378 Cumberland Montage

It’s a tipster that notes that rather than renting for 12,000 a month, it appears as though 378 Cumberland has sold off the market for $3,100,000.

And yes, that’s just slightly above the pre-sale “Zestimate” of a little under two million.

378 Cumberland Zestimate

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by Prime

    What happens is now that there’s a sale, about 50 other homes around the block benefit and get revalued upwards. And the trend goes on and on. Kind of like inflation.

  2. Posted by anon

    I’m confused. Do you mean lucky the “buyers” weren’t looking at the Zestimate?
    [Editor’s Note: That works too.]

  3. Posted by likesemtall

    That’s one of the warmest, most beautiful houses I’ve ever seen on this site.

  4. Posted by Foolio

    I wonder why it sold “off the market?”
    Sounds suspicious to me.

  5. Posted by fluj

    “I wonder why it sold “off the market?”
    Sounds suspicious to me.”
    It would.
    Both agents were Paragon agents. The seller was an architect who built the house himself. He probably felt confident he could get it done with minimal bother via a Paragon pocket listing.

  6. Posted by Lance

    Ha…so much for the credibility of those Z-estimates. The price graph is pretty funny actually.

  7. Posted by Foolio

    “The seller was an architect who built the house himself. He probably felt confident he could get it done with minimal bother via a Paragon pocket listing.”
    I think it is atypical for someone “confident he could get it done” and seeking “minimal bother” to list his home for rent as well. Sounds to me more like the buyer got worked.

  8. Posted by dub dub

    I really like the kitchen (esp the backsplash), but the master bathroom is very strange! It doesn’t fit with the rest of the place — the only thing missing in there are huge marble sculptures (or gargoyles); what a mess.
    As for the zestimate, how exactly is zillow supposed to know all the work done on this house?

  9. Posted by Lance

    “I think it is atypical for someone “confident he could get it done” and seeking “minimal bother” to list his home for rent as well. Sounds to me more like the buyer got worked.”
    Candidly though, you always seem to have a consipiracy theory when someone experiences a gain on a property. It comes across as very one-sided…but I think that’s your point.
    “As for the zestimate, how exactly is zillow supposed to know all the work done on this house?”
    They don’t. They also don’t know if the quality of a house has deteriorated. Which is my point – they aren’t very useful

  10. Posted by fluj

    “Sounds to me more like the buyer got worked.”
    Could you explain how a buyer would have gotten worked here? A seller tells a company he will be willing to rent his property out for X amount or potentially sell his property for X amount, and X amount only. Then, what happens after that? A foolish millionaire plops down 3 million, right? Not likely.
    This is a highly desirable Liberty Hill culdesac location and although. There is even a usable yard with big views beneath it. I’m not crazy about the sprial staircase, a very attractive home. Twelve hundred a foot is not without precedent.

  11. Posted by Foolio

    @Lance: Not one-sided, just suspicious of off-market transactions as a general matter. And aware of the ways in which SFRE information disseminated to the public can be manipulated.
    I’ve seen it first-hand.
    @fluj: Not gonna play with you today, sorry. Go be snide to someone else.

  12. Posted by fluj

    “@fluj: Not gonna play with you today, sorry. Go be snide to someone else.
    I really want to know your theory. You cast an aspersion and moved on without backing it up.
    I think you just say stuff, bro.
    “Pocket listing for big bucks? Somebody’s up to no good.”
    Why?
    “Because.”
    Fine.

  13. Posted by Katherine

    Why be suspicious of off the market transactions? They are happening all around you- all you need is a connection to someone who would like to sell something you want to buy…. the engaging an agent/listing process is a substitute for having that connection.

  14. Posted by Michael

    I went to this house a few years ago for a party and it was pretty spectacular, but below it on 19th was an empty lot which now houses a monstrosity of a house. I don’t think it blocks any of the views (you can see it under construction in one of the pics), but I’m sure the yard was nicer before being obstructed.

  15. Posted by MattM

    When will people realize what a joke Zillow is? What they consider comps are rarely true comps that any legitimate appraiser would use and they have no way of adjusting for any added features.
    Zillow would consider a run-down 60’s-style ranch house on a busy street in a crappy school district as a comp to a nice, new, modern home with incredible carpentry work and high-end finishes – as long as they were the same # of rooms, sq ft and close to each other.

  16. Posted by majr

    Hi. Novice here again.
    If zillow sucks, what is considered a good estimate? Do you need an appraiser for one? If so, how do you find one that doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear? Are the banks using more conservative appraisers these days? Shouldn’t they all come up with roughly the same figure? Do you need local neighborhood knowledge to do so? Thanks.

  17. Posted by MattM

    Majr, yes – for a true appraisal, you should hire a licensed appraiser. Banks are getting tighter and asking for more proof from appraisers, so in theory they should come up with roughly the same number. In practice, it really comes down to which comps they choose to use. Here’s a good example using Zillow.
    We live in the Oakland Hills in a 3 bdrm 2.5 bath 3200 sq ft house built in 1994 on a 5900 st ft lot.
    Zillow claims the following houses are comps for ours:
    6 bdrm 5 bath 5000 sq ft on a 15,000 sq ft lot
    4 bdrm 5.5 bath 5100 sq ft on a 21,000 sq ft lot
    3 bdrm 1.5 bath 1700 sq ft built in 1923
    3 bdrm 2 bath 1700 sq ft on a 9,100 sq ft lot
    And the list goes on and on. No good appraiser in their right minds would realistically use those as comps for our house. But when we go to sell, there are going to be a thousand people who look at our Zestimate and assume we’ve over-priced it.

  18. Posted by KK

    I love pocket listings…as a buyer. We bought our SFR from a family that didn’t want to upset their life with cleaning, painting, staging and open houses/tours. Thank God as we got the property at an approx 18% discount to market. Listing agent brought it to the agents in her office, of with one we were already working.
    Personally, I’d probably never do this as a seller but for some, top priority is convenience or privacy over top $$$.

  19. Posted by Salarywoman

    I’ve bought off-market property myself and I have helped other people do it. In all these cases it was the buyer that initiated the process. I would imagine that something similar happened here. Someone saw the rental listing, looked at the property and made an offer to buy instead.

  20. Posted by joe shmoe

    Zillow has troubles. I looked for my house and block and they just do not have accurate square footage, rooms, bathrooms, or any of the major data points about a property. They contend that my nine room, 2.5 bath, 2600sqft house is four rooms, 1 bath, and 875sqft. When I correct all the data to bring my house up to where it is in reality, the resulting zestimate is way too high (the starting zestimate is way too low). They have wrong data on most of my neighbors’ houses and have had wrong data on every house I’ve ever looked at. All that wrong data makes the all ready zany comps algorithm give downright screwy results.
    Of course there are other things Zillow doesn’t know– was it retrofitted, does it have a moment frame? If this one was a full rebuild with new foundation, structural steel, moment frame, new electric, plumbing, & HVAC, then the buyer got a good price. That said, the rental price seems exorbitant to me, but I have not really looked at renting SFRs or rents in that part of town

  21. Posted by fluj

    I don’t understand why anybody even talks about Zillow right now. Give them another few years. If it is still in existence maybe it will be a worthwhile resource down the line. But for now? It’s shocking. People are getting continually misled, and it’s not called beta or anything. Sorry. It’s simply inexcusable.
    (I guess it’s probably better for less complicated regions, tho?)

  22. Posted by diemos

    I assume Zillow’s AVM works a little better out in the housing monocultures of suburbia where you have identical cookie cutter houses. For a complicated housing market like SF I would turn to my local realtor (R) for a more accurate estimate of an individual house’s value.

  23. Posted by Ares List

    I think people are giving Zillow too much crap. Of course it’s not as intelligent as a human, but over time collecting the data is really useful and I’m sure they’ll improve a lot both in terms of collecting more data and also in terms of how they use it (it also stores listings seemingly indefinitely that would otherwise fall off the web after a few years). For now, it’s just one more piece of aggregated information that you have to keep in context, and more info is good, I’m glad it’s there, I just wont rely on it like I do a human appraiser.

  24. Posted by intheknow

    This was just a very special house; I saw it when it was for rent. The materials were exquisite. It was recent construction, very high quality, and the architect and interior designer did an amazing job. The house was featured in the San Francisco Chronicle in February 2008.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/02/10/CMSSUOI2Q.DTL
    The seller initiated the sale, but I think it was sold off-market because it would have been just too difficult to explain to the market why this place had to be priced as it was (it would have been difficult to justify listing it near $3.1M).

  25. Posted by tipster

    So honestly, does this mean Zillow is inaccurate?
    No, it just means you might want to check to see if the property has been scraped and rebuilt since it was last sold: if so, Zillow has no way to identify the value. It’s just a natural limitation of the business model

  26. Posted by fluj

    “For now, it’s just one more piece of aggregated information that you have to keep in context”
    That’s right. If you approach it that way, then good. However there are people who show up to open houses talking Zillow figures, and that is not helpful to anyone.

  27. Posted by MattM

    Fluj hit the nail on the head. I have multiple sets of friends who, when bidding on houses, decide what to offer based on the Zestimates. It does both the sellers and them a disservice.
    The problem is, Zillow markets itself as a viable research tool, but people don’t realize that it’s wrong (and WAY wrong) much more than it’s right.

  28. Posted by San FronziScheme

    As long as the full data will not be available to the entire public for free, you will have:
    1 – Suspiscious prospective buyers fearing that their Realtor is withholding some information. Who can certify that the comps are the only ones around and not cherry picked? And what about “incentives” like freebies and such that are not always out there?
    2 – Companies like Zillow banking on this lingering suspiscion.
    3 – Realtors getting angry that buyers come with bad data. How do you build trust when one side has already decided that the other side was out to cheat you.
    There are plenty of trustworthy and honest Realtors. Making them the target of suspiscion because is just unjust. I say give the data away.

  29. Posted by sparky

    What data isn’t being given out SFS? and what freebies

  30. Posted by fluj

    Baloney. You are placing the blame entirely into one camp, and that’s not fair. These sales prices are public knowledge. The problem is city bureacracy. All sales data has the potential to be input into efficient databases by clerks at the recording office at City Hall. The fact that the existing system is so freakin lame has nothing to do with realtors and everything to do with San Francisco being a silly mountain of red tape.

  31. Posted by fluj

    “Suspiscious prospective buyers fearing that their Realtor is withholding some information.”
    Right.
    I posit that these “buyers” exist only on cyberfences.
    If you don’t trust your realtor, fire him/her and get a new one. It’s very simple.

  32. Posted by San FronziScheme

    @sparky,
    By freebies, I mean things that are not included in the official sale price but are a reality in many transactions. For Condos, that would be months of free mortgage, garage space paid (when it’s not in the sale) or other stuff. There are many ways to keep a sale price higher for the comps. Often not by much, but they are still out there. And the buyer has an interest in getting them included in the sale as they’re paid by mortgage money cheaper than credit card money.
    I’m not saying it’s systematic or dishonest. I’m just saying we need the real numbers to have an opinion.
    @fluj,
    Baloney?
    Sure, getting numbers from the powers that be is possible.
    Show me a freely accesible web site that can help me pull the numbers you pulled a few days ago, district by disctrict, street by street.
    From what you post once in a while (and we all thank you for that) there is such a database. And it seems pretty complete.

  33. Posted by fluj

    You can call up any title company and pay a small fee for a subscription-based tax search service if you like. Just like we do. You can get unlimited MLS access from cleanoffer these days.
    You should know this stuff by now. Your Tipster impersonation has been duly noted.

  34. Posted by Trip

    SFS is not just blowing hot air. Here is a very recent example from a site I like (sanfranciscoschtuff.com), which was posting info, including prices, on recent sales:
    “We got in a little bit of trouble last week by SF real estate agents as they didn’t like the fact that we openly and freely shared sales data each week. Additionally, sharing such data is against the San Francisco Associations of Realtors rules. We’d like to apologize to anybody that we offended and moving forward, we’ll be sure not to share “too much” data. We were told that Seductively Sold, one of our most popular posts each week, contained “prohibited” information for the general public.”
    As fluj correctly notes, this information is all public. Yet the NAR is making it as difficult and expensive to compile and provide as they can. There is no plausible explanation other than they do not want prospective buyers or sellers to have this information.
    I believe this NAR policy will be changed as a result of the recent antitrust victory by the Dept of Justice. (but I have not delved into the details of what policies must be changed).

  35. Posted by San fronziScheme

    fluj,
    I didn’t want to go there, but if you insist…
    I posit that these “buyers” exist only on cyberfences.
    No they don’t. Realtor the second less trusted profession according to this poll:
    http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=661

  36. Posted by fluj

    Trip,
    You ignored my assertion that it is city hall that’s inefficient in providing timely information.
    Schtuff wasn’t doing anyting different than Socketsite, either.

  37. Posted by fluj

    “Realtor the second less trusted profession according to this poll: http://www.harrisinteractive.com/harris_poll/index.asp?PID=661
    That’s because there are stridently opposed viewpoints each and every time. It isn’t all peaches and cream, nor could it be. One side represents the future. The other, the past. Potential versus sentimentality. You name it. Bad feelings will develop even in the most straighforward deal sometimes.
    Don’t forget that buyers are liars too, bro. And sellers want the most money possible and are willing to pit people’s emotions against one another to obtain the desired figure.
    Part of it is that people pay agents to do their dirty work. Any agent, in any industry, does the same. Ever watch “Entourage” ? Everybody loves Vince. But Ari? Different story. Just kidding (sort of).
    But if you’re saying that realtors don’t provide their clients with recent comps, or with fabricated comps, I’m sorry but you’re wrong. Nobody I know would ever do that. Again buyers can fire agents at the drop of a hat — and this is a small town. If you don’t think word gets around you are kidding yourself.

  38. Posted by San fronziScheme

    No questions there are plenty of honest Realtors and they provide good advice.
    I’m just saying dissing Zillow for bad data or people to be suspiscious is all coming from one main reason, and it is information control.
    Talking about past and future, I feel that information containment is the past and that full openness is the future.

  39. Posted by sparky

    Who’s hiding data? That’s the question. And does that chart of trust count in buyer’s agent and seller’s agent, because I think most people trust there buying agent and not the other agent. That’s just how it’s been for me.
    Also, doctors top that chart of trust. But no-one should ever go without a second opinion. I know if I didn’t I’d be in a wheelchair.

  40. Posted by fluj

    Putting out information that you know to be false is not acceptable, Fronzi. And it isn’t the same as limiting access to information contained within a proprietary database from the Internet.

  41. Posted by Trip

    Fluj, I agree with you that city hall is inefficient and the same data could be compiled and provided by other sources. No news there. But the MLS has the data! It exists with no need to spend money on efficient systems or compile anything. Yet they refuse to let their members provide it to the public. There is no explanation other than they want to keep the buying and selling public ill-informed. As I noted, I believe this policy has been shot down as a violation of the antitrust laws.

  42. Posted by sparky

    good buyers agents will give you all the info you need off MLS and not “cherry pick”.

  43. Posted by fluj

    Also,
    Individual agreements between agents and sellers compose the SFARMLS. Individual buyers and sellers typically do not want people whom they have no business relationship with whatsoever to be privy to their business dealings. I do understand it is fun to look at stuff on the Internet, tho.

  44. Posted by San fronziScheme

    I do understand it is fun to look at stuff on the Internet, tho.
    Not only “fun” but educational. This is the most important purchase in many people’s lives and you want them to be as informed as possible.

  45. Posted by fluj

    And they are.

  46. Posted by nonanon

    “And they are.”
    That sounds pretty damn funny coming from someone who uses the “obviously they overpaid” argument to explain the sale of any property for less than what the buyer paid.

  47. Posted by fluj

    No, that’s not what I say of “any property,” and I flesh out plenty of arguments with comparative $psqft figures. As I’m sure you know since you were probably just being flippant for the fun of it. We’ve all that seen sometimes competition can create potentially irrational behavior. This can be true even if people are equipped with all the facts. That is when a good agent tells his or her clients to walk away.
    You all are acting like the SFARMLS isn’t both a proprietary database and publishing tool with search criteria that was privately developed over what, a decade? It’s much more than just “what sold, and when.” (Because again, that is freely available if you know where to look and most of you do.) If you want to use a trade group’s publishing tool and private search engine, join the trade group. Do you also think it’s unfair that Yahoo doesn’t let everybody use its publishing tool?

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