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! 

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

120820-hillcrest-redfin

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
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!

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

120819-amanda-redfin

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.

120819-amanda-hallway120819-amanda-stairway

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-pa-redfin

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 List.com, 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.)

120817-rentals-chart

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
$965,000

120816-carol-redfin

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.

2012 LEGHORN St
Mountain View, CA 94043
$749,000

120815-leghorn-redfin

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.

120815-leghorn-satellite-zillow

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

120815-leghorn-bathroom120815-leghorn-office

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

August 15, 2012

What’s the most awesome house in San Bruno?

733 4TH Ave
San Bruno, CA 94066
$339,900

201208127334

Why… it’s this house! Look how awesomely affordable this is!

Let’s go to the photos:

20120812733b

Why yes… this house has a noose that you’re looking for!

20120812bb

What? Are you looking for mysterious stains on your counter? Yes! This house has it!

20120812vvcv

This is the bathroom of your dreams. How? Because it gives you a great opportunity to remodel! Fulfill your dreams! But don’t you dare touch the prison style windows!

How much are you going to overbid for this house?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:51 am

August 14, 2012

Instagram makes anything better right?

898 TULLY Rd
San Jose, CA 95111
$1,300,000

20120812898

Do you love Instagram pictures? Do they help you make an emotional connection to the subject?

Guess what – now we can combine all the things you love! Realtor photos, soft focus, distortions, and other filters!

Just look at this photo above. What emotions does this evoke for you? Does it make you feel better about spending $765 per square foot for this house?

Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:35 am

August 13, 2012

What’s the sweetest house in Sunnyvale?

845 NECTARINE Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
$878,000

20120812845

This house has all the most important buzzwords: FruitTrees™, VeggieGarden™, and GourmetKitchen™. Isn’t this house SuperAwesome™ and so VerySpecial™?

But the most important part? It’s currently the highest $ per square foot in Sunnyvale. $708! And it’s been on the market for 10 days – so tomorrow it will be sold.

Nectarine – thou are so sweet. The Real Bay Area is back baaaaaaaaaaaaaby!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:23 am

August 12, 2012

Send not to know for whom the house Tolls… it took thy deposit

120808-producersRemember the basic premise of The Producers?  If you oversell interest in a Broadway show, and then deliberately produce the worst musical you can, none of your investors will complain when they lose all their money… and you keep their 40,000% ownership.  So our intrepid producer duo went off in search of the worst script they could find, and… hilarity ensues.

So why hasn’t anyone tried this idea with real estate as well?  Maybe it’s because not enough in the industry figured out the same trick: in a market downturn you can make more money not selling houses than you can selling them.  Read on to know it Tolls for thee.

How did Toll Brothers survive the housing slump? By keeping buyers’ deposits

By Matthias Gafni, Contra Costa Times
Posted:   07/27/2012 09:12:51 AM PDT, Updated: 07/27/2012 05:00:58 PM PDT

120808-tollbros-lotAs newly minted empty-nesters, Daven Sharma and his wife, Anu, spent 2010 searching for a spot for their dream house with views of San Francisco Bay. They found it in the Hayward hills, within a Toll Brothers development.

Shortly after plunking down about $100,000 in deposits, the couple’s dream fizzled. The Sharmas lost not only the house, but their deposit, attorney and arbitration fees — and a sense of justice.

Critics say and records show that Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers — the nation’s largest luxury homebuilder, with developments in Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties — has made it a regular practice to collect forfeited deposits from prospective homebuyers. In fact, it was the builder’s No. 1 source of profit during the down years of the housing market, according to a Maryland class action lawsuit.

From fiscal years 2006 to 2011, according to its own SEC reports, the publicly traded company retained $123 million in forfeited deposits from 3,300 prospective homebuyers.

120808-tollbros-sharmaRead that again: during the housing slump, the number one source of profit was forfeited deposits.  At least that’s what one lawsuit says.

There are 155,000 results for the search Toll Brothers LawsuitThis website has quite a story to tell.  While it’s about severe construction problems, the other part of the story is the lengths their attorneys would go to to avoid fixing the house.  Ellen Nevens has been fighting Toll Brothers for twelve years.  That’s a lot of time and effort to build a house badly and then not fix it.  It would be much easier to not build it in the first place. 

And that’s what happened to Daven and Anu Sharma when they put a $98K deposit on a Hayward hills homesite in a Toll Brothers community.  The Sharmas found out what many others have previously experienced: the sales contract has little flexibility on loan funding.  And if, or maybe we should say when, the loan isn’t funded, the contract says no loan means Toll keeps the deposit.  The Sharmas indeed lost in arbitration, plus they had to pay another $5600 in fees.

120808-producers-posterJim Daman had to sue to get some of his $104K deposit back on a home in Danville.  When Toll Brothers didn’t build his house within the promised six months, he watched its market value sink.  He eventually settled for $70K.   Compared to the Sharmas, he did well.  Someone the corporation won the arbitration, claiming that customization had been done and they had outlays.  Yet the photo of the dirt lot above is all that was in place when the Sharmas cancelled their contract because their current house didn’t sell.

Here’s the contract language that one attorney called confusing, Daman called “99.9 percent in their favor” and another tried diagramming on a whiteboard to understand it:

Buyer’s failure to fulfill any of such conditions or the termination or expiration of the mortgage commitment after it is received, for any reason, shall not release Buyer from its obligations under the Agreement.

120808-tollbros-arundelA latter attorney notes that Toll offered some of his Pennsylvania clients loan commitments with conditions that made no financial sense, such as amounts far larger than the agreed sales price.  When buyers balked, then Toll would keep the deposit, claiming they were in breach.

“They can make more money by not building the house,” he said.

While the Sharma’s Arundel Drive homesite is not listed, this nearby home on Stonebrae Road is.  It looks quite lovely when photographed with a sunset, and it’s “within the gates of TPC Stonebrae Country Club.”  According to the virtual tour, the builder is not Toll Brothers, but a firm called True Life Communities who seem to be avoiding any hint of describing themselves with specifics.

But given the story of the Sharmas and their Arundel Drive site being so nearby, we assumed it was the same community.  (In fact there are several different builders.)  And if you buy this house you’ll have quite the run of neighbors to entertain!

120808-stonebrae-satellite

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:19 am