Thursday, January 12, 2012

KnifeCatching 1223 ST. Charles St.

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 1223 ST. Charles St.
 
Up for review today is 1223 ST. Charles St. which has the official specs of being a 2-2 of 2441sq ft on a 7686sq ft lot built in 1958 on sale for $929k on the market for 120 days with no price drops last sold in 88 for $390k.
 
As usual, pics/prose on Zillow and Redfin. The description on the Redfin site is especially awesome I think. There should be an awkward prose contest for Real Estate listings.
 
This review is subtitled, 'Don Drapers Starter House'. If you don't know what that means get yourself a copy of Madmen.
 
There are hardly any mid-century modern homes in the Gold Coast in Alameda and this past weekend there were two open!
 
Front of House.
Okay so, not the best pic..check out the shots on either of the websites above.
 
But honestly, the house looks a little fugly from the street. All you see is this massive garage and a high wall. The front yard is all ivy (low maint!).
 
You walk into that door on the left and there is a nice enclosed courtyard with a Japanese theme and a little fish pond. Its too bad the pond was looking kinda gross and I swear the area reeked of cat urine. I even asked another browser about it and he said he thought it was probably the juniper bushes.. I actually smelled each plant and it didn't appear that the stench was coming from any of them.....
 
The description of the house says its got two master suites...its got a weird floor plan I think. It has this really large Master Bedroom and big master bath and then this little bedroom. It looks to me more like an age in place set-up where the smaller room could be for an in-home care provider or something. Also the house seems smaller than the listed sq footage?
 
The Good
In Gold Coast neighborhood on a quiet dead end street.
In Franklin School district.
All on one level...age in place?
Big 2-car garage.
The kitchen looked like it was in good shape and its actually good sized with what looked like plenty of storage.
The master bedroom and bath is of a good size. The master bath was large but seriously weirdly laid out I thought...lots of wasted space.
 
It appears to be some sort of copy of an Eichler. So, if you like that kinda thing.
 
Its got radiant heated floors. Which is great but almost none of the houses promotional material even mentions it?!?!?!? Why would you leave that out?
This is the boiler for the floors...it didn't look super new to me.
 
Lots and lots of big windows, sliding doors to the outside. You can really bring the outside in, in Eichler fashion.
 
Check out the back yard
Not exactly large space back here.
 
And the doors-windows to yard.
 
Original un-messed with midcentury modern.
 
Here's some fun details I took some quick snaps of.
 
This is the garage wall that faces the courtyard.
There is glass on the garage side. It just looked kinda cool looking out into the courtyard.
 
Check out this intercom system panel.
 
Doesn't that look super 50's?
 
Check out the wet bar and in house natural gas bbq! (on the listing page, sorry)
 
Crazy Scooby-Doo Hallway
 
This is the hallway to the garage. Its narrow and has like 37 doors. When I saw it I immediately thought of that scene in every Scooby-Doo episode. Where the bad guys are chasing the gang and everybody is running in and out of doors in a long hallway and getting all turned around? You know the one I'm talking about right?
That said, the house looks like its got a good amount of storage.
 
The Bad
Its an unmolested mid-century modern...
From touring the house and looking at the grounds and the over all level of upkeep with the place I was left with the feeling that this place was owned by elderly folks who keep it clean but didn't replace stuff when it got worn...It doesn't need to be remodeled but uh, refreshed maybe is the word for it? The original finishes are just worn after all these years.
 
My fav, Carpet in the toilet room.
 
 
I can't tell if the kitchen was redone...the permit record doesn't say anything about it and it appeared to be in better shape than the rest of the house.
 
Part of being unmolested is that the house probably has the original galv water piping and elec...which means fuses.
 
According to the permit record the roof was last done in 83. If that's true its a safe bet its going to need a new roof.
 
Problematic Radiant Heat.
Yes I love it but the problem with this old style is that they used copper pipes in concrete and after enough time the copper pipes ALWAYS spring leaks and fixing them is a major PITA.
 
Lots and Lots of Windows.
I know I said this was a positive earlier but its also a negative. It seems like almost the entire perimeter of the house is windows. When I realized that I couldn't help but think,...dang this place could fold like a wet cardboard box in a big shaker. To do that many windows/doors now a days takes special engineering which didn't exist back when this house was built.
 
Missed Marketing Opportunity
I remarked to the Realtor showing the house that the place was 'Sooooo MadMen'. She had never heard of the show!?!?!? The house seems so perfectly preserved that it looks like a set from the TV show.
Several people who where there looking at the house totally knew what I was talking about when I made that comment to them....
The show is super popular with like an entire fashion movement behind it...why would you not use that to your advantage? People who are specifically looking for a house of this era are going to be fans of the show...trust me.
 
Here's my gift to you. Before the next open, watch the show and study up on it. Have a fancy martini set out on the wet bar and drop as many MadMen references as you reasonably can when describing the place.
 
Conclusion
Very well preserved example of a midcentury modern that just probably needs some refreshing.
With a kinda weird floor plan that doesn't seem really conducive to raising a family there...house just seems a little bit small for that.
Think that this would be a great place for grandma and grandpa to have to be close to their grand kids.
Also seems like a great place for a hip same sex couple who are not planning on having any kids. You could have a lot of fun 50's themed parties here.
 
Price
$929k for whats basically a 2441sq ft low maint bachelor pad.....doesn't that seem a bit high to you? While I don't believe that the house needs $100's of thousands of work it does require some work....
Shouldn't the fact that its been on the market for 120 days be telling somebody that the price needs adjusting?
And thats the way I see it.
 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You seriously need to find a better use of your time. Such a mean spirited person. Don't you have anything better to do?

The MadScientist said...

Golly let me guess...are you the listing realtor?
This review has been up for weeks are you just seeing this now?
Wow way to be on the ball!

I don't honestly see what was so 'nasty' in this review, care to fill me in?

Btw love the fact that I got this nasty comment and two other ones all within 3 min.

Also love how you are two chicken shit to sign your name.

Anonymous said...

Awesome review! I was following this home on Redfin and I think you've (un)sold me.

The MadScientist said...

Its honestly not my goal to dissuade anybody from buying one of the houses I review.

My goal is only to educate and inform and point out potential issues.

I think the house is cute it has a lot going for it. I just think its considerably overpriced. If it was listed in the $700k's I bet it would of sold in 30 days.