June 24, 2013

Rhinestone in the Rough of Redwood City

Feeling a little stomped by the THERE IS NO HOUSING BUBBLE IN THE BAY AREA? Here’s a property for under $750K! There was a time when you could have bought this house with a $729K conforming loan, but then the government had to change the rules on us. Thanks very much to Burbed reader hOtSauCe from San Carlos for the find!

130623-alexander-redfin186 ALEXANDER Ave
Redwood City, CA 94061
$699,900

2 Beds
1 Baths
770 Sq. Ft.
$909 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1952
Lot Size: 2,550 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 48 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Horgan Ranch
MLS#: 81314440
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: San Mateo

A 2BR 1BA single family residential located in a very desirable area west of Redwood City, near the border of Atherton. A diamond in the rough, this starter home has great potential and with some TLC and creativity, can transform into a charming house with picket fences and great curb appeal. Near Woodside Shopping Complex, transportation, school and other commercial establishments.

130621-alexander-kitchen130621-alexander-carpet130621-alexander-trashbins

The house may need some TLC and creativity, but the picket fences are already there and are painted white for your convenience. Now just work on the curb appeal: check out that Streetview below, and did they have to feature the trash bins in two different listing photos? 

Also practice saying “West Atherton” a bunch.

130621-alexander-streetview

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am






June 23, 2013

Landlords from Hell settle for jail instead

Here’s a cheery story for you if you don’t like your landlord, as it will set things into a much better perspective.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to this development.

‘Landlords from hell’ accept prison terms for terrorizing tenants

130619-macys-mugshotsBy Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2013, 2:45 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A software engineer and his real estate agent wife who terrorized their tenants in a twisted attempt to force them to move are back after fleeing to Italy, and each has accepted a four-year prison sentence and two strikes rather than face trial, Dist. Atty. George Gascon announced Wednesday.

Nicknamed the "landlords from hell," Kip and Nicole Macy employed tactics "so outlandish and brazen" in attempting to clear their building of renters that "it sounds like the plot of a horror movie," Gascon said.

They each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of residential burglary, one felony count of stalking and one felony count of attempted grand theft. In custody on $2-million bail apiece, they are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22.

Kip Macy’s attorney, Lisa DewBerry, said the couple could have faced a maximum of 16 years in prison if tried on all charges.

130619-macys-sawBe sure to read the whole article, cataloging not only what the Macys were accused of doing to their tenants and their apartments, but also the part where they paid bail and fled the country for Milan and spent a year fighting extradition.

Don’t forget the power saw that popped up into one of the tenant’s floor without warning (the photo at left shows what happened when he whacked the blade with a nearby hammer).  There’s even accusations of email spoofing.  And here’s an older piece from Palo Alto Online when they were first hit with the charges; what’s interesting are the comments defending the Macys from the evil San Francisco tenants. Why, some of them read as if they were written from the perps themselves!  Why Palo Alto Online for a San Francisco story?  This caring couple lived in Palo Alto when they were accused of all these shenanigans. Kip was a software engineer and Nicole was… a realtard.

130619-macys-clementinaHere’s the building where all the fun took place. Don’t you want to go out and buy an apartment building in SF right now?

This is also your weekend open thread! How’s the renter life treating you? Is it awful enough to make you want to look at a bunch of Open Houses and overbid up the wazoo?  How about chatting up the other people at the Open House so you can spoof email saying they don’t want the property you’re trying to score? Hey, in a competitive market Insane Real Estate Bubble, the only way to win is to prevent everyone else from playing.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

June 22, 2013

The very best house “in the center of silicone Valley”

2148 RALMAR Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

20130618silicone

Let’s face it – there are enormous pools of cash these days, in search of great investment opportunity. You probably have some of that cash, desperate to get some sort of return for it.

And here, ladies and gentlemen, is one of the best investments… ever.

In “the center of silicone Valley” is this amazing cash cow gem. Now, we all know that Realtors cannot lie – because if they do, they are sent to the Realtor Tribunal, judged by other Realtors who have only the highest ethics and professionalism in the land – and thus we must acknowledge that this house really does have 6 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms in a mere 1,728 sqft.

Just think about how many hackers you can fit in there, hacking away at the next service that can allow us to record 200 characters, 8 seconds of video, or find 3 matching virtual dog treats and crush them together. Think how much you will be able to charge these hackers who make $300,000 a year, changing the way we live, eat, sleep, crush virtual dog treats.

It even comes with gated doors and windows, to help the enormously valuable intellectual property that will lie asleep within – dreaming up new ways to help us be more local, social, mobile, farm to fork, Second Life… oh whoops… big data.

This can be yours. It will be yours. Pick up the phone today. But a bid in. No wait, but in two bids. Then hire Frank Gehry and M.C. Escher to remodel this home. Hey, after all, you’ve gotten to level 924 in Kitty Treat Crush Sagas… tackling this remodel will be a cinch for you!

Comments (2) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:33 am

June 21, 2013

On the market for 13 days… or since 2012

2166 UNIVERSITY Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

20130618university

Whoa, this has been on the market for 13 days already? And it hasn’t been snapped up despite the prestigious University Avenue address? What’s going on???

Wait a minute! I’m getting that déjà vu feeling all over again. Where have I seen this before?

Are you ready for 2012 – you know, end of the world and all that?

2166 UNIVERSITY Ave
East Palo Alto, CA 94303

$650,000

2166ua

Huh. Go figure. 1 year, 1 month later, this house is once again on the market.

Ok, so we all survived the apocalypse and brain eating undead zombies. But, how do we know that it wasn’t a simple off-by-one error and that the world won’t end this year? I bet you could spray paint some silver paint onto that fence and make it look all metal-y. (Of course, someone by then steal your faux metal fence and be sorely disappointed at the scrapper…)

Are you concerned about the end of the world? Are you concerned about privacy? If so, why aren’t you concerned that you don’t own this house already?

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:35 am

June 20, 2013

Hello again 2164 POPLAR Ave!

2164 POPLAR Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

20130618poplar

Hm… something about this listing seems familiar. Where have I seen this before?

Oh wait! I know!

http://www.burbed.com/2008/02/25/rent-or-buy-the-saga-of-2164-poplar-ave-continues/

Very Clean – Beautifluly Remodled Home ++Pics++
1200 / 2br – Very Clean – Beautifluly Remodled Home Pics (east palo alto)

poplarrent.jpg

2164 Poplar Ave, East Palo Alto

This Bungalow style home is located in East Palo Alto. This cozy home is conveniently located near shopping and transportation and the trendy University Avenue area.

The home has 2 bedroom and 1 Bathroom. The House also has been fully remodeled with new paint, granite counter tops, and a large front yard patio.
• Pets are negotiable. • Lease negotiable • AVAILABLE NOW • Security Deposit $1200.00 Please Drive by unit and take a look. If you have any questions please feel free to call 650 270 6869 or 650 344 4066 or just reply to this add.

But didn’t we see this house before? Oh wait that’s right!

http://www.burbed.com/2006/02/09/400k-for-a-1br-1ba-480-sqft/

$400k for a 1br, 1ba 480 sqft house in east palo alto

Cashin Company Realtors
2164 POPLAR AV
EAST PALO ALTO, CA 94303

$399,000

1 Bedrooms, 1 Bath(s)
480 Estimated Sq. Ft.

Listing #: 602056

2164poplar.jpg

Back to 2006 pricing baby! As we all know, Real Estate operates in cycles. We are now back to the “awesome” “sane” “reality” “best time to buy” part of the cycle. And this house has only gotten better with age. Check it out – look how new everything is!

So, what’s stopping you from buying this amazing, famous, legacy house?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:27 am

June 19, 2013

Ni Hao! Why housing prices in the Bay Area can go only go up!

All the time, people ask me “Burbed, will the house prices in the Real Bay Area continue to go up?”

My answer: Are they making any more land… that Chinese people want to buy?

But enough of my pithy subjective comments, let’s look at this certified Bar Charts™:

http://thefrontsteps.com/2013/06/03/san-franciscos-gender-sexual-preference-income-ethnicity-marital-status-and-more/20130618paragon

Now, let’s face it: China is a country full of rich people. Full of them! And what do they want? US real estate!

Whether it be rich parents buying apartments for their high school aged children so they go to prep schools here, or for their 2 year olds, they are buying real estate. Now, granted, these two previous links were mostly about NY because of the lamestream media’s perpetual bias towards NY – but those of us in the Yay Area know better.

Looking at that chart above, you can see a trend. The blue bar is the biggest, and will only grow bigger. It’s almost touching the other edge of the chart, and that means there’s room to grow. In fact, if you look really hard, you can see that the bar is accelerating.

By the end of this decade, Chinese people will account for 105% of the Real Bay Area – that’s right, you heard it here first. They will all be coming here with their suitcases full of RMBs, buying all the real estate in sight. You think cash only offers are crazy today? Just imagine the future when you’ll be getting cash only with a LV suitcase offer.

With any luck, the Chinese will help the entire Real Bay Area finally edge out Manhattan for the highest $/sqft in America by the end of the decade, if not the the world.

Enter the dragon… the Open House hours are 9a-9:15a. xie xie!

So… Burbians… how are you doing in your Mandarin classes?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:03 am

June 18, 2013

Lotsa Listing Lunacy in Los Altos!

Let’s take a look at this lovely lienhold in Los Altos. Today’s featured property brings us lots of great photography.  That is if by great we mean some other word, such as “quaint” or “challenging” or perhaps “well-meant.”  Thanks very much to Burbed reader littleoldlady from RBA.

And since this place is already in contract, Redfin isn’t showing it anymore. Helloooooo, Trulia!

130617-morton-redfin1650 Morton Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
$1,388,000

4 bed / 3 full bath
2,588 sqft
Single-Family Home
Active Contingent
$6,215 / mo
25 days on Trulia
Built in 1955
Neighborhood: South Los Altos
MLS/Source ID: 81317816

1650 Morton Ave DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH-UPGRADE TO YOUR TASTE! This home was extensively remodeled and expanded in 2000. A guest room wing with two separate entrances was added and much of the original house was rebuilt. The finishes and details need attention, but the bones are 130617-morton-hardwoodgood. If you have the vision to imagine your own finishes and colors in place, you could polish this into the gem of the neighborhood, and what a fine neighborhood it is. The kitchen features maple cabinets and a comfortable breakfast area. Granite slab counters would complete the kitchen makeover (and we have a bid of just under $10,000 to supply and install… these). The bathrooms are dated; in fact, the guest bath is so dated it is 1950’s retro! The 130617-morton-kitchenhouse would benefit from interior paint, new windows, extending the wide plank hardwood floors from the living/dining areas or adding new carpet, and bathroom updating. Located on a spacious corner lot of over 10,000 feet, the parcel includes two majestic redwoods, three mature oaks, and three soap bark trees. The trees are near the property perimeter so you can develop the rest of the parcel as you choose. The landscape details and final design are up to you. Priced to allow the new owner the ability to integrate all the details and finishes you desire and still enjoy a valuable acquisition.

130617-morton-paintNow that is one chatty agent. This one went on for more than three picture’s worth of listing copy! Can you imagine having to get in the car and go on a house tour with that dude?  You’ll be glad you brought your earbuds!  Now let’s hear from LOL RBA.

Now wait… I have noticed a pattern in Los Altos. Every nice house gets listed for $1495, or $1498… Then sell then sells for $1750 – $1800. 130617-morton-tileEvery not so nice house gets listed for $1150 and sells for around $1300. What on earth is this terrifying listing? Rebuilt in 2000? Wha’?? What did they rebuild? And is this a nice house, destined to sell for $1750 (um…no) or a not so nice house that will sell for $1300, thereby getting no overbids? Regardless, the house will be in escrow within 7 days, like everything else in the RBA.

I love your blog. My favorite stop with my morning coffee. Your fan.  Sent from my iPad

You know you’re in the Real Bay Area when even the little old ladies correspond with an iPad. And LOL-RBA was correct about the 7 day escrow, or was it more like 7 minutes?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

June 17, 2013

A Burbed Classic Design Goes Upscale. Way Upscale.

A little more than a year ago we ran a house that had a most unusual addition.  Remember the Budget-Add-A-Room strategy?  Just back a cheap RV next to the house, and… instant extra living space!  Also instant addition to Best of Burbed!

Hey, for a hundred year old house in the East Bay, this is a possible solution to cramped quarters.  Now imagine what this would look like if some la-di-da designer got ahold of this idea and tried staging it to attract some Twithead with more money than taste or sense.  It would probably look like today’s featured listing.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater for this rip-roaring reboot.

130616-norfolk-redfin55 Norfolk St #101
San Francisco, CA 94103
$599,000

HOA Dues: $400/mo.
1 Beds
1 Baths
— Sq. Ft.
Built: 1995
Lot Size: —
On Redfin: 17 days
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $400/month
Style: Modern/High Tech
County: San Francisco
Property Type: Live/Work Unit, Loft Condominium
Community: South of Market
MLS#: 408810

Think Big in this modern SoMa loft! Polished concrete floors, west-facing industrial windows, soaring ceilings make this live/work space special. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows w/ sliding door leads to private outdoor garden. Fire engine red spiral staircase leads mezzanine Master Suite w/ new carpeting, industrial railings, closet. Rare and unusual Winnebago nook creates a private, enclosed space. Kitchen w/ maple cabinetry, stainless steel backsplash, gas range, dishwasher, microwave. Full bathroom and storage area. Deeded parking and laundry in garage. Located at the western edge of SOMA, 55 Norfolk provides the best of SoMa nightlife, dining, shopping, tech companies. Access to shuttle buses, 101, and Bay Bridge makes commuting easy.

Hope you caught that: Access to shuttle buses. That means Google and Facebook, too!  Now, check out the rate and unusual Winnebago nook.

130616-norfolk-winnebago

Not too many listing photos have to come with safety warnings, either.

130616-norfolk-roof

You can tell from this view that unlike the Castro Valley house, this SF loft/condo had to cut things down. You’re only getting a quarter of a Winnebago. Maybe 3 other units also get the “rare and unusual” nook.

130616-norfolk-side

Note that the house with the entire RV went for above asking.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

June 16, 2013

Fed Study: Angeleños really did use houses as ATMs

In the latest installment of Formerly Middle Class People Deserved To Lose All Their Money, the Wall Street Journal informs us of a study from the Federal Reserve Board’s Steven Laufer. Not too surprisingly, the paper says these longer-term FBs would have been fine if they hadn’t kept taking equity out of their houses just because they could.

Study: How Using Homes as ATMs Fueled Foreclosures

130614-la-townhomesBy Nick Timiraos, The Wall Street Journal
May 28, 2013, 11:58 AM

The conventional wisdom of the housing crisis goes something like this: Too many people bought homes as the housing bubble inflated. Some were unlucky in their timing, while others overextended themselves by putting too little money down. All of these top-of-the-market purchases led to an explosion of foreclosures once home prices dropped sharply and the economy hit the skids.

Amid the current debate about whether a new bubble is forming in the housing market, it’s worth looking at a paper published in March that challenges conventional wisdom by showing that a significant share of foreclosures came from people who bought their homes before 2004.

So why did so many people who bought their homes before the housing bubble fully inflated end up losing their homes anyway?

20130614-la-freemoneyThe paper concludes that if only California had laws like Texas (which forbids borrowing more than 80% of home equity), not only would fewer FBs gotten F’ed, but homeowners (as opposed to homedebtors) would have had more money to spend because houses wouldn’t have cost so much.

Which is ridiculous, because why do you think these FBs borrowed all that equity in the first place? They sure as heck didn’t invest it in infrastructure.  Heck, no.  They spent it.  We’re cheered to see Larry Roberts (OC Housing News) agrees with us.

Then again, that study also says people defaulted because (among other reasons) they assumed their home prices would keep going down. This shows why the study was in Los Angeles instead of the Real Bay Area. Everyone knows in the RBA, prices only go up.

There’s also a very important reveal in the paper. Laufer’s model shows that home prices would be 14% lower if all that equity extraction hadn’t taken place. And as we know, the Real Estate industry will simply not allow that to happen.  They might as well throw away tax-deductibility of mortgage interest too.

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

June 15, 2013

Open House Time. Real Open.

130614-hwy14-wtfSpring Bounce will be over very soon, leading to Summer Bummer. So get your open house visits in while there’s still nothing in inventory because foreigners with suitcases full of cash are buying up everything.  Just think, if Bay Area Bubble continues expanding, you can head to Washington and see home décor like this.

Fortunately, in the Real Bay Area, people do not display amateur carvings of naked women mated to boat prows.  You’re far more likely to find a pinball machine or an open wire closet than hundreds of dollars of wood that would be better used as high-quality flooring.

Let us know what you find in this weekend’s open house visits, because this is your weekend’s Open Thread.  Feel free to open your shirt, lean back and stay a while.

Thanks very much to Christin’s Redfin Collections page Just Wow for featuring this… work of… bark.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am