September 22, 2013

Post some comments or else… Part Deux

20130921-dog-gunYou enjoy this site? Well, then, this requires your assistance. Good content needs good comments to keep more good content coming.

Yesterday we threatened a stock photo of a house if we didn’t see more comments pronto. Today, we up the ante.

Remember this iconic image?

And if you’re too young to remember it, well, you can read it, can’t you?

Thought you could.

We don’t think we have to spell it out, now, do we?

Fine. We’ll spell it out. Post some more comments or the dog gets it.

And don’t give us any crap about this dog probably being dead already since the magazine cover was from January, 1973. He’s been brought back to life… in Bucharest.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, not that that ever made any difference.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:09 am

September 21, 2013

Post some comments… or we burn this house down

130920-arson-commentAlright, so the site’s been having some access and downtime issues. We know, but we can’t do anything about it. Do you see us complaining?

Well, yes. Yes, you do.

Too many of you are giving up instead of pressing Reload over and over and over until the 502 Bad Gateway error goes away. So, it’s come to this. Make some comments so we know you’re reading… or this innocent stock photo of a house, who hasn’t hurt anyone at all except for the Photoshopper who get second degree burns adding the extra flames… gets it.

And think of all the other innocent houses who will have an even worse fate. That’s right, if you don’t speak up in comments, thousands and thousands of houses will never get a chance to appear on the front page of Burbed ever. Now think about it, that means your house may never appear, even if you wanted it to be famous!

Reload, respond, and refresh.  Not just a good idea. It will keep the houses posted.  And at room temperature.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

November 2, 2012


Here’s a find from Burbed reader hikelife.  Did you always want to live in a million dollar mansion?  If you have that million you could live in Sunnyvale instead!

121101-labella-redfin1354 LA BELLA Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94087

3 Beds 
1 Baths 
1,034 Sq. Ft.
$967 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1950 
Lot Size: 9,576 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 1
Community: Sunnyvale
MLS#: 81239620


Does this house look familiar?  It should, because it showed up in comments yesterday.  We’ll let you use that worthwhile section to admire how hard this agent is working for that $60,000 commission.  A word and a photo, both!

We’ll leave you with a peek at the actual house (which would have raised the agent’s commission to $80,000).


Super bunus!  Ginormous trash bin!

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

September 4, 2012

Retro Avatars are now Retroactively Available

120904-status-avatarsSay goodbye to the “mystery man” default avatar in comments.  Now they’ll be marked by a random pixelated identifier. And we’re not only doing it live, we’re doing it #retroactively.  Check your old comments; you’ll see you now have a unique retro avatar if you haven’t already set one up via Gravatar.

Insects, robots, monsters, vehicles, and some… you don’t want to say.  It’s a low-res Rorschach test! Feel free to whine about this change or let us know what some of the avatars remind you of.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 1:06 pm

April 17, 2012

UPDATED: Two Million Dollars for a Sunnyvale House. Good Luck with That.

Recently, we took a look at a house in Midtown Palo Alto that a number of commenters thought was overbuilt for the neighborhood.  That reminded me of a similarly situated structure in Sunnyvale, so I pulled it up for nostalgia’s sake.  What a delightful surprise to discover that it’s once again for sale!  It was relisted just in time for April Fool’s Day, and at the same attractive price as it was three years ago.

Sunnyvale, CA 94087


BATHS: 4.5
SQ. FT.: 4,790
$/SQ. FT.: $417
LOT SIZE: 8,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: French
STORIES: Tri-Level
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81211851
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 7 days

Extraordinary six-bedroom, four and one half-bath custom estate perfect for executive lifestyle of luxury and unmatched class. Within this showcase home you will find a remodeled ONE-OF-KIND gourmet kitchen featuring best-in-class appliances with close access to the formal dining room, casual family room and truly alluring outdoor venue that is perfect for entertainment.

120406-valcartier-kitchenThis time around, they’re not letting us see the inside.  And it would need a lot of pictures, because this property has a FAR of 0.60.  That can’t even be LEGAL in Sunnyvale. 

But, this is a Custom Bahl Home!  And if you haven’t heard of Bahl Homes, they built a few tracts around Silicon Valley, including some zero lot line curiosities and the snout-house “patio homes” just around the corner from this place. Now that they’re done with building tracts, they remain as a real estate company. Fortunately for us, today’s house has its own webpage on Bahl’s site, with pictures even!  We don’t know when these were taken, though, as it’s been listed and sold many times since its construction.  Have a look at those pictures and more, after the break.


Comments (68) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

March 16, 2012

Truly manificent & elegan: It’s more classy that Cupertino

We get all kinds of fan comments at Burbed.  (If you’re not reading the comments as well as the articles, you’re missing out on a lot.)  Here’s one that recently came in on a house that ran in November.  November, 2010. 

First, the old listing.  This seems like a fairly typical treatment of a property with some lexically lacking listing copy.


Here’s what our new fan, Kim, had to say about our helpful home hugging.  We’ve included a few pictures of the house under discussion, available to anyone with a search engine.

120313-rankin-kitchenThis is the most nasty real estate blog I’ve ever read. I’m surprised that nobody has filed a lawsuit against you for slander.

For the record, I live in Saratoga and know the Vendome area quite well because a few friends live there. Rankin and Ayer streets are full of beautiful houses. Did you ever visit the area? It’s more classy that Cupertino.

120313-rankin-fridgeThere are a few bail bonds offices since the County jail and court are approx 1 mile from the area. That’s all.

I know 2 attorneys and 3 engineers who reside on this street.

Pl be careful with your writing. It’s not funny. Put yourself in the shoes of the vendor.

120313-rankin-bedroombtw, I’m not in the real estate business. I wonder if you hold grudges against the vendor or the listing agent.

Given that Burbed has run a different home listing every single weekday for more than six years, our having a grudge against this particular “vendor” or listing agent is not very likely. 

Maybe Kim has a relationship with the vendor or listing agent and wanted us to take another look at this house.  And we’d be delighted to, because it’s still  for sale!

130 RANKIN Ave
San Jose, CA 95110


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 1,852
$/SQ. FT.: $297
LOT SIZE: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: French
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Central San Jose
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81200563
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 67 days

REGULAR SALE! Motivated Seller * * Home nested in a truly manificent & elegan vendome neighborhood, a rare find * * * Format entry, Seperate D/Room, Gracious L/Room w/ fireplace, French doors & windows * * Hardwood floors * * Partial basement * * Conveniently located, near light rail, Japan Town, minutes to freeways and shopping centers.

120313-rankin-old-listing-boxes120313-rankin-new-listing-boxesLooks like over the past year and a half, this house has had its price cut 21 percent and also managed to misplace two full bathrooms while not losing a single square foot.  That must have happened with the Format entry.

But it gets even better this time! The house is no longer a Colonial.  For $149,000 less, you now get a French chateau.  C’est magnifique!

Also, can one slander a listing?  We can think of one way, but never was this house’s repute ever discussed, for good or ill. 

But don’t just point the finger at this blog.  Even the Redfin agent is gossiping about this house!


Is she suggesting that entertaining be done downstairs and, um, other things up?  That might be an even better money-maker than the Jail Annex suggestion last time.  Thanks, Jane!

Comments (28) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 15, 2011


Yet another terrific find came up in comments.  Our thanks to Burbed reader Tuno for finding this… indescribable property, where thought, labor and love… couldn’t come up with a copywriter who could pass high school English.

2544 Butch Dr, Gilroy, CA 95020


BATHS: 9.5
SQ. FT.: 10,300
$/SQ. FT.: $485
LOT SIZE: 10.21 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Mediterranean
VIEW: Mountains, Valley, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Morgan Hill/Gilroy/San Martin
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81105945
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 19 days


Here’s what Tuno had to say about this, um, listing:

pretty incredible, esp. for Gilroy

Then Burbed reader nomadic nails it:

The first pic look straight out of a Shrek cartoon.

imageToo bad this owner EXSPENDED so many YEARS with THOUGHT, LABOR and LOVE, because this property is the OWNERS VISION OF THE ULTIMATE EQUESTRIAN ESTATE.  Perhaps it would be yours too? 

As featured in the most recent Thomas Kinkade, Painter of Light, gallery tour of East Tracy.  I think that means he doesn’t use very much paint.  Like just one coat.


Maybe the exterior is by Kinkade, but this staircase at right was obviously designed by M.C. Escher.  They could have used something like this in Inception to keep the assassins from finding them so fast.  Also wouldn’t it be great to see a freight train knock down that statue?


Oh dear, is that… our first sighting of… that hallmark of CLASS and KULCHUCH?  It’s hiding in the back left.


No I must have imagined it.  Nothing but overdone French provincial dining set, probably not even included with the house.




A sky you can’t believe in.  They must have had Kinkade paint that too.


The horse facility is actually better than most of the houses we feature, although that really isn’t saying much.  W 8STALL.  But remember, this is on the ADJOINING 10AC PARCEL.


All set to put in a vineyard… as long as you can come up with about four million acre feet of water.  And once you do, then you’ll have your RESORT LIKE OAIS.

Comments (16) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

December 6, 2009

How much is your school’s suggested donation? Part 2

Let’s continue this discussion!

How much is your school’s suggested donation? | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog –
How much is your school’s suggested donation?

Live in a Mansion Condo in Menlo Park! | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog –

SiO2 Says:
November 4th, 2009 at 7:34 am

Las Lomitas elem school foundation has a suggested donation of $1100 per child. AFAIK this is the highest among RBA schools. Most are around $700.

SiO2 Says:
November 6th, 2009 at 6:54 am

The amounts are usually published in the foundation’s newsletter.

Saratoga and Los Altos elementary are around $700.

The donations pay for things that are now extras in elem school, like art, music, P.E. Districts that don’t have the foundations may offer these but will charge the parents. Or they may not offer them at all.

On the bright side, property taxes are low if you held your house for 20 years. And those folks probably don’t particularly care about schools anymore.

So CA school spending is around $5500 for most schools (revenue limit) but is higher for ones that are funded by local prop tax (e.g. Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Palo Alto) – these range from $8000 to $12000. I’m not sure if those figures include the foundation donations are not.

Whereas in NJ (Burbed’s favorite) school spending between $12k and $20k per student!

It’s puzzling why it’s so low here. Our taxes are not as high as Rush Limbaugh would have you believe, but they are not particularly low either. The only thing I can come up with is that there’s relatively more children here per taxpayer. Or we spend money on other things – but we are low on spending on roads and infrastructure too.

Mike Says:
November 6th, 2009 at 7:55 am

Los Gatos suggests $600 for family with 1 child, and
$900 for family with multiple kids.

gallileo Says:
November 6th, 2009 at 10:12 am

Ahh, a subject near and dear to my heart. The PIE foundation for my kid’s schools in the slums of Palo Alto recommend $650 for one, $1350 for two and and $1950 for three.

Either someone can’t do simple multiplication problems or they really believe that multiple kids per family are more burdensome to the system than one.

This is all in addition to the PTA requested donations, which vary between schools, but average around $350. So I guess the total is $1000 per student in the slums of palo alto.

But don’t forget the library donations or the pertpetual fundraisers (you would think they could pick decent restaurants, but they don’t.)

Actually there’s more… here’s what else gallileo sent to me:

Hi Burbed,

You asked for a few of the donation appeals. Mostly they just hit the round file (after I donate–yes, the guilt trips work). But here are a couple from the Palo Alto Partners in Education newsletter that hasn’t met its maker yet.

Funniest thing is that the need for money never changes.


From the September 2009 PiE newsletter

Skelly says the district will work hard to be financially responsible and he hopes the community will continue to support our schools.  But he admits there are tough challenges ahead.  “I don’t think any one part of this solves our problem.   We have to be a little smarter and a little more careful with our resources.  It’s a combination of parcel tax, parent support, budget cuts, and using reserves that can put us in a position where we’re as strong as we possibly can be to meet the needs of kids.”   And the role of PiE will increase in importance in the face of the budget challenges over the next few years.  “My sense is that we’re really fortunate to have PiE at this point,” Skelly adds.  “In a strong economic headwind, people are still stepping up.  And I think those people who have the resources now have a special responsibility to help support the schools.”

From the November 2006 newsletter:

Klausner said it would be great if the district had more money for personnel resources.  “Letting the math specialists have more time to get into the classrooms, to be there with the teachers when they’re teaching and then documenting and sharing the best teaching strategies across the district — I think everyone would benefit tremendously from that, but like many things, it (this math specialist program) is way under-funded.”

Can someone explain how math specialists work with teachers? How does this all work?

And why aren’t these schools asking for more? If a private school like Harker can ask for $35,000 a year, why can’t these public schools ask parents to caught up at least $3,500?

The other day someone told me this stunning fact: “The grades of students were better before education became public and mandatory by the government.”

Let’s face it, isn’t it time we ended public school and privatized it so that only those who can afford get educated? That’ll definitely help our statistics!

Just a thought.

Comments (71) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:13 am

September 21, 2009

Silicon Valley home sales dip in August; fewer bargains on the market – San Jose Mercury News

The other day a Burbed commenter wrote this:

Valley’s uptick eclipses state: As California faces long, slow recovery, local economy poised for quick rebound with tech help – San Jose Mercury News | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog –
mike Says:
September 16th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I hate the Merc.

It’s always rah rah bull; almost worse than realtards.


Well how about this then!

Silicon Valley home sales dip in August; fewer bargains on the market – San Jose Mercury News
For the first time since January, both the number of homes sold in Santa Clara County and their median price fell from the previous month, a surprising reversal in a housing market that had been steadily climbing out of the burst real estate bubble.

Home sales plunged 21 percent in August from July, a sharper drop than in any other Bay Area county, and the median price dropped to $515,000, a 5 percent decline from July and down 13 percent from August last year, according to a report Thursday from MDA DataQuick.

The numbers appear to reflect just how fragile the market is, with real estate professionals and analysts offering a number of varying reasons for the month-to-month changes, from fewer foreclosed properties listed for sale, to new rules that have resulted in longer escrows, to higher mortgage rates.

“Part of the midsummer pause in the market could have been caused by home shoppers becoming frustrated by market conditions they didn’t anticipate,” John Walsh, MDA DataQuick president, said in a statement released with the report, citing fewer cheap foreclosures and the high number of all-cash deals and multiple bids. “It might have driven some back to the sidelines,” he said.

The nine-county Bay Area saw the median price of previously owned single-family houses fall 8 percent from July, to $375,000.

“It’s not unusual to get 10 offers” on “reasonably” priced foreclosure properties, said Judi Seip, an agent with Coldwell Banker in Cupertino.

Some are intentionally underpriced, other agents said, which sometimes means 20 or 30 bidders make offers.

One of Seip’s clients recently offered about $16,000 more than the asking price on a home priced about $440,000, and had a 50 percent down payment, but still lost the house to another bidder. Seip said she’s working with several buyers who hope to find homes and close escrow by Nov. 30, which is the deadline to purchase a home and receive a credit of as much as $8,000 on federal taxes, an element of the economic stimulus plan. “What happens in December is anybody’s guess,” she said.


See? It’s not always rah rah news. But there’s no need to despair… it’s clear that the reason for this is that interest in houses have simply taken a nap. There’s so much hot startup activity right now (and look! facebook is break even!) that people don’t have time to shop around for houses.

Come this spring… back to July 2007 prices! You heard it here first!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 6:58 am

August 27, 2009

Foster City Elementary School overcrowding and information for parents

Cupertino School District Overflow information | SF Bay Area Home Price and Mortgage Insanity Blog –
Real Alex Says:
August 26th, 2009 at 1:43 pm

Cupertino, heh… If you want to see real disaster, stop by Foster City Elementary at Edgewater. This is a trailer park and war zone at the same time. They over enrolled about 200 kids last year! I don’t know exact stats for this year, but from what I’ve heard it’s not much better. School has about 900 students now and enrollment is going up to 1000 this year, though it was originally designed for 600. In the beginning of last year they had one big class of ~100 kids with 2 temp teachers from other schools and volunteers who were… students from the middle school nearby. It reminded me something… temp schools I’ve seen in Somali… But this was actual school with 900 rating in the middle of Silicon Valley.
This year they had to close all main permanent buildings because of poor condition long overdue maintenance. So, now it’s a set of trailers. Proposition to build another elementary school was rejected by the city. Instead city allocated land for new commercial development. Good job, Foster City. Way to stay in the RBA!

I agree. Let’s face it, children are not the future. Let me say it again. Children are not the future.

Prop 13 made that clear in 1978. Children don’t add to communities, they take away from them. All they want is more more more. Does building a school help bring more $200k jobs to Bay Area? Does building a school make it so you can drive 1 block to go to Best Buy/Bed Bath Beyond/Target instead of 5 miles? Of course not. Investing in children is a net loss.

Good job, Foster City! You certainly did pick the right priorities.

Comments (77) -- Posted by: burbed @ 4:06 am