August 11, 2013

Harvey “Two Sheds” Blight on the Neighborhood

Let’s have a look at the joys of living in suburbia, courtesy of Burbed reader PK. Thanks very much for the reminder why we should buy in the Real Bay Area, and only in the Real Bay Area.

San Mateo County orders property owner to remove two big sheds in his front yard

By Bonnie Eslinger, Daily News Staff Writer
POSTED:   08/07/2013 06:32:45 PM PDT | UPDATED:   A DAY AGO

The clock is ticking for Harvey Blight to remove two large sheds in front of his home near Menlo Park that officials say give the property a blighted look.

San Mateo County Deputy County Counsel Eugene Whitlock filed an abatement warrant Friday ordering Blight to get rid of the sheds he never received permission to build, in 30 days.

If he doesn’t, the county would find someone to do the work and charge Blight for it, Whitlock said Monday, estimating that the cost could run up to $10,000.

Blight couldn’t be reached for comment, but he left a voicemail message Tuesday night calling the county’s move a "misuse of judicial power."

imageOooh, this is gonna be good. But you know what would have been really good? A photo of the problematic portable storage. Fortunately, we have teh Google!

Um. Yeah.

Not sure that the two sheds (that would cost up to $10,000 to get rid of) were exactly worse than what was there before.

Unless the sheds were made out of the vehicles in this photo.

Let’s check out the satellite photo and see if that’s any better. And while we’re at it, who wants to see the house?

130809-blight-aerial615 11th Ave
Menlo Park, CA 94025
(Fair Oaks)
$674,000 Trulia Estimate

2 bed
1 bath
760 sqft
Single-Family Home
Stories: 2 story
Parking: Detached Garage
Subdivision: NORTH FAIR OAKS NO 3
2 Bedrooms
Lot Size: 5,227 sqft
A/C: Central
Parking Spaces: 1
County: San Mateo
1 Bathroom
Built In 1940
Heating: Central
5 Rooms
Tax Rate Code Area: 73-023

615 11th Ave This Single-Family Home located at 615 11th Avenue, Menlo Park CA. 615 11th Ave has 2 beds, 1 bath, and approximately 760 square feet. The property has a lot size of 5,227 sqft and was built in 1940. The average listing price for similar homes for sale is $3,337,532 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $687,817. 615 11th Ave is in the Fair Oaks neighborhood in Menlo Park, CA.

That’s more like it. No permits, no picket fence, and plenty of pointing and yelling. Be sure to read the article for the Nazi Germany simile. Not too often that a news story gets Godwinned covering a permit issue.

Also the place is assessed for a whopping $44 grand, assuring the neighborhood that Harvey “Two Sheds” Blight isn’t going anywhere.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:09 am






July 22, 2013

Neighbors from Hell: Burlingame Edition (Could be considered threatening to some)

We all know that good fences make good neighbors. You know what makes great neighbors? Pulling a Larry Page and buying up every property anywhere near yours.  And if you don’t do this, you end up with a situation like this:

Noise in the hills: Burlingame neighbors in bitter dispute over home construction

130721-construction-gfyJuly 10, 2013, 05:00 AM
By Bill Silverfarb, San Mateo Daily Journal

John Lucero Michael Gaul has posted this sign (photo, right) for his neighbor to see. It includes the term ‘GFY’ which could be considered threatening to some.

A simmering brouhaha in the Burlingame hills started with a beehive near a pool and a first complaint between neighbors, escalated when tortoises started burrowing across property lines, came to a fever pitch when band saws roared at 6 a.m. and will come to a head when the two parties finally sit down for mediation, which has been delayed three times already now.

The dispute pits San Bruno school teacher John Lucero against his neighbor Burlingame Planning Commissioner Michael Gaul and the sizable home Gaul is building above Mercy High School on Adeline Drive.

Gaul pulled permits for the property back in 2005 and has been working on the home ever since. It is near completion but Gaul will first have to address a code enforcement violation that Lucero pointed out to Burlingame officials.

130721-construction-neighborsOh, this should be fun, the teacher is telling on the planning commissioner for code violations, namely that Gaul was running a general contracting business out of his house while calling it “construction.”  And since the permit was “finaled” seven (!) years ago, it looks like the city isn’t in much of a hurry to enforce code against its own planning commissioner.

The aerial photo at left shows Gaul’s house on the left and Lucero’s on the right.  According to Zillow, Gaul’s house is 6600 square feet, over twice as large as Lucero’s 70s-era 3000 square foot shack.  Both homes are on lots of over 20,000 square feet.

Bunus: Cross-jurisdictional finger-pointing as every other house near Gaul is in unincorporated San Mateo County. Hilarity ensues!

Dubble Bunus: “Aberrational sexual gawking behavior.” 

Trippple Bunus: Illegal B&B. Plus annoying film crew.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

January 17, 2013

50 Shades of Brown in Campbell

Decor is an important part of getting a house ready for sale.  Decor isn’t just furnishings, but wall treatments, art, floor materials, paint, and of course, tchotchkes.  Today’s featured find is furnished fully with an eye for consistency.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader wahnny for this crib in Campbell!

130116-audrey-redfin1105 AUDREY Ave
Campbell, CA 95008
$1,699,000

4 Beds 
3.5 Baths 
4,137 Sq. Ft.
$411 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2005 
Lot Size: 0.25 Acres 
On Redfin: 7 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
County: Santa Clara
Style: Mediterranean
Community: Campbell
MLS#: 81300771

Regular Sale! An entertainer’s Spanish style dream home! This house has it all and you must see to appreciate the attention to detail in this custom beauty by Jay Andre Construction. This home has been totally rebuilt in 2005 with countless amenities. 2 spa/saunas, luxurious office, a gourmet kitchen w/ granite counter tops, tile, and hardwood floors. Too many to list! Open House 1/12 & 1/13 1-3PM

Over 4,000 square feet and the photographer remembered to water the driveway before taking pictures!  Either that or that moody sky had plenty of rain.  Now let’s hear from wahnny on why this house is so Special.

130116-audrey-officeRecently came across this lavishly adorned villa in the middla Campbell.

Almost every photo shows the house in various shades of brown (in keeping with the spanish colonial/western/desert theme, no doubt).  And talk about sophistication … in addition to the obligatory “kawlumns”, a variety of plumbing fixtures are included (see tour website for photos)!  Very elegans/earthy!

Location/neighbors aside, it’s probably worth at least the asking price!

130116-audrey-kawlums

At least worth the asking price?  Oh no, in the time since wahnny sent this listing in, we are sure that this property has probably increased at least 15% over the asking price.

After all, this is a Regular Sale!  And nothing says “dream home” like having to reassure buyers that the house isn’t an REO or short sale!

But what about the location and the neighbors?  With a quarter acre lot, why would you worry about neighbors?  You’ve got enough room to dig a moat and put in Rottweilers.

Although the next-door neighbor does seem to have more cars than driveway.  For $1.7 million one would expect the neighbors to collect something less intrusive yet more expensive, such as Facebook put options.

130116-audrey-streetview

Must see to appreciate!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

January 9, 2013

Abandoned Bungalow Bothers Burlingame Big Bucks Burghers

Here’s a cheery little story just to remind you that you’re all only one abandoned hellhole of a house away from losing Real Bay Area status, and it can happen anywhere!

 

Dumping ground: Burlingame neighbors tire of long-vacant home

January 08, 2013, 05:00 AM By Bill Silverfarb, SM Daily Journal staff

130108-channing-smdailyDaily Journal Neighbors want action taken against the owners of a vacant home in Burlingame who have not maintained the property for years. (photos, Bill Silverfarb)

A long-vacant home in Burlingame’s Lyon Hoag neighborhood has turned into dumping ground and neighbors in the area are sick of it.

The home, at 139 Channing Road, sits in the middle of million-dollar homes but neighbors fear their own property values will be negatively impacted by the property — which they say looks like an overrun junk yard.

The listed owners, Michael James O’Brien and John Quillian O’Brien, moved out of the home several years ago after a death in the family and have not maintained the property, neighbors told the Daily Journal.

Bruce Bettencourt, who lives right next door to the house with his wife, has called Burlingame code enforcement at least “100 times” over the years about rats, garbage, junk and overgrown vegetation on the property, he told the Daily Journal.

He has found dead raccoons on the property and fears it has also become a nesting ground for rats.

Dead raccoons plus live rats! Usually we get our housing fun from real estate listings.  But you can learn a lot from reading the news sites as well!  Let’s see what we can find out about this house.

130108-channing-trulia139 Channing Rd
Burlingame, CA 94010
$694,000 Trulia Estimate

1 bed
1 bath
1,000 sqft
Single-Family Home
Public Record
Neighborhood: Lyon Hoag

Listing Details
Description provided by Trulia
This is a Single-Family Home located at 139 Channing Road, Burlingame CA. 139 Channing Rd has 1 bed, 1 bath, and approximately 1,000 square feet. The property has a lot size of 5,750 sqft and was built in 1922. The average list price for similar homes for sale is $3,020,488 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $1,106,052. 139 Channing Rd is in the Lyon Hoag neighborhood in Burlingame, CA. The average list price for Lyon Hoag is $1,035,000.

Public Records for 139 Channing Rd
Official property, sales, and tax information from county (public) records as of 09/2012:

130108-channing-compsSingle Family Residential
1 Bedroom
1 Bathroom
1,000 sqft
Lot Size: 5,750 sqft
Built In 1922
A/C: Central
Heating: Central
Parking: Detached Garage
Parking Spaces: 1
4 Rooms
County: San Mateo
Tax Rate Code Area: 4-001

130108-channing-carWhile you can’t see much from the street, here’s an abandoned car from the view over the back fence.  If you check out the Streetview pictures, you’ll find trash cans in front of the house next door, but we don’t think that’s what the neighbor called the code enforcement office about.

You’d think that San Mateo County would want their $16,000 in back taxes.  You’d think they’d bring some kind of fines against the owners for abandoning their (live) dogs in the house.  Supposedly John Quillian,  Michael O’Brien’s stepson, recently told the city he’s planning on moving back in.

Why doesn’t the city or county force a sale of this property?.  Not only would that lead to  a new owner cleaning up what’s turning into a health hazard, but it will be good news for the local agencies as well.

130108-channing-trashbins139 Channing Road
Burlingame, CA 94010

Owner: MICHAEL JAMES OBRIEN & JOHN QUILLIAN OBRIEN
Land value: $94,608
Building value: $111,812
Total value for property: $206,420
Assessments for tax year: 2009
Last sale: $120,000
Date of last sale: 10/24/1979

 

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

January 8, 2013

Endless potential in Palo Alto

Time once again to visit one of our favorite places in the entire Real Bay Area!  And it’s been a while because the properties go pending faster than we can click through the listing photos.  We’ve been telling you that many RBA neighborhoods are hot, hot, HOT.  Now we’ve got even more proof that The Bubbly is Back.  Check out this Palo Alto palazzo from Burbed reader Michael Boltonestater!

411 PEPPER Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94306
$868,000

130107-pepper-redfin3 Beds 
1 Baths 
987 Sq. Ft.
$879 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1940 
Lot Size: 6,534 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 5 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories:1
Community: Ventura
MLS#: 81300120
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Walk to California Avenue and enjoy all it has to offer, from this charming 1940s cottage with endless potential. Light filled rooms, hardwood floors, remodeled bathroom. Expansive backyard. Quiet location. Outstanding Palo Alto Schools. No offers prior to 1/14/13.

130107-pepper-kitchenNot just a house in Palo Alto with endless potential (after all, every house in Palo Alto has endless potential, just by being in Palo Alto!), this is a 1940s cottage with endless potential.  Just look at that kitchen!  They sure don’t build them like they used to.

But did you catch the last line in the listing?  “No offers prior to 1/14/13.”  If that isn’t proof that it’s 2006 again, we don’t know what will convince you.  Once again, the realtards are so convinced that their listed houses sell themselves, they get to decide what day they sell themselves.

Now here’s what Michael thinks about this Would Sell Way Over Asking Right Now If Only The Agent Hadn’t Made Everyone Wait a Week property:

Nice neighbors too, if you like junkyards.

130107-pepper-satellite

These will be terrific neighbors… if you ever need to borrow a cup of brake fluid.

Comments (25) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 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

August 27, 2012

Million dollar education in a five and dime neighborhood

Good morning, and welcome back to another exciting Real Estate Week of Win here on Burbed!  Let’s get right to today’s spotlighted spectacular in the palatial premises of Palo Alto!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for the drive-by!

3980 El Cmaino Real #13
Palo Alto, CA 94306
$20,000

120826-elcmaino-redfin

120826-elcmaino-interiorProperty Type: Mobile Home (Single Wide)
County: Santa Clara
Community: Barron Park
MLS#: 81230106

Palo Alto Schools for a rental cost of $675/month! By renting in this park, children eligible to attend Palo Alto Schools. Family of 4 with children attending Palo Alto Schools moving so now you can enjoy a million dollar education without the million dollar home purchase price! Laundry facilities in park. Good family park with good neighbors all getting along. Walk to Elementary school.

120826-elcmaino-bathroomWait, you can still buy a home in Palo Alto for a million?  Who knew?  Let us know if you have any success finding one.

And if you can’t, there’s always today’s featured home!  This property shows the benefits of jaw-dropping listing copy coupled with a misspelled street address, photos with plenty of clutter,  the mandatory crapper-cam with the lid fully raised  and proudly proclaiming its crappertude, and most important of all, good neighbors all getting along.  All this at an unbelievably affordable buy-in price and a monthly space rent that will no doubt be ratcheted up the split second you finish signing over that escrow.

But this is a good family park.  It says so, right in the listing.  And it must be, because we’ve featured this park on Burbed before.

Want to see how good this neighborhood is?  Well then, why not meet a couple of your new neighbors?  We’re sure they can’t wait to make the acquaintance of you, and especially the rest of your family. 

120826-elcmaino-offender-41120826-elcmaino-offender-42

Comments (21) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

August 26, 2012

Advice Request: What to do about neighbor planning ginormous addition?

120825-adviceBurbed gets all kinds of mail.  Usually we get suggestions for houses to review or links to interesting articles that our readers might enjoy.  Occasionally we get requests for help.  Burbed reader Protennoia writes in and asks for your suggestions in dealing with a situation in the neighborhood.

A neighbor is turning a 3/1 into a 6/4.  Today, he had an open house for neighbors before he submits plans to the city of San Mateo. I went and asked him to tell me about it.

His roof leaks and he wants the space of a second story. He says his timeline is six months and that he’s building it for his family.  This neighbor is a few houses down, so I can’t argue that his second story will affect my privacy. He’s been there over 15 years and says he has no plans to move or rent out the place.

But plans can change.

I am nervous about a 6/4 house being built on the block.

A 6/4 house being rented involves a lot more traffic and street parking than a 3/1.

A 6/4 house, significantly, would maximize the potential profit of a halfway house. Up to six residents, a halfway house is considered a single family, even if their residents are six transient parolees with substance abuse problems.

People have the right to rent out rooms or to turn their house into a group home, so I don’t know that these complaints would have any effect

Other readers, how would you handle this situation?

120825-bryant-streetviewFor now we’ve taken out the name of the city.  Protennoia can add it in in the comments if it’s absolutely critical, but we will say this is a city in San Mateo County.

Updated 23:59 — Sorry about not fixing this until now.  I put San Mateo back in with Protennoia’s permission, but forgot to rewrite the about graf.  –ed.

We were looking for a good graphic of a house that completely dominated the block, but this video does an even better job getting that idea across.  And the article it came from suggests 10 signs a house is overbuilt for the neighborhood.  Several of them seem to apply to our reader’s situation.

So, Burbed Readers, what advice do you have on dealing with a neighbor doing so much expansion on your block, given that that the home’s purpose could change and then affect your ability to enjoy your home?  Is this NIMBYism or preserving neighborhood character?

If you don’t want to post your comment publicly, you can send email directly to Protennoia at this email address.

Comments (13) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

May 23, 2012

Nine million dollar house, kitchen needs updating

Thanks very much to Burbed reader Wendie for this palatial pad in Palo Alto!  And unlike almost every other property in Palo Alto, this one’s still for sale despite this my sitting on it since April.  Remember, there is nothing wrong with any house that price cannot fix.  And by those standards, this house is definitely a fixer.

1870 UNIVERSITY Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
$8,995,000

120522-university-redfin[4]

BEDS: 6
BATHS: 6
SQ. FT.: 9,319
$/SQ. FT.: $965
LOT SIZE: 1.97 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Spanish
STORIES: 2
VIEW: Neighborhood
YEAR BUILT: 1929
COMMUNITY: Crescent Park
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81211470
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 55 days

One of PA’s largest lots! GardnerDailey’s classic Monterey Colonial style of architecture. The interior is classic and stylish featuring a lavish master suite w/ spa inspired bathroom, and 5 additional bedrooms, 3 with en suite baths. Additional 1 bedroom apartment above a 3 car detached garage completes the generous accommodations totaling over 9,300 sf. Park like 86k sf lot in Crescent Park.

120522-university-countersHere’s what Wendie had to say about this house:

What an awful kitchen! 

For a 9M dollar house, couldn’t they have AT LEAST upgraded the kitchen counter tops? Amazingly crappy kitchen for 9M!
120522-university-kitchenNo, no, no, Wendie, this is an amazing vintage kitchen for 9M!  After all, this is Palo Alto.  What would be a problem in any other listing just automagically converts that bug into a feature.  Weird countertops?  More awesomeness.

And talk about convenience!  Look where this house is located!

120522-university-satellite

Right next to East Palo Alto!  This home is guaranteed to be the very first place those delightful scamps will visit for a few good-natured pranks when hijinks ensue!

Comments (30) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

March 18, 2012

Handy Local Dump Site actually had a house under it

San Jose: Crews use huge trucks to clear junk from hoarder home

By Mark Gomez, San Jose Mercury News
Posted:   03/15/2012 06:24:40 AM PDT, Updated:   03/15/2012 08:03:03 AM PDT

120317-claremont-cleanupCrews were in their second day at a San Jose home removing mountains of debris so massive that workers used two hauling trucks, each capable of carrying 72,380 pounds of material, to get the job done.

As of Wednesday morning, they still hadn’t made their way into the backyard.

The extreme makeover at 226 S. Claremont Ave. began Tuesday after a vote last month by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors to declare the residence a public nuisance. The piles of junk, garbage and other items, including worn out bicycles, car tires and animal cages, had become so vast that it was visible from satellite photos.

The cleanup, which is expected to take about five days, ends a years-long struggle for neighbors who live in the otherwise well-kept neighborhood located off Alum Rock Avenue.

120317-claremont-pilesThanks very much to Burbed reader Tracy Tea House, who had sent in an earlier story about the residents complaining about the massive piles of garbage at this house.  Looks like once this story hit both what’s left of a newspaper as well as on KGO-7 television news, the County finally took action.

Neighbors have been trying to have the grounds cleaned up since 2005.  Cleanup orders and fines were ignored by Richard Baker, the 58 year old son of the registered homeowners.  People fortunate enough to live near this local attraction suggested that Richard might be a few hundred square feet short of a McMansion.

120317-claremont-satelliteRobert and Bessie Baker, Richard Baker’s parents, have both been deceased for ten years, so management of the house was transferred to the Office of the Public Guardian.  This agency will be responsible for inventorying whatever is in the house, as opposed to the mountains of garbage outside mostly headed for the landfill.  Anything of value inside or out would be saved for the Bakers’ estate, over and above this valuable residence.  In addition to Richard, the Bakers also have a daughter living in Santa Cruz who was only located recently.

Richard had been living in the house while collecting treasures, but not recently.  He did show up at the County hearing to object to the the home’s being declared a public nuisance, although the neither the Murk nor KGO-7 reported on what his reasons were.  He attempted to postpone the hearing because he had been in the hospital, but was unsuccessful. We’d guess the County’s embarrassment over things getting to this point trumped a hospital stay.  Remember all those fines Richard blew off?  Guess they did.

Okay, enough rewording the newspaper and TV articles.  Let’s have a look at this house.

120317-claremont-redfin

Better have a good look at the driveway, too.

120317-claremont-streetview2

120317-claremont-richardbakerWow, the Streetviews actually look worse than the satellite view.  And someone updated this record recently even though the house wasn’t for sale.

So here’s a way Richard (right) and his sister (who had the sense not to show up when cameras were rolling) could save even more money.  We know the County’s going to stick them with that clean-up bill, so every little bit is going to help!

120317-claremont-trulia

Thanks for the advice, Trulia!  Anyway, do you have a neighbor building a fortification on the front lawn like this?  Tell us about it in today’s Weekend Open Thread!

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am