Monday, July 25, 2011

KnifeCatching 1330 Clinton 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.

KnifeCatching 1330 Clinton Ave.
Up for review today is 1330 Clinton Ave. which has the official specs of being a 3-2.5 of 1631 sq ft on a 6750 sq ft lot built in 1946 on sale for $815k.

Sorry for the Google street view shot, my camera phone stopped focusing. I've been interested in this house for a while as I pass it on Clinton every day and have been sorta tracking the work done on it.
Lots of pics at the Redfin page for it. At least in the verbiage the listing agent calls the weird quarter bath off the kitchen a quarter bath and not a half bath. The story from the listing agent is that the original owner passed away and his sons have fixed up the house for sale.

The Good
Before the weird conversation with the Realtor I remember thinking...'Wow, they've actually done just about everything I advocate for when trying to sell a house for top dollar.'

They attached a sheet to the glossy handout stating all the work recently done on the house.
The grounds were nice and well groomed.
The house was freshly painted inside and out.
The floors were redone.
They freshened the kitchen by replacing the flooring and cabinet handles and repainting the cabinets. The kitchen was very nice.
Pull-down ladder and storage in the attic.
The house is in a great neighborhood like three blocks from Franklin School/Park.
Great front yard for Halloween and nice street trees!

The house literally gleamed it was super pretty. I wish that I had my camera with me as the shower stall in the master bath had this hilarious nautical theme.

There is a cute little balcony off the master bedroom that I bet is nice to relax at.

Two full baths on the second floor so you don't have to share with the kids.

Large backyard area and good sized garage-workshop. There were a couple of super cool looking old woodworking tools in there that looked like industrial art. Lots of old cracking asphalt in this area that looks fugly to me. What I thought was funny is that they had taped pictures of what the wood shop could look like if it was turned into living space on the walls. I hadn't seen this before except we did it when we where selling Chez 2.0.  It honestly looks like they borrowed that idea from us.

They had a binder of inspections and estimates for work needed.

Overall I was very impressed with the house. It's a completely original vintage 1940's home. The listing agent calling it a jewel box does not seem out of line to me.

What The Permit Record Tells Me
There are only two entries to the permit record!!
One from 1946 which is an electrical permit for adding outlets and switches and fixtures-finaled!
A permit from 1991 for sidewalk and driveway.
It looks like there is no weirdness with the permit record vs. work done.

The Bad
Its a completely original 1940s home..that can either be cute or the kitchen and baths are going to look horribly outdated to some people.

Okay, the house is TINY!!! 1631 sq ft. I'm sure this house was fine for 1940 but now...I don't know. It's sorta like the house is 3/4 scale or something like that. All three of the bedrooms are not what you'd call, generous. The kitchen is teeny by modern standards - definitely not an eat-in thing.

Vintage 1940's wiring-fuses on the upper floor.

The Roof
It looks to me like the house still has its original wood shake roof from the 40s!!! From what I could see it looks like its in pretty rough shape. I pulled down the attic ladder to peep at the underside of it and I could see daylight through cracks in the shakes in several places and what looked like water staining on the underside of the shingles. The listing agent said the roof was water tight so I don't know... The handout said the roof had been cleaned?? So maybe they pressure washed it and forced some water up under the shingles...
There was an estimate from a roofing contractor there for $7500...but I read it twice and I really couldn't figure out what it was for exactly.
The roof needs a complete tear off, sheeting the roof deck and new shingles. My experience with roofing estimates leads me to believe that doing it right is going to cost more than $7500.

Just to prove that I'm not the only person who thinks this way I'll report on what I heard other people saying. I eavesdropped on three couples conversations that all went exactly like this.

   Him, 'Man, it sure is small.'
   Her, 'Yes but its soooo cute!'

My fave overheard was from someone who said, 'Wow every time I come here I feel more claustrophobic!!'

I'm really impressed with the house and the preparation that went into it before they put it on the market. I wish more sellers would do that. The house is super pretty, in what looks to be super great shape (except the roof), in a super great neighborhood.

Okay I haven't talked about it yet but now's the time....

I don't understand how they came up with that price?
$815k...for 1631 sq ft???  1304 Morton is almost twice that size on sale for $75k more...
another house sold in that neighborhood for that exact same amount yet it is more than twice the size.
Like, what are the comps they used? Does it have an ice cube's chance in hell of appraising for that amount?

I don't understand who the target market is for this house.
Honestly, the house seems too small for a modern family. A couple parents and one kid, and use the other bedroom as a home office? Even then the place is basically packed. You'll have to use the dining room as a dining room and that just leaves the decent-sized fireplace room as the family, living, do everything else room. It seems like though once the kids hit teenagerdom the place would be too small.

So, is it a $815k starter house? If the new owners don't absolutely love the house as is, any remodeling of the baths-kitchens is going to push the money sunk in vs. what the house will sell for ratio way the wrong way....

Then I thought, well, it could be a good 'retirement home' to somebody who wants to live closer to their grandkids...Older couples don't typically have the acres of crap modern families do...the house could be right sized for that with a room for the grandkids to sleep in when they are visiting. But then there's stairs....old folks and stairs go together like sardines and mint-chip ice cream.

Honestly, it seems like it a great $650k house.....
I suppose the carrying costs of the place are very small so the heirs can afford to let it sit on the market?

I think that this is the most times I've used cute and super in a review.


Anonymous said...

I agree. Definitely not worth the $815K they are asking for. You can buy 1304 Morton or 1441 Grand (darn bus stop is right in front) or 1548 Gibbons (not in Gold Coast).


Anonymous said...

Great review, MS! The house shows very well. It is, err, cute.


That price must have been found on some crazy graph from 2006. No way.

It's the fourth highest $/sf in the city; one of only four properties in the $500 range where two of the four are homes of less than 850 sf (the land value alone will push these small homes higher than normal).

Insane price. Dare I say, asinine? ok, we'll go with plain dumb.


The MadScientist said...

The place on gibbons looks pretty nice..Gibbons Drive is kinda like a Gold Coast on a street-its very fancy.

Ya, it seems like its a price from '06 for sure....

Anonymous said...

The house is in the gold coast, and that has to add value right? Or the garage and lot size?

The MadScientist said...

Yep being in the GC does help the price but that much???

The lot is actually a little below average in size. Most GC lots seem to be 7500 sq ft. Though, there is a lot of space on this lot...maybe because the house doesn't take up very much space???

Rick said...

They say it is about location, location, location. In Alameda it is about location, location and renovations. This house has it.

I think it will probably sell at least above $800.

and no, I am not the selling realtor

The MadScientist said...

Hello Rick,

The house does have location for sure...

Renovation...depends I guess on what you mean by renovation. What was done to the house would in some quarters be called an aerosol overhaul. Its been cleaned up and painted real nice but...
Still has the original roof! Still on fuses on the top floor! Probably still has galv water piping. etc...

Anonymous said...

I live right around the corner, and I just noticed the "sale pending" sign last night. I have to say, I'll be surprised if the selling price starts with an "8."

The MadScientist said...

Ya well I hope the buyer had all the facts.

Here's what can happen on a place like this. You have 1st time buyers who know nothing and their less than honest agent can convince them that this is a good price. Or that there are lots of other bidders etc.

Heck if the buying and selling agents collude a bidding war could even take place...

Course things like that could never happen cause Realtors are paragons of virtue.....

Anonymous said...

I saw that it sold. Any ideas what for yet?

The MadScientist said...

Redfin says that it sold for asking!

I'm really shocked actually. Redfin says it went pending 2 weeks after it went on the market and the sale closed just a little over a month later.

I honestly don't understand it. But honestly by my own metrics the house was probably priced correctly...I just don't get it.

Hope this was a completely above the board sale with the buyer having all the relevant info...