December 20, 2013

Irreplaceable at this price in Monte Sereno!!

Let’s have a look at a property that isn’t jumping into somebody’s lap and getting overbids out the wazoo. Your job is to figure out what is preventing this normal Real Bay Area behavior from taking place.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for this find.  Bunus: no longer available on Redfin!

131213-lexington-trulia18331 Lexington Dr
Monte Sereno, CA 95030
$3,624,000 Trulia Estimate

  • 3 bed,
  • 4 full bath
  • 8,710 sqft
  • Single-Family Home

Property Details for 18331 Lexington Dr

18331 Lexington Dr This Single-Family Home located at 18331 Lexington Drive, Monte Sereno CA. 18331 Lexington Dr has 3 beds, 4 baths, and approximately 8,710 square feet. The property has a lot size of 1.25 acres and was built in 1992. The average listing price for similar homes for sale is $2,684,230 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $2,526,783. 18331 Lexington Dr is in the 95030 ZIP code in Monte Sereno, CA. The average price per square foot for homes for sale in 95030 is $788.

Public Records for 18331 Lexington Dr

Official property, sales, and tax information from county (public) records as of 09/2012:

  • 131213-lexington-entrySingle Family Residential
  • 8,710 sqft
  • Stories: 3 story
  • Parking: Garage
  • 1 Building
  • Tax Rate Code Area: 16-010
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • Lot Size: 1.25 acres
  • A/C
  • Parking Spaces: 5
  • Pool: Pool (yes)
  • 4 Bathrooms
  • Built In 1992
  • Heating
  • 9 Rooms
  • County: Santa Clara

131213-lexington-wineWell, that’s fairly boring. Fortunately, Movoto still has the actual listing copy:

Neoclassical Estate–one of a kind–irreplaceable at this price!! Main home has 3 bedroom suites, library, plus full guest quarters with kitchen, bedroom & bath. Separate pool cabana with full bedroom, bath, & kitchen (square footage includes cabana and guest quarters). City lights, mountain views, gated, beautiful pool, minutes to Los Gatos plus fabulus Los Gatos Schools. Five Car Garage!!!

131213-lexington-studyNow let’s check in with nomadic:

Look what I found at Mausoleums R Us.  It isn’t exactly a Black Friday special, given that it’s been on the market nearly five months without a price reduction.

Looks like it went pending after nomadic sent it on, on December 9th, and the agent promptly yanked it with the useful Pending/Do Not Show designation.  And while Redfin doesn’t have a thing for us to see, both Trulia and Zillow have plenty of pictures, and Zillow also has the listing history.  Check this out!

131213-lexington-price-history

Any predictions on what the selling price will end up being? We’re throwing in for fifteen million!

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am






September 15, 2013

Hacker House dies from excessive self-image, brand overexposure

Almost exactly a year ago, we took a look at group housing as not just a way to save on rent, but as launching pad to future success.  Some of these homes were in San Francisco, some were in Silicon Valley.  The most well-known one in the Valley might have been the Rainbow Mansion.  Of course, it has a website.

Now Buzzfeed has a fairly longish piece on the implosion of a shared SF house that saw itself as more than just a bunch of geeks splitting the rent.  Or an “intentional community.” Burbed readers, meet the Rise mansion, formerly known as TheGlint. Right, no space. Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to this story.

The Rise And Fall Of A Startup Mansion

130914-rise-viewStartups, pizza, ego, beer, filth. The collapse of a hacker house and the battle for Silicon Valley’s soul.

Justine Shamrocks, BuzzFeed Staff, posted on August 26, 2013 at 2:20pm EDT

When William Hsu first moved to San Francisco to work in startups, he got a one-bedroom apartment. “I thought that was the adult thing to do, the thing I was supposed to do,” Hsu says. “But it kind of sucked actually to go home and no one was there. It was kind of depressing.” He missed college. Like many other young techies, his career development was outpacing his social development.

Instead of just getting roommates, he applied to live with 15 other guys at a San Francisco “startup mansion,” which he later went on to run. As more and more young techies like Hsu move into the notoriously expensive city, these “hacker houses” are becoming a rising trend. Varying in size from about 5 to 20 people, they are sort of commune-meets-incubator-meets-dorm. Each has its own vibe, reflecting the different sub-scenes of the of the tech world from visionaries to brogrammers, grad students to hackers, as well as people working at big companies. Some houses are more established and formal; others, chiefly casual.

I first heard about Hsu’s house when I saw the Craigslist ad for the “Live/Work Startup Mansion with sweeping views of San Francisco!” looking to add “cool new people.”

“Come check it out, seriously,” the ad said.

130914-rise-craigslistThe Craigslist ad pointed to this Business Insider writeup, which was essentially a photo diary about where several of Peter Thiel’s Fellows ended up.

Shared housing in a place of high rental costs is nothing new. What is different was when a group of people sharing a bigger than normal house begin to have bigger than normal ideas about what they’re actually doing.

Much bigger than normal:

"The truth is that The Glint is a live-work community that accelerates the creation and creators of value through design, philosophy, the arts & sciences, technology and entrepreneurship. It aspires to shift the conception of heroism from historical warrior ideals to a new paradigm of creativity, collaboration and innovation"

And if you think that’s bad, their two-word tagline for the group home was “Heroism Accelerator.”

That’s going to need the “ginormous” tag all by itself.  Which it isn’t going to earn according to Redfin.

130914-rise-streetview170 Saint Germain Ave
San Francisco, CA 94114
Sold for $1,400,000

4 Beds
3 Baths
4,300 Sq. Ft.
$326 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1938
Lot Size: 4,996 Sq. Ft.
Sold On: Jun 5, 2003
Status: Sold Source: Public Records

And yes, we realize this doesn’t bear a lot of resemblance to the photos in the article, which is why we double-checked a bit. And this Bing bird’s eye image (right) looks more like the one in the story (left).

130914-rise-bf-craigslist130914-rise-birdseye“One of my jokes for a while was that the whole point of TheGlint was to save the planet, at least according to them. But they couldn’t even save the house,” Gooen says. “Imagine taking the most successful CEOs and putting them in a house together in a reality TV show to organize the dishes and house maintenance. That was almost what it was like. Although they were not as successful. They just thought they were.”

130914-rise-getshitdoneHah.  This is still before TheGlint was shut down and two renters took over the lease and rebranded the house as Rise. Now instead of “changing the planet,” they just wanted to network the heck out of each other.

Hilarity ensues.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread. Ever live in a group house?  Did you ever actually “Get Sh*t Done”?

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:07 am

September 4, 2013

She’s a Brick …House …in Los Gatos

Ready for some housing win? Sure you are.  Burbed reader nomadic has just what we need: great photos and an even greater price. Plus, Redfin says it’s not for sale and Movoto says it certainly is!

130903-englewood-movoto16600 Englewood Ave
Los Gatos, CA 95032

$1,600,000
Loan Payment: $6,204/mo
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 1
Size: 1,264 sqft
$/sqft: $1,265/sqft
Type: Single Family House
Year Built: 1947
Lot Size: 12,752
Days on Movoto: 59 days
MLS#: 81324091
Status: Active

Location, Location, Location, A beautiful, flat, corner 12,752SF site in a prime neighborhood of Los Gatos, close to downtown, schools, and all conveniences. Build new or remodel existing property which can be lived in or rented while obtaining permits and plans for your new home. House is being sold as is…

130903-englewood-kitchenBuild new or remodel. Guess “turnkey” is the wrong word for this listing. Let’s listen to nomadic’s words instead.

The listing agent forgot to put “value is in the land” in the description, because this is a prime teardown candidate.  However, at $1.6M it’s priced about $600k too high for just the land.  Look at the weird construction.  The interior walls all show the brick.  Does this house really not have any insulation?  The bricks are large too, adding a certain cinder block (non)appeal.

We especially like this paired photo set. Can you tell if you’re looking at the same room or not?

130903-englewood-room1130903-englewood-room2

Google Streetview reveals that the driveway gave up halfway from the house.

130903-englewood-streetview

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:06 am

August 26, 2013

Nothing wrong with this Los Gatos home that price can’t fix

Oh hell, it’s Monday. But there’s good things about Mondays. Mondays mean the beginning of another week of Burbed housing win, so let’s get started. Burbed reader nomadic has a LOT of win for us today in Los Gatos.

130825-belgatos-redfin308 BELGATOS Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95032
$2,500,000

4 Beds
3.5 Baths
4,165 Sq. Ft.
$600 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1987
Lot Size: 1.93 Acres
On Redfin: 29 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81327424
Style: Tudor
View: City Lights
County: Santa Clara

Elegant Tudor Estate-4165 sqft with 3 car garage and 840 sqft detached guest house. -Gated with circular driveway and a completely fenced 1.93 acre lot-private with no neighbors yet close to town. Solar heated salt water pool and spa with pool house. Master suite with fireplace and large deck. Outdoor kitchen with barbecue, sink and fridge. Horses are permitted with trails adjacent to the property.

130825-belgatos-kitchenAdd it up: 4165 + 840 = 5005 sf. Yay! This house wins the Burbed ginormous tag by 5 square feet.  It’s also been on the market for (gasp) an entire month. Now let’s see what nomadic’s nominating statement for this property is.

Seller is a licensed RE agent.  There are only seven listing pics.  Seller has this priced just $70k above their 2006 purchase price, and I would guess it’s priced close to market value.  When the current seller bought the place, they paid $1.2M more than the previous sale price seven years earlier (the price doubled).  That previous seller was related to their agent.  Is this house now only bought & sold among realtors? There is no indication of any remodeling or building in between transactions.  This is the slums of Los Gatos – was it really in the RBA between 1999 and 2006?

130825-belgatos-poolIn summary, the price doubled in the seven years 1999-2006 and then stagnated for the seven years since. Ouch.

Don’t be silly, nomadic. The property most certainly did not stagnate. It ripened, like a fine wine, or cheese, or toe fungus. Obviously if YOU buy this property today, the price will quadruple in ten minutes, ensuring the RBA Property Doubles Every Ten Years rule we know and love.

But in order for that to happen, somebody had better buy this place before the various realtards selling it among themselves mistakenly ask so much that everyone forgets to overbid.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am

August 10, 2013

Chuck Norris Doesn’t Host An Open House

Chuck Norris decides you will buy his house. Chuck Norris also decides which agent you’ll use. Chuck Norris.  Thanks very much to Chuck Norris for deciding that Burbed reader nomadic would send this in.

Chuck Norris’ ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ house is for sale

130809-chuck-norris

By Patrick Kevin Day, Los Angeles Times
July 24, 2013, 8:05 p.m.

They say Chuck Norris doesn’t host an open house. He decides you’re going to buy his house.

Norris doesn’t want the Dallas-area home that once served as the on-screen domicile of his alter ego Cordell Walker on "Walker, Texas Ranger," so he’s listed it.

Chuck Norris also decides there will be massive overbidding. And since this is Your Chuck Norris’ Weekend Open Thread, this is where Chuck Norris decides which other Open Houses you will go to this weekend. Chuck Norris has also decided you will post about your experience in comments.

What do you mean you’re not checking out our comments? Chuck Norris says you most certainly are.

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:08 am

August 1, 2013

Currently, a very small rented cottage with basement in Los Altos

We have a very special property for you today!  Burbed reader nomadic must have spied this one on the way back from a lunch meeting. So if you don’t like the very small rented cottage with basement, build something else and skip the kitchen. You won’t need it where we’re going.

130731-acacia-redfin962 ACACIA Ave
Los Altos, CA 94022
$750,000

1 Beds
1 Baths
300 Sq. Ft.
$2,500 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 48 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara
Style: Cabin
Community: North Los Altos
MLS#: 81320950

Do not distrub occupants. Small north Los Altos lot 40X125, behind Chef Chu’s, Armadillo’s Willy’s. Currently, a very small rented cottage with basement. Value in the land. Access on Acacia and from the back alley behind restaurants.

130731-acacia-kitchenOh, did we mention where we’re going? It’s the Land of $2,500 a square foot. No wonder you can’t distrub occupants. Now, let’s check in with nomadic.

“Maybe a small home can be built.”  The realtard almost sounds wistful.  The lot is wedged between two parking lots; who in their right mind would want to build a house there?  A business wouldn’t be a practical idea though, because it would have to be quite small and not require more than a couple parking spots.

No more wistful realtard, as that last sentence seems to have been edited out (still on Zillow as we write this). Instead let’s be wistful about the photography.

130731-acacia-take-the-curtain130731-acacia-grounds130731-acacia-hot-water

Remember, Location, Location, Location!

130731-acacia-aerial

Right in the middle of everything, literally just steps away from San Antonio and El Camino Real! Plus there’s a new Safeway across the street! Of course the value is in the land; tear everything down and set up a pay for parking lot! Or build your own restaurant in that small rented cottage! (Wait, did you distrub occupants?)

Bunus round: Try maybe building that small home and see how you fare against the Los Altos Planning Department!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:04 am

July 21, 2013

Ever get that sinking feeling you don’t live in the RBA?

Life in the Real Bay Area is Special.  Life outside is… less so. Here’s a story showing what happens when you buy elsewhere.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for passing this along.

Residents of sinking Calif. subdivision file claim

130721-lake-spiveyBy TRACIE CONE, Associated Press
Updated 12:33 pm, Wednesday, July 17, 2013

LAKEPORT, Calif. (AP) — For months homeowners agonized as houses in their subdivision sank one-by-one into a California hilltop. It got so dangerous that the U.S. Postal Service refused to deliver mail.

Now, they say they know the reason eight homes were destroyed and 10 others are in danger, and they’ve taken the first step toward recouping damages by filing a claim against Lake County.

A leaking county water system that went undetected for months saturated the hillside and caused the ground to give way, said Michael Green, an attorney for the 41 homeowners in the subdivision with sweeping views of Clear Lake in Northern California.

Green is seeking $5 million for each homeowner in the claim filed last month against the county.

130721-lake-singhOh, this is going to be good. The homeowners are blaming the county over the leaking water system, and the county is blaming the homeowners association, saying their irrigation system contributed to the unusual behavior of the houses. Yeah, we know whenever a sprinkler system busts a leak, our Silicon Valley homes completely fall apart too.

Oh wait, that’s not because of the sprinklers, that’s the TCE plume.

For extra lawsuit lusciousness, the county supervisors asked for a disaster declaration from the governor. That was refused.

Next time, only buy in the RBA, where these sort of things never, ever, ever, ever, ever happen.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am

July 13, 2013

Congratulations! You now have your equity back!

Here’s an interesting piece of Real Estate pr0n received by Burbed reader nomadic.

130712-congrats-equity

In case you cannot view the graphic, here’s the text:

Congratulations!

You now have your equity back!
Prices have shot past the all-time
highs in many areas.
-As-Is Sales-
-Top Sale Prices-
-Minimal Preparation-

What’s Your Home’s Current Value?

Two Beautiful California Peaks

 

(with photos of Half Dome and a large red arrow labeled 2013 Real Estate Values getting bigger and fatter as well as higher on a graph with no labels). The last segment appears to have a rise to run ratio of 8, so perhaps the X axis is fortnights and the Y is mills.

For the record, real estate prices have gone up about 15-20 percent, which would be a rise to run ratio of, well, at most one fifth. You know. 20%.  A one to one ratio is a straight line at a 45 degree angle.

This is your weekend Open Thread, and it may have to last you all weekend, too. Do you have your equity back? You know if you lived in the Real Bay Area you never would have misplaced it in the first place.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:05 am

June 23, 2013

Landlords from Hell settle for jail instead

Here’s a cheery story for you if you don’t like your landlord, as it will set things into a much better perspective.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to this development.

‘Landlords from hell’ accept prison terms for terrorizing tenants

130619-macys-mugshotsBy Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2013, 2:45 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A software engineer and his real estate agent wife who terrorized their tenants in a twisted attempt to force them to move are back after fleeing to Italy, and each has accepted a four-year prison sentence and two strikes rather than face trial, Dist. Atty. George Gascon announced Wednesday.

Nicknamed the "landlords from hell," Kip and Nicole Macy employed tactics "so outlandish and brazen" in attempting to clear their building of renters that "it sounds like the plot of a horror movie," Gascon said.

They each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of residential burglary, one felony count of stalking and one felony count of attempted grand theft. In custody on $2-million bail apiece, they are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22.

Kip Macy’s attorney, Lisa DewBerry, said the couple could have faced a maximum of 16 years in prison if tried on all charges.

130619-macys-sawBe sure to read the whole article, cataloging not only what the Macys were accused of doing to their tenants and their apartments, but also the part where they paid bail and fled the country for Milan and spent a year fighting extradition.

Don’t forget the power saw that popped up into one of the tenant’s floor without warning (the photo at left shows what happened when he whacked the blade with a nearby hammer).  There’s even accusations of email spoofing.  And here’s an older piece from Palo Alto Online when they were first hit with the charges; what’s interesting are the comments defending the Macys from the evil San Francisco tenants. Why, some of them read as if they were written from the perps themselves!  Why Palo Alto Online for a San Francisco story?  This caring couple lived in Palo Alto when they were accused of all these shenanigans. Kip was a software engineer and Nicole was… a realtard.

130619-macys-clementinaHere’s the building where all the fun took place. Don’t you want to go out and buy an apartment building in SF right now?

This is also your weekend open thread! How’s the renter life treating you? Is it awful enough to make you want to look at a bunch of Open Houses and overbid up the wazoo?  How about chatting up the other people at the Open House so you can spoof email saying they don’t want the property you’re trying to score? Hey, in a competitive market Insane Real Estate Bubble, the only way to win is to prevent everyone else from playing.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

May 14, 2013

Los Altos Hills Property Available at Full Price

Yesterday we featured a humongous three and a half million dollar spread on half an acre in San Jose. It was a block from the actual Rose Garden that gives the Rosegarden district its name, but still, San Jose. For three and a half million. Yeah, we don’t think it computes either, unless we want to talk Bay Area Bubble 4.0 some more.

Now, today’s property and its pricing won’t make your eyes pop out because it’s in the Real Bay Area! Let’s find out why it won’t sell!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for sending in this Real Realty Reject.

130513-francemont-redfin11860 FRANCEMONT Ave
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
$3,999,000

6 Beds
6 Baths
5,250 Sq. Ft.
$762 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2006
Lot Size: 1 Acre
On Redfin: 387 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
Community: Los Altos Hills
MLS#: 81214828
Style: Mediterranean
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Property available at full price. Fabulous nearly new 5250 square foot home in a quiet cul-de-sac location on 1 acre with easy access and outstanding quality. Excellent floorplan with a huge kitchen/breakfast/family "Great Room" opening to a beautiful backyard. Luxurious master suite. Guest suite on main floor. Excellent Los Altos schools. 6 bedrooms, 6 baths.

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, May 18: 2:00-4:30 pm

130513-francemont-gameFirst let’s check in with nomadic.

I sent this to a friend a few minutes ago before taking a good look at the listing copy and history.  This should go on burbed.  “Available at full price.”  It’s been on the market since November 2010 and went pending twice, failing to close both times.  The price has been raised at least twice in the past year – now up $700k from last April.

The icing?  It’s an REO.

130513-francemont-counterWell, it doesn’t say it’s an REO in the listing, but the history admits to a foreclosure back in June. June, 2010.  But still, compare this property to yesterday’s! It’s on a full acre instead of a half, it’s got an extra bed and bath, and it’s in the RBA! All this for just “not a lot of money” more! Yet it’s been a languishing listing for at least a year, and that doesn’t even cover all that time before it went pending twice.

Why didn’t this place sell? There are definitely homes in this price range on this street.  Maybe this comment on short sales from a local Realtor might explain things:

The only active short sale in Los Altos Hills, located on Francemont, has been on and off the market since 2006. While it’s a nice house, it has had many offers and still seems to be having trouble closing. It’s unusual for any home to remain on the market so long. In my opinion this is an issue with the bank and not the home.

And the owner of the home is… BAC Home Loans Servicing, through ReconTrust! Thanks a lot, B of A! We all know it really stands for Bunch of A-holes.

Bunus: Virtual tour guaranteed to give you motion sickness.

Comments (1) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am