March 21, 2013

This is why The Real Bay Area is Awesome

We get some interesting comments from people who don’t agree with our definition of what the Real Bay Area (RBA) is. Many seem to think that if an area is wealthier than its surrounding community, that, in and of itself, is sufficient for RBAhood.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The whole point of the RBA is that it is not only expensive, it is that you will pay a crapton of money to live there and the sellers can ask over three million yet treat you with complete and utter disdain. You will also end up with a house that isn’t even worth photographing. Today’s property illustrates this perfectly.

130320-waverly-redfin1801 WAVERLEY St
Palo Alto, CA 94301
$3,295,000

5 Beds
3.5 Baths
2,982 Sq. Ft.
$1,105 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1932
Lot Size: 9,000 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 7 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Old Palo Alto
MLS#: 81307920
Style: Colonial
View: Neighborhood
County: Santa Clara

Upcoming Open Houses

Saturday, Mar 23: 1:30-4:30 pm
Sunday, Mar 24: 1:30-4:30 pm

Prime Old Palo Alto!Old world charm meets modern amenities! Lovely 5 bedroom, 3.5 bath home. 2 master suites; one on each floor. Large family room adjacent to spacious kitchen. This home features a huge 9000 +/- sf lot. It is perfect for large gatherings & extended family visits. Updated kitchen and baths with tile counters and newer appliances.

130320-waverly-streetviewYes, this is a vintage home (just slipping in under our definition to earn the “old house” tag) in a desirable part of Palo Alto, but it isn’t being marketed as a teardown. It’s just that the agent obviously has better things to do than pull out the iPhone and snap a dozen listing photos.

Good thing there’s Google Streetview!  Isn’t this place just fabulous?

130320-waverly-streetview2Guess you’ll never know unless you show up at the Open Houses this weekend.  Also, many sections of Streetview around this house have been blurred out. Perhaps this home is owned by a highly-placed Googler.  This view around the corner from Tennyson was the best we could do.

But you’ve seen plenty of properties on Burbed showcasing Palo Alto. (Heck, we’ve visited Waverley Street so often they ought to rename it Burbed Boulevard.)  We were trying to make a point about the difference between RBA and not-so-RBA.  Let’s see what you could get for pretty much the same amount of money over the Bay and through the Caldecott.

130320-oaks-redfin6 GREAT OAKS Cir
Orinda, CA 94563
$3,350,000

3 Beds
3.5 Baths
4,350 Sq. Ft.
$770 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1949
Lot Size: 2.32 Acres
On Redfin: 541 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 1
Community: Glorietta
MLS#: 40544806
Style: Contemporary
View: Other
County: Contra Costa

Original Frank Lloyd Wright designed home built in 1949. The stunning grounds were landscaped by Henry Matsutani who did the Japanese Tea Gardens in Golden Gate Park. Incredible opportunity to own a bit of history/ a work of art. All showings subject to screening process. Call agents for details.

130320-oaks-diningThat’s right.  If you’re willing to spend the same amount in Orinda, you can own a house actually designed by Frank Lloyd fucking Wright. Not only that, the landscaping is by the same master gardener behind the Japanese I-shit-you-not Tea Garden.  In Golden goddamned Gate Park. Which we think even Silicon Valley software dweebs have heard of. Plus the Orinda house is on more than two acres.

It’s also been for sale for a year and a half and has had two major price reductions.

130320-oaks-statuesBut in Old Palo Alto, you get a house on nine thousand feet, and you will like it.  And if you don’t plenty of others will, because this house has only been on the market for a week, and after the Open House you know the sellers will be receiving all seventy-nine offers the following Tuesday, and decide which of the no-contingencies-extra-cash-please-with-homemade-brownies-and-a-Tesla-Model-S begging letters they will accept.

And THAT, my friends, is the Real difference between the Real Bay Area and the Rest.

Thanks to the fun folks at Redfin Forums for inspiring today’s article.

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am






January 6, 2013

A New Mapping Tool that is Completely Useless in the RBA

We love real estate tools.  Maps are awesome.  Here’s a new one with the cute name Rich Blocks Poor Blocks that Burbed readers wahnny and Divasm both sent in this week when someone posted about it in Redfin Forums.  (No link, Redfin, until you resume trackbacks to our featured homes.  Neener neener.)

It’s a fairly good idea: take ACS income data for each official Census tract and show graphically how much they vary.  As they say on their main page, “See how much money people make in every neighborhood in every city in America.”  In theory you could use it to see how Special each part of the city is.  Here’s what it looks like when it’s working as the authors intended.

130105-blocks-chicago

Each state uses its own scale, applying the color key to its own income range.  In the case of Illinois, above, the deep red, lowest income is under $23,120 and the deep green, highest income is over $106,503.  There appear to be 20 different segments in the color key, although we think there’s far too much green and not enough in the red, orange, and yellow. 

130105-blocks-nj

Since these are Google Map tools, you can zoom in and out to your heart’s delight, but you can only map one state at a time.As you can see in in the case of New Jersey, above, this tool isn’t that useful with metros that span multiple states.  Fortunately, that’s not an issue even in the furthest exurbs of the Bay Area.

No, the Bay area has different issues.  See what happens when we map the core RBA.

130105-blocks-mountainview

Too. Much. Dark. Green.

The California income scale ranges from $28,183.65 to $122,762.90.  We hope you’re beginning to see the problem: the top 5% income for all of California seems to apply to an awful lot of Census tracts in the RBA.  Or even places that are NOT in the RBA. Like this part of Santa Clara with the Oracle campus:

130105-blocks-nsj

Contrast with an RBA tract we know is loaded: Los Altos Hills.

130105-blocks-lah

It’s the exact same shade of green, because the danged scale tops off far too early for the RBA.  According to this map, there is no difference between northeast Santa Clara and Los Altos Hills even though the latter’s median household income is 72% higher.

If a tract in the Triangle of Lost Equity can have median household income above 95% of California, Rich Blocks Poor Blocks in the Real Bay Area might as well be called Five Red Tracts of Suck Amidst A Sea of Deep Green Money.

Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

August 21, 2012

Major fixer upper in San Carlos. You’ll need the uppers.

Today’s featured home is a San Carlos scraper brought to you by Burbed reader nomadic.  This low-hanging lemon has been overripening on the Redfin vine, and was spotted on a fruitful locale for Burbed bounty: the Redfin forums.  Thanks very much for the harvest! 

437 HILLCREST Rd
San Carlos, CA 94070
$850,000; was $875,000; was $899,000; was $910,000

120820-hillcrest-redfin

120820-hillcrest-streetview2 Beds 
1.5 Baths
1,120 Sq. Ft.
$759 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1941 
Lot Size: 7,644 Sq. Ft. 
On Redfin: 130 days
Status: Active
Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 1
County: San Mateo
Style: Contemporary
Community: Cordes
MLS#: 81213411

Great westside location, this home is a major fixer upper bring your contractor with you large level lot perfect for building your dream home building plans and engineering reports have been submitted to the city for approval

120820-hillcrest-satelliteHere’s what nomadic had to say about this perplexing property:

Check this out, from the Redfin forums:

  I lived in this home, as the flippers who bought it in 2011, rented it to me so they could get the permits in place.  Long story short, is that they thought they had the permits in place in February of 2012 so they asked me to move.  Turns out just more paper shuffling by the city, and things are still moving slow.  The house is in bad disrepair.  The son of the original owners (since 1941) died and the family sold it.  All the plumbing was shot, and a poorly constructed addition was slapped on the porch in the back.  The chiminey was falling off the side of the house, and there was quite a fair amount of landscaping growing out of the roof.

  Shortly after I moved out, a bunch of  vagrants ransacked the place, stole all the copper, and broke most of the windows.  Permits are still pending for the tear down and rebuild.  As I was browsing the listings, I found it funny that it was relisted at $910k basically a year after they bought it for $622, and its now no longer livable.

120820-hillcrest-streetview-2The asking price is now $850k.  When did San Carlos wedge itself into the RBA?

Hmmm, this comment doesn’t seem to be on the thread anymore, but this reply references part of the above.  So nomadic was not hallucinating the post.  Perhaps Redfin is getting a little gun-shy about actual discussion of houses rather than oh-so-postive realtardese.  Talk that way for too long and you won’t even need to take any uppers.

Bunus: Trash bag and abandoned monitor in Streetview shots, plus extra bin at neighbor’s.

 

 

Comments (21) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

July 18, 2012

Who wants to buy a meth lab?

This site has made a number of jokes about homes that could have been meth labs but probably weren’t.  But what if you could buy a real one?  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Cam for following up on our recent guide to NOT buying a meth lab.

5674 S SAN FELIPE Rd
San Jose, CA 95135
$1,199,950

120715-sanfelipe-redfin

120715-sanfelipe-hallwayBEDS:  4
BATHS:  3
SQ. FT.:  3,200
$/SQ. FT.:  $375
LOT SIZE:  1.72 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 1
VIEW: Mountains, Neighborhood
YEAR BUILT:  1915
COMMUNITY:  Evergreen
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81205455
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  155 days

Now is the time to buy this small ranch in the prestigious Evergreen Hills area. New entrance bridge makes a statement. Perfect for the horse-lover (tack room, barn and fencing) or person interested in exploring the possibility of subdivision. Lots of extras including BBQ area, dog run/kennel, covered patio and a hot tub.

120715-sanfelipe-fireplaceHere’s what Cam had to say about this um, very unique (snort) property:

Found this just after the meth lab post.

Pending soon? Agent even included photos of the chemical stains!

The link is to a Redfin forums discussion which links to this property, and also points out the same address is on the DEA seizure list.  The home was seized in August, 2010.  So it’s a pretty safe bet that this house is the real thing.  Except this is interesting as it went into foreclosure the previous February.

120715-sanfelipe-hottubYup, it’s an REO.  And you know what that means, right?  It means the seller (also known as the bank) doesn’t know squat about anything that happened in this house.

Check out the fireplace! More importantly, check out the chemical stains next to the fireplace! No wonder they didn’t dare show us what was cooking in the kitchen.

This reminds us of that huge meth lab bust in March (not this one, in an apartment, like for RENTERS).  We don’t know if this house was seized because the police were tracking down a stolen iPad and hit the jackpot, or if the bank deliberately planted some “bath salts” in the hot tub because they really wanted SOMEONE to take it off their hands.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

November 17, 2011

Excellent Starter Home waiting for a sale to finish

Did you like yesterday’s cute little house at an affordable price?  Then you’re going to love today’s find from Burbed reader nomadic, from that same thread on Redfin forums.  Today’s house costs 80% less, yet is 25% bigger!  Best of all, this place is much, much closer to Silicon Valley, yet offers all the same advantages of living in a big city.

181 N 34TH St, San Jose, CA 95116
$220,000

image

BEDS: 2
BATHS: 1
SQ. FT.: 572
$/SQ. FT.: $385
LOT SIZE: 3,600 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STORIES: 1
YEAR BUILT: 1949
COMMUNITY: Alum Rock
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81141730
SOURCE: MLSListings
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 33 days

Excellent Starter Home 2 Bedroom and 1 Bath home.

Here’s what nomadic has to say about the property:

Here’s a funny listing someone on the Redfin forum linked to:

Homeowner? check
Luxury German auto? check
Up next, trophy wife!
Chicks dig guys who own a home right?  (Please don’t notice this is a short sale!)

I didn’t notice it was a short sale because I was too busy wondering just how many drinks the surveyor had when platting out this neighborhood:

image

I wonder if he was working in an office where his colleagues enjoyed playing practical jokes, like the old “substitute tissue paper for drafting paper” trick.  Unfortunately, Mr. Five Martini Surveyor was too looped to notice and nobody had the heart to tell him he had to do it over.

Also, did you notice this house is Pending with release?  Do you know what Pending with release means?  It means this:

This listing is in escrow and all contingencies have been fulfilled. “With Release” means that there’s a release clause with the offer stating that the buyer is trying to sell his current home before closing. A release clause lets the seller back out of the deal if the buyers can’t sell their home within a set time frame.

So my question to you is what the hell kind of house is someone hoping to sell in order to buy this one?

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

November 16, 2011

A Thousand Dollars per Square Foot? That’s *All*?

Here’s a house that will give the entire la-di-da zip code of 94301 the “You’re not wearing THAT cheap thing?” glare it so rarely gets.  Yes, today’s featured listing is asking more than double the $1000 a square foot altitude we’ve come to love near University Avenue.

Thanks very much to Redfin Bay Area Forums reader tarazet for this find.

 

86 Stanton St, San Francisco, CA 94114
$1,150,000

image

BEDS: 1
BATHS: 1
SQ. FT.: 435
$/SQ. FT.: $2,644
LOT SIZE: –
PROPERTY TYPE: Single-Family Home
STYLE: Cottage
YEAR BUILT: 1918
COMMUNITY: Eureka Valley/Dolore
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 382947
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 202 days

Two Buildable Lots and One Updated Cottage that sits in a little dell, down flagstone steps, with a terraced stone-paved front yard and grassy side yard. Two skylights, bleached hardwood floors, peaked beamed roof, bathroom with glassblock. Pedini Kitchen: Viking range, Carrera marble countertops. Great development plans available for viewing or develop your own.

imageHave we ever had a house listed for this much a foot?  This one cleared $2000 a foot, but isn’t anywhere as awesome because its high price is due to being on half an acre in Los Gatos.  Today’s house breaks the $2600 a foot barrier on a whopping 2347 square foot lot.  Now that takes some doing.

That’s right.  TWO buildable lots on the 2347 square feet.  I bet this house is perfect for two families as well.

Speaking of $2600, that’s exactly what this place rents for per month.  That means the price rent ratio is a delightfully buyer-friendly 36.86. Wowzers, you’d best jump on this place, because that hanging Ikea lamp probably adds at least an extra $75,000 to the kitchen.

Update: Price reduced to a million even last Friday.  It’s now a bargain at $2,299 a foot!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am