Friday, April 20, 2012

KnifeCatching 1118 Grand 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 1118 Grand St.
Up for review today is 1118 Grand St. which has the official specs of being a 2-2 of 1973sq ft on a 3150sq ft lot built in 1900 on sale for $699k last sold I-don't-know-when, its been in the same family for a looooooong time.

The listing company has a web page on the house where you can see lots of pics.
Here's something I find odd....the main Real Estate web sites don't even say the house is for sale? How is that possible? Someone seems to be asleep at the wheel.

The story of the house is pretty familiar for Alameda. The house was lived in for a loooong time by an elderly person who has passed and the heirs are selling it. I don't know if the recent owner died in the house or what.

The house looks like it was defiantly a grand home back when it was new.
There is a lot of fancy trim and molding on the exterior and interior of the house.
The interior appears to be mostly original and in decent but slightly dirty condition...c'mon heirs, scrub the place out and slap a coat of paint on it.
Woulda made the place look a ton better.

The bedrooms are on the top floor along with an oddly laid out bathroom. There is also an illegal bathroom off the back of the house. It looks like that at some point in the 70's the kitchen and back room were redone...unfortunately at this time the original mantle was removed!?!?!
The bedrooms on the top floor where of a good size and one even had a closet.
There is a sun porch with laundry hook-ups.

Some Fun Details
For some reason a couple of the bedroom doors had been converted to dutch doors.

Trim detail on the stairs.

Nook in the Master Bedroom.

Nice Closet.

The Good
Its all original for the most part! Only the back has been remuddled.
The location is close to Franklin Park and School.
The A tag is where the house is.

The backyard, while small, was nice.
Hardwood floors that look like they are still in good shape.

The Bad
Its all original it needs everything.
While the house is close to some good stuff its also on one of the busiest streets and therefore loudest streets in town.
On brick foundation.
Needs a new roof.
Has a 40amp stab-loc panel...can you say fire hazard?
Needs all new systems-elec,plumbing, heat, etc.
The lot seems small for the 'hood at 3150sq ft.
No garage.
No master bathroom and an illegal bathroom on the main floor just off the kitchen.

Price
Ha, well this price might not be as ridiculous as some but I still think it needs uh, adjusting.
For the house that needs everything.
New foundation = $100k
New Roof = $35k
Upgrade to 200amp service and rewire house = $20k
Repipe House from galv to copper = $10k
Remodel fugly 70's kitchen = $20k at least.
Add a master bath = $10k at least
New HVAC = $5k
Did I forget anything?
The total for that is $200k min...but that's still for only a 1973 sq ft house.
So, assuming you could sell this place all done up for $800k (a big ass-sumption) that puts a sensible price at more like $600k.

Conclusion
This house could be really great with just a little bit of loving...well...it depends on how much you love your kids. You could just go in, scrub the place out, redo the floor, repair the walls (plaster is failing in several spots) and repaint and you'd have (on the surface) a pretty nice house. Not safe, but pretty, this would be 'the flipper way'
What I'd do is bite the bullet and have the basement dug out completely and redo the foundation adding a garage under the front of the house. Maybe turn some of the basement into legal living space.
Then upgrade all the mechanicals and roof and enjoy a nice safe house in a good neighborhood.

One of the things I do when I review the house is hang around and check out the types of folks who are looking at the house. In this instance there were two distinct types of folks.
1. The young couple with a small child looking for a place that they can afford and put some serious sweat equity into.
2. The illegal contractors-real estate investor-flipper types.....this was a bit troubling to me as to how many of these types of people where there...Its troubling because I know exactly what these guys are going to do, gut the place to the studs trashing all the original details and doing a homedespot makeover on the place...and still not do the foundation and then turn around and try to sell it for $900k...

The sellers seem to be courting the first group with info on 203k loans on their website.

Please 'young couple with small child who wants to put in a ton of sweat equity into the place', buy the house PLEASE!!!

And that's the way I see it.

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