is getting younger rather than older.

  8. Sreeni Says:

    Housing has become a securitized trading vehicle for Wallstreet, an avenue to stimulate the economy for the Fed, and great mechanism to extract higher property taxes for the local govts. Even though the mortgage balance is going higher, the monthly payment remains low due to low interest rates. How can one fault youngsters for not understanding how much things have changed? I mean to say that the concept of ‘ownership’ itself has changed. We only think we own the house even though we maintain very high mortgage balance.

  9. Real Estater Says:

    >>We only think we own the house even though we maintain very high mortgage balance.

    You own a mortgage payment that will never go higher in 30 years, as opposed to rent and home prices. That is the value of ownership.

  10. Bill Lumberg Says:

    RE, 35 SF tech companies IPOed in 2014, not sure how many this year. Lots of people are hitting the IPO lottery.

  11. Alex in San jose Says:

    So, we could actually be in the functional equivalent of 1926 or 1927, keep in mind there were outrageous real estate bubbles in those years, the one in Florida was eye popping even without adjusting for inflation.

    I’m still waiting to hear about techies sleeping under the hot bunk system!

    I guess if I had $100k sitting around I’d buy that lot and then watch it drop in value to $20k, isn’t that how it’s usually done?

  12. Alex in San jose Says:

    Real Excretor the kids of PLA apparatchiks you sold houses to for fat suitcases of cash eh?

  13. deertick Says:

    “I rented for decades; each lifestyle has its benefits and detriments.”

    A lot of what you said resonates with me. I rented for a long time too and now after having owned for a few years and that gives one a perspective.

    First of all after having been in the Bay Area for 20 years I in no way trust the local economy or the current job situation. This area-perhaps more than any other- is prone to extremes. Its either boom or bust and when either of those happens its almost instantaneous and drastic. The dot-com bust was BAD. So too was the housing bust of 2007. And here we are again in another boom. One thing is for certain which is that the current boom has a limited shelf life. My attitude for years has been to sock away money for the inevitable. In many ways I feel there is a sort of underlying sense of future doom amongst many long term residents: They’ve been there, done that, and know how bad things can get when the fun stops.

    Second of all… houses. Yes- I agree that cheap faucets suck. Whoever owned the house before me stuck in new faucets- the cheapest ones you can buy. ALL of them failed within 2 years and have since been replaced with better quality ones. It also becomes clear right away that home supplies are a ripoff. Everything is ridiculously expensive ranging from plumbing, appliances, pain and so on.

  14. Alex in SJ Says:

    It’s a boom and crash cycle.

    When I lived in Gilroy one next door neighbor had sheep. We let ’em graze our land too. Nothing like going to sleep the the sound of sheep munching on the grass.

    Anyway, they get sheared once a year. Kind of like how the proles get their money sheared by the 1% in the boom and crash cycle.

  15. Real Estater Says:

    General rule of thumb is, the earlier you get into home ownership, the better. Waiting only makes things harder. If deertick had bought 20 years ago instead of rented, he’d be practically done by now, and he wouldn’t have thrown away tens of thousands of dollars that got him zero equity. Economic boom or bust would no longer matter by now, because his payment should be way lower than today’s living standard.

    People who wait 20 years increase their risk significantly later in life, because if they lose their job at age 50, it isn’t the same as losing a job at age 30 or 40. Don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait.

  16. Real Estater Says:

    Just piling on, some things in life you gotta do when you’re young, like falling in love, getting married, having kids and so on. You don’t want to wait 20 years and then start checking out eHarmony.com. That’s why we see a lot of elderly people living alone watching infomercials to fill up their emptiness. Such outcome can be easily avoided with some forethought and planning.

  17. Real Estater Says:

    >>It also becomes clear right away that home supplies are a ripoff. Everything is ridiculously expensive ranging from plumbing, appliances, pain and so on.

    You will never hear me talk about such things. In the big picture such expenses are inconsequential. How many faucets do you think you can buy with the home equity you gain in one year?

    When my tenants says their appliance is broken, I immediately buy them a brand new LG or Sampsung high end model with no question asked. Where I draw the line is that I don’t buy American made junk.

  18. BayFan Says:

    Typo spotted: >>Where I draw the line is that I don’t buy American made junk.

    Corrected: Where I draw the line is that I don’t buy Chinese made junk.

  19. burbed Says:

    House is now pending.

  20. Real Estater Says:

    >>Where I draw the line is that I don’t buy Chinese made junk.

    To each his own. You can keep your Brokeberry while I keep on buying iPhones.

  21. Alex in SJ Says:

    We should all work on getting Real Excretor a job so he’s got something to do besides post on here all day.

    Here’s some golden advice: DON’T go to college. Get into some job that’s necessary, like working at the water treatment plant. Gov’t job, Unionized job. And like the Excretor says, yes, get into a house early. Even if you have to dumpster dive, get your clothes from Goodwill’s dumpster etc (which is why it’s important to work a gov’t, unionized job so they can’t fire you for “dressing down”) but yeah, it’s a house or it’s a useless college degree you don’t get both.

  22. deertick Says:

    “Where I draw the line is that I don’t buy American made junk.”
    Its too bad that you probably can’t avoid buying American. If you drive a Lexus/Acura/Honda/Toyota/Mercedes/BMW/Kia/Hyundai…. guess what? Its almost likely going to have American parts in it. In fact, if you drive any number of Japanese brand cars the bulk of them are now made in the US with a majority of US-made and sourced parts.

    If you own a cell phone, laptop or a TV set there’s an equally good chance it too has American-made parts inside. Most people fail to realize that even if something was assembled in China, Korea, Mexico or elsewhere that these usually have US- made parts in some capacity inside.

    The house you so proudly own: it is made out of American lumber, sheetrock, electrical conduit and wiring, plumbing, concrete, shingles, siding, windows, and various hardware bits and pieces. You claim you don’t buy American and yet you did and you do.

    As far as buying houses early in life- that’s poor advice. One should only buy when it makes financial sense and for many that means they need to not only have a sizable down payment but a chunk of money leftover too for the possibly downturns in the economy.

  23. KikiSC Says:

    Buying vs. renting is all about RISK. Different people have different risk tolerance at various stages of life. The general financial advice for real estate or the markets is true in general, but there are always circumstances that may cause a specific person to deviate from the general maxims. Most lives do not fit cleanly on a spreadsheet. Understanding regional prices only makes sense to me through a narrative filter of risk. Then I sort of get it intellectually. It makes me sad, though, because it’s so darned expensive for people starting out and so stacked in favor of the new landed gentry. Not really the world I would want to see for us, but the one we’ve got.

  24. deertick Says:

    Indeed. Its concerning for me in this day in age, even after the last housing boom when all sorts of silliness was an everyday occurrence that I have met a fairly large number of people who recently bought and did so with what I would consider with little in regards to the financial liabilities… such as the fact that in on case only one partner worked and thus they were one job loss away from probably being in financial straits.

    I remember when we got qualified for buying a house the bank approved us for something like 1.2 million. That is insanity. Realistically there was no way I’d even consider a loan for even 30% of that amount.

    With that you wonder how many young couples had that same experience, were approved for some insanely high amount and just assumed that’s what they should get- just buy the most expensive house they could qualify for only to find out later that -shit- that’s a lotta’ money and the payments will be crazy.

  25. Real Estater Says:


    No need to get too excited. I was talking about appliances. It’s based on real experience with faulty American washers in the past.

    Based on the window sticker, my Porsche has just 1% American/Canadian content, so I’ll let that one go.

  26. Prof. Bleen Says:

    Sorry if you’ve already see this, but it’s so perfect for this forum:


  27. Alex in San jose Says:

    I’m going to The Excretor’s porshe came in a little bubble pack that said Hot Wheels on it.

    Dude take some black thread, make a loop, loop it around the front wheel axles, tie the other end to a length of dowel, now its like a radio controlled car! Great fun until the cat pounces on it, in fact its pretty fun even after the cat learns about it.

  28. nomadic Says:

    Bleen! You’re still lurking! Or did the new bubble bring you back? Nice link.

  29. Alex in San jose Says:

    Has anyone else noticed how awful that drawing is? The perspective, the shadow angles, are all wrong.

    Its always the bad art that sells best.

  30. wave9x Says:

    After owning for a few years, I definitely miss some aspects of renting. You have more liquid assets. You don’t worry about your house’s value or maintenance. I find myself getting a bit defensive if someone says something bad about my neighborhood. When renting I never cared. You can pick up and move more easily when you rent. But I really don’t want to be old and paying rent, that would suck, so ultimately I’m happy with my choice.

  31. Real Estater Says:

    It’s not the drawing. The house looks awful from every angle man.

  32. Alex in San jose Says:

    It’s so ugly, it warps space!

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