Friday, May 14, 2010

Knifecatching 2157 San Antonio Ave,

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.

So I've got the urge to do some knifecatching again....its that time of year and lots of interesting houses have come on the market recently.

Today's house is 2157 San Antonio Ave, a 4 bed 2 bath 2165 sq ft colonial revival built in 1909 on a gorgeous 7500 sq ft lot for sale for $819,000.

Here's a shot of the front of the house. Its a good looking house. The front yard is good sized with several large trees. We could make it work wonderfully for Halloween.

You go up the stairs to a little porch, which I forgot to take a picture of, into a HUGE huge that it seems like a waste of space (I also forgot to take a picture of it, what can I say I'm rusty).

To the left of the big entryway room is this nice formal room that faces the street. This is the only sorta nice entertaining adults room in the house? Which I find kinda lacking as with this floor plan its forced to be the family room also.

On the other side of the ginormo entryway room thingy is this nice sized dining room with a nice built in and a good sized closet with window.

Through the doorway you can just see on the left is...

The kitchen! This is a nice perfectly serviceable kitchen that appears to of been redone recently. (without permits)

The kitchen really isn't big enough for that table and chairs but around the corner where the ceiling fan is there is a decent sized alcove that would make a great seating area. (again sorry no pics)

Where Irene is standing right off the kitchen is...

One of the full baths....right off the kitchen...This is also not original to the house and also not done with permits. I don't understand the full bath off the kitchen on a floor with no bedrooms? Shouldn't this be a simple half bath? And who wants a stinky bathroom opening into the area where you're preparing food?

Go out through these nice double french doors and there is a nice little deck that I could see enjoying meals on in the summer.

A look from the little deck out at the super ginormous backyard. The backyard really is a park-like setting.

Here's a view looking back at the house from the other side of the yard.

Lots of tree's, plants, its a bit wild but it looks really nice.

In the far edge of the backyard is what was at one time a garage and workshop....this building has not been habitable for quite some time and is literally falling down...This would have to be rebuilt if you wanted somewhere to park a car and or motorcycles out of the rain and have a workshop..Its a good sized outbuilding but its a complete scraper and they landscaped the backyard as to make it impossible to get a car back here anymore..To redo this, if the city would let us..I'd estimate at around $20k to do a slab on grade building with electrical.

Walk along the side of the house and there is a doorway down to this little storage-workshop area. This area has concrete and we were told that it was done in '01 by the agent showing the house but it looks older than that to me. I can not find any permits for this work...Unfortunately only half of the foundation was done. The back half of the house sits on brick that's looking a little worse for wear. But hey, good storage. The giant gravity fed furnace is also located in this area. As well as the washer-dryer hook-ups.

There is an interior staircase to get from this bottom storage area to the main living floor.

I noticed this scary site on the way up the stairs. That's asbestos lining that fuse box and those fuses are bigger than what is supposed to be in there. Not sure where this goes but those old knob and tube wires are carrying more current and heating up more than they were designed to which means their insulation is probably failing somewhere inaccessible... Why have fuses still in a house like this? Got fancy granite in the kitchen but dangerously over-fused knob and tube wiring is okay? WTF? From the reports the electical appears to be a nitemare in this house with open splices and live 240V lines just laying around!?!?!

Stairway up to the second floor is not too crazy steep.

Here's a shot of the hallway from the top of the stairs. Nice-ish hardwood floors on both levels though there were several spots in need of refinishing.

To the right is the only bath on this floor of four bedroom including the master...This was also redone at one time as that tile is not original...I also could not find any permits for this work.

But its a nice enough bath.

One of the bedrooms. decent sized with a decent closet.

Another top floor bedroom.

One of the doors on the hallway opens to this scary site. Well its only scary if you've read the inspection report....

This is the smallest bedroom next to the master bedroom.

The master bedroom occupies the entire front part of the 2nd floor. Its a really good size. One thing I don't get, is that the windows in this room had broken sash cords?

Other half of master with grumpy mommy and baby. Like the wall of books but they used particle board shelves which are buckling under the weight!

There also is no friggen master bath?!?!? Do adults who are paying this much money for a house want to share their bathroom with their teenagers? Isn't that one of the levels of hell? To make this work you'd have to turn the little yellow bedroom above into a bath or but the master bedroom in half and but a bath here where the bookcases are...that would make for a smallish master bedroom and master bath...

In the master bedroom there is a pull down attic ladder that leads to what looks like an awesome amount of storage.

Cept..see how water is coming in along the chimney... and those heating pipes are absolutely covered in asbestos....not so good...

What the reports told us....

After reading the termite and home inspection report I'm a bit befuddled...the house has a TON of deferred maintenance issues. It seems like the majority of the windows are either painted shut, have broken sash cords or dry rot!?!

The inspector says that both heating units need to be replaced and that means asbestos abatement issues...

The chimney is basically about ready to fall down that's going to have to be removed.

There is a ton subterranean termite issues with the house. Termite report was ~$14,000

A lot of dry rot on the exterior where the ground it rotting the siding.

There's plumbing leaks in the bathrooms...

My Conclusion

The house has great front and back yards and nice curb appeal. The lack of entertaining space in the house would be a problem for us as well as the no master bath and no safe-dry-secure parking for our motorcycles and car.

Honestly, the place seems overpriced to me. Its not in a super amazing neighborhood. Its a good neighborhood, central-ish Alameda a little more East than us.

Here's my breakdown on what the house needs;

$100,000 to do a correct foundation job

$14,000 in pest work

$20,000 to do a whole hose copper repipe (galv water lines are looking scary to me).

$25,000 to replace both furnaces and do asbestos abatement.

$20,000 to rebuild the garage and regrade the backyard to actually get a car back there.

$20,000 to turn a bedroom into a mid-line master bath.

$5,000 to remove the entire chimney and haul away the bricks.

If you where to buy the house for the listing price and do all the work mentioned above you'd be into the house for at least $1023000. I don't honestly think that neighborhood can really support a $1 million+ house...even with the great this economy it doesn't seem realistic to me.

So lets see $819,000- all the work that needs to be done is... $615,000.

Think they'd take that much for the place?

What think you dear readers? I'm I totally off my nut with my way of thinking? I unfortunately know how much it costs to fix up old houses so why would I pay more for the house than it would ever be worth after I pay to fix the place up?

It just seems like people are not discounting their prices based on condition do you? Is that $819k a discounted price?


Leslie Harvey said...

Glad to see the knifecatching is back!

Mark said...

How much to re-wire? Or did I miss it in your price list?

The MadScientist said...

Hi Leslie!
ya I've got one more review I'm working on...maybe if I can take pictures I'll do a review of the Von Stade manse....

The MadScientist said...

I didn't because the re-wiring can cost almost anything. 1st they need to upgrade to 200amp service which is usually ~2k but replacing the knob&tube in the walls with romex is long, messy expensive work...

The MadScientist said...

Just heard from a Realtor friend today that the sellers lowered the price $40k and the house is in contract!

I still don't see how the math works out for the new owners but more power to them.