February 1, 2014

I Can Haz Stock Optionz?

Here’s a piece of investment and career advice: If your job doesn’t give you a piece of equity in the company you’re working for, it’s time to move on.

You Need Equity To Live In Silicon Valley

140131-stanford-memeMay 22, 2013 – Andy Rachleff Wealthfront

The other day we were modeling our typical client’s spending when we realized something disturbing – an average Bay Area-based young couple has to own equity in a business if they hope to send their kids to a good university and be able to retire well.

Investing well alone can’t get you there.

Our analysis found you need to work for at least one company where your equity stake can generate at least a few hundred thousand dollars after tax to make your economics work in the Bay Area.

The problem is the hole that opens up in a typical couple’s budget when they are in their late 30s. Three big pressures converge then: the mortgage on your expensive Bay Area home, and the dueling needs to fund your retirement and your kids’ college early so that you take advantage of compounding.

That’s why we say: You need equity to live in Silicon Valley.

And we say, you need even more equity to live in The Real Silicon Valley.  Then again, you could always rent AND send your kids to Community College and Cal State AND move to Arkansas for your Golden Years.

Basically this is another one of those “We make $250,000 a year and we feel sooooooo poooooor” pieces. Please all join in this First World Problems Pity Party because in lieu of another crap house for your disapproval.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:06 am






September 19, 2013

It’s Search Engine Thursday!

130918-search-dummyToday’s Search Engine result is what happened when someone typed something into a search engine and ended up on Burbed.  Ready?

bay area too crowded to too expensive to live

Boom!  Our keyword-rich title is Number Six, and we think it’s full of Number Two!

Hah! Somebody isn’t living in the Real Bay Area or they would never say anything like that! Why, in the Real Bay Area you can spend millions of dollars and still have a generous 6,000 square foot lot for your 1500 sf house! That’s only crowded if you’re sharing it with 8 other Googlers!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:01 am

January 1, 2013

A New Year, Same Old Resolutions ‘n Predictions ‘n Stuff

121231-newyear-2013Happy 2013 everyone!

We don’t have too many New Year’s Resolutions, although we invite you to let us know what they should be.  Here are some we’d probably get from the people who are thinking this but wouldn’t dare comment.

· How about being nice in that True Bay Area Spirit you never stick to, you hypocrite?

· You’re too nice to the whiners.  I liked the site better when you were 10 kinds of rude.

· How come you never do a house in my neighborhood?  There’s all kinds of crap here!

· How come you always do my neighborhood?  My neighborhood is more elegant than Cupertino!  Quit dumping on us!

· When will you get rid of Commenter XYZ?  I cannot stand XYZ!  I won’t comment here until you ban XYZ.

· Stop censoring XYZ’s posts!  XYZ is the best commenter on your stupid site.

· Please no more Guest Posts!

· Hey, you haven’t run a Guest Post in months!

· How come burbed went away?  You suck. Bring back burbed!  burbed was funny.

· Where did you go? Are you on vacation or something? This burbed poster is no good.  Why didn’t you ask Commenter XYZ to fill in for you instead?

· Enouhg wit the gramer Natsy stuf. Noboddy cars how abut my speling.

· Can you write a post in less than 200 words?  I don’t think you can.

 

Nope, and when we answered the last question this article went to 427.  Okay, now here are some of our predictions for the New Year.

  • Real estate prices will go up where it’s Special and stay flat or even drop where it isn’t.  Are you selling a house? Did you have to lower the price?  Then it isn’t Special.  Q.E.D.
  • Rents will go up some more in late Spring and Summer.  If you got yourself a rental last summer, we suggest you look into how much breaking the lease will cost you, because you could get something cheaper right now.
  • Spring Bounce officially starts today and continues until the end of December.  Look for higher asking prices… where it’s Special.
  • As long as They Aren’t Making Any More Land, Burbed will continue to have plenty of material!

Stop in on comments to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and feel free to make your predictions for 2013, or give us your advice on how to improve this site (which we promise we will ignore completely).

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

October 16, 2012

Burbed’s Election 2012 Voter Guide to California Propositions and more – Part 2

Burbians,

Yesterday I said I would publish a voter’s guide to our state’s amazing propositions. I have a lot of respect for our proposition system. After all, we all know that California (especially Silicon Valley) is only full of smart people who can enable direct democracy to work.

Proposition 30 Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public Safety Funding

Burbed recommends: No

Why? Because this increase the personal income tax on people who make over $250,000. These are the most important people in the Bay Area – the House Price Creators. Instead, this proposition seeks to redistribute their income to schools and whatnot. As we all know, Home owners are our nation’s future. Not children. Children are a terrible tax drain. They’re so obnoxious with their demands that we even banned them from working because they were so distracting to people who were adding value to our economy, and paying mortgages.

Save Home Price Creators! Vote no!

Proposition 31 State Budget. State and Local Government

Burbed recommends: No

Why? Because this is too complicated and if it doesn’t make sense in 30 seconds, it probably is bad. Also, I can’t see how a Yes for this would directly raise house prices. Pass.

Proposition 32 Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction. Contributions to Candidates

Burbed recommends: Yes

Forget the union aspect of this – let’s focus on the economics. Every $1 that is deducted for political contributions is a $1 that cannot be spent on a mortgage – which is a $1 that won’t go towards helping increase housing prices. If I could, I would ban all political contributions – except from the National Association of Realtors, of course, because their voice needs to be heard.

Help your union friends pay their mortgages! Vote yes on this. And if they lose their jobs/benefits/pay because they can’t collectively bargain anymore, then that’s ok – we don’t want poor people living here in the Real Bay Area anyway. $250k or bust!

Proposition 33 Auto Insurance Companies. Prices Based on Driver’s History of Insurance Coverage

Burbed recommends: No

It’s a good idea, but this doesn’t go far enough. I like the idea of insurance companies being able to charge a 200% surcharge for having a gap in insurance coverage (as it happens in other states) that have passed something like this. Let’s face it, if we don’t make this state more expensive to live in, we’ll attract more undesirables.

But the reality is that it doesn’t address the biggest problem: that renters should be charged more for auto insurance than real citizens – aka homeowners. Everyone knows that renters have no respect for law or lives – they’re a daily threat, clogging up streets that homeowners pay (almost nothing thanks to Prop 13) for.

Send the message that this doesn’t go far enough. Vote no.

Proposition 34 Death Penalty

Burbed recommends: No

California spends $200M a year on special death row housing and other expenses apparently. This money has to go somewhere! If we get rid of the death penalty, what will happen to all the lawyers that deal with death penalty cases? How will they be able to afford their homes.

Sure it’s kinda unfair that some people get executed wrongly. But it’s also unfair to live next to a death penalty expert lawyer, and then see your house price drop because they have to do a short sale.

Sorry death row inmates – you’ve gotta take one for the team on this one. Greater good and all that.

Proposition 35 Human Trafficking. Penalties

Burbed recommends: No

Let’s face it, human trafficking is terrible. Instead of penalizing these pimps, we need to retrain them to become recruiters for Dice so that they can grow their business and buy more billboards on 101. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing those – it’s a great reminder of how awesome the hiring scene is in the Valley, and that in turn drives up housing prices.

Proposition 36 Three Strikes Law. Repeat Felony Offenders. Penalties

Burbed recommends: Yes

Personally I think we need fewer people in jails, so we can make more room for renters who don’t pay on time. But until that becomes a criminal violation (fingers crossed!) let’s get more people on the street so that we can train them to become eventual homeowners. More demand is always a good thing. And, since we don’t really do much in the way of retraining for prisoners here in California, we can assume these folks will end up back in courts and jail – gotta think of those lawyers!

Help the lawyers, help the world. Yes on Prop 36.

Proposition 37 Genetically Engineered Foods. Labeling

Burbed recommends: No

Slippery slope my friends. First, we require companies to label food that may rise up and revolt in our stomach. Next, realtors will be required to verify claims in the descriptions in MLS. This is simply too dangerous. Less disclosure is always a good thing – moral hazard and all that.

Proposition 38 Tax to Fund Education and Early Childhood Programs

Burbed recommends: No

See Prop 30. Repeat after me: “Children are not our future. Baby boomers are our future.”

Proposition 39 Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and Energy Efficiency Funding

Burbed recommends: No

This ends tax breaks for companies. As we all know, when you give tax breaks to companies, they pass these savings on to the employees in terms of higher wages. Just like how if you are constipated, the key is to buy more toilet paper because the supply will stimulate demand.

That said, this proposition does guarantee money for green projects – which could lead to even more hype for CleanTech which would mean more multi-trillion IPOs which would mean Manhattan level housing prices even in Redwood City.

This one’s a tough one. I’m going to have to stick with no for now though.

Proposition 40 Redistricting. State Senate Districts

Burbed recommends: No

Why? Because there apparently is no opposition. That’s got to be a trap. Vote no just to be on the safe side.

And there you have it folks, a guide to voting for the propositions this year!

Make me proud!

How many of these recommendations will you take?

Comments (14) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:00 am

October 15, 2012

Burbed’s Election 2012 Voter Guide to California Propositions and more – Part 1

Burbians,

I long contemplated whether or not I should write a voter’s guide for this election year. The fact is that I’m pretty jaded about the election process because of the rampant voter fraud.

Yes. Rampant voter fraud.

What?? You don’t know about the rampant voter fraud? Well, in that case, like my friend in this video says: “All you have to do is study it out.

The short version is this: Why do we allow renters to vote?

As we all know, renters are the collection of every worse stereotype you can imagine. Take everything we all hate about the poors, the gays, the blacks, the rich, the asians, the breeders, the hispanics, the liberals, the non-hispanic whites, the conservatives, the rednecks, the lazy youth, the elites, and the greedy boomers – put them in the blender you bought at Costco, and boom: Renters.

It is an absolute travesty that we allow these people who smell, are snobby, are flamboyant, don’t value education, drive too fast, keep popping out babies, drive too slow,  do drugs, are close minded, are too green, are too lazy, strive too hard, ruin our schools, are here illegally, pretend to be victims, oppress others, pay by check, make our schools too competitive, and are (UGH) vegan take part in our political process. First it was renters… what next? Should we let cougars (the mountain lion kind, not the aggressive kind) vote?

Fraud. That’s what it is.

Now, there are some who would argue that making home ownership a prerequisite discriminates against poor people. To that I have two points:

  1. This is exactly what our Founding Fathers wanted. They only wanted propertied people to vote. Trust me, I saw a documentary on the Declaration of Independence (Nicholas Cage did a fantastic job.)
  2. Poor people can own homes. Strawberry pickers buy a $720,000 houses all the time.

BOOM. The argument store is now closed.

But, as a journalist, it is my responsibility to educate you. And educate you I will.

So despite my reservations, I will indeed publish a voter’s guide tomorrow.

However, this guide will be limited only to the state-wide propositions.

I cannot endorse Obama or Romney. Neither of them support my plan to restore our economy by taking the Mortgage Interest Deduction, and turning it into the Mortgage Interest Tax Credit. That’s right… under my plan, you wouldn’t be able to deduct interest – instead you would get that money back directly. This would help our starving banks who, as we all know, are doing God’s work.

Before I publish this guide tomorrow some questions for the Burbians:

  1. What are the (true) stereotypes that you hate the most about renters?
  2. Should homeowners get one vote, while condo owners get .5 votes? Discuss.
  3. What should I recommend for each of the propositions?

-Your humble Burbed

Comments (22) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:51 am

October 13, 2012

What do you think about all the spamlicious selling stuff?

121010-spam-wallBurbed, like most blogs, gets its share of spam in the comments.  We use some spam-blocking tools to keep those to a minimum, but no tool is perfect. And sometimes some of your legitimate posts end up in the spam bin, where our hardworking staff has to rescue them by sorting through hundreds of offers of gay porn and Louis Vuitton ripoffs.  That means some of your comments sit alone, in the dark, with nothing but dozens of identical posts in Portuguese to keep them company until we dig them out them days later.

We’ve been dealing with some of the odder contributions by posting them without whatever sites they linked back to, as a Moment of Zen feature.  We’d like to know if you find these interesting or if this is wasted effort on our part, when we could be out looking at Open Houses to not write up.

Here are some of the latest additions to comments that really did belong in the spambucket, but are now standing on an equal footing with your own contributions. Please let us know if you think we’re taking the right approach toward responding to these. Do you enjoy them or should we just have left them in the spam Portal to Hell? It’s the hope of finding a #winning entry that keeps us checking the queue while rescuing those of you unfairly discarded with the Xbox cheat codes for only $49. The earnest, badly spelled, improper use of English while selling services on another continent comments are a “bunus,” but do let us know if these are worth our trouble.  Remember, these tend to released after most of you are done with the thread they sought out.

Or complain about something else.  This is an open thread, you know.  Post away. Attempts to sell us something are subject to further scathing editorial commentary.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

August 26, 2012

Advice Request: What to do about neighbor planning ginormous addition?

120825-adviceBurbed gets all kinds of mail.  Usually we get suggestions for houses to review or links to interesting articles that our readers might enjoy.  Occasionally we get requests for help.  Burbed reader Protennoia writes in and asks for your suggestions in dealing with a situation in the neighborhood.

A neighbor is turning a 3/1 into a 6/4.  Today, he had an open house for neighbors before he submits plans to the city of San Mateo. I went and asked him to tell me about it.

His roof leaks and he wants the space of a second story. He says his timeline is six months and that he’s building it for his family.  This neighbor is a few houses down, so I can’t argue that his second story will affect my privacy. He’s been there over 15 years and says he has no plans to move or rent out the place.

But plans can change.

I am nervous about a 6/4 house being built on the block.

A 6/4 house being rented involves a lot more traffic and street parking than a 3/1.

A 6/4 house, significantly, would maximize the potential profit of a halfway house. Up to six residents, a halfway house is considered a single family, even if their residents are six transient parolees with substance abuse problems.

People have the right to rent out rooms or to turn their house into a group home, so I don’t know that these complaints would have any effect

Other readers, how would you handle this situation?

120825-bryant-streetviewFor now we’ve taken out the name of the city.  Protennoia can add it in in the comments if it’s absolutely critical, but we will say this is a city in San Mateo County.

Updated 23:59 — Sorry about not fixing this until now.  I put San Mateo back in with Protennoia’s permission, but forgot to rewrite the about graf.  –ed.

We were looking for a good graphic of a house that completely dominated the block, but this video does an even better job getting that idea across.  And the article it came from suggests 10 signs a house is overbuilt for the neighborhood.  Several of them seem to apply to our reader’s situation.

So, Burbed Readers, what advice do you have on dealing with a neighbor doing so much expansion on your block, given that that the home’s purpose could change and then affect your ability to enjoy your home?  Is this NIMBYism or preserving neighborhood character?

If you don’t want to post your comment publicly, you can send email directly to Protennoia at this email address.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

July 29, 2012

A request for information

We get all kinds of mail at Burbed.  Here’s one that asks us for some advice.  Instead of our just sending our answer, wouldn’t it be awesome if we sent several responses?  Our readers are a fairly high-powered bunch, so let’s go!

Dear Burbed.com,

My name is Darren and I am a business student at <school not in the Real Bay Area>.  I’m taking part in a summer business incubator program in <city not in the RBA> where students create startup companies.  I believe the best businesses begin by solving a problem and I’m interested in building my business around helping real estate investors since this has always been an area of interest for me. 

I was wondering if you could take a few minutes to answer some of my informational interview questions below?  I am trying to determine what problems/inefficiencies real estate investors encounter that I could solve through developing a software solution.

I appreciate your help.

Thank you,

Darren <last name goes here>

Questions:

1.)    What is the biggest hassle real estate investors have to deal with?

2.)    If you could wave a magic wand and change something about what you do, what would it be?

Here are our answers for Darren.  What are yours?

120729-ugly-house1.) The biggest hassle for real estate investors is buying a property and subsequently discovering that it wasn’t in the RBA after all.  Usually this is revealed right after the comps drop.

The second biggest hassle is when business students ask anyone running a website even remotely related to one of the topic terms to do their homework for them.

2.) What would we change?  We would find a way to monetize this site using advertisers who would pay us $1000 per pageview.  Also, we’d implement better email tools to direct these sort of blast requests directly to our readers who are here to help.  Plus we’d give ourself super powers.  No way are we letting go of this magic wand.  We may throw it open to our readership to suggest how to use it on people like Darren.  We’re debating between “sic a high-pressure real estate investment salesman on him” and “replace his computer with a motivational book.”

We’ll be sure Darren sees your answers.  Hopefully he’ll also answer some of our questions.  Our first one is “If you could be any kind of house, what kind of house would you be?”

This is also your Weekend Open Thread.  Feel free to tell us what kind of Open House you’d be as well.  If you could wave a magic wand and change something about the house, what would it be?

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

July 24, 2012

TechCU conversion – Vote No [Not Snarky]

Let’s take a pause from examining the joys and wonderment of Real Bay Areal Real Estate, and look at a serious issue.

If you are a TechCU customer, you will soon be asked to vote on whether you want to convert the bank to… well… a bank. Or to keep it as is.

I’ve read through the literature, and I can’t seem to find any good reason on why this conversion should happen.

Worse yet, the phone calls, the literature, the raffle for free iPads for voting (seriously??) have all left a bad taste in my mouth.

You’re free to do whatever you want to do, but I’m planning on voting no on the conversion.

Here’s some more reasons why:

http://www.savetcu.org/

Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:26 am

May 28, 2012

Official Burbed Ballot Guide

120527-voters-guide-stickerNext Tuesday will be Primary Election Day in California.  Not only will voters get to select partisan candidates, there will also be some ballot measures to vote on.  Here are our recommendations on how to vote if you value living in the Real Bay Area.

Primary election procedure has changed this year.  Before Proposition 14, which passed in 2010, one winning candidate per party appeared on the November ballot. Now all primary elections are a free-for-all whittled down to the top two finishers, who will duke it out in November for the contested office.  Burbed officially disapproves of this method.  Instead, primary elections should be more like buying a house.  Whoever offers the most money with the fewest contingencies should be chosen as the winner, although a plate of chocolate cookies and a family photo may also do the trick.

Federal, State & Local Candidates

120527-voters-guide-white-housePresident: Does it matter?  Is the White House in the Real Bay Area?  No, it is not.  Is Barack Obama from the Real Bay Area?  No.  Is Mitt Romney?  No, and he owns enough houses that he should be!  Neither Ron Paul nor Gary Johnson qualify either.

Senate: Does it matter?  Is the Senate Building in the Real Bay Area?  No, it is not.  But wait, you may say.  While the Senate Building is in Washington, DC, many of the Senatorial candidates actually do live in the Real Bay Area.  To which we say, and?  You want to vote for someone who lives in the RBA and is willing to move to a job somewhere else?  This disqualifies them by definition!

House of Representatives: See Senate.

State and Local Offices: As none of them requested our endorsement, we offer no recommendations.  Then again, if anyone had requested our endorsement, that would disqualify by definition.  Who would ask for a real estate website’s endorsement?  Well, who other than Gary Miller?

State Propositions

120527-voters-guide-29Proposition 28: Term limit modification. Vote NO.  This does not affect property values, although it may lead to more turnover of Sacramento property.  Since Sacramento isn’t in the RBA, this won’t affect prices here. 

Proposition 29: Tobacco tax.  Vote YES.  Burbed is in favor of taxing things that are not housing in order to avoid unnecessarily raising property taxes instead.  Also we are opposed to any industry spending $40 million on misleading advertising.  Did you really think those actors in lab coats were actual scientists?

Santa Clara County Measures

120527-voters-guide-jailMeasure A: County Jail operations.  Vote NO.  This looks like an opportunity to let any number of agencies get their fingers in the jail pie, and by “opportunity” we actually mean “payola, corruption, and graft, oh my!”  Do we really need a County Jail anymore?  There are so many foreclosed homes in East San Jose we should just use them instead.

Measure B: San Jose pensions. Burbed does not have an official position on this, but has enjoyed the complete disconnect between how the SJ Mercury News has been covering this (Chuck Reed walks on water and raises the dead) versus NBC11 (Chuck Reed is a lying scumbag who eats babies for breakfast).  The truth is probably that there is nothing in the pension fund at all because it was all invested in that downtown condo tower that didn’t work out so well.

Various school bond measures (C, E, G, H): Vote YES, except for Measure E, because who do you think you’re fooling, Milpitas?  Better funded schools ensure your property values remain high (and if you live in Milpitas, this clearly does not apply).  If you’re a rentard, vote YES anyway.  Someday you’ll own.  (Keep believing that.)  You may object that we said above to vote for taxes for other things because we don’t want higher property taxes.  To which we reply, are you some kind of rentard idiot?  These are school BONDS, not school TAXES.  Bonds mean borrow and spend, not tax and spend.  Note: School bonds must receive 55% YES votes to pass.

Plenty more County Ballot Measures inside!  Click on through!

(more…)

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am