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.
Okay this house is actually the house that started me back on the knifecatching kick....as we were leaving the house a Realtor was taking a young couple in. The wife recognized us from this blog!?!?! and stopped us to ask us what we thought...I gave them my quick synopsis (no spoilers) and their Realtor overheard. As they rejoined the Realtor I could hear her say, 'Oh its not really necessary to replace the foundation.' This was not the sellers Realtor but the buyers Realtor giving this shockingly horrible advice....what do you think the Realtor was really thinking about? Getting this nice family with a couple of young kids the right house or getting herself as big of a commission as quickly as possible? Arrrrrrrgh!
Up for review 1832 San Antonio Avenue. A 3 bed, 1.5bath, that is 2413 sq ft on a nice 6k+ sq ft lot built in 1895 for $815k.
My sources told the me the story on this place. Elderly gentleman owned the place and lived here alone for many years keeping the place up by himself. He unfortunately DIED in the house (a fact that the selling Realtors were not making obvious) and the house was left to his heirs. The house is long paid for with astonishing low property taxes. The heirs did a general clean up and paint of the house and put it on the market trying to squeeze as much money as they can from their windfall, sound familiar? Heirs have almost no money in the house and they are trying to sell it for a price that honestly is just not reasonable. Don't believe me? According to ZIP reality its been on the market for 79 days! What's that tell ya? Baring the Zombie Apocalypse if a house isn't in contract within 30days it ain't priced right.
The house looks gorgeous from the street. I was impressed with how nicely kept up the outside of the house appears to be and how nicely kept up the lot is. The house has a lot of fancy trim that all looked pretty original to me.
I'd like to say that the house was very original on the inside. Probably the most original of any house we've looked it. There was just amazing period stuff everywhere. All the original hinges, doors, door hardware all really nice. I'm sorry that I couldn't snap any pictures of it cause the battery on the camera was dying....
Here's the view looking in from the front door. Nice looking stair case The carpet and white paint appeared to be new to me. What really kills me is that in a lot of places it looks like this gloss white paint was the first coat over the original woodwork!! Why God Why would you do that!?!?!?!?!?!?
The women peeking around the corner there is the listing realtor...she kinda reminded me of the mom from 2.5 Men after talking with her. She said she recognized me and was giving me grief for taking pictures of the house?!?! I thought the jig was up. But, it turns out she remembers me from when we bought our current house. During the 'open house' for the Chez she wouldn't come off the sidewalk to get any closer and sent her poor clients into the rat hole without her.
When did it become a capital crime to take pictures during an open house?
The house has double front parlours. This is the front-est one with nice working pocket doors with gorgeous hardware. Its a good sized room with decent carpet probably covering matchstick oak that just needs to be refinished...cheaper and faster to just throw carpet down ya know...
This is the 2nd parlour with non-working coal burning fireplace. The door on the left leads into the kitchen. Nope I'm mis-remembering it, sorry, through that door is the formal dining room that I forgot to take a picture of...I think...its a good sized dining room but as the layout of the house stands it would need to be repurposed as the family room to make the house work for an actual family. Both of these rooms together give you a pretty good amount of indoor entertaining space.
Not pictured but from what I could see the roof appears to be failing with shingles curling up in abundance.
Reports: Uh, didn't write it down (sorry I'm human after all it seems) but I remember that the termite report was substantial. They did have a couple of foundation redo quotes a couple of total B.S. ones and one real one from our buddies at Alameda Structural.
Conclusion: Its a gorgeous mostly original Victorian like you hardly see anymore. That's good and bad. All the original trim is there but its also still got its original brick foundation, galv water pipes, etc. Its got a good sized front lawn and great backyard in a nice neighborhood...better than our current 'hood.
To make this house work for us it would need:
1. A new full foundation and dig-out, possibly adding a garage door and driveway so we could get rid of the garage out back. $120,000 easy.
2. New roof- ~$16,000
3. Complete Repiping $20,000
4. Remodeled kitchen $40,000 easy
5. New master suite...~$100,000
6. Redo existing bath $20,000
So lets see thats uh,.. $196000 plus what ever the termite report was for plus the cost of redoing the electrical.
Buying the house at asking puts us at just over $1M...there is no way that neighborhood can support $1M+ houses that are only 3-2.5 and ~2400sq ft...that's not even a big house really.
So, to us, the place is only worth $615k.....think they'll take it?
I asked the Realtor what they'd take for the place and she said, 'I think that they could be bargained down to $770k.' and I just laughed...
Really it can't just be me. Sellers need to figure out that in this more rational market they have to price a house based on its actual condition!
Actually the Realtor and I got into kinda a shouting match when she tried to use the, 'The foundation doesn't really need to be replaced, its optional.' line with me. I read her the riot act in front of like 5 other people....she was not pleased...I don't think I'm on her Christmas card list anymore....