January 28, 2012

Your Weekend Moment of Zen. Or Zin.


Click for a larger version.  This is an open thread.

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:59 am

January 21, 2012

Your Weekend Open Thread

It’s another weekend in the Real Bay Area, so what better time to discuss anything you want about real estate, or all the sites that went on strike Wednesday, or anything at all. 

Here’s a photo sent in by Burbed reader nomadic to get you started. Photo source here.


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

September 30, 2011

This seller has just one thing to tell you

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Ek for this find in the beautiful Blossom Valley area of San Jose.  This is the friendliest neighborhood you could live in, and today you’ll find out why.


3821 VILLA GLEN Way, San Jose, CA 95136


SQ. FT.: 1,612
$/SQ. FT.: $413
LOT SIZE: 7,200 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Blossom Valley
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81140137
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 11 days

OH Sat/Sun 2-4 Wonderful updated floor plan in great “Thousand Oaks Neighborhood” * Open floor plan * hardwood floors * crown molding * granite counters * plantation shutters * extensive use of pavers * outstanding backyard oasis with custom covered patio, palm trees and pebble tec pool * Close to park and schools * This one is a must see.

Looking this listing over, I didn’t see that much wrong with it.  Admittedly the décor’s a little out of fashion (okay, a LOT) and the agent could have done a better job with the photos.


Dim dining rooms, more granite than kitchen, and a sky that shrieks “This was shopped!” are mildly interesting, but not worthy of front-page status on Burbed.  But “this one is definitely a must see,” yet I’m not talking about the house.  Here’s why Ek sent this listing in:

Zoom up on the Google Street view….the owner is communicating to you.

Google Street View?  Coming right up!


Now, let’s zoom in…


We’re Number One!  We’re Number One!!!!


Comments (18) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

September 3, 2011

Pictures, We Need Pictures

Burbed has been using this image for a few months to accompany reader Guest Posts.

I love this picture, but I have no idea where it was taken.  And I haven’t been able to find it again since I snarfed it from Google Images however long ago.  I’m suspecting this was hurricane damage to a new development but it would be nice to know.

I’d like to have a few more photos to use to label Guest Blog posts from our excellent Reader Contributions, especially some from this area.  Here’s a few I’ve been thinking of using. Let me know what you think, or link to some you like!

imageOn the left is one of my favorite photos from a Burbed listing.  We had to give the agent props for including this in on MLS, because it was awfully hard to shoot around it.

Best of all, this place has been pending for almost six months!

This one below is such a favorite, it generated its own number.  Yes, because the House Came With Dudes, we now have a Dudes Hanging Out (DHO) Index for any real estate photos that include people unwilling to clear out.


There’s the typical Silicon Valley crapbox, and then there’s the crappy Silicon Valley crapbox:


Or this kitchen that was supposed to help sell a $3.1 million dollar house.


Or say it with class!  MAWBUL KAWLUMS!  With lots of RED ARROWS!


So these are some starting points, but please share your favorite ugly house pictures from the Real Burbed Area!  This is an Open Thread.  (Not that not declaring an Open Thread ever stopped any of you.)

Comments (22) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

July 30, 2011

Why We Love Realtors and Real Estate Agents


Because so many people would do an even worse job than those hardworking professionals, and that’s really saying something.  Thanks to Burbed reader Chris for passing along this photo.

This is an Open Thread.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

April 1, 2011

Burbed to be Acquired by Redfin

We’ve got some big changes coming, folks.

burbed by redfin

redfin logoSEATTLE, WA – April 1st, 2011 – Redfin, the internet-savvy online real estate firm, has announced an agreement to acquire the award-winning Silicon Valley real estate site Burbed and all its subsidiaries.  Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman explained at an industry conference that their strategy of thinking outside the box meant they had to wander further than most people expected.  “Customers appreciate our online tools and our agents who work on salary, plus our rebating part of the commission back to the customer,” he explained in an interview with Instant Equity Today.  “But we’ve pretty much maxed out on finding clients who know they want to buy property.  Those people tend to come to us.  Now we’re going to find the people who say they don’t won’t to buy.  We’ve found if we can identify those people and give them the right message, they tend to spend even more than the motivated buyer.”

Burbed mastheadBurbed, based in the renowned Gables’ End complex in Mountain View, CA, has generated quite a following among home aficionados who love to criticize the excesses of the housing market. “Anyone who would buy in this environment must be smoking something,” opined one regular commenter on the site.  The typical fare found on Burbed features home listings that few would consider desirable.  Part of the site’s appeal is its ability to demonstrate how out of whack pricing is with current market reality, although there is also a strong interest in seeing just how bad some of the offered property can be.  And Redfin couldn’t help but notice that all Burbed listings come direct from Redfin’s search tools.

image“Yesterday they had this place that a tree fell on,” enthused a regular reader in Gilroy, home of the internationally famous Gilroy Garlic Festival.  The listing had three pictures of this house completely crushed by this humongous dead tree.  Timber!”  Other regulars described the typical Burbed listing as either an overpriced “crapbox,” or a house with no visual appeal whatsoever, or an even more overpriced house with serious flaws the seller was blind to.

Kelman said such strong passions among Burbed’s readership indicate a desire to own a house, and Redfin will find a way to get those people locked into imagediscount-priced mortgages (also sold on Redfin).  “Look, my orders are to get as many people obligated to my financial overlords for the next thirty years.  This is the best way to find people who can buy but don’t want to.  Hey, I’d prefer you not print what I just said.”

Burbed’s CEO and majority shareholder, who would not identify him/herself other than by “burbed,” admitted that the current site content creators might not enjoy working for their new owner.  “But look, they can buy a million dollar place and save $12,500.  That’s a lot more than I was paying them.”  One of the content creators, when asked to comment on the news, unleashed a stream of profanity and turned her guitar amplifier up to 11.

imageKelman also admitted part of his interest in buying the Burbed syndicate, which was accomplished via a 10% first mortgage, a 5% HELOC, and an undisclosed number of suitcases of cash, was so he could have first crack at any Real Bay Area listing featuring marble columns.  “Damn, those are some of the best houses out there.  I want one.  I want to pinch myself and say I live here!  How ridiculous is that?”

Both firms, coincidentally, were founded in February, 2006.  Burbed will move its headquarters to Seattle but maintain its RBA presence.  “I don’t’ see how we can update that RBA map if we don’t,” explained burbed, while dodging a falling piano.  A Seattle version of the Burbed site is expected by the third quarter.

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

March 19, 2011

Chastity: A Cardinal Virtue on the Shuttle

Spell the ALE in YALE.  A-L-E.  Okay, smart guy, now spell the SEX at STANFORD.


Right.  There isn’t any.  Now can anyone come up with a decent caption for this bus sign?  Our thanks to Burbed reader nomadic for spotting this one over here.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:00 am

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Have you made a list of New Year’s resolutions?  That’s a difficult, painful, and ultimately pointless task, because few people keep them for long.  It’s far more effective to make resolutions for what other people should do. So here are some 2011 resolutions for Burbed readers.

  • Visit at least ten open houses this year – This is a good idea for several reasons.  One, if you want to become a homeowner, you need to start thinking like one.  Two, the more homes you visit, the better you will become at telling a bargain from a disaster.  And three, if the place you visit is an absolute piece of crap, you can send it in to Burbed so we have more material.
  • Take a real estate class – Real estate is a fascinating field, with its own language, customs, paperwork and buzzwords.  Not only will you learn something about the homebuying process, you will be able to pepper your Burbed comments with useful phrases such as “leverage” and “negative equity.”
  • Choose a trade-up area – Even if you already own a home, there’s probably someplace more Special than where you live.  Find one of those places and learn about it.  Follow new listings that appear from your designated “new” neighborhood.  Figure out how much it will take to trade to this new neighborhood and then justify your staying put in comments.
  • Create your home budget – Calculate how much discretionary income you have.  Take your gross paycheck, subtract all required payments out such as taxes, utilities, coffee and sushi.  You can list discretionary expenses such as clothing and movie money, but don’t include them in your budget.  Is your number positive?  Take the rent out too. Once you buy a home you won’t be paying rent to a landlord anymore when you can rent your money from a bank!
  • Determine how much home you can afford – Did you create your budget in the previous resolution?  Of course you didn’t.  Why don’t you go back and do that one for real?
  • Make an offer – Learn about the homebuying process by working with an agent, visiting homes, and submitting an offer to buy property.  The key to not having to actually buy a house is to only submit lowball offers.  In a healthy market, a lowball offer is usually more than 12% under asking price.  In today’s market, the wishing prices are usually much more than 12% over actual market prices, so you are going to only offer 25% or more under asking.  Otherwise, you’re in danger of having your offer accepted. In the event it is, remind the seller’s agent that she won’t be earning her full commission.  If your (buyer’s) agent objects to your approach, assure her that Suzanne researched this.

Well?  What are you waiting for?  It’s 2011! The time to buy is NOW!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from Burbed

Whatever traditions you and your family celebrate, we wish you peace, and joy, and happiness, and low interest rates, and RBA home prices doubling every ten years like they’re supposed to.

So, what gifts did you get that you loved, or loathed, or what did you give to your loved ones?  Or best of all, what did you want that you didn’t get, so you’re going to buy it for yourself when the stores re-open?

Did anyone get a house?  And if you did, was it one of the featured DEALS on Burbed?

And if you didn’t get a house for the holidays, it’s not too late.  We’ll be starting up our after-Christmas Clearance Sale on Monday, because the bank said everything must go!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

October 25, 2010

Caption Contest Results – The Winner

Last Thursday we presented this photo of a Bank of America branch in Palo Alto, and asked you to write a better caption.  Thank you to everyone who participated.  The entries which received at least one vote are:

#9, RealEstater

Welcome to Palo Alto, Mr. Obama! (vote by #10*)

#17, bob

Early Wednesday morning workers at a local Bank Of America were surprised to find a lone bicycle wheel parked in one of their bike racks. After a careful cross examination the wheel told Police that it suffered serious depression from living in the East Bay and one night simply couldn’t take it anymore and thus freed itself from it’s owner’s bike and rolled itself all the way to Palo Alto where it had always wanted to live. His snobby friends had told him Palo Alto was where all the “Cool, rich, and successful bicycles and wheels lived” The wheel told officials he’d only stopped to rest at the bank but fell asleep.(#22, 82*)

#80, Alex

Dude, where’s my bike?
(or the adult version – bitches, where’s my bike?)  (#91)

The Winner

#2, ymous

“The primary assets of Bank of America bank are seen in Palo Alto, Calif., Monday, Oct. 18, 2010. Bank officials stressed that they had secured the complete bicycle with “a really good lock” over the weekend, and that despite losing everything but the front wheel of the second bicycle in a theft on Friday afternoon, they were “confident” it would fetch a solid price at auction.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)  (#16, 22*, 57, 79, 82*) 

* asterisks mean a commenter voted for more than one entry.

Congratulations, ymous, for a creative and popular caption!  You may nominate which zip code or actual property listing should be featured by emailing burbed@burbed.com or posting in comments.  Also a golf clap to our second-place finisher bob, who knows that the second-best offer gets nothing, but the second best caption gets a zip or listing suggestion anyway.

Comments (22) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:00 am