Reflections on the Houses We Left Behind 10 Case Studies

Purchasing a home is a journey of either winning some or learning some. Often, it’s not the properties we successfully close on that teach us the most, but rather, the ones we decide not to bid on that offer valuable insights. This series aims to share such experiences.

In this article, we’ll explore 10 cases of properties in the Bay Area, that my clients and I decided not to bid on, breaking down our reasons by specific neighborhoods.

The emphasis is on the ‘why’ of not placing a bid, as often, it’s not about right or wrong but what suits the client’s needs.

For instance, a corner lot in Palo Alto may have limited potential for an investor due to its setback restrictions. Still, for a family eager to have their children attend Palo Alto schools and desiring more natural light, it might be the perfect fit.

As realtors, our duty is to inform our clients about how such properties are viewed in the market, their pros and cons, and the extent of possible improvements.

For example, while Palo Alto is a highly sought-after city (partly due to realtors’ promotions), it is crucial for a realtor to be knowledgeable about the city’s land use and building regulations.

Let’s delve into the 10 cases

1. City & Neighborhood : Palo Alto, Midtown

Reason for Not Bidding : Corner Lot with a Stop Sign

This property is situated at the intersection of two roads, classifying it as a corner lot. For this investor client aiming to renovate and resell, the extra setback on one side posed a potential issue. Additionally, the noise from cars stopping and starting at the stop sign, especially at night, was a concern.

2. City & Neighborhood : Mountain View, North Whisman

Reason for Not Bidding : Superfund Site

Concerns Known for its proximity to a Superfund site, we advised against bidding for safety reasons and potential market value impact.

3. City & Neighborhood : Los Altos, North Los Altos

Reason for Not Bidding : Property Located on a Major Road

The risks associated with living on a main road, such as noise, dust, and safety concerns, led us to decide against placing a bid.

4. City & Neighborhood : Palo Alto, Palo Verde

Reason for Not Bidding : Flood Zone

The property’s location in a flood zone, with potential risks and building restrictions, was a significant deterrent.

5. City & Neighborhood: Santa Clara, Central Park West/Hampton Place

Reason for Not Bidding :

Lack of Attic and Crawl Space The house’s structural limitations and potential issues with insulation and renovations led us to pass on this opportunity.

6. City & Neighborhood : Foster City, Beach Park/Bay Vista

Reason for Not Bidding :

Airplane Noise The property’s location within the flight path of San Francisco Airport, resulting in significant noise, was a deal-breaker.

7. City & Neighborhood : Burlingame/Burlingame Terrace

Reason for Not Bidding:

Proximity to Gas Line The close proximity of the house to a gas line raised safety concerns, steering us away from placing a bid.

8.  City & Neighborhood : Belmont, Cipriani

Reason for Not Bidding :

Foundation and Drainage Issues Significant structural issues and potential for future movement, alongside costly required repairs, led us to decide against bidding.

9.   City & Neighborhood : Palo Alto, Crescent Park

Reason for Not Bidding :

Flag Lot with Height Restrictions The property’s location on a Flag Lot with strict height restrictions limited the potential for adding a second floor, impacting our decision.

10. City & Neighborhood : San Jose, Lincoln Glen

Reason for Not Bidding :

Poor Renovation Quality on an Old House Concerns about the quality of renovations and lack of post-renovation living validation influenced our decision to not bid on this property.


Through these 10 case studies, I hope to provide valuable insights and considerations for potential home buyers in the Bay Area.

It’s crucial to look beyond the surface and understand the implications of various property features and locations to make informed decisions.

As your realtor, my commitment is to guide you through this process, ensuring you find a home that truly meets your needs.

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What’s this Blog for?

Before I started my career as a real estate agent, I found it quite difficult to find informative articles or websites that provided accurate information catered towards selling and buying houses in the San Francisco Bay Area. Yes, there are some out there, but those are not catered specifically towards the Bay Area. Sometimes, even tips and facts regarded as common knowledge aren’t applicable and outdated from a Bay Area perspective. My original intention of starting this blog, was to help shed some light on the seemingly inscrutable real estate market. As a real estate agent who has been practicing for several years, I wanted to provide accurate and relevant information to those who might be interested in buying or selling a home.

If you’re curious and want to learn more about buying and selling in the San Francisco Bay Area, then this website might be a good starting point to gain some insight.

Who Am I?

My name is Chiuho Lin. I first found my calling for real estate in 2016, while I was looking for a new home in the San Francisco Bay Area. I found myself inexplicably drawn to this profession and after meeting over one hundred real estate professionals, I made the decision to become a real estate agent myself. To me, being a real estate agent is rewarding not only because I love meeting new people, but also because I have the privilege of helping them start their new chapter and make their vision a reality.

What Is My Promise?

If you are interested in selling, then the process would start from an initial consultation, to price assessments, market analysis, repair advice, time-to-market recommendations, staging assessment, style selection, housing listings, posters, social media promotion, marketing media selection, follow-up on house delivery. I will be active and present in the entire process to make sure everything goes smoothly.

If you are interested in buying a house, again as an agent I can promise you that I will be present in all stages of the buying process. This includes everything from consultations to address all your concerns, investigating real estate to find a home that suits all your needs, visiting the houses, providing insights on the neighborhood, assessing the current conditions of the homes that may require additional attention, read various reports filled with technical jargon, to helping you understand contracts. I ensure quality care and commitment in the entire process from start to finish.

As a professional, I take pride in my work ethic and ensure the utmost care and consideration while working with all my clients. I’d like to consider myself a trusted advisor to ensure a phenomenal experience throughout your buying/selling process. With that being said, if you ever need a professional consultation or assistance with anything – for example, gardening/landscaping, property manager property lawyer, paint master, decorator, roof repair master, loan broker, registration accountant – feel free to reach out. I am genuinely passionate about what I do and hope that I can help share my knowledge with you all.


Chiuho Lin DRE#02007082
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Hi, I’m Chiuho