December 11, 2013

Mountain View move-in!

Enough with the catty comments about no posts in two weeks. We’ll post when and if we feel like it, no matter what websites are on your toolbar. Today’s heralded homestead is from z2amiller and this is a hot, hot property! Why? Because it’s CLOSE TO GOOGLE!

131210-spring-redfin1639 SPRING St
Mountain View, CA 94043

— Beds
— Baths
— Sq. Ft.
Built: —
Lot Size: 5,300 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 6 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Residential Land (Single Family)
Community: North Shoreline
MLS#: 81342322

Lot still has foundation left from house burn down Jan. 2013. Nice neighborhood close to HWY 101

The Streetview photos show the property before house burn down Jan. 2013 (but really, it’s a nice neighborhood close to HWY 101!)  Fortunately, z2a thinks bigger than that.

IMG_20131206-spring-fire2Okay so now I feel bad.  I went to take pictures of this place and there’s basically a person squatting here with possessions scattered around and it looks like they are taking shelter under a tarp tied up in a tree.

I am guessing it is the property owner, with as much stuff as there is the property, MV police would’ve kicked them out if they didn’t belong.  (I think?!)   Also based on the MV voice article the lady who lived there was a hoarder, so given the state of the property (all of the garbage bags and random stuff all over) maybe it is the same person.

IMG_20131206-spring-fire1You can see the back of the person’s head (DHO?) in one of the pictures, hanging out under the tarp.

Anyway I’m having a hard time being too snarky about it now.  :-/

I guess the neighbors will be pretty thrilled when the place sells.

And that could be you, Mr. or Ms. Burbed reader, all three of you. You could put up a six-story apartment house and become rich beyond measure renting out cubicles to Googlers who will only come home to sleep.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

January 31, 2013

Mountain View is hot, hot, hot! AMAZING Proof!

SirenBlinkWe’ve been telling you for many months that real estate was taking off in the Greater Googleplex.  Thanks to Burbed reader bublidoo, we have something better than another data point.  We have red-hot proof. Let’s roll through the red light on the way to this piping hot property!

130130-sonia-redfin722 SONIA Way
Mountain View, CA 94040

0 Beds
— Baths
1,221 Sq. Ft.
$900 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1947
Lot Size: 7,750 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 1 day
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Miramonte
MLS#: 81302687
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara

AMAZING Location. Steps away from Downtown Mtn View. Large Lot – Build your Dream Home

130130-sonia-streetviewOkay, bublidoo, tell us more.

Houses needing a little TLC selling over 1M have been seen before, a burnt house for 1.1? Figured it could be an interesting data point for you. A realtor would diagnose "hot hot burning hot", probably. Address seems to match. None of this is verified in any way, so please consume at your own risk.

We’re rather impressed with all the news stories provided on the fire, but one of them doesn’t just “seem” to match. It flat out has the exact address.  So what are you all waiting for? Get over there to overbid so you can Build your Dream Home.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

December 17, 2012

Too much brush to walk in Woodside

Today’s featured property was sent in by Burbed reader Swan! Thanks very much for this wonderful Woodside win.  (Oh yeah, PENDING!!!!!!)

121216-marva-redfin133 MARVA OAKS Dr
Woodside, CA 94062
Listed at $1,895,000

2 Beds 
2 Baths 
1,400 Sq. Ft.
$1,354 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1961 
Lot Size: 3.73 Acres 
On Redfin: 112 days
Status: Pending Without Release
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Central Woodside
MLS#: 81231887
Style: Contemporary
View: Canyon
County: San Mateo

Driveway is a slight downslope, house is on the flat, then another downslope on a road to a lower, larger flat pretty area. From there property does go down to Raymundo, but too much brush to walk.

121216-marva-satelliteWe sure like this description of the property.  Here’s what Swan had to say about it.

Let’s start with the realtard listing 3.73 acres in Woodside for $2250.  Why I didn’t jump on the deal then, I’ll never know!  Suddenly, the price went up to $2,250,000 only to be reduced to $1,895,000.  Of course, the listing is pending! 

Anyway, how about the realtard’s description of the property.  Huh?  Say that again?  The Redfin agent seems to sum it up nicely:  fixer.  Oh, and be sure to check the satellite view in Google.  There’s a an RV (or something) with a lovely blue tarp over the top.And, on the back part of the property, a broken down vehicle along with that burned down barn.  I’m sure the surrounding mansions love living next door to the hillbillies!

Wait, what’s this about 3.73 acres for $2250?


Yowza.  And the Redfin agent?


She did not actually say “fixer.”  Just “open your wallet.”

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

December 8, 2012

No entry allowed under any circumstances

121122-blackfridayThis is our last CHEAPEST HOUSE IN THE WHOLE COUNTY OMFG entry.  With Solano County’s turn, we’ve run out of Bay Area counties to feature in our Black Friday Deals Deals DEALS, which of course will run right up until Christmas Day.  Future deals will find you the best value in select Bay Area cities (and by “select” we actually mean whatever we want that to mean, optimizing for maximum pointing and laughing).

121207-adams-redfin1328 Adams St
Fairfield, CA 94533

3 Beds 
1 Baths 
1,277 Sq. Ft.
$23 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1954 
Lot Size: 5,227 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 17 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Residential, Detached, Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Solano
Style: Ranch
Community: Fairfield
MLS#: 21226257

Home sold for land value only. Home has suffered extreme fire damage and is unsafe in current condition. No entry is allowed under any circumstances.

Maybe you could pick this one up for Chanukah tonight? It will cost less than many new cars, and remember, they’re not making any more land! With prices like these, even the furthest reaches of the Bay Area are hot, hot, HOT! (Disclaimer: Property currently at ambient temperature.)

There’s instant equity galore, as this house sold for $112,000 in (hold on to your jellybean bag) 1990.  This is not only a fire sale, but a foreclosure too.  Here’s what it looked like back in 2009.


There’s something about the feng shui of this house that led to fire prevailing against the overdone water element.

And a quick glance around the neighborhood in 2009 shows it was reasonably well-kept, but there’s an unusually high pickup truck to automobile ratio.  But on the bright side, it has a Walk Score of 72.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

March 23, 2012

Tastefully remodeled bathrooms and bedrooms are intact

On 6/25/2012 Burbed received this letter:

Now, this isn’t really a take down or a cease and desist. After much heated discussion by the editorial team, we decided that the Bay Area truly is the best place in the world to live. Oh, and I decided to remove this, because I am a gentleman and I will of course help a damsel in distress. -Burbed

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

November 28, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest house in Alameda County

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS continue all this week!  This is the time to find the lowest-prices throughout the Bay Area!  Plus we’ll continue to bring you all the regular Burbed features you expect.

Today, the cheapest house in all of Alameda County!  Woot!  And when we run out of Bay Area Counties, don’t worry, there are plenty of Special Cities to find more DEALS for you.  Feel free to place your requests!

So, Alameda County, where would your absolute rock-bottom cheapest house for sale be?  You have so many excellent contenders for the role, it’s hard to pick just one city!  When I searched for properties under $100K countywide, I got more than 200 results.  Heck, even under $50K I still have to sort ten different houses!  How low can we go?  $40,000?  $30,000?

6024 FORTUNE Way, Oakland, CA 94605


SQ. FT.: 700
$/SQ. FT.: $20
LOT SIZE: 1,800 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
COUNTY: Alameda
MLS#: 40549840
STATUS: Pending
ON REDFIN: 25 days

Partially burned property. PRICED TO SELL! Great investment opportunity. Make your offer today!


Yes, this one is pending, but the state of this house combined with the street name make it a winner.  And remember, if it’s partially burned, that means it’s partially burn-free!

Great news: the fireplace looks like it’s still standing.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:07 am

October 24, 2011

Please show with extreme caution

We’ve spent far too long with overpriced real estate in Google’s back yard.

Let’s return to the other City By the Bay (San Pablo Bay), and see what bargains are to be had in Vallejo real estate.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Scott for sending in today’s featured house.


1115 Lewis Ave, Vallejo, CA 94591


SQ. FT.: 1,860
$/SQ. FT.: $6
LOT SIZE: 0.28 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential, Detached, Single Family
COUNTY: Solano
MLS#: 21127170
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 5 days

This property has been partially burned and is not habitable. No roof, electrical or plumbing. Please show with extreme caution.

imageIf you haven’t already read Michael Lewis’ “California and Bust,” on how our state and municipal budgets are doing in today’s economy, I strongly recommend it to you.  He closes his look at Golden State finances with a look at the bankrupt city of Vallejo.  To say city services have been cut would be like describing strip-mining as thinning.  In his meeting with City Manager Phil Batchelor, Lewis mentions there is one other employee; when she takes a break she has to lock up the entire office because nobody else is there.

“Do you know that some cities actually pave their streets?” says Batchelor. “That’s not here.”

Maybe that explains why, if the value is in the quarter acre of land, that the value barely heads into five figures.  At these fire sale prices, you can rebuild or scrape it down!  Heck, you can rebuild AND scrape it down, then build something else! So many possibilities!


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

February 11, 2011

Amazing deal in Oakland


Beds: 3
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,049
$/Sq. Ft.: $84
Lot Size: 4,370 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
Year Built: 1906
Community: Brookdale
County: Alameda
MLS#: 40503515
Source: EBRD
Status: Price ChangeThis listing experienced a price change within the past 7 days. Scroll down this page to the Property History to see the last list price for the home.
On Redfin: 22 days
Contractor special. Fire damaged

Thanks to Burbed reader sonarrat for this find!

Wow. What a deal! Just $84 per square foot! And it’s from 1906! That means its historic!

Yeah, it has a little fire damage – but how much could it cost to fix this?

Any takers?

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:47 am

December 11, 2010

How to Lose All Your Money in Investment Property

Last week we covered the sad tale of Nick Martin, who lost ten million dollars on real estate and high-style living.  This story is very different.

San Diego House Is Burned Down, for Safety’s Sake

Published: December 9, 2010, New York Times

The authorities in San Diego County burned down a house filled with explosives on Thursday after determining that removal of the volatile clutter of chemicals, detonators and grenades would be too dangerous.

Officials discovered the hazardous house in Escondido last month after a gardener stepped on a homemade bomb in the yard. When county sheriffs and F.B.I. agents tried to enter, they found so many explosive materials lying about, in containers and loose piles, that they abandoned their search.

Later, a bomb squad collected samples including PETN, which was used in 2001 when a man on an airplane tried to ignite a bomb in his shoe, and HMBT, which can explode when stepped on.

The house was rented by George D. Jakubec, 54, an unemployed software consultant. He has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of making explosives and robbing three banks with firearms. Prosecutors have declined to say why they think Mr. Jakubec assembled the jumbled arsenal, saying on Thursday that “the investigation is ongoing.”

Photos by Sandy Huffaker

But the most important quote above wasn’t in the early part of the story.  It was the caption under the photo at left:

Officials did not plan to compensate the owner of the house for the loss.

That’s amazing, isn’t it?  You save up your money to buy an investment property, you rent it out to some unemployed software consultant who turns the place into a terrorist bomb factory, then the Feds decide it’s too dangerous to clean the explosives out so the local Sheriff sets fire to the place.

This article goes into all the ways Jakubec’s landlady is seriously screwed.  While governments have to compensate owners when their property is seized via eminent domain, police action is a different issue.  And forget about homeowner insurance (unemployed software consultant bomb factory riders notwithstanding); governmental action isn’t covered.

The county’s declaration gives officials authority to destroy private property in the interest of public health and safety —- without compensating the owner, [county spokesman Michael] Workman said.

Did you remember to buy unemployed software consultant bomb factory insurance on your rental property?  I suggest you take care of that because there are a lot of unemployed software consultants in the Real Bay Area.  Some of them might have lost their own homes. While most will rob a few banks to get even, a few may not feel too kindly towards blood-sucking landlords and will blow up the gardener as proof of concept.

Here’s the house.  It was bought five and a half years ago for $479K, with a $383,200 first mortgage and a $85,800 second mortgage, both variable.  98% financing, sounds about right for Southern California.  The following year the house was refinanced for a $436,000 fixed first and a $54,500 fixed second, which means another $20,000 borrowed.

Now the owner is going to find out that a zero down purchase means infinite loss.


The owner also has the house as her address of record for property taxes, despite currently residing in Oakland.  And she isn’t talking to the press.  The Los Angeles Times reports that Jakubec has lived at the house for three years.  This is great, not only will she lose the house while still owing on two mortgages, she’s going to lose her $7,000 homeowners exemption.


Zillow seems to have some trouble with their home estimate algorithm; look at the wild swings between three and five hundred thousand over the last two years.  If we can believe that the house’s value is up again, it’s not worth much more ($496,000) than the owner “paid” for it in 2005.  However, nearby recent sales show values in the $300,000 range; exurban San Diego prices were hit hard when the real estate bubble collapsed.  Looks like this underwater property will be done in by fire.

Now, the value is all in the 3/4 acre of land.  And while Jakubec wants to apologize to all the neighbors for the difficulties, there’s no word what he has to say to the person who owned the house.  Since he is under arrest in lieu of $5 million bail, and currently charged with 28 felonies, including possession and manufacturing of destructive devices as well as bank robbery, it may be a while before he has to disclose this incident to a future landlord.

Comments (44) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

July 4, 2008

What does a burned out house look like?

This July 4th, please don’t use fireworks. They can be dangerous.

But if you do insist on using fireworks, please be careful. I’m not sure what the story behind this house is, and I certainly hope everyone is ok, but it’s pretty haunting…

395 LINKHORNE CT, San Jose 95133 (San Jose)
$249,900 Beds: 3 bed(s) Baths: 2 bath(s) MLS: 80810500

Bed/Bath: 3 / 2
SqFt: 1,101
Lot: 3,484 sq ft
Yr Built / Age: 1979 / 29 years
List Price: $249,900
Assoc Fee:

REO property – NOT a short Sale. Fire damaged property. No interior access. Make offer subject to inspection. The fire damage inside this property extends to almost every room. Fire report available upon request. PLEASE DO NOT GO INSIDE !!IT IS NOT HEALTHY!

I doubt this was due to fireworks, but still remember that fire can be very dangerous:

The only thing I wanted to add was that this looks nothing like wreckage from movies/TV. In some ways, it’s more haunting because things are only partially destroyed.

Please be safe this July 4th.

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:04 am