February 4, 2013

Today in Portola Valley: Guest Blogger on Guest House

burbed_guest_bloggerWe haven’t had a guest post for a while, so we’re going to sleep in while Burbed reader Dr. Jim takes over today’s column.  Thanks very much!  Please give Dr. Jim a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome to the front page as today’s guest blogger!

And now we’re going back to bed.


130203-portola-redfin451 PORTOLA Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028
$6,495,000

4 Beds
5 Baths
4,200 Sq. Ft.
$1,546 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1912
Lot Size: 1.13 Acres
On Redfin: 88 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Brookside/Willowbrook Area
MLS#: 81240340

Stunning historic estate originally built by Herbert E. Law completely renovated with state of the art contemporary finishes. Turreted castle main residence (3 br) incl. 1000 sq. ft new construction, stone guest cottage, 1200 sq. ft workshop. 1.2 flat ac. in prime PV, western views, pool, bocce court, enclosed rose garden, diamond plaster top quality appliances incl. La Cornue stove, Miele appl.

130203-portola-gatehouseCheck it out: 

They expect to make $4,645,000 profit on a house that they bought 1.5 years ago for $1,850,000!  That’s $1106/sf for remodeling.  And the cottage and workshop were there already.  Granted, the land is valuable, but that’s already accounted for in the original purchase price.  Let’s say they spent a ridiculous million dollars on renovation.  That’s still a 28% ROI, which is wildly ambitious.

130203-portola-ladderA couple of notes on the listing copy: (1) This is not the Herbert E. Law estate, this is the former GATEHOUSE for the Law estate (Villa Lauriston).  (2) A La Cornue oven, oh boy!  It looks like the $35,000 model (Chateau 120).  If they had put in a $299 Kenmore range, I suppose they would be asking $6,460,299.  Not really much difference.

Thank goodness for the Internet.  Just a few years ago, prior sale info was more difficult to obtain.  I think part of the current real estate slump is due to all of the information on the web: people are no longer being duped as readily by realtors.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am






November 16, 2012

One of the most saught after street in Palo Alto

After wasting everyone’s time far far away from the RBA yesterday, the least we can do is finish strong for the week.  And what could be stronger than a house full of curb appeal for an amazing low price?  How about a house full of Burbed appeal for an amazing price you can’t have, because the listing got canceled?  We’ll leave it to you to figure out if this is a new way to say Pending/Do Not Show.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Dr. Jim for sending this one in.

121115-ramona-movoto3284 Ramona St
Palo Alto, CA 94306
$1,449,000

Loan Payment:  $4,966/mo
Bedrooms:  3
Bathrooms:  2
Size:  1,601 sqft
$/Sqft:  $905/sqft
Type:  Single Family House
Year Built:  1950
Lot Size:  6,250
Days on Movoto:  38 days
Neighborhood:  Midtown
MLS#:  81237014
Status:  Cancelled

Great Location Midtown home on one of the most saught after street in Palo Alto, home has good bones and sq ft. Bring your imagination to make this your dream home with few upgrades, North East facing lot with lots of sun light. Walking distance to El Carmelo Elem and JL Stanford middle.

121115-ramona-kitchenThe house has good bones, which you can dig up in the back yard.

And it also has sq. ft., namely 1601 of them.  But that’s not why Dr. Jim brought this princely palace to our attention:

Midtown Palo Alto crapshack for $1.45 million. And horrible ad copy to boot!

Oh dear, has Dr. Jim no poetry in his soul? Doesn’t he understand you have to to bring your imagination to 121115-ramona-bathroommake this your dream home with few upgrades?  And if you want a dream home with many upgrades, you should bring your stock portfolio.

Seriously, does nothing please you people?  It’s on a North East facing lot with lots of sun light.  That’s like two lots in one in only 6,250 sq. ft. to go with the good bones.

Bunus: The toilet is so awesome they show it twice.  Check it for additional good bones.

Mor Bunus: Check out the Movoto logo in the listing above.  The graphic designer let us know exactly what s/he thinks of the house!

Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

October 2, 2012

Los Altos Hills: More money, less effort

If you’re looking for a house, or simply enjoy looking at houses, sometimes you may think that they all are starting to look alike. (Well, except for yesterday’s featured folly.)  Today we find out it’s true, courtesy of Burbed reader Dr. Jim.  The doctor is in, and he wants this Los Altos Hills listing to say “Ahh, instant equity!”

27540 Sherlock Rd
Los Altos, CA 94022
$1,649,000

121001-sherlock-zillow-27540Zestimate® $1,655,794
Est. Mortgage $5,754/mo
Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Sqft: 2,056
Lot: 119,790 sq ft / 2.75 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1952
On Zillow: 130 days
MLS #: 81219574
View Virtual Tour (opens new tab)

Private Retreat on 2.75 Acres with views out to the Bay! 2 level home with opportunity to remodel or expand. Wrap around front deck showcasing the view, paneled cathedral ceilings with exposed beams, spacious rear deck and patio with spa and fire pit. 4.2 kW solar panels (6400 kWh per year) supply much of the home’s electricity & heat the hot tub. Excellent Los Altos schools!

121001-sherlock-wtfSince we had to showcase one property, we chose the 540.  Any listing that doesn’t lead with the front of the house must have a problem somewhere.  It’s peppered with photos (like these) that we suspect are not to be found anywhere on those 2.75 acres.

Now here’s what the doc had to say about this precious pair of properties:

I’m still enjoying Burbed immensely.

121001-sherlock-la-highHere are a couple of listings in Los Altos Hills that use the same picture for the purported view.  Perhaps we should cut the realtor some slack because the street name is the same. 

However, he is looking at $100k in commission for these two babies, so I’m not cutting him any slack!  I think the street name is very appropriate, given my incisive powers of observation!

 

121001-sherlock--27223 121001-sherlock-27540

No ship, Sherlock! Click on either picture to observe the Zillow listings for yourself.  The photos are #13 for 27223 and #10 for 27540.  Also the former had a $100K haircut so far.  Just sayin’.

We note a couple other curiosities besides the matching photos (which may not be on either property).

1. According to Redfin, these properties are in Los Altos Hills.  But the Zillow entry states they are in Los Altos.  One of them rejects your realty and subdivides its own!

2. Speaking of Redfin, only 27223 is listed, and the duplicate photo has mysteriously been removed from the collection.  27540 is not to be confused with 27640 Sherlock Court. (which looks like it needs a big ol’ Burbed hug of its own someday).

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

September 4, 2012

An awesome opportunity to own this terrific value, 75% complete sold AS-IS

Welcome back from your three-day weekend!  That’s assuming you didn’t work all three days because you’re up against some arbitrary deadline.  And if you did, maybe you’re thinking you really need a vacation.  Today’s property is for you!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Dr. Jim for this superb bivouac in Big Sur!

120903-partington-redfin51422 PARTINGTON RIDGE Rd
Big Sur, CA 93920
$799,000

3 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
3,203 Sq. Ft.
$249 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2003 
Lot Size: 2.03 Acres 
On Redfin: 483 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Green Belt, Mountains, Canyon, Ocean
County: Monterey
Stories: 2
Community: North Big Sur Coast
MLS#: 81120578

The essence of Big Sur, an awesome opportunity, to own an amazing Big Sur retreat property. A private & serene location, on 2+ acres with dramatic vistas of the Pacific Ocean, along with the green and gold flowered hills of the rugged Big Sur Coast. This diamond in the rough, a terrific value, property being sold AS-IS. 2728 s. f. main house, is 75% complete, & a separate 480 s. f. cottage.

120903-partington-ocean-viewAnd here’s why Dr. Jim took the time to share this with you:

Just found your web site – love it!
What’s going on with this one?  The property history is bizarre.

Property history?  What about the tiny little pictures that don’t show the 25% of the house that isn’t complete?  Talk about an awesome opportunity… to take on someone else’s money pit!

120903-partington-exposed-beamBut Dr. Jim is right.  Head over to the Redfin link and check out that property history.  We’d include it here, but it goes on for so long that we literally cannot copy it into one screenshot. Instead we’ll send you over there to have a scavenger hunt, where you have to find the not-an-arms-length transaction, the foreclosure, the sale at more than twice the above asking price, and count the exact number of times it went pending.

And then there’s this, back when the property was sold 9 years ago (for more than today’s asking price), when those plans for a “2800 SQ FT DREAM HOME MOSTLY FLAT” hadn’t been acted on yet.

120903-partington-redfin-old-listing$940,000 Last Sold Price 
0 Beds 
1 Baths 
500 Sq. Ft.
$1,880 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1999 
Lot Size: 2 Sq. Ft. 
Sold On: Feb 25, 2004
HOA Dues: $655/month
Style: Cabin
View: Mountains, Canyon, Ocean
County: Monterey
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: North Big Sur Coast
MLS#: 80340955

PRIVACY, OCEAN AND CANYON VIEWS WITH THE COMFORT OF PAVED AND GATED ACCESS GARDENS BLOOM WITH FLOWERS ON 2.1 AC. APPROVED PLANS FOR 2800 SQ FT DREAM HOME MOSTLY FLAT. VIEWS OF THE OCEAN AND A NATIONAL PRESERVE WILL GUARANTEE YOU

Will guarantee you what?  Argh, this is like reading a mystery and someone tore the last page out of the book!  Maybe it’s “If you build it, the foreclosure will come.”

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am