September 8, 2013

Department of Duh: More House for Your Money in East Bay

And now we present yet another story about people having to move to the East Bay and insisting that it was a great idea.

Families flee S.F. for East Bay with cheaper homes

130907-flight-smithCarolyn Said, San Francisco Chronicle
Updated 9:45 pm, Saturday, September 7, 2013

"Family flight" out of San Francisco is nothing new. But now, real estate prices in the city have risen so steeply – much more so than in the East Bay – that there’s an extra incentive for longtime San Francisco homeowners to cash out their equity and head across the bay seeking more house for less money.

After 20 years in San Francisco, John Perryand Rob Picciotto, along with their children, Ben and Louisa, and three dogs, transplanted themselves to Oakland. "I didn’t think we would ever leave San Francisco, but a convergence of things made us consider moving," said Perry.

In 1998, Perry and Picciotto had stretched to buy their Bernal Heights house and make it work as their family grew. In June it sold for more than triple what they’d paid, a windfall that allowed them to pay cash for a less expensive house in Oakland’s Leona Heights neighborhood in the hills above Mills College.

"We don’t have a mortgage anymore, which is awesome," Perry said. "We doubled our square footage on more than an acre of land, and have phenomenal neighbors. Oakland is so diverse; it’s a whole new world to learn and explore. There’s more space, more mix."

We’ve pointed out many times in the past that the East Bay was not part of the Real Bay Area because it hasn’t benefitted from the same batshit insane price increases found in places West of the Bay. Outmigration serves as a release valve on the price hikes. When SF gets too expensive compared to Oakland or Walnut Creek (two places mentioned as where SF sellers moved to), people will move East because they get more house for the money.

Three things of note from this article:

  1. Moving from SF to Silicon Valley will NOT gain you a damned thing.  The prices have gone up just as much in Googleville.  These bargains are only to be found in the Nickle and Dime or Nine and a Quarter area codes.
  2. The exact same newspaper has a another feature on how the batshit insane SF home prices are leveling off, which isn’t exactly demonstrated by this piece.
  3. San Francisco has fewer residents under 18, by percentage, than any other major city.  This really still remains as a Family Flight From ‘Frisco story. The only difference is more people moving to Montclair instead of Marin.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread. Are you considering moving further afield because trading up where you already live is too expensive?

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 7:06 am






June 23, 2013

Landlords from Hell settle for jail instead

Here’s a cheery story for you if you don’t like your landlord, as it will set things into a much better perspective.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for alerting us to this development.

‘Landlords from hell’ accept prison terms for terrorizing tenants

130619-macys-mugshotsBy Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, June 19, 2013, 2:45 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A software engineer and his real estate agent wife who terrorized their tenants in a twisted attempt to force them to move are back after fleeing to Italy, and each has accepted a four-year prison sentence and two strikes rather than face trial, Dist. Atty. George Gascon announced Wednesday.

Nicknamed the "landlords from hell," Kip and Nicole Macy employed tactics "so outlandish and brazen" in attempting to clear their building of renters that "it sounds like the plot of a horror movie," Gascon said.

They each pleaded guilty to two felony counts of residential burglary, one felony count of stalking and one felony count of attempted grand theft. In custody on $2-million bail apiece, they are scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 22.

Kip Macy’s attorney, Lisa DewBerry, said the couple could have faced a maximum of 16 years in prison if tried on all charges.

130619-macys-sawBe sure to read the whole article, cataloging not only what the Macys were accused of doing to their tenants and their apartments, but also the part where they paid bail and fled the country for Milan and spent a year fighting extradition.

Don’t forget the power saw that popped up into one of the tenant’s floor without warning (the photo at left shows what happened when he whacked the blade with a nearby hammer).  There’s even accusations of email spoofing.  And here’s an older piece from Palo Alto Online when they were first hit with the charges; what’s interesting are the comments defending the Macys from the evil San Francisco tenants. Why, some of them read as if they were written from the perps themselves!  Why Palo Alto Online for a San Francisco story?  This caring couple lived in Palo Alto when they were accused of all these shenanigans. Kip was a software engineer and Nicole was… a realtard.

130619-macys-clementinaHere’s the building where all the fun took place. Don’t you want to go out and buy an apartment building in SF right now?

This is also your weekend open thread! How’s the renter life treating you? Is it awful enough to make you want to look at a bunch of Open Houses and overbid up the wazoo?  How about chatting up the other people at the Open House so you can spoof email saying they don’t want the property you’re trying to score? Hey, in a competitive market Insane Real Estate Bubble, the only way to win is to prevent everyone else from playing.

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

March 3, 2013

How do you REALLY feel about Real Estate Professionals?

It’s been a while since we had a realtards thread.  But today’s Not So Professional Agent isn’t being given the Burbed Loving Hug of Attention for his brilliant listing copy.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader J from Alameda for alerting us to this story.

130302-hitnrun-sceneSonoma Co. real estate agent held in fatal hit-run

Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle | Updated 7:52 am, Saturday, March 2, 2013

Photo from KTVU, no credit specified

(03-02) 07:49 PST SANTA ROSA — A Santa Rosa man turned himself in Friday in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian, police said.

Steven Harry Heath, 60, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run in the crash Wednesday that killed 64-year-old George Michael Black of Pacifica, Santa Rosa police said.

Black was walking on the 4600 block of Montgomery Drive shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit by a car that fled the scene, police said. Black died at the scene.

On Friday, a Santa Rosa law firm contacted police on behalf of Heath, who works as a real estate agent. Heath’s attorney told officers that the vehicle from the crash would be found at Heath’s home, authorities said.

130302-hitnrun-heathLet’s review.  Real estate “professional” in a Mercedes S550 hits a pedestrian in broad daylight, and flees the scene. Unlucky stroller who had traveled to Santa Rosa to attend a healing program is pronounced dead seven minutes later#1 Agent in Sonoma the last 3 years running then requests his lawyer contact police two entire days later to say they’ll find what they’re looking for at the hit-and-run driver’s house. Why two whole days? We’re going to make an educated guess that it was long enough for all possible alcohol in someone’s bloodstream to dissipate.

130302-hitnrun-pepperwoodPerhaps you think we’re being cynical.  Well, the readership of sfgate.com is far more so, as several commenters hypothesized that Heath had his attorney transfer his assets to the law firm. We think that’s nonsensical speculation, and that he asked the law firm to transfer his wealth to some deserving relative outside the United States.  Heath, we note, is British and probably has relatives in non-US locales.

Here is just one of those assets: his house on 5562 Pepperwood Road. None of the real estate portals have any specific information on the house other than the lot size (11,246 sf) because they aren’t in the public recorder’s office search results either (yes, we checked).

We are now opening the floor to discuss whatever you’d like about those wonderful real estate professionals in your life, or about anyone who would leave the scene and lawyer up when the right thing to do was fucking call 911 because you just ran your fucking 6,000 pound vehicle into some innocent party’s 175 pound body.  We usually don’t pick on realtards by name, but we’re going to make a giant-ass exception in this case because.

Oh yeah, and this is an Open Thread. It’s March! Time for some Spring Bounce! Let us know how many Mercedes S-class vehicles you see parked at Open Houses!

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:14 am

January 20, 2013

More Bubbly Brewing: Line-ups & Lotteries

New houses selling like they’re going out of style. In San Ramon, where they actually are making more land.

Hundreds of hopeful San Ramon buyers line up for new construction lotto

Posted By: Jenny Pisillo | San Francisco Chronicle | January 18 at 4:00 am

Back in August, local East Bay Redfin real estate agents forwarded us a picture of hopeful homebuyers camping out – yes, spending the night (some up to 1 month) – to be one of the first to have the opportunity to buy a new construction home in the Shapell Homes Solaire development of San Ramon’s Gale Ranch community.

Fast forward to January – only the 4 model homes are left. Knowing that there would be high demand and wanting to avoid the cluttered look of tents, Shapell decided to have a lottery system to release the homes. Tickets were given out last Saturday morning at 10, and the lucky drawing was an hour later at 11am.

These people in the photo aren’t lining up for a chance to buy a new release of homes. They’re in line to get one of four tickets in a lottery to buy the four remaining model homes. And they will cost $50-90,000 more than they did just five months ago. As is. Penalty if not purchased by 2/28.

Which leads to this weekend Open Thread. How long are lines at the open houses? Are they having lotteries for who gets the glossy fliers?

 

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

October 5, 2012

UPDATEDx2 with a MURDER: WOW! Sunrise and Sunset included! PRICED TO SELL !!!

9:50 AM: See end for update.  It’s worth it.
12:09 PM: Another update on the other murder.

It’s time to play Build a Ginormous House Somewhere Not As Expensive As The Real Bay Area and then try to find a buyer! Ready?  It’s Burbed reader J from Alameda‘s turn with this lovely Lafayette listing.

121004-hunsaker-redfin1901 HUNSAKER CANYON Rd
Lafayette, CA 94549
$1,998,000

4 Beds
3.5 Baths
6,200 Sq. Ft.
$322 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 2003
Lot Size: 13.50 Acres
On Redfin: 39 days
Type: Detached
Stories: 3+
Community: Burton Valley
MLS#: 40587017
Style: Other
View: Canyon, Carquinez, City Lights, Forest, Hills, Mountains, Mt. Diablo, Valley
County: Contra Costa

WOW! $1+M price reduction! What a buy!! 13+- acres. Gated 360% View! Italian Villa/ stone, hardwood fls, custom & antique lighting. Finest materials including stone, hardwood, beautiful moldings and mllwork. Sunrise and Sunset included ! Rm for pool tennis/guest house/vineyard. PRICED TO SELL !!!

121004-hunsaker-kawlums-archHere’s why J from A sent this in:

As promised, a lovely chateau – in the Lafayette hills. Of note: a million dollar price reduction, a reasonable $322 a square foot and lots of columns.

Somehow it seems that 3.5 bathrooms spread across 6,200 sq feet of living space is not quite the usual ratio – a new way to measure houses – bathrooms per square feet? I am sure the buyer will be happy to have an elevator to navigate all those stories. Enjoy!

121004-hunsaker-kawlums-balconyYou’re right, J. We’ve noted the business of beaucoup bathrooms in ginormous houses for people with too much money and not enough taste. No wonder this place had a million dollar price reduction.  According to the LA Times, this house needs at minimum 8 rooms for waste disposal and sluicing.

Good thing it was PRICED TO SELL !!! We’ve seen enough houses that were priced to stay empty or priced to sit on the listing service for years and years.

Like, um, this house:

121004-hunsaker-listing-history

Even Zillow thinks the house is worth $2,169,784. Instant equity!  Ka-ching!

Update 9:50 AM: Burbed reader magdalena alerts us to this 2005 SF Chronicle article that specifically mentions the house.  In a this-would-never-be-believed-as-fiction tragedy, the wife of criminal defense lawyer Daniel Horowitz was murdered in “the entryway of the home.” Wikipedia says she was murdered in a mobile home on the property while their “dream house” was being completed.  The murder occurred four days after the beginning of a high-profile trial where Horowitz was defending Susan Polk, accused of killing her husband in their Orinda home. Horowitz had taken the case after Polk had fired her previous lawyers for encouraging her to plead insanity.

This led to a mistrial, but as Horowitz prepared for Polk’s second trial, she fired him, convinced that he had something to do with his wife’s murder.  16 year old Scott Dyleski was convicted of the murder; supposedly he intended to kill a neighbor who had run over his dog and went to the wrong house.  Polk’s story manages to get even more bizarre after Horowitz was fired (this Dateline NBC link confirms the mobile home claim from Wikipedia).

WOW!  Sunrise and sunset is just the entryway of what’s included with this house!

Update 12:09 PM: Murder kills home values as well as people.  Check out Susan Polk’s house.  We found a listing e-flyer, and Redfin has the price history:

 

 

Comments (29) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

September 23, 2012

Hillsborough: Perfect Place for a Mitt Romney Fundraiser

The San Francisco Chronicle breathlessly reports that the Mitt Romney For President Campaign (nickname: UnMittigated Disaster) paid a visit to the Real Bay Area.  The Romneys were welcomed by co-hosts Meg Whitman and George Shultz… and a very SF Bay protest group.

Romney collects funds in Hillsborough

120922-romney-protestCarla Marinucci, SF Chronicle; Updated 12:45 p.m., Saturday, September 22, 2012

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has had a trying week, what with the surfacing of a video in which he appears to dismiss 47 percent of Americans as government freeloaders.

So he was probably looking forward to being among friends at a high-dollar fundraiser in Hillsborough Friday evening. But in the solidly Democratic Bay Area that meant he first had to experience an enthusiastic greeting from about two dozen protesters as his motorcade drove through the wealthy neighborhood where the event was held.

Some of those protesters carried signs reminding him of the video, in which Romney appears to denigrate supporters of President Obama. Others jabbed at his release Friday of his 2011 tax returns.

120922-romney-blockshopperWhat this article neglects to cover is the Hillsborough house.  Fear not!  Burbed has #factchecked the reportage!

The house used for Romney’s fundraiser belongs to Ada Regan and is, according to the Los Angeles Times, “a 13,820-square foot manse with nine bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms…”  And what did Mr. Romney think of it?

Speaking about a dinner held for him in the Bay Area the previous night, Romney noted on Saturday that the driveway to the estate appeared at least a mile long.

“It’s like, Oh my goodness, how in the world? And then we came to the home, and it was like San Simeon, you know, the Hearst Castle,” Romney told donors at a different fundraiser on Saturday. “It was this beautiful home with gardens, manicured gardens, and a pool and a topiary and so forth.”

120922-romney-satelliteOMFG Oh my goodness! A topiary!  Bet they don’t have those in La Jolla.  You know what else they don’t have?  A house on 48.26 acres. Check this parcel out (right)!

We also arranged for a UAV with a camera to bring you these ultra-secret aerial photos of the house itself.  (Drones: they’re not just for assassinations anymore!) Remember, no mile-long driveway can keep Burbed from reporting to you on current house events!  The only way to stay off this page is to keep your house off the entire internet!

120922-romney-zoomin

120922-romney-iphone5

“Bunus:” Zillow thinks this ginormous house on 2 million square feet of land is worth five million dollars.  That would be about right if the house came with one acre.  Can’t win them all, Zillow.

Now, let’s take two recent items in the news.

  • Secret video of Romney taken at a Florida fundraiser causes no end of headaches for the Republican Presidential candidate
  • The iPhone 5 is released yesterday

Hmmm.  Are you thinking what we’re thinking?  Keep an eye on YouTube for more amazing MittVid in full 1080p.

Comments (15) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:07 am

September 22, 2012

America’s Dirtiest Cities ignores Silicon Valley

120922-dirtiest-coverTravel & Leisure magazine really enjoys making all kinds of lists of cities, and their newest one is a doody.  Whoops, we mean a doozy, sorry.  They’ve just released a list of America’s Dirtiest Cities, which is merely a reverse ranking of the Cleanliness category on their Quality of Life index. They do love making lists.

T&L offers lists of the best city for singles, or for culture, or fine dining on their website, and they do an annual America’s Favorite Cities ranking that adds up a number of those qualities.  But one thing you won’t find is any mention of America’s tenth largest city, San Jose.

120922-dirtiest-tandlThere are only 35 cities on T&L’s lists, and as far as they’re concerned, San Jose is merely a very remote suburb of smaller but way more famous San Francisco.  (San Francisco ranks 14th in population and is a quarter the physical size of San Jose.)  The only other California cities on T&L’s rankings are Los Angeles and San Diego, both of which are larger than either Northern California nexus.  Cities they deem more worth your notice than San Jose include Baltimore, Portland (Maine), Savannah, Providence, and Kansas City.

Here’s the SF entry on the dirtiest cities list, and we’ve got the entire list for you as well.  (Spoiler: NYC wins again.)

120922-dirtiest-sf

No. 11 San Francisco

The foodie capital of the nation ranks near the top of the AFC for its fine dining, ethnic cuisine, and cafés. But all that takeout can pile up. A recent study found that one of the biggest culprits for pollution in the San Francisco Bay is food containers—though ironically, they may be floating in from neighboring cities. Voters also commended the locals for being brainy and diverse.

See all the America’s Favorite Cities survey results!

The ten cities with even less civic hygiene than San Francisco are:

  1. New York City –  If you can make a mess here, you can make it anywhere.
  2. New Orleans –  The Simpsons defamed them far better than we could.
  3. Baltimore –  Quoth the raven, “Close the compactor door!”
  4. Los Angeles –  You’ll never get out of your car, so you’ll never know.
  5. Atlanta –  The litter gets moved around rather than be Gone With the Wind.
  6. Philthydelphia –  Sorry, couldn’t resist.
  7. Dallas/Fort Worth –  Everything’s bigger in Texas.
  8. Miami –  Why clean up? Another hurricane’s just around the corner.
  9. Memphis –  Elvis has left the building, but his trash hasn’t.
  10. Houston – See Dallas.  Then note they rank #7 and #10, showing that everything’s merely said to be bigger in Texas.

If you’re interested, this T&L link covers how SF has fared on all their lists.  The City by the Bay earns plenty of Top Ten rankings, and only hit bottom on Affordability, Filth, and (you didn’t see this one coming, did you?) Barbecue and Hamburgers (the latter only according to residents; we prefer the travelers’ rankings).  Worst city for barbeque: Anchorage, Alaska.

And bad news, New York City beat us again on Least Affordable.  We really have to work on that.  How about raising the price of cable car tickets to thirty bucks?  The only #1 ranking San Francisco got on anything was its residents’ vote for Ethnic Food.  Otherwise, there was plenty of Number Two all over SF.  And that brings us back to today’s topic.

120922-dirtiest-coyotecreekSee the trash in that photo on the left?  That’s Coyote Creek earlier this month (the WINNER!!! in an SF Chronicle piece on dirtiest Bay Area waterways), so San Francisco’s got nothing on us!

You can discuss the relative filth of any city you wish, including the one you live in.  Or anything at all, because this is Your Weekend Open Thread.  How filthy were the Open Houses you visited today?

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:16 am

August 18, 2012

Rents rising on Peninsula, SF Chronicle is shocked, shocked

Looks like the SF Chronicle just discovered that the rental market is as hot in the Valley as it is in The City.  Use this open thread to mock their amazing discovery.

Peninsula rents going the way of SF and Manhattan

San Francisco and Manhattan are famously unaffordable cities to rent in– not that such information discourages people from renting in either location. High demand, of course, is part of the sky high prices.

But according to a new study by Apartment List.com, Peninsula rents are quickly  rising to rival those of San Francisco proper.  Over both 12-month and 18-month periods in the area as a whole, rents have risen an average of 10% and 18%, respectively. Here’s a run down of their data, showing rent changes for different sized units. (UPDATE: This chart is a corrected version of the previous one that contained incorrect percentage numbers.)

120817-rentals-chart

And since this is an Open Thread, you can also comment about what your own experience has been with rentals, or home prices, or any open houses you look at today, or how much money you made shorting Facebook.

Comments (27) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:09 am

July 1, 2012

You Know You’re Really from X When You Y

Recently seen in the San Francisco Chronicle:

You Know You’re a Real Marinite when you…120630_marin_kids

…Think a redhead adds “diversity” to your kid’s class… (Deanne Fitzmaurice / The Chronicle) / SF

and…

120630_berkeley

120630_sunnyvale_libbysHa.  If we only see three Priuses parked anywhere around Google, it’s only because the rest of the vehicles are plug-in electrics.

So… let’s hear your suggestions for X and Y, where X is your city or town, and Y is whatever you come up with to best exemplify its essence.

We’ll start.  You Know You’re Really from Sunnyvale, when you can’t come up with anything other than the general case using the letters X and Y where X equals “Sunnyvale” and Y remains undefined for now but might have something to do with a gigantic can of fruit cocktail.

But we’re sure you can do better with whatever place you call home.  RBA-only entries not required, but please confine your suggestions to Northern California locales.  (We do have SOME standards around here.)

120630_billboard_box

You can also nominate your entire region, such as “You Know You’re Really From Silicon Valley when you 1. See a billboard like this, 2. Understand it, and 3. Contact the advertiser for a better job.”

The best examples will be featured in a future weekend column, complete with random photos!  Your name or handle on the front page!

Okay… go!

 

Comments (12) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

May 15, 2011

Trade Your Gift Cards in to Pay Your Mortgage!

Turning gift cards into mortgage payments

The Tech Chronicles, SFGate
Posted By:
Ellen Lee (Email) | May 11 2011 at 04:50 PM

Consumers with gift cards to spare will soon be able to use them to pay their utility, car and mortgage bills.

Plastic Jungle, a website where consumers can buy and sell gift cards, announced today it had partnered with ChargeSmart, an online bill payment service.

Wow, this is even better than gathering up all the pennies in my couch cushions to make the monthly nut!  I tell you I’ve been carrying around this stupid Jamba Juice card like forever.

So this is something that could work, trade in those useless birthday and holiday gift cards to pay to keep a roof over your head while your home value may make some adjustments.

And in case you think this means times are tough, don’t be silly!  This is innovative, just like the return of seller financing!  If the government won’t help, the free market will provide… um… something.

This is an open thread, but then again, al of them are.  Seen any good Open Houses?

Comments (3) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:35 am