November 29, 2012

Two words that don’t go together: Marin and Cheap

121122-blackfridayWe’re continuing our DEALS DEALS DEALS all week long!  As we work our way further and further from our usual comfort zone, we’ll be visiting the entire Bay Area, or at least every county. 

Today we stop off at the one with a serious diversity shortage.  Yes, we’re talking Marin County, where diversity means there’s a redhead in your kid’s class.  And we’ve found you the absolute cheapest house in Marin.

121128-ocean-redfin57 Ocean View Ave
Dillon Beach, CA 94929

Baths  680 Sq. Ft.
$404 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1927  Lot Size: 1,830 Sq. Ft.  On Redfin: 351 days Status: Active
Property Type
Residential, Detached, Single Family
Dillon Beach

One level, no stairs.

121128-ocean-frontFour pictures, no trash.

1,830 square foot lot. Wow. When someone said they weren’t making any more land, guess whoever owned this property said, “Nuh uh! I’m going to build a bunch of tiny shacks and sell them on 1/9 acre lots and I’ll be rich, rich!”

Now if you want to be rich, rich as well, you had better start buying up property in Marin now.  Because right now certain neighborhoods in San Francisco are ultra-hot with all those well-paid high-tech engineers and social media purveyors and game-engine optimizers.  Now what do you think is going to happen when these people get married and have kids?

121128-ocean-satelliteWell, nothing.  But what do you think is going to happen when their oldest kids start turning four? They’re going to be out the door to the land of Safe Public Schools in time to register for Kindergarten. Watch Marin values skyrocket then.  You read it here first.

Remember, a little of something is better than renting a lot of nothing.  And today’s Black Friday Deal is about as little as you can get.  But it’s a little sliver 600 feet from the beach… and a little less of a walk every day!


Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

September 24, 2012

Half Moon Barracks by the Sea

Good morning, Burbed readers!  It’s time for another wonderful week of wigwam winning, only we’re too danged wiped out to do anything about it.  That’s where our readers come in!

Burbed reader mabel du has graciously sent in a real estate find, complete with a very appropriate set of commentary.  That means mabel du is today’s Guest Blogger, so we’re going back to bed.  Please give mabel du a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome with this guest post: a hella-fine hacienda in Half Moon Bay.  And somebody, please get this blogger a keyboard that includes a SHIFT key.

Want to see your name in lights as one of our Guest Bloggers?  Send in your best (by which we mean worst) property listing with your best (by which we really do mean best) writeup!

120923-mirada-zillow337 Mirada Rd
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
For Sale $3,375,000

Zestimate® $2,872,044
Est. Mortgage $11,733/mo
Beds: 2
Baths: 3.5
Sqft: 5,200
Lot: 7,840 sq ft / 0.18 acres
Type: Multi Family
Year built: 1993
On Zillow: 59 days
MLS #: 81228527
County: San Mateo
Elementary school: El Granada Elementary School
High school: Half Moon Bay High School
Legal description: —
Neighborhood name: Miramar City of Naples
120923-mirada-windowsParcel #: —
Per floor sqft: 5,200
Zillow Home ID: 2130285115

Break away from the crowd and live your dream. Work and live on the ocean while minutes from town. Unobstructed ocean view, private mixed-use building. first floor for retail, second floor for large work space. third floor portion of 200 sqft offers 180 degree ocean and white sand beach views. 2 beds, 2 baths, with state of the art kitchen.


120923-mirada-deckand now, for something completely different.  as in, not in Mountain View (still the reigning center of the universe).

someone’s been trying to unload this fortress/prison/ugly thang for 4 years, and have run through a few realtors in their misguided attempt to make a profit in a declining market.  i hear concrete prices are way up;  might make more sense to try that route instead of the overpriced beach fortress with a view.


120923-mirada-chairnice views?  yep.  nice house?  not so much.

sold in 2005 for $3.1 mill at the top of the market.  i’m sure the current owner is completely confused as to why this concrete monster hasn’t sold for a profit – in the past 4 years of listings.

redfin – Special pictures

check out pic #20 – hello mr. chair!   thanks to realtor elizabeth for providing a picture of a chair.  now THAT makes me want to drop $3.4 mil on this concrete blob.

120923-mirada-chairspic# 23 – is that another shot of lonely mr. chair?  (That’s the deck photo right above the Price History  —ed.)

wait a sec, mr. chair found himself a mrs.,  and they both pop up in random inside (pic #18) and outside shots.  nice staging (i.e. cheap)…

poor mr. chair has been running laps in that place.


Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

March 24, 2012

Spring has Sprung, The Price has Riz

Hope you’re heading out to look at Open Houses now that we’ve officially entered the Spring Selling Season!  Oh, what’s that?  Spring Selling Season doesn’t start until after Easter?  Well, dang.

Why don’t you instead do some window shopping?  Here you can admire this waterfront property in Washington State while you try to find an open house a little closer to home.  Thanks to Burbed reader SEA for mentioning this one in comments yesterday.

11718 Possession Lane
Edmonds, WA 98026


Bunus: Stupid street name is stupid, too.  This is an open thread.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:22 am

January 26, 2012

A Beach House for Fantasy Fans

Recently we ran a rather unusual house that would make a great West Coast toehold for the White Castle burger chain.  Yes, it was an actual fracking CASTLE in the back of an otherwise normal home in Los Altos. Burbed reader Tracy is crazy for castles, and has been deploying the trebuchet to hurl several into the inbox.  Here’s another one if you can’t wait until April for Season 2 of HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Unfortunately, this castle, like so many homes built on fantasies and empty treasure chests, was taken off-market.  So we’ll do our best to get the information to you, no matter how many real estate sites we have to scour to find it!

Watsonville, CA 95076
$1,795,000, delisted on 12/12/2011
Originally listed for $1,895,000


Beds: 6
Baths: 4
Sqft: 2,864
Lot: 9,146 sq ft / 0.21 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1971
Last sold: September 22 1999 for $353,500

Beautiful ocean views, convenient beach access, private parking front and rear, quality remodel, 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, custom home in Pajaro Dunes – Turnkey! Remodeled kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, roof, siding, windows, appliances. Pajaro Dunes is perhaps Northern California’s best kept secret! To live here or just to visit is an experience to be treasured. Come see for yourself!

imageWe’ve provided all 9 photos, because most of the other sites took them down when the listing got yanked.  Thank heavens for ZipRealty!  And we used Zillow to fill in all those missing pieces, like whether the castle actually had any rooms and was built after the Year 0.  Redfin provided the neighborhood plot layout at the bottom of this post.  Finally, this expired agent page provided the listing copy above.

The very first thing you’ll notice looking at the front of the house is that there isn’t any garage.  And that’s a good thing!  If you’re imagethe kind of person who wants to live in a castle, you don’t want any newfangled technology such as horseless carriages and wireless music using airwaves.  A six bedroom house means you can keep your own horn section to play flourishes when you enter each room.  And really, nobody should be waving except your courtiers.

So the plastic furniture really has to go.  Just set up some trestle tables and benches and you’ll be ready to serve up the wild boars.


I tell you, it’s being able to build a castle out of a 1971 tract house that makes this country great, even if said castle would be more appropriate on its lonesome on ten acres in Inverness, rather than on a 9000 square foot lot right next to traditional beach homes.


America, F*** YEAH!  Although the tennis courts ought to be replaced with a jousting pavilion, and the flag with one from, say, 971.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

January 24, 2012

No expense was spared in creating this custome Moss Beach masterpiece

What with all the server problems this past weekend, maybe it’s time to step out for an early getaway this week.  Fortunately, Burbed reader The Klek has a destination in mind.

2010 Vallemar
Moss Beach, CA 94038
$4,875,000; delisted on 11/1/2011


Yr. Built: 2009
Builder: —
Sqft (land | living): 12500 land | 4370 living

Bed | Bath: 4.0 bd | 4.5 ba
Property Taxes: $15,414.22 (2009)
Stories: 2

imageYes, I’m linking to Trulia instead of Redfin this time because Trulia was kind enough to save the photos despite the listing going off market.

Here’s what The Klek has to say about the property:

Maybe you can help me solve the mystery of 2010 Vallemar in Moss Beach).

imageThe house never had a for sale sign but you couldn’t miss the $4.8 million price tag which is, uh, shockingly high for the area and the house isn’t even gold plated! The realtard still has the house listed as active but SFBlockshopper said it was recently delisted. Was this one of those vanity listings where the owner smugly laughs at all the people with distant dreams of upscale homeownership? And how was this property ever accessed at that value? Or is that property actually a quantum bubble of the RBA, circa 2007??


Here’s the listing copy from the agent site:

Enjoy the best of ocean front living from the newest construction on the San Mateo Coastline.  Located on a wide double lot of over 12,000 sq. ft. with durable materials, exciting architecture and spacious rooms, no expense was spared in creating this masterpiece while subtly blending with the environment.  Understated from the street and shielded with beautiful courtyard walls, maximum attention has been given to creating a sheltered water front experience.

Smooth alder cabinets with cherry finish and Travertine -Tuscani Procini flooring are in all rooms except bedrooms.  Brazilian white bay granite enhances the kitchen counters and fireplace surrounds.  Sub-Zero, Bosch, Fisher/Pakel and Frank brands adorn the kitchen.  Hand blown custome light fixtures by Doug Brown.

The separate guest room with kitchenette also enjoys a private patio overlooking the ocean, and has direct access to the main house.  The primary master suite is on the main floor, while the guest master suite and additional bedroom are on the second floor.  Hardi-Plank siding and steel trowel smooth stucco grace the exterior.  Copper gutters, downspouts, flashings, vents and outside lights insure years of care free maintenance.  Double pane low-E glass windows, trex decking and a Hot Springs Spa add to the joy of ocean life.

It’s hard work building spec houses, let alone financing them!  Do you have any idea how much that HDR photography cost, not to mention having to wait for the one day in June that the sun came out?

Now check out what used to be in this location, location, location!


Be sure to snag this copper-guttered beach cottage, a 2010 winner at a 2006 price!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

January 13, 2012

No es Nada in El Grenada

Here comes a three day weekend!  So let’s travel a little further away from the US 101/I-280 Axis of Specialness, and see what’s over the mountains, through the woods, and down by the bay ocean.  Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night find.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader The Klek for this beachy little number for a quick little getaway.


El Granada, CA 94018


SQ. FT.: 1,270
$/SQ. FT.: $273
LOT SIZE: 2,800 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STORIES: Bi/Split Level
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Lower El Granada
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81144716
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 81 days

LOOK AT THIS PRICE HURRY WON”T LAST!! GREAT LOCATION!! 3 Bedroom 2 Bathroom is priced to sell * . Wood burning stove. Split level with Master Bedroom. Hot Tub. Property needs TLC. Close to the beautiful Ocean Beach enjoy walking along the seaside. Close to the Princeton Harbor and restaurants. Enjoy the sites of watching the surfers. COME BACK and SEE THE Painting exterior/Interior Plus * * * *

imageHere’s what The Klek had to say about today’s fine listing:

Here’s a good example of some lazy work on the part of the realtor who couldn’t be bothered with turning on the lights before taking pictures and editing those same pictures to remove any duplicates.

Still, I suppose the shadows and general darkness really underline the cozy quality. The grammar of the description needs work but I like how she mentioned the local sights (all at least 1/4-mile away) confusing the reader that the house offers views of surfers curling on a wave. Views of your neighbor couch surfing is more likely.

Oh, the poor buyers, thinking they’re signing up for volleyball and shell-collecting, when this is what they’re going to be looking at every day.


And have a look at the neighborhood.  The Klek was right about how close the beach was (that is, not yet in the big picture).


imageThere is something seriously hinky going on over on Redfin when you try to look at the house on Streetview, probably because, for some reason, it’s classified as being in Half Moon Bay.  You’ll find yourself a block and a half away, and on the wrong street as well.  But Google Maps had no trouble finding it right away.

Now that we’ve found Home Sweet Home, guess it’s time to soak in the hot tub.


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

November 29, 2010

Black Friday sale: Half Moon Bay beach house!



Beds: 1
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 650
$/Sq. Ft.: $168
Lot Size:
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cabin
Stories: 1
View: Ocean
Year Built: 1910
Community: Tunitas Creek
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80935619
Source: MLSListings
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 477 days

It’s Black Friday week! The search is on for DEALS DEALS DEALS!

This is the cheapest property in all of San Mateo county! And what a deal! Sure it needs some TLC, but at $109k, this is basically a stocking stuffer for your beach loving son/daughter!

Look, the view is to die for!


Oops… hold on… I’ve got a call from Oceanic Airlines. They’re askin
g for Jacob – has he seen their plane? No… must be a wrong number call.

While we’re on this Lost theme, I think it’s time for a flashback!

April 14, 2006

$265,000 for beachfront view in Half Moon Bay!

It’s friday. It’s the weekend. Let’s wrap up the week with a trip down to the beach…

MLSlistings Property Detail for MLS number 519266
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019


[Smash cut to black. BURBED.]

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

August 20, 2010

Have fun at the beach this weekend

Bacteria driving away beachgoers

By: Sarah Haughey
Special to The Examiner
August 5, 2010

Bacteria counts at levels unsafe for humans led to beach closings or advisory days, including 117 at Aquatic Park and 100 at Pillar Point in San Mateo County last year. (Getty Images file photo)

Bay Area beaches are among the worst in the state according to Testing the Waters 2010, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s 20th annual beach water report.

Out of 452 coastal beaches surveyed, San Francisco had the highest bacteria exceedance rate with 17 percent. While San Mateo County fell in the middle with 10 percent exceedance, its rate increased from 6 percent in 2008, said Leila Monroe, an oceans expert with the environmental group.

“Total monitoring in San Mateo County decreased by 12 percent,” Monroe said. “The frequency of water sampling is used to judge how well a county is doing in testing their waters.”

Rankings are based on water sampling frequency, exceedance of state bacterial standards and number of beach closings or health advisories.

The NRDC is encouraging counties in California to increase the frequency with which they monitor water quality. However, with state cutbacks, San Mateo County no longer has stable funding for recreational beach sampling, Health Services Manager Lorraine Lew said.

The NRDC is encouraging counties in California to increase the frequency with which they monitor water quality. However, with state cutbacks, San Mateo County no longer has stable funding for recreational beach sampling, Health Services Manager Lorraine Lew said.

“We will do the best we can with the resources we have, but the extent of sampling won’t be at the same level as in past years,” Lew said. “We don’t have the ability to fund cleanup efforts. This is a prime example of what a state budget cut looks like.”

Aquatic Park in San Mateo County saw 117 beach closings or advisory days last year, and Pillar Point followed close behind with 100 closures. Los Angeles is the only county in California with more beach closings than San Mateo.

Beach closings and advisories were issued after water-quality monitoring showed bacteria counts at levels unsafe for humans. Swimming in polluted beach water can lead to various illnesses including respiratory infections, gastrointestinal illnesses, skin rashes and pinkeye.

In general, storm water runoff is the biggest contributor to beach water contamination, but the Oct. 30 Dubai Star oil spill, which dumped up to 800 gallons of oil into San Francisco Bay, is likely responsible for the significant increases in the area last year, Monroe said.

“A big issue is that [San Mateo] is a very urban environment. When it rains, impermeable landscapes like concrete and asphalt cause rainwater to run off into storm drains and waterways, carrying pollution with it,” Monroe said.

In order to reduce the amount of contaminated water flowing into storm drains, the NRDC is promoting green infrastructure techniques.

“Green infrastructure uses vegetation, porous surfaces or retention devices to stop rainwater where it falls and either store it or allow it to soak back into the ground rather than flow to the ocean,” Monroe said. “It’s the best and most cost-effective way to keep beachgoers safe from dangerous pollution in the water.”

Just kidding. What were you thinking going to the beach anyway? Shouldn’t you be adding value to your new social networking iPad app that will make you millions?

Comments (7) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:53 am

May 21, 2010


Thanks to Burbed reader madhaus for this guest post!

309 Beach Drive,  Rio Del Mar/Seascape CA, 95003

309 BEACH Dr Rio Del Mar / Seascape, CA 95003

Beds: 5
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 1,776
$/Sq. Ft.: $247
Lot Size: 4,791 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
View: Ocean
Community: Rio Del Mar/Seascape
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 80709410
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 1172 days


Nothing says “this property’s going up on Burbed” like a description in ALL-CAPS. Refusing to turn off the CapLocks key leaves a potential buyer feeling like they’ve had a megaphone shoved up an ear.  Maybe the agent used to work at Western Union composing telegrams, because I don’t see the period key except for an abbreviation.  So while we’re deafened by the approach, let’s look at what we’re being offered.
Well, whatever the offer is, it’s overpriced, even for a beach house that’s across the street from the beach.  How do I know this?  Simple:

On Redfin: 1172 days

1172 days?  As in three and a half years? Is this a record?   I don’t know, but Should I wait for a price reduction?



I’m not sure.  According to this graph I should wait 28 more days, and then wait for 40 price reductions.
And remember, if the agent can’t think of anything better to say than “MAKE MEMORIES WITH YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS,” then you know the property has a problem.  And in this case the problem is you are not being sold a beach house.  You are being sold a 20% share in a beach house.  And that means that you get the house on Tuesdays and every third Wednesday.

Still want the house?  It’s in a flood and a fault zone!  Too bad the nuclear plant’s in another zip code.

Comments (89) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:46 am

March 13, 2009

Comparing house prices in beach areas

91809 Makule Rd, Ewa Beach, HI, 96706 – MLS ID#2902663 – Single Family Home real estate –®

91809 Makule Rd  Ewa Beach, HI 96706
4 Bed, 3 Bath | 1,621 Sq Ft on 0.12 Acres (5,337 Sq Ft Lot) |
MLS ID #2902663


Ok, I don’t know much about Hawaii honestly – but I figured given all the references in yesterday’s post, I should take a look.

Hm… you could live in Montara beach for $980 per square foot in a 560 sqft cottage, or you could live at Ewa Beach in Oahu for $344 per square foot.

Tough choices. But at the end of the day, only one of them is in the Bay Area – and hint it is not Hawaii.

Now that I think about, gosh am I surprised at how cheap it is to live in Hawaii! But then again, shouldn’t there be a big discount for a place where people have to hoard toilet paper periodically?

Scary indeed!

Comments (18) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:53 am