January 22, 2013

Fastest Flippers in the West?

We love flips.  Take your vintage crapbox that hasn’t been updated since the original owners signed the restrictive covenant, let it marinate for 57 years and mix thoroughly with a cash sale.  Wait 3–6 months and then garnish with new appliances, new paint, new countertops. Of course it’s the same old house under the makeup.

Today’s Los Gatos lovely was sent in by Burbed reader nomadic.  See how long it takes you to figure out what’s wrong with this picture.

130121-anne-redfin135 ANNE Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$1,100,000

4 Beds 
2.5 Baths 
2,299 Sq. Ft.
$478 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1964 
Lot Size: 8,050 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 26 days
Status: Pending Without Release
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81243731

Huge lot. Incredible Gorgeous tree-lined street in highly desirable Los Gatos neighborhood! This home is another SVHOME renovation that includes stunning remodeled kitchen featuring granite counters, new appliances, new lighting and laminate flooring; baths feature extensive use of travertine stonework. New plumbing fixtures, vanities and lighting; plush new carpeting in all bedrooms, fresh paint

130121-anne-svhomeLet’s check in with nomadic on why this house deserves your attention:

Bought November 16, pergranisteel kitchen, new baths and some paint by December 26, when it was re-listed.  Instantly pending!  $284k price delta.

The flippers’ site: http://www.svhome.com/

Yes, the flipper’s have a site, including a ginormous animated photo-graphic that literally flips in segments while you watch.  They also have a page of all their pending properties, including this one.  Most of the others have a virtual tour.  This one does not.

130121-anne-powerlinesThis one also does not have any photos of that stunning remodeled kitchen featuring granite counters, new appliances, new lighting and laminate flooring. The flippers are asking us to take their word for it about the extensive use of travertine stonework.  They wouldn’t even give us a peek at the plush new carpeting, fresh paint.

Although we are giving you a really good ogle at those sturdy power transmission lines running through the back yard.  Now, check out this unbelievable listing history, courtesy of Zillow:

130121-anne-history

Are you sure there was a flip here?  Really super sure?  Because if there was, it’s still selling for less than they tried to get for it five years ago. (And according to Redfin, they were trying to sell it in 2006 as well.) The November sale price is an eye-opener.  Looks like after five or six years of chasing the market down, the owners finally bailed.  Just a month later it’s back in seven digit range.  All it took was a little pergranisteel and traverstone.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:18 am






January 3, 2013

Start work tomorrow in Los Gatos!

There are several types of housing awesomeness we cover.  There’s the high-priced crapshack, the WTF You’re Kidding, the completely overdone custom home, the adorable domicile with serious location fail such as an international airport.  Then there’s the tried and true House Flip.  We all love flips because they all use the same formula.

  1. Buy crappy house for cash
  2. ?????
  3. Profit!

Have a look at what Burbed reader nomadic found for us in the wilds of Los Gatos.

130102-benedict-redfin15588 BENEDICT Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$950,000

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,456 Sq. Ft.
$652 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 9,625 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 34 days
Status: Active

Start work tomorrow! Rare opportunity and no waiting. Permit fees have been paid and plans are in hand for a complete remodel/addition of this cute 1500 SF. 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath home with spacious kitchen/greatroom on a large (9625 SF), level lot with an existing garage. To help save even more time and money, the interior of the home has been stripped to the framing. Great location with L. G. schools

Have they left out Phase 2? Let’s hear from nomadic:

130102-benedict-frameA flipper bought this house in May, stripped the house down to the studs and put it up for sale in November.  He thinks those services (plus permits) are worth $175k.  Is the market really that crazy?  Maybe not, given that it’s still active after 30 days.

Ooh, the plot thickens: “Fixer Upper, Seller is Licensed Real Estate Agent”

The “Zestimate” is $945k.  Unfortunately, the prior listing isn’t available on Redfin so we can’t tell if the current seller did anything at all, other than buy at a favorable price – which actually probably wasn’t particularly good, given that this nearby house sold in July for $700k (larger but with Hwy 17 in the back yard) before being flipped – as a FINISHED house – for $999k.

To help save even more time and money, why not leave the flippers out of the entire transaction?  Which leaves a realtard out too!

Bunus: Check out the neighborhood. Great for teens!

130102-benedict-satellite

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

December 4, 2012

The Bubbly is BACK! a fine example

For those of you joining this blog, already in progress, we’ve been sharing Real Bay Area real estate win since 2006.  (Check out the archives at right!)  So Burbed has been around the block once already, back in the good ol’ days of high prices for not much house.  Then we watched sellers get greedy and wait too long for a better price, until they had to start chasing the market down, and down, and down…

This lucious little lodgement in Los Gatos illustrates that we’re on our way back to 2006 again!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader wahnny for sending it in!  (Of course it’s pending!)

121203-loma-redfin134 LOMA ALTA Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030
$998,000

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
797 Sq. Ft.
$1,252 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1930 
Lot Size: 7,000 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 20 days
Status: Pending Without Release
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81240778

a fine example of the original California Bungalow. Perfect for a small family starting out or ideal for retirement living walking distance to the village. Very deep lot with fruit trees and alley access, too.

121203-loma-livingAww, that’s so cute! It’s like a dollhouse, only smaller!  Here’s why wahnny wanted us to wander on over:

For almost $1 million, one can buy a 1930s-style 800sqft bungalow on 7000 sqft lot in Los Gatos!  It actually looks pretty clean inside and out, so it’s not exactly a “crapshack” (as per Burbed standards).  Perhaps “crampshack” describes it better (although in comparison to adjacent homes/lots, it could be argued otherwise).  Well, other than price, this might be quite a deal!

That’s like saying, “Well, other than being on a Superfund site, Gables End might be quite a deal too!”

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

October 30, 2012

Renovation/complete redo potential right off Los Gatos Blvd

Are you feeling handy? Here’s the kind of property you should be perusing.  Our thanks to Burbed reader nomadic for this luscious landholding in Los Gatos.  Um… too late!

121029-fillmer-redfin18 FILLMER Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95030
$899,000

2 Beds 
1 Baths 
992 Sq. Ft.
$906 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1938 
Lot Size: 8,400 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 42 days
Status: Pending Without Release
Property Type: Detached Single Family
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara
Stories: 1
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81234420

Extraordinary opportunity right off of Los Gatos Blvd. One of the last homes on this street with renovation/complete redo potential. Majority of land is behind the existing structure. Old “barn” (one maybe two car garage), wishing well, bbq pit and extra dry storage.

Here’s what nomadic had tied to the rock that broke our window:

Tear down for $900k, listing by California Dreaming Real Estate and property is complete with a wishing well.  Yet somehow the listing price just isn’t outrageous enough.

121029-fillmer-satellite-zoom

That’s why it went pending! Massive overbidding brought the selling right price back up where it needs to be! Good luck finding the house, though.  But with fun neighbors like these across the street, once you do maybe they’ll help you decorate.

121029-fillmer-streetview

Bunus: House is assessed for $140K, which means vintage everything inside! Too bad only the buyer got to see how vintage.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

October 28, 2012

Innocent Ingenues, Allergy Antagonists or School District Scammers?

Here’s a great story we found via Inside Los Gatos, and by “great” this time we actually do mean “great.”  It’s got a number of hot buttons, so fire up your righteous outrage!

Los Gatos Family Continues to Fight School

Edwards family says school won’t let their kids attend because of nut allergies. Los Gatos Union School claims the family doesn’t live in the right district

By Stephanie Chuang, NBC Bay Area, Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012, Updated 9:15 PM PDT

Edwards family says school won’t let their kids attend because of nut allergies, school claims the family doesn’t live in the right district

In a story we first told you on NBC Bay Area last Friday, the tension between one South Bay family and the Los Gatos Union School District (LGUSD) is coming to a head.

Tuesday morning, the Edwards family walked 9-year-old Ella and 7-year-old Sarah into the Van Meter Elementary school office – only to be greeted by the superintendent and two police officers.

“That’s when my heart sank, when I heard there were police officers just to prevent my girls from going to the school they belong in,” said Shuly Edwards, the girls’ mother, before she began to cry.

121026-vanmeter-ella-sarahThis story has a mom claiming her daughters have been kicked out of five different schools because of their nut allergies.  It has a district superintendent retorting the family is scamming the district because they actually live elsewhere.  It’s got threatened lawsuits. And of course, it’s got video of the girls being cute on cue. 

Due to all the highly pressurized and flammable contents, we hope this will lead to a veritable flamefight lively discussion. And just to pour some gasoline on the fire, we’ll get you going with some of the ruder observations from ILG’s own commenters.  Below is the first video, with more background on the Edwards’ nut allergy claims.

121026-vanmeter-policeHere are some of the juicier rumors from Inside Los Gatos. (Burbed provides the comment summary as-is and without any implied warranty for accuracy. Some material appearing herein may not have been meant as a factual statement.)  The photo at right is also from the blog.

  • This family has a home in Campbell mom’s sister is renting from them
  • The same family was asked to leave Mulberry School (private) because of unreasonable food demands of others; mom is a troublemaker.
  • The same mom was in a different news story about her chronic migraines (Confirmed!)
  • Van Meter Elementary already has a nut-free lunch table
  • Family provided two addresses and the first one was fictitious; were investigated for 5–6 weeks.  They have until next Wednesday to provide all paperwork or they’re out again.

We laugh at the foolish reporter in the follow-up video (top) for comparing Los Gatos Elementary to Moreland and Campbell school districts. Stephanie Chuang asked administrators at the latter two if they had ever called police to resolve a residency dispute.  As all readers of Burbed know, only Real Bay Area cities have Real Bay Area schools worth lying to get your kids into.

Comments (26) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am

October 3, 2012

Messy hobby? Not enough parking? You’ll love this Los Gatos garage!

Our readers have mentioned what they’re looking for in an ideal home.  Some want a big, well-organized kitchen, some want spectacular views, some want the best school district possible.  And since Silicon Valley is We-Built-That Central, we’ve heard from many readers who want nothing more than a lot of garage and workshop space.  This lascivious Los Gatos listing, lobbed in by Burbed reader nomadic, may be where you’ll end up dropping your tools, banging your head, and having the time of your life.

Oh yeah, there’s supposedly a house somewhere on the property.

121002-harwood-redfin119 HARWOOD Ct
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$2,895,000

5 Beds 
5 Baths 
5,361 Sq. Ft.
$540 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1987 
Lot Size: 1.49 Acres 
On Redfin: 20 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Bi/Split Level
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81233794
Style: Mediterranean
View: City Lights
County: Santa Clara

Under Construction! Unique opportunity to complete construction to your own taste. Serene setting next to natural open space & trails. Mediterranean home, 4 BR & 3.5 BA (2 BRs are suits with Jacuzzi), sweeping city light views from all rooms. High ceilings & skylights bring lots of natural light. SF includes separate guest unit(960 SF) w/ 1 BR & 1.5 BA * Unit has 4 car garages. Total 7 car garages.

121002-harwood-viewHere’s why nomadic sent in the gorgeous garage (with ginormous garrison).

A trunkey Mediterranean (sic)! 7 car garages (huh?) 2 of the bedrooms are suits with Jacuzzis (how do you keep the water out of your shoes?)

Purchased at the height of the bubble for $2.3M, now in the “middle of remodeling” and the seller is trying for $2.9M.  Comparing with the 2008 listing, it looks like they added 1500sf, but I suspect that’s the size of the “guest house” because looking at the site, it doesn’t appear that they’ve expanded the house.  The bedroom/bath counts match up with the old 2008 listing too.

121002-harwood-listing-2008I go past this house regularly, and it seems like they’ve been working on the new tile roof for at least a year.  I figured the owner was doing it himself and was low on cash. 

Alas, the listing doesn’t show the garage as it goes through construction.  Instead, all we get are exterior shots such as this smoggy and obstructed view of Milpitas, except there’s a bunch of buildings blocking The Great Mall.  (The photo at right is from the aforementioned old listing.)

121002-harwood-construction-nomadicFortunately, nomadic took some actual on-site pictures!  Ready?

As promised, here are the pictures of the current state of the house on Harwood.  It’s kind of bizarre that he started putting pavers down for the driveway and quit part way through.  Usually you can put them in pretty quickly once the hard part (the base and leveling) is done.

The guest house (bottom left) looks kind of abandoned, just like the main house.  The view from the main house is pretty good; you can see Communications Hill (no big deal) and downtown San Jose.

121002-harwood-guest-nomadic121002-harwood-driveway-nomadic 

121002-harwood-view-nomadic

Still can’t see the Great Mall.  Might as well go back to the garage and enjoy that seller financing.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

September 30, 2012

Kittehz 4 Sale on ur haiwhey

Here’s a property coming on the market that you don’t see every day.  The Cats estate in Los Gatos is for sale.  It’s right off Highway 17 just a mile south of downtown Los Gatos, next to the The Cats Restaurant & Tavern.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Kir from Inside Los Gatos for passing this item along.

120929-cats-sothebys

More info, and videos, are at the agent’s site.  The property is nine separate parcels consisting of over 75 acres of land, with three different originally built houses.  Views galore, of course.  It can be yours for $8,995,000.

120929-cats-platFacts and Features

Main House:

3985 Square Feet
Built in 1925
5 Bedrooms
4 Bathrooms
Remarkable Valley Views
Finished Basement-perfect for wine cellar
View Amphitheater
Terraced Courtyard
Famous collection of notable “attached” art work

Additional Buildings:

The Gatehouse
The Poet’s Cottage
The Ranch
The Geodesic Dome
The Teacher’s House
…more

Additional Features:

Gated entry featuring the famous Stone Cats
Riding/biking trails
Poet’s Canyon
The secret benches
The round bench
Superb acreage for horses
Natural splendor, a photographer’s paradise
Natural springs
Suitable for vineyards
120929-cats-gatehouseMountain, valley and lake views

Chain of ownership:

1920-1955
Charles Erskine Scott Wood & Sara Bard Field
1955-1960
Fred G. Hampton
1960-Current
Ogilvie Family

Does nine million seem like the right price for a property like this?  Think of all the fun you’ll have with everyone who ever knew you in elementary school dropping by because “they were in the neighborhood.”

This is the gatehouse above right.  Below is the main house.

120929-cats-main

All these pictures were snagged from the videos on Duane Adam’s site.  Below left is a view inside the main house, and below right is the Poet’s Cottage.  The latter gives just a taste of the views from the property.  Plenty more in the videos, plus footage from the 1930s!

120929-cats-inside120929-cats-poets

Watch the daughter of the current owner get all choked up over the property being sold.  She says whoever gets the property will be “very lucky,” so why didn’t they price it at $8,888,888?

One thing we did discover that isn’t on Adam’s site: the actual address.  If you bought the Cats Estate, you’ll be receiving your mail at 17525 Santa Cruz Hwy, Los Gatos, CA 95033

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

September 7, 2012

Excellent Los Gatos and San Jose Public & Private Schools

And we’ll finish up this shortened week of accommodation awesomeness with some new construction in Los Gatos!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for yet another example of Truth in Real Estate!

120906-panorama-redfin116 PANORAMA Way
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$1,999,000

4 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
3,000 Sq. Ft.
$666 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2012 
Lot Size: 10,100 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 126 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81216707
Style: French, Mediterranean
View: Mountains
County: Santa Clara

New Construction. Excellent Floor Plan; Gourmet Kitchen with Custom paint & glazed Cabinets with Professional grade Bosch Appliances; Walk-in Pantry; Alarmed Security Systems; Smart Wired for CATV/HDTV & custom audio system; Laundry with custom built Cabinets with Granite Countertops & skylight.

120906-panorama-tubNot another one of those backwards houses!  And by backwards we mean a “luxury” type McMansion that has an impressive address, but forgot to bring the school district along for the ride.  Let nomadic explain:

New construction for a premium in the slums of Los Gatos!

I’m calling them out because on the “features” tab it says: “Excellent Los Gatos and San Jose Public & Private Schools.”  They must be referring to private schools in Los Gatos, because the public schools (while quite good) are in the Union Elementary and Campbell Union High School districts.

120906-panorama-virtual-tour-features

120906-panorama-streetview-from-unionRedfin has the location all wrong for these houses on the Google map, which makes me think they’re taking liberties with the lot sizes too.  If you look on the map and pan down Union Avenue to just north of Leewood Court, you can see the two of them nuzzled together on the construction site. 

Wow, it looks AWFUL on the satellite view – worse than the view from Union. 

120906-panorama-redmap

The better-looking but much too close companion chateau finally went Pending a couple of weeks ago.  And given how lovey-dovey these two homes are, who wants to guess that the lot size of 10,500 is for both of them?  (Lot size of 117 is conveniently provided in acres to make comparisons quick and easy!  That’s 11,326 sf.  You’re welcome.)

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

August 29, 2012

Dome, Dome on the (Coast) Range

120828-bear-microbusIt’s time to put on your hemp sandals and splash with a bit of patchouli oil, because we’re driving the VW Microbus up the long and winding road to a groovy getaway.  Thanks very much to mystic crystal hip chick and Burbed reader Tracy Tea House for this psychedelic shack in the Santa Cruz mountains!

21864 Bear Creek Road
Los Gatos CA 95033
$999,000

120828-bear-trulia

120828-bear-houseBedrooms: 5 
Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 partial 
98 days on Trulia
1,515 views
Property type: Single-Family Home
Size: 4,426 sqft
Lot: Ask agent
Price/sqft: $226/sqft
Year built: 1983
MLS/ID: 81219243
Zip: 95033
Provided by: californiamoves.com

This home appraised last March for $1,050,000! Want a “green” home? 120828-bear-livingYour geodesic dome has efficient wood heating, solar hot water, R30 insulation, PGandE bills of less than $60/month!! 164 acres feels like a kingdom. Great potential for horses, vineyards, hiking or just getting away to relax. Wonderful decks for entertaining. Outstanding views. Los Gatos Schools. Please do not drive-by.

The home may have a Los Gatos mailing address, but just like its 1960s architectural influence, it sits proudly on the Santa Cruz side of the County Line.  There is no doubt this is an authentic hippie pad, or at least that it could have been.  Too bad it was built in 1983.

Here’s what Tracy had to say about this geodesic goody.

120828-bear-low-ceilingI just love a good dome! This one features… Logging roads! Don’t drive by. In fact if this was my dome, I might never be able to leave. I’d get a few horses, some vineyards and watch the view. Working in the valley… forget about it. At 999 it’s a little high for a second mountain home, maybe when it gets down to 888???

120828-bear-bong-useA little high.  Snort.  Don’t bogie the bong.  Share.  Peace, man. 

Oh that sky, it’s, it’s, it’s… it’s the HDR processing that makes the blue so intense and the horizon so actinic.  Or maybe this is really bad acid.

Feels like a kingdom already.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

May 1, 2012

There is nothing wrong with any house that price cannot fix

Remember the above and remember it well if you are trying to buy or sell a house.  Here’s an example from Los Gatos from Burbed reader nomadic!  Thanks very much.

Remember, if you have a listing that you think belongs on the front page, please send it in to one of our emails on the right hand column.  “Bunus” points if you let us know why you’re sharing it.

104 HARWOOD Ct
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$2,099,000

120429-harwood-redfin

BEDS: 4
BATHS: 4
SQ. FT.: 4,146
$/SQ. FT.: $506
HOA DUES: $23/month
LOT SIZE: 1.01 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Tudor
STORIES: 2
VIEW: City Lights
YEAR BUILT: 1981
COMMUNITY: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81146396
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 177 days

JUST REDUCED PRICE by $400k!Enjoy striking 180 degree views from this hilltop Tudor mansion. Formal dining room has sculptured ceilings, soffet, hrdwd floors. Kitchen open & bright w/ walnut plank wood floors. Freshly painted interior. Approx. 350sft studio (could be additional 2 car garage)Backyard has wrap around deck, built in spa, garden, landscaped w/ many fruit trees. Top Union Schl

120429-harwood-deckHere’s what nomadic had to say when sending in this 834-square-feet-too-small-to-merit-the-ginormous-tag tumor.

Check out the last 3 pictures in this listing (#23-25).

“Agent related to Seller” – $400k price reduction, kitchen and baths need to be gutted, and HDR at its worst.  Nice combo. 

I 120429-harwood-citylightswas actually looking at this house because I thought it was a REO, but I guess it isn’t.  And this definitely isn’t the RBA!  Twenty years later they’re trying to eke out a price double.  You won’t have to worry about this house going pending before you feature it.

Au contraire mon frère! It indeed went pending before we featured it! The market is hot, I tell you, hot, hot, hot!

120429-harwood-the-hdr-it-hurts

But OMG look at that HDR.

In case you don’t know what HDR is, have a look at this recent article where we covered the joy of High Dynamic Range as used in real estate photography.    And it’s no coincidence whatsoever that that example of what not to do with HDR is also in Los Gatos.

In particular, look for the odd glow whenever sky meets, well, anything else.  See how the tree on the left is emitting some serious Cherenkov radiation?  Maybe those Los Gatos Mountains have an actinium mine below.  Or maybe whoever bought this house, before moving in, needs to do a radon test.

120429-harwood-kitchen

At right is another egregious example of bad HDR in the listing photos.  Look at the windows.  Notice the dark ovals in the middle?  That’s what’s actually outside.  The HDR process created the lighter artifacts around the inside of the window frames.

Holy crap, when was that kitchen last done?  It’s got tiled countertops.  Better get some glittery hair gel to go with.

Now check out the bathroom.

120429-harwood-bathroom

Does something here look kind of familiar?

Can’t quite put a finger on it, but this bathroom photo is producing some serious déjà vu.  Or maybe in this case, déjà vomutu.

Bunus: HOA fees!

What do you predict this house finally sold for after half a year?  And how much overbidding was involved after all the price reductions finally fixed this house?

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am