February 3, 2013

Top Ten Reasons You Should Ignore Realtard’s Columns

Today we’re going to have a look at a realtard’s piece over on Trulia’s blog.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Estater for letting us know about this essay.

Tough Year Ahead: Top 10 Issues Facing Bay Area Buyers

East Bay Real Estate Focus — Providing Definitive Information for the East Bay Area
By
Carl Medford | Agent in Fremont, CA
Posted under: Market Conditions in Alameda County, Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Ownership in Alameda County  |  January 26, 2013 8:22 AM  |  257 views  |  1 comment

“TWO recent national surveys of real estate agents suggest that first-time buyers are on the decline, their access to the housing market blocked by tight credit and eager investors,” states Lisa Prevost, of The New York Times (12/20/212).

Old news. In fact, I’ve been saying the same thing since August, 2012.

Truth is, no one knows exactly how many have decided to sit things out a bit until the market calms down. Although we’ve seen a decline in the number of buyers “actively in the hunt,” in reality, there are not “fewer” first-time buyers – if anything, there are more. LOTS more. The problem is that less of them are actually managing to buy a home, and, unfortunately, that’s the primary statistic that is being measured. No one is sitting outside open houses counting the bodies as they hit the front door and then compiling the numbers to a national database. If they did, a much different story would be on the evening news.

Buyers trying to purchase a home in the existing market conditions are facing into the teeth of a perfect storm, real-estate style, and it doesn’t appear that it will be ending anytime soon.

Here are the Top 10 issues facing Bay Area buyers:

130202-top10-suitcaseActually, as realtard happyprop goes, this is a little bit better informed than most.  It does say something other than “NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY,” and best of all, the disturbing faceless and sexless icons include the ever-popular, we swear we are not making this up, Dude With A Suitcase Full of Cash.  We know you won’t believe without seeing, so here he is.  (And from the minimal clothing, it’s either a Dude or it’s Annie Hall.)

Here’s that Top Ten list. If you’ve been a regular reader of Burbed, none of these should surprise you.

  1. Sorry, you missed the bottom.  Sucks to be you.  Medford says February 2012 was the official bottom.  Maybe it was… in the East Bay.
  2. Inventory? What inventory?  Raw meat, here’s the sharks.
  3. Prices are going up.  Some areas are up 40% from last year.  Actually, if Mr. Real Estate Person had read the actual data instead of just looking at a piece in the Chron, he’d have seen that some areas are up a lot more than 40%.
  4. Lots of cash buyers out there.  Yeah, and not just in the hellhole that’s the East Bay.  RBA too, only these aren’t investors.  On this item the realtard confuses the difference between “Central County” (probably Alameda County given the link) and the entire Bay Area in claiming 30% of all offers are cash.
  5. Crowds lead to multiple offers.  Take low inventory and desperate sellers, what do you expect, other than the author citing hard numbers with his opinion columns from a different site.
  6. FHA or VA buyer? Don’t even bother in this market; even conventional buyers are losing out to Mr. Suitcase.  And Mr. Suitcase doesn’t care about appraisals.
  7. 130202-top10-house-familyNew homes are in demand againaccording to CNN, that is. That doesn’t apply to the RBA because they still aren’t making any more land.  Why the realtard didn’t quote this local story in his own backyard is left as an exercise to the reader.
  8. Appraisers haven’t a clue prices are up, which is preventing prices from going up even faster.  Includes helpful link to another of his columns mostly about packed open houses with one throw-away graf about appraisers.  What stayed with us was the tsetse flies.  But there was something useful mentioned: appraisers were blamed for the last bubble, and they’re not ready for this one.  Yet.
  9. Banks are mucking up your loan even more than usual, although the link provided explaining the loan approval process doesn’t look to us like anything has changed much.  We suppose if you’re a realtard remembering the glory days of If You Can Fog This Mirror You Can Buy This House, you’d have a different opinion.
  10. Bank underwriters especially are being poopy-heads, and Medford’s happy to give some examples. Most of them look like underwriters working through a pile of documents, marking off inconsistencies, and resolving them later, where later is some period greater than the five minutes realtards think is appropriate.

While we are perfectly capable of posting house after house in the five mile radius of The Googleplex, we would never confuse the RBA with the entire Bay Area.  Just because an agent can write a column even longer than one of ours doesn’t mean he won’t commit the Fallacy of Composition.  The East Bay isn’t the entire Bay Area any more than the South Peninsula is.  Market conditions vary, so may your mileage, and definitely will housing prices. 

But we can guarantee there will always be some real estate professionals out there who take a few shortcuts.  Let’s give this one a golf clap for giving the appearance of a housing market review, even if he found ten different ways to say You Are Now Priced Out Forever.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am






February 2, 2013

The Dignity Mortgage: Subprime with Training Wheels

Here’s a look at some new mortgage meshuggeneh from Burbed reader nomadic.

Housing advocates push for new type of subprime loan

The Dignity Mortgage would have a higher rate for higher-risk borrowers but include rate cuts after five years of on-time payments.

130201-latimes-dignityBy E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times; January 28, 2013, 5:53 p.m.

PHOTO: Pattie and Ollie Sibug would like to buy their San Diego town house, which they are renting for $1,750 a month. They are among those who may benefit from a proposed subprime mortgage program. (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times / January 29, 2013)

With home prices rising, interest rates falling and builders building, some prominent housing advocates are calling for a new kind of loan for buyers with lower incomes or bad credit.

They’d like to call it the Dignity Mortgage, but it has another name — one that’s become more of an epithet since the housing crash: subprime.

Applicants might include people caught in the early stages of the mortgage meltdown who have since rebuilt their finances, said Faith Bautista, who heads the National Asian American Coalition.

"They lost their work, their homes and their credit scores four or five years ago," Bautista said.

And let’s see what nomadic has to say about this idea.

These people are pushing for a mortgage that not only gives them better terms after five years of timely payments (which seems reasonable) but they want the extra interest paid during the "trial" period REFUNDED to them after those five years. In other words, the banks take more risk but don’t actually get paid for it in the end. Not to mention all of the other extra costs of the program (e.g., "extensive" financial counseling). WTF? Also thought it ridiculous that the rate goes down to what people with "sterling credit" and 20% down are paying. I haven’t done the math, but I suspect people aren’t necessarily paying off 10% of the purchase price in the first five years of their loan.

Think this is a better way to treat the poor people who shouldn’t have been buying houses at all but want another swing at the property piñata?  Or was it all the banks’ fault from start to finish? Aaaaaaaaaand, this is an Open Thread.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:16 am

January 27, 2013

Low mortgage rates, home prices going up: So who loses?

Here’s some news from the Merc (motto: Also available on paper!) that won’t come as a surprise to anyone who studied economics.

Bay Area rents are flattening out, new study says

By Pete Carey, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   01/21/2013 05:47:55 PM PST; Updated:   01/22/2013 05:25:31 AM PST

The torrid pace of rent increases in the Bay Area is slowing, according to a survey of apartment complexes released Monday.

Average rents in the East Bay, Peninsula and San Francisco were nearly unchanged in the fourth quarter of last year and declined slightly in the South Bay, according to RealFacts, a Novato consulting group that tracks rents in apartment complexes with 50 or more units. That compares with the first half of the year, when some areas saw quarterly increases of 4 percent.

Some renters may be deciding that interest rates and low prices have made the time right to buy a condo, and that may account for some of the leveling off of rents, a RealFacts representative said. Occupancy rates for apartments have flattened out while condo sales were in the double digits in December from a year earlier in Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

130125-rents-sanjoseThis is supply and demand.  If people are buying houses, then they don’t need apartments.  If people are buying houses, they don’t need to rent them, either.  So who loses in a hot housing market?  The landlord.

Are you noticing rents flattening, or even going down? Are more people moving because they bought something, or do new renters spring up instantly to replace them?  Are your rental properties still generating long lines and people offering to fight each other for the right to write you checks?

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

January 26, 2013

UPDATED: Special Bunus Report: Record-breaking property sale in Woodside

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Estater, who passes along the news that We’re Number One.  Again.  That is, We’re Number One as long as you don’t count ranches with a hundred thousand acres in Montana.

Silicon Valley real estate stunner: Woodside estate sells for $117.5 million

By Pete Carey, SJ Mercury News
Posted:   01/25/2013 07:00:12 PM PST; Updated:   01/25/2013 09:13:29 PM PST

WOODSIDE — A legendary investor’s sprawling estate here has sold for $117.5 million, one of the highest prices ever for a residential property in the U.S.

The sale price eclipses the previous Silicon Valley record of $100 million paid for a Los Altos Hills mansion by Russian investor Yuri Milner in 2011 and comes amid a red-hot market for luxury home sales in Silicon Valley and the Peninsula.

The private sale was closed in November between the owner, private equity investor Tully M. Friedman, and an undisclosed buyer represented by SV Projects, according to public records.

130126-mtnhome-frontNice going, San Jose Mercury “We once were a real News organization! Really!”  You’re reporting on a record-breaking property sale and couldn’t find any pictures of the property?  And it’s not like you didn’t have a few leads to go look for them.  Like the one from SFLuxe you alluded to at the end of your story and didn’t even hotlink in.

Their article has several excellent photos of delicious houseporn, all credited to photographer Jay Graham.

SFLuxe states their article is an exclusive, so they must have an arrangement with Graham to feature his photos.  Do check out their article.  In the meantime, Redfin is redirecting any requests to see the property record with a lovely redirect loop, so let’s see what we can find out elsewhere.

Update 20:50 — The Redfin link is working again but it’s been somewhat scrubbed. What a coinky-dinky.

130126-mtnhome-zillow360 Mountain Home Rd
Woodside, CA 94062

California > Redwood City > 94062 
Not for Sale
Zestimate: $19,227,778
Rent Zestimate: $12,677/mo
Est. Mortgage:
$69,193/mo

Bedrooms:4 beds
Bathrooms:4.5 baths
Single Family:8,930 sq ft
Lot:391,604 sq ft
Year Built:2005
Last Sold:Jul 1997 for $8,000,000
Parking:Garage
 
Description
This 8930 square foot single family home has 4 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. It is located at 360 Mountain Home Rd Woodside, California.

Sure makes you wonder about those Zestimates when they’re off by 500%, although it’s hard to model paying top dollar for bragging rights.

We’re not going to find much in the public real estate websites, because the property was never listed for sale.  Still, the SFLuxe article gives a few hints.  The architect is Allan Greenburg, who featured four photos of the house in his online portfolio:

130126-mtnhome-poolWoodside Residence
California

This northern California home sits in an elaborate hilltop garden. Reflecting the strong Palladian tradition in the United States, it is planned around hyphens and dependencies and features a double volume, elliptical garden room.

Photo: Michael Biondo

And as to why we are almost Number One in expensive real estate transactions?  There’s that 124,000 acre ranch in Montana that Stan Kroenke bought, listed for $132.5 million (including the cattle).

Update 20:50: Adding in an aerial shot.  Note the road at the side of the house is not where the entrance is, that’s far off beyond the lower right.

130126-mtnhome-satellite

Anyway, eat your heart out, Yuri Milner.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 1:07 pm

January 14, 2013

Home Buying: Comps, Mortgage Pre-qual, and Letter Writing

Can there be any question that The Bubble is Back? Buyers are returning to that delightful 2005 method: the Begging Letter. It must be true, because it’s in a newspaper.

Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please?

By JOANN S. LUBLIN, The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2013

Rob and Julia Israch won a fierce bidding war for a three-bedroom townhouse in Mountain View, Calif., late last year even though their $750,000 offer—while $92,000 above the asking price—was topped by 11 rivals and was several thousand dollars below the highest bid.

A key reason: The seller, software engineer Lev Stesin, was moved by a letter in which the Israchs said they worked in the technology industry and explained how the home’s spacious layout would be perfect given the imminent arrival of their first child. Among other things, the townhouse has three bathrooms, a wood-burning fireplace and a roomy backyard.

The only problem with this real estate story is the author’s contention that it isn’t just happening where it’s Special, namely Mountain View. Pitch letters are also going to sellers in Seattle, San Diego, suburban Chicago, and Washington D.C. Hah, and you thought we were going to say Belmont or something. No, we really meant places where it isn’t Special at all (e.g. where you can make an offer and be the only one! Redfin’s CEO said 95% of the offers their agents made in Silicon Valley had competing offers.)

The WSJ piece included two examples of House Begging Letters that worked. Both were from Silicon Valley buyers. Here’s one.

Note the use of photos. Don’t beg without them. Also don’t house beg with form letters. You’re going to have to write an individual letter for each seller, calling attention to their home’s marvelous features. Comments such as “Of all the 1954 era crapboxes we looked at today, yours had the fewest pet odors and the least offensive paint scheme” will probably not be effective. Some tips:

  • Remind the seller how attractive your offer is. You could write this note on the back of a hundred dollar bill to show how many more you have waiting.
  • Mention all the things you have in common with the seller, so they identify with you and not any of those other Less Special buyers. If you can’t find the sellers on social media, a good private detective can ferret that info out. Or spend some of those C-notes on the gabbiest neighbors.
  • Gush about their house and neighborhood without overdoing it. Otherwise they’ll figure you’re using irony. After all, it is one of several hundred 1954 era crapboxes in the tract. But — close to Google! (Don’t mention this if they tried and failed to get jobs there.)
  • Describe your difficult house hunt without sounding whiny. If you can fake sincerity here, you’ll have it made:

A few years ago, the owners of an older Los Altos home got more than 21 offers and picked the one from a woman who also submitted a love letter from her dog, said Kathy Bridgman, an Alain Pinel Realtors agent who represented the sellers. “She won’t touch a thing,” promised the letter, signed with a paw print. “I will be able to play in the yard.”

After closing, the buyer immediately tore down the home and built a bigger one.

Note: In case you’re noticing that we’ve repeatedly reformatted this piece, you’re correct. Our blogging tools aren’t as compatible with each other as we wish they were.  In this particular case, one tool supports photo captions but won’t strip styles out properly, the other is the reverse.  Don’t even get us started on what WordPress is doing to both of them.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

January 13, 2013

San Francisco is the Brooklyn to Silicon Valley’s Unbuilt Manhattan

Discuss.

130112-sfbrooklyn-startrekAs disappointed visitors and new employees discover, Silicon Valley is a dull and ugly landscape of low-rise stucco office parks and immense traffic-clogged boulevards. The fancy restaurants are in strip malls, like you’d find in Arizona or something. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. Massive arcologies like the new Apple campus are where the tech giants are headed, but until there are living urban neighborhoods connecting these monstrosities, anyone with hopes for a life outside of work will pay a ridiculous premium to live in San Francisco and spend two hours of every day sitting on a bus.

Meanwhile, the areas around and in between the tech giants of Silicon Valley are mostly ready to be razed and rebuilt. There are miles and miles of half-empty retail space, hideous 1970s’ two-story apartment complexes, most of it lacking the basic human infrastructure of public transportation, playgrounds, bicycle and running and walking paths, outdoor cafes and blocks loaded with bars and late-night restaurants. This is where the new metropolis must be built, in this unloved but sunny valley.

And then the new supercity gets linked to San Francisco by an existing boulevard of run-down old malls and decrepit car lots that pours right into the Mission District and downtown SF, 40 miles north. The boulevard is El Camino Real, or California Route 82, the one-time king’s highway that could be a new corridor of high-rise apartments and HQs and restaurants and museums filling in the long gaps between downtown San Jose and Apple/Google/HP/Yahoo/Intel and Stanford University and San Francisco. With local light rail at street level and express trains overhead or underground, the whole route could be lined with native-landscaped sidewalks dotted with pocket parks and filled on both sides with ground-floor retail, farmers markets and nightlife districts around every station. Caltrain already runs just east of Route 82, and BART already reaches south to Millbrae now.

130112-sfbrooklyn-bartconceptThe above is from a piece in The Awl that notes the large number of young, hip techies who may work in Silicon Valley but definitely don’t want to live in a ginormous, boring suburb.  Yes, there are well-paid people out there who don’t want to spend a million dollars for a sixty year old tract house, or even three thousand a month to merely rent one.  So what would you replace the endless clone houses of San Jose with?  Or would you simply raze most of Redwood City and rebuild Manhattan there?

This is also a great time to whip out this map of the region again, to remind everyone what makes The Bay Area So Special.  Pay careful attention to the region along The Street of Kings.

Thanks very much to Apocryphon at MetaFilter for linking to these sites above.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

January 9, 2013

Abandoned Bungalow Bothers Burlingame Big Bucks Burghers

Here’s a cheery little story just to remind you that you’re all only one abandoned hellhole of a house away from losing Real Bay Area status, and it can happen anywhere!

 

Dumping ground: Burlingame neighbors tire of long-vacant home

January 08, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb, SM Daily Journal staff

130108-channing-smdailyDaily Journal Neighbors want action taken against the owners of a vacant home in Burlingame who have not maintained the property for years. (photos, Bill Silverfarb)

A long-vacant home in Burlingame’s Lyon Hoag neighborhood has turned into dumping ground and neighbors in the area are sick of it.

The home, at 139 Channing Road, sits in the middle of million-dollar homes but neighbors fear their own property values will be negatively impacted by the property — which they say looks like an overrun junk yard.

The listed owners, Michael James O’Brien and John Quillian O’Brien, moved out of the home several years ago after a death in the family and have not maintained the property, neighbors told the Daily Journal.

Bruce Bettencourt, who lives right next door to the house with his wife, has called Burlingame code enforcement at least “100 times” over the years about rats, garbage, junk and overgrown vegetation on the property, he told the Daily Journal.

He has found dead raccoons on the property and fears it has also become a nesting ground for rats.

Dead raccoons plus live rats! Usually we get our housing fun from real estate listings.  But you can learn a lot from reading the news sites as well!  Let’s see what we can find out about this house.

130108-channing-trulia139 Channing Rd
Burlingame, CA 94010
$694,000 Trulia Estimate

1 bed
1 bath
1,000 sqft
Single-Family Home
Public Record
Neighborhood: Lyon Hoag

Listing Details
Description provided by Trulia
This is a Single-Family Home located at 139 Channing Road, Burlingame CA. 139 Channing Rd has 1 bed, 1 bath, and approximately 1,000 square feet. The property has a lot size of 5,750 sqft and was built in 1922. The average list price for similar homes for sale is $3,020,488 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $1,106,052. 139 Channing Rd is in the Lyon Hoag neighborhood in Burlingame, CA. The average list price for Lyon Hoag is $1,035,000.

Public Records for 139 Channing Rd
Official property, sales, and tax information from county (public) records as of 09/2012:

130108-channing-compsSingle Family Residential
1 Bedroom
1 Bathroom
1,000 sqft
Lot Size: 5,750 sqft
Built In 1922
A/C: Central
Heating: Central
Parking: Detached Garage
Parking Spaces: 1
4 Rooms
County: San Mateo
Tax Rate Code Area: 4-001

130108-channing-carWhile you can’t see much from the street, here’s an abandoned car from the view over the back fence.  If you check out the Streetview pictures, you’ll find trash cans in front of the house next door, but we don’t think that’s what the neighbor called the code enforcement office about.

You’d think that San Mateo County would want their $16,000 in back taxes.  You’d think they’d bring some kind of fines against the owners for abandoning their (live) dogs in the house.  Supposedly John Quillian,  Michael O’Brien’s stepson, recently told the city he’s planning on moving back in.

Why doesn’t the city or county force a sale of this property?.  Not only would that lead to  a new owner cleaning up what’s turning into a health hazard, but it will be good news for the local agencies as well.

130108-channing-trashbins139 Channing Road
Burlingame, CA 94010

Owner: MICHAEL JAMES OBRIEN & JOHN QUILLIAN OBRIEN
Land value: $94,608
Building value: $111,812
Total value for property: $206,420
Assessments for tax year: 2009
Last sale: $120,000
Date of last sale: 10/24/1979

 

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