February 6, 2013

What’s Special and Vintage and Oh So Cute and only costs $350,000?

So many times we hear the refrain, “I would love to buy a house, but I can’t afford anything.  It’s just too expensive here.” And so many times we have found affordable houses that YOU could go and buy.  Today we have yet another exciting opportunity for YOU, the would-be homeowner.  Just imagine yourself watering your very own lawn!  Or even better, your very own Rose Garden!

130205-forest-redfin1951 FOREST Ave
San Jose, CA 95128
$350,000

1 Beds
1 Baths
525 Sq. Ft.
$667 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1915
Lot Size: 3,600 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 70 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Central San Jose
MLS#: 81241926

This home is located in the desirable Rose Garden neighborhood. Needs a lot of work. Not livable now. Contractor’s special. Located on a 3,600 square foot lot. Has a lot of potential. Great opportunity for someone looking to move into a fantastic area.

130205-forest-satellite

This property is Special for a number of reasons, and we don’t just mean for Contractors.

That’s a Streetview shot on this property listing.  The realtard didn’t even bother cropping it a little to strip out the Google logo.  It also, LUCKY YOU, conveniently fell out of contract just a couple of weeks ago, and is relisted at the same attractive price. 

Speaking of attractive, let’s swing that Streetview camera just a little to the right (below).  While the white truck is intriguing, the station wagon is vehicular WIN.  And from the satellite shot on the left, we can see exactly why this is such an attractive proposition: this looks like a Hoarder House.  Can you imagine what sorts of “bunus” loot awaits the lucky buyer of this affordable home that wears its 98 years proudly?

130205-forest-streetview

Bunus Specialtude: This home has been featured as the cover photo of our brand new Facebook Page for a couple of days.  Keep checking over there for new cover photos, and play “Find That Crapbox!”

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am






February 5, 2013

Contemporary Home/High Tech HQ/Auto Showroom/Cultural Center/MLM Offices

Today’s building is not only in soooo prestigious Woodside (home of the record-breaking $117.5 million property sale), it’s got a look that makes it so much more than merely a trophy home.  Plus it’s just steps away from cosmopolitan Redwood City!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for this superb structure.

130204-cinnabar-redfin240 CINNABAR Rd
Woodside, CA 94062
$14,800,000

4 Beds
5 Baths
8,669 Sq. Ft.
$1,707 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1991
Lot Size: 3.01 Acres
On Redfin: 131 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
Community: Woodside Hills
MLS#: 81235457
Style: Contemporary
View: Bay, City Lights
County: San Mateo

MODERN HIGH-TECH HOME ON 3+ PRIVATE ACRES WITH SWEEPING 130204-cinnabar-groundsVIEWS OF SF BAY, EAST BAY HILLS & STANFORD. 2-STORY LR W/ WALLS OF GLASS ORIENTED TOWARD THE VIEW; FLOATING STAIRCASE, FULLY CUSTOMIZED LIBRARY AND OFFICE; 4 BED PLUS 2 MULTI-ROOM APTS; ELEVATOR; 21 KW SOLAR SYSTEM, UNDERGROUND GARAGE; 12′ CEILINGS IN BASEMENT; GROUNDS W/ INFINITY POOL, SPA, TERRACES, PLAYGROUND, PUTTING GREEN, FIREPIT

12’ CEILINGS IN BASEMENT? Unless there’s a squash court in there, why would you need the basement floors so deep?  Was this a former mausoleum but they’re just not copping to it?

And have a good look at the aerial shot: as PG so aptly notes, all those smaller lots are Redwood City in your backyard.  Don’t worry, despite bordering your property, they can’t get to your street.

130204-cinnabar-satellite

It’s the FLOATING STAIRCASE that scares them away.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

February 4, 2013

Today in Portola Valley: Guest Blogger on Guest House

burbed_guest_bloggerWe haven’t had a guest post for a while, so we’re going to sleep in while Burbed reader Dr. Jim takes over today’s column.  Thanks very much!  Please give Dr. Jim a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome to the front page as today’s guest blogger!

And now we’re going back to bed.


130203-portola-redfin451 PORTOLA Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028
$6,495,000

4 Beds
5 Baths
4,200 Sq. Ft.
$1,546 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1912
Lot Size: 1.13 Acres
On Redfin: 88 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Brookside/Willowbrook Area
MLS#: 81240340

Stunning historic estate originally built by Herbert E. Law completely renovated with state of the art contemporary finishes. Turreted castle main residence (3 br) incl. 1000 sq. ft new construction, stone guest cottage, 1200 sq. ft workshop. 1.2 flat ac. in prime PV, western views, pool, bocce court, enclosed rose garden, diamond plaster top quality appliances incl. La Cornue stove, Miele appl.

130203-portola-gatehouseCheck it out: 

They expect to make $4,645,000 profit on a house that they bought 1.5 years ago for $1,850,000!  That’s $1106/sf for remodeling.  And the cottage and workshop were there already.  Granted, the land is valuable, but that’s already accounted for in the original purchase price.  Let’s say they spent a ridiculous million dollars on renovation.  That’s still a 28% ROI, which is wildly ambitious.

130203-portola-ladderA couple of notes on the listing copy: (1) This is not the Herbert E. Law estate, this is the former GATEHOUSE for the Law estate (Villa Lauriston).  (2) A La Cornue oven, oh boy!  It looks like the $35,000 model (Chateau 120).  If they had put in a $299 Kenmore range, I suppose they would be asking $6,460,299.  Not really much difference.

Thank goodness for the Internet.  Just a few years ago, prior sale info was more difficult to obtain.  I think part of the current real estate slump is due to all of the information on the web: people are no longer being duped as readily by realtors.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

February 3, 2013

They Like Us! They really, really Like Us!

130202-fb-calloutNotice something new in the right-side column?

At long last, we’ve set up a Facebook Page, and we’re collecting Likes.  We’re not really sure what we’re going to do with them.  Maybe there’s a Mortgage Equity Withdrawal program out there who wants every one of your names.  But more likely we’ll just wonder which Facebook Name goes with some of the more interesting handles our commenters have used.

Anyway, please click that Like button if you have a Facebook account, because right now we’re still in single digit territory, and Patrick.net is threatening to beat us up behind the gym.

This is also your opportunity to grouse about Facebook, or its policies, or its stock price, if you don’t find the housing-related piece today to your taste.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 8:06 am

Top Ten Reasons You Should Ignore Realtard’s Columns

Today we’re going to have a look at a realtard’s piece over on Trulia’s blog.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Estater for letting us know about this essay.

Tough Year Ahead: Top 10 Issues Facing Bay Area Buyers

East Bay Real Estate Focus — Providing Definitive Information for the East Bay Area
By
Carl Medford | Agent in Fremont, CA
Posted under: Market Conditions in Alameda County, Home Buying in Alameda County, Home Ownership in Alameda County  |  January 26, 2013 8:22 AM  |  257 views  |  1 comment

“TWO recent national surveys of real estate agents suggest that first-time buyers are on the decline, their access to the housing market blocked by tight credit and eager investors,” states Lisa Prevost, of The New York Times (12/20/212).

Old news. In fact, I’ve been saying the same thing since August, 2012.

Truth is, no one knows exactly how many have decided to sit things out a bit until the market calms down. Although we’ve seen a decline in the number of buyers “actively in the hunt,” in reality, there are not “fewer” first-time buyers – if anything, there are more. LOTS more. The problem is that less of them are actually managing to buy a home, and, unfortunately, that’s the primary statistic that is being measured. No one is sitting outside open houses counting the bodies as they hit the front door and then compiling the numbers to a national database. If they did, a much different story would be on the evening news.

Buyers trying to purchase a home in the existing market conditions are facing into the teeth of a perfect storm, real-estate style, and it doesn’t appear that it will be ending anytime soon.

Here are the Top 10 issues facing Bay Area buyers:

130202-top10-suitcaseActually, as realtard happyprop goes, this is a little bit better informed than most.  It does say something other than “NOW IS THE TIME TO BUY,” and best of all, the disturbing faceless and sexless icons include the ever-popular, we swear we are not making this up, Dude With A Suitcase Full of Cash.  We know you won’t believe without seeing, so here he is.  (And from the minimal clothing, it’s either a Dude or it’s Annie Hall.)

Here’s that Top Ten list. If you’ve been a regular reader of Burbed, none of these should surprise you.

  1. Sorry, you missed the bottom.  Sucks to be you.  Medford says February 2012 was the official bottom.  Maybe it was… in the East Bay.
  2. Inventory? What inventory?  Raw meat, here’s the sharks.
  3. Prices are going up.  Some areas are up 40% from last year.  Actually, if Mr. Real Estate Person had read the actual data instead of just looking at a piece in the Chron, he’d have seen that some areas are up a lot more than 40%.
  4. Lots of cash buyers out there.  Yeah, and not just in the hellhole that’s the East Bay.  RBA too, only these aren’t investors.  On this item the realtard confuses the difference between “Central County” (probably Alameda County given the link) and the entire Bay Area in claiming 30% of all offers are cash.
  5. Crowds lead to multiple offers.  Take low inventory and desperate sellers, what do you expect, other than the author citing hard numbers with his opinion columns from a different site.
  6. FHA or VA buyer? Don’t even bother in this market; even conventional buyers are losing out to Mr. Suitcase.  And Mr. Suitcase doesn’t care about appraisals.
  7. 130202-top10-house-familyNew homes are in demand againaccording to CNN, that is. That doesn’t apply to the RBA because they still aren’t making any more land.  Why the realtard didn’t quote this local story in his own backyard is left as an exercise to the reader.
  8. Appraisers haven’t a clue prices are up, which is preventing prices from going up even faster.  Includes helpful link to another of his columns mostly about packed open houses with one throw-away graf about appraisers.  What stayed with us was the tsetse flies.  But there was something useful mentioned: appraisers were blamed for the last bubble, and they’re not ready for this one.  Yet.
  9. Banks are mucking up your loan even more than usual, although the link provided explaining the loan approval process doesn’t look to us like anything has changed much.  We suppose if you’re a realtard remembering the glory days of If You Can Fog This Mirror You Can Buy This House, you’d have a different opinion.
  10. Bank underwriters especially are being poopy-heads, and Medford’s happy to give some examples. Most of them look like underwriters working through a pile of documents, marking off inconsistencies, and resolving them later, where later is some period greater than the five minutes realtards think is appropriate.

While we are perfectly capable of posting house after house in the five mile radius of The Googleplex, we would never confuse the RBA with the entire Bay Area.  Just because an agent can write a column even longer than one of ours doesn’t mean he won’t commit the Fallacy of Composition.  The East Bay isn’t the entire Bay Area any more than the South Peninsula is.  Market conditions vary, so may your mileage, and definitely will housing prices. 

But we can guarantee there will always be some real estate professionals out there who take a few shortcuts.  Let’s give this one a golf clap for giving the appearance of a housing market review, even if he found ten different ways to say You Are Now Priced Out Forever.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

February 2, 2013

The Dignity Mortgage: Subprime with Training Wheels

Here’s a look at some new mortgage meshuggeneh from Burbed reader nomadic.

Housing advocates push for new type of subprime loan

The Dignity Mortgage would have a higher rate for higher-risk borrowers but include rate cuts after five years of on-time payments.

130201-latimes-dignityBy E. Scott Reckard, Los Angeles Times; January 28, 2013, 5:53 p.m.

PHOTO: Pattie and Ollie Sibug would like to buy their San Diego town house, which they are renting for $1,750 a month. They are among those who may benefit from a proposed subprime mortgage program. (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles Times / January 29, 2013)

With home prices rising, interest rates falling and builders building, some prominent housing advocates are calling for a new kind of loan for buyers with lower incomes or bad credit.

They’d like to call it the Dignity Mortgage, but it has another name — one that’s become more of an epithet since the housing crash: subprime.

Applicants might include people caught in the early stages of the mortgage meltdown who have since rebuilt their finances, said Faith Bautista, who heads the National Asian American Coalition.

"They lost their work, their homes and their credit scores four or five years ago," Bautista said.

And let’s see what nomadic has to say about this idea.

These people are pushing for a mortgage that not only gives them better terms after five years of timely payments (which seems reasonable) but they want the extra interest paid during the "trial" period REFUNDED to them after those five years. In other words, the banks take more risk but don’t actually get paid for it in the end. Not to mention all of the other extra costs of the program (e.g., "extensive" financial counseling). WTF? Also thought it ridiculous that the rate goes down to what people with "sterling credit" and 20% down are paying. I haven’t done the math, but I suspect people aren’t necessarily paying off 10% of the purchase price in the first five years of their loan.

Think this is a better way to treat the poor people who shouldn’t have been buying houses at all but want another swing at the property piñata?  Or was it all the banks’ fault from start to finish? Aaaaaaaaaand, this is an Open Thread.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:16 am

February 1, 2013

Close to Freeway and transportation in San Bruno

Let’s finish out our workweek (not that Real Bay Area denizens ever would take a day off) with a place on the way to almost anywhere you’d like to go this weekend.  That is, if you didn’t have a job and were free to go somewhere besides work.  You never know, you might get a Sunday off when you meet your next milestone! (Just kidding!)

130131-5th-redfin785 5TH Ave
San Bruno, CA 94066
$379,000

2 Beds
1 Baths
780 Sq. Ft.
$486 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1930
Lot Size: 6,633 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Belle Air
MLS#: 81302815
Stories: 1
County: San Mateo

Two Bedrooms One bathroom House on a large lot. Currently occupied by Month to month tenants. Need TLC. Close to Freeway and transportation.

Needs Toilet Lid Crushed?  Unfortunately no crapper shots, but we have some winners anyway.  Can’t quite decide if the kitchen merits a Good Housekeeping Tag of Approval or not.

130131-5th-front130131-5th-kitchen130131-5th-fridge130131-5th-hallway

And when this agent said close to freeway, she meant it.  Dang, this place is close to absolutely EVERYTHING.

130131-5th-close

You could even make extra money taking overflow parking during Thanksgiving!  No wonder the front yard is so durable.

Bunus: Save $10,000 from August, 2011 asking price!

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

January 31, 2013

Mountain View is hot, hot, hot! AMAZING Proof!

SirenBlinkWe’ve been telling you for many months that real estate was taking off in the Greater Googleplex.  Thanks to Burbed reader bublidoo, we have something better than another data point.  We have red-hot proof. Let’s roll through the red light on the way to this piping hot property!

130130-sonia-redfin722 SONIA Way
Mountain View, CA 94040
$1,099,000

0 Beds
— Baths
1,221 Sq. Ft.
$900 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1947
Lot Size: 7,750 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Miramonte
MLS#: 81302687
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara

AMAZING Location. Steps away from Downtown Mtn View. Large Lot – Build your Dream Home

130130-sonia-streetviewOkay, bublidoo, tell us more.

Houses needing a little TLC selling over 1M have been seen before, a burnt house for 1.1? Figured it could be an interesting data point for you. A realtor would diagnose "hot hot burning hot", probably. Address seems to match. None of this is verified in any way, so please consume at your own risk.

We’re rather impressed with all the news stories provided on the fire, but one of them doesn’t just “seem” to match. It flat out has the exact address.  So what are you all waiting for? Get over there to overbid so you can Build your Dream Home.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

January 30, 2013

Only $1.5 million in Portola Valley? No Way (side)

Today we have a real purty property in Portola Valley.  You know how we love expensive crap? Just crossing into this high-falutiin’ district will make your wallet squirm.  It’s expensive here even if the land doesn’t have a house.  So for this low (for PV) price, you know today’s feature will be good.  That is, if by “good” we mean something not so good.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for this find.

130129-redfin-wayside211 WAYSIDE Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028
$1,499,000

3 Beds
2 Baths
2,340 Sq. Ft.
$641 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1925
Lot Size: 0.41 Acres
On Redfin: 190 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Santa Maria/Russell Area
MLS#: 81227542
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: San Mateo

There are no remarks available.

Take it away, PG:

No wonder people outside the Bay Area think we are insane. Even with a Ferrari in the garage (picture #18), I can’t see the value in that one.

130129-wayside-kitchen130129-wayside-mbr130129-wayside-gym130129-wayside-garage

Sometimes, when life hands a real estate agent lemons, it’s best to keep one’s mouth shut. The eager buyer will bring the water, sugar and ice — then beg to be sold lemonade.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

January 29, 2013

Living at its best… in Downtown Campbell

130128-rincon-soupMmmm Good!  That’s what Campbell’s Soup is… but how about Campbell’s Real Estate?  Campbell doesn’t tend to get a lot of respect when people talk about where they want to buy, but let’s look at its positive qualities.  It’s equally inconvenient to most freeways, so no location fail on that score! It’s definitely got varied housing stock, which means there should be something for everyone (provided by “everyone” we do not mean people looking in the Real Bay Area). And it’s got so many crapboxen, we find ourselves dipping into the Campbell well again and again for featured homes! 

Let’s look at today’s proud property listing, sent in by Burbed reader Lefty Lucy.

130128-rincon-redfin89 E RINCON Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
$565,000

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
588 Sq. Ft.
$961 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1912 
Lot Size: 3,850 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 8 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Campbell
MLS#: 81301835
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Don’t miss this charmer in Downtown Campbell! This 2 bedroom & 1 Bath bungalow is living at its best. Located on a corner lot, features include cherry hardwood floors, updated bath, wrap around rear deck, indoor laundry, living / dining room combo and so much more! Cozy yard with fruit trees. A must see!

130128-rincon-entryOkay, Double L, tell us about this house you’ve picked.

Irregular but frequent reader, first time sender (though you must have gotten this from others as well!). 

I guess the bubble really is back. $961/square foot bungalow in oh-so-desirable Campbell: Ouch!  First time buyers like me are priced out forever, I guess (not that I’m shopping in Campbell, but it’s beyond crazy in my Santa Clara neighborhood as well).

$961? Who do they think they are, Mountain View?

130128-rincon-kitchen130128-rincon-living

Also note that this half a million dollar house is a pre-war bungalow.  That’s pre-World War I.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am