Monday, June 8, 2009


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.

Or What Things Cost in Alameda Part Eleventy-Twelve

Okay, so there were two open houses this past weekend that got us all excited cause they were in our dream neighborhood and both of the houses looked interesting.

Ala the now dead and gone 'knifecatchers' blog about the Alameda housing market here is our take.

The first house up for consideration is 1324 BAY ST, Alameda, CA 94501

What we have here is 4 bed 2 bath 1995 sq ft Mediterranean house on a 7,500 sq ft lot for $869,000. This house is the smallest house on the block. This is probably one of the best streets in the gold coast neighborhood and its Halloween central too!! See why we where excited about it?

Now onto the interior pictures of the house.


God bless the owners of this house, they had the balls to show a house in this neighborhood with the ultimate white-elephants of baths, a super over the top tiki-bathroom!

Here's' a shot looking into the bathroom from the hallway. Drink in all the details, everywhere you look there is something new to look at. Kinda like the pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disneyland but in your own bathroom!

This shower is awesome beyond words! From the bamboo enclosure to the fake palm trees and plants surrounding it. Its even got a rope-light above the shower to light the way, I guess...

Check out the tub! With the ships wheel and the boat tie-downs in the corners. The custom painted awesome! If I was 5 I'd be begging to take a bath in here! Think of all the adventures on the high seas you'd be a having matey!

Fake plants, driftwood trim and brass ships awesome-and the giant plastic shell for the sink basin.

Ahhh...does my heart good... Problem is, none of this work was done with permits...really not good in this part of Alameda cause the historical society will definitely nark on them...

The other bath was just super boring so I didn't feel like showing a bunch of pictures of it. Here is the other bath boring is this? Just big slabs of marble in a tiny shower stall....oh, by the way..this bath was also done without permits...this shower stall used to be a pass-through from the kitchen to the hallway... So that's two bathrooms with no permits....not good...

Here's a shot of the kitchen. Not bad really. The kitchen was redone recently we were told. Newer cabinets and appliances and an unfortunate tile counter top.

Here's the eat-in nook off the kitchen good sized and usable we thought. Those are pantry cabinets on the right. I really like that this owner was not afraid of color.

The other wall of the kitchen. The house has knob and tube wiring except in the kitchen which has romex. So the entire house is on fuses still except the kitchen which has a breaker panel out in front of the house....

Kitchen is not bad no? Guess what? Not done with permits either!!!

The front room right side with the fireplace and cool craftsman built-ins. Nice oak floors in this area of the house.

Formal dinning room off the kitchen and front door. Good sized room don't know what we would use it for cause we would eat all our meals in the dinning nook.

Next we move to the 'basement'. We were originally excited about this place hoping that it had a full basement which we could use for storage and workshop space.

This is about the entire size of it enough room for a washer-dryer and the hot water heater and forced air furnace and a little bit of storage...not gonna work for us.. Also, house is on its original brick foundation....really not good in my book.

Here's one of the rooms that qualifies as a bedroom. Its really den sized but it does have a closet so technically its a bedroom. The oak floor in here is pretty trashed though...

This is another bedroom...check out that carpet...yummy...why would you be selling a house in this super high-end neighborhood (for Alameda) and not clean the dang carpets? Decent sized closets though.

Another bedroom, not afraid of color here and the two windows bring in a lot of light I guess...

This is the sunroom off the back of the house. It has a nice wood builtin. This room is also not original to the house. I don't know when it was built exactly but its also not done with permits...

Here's a view looking down the loooong driveway to the little tiny garage. There is enough space here for like 5 cars end to end. We could even fit Big Bertha here...though I bet the neighbors would freak over such an ugly thing parked in full view of the street.

The add called the backyard, 'large' and 'good sized'....we beg to differ but hey Realtors whadaya gonna do?

That door is off the eating nook in the kitchen. We have a little cement patio...decent enough space for a table and a couple of people.

Here's the view from the patio looking out at the 'large' backyard....not a lot of space there we think. It does have a nice maple tree though.

That's it the entire backyard! The green wall on the right is the garage.

The windows in most parts of the house are newer single pane Al windows that were put in sometime in the past. Also not done with permits. To me it looks like there is water issues with all the windows. The weird textured coating is blistering off around the windows which to me means water intrusion behind the stucco. And since its stucco replacing these windows or even checking the situation is going to be a huge PITA. Since these were done without permits its unknown if they were installed correctly with the correct flashing methods..I see huge potential for dry rotted framing in all these areas.

Here is a shot of the wall where this textured coating is coming off. I don't know what the coating is but its thin and is peeling off all over the place. Its not original cause this was applied with a spray gun and they coated everything on the outside of the house with it..even the down spouts....What manner of water damage is this coating hiding? Who knows.

Not pictured but the house has a 14yr old tar and gravel roof that needs replacing. I saw multiple indications that water has leaked into the ceiling in the past.
The house has its original galv plumbing which needs to be replaced.

For this house to work for us personally.....we'd have to dig out the basement area and make it a full 8' high basement with an under the house garage for one car. That way we could raise the rear garage and and the super ugly driveway and get back a meaningful-useful lot and we'd have all the storage and workshop space we need. That's a $200,000 foundation job I know that there is going to be hassles with the city over all the un-permitted work.

So, unless we can get the seller to drop her price down to $600,000 or so its unfortunately not worth it for us.

I'm sure the place will sell to some yuppie power couple and they'll just gut the place and do a pop-top addition and be done with it.


Amy Forinash said...

Not so keen on your current place now?

The MadScientist said...

Hi Amy,
we are just looking at the options...since its obvious that well will have spent ~$900,000 on our place to finish the way we want. We are looking at other options to compare what we'd get for the money otherwise....