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.
Up for consideration is 1531 Morton St. $1,099,000 4bed 2.5 bath 2700 sq ft house that's $407/sq ft. built in 1910. The official knifecathers blog has already covered this house but since it was already in my Que to finish I thought I'd do it anyways, so here's my take on it.
I gotta say, this place is the most crack-smokingest craziest price of ANY house I've reviewed.
There's a story behind this one that is just too funny-greed gone way wrong I think.
Here's what 1531 Morton looks like from the front. When built it was a nice house on a large 6500 sq ft lot. BTW I guess the realtor got fired as the house is now listed as FSBO....I bet the realtor tried to talk some sense into the owner and some owners just don't listen.
Here's the google sat view of the place before the new 'addition'. You can see plenty of space and a little garage in the back corner. If I had a satellite view of the place now it would show an entirely NEW house in what was the backyard.!!!
The Story (from the realtor showing the house on the day we toured): Typical Alameda story, older women living alone in great big house can't take care of it anymore so decides to sell. Records show the current owner (which is some kinda fancy-pants green design-build firm outta Berkeley) got the place for a steal at the height of the market, bought for $550,000 back in '06. That number is suspiciously cheap for that time....bringing up the specter of someone taking advantage of a little old lady.... This firm then somehow convinced the city planning dept to let them build an entirely new house in the backyard (1533 Morton on sale for like $800,000+) and call it a 'condo development'??? Its ridiculous, I don't know how many palms they had to grease to get that pushed through but man....wow I just don't get it.
Anywho, fancy-pants developer builds new house in backyard (all spiffy green like) does an aerosol overhaul on the original house and lists them both separately, the original place for $1.1mill and the back house for $899,000!!!!
How much crack did he have to smoke before he though THAT was going to fly? I suppose the developer thought the market was going to keep go, go going the way it was and people would be jumping all over themselves to buy either of the places... Lets just say that, that's not happening....We've been to two open houses there and the reactions from the people touring the houses is just priceless.... '$1.1 mill FOR JUST THE FRONT HOUSE!!!, they must be joking' I must of heard 20 different couples say basically the same thing and just walk away shaking their heads...
So, this development company bought the place in '06 for $550,000, then sunk a bunch of money into fixing up the original house and then building an entire new house. What do you think the carrying costs of all this were? Its 2/3rds of the way through 09 and no one is jumping to buy these places. I bet that the developer is losing its shirt on this....and that doesn't make me feel bad at all!
Okay onto the house review:
You are greeted by these front steps...Very not original and VERY not allowed by the city...I wonder how they got this past the inspectors.
The front porch did have this cool hanging light though.
talking to the realtor I learned this gem... The roof on the place has to be replaced in 5 years!!! Yes you heard that right, they want $1mill for a house with a roof that is basically failing....Why in the heck would you not put a new roof on? To my way of thinking the fact that they didn't put a new roof on, or the slab in the basement calls into question all the work they've done on the place.
$1mill house with a bad roof, no parking and no yard.....and condo fees!!!
Its sad really, the original house was nice at one point. Heck, I would of loved to of bought this place in 06 for $550,000 that's less than we paid for our crap shack in 07. To make this house work for us we'd first have to invent a time machine and go back in time and buy it before this 'developer' ruined the place when they 'freshened' it...
This coulda been a nice place with a sensitive restoration and nice grounds...even if that woulda happened it would not be worth $1mill today...
Man, whoever thought that this was going to be a money making venture really needs to put down the crack pipe. This developer would be lucky if he gets $1.1mill for both places...