January 14, 2014

Rare Find in Palo Alto!

Every area in life has The Three Words.  In relationships, it’s “I love you,” in business, “It’s a deal,” in math, “Quod erat demonstratum,” and in Latin, “Igpay Atlinlay Erehay.”  We’re sure you can also name The Three Words of Real Estate.

202 EMERSON St140113-pa-location-redfin.jpg
Palo Alto, CA 94301

2 Beds
2 Baths
1,154 Sq. Ft.
$867 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1910
Lot Size: 2,775 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 36 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Cabin
Community: Downtown
MLS#: 81342791

Location, Location, Location! Charming home downtown Palo Alto near Stanford University. This is a rare find in this area. Home is in need of some repairs and it is being sold "AS-IS" Perfect for an Investor looking to remodel or a builder . Seller has also listed adjacent home at 170 Hawthorne.

Yes, The Three Words of Real Estate are “Sold AS-IS.”  Unless it’s “Palo Alto million.”  Perfect for investor.

Comments (22) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:08 am

August 7, 2013

Palo Alto: The original home of Bay Area Bubble 4.0

We’ve been neglecting The Best City in The Most Special Place On The Planet! That’s right, we haven’t mentioned Mountain View in days! So while you’re waiting for more marvelous Mountain View, here’s a Palo Alto Property with Pride of Ownership instead. Thanks very much to Burbed reader Wendie for sending in this palace!

130806-homer-mlslistings424 HOMER AV
Palo Alto, CA 94301
$2,875,000 – Active

Type: Single Family Home
MLS #: ML81327461
SqFt: 2,200
130806-homer-frontBeds: 5
Lot Size: 3,920 SqFt
Baths: 3 Full
Year / Age: 1937 / 76

beautiful home near downtown. Current use is duplex a) 3 bed/ 2 bath & b) 2 bed/ 1 bath. Possibly convert to 5 bed/ 3 bath single family home. Approx 2200 sq ft total. Plus bonus basement area includes laundry room/ bonus rooms / extra storage. Hardwood floors. skylight. Family kitchen opens to private back yard with deck. Near downtown. Great location. Great home. Wonderful opportunities.

130806-homer-livingSorry for putting in the same picture twice, but that MLSListings layout doesn’t lend itself well to showcasing the first picture. And for $2.9 million, you need a good look at this estate. But let’s check in with Wendie, who has a few things to share.

Crazy pricing in Palo Alto.

2.8 million!

For 2.8 million, is the house:

130806-homer-kitchen1) Big?…no
2) On a big piece of land?….not even. One of the smallest plots of land you can find!
3) On a quiet street? Nope
4) Turn-key for a single family?  You wish! Expect construction costs in your future!
5) Situated on a lot with a private backyard?  
Aw shucks, no, you have  an apartment building overlooking your teeny tiny yard!
6) New, stainless steel appliances? Not really.
7) Updated bathrooms? No way, Jose!
8) Great curb appeal?  Negativo!

130806-homer-bedroomBut, this could all be yours for a crazy $2.8 million smackaroos! $1,272 per square feet! 

Wendie, great rant, but you seem to have missed the point. This house is in Palo Alto! All those things you’re complaining about simply don’t matter, because… this house is in Palo Alto!  These are not problems, these are opportunities! F’rinstance, the seller is realizing an opportunity in putting the house up for sale for the batshit insane asking price of $2.875 million.

Here’s the link to Redfin, should you prefer their take on the house. Love the natural corrugated décor above.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

October 4, 2012

Special Debate Edition

It’s that time of year, where we watch a couple of politicians make a series of speeches talking past each other, trying to convince you to vote against the other guy. In honor of last night’s Presidential debate, we have two homes for your consideration.  Let us know which one you think is the “winner.”

Wearing the green trim, this house from the powerhouse of Palo Alto is either rolling out the red carpet or sticking its tongue out at you.  It confidently flies the Redfin flag.

121003-addison-redfin253 ADDISON Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
1,164 Sq. Ft.
$764 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1933 
Lot Size: 6,272 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 147 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Downtown
MLS#: 81217474
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

TFT. Leasehold. $100,000 Reduction. Charming 2 Cottages on Beautiful Roses Garden. Walk to Downtown Palo Alto. Hardwood Floor. Double Paned Windows. French Doors in Living Room Open to Dinning Room. Sun Room with Custom Built-In Bench. Remodeled Kit & Bath with Stone Slab Counters. Fruit Trees. Mo/Mo Rental for Back Cottage. Leased Land w/ 54+yrs left. Downtown Living at a DISCOUNT!Better Alternative than Condo.

And built like a brick… um, chimney, this entry in hot, hot, HOT Mountain View won’t pull out of the debate just because the agent pullled its listing.  We found photos on Zillow, so all is fair.  And it also welcomes you to the debate, giving you two different welcome walkways!

121003-starr-zillow60 Starr Way
Mountain View, CA 94040
Not for Sale

Zestimate $905,916
Rent Zestimate $2,581/mo

Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sqft: 1,049
Lot: 6,875 sq ft / 0.16 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1949
Construction quality: 6.0
County: Santa Clara
Garage sqft: 360 
Last remodel year: 1949 
Legal description: TRACT 261 BROOKDALE BOOK 13 PAGE1 10 PAGE2 11 LOT 51
Lot depth: 125 
121003-starr-binLot width: 55 
Parcel #: 18904021 
Per floor sqft: 1,049 
Total rooms: 4 
# Stories: 1 
Structure type: Other 
Unit cnt: 1 
Zillow Home ID: 19529422 

Developers Dream! This 2 bedroom 1 bath, home sits on a6,800sqft lot with plenty of potential. Located in a prime location of MountainView with nearby shopping on Castro Street. Looking for a fixer upper Location,Location, Location! Bring your hammer, nails and imagination!

121003-addison-cottageStarr starts out with a trash bin.  That’s going to be tough for Addison to counter with just a rented cottage in the back “yard.”

But wait, Addison’s on leased land!  Try finding any of that in Mountain View! Even Google hasn’t dared that trick to sneak employee housing by the City Council!

What’s Starr going to do now?  Oh, oh, speaking of Google, it’s reaching for teh interwebz, and… here’s the Redfin page!


That one’s going to leave a mark.  Streetview trashbins, plus it’s not for sale at any price. And when it was for sale, the asking price was $800,000.  That means $762 a square foot, or essentially the same as Addison.

And the winner is… which listing copy interrupted more?

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

June 9, 2011

Condo in Prime Palo Alto at 1980s Pricing. Yes, 1980s.

Here’s a find from comments by Burbed reader SEA.  Perhaps Fortress Palo Alto is… looking a lot more like an actual fortress.

195 BRYANT St, Unit A, Palo Alto, CA 94301


SQ. FT.: 1,574
$/SQ. FT.: $825
LOT SIZE: 1,306 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Condominium
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 1-3 (Low Rise)
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81102659
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 124 days

Sophisticated living in downtown PA. Top floor condo with security gate entry. Unit has been customized  or modern lifestyle! Chic finishes incl. cherry flooring, Macassar Ebony paneling, FP with Brazilian marble slab surround and granite counters in updated kitchen. Master suite enjoys lavish bath with amazing shower, 2nd ensuite has dressing area and spa-bath. Secured bldg. , underground garage.

imageAh, one reason to visit this place.  I always wondered what an antimacassar protected against, other than a tongue-tied serial killer. This place has “Macassar Ebony paneling,” so bring your Victorian furniture doilies when you tour this customized unit.  I’d hate to imagine how little it would be worth if the owner had left this place stock.  Although the (cough) $521 a month HOA dues don’t help matters here.  I suspect those were slightly lower when the place last changed hands; it was only 9 years old then.

Now, not only could you have paid more for this place 22 years ago, in 1989 dollars, but also we discover that the seller is somewhat thin-skinned:


imageWhat kind of owner doesn’t want blogs discussing their property for sale?  Either someone who can’t take any kind of criticism, or someone who knows they have an absolute pig and wants us to admire the lipstick.  And look at all the penciling on this porker.  Got granite?

Don’t stop with the 9 pictures included in a Redfin listing, there’s a Virtual Tour, too!  For example, this one is entitled “Community” but I am still thinking “Fortress” from the first picture.


And this one is mistakenly titled Living Room.


I think a better title would be, “Lost over $200,000 in equity over 22 years despite buying in can’t-miss downtown Palo Alto, where property values should double every ten years, yet owner has still not thrown the flat screen TV out the window.”

Comments (25) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

November 4, 2010

Property Prestidigitation in Palo Alto

Imagine my surprise when I found a reasonably priced new house in the better part of Palo Alto, on a 10,000 square foot lot, yet!  How could this be?  Were they giving away the house?

651 Homer Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301

image Beds: 3
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,666
$/Sq. Ft.: $840
Lot Size: 10,000 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Craftsman
Stories: 2
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 2010
Community: Downtown
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81050352
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 14 days

1 of 3 brand new detached homes at Homer Place! Classic arts and crafts design in the tradition of Old Palo Alto. 2-3 blocks from Downtown Palo Alto.

What’s the catch?  It’s certainly walking distance (2-3 blocks) to University Avenue, just like they said.


Although that lot looks like it’s kind of… full.  Better take a close-up shot.


What the — there are three houses on one lot!  But the listing above clearly said 10,000 square feet.  And amazingly enough, the listings for 649 Homer and 653 Homer (pending without release) are also for 10,000 square feet!  Is that what this “Homer Place” is referring to?  And how come next-door multi-family property 643 Homer also sits on, what a coincidence, a 10,000 square foot lot shaped exactly the same!


This doesn’t look like a house built in 2010!  What is going on here?  Is Google using old Streetview photos again?

image Take a look at the first picture again, in the listing above.  Notice how on the right edge of the photo, there’s that bit of somebody’ else’s house?  Now let’s have a look at 649 and 653 to see if they have that claustrophobic feel.

Oh, oh, this photo of 649 looks awfully familiar. Where have I seen it before?



So let’s move on to 653.  Does it look the same too?  Not quite.  But I have the same sense that the photographer couldn’t comfortably turn around.  You’d have to do the same if you plunked down three houses on a 50 x 200 foot lot.

image How can I tell that these Single Family Residences (SFRs) were wedged in using a shoehorn, or maybe some Tokyo subway car professional shovers?  Because the listing agent didn’t bother showing us any actual land.  Instead, they proudly display… the deck.

Oooh yeah, going to water my own lawn here.  Provided I keep it in a planter box on the deck. 

You don’t have to check the deck views out at the other two houses.  They’re all exactly the same, as is every single photo except the different exterior between 651 and 653.  After all, does it matter which one you buy?  Probably not, except 651 is the bargain at $1.39M.  653 (pending without release) goes up to $1.49M and 649 is in the snooty part of the lot, with an ask of $1.59M.  I can’t figure out if that means it’s up front on Homer, next to the crappy buildings all around, or if it means it’s in the back, down a narrow driveway nobody is allowed to park on.

649 was the original property address, and the original lot sold for $1,495,000 in February 2006.  But great news!  That apartment next door was sold this year.  Maybe the buyer will tear down the 1961 eyesore and build three more houses exactly like these!  Then each of the six houses will be on a 20,000 sf lot.

Remember, they may not be making any more land, but they can sell the same lot to as many different houses as it takes.

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

July 26, 2010

High tech townhouse in Palo Alto–just $3.9M


455 FOREST Ave Unit B Palo Alto, CA 94301


Beds: 4
Baths: 3.5
Sq. Ft.: 2,676
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,476
Lot Size:
Property Type: Townhouse
Style: Modern/High Tech, Contemporary
Stories: 1-3 (Low Rise)
View: Neighborhood, City Lights
Year Built: 2009
Community: Downtown
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81031358
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 17 days
City Lofts – modern 3-level townhome in the heart of downtown Palo Alto, accessed by your own private elevator. Soaring top-floor ‘great’ room with walls of windows opening to a large roof deck. Ground floor suite with kitchenette, full bath and separate entry. Powered by solar panels. Designed by David Solnick Price includes most furnishings.

These days, people want everything to be high tech. Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this high tech find. Wow… $3.95M! Here’s a question: how much of that is due to the private elevator and solar panels? And why does this house have a private elevator anyway if you’re trying to be green?

So many questions, so much price. This house is definitely fit for a newly minted Tesla millionaire!

Comments (13) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:20 am

May 27, 2010

Really Angry Renter Ruins Real Palo Alto for the Rest of Us

Surprise!  Here’s another guest post from madhaus, who hasn’t contributed since… yesterday.

130 Bryant St, Palo Alto, CA 94301


SQ. FT.: 2,114
$/SQ. FT.: $613
LOT SIZE: 7,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Traditional
COUNTY: Santa Clara 
MLS#: 81024985
STATUS: Active 
ON REDFIN: 3 days

Tenant has lived in the house for over 18 years- needs work. Reports available. Fifth bedroom was dining room.

Here’s a rare opportunity to buy a house in Downtown Palo Alto at a Cupertino price!  Sunnyvale, even!  But unlike Cupertino or Sunnyvale, this is no tract home that looks just like every one of its neighbors.  This is an 85 year old house with lots of character, traditional styling, architectural interest, and serious damage.

So, what’s this about a tenant?  Someone’s lived here for 18 years?  Oh dear!  Homes built in 1925 shouldn’t have 18-year tenants!  The place must have been absolutely perfect before a tenant moved in!  Why, tenants could have done all kinds of things to this house in the last 18 years!  Rusted the pipes, made the roof leak, filled the place with termites, splashed hard water all over the bathtub!  Let’s see how much work is going to be needed to bring the house back to habitable condition.


Oh no!  There are no inside pictures!  It must be some hecka damage.  You’d best read those reports that are available.  Are they police reports?  Arson reports?  Suppose that tenant ate crackers in bed or left the milk carton open?  Even… gasp… both!  And goodness knows what happened to the dining room.  The tenant, or somebody, turned it into a fifth bedroom!  The nerve!  If it’s a bedroom, how are you doing to put a dining room table there?  It’s going to leave no room for the nightstands!

This is what happens when Angry Renters are allowed to live in a “good” neighborhood: there go the property values for everyone.  But their loss is your gain!  A little bit of spackle where the pushpins went in the wall, sand off that window that got painted shut, replace the missing floors and staircase, and you’ve got a beautiful house!  They really knew how to build them in 1925, so you won’t have to worry about much else.  Except the dining table in the fifth bedroom.

Comments (135) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

April 7, 2010

Adult condominium in Palo Alto

And now, a guest post from Burbed reader Herve. Take it away, Herve:



Beds: 2
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,548
$/Sq. Ft.: $598
Lot Size: 800 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Condominium
Style: Mediterranean
Stories: 4-8 (Mid Rise)
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1997
Community: Downtown
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80922328
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 330 days
Enjoy luxurious retirement living at The Hamilton, downtown Palo Alto’s elegant over 55 adult condominiums. This is a lovely two bedroom, two bath unit with a den. The building is beautifully maintained and has 24 hour security, elegant common areas, serves gourmet meals in an inviting dining room, provides indoor pool, fitness room, & apartments for out-of-town guests. See showing instructions.

You’re thinking Playboy mansion now, right? Well, take your mind out of the gutter and imagine luxurious retirement living instead. For only $925,000. Heck, for that price I would be willing to put up with Barbara Walters, Oprah, Scrabble and 5pm dinners.

The catch? Well, it’s a condominium so it comes with HOA fees of course! $4,086 a month. Or $49,000 a year. Or $134 a day. Any way you look at it, it’s a lot of money (although you can save money by having only one Netflix subscription for everyone). But I have to admit I plead ignorance here. What can possibly be included for that price? Sushi? Chippendales?

This means one thing and one thing only: you have to buy a house NOW in the Real Bay Area. Then when you’re finally done paying your 50-year mortgage you can trade it for such a condo (and watch Barbara Walters on TV every day). The leftover money will pay for HOA fees. Hopefully. Maybe. Or not.

Comments (64) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:11 am