January 26, 2012

A Beach House for Fantasy Fans

Recently we ran a rather unusual house that would make a great West Coast toehold for the White Castle burger chain.  Yes, it was an actual fracking CASTLE in the back of an otherwise normal home in Los Altos. Burbed reader Tracy is crazy for castles, and has been deploying the trebuchet to hurl several into the inbox.  Here’s another one if you can’t wait until April for Season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Unfortunately, this castle, like so many homes built on fantasies and empty treasure chests, was taken off-market.  So we’ll do our best to get the information to you, no matter how many real estate sites we have to scour to find it!

Watsonville, CA 95076
$1,795,000, delisted on 12/12/2011
Originally listed for $1,895,000


Beds: 6
Baths: 4
Sqft: 2,864
Lot: 9,146 sq ft / 0.21 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1971
Last sold: September 22 1999 for $353,500

Beautiful ocean views, convenient beach access, private parking front and rear, quality remodel, 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, custom home in Pajaro Dunes – Turnkey! Remodeled kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, roof, siding, windows, appliances. Pajaro Dunes is perhaps Northern California’s best kept secret! To live here or just to visit is an experience to be treasured. Come see for yourself!

imageWe’ve provided all 9 photos, because most of the other sites took them down when the listing got yanked.  Thank heavens for ZipRealty!  And we used Zillow to fill in all those missing pieces, like whether the castle actually had any rooms and was built after the Year 0.  Redfin provided the neighborhood plot layout at the bottom of this post.  Finally, this expired agent page provided the listing copy above.

The very first thing you’ll notice looking at the front of the house is that there isn’t any garage.  And that’s a good thing!  If you’re imagethe kind of person who wants to live in a castle, you don’t want any newfangled technology such as horseless carriages and wireless music using airwaves.  A six bedroom house means you can keep your own horn section to play flourishes when you enter each room.  And really, nobody should be waving except your courtiers.

So the plastic furniture really has to go.  Just set up some trestle tables and benches and you’ll be ready to serve up the wild boars.


I tell you, it’s being able to build a castle out of a 1971 tract house that makes this country great, even if said castle would be more appropriate on its lonesome on ten acres in Inverness, rather than on a 9000 square foot lot right next to traditional beach homes.


America, F*** YEAH!  Although the tennis courts ought to be replaced with a jousting pavilion, and the flag with one from, say, 971.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

November 29, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest house in Santa Cruz County

DEALS DEALS DEALS, we’re going to keep them coming all this week and next! 

Today, the absolutely least expensive house for sale anywhere in Santa Cruz County!  Santa Cruz isn’t that far from Google, provided you enjoy sitting in traffic on beautiful State Highway 17, or even better, Highway 9!  Or maybe you found employment in Santa Cruz County as well.  I hear those UC cops are making six figures if you enjoy baton twirling and pepper spraying.

Yesterday’s Alameda County special was quite a hot deal!  How low we can go in Banana Slugville?


320 FIRESIDE Rd, San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95006


SQ. FT.: 1,000
$/SQ. FT.: $80
LOT SIZE: 3,484 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Cabin
VIEW: Mountains
COMMUNITY: Boulder Creek
COUNTY: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 81134712
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 111 days


This place has potential all right.  It’s in the mountains, which means you if you push it hard enough, it will realize its potential right away.  Definitely an END OF THE ROAD OPPORTUNITY.


And in view of yesterday’s DEAL, I’m wondering if the street name is telling us how to maximize that POTENTIAL.  Buy lots of insurance first!

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:10 am

October 22, 2011

Silicon Valley Luxury Real Estate’s Most Astonishing Webpage Ever

I read a lot of real estate sites in order to bring you Burbed-worthy features.  Recently, I found an agent’s special “Astonishing Homes” page that looked absolutely scrumptious.  Plenty of seven and even eight-figure high-end properties on acres of land with great schools.

Now I know absolutely nothing about this particular agent, but all these homes were on MLS. Member agents can detail any MLS listings in their region, and Sophia Delacotte put together a webpage with nicer luxury properties for people to get some real estate pr0n action.  But something was amiss when I took a closer look at the actual listings.


With ten different houses, that’s ten front facades and ten sets of details.  I have all that waiting for you inside, but before you join me, make your prediction how many of these ten estate properties:

  • Sold (pending within 7 days)
  • Sold (pending within 30 days)
  • Sold in a longer timeframe
  • Are still active on MLS
  • Had their listing withdrawn
  • Had a price reduction at some point

For “bunus” yucks, guess how many of these ten estate homes have marble columns.

Got your guesses ready?  Good.  Now, let’s see these Astonishing Homes and find out if you’re as Astonished as I was.


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

March 29, 2011

The importance of a comma

burbed guest editorLet’s give a warm welcome to longtime Burbed reader sonarrat, Burbed’s newest regular blogger!

Please, save your rotten tomatoes and rioting until the end. To celebrate the interment, er, I mean introduction of our new contributor, let’s make a day trip to beautiful scenic Santa Cruz.


1165 Thompson Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,317
$/Sq. Ft.: $235
Lot Size: 0.34 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Traditional
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1948
Community: Live Oak
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 81056459
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 114 days

Non-Conforming Residential located on a parcel zoned M-1 Light Industrial. This property is located directly across from the ProBuild Door & Window Design Company. This property is eligible under the Freddie Mac First Look Initiative through 12.15.2010. Seller is offering a 2 year home warranty limitations, do apply ask for details.

imageLionel Hutz: All right, gentlemen, I’ll take your case, but I’m going to have to ask for a thousand-dollar retainer.
Bart: A thousand dollars? But your ad says “No money down”.
Lionel Hutz: Oh, they got this all screwed up… (scribbles) “Works on contingency basis? No, money down!”
Bart: So, you don’t work on a contingency basis?
Lionel Hutz: No, money down! Oops, it shouldn’t have this Bar Association logo here either.

A comma can be a powerful thing. Let’s ignore the home warranty limitations for now, though, and focus on the property. We have some of the Burbed standbys: the low-maintenance lawn, garage pre-boarded for the next tsunami, and your very own dumpster, which has the added effect of harboring wildlife! This is truly the perfect house for Santa Cruz’ tender-hearted liberal sensibilities. You also have the possibility of using the house as a workshop, seeing how it has M-1 zoning.  And look at the instant equity!

The last sale was for $425,000, before The Bubble even began. Clearly, then, that must be the baseline, because there could never have been any real estate bubble in California before The Bubble. No, The Bubble was a one-off that has never happened before and will never happen again!

Comments (27) -- Posted by: sonarrat @ 6:00 am

December 29, 2010

Clearance Sale – Santa Cruz

The banks say these houses must go, so we’ve got deals, deals, deals!  Don’t you want to live in a Special House like some in the Real Bay Area, but don’t want to pay Special RBA prices?  With this house, you can!

219 Sacramento Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060


Beds: 4
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,601
$/Sq. Ft.: $450
Lot Size: 4,835 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1956
Community: West Santa Cruz
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 81057554
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 12 days

Beachside Beauty, just steps to magnificent West Cliff Drive! Living room features a stunning and distinctive river rock fireplace, kitchen sports stainless steel appliances including a Viking range, tile backsplash, and custom cabinets. Plenty of custom tile work in the hall bathroom and a couple of useful outbuildings in the back yard with convenient alley access. Amazing Location and Value!

Steps to magnificent West Cliff Drive?  How many steps?


That’s about a thousand feet from the house to magnificent West Cliff Drive, so, allowing for a generous one yard stride, that’s 333 steps.  Hardly “beachside.”  And it’s another thousand feet to the beach once you get to magnificent West Cliff Drive. You’ll be in great shape for those kitchen sports.

But getting back to how Special this house is… Not only is it 666 steps from the beach, it has the Mark of Specialness.  This house has a gold star on the front door.  How could anything get more Special than that?

Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:58 am

October 25, 2010

Offers Will Not Be Reviewed

Happy Monday everyone!  And here to start your work week off is Burbed reader sonarrat with this guest post.  Please give a warm burbed welcome to sonarrat!

Let’s go a little south of usual, shall we? After all, we still need people to pick the strawberries and attend the McDonald’s drive thru window. If you’re willing to make the drive over the Hecker Pass into Santa Cruz County every day, you can find some mighty affordable digs. So let’s take a look at an example of how our true working class lives.

42 9th St,  Watsonville, CA 95076


Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 612
$/Sq. Ft.: $173
Lot Size: 8,624 Sq. Ft.
Property Type:
Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Year Built: 1930
Community: Watsonville
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 81050457
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 8 days

Bring it on! Classic 1930’s cottage-style home needs some love. Opportunities abound for those willing to put in the work. Very central location, towards the end of a not-through street. Days 1-7: Offers will not be reviewed. Days 8-12: Offers ONLY from NSP buyers, Municipalities, Non-profit organizations and Owner-occupants will be reviewed. Days 13+: We will consider offers from all buyers.

At $106,000, this little charmer is certainly within the reach of the working class. It’s on a dead end street for privacy, but just one turn from the highway.


Let’s look at the sales history:

Oct 15, 2010 Listed $106,000 — MLSListings #81050457
Feb 12, 2010 Sold (Public Records) $135,000  — Public Records
This home was foreclosed and bank-owned.
Apr 22, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 11, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 11, 2009 Relisted — — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 05, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #2
Apr 02, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Mar 27, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Mar 04, 2009 Listed * — Inactive MLSListings #2
Feb 27, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jan 30, 2009 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jan 15, 2009 Relisted — — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jan 09, 2009 Delisted — — Inactive MLSListings #1
Sep 12, 2008 Price Changed * — Inactive MLSListings #1
Jul 08, 2008 Listed * — Inactive MLSListings #1
Nov 03, 1994 Sold (Public Records) $133,000 — Public Records

What a terrific investment! Look at that historical return of, uh, well, you can still rent it out, right? Once upon a time, people said that anywhere in California was a good investment that could only go up. Clearly, though, there must be a reason why this Bay Area property is listed lower than its price in 1994 – not a boom time for real estate by anyone’s measure. So let’s take a look at the copy:

Days 1-7: Offers will not be reviewed. Days 8-12: Offers ONLY from NSP buyers, Municipalities, Non-profit organizations and Owner-occupants will be reviewed. Days 13+: We will consider offers from all buyers.

Oh, of course! There are so many people clamoring to own this small, crappy corner of the Bay Area, they can’t even list the property without a 7-day grace period to hire a crack staff of 50 people to review the mountain of offers. Sweet! The boom is back, everyone!

Comments (44) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

June 11, 2010

Contractors Special? More Like Contractors Special Olympiad

Today’s house, courtesy of burbed reader VC, reminds us that only the Best of the Best can make it in Silicon Valley.  Why should only software developers and chip designers have all the fun of healthy cut-throat competition and failure of market acceptance?  Builders need a challenge too. Anyone can throw up McMansions on flat land with city services already installed.  But this property is for only the most able, willing, daring, and liquid of contractors.  How would you like to live the dream?

23633 Schulties Road, Los Gatos Mtns 95033


SQ. FT.: 895
$/SQ. FT.: $553
LOT SIZE: 7.8 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE:  Detached Single Family
VIEW: Canyon, Valley
COMMUNITY: Los Gatos Mountains
COUNTY: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 80947132
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 251 days

Very nice piece of property with over 7 acres and Los Gatos Schools. This is a real contractor special, but wil a great upside potental. Current house is a small 2 bedroom home which could be fixed up nicely. Second home on property needs to be moved, then it would be a nice 3/2 with approximately 1900 sq. ft. The lot next door is also available. Total 13 acres for around 600K, great deal!!

You can’t go wrong on a place “wil a great upside potental,” can you?  Find out just how much work it is to fix up the current house!  It’s a small 2 bedroom home which could be fixed up nicely!  In fact it’s so small, part of the challenge is finding it in the picture above.  Once you do, see how nicely you can fix it up!  The sky’s the limit, along with your bank account.

But you might object, “What’s the excitement in remodeling a little cottage in the woods?”  Prefer a large 3/2 with approximately 1900 sq. ft.?  That second home is here somewhere on property, and all you have to do is move it.  And maybe fix it up at little.  Or a lot.  Perhaps once you do it expands, and it “would be a nice 3/2?”  That should be a quick and easy project, since there are no walls or exteriors to get in the way of the 16 forklifts you’re going to need.image

And once you remove all that scaffolding, it will move even quicker!  Maybe you can borrow the wheels off the pickup, which looks more stable than the structure behind it.

Wondering why the second home had to be moved?  Check out that geologic/flood report!  Meanwhile, a little birdie told me there’s a stipulation with Santa Cruz County to do some grading and retaining wall work.  I hear “some” could mean two hundred thousand worth, but that’s only a rumor.  Some could also mean zero!  Just how much upslope can a little driveway have?

image Now, this project is going to keep you driving to Home Depot a few thousand times, so you’d best buy in bulk.  In fact, the seller is way ahead of you, and is willing to supersize the deal by adding in the lot next door!  And just like those 167 Tool Specials, most of them are drill bits in sizes you already own or socket sets in shapes you don’t need.  In this case, the bonus 6 acre parcel has no improvements, no permits, can’t be subdivided, and doesn’t have a well, sewer line, or septic tank.  But it’s only “around $600K” for both!  If you enjoy bargaining, this is even more fun than buying 60 square feet of granite countertop and making sure it all matches.

Remember, this property thinks it can take you.  Are you going to let it get away with that?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

May 21, 2010


Thanks to Burbed reader madhaus for this guest post!

309 Beach Drive,  Rio Del Mar/Seascape CA, 95003

309 BEACH Dr Rio Del Mar / Seascape, CA 95003

Beds: 5
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 1,776
$/Sq. Ft.: $247
Lot Size: 4,791 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
View: Ocean
Community: Rio Del Mar/Seascape
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 80709410
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 1172 days


Nothing says “this property’s going up on Burbed” like a description in ALL-CAPS. Refusing to turn off the CapLocks key leaves a potential buyer feeling like they’ve had a megaphone shoved up an ear.  Maybe the agent used to work at Western Union composing telegrams, because I don’t see the period key except for an abbreviation.  So while we’re deafened by the approach, let’s look at what we’re being offered.
Well, whatever the offer is, it’s overpriced, even for a beach house that’s across the street from the beach.  How do I know this?  Simple:

On Redfin: 1172 days

1172 days?  As in three and a half years? Is this a record?   I don’t know, but Should I wait for a price reduction?



I’m not sure.  According to this graph I should wait 28 more days, and then wait for 40 price reductions.
And remember, if the agent can’t think of anything better to say than “MAKE MEMORIES WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS,” then you know the property has a problem.  And in this case the problem is you are not being sold a beach house.  You are being sold a 20% share in a beach house.  And that means that you get the house on Tuesdays and every third Wednesday.

Still want the house?  It’s in a flood and a fault zone!  Too bad the nuclear plant’s in another zip code.

Comments (89) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:46 am

October 16, 2009

Dollhouse available for $360,000!

10272 LOMITA Ave, San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95018 | MLS# 80946083
10272 LOMITA Ave San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95018
Price: $360,000

Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,200
$/Sq. Ft.: $300
Lot Size: 8,276 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1973
Community: Lompico-Zayante
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 80946083
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 10 days
What a doll!!!Don’t miss this adorable home recently remodeled from top to bottom. Private, sunny and peaceful neighborhood and not a short sale or bank owned. Only 10 minutes to Felton, 40 minutes to Silicon Valley. A very clean house with stylish accents including stainless steel appliances, engineered maple flooring, great paint colors, all new light fixtures, updated bathroom. This is a good one!

Thanks to Burbed reader Scott for this find.

What a doll indeed! You can totally imagine someone in Atherton buying this for their little princess (or prince, no need to reinforce gender stereotypes!) How jealous will their friends be. “OMG! UR DAD BOUGHT U WOT????”

It’s never too early to start your children on the path of having pride of ownership, and it may make sense to start with this house. At 1,200 square feet, keeping it clean shouldn’t be hard for their housekeepers… it’s definitely a good starter.

And… it’s just 10 minutes to Felton (where?)

Just in case you were wondering, this is a good one – unlike all the other ones that are bad ones!

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:10 am

August 17, 2009

Great vacation home in Santa Cruz. The Borg will approve.

130 ERRETT Cir, Santa Cruz, CA 95060 | MLS# 80925412
130 ERRETT Cir Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Price: $435,000

Beds: 1
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: –
Lot Size: 2,178 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
Stories: 1
Year Built: 1964
Community: West Santa Cruz
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 80925412
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 68 days
Vacant and Very clean!! Sweet Westside cottage in Great condition!! A perfect starter home. Sq. Footage is small but it has a very good lay out . .feels much larger. Nice size front and back yards with fruit trees. Walk to West Cliff and enjoy the West Side lifestyle!!

Burbed reader Herve sent this on.

Wow. 1 bedroom, 1 bath. Unknown square feet. Indeed this is a perfect starter home and it is a very good lay…. out. But is it really a starter home, or a starter vacation home? I’m going to say that it is the latter.

After all, Santa Cruz is the Waikiki of the Bay Area!

But what’s really fascinating to me is this:


The Borg Queen would approve – even though these are circles and not cubes.

“So, where did you buy your vacation home?”

“Oh, Unimatrix 0,0,1”

“Cool! I’m so jealous of your pride of ownership!”


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