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REALTOR© lists home with incorrect city (more prestigious). Is this common? Legal?


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by jworm     💰tip   follow   2011 Aug 8, 5:04pm  

The property in question is 850 Panoramic Place, Oakland CA. The listing has the address as 850 Panoramic Place, Berkeley Ca. A Berkeley hills home is more preferable to an Oakland one. I emailed the "REALTOR©" , he replied, "The listing info on the MLS which is provided to all agents clearly states "Berkeley mailing, Oakland legal," the common phrase used by agents to describe properties on the upper part of Panoramic Hill." I'm thinking why not just list it as being in Orinda while you're at it? The county lists the situs as 850 Panoramic PL, Oakland, CA, so I'm calling bullshit. How can an Oakland house, with Oakland taxes, Oakland Schools, and an Oakland mayor, have a Berkeley address?

Has anyone else seen this type of marketing crap? Can anyone near the border of a "more esteemed " city list their address fradulently just as long as the mail gets delivered?

#housing

Comments 1 - 7 of 7   

1   Done!   2011 Aug 9, 1:56am  

News flash...
All Cities are CRAP!

2   FortWayne   2011 Aug 9, 2:44am  

You can call it all you want, it is legal as long as you are not using another incorporated entity. Because most "Cities" are just communities. And as long as zip code is right you'll get your mail.

For example my address can be either Los Angeles or Tarzana or Encino or Woodland Hills, I can even call it LALALAND. I can't call it Oakland since that is different Inc, but anything else is fair game.

So if you are shopping, don't look at the city name, look at location yourself. If your neighbor across the street has 5 cars in a garage and 10 illegals living in it it's really not Beverly Hills.

3   jworm   2011 Aug 9, 3:25am  

Berkeley and Oakland have well defined borders that are used for tax purposes but also for school district placement. They are separate cities, not towns or neighborhoods within another city. It seems that the owner/realtor or both are trying to hoodwink prospective buyers into paying more for a Oakland home than they should be. They want $720K for a 936 sqft Oakland home, when there are plenty of 2000+ sqft Oakland Hill homes for less than their asking.

You can't shine a turd, no matter how hard you try.

4   corntrollio   2011 Aug 9, 4:47am  

jworm says

"The listing info on the MLS which is provided to all agents clearly states "Berkeley mailing, Oakland legal," the common phrase used by agents to describe properties on the upper part of Panoramic Hill."

There's nothing really wrong with that. The zip code/mailing address is a federal designation essentially (as would be the census tract, for example). Sometimes it doesn't match a town boundary.

There is a portion of Los Angeles that is West Hollywood post office, and a portion of West Hollywood that is Los Angeles post office. It happens. Here in the Bay Area, part of Redwood City is sometimes labeled as Woodside, CA for mailing purposes (Emerald Hills area).

If you know the local area, it's not an issue. If not , you can learn about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panoramic_Hill,_Oakland/Berkeley,_California

There are tons of overlapping districts in California -- note, for example, that this house is Oakland school district:

School Information

* School District: Oakland (510) 879-8111

Town boundaries don't always match school district boundaries or water district boundaries, and sometimes they don't match mailing addresses. This is part of your own due diligence, and historically has been considered part of the buyer's due diligence and is reflected in the way our property record system was developed and the reason you get title insurance.

Is this slightly misleading? Sure. Is it obnoxious that they put "Berkeley mailing, Oakland legal" only in the realtor notes on MLS? Hell yeah. It it a legal problem? Probably not.

FortWayne says

For example my address can be either Los Angeles or Tarzana or Encino or Woodland Hills, I can even call it LALALAND.

Neither Tarzana, Encino, nor Woodland Hills are incorporated cities. They are all districts in the city of Los Angeles. Where you have to be careful is if you live in Brentwood or another district of Los Angeles that is the same as another town's name. It's recommended that you put Los Angeles, CA 90049 for Brentwood because otherwise it could be confused with Brentwood, CA here in the inland Bay Area.

5   pkowen   2011 Aug 9, 9:42am  

I know something about jurisdictional boundaries from my work. There are indeed multiple kinds of addresses, the most common two types are 'mailing' and what we call 'SITUS'. Situs is latin for 'position or location' of property. So it's the 'real' location, rather than the what the USPS happens to call it. For taxable (and legal) purposes, it is the situs address that matters. Any parcel will have many jurisdictional designations based on situs, and the County along with State Board of Equalization are the keepers of this. These designations include school districts, City or unincorporated areas, sewer and water and other utility districts, air quality districts, etc. etc. It can get contentious; some people want out of certain cities and some want in to others ...

I'd not call what the REALTOR(tm) is doing to be 'illegal' but it's a bit disingenuous. I guess they are listing the mailing address, which may well be Berkeley. As someone said mail may also get delivered if you addressed it to Oakland or "LALALAND" for that matter, so long as the correct zip code appears. Some of this depends on the mail carrier - some will deliver, some will return to sender depending on how far off it is.

Tax assessors see this complaint from property owners regularly. County property owners want to insist, "I live in the XXX Hills, NOT XXX Smellytown!! How dare you change my property address!!!"

What they don't understand is the technical situs designation for unincorporated areas is simply what it is, as set by the County planning department, and is sometimes as unimpressive as 'unincorporated County'. There are likewise people who want to say they live in "XXX Goodtown" when they are actually in "XXX CrapCounty". There are also census designated places....

The bottom line is, buyer beware, never believe anything an agent tells you (sure, trust but verify or don't even trust) get a full property report, learn what all the jurisdictions are INCLUDING the bond measures and as they say, the 'mello roos'.

It wouldn't piss me off, because I never expect the house salespeople to to tell me key information, just like I never expect the used car salesperson to. I do my own research.

6   pkowen   2011 Aug 9, 9:48am  

Oh, and yes, it is common since they are marketing the house and trying to make it sound good. I see they used 'Berkeley' here also: " Borders UC Berkeley Ecological Study Area. "

7   corntrollio   2011 Aug 9, 9:56am  

pkowen says

The bottom line is, buyer beware, never believe anything an agent tells you (sure, trust but verify or don't even trust) get a full property report, learn what all the jurisdictions are INCLUDING the bond measures and as they say, the 'mello roos'.

That was my bottom line -- do your due diligence. They're not fooling anyone except out of towners, and even out of towners won't be fooled when they do even a minimum amount of research.

There are many other items on my list that used house salesmen need to stop doing before listing a mailing address rather than a town boundary.

pkowen says

It wouldn't piss me off, because I never expect the house salespeople to to tell me key information, just like I never expect the used car salesperson to. I do my own research.

Yeah, I've actually corrected a car salesman on a test drive before on characteristics of the car. A lot of sales tactics stem from exploiting a lack of knowledge in the buyer.

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