June 3, 2012

The Best Place to Raise Kids in the Whole Bay Area!

Kiplinger’s chooses ten cities across the US that are the best places to raise kids.  The criteria are:

120530-kiplinger-familyWe took a two-step approach to come up with our list of the best cities to raise kids. First, we looked for metropolitan areas with high household incomes relative to living costs, a large percentage of families with children under 18, and low crime rates. We weren’t seeking the cheapest places to live, but rather places where earnings potential is more than adequate to cover a family’s expenses.
Then, we honed in on a specific city within each of our top 10 metro areas that’s well-suited to raising kids based on educational factors (spending per student and the quality of local school districts) as well as fun factors (availability of public parks, playgrounds and libraries). We also looked at each city’s average income for families — as opposed to median income for all households — to give a realistic sense of how much it can cost a family to live in a place with so many kid-centric benefits.

So, high incomes, lots of kids, low crime rates.  Sounds like just about anywhere in the RBA, doesn’t it?  And they said they would pick one representative place for each of their “top 10 metros” based on school funding and quality, as well as kid-friendly public services.  The latter might disqualify a number of high-income RBA towns, since they assume everyone has their own 10 acre private park in the backyard.

Yes, the Bay Area got a city on the Top Ten list, and they picked… Sunnyvale?


120530-kiplinger-sunnyvaleCity population: 140,081
Average family income:$123,647
Percentage of families with children: 32.6%
Metro-area spending per student: $7,345
Public playgrounds: 25
Silicon Valley may not be the most intuitive place to raise kids, but the area has more going for it than shiny condos and trendy tech jobs. The average family income is well above the national average, as are living costs. But when it comes to raising families, those costs can be worth it: Sunnyvale has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation.
Two of the city’s elementary schools were named “Distinguished Schools” for 2012 by the California Department of Education, and the neighboring Cupertino Union and Fremont public school districts boast some of the best test scores in the state. When they’re not studying, kids in Sunnyvale enjoy 476 acres of neighborhood parks and playgrounds, and one of the country’s largest children’s museums is in nearby San Jose. San Francisco is less than an hour away by car.

Excuse me.  That’s “World-Famous Cupertino Union School District.”  Here’s the complete list of Kiplinger’s top family-friendly cities.  Watch them toss away one of their own rules:

10. Stamford, CT (NYC)
9. Corona, CA (LA/Riverside)
8. Middletown, NY (1.5 hrs to NYC)
7. Sunnyvale (San Jose/San Francisco)
6. Appleton, WI (no metro mentioned, assume Chicago/Milwaukee)
5. East Grand Rapids, MI (no metro mentioned, assume Detroit)
4. Thousand Oaks, CA (LA)
3. Suwanee, GA (Atlanta)
2. Richland, WA (Tri-Cities)
1. Omaha, NE (boredom)

120530-kiplinger-la-palmsTop ten metro areas, eh?  Why is LA in there twice but no San Diego?  On what planet are the Tri-Cities, in Southeast Washington, a “major metro”?  Where’s Philadelphia?  Where’s Boston?  Where’s Washington DC?  Seattle?  Portland?  Houston or Dallas?

Here are the top 10 metro areas in the US, per the Census Bureau, using 2011 population.

1. NY/Northern NJ/Long Island (NY/NJ/PA)
2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana
3. Chicago/Joliet/Naperville (IL/IN/WI)
4. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington, TX
5. Houston/Sugar Land/Baytown, TX
6. Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington (PA/NJ/DE/MD)
7. Washington/Arlington/Alexandria (DC/MD/VA)
8. Miami/Ft Lauderdale/Pompano Beach, FL
9. Atlanta/Sandy Springs/Marietta, GA
10. Boston/Cambridge/Quincy MA/NH

Note who is missing from the Top Ten.

11. San Francisco/Oakland/Fremont, CA
31. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA

Adding the population of the two together would move that more obvious metro into 4th place, after Dallas and ahead of Houston.  And the Census recognizes this.  The “Combined Statistical Area” is called San Jose/San Francisco/Oakland.  Many of the MSAs are also CSAs, but most of the larger ones are part of bigger CSAs. 

120530-kiplinger-omahaIf we use CSAs, the Bay Area moves to #6, behind NYC, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington DC, and Boston CSAs.  Rounding out the top 10 are Dallas, Philly, Houston, and Atlanta.

None of this explains Kiplinger’s bizarre picks for this list.  Some of the cities have 10,000 people and some are even bigger than Sunnyvale.  And any list that ranks Omaha, Nebraska first and isn’t called Places Warren Buffett Lives shows they’re just trolling us.

Sunnyvale was also seventh on the CNN/Money’s 2010 list of Best Places for the Rich & Single.

Comments (44) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

May 26, 2012

Walk to Cupertino Schools!

Thanks very much to Burbed reader B Parker for today’s find on Craigslist!  Ads there rarely last long, so we’ll capture everything for posterity.  Posterity in Silicon Valley terms is probably even less than a Friedman Unit.

$2064 / 1br – 650ft² – Walk to Cupertino Schools from Your Brand New Home! (sunnyvale) (map)

Date: 2012-05-22, 2:24PM PDT
Reply to: see below [Errors when replying to ads?]


Belleville Way at Homestead Road (google map) (yahoo map)

  • cats are OK – purrr
  • dogs are OK – wooof
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

PostingID: 3031817347


Here’s why B sent this rental ad in (and we don’t see enough examples of rental ad fail, so we’re quite pleased with this one).

Walk to cupertino schools from your 650sqft 1br apartment

The photo on the Craigslist ad goes to the apartment’s website, which is really great or we wouldn’t have found this awesome kitchen.

But walking distance to Peet’s Coffee AND Starbucks?  SOLD to the caffeine fiend with kids who don’t mind sharing your bedroom!

Comments (50) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

April 17, 2012

UPDATED: Two Million Dollars for a Sunnyvale House. Good Luck with That.

Recently, we took a look at a house in Midtown Palo Alto that a number of commenters thought was overbuilt for the neighborhood.  That reminded me of a similarly situated structure in Sunnyvale, so I pulled it up for nostalgia’s sake.  What a delightful surprise to discover that it’s once again for sale!  It was relisted just in time for April Fool’s Day, and at the same attractive price as it was three years ago.

Sunnyvale, CA 94087


BATHS: 4.5
SQ. FT.: 4,790
$/SQ. FT.: $417
LOT SIZE: 8,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: French
STORIES: Tri-Level
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81211851
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 7 days

Extraordinary six-bedroom, four and one half-bath custom estate perfect for executive lifestyle of luxury and unmatched class. Within this showcase home you will find a remodeled ONE-OF-KIND gourmet kitchen featuring best-in-class appliances with close access to the formal dining room, casual family room and truly alluring outdoor venue that is perfect for entertainment.

120406-valcartier-kitchenThis time around, they’re not letting us see the inside.  And it would need a lot of pictures, because this property has a FAR of 0.60.  That can’t even be LEGAL in Sunnyvale. 

But, this is a Custom Bahl Home!  And if you haven’t heard of Bahl Homes, they built a few tracts around Silicon Valley, including some zero lot line curiosities and the snout-house “patio homes” just around the corner from this place. Now that they’re done with building tracts, they remain as a real estate company. Fortunately for us, today’s house has its own webpage on Bahl’s site, with pictures even!  We don’t know when these were taken, though, as it’s been listed and sold many times since its construction.  Have a look at those pictures and more, after the break.


Comments (68) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

April 2, 2012

Double payne windows in Sunnyvale

Here’s the very last house on a very long list of quality finds, thanks to Burbed reader sonarrat.

Sunnyvale, CA 94086


SQ. FT.: 1,078
$/SQ. FT.: $509
LOT SIZE: 5,661 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81200122
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 89 days

Remodeled Kitchen and Bath a few years ago and still looks new, large back yard. Double payne windows. Central Heat and air conditioning. Concrete patio, big back yard. Walk to Ellis Elementary school. Room to expand drive way for 2 car off street parking. Even though this is on Fairoaks the back of the homes where the bedrooms are is very quite so you can sleep in easily.

120401-fairoaks-tableIs this supposed to be the dining room, right next to the front door?  Now that’s innovation, which is practically Silicon Valley’s middle name!

What sort of lens would get that stretched-out effect on the front door while making the table look like it’s all the way in Santa Clara?

Have a look at some of the other photos of this house and see if you notice how space and time have completely taken leave of their senses.


Remember, this is house is barely over a thousand square feet, but you can store an unlimited amount of potential here!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

February 27, 2012

Great house in a quiet neighborhood

Hope you all had a fantastic weekend, everyone.  Now that you’re all done with President’s Week, it’s time to get back to work, and that means back to finding a house to buy or sell!  Burbed reader sonarrat has a regal regular sale for you in Sunnyvale!

Sunnyvale, CA 94089


SQ. FT.: 1,000
$/SQ. FT.: $469
LOT SIZE: 5,500 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81113044
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 338 days

this is a regular sale, open floor plan, close to 101 and 237, great house in a quiet neighborhood, close to stores. there’s a bonus room in the back, seller is renting for $800.00. Permits unknown.

Here’s why sonarrat thought everyone would love this place:

Sold for $230K in 2008. Wow!

Wow! is right!  This house is so full of wow, they couldn’t run any other pictures, for fear of inducing heart attacks throughout area code 408 from the excitement.  So let’s see what else we can find.  First, Google Streetview.


A walled estate!  Just lovely!  Now, let’s check out the neighborhood.


E-Z Commute, too!


Hmm, this Streetview shot (obtained by clicking along Lawrence Expressway, and making right turns at Sandia and Blazingwood) looks okay.  It sure looks better than the only picture of the house on the listing.  Do you get the impression they don’t really want to sell this house despite the claimed “regular sale”?  It must be filled with platinum bars or something!  No wonder the permits are unknown.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:28 am

February 22, 2012

Beautiful, wrought-iron fence for sale. Buy now, get free house!

Today we have a guest post from a new contributor!  Please welcome Burbed reader Sierra Cyd to the front page, with some super selling snaps for this Sunnyvale spectacular!  I know we already did Sunnyvale this week, but that house was a Holiday Special.  Come to think of it, most of the homes featured on Burbed are pretty Special.

Enjoy today’s home, and give Sierra Cyd a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome as today’s guest poster.

156 W MAUDE Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94085


SQ. FT.: 1,178
$/SQ. FT.: $357
LOT SIZE: 4,992 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81130036
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 227 days

LENDER APPROVED SS @ $420k! Excellent property w opportunity to rent other unit. Property in need of some repairs but just use your imagination and some work and you got yourself a good investment.

120220-maude-apartmentThe reason I’m sending this listing in is not because it is a perfect RBA house, a mere 20 minute flat bike ride from Apple, 15 minute ride to Google, 10 minute ride to Yahoo, and easy walk to HP and other high tech, but because of the realtor’s excellent work in taking pictures from as many angles as possible of the rugged, heavy duty wrought iron fence and gate that “protect” the small, paved front yard. Including, I 120220-maude-fence-gatemight point out, the lovely view of the 60’s era apartment buildings across the street. What could possibly make a potential buyer more ready to wear a bullet proof vest to see the property?

120220-maude-fence-suvI guess maybe the idea is that what’s inside is so wondrous that it is too good for pictures, and obviously this fence is required for protection. I’m thinking diamond encrusted kitchen, etc.  I’m not sure. Really, this realtor deserves a reward for marketing. I bet they have had hoards of people pounding down the door on this one in the past 6+ months it has been listed.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

February 20, 2012

Celebrate Presidents Day with a piece of America!

Hope you are enjoying your three-day weekend!  But don’t take a vacation from finding the perfect house.  Here’s one on a street that celebrates everything that is America and then some.

Sunnyvale, CA 94085


SQ. FT.: 672
$/SQ. FT.: $464
LOT SIZE: 3,049 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81118385
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 299 days

No showing. Cute Charming Cottage with remodelled Kitchen and Bathrooms. Newer Cabinets, Pergo type floor! Upadted door & some windows! Private Fenced yard. Perfect starter home or investment! Close to transportaions, Shopping, Restaurants, Employers! Garage converted to an office, 2 bathrooms. Newer lawn.

120219-america-kitchenWow, what’s not to love about this house?  A Pergo type floor!  Upadted door and some windows!  Close to transportaions!  And the garage was converted, of course!

Wrap it all up in a white picket fence and you’ve got the perfect little starter home!  Cute, charming, and you’ve also got a Redfin agent who has toured this house 3 times and has something to share about it.

It must be able this awesome kitchen and its Pergo type floor!


Hey wait a minute, haven’t we seen this house before?


And back in 2007, we had seen this house before then!


This house definitely is everything that is America!  Prices that go up, and prices that spell opportunity!  A listing history that includes at least one foreclosure and one seriously WTF selling price!  Architectural design that suggests Monticello while staying within a budget!

If you do not buy this house, you must hate America and everything it stands for.  You terrorist.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

December 16, 2011

They can remove this listing, but they can’t revoke our lulz

Today’s featured home was on MLS for more than six months, when it was sent in by Burbed reader burbed.  But when I came back to give this Sunnyvale spectacular the big ol’ Burbed hug it deserved, I was stunned to see that it had been delisted today (as I write this).  That is not right.  If a wonderful listing (and by “wonderful” you know I really mean “craptastic”) is around for that long, just because the seller gets cold feet doesn’t mean I’ll leave you readers out in the cold, too.

875 LAKEKNOLL Dr, Sunnyvale, CA 94089


SQ. FT.: 1,000
$/SQ. FT.: $359
LOT SIZE: 5,512 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Attached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81119108
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 219 days

BACK ON MARKET!!! Don’t miss out on this property located at a PRIME Lakewood Village community, 3brdm 2ba. home. Great investment POTENTIAL and or a starter home for a first time Homebuyers! Walking distance to parks, shops, schools, and major freeways. Inside NEWLY painted and cleaned; visualize property’s full potential.

Here’s why burbed brought this, um, house to your attention!

Walking distance to freeways!

No wonder the description mentions its potential twice!  Also if you walk to freeways you can usually get there faster than driving to them.

Anyway, the listing has been removed, so here is a link to it in cache.  Just in case that vanishes on us, I’ll make sure you get to enjoy all the photos too.  They’re all there, right after the break.


Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

November 21, 2011

Most Expensive House in Sunnyvale. Or Anywhere Else.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Swan for this find!  It’s great to know that nobody’s going to stiff Sunnyvale for bragging rights to the most expensive residence in the entire country, so take that Yuri Milner!

104 BRISBANE Ter, Sunnyvale, CA 94086


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 1,777
$/SQ. FT.: $366,911
LOT SIZE: 4,489 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Attached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81148138
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 1 day

Beautifully remodeled home that features high vaulted ceiling, new flooring throughout, granite countertops and dual sinks in both bathrooms, 2 fireplaces, gated community. Must see. Home is located close to downtown Sunnyvale(shopping), and Cal Trains. Centrally located, 10 minutes to Google , 7 minutes to Apple Co. Be in your dream home before Christmas!!

imageHere’s what Swan had to say when sending this beautifully remodeled home in:

Here’s a townhome in Sunnyvale (not even Cupertino schools) for $652,000,000!  Talk about a typo (hopefully).  Someone needs to go back to elementary school and learn some place value.


10 min. to Google and 7 min. to Apple.  I think I see a price reduction in the near future!

Just because Trulia has this property designated as Off-Market, formerly listed for $670K, don’t be so sure this is a typo.  Look at all you get with this house:

imageNot only beautifully remodeled, the agent spelled “remodeled” correctly.  You can’t ever count on that (see tomorrow’s listing for proof of that).

High vaulted ceiling: You know what that means?  Right.  Bank vault.  This house is selling for upwards of half a billion dollars because a former Washington Mutual VP was bringing too much high-value work home.

New flooring throughout: More places to hide money!  This house is going to be the best treasure hunt ever!

Granite countertops: Say no more!  Granite!  If you’re going to decorate like it’s 2006, you might as well pay like it’s 2006!

imageDual sinks: This property will be have a water view twice as fast as a normal place would!

2 fireplaces: If you don’t make your money the old-fashioned way, you can BURN IT.

Gated community: You get a “clicker” to keep the riff-raff where they belong: in 99 percentville.

Close to downtown Sunnyvale(shopping): I’m glad they tell you what is in downtown Sunnyvale.  I thought it was for watching construction projects repeatedly fail.

imageand Cal Trains: Whoo-whoo!  I hope you like Cal Trains, because you’re going to hear every one of them!

Centrally located: Miles from a freeway no matter what direction you go.  Hope you like traffic lights!

10 minutes to Google: Are you sure? I was able to Google this property in about five seconds.

7 minutes to Apple Co: Siri, turn this traffic light green immediately.

Be in your dream home before Christmas!!  And save $8,150,000 with Redfin!  Wait, wait, I almost forgot… this house has a gold star!  Let’s see what the Redfin agent thought of it:


But does it have a shed-like structure?  Because if it doesn’t, I’m only offering $651,990,000.

Update: Price reduced to $652,000 at 9:13 am.  That’s a 99.9% cut, which is a perfect promo for our Black Friday Sales!


Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

November 10, 2011


Today’s listing is courtesy of Burbed reader Swan, who sends us a Sunnyvale spectacular.  That’s provided that by “spectacular” I really mean “OMG what a crapbox!”  Seriously, I have had my eye on this house for several years and have been waiting for it to get listed so I could share it here.


1035 W HOMESTEAD Rd, Sunnyvale, CA 94087


SQ. FT.: 1,890
$/SQ. FT.: $476
LOT SIZE: 7,171 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81146339
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 4 days

Very Nice Eichler with enclosed Attrium and Cupertino Schools, Spacious Living Room and Family Room w/ a gorgeous fireplce, Master Suite w/ Walk-In Closet, Tile, Attached 2 Car Garage, Large 7200sf lot with a Pool, Indoor Laundry, additional 500sf with enclosed Attrium not on MLS, West Valley Elementary, Cupertino Middle, Homestead High! This Home will sell fast, all offers considered. Needs TLC.

imageHere’s what Swan thought about this delightful domicile:

It’s on Homestead, right next to the entrance to the CMS [Cupertino Middle School] track.  My hubby and I have noticed this house for years as it becomes more and more run down.  I love how the agent says the home will sell fast.  I went by it on my bike the other day.  The house needs a new garage door, new fence, new roof, and who knows what else.  Though the agent did not go out of his way on the photos, he at least took them from an angle and from across the street to hide the poor condition of the home.

I agree that the price is insane. That home, especially the roof, has not been cared for in years. My husband is a contractor and every time we go by, he says, "That poor house."


imageI am just happy the owners listed this place while it was still standing upright.  I don’t know when the Streetview shot above was taken, but it could hardly have gotten much better.

But that asking price? On what planet will this pile “sell fast”?  Are there really people out there that eager desperate for Cupertino schools?

Remember this place?  At least it’s on a court (right off another busy street) and it isn’t moving for $30K less, with lucky 8s instead of 9s).

imageI also love that this place has an Attrium that has an additional 500 sf not on MLS.  Maybe the realtard made a spelling oops and is really saying this house is full of expensive rare earths like Yttrium!  It must be important, because the Attrium is mentioned twice, just like the Cupertino schools.  I SAID CUPERTINO SCHOOLS, EVERYBODY!

Now, everybody into the pool!  Ahhhhhh.

So who would buy this?  Somebody who really, really, really wants those schools.  Somebody who wants them enough to put up with a busy street near a freeway interchange, a house falling to pieces, and the delightful shrieks of children being forced to run the mile over and over.


Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am