December 22, 2012

Are You Feeling Lucky?

121221-lucky-digitsWe sure hope so.  You survived the end of the world yesterday, didn’t you? (Those not surviving the end of the world, please stop interrupting.)  Now we’ve found a piece on Trulia on the numerology of home sales. 

This means you can continue your lucky lifestyle, thanks to Trulia’s research.  It turns out that a lot of home sellers put their favorite “lucky numbers” in their asking prices.

So what’s wrong with this pie chart at right?  Too many nines and fives, yet not enough eights, that’s what.  Everyone knows that eights are lucky.  Well, everyone in the Real Bay Area knows that.  The lucky numbers in the rest of the country say otherwise.


This consolidated map suggests that there aren’t any particular lucky numbers in the Midwest, the Plains, the Rocky Mountains or the Pacific Northwest, just a countrywide avoidance of the number 13 in prices.  And here’s some more on 8 as a lucky number.


121221-lucky-cupertinoWe took a spot-check of the asking prices in Cupertino, right now, over a million dollars (which is pretty much all of them).

We came up with one 1, one 2, one 6, three 9s, seven 5s, and a whopping ten 8s.    We just had to make a pie chart out of that.  Until today, we had no idea that donuts were a subset of pie.

If we then take the sub-million houses, we get an additional one 1, four 5s and two 8s.

We then compare with similarly sized cities (at least as to number of sales over a million) with rather different demographics.  San Rafael is majority white, and Oakland, while one of the most racially diverse cities, has a higher percentage of blacks than many other areas.


Whoa. There’s 4s in Oakland, which is a very unlucky number in Cupertino.  All three cities have a strongly marked preference for 5 over 9, while nationally it’s the other way by almost 2 to 1.

We welcome your reasoning on why this would be, or anything else you wish to bring up in this Weekend-after-the-end-of-the-world Open Thread.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

November 11, 2012

A Livability Index

We’re always interested in ways to measure how Special a place is.  A website called has a Livability Index that has some interesting assumptions.

First, let’s see what it makes of some places most of us agree are Not Particularly Special (by which we mean we wouldn’t live there for free and we also wouldn’t live there unless we were paid Larry Ellison’s stock options).

Here’s areavibes on Detroit.


Detroit, MI is “Somewhat Livable.”  The only “A” grade it received was in cost of living, and that’s because the city will pay you to take one of their excess houses so they don’t have to pay to tear it down.  We can’t imagine what kind of city would merit a “Completely Out of the Question.”  Let’s move another to another Perennial of Pwnage: Stockton.


I can see the new Civic Motto over City Hall (if they have any staff capable of hanging banners): Stockton! Four Points More Livable Than Detroit!  But they are an important four points, as Stockton is considered “Very Livable.”

We now move on toward the Bay Area, but not the Good Part.


When Stockton has finer amenities than you do, and their weather is better too, plus your housing costs are unacceptably high to anyone outside the Bay Area, what’s the point of even entering the race?  Let’s try a better zip code.


Ooooo!  Exceptionally Livable!  And what’s really exceptional is that if we type in an actual zip code, the score went down.


Good luck figuring out why.  Finally, we arrive at the pinnacle of Real Bay Area Living.


We invite you to try to score higher than that, either in the Bay Area, or anywhere else.  And we don’t want you to think these “grades” are completely pulled out of Mitt Romney’s car elevator.  Here, for example, is what the housing grade is based on:


Cupertino scores higher than average in every category.  Why would they be marked down for better numbers?

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so go crazy.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am

October 9, 2012

Cupertino Cubic Cutie for under a CCC note

Today’s featured home is an architectural aristocrat among stupendous school districts.  Translation: wtf?  Thanks very much to Burbed reader wahnny for sending this Cupertino castle in!

121008-rainbow-redfin7367 RAINBOW Dr
Cupertino, CA 95014

3 Beds 
2.5 Baths 
1,523 Sq. Ft.
$653 / Sq. Ft.
Status: Pending Without Release
Built: 1995 
Lot Size: 1,742 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 20 days
HOA Dues: $150/month
Stories: 3
County: Santa Clara
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Cupertino
MLS#: 81234699

This is one of the only two single family homes in this five unit complex. 17 years new. Comtemporary floor plan and bright, sunny natural lighting. New carpets. Newer paint. Crown molding. Hardwood floor in living and family room. Granite kitchen counter top. Private back yard. Award winning Cupertino school Regnart Elementary, Kennedy Middle and Monta Vista High.

121008-rainbow-diningHere’s what wahnny had to say about why this building block became Burbed:

Just came across this gem in Cupertino.

Asking price is just under $1million for a “17 year new” 3-story 1500+sqft cube house on 1700+ sqft lot.  Not exactly a “crapshack”, but it does seem pretty cramped (small rooms) and probably noisy too (close to highway, major thoroughfares).  Perhaps a small price to pay for access to the “award winning Cupertino schools”, and/or bee-line to Apple Inc.

It can’t be that bad.  The lot is 200 square feet bigger than the house, and there is some green amid all that low-maintenance cement. Plus, fewer windows means less work cleaning them and less sun damage to your drapes and artwork.  We’d say this detached home features all the benefits of townhouse living, right down to the HOA fees!

And wahnny must have been exaggerating for comic effect about the thoroughfare and highway nearby. 


See?  We know it wasn’t that bad! There’s a handy offramp as a buffer zone!

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 9, 2012

Communal Living or 24/7 Startup Incubator?

British publication Financial Times visits Cupertino and discovers Silicon Valley startups and salons… in a very expensive frat house.

Over the rainbow

Communal living is back in vogue, especially among Silicon Valley’s young technology workers

120908-group-dinnerBy April Dembosky, June 29, 2012 6:52 pm

At first glance Rainbow Mansion appears to blend in seamlessly alongside its high-end Silicon Valley neighbours, nestled among the eucalyptus trees and driveway gates of Cupertino, about an hour south of San Francisco. The salmon stucco stretches around multiple bedrooms, balconies and turrets. In the front yard, a stone footbridge arches over a bubbling koi pond.

Inside, it looks more like a university dorm. Bean bags and mismatched couches sit at odd angles in the living room. A former dining nook, now christened “the mystery room”, is lined with hippie-style Indian tapestries on the walls and mattresses on the floor.

Seven people live here, from the ivy league of Silicon Valley companies, such as Apple, Google and Tesla. They are from America, the UK, Serbia and Moldova. While none are blood related, they call each other family.

“We’re not a frat house,” says Mike Grace, 26, a lab manager and researcher at Nasa. “We’re an intentional community.”

Excuse us.  A very expensive intentional community.  As in $7300 a month expensive.  Let’s see what they get for $7300, besides the built-in tech networking with their housemates.

120908-group-zillow21677 Rainbow Dr
Cupertino, CA 95014

Zestimate $2,509,411
Rent Zestimate $7,435/mo
Est. Mortgage $8,923/mo

Beds: 6
Baths: 4.5
Sqft: 5,127
Lot: 55,321 sq ft / 1.27 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1992

Description from Zillow: This 5127 square foot single family home has 6 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms. It is located at 21677 Rainbow Dr Cupertino, California. The nearest schools are Regnart Elementary School, Kennedy Middle School and Monta Vista High School.

Wow, that rent Zestimate’s pretty bang on. Think Zillow’s model includes searching the Financial Times?


120908-group-libraryIncidentally, the people renting the house have set up a website.  Note the third item on the ribbon: Press.  Several pieces have been written about this house, the sort of people who end up living here, and one the the successes launched from this very library.

Ever hear of OpenStack?  If you haven’t, Wired is happy to fix that, with its history of how it got started.  Yes, here at the Rainbow Mansion.  Oh yeah, and at NASA Ames.

NASA’s Chris Kemp decided that they needed scalable storage of their own rather than through their corporate partners.  Think Google Moon and Google Mars.  NASA has plenty of high-res space images, and they wanted to host them, but that meant they needed a new infrastructure.  And in bringing that project about, they not only crashed upon political shoals (a Congressional “inquiry”) but on the difficulty in creating open-source software when so many potential partners had commercial intents.  And eventually the project led to OpenStack… and several related cloud computing companies.

120908-group-frontThe founders of the group home explained that they started the house because Silicon Valley rents were high, so sharing a house was much less expensive.  Most of them were new NASA PhDs who came from elsewhere and knew each other through their academic connections.

People would leave, and new housemates needed to be brought in.  The residents are looking for people who want to change the world.

“Group living situations are not tremendously rare in the Bay Area,” he explains. “We have an unusually high percentage of rentals in part of because home buying is so tremendously expensive, and the leverage goes up as you get more people.

“What’s unusual is when you have a really intentional community, when you have a group of people who are determined to build something and really bring people together.”

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

September 1, 2012

We’re Number One! We’re Number One!

Here’s a cheery news item, submitted by Burbed reader wahnny.

Silicon Valley’s Boom Creates Shortage of $1 Million Homes

120831-cnbc-losaltosPublished: Wednesday, 29 Aug 2012 | 10:22 AM ET
By: Robert Frank, CNBC Reporter & Editor

The home of venture capitalist Kelly Porter in Los Altos, photo, right.

The capital of high tech is now the capital of high-priced real estate.

Silicon Valley currently leads the nation in the number of homes sold for $1 million or more, according to Realtytrac. Sales of $1 million-plus have more than doubled in many communities in the Valley this year, toppling longtime luxury real-estate leaders like Beverly Hills or Miami.

Topping the list is Saratoga, Calif., in Santa Clara County, which had 225 homes sold for $1 million or more. That marked a 162 percent increase over last year.

Ranked second was Burlingame, Calif., which had 211 sales of at least $1 million, more than double last year’s rate. Cupertino and Los Altos ranked third and fourth in the nation, with 175 homes and 170 homes respectively.

Booyah!  We lead the nation in million dollar homes.  Sayonara, Scarsdale!  Meet you later, Miami gator!  Buh-bye, Beverly Hills!  Buh-… there’s just one problem with this article.

CNBC is comparing Silicon Valley to other “longtime luxury real-estate leaders.”  And up there on millionaire’s row is… Cupertino?  That’s not exactly the first town that comes to mind when we think “palatial estate.”

We don’t think this CNBC reporter understands the Real Bay Area.  Any region can feature a town full of luxury homes, towns like Atherton or Hillsborough, only somewhere that isn’t very Special.  You can find some real big, expensive estates in cities such as Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (boyhood home of Mitt Romney), or Winnetka, Illinois, or Greenwich, Connecticut.  Or Beverly Hills.

But only in the Real Bay Area can you find crappy houses for a million dollars.  Observe.

First, we look at Saratoga, since there were so many million dollar homes on the list they couldn’t find one to feature in the article (they just noted you could buy 1.2 acres with no house for more than a mill).  Find out what that same price gets you with a house… after the break.


Comments (38) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

January 25, 2012

This home is truly one of a kind!

We’ve got an awesome Guest Post for you today from Burbed reader Fun Dip, and it’s right in the back yard of Apple Computers!  As you all know, Cupertino has a reputation for having the highest prices for the most boring, unexceptional, bland (did I say boring?) tract houses anywhere in the Real Bay Area.

So how much would you have to pay for a Cupertino house you might stop and take a look at?  And would you stop if it were hidden among a group of others just like it?

Please give a big, warm, RBA welcome to Fun Dip, today’s Guest Blogger!

10351 S TANTAU Ave
Cupertino, CA 95014


SQ. FT.: 3,628
$/SQ. FT.: $515
LOT SIZE: 9,375 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Mediterranean
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81201986
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 6 days

Spectacularly appointed throughout – this house is simply sticking. This Luxury home, which is one year old house has never been lived in. Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Flooring, Custom Marble Inlay, Exquisite Chandeliers and Recessed Lighting, Gourmet Kitchen, Stainless Steel Appliances, Custom Designed Tiled Flooring, Two Gas Fireplaces, Downstairs Bedroom & Full Bathroom – OH Sat & Sun 12-5

imageThis house is on the WRONG side of Cupertino!

Check out this truly awesome house.  You can get completely lost in the beauty of this house.  So much so, that once I got to the ending pictures of the patio overlooking the rolling stretches of hills, I suddenly realized those rolling hills were just my imagination and that roof sitting two feet away really is the neighbor’s.

I mean, even for a Cupertino rebuild, this goes over the top… You would expect to be squarely inside the RBA to have to go for a build like this.  This is just Cupertino High at Monte Vista prices…

And two houses down?  Also on the market!

19147 TWIG Ln
Cupertino, CA 95014


BATHS: 3.5
SQ. FT.: 3,753
$/SQ. FT.: $426
LOT SIZE: 9,789 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Mediterranean
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81201949
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 7 days

This home is truly One of a Kind! Custom Built, Barely 5 yrs old. Exquisitely elegant, yet family friendly. Fine appointment throughtout-Cherry Hardwood Flooring downstairs. Gourmet Kitchen-open to nook and family room. Stainless Appliances. Built-in Cabinetry throughout. Downstairs Bedroom w/ full bath. Expansive suite upstairs-Too special to miss–

image(I’ll let you see the awesomeness around the front doors of this one for yourself, I just can’t bring myself to say it.)

This doesn’t seem a little like the first house for sale?  Or pretty much similar to the house in between these two?

wtf, is there a secret underground tunnel connecting these houses?  The houses look so similar, I initially didn’t realize there was a house in between them when looking on Street View.


And check out the description on the second listing.  “This home is truly One of A Kind!”  Really?  Are you sure?  “One of a Kind” as in this McMansion is nothing like the two McMansions right next to it?  Or does making “One of a Kind” in capital letters mean it’s pretty much the same as the one next to it, and slightly not as nice as the one after that?

imageSo what is going on here?  A midday hideaway for a former Apple executive? (rest in peace, dude).  I mean, if I had that kind of money and wanted to build a place to retreat near work, I would definitely build multiple houses in case my wife came over.  Or is someone trying to put this stretch of land back into the RBA?  Let’s face it, as far as Tiger Moms go, crossing over De Anza Blvd might as well be crossing over 101.  I’m really interested to see what happens to these!

Oh right, pan down to the end of Twig lane on Street View (two houses down).  Nice truck… Nicer trailer!

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

January 18, 2012

If You Can Read This, It Should Be Old

imageBurbed should have gone dark on Wednesday, January 18th, to join the SOPA protest.  And despite the presence of Google and Facebook and Twitter and everything that makes the Internet awesome here in our back yard, supposedly both our Senators are supporting this terrible bill.  I do hope you give them a piece of your mind.

Here’s what you had to wait a day to read due to our solidarity with the web-wide blackout.

What can you get in Silicon Valley for $579,803?

On Saturday, we heard from Greg Fielding on Case-Shiller tiers.  On Sunday, we saw some examples of just how much house qualified for the “upper” tier (the top third) in the counties that make up the SF index.  Now here’s what you could get if you bought a house that’s an easy commute distance to some major Silicon Valley employers.


1729 MORGAN St
Mountain View, CA 94043
$585,214, sold on 12/14/2011

3 BR/2 BA, 1,104 sf on a 5,300 sf lot

Built in 1955, and it shows, and what’s more, the house sold in a month above asking!  Doesn’t feature much other than its proximity to Google and LinkedIn, but every minute you don’t sit in traffic means you can enjoy more time in this spacious home.  Okay, it’s got hardwood floors, but still.


Cupertino, CA 95014
$591,700, sold on 12/29/2011

3 BR/1 BA, 1,134 sf on a 5,130 sf lot

This isn’t the least expensive sale in Cupertino within the last 3 months, but it is the least expensive house where they dared show a photo.  Who knows what kinds of problems lurk behind that fence?  Don’t complain.  It’s close to Apple.

Bring your decorator’s eye to this place, because the interior photos show you get a blank slate!  And of course it’s in Rancho Rinconada!


255 HEDGE Rd
Menlo Park, CA 94025
$625,000, sold on 11/2/2011

3 BR/1 BA, 1,190 sf on a 5,500 sf lot

Not only is it close to Facebook’s new location, it has Menlo Park schools!  And we had to jump into the $600s to even find this house, because there weren’t any SFH sales under $600K in Menlo Park or Palo Alto.

And for $625K, you get a house that backs up to US-101.  What do you think the upper tier means, Larry Ellison’s neighborhood?


3401 PARK Blvd
Palo Alto, CA 94306
$672,000, sold on 11/4/2011

2 BR/1 BA, 1,048 sf on a 5,500 sf lot

Speaking of Facebook, this is the least expensive SFH sale in Palo Alto and it isn’t too far from its current headquarters.  Better yet, it doesn’t back up to a freeway!  Instead, it backs up to CalTrain, but you can’t have everything.

But you can have the satisfaction of knowing that the sellers wanted $750K for this well-situated 66 year old house, and didn’t get it.


Sunnyvale, CA 94086
$608,000, sold on 11/9/2011

3 BR/1 BA, 1,100 sf on a 5,550 sf lot

Sorry we had to jump all the way to the $600s, but there’s a big gap above $570K for the last quarter’s sales in Sunnyvale.  This house is in a decent part of town, although you will get plenty of traffic from nearby Washington Park (which has a swimming pool) and the library a few blocks further away.  But it’s a good commute distance to Lockheed, Yahoo! and even Intel.  And in an even better position to see how good the homes thrown up right after WWII ended are wearing their years.


Santa Clara, CA 95051
$585,000, sold on 11/18/2011

3 BR/2 BA, 1,212 sf on a 9,454 sf lot

The further east you travel, the cheaper the houses get.  Palo Alto costs more than Mountain View, which costs more than Sunnyvale, which in turn costs more than Santa Clara.

That’s why this house may not look much more palatial than any of the others above, but it comes on a lot almost twice the size.  It’s a good commute to Intel.  And one of the fun things about the Silicon Valley market that people outside the area don’t get is that most of the cost of any existing property is the land, not the house.

Don’t get too excited about this place.  It’s near the intersection of Lawrence and El Camino, and was sold “as is.”  I wouldn’t expect much from the neighborhood, either, as the agent bragged it was a “regular sale.”

In the future we’ll see what you can get for a million dollars, but don’t expect any gold-plated bathroom fixtures.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

January 9, 2012

Bringing you the Finest Listings in Cupertino

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

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


Cupertino, CA 95014


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


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

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

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

Plus check out what the GoogleCam has for this home.


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

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

December 20, 2011

This isn’t a teardown. This is ART!

Today we’re headed back to Cupertino, the land of million dollar tract homes.  This may not be the least expensive house in Cupertino, but it won’t cost you a million.  Best of all, admission to the art show is completely free!

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Tracy for sharing this set of museum-quality photos!  (Although please note I did not say what kind of museum they belong in.)

10160 CALVERT Dr, Cupertino, CA 95014


SQ. FT.: 1,562
$/SQ. FT.: $416
LOT SIZE: 5,643 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81141162
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 84 days

Charming, updated Cupertino home. Upgraded kitchen, Maple cabinets, Granite countertops, Laminate and tile flooring, Dual pane windows, Walk-in closet. Top Cupertino Schools. Close to shopping, schools, parks.

imageHere’s why Tracy was kind enough to share this trip to the art museum:

Another in my “best photographers of real estate” series. House must have a bad roof line. Or the artist just likes to frame his/her pictures in the bottom ¾ again. I really like the old fashion stereo shot. Also features room corners.

imageThere are so many winners in this collection that it’s quite difficult to choose a favorite, but I would have to say mine is “Small sink next to cropped out commode completely blocking access to the shower.”

What’s your favorite image?  I’ve included a few more compositions for you to mull over, but be sure to admire the entire oeuvre over at the Redfin Gallery.

But before heading over to the photography display, why not consider checking out the house?  The Redfin agent did so… eight different times.  He must really have a thing for art shots.



Maybe nines do well in selling art photography, but if the agent wants to sell the house, they’d better start looking for some eights.  So far, only the Redfin agent found any.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

December 14, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in Cupertino with 8s!

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS!  We got them all over, even in places like Cupertino where families will sell both grandmothers just to get their kids enrolled in these schools.  Best of all, we found an incredible DEAL in Cupertino that has not one but TWO lucky 8s! 

18811 ARATA Way, Cupertino, CA 95014


SQ. FT.: 814
$/SQ. FT.: $737
LOT SIZE: 5,187 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Cupertino
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81145411
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 47 days

Excellent opportunity for first time home buyers and or build your dream home! This homes needs TLC but lots of potential in a neighborhood of million dollar homes. . Excellent Cupertino schools

In a neighborhood of million dollar homes?  Is there any place anywhere in Cupertino that isn’t in a neighborhood of million dollar homes?  Or at least in a neighborhood of potential million dollar homes?  Just because the house backs up to apartments, is a block from a six-lane arterial, a six-lane expressway, and an eight-lane freeway doesn’t mean there aren’t million dollar homes somewhere.


Also we promised two Lucky 8s, and we delivered.  They aren’t in the asking price, either.  They’re in the street address, so you get to keep them!  Bid this one up to $688,888!

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:10 am