January 16, 2011

More Haircutting While Chasing the Market Down

Last Sunday we looked at a feature from Zillow Blog: ten expensive home sales in 2010 from all around the country (but NOT the Real Bay Area).  Today we take another look at more hideously high-priced homes across the nation, only these 12 housing tumors still haven’t sold.

This Luxist article ranks the lucky nominees by price reduction in dollars (not percentages) taken along the way.  I put the listings in the correct order (the blogger had one in the wrong place), and added one more property that came out on Luxist after the list was published.

Best of all, we have a San Francisco entry this time, so we’ll take an extra good look at that offering.  Even in the RBA it’s possible to overprice something.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#1: Albermarle House Charlottesville, VA

Original Asking Price: $100 million (October 2009)

Reduced Asking Price: $48 million (February 2010)

Current Asking Price: $24 million

Haircut So Far: –76% ($76 million)

This behemoth in the Blue Ridge Mountains has 25,000 square feet, 45 rooms (including 8 bedrooms and 13 baths), but all the furniture and art has already been auctioned off, so sorry!  The 907 acre grounds include the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards (and that is also on the block).  Even places like this can get foreclosed on, but their loss is your gain!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#2: Henry T. Sloan Mansion – New York, NY

Original Asking Price: $64 million (January 2008)

Current Asking Price: $39 million (November 2009)

Haircut So Far: –39% ($25 million)

6 FL, 18267 SF, 15 BR/17 BA, 11 FP, 18 E 68th @5th, TAXES $79K, MAKE OFFER, SELLER DESPERATE.

“The owners have a real need to sell in the first quarter of next year, or sooner,” said Lawrence J. Selevan of Chesterfield Faring, a financial adviser to the owners. “They need to raise the capital to take care of other issues.” – New York Observer, 11/10/09

The current FBs bought their property for $20 million in 2007, then bought out all the tenants, one by one, for another $11 million, so they could turn the apartment building back into a townhouse.  The F-word has already been used and lis pendens was filed last January.  This property has the distinction of being on the 2009 list as well.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#3. Museum Tower Penthouse – San Francisco, CA

Original Asking Price: $70 million (August 2008)

Current Asking Price: $49 million (November 2008)

Haircut so far: –30% ($21 million)

Many properties have their own website when they go up for sale, but few use a description rather than an address: Museum Tower Penthouse.  You won’t find this place on the MLS, either.  But you will find it on the map, and Third and Minna doesn’t look like the RBA part of San Francisco.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>The owner doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to sell, with the price not budging in more than a year.  But this is not only the most expensive condominium in San Francisco, it may be the most expensive apartment anywhere, and $49M is one of the highest asking prices for any property in SF.

Then again, not many of those other properties are 20,000 square feet.  That includes 2900 sf over four terraces, a 2500 sf master suite, 5 other bedrooms, 7 total full bathrooms and 4 half baths, four fireplaces, a 13-seat cinema, an office with conference room, and parking for six cars.

According the Chronicle piece linked above, the owner lives for the most part in Hillsborough, so you may want to think about getting a country house in addition to this little pied-à-terre.  Perhaps your buyers’ agent can get you some kind of buy one, get one half off discount.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#4: Porcupine Creek – Rancho Mirage, CA

Original Asking Price: $75 million (March 2010)

Current Asking Price: $55 million (August 2010)

Haircut So Far: –23% ($20 million)

This resort masquerading as a private residence sits on 249 acres, 248 of which are a golf course.  The 18,400 sf metastasized mansion with 16 bedrooms isn’t large enough for visitors, as the lot boasts eight two bedroom guest houses as well.  The Yellowstone Club is selling (or should we say liquidating) to meet their creditors’ demands, and the bankruptcy court in Montana must approve your offer.  Divorce and lawsuits seem to be the cause.  Aren’t they always?

This home was originally ranked #2 on the list.  Why the author thought $20 million was more than $25 million is left as an exercise to the reader.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#5. Rocky Oaks Estate – Malibu, CA

Original Asking Price: $65 million (October 2009)

Current Asking Price: $49 million (November 2010)

Haircut so far: –25% ($16 million)

This 5 BR/5 BA hilltop lookout encompasses 37 acres, with not one foot of beachfront.  Kind of defeats having that Malibu address, doesn’t it?  As a consolation prize, you get a vineyard.  HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!  Only on market 459 days!  HURRY, THIS ONE WON’T LAST.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#6. Val Kilmer’s Pecos River Ranch  – 30 miles east of Santa Fe, NM

Original Asking Price: $33 million (early 2009)

Reduced Asking Price: $23 million (October 2010)

Current Asking Price: $18.5 million CASH (January, 2011)

Haircut so far: –46% ($14.5 million)

Even the website heading has Val Kilmer as part of the title.  And what a ranch, 5200 acres plus an additional 640 acres of grazing rights, right in the middle of the homicide capital of the Southwest.  The sales conditions are spelled right out here: you get all furnishings and appliances not owned by employees or reserved by seller.  That could mean none of them.  You get all the mineral rights not previous reserved – oops, same loophole.  In addition to the land you also get a 5500 sf main house with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 living rooms, and, get this: 2 kitchens.  You also get 2 guest houses, a manager’s house, and the usual equestrian facilities.

Just for grins, the IRS has a half a million dollar lien on the property.  And for another knee-slapper, Kilmer put the property up last October on Craigslist.  Final indignity: In 2006, Kilmer attempted to sell an 1800 acre parcel of the ranch, or a bit less than a third of it, for… $18 million.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#7. Michael Jackson’s Rented House – Holmby Hills (Los Angeles), CA

Original Asking Price: $38 million (April 2008)

Reduced Asking Price: $28,995,000(August 2010)

Current Asking Price: $23.5 million (October 2010)

Haircut so far: –46% ($14.5 million)

Yes, MJ was the tenant here, not the owner.  It’s just your basic 17,100 square foot 7 BR/13 BA French Chateau designed by Richard Landry off Sunset Boulevard.  Has the usual guest house and private cinema.  Ho hum.  Last sold for $18.5 million in 2004, and may very well sell for something a lot closer to that.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#8. The Razor – La Jolla, CA

Original Asking Price: $39 million (May 2008)

Reduced Asking Prices: $32 million(August 2010), $28.5 million (June 2009)

Current Asking Price: $25 million (February 2010)

Haircut so far: –36% ($14 million)

Perhaps the only home on the list with any architectural interest, The Razor was designed by Wallace E. Cunningham, with floor-to-ceiling windows set to take in the ocean views.  It’s 11,000 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, an 8 car garage and the obligatory guest house, set on 3/4 of an acre.  It also has a private entrance to Black’s Beach.

This is the extra house discovered Tuesday, after Luxist already published their 11 price cuts piece.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#9. Sea Lane Drive – Malibu, CA

Original Asking Price: $55 million (July 2010)

Current Asking Price: $45 million (December 2010)

Haircut so far: –18% ($10 million)

Never mind the 11,000 sf house with 7 bedrooms, 8.5 baths, guest house, theater.  Yawn.  Forget that it’s on 6.2 acres.  Meh.  No, this insane price is for the 339 feet of Malibu beachfront.

Do you know who this house belonged to?  Max Palevsky.  He died in May, so the house is for sale.  He founded some snack company that made chips.  They even have an office in Santa Clara!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#10. The Webb Project – Montecito, CA

Original Asking Price: $42.5 million (August 2010)

Current Asking Price: $32.5 million

Haircut so far: –24% ($10 million)

Yet another 6 BR/8.5 BA house with theater, guest house, and two three-car garages on five acres. Enough, already. Enough.

Its address seems to be 000 East Mountain Dr.  Can any of you sleuths find the date the price got reduced?  I’m having no luck with Redfin, which I like for its price history section. This is the only listing where I couldn’t get dates from either Redfin or real estate blogs.  It was still $42.5 million this October, from my one hit on a Montecito site.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#11. Flying Dog Ranch – Woody Creek, CO

Original Asking Price: $56 million (July 2009)

Current Asking Price: $46.2 million (October 2010)

Haircut so far: –18% ($9.8 million)

245 acres, next to National Forest, and close to Aspen.  Other than 11,000 sf, 9 bedrooms, 7 baths, there’s next to no details about the house. The value really is in the land, and the seller assumes the interest is only in the land, too.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#12. Villa Colina – Knoxville, TN

Original Asking Price: $21 million (June 2010)

Reduced Asking Price: $19 million (September 2010)

Current Asking Price: $12.5 million (November 2010)

Haircut so far: –40% ($8.5 million)

You get so much more for your money once you leave the coastal nexus of CA-NY-DC-FL.  You lose so much less when you can’t sell it, too.  Percentage-wise, though, you may take a pounding.

If you can figure out why someone built an Italian Villa in Knoxville, Tennessee, then you’ll can figure out how to sell it to the next victim, too.  This effronterous edifice is 37,000 square feet.  That’s right, it’s almost an acre of house, with 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.  The garage has room for 5 cars.  Just like those Southern California ego trips, it boasts a guest house and a cinema.

And speaking of Things One Really Doesn’t Need In Tennessee, this house comes with… a doorman?  The buyer should send him to property #2 where he’ll feel more at home.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

December 21, 2010

Cheapest House in Woodside

Another day, another DEAL as Black Friday sales continue until Christmas Eve!  So there were some complaints about yesterdays “Cheapest House in Portola Valley” not actually being in Portola Valley.  Well, we won’t make that mistake again with today’s DEAL.  This house is guaranteed not to be in Portola Valley!  Mostly.

6 Bret Harte Dr, Woodside, CA 94062


Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,540
$/Sq. Ft.: $321
Lot Size: 0.32 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cabin
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1966
Community: Skyline Area
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81022296
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 229 days

* * * Unbelievable value for SO much! * * * Mature Redwoods line the private road leading you home! Fantastic lot & house! Large LR DR combo w/ fireplace. Kitchen w/ breakfast bar. Lovely deck offering beautiful views of lush forest. Private Master Bedrm Suite w/ roof top deck! New Roof! Walk to the 4 Corners/Alice’s Restaurant. A MUST SEE HOME!!!

image Walk to Alice’s Restaurant?  Do they even let you in if you don’t drive up on a Harley or in a Tesla?  Use the money you save buying this house to pick up one of each!  Plus all this LR DR combo open space means plenty of room for your hobbies, be it square dancing or laser tag.

No funny business with the community going on here like yesterday’s house, either — other than a Woodside address in the Portola Valley school district conveniently located in what appears to be Sky Londa.  Don’t you just love those fun-loving folks at the post office?  What will they think of next?


Between them and the cut-ups at the bank making up these wishing prices, they could write a few decent sitcoms.  Hmm, foreclosed cabin in the woods, motorcyclists popping into the nearby restaurant at all hours, wacky neighbors running meth labs, the occasional venture capitalist?  This could work.


Now what were those clowns up to with the Fall 2010 pricing?  Were they trying to bring the RBA bubble back with just this one house?  If so, bid high on this place, because  Woodside Portola Valley Sky Londa La Honda The Real Bay Area is back, baby!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

December 5, 2010

How to Lose Ten Million Dollars by Investing in Real Estate

You know how to make a small fortune in real estate, right?  Start with a large fortune. 

This is a story of someone with a decent fortune who managed to lose it all, by buying can’t-lose inflation-proof real estate.  Let’s see how well that went.  Thanks to Burbed reader nomadic for sharing this modern morality play.

Family’s Fall From Affluence Is Swift and Hard

Published: November 25, 2010

WAMEGO, Kan. — Grateful to have found work in this tough economy, Nick Martin teaches grape growing and winemaking each Saturday to a class of seven students in a simple metal building here at a satellite campus of Highland Community College.  (photo, right)

Then he drives 14 miles in an 11-year-old Ford Explorer to a sparsely furnished tract house that he rents for $900 a month on a dead-end street in McFarland, a smaller town. Just across the backyard is a shed that a neighbor uses to make cartridges for shooting the prairie dogs that infest the adjacent fields.  (photo, below)

It is a far cry from the life that Mr. Martin and his family enjoyed until recently at their Adirondacks waterfront camp at Tupper Lake, N.Y. Their garage held three stylish cars, including a yellow Aston Martin; they owned three horses, one that cost $173,000; and Mr. Martin treated his wife, Kate, to a birthday weekend at the Waldorf-Astoria, with dinner at the “21” Club and a $7,000 mink coat.

That luxurious world was fueled by a check Mr. Martin received in 1998 for $14 million, his share of the $600 million sale of Martin Media, an outdoor advertising business begun by his father in California in the 1950s. After taxes, he kept about $10 million.

Photos: Steve Hebert, New York Times

In some ways, this story is similar to many sympathetic treatments of less wealthy people losing their homes due to not understanding the basics of finance.  If you owe more than you own, you’re not moving in the right direction.  And if you sign papers you don’t understand, you’re setting yourself up for a world of hurt.

What’s amazing is how Nick Martin still seems to think what happened to him is somehow somebody else’s fault, maybe multiple somebody elses.  Unlike the numerous victims of manufactured documents and hard-sell subprime Pay Option ARMs, Martin seems to have sought out what became his undoing.

I do recommend you read the article, but here’s the shorter Nick Martin: He bought a bunch of crap he couldn’t afford, so now he’s broke.  That’s a fairly common story, it’s just most of them don’t start with getting a phone call asking where you want your $14 million deposited.

Please share your advice for Nick Martin, or for anyone about to enter the exciting world of buying and selling real estate.  How would he have fared if he’d bought in the Real Bay Area instead? 

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

October 28, 2010

A Great Land Bank Opportunity

Today’s listing was sent in by burbed reader nomadic.  Thanks very much!

14050 Shannon Rd, Los Gatos, CA 95032

image Beds: 6
Baths: 8
Sq. Ft.: 6,138
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,384
Lot Size: 31.53 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: French
Stories: 3
View: Green Belt, Mountains, Canyon, Valley, City Lights
Year Built: 1998
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80788192
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 941 days

Sellers found their next property-Bring your offers. .This stunning residence captures the timeless refinement set on approximately 31.5 acres of gently rolling, pristine landscape. Annexation is complete in the town of Los Gatos Check with the Town on lot min 2.5 acres. 6 bdrms, 7 baths & 2 1/2 baths. This makes this home a great land bank Opportunity.

imageHere’s what nomadic had to say about this stunning residence:

On the market for 932 days. is that a record?  It’s been listed on and off for NINE years without a sale.  The price has been cut $2.3M since 2008 – that’s more instant equity than 1.5 median houses in this zip code.  The
realtor is keeping his optimism in the first line of the listing, “Sellers found their next property-Bring your offers.”

Wow, 932 days.  That’s like 932 years in Silicon Valley time measurement.  Let’s take a look.   If burbed readers can figure out why yesterday’s house wasn’t selling, I’m sure they can do it again!

And it’s Style: French.  How do you say, “You have got to be fracken kidding me” in French?  Or “Don’t you think they over-Photoshopped the green in that exterior shot?”

imageI don’t know if I’d call this style French.  These overdone rooms with saturated colors that belong on evening gowns rather than wall decor remind me of somewhere… Ah yes!  Another house that isn’t selling!

Mais non, nomadic, your submission is not a burbed record, because that house has been on Redfin for (zut alors!) 1284 days.

Maybe there is something about houses with curved stairways landing on white tile with black inset, or fussy little rooms in a color that will drive you mad inside of a week.  Do these properties have that certain je ne sais quoi?  Problem is, all the buyers are certain to have that je n’ai rien.

The Annexation is complete in the town of Los Gatos!  Toute résistance est futile.

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

October 1, 2010

???EVERYTHING that is Menlo Park at its FINEST???.

Let’s return to Menlo Park, where burbed reader Herve has another terrific find for us.  Fortunately, this one is on the Right Side of 101 and won’t cost you much more than the Wrong Side.

316 Yale Rd  Menlo Park, CA 94025


Beds: 4
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,720
$/Sq. Ft.: $840
Lot Size: 7,500 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1939
Community: Allied Arts/Downtown
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81008340
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 214 days

HUGE PRICE REDUCTION! Prime Allied Arts property. Great opportunity to remodel, or start fresh. Close to many schools, Walking distance to downtown Menlo Park, Stanford University and downtown Palo Alto. Nestled in the most prestigious Allied Arts neighborhood, directly and centrally located to ???EVERYTHING that is Menlo Park at its FINEST???.

Other than the bizarre last sentence, as agent copy goes this is reasonably literate.  There’s proper use of nouns, verbs, adjectives, punctuation, and the full range of capitals and miniscules.  So what’s the mystery about this house?  For $1.45 million, shouldn’t we get a few pictures inside?

The problem is the street name.   Not just anybody can show up and demand admission.  You have to fill out a lengthy application with letters of reference, transcripts, and overwrought personal essays.  A substantial bribe donation to the Development Department seller can work wonders.  Then, perhaps, you might earn a spot inside.

Then again, maybe listing a house on Yale near College, a block from University, has given the agent some foolish ideas.  Perhaps that marketing strategy doesn’t work as well for a house as it does for an Ivy League school.  The results speak for themselves: 214 days on Redfin.


Hint: To market the house as if it’s a top school, the price should be going up.

Comments (66) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

August 5, 2010

Old Palo Alto Exits the RBA

Today’s listing and comments are thanks to burbed reader Gallileo.  Many thanks!  Remember, if you see an interesting property for sale and would like to see it featured here, please email us a link to the listing and anything you have to say.  Alright, give it up for Gallileo!

Old Palo Alto, feeling ashamed at being only the third leading income city in the nation, has decided to leave the RBA (Real Bay Area).

1227 Fulton Street, Palo Alto, CA  94301

1227 fulton

SQ. FT.: 2,114
$/SQ. FT.: $639
LOT SIZE: 5,625 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Community Center
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81036220
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 14 days

Cozy 2-story home in highly desirable Palo Alto Community Center; 4b2bth, spacious LV & Dining rm; Private master bdrm upstairs; Quiet bckyrd w/ mature trees along property perimeter; Tree lined street, quiet neighborhood, surrounded by houses of stylish architectural details; Walking distance to libraries, community center, parks, schools; Short Distance to downtown shopping and restaurants

A nice old house on a nice old Palo Alto street, on the right side of Middlefield Road.  You can walk to Steve Jobs’ house, the children’s library, downtown and Rinconada park.

This area has just left the RBA because this house sold for $1.7 million in 2007 and is now on the market as a foreclosure at $1.35 million.  It was on and off the market all of 2009 at a wide variety of prices (always less than the 2007 price) but it didn’t sell.  A sad day for Old Palo Alto, but we’ll always have 94306!

Comments (30) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

August 3, 2010

What Ever Happened To…

Here’s a find from burbed reader Eric, who noticed something odd in Los Altos:

Subject: Los Altos short sale – what happened to 919 Lundy?

Hi,I browse though you site every once in a while – here’s a Los Altos home that seemed to have sold for a lot less than its last sale price – 33%! I’m wondering if there was a lot split or something since the price dropped so much.  If you find it interesting, too, maybe you can post it to to see how your readers react to this?

A 33% haircut?  That could never happen in the Real Bay Area!  Let’s take a look.

919 Lundy Ln, Los Altos, CA 94024


Beds: 6
Baths: 3.5
Sq. Ft.: 3,729
$/Sq. Ft.: $536
Lot Size: 0.49 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Spanish
Stories: 2
View: Mountains, Neighborhood
Year Built: 2005
Community: Country Club
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81011846
Source: MLSListings
Status: Sold

This is it! Beautiful custom built home with all the upgrades! Enchanting Spanish style home is located next to the exclusive Los Altos Country Club. The home features expansive cozy gourmet kitchen with hi-end Thermador Appliance, gas stove, breakfast bar, granite and marble finishes, family great room with cathedral ceilings, distressed wood floors and fireplace. Absolutely Enchanting!

The agent sure seems excited about this place, the expensive, sorry “expansive cozy gourmet kitchen” has a “hi-end Thermador appliance” and the wood floors are quite distressed.  I’d imagine the seller was distressed, too, at these numbers:

Property History for 919 LUNDY Ln

td>Inactive MLSListings #1

Date Event Price Appreciation Source
Jul 21, 2010 Sold (Public Records) $2,000,000 -8.9%/yr Public Records
Jul 20, 2010 Sold (MLS) $2,000,000 Inactive MLSListings #81011846
Mar 23, 2010 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #81011846
Mar 12, 2010 Listed $1,879,999 Inactive MLSListings #81011846
Apr 07, 2009 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #3
Feb 21, 2009 Price Changed $2,698,000 Inactive MLSListings #3 posted on burbed
Jan 21, 2009 Listed Inactive MLSListings #3
Nov 25, 2008 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #2
Oct 15, 2008 Price Changed Inactive MLSListings #2
Oct 01, 2008 Price Changed Inactive MLSListings #2
Sep 10, 2008 Price Changed Inactive MLSListings #2
Jun 10, 2008 Listed Inactive MLSListings #2
Mar 15, 2006 Sold (Public Records) $3,000,000 65.7%/yr Public Records
Nov 28, 2005 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #1
Oct 18, 2005 Listed
May 27, 2004 Sold (Public Records) $1,210,000 45.4%/yr Public Records
Sep 09, 2003 Sold (Public Records) $925,000 3.8%/yr Public Records
Aug 08, 1989 Sold (Public Records) $545,000 Public Records

Wow, the 2003 flipper must be pleased, but the 2004 owner did even better!  Buy an older house, tear it down, and rebuild in 2005.  The best hint I can find on how old: 923 Lundy next door was built in 1950.  No hint about a split lot, as 923’s owners have been there since 1994.

The sale records for 919, though, are fast and furious. Plus, according to PropertyShark, the 2004 buyer was not the 2006 seller.  A quick trip to the Santa Clara County Recorder’s Office (website) reveals a March, 2005 transaction, where the four owners of the house added an additional two more. Wow, is this a house or a hot potato?  Then, in 2006, all six owners sold the new construction to today’s featured knifecatcher.  And that lucky liener was under a $2,051,000 variable mortgage from IndyMac.  Anyone who realizes that this is $51,000 more than the house sold for last week gets a gold star.

Another couple bought the house in July, but the story doesn’t end with the new happy homeowners.  There are a few documents from the July sale, and one of them is a “Deed of Trust and Request Notice of Default” from Charles Schwab Bank. Anyone in a title capacity want to explain what that means?  The sale had the usual Grant deed, then a power of attorney from one buying spouse to the other, and a subordinate mortgage between the buyers and the Schwab bank.  But a NOD right on the day of acquisition?

I know!  We can ask California Notary Public Service!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

June 2, 2010


Here’s a guest post from madhaus, and it was burbed reader Herve who found this amazing listing!  Thanks, Herve!

15070 MONTEBELLO Rd Cupertino, CA 95014


SQ. FT.: 4,580
$/SQ. FT.: $600
LOT SIZE: 8.69 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Attached Single Family
STYLE: Mediterranean
VIEW: Mountains, Valley, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81023972
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 11 days


There are two interesting things about this luxurious Cupertino mountain listing.  First, any agent who still YELLS AT ME IN ALL-CAPS deserves to have their STUNNING ESTATE featured on burbed.  And second, it might be a multimegamillion dollar property, but TO TRULY APPRECIATE THE TRUE SPLENDOR OF THIS ESTATE, it’s also a short sale!

image Yes, it’s not every day that a 5 bedroom, 5 bath estate on 8 acres with 3 additional guest houses goes into foreclosure.  The seller is TRULY motivated, at least.  Just APPRECIATE THE TRUE SPLENDOR:

Financial Information

  • Lease Option
  • All Cash or Conventional
  • Seller May Carry 1st
  • Seller May Share Equity
  • Conventional Loan

You can lease now and think about buying later!  Or you can get a loan from the seller (yes, the same one who couldn’t keep current with his own payments)!  TRULY!  Heck, the seller needs money so badly, you can buy some of the STUNNING ESTATE if you can’t afford $2.749M.  (Although with four separate homes amidst this TRUE SPLENDOR, why don’t you simply REFINANCE ONE OF YOUR OTHER PROPERTIES AND PAY CASH?)

And this homeloaner certainly knows about creative financing!  TRULY!  When he bought the STUNNING ESTATE in 2004, he got a million dollar variable first mortgage from a bank, and an $800K fixed second mortgage from the previous sellers!  Thing is, the place cost $1.9M.  5% down?  Now that’s leverage!  So how did the owner of this TRULY STUNNING ESTATE use the leverage?  Looks like he tried to sell it early and often!

Property History for 15070 Montebello Road

Date Event Price Source
May 14,2010 Listed $2,749,000 MLSListings #81023972
Apr 10,2009 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #3
Nov 21, 2008 Price Changed $3,900,000 CupertinoHousingBlog
Oct 14, 2008 Listed Inactive MLSListings #3
Nov 13, 2006 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #2
Jul 10, 2006 Listed 14756490 (price reduced $500K)
Jun 05, 2006 Delisted Inactive MLSListings #1
Jun 01, 2006 Listed Inactive MLSListings #1
Jul 02, 2004 Sold (Public Records) $1,900,000 Public Records

When the STUNNING ESTATE was listed in 2006 (for the second time, mind you), here’s what the seller had to say:

  • Great haven as institutional retreat, or private agricultural/recreational resort
  • Perfect as multi-family compound or vacation reunion getaway
  • Price reduced over $500,000!
  • Prime location in Silicon Valley
  • Extremely rare combination of acreage, structures, landscape, view and MOSTLY FLAT LAND!
  • Convenient option to continue current live-in caretaker services

Easily one of Silicon Valley’s most unique and spectacular properties, this gem is proof that you can play hard at home, yet live in total seclusion and still be only 25 minutes driving distance from downtown San Jose. Nestled between award-winning wineries, this amazing 8.69 mostly flat acre compound is like owning your own little mountain village within a storybook forest setting.

[Read this rest here.]

imageRedfin shows a picture of the golf course (TWO holes!) but didn’t say anything about the bocce or basketball facilities, let alone a mirrored gym plus a rec center with full kitchen.  And a go-kart track!  So that’s what “Arena” meant, although most “little mountain villages” manage just fine without an arena for yodeling competitions.

So why did the seller remodel the main house and build so much on the MOSTLY FLAT LAND?  Maybe it’s because he’s a General Contractor!  And a Tile and Stone Contractor!  And just to be safe, another General Contractor!  TRULY, when all you have is a hammer and tiles and stone, everything looks like it needs a nail and more tiles and stone to get THE SAME HIGH-QUALITY WORKMANSHIP THROUGHOUT.  TRULY.

Alas, not only has the price come down since the housing market peaked, but so has the language.  In 2006, we got full sentences as well as a fully equipped rec center.  Now that this “gem” is in foreclosure, the bank won’t even let them spring for lower-case letters on Redfin.

But just one little caveat about this TRULY STUNNING ESTATE with the TRUE SPLENDOR.  Not only will you have to negotiate with the bank for “lender approval” of a short sale, it looks like you’ll also have to “negotiate possession” with the homeloaner.  With all those bedrooms on the grounds, at least your “negotiating” team can stay on-site in total seclusion while you “work out” your “differences” in the arena. TRULY.

Comments (46) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

September 9, 2008

Your chance to own a house that Steve Wozniak lived in – huge price cut!

300 Santa Rosa Dr, Los Gatos, CA 95032 MLS# 80812137 – Property Details

* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 5
* Bathroom: 4
* Year Built: 1986
* Lot Size: 51836
* Square Footage: 7500
* List Date: 5/30/2008
* Garage Spaces: 3
* MLS#: 80812137

THIS IS A UNIQUE HOME UNLIKE ANY OTHER! COMPLETELY CUSTOM BUILT HOME! This home is one of a kind contemporary master piece-sold WAY under valued. Live in the prestigous neighborhood on Santa Rosa Drive with unparallel views of the valley below! Beautiful contemporary estate. HUGE PRICE REDUCTION! MAKE YOUR OFFER!

Well, this is certainly an unusual house, and an unusual way to start the week. Let’s see what the anonymous Burbed reader who sent this in had to say:

I hate to pick on a house once owned by RBA-king Steve Wozniak, but I’ve been watching this one with interest for at least a year.It started at a $10 million list price and after at least four cuts, the realtor screams “HUGE PRICE REDUCTION! MAKE YOUR OFFER!”No kidding, what a bargain at $3.9M, huh?I actually feel bad for the flipper (or at least the financiers behind it), and even before the crash late last summer I thought he overpaid by a couple million.He paid $6.9 million after all.The bubble owner/sellers must be very happy now!

Oh, and the original website set up to market this house even had quotes of praise from Thomas Kinkade.(Yes, the franchised purveyor of so-called “fine art.”)

Wow! Wow! Wow!

This is your last chance to own a piece of Silicon Valley history. Imagine living here? It’s amazing. It’s stunning. It’s too awesome to believe!

And now, just $3.9 million. Could it be worth it?

Thanks anonymous Burbed reader for this amazing find and backstory!

Comments (165) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am