May 31, 2011

Shenanigans with Short Sale in Old Palo Alto

Here’s a find from comments, from Burbed reader San Matean,  San Matean wants to know what kind of games the bank is playing with this short sale in Palo Alto.  We know that a short sale means “selling shortly,” but going pending the same day it’s listed sounds more like an inside job.

1520 Middlefield Rd, Palo Alto, CA  94301


SQ. FT.: 1,500
$/SQ. FT.: $553
LOT SIZE: 5,600 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Spanish
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: Professorville
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81123457
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 1 day

Location! Location! Location! The following was remodeled in 1997 Kitchen; Master Bathroom; 2nd Bath; Hardwood Floors underneath carpeting. Newly Landscaped rear yard. Large Kitchen great for gathering. Enclosed front with beautiful park like setting.

Wow, they were in such a hurry to “list” this property they didn’t even bother including any photos.  It isn’t any different on the agent’s own site, so let’s take a peek at the Googlecam.


Not bad, although this is an 80 year old house.  It may need new light bulbs and Drano.


It also looks like some other building has preempted the back yard.  The property lines suggest that this house and its next-door-neighbor have gone halvesies on their own meth lab:



Back to San Matean’s concern: this property was listed and went pending the same day.  That’s not the real puzzler, though. This house is in 94301, a Really Special Place, yet not only didn’t it double in ten years, it actually may have lost value.  Unless, of course, the bank decided that the overbidding would take this house right where it needed to be.

imageAnd the reason this house is now essentially owned by the bank, instead of the couple who bought it with a $706.5K conventional variable mortgage, is they refinanced it in 2005 for $962.5K (also variable). They must have liked the extra cash so much that they did it again a year later.  In 2006, the purported owners became FBs when they refinanced with a variable first mortgage of $990K, and a variable second mortgage of $198K, or $1,188,000 total.  That is, coincidentally, just $17,500 more than this place’s current Zestimate.

So, our question for you, Burbed readers: How much do you think this house sold for? We have so many fun factors in the mix: Busy street, around the corner from an even busier street (Embarcadero), bank owned property, mystery structure eating up a couple back yards, asking price a whopping 30% below the Zestimate, and a transaction that not only doesn’t look arms’ length, it suggests someone has a banker by the balls.

Comments (52) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 1:36 am

July 27, 2010

Location, Loocation, Looocation – Part II

In a previous post, I asked whether location was all there was to pricing real estate.  Looking at several homes on the same street, their position, and their list prices would help answer this question.  The first home was a small 2/1 in a “fantastic location” for just under a million.  Let’s see what’s on the same street but on the Other Side of that cruel boundary between sort of good and Real Good: Middlefield Road.

365 Lincoln Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301


Beds: 8
Baths: 4.5
Sq. Ft.: 5,505
$/Sq. Ft.:$1,452
Lot Size: 0.72 Acres
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 3
View: Neighborhood
Year Built: 1907
Community: Professorville
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81024865
Source: MLSListings
Status: Pending Without Release This listing is in escrow, past inspections and waiting for loan funding. "Without Release" indicates that the current buyer doesn’t need to sell a home to buy the new home.
On Redfin: 62 days

Special Opportunity to own one of Professorville’s largest lots & historic homes. Built in 1903 by Stanford Professor Leander Hoskins, this graceful craftsman style home is 5,511 sq ft & has 8 bedroooms & 4 bathroooms on a 31,500 sq ft lot. Fine example original craftsman woodwork. A broad inviting veranda welcomes visitors. Walk to Downtown & Stanford University. Please do not disturb occupants

That photo looks a bit… threatening.  Lights are on but it’s still daytime… but not for long!  The house seems like it’s crouching down low, preparing to spring onto your chest, knock you down, rip out your throat and force you to sign an eight million dollar real estate offer without contingencies.  And no eights in the price, yet!  But it’s a “Special Opportunity.”  It’s so special, the “bedroooms” and “bathroooms” are pre-stocked with extra haunting ooos.

It’s sooo special, that you’d better be able to handle the cognitive dissonance of a “broad inviting veranda” that “welcomes visitors,” except you’re not supposed to “disturb the occupants.”  Guess that broad inviting veranda is off-limits, eh?  But ask yourself, what kind of occupants would there be in an 8/4.5 near a major university?

Two words.  Frat house.  With extra ooos.  Take a look at the photo above, again.  Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Vampire frat house.

While you put on your carbon-fiber neck protector, savor this lot.  Look how it takes up the space of more than four tall or two grande properties, and just lolls onto both Lincoln and Waverly like a well-played Tetris piece… without actually being on the corner!


Heh.  I said loll.  And lolling is what you get to do when you live on the Better Side of Middlefield.  Too bad you can’t buy the Vampire Frat House, though.  It’s pending, and loooks like it was delisted a month ago, probably when someone walked in and said “Ooo!  8 bedroooms and 4 bathroooms!  Sooold!”  Loooks like you’re priced out forever, but the ooout-of-tooown sellers are making the city very happy.  The old tax valuation was (ooo!) $175,246.

To be fair, I went up and down the street loooking for unsightly vehicles, but this was the worst to be found.  The next worst was the Post Office truck.  But I do like how this photo shows the hired help gazing longingly at a house he wishes he could live in.


You see, this is the Better Side (even if you have to leave garlic on each windowsill)!  The neighbors keep their cars tucked behind hedges and trees, so only the transient workers’ jalopies remain.  Next time, we’ll Return to the Dark Side. Be there or be a Tetris piece!

Comments (33) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

December 26, 2008

A healthy $1025 per square foot house in the Real Bay Area

629 Kingsley Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94301 Professorville MLS# 80846292 – Property Details



* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 3
* Bathroom: 2
* Year Built: 1915
* Lot Size: 2500
* Square Footage: 1536
* List Date: 11/20/2008
* Garage Spaces: 1
* MLS#: 80846292

Heart,soul and style remain in this lovingly restored, expanded 1915 Cottage. Innovative design and finish work by master craftsman preserve the character and create one-of-a-kind quality, style and ambiance. What’s ?Old?-Its story, its charm, 3 ?wavey?-glass orig. windows, 1915 wood flrs, and its loc. w/in walking distance to Univ Av, Lucie Stern, Stanford etc. What’s ?New?-nearly everything else

Thanks to Burbed reader Herve for this find. What a fitting way to close out a joyous week such as this. $1.575 million. A healthy $1025 per square foot. It’s like the shining star on top of the Christmas tree. What a beaut!

Can you think of a better way to end the week?

God I love this season!

Comments (41) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:31 am

May 23, 2008

Palo Alto home price drops 16%.

KINGSLEY Ave Palo Alto, CA 94301
Price: $10,500,000

Beds: 4
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 5,025
$/Sq. Ft.: $2,090
Lot Size: 0.74 Acres
Age (Years): 85
Year Built: 1923
Type: Detached Single Family
Style: Mediterranean
Stories: 2 Stories
View(s): Neighborhood
Neighborhood: Professorville
County: Santa Clara
MLS#: 763160
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 175 days
Unsold in 90+ days
Expanded, remodeled, restored 2006.Traditional floor plan. Grt for entertaining. All bedrooms w/ baths. Second family room upstairs. Professorville Estate on nrly 3/4 acre w/ detach garage w/ space for carriage house. Wide terraces to terrific grounds. Grand kit/fam rm. Banquet size dining room. Study w/ FP. Master suite w/ sitting room w/ tree top views. Attic and basement. Oak floors. 9′ celings. Elegant !

Burbed reader Madhaus suggested I post this. I hemmed and hawed. Indeed the price has fallen:

Listing Price History
Date Price
Nov 15, 2007 $12,500,000
Jan 21, 2008 $11,500,000
Mar 04, 2008 $10,500,000

I couldn’t decide whether to feature this or not. You see, featuring price drops like this is sort of like talking about suicides on the Golden Gate Bridge, or showing Bin Laden videos – you’re just encouraging copy cats and terrorists. Do you really want others to think that it is ok to drop your offering price? Do you really want to showcase people who drop their offering price? Is this at all ethical?

I’m not sure. I leave it to you readers – is the owner of this house committing insane fiscal terrorism upon Palo Alto? What should we as Bay Area citizens do to him/her?

Comments (29) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:22 am