[Deal of the week] Home Business Opportunity

Here is an opportunity you need
to see if you have (or are thinking of starting) your own home-based business.  It’s on Meridian Ave in Willow Glen San
Jose, a pretty busy street and easy to advertise your business/service to
thousands of cars that go by each day. 
It was basically a single family home that was converted into a 1-
bedroom home with the rest used for the home-business — but it was completely
remodeled!  New kitchen, floors,
recessed lighting, stamped concrete walkway and driveway, landscaping with
sprinklers — it’s all brand new and ready to go.


1260 Meridian Ave, San Jose, CA

MLS #80955769

1 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

1688sf living space

7200 sf lot

List Price: $549,000

Why is it a good deal?

It was bought for $1.07M just 2
years ago, now it is a foreclosure. 
It is an undiscovered listing because it is shows up as a 1 bedroom 2
bath home in almost 1700sf.  Most
buyer and agent search patterns will overlook this kind of home.  It needs a special buyer willing to
live on a busy street and if it fits your needs, you will get a great deal.

What is the risk?

It may be hard to resell in the
future as it will need another special buyer.  However, maybe you can sell it with your business once a
name is established.  If you can
get it re-zoned for retail/commercial it may increase the value as well.

Who is the best buyer?

Daycare center would be perfect
— easy drop off and pickup right at the sidewalk, yoga instructor, dentist, chiropractor,
insurance agent, healthcare professional working in connection to the Indian
Wellness Center across the street. 
What else can you think of?

Call me if you are looking for
this kind of space to run or start your home-based business.


[Deal of the week] Santana Row Foreclosure

If you have been waiting for the
opportunity to live the Santana Row lifestyle, here is the most affordable
entry point we have seen.  Here is
a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom unit overlooking the main street, with an outdoor patio,
just above the new LB Steakhouse.


334 Santana Row #201, San Jose,
CA 95128

MLS #80954192

2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms

7 years old

1179sf living space

435sf lot

Why is it a good deal?

It is the lowest priced 2
bedroom unit we have seen come on the secondary market in Santana Row since
these were originally built in 2002. 
These condos are always in high demand and sure to grow in value over
the long term.

What is the risk?

Competition.  Actually, the listing agent tells me
they already have 4 offers and it’s just the first day on the market
today!  The price is likely to go
into the high $500k or low $600k range.

Who is the best buyer?

Santana Row is a lifestyle.  You need to want to live the active,
small-condo kind of lifestyle.  A
young and active couple, 2 roommates looking to get started, an older couple downsizing
into the simple-life, all these are good buyer candidates.  I also believe an all-cash investor is
in a strong position to use the power of cash to negotiate a successful acceptance
from the asset manager since there is heavy competition at this price.


[Deal of the Week] Eichler Townhouse Flip

As you know, each week I’m out seeing dozens of properties and always looking for great opportunities.  Many people say that in today’s market there are no “flipping” opportunities to be had — well I’m here to show you that I’ve found one.

There is an Eichler townhome complex in Santa Clara that recently has seen many units turnover so we know pretty accurately what buyers are willing to pay in this market (very valid comparable sales).  One now Pending was listed at $489k and sold in 10 days so let’s assume that’s where it closes.  The Flip unit I propose is listed at $405k but it’s been on the market for 200 days so we know that must be too high (and it needs some major work that may scare most DIY homeowners.  I’m assuming we can get in at $360k.

Here is my quick take on the math:
Purchase price:    $360,000
Cash down:         $ 90,000
Cash for rehab:    $ 50,000
Holding costs:      $   6,500
Cost of sale:        $  30,000

Sale price:        $489,000
Profit:               $ 43,000
Cash on Cash:    ~30%
Duration:        3 months total

By my calculation, for a 3 month investment of $146k, the projected return would be $42k.  Several sales support this sales price if not higher providing the rehab selections are done well.

1) Obtaining reasonable financing so carrying costs are within budget
2) Completing the project and back on-market within 6 weeks; 4-6 week escrow for sale to new buyer
3) Keeping rehab materials and contractor on budget of $50k
4) Overall market risks of price and financing fluctuations

Who wants to give it a try?

[Deal of the week] Willow Glen Flip, 3/1.5 under $500K


Have you ever seen these TV shows where someone buys
a fixer-upper home that needs work, they go in and fix it up, and then
they flip it for a quick sale?  A lot of people say those days are over
but we’re always looking for new opportunities.  If you want to do a
successful flip today you need to make your money going IN, and make
sure you have reduced all the variables.

We’ve found a house that is flip-worthy.  Here is a 3
bedroom 1 and ½ bathroom foreclosure home on the Willow Glen / Cambrian
border just waiting for a remodel.  There is equity to be made on this

1871 Potrero Dr, San Jose CA  95124
MLS #80903690
3 Bedrooms, 1.5 Bathrooms
56 years old
1050sf living space
7200sf lot

Why is it a good deal?
A similar home was listed just 4 houses away on the same street for
$575,000 in great condition and it sold in 7 days.  So, we know the
market is there.  This house is right down the street from Fammatre
Elementary School and Ida Price Middle so the family who buys it will
be walking distance to school for up to 8 years.  It has a big lot so
there may even be a possibility of expanding.

Here is what you need to do:
Turning the ½ bath into a full bathroom in the master suite will add
huge value (it now becomes a 3/2).  The existing layout makes this easy
because you can reposition some closet space to make room for a shower
so it really isn’t that much work.  It needs new hardwood floors (and
maybe some sub-flooring) since I can see termite damage in the floors. 
It needs 2 bathrooms remodeled.  It needs a kitchen makeover as well,
but now is the time since there are no appliances at all (it’s a
foreclosure, remember).  I say you offer $400k for it, plan to put $75k
into it and go to market at $559k.  You’ll make $45k after transaction
costs.  The question is – How fast can you get it done because springtime is coming!

Estimated Makeover:
$10k master bath
$6k hall bath
$30k Ikea kitchen and appliances
$15k for nice new hardwood floors throughout

What is the risk?
Maybe you can’t get it for $400k, and that certainly is a challenge
here.  It has just been on the market for 2 weeks so maybe let the bank
get a little more “flexible” the longer it stays on the market.  Do
inspections ahead of time (roof, chimney, furnace) just to make sure
there are no surprises.  There is a risk that your flip takes too long
and too much money of course which will eat any chance of profits.

Who is the best buyer?
This could be a first-time flipper because the work is mostly cosmetic
and not very structural.  It may be possible for someone who wants to
live in it as you go through the remodeling however you need to find a
way to survive without a kitchen.  To have your best shot at the
highest return, you need to be on the market for the summer selling
season in June.

[Deal of the week] Palo Alto 2/2 Condo for $519k!

Call me crazy, but this is one deal I would not pass up.  Here is a rare opportunity for an Eicher Condo in downtown Palo Alto.  This place shouts mid-century modern!  This has the original kitchen cabinets, the original closet door sliders, the mahogany wood paneling is still in good shape, and the baths are also untouched.  A retro-cool experience!  Ok, so it needs some modern appliances (cooktop, stove, dishwasher, and washer/dryer), and it could use a flooring update as well.  I don’t know about you, but I can see the vision for this place.  Spend about $15k for some light remodeling and you have a really great place in downtown Palo Alto for under $550k.



455 Grant Ave #3, Palo Alto CA 94306
MLS #80844247
2 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
46 years old
906sf living space
943sf lot

Why is it a good deal?
This is an affordable entry point into Palo Alto, centrally and conveniently located with California St. restaurants and weekend farmers market only a block away.  In addition, 2 bedroom units are more desirable so in the long run this will be a better investment for resale than if you went for a 1 bedroom.  Since it looks very original and needs updating you’re not buying a place that has someone else’s tastes that you will just have to remodel anyway.

What is the risk?
Most people will be scared (or shocked) at the HOA being just over $500 per month.  When you find out this includes your gas heat, earthquake insurance, pool, and other typical costs it is not far out of line with other Palo Alto communities.  I have not checked the CC+R’s yet but I would not be surprised if this is a cooperative ownership, which means each unit must be owner-occupied so don’t think about renting it out as an investment property.

Who is the best buyer?
You need to like modern and minimalism and it would be a bonus if you like mid-century retro.  I see this place going to a move up buyer who is looking to move out of San Jose and get further up mid-peninsula; or even a first-time buyer who wants to take their first step on the property ladder.  This is a buyer who would like the challenge of redesigning something while still being able to live in the home, maybe someone up for a little DIY (do-it-yourself) or who wants to go on an Ikea decorating spree?!  If you put a little time into updating the major necessities, I think you will find you have put your own personal touches on a bright and fun place to enjoy for many years to come.


ps. The same complex also has another condo that has been remodeled.  It listed at $569K, MLS#80832437.  Here are some photos for you to compare.


P1000073 P1000067

[Deal of the week] Eichler Fixer-Upper in Sunnyvale, $849k

Who is waiting for the best fixer-upper opportunity in Sunnyvale?  Here is a rare chance to get into a Sunnyvale Eichler in one of the best neighborhoods for a very entry-level price.  The home needs work, hence “fixer-upper”, but this home screams “potential”!  Picture yourself sipping a martini and listing to the soft samba of Bossa Nova jazz while you relax in your mid-century modern Eames chair — amazing.

759 Pear Ave, Sunnyvale CA  94087
MLS # 817376  (Sold for $908K)
4 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms
41 years old
1853sf living space
6732sf lot

Why is it a good deal?
Eichler homes on Pear and Brookline are rare and do not come on the market very often.  There was a sale last month (802 Pear) of 12800 sqft lot with 2008 sqft home for $1.125M, so that gives you an idea of this neighborhood.  The opportunity to buy an original condition Eichler is also rare, so here is your chance to put your own design tastes into the new remodel instead of buying what someone else has done.  It is a desirable Atrium model with 2 car garage (instead of the carport).  Lastly, the schools are a really good place to grow up — Cumberland Elementary (API 901), Sunnyvale Middle (API 797), and Homestead High (API 858).

What is the risk?
I hope that multiple offers don’t scare you because this home is likely to see that scenario.  It does have one side that borders the Eichler townhomes, but since they are the same architecture you may not notice.  It is also probably the smallest model home and smallest lot size Eichler on the whole street.  Resale will always be lower than other homes, but on the other hand you are living among wealthier neighbors!  This home is in rough condition so sticking to your remodeling budget is key — this home needs floors, paint, 2 bathrooms, kitchen with appliances, and then there is what you want to do with the landscaping.  I’m sure it needs termite repair work and who knows if it needs to update the radiant heating system, electrical panel, or roof work but you will find out after you did the inspections.

Who is the best buyer?
You need to like modern homes, clean architecture, and minimalism.  You also need to have a vision for what you want to create and a budget to get you there.  This is a great family oriented neighborhood with good schools all the way through High School.  I see this going to an adventurous couple getting ready to DIY remodel before starting a family.  If you are ready to commit $100k-$150k for a high-end remodel, then you will have a fantastic home that will serve you and your family for many many years.

We live in an Eichler in San Jose for 6+ years and remodeled our own home inside and out by ourselves so we are confident that we can help you along the way.  We would love to help you become homeowners of Eichler.


[Deal of the week] Cottage in Willow Glen, $499k

This week we have a REO (bank-owned foreclosure) in Willow Glen. It is a
small cottage-style home located just a short walk away from downtown
Willow Glen’s Lincoln Avenue. Sure, this home is small, but for a
starter home close to a quaint downtown, it’s a great deal!


1131 Dean Ave, San Jose CA 95125

MLS # 813620 (Sold for $530K)
2 Bedrooms, 1.5 Bathrooms
70 years old
1130sf living space
3700sf lot

Why is it a good deal?

Willow Glen single family detached home for under $500k — what else
do I need to say?! Interesting home with a lot of character and charm
of post-war homes that are well crafted. It has a detached studio room
in the back that has electricity and water so it would make a great
photographers/artists studio. There is a small cellar space convenient
for wine storage or converted into an active wine cellar. Just putting
in $50k in upgrades will easily give $100k in equity. This home sold
for $630k just 18 months ago even in its current condition! Someone
should be jumping on this!

What is the risk?

Inspections inspections inspections! And when you’re done with the
inspections, reports reports reports. Nobody wants to buy a bunch of
bad surprises. Roof and foundation would be the primary concerns. I
know the electrical looks outdated and an upgrade should be in your
budget. The floor plan is a little odd so the buyer may want to have a
plan for making the entire space more functional. The small lot size
and limited living space will always be a restriction for this home
reaching breakout price levels when resold.

Who is the best buyer?

This is good for a young couple or single buyer who want to get a
start on the home-ownership ladder. Since it is a very old home, it may
require maintenance and upgrades beyond what a younger home might need
— so I recommend the buyer be DIY handy or have good friends who like
being “weekend warriors.” This is a very livable home right now, but I
believe the buyer for this home should be someone who is looking for a
“fixer upper”.

Sound interesting — call me.


[Deal of the week] 4-Plex in Modesto, $500k

This week we have an opportunity in Modesto.  I know, the central valley has been devastated by the sub-prime/foreclosure hurricane, but as the storm settles down, investment opportunities are coming to light.  A partner agent of ours has shown me a 4-plex in Modesto that looks like it will cash-flow immediately upon purchase.

Modesto, CA
4 Units, Each 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms — $900/mo each
3 years old
1200sf per unit

Why is it a good deal:
This is a newer building, which means lower maintenance costs and it is unlikely to need major repairs or remodeling any time in the near future.  Because this is 4 or less units, the Buyer can use residential mortgage rate/terms instead of commercial terms (used on 5 or more units) that are more expensive.  A quick run through the numbers looks like will cash flow even from day 1 with 20% down (but can you get a loan for only 20% down?).  Rents remain stable to high in Modesto due to foreclosure families looking for place to stay.  The location near UC Stanislaus means better chance to keep a low vacancy rate.  The most interesting part is that the current owners bought this building in 2005 for $680k and now the couple is getting divorced so they need to sell this asset — and even at $500k it is NOT a short sale.  It can close immediately!

Rough numbers:
$100k down + $5k for closing and incidentals
$400k loan at 6.5% = $2,528 per month
Add Tax and Management = $772 per month
Paid out each month = $3,300 per month
Income from units = $3,600 per month

Result: put your money in and forget it — watch your renters pay off your building over 30 years.

What is the risk:
If you are looking for equity growth, it may take a while for Modesto to recover — who knows how long.  Out of area investments (well, it’s only an hour and a half away) may make first time investors feel uncomfortable.  It will not be feasible to be your own property manager so you will leak 7% per month to a property management company, but maybe that was your plan anyway even for a local investment.  You may not be able to finance this purchase with just 20% down since Modesto is a “high risk” area for most lenders so due diligence is needed

Sound interesting — call me.


[Deal of the week] Santa Clara 4 Bedroom Townhouse for only $425k

This week we discovered a deal on a sizeable townhouse in Santa Clara that is really irresistible!  This is a 4 bedroom 2 and ½ bathroom townhouse on Pomeroy near Benton.  This unit is listed about $40k under another unit in the same complex that just went pending at $466k.  This is a fantastic opportunity for a first-time single buyer — it is so big that you can have a roommate to help pay your mortgage; or for a young couple who are just getting established in their careers before having children.

1101 Pomeroy Ave, Santa Clara
MLS # 815886 (Sold, $418K)
4 Bedroom, 2½ Bathroom
1564sf living space
2 outdoor patio areas
46 years old

Why is it a good deal:
This is a peaceful neighborhood that promotes the care of owner occupation.  The building is a great modern design (Eichler) with lots of windows and sliding glass doors.  The bedrooms are upstairs and the living area is downstairs with a ½ bath so it is super-convenient for guests and entertaining.  There are 2 outdoor patio areas which give the effect of having a bigger living space, not to mention that the bonus of this unit is that it is just steps away from the pool!  This unit has been completely re-painted, and new carpeting / flooring has been installed throughout. 

What is the risk:
The HOA fees seem to be high at $430 per month so we would need to see what is included, but for that size living space, that price isn’t out of line with other complexes.  This is not an investor play because it cannot be rented, the co-op rules say that this must be owner occupied or close relative (meaning parents buy for child).  If you have need for garage storage then this is not for you because this only has a covered carport at your door.

Sound interesting — call me.


[Deal of the week] Saratoga Golden Triangle, $1.388M

This week we have a hidden gem in one of the most sought after areas of Santa Clara County. 

MLS# 782476 (SOLD for $1.468K)
20281 Saratoga Vista Ct, Saratoga, 95070
3 / 2
49 years old
8000sf lot

Listed $1.388K

Why is it a good deal:
SaratogaGreat schools always speak for themselves.  All 3 elementary schools and the middle school for Saratoga are phenomenal; not to mention this home is walking distance to Saratoga high school, one of the best high schools in the area!  Anything in the Golden Triangle under $1.5M is rare.

Another piece of good news is that this home has not been marketed for sale very well.  There are no interior pictures on MLS or the flyer; the flyer is single-sided black and white photocopied — sellers should expect more effort to sell one of their most valuable assets.  It also has a tenant living inside which means it takes an appointment to see it and with a greater number of easily available homes on the market this one may not get chosen.

This home has been listed for 40 days without an offer.  Directly across the street is another home that just went Pending after only being on the market for 9 days.  It was listed for $1.488M but it has been totally remodeled and shows like a new home, which means it may be possible to negotiate an even lower price for 20281 Saratoga Vista Ct.

What is the risk:
The 8000 lot is probably the smallest lot size that Saratoga allows so your growth rate may not be as attractive as other nearby homes.  It was recently used as a rental home so the condition may not reflect the care that a typical homeowner would provide, but of course a full inspection should discover any hidden problems.

To move-up buyers: You may be thinking that now is not the best time to sell your home, but if that’s true then it might mean that now is a good time to buy a home.  If you cannot afford to keep your existing home AND move up to this one, consider that you may take a little haircut on your sale, but you are giving a bigger haircut (dollar-wise) when buying this one!  Give me a call if you are interested so I can share with you my thoughts in more detail.