August 26, 2013

Nothing wrong with this Los Gatos home that price can’t fix

Oh hell, it’s Monday. But there’s good things about Mondays. Mondays mean the beginning of another week of Burbed housing win, so let’s get started. Burbed reader nomadic has a LOT of win for us today in Los Gatos.

130825-belgatos-redfin308 BELGATOS Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95032

4 Beds
3.5 Baths
4,165 Sq. Ft.
$600 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1987
Lot Size: 1.93 Acres
On Redfin: 29 days
Status: Active
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Stories: 2
Community: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
MLS#: 81327424
Style: Tudor
View: City Lights
County: Santa Clara

Elegant Tudor Estate-4165 sqft with 3 car garage and 840 sqft detached guest house. -Gated with circular driveway and a completely fenced 1.93 acre lot-private with no neighbors yet close to town. Solar heated salt water pool and spa with pool house. Master suite with fireplace and large deck. Outdoor kitchen with barbecue, sink and fridge. Horses are permitted with trails adjacent to the property.

130825-belgatos-kitchenAdd it up: 4165 + 840 = 5005 sf. Yay! This house wins the Burbed ginormous tag by 5 square feet.  It’s also been on the market for (gasp) an entire month. Now let’s see what nomadic’s nominating statement for this property is.

Seller is a licensed RE agent.  There are only seven listing pics.  Seller has this priced just $70k above their 2006 purchase price, and I would guess it’s priced close to market value.  When the current seller bought the place, they paid $1.2M more than the previous sale price seven years earlier (the price doubled).  That previous seller was related to their agent.  Is this house now only bought & sold among realtors? There is no indication of any remodeling or building in between transactions.  This is the slums of Los Gatos – was it really in the RBA between 1999 and 2006?

130825-belgatos-poolIn summary, the price doubled in the seven years 1999-2006 and then stagnated for the seven years since. Ouch.

Don’t be silly, nomadic. The property most certainly did not stagnate. It ripened, like a fine wine, or cheese, or toe fungus. Obviously if YOU buy this property today, the price will quadruple in ten minutes, ensuring the RBA Property Doubles Every Ten Years rule we know and love.

But in order for that to happen, somebody had better buy this place before the various realtards selling it among themselves mistakenly ask so much that everyone forgets to overbid.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:03 am

April 12, 2013

Today we celebrate Henry the K

BlogAtoZ-KOur typical pattern for daily articles is to feature a house on weekdays, and anything real-estate related runs on weekends. One of our most well-received weekend articles was a long-form post about Orchard Park. Orchard Park was a 700-home development built after World War II on the San Jose-Santa Clara border. One of our regulars (thanks, Burbed reader Swan!) sent in an original brochure for Orchard Park 130411-heatherdale-henryhomes, and it was Kaptivating.  (Terms as low as $59.50 a month!)

Today, as we continue the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, K is for Kaiser.  As in Henry J. Kaiser (1882-1967), the shipbuilder, founder of the HMO originally created for his employees, and, oh yeah, real estate developer.  The Kaiser as in Kaiser Community Homes, in Los Angeles, Portland Oregon, and San Jose/Santa Clara, who brought you Orchard Park.  Here’s a photo from 1947 of the development.


Today we have a Kaiser Kastle for your Kuriosity.

130411-heatherdale-redfin1994 HEATHERDALE Ave
San Jose, CA 95126

2 Beds
1 Baths
924 Sq. Ft.
$647 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1946
Lot Size: 5,184 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 13 days
Property Type: Detached Single Family
Community: Central San Jose
MLS#: 81309942
Stories: 1
County: Santa Clara


Yes, do NOT disturb the renter who probably has no idea that the Seller is Licensed Real Estate Agent, Agent Related to Seller, and oh yes is about to sell his or her home Kallously out from underneath.  That’s because you could POSSIBLY use this as a BUSINESS/OFFICE BUYERS. 

And here’s another view of the Keep with BIG DRIVEWAY WITH LOTS OF PARKING AREA.


Lots of street area to play Keep Away in as well.  Remember those JUTTERS are less than 8 YEARS OLD.  CHECK AND VERAFIY WITH CITY.

Comments (2) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

January 3, 2013

Start work tomorrow in Los Gatos!

There are several types of housing awesomeness we cover.  There’s the high-priced crapshack, the WTF You’re Kidding, the completely overdone custom home, the adorable domicile with serious location fail such as an international airport.  Then there’s the tried and true House Flip.  We all love flips because they all use the same formula.

  1. Buy crappy house for cash
  2. ?????
  3. Profit!

Have a look at what Burbed reader nomadic found for us in the wilds of Los Gatos.

130102-benedict-redfin15588 BENEDICT Ln
Los Gatos, CA 95032

3 Beds
2 Baths
1,456 Sq. Ft.
$652 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1948
Lot Size: 9,625 Sq. Ft.
On Redfin: 34 days
Status: Active

Start work tomorrow! Rare opportunity and no waiting. Permit fees have been paid and plans are in hand for a complete remodel/addition of this cute 1500 SF. 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bath home with spacious kitchen/greatroom on a large (9625 SF), level lot with an existing garage. To help save even more time and money, the interior of the home has been stripped to the framing. Great location with L. G. schools

Have they left out Phase 2? Let’s hear from nomadic:

130102-benedict-frameA flipper bought this house in May, stripped the house down to the studs and put it up for sale in November.  He thinks those services (plus permits) are worth $175k.  Is the market really that crazy?  Maybe not, given that it’s still active after 30 days.

Ooh, the plot thickens: “Fixer Upper, Seller is Licensed Real Estate Agent”

The “Zestimate” is $945k.  Unfortunately, the prior listing isn’t available on Redfin so we can’t tell if the current seller did anything at all, other than buy at a favorable price – which actually probably wasn’t particularly good, given that this nearby house sold in July for $700k (larger but with Hwy 17 in the back yard) before being flipped – as a FINISHED house – for $999k.

To help save even more time and money, why not leave the flippers out of the entire transaction?  Which leaves a realtard out too!

Bunus: Check out the neighborhood. Great for teens!


Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:10 am

August 3, 2012

Palomar Park for a Hundred Big Ones!

Who says they aren’t making any more land?  Not true!  Here’s some sitting around doing nothing except waiting for you!  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Mole Man for this remarkable realty in Redwood City!

0 Palomar Dr
Redwood City, CA 94062


120802-palomar-treesBEDS:  –
SQ. FT.:  –
LOT SIZE:  0.37 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential Land (Single Family)
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY:  Clifford Heights
COUNTY:  San Mateo
MLS#:  81050958
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  652 days

Also includes APN 051-031-560. Accessible yet private tree studded 1/3+acre lot in Palomar Park. Located between 410 & 422 Palomar Dr. , lot offers 100’ frontage. Rear property line borders San Carlos. Owner will consider carrying financing to qualified buyer. Easement, Topography map, sewer study available in listing office. Email listing agent for detailed information & reports.

Mole Man says, “Check it out: a 1/3 acre slice of super-exclusive Palomar Park can be yours for $100k (house extra).”  That’s a nice big chunk of land to build your dream house.  That is, it would be if it weren’t for this tiny little thing we found on the assessor maps.


120802-palomar-driveNow we wonder what those little dashed lines marked “EASE” could refer to?  Could it be the ease with which you’ll be able to build on this double lot?  Or did the surveyor think the land was so beautiful that an artist ought to set up with paints and an easel here?

Or it’s just a big arrow pointing to lot number 9, which is EAST of 10 and 11.  You know what terrible handwriting those surveyors have.

We doubt there will be any trouble getting permits to build here at all.  How could there be, when the seller is a licensed real estate agent?  With loads of experience.  Just look at how many different listings there have been for practice?


Now is the time to buy, because this one has to be right!

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

July 2, 2012

Following Up on an RBA Foreclosure

It’s always fun to revisit a house that’s previously been given some Burbed love.  Today’s house is a foreclosure with an unpermitted garage conversion, exactly what you’d expect to find in Old Palo Alto.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Wendie for today’s cognitive dissonance.

Palo Alto, CA 94301
$1,888,000, Reduced from $1,988,000 on 6/7/12
Reduced from $2,198,000 on 5/15/12


120701-coleridge-monaBEDS:  4
SQ. FT.:  2,235
$/SQ. FT.:  $845
LOT SIZE:  6,696 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Country English
COMMUNITY:  Old Palo Alto
COUNTY:  Santa Clara
MLS#:  81221385
SOURCE:  MLSListings
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN:  25 days

Amasing 4 bd 4 ba in old town palo alto . newly remodeled with new presidential comp roof, new paint and fixtures, refinished hardwood floor, double pane windowes, stainles still appliances , lots of closets. garage had been converted to a family room and aditional room including full bath by the previous owner , permit unknown. this may not been included in sf. huge price reduction.

120701-coleridge-ivyHere’s what Wendie had to say about this house:

Didn’t you highlight this house a few months ago as a short sale? I think it was listed as 1.2 back then….

Why yes, we certainly did mention this house, but it was last September, and it was on bank auction list.


120701-coleridge-seller-is-agentBut back then the agent wasn’t mentioning all the excitement in the former garage!  And this house is just full of excitement.  A huge price reduction!  A foreclosure last October!  Yes, a foreclosure, not just in the Real Bay Area, but in Old Palo Alto.  Who knew that Larry Page could walk to a foreclosure in his own neighborhood?  (We would have said Steve Jobs, what with all the “walk to Steve Jobs’ house” comments about this neighborhood, but he could not walk to this house when it foreclosed as he passed away one week earlier.)

And if the garage and the price and famous dead neighbors isn’t enough excitement about this house for you, here is the icing on the cake.  You’d be buying the house from the agent herself.

Be sure to read all contracts carefully, because based on that listing copy, this may not be one of those agents who pays attention to silly little details.  Annoying little details such as spelling or capitalization or prices or whether a contract is actually signed.  And if you’re not a detail person either, then the two of you are a match made in heaven.  Or at least Old Palo Alto, which is practically the same thing.



Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

April 25, 2012

Living not quite so large in Los Gatos

Let’s have another look at Los Gatos, as it’s one of those Real Bay Area cities.  You can tell it is when you see a property listed for twice as much as it sold for in the bubblicious days of 2005.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for this peerless property.

Los Gatos, CA 95032


BATHS: 2.5120424-red-arrow-hoa
SQ. FT.: 1,582
$/SQ. FT.: $561
HOA DUES: $85/month 
LOT SIZE: 3,484 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
COMMUNITY: Los Gatos/Monte Sereno
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81211027
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 31 days

Beautiful 7 yr new home walking distance to Courtside, Netflix, LG trails, restaurants and shopping within Los Gatos school district. Regular sale, shows like a model, with high ceilings, recessed lights, granite kitchen & stainless appliances, hardwood floors in the family room/kitchen areas. Large, bright master with over sized tub and walk in closet. Private back yard and large 2 car garage.

120424-smithranch-insideNote the HOA fees prominently listed next to key features such as size of the house, size of the lot, and how many beds and baths.  When did Redfin start doing that?

Now here’s what nomadic had to say about the house.

Purchased two weeks ago at foreclosure (auction?) for $730k and now listed for a lucky $888k to cash in on $158k of instant 120424-smithranch-backyardequity!  It’s on a postage stamp lot that backs up to the 85 off ramp at Winchester.  The most recent sales on the street were in June 2010 for $460/sf, but those were about 1/3 larger – maybe the price isn’t as ridiculous as it seems…

Let’s see if Zillow agrees with “ridiculous.”


Um…whoa.  Those ZEstimates are all OVER the place.  And the “bunus” is the railroad tracks (shown as the dashed line) that run behind the homes across the street, the cherry on top of the awesome sauce that is Winchester plus the freeway ramp.

What do you think this home should sell for?  What do you think this home should sell now that you know it has “corporate ownership” plus “agent has financial interest”?  Usually corporate ownership means you’re looking at an REO, but in this case the place is owned by “Petwun LLC,” and the agent is the “manager” of said entity.

Comments (11) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

January 7, 2012

Reduce your footprint with this house!

Menlo Park, CA 94025



These the rage is all about reducing your footprint on the earth. Well, this house takes it to the next level. Look at how much this house achieves in just a 2,744 square foot lot. Wowsers!

It’s unclear how many square feet this house is… but let’s just say that all your furniture better be kind of skinny. You’ll also need a really really really flat and thin screen tv or it might not fit at all.

Take that Japanese Pencil Buildings! We’re coming after you!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: burbed @ 5:23 am

November 1, 2011

Compares well with Mtn View properties

Today we have a guest post from Burbed reader dollarbin. This post came out of an email discussion we had about the last submission and how wonderful it is to live in Google’s backyard.  So what could possibly be better than property in Mountain View?  I think dollarbin has the answer to that: South Palo Alto.  Really, really, really South.

Please give dollarbin a big, warm, Real Bay Area welcome to Burbed’s front page as today’s Guest Blogger!


670 SAN ANTONIO Rd #23, Palo Alto, CA 94306


BATHS: 2.5
SQ. FT.: 1,382
$/SQ. FT.: $445
LOT SIZE: 1,176 Sq. Ft.
STORIES: 1-3 (Low Rise)
VIEW: Neighborhood
COMMUNITY: South Palo Alto
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 81134112
STATUS: Pending Without Release
ON REDFIN: 73 days

The BEST DEAL IN PALO ALTO! Compares well with Mtn View properties * Beautiful yard with deck. New paint. New flooring in kitchen and powder room. Granite slab counters, updated baths, stainless steel appliances. 2-car attached garage. Close to commute arteries and shopping. HOA fee includes earthquake insurance. Mtn. View Schools. Monta Loma Elementary (834).

As a matter of fact, I did move into z2amiller’s ‘hood, although our place doesn’t quite have quite as much character as theirs. I will have to give him or her the Burbed handshake at the next Monta Loma secret cabal meeting. We’ve been getting a lot of Burbed love lately, there’s plenty of idiosyncratically maintained and modified houses here.

Here’s another listing that has been amusing me for some time:

"The BEST DEAL IN PALO ALTO! Compares well with Mtn View properties"

This seems like reverse marketing, wouldn’t you want a place in Mountain View to compare with Palo Alto properties? Despite the 94306 address, this place is for all intents and purposes in 94043, including Mountain View schools. We toured this unit back in July, I think it was the third open house we actually went to.

At that time, they didn’t have the fact that it is Mountain View Schools on the listing, and the showing agent only told us when we asked directly. Perhaps they were hoping a buyer would assume Palo Alto Schools and not actually check. Sadly, with the recent price cut, they lose the lucky 8’s though. Hopefully they’ve cleaned the carpets since we toured.

Another curiosity is that it sold for $1,567,500 in 2003, so you’re looking 900K in instant equity.

Actually, I’m not deep in the game, but I’m assuming this price was part of a multi-unit sale, particularly if you look at property tax records.

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

April 28, 2011

Perfect Hideaway, if You have Something to Hide

Thanks to Burbed reader Petsmart Groomer for calling this listing out in comments!  This is quite a find, quite a find indeed.

1959 BELLE Ave, San Carlos, CA 94070


SQ. FT.: 3,050
$/SQ. FT.: $639
LOT SIZE: 5,750 Sq. Ft.
PROPERTY TYPE: Detached Single Family
STYLE: Mediterranean
VIEW: Bay, Mountains, Neighborhood, Valley, City Lights
COMMUNITY: Howard Park
COUNTY: San Mateo
MLS#: 81105544
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 57 days

One of the most desirable areas in San Carlos! Plans for a 5 bedroom, 4 bath Tuscan Home with authentic architectural details. Walk to downtown, highly rated public and private schools, parks and youth center. Large parcel to accomodate outdoor kitchen, swimming pool and fire pit. Quiet two block long street.

imageThat agent had me going there!  Full sentences, proper use of capital and non-capital letters, failure to indulge in string of exclamation points, correct spelling, he definitely will accommodate… oops!  Didn’t run that copy through spell check, I guess.  Computer class is hard.

But I think the agent really needed a class in How to Present Your Listings by Emphasizing Positives and Minimizing Problems.  He got off to a great start by putting up a site elevation instead of various photos of a construction site, but… um…

Well, let’s admire some of the photos that this real estate professional thought were the most effective way to persuade someone to buy a two million dollar house.





Here’s what PG had to say about this house:

Perfect for someone looking to get rid of a body

This is another one of those properties where you have to dream the dream, visualize the possibilities, and assume the general contractor is as skilled and organized as this agent.  So let’s get another sense of what it means to be a real estate professional, such as having a keen understanding of the market:


Wow.  Marketing class is hard, too.

Let’s have a look at where this dream home is going to be, on a “large parcel” (of less than 6,000 sf). For two million smackeroos, it better be on a larger parcel than any of the neighbors, at least!


Whoa!  What’s this?  Zillow thinks this is now a double lot!


And that is very, very odd, because the Redfin listing says it’s a 5750 sf lot.  So the Zillow listing should be over 10,000 sf, right?


imageWow!  Anyone want to calculate the FAR for this?  I suspect it might violate a few city zoning ordinances.  Anyway, time to wake up from the dream and check out Google Streetview, always a fun virtual outing.  So let’s see what that double lot looks like.

Uh, let’s enjoy the single lot the way it was when it was sold in 2007.  Wow!  Is all of THAT included, too?  Dibs on the blue bin!

imageAnd the neighbor across the street on the (shhh, don’t look!) much bigger parcel?

The good news is the neighbor’s house won’t make you feel like a serf, but the bad news is it does sit nice and high lording it over you.  Until you go to your second floor balcony and look them right in the eye.  After all, you have a two million dollar house, and they don’t.

Comments (24) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:05 am

April 13, 2011

Hubris on the Slough

burbedguestbloggerPlease welcome Burbed reader nomadic to the front page! 

And what a find from nomadic, today’s Guest Blogger, has for us at over at San Jose del Norte del Muy Norte.  No real estate orgy, but a very generous serving of suggestive numbers, both in the address and the price.  That ought to be worth something!

Enjoy, and everyone please give a warm, Real Bay Area welcome to nomadic.

1269 Michigan Ave, Alviso (San Jose), CA 95002


SQ. FT.: –
LOT SIZE: 2,602 Sq. Ft.
TYPE: Detached
STYLE: Traditional
COMMUNITY: Santa Clara
COUNTY: Santa Clara
MLS#: 40478514
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 260 days

This fabulous 2,600 sf home feels like a brand new home. 4 BR/3 BA, with basement offer ample space for all your needs. Truly, the best home in area. You’ll love all the luxury upgrades incl. custom décor, solar elec. panels and granite chef’s kitchen. Outside, fabulous deck and hot tub.

imageAhhh, Michigan Avenue.  Home of Miller’s Bar, the best burger on the planet.  Too bad that’s Dearborn, and this is Alviso. 

In any case, that’s what caught my eye in this listing, besides the bubblicious price of $699,000.  The owner is a realtard and he bought it last summer for $680,000 (no doubt eying the prospect of $130k in instant equity).  Maybe he’s not being quite so ridiculous, given the next door neighbor’s house is pending at a $688k list price.  He ought to take a closer look at his listing though; the lot square footage actually belongs to the house. 

I’ll give him props for having faith in modern technology: do you suppose he’s got the solar panels as back up to keep the sump pumps going in case of power loss?  A basement in Alviso seems to be an act of hubris.

I’m trying to puzzle out the listing history too.  It says it was sold August 18,2010, yet it’s been on the market for 245 days.  The listing also has this note:

Listing Information

  • Listing Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2010
  • Status Date: Thursday, July 29, 2010

Can anyone solve this mystery nomadic has dug up in the slough?  Or are you too busy writing up your overbids so you can unlock that instant equity?

Comments (14) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am