October 7, 2011

800 sf slate deck becomes extension of the home, because no remodeling allowed

corntrolio over at patrick.net (who has also been an occasional Burbed reader) found this house and complained about it.  We did a smash and grab so you could point and gasp.  At the house, I mean.  Thanks for the great observations, corntrolio!  Note that they were made back when the house still listed for $1.095M.

Are there any Real Estate forums you regularly check for great discussion on local properties?  Let us know so we can steal share them with you.


610 WOODSIDE Way, Woodside, CA 94062


SQ. FT.: 1,670
$/SQ. FT.: $656
LOT SIZE: 7,440 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Traditional
VIEW: Mountains, Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Emerald Hills Area
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81126046
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 75 days

Open flr plan, Massive loft w/ vaulted ceiling. (multitple uses) gourmet kitchen. Bath/2 sinks, vanity area, tub with jets & separate toilet area. 800 sq ft slate deck becomes extension of the home. Crowned molding, recessed lighting, old world plastered walls, french drain, new septic/leach fields, storage throughout. Flat grassy yard/garden w/ fountain. Woodside Schools. OH 10/02.(SUN)1:30-4:30

imageThe ridiculous place I saw recently was this one.

This is a 1BR house with a loft built 2000-2004. You may ask yourself, why would someone do that in this day and age? The reason is because this property is on a septic system, and a restrictive covenant placed on the house in 2001 does not permit more than 1BR.

I also didn’t believe it was 1600+ sqft. I’ve lived in 1200-1300 sqft houses with 3BR that felt bigger. It’s also not really in Woodside proper, but rather Emerald Hills which has the Woodside zipcode/post office and not necessarily Woodside schools. Because this place is north of Jefferson, it may have Woodside schools. Nonetheless, this place is considered part of the Town of Woodside and is subject to its code and planning.

imageIt has a bizarre history too — foreclosed in 2005 at $865,209, and then purchased for $925K in 2006. The current owners tried to add a second bathroom in the loft space but got smacked down by the Town of Woodside for doing so illegally without a permit and against the covenant which requires only 1 BR. The prior owner tried hard to build that second bathroom in the loft space, but got smacked down numerous times by the town (including after demolishing the prior 1BR house and applying for a "remodel").

All this for a mere $1.095M.

And in reply to another comment:

corntrollio, i don’t get it, foreclosed in 2005?? Didn’t he got it for like 355k in 2000?

imageThey tore it down completely (without getting a demo permit) and then rebuilt it. There may have been a big construction loan that was converted to a mortgage, or something else that resulted in the foreclosure (e.g. building the new house then cash-out). These guys tried for several years to back-door a 2nd bedroom into this house, and then the subsequent owner did too. We’re 10 years down the line now.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

September 16, 2011

If you can’t jump in the lake, go jump off a cliff

Today’s listing is from frequent Guest Blogger and occasional Guest Editor sfbubblebuyer!  Thanks very much for this awesome property in, where else, Redwood City! 

The agent isn’t sure if it’s in “Emerald Hills” or Cordilleras Heights, but it’s that specialized knowledge, such as what neighborhood a given house is in, that explains why these professionals split a $60,000 fee to help buy or sell a million dollar piece of property.

For the first time ever, we have truth in advertising. At least truth in advertising on a street name. I present 503 Edgecliff Way.


503 EDGECLIFF Way, Redwood City, CA 94062


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 3,100
$/SQ. FT.: $321
LOT SIZE: 7,744 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
COMMUNITY: Cordilleras Heights
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81126139
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 85 days

Contemporary style modern home in Emerald Hills with highly desirable upgrades. Cherry & granite kitchen, contemporary lighting, large walk-in master closet w/ built-ins, double decks & patio, large back yard w/ beautiful landscaping, 2 car garage with built in storage, extra storage below house, extra room below house to build an in-law. Plus, a majestic view of the bay!

imageYou know you’re buying quality when you can bungee jump from your own driveway! They even conveniently sloped the driveway towards the house so that you will be alerted to heavy rainstorms by water flowing across your garage floor.

Or perhaps, if you’re more theatrically inclined, you could stage a neighborhood play of Romeo And Juliet since your front door is on it’s own balcony! How romantic! And you want character? Well, this fake-Spanish house comes with it’s very own OCTAGONAL WINDOW! Whoa! Don’t put a ball through that, you don’t want to know what it’ll cost to replace!

imageEnough of the outside! Inside we’ve got our standard granite, but blinged up a bit with Cherry! It comes with a wine fridge located right next to the oven, because cooling and heating devices next to each other screams "I have so much money I don’t care about thermodynamics!"

imageAnd what is this? A bathroom with all black fixtures? If you plan on using it for the help, don’t worry, they won’t be offended. The sink has built in cawluhms to class up the joint!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

September 15, 2010

Pants on Fire in Cordilleras Heights

Redwood City Spectacular continues with another great find from Burbed reader sonarrat. Here’s a typical “A million dollars for THIS?” kind of house.  I mean, a million dollars is a lot of money.  For a million dollar property, the listing ought to be grammatically correct, relatively free of spelling errors, and use lower case letters as well as capitals.

778 Canyon Rd Redwood City, CA 94062


Beds: 4
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,310
$/Sq. Ft.: $801
Lot Size: 6,700 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1948
Community: Cordilleras Heights
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81039024
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 32 days

THIS HOME HAS 2,220 S. F. OF LIVING SPACE. IT IS 12 YEARS OLD ONLY, TOTALLY REBUILT IN 1998. FABULOUS EMERALD HILLS LOCATION!!! Desirable location. 4 bed, 2.5 baths. Kitchen has professional Vicking chef stove and Birch cabinets. Master suite has custom windows and stone fireplace. Seller is very motivated bring your offer.

So much for the request for lower case.  Can’t wait to see the Vicking chef stove!

Recently a new Burbed reader spoke out in favor of honest and experienced Realtors.  So is this listing honest? Let’s review, shall we?

Redfin Property Description Agent’s Listing Description
Sq. Ft: 1,310 THIS HOME HAS 2,220 S. F. OF LIVING SPACE.
Community: Cordilleras Heights FABULOUS EMERALD HILLS LOCATION!!!

Hmmmm.  Which to believe, which to believe.  First, the neighborhood.  Is it Emerald Hills or Cordilleras Heights?  Let’s ask City Data.


The dark border is City Data’s definition of the Emerald Lake Hills neighborhood, or at least something called Emerald Hills.  The two names are used almost interchangeably.  Let’s see where this house is using the map above:


Why, it’s not in the brown-bordered area at all.  Is this map saying that the house in question is NOT in “Emerald Hills”?  (Those colorful areas are Census tracts, showing income ranges.)  Let’s look at a street map to be sure about the neighborhood.


Anywhere near the actual hills?  Barely.  And closer to Alameda than the lake.  Let’s do a hill check.  Good thing there’s a topo map available.


The house is either just above or just below the 100 foot line.  Not much in the “hills” when the lake the neighborhood in question is named for is over 400 feet up.  This house barely qualifies as in the foothills, also known as Piedmont, which is in the East Bay, which is so Not Real Bay Area, which therefore kicks this house out of the RBA by association alone.

Now, what about this huge discrepancy on the size of the house?  Which is it, 1310 or 2220 square feet?  Perhaps propertyshark (account required) can explain matters:

Sq. ft. 1,310
Finished sq. ft. 1 1,110
Building sq. ft. 2,250
Basement sq. ft. 200
Basement unfinished sq. ft. 940
Garage sq. ft. 940
Lot size 6,700
Acreage 0.15

The building is 2,250 square feet, of which 940 is an unfinished basement (or maybe a garage), and 200 is presumably a finished basement.  And amazingly, 1,110 (finished square feet) plus 940 (unfinished basement or garage) plus 200 (finished basement) is… 2,250… building square feet.  Within 30 sf of what the listing said.  Except you aren’t supposed to count the garage or unfinished basement in a building’s square footage. That’s why the house is quoted as 1,310 sf, which is the finished house plus finished basement.

And the year built is pretty dubious too.  Unless the house was torn down, bulldozed, and a completely new house put up in 1998, what the listing says above is misleading at best and probably close to the l-word (and no I do not mean love).  And if the county doesn’t know about the original house getting scraped, then obviously nobody bothered to get a permit.  Even a remodel requires permits, and remodels don’t change the year a structure was built in the first place.

Then again, propertyshark says this place is a 2 bedroom 1 bath, so something funny is going on.  And that would explain how a house “totally rebuilt” in 1998 is only assessed for $101,000.

Perhaps the lights on either side of the exterior are kept lit in search of that honest Realtor.

UPDATE: Price dropped to $989,000 after 35 days on market.

Comments (94) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

August 23, 2010

Go Jump In 9% of Your Own Lake

This property is a burbed two-fer.  It’s both a multi-million dollar listing… and the house is probably only being held together by the termites having a big ol’ group hug.  Yup, expensive signature showpiece or overpriced pile of crap?  How about both!  It’s a floor wax and a dessert topping!

Many thanks to burbed reader sonarrat for this fantastic find!

1005 Lakeview Way, Redwood City, CA 94062


Beds: 4
Baths: 2.5
Sq. Ft.: 3,820
$/Sq. Ft.: $667
Lot Size: 1.01 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Spanish
Stories: 1
View: Lake
Year Built: 1926
Community: Farm Hills Estates
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81040895
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 5 days

Opportunity to own this one of a kind Lake front property. Over an acre of completely useable land on privately owned Emerald Hills upper Lake, Lake Lynda. Build, develop, subdivide, or restore this tranquil property. FISH, SWIM, BOAT, in your own backyard. TRUELY A MUST SEE!

Yes, indeed, this is a privately owned lake, and this house comes with 1/11th of it!  But, do you see a house in those pictures above?  There’s supposed to be a big house on this one-acre lakefront property, but the agent seems to have neglected to post any pictures of it.  Instead we get 9 photos of the lake.

And PropertyShark (registration required) says there is a small house at this address: 600 square feet, with a grand total of three rooms. Plus a 630 sf garage.  You’d think a house built in 1926 would know how big it is by now. Here’s the one room the agent was willing to show us:image

Wow, they sure knew how to party in 1926.  Just imagine 3820 square feet of house needing to be restored.  Or 600.  TRUELY A MUST SEE!

Also, the agent is making a very big deal about the privately-owned lake, so let’s take a good look.


Whoa…. that lake may be green, but I don’t think I’d call that shade Upper Emerald.  I’d go with Acme Algae or Summit Scum.  Now, can we get a peek at the house?  Google Streetview can take us where no agent dares.


Uh,,,, yeah, that’s a roof all right.  And a roof job.  A very expensive-looking roof job.  Maybe it’s a good thing the house is hiding under the driveway.  So: floor wax or dessert topping?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

February 19, 2008

What does a $1 mil house look like in Redwood City?

Last August, Burbed posed this question:

What does a $1 mil house look like in Redwood City? [Burbed.com]

Well, a few short months later, the answer may for 610 Acacia Ln may look like this:


Oh come on, you should’ve tried harder. You were so close to $1 mil! That’s the magic number for The Real Bay Area – two engineer households, with 2 kids in school creating Web 2.0 startups can easily afford that.

Redwood City… tsk tsk.

Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:52 am