June 28, 2013

Make this 6 BR house into a 6 BR retreat and please buy it already

We’re taking another drive by Redwood City this week, but this time we’re headed for the hills. Emerald Hills, that is. Or Cordilleras Heights, depending on which realtard portal you choose.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader laurenatuw for this find somewhere in the Woodside zip code. 

130627-california-redfin645 CALIFORNIA Way
Redwood City, CA 94062

9 Beds
6 Baths
3,100 Sq. Ft.
$548 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2007
Lot Size: 0.32 Acres
On Redfin: 22 days
Status: Active
Property Type Detached Single Family
Community: Cordilleras Heights
MLS#: 81319700

Best lot in Emerald Hills. Excellent location. 3100 sq foot main house and guest house with additional 579 sq feet. Great possibilities await you. Make it into a 6 bedroom retreat.

130627-california-livingUnfortunately for us, we were unable to find the interesting photos that laurenatuw must have seen when sending this in:

wow, a gem

3100 square foot main house is apparently not big enough to have a couch that wouldn’t block the door.

and maybe they are simply suggesting projects by the abundance of remodel supplies in the pics: tractor, ladder, random plywood, traffic cone – its practically a where’s waldo of construction items hiding in a 1.7mill listing

Alas no remodeling supplies in the current pictures. And for 3100 feet of main house they’re being awfully skimpy on the photos, because here are the other two.


Fortunately, there are always some sites our there that take their sweet time updating listings.  Today we’re featuring a new one for you: HomeSwing.  (Wow, that sounds kind of sleazy, doesn’t it?  Maybe they arrange key parties.)

For Sale › California › Redwood City › 94062

130627-california-homeswing645 California Way
Redwood City, CA 94062
FOR SALE $1,680,000

  • $8,738/month
  • 9 Bedrooms
  • 6.0 Bathrooms
  • 3100 sq ft
  • Built 2007
  • Single-Family Home

Big Price Reduction. Beautiful Emerald Hills. Expansive 4 yr old home – 9 bdrms, 6 full bath. Main house 3100 sq ft & Guest house is additional 579 sq ft. 14000 sq ft Corner Level lot w/RV access & Electric gate. Backyard is large enough for a pool. (Pool plans already apprvd by design review board)

Property Highlights
  • San Mateo County
  • 9 Bedrooms
  • 130627-california-patio6.0 Bathrooms
  • Finished: 3100 sq ft
  • Built 2007
  • Geo Coordinates: 37.457, -122.276
  • ZIP: 94062
  • Days On Homeswing: 647

Wait, what… 647 days on market?  Unfortunately HomeSwing is leaving out some useful information, such as the MLS ID number so we could see just how old this listing is. But the 2011 copyright on the photos offer us a free clue.  (As do the exact same photos cached from California Moves, along with the MLS ID of #40541748.  As opposed to the other MLS ID of #40617479. Neither of which start with Lucky #8, so they’re probably dangerous.)

130627-california-couchThen we found a different couch blocking the door.

There was also a completely different random view from the second floor than in the most recent set of (only 4) pix. 

Plus a photo of the fence, in case you were worried there weren’t any.  Fences.

We’re sorry we couldn’t find the construction equipment scavenger hunt, but while we’re not finding any, feel free to predict just what the correct price level is to induce the proper overbidding.  This agent is off to a great start raising the price $20K on a house that didn’t sell in two years.


Bunus: Did you make your best price estimate? See how well you tracked Zillow’s Zestimates! They didn’t think this house was appreciating very quickly. It must have been built in one of those Not Actually In The Real Bay Area portions of an otherwise RBA zip code.


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

March 6, 2013

Bay Area Bubble 4.0: The Old is New Again

We’re covering the housing bubble 24/7 now that everyone’s paying attention to real estate again.  Today we have a lovely home in Redwood City that you may have seen before.  Take another look, while you still can!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for an excellent surveillance operation.

130305-esther-redfin715 ESTHER Ln
Redwood City, CA 94062

2 Beds
1 Baths
750 Sq. Ft.
$600 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1929
Lot Size: 4,790 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 33 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Cordilleras Heights
MLS#: 81303054

Beautiful view of bay and city lights. Additional 6900sqft lot to be sold with the property. The additional 6900 sq ft parcel of land CANNOT be developed upon per city and county building department. Building square footage 1130sf on public profile is incorrect, actual living area is about 750sf, Fixer-upper Sold "As Is" may not qualify for FHA.

This house’s list of tag may be bigger than it is.  Not only that, it has a history!


Here’s something it didn’t have last year (besides an extra hundred thou of instant equity you get now!): Redfin Agent Insights!


“Dead End,” “Completely gutted” and “Killer Views,” three phrases that don’t go well together after watching certain movies.  How about Zero Dark Thirty?

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

February 26, 2013

UPDATED: AOL tries being Burbed for a day: Let your imagination run wild


Updated 11:30 AMSecond house found; see end for details and plenty of pix!

AOL has been doing a real estate area for a while, including a series of videos and articles beyond the listings and search tools. Someone over there must have been reading us, because they did a piece discovering that (gasp!) there are very expensive yet definitely crappy houses for sale in the Real Bay Area.  Worse, they had the gall to call this an “AOL original.”

Have they been living under a rock? This has been our signature claim for more than seven years! Let’s listen in as self-important talking heads who don’t bother introducing themselves tell us what we already know.  (Warning: dude with beard is extra smug.)


M’kay.  There’s some really useless accompanying text, so our mission is to do a slightly better job.  Remember, it’s fairly easy to succeed when you set your standards this low.

Decrepit Homes in San Francisco Bay Area Fetch Top Dollar for Mountain Views

130225-aol-rwcBy AOL Real Estate Editors | Posted Feb 21st 2013 5:14PM

A sorry-looking shack, with deep cracks in the cinder-block walls and busted windows, that looks like it’s ready to collapse: You wouldn’t pay a dime for that, would you? OK, say it’s nestled in the gorgeous hilltops of the San Francisco Peninsula with no shortage of pristine mountain views. Now how much would you pay? More than $1 million? Well, that’s how much it’s going for.

130225-aol-wgWe’ve probably violated Fair Use by quoting an entire graf, because there’s only one more.  There’s also only two homes in the video, and only the more than $1 million OMFG Emerald Hills (Redwood City) place (shown above in a clip from the video) has mountain views.  The other (at left, also clipped from the video) is in Willow Glen, and didn’t seem to have any views beyond the neighborhood street.

We were able to find the place in Emerald Lake in about 3 minutes, and it definitely could use a big ol’ Burbed sloppy kiss, Of course it’s already pending.  This is the Real Bay Area we’re talking about!

130225-lakeview-redfin209 LAKEVIEW Way
Redwood City, CA 94062

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,490 Sq. Ft.
$856 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 0.38 Acres
On Redfin: 207 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Mountains
County: San Mateo
Stories: 1
Community: Cordilleras Heights
MLS#: 81228879

Incredible opportunity in Emerald Hills. Originally three lots under two APN#’s (APN #057-031-480 and APN #057-031-049) which have been combined into one lot at approximately 25,150 SF. The value is in the land and the views of the surrounding hills with easy access to 280. Walk the site and let your imagination run wild. Dream big and build new or renovate. Plans are available for viewing.

130225-aol-wg-kitchenWe didn’t have the same success in finding the Willow Glen weedery.  This one is similar to it (Craftsman style bungalow, over 12,000 square foot lot, to be sold as-is) but we don’t think it’s the right house.  Can any enterprising Burbed readers find the house in the video? 

Update: House in video found by Burbed reader Chris. See end of this article for details and photos. We’ll also throw in a break as this is starting to get long, so click on through!


Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

September 16, 2011

If you can’t jump in the lake, go jump off a cliff

Today’s listing is from frequent Guest Blogger and occasional Guest Editor sfbubblebuyer!  Thanks very much for this awesome property in, where else, Redwood City! 

The agent isn’t sure if it’s in “Emerald Hills” or Cordilleras Heights, but it’s that specialized knowledge, such as what neighborhood a given house is in, that explains why these professionals split a $60,000 fee to help buy or sell a million dollar piece of property.

For the first time ever, we have truth in advertising. At least truth in advertising on a street name. I present 503 Edgecliff Way.


503 EDGECLIFF Way, Redwood City, CA 94062


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 3,100
$/SQ. FT.: $321
LOT SIZE: 7,744 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
COMMUNITY: Cordilleras Heights
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81126139
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 85 days

Contemporary style modern home in Emerald Hills with highly desirable upgrades. Cherry & granite kitchen, contemporary lighting, large walk-in master closet w/ built-ins, double decks & patio, large back yard w/ beautiful landscaping, 2 car garage with built in storage, extra storage below house, extra room below house to build an in-law. Plus, a majestic view of the bay!

imageYou know you’re buying quality when you can bungee jump from your own driveway! They even conveniently sloped the driveway towards the house so that you will be alerted to heavy rainstorms by water flowing across your garage floor.

Or perhaps, if you’re more theatrically inclined, you could stage a neighborhood play of Romeo And Juliet since your front door is on it’s own balcony! How romantic! And you want character? Well, this fake-Spanish house comes with it’s very own OCTAGONAL WINDOW! Whoa! Don’t put a ball through that, you don’t want to know what it’ll cost to replace!

imageEnough of the outside! Inside we’ve got our standard granite, but blinged up a bit with Cherry! It comes with a wine fridge located right next to the oven, because cooling and heating devices next to each other screams "I have so much money I don’t care about thermodynamics!"

imageAnd what is this? A bathroom with all black fixtures? If you plan on using it for the help, don’t worry, they won’t be offended. The sink has built in cawluhms to class up the joint!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

September 1, 2011

Please make sure all doors are locked and lights off when leaving

Here’s a house direct from comments by Burbed reader (and occasional Guest Editor) sfbubblebuyer.


805 MOHICAN Way, Redwood City, CA 94062


SQ. FT.: 1,330
$/SQ. FT.: $508
LOT SIZE: 7,500 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Cottage/Bungalow
VIEW: Bay, Neighborhood, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Cordilleras Heights
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81135848
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 9 days

Great little single level, 1330 sq. ft, 3bdrm/1ba bungalow in Emerald Hills w/ pool. Tiny peak of bay. Roy Cloud School around corner. Location and price make this a winner! This home would be fabulous with some updating! CAR FORMS ONLY PLEASE. Please make sure all doors are locked and lights off when leaving.

Here’s what sfbb had to say about this house:

imageThat whole tract [area around Stony Hill Road] is picked clean right now. There were some SERIOUS crapfests that I was sure weren’t going to sell. Of course, the worst offenders have disappeared without being marked as ‘sold’ so I’m sure they’ll be back.

Here’s a house for you in the general area, a short sale listed for less than the 1999 sale price.As you can see, this piping hot potato was passed many times before it decided to burn the bejeebus out of the current holders. That’s gonna leave a mark!

No need to water your own lawn, either, all the water’s in the pool!

imageI’ve heard that school district is one of the most important priorities people have in buying a property, but including this photo (right) is ridiculous.

We got a Redfin agent tour on this place, too!  Let’s see how they’ll help us find our perfect home this time.


Agent listing descriptions sometimes reveal things they don’t mean to, such as the last line implying the housing price adventure is lurching toward its lonely conclusion.  Lock up and lights out, people.  And that other phrase: Tiny peak of bay.  This place for $875K was a tiny peak all right. A tiny peak price.


The bank can accept or decline your offer, even if your overbidding brings the price up to where it should be.  After all, it doesn’t want to get stiffed on the last house of the Mohican.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

August 9, 2011

You could live next to a castle!

I’m going to conduct a little experiment today.  Here’s guest blogger Divasm with a fine write-up of a visit to a house previously discussed in comments.  Now, it just so happened that I also wrote the same place up, as the listing just begged for the Burbed treatment.

But Divasm actually visited the house, and, better yet, took pictures!  So at some point in the future, no doubt when I’m scrambling for new material, I’ll run the column I wrote on this house, based on nothing but the listing itself. Then you can all tell me how much it sucks compared to this in-person, on-the-ground report.

So please give a warm, Real Bay Area welcome to Divasm with today’s featured listing in Redwood City, complete with on-site photos!

3676 HIGHLAND Ave, Redwood City, CA 94062


SQ. FT.: 2,320
$/SQ. FT.: $327
LOT SIZE: 7,800 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Bay, Mountains, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Cordilleras Heights
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81015121
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 492 days



First omen that this house will be, ahem, interesting is the freaking castle next door! Seriously, look at it – all you’re missing is a dragon and a moat.

highlanddoorThen you are welcomed by the lovely stained-glass homage to seagulls at sunset as you make your way into the house…

highlandfridgeYou’ll notice that either you are falling down drunk, or the floors are just a wee bit sloped as you travel back towards the kitchen where you find – holy 70’s chic Batman – wood paneling everywhere…I mean everywhere, including the fridge doors!

highlandwallcrackThen we go up the spiral staircase (yes, you read that correctly) to find that with the sloping floors downstairs come cracked walls upstairs…Highlandblueframenot just small cracks, some of these are big enough to someday open a portal to hell, I suspect. The best one is traveling diagonally through a blue painted window frame…apparently the owners spent all their dough on custom wood paneling for major appliances and couldn’t afford interior window sills?

According to the Redfin agent  notes there’s a view to be found up there so that makes it all ok I guess? But alas Burbed readers, this treasure is already pending, so you’ll have to find your own castle-bordering Mystery Spot of your own!

Comments (48) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

February 25, 2011

Serf’s Up in Redwood City!

Sometimes Burbed readers find a great house to share but can’t wait for us to write it up, post it and finally have it appear.  After all, we only post one house per weekday.  So instead they post the house to comments, and then we think, dang!  That’s such a terrific find, if only they’d sent to us for a write-up.  And sometimes we think, oh hell, we’ll write it up anyway!  So, you may have seen this before, but it’s getting the Full Burby!  Our thanks to Burbed reader Tuno for this insightful look at socioeconomic disparity.

Remember, if you prefer the element of surprise, you can always send listings and contributions to either burbed or madhaus (at) burbed.com.

367 Alameda de las Pulgas, Redwood City, CA 94062


SQ. FT.: 750
$/SQ. FT.: $679
LOT SIZE: 0.25 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Cabin
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cordilleras Heights
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81100851
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 43 days

Bank Owned Home located in one of the most desirable areas of upper Redwood City. This home offers 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, kitchen and living / dining room combo. The lot size is approximately . 25 acres. This home has great potential. Seller is extremely motivated – all reasonable offers welcomed.

Here’s what Tuno had to say about the house:

this is one of my favorite houses at the moment, because it is a perfect Serf House.  if you go to street view and look at it (you may have to scroll up the road a little), it looks like an ordinary very modest little house.  then turn around and see what is across the street.  Presto  -  you can be the live-out serf!!!
the house across the street may not be as magnificant as your examples, madhaus, but *they* don’t include serf huts.

Well, we’d best take a look at that Street View and see what Tuno is talking about!  Here’s the so-called Serf House we’re featuring today.


Not many Street View photos manage to fit three different houses on three different lots into one picture, but this one did it!  Wondering how?  Have a gander at those lot lines!


Hey, let’s have that peek at the house across the street, because its profile is wider than it is deep.


Whoa!  The other place had both neighbors elbowing their way into the picture, but this housing tumor just crowds the lens!  After looking at this across-the-street view, you’ll feel like you live in picture #9 from the listing:


They’ve even left the door open for you!  Maybe the current live-out serf is hard at work threshing the wheat.  No wonder the seller is extremely motivated!

Comments (18) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

September 15, 2010

Pants on Fire in Cordilleras Heights

Redwood City Spectacular continues with another great find from Burbed reader sonarrat. Here’s a typical “A million dollars for THIS?” kind of house.  I mean, a million dollars is a lot of money.  For a million dollar property, the listing ought to be grammatically correct, relatively free of spelling errors, and use lower case letters as well as capitals.

778 Canyon Rd Redwood City, CA 94062


Beds: 4
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,310
$/Sq. Ft.: $801
Lot Size: 6,700 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1948
Community: Cordilleras Heights
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81039024
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 32 days

THIS HOME HAS 2,220 S. F. OF LIVING SPACE. IT IS 12 YEARS OLD ONLY, TOTALLY REBUILT IN 1998. FABULOUS EMERALD HILLS LOCATION!!! Desirable location. 4 bed, 2.5 baths. Kitchen has professional Vicking chef stove and Birch cabinets. Master suite has custom windows and stone fireplace. Seller is very motivated bring your offer.

So much for the request for lower case.  Can’t wait to see the Vicking chef stove!

Recently a new Burbed reader spoke out in favor of honest and experienced Realtors.  So is this listing honest? Let’s review, shall we?

Redfin Property Description Agent’s Listing Description
Sq. Ft: 1,310 THIS HOME HAS 2,220 S. F. OF LIVING SPACE.
Community: Cordilleras Heights FABULOUS EMERALD HILLS LOCATION!!!

Hmmmm.  Which to believe, which to believe.  First, the neighborhood.  Is it Emerald Hills or Cordilleras Heights?  Let’s ask City Data.


The dark border is City Data’s definition of the Emerald Lake Hills neighborhood, or at least something called Emerald Hills.  The two names are used almost interchangeably.  Let’s see where this house is using the map above:


Why, it’s not in the brown-bordered area at all.  Is this map saying that the house in question is NOT in “Emerald Hills”?  (Those colorful areas are Census tracts, showing income ranges.)  Let’s look at a street map to be sure about the neighborhood.


Anywhere near the actual hills?  Barely.  And closer to Alameda than the lake.  Let’s do a hill check.  Good thing there’s a topo map available.


The house is either just above or just below the 100 foot line.  Not much in the “hills” when the lake the neighborhood in question is named for is over 400 feet up.  This house barely qualifies as in the foothills, also known as Piedmont, which is in the East Bay, which is so Not Real Bay Area, which therefore kicks this house out of the RBA by association alone.

Now, what about this huge discrepancy on the size of the house?  Which is it, 1310 or 2220 square feet?  Perhaps propertyshark (account required) can explain matters:

Sq. ft. 1,310
Finished sq. ft. 1 1,110
Building sq. ft. 2,250
Basement sq. ft. 200
Basement unfinished sq. ft. 940
Garage sq. ft. 940
Lot size 6,700
Acreage 0.15

The building is 2,250 square feet, of which 940 is an unfinished basement (or maybe a garage), and 200 is presumably a finished basement.  And amazingly, 1,110 (finished square feet) plus 940 (unfinished basement or garage) plus 200 (finished basement) is… 2,250… building square feet.  Within 30 sf of what the listing said.  Except you aren’t supposed to count the garage or unfinished basement in a building’s square footage. That’s why the house is quoted as 1,310 sf, which is the finished house plus finished basement.

And the year built is pretty dubious too.  Unless the house was torn down, bulldozed, and a completely new house put up in 1998, what the listing says above is misleading at best and probably close to the l-word (and no I do not mean love).  And if the county doesn’t know about the original house getting scraped, then obviously nobody bothered to get a permit.  Even a remodel requires permits, and remodels don’t change the year a structure was built in the first place.

Then again, propertyshark says this place is a 2 bedroom 1 bath, so something funny is going on.  And that would explain how a house “totally rebuilt” in 1998 is only assessed for $101,000.

Perhaps the lights on either side of the exterior are kept lit in search of that honest Realtor.

UPDATE: Price dropped to $989,000 after 35 days on market.

Comments (94) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

September 14, 2009

Redwood City palace with amazing columns!

504 ALAMEDA DE LAS PULGAS, Redwood City, CA 94062 | MLS# 80933551
504 ALAMEDA DE LAS PULGAS Redwood City, CA 94062
Price: $1,159,988

Beds: 5
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 3,950
$/Sq. Ft.: $294
Lot Size: 9,350 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: Bi/Split Level
Year Built: 2004
Community: Cordilleras Heights
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80933551
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 35 days
Reduced $190,000 for a quick sale. Stunning custom designed 5 Bed/4 Bath. approximately 3950 Sq. ft. of charming living space. Elegant finishes and materials. Open floor plan featuring three bedrooms two baths upstairs and two-bedroom one-bath downstairs, In-law unit with separate entrance. Beautiful hardwood floors, Double Paned Windows, Crown Molding and Skylights. Easy access to Highway 101 & 280

Thanks to Burbed reader M.R. for this amazing find.

WOWSERS! Check out those columns. Right there. $1 million dollars.

But wait, there’s more! It’s even got an in-law unit (cha-ching!) and allt he nicest materials.

And did I mention: COLUMNS!

Here – let’s take a quick look at one of your neighbors:


You know, usually they tell you “Buy the worst house in the best neighborhood.” But guess what – sometimes it’s ok to have a special treat. You’ve made it. Go for it. Buy the nicest house on the street.

Just think about how jealous the neighbor must feel everyday. His pride of ownership is far less than yours!

Comments (31) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:36 am

September 10, 2009

The best, most important, Redwood City house ever

41 BOTANY Ct, Redwood City, CA 94062 | MLS# 80941626
41 BOTANY Ct Redwood City, CA 94062
Price: $1,899,995

Beds: 4
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 4,420
$/Sq. Ft.: $430
Lot Size: 0.28 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Traditional
Stories: 2
View: Bay, Neighborhood, City Lights
Year Built: 1988
Community: Cordilleras Heights
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 80941626
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 3 days
Gorgeous recently remodeled home. Incredible partial Bay view. Immaculate condition, soaring high ceilings, gourmet chef’s kitchen w/ stainless steel appliances, large master suite w/ stunning bath, elegant extra bonus rm. for entertainment ctr. etc. , custom designed with exquisite finishes throughout, large three car garage w/ extra storage. Lush gardens and yard perfect for family entertaining.

Thanks to Burbed reader RinkRat for sending this in. This is what he had to say:

Check out the realtard’s description on this one.    There must have been an adjective sale at the Dollar Tree, because he used all the good ones in one paragraph…How exquisite!

Well… sort of. Here are some other terms that I usually see in Bay Area listings that I think are noticably missing here:

  1. Rental income for garage.
  2. Instant equity waiting for you to be unlocked.
  3. Great for first time buyers (who like to buy million dollar homes)
  4. Great schools (compared to ones in Somalia)
  5. Environmentally friendly.

Can you think of other adjectives that this house is missing?

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:51 am