February 24, 2013

NOW is the time to buy or sell a house!

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) isn’t known for deep thinking.  After all, this is the group that brought you David Lereah, America’s very own Baghdad Bob on the topic of forecasting home values.  But let’s take a closer look at the idea that NOW is always the time to buy. After all, if now is not the time to buy, then now is the time to sell.

Turns out NAR has that one covered.  They’ve got a list of the best places to buy and sell, NOW.  And guess where is the time to sell NOW.

That’s right.  Where it’s Special.

Asheville, NC Tops Best Places To Buy In 2013

Real Estate News   |  Feb 14, 2013   |  By: Lexie Puckett | Realtor.com

130222-nar-ashevilleThe new year started on a positive note in January, with inventories at record lows and list prices holding steady on a year-over-year basis. Whether this shows a continuation of the nascent housing recovery into 2013 will depend on a variety of factors, including the strength of the overall economy, the cost and availability of mortgage credit, consumer expectations regarding future housing prices, and the success of continuing efforts to stem the flow of new foreclosures.

If inventories remain low — and if list prices begin to rise during the next few months, as they did last year — conditions are ripe for additional house price appreciation in 2013. However, such gains are likely to be concentrated in markets already well into their recovery process, such as California, Phoenix, Seattle, Washington, D.C., and many sand states. Markets in the older industrialized parts of the Midwest and the East will likely continue to struggle without a significant turnaround in their local economies. However, if inventories in these areas remain high, it could effectively set the stage for further declines in housing values in these local markets.

2013 Best Places to Buy and Sell

With two months remaining before the home-buying season opens, sellers have a huge advantage. In tight markets, such as the top five “Best Places to Sell,” sellers benefit from better prices than they’ve seen in years. In our five “Best Places to Buy,” buyers will find plentiful inventory and prices that haven’t experienced the increases others have seen during the past year.

So wait, are they saying that there actually exist places where NOW is not the time to buy? Well… no, because they would never want to prevent suckers from giving them money interfere with the free market.  Also commissions.

Here are NAR’s Top 5 Best Markets to Sell a House NOW.  Except they didn’t say NOW, but you KNOW it’s THERE.

130222-nar-sacto1. Sacramento. No, really. Inventory dropped even more than here where it really is Special, leading to price increases of (get ready to scream) 40%.  You forgot to invest in Sacramento last year, didn’t you?

2. San Jose.  Prices are up 25% here and inventory isn’t exactly generous. But unlike Sacramento, San Jose wasn’t rebounding from a complete price collapse.

3. San Francisco. They’re just copying us, and not as well.

4. Phoenix. See Sacramento. Inventory is down 16%, but so what? They simply make more land. What they can’t manage to make more of here is water.

5. Washington, DC. “With a median price of $429,900, D.C. is one of the nation’s priciest markets…”  Right, NAR.  You want to see what you can get here, where it’s actually Special, for $430,000?  This.

130222-nar-sheriann1889 SHERI ANN Cir
San Jose, CA 95131
$429,950

HOA Dues: $202/mo.
2 Beds
2 Baths
1,157 Sq. Ft.
$372 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1993
Lot Size: 435 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
HOA Dues: $202/month
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Property Type: Condominium Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
Community: Berryessa
MLS#: 81305233

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, Feb 23: 1:30-4:00 pm
Sunday, Feb 24: 1:30-4:00 pm

Dwnstrs condo has bright & open flr plan. Newer carpet, hrdwd flrs in entry & ktchn. Interior has been freshly painted. Spacious patio off of lving rm. Gas stove, dual sinks & recessed lights in Kitchen. Mster bdrm has it’s own patio, walk-in closet, recently updated bthrm, 2 sink vanity. Attchd 1 car garage w/ laundry. Community has large pool, spa, sports court, bbq/picnic area. Great location.

And by “Great location” they don’t really mean “great location.”  Yesterday’s house was “great location.”  This place is “You’re less likely to get shot than on Story Road.”

Now, lest you think all those California metros filling in the first 3 on that top 5 list are some big honking coincidence, here’s some data ripped straight out of NAR’s January Trends report.  The blog entry linked above is distilled from this longer report.

130222-nar-inventory

It goes on to confirm what we already knew: It’s Special Here. Then again, it’s even More Special in Sacramento.  Want to know where else it’s surprisingly Special?

130222-nar-dom

Anyone who doesn’t see Bubble written all over these tables simply is not paying attention.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am






February 23, 2013

Who Wants Another $100 Million Property?

More importantly, who wants another $100M property enough to put up with a sales condition like this?  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to yet another nine-digit property.

130222-deguigne-front

Estate and Lands of De Guigne
Undisclosed Address in Hillsborough, CA
$100,000,000

130222-deguigne-umTo the south of the Golden Gate Bridge, large parcels of land are rare. Located half-way between San Francisco and the Silicon Valley in the bucolic Town of Hillsborough, an approximately 16,000 sqft. Mediterranean-styled, Bliss and Faville mansion is positioned on approximately 47-acres which have been owned for 150 years by one family. Decorated by celebrated interior designer Anthony Hail, the mansion interiors encompass elegant and ornate public rooms, which evoke the sophistication and grandeur of a bygone era. Grand-scale Ballroom, Living Room, Library and Pavilion are aligned to open to a Pool Courtyard, revealing sweeping views of San Francisco and the East Bay. Formal gardens and park-like grounds adjoin dozens of undeveloped acres surrounding the mansion, providing ultimate privacy and security. Timeless, sophisticated and elegant, the deGuigné Estate represents a rare opportunity to own one of California’s few remaining mansions surrounded by substantial acreage near an urban center.

Yadda yadda big yadda yadda acreage yadda yadda old yadda yadda history yadda yadda expensive.

130222-deguigne-entranceOh, and Mr. De Guigne isn’t leaving this house alive. Literally.  You buy this house, and you have to wait for him to croak before you can move in.

This, by the way, seems to be Plan B.  Plan A was when he tried subdividing the heck out of the place in 2009, which did not endear him to his neighbors. And he did that because he had an expensive divorce to finance.  Also the house cost much more to run than he got living off his investments, the poor dear.

Also, we likely found an actual address, because this sure looks like the entrance: 60 Glenbrook Drive.  Note the road going from Glenbrook to the Big House.  While the property records indicate a smaller home, the lot is 10,000,000 square feet on Zillow, or 227 acres.  The listed house is probably a gatehouse/caretaker’s cottage.

130222-deguigne-satellite

This is also your Open Thread. Going to look an any Open Houses as spacious as this?

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:13 am

February 22, 2013

Let’s Return to what matters: Mountain View!

We’re happy to report the first Monta Loma sighting of the year. Thanks very much to Burbed reader LomaLuvr for alerting us to this awesome opportunity!  And once more we’re using Movoto, because they understand the difference between Pending – Do Not Show The House To Lookie-Loos Who Want To Tramp Through The Place and Pending – Do Not Show Photos.  *cough * Redfin *cough*

130221-jane-movoto2348 Jane Ln
Mountain View, CA 94043
$719,000

Loan Payment: $2,543/mo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Size: 1,392 sqft
$/Sqft: $516/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1955
Lot Size: 5,400
Days on Movoto: 10 days
Neighborhood: Thompson
MLS#: 81303400
Status: Pending – Do Not Show

3BR/2BA 1392 sf Eichler-style home with 5400 sf lot in great Mountain View neighborhood. Additional office/possible 4th bedroom. Close to Shoreline and Google. Fixer-upper with possibilities!

As opposed to all those fixer-uppers with no possibilities, merely potential.

130221-jane-redfin-agent

130221-jane-backdoorsPossibilities, indeed!  Adding on a room to the side of a house when the lot is only 5400 square feet is an architectural challenge indeed! Plus that gives the bedroom plenty more fresh air, to make up for the lack of natural light in the back.

Also, we think we solved the mystery why the back of the house doesn’t get as much light as the front.  We think it’s the patio shade.  Don’t tell the agents, though.  We wouldn’t want to ruin it for them.

Here’s the other two pictures.

130221-jane-front130221-jane-fireplace

All that perfectly good sky cut out.  Speaking of cutting out, here’s some perfectly good listing copy cut out from both Zillow and Trulia:

As Is probate fixer. Contact Broker at (707) 693-0400 with any questions.

Nothing like a Broker who specializes in the neighborhood you want to buy into.  You may want to double-check if the property really is Close To Google after all.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

February 21, 2013

HOUSE for under $300K with colorful history, we bet

Yes, you heard right, today we have an actual house for sale for less than $300 big ones.  That means you have no more excuses for not becoming a homedebtor.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader holyzoo for passing along this palace in Pacifica!

130220-edgemar-movoto627 Edgemar Ave
Pacifica, CA 94044
$289,000

Loan Payment: $1,022/mo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1&1/2
Size: 1,000 sqft
$/Sqft: $289/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1950
Lot Size: 5,104
Days on Movoto: 14 days
Neighborhood: Pacific Manor
MLS#: 81303817
Status: Active

This is a total fixer upper. The house needs everything! Swimming pool full of rancid water. Considered uninhabitable . Sewer lateral needs to be replaced. This is a contractor special. The house needs all new systems and total restoration. Large termite report calls for further inspections. Holes in walls. Wood floors ruined.

130220-edgemar-hardwoodDid you hear that? This house has EVERYTHING!  Let’s check in with the zed.

Yeah, I know it’s totally not RBA, but how often do you actually see a listing for under $300k?

I think we’ll be heading to the open house just to feel thankful we don’t have cancer or gangrene.

Speaking of the open house, let’s see how open the walls are.

Wait a minute, wait a minute… Remember when we last saw floors like this?  Sure you do.

130220-edgemar-chemstains-article

130220-edgemar-entryNow, we are definitely not saying that this house could have allegedly been a hypothetical meth lab.  And we are definitely not saying that this house could have been used for any non-normal innocent suburban purposes whatsoever OH PLEASE DON’T SUE US PLEASE DON’T THROW US INTO THAT BRIAR PATCH JACKPOT JURY PROCESS. 

But we are saying that it’s a good thing the nearest fire station is, we swear we are not making this up, only 88 yards from this house.

Have a look at some more pictures, including one that is very definitely NSFW, after the break.

(more…)

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

February 20, 2013

Oh Please Oh Please Oh Please in Woodside

Sometimes we run across some terrific properties where the listing is canceled before we can feature it. And as long as we can still find the information online somewhere, we’ll still share it with our fans.  Today’s featured home spent more than TWO YEARS waiting for a suitor and finally went home from the Ball, alone and dejected.  But now the housing bubble is back, at least in the Real Bay Area.  So we’re hoping to see this house on the market again Real Soon Now.

130219-northgate-movoto125 Northgate St
Woodside, CA 94062
$9,999,500

Loan Payment: $35,366/mo
Bedrooms: 6
Bathrooms: 8
Size: 16,900 sqft
$/Sqft: $591/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1934
Lot Size: 124,973
Days on Movoto: 755 days
Neighborhood: Woodside Heights
MLS#: 81054806
Status: Cancelled

BOARDER OF ATHERTON! LOS LOMITAS SCHOOLS! 2.89 ACRES! OVER 17,000 SAUARE FEET! The Buck Estate. Designed by noted architect Albert Farr, who modeled Buck after Hampton Court in Middlesex, England, a 16th century royal family residence. Brick & stucco cut stone, high Gothic arches, slate roof,& bay views. Ornate plaster details, beautiful rooms of original carved wood panelling.

Wait a minute, this place looks very familiar.

130219-northgate-110408

And the current listing photos on Movoto are exactly the same as the ones from almost two years ago. What isn’t the same is the price.  Looks like this charming cottage took a 22% haircut before leaving the barber’s chair.  Let’s have another look inside.

130219-northgate-billiards130219-northgate-chandelier

These pictures look way worse blown up larger (click ‘em!). And now that any fool can take HDR photos on an iPhone, maybe this is all we should expect.  After all it is the BOARDER OF ATHERTON.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

February 19, 2013

Who Wants to Be a Campbell Millionaire?

Anyone can buy a million dollar house in a prestige area.  Well, anyone who had the sense to join the right company before they went public, that is.  But it takes a Special someone to buy a seven digit priced property in the land of homes that cost Not A Lot Of Money™.

130218-oburn-redfin1501 OBURN Ct
Campbell, CA 95008
$1,149,000

4 Beds
3 Baths
2,255 Sq. Ft.
$510 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1986
Lot Size: 9,594
Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 2 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Campbell
MLS#: 81304821
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Beautiful Executive Campbell Home on Extra Large Corner Lot located in a Cul de Sac. Inviting Master Bedroom Suite with Walk in closets featuring Large Master Bath, Separate Shower and Jacuzzi tub. Oversized 3 Car Garage with extra storage space. Large Backyard has Private Patio with Running Waterfall. Side Yard has Storage Shed/Workshop. Award Winning Campbell School District with High API Scores

130218-oburn-bricksAre you thinking Lord of the Manor? Or is this more Can’t Even Qualify For Real Gray Area?

To which we say, does it even matter? The listing won’t even show you any inside photos. You want to see the inside, you had better buy this house, and quickly, because it’ll be gone before you know it.  Get the begging letter ready, bring your prequalification paperwork, and an extra suitcase full of cash for overbidding.

130218-oburn-kitchen-old

At right is the kitchen from the previous (2008) listing, which called out the granite and stainless.  The current listing copy doesn’t mention the kitchen at all!  Instead it goes on about the jacuzzi and the garage you can’t see instead.  And really, is there anything you can do about it? Well you could rent for the rest of your life, but who would respect you? Wouldn’t you rather live in a house like this and have a close, personal relationship with a series of banks for the next 30 years?

The bubble is back, and this $1.15M house in Campbell says you are its bitch. 

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

February 18, 2013

Your Three Day Weekend Getaway (Read a book)

Today’s featured property is brought to you by Burbed reader wahnny.  It’s perfect for a quick little mini-vacay, because it’s an easy drive from Google, Facebook, Apple, or wherever you should be working this weekend.  Just plop down the cash (easily found behind the couch cushions or by redeeming a couple of stock options), pitch your tent, and enjoy!  Plus, you could build a house on it!

130217-tucker-redfin2155 Tucker
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
$140,000

— Beds
— Baths
— Sq. Ft.
Built: —
Lot Size: 4.74 Acres
On Redfin: 9 days
Property Type: Residential Land (Single Family)
Community: Scotts Valley North
MLS#: 81304038
View: Mountains
County: Santa Cruz

Perfect vacation spot with a self sufficient little cabin. Off the grid with spring fed water. A wonderful tree house, a zip line, a foot bridge PLUS your own beach on Soquel Creek (year round water) Great place to get away, enjoy the peace and quiet. Read a book, go for a hike, let you kids enjoy the the outdoors! Can’t see a neighbor who you all share in the road maintenance.

130217-tucker-insideHere’s why wahnny sent in this delightful home away from home (that is, if by home, we actually meant a place that doesn’t have a house for grown-ups on site).

Just came across this offbeat/offgrid Scotts Valley getaway.  What an interesting use of children, to help sell property.  And deep in the woods no less!

Unlike the "mini-San Simeon" property, this one actually has a zip line, as well as other fun structures (cabin, treehouse), and isn’t as far from civilization/paved roads.  And it has "beach" access (to the creek) too!

130217-tucker-treehouseGiven its relative proximity to the RBA, relative RBA pricing, and r3ltrd copyspeak, it’s quite clear who this would appeal to!

Every rule we’ve ever heard about staging a property for sale says to take family photos out of the house, because the buyers want to visualize themselves in the house. If they see pictures of your family, then that makes it harder for them to see themselves living there.  Obviously either the agent never heard of this rule, or she has some really obstinate sellers.  Why?  This property features a bunch of family snaps instead of the usual listing photos.

130217-tucker-woodsAnd whoever’s idea this was, they really want you to admire the family.  The pictures of the grounds that left the wife and kiddies out are not the sharpest prints in the drawer. 

Just wait until you meet “can’t see a neighbor who you all share in the road maintenance.”  We double dog dare you to share in the road maintenance with someone you can’t see.

130217-tucker-oldlistingBunus: Be sure to check out the listing history.

Extra-super-bunus: Last sale (at $190K in 2007) and the older photos are still available for your viewing pleasure.  You can tell this one on the right is from the old set, because it’s actually focused.

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

February 17, 2013

How do you tell the difference between the RBA and Not the RBA?

Answer: The RBA is being bought up by foreigners with suitcases full of cash going to individual sellers.  Not the Real Bay Area is being bought up by investors with envelopes full of cashiers checks going to banks.

Report: Investors buy nearly half of Oakland’s foreclosed homes

Real estate firms turning properties into rentals, becoming "massive landlords" in some neighborhoods, critics say

130216-investors-suitcaseby Aaron Glantz, Bay Citizen — June 28, 2012, 11:01 a.m.

The rental listing advertises a “gorgeous remodeled craftsman-style house” with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a converted basement, a large deck and a backyard for $2,595 a month.

Eight months ago, this West Oakland home was owned and occupied by Theodros Shawl, a local chiropractor. Shawl bought the house in 2004, his first since emigrating from Ethiopia in 1990. Over the years, Shawl said, he rebuilt the home’s foundation and replaced its aging plumbing and electrical systems.

“I liked the fact that it was an older home, that I could repair and paint and fix there on the weekends. I was always at Home Depot,” said Shawl, 40. “I was living the American Dream.”

Last October, after being sidelined with a wrist injury, Shawl lost his home to foreclosure; in May, Bank of America sold it to a real estate investment firm, REO Homes 2 LLC, a company founded in 2010 by Bay Area businessman Neill Sullivan.

130216-investors-cashiersLest you think this is a trend only in the depressed parts of the Bay Area, we assure you that it isn’t.  Real Estate Investment Trusts are back, mostly because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of places to get reasonable returns these days.  A recent article in The New Republic covers the growing national trend of paying cash for foreclosures and turning them into rentals.  Needless to say, actual would-be buyers are finding themselves aced out of the bottom-feeding.

Your New Landlord Works on Wall Street

130216-investors-hedgeHedge funds are snatching up rental homes at an alarming rate

BY DAVID DAYEN, The New Republic, February 16, 2013

Housing analysts have been giddy for the past year about the comeback of their industry, whose collapse led to the Great Recession. Sure, 2012 was actually the third-worst year for housing ever—but it still beat 2010 and 2011. New and existing home sales, housing starts, and prices jumped in 2012, and experts expect an even stronger recovery for 2013.

It’s clear why people are so excited: Housing typically leads economic recoveries. As more people build equity in their homes, they feel more free to spend disposable income and increase economic activity, a phenomenon known as the “wealth effect.”  So a bullish outlook for housing would seemingly augur a long-awaited recovery to Main Street. But the more you look into it, the clearer it becomes that it’s not being driven by the typical American families who lost their homes in the economic crash. In fact, it’s being fueled by the banks and hedge funds whose speculation caused that crash in the first place.

If you’ve signed a lease in the past year, there’s a good chance your landlord wears a tailored suit and works on Wall Street. One of the hottest trends in the financial sector is known as “REO-to-rental.” Over the past couple years, hedge funds, private equity firms and the biggest banks have raised massive amounts of capital to buy distressed or foreclosed single-family homes, often in bulk, at bargain prices. Their strategy is to convert them to rental units for a while before reselling them when prices appreciate. The Wall Street firms are scooping up properties in the hardest-hit areas, promising high returns for the rental revenue streams—up to 10 percent annually —and starting bidding wars that have driven up some prices well above national averages. It’s the next Wall Street gold rush, with all the warning signs of a renewed speculative bubble.

Enjoy the Open Houses you’ll be making offers on but not buying because some sovereign wealth fund is outbidding you.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:18 am

February 16, 2013

It’s Search Engine Saturday!

And we haven’t had a Search Engine Saturday for many, many Saturdays!

Recently someone used a Search Engine and found his or her way over to Burbed by entering the following search:

what kind of toxic dump is whisman station on

What kind indeed?  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can certainly tell you all about it. But who wants to read a bunch of boring government reports?  That’s why there’s Burbed!  We’re happy to pass along any news about what kind of toxic dump your neighborhood is sitting on as well.  (Pro tip: Most Bay Area neighborhoods are infested with Bubbling Exuberance.)

Here’s our article that answers the above question, and the kind of toxic dump Whisman Station sits on is very nasty indeed.  Specifically, it’s a Tricoroethylene (TCE) plume.

Moreover, according to this article shared by Burbed reader Real Estater, this delightful area of opportunity is expanding into new territory!  Now who says they aren’t making any more land?

This is also your Three Day Weekend Open Thread!  W00t!

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

February 15, 2013

The Return of the Los Altos Hills Mystery House

We love it when listings rise from the dead canceled and return betteh than EVEH.  Today we have a house that already made one appearance on Burbed, so another one makes it so much more full of Win!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Dibber for unearthing this unabashed ultimate unavailable (yep, PENDING!) um…

130213-eastbrook-zillow11441 Eastbrook Ave
Los Altos, CA 94024
Pending: $2,499,000
Zestimate®: $2,507,171

Bedrooms: 6 beds
Bathrooms:6 baths
Single Family:9,300 sq ft
Lot:23,086 sq ft
Year Built:1992
Heating Type:Forced air

Description

HUGE CUSTOM CONTEMPORARY HOME W/2100SF ATTACHED GUEST HOUSE**PERFECT FOR LARGE EXTENDED FAMILY OR INVESTMENT RENTAL**EXPANSIVE LIST OF AMENITIES INLC LIMESTONE FLRS, CUSTOM FAUX PAINT, LRG MASTER SUITE W/ SITTING ROOM, GOURMET KITCHEN W/ GRANITE, WINE CELLAR/TASTING ROOM, 5-ZONE HVAC, 4FIREPLACES** TWO (2) CAR GARAGES INCL OVERSIZED HEIGHT FOR R/V/WORKSHOP**FRESH LANDSCAPING,ROOFTOP BALCONY!

130213-eastbrook-frontWe’ll leave it as an exercise to the reader to find out why Zillow led with the cabinet picture instead of the front of the house.  Now let’s check in with Dibber:

Or maybe it never left?  Winchester Mystery House, Los Altos Hills campus.   Check out the listing history.  Who says Silicon Valley is expensive.  I can get you into Los Altos Hills baby!  And only $269 per square foot.  I’m thinking listing mistake…Concord? 

 

130213-eastbrook-dungeonPerfect for the large extended family?  Honey, please show aunt Betty to the 2100 square foot guest house, but this time please keep her out of the wine cellar and off the roof deck.  And honey, the kids really shouldn’t be playing pick-up soccer on the 280.

Yes, ridicuously cheap.  Too bad Foothill College doesn’t have fraternities.  This place would would be perfect… traffic noise would drown out the party noise!

Wonder why this never got snapped up last time we featured it… And here it is all the way from 2010!  Remember this one?

130213-eastbrook-1009-reprise

Wow, has the unwitting seller finally dropped the price low enough price to find a buyer?  Or is this just a coincidence that prices are finally going up again?

130213-eastbrook-history

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 12:03 am