January 13, 2013

San Francisco is the Brooklyn to Silicon Valley’s Unbuilt Manhattan

Discuss.

130112-sfbrooklyn-startrekAs disappointed visitors and new employees discover, Silicon Valley is a dull and ugly landscape of low-rise stucco office parks and immense traffic-clogged boulevards. The fancy restaurants are in strip malls, like you’d find in Arizona or something. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. Massive arcologies like the new Apple campus are where the tech giants are headed, but until there are living urban neighborhoods connecting these monstrosities, anyone with hopes for a life outside of work will pay a ridiculous premium to live in San Francisco and spend two hours of every day sitting on a bus.

Meanwhile, the areas around and in between the tech giants of Silicon Valley are mostly ready to be razed and rebuilt. There are miles and miles of half-empty retail space, hideous 1970s’ two-story apartment complexes, most of it lacking the basic human infrastructure of public transportation, playgrounds, bicycle and running and walking paths, outdoor cafes and blocks loaded with bars and late-night restaurants. This is where the new metropolis must be built, in this unloved but sunny valley.

And then the new supercity gets linked to San Francisco by an existing boulevard of run-down old malls and decrepit car lots that pours right into the Mission District and downtown SF, 40 miles north. The boulevard is El Camino Real, or California Route 82, the one-time king’s highway that could be a new corridor of high-rise apartments and HQs and restaurants and museums filling in the long gaps between downtown San Jose and Apple/Google/HP/Yahoo/Intel and Stanford University and San Francisco. With local light rail at street level and express trains overhead or underground, the whole route could be lined with native-landscaped sidewalks dotted with pocket parks and filled on both sides with ground-floor retail, farmers markets and nightlife districts around every station. Caltrain already runs just east of Route 82, and BART already reaches south to Millbrae now.

130112-sfbrooklyn-bartconceptThe above is from a piece in The Awl that notes the large number of young, hip techies who may work in Silicon Valley but definitely don’t want to live in a ginormous, boring suburb.  Yes, there are well-paid people out there who don’t want to spend a million dollars for a sixty year old tract house, or even three thousand a month to merely rent one.  So what would you replace the endless clone houses of San Jose with?  Or would you simply raze most of Redwood City and rebuild Manhattan there?

This is also a great time to whip out this map of the region again, to remind everyone what makes The Bay Area So Special.  Pay careful attention to the region along The Street of Kings.

Thanks very much to Apocryphon at MetaFilter for linking to these sites above.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am






January 12, 2013

How to get customers excited when you’re selling a house

130111-queen-bikini

130111-queen-houseGot your attention already, haven’t we?  And if you like the little taste of hot bikini bondage babe above, just wait until you see the bodacious blonde on blonde action (which we swear we are not making up).

For this and more blatant uses of barely-clothed women to sell real estate, have a look at this video.  Then check out the page for the house.

It’s already been sold at auction, but it’s a mighty long commute to Google (even more removed than last weekend’s house).  According to Google Maps, it’s 480 hours away, but that’s because they wanted a stop in Japan first.

Enjoy the video.  And enjoy today’s weekend open thread!

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

January 11, 2013

What’s $2.1M and has no interior pictures?

1305 AVONDALE Rd
Hillsborough, CA 94010
$2,100,000

20130111-1305

“First time on market in many years”

No interior pictures.

“Lots of potential”

For some, these these facts may inspire some horror. What lies beneath this placid surface? Will it be a den of moldy rooms, complemented with wood panels and… gasp… a lack of pergraniteel?

I, however, am an optimist. I believe that these are actually code words for the savvy that this house is for those who value their privacy. Targeted at the execs that run Major Social Network Site and Major Search Engine, who don’t want anyone to know anything about them. In fact, it’s probably a good bet that it’s not pergraniteel inside… but rather redwood tree-elephant tusk-titanium inside. Could anything be more elite? Could anything require more privacy?

Are there any adventurous Burbians who could take a look inside this house and report back on what’s inside?

Comments (11) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:31 am

January 10, 2013

This floating home features wains coating and stain glass

Here’s a very Bay Area solution to the often noted challenge that “they’re not making any more land.”  Build your house on  water!  Sound like a plan to you?  Let’s swim on up to WaterWorld, courtesy of Burbed reader J from Alameda

Note: this is a Bay Area solution, but definitely not a REAL Bay Area fix.  RBA houses are in the RBA in the first place because they have land they aren’t making any more of.

130109-mariner-redfin2394 Mariner Square C3
Alameda, CA 94501
Sold 11/9/10 for $335,000

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
1,296 Sq. Ft.
$258 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1972 
Lot Size: — 
Sold On: Nov 9, 2010
Status: Sold
Type: Detached
Stories: 2
Community: Barnhill Marina
MLS#: 40489839
Style: Contemporary
View: City Lights, Marina, San Francisco, Water
County: Alameda

This beautifully remodeled 2 bed 1 bath floating home features estuary and SF views, hardwood floors, new paint, wains coating, vaulted ceiling with exposed wood beams, new appliances, stain glass windows, three decks, and skylights. Close to BART, ferry, train, and Fwy.

130109-mariner-satelliteHere’s what J floated over with the house:

And this would be cheapest SFR/Floating. Also should get a prize for longest price history….

Unfortunately, would you believe this property was delisted, we swear we are not making this up, the very day we head off to Redfin to write it up?  Which means we don’t know how many days it was on the market for but about two years.  We’ve already done a property that was sitting on MLS for four years!  And this one for more than three!

But while you may be at sea here, the agent says it’s close to everything: BART, ferry, train, and Fwy. It’s even closer to the Posey (underground) tube.  The map clearly shows it runs right underneath you.

Meanwhile, we looked high (Zillow) and low (Sawbuck) for the newly pulled listing without much success.  Here’s what we found in Google cache, but it appears to be a completely different floating house, despite the listing history lining up perfectly.

130109-mariner-cached2394 Mariner Square Drive E6
Alameda, CA 94501
$229,000

1 Beds 
1 Baths 
— Sq. Ft.
Built: 1968
Lot Size: —
On Redfin: 537 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 2
Community: Barnhill Marina
MLS#: 40533694
Style: Contemporary
View: City Lights, Downtown, Marina, Water
County: Alameda

Floating Home. Open plan for kitchen/living room and den; upper level suite for bedroom and sitting area. 360 degree view from upper deck; elegant tiled first floor. New carpet in upper level bedroom suite.

130109-mariner-viewOne bedroom, two bedrooms, so what? No square feet, 1300 square feet, big deal.  Blue trim, green trim, doesn’t mean anything.  C3, E6, you sunk my battleship!

Now, here’s one of the 360 degrees of views you can enjoy from the upper deck.  Also check out this delightful photo of the house and environs from homes.com!

Bunus: Sold in 2007 for $448K.

Another bunus: This old listing (with old paint job) says there’s a $523 a month berth fee.  But that’s nothing.  Trulia says this place is a mobile/manufactured home.  They’re the only site that says so, which means they could be wrong.  But what could possibly be better than a trailer house in a trailer flotilla?

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

January 9, 2013

Abandoned Bungalow Bothers Burlingame Big Bucks Burghers

Here’s a cheery little story just to remind you that you’re all only one abandoned hellhole of a house away from losing Real Bay Area status, and it can happen anywhere!

 

Dumping ground: Burlingame neighbors tire of long-vacant home

January 08, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb, SM Daily Journal staff

130108-channing-smdailyDaily Journal Neighbors want action taken against the owners of a vacant home in Burlingame who have not maintained the property for years. (photos, Bill Silverfarb)

A long-vacant home in Burlingame’s Lyon Hoag neighborhood has turned into dumping ground and neighbors in the area are sick of it.

The home, at 139 Channing Road, sits in the middle of million-dollar homes but neighbors fear their own property values will be negatively impacted by the property — which they say looks like an overrun junk yard.

The listed owners, Michael James O’Brien and John Quillian O’Brien, moved out of the home several years ago after a death in the family and have not maintained the property, neighbors told the Daily Journal.

Bruce Bettencourt, who lives right next door to the house with his wife, has called Burlingame code enforcement at least “100 times” over the years about rats, garbage, junk and overgrown vegetation on the property, he told the Daily Journal.

He has found dead raccoons on the property and fears it has also become a nesting ground for rats.

Dead raccoons plus live rats! Usually we get our housing fun from real estate listings.  But you can learn a lot from reading the news sites as well!  Let’s see what we can find out about this house.

130108-channing-trulia139 Channing Rd
Burlingame, CA 94010
$694,000 Trulia Estimate

1 bed
1 bath
1,000 sqft
Single-Family Home
Public Record
Neighborhood: Lyon Hoag

Listing Details
Description provided by Trulia
This is a Single-Family Home located at 139 Channing Road, Burlingame CA. 139 Channing Rd has 1 bed, 1 bath, and approximately 1,000 square feet. The property has a lot size of 5,750 sqft and was built in 1922. The average list price for similar homes for sale is $3,020,488 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $1,106,052. 139 Channing Rd is in the Lyon Hoag neighborhood in Burlingame, CA. The average list price for Lyon Hoag is $1,035,000.

Public Records for 139 Channing Rd
Official property, sales, and tax information from county (public) records as of 09/2012:

130108-channing-compsSingle Family Residential
1 Bedroom
1 Bathroom
1,000 sqft
Lot Size: 5,750 sqft
Built In 1922
A/C: Central
Heating: Central
Parking: Detached Garage
Parking Spaces: 1
4 Rooms
County: San Mateo
Tax Rate Code Area: 4-001

130108-channing-carWhile you can’t see much from the street, here’s an abandoned car from the view over the back fence.  If you check out the Streetview pictures, you’ll find trash cans in front of the house next door, but we don’t think that’s what the neighbor called the code enforcement office about.

You’d think that San Mateo County would want their $16,000 in back taxes.  You’d think they’d bring some kind of fines against the owners for abandoning their (live) dogs in the house.  Supposedly John Quillian,  Michael O’Brien’s stepson, recently told the city he’s planning on moving back in.

Why doesn’t the city or county force a sale of this property?.  Not only would that lead to  a new owner cleaning up what’s turning into a health hazard, but it will be good news for the local agencies as well.

130108-channing-trashbins139 Channing Road
Burlingame, CA 94010

Owner: MICHAEL JAMES OBRIEN & JOHN QUILLIAN OBRIEN
Land value: $94,608
Building value: $111,812
Total value for property: $206,420
Assessments for tax year: 2009
Last sale: $120,000
Date of last sale: 10/24/1979

 

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

January 8, 2013

Endless potential in Palo Alto

Time once again to visit one of our favorite places in the entire Real Bay Area!  And it’s been a while because the properties go pending faster than we can click through the listing photos.  We’ve been telling you that many RBA neighborhoods are hot, hot, HOT.  Now we’ve got even more proof that The Bubbly is Back.  Check out this Palo Alto palazzo from Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater!

411 PEPPER Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94306
$868,000

130107-pepper-redfin3 Beds 
1 Baths 
987 Sq. Ft.
$879 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1940 
Lot Size: 6,534 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 5 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories:1
Community: Ventura
MLS#: 81300120
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Walk to California Avenue and enjoy all it has to offer, from this charming 1940s cottage with endless potential. Light filled rooms, hardwood floors, remodeled bathroom. Expansive backyard. Quiet location. Outstanding Palo Alto Schools. No offers prior to 1/14/13.

130107-pepper-kitchenNot just a house in Palo Alto with endless potential (after all, every house in Palo Alto has endless potential, just by being in Palo Alto!), this is a 1940s cottage with endless potential.  Just look at that kitchen!  They sure don’t build them like they used to.

But did you catch the last line in the listing?  “No offers prior to 1/14/13.”  If that isn’t proof that it’s 2006 again, we don’t know what will convince you.  Once again, the realtards are so convinced that their listed houses sell themselves, they get to decide what day they sell themselves.

Now here’s what Michael thinks about this Would Sell Way Over Asking Right Now If Only The Agent Hadn’t Made Everyone Wait a Week property:

Nice neighbors too, if you like junkyards.

130107-pepper-satellite

These will be terrific neighbors… if you ever need to borrow a cup of brake fluid.

Comments (25) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

January 7, 2013

If You Love Natural Light, You Will Fall

Welcome back to another week of Extreme Housing Win, Bay Area Edition!  We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break and we wish you all a Very Happy New Year if you haven’t been reading us Every Single Day Like You Should Be.

Today’s featured FUBAR hails from the linchpin of higher learning in all of California.  No, not Stanford.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Ms. Snoopy for this bodacious buildout of BOOM in Berzerkely!

130106-cragmont-redfin1068 CRAGMONT Ave
Berkeley, CA 94708
$399,000

4 Beds 
3 Baths 
2,129 Sq. Ft.
$187 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1959 
Lot Size: 8,100 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 20 days
Status: Active
Type: Detached
Stories: 2
Community: Berkeley Hills
MLS#: 40598550
Style: Craftsman
View: Bay
County: Alameda

If You Love Natural Light, You will Fall in Love w/ the “VIEWS” of this home. This is definitely a HOME IMPROVEMENT house in the workings! NEEDS a lot of TLC.

130106-cragmont-alfrescoHere’s Ms. Snoopy’s nominating speech for this front-page folly:

According to the agent, this one “NEEDS a lot of TLC.” I guess “TLC” in realtard speak now means drywall, doors, and ceilings. But the agent is right that you will get “lots of natural light” due to the fact that there are no walls.

Love your site!

No walls?  That means plenty of fresh air as well!  Plus fresh water.

130106-cragmont-stairwell130106-cragmont-puddles

And plenty of nature, both animal and plant kingdoms, free to surprise you day or night.

130106-cragmont-yard130106-cragmont-view

Would you look at those VIEWS!!!!!

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 6, 2013

A New Mapping Tool that is Completely Useless in the RBA

We love real estate tools.  Maps are awesome.  Here’s a new one with the cute name Rich Blocks Poor Blocks that Burbed readers wahnny and Divasm both sent in this week when someone posted about it in Redfin Forums.  (No link, Redfin, until you resume trackbacks to our featured homes.  Neener neener.)

It’s a fairly good idea: take ACS income data for each official Census tract and show graphically how much they vary.  As they say on their main page, “See how much money people make in every neighborhood in every city in America.”  In theory you could use it to see how Special each part of the city is.  Here’s what it looks like when it’s working as the authors intended.

130105-blocks-chicago

Each state uses its own scale, applying the color key to its own income range.  In the case of Illinois, above, the deep red, lowest income is under $23,120 and the deep green, highest income is over $106,503.  There appear to be 20 different segments in the color key, although we think there’s far too much green and not enough in the red, orange, and yellow. 

130105-blocks-nj

Since these are Google Map tools, you can zoom in and out to your heart’s delight, but you can only map one state at a time.As you can see in in the case of New Jersey, above, this tool isn’t that useful with metros that span multiple states.  Fortunately, that’s not an issue even in the furthest exurbs of the Bay Area.

No, the Bay area has different issues.  See what happens when we map the core RBA.

130105-blocks-mountainview

Too. Much. Dark. Green.

The California income scale ranges from $28,183.65 to $122,762.90.  We hope you’re beginning to see the problem: the top 5% income for all of California seems to apply to an awful lot of Census tracts in the RBA.  Or even places that are NOT in the RBA. Like this part of Santa Clara with the Oracle campus:

130105-blocks-nsj

Contrast with an RBA tract we know is loaded: Los Altos Hills.

130105-blocks-lah

It’s the exact same shade of green, because the danged scale tops off far too early for the RBA.  According to this map, there is no difference between northeast Santa Clara and Los Altos Hills even though the latter’s median household income is 72% higher.

If a tract in the Triangle of Lost Equity can have median household income above 95% of California, Rich Blocks Poor Blocks in the Real Bay Area might as well be called Five Red Tracts of Suck Amidst A Sea of Deep Green Money.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

January 5, 2013

What could be more awesome than a house in Mountain View?

The median Home Value in Mountain View, according to Zillow, is $877,900.  So what could you get for that amount, if you looked for a house in some other part of the country?  If you were willing to look in Maryland, you could get this nice painting of a house.  Plus HOA fees every month!

130104-what-maryland

LOT 10, STURBRIDGE
Brookville, MD 20833
$852,900

Ownership Type : Fee Simple
Bedrooms : 4
Type : Detached
Full Bathrooms : 3
Status : Active
Half Bathrooms : 1
List Date : 09/25/2011
Square feet : 4500
Days on Market : 468
Price per sq. ft : $189
Status Date : 09/25/2011
Approx Lot Size (Acres) : 1.0
Price : $852,900
Approx Lot Size (Sq.Ft.) : 43560
Location : BROOKEVILLE MD 20833
Year Built : 2012

HOA Fee : $500.00 Annually
Elementary School : BUSHY PARK
ADC map : 8J12
Middle School : GLENWOOD
130104-what-lotsAdvertised Subdivision : RIVERCREST IN HOWARD COUNTY
High School : GLENELG
DESCRIPTION
Short Sale : No

Remarks : ASK ABOUT OUR SPECIAL INCENTIVES! MASTER LISTING – “STURBRIDGE” LOT 10, OTHER LOTS AVAIL FROM $892,900. SCENIC, 1 ACRE WOODED HOMESITES OVERLOOKING CATTAIL CREEK! CUSTOMIZATION & STATE OF THE ART ENERGY EFFICIENCY INCL IN EVERY HOME! OTHER HOME DESIGNS AVAIL OR CUSTOM BUILD. MODEL OPEN DAILY 10AM-5PM @ 2836 MILLERS WAY DRIVE, ELLICOTT CITY, MD 21043.

Internet Remarks : ASK ABOUT OUR SPECIAL INCENTIVES! MASTER LISTING – “STURBRIDGE” LOT 10, OTHER LOTS AVAIL FROM $892,900. SCENIC, 1 ACRE WOODED HOMESITES OVERLOOKING CATTAIL CREEK! CUSTOMIZATION & STATE OF THE ART ENERGY EFFICIENCY INCL IN EVERY HOME! OTHER HOME DESIGNS AVAIL OR CUSTOM BUILD. MODEL OPEN DAILY 10AM-5PM @ 2836 MILLERS WAY DRIVE, ELLICOTT CITY, MD 21043.

Holy crap, that’s a lot of CAPITAL LETTERS for the same price you’d pay in Mountain View.  Plus you get a house that hasn’t even been built yet, so you have no idea of the build quality or the feng shui.  And just think of how much work it’s going to be mowing an entire acre or dusting 4500 sf of house.

For this much money in Mountain View, you’d be looking at a vintage one bedroom from 1948,on a 6969 sf foot lot (we’re just reporting the listing, we’re not making innuendos). It boasts a spacious 914 foot floor plan.  Plus the comparable Maryland place, while near such cosmopolitan confluences like Laytonsville,is 2831 miles from Google (we checked).  In current traffic that’s a whizzy 41 hour commute.  One way.

Also, no HOA fees for vintage homes in Mountain View.

Bunus: The home in Maryland was never featured on Burbed, either.  And homes in Maryland, whether or not they’re built, don’t go up $125K in just five months.  Or down $50K at the exact same time

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

January 4, 2013

Most Special Trees Ever. Plus a house, maybe.

It’s Friday!  Time to start planning your weekend adventure, and Burbed reader Tom Paine gives us a getaway pad in Guerneville!  Thanks very much for this hair-raising habitat!

130103-hwy116-mcguire-cache11175 HWY 116 DR
GUERNEVILLE, CA 95446
$349,950 Price Change

2 Bed 
1 Bath 
1,480 SqFt 
Single Family Home
MLS# 21226926 
Active
Original Price:  $399,950
Price Change: 12.50%
Listing Type:  Residential
Style: Cabin
County: Sonoma
Bedrooms: 2
Total Baths: 1
Full Baths: 1
Garage: 2 spaces
Year Built: 1921
Listed: 12/04/12
Location
County: Sonoma
City: Guerneville
Cross Street: Mays Canyon Rd

Description
Custom cabin in the woods, 4.2 acres, two bedroom, one bath, big basement, year round spring, surrounded by fur and redwood trees, three fireplaces.

130103-hwy116-listingThis property, alas, is no longer for sale and went Pending/Do Not Show a couple weeks ago.  But this was really because everyone had to see those fur trees and now they’re endangered. That also must explain why they dare not include a photo, and in that case our link is to a cached search result because we weren’t finding this fox anywhere.  They also don’t show the house because the walls must be mink-lined.

Fortunately, we found this actual listing photo under a rock or in someone’s raccoon trenchcoat or it fell off a truck or something.  Don’t ask how we get results, just enjoy them.  And imagine year round spring and the cuddliest trees ever. 

And for your Web 3.0 business out in the woods?  We’re thinking chinch ranch.  (It’s at 9:20)

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am