Wednesday, July 20, 2011

KnifeCatching 1304 Morton St.......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.

It's baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!!!!! again, and again, and again and again....

KnifeCatching 1304 Morton St. Revisited.

My initial review of 1304 Morton St. can be found here.

Up for review today is 1304 Morton St. which has the official specs of being a 4-0 of 2064sq ft on a nice sized 5513 sq ft lot built in 1895 on sale for.....wait for it.......$899k!!!!!

Holy Mackerel they lowered the price from $1.3M down to $899k!!!

Could it be that a homeowner has actually come down to reality???  Please read my previous review for an in-depth look at the house.

Some Odd Things About The House:

Real Estate Agent Musical Chairs?
Does anybody else think it's super odd that a big ticket fancy house like this has gone through, I think three different realty companies? Intero, Sothebys and now apparently they are using Better Homes and Gardens Realty? What would have to happen to have a place like Sotheby's give up on the commission on a $1.3M house?

Dishonest Description:
The county still has the house as a 4-0 of 2064 sq ft... yet the ad copy from the Realtor clearly states that the house is a 4-2.5 of 3100sq ft... They appear to be counting the illegal work done in the basement and apparently there is now a bedroom down there?

Here's the add copy from the Zip Realty Site.
Rare Painted Lady Victorian - Like a page out of BETTER HOMES & GARDENS MAGAZINE! Was on the market at $1.3M+ now priced 4 quick sale! TURN-KEY condition! Full basemnt & Garage converted to game room/wine cellar & can easily be converted back. Gourmet Remod kitchen with sub zero fridge & viking stove. Stumptous "Eastlake" decor down to the door knobs. Walk 2 shops, park & Franklin School.

Uh, no mention of all that fab stuff being 'unwarrented'???

Still Has Unpermitted Work Issues:
So yes, it appears that someone narc'd on the homeowner for the unpermitted work in what was the basement... (wasn't me honest). Luckily the HO was already talking to the city about getting the work permitted so they dodged the whole code enforcement super expensive bullet but the work still has to be 'normalized'.

A quick check of the building dept records is encouraging. The owner got planning approval to officially convert the house back to a single family and got the planning okay for the work already done in the basement area.

The records show that the HO has entered into the amnesty program and paid the fees to start that. What that gets you is an inspection by a building inspector who will tell you what needs to be done to legalize the space.

The inspector came out and this is what he said.
City of Alameda Inter-office Memorandum Date: April 28, 2011 To: Permit Expeditor From: Building Inspection Subject: Inspection at 1304 Morton St. Permit #B11-0283 A Joint Inspection for the Amnesty Program Inspection at the above address revealed that the basement area was converted to a home theater and a recording studio. Requirements: 1. Have a licensed electrical contractor verify circuit loads for the lighting and recording components of all circuits in the basement area to determine adequate circuit breaker and wiring sizes. Many of the outlet boxes are recessed too deep from the combustible wall finishes. 2. A permit is required for the above work. 3. Drawings are also required for electrical and outlet locations. Inspection time: 1 hour.

That's not too bad actually....well....maybe...

Point 1. could be either no problem our a HUGE PITA...If it's determined that the in-wall wiring is not of the correct gauge then, well, you're going to have to tear it all out and replace it....or more likely just jigger the loads to match the wiring gauge.
The boxes being too deep isn't that big of a deal as it can usually be fixed with a 'mud ring'.

Now remember the HO hasn't done any of the above yet (as of this writing according to the city's online data base). Which means the new owner is going to have to go through and do all that AND pay the permit fees...which since we've recently paid fee's on a similar project I can guestimate that they will be around $8k.

Maybe the HO is not planning on doing any of this work and that's why they are selling it so cheap?

Yes folks, it had to happen sometime....I actually think that this place is reasonably priced and worth the money.

You probably could not recreate this work for anywhere near the asking price.
If you go through and get the basement legalized you'll have a legal 3100sq ft 4-2.5 which is a good sized house in a great neighborhood for $900kish.

I prognosticate that they will receive multiple offers and that the house will not stay on the market very long. As long as there are enough people who are okay with the house's 'odd' layout.

Next Up:
There are several more houses for sale in the Gold Cost that I'll be reporting on soon....


Anonymous said...

We've kept an eye on this house and were wondering why it had dropped significantly in asking price. Now, we know why, thanks to you.

Reasonable for Alameda but still so out of reach for us.


Anonymous said...

Yea, welcome back Knife Catching. You were missed!!

The MadScientist said...

Yep not a small amount of money for sure.
Certainly not a deal for West Oakland.
I wonder though, how many people can afford/qualify for a loan that high?
It is a pretty huge house when all is said and done..
3100sq ft is huge for Alameda

The MadScientist said...

Thanks at least someone appreciates it.