December 20, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in Berkeley!

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS, we’re going to travel all around the Bay Area to bring them to you!  Here’s something close to a major center of higher learning!  No, not Stanford, that would be the cheapest house in Palo Alto.  This is the cheapest house near Cal!

And since Cal’s a public school, you can pay a public house price!

1509 ASHBY Ave, Berkeley, CA 94703


SQ. FT.: 754
$/SQ. FT.: $225
LOT SIZE: 2,516 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Bungalow
COUNTY: Alameda
MLS#: 40498800
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 384 days

Nice home but does need work. Public record shows 754 sq feet, and 1 bedroom but it has 3 bedrooms, so sq foot is larger.

image“It has 3 bedrooms, so sq foot is larger.”

You know, maybe someone subdivided that one bedroom into three and turned this into a super-cheap student rental.  Maybe the sq foot is not larger after all.  Maybe it is.  Maybe it’s a tesseract and the house is actually 25,000 sq foot.  Maybe it’s in some kind of non-Euclidian geometry zone where a sq foot is 25,000 sq inch.  (That may be the best explanation, as Euclid is on the northeast side of town.)

There’s no inside photos, so the only way you’re ever going to find out if sq foot is larger is to BUY THIS HOUSE RIGHT NOW.  Think of it as a lucky raffle ticket, only instead of possibly winning a new car, you could win a larger sq foot.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:07 am

December 17, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest house in Downtown SJ!

DEALS DEALS DEALS just keep on coming!  And if you’re interested in downtown San Jose, you’re very busy so we’ll keep this quick.  Now, you may be asking yourself, how can this be the cheapest house downtown when the cheapest house in the entire county cost (gasp!) a hundred dollars more?

Well, that’s simple.  There are actually several houses listed for around this price, and the official cheapest house was one of the few that wasn’t pending.  But look, you read Burbed.  You know how the real estate business means real funny business.  You know a “pending” on a short sale means the seller is doing everything possible to jinx it, and a pending with release on a short sale means the buyer isn’t exactly trying their hardest either.  So this listing is like an irresistible force meeting an immovable object, or maybe the opposite; say a buyer with better places to invest making an offer to a seller who doesn’t want to go anywhere and won’t see a dime from the transaction.

That means all you have to do is threaten bribe heartily encourage everyone involved: seller, buyer, listing agent, buyers’ agent, bank agent, and of course, your agent to sell you this property!

560 E JULIAN St, San Jose, CA 95112


SQ. FT.: 1,188
$/SQ. FT.: $126
LOT SIZE: 1,242 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Victorian
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Central San Jose
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80840481
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 1154 days

Back on the market! No fault on property! Beautiful Victorian Home waiting for you.

imageYup, if you’re wondering how they got a 1,188 square foot house on a 1,242 square foot lot, that’s no fault on property.  If you’re wondering why it’s been listed 1154 days, that’s no fault on property, either. Maybe agent means no tennis matches have been played here.

Also I don’t know what’s on the counter next to the sink, but I think it qualifies for the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.  Or at least the Burbed good housekeeping tag.


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

December 16, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in Los Altos!

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS!  Even Saks Fifth Avenue has a sale sometimes, and we’re moving those homes out in Los Altos!

26 PASA ROBLES Ave, Los Altos, CA 94022



SQ. FT.: 1,334
$/SQ. FT.: $839
LOT SIZE: 5,828 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: North Los Altos
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81139656
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 90 days

Beautifully Remodeled Spanish Mediterranean Home in the Heart of North Los Altos. Open, sunny floor plan with lots of windows, stainless steel appliances, and plantation shutters. Living room with wood-burning fireplace and separate dining area. Hardwood floors throughout. Completely remodeled bathrooms with travertine floors and stone-tiled walls. Bonus room currently configured as an office.

Listed at a substantial price cut from its 2006 sale price, this one won’t last!  Yes, under 2006 pricing.  In Los Altos.  It’s time to CALL THE BOTTOM!

Meanwhile, these poor homeloaners have been trying to ditch this millstone since 2008.  But their nightmare could be your dream house!  HURRY!

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:02 am

October 22, 2011

Silicon Valley Luxury Real Estate’s Most Astonishing Webpage Ever

I read a lot of real estate sites in order to bring you Burbed-worthy features.  Recently, I found an agent’s special “Astonishing Homes” page that looked absolutely scrumptious.  Plenty of seven and even eight-figure high-end properties on acres of land with great schools.

Now I know absolutely nothing about this particular agent, but all these homes were on MLS. Member agents can detail any MLS listings in their region, and Sophia Delacotte put together a webpage with nicer luxury properties for people to get some real estate pr0n action.  But something was amiss when I took a closer look at the actual listings.


With ten different houses, that’s ten front facades and ten sets of details.  I have all that waiting for you inside, but before you join me, make your prediction how many of these ten estate properties:

  • Sold (pending within 7 days)
  • Sold (pending within 30 days)
  • Sold in a longer timeframe
  • Are still active on MLS
  • Had their listing withdrawn
  • Had a price reduction at some point

For “bunus” yucks, guess how many of these ten estate homes have marble columns.

Got your guesses ready?  Good.  Now, let’s see these Astonishing Homes and find out if you’re as Astonished as I was.


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

September 14, 2011

Well Maintan, move-in ready home. With dude.

Here’s a great find from comments by Burbed reader Swan!  Thanks for keeping Burbed to its low-priced roots with this San Jose charmer that’s selling shortly, now listed for less than it sold for nine years ago.  At least it should probably maintain its value well above when it was first sold in 1950.


2495 WALNUT GROVE Ave, San Jose, CA 95128


SQ. FT.: 1,040
$/SQ. FT.: $423
LOT SIZE: 6,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Santa Clara
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81137964
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 3 days

Well Maintan, move-in ready home. Walking distance to SANTANA ROW AND VALLY FAIR MALL. CLOSE TO FREEWAY 880-280

Props to the agent who, despite mangling Valley Fair, managed to miss the “Santa Row” goof.  Also I do not consider this place “close to freeway.”  This house is more my idea of “close to freeway.”

imageHere’s what Swan had to say about this listing:

I don’t know what the Dudes are up to these days, but this house has a dude who could use a friend. Check out the pic of one of the bedrooms. You can only see his knee, but it’s still a DHO! The realtard’s write up and the other pics are worth a look and a laugh too. When you are ready for another laugh, head to Zillow and check out the price history.

My friend went to one of the many open houses and told me that the realtard is the owner’s sister.  The owners always have a garage sale before it hits the market, after a long time a "Sale Pending" sign goes up, that stays up a long time, they have another garage sale, and then the sign comes down.  imageRinse and repeat.  The house is on the corner of Winchester Blvd., and is located near senior housing, a convalescent hospital, The Casket Store, and a cemetery.  I thought, "I’ll never have to leave a 1/2 mile radius from my home!" Oh, and the church directly across the street recently put a cell phone tower up in its front yard!

Let’s see those other pictures, then, because I thought the exterior shot of the house was actually pretty nice!  Remember, we are looking at a “The Contemporary” model from “Orchard Park,” and the original floor plan is a whopping 1034 square foot 3/1.  Looks like they gained 6 feet somehow.



What’s the expression?  Oh yeah, “needs updating.”  But like I said, the grounds are well-kept.



So well-kept, the house is irrelevant really.  What do you want for under half a million, anyway?  A fountain that isn’t in the way of the basketball court?

Here’s some more comments from Swan about this house.

imageWe went to the open house on Walnut Grove yesterday.  The interior is much different from the pictures online.  The turquoise room (the one with the Dude) is now a dark green with a hand painted mural on the wall.  The gold wallpaper, purple bedspread, and scarves above the bed are gone too.  The walls are just white now.  No dude hanging out watching TV either. 

imageHowever, the realtor and her niece were surfing the internet in the dining room.  The house is horribly full of clutter – furniture, boxes, knick-nacks, you name it.  There was even a goldfish in a bowl on the kitchen counter and a dog sleeping in a bed on the patio! 

Basically, it violates EVERY show I’ve watched on HGTV.

I didn’t take any pics though I wanted to.  There was sooo much much clutter I didn’t know where to start with photos.  The goldfish was great, the mural so tacky, the shiny gold chairs all over the living room…it was overwhelming!

Finally, Swan asked us to check out the price history on Zillow:


Tsk, tsk.  Pending twice.  It’s almost as if the bank would rather keep the house.  And the dude.

Comments (21) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 8, 2011

This Peacock is Looking a Little Less Proud

Today’s listing is courtesy of Burbed reader rotoiti, who alerts us to a frequently featured fiasco in Mountain View!


1755 PEACOCK Ave, Mountain View, CA 94043


SQ. FT.: –
LOT SIZE: 6,200 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential Land (Single Family)
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: North Shoreline
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81138265
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 1 day

Huge price reduction! Motivated seller! Price includes approved plans and permits from the city of Mountain View.

imageHere’s what rotoiti had to say about this place:

$1,380,000 for an empty lot, but with a pretty house … painting. List price reflects home being built by owner – what does it even mean? I have to pay 3x going price for the land in the area and then I have to pay for the house? Ugh, no.

Now when rotoiti first sent me this listing, this lovely illustration was indeed part of it, along with that insane $1.38M wishing price. (You can still find that withdrawn listing on a few places, like on Trulia.)

The painting’s been since pulled, and for that matter, so was the listing. But it’s back, and it’s better than EVEH! Without the painting, you save $652,000!  That’s so much instant equity you’re going to need to build an extra house to keep it in!  Good thing the lot is cleared for takeoff!


But that isn’t the best part. Burbed has featured this property not once but twice already!  Let’s fire up the ol’ Wayback Machine and have a look.  First, we ran this vacant lot amazing opportunity just seven months ago!


Only back then, the seller assured us there was a 4 bedroom 3 bath house on the place, or at least the price reflected that there was GOING to be one.  Even though the plans were approved, they’re not in the February listing, which was remarkably short on photos.

But this place has been on and off the market for much longer than that!  Try another year back!


Just how many times was this property listed, anyway?


And if we head over to Zillow, we can fill in some of those missing asking prices.


imageimageWow, my head hurts!  Either the seller was a couple who couldn’t agree on a pricing strategy (and went around behind each other’s backs signing listing agreements as well as hiring architects), or they were very suggestible and had a manic-depressive agent who couldn’t decide if this was a peacock or a pee pot.


Net result: Seven different listings (6 MLS and one FSBO on at wildly fluctuating prices since Summer, 2008, for a place that sold for only $674,000 at the peak of the Bubble.  No wonder, even at a reduced price, it’s still clearly worth an extra $54,000 for all their time and trouble.

Shake out your tailfeathers, strut on down, and pick up this display property today!

Comments (31) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:11 am

September 6, 2011

It’s Pending! Again! For the 9th Time!

Here’s another terrific find in comments by Burbed reader Sam Adu!  Thanks very much, Sam!

Want to be on the front page like today’s Guest Blogger? Find a winner of a listing (like this one!) and write it up. Send it in with pictures you’ve taken, or we’ll use what’s on the listing.

Don’t think you can write as well as Sam? Just send in the listing, we can’t write as well as Sam either.

Please give Sam Adu a big, warm Real Bay Area welcome, as today’s featured Guest Blogger with another eye-popping property from the highly-desired Campbell neighborhood that’s not in Campbell.

Yesterday (last week) there was the awesome house that had its price reduced again and again and again.

How about this house that has gone pending again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again (Yes, that’s 9 times pending!!!!!!!) since it was first listed for sale in 2009.


2286 RIORDAN Dr, San Jose, CA 95130


SQ. FT.: 1,557
$/SQ. FT.: $369
LOT SIZE: 5,500 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Mountains
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 80952568
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 662 days

Great value! The garage was converted to a family room (with permits) offering an additional 460 sqft of living space. Two bathrooms were remodeled before the home went on the market. Don’t let the days on market keep you from seeing this home! Great neighborhood!!

imageimageAll-in-all a pretty unremarkable home although the garage conversion looks pretty hideous from the outside of the house and is darn annoying from a utility/usability standpoint.

I love this part of the listing: “Don’t let the days on market keep you from seeing this home!”. The person responsible for setting the price of this home should be interned in an insane asylum since it has been their crazy pricing strategy that is responsible for this home being on the market since 2009.



What sort of spooky skeletons are hiding in this property to cause it to fall through pending 9 times? Or maybe the pendings are some sort of anomaly in the way the property history is being displayed?

Anyone care to guess how many more times this property goes pending before it gets sold? My completely wild-ass guess is 11.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:18 am

August 31, 2011

The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Grow Shade

Here’s a listing sent in by Burbed reader Erin.  Glad to see some agents are forward-looking.  Really forward.


525 FAIRMONT Ave, Mountain View, CA 94041


SQ. FT.: 1,430
$/SQ. FT.: $605
LOT SIZE: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Neighborhood
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81123846
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 92 days

This 3 bedroom, 1 bath house is located on a quiet side street 1/2 blk from a small park. Just 4 blks from downtown shops and restaurants on Castro St. An enclosed patio is the surprise bonus room for children’s play and office/media room possibilities. Two large sycamore tree line the street with a young Red Oak growing near the garage for future driveway shade.

imageHere’s what Erin had to say about this house:

Just imagine how nice and cool this house’s driveway will be in 30 years when your investment in future shade will finally be realized!

And while you’re waiting, you can sit in this appropriately-painted room and pretend you watched all the trees grow tall!

I’m still trying to envision using that surprise bonus room for children’s play and office/media room possibilities.  At the same time.

I’m having trouble figuring out why this hasn’t been snapped up.  The seller even pulled the “raise the price when the sale falls through” trick.



Yeah, sounds like an awesome playroom!  You could have the little nippers play “Who can climb in the window fastest without bleeding on the rug.”

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

August 29, 2011

Price Reduced Again! And Again! And Again! And Again!

Last week we featured a home in Sunnyvale with a series of deep price cuts, and asked what was wrong with the house that required a 30% price cut.  Here’s an even more extreme example.  We had to go a little (okay, more than a little) further afield this time, so please enjoy this listing courtesy of Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer!


22 STORY Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924


SQ. FT.: 3,258
$/SQ. FT.: $135
LOT SIZE: 1 Acre
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Valley
COMMUNITY: Village Views
COUNTY: Monterey
MLS#: 81102444
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 221 days

This bank owned home in the heart of Carmel Village features over 3200 sq ft of living space on a 1 acre property. Home has 5 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, separate family room, an oversize office above the 3 car garage. This is a great opportunity and a contractors dream.

imageOne the great realignments after the housing bubble popped was the death of the exurbs.  Homes requiring far-flung commutes were no longer desirable, while closer-in properties held their values better. 

Monterey County was hit with a double-whammy.  Not only are people less willing to drive a long way to work in Silicon Valley, the entire county is being hit extra hard by the new conventional mortgage limitations that are scheduled for October 1st (and already implemented by several large banks).  In most of the high-priced Bay Area, this limit is lowering from $729,750 to $625,500.  But Monterey County now has a much imagelower median home price than the Bay Area counties to the north, so they are being cut all the way back to the default limit: $417,000. If you want to borrow more than $417,000, you’ll have to get a jumbo mortgage.

Meanwhile, a much higher number of homes in Monterey County are under water (the FB owes more than the house worth) than in the Bay Area counties (Solano County is a special case). 

But what happened to this house?  Here’s the listing history from Zillow.


That’s some price chopping! And not mentioned in the Zillow history, but on Redfin, is when the homeloaner stopped fighting the inevitable:


imageSo not only was this house not worth the $1.65M the owners wanted when they were trying to sell it themselves, it’s not clear it’s worth much more than a quarter of that now that the bank has it. 

imageLet this be a lesson to you.  Don’t build a big ol’ house on an acre of land and then put in linoleum everywhere.  Also, don’t buy a house on a street with the same name as an infamous one in a really crappy part of San Jose.

Or at least do a better job of hiding your mistakes.  Is it 22 Story or 2 Stories?  Can a 2 Story house be a Ranch Style?  How about a 22 Story house?

Meanwhile, what do you think this house is going to sell for?

Comments (18) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

August 9, 2011

You could live next to a castle!

I’m going to conduct a little experiment today.  Here’s guest blogger Divasm with a fine write-up of a visit to a house previously discussed in comments.  Now, it just so happened that I also wrote the same place up, as the listing just begged for the Burbed treatment.

But Divasm actually visited the house, and, better yet, took pictures!  So at some point in the future, no doubt when I’m scrambling for new material, I’ll run the column I wrote on this house, based on nothing but the listing itself. Then you can all tell me how much it sucks compared to this in-person, on-the-ground report.

So please give a warm, Real Bay Area welcome to Divasm with today’s featured listing in Redwood City, complete with on-site photos!

3676 HIGHLAND Ave, Redwood City, CA 94062


SQ. FT.: 2,320
$/SQ. FT.: $327
LOT SIZE: 7,800 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
VIEW: Bay, Mountains, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Cordilleras Heights
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81015121
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 492 days



First omen that this house will be, ahem, interesting is the freaking castle next door! Seriously, look at it – all you’re missing is a dragon and a moat.

highlanddoorThen you are welcomed by the lovely stained-glass homage to seagulls at sunset as you make your way into the house…

highlandfridgeYou’ll notice that either you are falling down drunk, or the floors are just a wee bit sloped as you travel back towards the kitchen where you find – holy 70’s chic Batman – wood paneling everywhere…I mean everywhere, including the fridge doors!

highlandwallcrackThen we go up the spiral staircase (yes, you read that correctly) to find that with the sloping floors downstairs come cracked walls upstairs…Highlandblueframenot just small cracks, some of these are big enough to someday open a portal to hell, I suspect. The best one is traveling diagonally through a blue painted window frame…apparently the owners spent all their dough on custom wood paneling for major appliances and couldn’t afford interior window sills?

According to the Redfin agent  notes there’s a view to be found up there so that makes it all ok I guess? But alas Burbed readers, this treasure is already pending, so you’ll have to find your own castle-bordering Mystery Spot of your own!

Comments (48) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:12 am