August 25, 2012

Your Weekend Open House Crawl

120824-bedroom-snakeIt’s the weekend!  You don’t feel like working and neither do we.  So head out to the beach, to the mountains, or to your favorite Open Houses! 

On second thought, better not.  Some of the sellers will forget to lock their pets up.

Tell us about your favorite (and not so favorite) Open House experiences.  Or talk about anything you want, because this is, indeed, Your Weekend Open Thread.

Will Facebook stock fall at the same rate or drop exponentially now that they’ve hired a Big Name Architect to design more footprint at the new campus?  Is this an important moment on the road to total dominion, or the waters to a shark jump?  (This metaphor, incidentally, is nowhere as tortured as you think.)  Or discuss out what Apple can do with another billion dollars.

Photo credit: This listing in Kansas City, via Hooked on Houses.

Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:20 am

August 24, 2012

Free Plums in Mountain View

Yes, we are back to Mountain View, because we cannot seem to stay away.  Every time we Google “Center of the Universe” this is what pops up.  Although if our readers would send in properties somewhere else, anywhere else, please, please, please, we are begging you, send us a house NOT in Mountain View, even not in the RBA if you have to.

Pardon us. Ahem.  Anyway… hope you like some color other than white in your house.  That is if by “some” we mean “way, way more than some.”  And by “your house” we mean “someone else’s house” because, of course, this pad is Pending!

1602 MORGAN St
Mountain View, CA 94043


120823-morgan-living$679,900 Listed at Price 
4 Beds 
2 Baths  1,425 Sq. Ft.
$477 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1976 
Lot Size: 7,000 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 35 days
Status: Pending Without Release
Pending Without Release
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 1
Community: North Shoreline
MLS#: 81227072

120823-morgan-diningRemodeled Single Family Home w/ high walk-score. Kitchen includes granite counters, cherry cabinetry, tile floor * Living Room with vaulted ceiling, fireplace, hardwood floors * Double pane windows * Nice private backyard for entertaining and enjoyment. Convenient location near all the major commute arteries and employment centers. Near move-in ready. .. needs a little interior work. OFFERS DUE 11AM 7/25

So much to love about this house, whether it’s that it was foreclosed on this past Valentine’s Day, or that it sold for more in 2005 than the current listing price, or that the helpful Redfin agents want you know that not all appliances are present.  As in are any appliances present?

120823-morgan-backyardBut other than that, this house is indeed near move-in ready, provided you’re near ready to open up a preschool onsite (but only after you clean up the carpets).  This is some serious color coordination we’re talking.  The house was just remodeled, so the sellers decided to stick with the original 1976 paint scheme of tomato, avocado, and mustard.

Which means the plums out back are ready for you to have for dessert.  Or to paint another room.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

August 23, 2012

How you gonna keep ’em down on the farm?

…Once they’ve seen the bright lights of South San Jose?  This is a floor wax and a dessert topping, two mints in one, yes an actual farm in San Jose.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Abby Dow for this fantastic farmyard complete with funky photos and retail store pricing.

San Jose, CA 95121


120822-kettmann-front3 beds
2 baths
1300 sqft
8 acres
1937 built
18 days on site
MLS# 81229181
Walk Score™ 48

Wow- Great Location and Potential. Developers, investors and owner builder; come see for yourself this one of a kind evergreen property, wonderfully located on 8+ acres.

120822-kettmann-outbuildingThe value must be in the land because the actual house doesn’t appear in the listing photos until you get to #4.  Our pal Abby seemed quite taken with the idea:

I’m sure this is priced for development, but it’s still strange to see a shabby looking little farm with a rundown house going on the market for $2,999,999 in San Jose.

It sure is.  8 acres?  It should be going for $3,999,999, especially with trash bins of this quality.  Plus you can be lord of the manor on that much property right in the middle of all this suburban sprawl.


Except that big house we’re seeing on Streetview is someone else’s manor.


You’ll get to know them well, as it looks like you’ll be sharing that gated one-lane road.  That’s going to be awesome when you build you PUD zoned 12 homes to the acre.  Who needs Santa Cruz, you can play real bumper cars just trying to get in or out!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

August 22, 2012

Time-tested Los Altos Hills listing dares you to overbid

A little less than a year ago we found an agent website listing ten big, expensive properties in the Real Bay Area (well, most of them were in the RBA). We dug in deep to see how the very high end market was doing as it began the fourth year of a prolonged economic slowdown.  Burbed reader Robert Dow recently sent in a Los Altos Hills luxe listing, and sure enough, it was one of the ten featured fabulous freeholds.  So let’s dwell on these digs in more detail.  To the Batmobile!

27040 Old Trace Lane
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022


120821-oldtrace-guesthouse6 beds
7 baths
14855 sqft
3 acres
1990 built
30 days on site
MLS# 81227454
Walk Score™ 23

Spectacular Estate situated on a Private Country Lane 3.39 acres (per prelim) Main House w/dramatic entrance salon, Library/Office, Family/Game Room, Theatre, Gentleman’s Bar, Exercise Room, Wine Cellar, Indoor Exercise Pool, attached 8-Car Garage, Generator, Well for irrigation. 2bd/2ba Guest House,Tennis Court pool and elevated spa; Terrace w/outdoor fireplace; firepit . Palo Alto schools

120821-oldtrace-libraryHere’s what Robert had to say when bringing this gem to our attention.

Saw this listing for a $19,880,000 home for sale. No idea if this a reasonable price, but the house is pretty spectacular. Is this the kind of listing you’re looking for or is there some other set of criteria? Thanks.

Who wants to tell Robert what the criteria are for a home to be featured on Burbed?  There are so many ways for RBA realty to win the Internet!  For example, this one’s got a MAWBUL KAWLUM even on the guest house porch!  And check out this “library,” where books are under glass.

Like any big, expensive, and mutli-acred mansion, it has a Virtual Tour.  Unlike most of them, it also has a Gentleman’s Bar (unclear if the strippers are included, consult agent for details before writing offer).  But most importantly, it has a history, although you’d never know that if you used the Estately page.

120821-oldtrace-masterFortunately, when we reviewed the Astonishing Webpage we filled in all those price reductions, so there’s not much more to add.  And Zillow has it all, anyway, even if Redfin and Estately used the memory hole (as well as the seller request to not link to its Zestimate of $17,227,396)

Listed: 3/17/2008 at $25,000,000
Price Increased: 4/26/2008 to $28,950,000 (+16%)
Price Reduced: 5/22/2008 to $25,000,000 (-13.6%)
Listing canceled: 9/20/2008
Relisted: 8/30/2010 – 12/27/2010 at $24,950,000 (-0.2%)
Relisted: 2/1/2011 – 7/11/2011 at $20,500,000 (-17.8%)
Relisted: 7/22/2012 at $19,880,000 (-3.0%)

120821-oldtrace-kawlumsOh, about that Zestimate.  It’s 13.3% below today’s list price, which disappoints us.  We had a theory that the Zestimate for any large, custom, hard-to-price estate like this would be exactly 15% lower than the current asking price (and if you don’t believe us, go back to the Astonishing Webpage and check all ten of them).

Anyway, the hapless seller has been chasing the market down for more than FOUR YEARS.  At what point will their price cutting finally hit the market bouncing back up?  They have to get lucky this year, there’s a couple of 8s in the price now! Oh, wait.  Facebook isn’t going to save the RBA after all.  Never mind.

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

August 21, 2012

Major fixer upper in San Carlos. You’ll need the uppers.

Today’s featured home is a San Carlos scraper brought to you by Burbed reader nomadic.  This low-hanging lemon has been overripening on the Redfin vine, and was spotted on a fruitful locale for Burbed bounty: the Redfin forums.  Thanks very much for the harvest! 

San Carlos, CA 94070
$850,000; was $875,000; was $899,000; was $910,000


120820-hillcrest-streetview2 Beds 
1.5 Baths
1,120 Sq. Ft.
$759 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1941 
Lot Size: 7,644 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 130 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: San Mateo
Style: Contemporary
Community: Cordes
MLS#: 81213411

Great westside location, this home is a major fixer upper bring your contractor with you large level lot perfect for building your dream home building plans and engineering reports have been submitted to the city for approval

120820-hillcrest-satelliteHere’s what nomadic had to say about this perplexing property:

Check this out, from the Redfin forums:

  I lived in this home, as the flippers who bought it in 2011, rented it to me so they could get the permits in place.  Long story short, is that they thought they had the permits in place in February of 2012 so they asked me to move.  Turns out just more paper shuffling by the city, and things are still moving slow.  The house is in bad disrepair.  The son of the original owners (since 1941) died and the family sold it.  All the plumbing was shot, and a poorly constructed addition was slapped on the porch in the back.  The chiminey was falling off the side of the house, and there was quite a fair amount of landscaping growing out of the roof.

  Shortly after I moved out, a bunch of  vagrants ransacked the place, stole all the copper, and broke most of the windows.  Permits are still pending for the tear down and rebuild.  As I was browsing the listings, I found it funny that it was relisted at $910k basically a year after they bought it for $622, and its now no longer livable.

120820-hillcrest-streetview-2The asking price is now $850k.  When did San Carlos wedge itself into the RBA?

Hmmm, this comment doesn’t seem to be on the thread anymore, but this reply references part of the above.  So nomadic was not hallucinating the post.  Perhaps Redfin is getting a little gun-shy about actual discussion of houses rather than oh-so-postive realtardese.  Talk that way for too long and you won’t even need to take any uppers.

Bunus: Trash bag and abandoned monitor in Streetview shots, plus extra bin at neighbor’s.



Comments (21) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

August 20, 2012

Seller to consider all offers!

And it’s time to begin yet another exciting week of real estate reaching.  Burbed reader Tracy Tea House has a Real Bay Area Winner for us.  Well, that is if by RBA I actually mean Not In The RBA No Way No How and if by Winner I really mean Pending in 3 Days but Would You Look At Those Photos!

San Jose, CA 95136
$580,000; Sold for $574,000 on 8/15/2012


120819-amanda-pavers4 Beds
2 Baths
2,170 Sq. Ft.
$265 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1976
Lot Size: 10,075 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Aug 15, 2012
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Blossom Valley
MLS#: 81227632
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

HUGE court/level lot for organic garden/potential pool/or extension, pre-wired for spa install & located on quiet part of the st. Kitchen remodelled, smooth textured walls, new qual. paint new carpet; new dual pane windows. Refinished real hardwood floors in kitchen/dining; copper plumbing; section 1 clearace/roof, property, NHD reports avail. API Score 847RachelCarson Elem; Seller to consider all offers!


120819-amanda-frontdoorHere’s why Tracy sent this Winner along:

Since you like Redfin I have found you a good one: I love the fact that they list there is room for an organic garden!  The pictures are really artistic, just like I like them. Pink color, weird shot of stairway. It actually looks real good for a flip, and the price is right, look at this one before it goes away!

Looks like we’re looking in the rear-view mirror, and what we’re seeing is just astounding.  Someone cranked the Red filter up to 11.

And we assure you the inside photos continue the Avalanche of Awesomeness.


Photos like these moved a house in three days.  Could you imagine just how many months it would take to sell your home if you didn’t hire a professional real estate photographer?  Good thing this seller did… and considered all offers!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

August 19, 2012

Bye Bye Bubble

Here’s some sobering news for those of you expecting the Facebook Effect to rescue the Real Bay Area’s housing values.

Zuckerberg Admits Facebook’s Plummeting Stock Is ‘Painful’ To Watch During A Company-Wide Meeting

120817-facebook-zuckerbergSeth Fiegerman, Business Insider  | Aug. 17, 2012, 6:43 AM

Facebook is finally acknowledging that its employees may be just a little bit concerned about the company’s plummeting stock.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook CEO and cofounder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that the stock’s decline is “painful” to watch for some employees during a company-wide meeting earlier this month.

The meeting itself was reportedly part of a larger initiative to boost company morale. Zuckerberg had previously avoided talking about the stock with employees, preferring that everyone stay focused on their work, but in recent weeks, Facebook’s senior management started worrying that the stock’s poor performance might hurt employee performance.

Guess watching Facebook’s plummeting stock is just fine from the comfort of your own office.  But don’t count on cashing in those options to buy yourself an RBA mansion.  The employee lockup period is still in effect, but early investors are dumping shares now.

Now check out this article, from the same publication.

DEAR FACEBOOK EMPLOYEES: Here’s The Truth About Your Stock Price

120817-facebook-zuckerberg-2Henry Blodget, Business Insider  | Aug. 17, 2012, 11:59 AM

Facebook’s stock has dropped by half since the IPO three months ago.

And the stock price is now well below the level at which most employees have been granted stock in the past 18 months.

This means that most current and former Facebook employees are worth far less than they were a few months ago.

Facebook’s stock crash is also hurting morale at the company, and damaging perception of the company’s business and brand. The impact is big enough that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who has been crystal clear about his desire to ignore the stock price, admitted at a company meeting that the stock crash has been “painful” for everyone.

Here’s the important consideration from this more in-depth piece:

With the Facebook employee lock-up releases coming in October and November, this isn’t just an issue of morale and “paper net worth.” Current and former Facebook employees have been counting on the stock to buy things (houses, for example). So it’s a matter of near-term financial planning.

So, are home values dropping in Facebook-friendly commute zones?  Let’s have a look.  First, here are Redfin’s stats for Palo Alto home sales.  The advantage of Palo Alto over Menlo Park is that there are very few questionable areas in the former.


120817-facebook-mp-altosYou could look at the listing prices one of two ways.  Either the 22% post-IPO listing per-square-foot increase was nothing but irrational exuberance, or Spring Bounce was unusually quick this year.  If we exclude the May and June numbers, we could look at the chart as showing a slow climb for 2012.  That’s if you ignore the 18% drop between mid-January and mid-February, though.

120817-facebook-mv-zillowAltos Research’s Market Action Index agrees with this graph, showing a peak right at IPO time and falling back almost (but not quite) to 30, which is a balance between a buyers and a sellers environment.  (31 indicates the ball is still in the sellers’ court.  Mostly.)  The MAI graph above is for Menlo Park, or ground zero for Facebook.

Unfortunately Zillow’s valuation tools are too laggy to show the post-IPO collapse, with the most recent valuation dated to June.  We’re looking at Mountain View this time, which is no doubt polluted by the conflicting Google Effect.

How would you recommend we best demonstrate whether Facebook stock’s disappointing results are affecting the RBA housing market?  What statistics would you recommend, and from where?  One thing we’re seeing is fewer homes going into Double-Secret-Probation Pending-Do-Not-Show status where the listing photos get yanked until the home closes.  And that’s good news for all fans of this site.  Not only does a picture equal a thousand words, it also equates to many more thousands of dollars.

We aren’t going to say in which direction those thousands are moving.


Comments (28) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

August 18, 2012

Rents rising on Peninsula, SF Chronicle is shocked, shocked

Looks like the SF Chronicle just discovered that the rental market is as hot in the Valley as it is in The City.  Use this open thread to mock their amazing discovery.

Peninsula rents going the way of SF and Manhattan

San Francisco and Manhattan are famously unaffordable cities to rent in– not that such information discourages people from renting in either location. High demand, of course, is part of the sky high prices.

But according to a new study by Apartment, Peninsula rents are quickly  rising to rival those of San Francisco proper.  Over both 12-month and 18-month periods in the area as a whole, rents have risen an average of 10% and 18%, respectively. Here’s a run down of their data, showing rent changes for different sized units. (UPDATE: This chart is a corrected version of the previous one that contained incorrect percentage numbers.)


And since this is an Open Thread, you can also comment about what your own experience has been with rentals, or home prices, or any open houses you look at today, or how much money you made shorting Facebook.

Comments (27) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

August 17, 2012

Cute, Cozy & Completely Cluttered!

And let’s wrap another exciting week of real estate win with this Burlingame bonanza!  We’ll show you the house, you find as many intriguing pieces of flair as possible.

1515 CAROL Ave
Burlingame, CA 94010


120816-carol-dining2 Beds 
1.5 Baths 
1,570 Sq. Ft.
$615 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1920 
Lot Size: 5,250 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 4 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Burlingame Park
MLS#: 81230242
Style: Traditional
View: Neighborhood
County: San Mateo

120816-carol-kitchencute & cozy home near schools, Safeway, restaurant, transportation & Burlingame shpping area. Livin rm w/ woodburing frplc, spacious formal dining, updated kit w/ eating area, 2 bedrm both are master suite, plus a den( Can be used as a play rm or office ) separate parking garage. Crown molding, hardwd flr throughout, recess lighting in the den, separate laundry rm w/ 0.5 bath. Needs TLC. Great flr plan.

120816-carol-woofThe dining room has a cooler on wheels with a coffee pot atop, but the kitchen features a recumbant pineapple.  Keep looking through the photos, because there’s lots more to find in this Burlingame bungalow!  Does this property merit a Good Housekeeping tag of approval, or does the owner merely have a whimsical way with staging?

Bunus: DHO (Dog Hanging Out) in photo #7!  Any idea what’s in that shopping bag?  It must be important!


Comments (18) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

August 16, 2012

Poultry in Motion in Mountain View

120815-leghorn-warnerNo, there are no chickens to see at this Mountain View marvel, but the street name lives up to the title billing above.  It sure puts us in mind of one of our favorite Warner Brothers characters.  I say, I say, I say, son, that is QUITE a price.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader mabel du for taking on this turkey.

Mountain View, CA 94043


120815-leghorn-yard-chairs2 Beds 
1 Baths 
914 Sq. Ft.
$819 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948 
Lot Size: 6,800 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 9 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Rengstorff
MLS#: 81229400
Style: Cabin
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Currently used a residential rental. Great opportunity to build prime location office space or light industrial, storage/warehouse, or wholesale business. Take advantage of this unique opportunity in the heart of Mountain View!

120815-leghorn-dhoWhy the possibilities for this property are truly endless.  Let’s hear from mabel du as to why:

uh…  i’m sorta speechless on this one.  what a crazy shite-load of weird pictures.  and who’s the mystery woman who pops up randomly, waldo’s mom? 

$819/sq ft for this?  really???  interesting satellite shot from zillow  (i.e.  yikes!)  nothing too helpful on propertyshark.  looks like it’s been held in the family for years – would love to know what they paid for it back in the dark ages.


We assure you the pictures inside are just as Special as the yard views.


But why check Property Shark?  Both Redfin and Zillow clearly state this amazing place last sold in the dark ages of 2007 for $600,000.  And worth every bit of that chicken feed.

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am