March 27, 2013

The Bay Area is “Ground Zero”

Real Estate “Flash Sales” Prove Market Is Hot

If you’re looking for a home in the Bay Area, you will probably need two things on your side: luck, and a lot of cash.

Those who aren’t willing to compete with up to dozens of other offers on a home are now trying to buy it – hours after it’s listed on the market.

The new trend has been dubbed by realty experts as “flash sales” – any sale that happens within 24 hours.

For example, a home in East Palo Alto on Gates Street was put on the market on March 19. It got nine offers the same day and sold for above asking price within 24 hours.

Glenn Kelman, CEO of online real estate brokerage Redfin which is set up in 19 U.S. markets, said that trend is growing in the Bay Area and calls it “Ground Zero” for an incredibly hot housing market, one that experienced an incredible boom at the start of 2013 in January.

I hate to be the kind of person who brags, but… well… told you so.

Oh, I forgot. We’re in the Bay Area. I need to humble brag.

I’m so amazed and honored to be proven right.

The Bay Area is back, baby. It’s Ground Zero!

Just how special?

Ken DeLeon, a realtor, said his latest listing is a 1200 square foot home in Palo Alto that he just put on the market Thursday. “The amazing part is just within 24 hours, we already had a client with a Chinese all-cash buyer offer us more than 300,000 above and we said, ‘No thank you, please wait,’” DeLeon said.

He and other realtors said they’re still catering to those wealthy foreign buyers, mostly from China and Russia; however, with historic-low mortgage interest rates and an inventory that’s also hitting record lows, they said the competitive cash offers are no longer limited to the high-end homes.

Hey Realtors – I gotta tip for you: Price the house in RMB. Why? There’d be even more opportunities to add 8’s to the price!

“There are sometimes traffic jams outside open houses,” said Kelman. “Folks get worried they can’t wait for the offer deadline on Sundays, so they make a preemptive strike to try and buy it on the spot.”

Forget waiting 3 hours to eat brunch at Mamas, or camping out 3 days to enroll your kids into pre-school… now you have to camp out a week to attend a open house.

Hold on for a sec.

I had to get a kleenex.

The tears won’t stop flowing.

This is so beautiful.

The Bay Area is back. Better than ever.

This is the year where the $ per square foot in the Real Bay Area will beat the average $ per square foot for Manhattan. You heard it here first.

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:09 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 27, 2012

Mountain View: A Super Fun Site

Thought all those problems with toxic groundwater and Superfund site cleanup was in the past? Guess again.

121026-epa-mewmap

Turns out that parts of Mountain View are still dealing with problems from the TCE from not one but two different plumes.  What kind of problems?  Well, a higher incidence of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma than expected, according to the California Cancer Registry.

Now MEW can mean two different realty problems. Not only does it stand for Mortgage Equity Withdrawal, it also is an acronym for Middlefield-Ellis-Whisman, the area the EPA is monitoring for vapor intrusion.  You see, there is too such a thing as being on the Wrong Side of Middlefield.

121026-epa-hangar1TCE (Tricoroethylene), a cleaning solvent that’s been sitting in the ground since the early days of the semiconductor industry, is the apparent culprit.  Oh yeah, and the military dumped it as well.  Vapor intrusion is when these chemicals lead to outgassing into buildings over the TCE plume in the ground.  Researchers note it’s difficult to clean up because the area near Moffett Field is made up of… well, mud. 

There is good news.  The plume is migrating toward the Bay, away from residences.  There’s also bad news: the plume is migrating toward the Bay.

Do you live near any of these problem areas, or know someone who does? How much would you overbid for the opportunity to meet cute EPA scientists or cancer researchers?

Or if this topic is way too depressing for you, talk about anything you’d like in this Open Thread.  When you’re not worried about getting cancer from TCE, there’s always the Fantasy Slut League, coming to a high school near you!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

December 10, 2011

Cannonball! Not in the pool, through your house!

Here’s another problem to worry about while you’re househunting.  You already knew about busy streets, railroad tracks, airports, and high-voltage power lines.  Did you also check to make sure that Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters production crew isn’t firing cannonballs on a nearby artillery range? 

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Real Alex for alerting us to this unique location fail.

Mythbusters Accidentally Shoot House

The cannonball that caused the damage came from the popular show "Mythbusters."

By Mathew Luschek, |  Wednesday, Dec 7, 2011  |  Updated 9:11 AM PST

A projectile from an Alameda County firing range in Dublin  accidentally missed its intended target, said JD Nelson, the public information officer for the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. Instead, the object blasted through the wall of a home near Tassajara Road and Somerset Lane.

The projectile reportedly entered the home through one wall and exited through another. It also damaged a vehicle in the neighborhood.

According to the Alameda Sheriff, the cannonball "took a few unfortunate bounces" during a "Mythbusters" experiment gone awry.

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The softball-sized cannonball was fired off at the Alameda County Sheriff’s office bomb disposal range in Dublin, on a US Army Combat range next to Santa Rita Jail.  The ball should have hit a row of barrels full of water, which would have reduced its momentum. 

Instead, the cannon misfired, the 30 pound shot missed the barrels and bounced off the hillside surrounding the firing range.  This launched it toward homes in the Tassajara Creek neighborhood 700 yards away.

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The blasted ball traveled right through this Cassata Place house (shown by the blue pin on the map above), smashing through the front door, internal walls, and out the back.  Note that despite the front door entry, the peripatetic plus-sized pellet propelled itself UP THE STAIRS and departed from the second floor. 

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Residents of the house slept through the whole thing, woken by the settling plaster dust.

From there the pitiless projectile propagated across six-lane Tassajara Road, repeatedly bounced off Ming Jiang’s tiled roof on Bellevue Circle (shown by the red pin in the map above), then went through the window of Jasbir Gill’s minivan on Springvale Drive (green pin), smashed the dashboard and came to rest inside.  Gill had been in the Toyota Sienna with his 13 year old son just ten minutes before the incident.  The County Sheriff’s office took both minivan and cannonball as evidence.

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Homes in this neighborhood are valued from $550K to $680K and are about ten years old.  ZEstimates suggest that they are currently worth what they were selling for when they were built in 2000 and 2001, with peak ZEstimates at an even million back in December, 2005.  This Streetview picture of Gill’s Springvale Drive home also caught the doomed Toyota Sienna, long before its cannonball contact.

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imageAs of this writing, nobody from Mythbusters would return calls to media.   Host Adam Savage hung up on a San Francisco Chronicle reporter.

Meanwhile, a tweet sent on Tuesday by Mythbusters co-host Grant Imahara (photo at right), mentioning the planned cannon experiments, was scrubbed along with the photo it had linked to.

Mythbusters has been using the firing range/bomb disposal area for the past eight years without incident.  While the show is San Francisco-based, their artillery experiments are not.  Just one more reason to stick to the Real Bay Area when looking for a house!

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imageUpdate: Looks like the Mythbusters stars, hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, visited the neighborhood in person and promised to make repairs to all affected properties.  They also promised not to fire any more cannonballs at the firing range, saying they would use a range in the Gold Country for their “can a cannonball breach a castle wall” experiments.  The Dublin range is shut while the County Sheriff’s office reviews the incident.

Given that these are Bay Area castles, the answer to whether a cannonball can breach a castle wall is obviously yes.  Myth confirmed!

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

February 12, 2011

The Right to Keep Your ZIP Code to Yourself

The California Supreme Court says you can.

Stores Can’t Ask For Customer ZIP Codes: CA Supreme Court

By Scott Weber, NBCBayArea.com
updated 2/10/2011 6:45:30 PM ET

Customers who use their credit cards at stores can no longer be asked for their ZIP code, the California Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In a unanimous decision, the state’s high court concluded that person’s personal information includes his or her ZIP code and that California’s Credit Card Act prohibits a merchant from asking for it.

The class-action case was brought by Jessica Pineda against Williams-Sonoma.

Wait, who shops at Williams-Sonoma who doesn’t want to brag about their ZIP code?  Well, maybe the people who had to trade down to less exclusive environs better suited to Crate and Barrel, or Target.  Maybe they can’t afford 94024 anymore, but they can still buy a $40 bottle of olive oil.

imageMy god, the woman who sued Williams-Sonoma was incensed that they were using her ZIP Code “for marketing purposes.”  Oh noes!  Next thing you know, they will want her name so they can send her an unsolicited catalog.

Well, now you can buy that olive oil without having to admit you live in 95008 (Campbell), or fearing you’ll be put on the Pottery Barn mailing list instead of Frette, due to your ZIP code. You have the right to not disclose it, so either wear it proudly or keep it to yourself.

Of course if you keep it to yourself, others will assume you live in 95002.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:16 am

November 29, 2009

Top 10 Reasons California Is Better Than Texas | NBC Bay Area

This Thanksgiving weekend, please take sometime out to be thankful for how fortunate you are… to live in a wonderful place like California.

To help you out, here’s a great piece published earlier this year:

Top 10 Reasons California Is Better Than Texas | NBC Bay Area
Top 10 Reasons California Is Better Than Texas
Lone Star State wishes it were California

No. 10 — People Want to Come Here

No. 9 — Big States Don’t Cry

No. 8 — Our Waistlines Are Under Control

No. 7 — Hit the Beach

No. 6 — World’s Toughest Governor

No. 5 — We Have Options

No. 4 — Plenty of Eye Candy

No. 3 — We Actually Invent Stuff

No. 2 — It’s All About the Weather

No. 1 — California Isn’t Home to George W. Bush

Be sure to read the article for the full justifications!

What are you thankful for?

Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:45 am