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

August 15, 2012

What’s the most awesome house in San Bruno?

733 4TH Ave
San Bruno, CA 94066


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

Let’s go to the photos:


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


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


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


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?

Sunnyvale, CA 94087


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!


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

August 11, 2012

Your Long-Distance Weekend Open Thread

It’s the weekend!  Time to check out the Open Houses, and share your excursions on this Open Thread!  Here’s today’s Red-Hot Home for you.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Ryan, over at Estately, for passing this marvelous mansion along.  The property’s a bit more effort to get to, but we think it’s well worth the trip.

805 Curiosity Lane
4th  Planet from the Sun


120809-curiosity-squirrelsAsking Price $30,000
1 beds
1 baths
1,680 sqft
6,000 lot sqft
2012 built
1 days on site

Special Features of this Property Include

  1. It’s on Mars
  2. Rocket man Bobak Ferdowsi will personally watch your yard while you’re away
  3. You can do cool astronaut stuff in your yard
  4. Hunt rabid alien squirrels from your bathroom window
  5. Follow NASA’s Curiosity
  6. Libertarian paradise—no government or laws on Mars. Live free and die.

Agent’s Summary

120809-curiosity-window-viewRARE FIND! Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own property on the edge of Gale Crater on Mars! Jump into this lucrative market before the Curiosity Rover exposes it.

Whether you’re a stranded astronaut, a Civil War vet named John Carter, or a plutonium-powered rover that just traveled 354-million miles, this happy homestead is the spot to call home. The perfect place to rest after a long day of analyzing soil samples, blasting rocks with lasers, or searching for signs of life, this quaint casa has it all. The modern bath features a tub and shower (should you ever discover water), an oxygen chamber so you can breathe, and a spacious master bedroom should you locate a life form to procreate with (be fruitful and multiply). Seriously, even if single cell organisms are found on Mars it will take billions of years until they evolve into something like humans.

Avoid Earth’s global warming by living on a planet where the average temperature is -81 degrees fahrenheit. Release as much CO2 into the sky as you want—it might even help develop the atmosphere! Are you morbidly obese? Good news—you just dropped 2/3 of your weight because Mars has only 1/3 of Earth’s gravity! Here on the 4th planet from the sun even the heftiest of humans can break the Olympic pole vaulting record! Just don’t try to breathe the air or you’ll die. Seriously. You will die. This home is move-in ready, priced to sell, and offers LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Listing Provided by Estately Intergalactic Real Estate





We’ve already let Ryan know that here at Burbed we expect to see photos of the toilets.  Preferably with the seat left up.  Given that this one works using vacuum suction, leaving out that photo is serious mistake on the realtard’s part.

So… what kind of toilets are you looking at this weekend?


Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

August 10, 2012

BRAND NEW CONSTRUCTION “Estate Quality” home somewhere in San Jose

And we’re done with another exciting week of properties, finishing off in the “Capital of Silicon Valley”!  Today’s featured home was sent in by Burbed reader Tracy Tea House.  Sit back and relax as we bring you yet another San Jose Special, after we let Zillow and Redfin duke it out over what neighborhood it’s in.  Is it in West San Jose?  Is it in the Campbell area?  You decide!

456 Ardis Ave
San Jose, CA 95117
Sold for $1,285,000 on 7/27/2012
Sold for $437,000 on 2/3/2012


120809-ardis-kitchenBeds: 4
Baths: 4.5
Sqft: 3,700
Lot: 9,300 sq ft / 0.21 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 2012
Last sold: Jul 2012 for $1,285,000

Public Facts:
Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sqft: 1,032
Lot: 9.300 sq ft / 0.21 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1951

BRAND NEW CONSTRUCTION, this “Estate Quality” home features a wonderful open floorplan and so many designer features that include a “Chef’s Kitchen w/all stainless appl incl. refrigerator, wine chiller, wet bar, walk-in pantry and more! Fully landscaped! 10′-11′ coffered ceilings, crown/baseboards, 1,200+/- sft attic w/engineered flooring and so much more! A must see! Open Sa/Su 1-4!

120809-ardis-cabinetsHere’s why Tracy sent us this house:

Look quick cause this one shows the pictures from pre-flip. They bought the house in Feb. I think tore it down, built a new house  in six months and are trying to sell it for double the purchase.

Guess we didn’t have to look that quick, because Tracy sent this in 3 weeks ago, the day after it was listed.  The house went pending 2 days later.  It must have been a cash deal, because the sale was recorded just one week after that.

120809-ardis-carpetNow we could be party-poopers and show you the fancy pictures on Redfin, or we could be Burbed and revel in the cognitive dissonance between the listing copy above and these lovely photos still available on Zillow from the February listing.  We are talking “Estate Quality” in every room.

Also fortunately for us, Redfin saved the pre-flip listing so we can share that description with you too!

New listing! Large 9,300 +/- SF lot. Perfect starter home or for investment! Attached 1-car garage with washer/dryer hookups. Close to Santana Row, Westfield Shopping Center, and entertainment. Close to highways 280 and 880.

Yeah.  Definitely close to 280.


Bunus: Even closer to Winchester Ranch Mobile Home Park.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

August 9, 2012

Over 20K put into bridge, foundation and engineered plans

Does seeing all those houses next to each other make you want to get away to your own private retreat?  Somewhere with elbow room for just you and the trees? 

Today Burbed reader wahnny has a place for you in Gilroy.  Hope you think nines are lucky!  And let’s have a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome for wahnny who is today’s Guest Blogger!

0 LAND ONLY (Unable to map)
Gilroy, CA 95020


120808-gilroy-tableBEDS:  -
SQ. FT.:  -
LOT SIZE:  3.23 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential Land (Single Family)
VIEW: Mountains, Neighborhood
COMMUNITY:  Morgan Hill/Gilroy/San Martin
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81226637
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  24 days

Magic Springs Drive. Also includes APN #810-03-004 for total of 4.36 acres. Beautiful and private creekside retreat among the giant redwoods and ferns. Over 20k put into bridge, foundation and engineered plans. No permits. Underground phone line and community spring fed water. Perfect for recreational getaway.

120808-gilroy-scgisWith all the recent chatter about “value in land only”, I thought this might make for an interesting, if not cautionary, tale.

This 4+acre property is nestled deep within a magical forest west of Gilroy.  Since it has no street address, Redfin can’t map it, but the Santa Clara County GIS can (via APN 810-03-022).

The property last sold for $800K during the peak of the bubble years.  Apparently, the seller planned to build a dream house there, investing over $20K towards improvements, but then gave up (the ogre/county wouldn’t permit it?). 

With hopes dashed, the seller resigned to sell the property, but seemed conflicted on asking price (at one point asking twice what was paid for it).  Currently, the seller has settled on a less fanciful price of $100K.

It just goes to show that RBA dreaming can only be truly realized in the RBA.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am