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The Almighty Buck Businesses

$782,000 Over Asking For a House in Sunnyvale (mercurynews.com) 266

An anonymous reader shares a report: A house in Sunnyvale just sold for close to $800,000 over its listing price. Your eyes do not deceive you: The four-bed, two-bath house -- less than 2,000 square feet -- listed for $1,688,000 and sold for $2,470,000. "I think it's the most anything has ever gone for over asking in Sunnyvale -- a record for Sunnyvale," said Dave Clark, the Keller Williams agent who represented the sellers in the deal. "We anticipated it would go for $2 million, or over $2 million. But we had no idea it would ever go for what it went for." This kind of over-bidding is known to happen farther north in cities including Palo Alto, Los Altos and Mountain View. But as those places have grown far too expensive for most buyers, future homeowners have migrated south to Sunnyvale, a once modest community that now finds itself among the Bay Area's real estate hot spots.
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$782,000 Over Asking For a House in Sunnyvale

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  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @12:17PM (#55188423)

    For that overage you could get gig fiber run to your house almost anywhere.

    Maybe it's because I grew up in the Midwest but I prefer it here. The nearest neighbor is 1/4 mile away. I have 30 acres to myself and friends. No commute. I've teleworked for two different companies in the last decade. Chicago is a short train ride away. Housing is cheap. Food is cheap. (Non GMO All Organic * straight from the Amish who have always done it that way.)

    But if that's your thing, cool.

    • I too find the draw of these cites to be unexplainable. NYC and Southern California, sound like purgatory to me.

      I aspire to one day have a multi-acre plot of land to live as I wish. Not bothering anyone and without anyone bothering me.

      For $2.4 million dollars, I could get well over 100 acres, build a house and live comfortably for a long time.


      • That's not for me at all. I love leaving the city to go explore the great outdoors but for me nothing beats the day to day life experiencing the art / food / night life / people of a major urban area.

        But we all have our own tastes. Me, I'd trade 100 acres out in the country for a nice place in NYC in a second

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          Are you young and still dating? Your interest change dramatically when you settle down - "nightlife" and for the most part "food" cease to exist once you have young kids, and after a few years of young kids, and kind of peace and quiet becomes your highest ideal.

          Then you retire and it's back to the dating scene etc, but not in the big city.

        • the day to day life experiencing

          How often do you actually do this? I had way too many friends that lived in the city for this reason but never did anything. "Going out" would be across town. By time you finished work you'd not want to trek across town to do something. "Food" meant paying an exorbitant markup for something you could likely make at home. ("Ethnic" foods are not that difficult to make).

          The only 'day to day life experience' I remember from when I did live in the city was traffic, high parking prices and spending forever to ge

      • L.A. has something for literally everyone. From nature to metro, it has it all.
        New York sounds hellish to me too, but I grew up in the midwest, probably somewhat near you, and living in L.A. was one of the best decisions I ever made. It spanks the pants off any other place I've lived, hands down, and I'm a nature/outdoorsy type who loves the quiet and open space.

  • ...and thought, "Good job at filling that big hole and rebuilding." *thumbs up*

  • Either the buyer's an idiot, with a) more money than sense, or b) thinks they'll be rich any minute now; or else they're fucking flippers, who'll redo the kitchen, slap some paint on, and try to resell it.

    People actually want to buy homes to live in? What a silly idea.... (and people who think that way should die under a bridge with their belongings in a shopping cart).

    You think I'm exaggerating? In '11, in NOVA, I was househunting, and found one that I *knew* had been sold the year before for just over $27

    • by IMightB ( 533307 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @12:36PM (#55188619) Journal

      As a Owner of a couple of duplexes, a serious DIYer, a tech nerd and live in Denver, I agree, flippers are prime A-holes. Shitty workmanship, it's all about lowest cost to acquire, lowest cost to improve and highest price to buy. When shopping for a house, i've inspected many "flipped" homes and the quality of work is nearly always sub-par. If you are an inexperienced home-buyer, and don't know what to look for, you'll be swayed by the "oooohhh Shiney/New" facter. Often, these "improvements" will fail after a few years.


      • by suutar ( 1860506 )

        I recall reading an article a couple weeks ago that asserted that during the crash, it wasn't lower income owners whose rate of mortgage default increased, it was flippers. So yeah... fun with speculation.

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          Everyone's rate of default increased, which was the problem. The mortgage derivative securities would have held up had it been just one demographic defaulting, but no one was thinking in terms of "systemic risk". It was the breadth of the mortgage quality problems that collapsed the whole house of cards.

      • Here in Austin, flippers tend to be out of luck. A lot of houses are bought just for the land, then are promptly razed so a house that is as big as the property easements allow put in place, perhaps with separate "mother-in-law" places (which is legal here) so the homeowner can also get some juicy rent money as well.

      • by clong83 ( 1468431 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @02:05PM (#55189481)
        Yeah. I live in a small town of about 15000 people, with a large and stable employer, which has led to a a very strange and hot real estate market for a place 50 miles away from anywhere.

        When I was shopping for a home, I made a habit of inspecting the cabinet hinges in every room and bathroom. I don't care about a shiny new granite countertop. Cheap $0.50 hinges means corners were cut, and the place will likely fall apart. Nice Blum hinges on even the smallest cabinet? That's a winner. I am sure there are other things to look at too, but hinges worked for me pretty well as a 'tell'.
    • Either the buyer's an idiot, with a) more money than sense, or b) thinks they'll be rich any minute now; or else they're fucking flippers, who'll redo the kitchen, slap some paint on, and try to resell it.

      Most likely it's neither. Instead, it's just someone buying a home that's close to work, for the going rate. Sellers in Silicon Valley don't even bother trying to price their houses accurately, they just ask the minimum they need to get, and know that the price will be bid up substantially. Odds are good that the buyer can't even afford the mortgage and will have to rent out part of the home to make ends meet (this is extremely common in the area).

      But, the buyer also knows that unless something changes, b

      • by magarity ( 164372 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @02:38PM (#55189843)

        However, they can't actually afford a $6K per month mortgage payment

        Then something is jacked up if they qualified for it.

        • However, they can't actually afford a $6K per month mortgage payment

          Then something is jacked up if they qualified for it.

          Banks will always loan you more than you can actually afford.

          Plus, you can always tell the bank you're planning to rent a room. That won't work if you're clearly in over your head, but if you're on the edge (per their very optimistic model), it will.

    • If they are flippers and they are paying $800k over ask, then they aren't very good at flipping houses. That's a shitload of value they're going to have to make up on the cheap in order to make any money at it.

  • That should drive out the riff-raff!
    • by larkost ( 79011 )

      California laws (specifically a voter initiative in 1978) limits the increase of property taxes to 2% per year. So unless their neighbors have bought recently (that resets the taxes for current values), it will probably be a few decades before you could say it had an effect on them.

      There are good bits, and a lot of bad bits to this law (starving local schools for funds being the largest of the latter).

  • As to the outrageously high housing prices, a lot of it has to do with the fact that technology companies are pretty tightly clustered and mostly refuse to move out to the nearby valleys where Dublin, Pleasanton, and even Tracy are much less expensive. Coupled with this is an unhealthy dose of NIMBYism where city managers keep saying no to high-density, affordable housing. So instead, people who need housing either crowd into what's locally available to split rents, or they move out to those valley cities
    • No, the vast majority of the real problem is terrible city governments. Everything within 30 miles of google and apple headquarters should be 30+ stories tall. This is literally how cities like New York came to be, as land values went up so did the buildings. The problem in the valley, their city governments wont zone to let companies build large buildings so we now have rediculous housing prices, 4 families to a single family home just barely holding on, and massively poluting commutes.

      • So families are supposed to live in high-rises instead? That's a crappy way to live. The problem is that corporations expect people to concentrate themselves in the first place.
  • by ebyrob ( 165903 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @12:32PM (#55188575)

    This isn't news for nerds. I'm not even sure this is news for real estate agents.

    Ooh a house sold for 40% over list price! So what. Ooh Silicon Valley is massively over-priced! Again, so what.

    • I agree.. I have been here long enough to officially say... This is probably one of the most worthless posts I have ever seen..

    • this is a reminder that it's more or less impossible. At least for anyone that can't afford a $10,000/mo mortgage.
    • by Eloking ( 877834 )

      This isn't news for nerds. I'm not even sure this is news for real estate agents.

      Ooh a house sold for 40% over list price! So what. Ooh Silicon Valley is massively over-priced! Again, so what.

      Well to be fair, I'm thinking it's safe to say that a good portion of /. community currently work, will work or are dreaming to work at the Silicon Valley.

      • by ebyrob ( 165903 )

        Oh, I'm not arguing that Silicon Valley couldn't be of interest to nerds. However, this article doesn't seem like news there. If the headline was "Head of household teacher pays off mortgage for 3 bedroom house only 20 minutes from downtown Sunnyvale without help." **THAT** would be news.

    • It's warnings for nerds that may have still been thinking about migrating to the Bay Area. I mean, I don't think it warrants the front page, but whatever.

      Here, in my opinion, are some even lamer articles for comparison:
      Zuckerberg Sues Hundreds of Hawaiians To Force Property Sales To Him [slashdot.org]
      Zuckerberg Could Run Facebook While Serving in Government Forever [slashdot.org]
      Android Users Are So Committed that Exploding Note 7 Did Little To Help Apple: NPD [slashdot.org]
      Ah, I'm ashamed of how long I spent searching for it but I did finally
      • by ebyrob ( 165903 )

        Still, I'm not sure any of those merely convey things we already knew, except maybe the one about Zuckerberg in government which is merely something we may not have thought of before... A story about Ghostface Killah is completely off topic, but at least there was some novel information.

        This story is not only nothing we don't already know it's just repeating the first thing we'd think about Silicon Valley + Home Market anyways. I'm not even sure $800,000 is a record, a house in Cuptertino sold for $600,00

  • class war (Score:4, Interesting)

    by supernova87a ( 532540 ) <kepler1@@@hotmail...com> on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @12:32PM (#55188577)
    This is a class war, friends. And the classes are all the people who just happened to be born a few years earlier, against everyone else who got here later.

    They got theirs, and put into place all the rules and regulations about property taxes, development restrictions, crappy public transport, that allow them to keep their rents / payments low, and screw everyone else who equally wants to live and work in the area.

    You hear all these old (yes, old) local residents complain about being "forced out" of their homes and neighborhoods, and sure they're sympathetic and it's fashionable to rail against "gentrification". But how about the thousands of young people/families/workers who can't find a place to live or rent at a reasonable price when they move here? Who's advocating for those people? I would argue they are more severely impacted in their lifetime earning and career potential by the cost of living here, and I side with them, not the rich (yes rich) people who've lived here for 30 years and are established.

    I'm tired of the local-level complacency and Nimbyism, and the California regulatory and legal process that make it possible for so many young workers (who are what is going to keep us successful as a society) shut out of living affordably and reasonably in one of our most important economies.
    • The problem is that cities keep building office space without building housing. A little thought shows that is an unsustainable method of growth.
  • No way somebody would feel proud for spending more than asking price on something. "Oh shit plebs, I just spent $20 on this can of Pepsi! Look at all you suckers paying the asking price of $1" I just don't see how somebody would feel good about doing that.
  • I, for one, welcome these bidding wars. This kinda of madness has caused the value of my house, which was really screwed up when I bought it 20 years ago, to quadruple. Best investment I have ever made, it's gonna fund my retirement. Of course I'll have to leave town when I sell but I'm done with cities. Time to find a deep northern wood to disappear into and fuck the world.

  • Folks:

    Retired from Portland, Oregon (which itself is going crazy) to Bellingham, Washington. Since I was renting in Portland, I could not afford to retire there and besides, like the bay area, it's growing fast (both in terms of prices, rents, population, and traffic) I decided to try for Bellingham, Washington.

    House I am in now (Columbia neighbourhood in Bellingham) I bought for $225000 in September, 2015. It's two bedroom 900 square feet with 400 square feet shop/garage on 7800 square foot lot on main

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday September 13, 2017 @12:44PM (#55188677) Homepage Journal

    But it's not necessarily too much for what the purchasers are really buying: time.

    Just from an economic standpoint, it's not hard to justify if you value the time spent and earn what's typical for a senior engineer in the region. Suppose your time is worth $200/hour, and you save ten hours a week on your commute for 48 weeks out of the year. At a seven percent discount rate the net present value of time you'd save over the course of 20 years is over 1.1 million. Of course then you still have the house, which unless the regional economy collapses is going to be worth more.

    But having had a job where I commuted over an hour each way for ten years, it's not just the value of your time. You get used to it, but it take a toll on your quality of life. Especially if you have kids. Being able to see your kids off in the morning, and have dinner with your family most nights (even if you have to back into work!), what price would you put on that?

  • 10 H1B will fit in there! and they will take 70K per year pay.

  • That is essentially what is going on in Toronto where a house recently sold for more than a milliion over asking [globalnews.ca].

    People all over the world are moving to where the jobs are and some of those places, for geological or political reasons, are restricted on how they can expand to meet the demand.

    For businesses this really makes hiring new workers difficult -- they can't find anywhere to live if they are moving to the area.

  • I mean sure, having a slayer in town is probably handy but living on a Hellmouth with the collateral damage of all the fighting, to say nothing of the significant chance of being a VICTIM of one of the 'events' that seem to constantly happen....well, I simply can't see paying that much for a house there.

  • I concede we're very near the top of the Second Dotcom Bubble, but this is pretty crazy. There has to come a point where technology companies, even the startups, don't see the benefits from being in Silicon Valley anymore.

    I live near New York City, and people love to complain about how expensive it is here -- CA is a whole new level. You really do pay a premium to live near NYC...taxes are high and housing prices are way more than you would find in other parts of the country. Metro NY has similar issues tha

  • Can only afford half of the house? Magic internet money has a plan for you!

    1. Buy into the massive BTC dip NOW
    2. Wait for BTC to hit 8-9k
    3. Cash out.

    You're welcome!
  • A fool and his money................

  • For a house on the hellmouth? No thank you!
  • "$782,000 Over Asking For a House in Sunnyvale"

    Because it ain't that sunny in Vale.

  • ...and I thought it insane that my grandparents' tiny post-WWII house in Santa Clara (just over from Sunnyvale) sold for $300,000 in 2001.

    People just need to say, no.

I just asked myself... what would John DeLorean do? -- Raoul Duke