July 29, 2013

A house near intrigue, excitement, sex & piles of cash

Tired of your boring life working in a cube farm and returning to your apartment farm? This listing is for you! Best of all, it’s in the center of happening stuff. That’s right! Mountain View!

Thanks very much to Burbed reader dollarbin for not only sending us the listing, but the amazing story that goes with it. Or next to it. Or, if you don’t read this article, may involve the next owner.

130728-tyrella-redfin620 TYRELLA Ave
Mountain View, CA 94043
$899,000

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
1,833 Sq. Ft.
$490 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2002
Lot Size: 4,978 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 59 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Whisman
MLS#: 81318701
Style: Traditional
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Gorgeous light & bright 2-story home! Almost new-11 years old! Gourmet kitchen has granite counter tops. Sep Family Room has gas fireplace. Living Room is perfect for Downstairs 4th BR! Formal dining room. Gleaming hardwood floors & new carpeting. Master suite features spa-tub & walk in closet. Redwood deck is perfect for outdoor entertaining. Large 2-car garage. Lush Landscaping. Mt View High!

130728-tyrella-gleamingWell that’s pretty exciting, an eleven year old house calling itself almost new. We guess if you compare it to the typical Mountain View Eichloid put up in 1956 this place was practically finaled yesterday. If only they’d put in confetti tile to get with the 2010s.

And if the gleaming hardwood floors aren’t enough high drama, then the following story directly from the same block as this house certainly will be.

 

Blind date robbers strike a third time

by Nick Veronin, Mountain View Voice Staff
Uploaded: Friday, June 7, 2013, 4:33 PM, Updated: Monday, June 10, 2013, 10:46 AM

They did it again.

For the third time in just over a week, a man was lured to the 600 block of Tyrella Avenue believing he would have sex with a woman he met online on top of a bed covered in money. Unfortunately for this man — and the two others who were duped before him — instead of taking a roll through cold hard cash, he was rolled for his cash.

130728-tyrella-rolling

You can read the entire story at the link above, and yes, all three of these dudes actually believed they were going to meet a woman whose fantasy was to “make the beast with two backs on a bed full of Benjamins.”

We absolutely swear that is a direct quote from the Voice.

If only one of these men had bought this house instead of showing up at a rental apartment building, they wouldn’t have had any spare cash to get rolled for. Instead, they could have met a woman online who would join them on top of a bed which is in turn on top of a house covered by an even huger pile of money (never mind that most of it belongs to the bank).

Plus, it would be much harder for her to steal the money that way. Unless she’s with the bank.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am






July 14, 2013

Agent Scammer to the Slammer for a fixed 15

Let’s have some more news about our favorite people: realtards. Or at least one particular realtard who was particularly clueless. Pro Tip: If you’re going to pull off a classic Ponzi real estate scam, don’t do it to your own friends and family. Pick people who won’t be continually reminded of you. They’re less likely to notice there’s a problem, and even if they do, they’ll keep forgetting to do something about it.

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for passing this story along.

San Jose real estate agent who scammed friends and family gets 15-year sentence

130713-ponzi-mugshotBy Eric Kurhi, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   07/10/2013 06:10:02 PM PDT; Updated:   07/11/2013 12:12:36 PM PDT

SAN JOSE — A real estate agent has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for using a Ponzi scheme to bilk friends and family out of more than $2 million, which she spent on luxury cars, expensive clothes and fancy furniture, according to prosecutors.

Jill Marie Silvey, 51, was convicted earlier this year in Santa Clara County Superior Court of 52 fraud-related felonies. Her scam involved convincing at least 20 investors to lend their money to homeowners whom Silvey had dealt with before. The homeowners would then send the investors monthly interest payments.

Unfortunately, there are still plenty of real estate agents out there not going to jail. Some of them might not have even scammed anybody!  This a good time to let us know your agent stories, both good and bad.

PG notes “She reportedly asked if we could refinance the sentence to a 5/1.” 

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am

June 23, 2013

Landlords from Hell settle for jail instead

Here’s a cheery story for you if you don’t like your landlord, as it will set things into a much better perspective.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to this development.

‘Landlords from hell’ accept prison terms for terrorizing tenants

130619-macys-mugshotsBy Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2013, 2:45 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A software engineer and his real estate agent wife who terrorized their tenants in a twisted attempt to force them to move are back after fleeing to Italy, and each has accepted a four-year prison sentence and two strikes rather than face trial, Dist. Atty. George Gascon announced Wednesday.

Nicknamed the "landlords from hell," Kip and Nicole Macy employed tactics "so outlandish and brazen" in attempting to clear their building of renters that "it sounds like the plot of a horror movie," Gascon said.

They each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of residential burglary, one felony count of stalking and one felony count of attempted grand theft. In custody on $2-million bail apiece, they are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22.

Kip Macy’s attorney, Lisa DewBerry, said the couple could have faced a maximum of 16 years in prison if tried on all charges.

130619-macys-sawBe sure to read the whole article, cataloging not only what the Macys were accused of doing to their tenants and their apartments, but also the part where they paid bail and fled the country for Milan and spent a year fighting extradition.

Don’t forget the power saw that popped up into one of the tenant’s floor without warning (the photo at left shows what happened when he whacked the blade with a nearby hammer).  There’s even accusations of email spoofing.  And here’s an older piece from Palo Alto Online when they were first hit with the charges; what’s interesting are the comments defending the Macys from the evil San Francisco tenants. Why, some of them read as if they were written from the perps themselves!  Why Palo Alto Online for a San Francisco story?  This caring couple lived in Palo Alto when they were accused of all these shenanigans. Kip was a software engineer and Nicole was… a realtard.

130619-macys-clementinaHere’s the building where all the fun took place. Don’t you want to go out and buy an apartment building in SF right now?

This is also your weekend open thread! How’s the renter life treating you? Is it awful enough to make you want to look at a bunch of Open Houses and overbid up the wazoo?  How about chatting up the other people at the Open House so you can spoof email saying they don’t want the property you’re trying to score? Hey, in a competitive market Insane Real Estate Bubble, the only way to win is to prevent everyone else from playing.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

June 5, 2013

[PSA] Beware of residential burglaries

Dear Real Bay Area citizens,

Yes things are going well: the median house price in San Francisco is $1M; the median list price in Mountain View is $998,000 and $639 per square foot.

But not all things are well in our lands…

Residential burglaries up this year
Number of home break-ins higher than in past five years, police say

by Nick Veronin
Mountain View Voice Staff

Local residential burglaries are up, according to officials with the Mountain View Police Department.

MVPD spokesman Sgt. Dan Vicencio said 50 houses and apartments were broken into between January and April. There were only 31 residential burglaries over the same four-month period last year.

"That’s a 61-percent increase," Vicencio said, adding that the increase in break-ins is "significant." Over the past five years, on average, there have only been 35 burglaries between January and April.

The department only had official numbers through April of this year. But looking at data from CrimeReports.com, which tracks police activity in cities all over the country, it appears that the trend will continue through May.

According to the crime-tracking website, from January to April there were approximately 14 home break-ins reported per month. This month, as of May 24, the website shows there have been 21 reported burglaries and attempted burglaries of local houses and apartments.

Vicencio said there is no clear reason for the increase in home burglaries. However, he said, whenever there is an increase in home break-ins, the department’s detectives pay attention. "When we have a jump this significant, we take a look at it."

In fact, thanks to the intrepid reporters at the paper of our land, we know about the many latest incursions into our castles:

Wow.

Personally, I’m shocked. Don’t higher housing prices translate to higher commissions for realtors which translates to more salon visits, headshots, SUV sales, and more of all things that stimulate the economy? Shouldn’t higher housing prices defeat and end crime?

Until that day, be careful people. Be careful! Guard your castles! Keep driving those housing prices up so that we can help improve the economy and reduce burglaries!

Comments (5) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:48 am

April 7, 2013

A Day of Rest Should be Observed with Real Estate

Today is Sunday, and that means… no A-Z Blog Challenge today. The schedule’s been set that we do a new letter every Monday through Saturday, and on Sunday you can go to church or look at Open Houses.  Or in the case of this story, courtesy of Burbed reader nomadic, you can combine both.

Judge Rules Against Bay Area Church Leaders In Real Estate Case

130406-vallejo-marqueeVALLEJO (KPIX 5) – A California state judge has ruled against two leaders of a prominent Bay Area church accused of bilking parishioners in an alleged investment scheme.

The judge ruled that General Assembly Church leaders Lacy Hawkins and Michael Parker operated a real estate investment company without a license, in violation of securities law.

KPIX 5 has been investigating Lacy Hawkins and Michael Parker’s involvement in the business deal, that church members said cost them millions of dollars. General Assembly Church has locations in Union City and Vallejo.

Hundreds of parishioners mortgaged their homes and drained retirement accounts on the promise of investment returns as high as 30 percent. Some said they were even promised salvation.

Yes, it’s not enough to have a religious leader in a fraud case, it has to have a realty component. And this one’s actually pretty interesting. Seems this was one of those We’re Here To Run Your Life For You kinds of churches, where you can’t even wipe your nose without permission.

130406-vallejo-churchAnd the Supreme Leader pretty much was ordering parishioners to buy into their real estate trusts or tout them to each other.  The investment vehicles weren’t exactly transparent about the real estate in them.  Unless you count the Woodlands of Ascension project they bought in Louisiana. Which was, mo konmprann, swamp.  Leadership blamed lack of progress on Katrina, but the Army Corps of Engineers said the land was always swamp.

The victims are claiming they were brainwashed into investing with the church’s leaders. We’re imagining just what kind of techniques were used. Maybe “Buy now or you’ll be priced out forever and that, my friends, is the definition of HELL.” 

Also the church leadership quickly realized that paying the real estate agent (who was part of the church) regular commissions for flipping properties was a loser… for them. The agent went from $20,000 a month to $1600 biweekly, as straight salary.  Meanwhile, the church reported to the IRS that they had paid him the commissions, so he owes more than a million in taxes.

The investment’s books were not open to the membership, either, so they didn’t realize that the vehicles were classic Ponzi schemes.

This is an Open Thread. Are you attending religious services this weekend, Open Houses, both, or neither?  And we’ll be back with the next letter in the Challenge tomorrow, G for God. Or Grab. Or both.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

March 3, 2013

How do you REALLY feel about Real Estate Professionals?

It’s been a while since we had a realtards thread.  But today’s Not So Professional Agent isn’t being given the Burbed Loving Hug of Attention for his brilliant listing copy.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader J from Alameda for alerting us to this story.

130302-hitnrun-sceneSonoma Co. real estate agent held in fatal hit-run

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle | Updated 7:52 am, Saturday, March 2, 2013

Photo from KTVU, no credit specified

(03-02) 07:49 PST SANTA ROSA — A Santa Rosa man turned himself in Friday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian, police said.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run in the crash Wednesday that killed 64-year-old George Michael Black of Pacifica, Santa Rosa police said.

Black was walking on the 4600 block of Montgomery Drive shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit by a car that fled the scene, police said. Black died at the scene.

On Friday, a Santa Rosa law firm contacted police on behalf of Heath, who works as a real estate agent. Heath’s attorney told officers that the vehicle from the crash would be found at Heath’s home, authorities said.

130302-hitnrun-heathLet’s review.  Real estate “professional” in a Mercedes S550 hits a pedestrian in broad daylight, and flees the scene. Unlucky stroller who had traveled to Santa Rosa to attend a healing program is pronounced dead seven minutes later#1 Agent in Sonoma the last 3 years running then requests his lawyer contact police two entire days later to say they’ll find what they’re looking for at the hit-and-run driver’s house. Why two whole days? We’re going to make an educated guess that it was long enough for all possible alcohol in someone’s bloodstream to dissipate.

130302-hitnrun-pepperwoodPerhaps you think we’re being cynical.  Well, the readership of sfgate.com is far more so, as several commenters hypothesized that Heath had his attorney transfer his assets to the law firm. We think that’s nonsensical speculation, and that he asked the law firm to transfer his wealth to some deserving relative outside the United States.  Heath, we note, is British and probably has relatives in non-US locales.

Here is just one of those assets: his house on 5562 Pepperwood Road. None of the real estate portals have any specific information on the house other than the lot size (11,246 sf) because they aren’t in the public recorder’s office search results either (yes, we checked).

We are now opening the floor to discuss whatever you’d like about those wonderful real estate professionals in your life, or about anyone who would leave the scene and lawyer up when the right thing to do was fucking call 911 because you just ran your fucking 6,000 pound vehicle into some innocent party’s 175 pound body.  We usually don’t pick on realtards by name, but we’re going to make a giant-ass exception in this case because.

Oh yeah, and this is an Open Thread. It’s March! Time for some Spring Bounce! Let us know how many Mercedes S-class vehicles you see parked at Open Houses!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

October 7, 2012

Palo Alto plagued by home burglaries

Thanks to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for bringing this to our attention.  Seems all isn’t as perfect as proclaimed in Palo Alto.

Residents fight burglaries with lights, cameras, action

Neighbors devising crime-fighting strategies

by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly Staff, Friday, October 5, 2012, 8:59 AM

121007-burglaries-incidentsMany Palo Alto neighborhoods are organizing in ways they have not since the rise of Neighborhood Watch programs in the 1980s, following a string of home burglaries that have plagued the city.

From surveillance cameras to neighborhood-warning signs, residents are strategizing to deter and perhaps even catch the thieves, who have made off with tens of thousands of dollars in jewelry, cash and electronics since late last year.

Email lists from Crescent Park to Barron Park are crackling with the latest news about suspicious vehicles cruising residential streets. Last week, concerned north Palo Alto residents discussed a white van seen on their streets and gave information about it, complete with license number, to the Palo Alto police.

Neighbors’ increasing vigilance might help nab thieves like the ones who on Sept. 24 pilfered UPS parcels from a Crescent Park front porch within 30 seconds of the delivery. The resident, who asked that her name and home information not be made public, has shared images from her surveillance video with her neighbors and with police, she said.

121007-burglaries-94301What’s this? Crime rate up in Palo Alto, the most perfectest amazingest, wonderfulest Specialiest place in the universe? Nooooooooooo!

But we here at Burbed are confident that this approach of crowd-sourcing suspicious incidents will lead to these lowlife scum getting caught… until, as is often the case with crime in a wealthy neighborhood, the victims discover that the perpetrators were the teenaged children of their own neighbors.  We already know what those spoiled brats have been up to, hurling milkshakes at innocent pedestrians.

And don’t get too smug looking at that incident map on the top right. While that was what spotcrime.com generated for “Palo Alto, CA,” entering specific zip codes yields more crime events away from the Middlefield and Embarcadero area.   This incident map for 94301 shows more burglary and theft further northwest, and in only half the time period covered.

And dang it, that time period reported just missed the hurled milkshake.  But good news. There has been at least one arrest for car burglary.

 

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

October 5, 2012

UPDATEDx2 with a MURDER: WOW! Sunrise and Sunset included! PRICED TO SELL !!!

9:50 AM: See end for update.  It’s worth it.
12:09 PM: Another update on the other murder.

It’s time to play Build a Ginormous House Somewhere Not As Expensive As The Real Bay Area and then try to find a buyer! Ready?  It’s Burbed reader J from Alameda‘s turn with this lovely Lafayette listing.

121004-hunsaker-redfin1901 HUNSAKER CANYON Rd
Lafayette, CA 94549
$1,998,000

4 Beds
3.5 Baths
6,200 Sq. Ft.
$322 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2003
Lot Size: 13.50 Acres
On Redfin: 39 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 3+
Community: Burton Valley
MLS#: 40587017
Style: Other
View: Canyon, Carquinez, City Lights, Forest, Hills, Mountains, Mt. Diablo, Valley
County: Contra Costa

WOW! $1+M price reduction! What a buy!! 13+- acres. Gated 360% View! Italian Villa/ stone, hardwood fls, custom & antique lighting. Finest materials including stone, hardwood, beautiful moldings and mllwork. Sunrise and Sunset included ! Rm for pool tennis/guest house/vineyard. PRICED TO SELL !!!

121004-hunsaker-kawlums-archHere’s why J from A sent this in:

As promised, a lovely chateau – in the Lafayette hills. Of note: a million dollar price reduction, a reasonable $322 a square foot and lots of columns.

Somehow it seems that 3.5 bathrooms spread across 6,200 sq feet of living space is not quite the usual ratio – a new way to measure houses – bathrooms per square feet? I am sure the buyer will be happy to have an elevator to navigate all those stories. Enjoy!

121004-hunsaker-kawlums-balconyYou’re right, J. We’ve noted the business of beaucoup bathrooms in ginormous houses for people with too much money and not enough taste. No wonder this place had a million dollar price reduction.  According to the LA Times, this house needs at minimum 8 rooms for waste disposal and sluicing.

Good thing it was PRICED TO SELL !!! We’ve seen enough houses that were priced to stay empty or priced to sit on the listing service for years and years.

Like, um, this house:

121004-hunsaker-listing-history

Even Zillow thinks the house is worth $2,169,784. Instant equity!  Ka-ching!

Update 9:50 AM: Burbed reader magdalena alerts us to this 2005 SF Chronicle article that specifically mentions the house.  In a this-would-never-be-believed-as-fiction tragedy, the wife of criminal defense lawyer Daniel Horowitz was murdered in “the entryway of the home.” Wikipedia says she was murdered in a mobile home on the property while their “dream house” was being completed.  The murder occurred four days after the beginning of a high-profile trial where Horowitz was defending Susan Polk, accused of killing her husband in their Orinda home. Horowitz had taken the case after Polk had fired her previous lawyers for encouraging her to plead insanity.

This led to a mistrial, but as Horowitz prepared for Polk’s second trial, she fired him, convinced that he had something to do with his wife’s murder.  16 year old Scott Dyleski was convicted of the murder; supposedly he intended to kill a neighbor who had run over his dog and went to the wrong house.  Polk’s story manages to get even more bizarre after Horowitz was fired (this Dateline NBC link confirms the mobile home claim from Wikipedia).

WOW!  Sunrise and sunset is just the entryway of what’s included with this house!

Update 12:09 PM: Murder kills home values as well as people.  Check out Susan Polk’s house.  We found a listing e-flyer, and Redfin has the price history:

 

 

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

July 18, 2012

Who wants to buy a meth lab?

This site has made a number of jokes about homes that could have been meth labs but probably weren’t.  But what if you could buy a real one?  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Cam for following up on our recent guide to NOT buying a meth lab.

5674 S SAN FELIPE Rd
San Jose, CA 95135
$1,199,950

120715-sanfelipe-redfin

120715-sanfelipe-hallwayBEDS:  4
BATHS:  3
SQ. FT.:  3,200
$/SQ. FT.:  $375
LOT SIZE:  1.72 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 1
VIEW: Mountains, Neighborhood
YEAR BUILT:  1915
COMMUNITY:  Evergreen
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81205455
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  155 days

Now is the time to buy this small ranch in the prestigious Evergreen Hills area. New entrance bridge makes a statement. Perfect for the horse-lover (tack room, barn and fencing) or person interested in exploring the possibility of subdivision. Lots of extras including BBQ area, dog run/kennel, covered patio and a hot tub.

120715-sanfelipe-fireplaceHere’s what Cam had to say about this um, very unique (snort) property:

Found this just after the meth lab post.

Pending soon? Agent even included photos of the chemical stains!

The link is to a Redfin forums discussion which links to this property, and also points out the same address is on the DEA seizure list.  The home was seized in August, 2010.  So it’s a pretty safe bet that this house is the real thing.  Except this is interesting as it went into foreclosure the previous February.

120715-sanfelipe-hottubYup, it’s an REO.  And you know what that means, right?  It means the seller (also known as the bank) doesn’t know squat about anything that happened in this house.

Check out the fireplace! More importantly, check out the chemical stains next to the fireplace! No wonder they didn’t dare show us what was cooking in the kitchen.

This reminds us of that huge meth lab bust in March (not this one, in an apartment, like for RENTERS).  We don’t know if this house was seized because the police were tracking down a stolen iPad and hit the jackpot, or if the bank deliberately planted some “bath salts” in the hot tub because they really wanted SOMEONE to take it off their hands.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

July 14, 2012

Call the Doctor, Call the Nurse: Assault with a Frothy Weapon on the Lady without the Alligator Purse

And OF COURSE it’s in Palo Alto!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader PKamp3 for this one!

Woman hit with milkshake loses $2,000

Purse flies into vehicle after altercation in downtown Palo Alto

by Sue Dremann, Palo Alto Weekly Staff

A woman who was struck with a milkshake and angrily threw her purse at a vehicle full of teenagers lost $2,000 after the handbag flew into the open vehicle window, Palo Alto police said Monday.

The incident started Sunday, June 24, just before midnight, Sgt. Brian Philip said. The woman was walking east on University Avenue near Rudy’s Pub when a white Range Rover full of male teenagers driving recklessly southbound on High Street approached.


View Larger Map

120711-milkshake-rangeroverCould this incident have any more “Yup, this is definitely Palo Alto” touches?  A Range Rover full of rowdy teens and an alligator purse with two thousand in cash?  Too bad it doesn’t mention whether the milkshake was garnished with Madagascar vanilla bean shavings.

This story was picked up by NBC Bay Area and even nationally, but there isn’t anything new in either of those stories.  Miss Lucy, reached on her belled steamboat enroute to Heaven, says to be sure to read the comments in the Palo Alto Online story.

Oh yeah, and this is definitely an Open Thread.

 

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am