April 21, 2012

Pride of Ownership: Los Gatos Edition

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Kir for passing along this nugget from her blog Inside Los Gatos.  While this is a commercial property, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be returned to its original purpose as an ostentatious trophy home.


Pride of Ownership Retail Investment | Los Gatos

115 N. Santa Cruz Avenue
Los Gatos, CA 95030

Building Size: 7,300 SF
Price/SF: $671.23
Property Type: Retail
Property Sub-type: Free Standing Bldg
Property Use Type: Net Lease Investment with 10+ years left on lease
Cap Rate: 5.14%
Occupancy: 100%
Tenancy: Single
Lot Size: 17,987 SF


  • Iconic Historic Building – One of Los Gatos’ Most Well Known Landmarks
  • Irreplaceable Downtown Los Gatos Location
  • 100% Leased to Experienced Restaurant Operators
  • New 10 year Lease w/Scheduled Increases
  • Minimal Landlord Obligations
  • Recent Extensive Renovations

Here’s what Kir had to say about this place over on Inside LG:

Coggeshall Mansion is For Sale

120420-palacio-dallasOne of our readers sent me a real estate flyer about the Coggeshall Mansion. I was going to post it in my "Where to Build a School" column, but decided it would be just too ridiculous of an idea; however, I want to share the fact that you can own a piece of historic downtown Los Gatos.

The history of the Coggeshall Mansion is interesting, to say the least. The house was originally built for Mary G. Coggeshall, a wealthy widow with two children. According to Alastair Dallas, "Once a grand home, one of many along N. Santa Cruz Ave., the Coggeshall Mansion was built in 1891 and converted into the Place Mortuary in 1917. When it re-opened as the Chart House restaurant in 1976, the bar in the back was called the Embalming Room. After the Chart House closed, the restaurant was known as Trevese from March 2007 to Fall 2009…" Now, Palacio inhabits the mansion.

Hooked on Los Gatos has a 1949 flyer depicting the Place Funeral Home. You can check it out HERE. In fact, many of the locals swear the mansion is haunted.

120420-place-funeralSo not only is the former home being sold at a premium as commercial in-town property, it comes with “bunus” ghosts.  Here’s some more on the hauntings mentioned above.

Unfortunately the link above is to yet another Google product called “knol” that’s being abandoned for insufficient awesomeness. That means the link above may not work after May 1st.  Sorry about that. 

Here are the links given in that article about the ghosts, like the one who runs up huge bar tabs or the little girl who turns wine bottles hiding the label, or the little boy running outside the building.

This house/restaurant/funeral parlor is definitely for someone who had a huge pile of stock option cash dumped in their lap who wants to one-up all those Facebook poseurs househunting in Palo Alto and Hillsborough.

Thanks very much to Kir for allowing us to reprint articles that mention real estate.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

April 16, 2012

Castro Valley Value is in the Land. And the Vehicle.

This site does not get out to the East Bay enough.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Jeremy from Hayward for doing the legwork for us, with this vintage villa in Castro Valley.  Remember, if you want us to cover more hella-fine houses from your hometown, be sure to send some in!

Today’s house is one you may be able to pick up with your income tax refund.  Now who says there isn’t affordable housing in the Bay Area?

5939 E Castro Valley Blvd
Castro Valley, CA 94552


SQ. FT.: 1,390
$/SQ. FT.: $144
LOT SIZE: 1.74 Acres
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Contemporary
COMMUNITY: Castro Valley
COUNTY: Alameda
MLS#: 40567572
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 16 days

Bank Owned !!! CONTRACTOR Special !!! Home needs Extensive repairs or may need to be torn down. LOT’s of POTENTIAL for this 1.75 acre lot.

120413-castro-additionHere’s why Jeremy sent us this classic structure:

All I can say is Best. Addition. Ever!!!

No Kitchen? Need extra space? No problem! In the East Bay we just knock out a wall and drive our RV up next to the house, some duct tape, and viola! Mama’s new kitchen!

Oi….at least it’s not $1million!

120413-castro-rv-parkedThis has got to be a whole new level of WTFness, even if it didn’t have that lovely support post right next to the RV entrance.

Here’s another view of the RV.

Hoe.  Leigh.  Crap.

Jeremy followed up with:

Do you get a break on a combined auto/home policy for this?

120413-castro-rv-doorDo you pay property tax or car registration?

It is pretty spectacular. Loving the retro dwell-ready colors on the RV as well….

Be sure to head over to the listing, because there are plenty more photos, although most are of the house without an RV parked in the middle of it.

Lot’s of POTENTIAL, indeed.  Too bad the listing doesn’t specify if the RV stays.

Bunus: Location, location, location!


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

April 4, 2012

Post-modern style meets post-modern price in Los Gatos

Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for finding this luscious living situation in Los Gatos, one of Silicon Valley’s few celebrity domiciles!

Los Gatos, CA 95032


BATHS: 6.5
SQ. FT.: 7,500
$/SQ. FT.: $667
LOT SIZE: 1.19 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Modern/High Tech, Contemporary
VIEW: Canyon, Valley
COMMUNITY: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81207180
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 38 days

This exquisite 7500 sq/ft, 6 bedroom, 6.5 bath home on 1.19 acres nestled in the Los Gatos Mountains, combines post-modern style with majestic natural views. It is a natural abode for light and warmth. Recently re-designed and renovated, this home was originally built by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computer, Inc. and retains several of his most unique design elements.

120402-santarosa-loudcolorsHere’s why nomadic sent us this natural abode for light and warmth:

The former Wozniak house.  Featured on burbed many moons ago, and now listed for $5M.  Look at its history.

We don’t have anywhere as many celebrities in Silicon Valley, but Woz is one of the few that we ought to look into a house he had built.  So let’s have a look at how this house was marketed back in the early end of the bubble days of 2008, right after the break!


Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

March 26, 2012

HDR: You’re doing it wrong in Los Gatos

120324-wiki-hdrOne of the things that keep readers engaged with this site are the atrocious listing photos that are supposed to engage potential buyers.  Now, there are a number of ways a photo can fail to attract the people who might otherwise wish to buy a home.  Some are because the agent didn’t bother cleaning up the house, or didn’t notice something in the picture that really shouldn’t have been included, or because there really is nothing attractive about the house no matter what angle you shoot from.

But there can also be photography problems on the higher end of home sales.  High Dynamic Range photography allows more differences in light and dark areas of a photo, to make a picture appear more vivid.  HDR is usually done by taking photos of the same scene at different exposures and having the images rendered together.  If you’d like to learn more about HDR, there’s a nice overview on the subject on Wikipedia, and they’ve included this image of what HDR can achieve.  Then again, the overly saturated colors and the bizarre color shifts between each palm tree make this photo a candidate for I Hate Your HDR.

The problem is when HDR isn’t done with restraint and balance, and that brings us to today’s featured home.  Many thanks to Burbed reader Tracy Tea House for this hella high definition domicile!

Los Gatos, CA 95032


BATHS: 4.5
SQ. FT.: 4,869
$/SQ. FT.: $822
LOT SIZE: 0.88 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: French
VIEW: Valley, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81203958
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 52 days

Classic French Estate. Outstanding views across Silicon Valley. Extensive landscaping with patios, walkways, custom iron work, & fountains. Fabulous interior custom faux finish with gold leaf. Huge formal living room w/ floor to ceiling windows. Family room kitchen w/ cherry cabinets, slab granite, & stainless appliances. Master w/ fireplace & 2 walk-in closets. 1 bed/bath downstairs. 4 car garage.

120324-cerro-columnsHere’s what Tracy had to say about today’s property:

We did not buy this one, because it did not have a pool.

This is a Classic French Estate.  A pool is so Hollywood.  Then again, a structure built in 2000 that’s just 131 square feet too small to qualify for the “ginormous” tag isn’t a Classic French Estate.  If it were, the city it’s in would have a name more like Les Chats.

120324-cerro-treesIf you’re into megahomes pretending to be Classic French Estates, this isn’t the worst example of the genre.  I mean, heck, it even has MAWBUL KAWLUMS, but not an excessive number of them.  That means break out the Official Burbed Red Arrow Kit, but it would have been more instructive to use them on the crappy HDR job.  First take a look at the photo atop this article, and pay careful attention to the way the sky color gently transitions from a darker to lighter tone (at least as long as there aren’t any palm trees interfering).

120324-cerro-nightContrast (ha ha) the Wikipedia shot with some from today’s house.  The one immediately above with the porch rail suggest these trees are radioactive. And this one at left not only has plants full of radium, someone set us up the bomb inside the house as well.  The fountain looks like it’s in danger of a core meltdown.  You can see the same effect in the sky above the Kawlums.

120324-cerro-livingroomIf you’re having trouble seeing that HDR luminescent glow, don’t worry.  This interior picture at right really punches it up to 11, because the sky is only sky-colored where it doesn’t actually touch a window frame.  Thus you get blue-grey blobs of color surrounded by white when you look out the window.  That is, if you can tear your eyes away from the living room furniture in HDRVision.

Remember, HDR is supposed to be used to heighten shadows and highlights, not to blow out our eyeballs.  Besides, the kind of buyers this photo would attract will be so disappointed by how colorless and flat the actual house is.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

March 19, 2012

South of Willow Glen listing removed because it’s a genuine work of art

Here’s another big-lot big-win find from Burbed reader Tracy!  And this one has been off-market long enough that most of the usual listing sites didn’t have the listing photos anymore.  Good thing there’s always Movoto, keeping them available so you can decide if you want to rent this puppy.

3010 Jenkins Ave
San Jose, CA 95118
$1,100,000; Reduced from $1,200,000 after 2 months
Off market since February 5, 2012


Price: $1,100,000
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2
Size: 2,767 sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1950
Lot Size: 20,196
Days on Movoto: 124 days
MLS#: 81147324
Status: Expired
Views: 2

Off the market to be rented. Wonderful 1 story on 1/2 acre, brick fireplace, Lots of charm & ready for your touch. Tall windows and sliders line the F/R and hallway overlooking the lush backyard & covered patio. Tile entry, hardwood floors Oversized new drvwy to 2car, plus detached garage. Hedges and trees offer privacy. New roof, new walk way, copper plumbing, updated wiring too! Regular sale!

Tracy called this a “mid-century half acre Japanese farm,” but you’ll just call it Burbedelicious!  And the more you look at these pictures, the more you realize that this property photographer really should have taken a different career path into fine arts.  This is some seriously disruptive work!


For instance, delightful juxtapositions of lush and sere, idyllic and workaday, shaded and exposed, continually inform this paradoxical collage that is all of one and the same property.  Note the clever reflection of the utility pole shadow with its power cable above.  Brilliant!


This pairing achieves the same discordance: concrete concrete versus idealized landscape.  One nice touch is the clever contrast of shade on the garage, versus bright sun on the trees at the upper left.


The two previous diptychs cannot prepare the viewer for this partnership: A hint of the verdant yard from the dank interior, and the grounds with HDR turned up to 11.  Wowza!


And it’s going to stay at 11, whether or not there is any furniture in the picture!  Tell me, have you ever seen heavy HDR with an empty room before?  Is this mid-century minimalism?


Okay, now it’s your turn!  Compare and contrast!


Here is an extra-credit problem for those of you who find this too easy.


And I will leave you with this riddle to ponder: which is worth more, the stove at left, the computer at right, or all of these photos?

Comments (18) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

March 8, 2012

Newer 62 year old home in East San Jose

Today’s Adventure in Realtard Listing Copy is courtesy of Burbed reader Tracy.  Thanks very much for separating the wheat from the chaff, and sending us the chaff!

2430 RUBY Ave
San Jose, CA  95148


SQ. FT.: 1,420
$/SQ. FT.: $408
LOT SIZE: 0.57 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
VIEW: Neighborhood
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81205841
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 21 days

* * * Regular Sale * * * Newer home with 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms in a 24,829 sqft land. It has Pergo floors throughout, recessed lighting, ceiling fan, double Pane windows. Inside laundry room in the kitchen area. Kitchen has granite counter top and newer cabinetry. Low maintenance backyard with large patio and large storage room. Close to Eastridge Mall, restaurants and easy access to frwy 680/101.

120307-ruby-facadeHere’s why Tracy thought you’d be interested in today’s featured house:

HUuh??? Built 1950 “newer home”  708 sf with 3/2 and the most ginormous lot.. I am confused. I like the “Low maintenance backyard” and the storage shed might be bigger than the house.


120307-ruby-arrowsThe house is 708 sf, but the agent reports it as 1420?  Maybe the garage and that storage shed were added into the sqft land.  And do you see what’s there on the front porch?  I think it’s time to break out the Burbed Red Arrows, because we’re looking at some MAWBUL KAWLUM ACTION.

Also have to wonder about this Realtard leading with the kitchen cabinets instead of the awesomeness of these profound pillars.


Fortunately, there’s plenty of greenery in the back yard, so don’t worry about the seller neglecting the landscaping.

In fact, there’s so much treasure to hunt for, both on the property and in the surrounding neighborhood, that both you and your kids will enjoy being told to play outside in the Low maintenance backyard!  That is, if you and your kids are intrigued by vintage automotive finds.


Otherwise, at least you’re Close to Eastridge Mall.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 17, 2012

White Castle Service… It Takes Just a Minute….

That was a little jingle I remember from ages ago for Ohio-based burger chain White Castle, which made the tiniest (and not particularly good) hamburgers I’ve ever seen.  I suppose today they’d be called sliders, but back then, a square-stamped piece of beef product that looked like a die’s five-spot was what you got at a White Castle.

imageWhite Castle Service, It takes just a minute
For the classy little box with the hamburger in it
For you health we never fry them, we steam them on a bun
Buy White Castles by the sack cuz nobody eats just one!

Now if you’re from White Castle territory, maybe you had some thoughts of setting up a franchise on the West Coast and vacuuming up all the nostalgia-seeking East Coasters who moved here but miss the bad food of their youth.  If you see this as a reasonable business model, here is the perfect house for you.

This home has been noticed by several Burbed readers, including Swan, Tracy, and Lucia, thanks very much for lowering the drawbridge.


Los Altos, CA 94024


SQ. FT.: 2,911
$/SQ. FT.: $566
LOT SIZE: 0.49 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: French
VIEW: Mountains, Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Country Club
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81138713
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 130 days

Unique 1/2 acre property nestled between the beauty of the mountains and closeness of town. Main house is a 3/2 with 2112 sq ft and Castle is a 1/1 with 800 sq ft. 4 open-space areas shared with 2 neighbors adds another 6/10th acre to main property. New carpet and paint in main house. Close to highly regarded Waldorf School.

imageThis house comes with its own fracking castle.  I mean, did you take a look at that thing?  Holy crap.

I realize the flag is a bit of an anachronism, since our royalty prefers buildings with mawbul cawlums instead of crenellations, but you can always substitute something more appropriate, such as some heraldic beastie on its hind legs, or better yet, a White Castle Burger Flag, if they made any. 

imageLucia notes:

There’s a fully functional, to code (I’m guessing) tower in the backyard. Perhaps it’s going so inexpensively because it once housed a poor adoptee/kidnapped girl who was never allowed to leave or cut her hair??

Tracy thinks it’s too bad this castle is so close to 280, but there’s more castles being catapulted into the Burbed queue via trebuchet.  Finally, here’s Swan’s observation why you should immediately buy this property.

imageThe dude is upset that he put in a pool and not a guest castle like the house below. Who needs a guest cottage, when you can have a guest castle?

Note, this is a “must buy.”

The observation deck on the castle will come in handy when those nasty invaders start scaling the walls of 280. Should the invaders storm the castle, the open space shared with the neighbors will come in handy as a battlefield.

Or you could start up the franchise in your back yard and wait for Harold and Kumar to show up.  Plus this place is a lot more defensible than your standard burger franchise, which is something to think about if you’re going to stay open until 3 in the morning.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

January 9, 2012

Bringing you the Finest Listings in Cupertino

Happy New Year, everyone.  One of our New Year’s Resolutions is to keep bringing you plenty of excellent real estate finds, like today’s winner from Burbed reader Tracy.  Thanks very much.

Remember, Burbed is more than just crapboxes.  It’s community.  It’s community of crapboxes!  Without you wonderful readers sending in finds like this one, Burbed would be nothing but… uh…. interesting real estate photos.  Like these!


Cupertino, CA 95014


SQ. FT.: 1,258
$/SQ. FT.: $755
LOT SIZE: 0.25 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81146749
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 61 days


imageHere’s why Tracy was kind enough to share this listing with us:

Get my award for scariest pictures . How about the price 999,988. Too bad I didn’t see this before Halloween

Well if Tracy liked it at $999,988, then how do you like it at $950K?  Other than taking out those lucky eights, this is a great find, especially if you always wanted to live near a world famous newsmaking site.  And while the news is over, there will be plenty of reminders, like the ten kajillion cement trucks that will drive past your house all day, every day.

Plus check out what the GoogleCam has for this home.


Now THAT is a million dollar look in Cupertino at only 95% the price!  HURRY, Spring Bounce is just around the corner, and so is access to this house!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

December 1, 2011

Huge lot with many possibilities in San Carlos

Here’s a San Carlos special for you, from Burbed reader Kirill!  Thanks very much!

Why is this house Special?  It has “the best local schools” and “convenient access anywhere on the Peninsula”! That means there are schools assigned to this location, which makes them the only (best) ones. It also means that the house is on a street that connects to other streets.

Maybe this agent didn’t take a logic class because we’ve already found two tautologies.  Or maybe this agent did take a logic class, because there are buyers who think “best local schools” actually means something.

399 WINDING Way, San Carlos, CA 94070


SQ. FT.: 780
$/SQ. FT.: $801
LOT SIZE: 0.37 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Cottage/Bungalow
VIEW: Neighborhood, Valley
COMMUNITY: Beverly Terrace
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81145448
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 33 days

Country-style cottage in natural setting. Tranquil and quiet neighborhood with views and trails in San Carlos hills. A getaway location with convenient access anywhere on the peninsula. Best local schools, and great place to raise a family. Huge lot with many possibilities.

imageHere’s why Kirill sent this property in:

Thought it would be good candidate for Burbed due to combination of  diminutive size, insane price per sq. foot, one car garage separated from the house by long stairs and suggestion that it would be a "great place to raise a family" in the description.

But it is a great place to raise a family! If you need some space, just say WOULD YOU KIDS GO PLAY OUTSIDE?!  And they’re going to get a LOT of exercise outside:



And it is a “getaway” location all right; somebody left the back door open and now there’s a rooster in the kitchen.


This picture makes my head hurt.  We have a desert color motif here with the sand-colored chairs and the off-white wall.  We’ve got palm tree action on the seat cushions; the candlesticks are suggestive of palm trees but lack fronds, the picture frame has starfish, I can’t figure out what’s in the picture/shadowbox but it looks like an upside-down palm tree trapped behind some shelving, and the actual yard, also framed, shows a rather sprawling bush that needs cutting back.  At least it echoes the top of the palm tree, but all that green is clashing with the living room.


Getaway… tranquil and private… natural setting… Did somebody say grow house?  Many possibilities.

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

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in Marin County!

We hope you are enjoying Burbed’s BLACK FRIDAY DEALS, where we will go to great lengths to find you the absolutely positively least expensive house we can.  Yesterday’s house was a bit of a surprise, being not really a house and not really land for sale and not really the sort of place you’d want to impress your co-workers with.  So today, we’re off to the land of hot tubs and aging hippies with money: Marin County!  How much would you expect the last expensive house to be?

This find was a surprise.  I set my Redfin search for all the houses in Marin County under $200,000 and I found exactly… one.  This one.  And it was for a lot less than $200K, too.

7425 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Lagunitas, CA 94938


SQ. FT.: 450
$/SQ. FT.: $200
LOT SIZE: 0.28 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential, Detached, Single Family
STYLE: Cottage
VIEW: Forest/Woods, Other
COMMUNITY: San Geronimo Valley
MLS#: 21126482
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 54 days

Cozy two bedroom cottage nestled amongst the redwoods in beautiful West Marin, just minutes away from some of the best hiking & biking trails Marin has to offer. Private and secluded location, perfect retreat to get away and enjoy nature. Hardwood floors, updated kitchen and claw foot tub. Home is in need of repairs so bring your imagination and hammer!

I don’t think your imagination is necessary at all.  Just bring the (sledge) hammer.







Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:03 am