December 22, 2010

Cheapest House in Atherton… Um, Cheap House in Menlo Park

In trying to get you another Black Friday DEAL, I found a DEAL myself and hired an overseas contractor to write today’s column.  Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and what I got was neither in Atherton nor the cheapest house in Menlo Park.  It is, however, like all Real Estate, a DEAL.

3501 Middlefield Rd, Menlo Park, CA 94025
$480,000

image

Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 960
$/Sq. Ft.: $500
Lot Size: 5,300 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cottage/Bungalow
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1951
Community: County Area/Fair Oaks Ave
County: San Mateo
MLS#:  81013973
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active On Redfin: 274 days

image This home has been "beautifully remodeled!" That means the previous owner has added "value"!  Which begs the question: why would someone bother to do that when the house is not even on the wrong side of 101!?  The overbidding should just flow naturally.  This slice of Silicon Valley is quite the diamond in the rough.  Or is it just the rough part?

Every house has a story and this one is no different.  Let’s see what the savvy investors behind this gem have been up to.  The house was purchased in 2007 for $650,000, so we can be assured that the buyer will have made out well.  After all, when something is that inexpensive, it has nowhere to go but up! 

The buyer’s pride of ownership must have run out 3 years later because it looks like they decided to list it earlier this year for only $599,000.  Looks like someone (maybe the realtard?) must have slipped in a negative sign when they were calculating the appreciation on the ’07 sale.  But buyers love their sweet deals and this one is no exception.  Someone must have noticed the (mistakenly entered?) rock bottom price and tried to buy it because it went pending without release just 3 months later.

Strangely, it didn’t close.  No doubt it slipped out of a sale because the owner, in a fit of rage, realized that the realtor had miscalculated their expected appreciation and backed out.  What we can know for sure is that whatever buyer was interested in this fine gem was standing by with a 20% down payment ($119,800), a 780 credit score and a six figure W2 job, so securing financing wasn’t an issue.  That poor, unfortunate soul missed out on the sweet, sweet depreciation.  I meant appreciation.  My mistake.  Fortunately, their loss is your gain and this estate is once again on the market!

But, enough with the history – what’s with that weird layout?  To start, there’s no windows in the center of the house.  Now that may seem like a bad thing to you, Mr./Mrs. unisex property buyer, but the copy also kindly explains that, while some landscaping has already been done, you still have room to create your own oasis.  If you had any doubts before as to whether or not you would be able to put plants in the ground at this location, your concerns should be put to rest. 

And, when you’re not enjoying the oasis you created, you can always go around back where you will find a pool filled with more possibilities!  Here, you can either re-line the pool or fill it in!  It’s your choice what to do!  Sure, doing nothing is always an option, but smart investors like you know that in order to "add value" you have to do something (anything).  Whether you decide to remove or re-line the pool, you can be sure that you will recoup your "investment" threefold when the next buyer comes along.

image Not every home listing comes complete with a picture of the street signs just down the way.  Fortunately for you, lucky buyer, this does.  The street signs say that this is a neighborhood street.  That’s important to know because it tells you that this isn’t just any street.  It’s a neighborhood street.  The kind where people are neighbors and they go about doing neighborly things like lending each other cups of sugar or engaging in civil discourse about the topics du jour.  Or maybe that’s not what it’s saying. 

Perhaps the sign is a warning about your neighbors.  A warning graciously placed there by the city of Menlo Park to tell you that your neighbors… are a little bit slow.  Maybe it’s saying that you, too, could be a little bit slow as well… if you are quick enough to catch this knife.

Comments (22) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:44 am