August 30, 2013

Watch the hawks soar with Portola Valley potential

There are many ways for a house to show Burbed win. One is for it to be completely overpriced, and the other is for it to be an utter crapbox.  Which kind do you like better? Can’t decide? Today’s house is BOTH!

130829-westridge-redfin207 WESTRIDGE Dr
Portola Valley, CA 94028

4 Beds
2.5 Baths
2,770 Sq. Ft.
$1,082 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1952
Lot Size: 3.05 Acres
On Redfin: 5 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Central Portola Valley
MLS#: 81331429
Style: Contemporary
View: Green Belt, Mountains, Canyon
County: San Mateo

130829-westridge-flagstoneOver 3 acres with spectacular southern exposure, views toward Monte Bello Ridge. Watch the hawks soar! Architect designed with Frank Lloyd Wright’s "Falling Water" in mind, this mid-century contemporary is ready for extensive remodel or build new. Owned by one family since 1953. Wonderful privacy. Two guest cottages. Much deferred maintenance; 3-stall barn w/ hayloft in disrepair. Potential!

130829-westridge-poleDesigned with “Falling Water” in mind? We guess we could say our mid-century modern shack was designed with Monticello in mind… and yet it was a suburban tract house in fact.  Only ours has fewer paper cranes.

This house also reminds us of the one yesterday: way more pictures outside than in, and no bedrooms snapped at all. Wonder why not? Maybe by deferred maintenance they really mean the owners haven’t gotten out of bed since 1953.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:02 am

April 18, 2013

Pricy Property in Prime RBA, Perfectly Pimped

BlogAtoZ-PWe move on with the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, and today’s a Premier Prospect! Pronto, Propose a Principality where the Population is Pushy, Pretentious, and Proud? Did someone say Palo Alto? Perhaps Piedmont? Possible, but we’ll Put them aside. 

Today’s Property is in Portola Valley!  Profound thanks to Burbed reader laurenatuw.

130417-degas-redflin187 DEGAS Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028

5 Beds
3.5 Baths
3,600 Sq. Ft.
$875 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1962
Lot Size: 2.56 Acres
On Redfin: 6 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Central Portola Valley
MLS#: 81311884
Style: Colonial


Let’s Pester laurenatuw for a Precis:

hand crafted interior not worth picturing

interesting new listing in Portola valley……. the town is so distracted by the housing bubble that pics of inside the house are now considered optional, even with a 3.15mill asking price.

guess you’ll just have to take the realtard’s word for it when they say (in all caps) "HAND CRAFTED, BEAUTIFUL FINISHED INTERIOR"…….


This Property is so Private that the agent Provided 14, Poll ‘em, 14 Pictures and every single Photo Portrays another Piece of the Peripheral Premises.

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

February 4, 2013

Today in Portola Valley: Guest Blogger on Guest House

burbed_guest_bloggerWe haven’t had a guest post for a while, so we’re going to sleep in while Burbed reader Dr. Jim takes over today’s column.  Thanks very much!  Please give Dr. Jim a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome to the front page as today’s guest blogger!

And now we’re going back to bed.

130203-portola-redfin451 PORTOLA Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028

4 Beds
5 Baths
4,200 Sq. Ft.
$1,546 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1912
Lot Size: 1.13 Acres
On Redfin: 88 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: Tri-Level
Community: Brookside/Willowbrook Area
MLS#: 81240340

Stunning historic estate originally built by Herbert E. Law completely renovated with state of the art contemporary finishes. Turreted castle main residence (3 br) incl. 1000 sq. ft new construction, stone guest cottage, 1200 sq. ft workshop. 1.2 flat ac. in prime PV, western views, pool, bocce court, enclosed rose garden, diamond plaster top quality appliances incl. La Cornue stove, Miele appl.

130203-portola-gatehouseCheck it out: 

They expect to make $4,645,000 profit on a house that they bought 1.5 years ago for $1,850,000!  That’s $1106/sf for remodeling.  And the cottage and workshop were there already.  Granted, the land is valuable, but that’s already accounted for in the original purchase price.  Let’s say they spent a ridiculous million dollars on renovation.  That’s still a 28% ROI, which is wildly ambitious.

130203-portola-ladderA couple of notes on the listing copy: (1) This is not the Herbert E. Law estate, this is the former GATEHOUSE for the Law estate (Villa Lauriston).  (2) A La Cornue oven, oh boy!  It looks like the $35,000 model (Chateau 120).  If they had put in a $299 Kenmore range, I suppose they would be asking $6,460,299.  Not really much difference.

Thank goodness for the Internet.  Just a few years ago, prior sale info was more difficult to obtain.  I think part of the current real estate slump is due to all of the information on the web: people are no longer being duped as readily by realtors.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

January 30, 2013

Only $1.5 million in Portola Valley? No Way (side)

Today we have a real purty property in Portola Valley.  You know how we love expensive crap? Just crossing into this high-falutiin’ district will make your wallet squirm.  It’s expensive here even if the land doesn’t have a house.  So for this low (for PV) price, you know today’s feature will be good.  That is, if by “good” we mean something not so good.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for this find.

130129-redfin-wayside211 WAYSIDE Rd
Portola Valley, CA 94028

3 Beds
2 Baths
2,340 Sq. Ft.
$641 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1925
Lot Size: 0.41 Acres
On Redfin: 190 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Santa Maria/Russell Area
MLS#: 81227542
Style: Contemporary
View: Neighborhood
County: San Mateo

There are no remarks available.

Take it away, PG:

No wonder people outside the Bay Area think we are insane. Even with a Ferrari in the garage (picture #18), I can’t see the value in that one.


Sometimes, when life hands a real estate agent lemons, it’s best to keep one’s mouth shut. The eager buyer will bring the water, sugar and ice — then beg to be sold lemonade.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

October 30, 2011

Updated: For Halloween Weekend, Here’s a Scary Treat for You from Burbed!

imageOoops, my bad.  It’s a trick.  It’s a trick!

You see, Forbes has their new list of the 500 Most Expensive Zip Codes out, and it’s time to see how much of the Real Bay Area (RBA) can Occupy The Forbes Zip List!  Since this series is a perennial Burbed favorite, we’re going to devote the next five hundred weekend posts to lovingly analyzing every single aspect of this new set of delicious demographic domicile data.

Today: The Top 50 Most Expensive Zip Codes

Hey wait, come back!  This is going to be really good!  We’re going to see which zip codes gained or lost ground since last year!  Maybe some of them get kicked out of the RBA for this!  This is a Burbed exclusive, too, Forbes didn’t bother doing any analysis of their own list changes.

imagePlus this year’s Forbes feature has the top 50 places show the most expensive house so we’ll link to each listing, plus what you can get for a mere million. That means nothing in the RBA except one crapshack in Los Gatos despite their featuring 20 different “expensive” zips.  Ha ha!  Our expensive zips are so Special we don’t let any stinking one million dollar properties in!

We also love to catch Forbes in mistakes, so if there’s something more expensive they missed, or if they otherwise screwed up like last year, we’ll be sure to let them know with as much obnoxious chortling good-natured ribbing as possible.  It’s going to be awesome!

Updated: And the TRICK is on Forbes for a Burbed Treat!   They have screwed up very, very badly.  Badly enough that I’m wondering if their (bad, really bad) mistakes made it to the print version of this feature.  If anyone has a copy, please let us know in comments.

I’ve grabbed the Days on Market (DOM) from the big table as Burbed readers Divasm and nomadic point out every single zip had a DOM of 200.  That’s highly unlikely.  Nice going, Forbes!  I can’t wait to see if your other numbers disagree too!  (Yes, they’re fvcked.)

I’m also putting a break in right after the first entry, because this article is not one of our shorter pieces.  And now, here they are!  Every Northern California entry in Forbes Top 50!

#2: Atherton 94027

  • Median Home Price: $4,295,000
  • Median Price Change: +7.1% ⇑
  • Average Days On Market: 200 162
  • Inventory: 162 41
  • Rank Last Year: #2 (no change)  Exclusive BURBED content, Not on Forbes!
  • Most Expensive Home: $20 Million (52 Tuscaloosa Avenue)

imageOh little town of Atherton
How high we see thee lie
Above thy rich and floodless ditch
You burst with equitie
Yet in they dark streets shineth
No mortgage meltdown mess
The hopes and quips of other zips
Are met in thy address

Oops, Tuscaloosa now listed for $18.9 million.  Sorry about that!  Are you Astonished?

Also I found this $24M home, listed a month ago.  Guess they missed it when putting their article together, since it ran a couple of weeks ago.  But Homes of the Rich found it too.

More after the break!  Much more!


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

May 4, 2011



Portola Valley,CA94028


BATHS: 1.5
SQ. FT.: 1,580
$/SQ. FT.: $474
LOT SIZE: 0.39 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
STORIES: Bi/Split Level
VIEW: Canyon
COMMUNITY: Alpine/Uplands (Los Trancos)
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81110302
STATUS: Active 




ON REDFIN: 48 days
This is a classic! Nice lot, great potential. View of Foothill Park and located on Los Trancos Creek. A magical setting! Great PV Schools and neighborhood. Spacious home with a family room off the Kitchen. LR with FP. Large lot! Lots of extra room on the lower level would be great for a utility room, workshop, extra bedroom? Make sure you see the lower level. DO NOT GO ON DECK. .. DO NOT GO ON DECK



Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find!
Herve was wondering this:
If the deck can collapse, why would I want to see the lower level?

I don’t think it says anywhere that the deck is going to collapse. I think that’s an assumption. And you know what happens when you assume: you make real estate prices fall.

Rather, I think the agent is trying to prevent you from developing TMJ… you know from when you jaw drops from standing on the deck and at the stunning view. It’s for liability reasons… I’m sure you can understand.

Oh, and by the way – this house comes with great private schools. You won’t be able to find private schools like that anywhere else!


Comments (10) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:58 am

December 21, 2010

Cheapest House in Woodside

Another day, another DEAL as Black Friday sales continue until Christmas Eve!  So there were some complaints about yesterdays “Cheapest House in Portola Valley” not actually being in Portola Valley.  Well, we won’t make that mistake again with today’s DEAL.  This house is guaranteed not to be in Portola Valley!  Mostly.

6 Bret Harte Dr, Woodside, CA 94062


Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,540
$/Sq. Ft.: $321
Lot Size: 0.32 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Cabin
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1966
Community: Skyline Area
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81022296
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 229 days

* * * Unbelievable value for SO much! * * * Mature Redwoods line the private road leading you home! Fantastic lot & house! Large LR DR combo w/ fireplace. Kitchen w/ breakfast bar. Lovely deck offering beautiful views of lush forest. Private Master Bedrm Suite w/ roof top deck! New Roof! Walk to the 4 Corners/Alice’s Restaurant. A MUST SEE HOME!!!

image Walk to Alice’s Restaurant?  Do they even let you in if you don’t drive up on a Harley or in a Tesla?  Use the money you save buying this house to pick up one of each!  Plus all this LR DR combo open space means plenty of room for your hobbies, be it square dancing or laser tag.

No funny business with the community going on here like yesterday’s house, either — other than a Woodside address in the Portola Valley school district conveniently located in what appears to be Sky Londa.  Don’t you just love those fun-loving folks at the post office?  What will they think of next?


Between them and the cut-ups at the bank making up these wishing prices, they could write a few decent sitcoms.  Hmm, foreclosed cabin in the woods, motorcyclists popping into the nearby restaurant at all hours, wacky neighbors running meth labs, the occasional venture capitalist?  This could work.


Now what were those clowns up to with the Fall 2010 pricing?  Were they trying to bring the RBA bubble back with just this one house?  If so, bid high on this place, because  Woodside Portola Valley Sky Londa La Honda The Real Bay Area is back, baby!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

December 20, 2010

Cheapest House (not) in Portola Valley

Face it, the real estate sector is having a few bumps, so we continue our Black Friday DEALS all the way until Xmas!  To help get the market into the black before the year is out, today we’ve got a much higher-end place for you!  Operators are standing by to take your call.

250 Gabarda Way, Portola Valley, CA 94028

image Beds: 4
Baths:  3
Sq. Ft.: 2,730
$/Sq. Ft.: $548
Lot Size: 0.45 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1964
Community: Ladera
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81048520
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 77 days

Large home for the money. Flexible floor plan with possible 5th bedroom. Sunny Liv/din rm has vaulted ceilings & large picture windows flanking a wood burning frplc. The kitchen has updated appliances & a breakfast bar that opens up to the family w/ attached bonus rm/office & full bath. The home has an attached one bedroom in-law unit w/ sep entrance, kitchen, with liv rm & frplc. New roof in ’09.

The broker has used as many abbreviations as possible to pass the savings ON TO YOU.  Another way to ensure you get the MOST for your MONEY is putting this Portola Valley house not in Portola Valley. It’s in a neighborhood built as cooperative housing, all on county land.  You get the Portola Valley mailing address with none of the attendant headaches like their school district. Win-win!  Some of your friends will hear “Ladera” and might even think you live in (gasp) Menlo Park.  Talk about prestige!

image And this house and its flexible floor plan could easily be repurposed into anything you want.  I see this room and those beautiful hardwood strips and I’m thinking bowling alley.  Maybe you’re looking at all the stainless steel in the kitchen and imagining an aircraft assembly plant.

Hey, don’t laugh.  This is county land.  If you want to come up with something to drive your neighbors nucking futs, like putting up a bunch of cellular towers in your front yard, go right on ahead.  As long as you can get some big corporations involved and a few handshakes with the Planning Commission, the sky’s the limit.  Or 55 feet, whichever comes first.  Which means you’re going to need a few more handshakes to fit in that 63 foot bowling alley.  Better go with building fighter jets in the kitchen.

Remember, Black Friday DEALS will continue all this week!  If you’re planning on picking up last minute stocking stuffers for the the family, let us know where and we’ll see if there are any DEALS waiting for you!

Comments (183) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

November 10, 2010

one picture is worth a thousand words


295 GOLDEN OAK Dr Portola Valley, CA 94028


Beds: 5
Baths: 5
Sq. Ft.: 7,000
$/Sq. Ft.: $1,107
Lot Size: 1.08 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Modern/High Tech, Contemporary
Stories: 1
View: Mountains, Neighborhood, Valley
Year Built: 2010
Community: Central Portola Valley
County: San Mateo
MLS#: 81011166
Source: MLSListings
Status: ActiveThis listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 236 days
Striking Contemporary New Construction w/ 7000sf on over 1 acre w/ Guest Hse, Pool & Verdant Valley Views in Prime PV Locale! The open, flowing floor plan features high-end kitchen, stunning LR, formal DR, library, state-of the art home theater, rec room & lux MBR ste. Unsurpassed finishes throughout incl vaulted ceilings, bay windows & gleaming HW flrs. Attached 3 car garage. Now under construction.
Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, a picture is worth $7.7 million as this is the only picture provided for a $1107 per square foot listing.
Really, this listing is an exercise of imagination for the reader. If you can’
t create the imagery of a 7000 sqft house, with guest house, then… well… maybe this house isn’t for you. This house is for visionaries, dreamers… the kind of people that make Silicon Valley go. And for people who might not mind a little construction noise.


Comments (20) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:34 am

October 9, 2010

The Most Expensive Zip Codes, Second Tier

In a previous installment, we looked at the Bay Area zips on the 25 most expensive zip codes piece in Forbes magazine.  But how could we leave the other 475 of the top 500 alone?  (Other than all those TL;DR comments.)

Here’s what’s local that made the list, between 26-50.  Try to guess if any of your favorites made it.  Feel free to comment on any of these zips if you’re familiar with them, or even better if you aren’t.  Maps courtesy of Forbes.

image #30 – 94957: Ross, CA

Median Home Price: $2,519,269
Median Price Change: 1%
Average Days On Market: 120
Inventory: 26 properties
Median Household Income: NA

I’ve heard of Ross!  I think the San Francisco Chronicle used to put it in the local weather stats because it got so much more rain than anywhere else in the entire Bay Area.

And no, this is not Fort Ross.  This is a zip in central Marin County (that’s for those of you who can’t read a map or never left your town).


image#31 – 94028: Portola Valley, CA

Median Home Price: $2,509,962
Median Price Change: 5%
Average Days On Market: 112
Inventory: 38 properties
Median Household Income: $164,479

Yay, back to the Real Bay Area!  And PV might be the only zip code, anywhere, to be shaped like the Roadrunner’s head.  If that doesn’t explain why their median income is so honking high, I don’t know what will.




image #38 – 95030: Los Gatos, CA

Median Home Price: $2,293,268
Median Price Change: 39%
Average Days On Market: 105
Inventory: 53 properties
Median Household Income: $117,564

So far the Bay Area listings have either danced around the Stanford campus, or were located in Marin County.  Los Gatos is the first one within shouting distance of San Jose.

Los Gatos has two more zip codes.  Any suspicions when we’ll be seeing them?  (No peeking.)



image #41 – 94062: Woodside, CA

Median Home Price: $2,228,269
Median Price Change: -8%
Average Days On Market: 152
Inventory: 63 properties
Median Household Income: $96,677And back to San Mateo County we go!
Don’t let the Post Office fool you.  94062 includes a slice of Redwood City, some of it practically on El Camino Real.  And if you haven’t ever driven El Camino all the way to SF, you may not know that in Redwood City, ECR is really, really, really close to 101.



image #49 – 94528: Diablo, CA

Median Home Price: $2,111,588
Median Price Change: -20%
Average Days On Market: 133
Inventory: 16 properties
Median Household Income: NA

OK, who let the East Bay into the club?

I swear, you let a couple of them show up in burbed and next think you know they’re appearing on expensive zip code lists.  Fortunately, the market is reminding those upstarts why East is East, Best is Best, and never the twain shall meet.

Down 20 percent, yowza!

More good news.  The top 50 zip codes do not include a single flyover state.  Most are in California and New York, a couple in New Jersey, Greenwich, CT came in at #27, and somehow one in Miami Beach popped up. The only other West Coast zip not in California is Medina, Washington (#42).

Yes, we have 450 zip codes to go, but at after #50,we could stop providing these useless maps.  Or we could make them twice as big.  Anyway, please comment on these or any other expensive zip codes.  And if you hate, hate, hate this series, feel free to whine, whine, whine.

Next installment: The Also-Rans, part 37.

Comments (67) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am