September 1, 2013

Housing Market Trends for 2013: Up, up, up!

This is why we all have so much esteem for real estate professionals.


The above is a postcard received by Burbed reader Realtard Math. Let’s hear from RM why this was shared with us:

I love this graph. The trend arrow is shooting almost straight up, but every individual year goes up about the same. What’s the index here? No idea. We don’t know what’s being measured, or where. All we know is it went up every year, including this one. But 2013 isn’t over yet!

Aw, c’mon, RM, you missed how the arrows all have little chimneys on them, and 2009 and 2013 are right-handed varieties. And it also asks us “Did You Know” although it doesn’t inform us what we were supposed to find out. So we’re still ignorant of many things about Housing Market Trends other than that “Buyers are clamoring to purchase a home in your area.” Since RM didn’t tell us which area, for all we know it could be Alviso.

The local market called bottom sometime around the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, though. Perhaps this is a graph of agent enthusiasm, because it sure isn’t a graph of agent results.

Long Weekend Open Thread. open now! Share your favorite examples of agent math skillz.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

August 31, 2013

I don’t want a roommate, but an Arch-Nemesis

Why oh why can’t roommate ads in Silicon Valley be like this?  Here’s an ad that caught Burbed reader NYC Exile’s attention. Why NYCE was reading NYC Craigslist is a mystery for another day.

And we’re reprinting the whole thing because Craigslist ads are about as temporary as 2.8% mortgage rates.

$1 Seeking an Arch-Nemesis Roommate (Williamsburg)

130827-arch-vennI’m looking to fill the vacant room in my small, two-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn with a roommate who is respectful and financially sound, and can double as my arch-nemesis.

If you haven’t closed this page yet — which if you did, even though you wouldn’t be reading this, would be very arch-nemesis of you — allow me to elaborate.

My arch-nemesis roommate will provide constant combat in the apartment. After living with far too many passive folk, I can say with certainty that I AM READY for this. I’m not looking for a bad roommate, per se (i.e. someone that doesn’t clean their dishes or someone that sleeps in my bed when I’m gone), but I am looking for a roommate who is willing to regularly kick my ass, or at least attempt to, so we can create an authentic hero (me) vs. arch-nemesis (you) living arrangement.

Here are my arch-nemesis roommate requirements:

1. You keep our feud inside the apartment. I don’t want to fight you outside of the apartment, even if we leave to get groceries or cleaning supplies. Also, I’m not looking for someone that’s planning some sort of world domination. Let’s keep this between us.

130827-arch-ad2. You adhere to a standard of cleanliness. This is a big one for me. "Neat Freak" is NOT my hero name, but I am seriously a neat freak. The only time you can choose to not be neat is if it’s an initiation for battle, like you filling my room with fertilizer, in which case, get dirty. It’ll pay off.

3. You have a normal work schedule. I don’t want any freelancers or work-from-homers. I’d like you to have a standard nine-to-five. When I’m at work, you’re at work. When I’m home, you’re home. Most importantly, when I’m ready for battle, so are you.

4. You don’t bring the party home. The only time "bringing the party home" is appropriate is if it’s a party with a staged hostage situation. I will try to free the hostage; You will try to stop me. Alternatively, you could just throw a really good party and not invite me.

5. You put your arch-nemesis weaponry away when it’s not in use. This is a SMALL apartment with even smaller rooms and even smaller closets. Any weapons, tools, and/or metal suits should be kept to a minimum, and at the very least, should fit comfortably under your bed.

130827-arch-venn36. Your powers must match or exceed mine. My "powers" are never forgetting to set my alarm clock, playing a few chords on the guitar, and making a decent omelet. In addition to being able to kick my ass, you should be able to sneak into my room to turn off my alarm clock, play the major and minor guitar chords, and make eggs in other variations besides the omelet.

7. You are truly my arch-nemesis. You HAVE to be my arch-nemesis and not just a "villain." There’s a big difference. My arch-nemesis is the Darth Vader to my Luke Skywalker, the salt to my slug, the orange juice to my toothpaste. We are the same person, but at the very same time, we’re complete opposites.
8. You pay rent on time. Speaks for itself!

DISCRIMINATION WARNING: I’m NOT looking for anyone that actually thinks they are superhuman. If you think you can fly, or are just good at climbing buildings, then good for you. If you can’t do these things, you should still feel free to apply. Also, I’m totally okay with a female arch-nemesis. I’m not one of those guys who thinks females weren’t "built" to be arch-nemeses. That’s silly.

130827-arch-tshirtIf you think you are truly my arch-nemesis and meet the roommate requirements outlined above, drop me a line and I’ll tell you more about the apartment. Or, maybe I won’t and that’s where things will truly begin.

  • Location: Williamsburg
  • it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

Posting ID: 4029623636
Posted: 2013-08-27, 4:14PM EDT
email to a friend

NYC is one of our many arch-nemesis metros (because Silicon Valley is so awesome we have to have several), so we need some better ads than this to defeat them. Please share if you can find any, and if you can’t, then write something better for a rented closet in a Campbell Crapbox.

Update: Heard back from NYC Exile, who says this ad was written by comedian Alex J. Mann.  (We’ll have you know we found the matching pictures ourselves.) That’s kind of a shame that this is professional work product. Could you imagine the roommate wars from a software engineer who needs an arch nemesis just to chill out?

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:09 am

July 27, 2013

Coming to a listing near you

130726-bowers-placementProduct placement in movies and television have been going on for a while.  Remember the Reese’s Pieces in E.T.? If you see a brand in a movie or other video, you can be sure it was put there deliberately.

Well then… why haven’t realtards tried product placement in listing photos? After all, buyers are such a fickle lot, underbidding during bubbles and expecting freebies thrown in like refrigerators and kitchen cabinets when the sellers have every right to keep them. At least if they had product placement to fall back on, there would be some bucks in it for them, whether or not the house sold!

Let’s have a look at a really egregious example of product placement. We’re not talking about a loving paean to Andersen Windows or Bosch dishwashers that are features of the house for sale, either.


130726-bowers-greygoose-farHere’s the Redfin listing, where you’ll find another photo of the booze.  The even better Bunus portion of this amusing photo is where we found this REGULAR SALE!

Would you buy your next house from this realty firm?

And it’s Open Thread time! Tell us what products you saw placed when you looked at open houses!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

July 13, 2013

Congratulations! You now have your equity back!

Here’s an interesting piece of Real Estate pr0n received by Burbed reader nomadic.


In case you cannot view the graphic, here’s the text:


You now have your equity back!
Prices have shot past the all-time
highs in many areas.
-As-Is Sales-
-Top Sale Prices-
-Minimal Preparation-

What’s Your Home’s Current Value?

Two Beautiful California Peaks


(with photos of Half Dome and a large red arrow labeled 2013 Real Estate Values getting bigger and fatter as well as higher on a graph with no labels). The last segment appears to have a rise to run ratio of 8, so perhaps the X axis is fortnights and the Y is mills.

For the record, real estate prices have gone up about 15-20 percent, which would be a rise to run ratio of, well, at most one fifth. You know. 20%.  A one to one ratio is a straight line at a 45 degree angle.

This is your weekend Open Thread, and it may have to last you all weekend, too. Do you have your equity back? You know if you lived in the Real Bay Area you never would have misplaced it in the first place.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am

June 2, 2013

The Village

Sent in by a Mountain View resident:


Friends of The Village. That just rolls off the tongue so nicely.  Would you like to be added to their email-list for updates?

130601-village-pennyfarthing20130601-village-movieBe sure to Check-off any or all that you like. Although last time we saw something by Check-off, everyone was pretty sad at the end.  (Spoiler: The cherry orchard gets cut down, which means it was actually about Sunnyvale.)

You are Number Six. And since this is your Weekend Open Thread, tell us about any Open Houses you found in The Village of Your Choice. Or which of these would you like in The Village Phase II, near Caltrain.

Also tell us about any Open Houses near Caltrain.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

May 25, 2013

Why Everyone Loves Realtards: Part LXIV


Self-serving arguments: what else would you expect?  Item for discussion: which is cheaper, a divorce or a bigger house? Be sure to indicate where said house would be.  And if you push for downgrading your school district while upsizing your residence, the divorce may well follow on its own.

It’s the weekend! In fact, it’s a three-day weekend! Will you look at more or fewer Open Houses?  Will you post more or fewer comments in this Weekend Open Thread?

Photo from Funny Signs website.

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

May 5, 2013

Don’t want to pay 6% commission? Make agents beg for less.

Here’s a press release from the “Lending Tree of Real Estate Agents.”

LessThan6Percent Revolutionizes How Home Sellers and Real Estate Agents Connect

Press Release: LessThan6Percent – Mon, Apr 29, 2013 6:39 PM EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — LessThan6Percent (, the online marketplace where home sellers can compare commissions and marketing plans from local real estate agents, is exiting its beta launch in the San Francisco Bay Area and expanding into Southern California. Founded in late 2012 by serial entrepreneur Simon Ru, LessThan6Percent provides home sellers a convenient platform to streamline the process of finding the best agents to represent their home.

"The problem home sellers face is that there are thousands of agents in any given market," says Ru. "It is difficult for home sellers to compare agents to find the best match. They don’t know what questions to ask, what to look for in a marketing proposal, or how to start the awkward conversation of negotiating services & commissions." This is where LessThan6Percent steps in.

LessThan6Percent differs from traditional agent-matching service such as Trulia ( and Zillow ( by matching sellers to proposals submitted by agents rather than agents’ profiles. Instead of directing sellers to call agents’ numbers on a directory, LessThan6Percent transforms the matching process by having agents compete for sellers’ business. With a click of a button, home sellers would know exactly what services they are going to receive and how much they would cost. This level of transparency is unparalleled in the real estate industry.  

130504-lessthan6percent-agentsYou may have noticed that LessThan6Percent is one of our newest advertisers, featuring that oversized entry form on the right. We’re certainly in accord with their business model. Some home sales are pretty routine, and there’s no reason why the six percent commission rate has been enshrined as unchanging. Personally, we’d like to see home sales done as flat fees, because that would mean the buyers’ agent wouldn’t have a financial incentive to advise you to bid more than a home is worth.

130504-lessthan6percent-proposalThen again, we are in Bay Area Bubble 4.0, every house is worth more than it’s listed for, and you couldn’t possibly pay too much for a place in the Real Bay Area. That means your agent was right to tell you to overbid by 85%.

Meanwhile, LessThan6Percent says you can specify what you want in an agent and look over the proposals you get in response.

And if their algorithm predicts you may be likely to sell, watch for their ads appearing wherever you surf.  This reminds us of that creepy datamining prediction that Target became infamous for: figuring out you were expecting before the rest of your family knew.

130504-lessthan6percent-bidsBut LessThan6Percent also expects to reel in many leads through an algorithm that the company has created to identify people who are likely to sell. Ru said the algorithm scours a wide array of information sources, including social media, and then turns up likely sellers, like people who it’s discovered are having children soon.

The company then uses printed materials, cookies and keyword advertising to invite those people to use the site, Ru said.

– See more at:

According to Ru, the comments on this article were “getting heated” once a NAR official showed up. It appears Inman removed them by moving the article to a new location and conveniently neglecting to bring any comments along… or even allow them to be made.

LessThan6Percent envisions having agents slug it out for the right to sell your house. Why not have a good fight in comments on what you think of this idea? 

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

January 12, 2013

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


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

December 1, 2012

Be Like Zuck! Buy a house and pay 3/4% interest


The secret to being rich is to start off rich.  Don’t believe us?  It’s true, and it’s how Mark Zuckerberg bought his house in Palo Alto.  Let’s hear from Burbed reader nomadic, who alerted us to this excellent opportunity. To go bankrupt!

Here’s the letter I got in the mail offering super-low interest rates on a loan secured by a stock portfolio.  The beauty of it is that the interest rate goes down the higher the loan amount – the opposite of what working stiffs get when they want a super-jumbo loan to buy a house in the RBA.  (Then again, the larger the stock portfolio, the smaller the risk?)

This must be how Zuck got his ultra-low interest rate on his mortgage.  Interesting that they don’t mention a mortgage in their “average loan rates” example.

121130-margin-zuckerbergThe headline above doesn’t say pay three to four percent interest.  It says pay three quarters of a percent interest.  Let me repeat that.  You can buy a house at 0.76 percent interest.  All you need is a sufficiently healthy stock portfolio to borrow at least $3.5 million against. 

Whoops.  All you need is an investment portfolio at this particular online brokerage.  For loans under $50K, you need to have twice that in your brokerage account.  With this firm.  But!  Remember about rich people getting richer? The more you have, the more you save. The more you have, the more you 121130-margin-callcan borrow, too.  If you “qualify” and have an account over $100,000, you could borrow against 85% of your assets.

Remember how well things went when anyone who could fog a mirror could buy a house for nothing down? This is an even better idea! Borrow against your investments, and if the underlying value drops, then you have to pay some of the money back immediately, or sell assets to cover it. Good thing you’ll have a bunch of equity in your new house that you could borrow against to pay back your brokerage account you borrowed against in the first place.  This sounds like a perpetual equity motion machine.

Open your portfolio, open your wallet, open your eyes, and we’re opening this thread to any topic you wish.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

November 17, 2012

Sellers in the drivers seat

Burbed began in February 2006, when the market was running bubbly, the RBA ran clear to Seattle, and an East Palo Alto crapshack would run you $850,000. It's early days but we're seeing definite signs of re-carbonation. Burbed reader dollarbin sends in some further proof.

Of course this is Palo Alto. When ads like this run in East Palo Alto, we will have arrived. Again.

Did you check out last week's Palo Alto Weekly? There were at least two different full page ads from Realtards with groups of buyers looking for houses they can close by the end of the year. High end stuff too, 1.5 to 4 million. I can't find links online, but I can take photos of the ads from the physical paper, it might make an interesting weekend post.

Interesting is the word for them. Voyla!

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go wild. Buyers 1 through 6 are counting on you!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am