October 24, 2011

Please show with extreme caution

We’ve spent far too long with overpriced real estate in Google’s back yard.

Let’s return to the other City By the Bay (San Pablo Bay), and see what bargains are to be had in Vallejo real estate.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Scott for sending in today’s featured house.


1115 Lewis Ave, Vallejo, CA 94591


SQ. FT.: 1,860
$/SQ. FT.: $6
LOT SIZE: 0.28 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential, Detached, Single Family
COUNTY: Solano
MLS#: 21127170
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 5 days

This property has been partially burned and is not habitable. No roof, electrical or plumbing. Please show with extreme caution.

imageIf you haven’t already read Michael Lewis’ “California and Bust,” on how our state and municipal budgets are doing in today’s economy, I strongly recommend it to you.  He closes his look at Golden State finances with a look at the bankrupt city of Vallejo.  To say city services have been cut would be like describing strip-mining as thinning.  In his meeting with City Manager Phil Batchelor, Lewis mentions there is one other employee; when she takes a break she has to lock up the entire office because nobody else is there.

“Do you know that some cities actually pave their streets?” says Batchelor. “That’s not here.”

Maybe that explains why, if the value is in the quarter acre of land, that the value barely heads into five figures.  At these fire sale prices, you can rebuild or scrape it down!  Heck, you can rebuild AND scrape it down, then build something else! So many possibilities!


Comments (17) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

October 16, 2009

Dollhouse available for $360,000!

10272 LOMITA Ave, San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95018 | MLS# 80946083
10272 LOMITA Ave San Lorenzo Valley, CA 95018
Price: $360,000

Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,200
$/Sq. Ft.: $300
Lot Size: 8,276 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Year Built: 1973
Community: Lompico-Zayante
County: Santa Cruz
MLS#: 80946083
Source: MLSListings
Status: Active
On Redfin: 10 days
What a doll!!!Don’t miss this adorable home recently remodeled from top to bottom. Private, sunny and peaceful neighborhood and not a short sale or bank owned. Only 10 minutes to Felton, 40 minutes to Silicon Valley. A very clean house with stylish accents including stainless steel appliances, engineered maple flooring, great paint colors, all new light fixtures, updated bathroom. This is a good one!

Thanks to Burbed reader Scott for this find.

What a doll indeed! You can totally imagine someone in Atherton buying this for their little princess (or prince, no need to reinforce gender stereotypes!) How jealous will their friends be. “OMG! UR DAD BOUGHT U WOT????”

It’s never too early to start your children on the path of having pride of ownership, and it may make sense to start with this house. At 1,200 square feet, keeping it clean shouldn’t be hard for their housekeepers… it’s definitely a good starter.

And… it’s just 10 minutes to Felton (where?)

Just in case you were wondering, this is a good one – unlike all the other ones that are bad ones!

Comments (16) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:10 am

January 15, 2009

Affordable homes in Scotts Valley – amazing bathroom views!

355 Woodland Dr, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Scotts Valley North MLS# 80850169 – Property Details


* Status: Active
* Bedroom: 3
* Bathroom: 2
* Year Built: 1979
* Lot Size: 39500
* Square Footage: 1360
* List Date: 12/18/2008
* Garage Spaces: 1

* MLS#: 80850169
Great opportunity to own a piece of Scotts Valley! Home details are from last MLS listing. Home was left in the middle of major recontruction. Fixer upper or tear down. No kitchen, only one bath. Please view with caution. Unsafe deck. The information is provided by others and has not been verified by CENTURY 21 Alpha, seller or listing agent. Not a short sale!

Burbed doesn’t usually venture to Scotts Valley, but fortunately Burbed reader Scott (no relation) did and this is what he found!

Wowsers. Talk about affordable. And its just a short commute on beautiful 17.

The fact that this is half finished is what makes this an amazing deal. Look at some of the work that has been done already:


If that’s not an awesome design I don’t know what is. After a long day of work you can come home, soak in the bathtub, and admire nature all at the same time. Wowsers. And if you have to go potty, it’s right next to it!

This house is just waiting for you to complete the masterpiece. Quick! How will you complete this:


Wow. I think the boundaries between space and time are collapsing here. Hey, that means you can build an unpermitted addition into the 4th or 5th dimension!

Comments (22) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:16 am

March 23, 2008

Santa Cruz is saved – because people can’t afford to leave

Housing slump keeps people in Santa Cruz – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Fewer people are fleeing the once prohibitively expensive coastal reaches of Northern California, according to U.S. Census Bureau numbers released Thursday.

Santa Cruz County was among a number of greater San Francisco Bay Area counties that saw more U.S. residents staying put last year than any time since 2001.

For an explanation, observers say look no further than slumping home sales and slipping economic opportunity.

“For people to leave the most desirable areas, there has to be motivation to go, like jobs and housing,” said Jim Chubb, a loan broker at Pacific Inland Finance in Soquel. “With the economy shrinking, that hasn’t happened.”


In Santa Cruz County, the number of U.S. residents moving out between July 2006 and July 2007 is still greater than the number moving in, by 1,977, according to the census report. But that’s just two thirds of how many left the year before and half of how many left the year before that.


Congrats! Santa Cruz is saved! Because people can’t leave as fast anymore! Hah! It’s probably the Mystery Spot that keeps pulling them back in!

More good news!

Median home price rebounds to $682,500

The median sales price for a single-family home in Santa Cruz County rebounded to $682,500 in February, up from $599,000 in January.

The median is the mid-spending point of what sold, and in February, typically a slow month, 70 homes sold. That’s the fewest number of February sales in 11 years, according to Gary Gangnes of Real Options Realty, who attributes the uptick from January to the change in the mix of sales.

Properties under $500,000 accounted for 19 percent of sales in February, down from 33 percent in January while the high end of the market sprang back into action.

Properties selling for more than $1 million accounted for 24 percent of the sales in February, up from 14 percent in January.

Three oceanview homes in Aptos were the most expensive homes sold: 940 Via Malibu, $2.6 million, 278 Beach Drive, $2.6 million, and 313 Kingsbury Drive, $2.4 million.

And if those homes sold for those prices, just imagine how much the house you buy in Santa Cruz will sell for tomorrow. It’s called leverage and OPM (Other People’s Money). A $500k loan could be worth $2.4 million tomorrow

Is missing out on this opportunity something you can afford?

Didn’t think so! Now’s the perfect time to buy, as usual!

(Thanks to Burbed reader Scott!)

Comments (8) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:22 am

January 5, 2008

Santa Cruz to bypass housing woes

SantaCruzSentinel.com – Top Stories
Santa Cruz County is expected to bypass the statewide housing trends in 2008.

Alan Nevin, economist for the California Building Industry Association, said his statewide prediction for smaller homes and lower prices might come true in San Luis Obispo but not in Santa Cruz.

“The problem in Santa Cruz is supply,” said Jeff Becker of DMB Associates in Hollister and association chairman. “You’re not going to see smaller homes there at lower prices. Builders can build larger and always have a buyer.”

Thanks to Burbed reader Scott for sending this in.

Personally, there was never a doubt in my mind that Santa Cruz would buck the housing woes trend. After all, it’s got the Mystery Spot and the world famous beaches – foreigners of all stripes with their powerful currencies are flocking here to buy up second homes and villas to retire to.

Congrats Santa Cruz on these great prognostications from those in the RE business!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:52 am

April 14, 2007

Higher prices are better for buyers in Santa Cruz

Burbed Reader Scott sent me this note today:

Thought you might like this latest piece of illogic from Santa Cruz, that it’s in the interest of the buyer for prices to remain high (see midway through the article):

Let’s take a look at the article…

Median home price up to $747,000 – By JONDI GUMZ – Sentinel staff writer – April 13, 2007
Why don’t sellers simply lower the price? Because that doesn’t help the buyer as much financially.

Here’s why.

Say a buyer wants a condo priced at $500,000 and plans to put 10 percent down. That’s $50,000 out of pocket. The closing costs, which include loan fees, interest, taxes, title insurance, appraisal and recording fees, may run another $7,000.

If the seller dropped the price by $7,000 to $493,000, the buyer would save only $700, having to come up with a down payment of $49,300. Plus $7,000 in closing costs.

“It’s a way to help buyers get in when they’re short of cash,” Gangnes said.

Well that does seem a little fishy… Scott explains why:

No mention about property tax or the mortgage amount for that matter.  We’re also taught that months of supply is the only factor determining price. I’ve told this Jondi Gumz reporter to stop using Realtor Gary Gangnes as her “authoritative” source of info, but it’s ovbioujsly to no avail.

So I guess it’s a great time to buy in Santa Cruz, with prices at a record high then it’s really, really good for the buyer!

Oh come on Scott- don’t you know? It’s always a good time to buy or sell real estate!

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 3:26 pm

February 20, 2007

"As We See It: No housing collapse here" in Santa Cruz

As We See It: No housing collapse here – – – February 19, 2007
Some who aren’t in the housing market are waiting patiently for prices to come down to an affordable price. Of course, people’s idea of “affordable” can have a big range.

But so far, we don’t see a collapse in prices coming. And without that, we also feel confident that businesses connected to real estate will continue without major problems.

Nationwide, and even statewide, the story might be different. But when you’re talking about the coast of California, don’t expect real estate prices to bottom out.

Thanks to Burbed Reader Scott for sending this one in.

Indeed, Santa Cruz is pretty special – perhaps if you spend enough time at the Mystery Spot, this opinion piece and its lack of economic backing will make sense.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 12:34 am

September 9, 2006

Tom Stynes has some answers about the Bay Area

A Burbed reader, Scott, noted that Tom Stynes is pretty annoying. Let’s look at some quotes:

Ask the Expert
Q Hi, Tom I’m tring to get prices of houses sold in my area within the last 6 months I live at 3816 Sunflower Cir. Bowie , MD 20721
Mike, Bowie , MD 6/20/06
A Dear Mike:

If you trying to find sold prices in an area throughout the United States, I recommend you call a local REALTOR to the area in question. Even you are just trying to update current value on your property insurance with no intention or buying or selling. We get questions like your’s all the time. You might be surprised to know most agents are in the business because they like to help.

Good luck!
Tom Stynes 6/24/06

Apparently Tom has never heard of Zillow.

Q Tom, I’m considering taking a job with a prominent corporation in Mountain View and moving from Texas; however, I just can’t understand how people afford to purchase homes in the valley. I am married with two children under five and although I would be getting about 25% more in salary, the home prices are about 400% more in Silicon Valley than here in southwest Texas. Can you please provide some insight? Thanks.

Jason, Texas 6/30/06

A Dear Jason:

I speak to individuals contemplating the same question you pose several times a month. For people outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, they cannot understand a 3 Bedroom / 2 Bath; 1600 sq. ft. single-family home sells here upwards of $800,000. All I can say from a personal prospective the Bay Area is a great place to live and raise a family. Without sounding like a marketing piece published by a local Chamber of Commerce, the weather is great; we have an expanding job market highly trained professionals, etc., etc.

Likewise home prices in the South Bay continue to remain strong. In fact, I presented three offers this week on separate properties where multiple offers were involved. All three properties sold about list price. Each property was located in areas with above average school performance so that also influenced the level interest.

Ultimately home sales are influenced by supply and demand. We have very little vacant land so we’re unable to build more housing in the most desirable areas. Likewise our inventory of homes for sale continues to stay low (less than 1% of total homes) so we still have a Sellers market. Sure we are seeing some softening in homes listed about $1.5 million, yet these are not the homes someone like you can afford without a very large down payment.

I’m not sure this is the information you wanted to hear. Hopefully it provided some insight into the why behind our pricing. If you decide to move California – Welcome!!!

Tom Stynes 7/15/06

Translation: Dear Jason, prices in the Bay Area always go up. It’s the most special place in the world. Get a 40 year neg am mortgage and unlock that equity today! Besides, you’ll never need to go on vacation again!

Here’s an answer that was pretty good – until it became a Realtor answer:

Q Hi Tom, We are interested in demolition of our existing home in Cupertino and rebuilding a new home on the land. Cost of construction vs simply selling the existing home and buying another one (for larger size and other desirable features etc.) is an important consideration. Can you comment on the construction costs (per sq ft) and other costs, and point me to any resources that could help me to get started. Thank you very much.

Anonymous, Cupertino, CA 7/29/06

A Dear Anonymous: You ask a good question. Construction cost in the Cupertino area run between $200 and $350 per square foot depending on desired amenities. For resources, I would start by going to the Cupertino planning department. They will tell you the maximum limits on expansion, zoning requirements etc.

The next step would be to talk to architects so you can draw up plans for construction. If you want to contact me directly I can recommend several architects and builders in area.

The other option should you want to sell, please contact me directly. I recently sold a home in the Rancho Rinconada area of Cupertino. The property, potential tear down, sold “As Is” with seven offers well above the asking price.

Hope this helps.

Tom Stynes 7/29/06

Ah yes. A simple “$200-350 per square foot” answer became “btw, now’s a great time to buy! don’t get priced out!” answer.

Click here to post a comment -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:10 am