January 2, 2007

How to lose $94 a day – 12% price drop in 1br/1ba condo in Mountain View

Since October, Burbed has been following the story of these three condos at 274 Pamela Drive in Mountain View.

Here were the prices in October:

And then in December:

And here’s what they looked like today:


Wow… #5 is really leading this race to drive the prices down! That’s almost a 12% price reduction!

What’s interesting is that according to Zillow, this person paid $335,000 in 10/14/2005 to buy this condo. If that’s true, and this condo clears for $308,000 – well, that’d still be a 14%+ loss after comission and $268 HOA! This doesn’t even include any renovations/repairs.
That’s $2820 thrown away per month. $94 a day.

Remember though: renting is throwing a way money. So you wouldn’t have wanted to rent a comparable unit for $1000 a month anyway. Why? Because the $1820 a month you would’ve saved allows you to be a homeowner. πŸ™‚

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:21 am

"renting, it’s just cash in the trash" – bus driver

Beaming with pride and talking a mile a minute, Johnnie Pitts stacked up piles of legal documents on his living room floor the Wednesday before Christmas. The San Francisco Muni driver had just returned from having his signature notarized on agreements that permanently modify his once-exorbitant mortgage to a reasonable interest rate, allowing him to keep the three-bedroom bungalow on Oakland’s MacArthur Boulevard.


At the same time, he boosted his income by racking up overtime – an extra 10-hour day every week – to catch up on some missed mortgage payments and property taxes. “It’s not like I was trying to shirk my responsibility and run,” he said. “My family and co-workers said, ‘Why don’t you just do a short sale?’ but this is my house. This is the major purchase of my life.”

When Pitts bought the run-down house for $429,950 with 100 percent financing in 2005, his interest rate on the larger of his two loans from Chase was fixed at 7.2 percent for two years and then could reset to as high as 10.026 percent. New increases could come every six months. Now Chase has agreed to lock the rate at 6.75 percent for the 28 years remaining on the loan and has made similar modifications to the second mortgage.


Pitts’ monthly mortgage will now be just shy of $2,800. Property taxes and insurance add another $700 a month. The $3,500 monthly total is still quite steep for a man whose base income is about $4,000 a month, although he can earn another $1,000 or so through overtime.


“When it comes to renting, it’s just cash in the trash,” he said. “You can’t win no way when you’re renting, especially if you’re single and in the 35 percent tax bracket. Owning a house is the best thing you can do for yourself. It’s worth it to have some stability.”

Now that the word “modify” has entered his vocabulary, Pitts frequently invokes it. “I’m going to modify my lifestyle,” he said. “I shop at the dollar store; I buy in bulk and on sale. If push comes to shove, I may have to get a roommate.”


It’s true! Just imagine, your landlord raises your rent by 10% – can you negotiate it down?


Can you do the same with a mortgage? Of course!

And that’s the lesson for today folks.


Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:26 am

January 1, 2007

What did you like best from 2006?

Burbed is taking the day off today – Happy New Year!

May 2007 bring you double digit appreciations, and 55 year mortgages!

Please take a moment to post a comment below with your favorite special Bay Area home from 2006!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:08 am

December 31, 2006

Please vote for Burbed!

Wow! I didn’t see this coming – Burbed was nominated for best regional blog!

If you like what you read here, please vote for Burbed.

The prize is $25, so this isn’t exactly about the money – rather, let’s help make Burbed even more well known… so that more people will find out about what makes Silicon Valley so very special!

Please visit http://www.housingwire.com/2007-rebas/ and click on the giant grey “Vote now” link at the top of the page. Burbed.com is in section 5.

Voting ends on 1/10 – so please don’t delay. OR THIS HOUSE IS GOING OFF THE MARKET.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 2:59 pm

December 30, 2006

Disaster! Bay Area comes in 2nd place!

America’s Worst Commutes – Forbes.com
California wins the award for worst traffic jams, with Los Angeles and the San Francisco metro area coming in first and second. The Riverside-San Bernardino area tied Orlando, Fla., for ninth place. In Los Angeles, the average annual delay per traveler is 93 hours.

Oh noes! LA came in first!

Does that mean we’re not so special anymore?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:06 am

December 29, 2006

Followup: 587 Balsam Av is now a whitehouse! not a bluehouse!

Burbed covered this house in early November…

β€œBUY IT NOW!!!” The owner demands you to! — Burbed.com: Your Silicon Valley Home and Mortgage Insanity Blog

Well, check out the house now!


That’s right! It’s now a whitehouse!

I’m surprised they didn’t add more exclamation points to celebrate!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:46 am

December 28, 2006

Followup: 3 Pams on 274 Pamela Dr in Mountain View

So back in early October, Burbed featured these 3 Pamelas:

What’s better than a Pamela? — Burbed.com: Your Silicon Valley Home and Mortgage Insanity Blog

Let’s see how they’re doing now:


Ooh! Looks like #19 has take the lead in price drops, while #5 is trying to attract the Chinese crowd by ending the price with 888!

I bet by the spring, these will be $500,000 again. After all, everyone knows that housing prices go back up to normal in the spring!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 9:32 pm

December 27, 2006

Ever have too much house? Why not just get half?

I once saw this great weight loss tip:

Shape Up & Drop 10-Step 8
Make your meal twice as nice. Have half at the restaurant. Ask for a doggie bag and enjoy the rest the next day.

It’s true! Eating out keeps getting more expensive, and yet the portions keep getting bigger. So why not just split it?

Well, Burbed Reader Steve found a house just like that:



Sweet! Double the fun!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:12 am

Kids these days…

GilroyDispatch.com of Gilroy California
Buyers like Gilroy resident Juan Biruetta, 19, said that it is still too expensive to buy a home.

“It’s not a good time to buy. The prices are too high,” said Biruetta, who was told by lenders and real estate agents that right now is a good time to buy. He is in the process of buying a home in Madera – six rooms on two acres – for $400,000.

(bold mine)

Wow… kids these days. What were you doing when you were 19? I certainly wasn’t a homeowner. What a loser I was. πŸ™

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:20 am

December 25, 2006

Here’s your Christmas gift! 20% savings on groceries!

Merry Christmas everyone! Did you get that special pack of ramen from your mortgage broker that you’ve wanted all year long? Did he splurge and give you a can of Fancy Feast instead?

Since it’s a holiday, I’m going to recycle this post from Thanksgiving – since it probably still applies.
How to save 20% on your groceries for Thanksgiving

The other title for this entry is “Zune vs iPod, Wii vs PS3, Safeway vs Safeway”. Why?

iPods are made by Apple, which is in Cupertino. PS3s are made by Sony which has a big site in North San Jose. Bay Area companies.

Zunes on the other hand are made by Microsoft in Redmond, WA. Coincidentally, Wii’s are made by Nintendo – which is also in Redmond, WA!

But these places have one thing in common: Safeway. So thanks to a reader, I thought I’d investigate to see what the difference between the Safeways are. Here’s a table comparing the prices of common Thanksgiving items:

First, we’ll start with a turkey…

Here’s a turkey in Nintendo/Microsoft land:


… and the same turkey in Sony/Apple land:

Here’s some milk in Nintendo/Microsoft land:


… and the same turkey in Sony/Apple land:


Item Bay Area Redmond Difference
Turkey $7.99 $4.00 100%
Yellow Onions $0.30 $0.15 100%
Celery $1.00 $1.00 0%
Cranberries $2.50 $2.00 25%
Oranges $1.34 $1.79 -25%
Garlic $0.50 $0.50 0%
Lemons $0.99 $0.89 11%
Green Beans $2.49 $1.79 39%
Pork Sausage $3.49 $3.19 9%
Eggs $4.75 $3.49 36%
Milk $3.49 $2.40 45%
Corn $0.79 $0.75 5%
Olive Oil $8.39 $5.39 56%
Chicken Broth $0.60 $1.09 -45%
Flour $1.00 $1.00 0%
Sugar $3.09 $2.50 24%
Ginger $1.20 $0.80 50%
Pecans $8.50 $7.40 15%
Salt $2.79 $2.99 -7%
Rosemary $2.72 $3.21 -15%
Honey $7.79 $7.01 11%
Black Olives $0.80 $0.79 1%
Green Onion $0.99 $0.79 25%
Pumpkin Pie $4.99 $5.49 -9%
Spinach $3.69 $3.29 12%
Grape Jelly $3.39 $2.23 52%
Butter $3.00 $2.50 20%
Biscuits $2.79 $2.39 17%
Tomatoes $0.63 $0.75 -16%
Orange Juice $6.59 $6.29 5%
Potatoes $3.99 $2.99 33%
Carrots $0.79 $0.79 0%
Rice $4.80 $3.85 25%
Grey Poupon $4.29 $3.29 30%
French Fries $3.99 $3.29 21%
Ketchup $3.59 $2.59 39%
Stuffing $3.21 $2.18 47%
Ham $7.49 $6.99 7%

Average difference: 20% more expensive

(Just to be clear – these were the exact same products on both sides. Same brand, same quality, same count – everything. You can verify the results easily using Safeway.com)

So now you know why the PS3 and iPod are so expensive, compared to the Wii and the Zune. Because the groceries are more expensive too. πŸ™‚
Want to save money on your groceries? Easy! Leave the Bay Area for some place that’s not special like Seattle metro area.

Of course if you leave the the Bay Area, you’ll find that they don’t have any Chinese restaurants, Korean restaurants, Japanese restaurants, Thai restaurants, Vietnamese restaurants, gays, smart people, guacamole, tech companies, snow sports, hiking, mountains, liberals, In-n-outs, or 9 months of sun. And let’s not forget our cheap housing, amazing public schools, great roads, low taxes, and lack of traffic.

Yeah. I didn’t think you’d leave. It’s just too special here. πŸ™‚

Happy Thanksgiving!Β  Merry Christmas!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:19 am