January 23, 2013

How about another pink house?

That’s right, who doesn’t love a pink house?  Especially a pink house in San Jose!  How about East San Jose, because that’s what Burbed reader Tracy Tea House has found for us.  And once more, you are TOO LATE.  Seriously, would you get off your butt and buy another house? Do you want to be PRICED OUT FOREVER in Bubble 4.0?

130122-pickford-redfin50 PICKFORD Ave
San Jose, CA 95127
Listed for $324,950
Sold for $391,000 on 11/28/2012

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,381 Sq. Ft.
$283 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1930
Lot Size: 10,000 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Nov 28, 2012
Status: Sold
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Craftsman
Community: Alum Rock
MLS#: 81239001

BANK OWNED REO! Excellent opportunity to own a home with lots of upside potential. Property has two garages, both have had permits pulled but never finaled. Property needs lots of work and is to be sold in its present “AS IS” condition. Home is in fairly good condition inside but you will need to replace some doors and windows. Some kitchen appliances are missing.

130122-pickford-tracyOpportunity! Potential! Fairly good condition! Unfinaled permits! Bank Owned REO! (What other kinds of REO are there?) What are you waiting for, don’t walk, don’t run, rent a helicopter and FLY over there right now!  Let’s listen in on Tracy’s nomination speech:

130122-pickford-hallway

Pink and dismal. So much more than “some of the appliances are missing.” How about the sheet rock? Stinking Pink, tiny halls, open toilets, this bank owned house has it all.


Is this the “RBA?” I like the three pictures of the street in the wild west of East San José.

Wild West is right, they even show the broken windows.  We don’t know where Tracy got the above shot because it’s not on Redfin, and ZipRealty wanted us to sign in (As If, ZipR!)

Enjoy the pictures.  We included a bunch, because we never know when some real estate site will make us sign in.  The street, the open toilet, and many more right after the break.

(more…)

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






January 22, 2013

Fastest Flippers in the West?

We love flips.  Take your vintage crapbox that hasn’t been updated since the original owners signed the restrictive covenant, let it marinate for 57 years and mix thoroughly with a cash sale.  Wait 3–6 months and then garnish with new appliances, new paint, new countertops. Of course it’s the same old house under the makeup.

Today’s Los Gatos lovely was sent in by Burbed reader nomadic.  See how long it takes you to figure out what’s wrong with this picture.

130121-anne-redfin135 ANNE Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$1,100,000

4 Beds 
2.5 Baths 
2,299 Sq. Ft.
$478 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1964 
Lot Size: 8,050 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 26 days
Status: Pending Without Release
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81243731

Huge lot. Incredible Gorgeous tree-lined street in highly desirable Los Gatos neighborhood! This home is another SVHOME renovation that includes stunning remodeled kitchen featuring granite counters, new appliances, new lighting and laminate flooring; baths feature extensive use of travertine stonework. New plumbing fixtures, vanities and lighting; plush new carpeting in all bedrooms, fresh paint

130121-anne-svhomeLet’s check in with nomadic on why this house deserves your attention:

Bought November 16, pergranisteel kitchen, new baths and some paint by December 26, when it was re-listed.  Instantly pending!  $284k price delta.

The flippers’ site: http://www.svhome.com/

Yes, the flipper’s have a site, including a ginormous animated photo-graphic that literally flips in segments while you watch.  They also have a page of all their pending properties, including this one.  Most of the others have a virtual tour.  This one does not.

130121-anne-powerlinesThis one also does not have any photos of that stunning remodeled kitchen featuring granite counters, new appliances, new lighting and laminate flooring. The flippers are asking us to take their word for it about the extensive use of travertine stonework.  They wouldn’t even give us a peek at the plush new carpeting, fresh paint.

Although we are giving you a really good ogle at those sturdy power transmission lines running through the back yard.  Now, check out this unbelievable listing history, courtesy of Zillow:

130121-anne-history

Are you sure there was a flip here?  Really super sure?  Because if there was, it’s still selling for less than they tried to get for it five years ago. (And according to Redfin, they were trying to sell it in 2006 as well.) The November sale price is an eye-opener.  Looks like after five or six years of chasing the market down, the owners finally bailed.  Just a month later it’s back in seven digit range.  All it took was a little pergranisteel and traverstone.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:18 am

January 21, 2013

Fantastic Very Unique Terrific Article!!!!! MUST SEE!!!!!!!!!!!!

As the RBA Bubble 2.0 continues expanding, look for more overdone listing copy.  This has been Scientifically Proven.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for passing along this AMAZING find from the BEST real estate section in the UNIVERSE.

The Most Gorgeous and Pristine of Them All

SPREAD SHEET December 27, 2012, 9:32 p.m. ET
By SANETTE TANAKA, The Wall Street Journal

130120-overhyped-meterWhat is a fabulously awesome way to sell an incredibly terrific home? Try a little hyperbole.

Spread Sheet asked real-estate listings company Zillow to analyze 14 enthusiastic adjectives like “amazing,” “beautiful” and “fabulous” in home listings going back to 2007. The findings: For homes priced at $1 million or higher, overall hype is up more than 58% from five years ago.

“Agents are always looking to give something a little pop, anything to catch people’s attention,” says appraiser Donald Boucher, president of Washington, D.C.-based Boucher and Boucher Inc.

What are the most commonly used adjectives? “Beautiful” ranks first in the select list, appearing in more than a quarter of luxury home listings. “Great” comes next at 21.6%, followed by “gorgeous” at 9% and “fabulous” at 6.9%. The word that saw the biggest uptick since 2007 is “pristine,” which has seen a nearly 140% increase in use.

The words we keep noticing are “Regular sale” and “Not a short sale” and “Honest, we swear, no foreclosure here” and “Ignore those rude letters from the bank!”  But we’ve seen “pristine” as well.

This also reminds us of an observation from Freakonomics, where realtards let each other know which houses are utterly skippable by using the most overblown adjectives possible.  A house worth seeing will have specifics instead.  So you’d want to check out a “Vintage bungalow with hardwood flrs, cherry cabinets, granite & SS appliances inc Sub-Zero fridge” but maybe pass on the “Stunning house, great neighborhood, beautiful find, WOW!” that sounds very excited but describes nothing.

Some Special RBA house marketing terms:

  • state-of-the-art
  • dedicated server closet
  • Excellent cellular signal
  • Close to Google
  • Walk to 3 coffee shops
  • Eco-friendly landscaping
  • 8888888
Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

January 20, 2013

More Bubbly Brewing: Line-ups & Lotteries

New houses selling like they’re going out of style. In San Ramon, where they actually are making more land.

Hundreds of hopeful San Ramon buyers line up for new construction lotto

Posted By: Jenny Pisillo | San Francisco Chronicle | January 18 at 4:00 am

Back in August, local East Bay Redfin real estate agents forwarded us a picture of hopeful homebuyers camping out – yes, spending the night (some up to 1 month) – to be one of the first to have the opportunity to buy a new construction home in the Shapell Homes Solaire development of San Ramon’s Gale Ranch community.

Fast forward to January – only the 4 model homes are left. Knowing that there would be high demand and wanting to avoid the cluttered look of tents, Shapell decided to have a lottery system to release the homes. Tickets were given out last Saturday morning at 10, and the lucky drawing was an hour later at 11am.

These people in the photo aren’t lining up for a chance to buy a new release of homes. They’re in line to get one of four tickets in a lottery to buy the four remaining model homes. And they will cost $50-90,000 more than they did just five months ago. As is. Penalty if not purchased by 2/28.

Which leads to this weekend Open Thread. How long are lines at the open houses? Are they having lotteries for who gets the glossy fliers?

 

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 19, 2013

For foreigners without suitcases full of cash

130118-blueseed-cargo

Everyone knows that Silicon Valley is the best place to launch a startup.  But what if you have a brilliant idea and want to move to the area to network with all those brilliant people, but you are held back by two things?

1. You aren’t an American citizen (or non-citizen who managed to snag Permanent Residency), and

2. You don’t have enough cash that Immigration would wave you through the line

Enter Blueseed.

130118-blueseed-boat

Take a Good Look at Me, I’m on a Futhermucking Boat!

Blueseed claims to have solved this problem.  All you need is a short-term visa, because you’re not staying in the United States.  Instead, you’re staying on a futhermucking boat outside the 12 nautical mile limit of the U.S.  (The 12–24 mile zone is also known as the contiguous zone.) Blueseed plans to build some kind of floating city 12 nautical miles beyond Half Moon Bay and run twice daily ferries to the mainland.  And by “floating city,” they mean raft-up.

Your job, dear Burbed readers, is to figure out if this is a project by The Onion or whether these people are actually serious.  But get this.  They’re charging “a combination of rent and equity.”  Does this mean you would not be a rentard aboard?

Top 10 Facts about Blueseed

130118-blueseed-formula

1 Who is this for? – The world’s best entrepreneurs and visionaries
The boldest, brightest, and most talented tech entrepreneurs from around the world. Plus the individuals and organizations that support and invest in them. 1100+ have already expressed interest.

Yes, you’re about to be priced out forever.  Again!

2 Where will it be? – Right near Silicon Valley
On a ship anchored half an hour (12 miles) from Silicon Valley, in international waters outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

But well within drone strike range. So don’t get cute with the industrial espionage.

3 What does it cost? – Around $1,600 USD/person/month
We’ll charge a combination of rent and equity to accommodate the stage of your startup. The price per person will include living and office space, and will range from $1200 for a shared cabin to $3000 for a top-tier single accommodation cabin.

And you better spring for that top-tier single, or it won’t be Special.  Come on, you want to live in the Real Boat Area, don’t you?  Avoid the cabins on busy hallways, or next to the helipad.

130118-blueseed-cabins4 Why should it be done? – Because innovation is awesome
The world’s best entrepreneurs should be able to gather and collaborate in one place, and not be limited by antiquated work visa restrictions.

And if those antiquated work restrictions force you to move onto a cast-off cruise ship, then you can make lemonade out of lemons, provided you’re willing to call lemon juice lemonade.

5 How can I get aboard? – Do something that matters, and be awesome
Get referred to us through a reputable angel, venture capital firm, entrepreneurs network, or trusted contact. Or surprise us.

Throw yer grapple and haul yerself aboard, matey! Why not commit a little actual piracy so you can convince us you want to work on the digital variety?

6 Can I legally work? – On Blueseed, yes.
You can legally earn an income working on your startup while on the Blueseed vessel regardless of your nationality, but you can’t legally earn a paycheck while visiting the mainland, unless you have a US work visa or are a US permanent resident.

So please don’t do anything more useful than winning a round of Angry Birds when leaving the boat.

130118-blueseed-12miles7 Can I travel to the mainland? – Yes
You can travel to the mainland using business/tourist visas (B1/B2), for up to 180 days/year (these are significantly easier to obtain than work-visas). US residents can travel to Blueseed at any time.

Unless they’ve already been vaporized by a drone strike.  Sorry!

8 What happens when I succeed and outgrow Blueseed? – We help you move to the mainland.
Silicon Valley is the best place in the world to scale a company, and once you’re large enough there are legal channels available to move into Silicon Valley proper. We will provide you with the resources and contacts you need to make the transition.

That means we’ll give you a link to Craigslist.

9 When are you launching? – End of 2013
We plan to launch between Q4 2013 and Q1 2014.

You know how those house construction projects always run late?  What do you think would happen if you tried building all this in the Pacific Ocean? That’s why we said we plan to launch then, not that we would.

10 My organization supports startups, how do I join the project? – Partner up or Contact us
We’re primarily looking for incubators, support networks, and individuals or organizations that make our environment more awesome while solving a startup’s problems.

But we’ll take anyone’s money as long as you don’t ask to live here.

130118-blueseed-conceptAnd the above isn’t even the FAQ!

Blueseed is already pitching themselves as a relative bargain compared to actually living in Silicon Valley.  The rent (starting at $1200 a month for shared living space, mind you) also includes collaborative office space, more conventionally known as “good luck finding a seat somewhere in here.”

And while you won’t need a suitcase full of cash (as you would for an EB-5 investor visa), you would need to deposit enough money to pay for your ticket home. 

Maybe the folks running Blueseed could invest your ticket deposits by buying a place near Google.  Now that’s some equity.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 18, 2013

NEVER BEFORE ON THE MARKET

Burbed got its start almost seven years ago, featuring very expensive houses in very questionable locations in very poor repair.  But housing win isn’t all crapboxes and open potties and questionable listing copy.  Sometimes there’s much to enjoy with a premium listing as well.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader SMParkster for following up on a fantabulous feudal feast!

130117-greer-redfin331 GREER Rd
Woodside, CA 94062
$85,000,000

9 Beds 
8.5 Baths 
9,000 Sq. Ft.
$9,444 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1946 
Lot Size: 91.94 Acres 
On Redfin: 60 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Central Woodside
MLS#: 81241344
Style: Colonial
View: Mountains, Lake
County: San Mateo

LANDMARK PROPERTY NEVER BEFORE ON THE MARKET. PROPERTY CONSISTS OF 3 PARCELS—PARCEL #072-052-020 51.04 ACRES. .PARCEL #072-052-260 39.40 ACRES AND PARCEL #072-072-010 1.5 ACRES TOTALING APPROX 91.94 ACRES. .BORDERED ON ONE SIDE BY HUDDART PARK, GLORIOUS LAND W/ ROLLING OAK-STUDDED HILLS OPEN MEADOWS & ENDLESS VIEWS. CIRCA 1941 COLONIAL ESTATE HOME, GATEHOUSE & CARETAKER’S COTTAGE. WOODSIDE SCHOOL

130117-greer-gullixsonWait, this place looks familiar.

Flood estate in Woodside is for sale… $85 million.  Perfect example of why Prop 13 needs to go…. the most recent property tax was under $8000. 

That estate doesn’t look flooded at all, but we admit we didn’t check all 92 acres of it.  Maybe that lake used to be the golf course. 

And what’s this “On Redfin 60 days”?  SM sent this in four months ago.  When we went to check the listing history for further hints, we found only an MLS listing entry from November, plus an announcement that the seller didn’t want any estimates of the property’s value, so no links to any of the automated home valuation websites would be provided.

Like this one.

130117-greer-zestimate

They’re awfully sensitive about any of you finding out that you could rent this place out for $6500 a month instead of Buying It Now for $85M.  As the agent helpfully points out, “You never see this kind of land.”

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

January 17, 2013

50 Shades of Brown in Campbell

Decor is an important part of getting a house ready for sale.  Decor isn’t just furnishings, but wall treatments, art, floor materials, paint, and of course, tchotchkes.  Today’s featured find is furnished fully with an eye for consistency.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader wahnny for this crib in Campbell!

130116-audrey-redfin1105 AUDREY Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
$1,699,000

4 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
4,137 Sq. Ft.
$411 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2005 
Lot Size: 0.25 Acres 
On Redfin: 7 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
County: Santa Clara
Style: Mediterranean
Community: Campbell
MLS#: 81300771

Regular Sale! An entertainer’s Spanish style dream home! This house has it all and you must see to appreciate the attention to detail in this custom beauty by Jay Andre Construction. This home has been totally rebuilt in 2005 with countless amenities. 2 spa/saunas, luxurious office, a gourmet kitchen w/ granite counter tops, tile, and hardwood floors. Too many to list! Open House 1/12 & 1/13 1-3PM

Over 4,000 square feet and the photographer remembered to water the driveway before taking pictures!  Either that or that moody sky had plenty of rain.  Now let’s hear from wahnny on why this house is so Special.

130116-audrey-officeRecently came across this lavishly adorned villa in the middla Campbell.

Almost every photo shows the house in various shades of brown (in keeping with the spanish colonial/western/desert theme, no doubt).  And talk about sophistication … in addition to the obligatory “kawlumns”, a variety of plumbing fixtures are included (see tour website for photos)!  Very elegans/earthy!

Location/neighbors aside, it’s probably worth at least the asking price!

130116-audrey-kawlums

At least worth the asking price?  Oh no, in the time since wahnny sent this listing in, we are sure that this property has probably increased at least 15% over the asking price.

After all, this is a Regular Sale!  And nothing says “dream home” like having to reassure buyers that the house isn’t an REO or short sale!

But what about the location and the neighbors?  With a quarter acre lot, why would you worry about neighbors?  You’ve got enough room to dig a moat and put in Rottweilers.

Although the next-door neighbor does seem to have more cars than driveway.  For $1.7 million one would expect the neighbors to collect something less intrusive yet more expensive, such as Facebook put options.

130116-audrey-streetview

Must see to appreciate!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

January 16, 2013

Uncompromising Address, provided you’re willing to compromise

Some homes demand your attention because they’re in a perfect location, location, location.  Some are visually stunning.  Some feel right as soon as you walk in.  Some have stellar views.  Let’s see what’s preening itself all the way up in St. Helena, thanks to Burbed reader Tom Paine!

130115-allyn-redfin1269 Allyn Ave
St. Helena, CA 94574
$960,000

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
1,176 Sq. Ft.
$816 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1900 
Lot Size: 7,405 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 4 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Residential, Detached, Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Napa
Style: Farmhouse
Community: St. Helena
MLS#: 21300576

Uncompromising address, this historic circa 1900 Farmhouse is located on one of St. Helena’s most charming streets loved for its close location to downtown & picture-book residences. The distinctive brick exterior & interior walls w/ abundance of windiows creates a light & airy, visually exciting residence. Highceilings, hardwood floors, stone root/wine cellar, a modern country kitchen & the vintage barn adds to the history & unique period charm

130115-allyn-barnTom calls attention to these important facts about the house:

The windiows make this a special place.  Paid $440k in 1999.

But that’s why you’re going to have to compromise.  This house is not in the Real Bay Area, and that’s why it’s only a special place. 

Not a Special place.

At least it has highceilings.

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

January 15, 2013

(2)Lots (2)Custom Homes. (Sold Together)

Want to be a real estate mover and shaker? Start today by buying this property that features 2, yes (2) lots!  Think of all the ways you could take advantage of this amazing zoning opportunity.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for sending us this salubrious spread in Santa Clara!

130114-pruneridge-redfin2710 PRUNERIDGE Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95051
$1,575,000

4 Beds 
3 Baths 
2,254 Sq. Ft.
$699 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1961 
Lot Size: 10,270 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 6 days
Status: Active
Property Type
Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81300520
Style: Ranch
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

(2)Lots for Sale With Building Plans for (2)Custom Homes. (Sold Together) Lot #1 APN 294-32-041: 4Br/5Ba, 2 Story Custom Home:3,454s. f. with (2)Car Garage. Lot Size: 8,614s. f. Cupertino Schools!! Lot #2 APN294-32-042: 4Br/5Ba, 2 Story Custom Home: 3,243s. f. with (2)Car Garage. Lot Size: 8,002s. f. Santa Clara Schools. (Lot Lines Adjusted per S. F. )Existing 4Br/3Ba Home Encroaches on New Property Line.

130114-pruneridge-lotlinesWow, was that listing copy written by an attorney who doesn’t want anyone to notice the details? Or perhaps a claustrophobic, because whoever typed that in is afraid of spaces.  Now let’s have a good look at this opportunity with an existing 52 year old house that encroaches on New Property Line.

The red line appears to be for Lot #1, the bigger 8614 sf parcel. As you can see it cuts through the east side of the existing house, but fortunately, it did not bring the cooties of Santa Clara Schools all the way to the front door.

Yes, we hope you noticed that Lot #1 is Cupertino Schools and Lot #2 isn’t.  But wait! There’s more!

130114-pruneridge-satellite

See those little words in the driveway?  Yes, technically your driveway is an actual city street that ends a few feet before the back fence.  Here’s another look at the neighborhood.

So not only do you have one house with several inches on the other lotline, you also have a named city street taking up most of it.

How are you going to design your way out of this configuration?  We assume one of the lots boasts a Portal to Hell for extra storage.

One other solution: Street Fair Every Day.  Now we’re talking Serious Opportunity!  Call up some of those Gourmet Food Trucks, have them kick back some of the take, and you’ll be paying this place off in no time. 

Bunus: Santa Clara Utilities for all!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

January 14, 2013

Home Buying: Comps, Mortgage Pre-qual, and Letter Writing

Can there be any question that The Bubble is Back? Buyers are returning to that delightful 2005 method: the Begging Letter. It must be true, because it’s in a newspaper.

Can I Buy Your House, Pretty Please?

By JOANN S. LUBLIN, The Wall Street Journal, January 10, 2013

Rob and Julia Israch won a fierce bidding war for a three-bedroom townhouse in Mountain View, Calif., late last year even though their $750,000 offer—while $92,000 above the asking price—was topped by 11 rivals and was several thousand dollars below the highest bid.

A key reason: The seller, software engineer Lev Stesin, was moved by a letter in which the Israchs said they worked in the technology industry and explained how the home’s spacious layout would be perfect given the imminent arrival of their first child. Among other things, the townhouse has three bathrooms, a wood-burning fireplace and a roomy backyard.

The only problem with this real estate story is the author’s contention that it isn’t just happening where it’s Special, namely Mountain View. Pitch letters are also going to sellers in Seattle, San Diego, suburban Chicago, and Washington D.C. Hah, and you thought we were going to say Belmont or something. No, we really meant places where it isn’t Special at all (e.g. where you can make an offer and be the only one! Redfin’s CEO said 95% of the offers their agents made in Silicon Valley had competing offers.)

The WSJ piece included two examples of House Begging Letters that worked. Both were from Silicon Valley buyers. Here’s one.

Note the use of photos. Don’t beg without them. Also don’t house beg with form letters. You’re going to have to write an individual letter for each seller, calling attention to their home’s marvelous features. Comments such as “Of all the 1954 era crapboxes we looked at today, yours had the fewest pet odors and the least offensive paint scheme” will probably not be effective. Some tips:

  • Remind the seller how attractive your offer is. You could write this note on the back of a hundred dollar bill to show how many more you have waiting.
  • Mention all the things you have in common with the seller, so they identify with you and not any of those other Less Special buyers. If you can’t find the sellers on social media, a good private detective can ferret that info out. Or spend some of those C-notes on the gabbiest neighbors.
  • Gush about their house and neighborhood without overdoing it. Otherwise they’ll figure you’re using irony. After all, it is one of several hundred 1954 era crapboxes in the tract. But — close to Google! (Don’t mention this if they tried and failed to get jobs there.)
  • Describe your difficult house hunt without sounding whiny. If you can fake sincerity here, you’ll have it made:

A few years ago, the owners of an older Los Altos home got more than 21 offers and picked the one from a woman who also submitted a love letter from her dog, said Kathy Bridgman, an Alain Pinel Realtors agent who represented the sellers. “She won’t touch a thing,” promised the letter, signed with a paw print. “I will be able to play in the yard.”

After closing, the buyer immediately tore down the home and built a bigger one.

Note: In case you’re noticing that we’ve repeatedly reformatted this piece, you’re correct. Our blogging tools aren’t as compatible with each other as we wish they were.  In this particular case, one tool supports photo captions but won’t strip styles out properly, the other is the reverse.  Don’t even get us started on what WordPress is doing to both of them.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am