March 24, 2012

Spring has Sprung, The Price has Riz

Hope you’re heading out to look at Open Houses now that we’ve officially entered the Spring Selling Season!  Oh, what’s that?  Spring Selling Season doesn’t start until after Easter?  Well, dang.

Why don’t you instead do some window shopping?  Here you can admire this waterfront property in Washington State while you try to find an open house a little closer to home.  Thanks to Burbed reader SEA for mentioning this one in comments yesterday.

11718 Possession Lane
Edmonds, WA 98026


Bunus: Stupid street name is stupid, too.  This is an open thread.

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

October 26, 2011

Now THIS is an Undisclosed Location, Location, Location!

A while back we featured a trailer park house mobile home that a reader sent in.  Then the owner of said home appeared in comments and after a nasty free-for-all lively discussion, either the Owner or the Sender asked that the writeup be removed

Well guess what? We’ve got another place from the Exact Same Trailer Mobile Home Park, and it’s even more Burbed-worthy!  Thanks very much for Burbed reader SEA for alerting us to this opportunity.


2151 Oakland Rd #301, San Jose, CA 95131


SQ. FT.: 1,440
$/SQ. FT.: $76
PROPERTY TYPE: Mobile Home (Double Wide)
COMMUNITY: Berryessa
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81134644
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 63 days

Beautiful 3bed/2ba 2008 Champion Model. Living room has pergo & towner dormer with skylight. Family room has wire for phone and cable. .Eat-In kitchen has a refrigerator, dishwasher & skylight. Guest bed has ceiling fan with light and carpet. Guest bath has tub & shower & linoleum. Master bed has walk in closet and wire for cable. Master bath has separate tub & shower. Space rent $825.01.

imageWe’re still disappointed that the other doublewide got taken down, but this one is so much better, and only a few thousand more!  It’s much newer, built in 2008.  But the awesomeness is just beginning! 

Buy this container house and nobody will have any idea where you live.  Yeah, the original Casa del Lago doublewide was purported as “Live at an Undisclosed Address,” but there were directions to find the place in the MLS detail.

imageNot here!  Not only do we have no idea what street this is on, the agent won’t even show us what the outside looks like!  There’s no way you’re going to find this place short of taking a tour of every single metal box luxurious manufactured home in the park until you find this interior paint job!  With every single room painted a different color so you’ll never get lost, it’s all ready for you to start a preschool in here! Ka-ching!

Plus all the delights of Casa del Lago, including rapacious, bloodsucking landlords enthusiastic on-site management ready to assist your move in with a sixty-page rental agreement you won’t be able to take off the premises after you close on the place.

image image



What are you waiting for?  This one won’t last long!

Comments (10) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

September 26, 2011

Incredible Opportunity: Walk to Stanford for half a mil!

Here’s another amazing find by Burbed reader SEA for you today.  Thanks very much for letting us know that not all is style and charm in our favorite city.  There’s also value!


455 GRANT Ave #12, Palo Alto, CA 94306


SQ. FT.: 906
$/SQ. FT.: $579
LOT SIZE: 943 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Condominium
STORIES: 1-3 (Low Rise)
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81136262
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 33 days

Open 8/20 8/21 2nd floor overlooking sparkling pool Huge36ftx6ft Patio Balcony Granite kitchen, granite floor, Brand new bathrooms, Loads of light, Excellent Palo Alto School District, Vacant, Close to CalTrain, El Camino California Ave. Walk to Stanford. Very bright unit with Atrium on one side and pool on the other side.

Here’s what SEA has to say about this, um, well-situated find.

At first I thought it was some sort of prison, but then I realized that it was ‘not a lot of money’ more than not a lot of money.

Prison? Don’t be ridiculous.  This is a highly secure storehouse for your hard-earned savings!  Just look at all these different places you could keep them in while they multiply, and all you have to do is live here.


Now check out how much the previous owners were all able to accomplish in putting their money to work:


See? These transactions are Special, just like you’ll be when you take advantage of this amazing offer to “Walk to Stanford.” It’s a beautiful 1.6 mile walk to Memorial Hall, on the Road of Kings, even! If I were you, I’d get walking to that agent’s office right now.

Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:13 am

September 20, 2011

Move in and make it your own. Your own housing nightmare.

Thanks to the sharp eye of Burbed reader SEA, we have found affordable housing in Palo Alto!  Thanks very much for calling out this place in comments.  Yes, sonarrat wrote this place up already.  I’m just adding some more context to the idea that you no longer have an excuse not to trade up to Gunn High School.


3980 El Camino Real #27, Palo Alto, CA 94306


SQ. FT.: 602
$/SQ. FT.: $45
PROPERTY TYPE: Mobile Home (Single Wide), Room Addition
COMMUNITY: Barron Park
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81116830
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 140 days

Now you can afford Gunn High School for your teenagers and Palo Alto Unified for your smaller children! This home is much less to own than it costs to rent in Palo Alto School District! Move in and make it your own.

If you make it your own, you’ll fit right in here!  The owners of the park make their own spelling rules!


imageYes, you can afford Gunn for your teenagers (plural) and Palo Alto Unified for your smaller children (plural).  You, your spouse, and your at least four children will delight in all 602 square feet of this expansive 3 bedroom, um, mobile home.  In a trailer park.  IN PALO ALTO.

I’m going to say this again.  Trailer park. In Palo Alto.  This is the real estate equivalent of a squeegee guy at the Ferrari dealership, or Jeff Foxworthy spilling beer on you at Bohemian Grove.

imageDid you ever think there were some properties that won’t gain value even with those amazing Palo Alto schools?  This is one of them.  140 days on the market, price reduced 4 times, and it’s still there for the taking. Part of the reason is the neighborhood, part of the reason is the neighbors, and most of the reason is you aren’t buying any land, you’re buying a tin box and the right to pay monthly rent to keep it in PALO ALTO.

Here’s what you need to know about this place.

imageMobile Home Information
  • Section 1 DOH/HUD Number: GBG1040CK
  • Leased Land
  • Unit Will Remain
  • Space Rent: $650
  • Manufacturer’s ID Number: Mayflowe
  • License Fee: $66
  • License Renewal Date: 2012-04-30
  • License Expiration Date: 2012-04-30
  • License Decal Number: EJ4778

imageThat rent seems kind of low for Palo Alto, actually.  I’m sure the park owner’s agent will be delighted to negotiate a new (read: more expensive) rental agreement with you, after you close on the cargo container and have the option of either loving it or lugging it to any other trailer park in Palo Alto willing to take you at the rent you’re willing to pay.

Remember those arguments you would have as kids, like whether Superman could defeat Captain America, or if  the 1978 New York Yankees could beat imagethe 1976 New York Islanders, or if an irresistible force could shift an immovable object or which would you rather do, be staked on a fire ant hill or have all your toes cut off with a rusty soda can?

This is the grown-up version of those questions.  Does the awesomeness of Palo Alto jack the price up, or does the loserdom of trailer park smash the price down?  How much is this sardine can going to finally sell for?


Burbed hasn’t done many mobile homes. In fact, last time we did one, the owner of the property requested the article be yanked. So we haven’t had lots of discussion on the many issues in buying a house on leased land, but check out the comments on that thread for some of them.  And here’s a brief history of this particular mobile home park.

The door of opportunity is OPEN! So move in and make it your own.

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

September 12, 2011

Instant Equity, Just Add the Water Someone’s Under

Here’s a find courtesy of Burbed reader SEA, from ages ago in comments.  Too bad it’s pending; opportunities like this one aren’t going to wait!  (Don’t worry, the bank will.)


2085 ADDISON Ave, East Palo Alto, CA 94303


SQ. FT.: 1,540
$/SQ. FT.: $182
LOT SIZE: 7,800 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
COMMUNITY: West of U.S. 101
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81129142
STATUS: Pending With Release
ON REDFIN: 58 days

Nice home in East Palo Alto, Close to Freeway 101 and near Appt. buildings. This home features Living room, kitchen, 1 fireplace, 3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, natural sunlight, open space, & needs TLC.

Here’s what SEA had to say about this nice home:

Sure it’s in the wrong zip code (94303), but we’re talking instant equity, cash flow positive from day one.


That’s right, $506k in instant equity. Alternatively, the instant equity is 180% of the listing price (Or 90% based on the 2004 sale). How could one go wrong with such a deal?

Besides, don’t we have the Facebook Effect to save the world? Or does the Facebook Effect only apply to the RBA?

And if you think 2007 was insane bubblicious pricing, there’s still the $250K of instant equity from 2004!  I’m with SEA, there is absolutely nothing that could go wrong with this deal.


Look at that convenient location!  You can walk to Menlo Park AND Palo Alto!  If you worked at Facebook you’d be sitting pretty!


And you can probably fit about ten bazillion vehicles on that driveway, so you can make extra money operating a parking lot and shuttling people over to Stanford games or their jobs downtown!  Plus that garage would make a spectacular (not to mention profitable) rental unit!

The house has been pending since early July, so call up the bank, offer a little more money (or a cut of your parking concession), then grab this house and just relax while the income rolls in! 

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

July 29, 2011

New Appliances will be installed when property is in escrow, as existing ones went walkabout

A while back, we featured this pretty amazing listing on Bonita Avenue in San Jose.  Burbed reader SEA noticed that there was a McMansion complex wedged in right behind and observed that a number of the units had owners who forgot the old adage: Buy low, sell high, profit!  Here’s how things looked when SEA reported in:

House Number 2006/7 Sale Price 2011 List Price Notes
209 $630K $368K Pending w/release – Short Sale
261 $700K $400K Pending w/release – Short Sale
313 $703K $400K Pending w/release – Short Sale
317 $718K $405K Active – Short sale
321 $674K $415K Active – NOT short
353 $675K $400K Pending w/release – Short Sale
365 $698K $430K Active – Short sale

Looks like those former owners all got the saying backwards.  And obviously all that instant equity couldn’t be left alone, since these homes were quickly snapped up!  Fortunately, another house in Rayos del Sol is for sale, so it’s not too late to grab some instant equity for yourself.

305 RAYOS DEL SOL Dr, San Jose, CA 95116


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 2,222
$/SQ. FT.: $198
LOT SIZE: 2,613 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Contemporary
COMMUNITY: Central San Jose
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81129495
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 23 days

Beautiful home located in a nice complex with lovely grounds. Spacious 4 bed 2.5 bath with remodeled kitchen , freshly painted interior , new living room carpet , new a/c , new water heater, cozy fireplace and spacious rooms throughpout. Inside laundry with good storage space. great first time buyer or investor. New appliances with be installed when property is in escrow.

These pictures really do say it all, so you might as well enjoy every single one of them… after the break.


Comments (20) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:08 am

June 9, 2011

Condo in Prime Palo Alto at 1980s Pricing. Yes, 1980s.

Here’s a find from comments by Burbed reader SEA.  Perhaps Fortress Palo Alto is… looking a lot more like an actual fortress.

195 BRYANT St, Unit A, Palo Alto, CA 94301


SQ. FT.: 1,574
$/SQ. FT.: $825
LOT SIZE: 1,306 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Condominium
STYLE: Contemporary
STORIES: 1-3 (Low Rise)
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81102659
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 124 days

Sophisticated living in downtown PA. Top floor condo with security gate entry. Unit has been customized  or modern lifestyle! Chic finishes incl. cherry flooring, Macassar Ebony paneling, FP with Brazilian marble slab surround and granite counters in updated kitchen. Master suite enjoys lavish bath with amazing shower, 2nd ensuite has dressing area and spa-bath. Secured bldg. , underground garage.

imageAh, one reason to visit this place.  I always wondered what an antimacassar protected against, other than a tongue-tied serial killer. This place has “Macassar Ebony paneling,” so bring your Victorian furniture doilies when you tour this customized unit.  I’d hate to imagine how little it would be worth if the owner had left this place stock.  Although the (cough) $521 a month HOA dues don’t help matters here.  I suspect those were slightly lower when the place last changed hands; it was only 9 years old then.

Now, not only could you have paid more for this place 22 years ago, in 1989 dollars, but also we discover that the seller is somewhat thin-skinned:


imageWhat kind of owner doesn’t want blogs discussing their property for sale?  Either someone who can’t take any kind of criticism, or someone who knows they have an absolute pig and wants us to admire the lipstick.  And look at all the penciling on this porker.  Got granite?

Don’t stop with the 9 pictures included in a Redfin listing, there’s a Virtual Tour, too!  For example, this one is entitled “Community” but I am still thinking “Fortress” from the first picture.


And this one is mistakenly titled Living Room.


I think a better title would be, “Lost over $200,000 in equity over 22 years despite buying in can’t-miss downtown Palo Alto, where property values should double every ten years, yet owner has still not thrown the flat screen TV out the window.”

Comments (25) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

May 16, 2011

I Left My Equity in San Francisco

burbedguestbloggerPlease welcome Burbed reader SEA back to the front page with a piece that got held up in comment moderation.  SEA agreed to let us move this to the the featured listing of the day instead, so you could all enjoy every bit of this, um, amazing, um, uh, well read on for today’s Guest Blogger’s view.

Please give SEA a big, warm Real Bay Area welcome and check out this amazing price cut incredible value in Baghdad by the Bay!

Here’s a prime example of a not of money lost, but I’m happy it’s not my money:

627 La Salle Ave #73, San Francisco, CA 94124


SQ. FT.: 1,360
$/SQ. FT.: $55
PROPERTY TYPE: Condominium
STYLE: Traditional
VIEW: Panoramic, Bay
COUNTY: San Francisco
MLS#: 377644
SOURCE: San Francisco MLS
STATUS: Pending
ON REDFIN: 203 days

Sold: July 2005 $400k
Listed: October 2010 $100k (75% lower than last sale–Christmas in October, maybe?)
Listing price reduced: January 2011 to $75k

imageIt did go pending in October 2010, so who knows what’s up with the January price reduction, but who was it that paid $400k for this place, and when will it be worth $400k again, even if the local/national economy suddenly looked very good? I sure don’t see a neighborhood suddenly going from $100k sales to $400k sales (to get back to 2005 pricing), and then, for those who purchased in 2005, it would need to go significantly higher to realize a reasonable return on investment. Here it is some six years later, and let’s use the “double every 10 years” standard, that suggests that this place would need to sell for $800k in just four years. Yes, that’s right, from under $100k to ~$800k in four years. The freakin’ RBA cannot compete with that.

imageAlternatively, Let’s say the price does not go from $100k to $800k in four years, but rather the selling price doubles in four years. This means that similar homes in the area would be worth ~$200k, so those who purchased at $400k would be down 50% after 10 years. And I think I’m being a bit generous to suggest the prices will double in that area in just four years–first prices need to stop going down, and then double.


All this while people kvetch about an extra buck for a gallon of gas. You know the routine: So many complain that gas is ‘unaffordable,’ yet they dream about buying million dollar homes. Million dollar homes cannot be the problem–let’s go to war over a few bucks each week in gas expense.

And before you tell me how special this place is on the lower end, there is at least one other in that area: 132 Dolphin Ct.

Purchased June 2005 for $410k.
Sold February 2011 for $108k.

Is that close enough to say 75% off? When will the selling price get back over $400k?

I know:

empty houseEvery home is sacred.
Every home is great.
If a home is wasted,
God gets quite irate.

Every home is wanted.
Every home is good.
Every home is needed
in your neighborhood.

God loves those who treat
their homes with more care.

Comments (23) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:15 am

March 10, 2011

Accentuate the Pristine Granite Countertops

This house has it all!  Not just granite countertops, spacious closets and a marble fireplace, but location, location, location, and talk about history!  If you want a home of historical interest, this one is for you!  Our thanks to Burbed reader SEA for finding this winner… winner of the I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butchered award for overdone listing copy.

1324 Modoc Ave, Menlo Park, CA 94025


SQ. FT.: 1,020
$/SQ. FT.: $392
LOT SIZE: 4,900 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Traditional
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: East of U.S. 101
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81104404
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 33 days

Completely remodeled home. Vacant and ready to move in. Brand new beautiful hardwood floors throughout which accentuate the pristine granite countertops in the kitchen. Spacious closets including walk-in closet in main BR. A marble fireplace in the living room will keep you and your family warm for years to come. Fenced backyard fully equipped with a storage shed and a cheery, mature lemon tree!

imageSo, location, location, location?  Maybe not, as the listing copy sings the praises of the house rather than the ‘hood.  When the agent sells you on cocooning, better check if the mulberry grove is healthy… um, East of US 101? 

But that cheery, mature lemon tree is going to be the cherry on top of this domestic sundae!  Have you ever read such beautiful listing copy?  Vacant and ready to move in!  Maybe this agent is a frustrated novelist, and anyone trying to buy his house is going to find it a real thriller.  Yes, I said his house.  See this in the listing features?


Just expect that contract to be a real page-turner.  And speaking of lots of pages, did I mention historical interest?  Have a gander at THIS!


imageNot only is the current owner trying to flip this place for a $100K profit (how much did those granite countertops cost, anyway?), it’s been in foreclosure not once, not twice, but three different times.  Three times within four years.  Okay, maybe twice; it’s a little suspicious that it foreclosed at the exact same price in both April and November 2004, despite yet another couple sales between them.

Perhaps this house has such an interesting financial history because it’s haunted by a banker.  But no problem, just head to the backyard and take comfort from the cheery, mature lemon tree!  Because when you have lemon-painted lien-bait like this lulzicious listing, all you can do is make lemonade.

Comments (8) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

January 3, 2011

A New House for the New Year

Just because the end of year sales are over doesn’t mean you can’t find a bargain in the housing market.  Here’s one all ready for you to celebrate moving in!  Thanks to Burbed reader SEA for finding this festive property.

37003 Arden St, Newark, CA 94560


SQ. FT.: 816
$/SQ. FT.: $244
LOT SIZE: 5,000 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Alameda County
COUNTY: Alameda
MLS#: 81042954
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 125 days

TLC Needed, but a good value.

Here’s what SEA had to say about the house:

If you really want some instant equity in that area, take a look at [this place].

Sold May 2006 for $581k.
Listed today for $199k.

That’s 2/3 off!

Of course all these homes at 50%+ off peak pricing, they cannot impact the RBA pricing. In fact, the ratio of RBA pricing to non-RBA BA pricing keeps going ever higher.

With all that positive cash flow from day one, it’s difficult for me to understand why these places are for sale, foreclosed.

And that’s not even considering all the income tax advantage that the landlord keeps. What person lets a cash cow go to foreclosure?

And let’s not even get started on the difference in cash flow if I were to buy this place today versus the landlord who owns another unit in the area purchased for ~$600k in 2006. I’m sure he’ll have no problem passing his extra expenses on to the tenant, or so the theory goes.

imageWe can talk cash cow if you want, but we’d be a lot further afield from Google if we did.  Supposedly the Price to Rent ratio in Fresno is (are you ready?)… 8.  So let’s stick with Newark for now, as it has more sushi shacks than silos.

Plus this house is ready to party down with your bad self.  So if you’re one of those people who need a big hank of the hair of the dog that bit you, head on over to the bank today. Tell them you heard it’s a short time to homeownership.

Comments (316) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am