August 30, 2013

Watch the hawks soar with Portola Valley potential

There are many ways for a house to show Burbed win. One is for it to be completely overpriced, and the other is for it to be an utter crapbox.  Which kind do you like better? Can’t decide? Today’s house is BOTH!

130829-westridge-redfin207 WESTRIDGE Dr
Portola Valley, CA 94028

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
2,770 Sq. Ft.
$1,082 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1952
Lot Size: 3.05 Acres
On Redfin: 5 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Central Portola Valley
MLS#: 81331429
Style: Contemporary
View: Green Belt, Mountains, Canyon
County: San Mateo

130829-westridge-flagstoneOver 3 acres with spectacular southern exposure, views toward Monte Bello Ridge. Watch the hawks soar! Architect designed with Frank Lloyd Wright’s "Falling Water" in mind, this mid-century contemporary is ready for extensive remodel or build new. Owned by one family since 1953. Wonderful privacy. Two guest cottages. Much deferred maintenance; 3-stall barn w/ hayloft in disrepair. Potential!

130829-westridge-poleDesigned with “Falling Water” in mind? We guess we could say our mid-century modern shack was designed with Monticello in mind… and yet it was a suburban tract house in fact.  Only ours has fewer paper cranes.

This house also reminds us of the one yesterday: way more pictures outside than in, and no bedrooms snapped at all. Wonder why not? Maybe by deferred maintenance they really mean the owners haven’t gotten out of bed since 1953.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

April 18, 2013

Pricy Property in Prime RBA, Perfectly Pimped

BlogAtoZ-PWe move on with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and today’s a Premier Prospect! Pronto, Propose a Principality where the Population is Pushy, Pretentious, and Proud? Did someone say Palo Alto? Perhaps Piedmont? Possible, but we’ll Put them aside. 

Today’s Property is in Portola Valley!  Profound thanks to Burbed reader laurenatuw.

130417-degas-redflin187 DEGAS Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028

5 Beds
3.5 Baths
3,600 Sq. Ft.
$875 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1962
Lot Size: 2.56 Acres
On Redfin: 6 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Central Portola Valley
MLS#: 81311884
Style: Colonial


Let’s Pester laurenatuw for a Precis:

hand crafted interior not worth picturing

interesting new listing in Portola valley……. the town is so distracted by the housing bubble that pics of inside the house are now considered optional, even with a 3.15mill asking price.

guess you’ll just have to take the realtard’s word for it when they say (in all caps) "HAND CRAFTED, BEAUTIFUL FINISHED INTERIOR"…….


This Property is so Private that the agent Provided 14, Poll ‘em, 14 Pictures and every single Photo Portrays another Piece of the Peripheral Premises.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

February 4, 2013

Today in Portola Valley: Guest Blogger on Guest House

burbed_guest_bloggerWe haven’t had a guest post for a while, so we’re going to sleep in while Burbed reader Dr. Jim takes over today’s column.  Thanks very much!  Please give Dr. Jim a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome to the front page as today’s guest blogger!

And now we’re going back to bed.

130203-portola-redfin451 PORTOLA Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028

4 Beds
5 Baths
4,200 Sq. Ft.
$1,546 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1912
Lot Size: 1.13 Acres
On Redfin: 88 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Brookside/Willowbrook Area
MLS#: 81240340

Stunning historic estate originally built by Herbert E. Law completely renovated with state of the art contemporary finishes. Turreted castle main residence (3 br) incl. 1000 sq. ft new construction, stone guest cottage, 1200 sq. ft workshop. 1.2 flat ac. in prime PV, western views, pool, bocce court, enclosed rose garden, diamond plaster top quality appliances incl. La Cornue stove, Miele appl.

130203-portola-gatehouseCheck it out: 

They expect to make $4,645,000 profit on a house that they bought 1.5 years ago for $1,850,000!  That’s $1106/sf for remodeling.  And the cottage and workshop were there already.  Granted, the land is valuable, but that’s already accounted for in the original purchase price.  Let’s say they spent a ridiculous million dollars on renovation.  That’s still a 28% ROI, which is wildly ambitious.

130203-portola-ladderA couple of notes on the listing copy: (1) This is not the Herbert E. Law estate, this is the former GATEHOUSE for the Law estate (Villa Lauriston).  (2) A La Cornue oven, oh boy!  It looks like the $35,000 model (Chateau 120).  If they had put in a $299 Kenmore range, I suppose they would be asking $6,460,299.  Not really much difference.

Thank goodness for the Internet.  Just a few years ago, prior sale info was more difficult to obtain.  I think part of the current real estate slump is due to all of the information on the web: people are no longer being duped as readily by realtors.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

January 30, 2013

Only $1.5 million in Portola Valley? No Way (side)

Today we have a real purty property in Portola Valley.  You know how we love expensive crap? Just crossing into this high-falutiin’ district will make your wallet squirm.  It’s expensive here even if the land doesn’t have a house.  So for this low (for PV) price, you know today’s feature will be good.  That is, if by “good” we mean something not so good.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for this find.

130129-redfin-wayside211 WAYSIDE Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028

3 Beds
2 Baths
2,340 Sq. Ft.
$641 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1925
Lot Size: 0.41 Acres
On Redfin: 190 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Santa Maria/Russell Area
MLS#: 81227542
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: San Mateo

There are no remarks available.

Take it away, PG:

No wonder people outside the Bay Area think we are insane. Even with a Ferrari in the garage (picture #18), I can’t see the value in that one.


Sometimes, when life hands a real estate agent lemons, it’s best to keep one’s mouth shut. The eager buyer will bring the water, sugar and ice — then beg to be sold lemonade.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

May 4, 2011



Portola Valley,CA94028


BATHS: 1.5
SQ. FT.: 1,580
$/SQ. FT.: $474
LOT SIZE: 0.39 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
STORIES: Bi/Split Level
VIEW: Canyon
COMMUNITY: Alpine/Uplands (Los Trancos)
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81110302
STATUS: Active 




ON REDFIN: 48 days
This is a classic! Nice lot, great potential. View of Foothill Park and located on Los Trancos Creek. A magical setting! Great PV Schools and neighborhood. Spacious home with a family room off the Kitchen. LR with FP. Large lot! Lots of extra room on the lower level would be great for a utility room, workshop, extra bedroom? Make sure you see the lower level. DO NOT GO ON DECK. .. DO NOT GO ON DECK



Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find!
Herve was wondering this:
If the deck can collapse, why would I want to see the lower level?

I don’t think it says anywhere that the deck is going to collapse. I think that’s an assumption. And you know what happens when you assume: you make real estate prices fall.

Rather, I think the agent is trying to prevent you from developing TMJ… you know from when you jaw drops from standing on the deck and at the stunning view. It’s for liability reasons… I’m sure you can understand.

Oh, and by the way – this house comes with great private schools. You won’t be able to find private schools like that anywhere else!


Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

December 20, 2010

Cheapest House (not) in Portola Valley

Face it, the real estate sector is having a few bumps, so we continue our Black Friday DEALS all the way until Xmas!  To help get the market into the black before the year is out, today we’ve got a much higher-end place for you!  Operators are standing by to take your call.

250 Gabarda Way, Portola Valley, CA 94028

image Beds: 4
Baths:  3
Sq. Ft.: 2,730
$/Sq. Ft.: $548
Lot Size: 0.45 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1964
Community: Ladera
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81048520
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 77 days

Large home for the money. Flexible floor plan with possible 5th bedroom. Sunny Liv/din rm has vaulted ceilings & large picture windows flanking a wood burning frplc. The kitchen has updated appliances & a breakfast bar that opens up to the family w/ attached bonus rm/office & full bath. The home has an attached one bedroom in-law unit w/ sep entrance, kitchen, with liv rm & frplc. New roof in ’09.

The broker has used as many abbreviations as possible to pass the savings ON TO YOU.  Another way to ensure you get the MOST for your MONEY is putting this Portola Valley house not in Portola Valley. It’s in a neighborhood built as cooperative housing, all on county land.  You get the Portola Valley mailing address with none of the attendant headaches like their school district. Win-win!  Some of your friends will hear “Ladera” and might even think you live in (gasp) Menlo Park.  Talk about prestige!

image And this house and its flexible floor plan could easily be repurposed into anything you want.  I see this room and those beautiful hardwood strips and I’m thinking bowling alley.  Maybe you’re looking at all the stainless steel in the kitchen and imagining an aircraft assembly plant.

Hey, don’t laugh.  This is county land.  If you want to come up with something to drive your neighbors nucking futs, like putting up a bunch of cellular towers in your front yard, go right on ahead.  As long as you can get some big corporations involved and a few handshakes with the Planning Commission, the sky’s the limit.  Or 55 feet, whichever comes first.  Which means you’re going to need a few more handshakes to fit in that 63 foot bowling alley.  Better go with building fighter jets in the kitchen.

Remember, Black Friday DEALS will continue all this week!  If you’re planning on picking up last minute stocking stuffers for the the family, let us know where and we’ll see if there are any DEALS waiting for you!

Comments (183) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

November 10, 2010

one picture is worth a thousand words


295 GOLDEN OAK Dr Portola Valley, CA 94028


Beds: 5
Baths: 5
Sq. Ft.: 7,000
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,107
Lot Size: 1.08 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Modern/High Tech, Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Mountains, Neighborhood, Valley
Year Built: 2010
Community: Central Portola Valley
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81011166
Source: MLSListings
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 236 days
Striking Contemporary New Construction w/ 7000sf on over 1 acre w/ Guest Hse, Pool & Verdant Valley Views in Prime PV Locale! The open, flowing floor plan features high-end kitchen, stunning LR, formal DR, library, state-of the art home theater, rec room & lux MBR ste. Unsurpassed finishes throughout incl vaulted ceilings, bay windows & gleaming HW flrs. Attached 3 car garage. Now under construction.
Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a picture is worth $7.7 million as this is the only picture provided for a $1107 per square foot listing.
Really, this listing is an exercise of imagination for the reader. If you can’
t create the imagery of a 7000 sqft house, with guest house, then… well… maybe this house isn’t for you. This house is for visionaries, dreamers… the kind of people that make Silicon Valley go. And for people who might not mind a little construction noise.


Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:34 am

October 9, 2010

The Most Expensive Zip Codes, Second Tier

In a previous installment, we looked at the Bay Area zips on the 25 most expensive zip codes piece in Forbes magazine.  But how could we leave the other 475 of the top 500 alone?  (Other than all those TL;DR comments.)

Here’s what’s local that made the list, between 26-50.  Try to guess if any of your favorites made it.  Feel free to comment on any of these zips if you’re familiar with them, or even better if you aren’t.  Maps courtesy of Forbes.

image #30 – 94957: Ross, CA

Median Home Price: $2,519,269
Median Price Change: 1%
Average Days On Market: 120
Inventory: 26 properties
Median Household Income: NA

I’ve heard of Ross!  I think the San Francisco Chronicle used to put it in the local weather stats because it got so much more rain than anywhere else in the entire Bay Area.

And no, this is not Fort Ross.  This is a zip in central Marin County (that’s for those of you who can’t read a map or never left your town).


image#31 – 94028: Portola Valley, CA

Median Home Price: $2,509,962
Median Price Change: 5%
Average Days On Market: 112
Inventory: 38 properties
Median Household Income: $164,479

Yay, back to the Real Bay Area!  And PV might be the only zip code, anywhere, to be shaped like the Roadrunner’s head.  If that doesn’t explain why their median income is so honking high, I don’t know what will.




image #38 – 95030: Los Gatos, CA

Median Home Price: $2,293,268
Median Price Change: 39%
Average Days On Market: 105
Inventory: 53 properties
Median Household Income: $117,564

So far the Bay Area listings have either danced around the Stanford campus, or were located in Marin County.  Los Gatos is the first one within shouting distance of San Jose.

Los Gatos has two more zip codes.  Any suspicions when we’ll be seeing them?  (No peeking.)



image #41 – 94062: Woodside, CA

Median Home Price: $2,228,269
Median Price Change: -8%
Average Days On Market: 152
Inventory: 63 properties
Median Household Income: $96,677And back to San Mateo County we go!
Don’t let the Post Office fool you.  94062 includes a slice of Redwood City, some of it practically on El Camino Real.  And if you haven’t ever driven El Camino all the way to SF, you may not know that in Redwood City, ECR is really, really, really close to 101.



image #49 – 94528: Diablo, CA

Median Home Price: $2,111,588
Median Price Change: -20%
Average Days On Market: 133
Inventory: 16 properties
Median Household Income: NA

OK, who let the East Bay into the club?

I swear, you let a couple of them show up in burbed and next think you know they’re appearing on expensive zip code lists.  Fortunately, the market is reminding those upstarts why East is East, Best is Best, and never the twain shall meet.

Down 20 percent, yowza!

More good news.  The top 50 zip codes do not include a single flyover state.  Most are in California and New York, a couple in New Jersey, Greenwich, CT came in at #27, and somehow one in Miami Beach popped up. The only other West Coast zip not in California is Medina, Washington (#42).

Yes, we have 450 zip codes to go, but at after #50,we could stop providing these useless maps.  Or we could make them twice as big.  Anyway, please comment on these or any other expensive zip codes.  And if you hate, hate, hate this series, feel free to whine, whine, whine.

Next installment: The Also-Rans, part 37.

Comments (67) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

July 12, 2010

Florentine? Isn’t that a Restaurant on De Anza?

So, what should it be today, overpriced teardown or overpriced prestige listing?  That’s the beauty of the Real Bay Area, plenty of both!

5050 ALPINE Rd  Portola Valley, CA 94028


Beds: 7
Baths: 6
Sq. Ft.: 16,000
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,250
Lot Size: 20.93 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
View: Bay, Canyon, Valley, City Lights
Year Built: 1920
Community: Central Portola Valley
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81032274
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 5 days

One of the nation���s finest private residences, the hand-crafted Villa Lauriston is incomparable and unique. Commissioned in the 1920���s, this 20 room Florentine Villa features the finest historic materials and artifacts from San Francisco mansions and European palaces and churches. This architectural jewel is set in a private 28.4 acre park-like parcel, surrounded by 1,000 acres dedicated as open

image When you’re looking for a house and you find a listing that has a name instead of an address, you know you’re not in Milpitas anymore.  When it’s offered for sale by Sotheby’s International instead of RE/MAX, that’s a hint this is no crapbox in Campbell.  Why bother putting on pretty photos on Redfin?  Heck, they didn’t even care enough to remove those unprintable characters above.  So what?  This is an “incomparable and unique” Florentine Villa in Portola Valley.  A Florentine Villa!  Wow!  That means there’s spinach on top.

And this “incomparable and unique” property has “materials and artifacts from European palaces and churches”?  In some circumstances, that could be due to art theft, or looting.  I hope these were paid for, as last time I checked out European palaces and churches, there weren’t any price tags on the fine historic materials and artifacts, just a few knock-offs in the gift shop.  And they called the house an “architectural jewel” too!  Remember the diamond in the rough a couple of weeks ago?  What does that make this place, the Hope on the putting green?

Speaking of golf metaphors, there is no golf course on the grounds.  (Hmpf, even a spread in Cupertino had two holes for golf!)  But you do get tennis courts, a pool and spa, an historic pool (which means it isn’t usable and they didn’t feel like taking it out), and a reflecting pool.  Let the website tell you all about it (for twenty million dollars, this place had better have its own website):

The property includes the main residence, a cottage or caretaker’s house, four car garage, and a estate landscape featuring a one acre main meadow with dolphin fountain and two river god sculptures, reflecting pond, conservatory/sunken garden with fountain, old swimming pool/stage, two acre 600-vine vineyard, vegetable garden and cutting flower beds, tennis court, picnic area with arbor, natural waterfall and stream, bee hives, lavender/Italian cypress path, and much more.

image Lavender?  Forget it.  For $20 million they should have put in a danged saffron crocus field.  Saffron grows in Mediterranean climates (like this place is trying to pretend it’s from) and sells for up to $11,000 a kilogram.  If you had one of those, you could afford to put in some more MAWBUL CAWLUMS.

Be sure to spend some time perusing the property website.  I’m still trying to figure out where they store the “riding lawn mores” and what the heck a “Hebraic wood splitter” is.  Does it clip off the branch tip first?

Villa Lauriston is both a grand estate and an expression of one man’s personal vision.  The 13,000-square-foot, 20-room Villa and the surrounding acres of formal gardens, ponds and pools was the creation of the English-born entrepreneur Herbert Edward Law. Law was a businessman, a real estate magnate, a connoisseur and a man of the arts.  Law is perhaps best known for having purchased, with his brother, San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel just days before the great earthquake of 1906.

Quick!  Follow in the footsteps of Herb Law!  Hurry up and buy this place so we can get The Big One over with.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

November 13, 2009

This $2 million dollar house in Portola Valley is great for ants!

300 WESTRIDGE Dr, Portola Valley, CA 94028 | MLS# 80940213
300 WESTRIDGE Dr Portola Valley, CA 94028
Price: $2,795,000

Beds: 4
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 4,268
$/Sq. Ft.: $655
Lot Size: 2.5 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
View: Bay, Mountains, City Lights
Community: Central Portola Valley
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80940213
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 66 days

Thanks to Burbed reader herve for this find.

Rather than provide any witty commentary, let’s just go straight to the video:

Classic. Just classic.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Comments (26) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:06 am