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Today’s Palo Alto homes review: Bait ‘n Switch, Bad Staging, Unresponsive Contractors, and Other Rants

Kevin Boer, Broker Owner, 3 Oceans Real Estate, Inc. ()

March 2nd, 2007 · 2 Comments

Normally I take care of my daily frustrations through a vigorous workout at 24-hr fitness, but this time I thought I’d let my blog take the brunt of it.

You see, I spent a good part of this morning touring the new crop of properties available in Palo Alto (all of which will likely sell in a flash, with multiple offers, well above list price). You’d think that if I and dozens of my colleagues are going to take the time to go see what’s out there, the listing agents and sellers would give us something good to look at!

Alas, one of the first properties I went to, 797 Mayview in Palo Alto, was a “bait ‘n switch.” Looked good on paper, perhaps was good in reality…but the listing agent and her lockbox were AWOL, and the street sign said, “Don’t disturb.” Ok…you’re gonna put a property on the MLS, you’re gonna post the tour date…and then you’re gonna make the property inaccessible? Grrrr…. It was a shame, too, since this one has some potential: a large lot — big enough for two homes, in fact — and a great location with easy access to highway 101.

At least three properties were clearly competing for the Solstice Staging “Yikes, get these sellers a stager!” award. See for yourself the photos of this property:

Another example of bad stagingAnother example of bad stagingAnother example of bad staging

For the other two, the listing agent (wisely, I think) chose not to post shots of the interior, and by a stroke of luck for the sellers, I had forgotten my camera.

Thankfully all was not lost, however. 281 Parkside (Charlene Geers of Coldwell Banker) and 1103 Stanford (Judy Levin and Lisa Blair, Alain Pinel Realtors) were both delightful, and well-presented to boot. The first is a bright, upgraded Eichler, adorned with skylights, and richly landscaped. The second is small and cozy, done up to the 9’s, but unfortunately garage-less since it was converted into an additional living space.

281 Parkside…

281 Parkside, Palo Alto CA -- a delightful contemporary Eichler281 Parkside, Palo Alto CA -- a delightful contemporary Eichler

and 1103 Stanford

1103 Stanford, Palo Alto CA 94306 -- Small, cute, and very tastefully done up1103 Stanford, Palo Alto CA 94306 -- Small, cute, and very tastefully done up

And now, back to my rant…

Will somebody please teach these guys how to answer a phone? Palo Alto Concrete is a local, well-respected construction company with a reputation for good work. Alas, neither I nor my clients will have a chance to test that bit of their reputation. You see, we asked them for a quote for some foundation work about, oh, 2 months ago. Took them nearly one month, plus innumerable phone calls to every number I had available for them, before we got the quote. Then it took another month to retrieve the plans they had borrowed — again, only after numerous phone calls. Guys, you might be busy, you might not have really even been interested in getting the gig…but at least GIVE ME A CALL DAMMIT!

There, I feel much better now.

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Tags: 94303 · 94306 · Contractors · Open houses · Palo Alto · Property reviews · Real estate

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ann O'Connell // Mar 2, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Easy quiz: which of these properties is going to get more traffic based on their listing photos? The unstaged property looks cold and uninviting, while 281 Parkside is well staged and well presented. Parkside is the obvious answer - it looks like a place you’d want to call home.

  • 2 Erik Gafinkel // Apr 25, 2007 at 8:33 am

    Hi Kevin,

    I want to appoligize for our poor responce with your request for a bid proposal.

    PA Concrete went through alot of growth last year and we got very behind on estimating work.

    Since then I down sized the company and am able to respond properly now. It is a learning experiance. Bigger is not always better.

    Thanks for the honest feedback.

    Erik Garfinkel, President

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