Five Thousand a Foot

By -

It’s been a while since I’ve written a Crazy Palo Alto Real Estate post. However, I just saw an ad in our little local paper that compelled me to take keyboard in hand and offer you the latest tidbit from my fair city.

I present to you the following house: it’s a pleasant place, about 3,000 square feet and on a 2/3rds of an acre lot. In many parts of the country, that’s a postage stamp, but in Palo Alto, it’s “park-like.” Take a moment to drink in this property. As I say, pleasant enough, but not exactly spectacular.


Let’s take a look around the back, which appears to largely consist of pebbles, bark, and a dry fountain. This photo was taken by a professional real estate photographer, and I’m not quite sure what they’re trying to invoke here, but “giddy backyard delights” doesn’t seem to be it.


To brace you for the price, here are some of the morsels as listed on the website, such as the fact it’s not air-conditioned and has a price per square foot of over $5,600. So if for some reason you decided to lay down on the floor, you’d be occupying about sixty-thousand dollars worth of real estate, assuming you don’t hold your arms really, really close to your torso.


It wasn’t that long ago that someone bought this house for about a hundred thousand bucks or so. Over the years, California isn’t permitted to increase property taxes more than 2%, and the tax history shows the ostensible value of this place eventually creeping above $200,000. All the same, it looks like someone got this place for next to nothing, probably back in the 1960s or 1970s.


And now, voila, here is the asking price. Seventeen and a half million dollars. Or, if you don’t have that much cash on you, the bank can put a loan together and oblige you to $65,138 every month for the next 360 months. Oh, and your property tax won’t be $3,600, as shown above. Close to $200,000 every single year.


My favorite part of the entire photo tour the house’s website provides is shown below. Most people wouldn’t notice it, since it just looks like a random photo of a neighborhood street, but as someone who knows every square inch of this town, I can tell you that – – for reasons wholly unknown to me – – they decided the best representation of the neighborhood would be Palo Alto’s one and only store for sex toys and vibrators, Good Vibrations. Maybe if the buyer is an incredibly rich female, the proximity of this retailer would take the edge off those mortgage payments.