November 30, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest house in Contra Costa County

If you want a property DEAL, you have come to the right place!  Contra Costa has two different kinds of value to offer.  First, there’s classic urban decay in Richmond, with poorly maintained homes and the threat of property damage.  But CCC sweetens the DEALS with exurban abandonment from Antioch to Discovery Bay!  Plus there’s an interesting demographic shift of lower-income inner city residents to the far-flung exurbs, and watch hijinks ensue!

There were 236 listings available for under $100,000 in CCC, so you’re sure to find something suitable at a price you can afford.  Maybe think Costco and buy several at once. 

Today’s house is less than half the price of yesterday’s DEAL, yet it is completely intact and there’s not a word about fire damage.  CHECK IT OUT!

8 W BISSELL Ave #201, Richmond, CA 94801


SQ. FT.: 554
$/SQ. FT.: $54
TYPE: Patio Home/Villa
STYLE: Other
COMMUNITY: Atchison Village
COUNTY: Contra Costa
MLS#: 40524154
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 200 days

Own a piece of History! Cozy 1 level end unit in Atchison Village Co-Op. Light and bright, freshly painted, refinished wood floors, new windows, updated kitchen and bath, fenced backyard. Very convenient commute location & a price you can’t beat.

imageThis “end unit” came up in a Redfin search for “houses,”  with townhouses and condos excluded.  Patio Villa looks like a fancy way to say condo, complete with $265 a month HOA.  But since this is a 450 unit co-op, it’s 100% owner-occupied. 

It does indeed have an interesting history, built as housing for defense workers during World War II, and still home to some of them, or their descendants.  Also, since the entire parcel is owned by the co-op, you get low, low, low Prop 13 valuation no matter how many times an individual unit changes ownership!  That’s because you don’t own the land, the co-op does.

You won’t be able to get a conventional mortgage to buy here, so either scrape up the cash or find yourself a co-signer willing to put collateral on the line. Where else are you going to buy your own place for $30,000 right on the Bay? Well, 13 feet above the Bay.


Also, it’s located within the happening Iron Triangle area of Richmond. But not too happening, as the Streetview picture shows: you have gates to keep the 99% out! Or maybe since we’re talking about a $30,000 property, you can keep the 1% out!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:05 am

December 28, 2010

Clearance Sale – San Francisco

The banks say clear out the inventory, so that means slashed prices for you, the homebuyer!  Thanks to burbed reader sonarrat for today’s featured property.

956 Goettingen St, San Francisco, CA 94134


Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 836
$/Sq. Ft.: $417
Lot Size: 2,996 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1952
County: San Francisco
MLS#: 81023661
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 226 days

Great investment opportunity in the most active part of the bay area!

Wonder what the agent meant about “most active part of the bay area”?  Does that mean the most traffic?  Let’s check out the neighborhood, since the agent didn’t bother to tell us which one the house is in.


Near Candlestick Park and Hunters Point?  So that means either most active wind or most active criminals.  I’d suspect the latter, because of the sole house photo.  As sonarrat notes, “Realtor earns his 3% using Google Maps.”  It took me a minute to figure that out, but a larger view of the photo makes it clear.


Um… you mean the garage doesn’t have an orange Google pointer sticking to its door?  Or is it actually on the car?  Why not stop by and see, then you’ll be braver than this agent!

Comments (205) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:17 am

September 29, 2010


Here’s a great find from burbed reader Herve, who says, “Check out that location and tell me if anyone would want to spend $1,250,000 there.”

$1.25M in Menlo Park?  That’s not out of line at all for a larger house.  Menlo Park has some very nice neighborhoods.  Unfortunately, this is not in one of them.

1151 Windermere Ave  Menlo Park, CA 94025


Beds: 5
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 2,330
$/Sq. Ft.: $536
Lot Size: 5,403 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1947
Community: East of U.S. 101
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81044545
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 14 days


What is the price point when a listing isn’t in all-caps?  Silly me, I had thought it was in six-digit land.  Guess the rules are different when the listing is NOT AN REO OR SHORT SALE!!!

The first photo above seemed odd, because it looked like it was taken from a street behind another street.  It was:


At least Howard street doesn’t go through; there’s a sidewalk cutting it short.  Nothing like living at a five-way intersection for great feng shui.  And nothing like the neighborhood for great property values:


Oops.  This place isn’t just on the Wrong Side of of El Camino Real.  It’s in the exciting community of Belle Haven, Wrong Side of 101!  Let’s see how Belle Haven compares with its zip code.


Um… wow.  Guess they came up with that $536 a square foot price by averaging the neighborhood cost per foot with the whole zip code.  But look, the house sold for $145,000 in 1989, right as the last bubble was running up, It’s more than doubled in 20 years, so it has to be in the Real Bay Area!  Plus it was TOTALLY REMODELED IN 2006.  This is definitely the neighborhood to do an expensive remodel (did you see that Jacuzzi?), because the price has nowhere to go but up, up, up!

Comments (63) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

September 17, 2010

An amazing deal in the Real Bay Area–Palo Alto!



Beds: 4
Baths: 3.5
Sq. Ft.: 2,347
$/Sq. Ft.: $639
Lot Size: 7,840 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Mediterranean
Stories: 2
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 2005
Community: Ventura
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81040389
Source: MLSListings
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 24 days
Exquisite 5 Year Old Home with beautiful finishes through out. Custom built with formal entry, formal dining room with crown molding, coffered ceiling and wainscoting. The family room kitchen opens to the patio and backyard. Large master bedroom with balcony, walk-in closet and luxurious master bathroom with jetted tub. Groud floor bedroom with full bath. Neighborhood with new and upcoming homes!

Thanks to Burbed reader Brendan for this find!

Wow! Palo Alto for just $639! What an amazing deal! But wait… it gets better!


That’s right! The house is right next door to Boston Market! Dinner’s served! No wonder this neighborhood is new and upcoming!

Here’s some notes from Brendan:

    1. The next door neighbor is the boston market parking lot. The lot goes way back behind the property, has garabage and graffiti everywhere. I assure you it’s really great at night time.
    2. Behind the house is a stagnant creek that routinely stinks
    3. Busy el camino real is right there
    4. I’ve personally witnessed guys hanging out in the park near the house during the day rapping at the top of their lungs. NO JOKE

Oh… so it’s lively and colorful as well!

Why move to San Francisco when you can live on the the King of Roads & Boston Market!

Comments (48) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:43 am

April 8, 2010

Gated Ghettos

And now, a guest post from Burbed reader Madhaus! Take it away, Madhaus:

From bucolic bliss to ‘gated ghetto’

Willow Walk bank-owned homeHemet’s Willowalk tract was family-friendly. Then the recession hit.

March 30, 2010|By Alana Semuels, LA Times

Home foreclosures have devastated neighborhoods throughout the country, but the transformation from suburban paradise to blighted community has been especially stark in places like Willowalk — isolated developments on the far fringes of metropolitan areas that found ready buyers when home prices were soaring but then saw an exodus as values crashed.

Vacant homes are sprinkled throughout Willowalk, betrayed by foot-high grass. Others are rented, including some to families that use government Section 8 vouchers to live in homes with granite countertops and vaulted ceilings.

The Los Angeles Times describes a gated community turning into a slum in just a few years.  Most of the properties sit empty, or are rented to large numbers of people.  Meanwhile, underwater homedebtors not only watch their investment fail, their supposedly safe and secure neighborhood is vandalized and taken over by street toughs.

Welcome to Willowalk. Oh, Willowalk isn’t in the Bay Area, it’s in Hemet.  People bought this far away from LA because they could get a luxury home in a gated community for under half a million.  The 5000 sf home bought by Eddie and Maria Lopez for $440,000 is now worth about $170k according to neighborhood comps.

Think it wouldn’t happen here?  It already has.  Hemet to Los Angeles is about a hundred mile commute.  Have you priced anything around Stockton (America’s Most Miserable City!) (80 miles) lately? Prices are at 2001 levels.

Google Maps Link showing commute from Hemet
Google Maps Link showing commute from Stockton
Link to Stockton Real Estate Prices over 10 years

Comments (33) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:15 am