Friday, July 28, 2006

San Anselmo Afterthought

$995,000. 2 br 1 ba, 1078 sq ft, built 1926, San Anselmo.

What more can I say other than that garage door on the left looks like it is not meant to be used.

On second thought, it looks like the owner of the green house to the left had some extra space on this lot that he didn't know how to use so he drove down to some pissy town along the southern border of the US, transported the nicest house he could find to San Anselmo, and dropped it on this lot as an afterthought.

InvestuDownStarter POS in Mill Valley

Great starter home, investment property or down-sizer.
Is it just me or does it strike you as a bit irresponsible to still be pimping houses as "investment properties"?

Anyway, this 3 br 1 ba, 1028 sq ft, built 1944, Mill Valley POS thinks it's worth $925,000. That walkway isn't what you think it is; it's not cracked concrete. No, it's Italian marble hewn by hand with a silver spoon and hand polished using Chinese silks, transported the "old way" all the way to America in a horse-drawn cart (don't ask me how). And that brown, excrement-colored stuff is really hand-picked, dried, ground wine grape skins all the way from France.

Mildew-Green in Fairfax

Please, someone buy my 810 sq ft, 2 br 2 ba, Fairfax 1930s-era POS for $440,000. I don't want to be owned anymore by this "ownership society" and I gotta get out before my POS slides down the 8280 sq ft of 45 deg. lot. Please. Anyone? Oh, and those cables can be used to swing to safety in case of emergency but I think the buttressing will hold.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Small Ross Cabin for People with Resilient Self-Esteem

This Ross cabin comes in at 1 br 1 ba. Asking $995,000. Nice interior though...all 690 sq ft of it. But hey, it's all about the neighborhood, right? So you can own the smallest POS in the hood surrounded by a bunch of multimillion dollar houses. People with an inferiority complex are not recommended to buy this one.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pricy Ugliness in Novato

What's so special about this Novato POS? It comes in at 3 br 2 ba, built in 1954, 1650 sq ft and asking $685,000. The interior is updated but nothing fancy certainly not by Marin standards. So what's the deal? I guess what made me post this was the ugliness factor and price combination.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Mouse Hole

1 bedroom, 1 bath plus storage/guest house. Early stinson beach cottage. Affectionately called the mouse hole fixer upper in desireable beach area. Conventional septic system.
Quick! Run, don't walk! This is your one and only opportunity to buy the Stinson Beach "mouse hole". What are you waiting for? What, it's a POS you say? Are you nuts? This is Marin, MARIN! Everyone, ev-re-one wants to live here. So what if it's a 1 br 1 ba, 374 sq ft cottage (built 1934) on the verge of falling over asking $685,000 ($1832/sq ft)? In Marin, the house doesn't matter; no one buys for the house. Besides, living in a small place is so chic now don't ya know.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Mill Valley Proof of a RE Bubble

Appeal, location and opportunity! Wonderful home or investment property or weekend get-away. Fabulous views of the bay and bridge. This one level home has great light, open beam ceilings, new carpet, large deck, covered parking and extra storage. Great lot with level yard area.
A dear friend of mine, who lives in the neighborhood of this 1 br 1 ba Mill Valley house, knew the lady who lived there and recently passed away. I was visiting the other day and so we decided to walk up to this house and look around.

Truly, this place is a dump. It is incredibly small (we estimate less than 600 sq ft of living space). It is nothing. It is a box. Nothing has been done to this house other than the heirs have cleaned it up (the lady had piles and piles of junk all over the place; accumulated stuff from over the years) and fixed the plumbing and the septic system. Not shown in the picture, attached and to the left, is the one car carport.

It was originally listed at $1,100,000 and now is listed at $999,000.

You really have to see this place in person to get a grasp of how ludicrous that asking price is and how small 600 sq ft really is; looking at a picture just isn't enough and in fact the picture makes this POS seem larger than it really is. A million dollars is a mind boggling amount of money to pay for something like this.

If ever there was proof of a housing bubble in Marin then this would have to be it.

(Incidentally, in case you are wondering why the lady didn't just sell the house a few years back and move and live her last few years "in style": my friend, who has lived his whole life on that street and who lives practically next door to this POS, told me that she said "it's paid for and it's my home, not an investment". That is an indication to you readers of the sort of people who used to live here (in Marin) in much greater numbers -- down-to-earth folk whose lives were not dominated by money or get rich quick schemes or displays of wealth.)

(Also, there is a house just like this one, except it's grey, to the left of this yellow one. These two houses appear to have been built by the same person. They are very close to each other and there is no wall or fence separating the two properties. In fact, they are so close to each other and essentially identical in style that it really looks like they were originally built on the same lot, possibly as rentals.)

(Further, you can only just barely see the bridge in the "view" that the realtor makes such a woop-de-doo about. The view is dominated by two large trees (not Redwoods but of similar height and girth) that have been allowed to grow to such a height that you can no longer see much of the view anymore. As time passes it is unlikely the view will improve as my friend says the owner of the two trees has no intention nor requirement of either topping them or cutting them down. So, if you buy this POS for the so-called view, then plan on enduring months if not years of dispute with one of your neighbors who has already been through it a few times with other neighbors.)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Über-Cottage in Fairfax

This is a very cute, tricked-out cottage near the fairfax/san anselmo border. There's a real nice front porch and yard. The house shows very well!! Flash hot water system, heated bathroom floor, solar powered attic fan. Outbuilding for office or storage, plus small garage.
A "tricked-out" 1 br 1 ba, 629 sq ft cottage? Whatever... $599,000.

Take her for a spin.

Requiring a "Hardy Soul" in Larkspur

If you missed it the first time...Bring your handiest of ment, your contractors, your hardy of soul to this listing. Needs major work or tear it down and bulid your dream home..Tucked away in madrone canyon..Nestled on a peaceful lane. Check with the city of larkspur with all questions regarding set backs and variences...
Well, shiver me timbers and slap me a couple of times because I guess I "missed it the first time". This Larkspur POS comes in at 2 br 1 ba, 690 sq ft, built in 1913, and is asking $575,000 (price reduced 8% from original listing). At least you can leave the respirator at home when entering this POS. But please do not forget your "handiest of ment" or your "hardy of soul".

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Kentfield Biohazard

You probably won't find any pictures of this Kentfield POS on any online listing; I had to go up there and take these pics myself (click on either for a larger view). It comes in with a respectable 3 br 1 ba, 1861 sq ft, built in 1958. Asking $599,000. Now before you go and tell me that this does not qualify as a Marin POS, read the realtor write-up first:
Major fixer with mold problem. No open houses or broker's open. Viewers required to wear respirator mask & sign hold harmless statement. Sellers say tear it down. Contractor report will be available by 7/9. The good news is that the location is convenient & in one of marin's best school districts. Charming neighborhood of interesting homes. You can make this one fun too!
Yes, this Marin house requires a respirator to enter. You can see the yellow "do not enter" tape in the following picture circled in red.

And I love the realtor optimism "You can make this one fun too!"; as if the biohazard nature of this POS wasn't exciting enough.

A Great Ending POS in San Rafael

This 2 br 1 ba, 703 sq ft San Rafael POS (built 1930) is asking $549,000. Here is the realtor write-up:
Charm and walk to town location make this cute 2br 1 ba home an exceptional opportunity. Currently br used as dining room - front sun porch, lr with fireplace, small back porch or utility room, lush gardens and foliage make this a gardener's delight. One car garage and lots of adjacent storage. Opportunity is knocking - great starter property - write your offers
I see nothing "charming" about this place. Again, "charm" is a realtor code word for "tiny" and "no upgrades to speak of".

The point of interest here is "Currently br used as dining room". You see, tiny Marin POSs like this (and many that grace this blog) are all that most people can afford nowadays. But buyers want to live in a more normal house; you know, one with a dining room as in this example. So they have to make a single room dual-use -- a bedroom/dining room combo in this case.

That is just plain pathetic. You buyers should be demanding more. At least boycott housing for a while.

Next thing you know people will be spouting at parties, etc. about how living in a small house like this is the current trendy/desirable thing to do.

Oh, and I cannot pass on the "great starter property" comment. The phrase "starter property" is being used here like "starter car". A starter car was that beater car you drove when you were a kid so as to learned how to drive. Your parents figured if you dinged it or worse, then no great loss. There is no such thing as a "starter house" as it doesn't make any sense to "practice" owning a house.

No, what this realtor really means by "starter property" is simply a first-time purchase. Most first-time purchases are made by young couples who want to start a family. This POS is totally inappropriate for young couples planning to have kids. I'm sorry, but calling this POS a "great starter property" is irresponsible IMO.

If anything, this POS should be described as a "great ending property" as it would be perfect for someone who has retired, the spouse has passed on, and the kids are living their own lives somewhere else (almost certainly not in Marin as they probably could not afford it anymore).

Friday, July 07, 2006

The Red Door of Sausalito is Back

This Sausalito POS is back on the market with a new picture and a new tight-arsed Marin price reduction of a whole 1.7%. I guess they couldn't sell it the first time and so they relisted it as a "new listing". Proof-positive that the days-on-market statistic that realtors like to use is pure, unadulterated BS.

Anyway, it still comes in at 1 br 1 ba, built 1948, 528 sq ft, 1045 sq ft lot, and one very red door. At the new asking price of $639,000 ($1210 per sq ft.) this is yet (again) another glaring example of how worthless your money is in the Marin real estate market.

Update: I'd also like to point out that of all the houses that ZipRealty says are currently on the market within my search price range of between $100K and $10 million (n > 700), this POS is the smallest in terms of square footage.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Patriotic Banana Belt POS in Stinson Beach

A classic stinson beach hill property. Incredibly peaceful as well as, spacious. The lot has views of the foot hills behind stinson beach. There are two cabins on the property.The property is centrally located in one of stinson's banana belts. A great place to garden! This property has great potential.
I didn't know Stinson had banana belts and I am not even sure what that means. Don't step on the peels? Anyway, this completely not updated 3 br 2 ba house was built in 1914 and comes in at 1198 sq ft. Asking $1,315,000 or $1098 per sq ft. of banana belt goodness.

Living Large with a Capital "L" in Novato

Contractor's special! Black point approx. 1/2 acre property w/ bay views...
No picture of this Novato POS I'm afraid but at 1 br 1 ba, 520 sq ft (built 1920, 5000 sq ft L-shaped lot) it can't be much to look at anyway. And with an asking price of $499,000 it comes in at $960 per sq ft. placing it well within Marin POS territory. Another perfect Marin "starter home" for that young family so desirous of upward mobility.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Marin Headlands POS

The realtor write-up says it all:
This is a must see!!! First time on the market. This wonderful starter home is located in the prestigious Marin Headlands. Sturdy construction (in places 5' thick concrete walls, 3" thick metal doors), fabulous views, good bones -- lower levels can withstand high altitude, high yield saturation bombing and tunneling ensures safe evacuation for your family in case of emergency. Needs a little TLC so be sure to bring your contractor. Excellent starter home for a young family. Don't pass this one up. Price is only $1,999,000.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Living the Dream in San Anselmo

Somewhere in that picture is a house (2 br 1 ba, 1050 sq ft) for sale for $889,500 and I don't think it is either one of the two 10'-by-10' sheds.

I think the realtor's write-up for this San Anselmo POS demystifies why some people are willing to pay ungodly amounts of money for a Marin POS:
Cottage hidden in garden at rear of lot. Approx 1050 sf 2br 1ba on large flat approx 7800 sf lot. Unique opportunity to live in a desireable area of san anselmo. Short, flat walk to town. Remodel or build your dream home. Price $889,500
The key is "...desireable area of...". It doesn't matter how bad the place is; it's all about perceived prestige. Never mind the fact that anyone can call anything prestigious if they want. You can be living in a total dump and be living the dream. As a friend of mine said "even a turd is golden if it was dumped in Marin".