Sunday, June 21, 2009

1291 Caroline-Knife Catching Again...

Read This:The following review is just my opinion and only my opinion I am not a professional house appraiser or inspector and I am not a structural engineer. The opinions expressed in this review are based on my own inspection of the property, the publicly available facts from aggregator sites such as Redfin and Zillow and the online permit database for the city of Alameda. I am not responsible for incorrect or missing data that appears in these sources. In fact, its probably best that you just ignore everything you read here as the lunatic ravings of an unbalanced mind.


Here we go a here we go a here we go again...

Today's Gold Coast open home is 1291 Caroline st. A 1471sq ft 3 bed 1.5 bath high basement Queen Anne cottage on a not huge 4000 sq ft lot for the price of $789,000. The 'zestimate' for the house is $691,000....most people tend to think that the zestimates are high so...wow these guys might be a little bit optimistic.
The current owners bought the house in 2000 for $525,000 and have not put a legal penny into the place since then.

First off I have to say the realtor who has this listing is really on the ball. This house was on the front page of the Real Estate section in one of the local Alameda papers one week and then the next it was on the back page as a 'feature' and she's advertising on Craig's List. At least the homeowners are getting their place promoted intelligently...there was a steady stream of people looking at the place when we were there.


Looks great from the street I think. This house was built by the same firm that built ours...Marcuse and Remmel. Its got a nice sized front yard with good plants. The garage door is giving us hope that its got a nice big bottom floor that we can use as shop and storage space.





Walk up the stairs, which are a little wobbly...and you get a decent little front porch...According to the pest inspection there is a lot of dry-rot in this area that is going to need to be fixed.





Walk in the front door and you have this nice big front room....wait a second...its waaaaaay to big. 'Someone' removed the hallway wall and a wall separating the two front rooms....A permit check says that no work has been done on the house 'legally' since 98 when there was a reroof...the hallway wall is probably load bearing so who knows if the ceiling joists are over-spanned?..I'd bet they are... But it is a nice looking room.

With this fabulous mantle with the original tile! This is the exact twin to our mantle! Cept ours is not painted!The fire place was originally a coal burner but the chimney has been knocked down sorta...not even knocked down into the attic with the roof patched..just sorta knocked down to within a couple of feet of the roof...To the right of the fireplace is a cool built-in with a pass-thru into the kitchen.





Nother shot of the 'great room' from the other side looking back towards the front door.





The main level of the house has one bath..ugh that means parents, kids, guests all share one bath...





It appears that the bath was redone very recently. The granite counter-top and fixtures and cabinets all look pretty much brand new....also not done with permits. But hey its got double sinks!





You can walk thru the bath into the 'master bedroom' not very large and its got 4 doors! One to the bath, one to the hall 2 for closets (hey its got 2 good sized closets) and one into the next bedroom...





Nother shot of the master bedroom... The bedroom layout of the house is kinda weird. it goes bedroom, bath, bedroom, bedroom all with interconnecting doors and doors to the hallway except for the bath which has to be accessed thru one of the bedrooms.





Here is the dining room with the other side of the pass through and a nice little bay window.





Between the dining room and the kitchen is this weird little area where more walls have been removed without permits. I can't figure out what this area was originally maybe a butlers pantry or something...





The kitchen is decent sized with a decent amount of cabinets. This kitchen also appears to be redone, with the glass subway tile backsplash, the countertops and the appliances looking new but not the cabinets. The kitchen is also in an addition to the house. It looks like it was done a while ago as the framing lumber matches the original part of the house. I could live with the kitchen.

Other side of the kitchen has the fridge and pantry shelves. Not a bad setup really. The open door there matches one we had here at our house also.. unfortunately ours was so rotted we didn't deem it worth saving. But walk thru that door and you get...





The interior stairwell to the bottom floor. This is another 'period correct' stair that's dang dangerous to go down and would not ever meet modern codes. The door to the right at the bottom opens into the back yard.





Turn left at the bottom of the stairs and you have this nice laundry room. Look up, they stapled fabric to the underside of the joists to give the area a more finished look. Whats that door on the left you say? The room with the tiled floor?





Well its the 'half bath'...now this room doesn't even have a sink so I'm not sure if it can be officially called a half bath? But don't worry you can always walk out around the washer-dryer and wash your hands in the laundry sink.





The doorway on the right brings you into this little area. The ceiling down here is maybe 6'-6"...so not legal unfortunately. Also whats not legal is all the lighting and outlets in this area....you are only allowed one overhead light and one outlet in a storage area...so lots of electrical done without permits here...I think this was where the kids hung out.

To the right is this little home office area with its own door to the outside.





The rest of the bottom floor is broken up into two sides by the major load bearing wall...One note about this wall...the house had a partial foundation replacement at one time but the center wall is still sitting on bricks and I think both ends of the house are also? So at one time someone came in and redid the 2 long walls of the house. Don't know when it was done but it doesn't show up on the permit record...The slab down here is also not a 'real' slab its just a 1" rat slab as they are called...

The other side has the garage door you can see from the front and more storage. You can see the chimney on the left taking up space...House has a conventional water heater and forced air furnace. With the joists exposed I could see evidence of lots of wack-a-doo wiring and evidence that the house has galv water piping that looked not new.





The backyard is gorgeous...small but gorgeous. This shot shows the entire depth of the yard...





From another angle here's the patio a nice little hangout space.





Decent sized side yard on the one side.





itty-bitty sideyard from the other side.









Conclusion:

The house was nice enough...but small. The front yard is definitely 'Halloweenable' but the backyard is just waaay to small, no room for a garden, and a koi pond...All the un-permitted structural mods gives me pause also. The layout of the bedrooms also just wouldn't work for us...unfortunately the house is just a little too small for us...if the bottom floor was full height legal living space that might change things..but right now the place only has one real bathroom...throw in the replacement of the brick foundation and putting a real slab down there and re-plumbing the house and fixing the wiring.....I just don't see how its worth $789,000

To make it work for us we'd need to dig down 2' on the bottom floor and make that legal living space...that's a $125,000 foundation job and there is no way in heck the city would let us do it....not in a million years. So for us again the house is maybe worth...nope its not worth anything to us cause we could never make it work for us.

Oh I forgot to mention... Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

looks like a lot of space downstairs - to bad it's too low to finish. Looks like you could probably squeeze in a real bathroom and get another bedroom down there