December 1, 2012

Be Like Zuck! Buy a house and pay 3/4% interest


The secret to being rich is to start off rich.  Don’t believe us?  It’s true, and it’s how Mark Zuckerberg bought his house in Palo Alto.  Let’s hear from Burbed reader nomadic, who alerted us to this excellent opportunity. To go bankrupt!

Here’s the letter I got in the mail offering super-low interest rates on a loan secured by a stock portfolio.  The beauty of it is that the interest rate goes down the higher the loan amount – the opposite of what working stiffs get when they want a super-jumbo loan to buy a house in the RBA.  (Then again, the larger the stock portfolio, the smaller the risk?)

This must be how Zuck got his ultra-low interest rate on his mortgage.  Interesting that they don’t mention a mortgage in their “average loan rates” example.

121130-margin-zuckerbergThe headline above doesn’t say pay three to four percent interest.  It says pay three quarters of a percent interest.  Let me repeat that.  You can buy a house at 0.76 percent interest.  All you need is a sufficiently healthy stock portfolio to borrow at least $3.5 million against. 

Whoops.  All you need is an investment portfolio at this particular online brokerage.  For loans under $50K, you need to have twice that in your brokerage account.  With this firm.  But!  Remember about rich people getting richer? The more you have, the more you save. The more you have, the more you 121130-margin-callcan borrow, too.  If you “qualify” and have an account over $100,000, you could borrow against 85% of your assets.

Remember how well things went when anyone who could fog a mirror could buy a house for nothing down? This is an even better idea! Borrow against your investments, and if the underlying value drops, then you have to pay some of the money back immediately, or sell assets to cover it. Good thing you’ll have a bunch of equity in your new house that you could borrow against to pay back your brokerage account you borrowed against in the first place.  This sounds like a perpetual equity motion machine.

Open your portfolio, open your wallet, open your eyes, and we’re opening this thread to any topic you wish.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

October 21, 2012

We’re Number… Three?

We lost out to both New York City and Washington DC, this time in the contest for the town with the highest earnings.  Here are the Top Ten, courtesy of CNN/Money, of the places with the highest median family incomes.

1 Bethesda, MD $184,606
2 Greenwich, CT $167,502
3 Palo Alto, CA $163,661
4 Newport Beach, CA $156,928
5 Lower Merion, PA $153,309
6 Ashburn, VA $146,093
7 Newton, MA $145,639
8 Hoboken, NJ $140,780
9 Brookline, MA $139,756
10 Fairfield, CT $136,808

People, this is not good. Not only did High Tech lose out to High Finance and High Crimes and Misdemeanors, but there’s Highly-wood right behind us. Also this list is disturbingly full of Least Coasters.

Here’s what they thought of The Specialest Place of Them All (Not Including Mountain View, because for Pete’s Sake, Palo Alto may be Special but it does Not Have Google Anymore).

3. Palo Alto, CA          3 of 25

121020-highincome-paPopulation: 65,260
Median family income: $163,661
Median home price: $1,225,000

Nestled in California’s Silicon Valley, Palo Alto has attracted a pile of tech companies — and their CEOs. Not only does tech granddaddy HP have its headquarters here, but so do newbies like Pinterest and Ning. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has a house in Palo Alto, as did Steve Jobs. Stanford University, which falls within its boundaries, adds to the city’s prestige.

Palo Alto nurtures startups and the money that results from their successes. Its residents reap the rewards. Area schools are exceptional, while the city has 35 parks and a Mediterranean climate that varies by only 20 degrees year-round.

See complete data and interactive map for Palo Alto

Did you know that Palo Alto’s climate was More Special than that of any of the surrounding Not As Special cities?  Perhaps Redwood City (Motto: Climate Best by Government Test) is going to have to come over and punch them out for getting airs.

Oh yeah, and Mark Zuckerberg is mostly hanging out in San Francisco these days.  Could he have picked up this little pied-a-terre?  Just kidding, that place was sold to a school, which is now awash in neighborhood NIMBY lawsuits.  But have a look at this SocketSite discussion and see if you can figure out where Mark bought.  Two possibilities: 366 Liberty or 376 Hill.


Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am

July 17, 2012 mentioned on

Zuckerberg’s Loan Gives New Meaning To The 1%

Zuckerberg, 28, is the world’s 40th wealthiest person, with a net worth of $15.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His company went public in a $16 billion initial public offering in May. The shares were down 19 percent since trading began as of July 13.

Facebook spokesman Larry Yu declined to comment on Zuckerberg’s mortgage.

“We’re not going to get into the personal finances of executives,” he said in an e-mail.

The Palo Alto house cost $7 million in March of last year, purchased in the name of a limited liability company, according to a deed filed with the Santa Clara County Clerk-Recorder.

Zuckerberg’s address was published by Palo Alto Online and, a Silicon Valley real estate blog. Three neighbors reached by phone at their homes said Zuckerberg lives at the address. They asked that their names not be used because of concerns for their privacy.

Let me take a moment to thank Madhaus for the enormous effort it takes to post all these stories. Without Madhaus, this site would not have been featured on yesterday.

I’d also like to take a moment to thank the readers and commenters on Burbed, for making it such a vibrant and interesting community.

Finally, I’d like to thank Mark Zuckerberg for helping the Bay Area take another step in reaching its goals of becoming the best place in the world to live.

Thank you everyone!

Comments (15) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 am

April 12, 2012

Want an investment property close to Facebook? TOO LATE

Burbed continues with Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer week, and now we return to Palo Alto.  Ah Palo Alto, home of high prices for working-class residences.  This fine investment property/teardown/whatever cannot be yours because it went pending in just six days.  Let’s drool on it and hope the sale falls through.  We’ll use Zillow this time because Redfin already took the listing copy and pictures down.

2316 Amherst St
Palo Alto, CA 94306


Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Sqft: 2,025
Lot: 6,098 sq ft / 0.14 acres
Type: Single Family
Year built: 1959
Parking: —
Cooling: —
Heating: —
Fireplace: —
On Zillow: 9 days
MLS #: 81211442
County: Santa Clara
Legal description: —
Parcel #: —
Per floor sqft: 2,025
Zillow Home ID: 2120434658

Sold in conjunction with 2320 Amherst. Two buildings: 2316 is spacious 1/1 with hardwood & updated kitchen. 2320 has 2/1 downstairs with refinished hardwood & updated kitchen; small 1/1 upstairs with huge deck and lovely views of the hills. Both buildings have laundry facilities. Legally 2 lots, zoned R1. Fabulous College Terrace location – Move in, buy for investment or build a new home! [Listing information © MLSListings Inc. All rights reserved.]Brokered And Advertised By: Dreyfus Properties, Inc.Listing Agent: Lucy Berman

120405-amherst-patioThis one is a Wow!  As in Wow, that photography really hurts to look at.  We’ll include a number of pictures in case the listing is scrubbed from teh internets forever.

You can also try your luck with the Virtual Tour, which has the same pictures, only in much sharper focus.  The color intensity is still dialed up to 11, though, so you keep that feeling you accidentally wandered into The Bee Movie.

120405-amherst-virtualtour-gardenThis photo at right is from the Virtual tour.  It’s the only one not on Zillow as well, and lucky for us, it’s got that riot of color so distinctive of this photographer.  The kind of buyer who wants an investment property in Palo Alto will definitely appreciate this effort that makes it look like a Henri Rousseau painting.

The rest of the photos, available after the break, are straight from Zillow.  That way you can enjoy the blurry effect on top of the bright colors.


Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

May 7, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg Done with Renting

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg buys house in Palo Alto

By Mike Swift and Pete Carey, SJ Mercury News
Posted: 05/05/2011 07:30:35 AM PDT, Updated: 05/05/2011 07:30:42 AM PDT

imageLong after he became a billionaire, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg still rented modest digs. But now one of Silicon Valley’s top tech celebrities has become a first-time homeowner, recently buying a large house in Palo Alto that is a 10-minute drive from what will soon be Facebook’s new corporate campus in Menlo Park.

Zuckerberg has lived in Palo Alto almost continuously since he moved Facebook to Silicon Valley straight from his Harvard dorm room in 2004. Now, with the fast-growing company preparing for a widely expected initial public stock offering and a move into its first permanent home in the former Sun Microsystems campus, Zuckerberg also appears to be settling down.

While the subject of the Hollywood hit "The Social Network" isn’t expected to move in for several months, his new home in a leafy and affluent Palo Alto neighborhood has more than 5,000 square feet, with a saltwater pool, a music alcove and five bedrooms for when friends and family of the Facebook founder come to visit.

Sources close to Facebook confirmed that Zuckerberg bought a house in Palo Alto, but declined to say which one. The real estate transaction did not close under Zuckerberg’s name. However, public records requests revealed a trail of clues leading to a property purchased for $7 million.

This newspaper is not printing the address because of concerns for the privacy of the sellers, who still live there, and Zuckerberg.


Don’t worry, this blog wouldn’t let a little thing like privacy stop us from Liking Mark’s new Mansion.  Or at least Friending it.  So, since the Merc was kind enough to give us a few details, such as more than 5000 sf, 17,000 sf lot and a $7 million dollar purchase price, it wasn’t that difficult to find:

1456 Edgewood Dr, Palo Alto, CA  94301


BATHS: 5.5
LOT SIZE: 16,995
STYLE: Single Family Residential
COUNTY: Santa Clara County
APN: 00311038
LAST UPDATED: April 14, 2011

Nobody would ever have suspected that “1456 EDGEWOOD DR HOLDINGS LLC” was actually the Facebook Dude.  Free Clue: Next time you buy a house, name your holding corporation after some people.

Here’s something fascinating, the house was listed for $5,850,000, which means the Zuckster overbid on this hot property down the street from the Beautiful Eichler with Poo!  Here’s what the GoogleCam has on this house:


We can give you a better view than that.  Whoever set up forgot to take all their pages down!


There’s page after page of house pr0n on this fact sheet, but just a look at the master bedroom suite description makes me wonder if this is really the ZuckerFriend we’re talking about:

  • Double interior French doors open to this personal retreat complete with crown molding, built-in speakers and a pocket door accessing the walk-in closet with custom built-ins
  • The light-filled spa-inspired master bath is opulently finished with Carrera marble flooring and slab countertops; marble slab baseboards are set beneath paneled wainscoting; two windows over the deep soaking tub with exposed nickel features welcome floods of natural light; additional appointments include Nuheat® electric heated floors, his and hers sink vanities with built-in mirrored medicine cabinets flanked by two wall sconces, a tremendous Carrera marble lined stall shower with dual showerheads and hexagonal tile flooring & a separately enclosed commode with skylight 


Bonus: Thrilling history of the property document has the address wrong on starting on the second page!

Update: Literally right after I uploaded this, Burbed reader San Matean shared this post from the Chronicle, with more pictures.  That’s the downside of a one article a day kind of blog.  However, the Chron in turn quotes the LA Times, which has this terrific description of the area from one of Mark’s new neighbors-to-be.

[The neighbor] described a neighborhood that is friendly but not that friendly. "Generally people do know who lives next door and across the street and say hello, but that’s about it," [he] said. He recalled that the most recent block party was held in 1976. "Everyone agreed we’d have to do it again," he said.

Palo Alto Online has the story too.  Honest, we had all this two days ago!

Comments (43) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

January 30, 2011

Mark Moves to A Bigger Rental

Palo Alto’s most famous renter has pulled up stakes, so he can live even closer to work.

According to Zillow Blog, Mark Zuckerberg’s old rental came back on the market, for a whopping $7,850 a month.  Here’s the description from Craigslist, although supposedly the place has found a new tenant:

Prestigious location! Charm and functionality! Gorgeous 2 year old 4+BR/3BA Single Family House. Chef’s kitchen with gas stove. Only 2 years new. Approximately 2350sf. Huge family room with the view of Kitchen. Washer/dryer on the second floor, wood burning fireplace and beautiful wood trim are some of the amenities of this house. Walk to Stanford University, restaurants on El Camino Real and extremely close to Stanford shopping center. 2 car parking garage. Please call for an appointment. Lease term 12 months or longer. Only $7850/month.

imageHis former rental house is 2073 Princeton Street, which Zillow estimates is worth $1,362,000.  We don’t know what Mark was paying in rent, but let’s use the new asking price and calculate the price rent ratio: 14.46.  Whoa!  If that Zestimate is correct, it says Mark should have bought the old place!

But that’s okay, thanks to Burbed reader SEA we can do the same for the new place!  Mark is now living at 2300 Amherst, even closer to Facebook headquarters!  The new rental is 5 bedroom, 4 bath, and 3801 square feet, and Zillow’s estimating this one at $2,142,000.  Alas, the monthly rent amount was not reported.



Mark Zuckerberg I’m paying $10,900.  Friend me!
about an hour ago · Like

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

September 25, 2010

CEO Donates to Wrong School District

Facebook founder to give $100 million to N.J. school district

By Amy Sahba and Doug Gross, CNN
September 23, 2010 12:53 p.m. EDT

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's donation will help troubled Newark schools, which have been taken over by the state.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s donation will help troubled Newark schools, which have been taken over by the state.

(CNN) — One of America’s richest and youngest is giving back.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive of social-networking powerhouse Facebook, is planning on donating $100 million toward improving public schools in the troubled district of Newark, New Jersey.

The gift would be the largest known charitable donation by Zuckerberg, who Forbes magazine says is the 35th richest person in the United States with an estimated net worth of nearly $7 billion.

At 26, he and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz are the youngest billionaires on the list.

The news comes just over a week before "The Social Network," a brutal (and, admittedly, fictionalized) biopic chronicling the early days of Facebook, is set to be released. By all accounts, the film doesn’t cast Zuckerberg in a positive light, leading some critics to accuse him of making the donation as an image-booster.

Unbelievable!  A Palo Alto resident giving money to undeserving non-Palo Alto kids!  Doesn’t he realize all the unfunded needs in Palo Alto’s schools?  Why, there are Palo Alto high school students whose parents can’t afford to send them to college!  Why isn’t he helping them? 

Besides, look at how much bang for the buck a donation to Palo Alto schools creates. Take a look at what Palo Alto Partners in Education plans to do with this years’ fundraising.papie

Can you imagine what Palo Alto could do with ten million to spend on science enrichment?  They could build a scale working model of SLAC at every single one of the elementary schools!  For Technology Mentors, this kind of cash they could bring in Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison for three days to each of the middle schools!  And can you imagine the College Counseling for ten million dollars?  That would pay for a charter jet to bring in the Presidents of all eight Ivy League schools.  They could meet with every single high school student so every one of them would know which school was the best fit (and appropriate fees sent to the schools’ Development Departments for a win-win).  The remainder of the funds could pick up the Limo fees and restaurant tabs for John Hennessy

Money for Newark schools will go for textbooks, calculators and asbestos removal.  Big Yawn.

PIE raised $2.9 million for Palo Alto schools for the 2010 school year.  Zuckerberg could have totally eclipsed last year’s performance by sending that donation where it belonged… where he lives.  Instead, he blew the whole wad on a failing school district in a completely different state!  I mean, seriously, if you’re going to donate to New Jersey schools, why not Tenafly?

Do you see why Zuckerberg went wrong?  He’s 26 and he doesn’t have any children of his own.  Hopefully his priorities will change once he enrolls a couple of Facebook heirs into their neighborhood school.  But first, he’s going to have to take an even more important step and buy a house.

Zuckerberg has found all his homes on Craigslist. His first place was a sparse one-bedroom apartment that a friend described as something like a “crack den.” The next apartment was a two-bedroom, followed by his current place, a two-story, four-bedroom house that he told me is “too big.” He rents. (“He’s the poorest rich person I’ve ever seen in my life,” Tyler Winklevoss said.)

He rents.  That means he’s a transient guest.  He isn’t abiding with the Real Bay Area spirit and sinking a pile of money into a house!  More importantly, he had a golden opportunity to show his commitment to the community.  Instead, by donating to the wrong school district, he’s appeared on Oprah.  But there is one ray of sunshine:

According to an official familiar with the agreement, Zuckerberg’s donation will be the first installment from a foundation financed by Zuckerberg and focused on bettering education.

The first installment.  See, it isn’t too late to send the money where it’s most needed.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am