Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Yikes, I must really be pissing people off.

Check out this picture of the drivers side mirror on our pickup.
That, dear readers is a through and through bullet hole.
Before everybody freaks out about people shooting guns in the Gold Coast this
didn't happen on the island so relax.
But still, a bullet hole.........yikes
 

Monday, February 16, 2015

A Tale Of Two Foundations

Here is a tale of two foundation jobs I saw on a recent walk.

First we have this foundation.
See the not so big temp beam holding this part of the house up. See the tarps up to protect newly
dug foundation trenches.

See the pile of 'vintage brick 50 cents each' in the yard.

A different job site.
Hmmm, why'd they backfill the foundation without removing the form boards?
and ya know, that OSB isn't even water proof? There's no way that's enough
support for the form boards.

Lets look around the corner a bit....
Hey, the new foundation only goes down 6" and wait, what's that under it?
Brick?

Lets take another look.
Hmmmm, this appears to be some sort of cementatious coating on top of the
original brick foundation!?!?!?!
Sure looks like a new cement foundation up front......Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Have I caught these people in the act of faking a new foundation? Lots of
other cosmetic work happening on this house.
Wonder if its going up for sale soon?

 We've had reptile Realtors do we have reptile home owners also?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Knife Catching 862 Walnut 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.
Knife Catching 862 Walnut St
Todays house, 862 Walnut street has the official specs of being a 3-2 of ~2000sq ft. on a
5754 sq ft lot for the low, low price of $649900 and wow its been on Zillow over a year
385 days. Check out the pics on the redfin page.
It looks like a kinda cool place doesn't it?
Its got a ton of wide open spaces, its right on the lagoon seems like it should sell pretty fast.

Check out its sales history.

Records

For completeness, Redfin often displays two records for one sale: the MLS record and the public record. Learn More.
DateEventPriceAppreciationSource
Jan 29, 2015
Listed (New)
$649,900
EBRD #40685485
Jan 27, 2015
Delisted
EBRD #1
Jan 1, 2015
Pending
EBRD #1
Nov 7, 2014
Relisted (Back On Market)
EBRD #1
Nov 6, 2014
Pending
EBRD #1
Aug 26, 2014
Relisted (Back On Market)
EBRD #1
Aug 22, 2014
Pending
EBRD #1
Aug 15, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Aug 7, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Jul 15, 2014
Price Changed
*
EBRD #1
Jul 1, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Apr 1, 2014
Relisted (Back On Market)
EBRD #1
Mar 31, 2014
Pending
EBRD #1
Mar 21, 2014
Pending
EBRD #1
Mar 21, 2014
Relisted (Back On Market)
EBRD #1
Mar 21, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Mar 7, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Feb 28, 2014
Price Changed
*
EBRD #1
Feb 21, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Feb 7, 2014
Price Changed (Price Change)
*
EBRD #1
Jan 10, 2014
Listed (New)
*
EBRD #1
Apr 20, 2013Sold (MLS) (Sold)
$567,000
EBRD #40606250
Apr 19, 2013
Sold (Public Records)
$567,0006.2%/yr
Public Records
Mar 29, 2013Pending
EBRD #40606250
Mar 29, 2013Pending (Pending - Show for Backups)
EBRD #40606250
Mar 24, 2013Pending
EBRD #40606250
Mar 8, 2013Listed (New)
$499,000
EBRD #40606250
Nov 28, 1995
Sold (Public Records)
$200,0002.6%/yr
Public Records
Sold (Public Records)
This home was
 
$210,000
 
 
On And Off
Whew, this place has
been on and off the market many, many times.
 
  
 
What does that mean dear readers? When A house goes on and off the market over and over?
It looks like the current owners bought in 2013 for $567,000. A year later they listed it and its
gone on and off the market ever since.

Hmmmmmmm, I wonder if there are any 'hidden conditions'. Assuming all those people above
got their own inspections wouldn't there be a TON of disclosure documents? Gosh, I sure hope
someone's not being dishonest and hiding bad inspection reports.

The only thing that I keep thinking is, 'Man, there has to be something really wrong with it
for it to keep coming back on the market.


And that's the way I see it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knife Catching 2063 Alameda 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.
Knife Catching 2063 Alameda Ave.
Up for review today is 2063 Alameda Ave. which has the official specs of being a 4-4 of
4086 sq ft built in 1890 on a 7500 sq ft lot now going for the low low price of....$2.15M It was
originally on sale for $2.3M but the seller dropped the price after being on the market for 121 days.
Wow, really it was on the market that long and they didn't think about dropping the price till now?

I have to admit that I've been following this house for my own selfish reasons. On paper this house is
the house that mostly closely resembles Chez 3.0. So, if this place sold for $2.3M then that means
Chez 3.0 is also worth $2.3M right? riiiiiiiiiight, I wish. After way too long they dropped it to $2.15
which is a more sane number, I mean, it is a lot of house. Unfortunately for them our house just got
appraised for $1.3M so there is A LOT of distance between what they want and what the market
thinks is worth. Nevertheless I will be watching what this place sells for intently.

The house is advertised as a 6-5 and I can't honestly tell where the extra bedrooms come in on the
permit record. According to the permit record it also looks like its still on its original brick foundation! If I was going to buy this house I would make the seller match up the work to the permit
record. I've read the long convoluting records and I can't tell what's legal and what's not.

Buyer Beware more than usual.

And that's the way I see it.
 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Knife Catching 2719 Clay 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.
Knife Catching 2719 Clay St.

Todays house has the official specs of being a 3-2 of 1846 sq ft on a 3825 corner lot going for
the low, low price of.......$985k!!!!
Yep that's right, 1846 sq ft for $985k!?!?!?!?!?

Now I've looked at the specs, and I've looked at the pics and wow, this is a really cute little
place. But Holy Moly $985k!?!?! gah.

I looked at the permit record and I found a few hiccups (a house going for this much $/sq ft
should not have any hiccups). Hiccup #1 the listing is claiming a .5 bath more than the public
facts and I can find no permit record for it. Also, take a look at the kitchen area....does that look
original to you or does it look brand new?  No kitchen remodeling permit pulled that I can see.

So, cute little house with an unknown amount of illegal construction on a privacy free corner lot
all for the low, low price of $985k.

GAH! I say, GAH!

And that's the way I see it.


 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Knife Catching 1717 Encinal 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.

Knife Catching 1717 Encinal Ave.


Up for review today is 1717 Encinal Ave. which has the official specs of being a 2-1.5 on
one floor with a whopping 2115 sq ft. on a 6300 sq ft lot built in 1910 on sale for $729,900.
Its advertised as a multi-level building with a finished basement with a full bath and
two additional bedrooms, ahem.

To the official online permit records! Guess what they tell me? That a permit to renovate the house
has never been pulled! EVER! The basement was finished and a full bath was added with no permits.
I can't tell from the pictures exactly but it sure looks to me like the interior of the house is newer
than 1910.....hmmmmmmm.

From the picture it also looks like the house has asbestos siding! Yikes!!!

So we have a house that was NEVER OFFICALLY UPGRADED!, with lots of illegal
construction, it should sell for under asking right, nope!
What is going on here?
Okay I was a little late with this one cause its already sold!!!
Guess for how much? It went for well over asking!

The final sale price is, gulp, $890k!!!!
Oh for the love of Pete.
How, how, how can a house with so many issues go for so much more!!!
People, they be crazy.

2115 sq ft for $890,000. These people must have all cash offers as I can't believe that it would
honestly appraise out.
Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Knife Catching 1187 Regent 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.

I thought the last place was bad but this place takes the cake.


1187 Regent St, Alameda, CA 94501

2 beds1 bath1,092 sqft     

$774,900
Zestimate®: $620,513    
 
Ron Pilgrim - Agt: (925) 584-7214 - Beautiful curb appeal. Large eat-in kitchen, tile counters, SS range and hood, a lot of storage. Large bedrooms with shared updated bath. Family room and formal room w/built-ins. 2 pane windows, electrical updated. Street level has a garage, laundry room, storage area, workshop. Nice backyard patio.

Facts

  • Lot: 4,415 sqft
  • Single Family
  • Built in 1895
  • 8 days on Zillow
  • Cooling: Central
  • Heating: Forced air
  • Price/sqft: $710
  • MLS #: 40683379
What do y'all think? Is it going to sell like a hotcake?
Really, $774,900 for a 1100sq ft 2-1........REALLY!!!
What in tarnation is going on here?
If this place sells I'll know the bubble is popping. 

GAH!!!! $775k for 1100sqft......GAH!!!!!

Update
HOLY CRAP THE PLACE IS PENDING ALREADY!!!!
OKAY FOLKS IF THIS ISNT EVIDENCE THAT WE ARE
IN A CRAZY BUBBLE I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS.


PENDING, WHO WOULDA THUNK IT!?!?!?!?!?!?

Knife Catching 2343 Thompson 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.

Knife Catching 2343 Thompson Ave.

From the Zillow page we have the basic facts below. 

3243 Thompson Ave, Alameda, CA 94501

3 beds2 baths2,324 sqft

For Sale
$950,000
Zestimate®: $972,422
 
RAY LEE PEREIRA - Agt: (510) 523-4014 - Located on Alameda's Christmas Tree Lane.

Facts

  • Lot: 5,599 sqft
  • Single Family
  • Built in 1925
  • 11 days on Zillow
  • Cooling: Central
  • Heating: Forced air
  • Price/sqft: $409
  • MLS #: 40683190

Features

  • Flooring: Carpet, Hardwood, Linoleum / Vinyl
  • Parking: Garage - Detached, Off street, 2 spaces

Appliances Included

  • Dishwasher
  • Garbage disposal
  • Range / Oven

Room Types

  • Dining room

Construction

  • Construction quality: 6.0
  • Exterior material: Stucco
  • Roof type: Other
  • Room count: 7
  • # Stories: 1.0
  • Structure type: Bungalow
  • Unit count: 1

Other

  • Floor size: 2,324 sqft
  • Heating: Gas
  • Last remodel year: 1932
  • Parcel #: 069 010904400
  • Zillow Home ID: 24857363

Check out the pics at the redfin page.

All I gotta says is.......'What smoke where they cracking when they listed this?
2324 sq ft with a horribly outdated kitchen.......for $950,000!!!!!!
That's more than we paid for chezneumansky3.0 and that house is literally twice the size!
$950,000 for a house with a bad kitchen....I just don't get it....

Real Estate has gone insane again in our little island town. Guess its time to bring out the snark!

I almost forgot, the lot size is a not huge 3700 sq ft....hard to loss
the kids there.


How small can the houses get  before the price goes back down?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The 2015 Cost Vs. Value Report

Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost Vs. Value report was just recently released.

I believe that it is a good idea for DIY'ers and pros to look at the report. As a DIY'er you can
see how much its supposed to cost and you can compare what you actually paid to
the projected cost to figure out your new, better payback.

For the pros you can see how your numbers match up to average costs and if your numbers
are way higher you better have a good explanation locked and loaded.

This also is a good time to talk about whether or not you believe in any of it.
Half of the report seems reasonable. Pro contractors bid the jobs described. The other
half of the report,....well,... Real Estate Pro's (including the reptile realtors) somehow decide
how much the completed jobs will increase the value of the house. Ahem, sounds a bit
hand-wavey to me...

That and I haven't come across a single construction pro who thought the numbers where valid.
At best they are numbers to get you in the ballpark.

Lets take a look a at couple of specific jobs from the Upscale Projects Section.

DECK ADDITION (COMPOSITE)
Add a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4x4 posts anchored to concrete piers. At one corner, add a second, 10-foot-diameter six-sided platform one step down from the main deck. Include stairs on the smaller deck, assuming three steps to grade. Install composite deck
material in a simple linear pattern. Trim the perimeter joists and wrap the 4x4 posts with composite materials to match the decking. Using the same decking material, include a built-in bench and planter along one 16-foot side. On the remaining perimeter, provide a railing system using composite material of and trim should provide contrasting or complementary colors that includes decorative balusters, post caps, and lighting. Railing for overall curb appeal to the outdoor living space by integrating the deck with the home’s color and architecture, creating a custom look.
cost=$45219 Value=$46879 Cost Recouped=103.7%
Wow, a plastic deck is worth more than a quality tropical hardwood deck? Wha?

GARAGE DOOR REPLACEMENT
Remove and dispose of existing 16x7-foot garage door and tracks. Install new 4-section garage door on new heavy-duty galvanized steel tracks; reuse existing motorized opener. New door is high tensile strength steel with two coats of factory applied paint and foam insulated to minimum R-12 with thermal seals between pinch-resistant panels. Windows in top panel are ½-inch insulated glass. Hardware includes galvanized steel hinges and ball-bearing urethane rollers. Lifetime warranty.
Cost= $3298 Value=$5150  Cost Recouped= 156.2%
So, I've three garage doors and if I replace them all I'll have........a jillion dollars! Did I do that
math right?

GRAND ENTRANCE (FIBERGLASS)
Remove existing 3-0/6-8 entry door and cut and reframe opening for a 12-36-12 entrance door with dual side lites. Move double gang electrical box with two switches. Fiberglass door blank matches upscale entry, including color, threshold, lockset, and decorative half-glass; side lites match door. PVC-wrapped exterior trim in color to match existing trim; wider interior colonial or ranch casings (3.5-inch to cover new jack studs) in hardwood stained to match door. All work to be completed in one day.
Cost=$8475  Value=$9942  Cost Recouped=117.3%
Wow again, fiberglass is the upscale choice.

SIDING REPLACEMENT (FIBER-CEMENT)
Replace 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new fiber cement siding, factory primed and factory painted. Include all 4/4 and 5/4 trim using either fiber-cement boards or cellular PVC.
Cost=$18587  Value=$23963  Cost Recouped=128.9%
I guess fiber cement is long lasting and can come factory painted.

WINDOW REPLACEMENT (VINYL)
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite vinyl windows. Simulated wood-grain interior finish; custom-color exterior finish. Trim exterior to match existing; do not disturb existing interior trim.
Cost=$12867  Value=$13640  Cost Recouped=106.0%
Yay, vinyl!!!!
 

WINDOW REPLACEMENT (WOOD)
Replace 10 existing 3-by-5-foot double-hung windows with insulated, low-E, simulated-divided-lite wood windows. Interior finish of stained hardwood; exterior finish of custom-color aluminum cladding. Trim exterior to match existing; do not disturb existing interior trim.
Cost=$20296  Value=$23559  Cost Recouped=116.1%
Finally a wood thing returns decent value...
 
Those are all the projects on the upscale side that return more than 100%.

I don't know if any of the above makes sense. It seems like we are seeing other
factors rolled up with those numbers. Currently houses around here are appreciating
like mad. In the upscale list of jobs the lowest performer was 83.6% for a master suite addition
while the national ave return is only 53.7%.

Or, in other words, 'Real Estate is Crazy Around Here.'



 





 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The HELOC Loan That Almost Happened

Missed it by that much.........

I have to relate to y'all mind-bendingly stupid situation we are in because we applied
for a HELOC loan.

Oh, for the past months or so we've been jumping through all kinds of hoops (like getting a certificate of occupancy from the city) with the loan
company to get this friggen loan. Good news is that the 'done Chez' is worth $1.3M
according to the appraisal (now everyone run to Zillow to see what we paid for it).
I think that number is a bit low but home owners always think so. I personally was hoping for
something like $1.5M, but hey, you take what you can get I guess.

Now onto the stupid part
We have been slowly racking up credit card dept as we put house remodeling supplies
on our cards (yay lots of air miles). All along on this journey with the underwriter our
only goal was to consolidate all our high interest rate cards and pay one much smaller
rate.
Well, in the two months these guys were jerking us around our loan to debt ratio went in
a way that made us getting the loan impossible. Even though the loan was to pay off the
credit cards! Their computerized system won't allow the loan and there is apparently nothing
any flesh and blood person can do about it!

Lame, lame, lame.
Talk about wanting to take a pound of flesh and blood from that damn computer system.....

 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

My Absolute Favorite Comment Ever!

The other day when I was otherwise indisposed I got a really, truly repellant comment.
I've had a lot of obnoxious comments over the years, mostly from Realtors I think, but this
one takes the cake.

Check it out.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The Apartment,.......Is it done yet???":

I'd like to rent this,but you are not my kind of landlord. So busy trashing other people's homes and beating up your wife. Not my kind of landlord. On Thanksgiving no less.Character and ethics just aren't your strong suit. Happy Holidays!

Yep, the nastiest most personal comment ever.

Now I'm no angel for sure but I can tell anyone
who cares that I am not now, nor have I ever been
a 'wife beater'. Anyone who knows me would know
that I would never, ever raise my hand to anyone smaller
or weaker than me. Its anathema to my being.

Now, in more oversharing I have recently been diagnosed with;
PTSD from (none of your F'ing business) that has given me a
major depressive disorder and a major anxiety disorder. Like I
always say, 'I'm not perfect.' I'm on the right meds now and am
doing a lot better.

You evil retarded scumbag who wrote the comment above.
I talk about houses I do not do personal attacks on people.
If I have, please point it out to me so I can fix that mistake.
Folks, you need to separate yourselves from your houses. Its
just a possession, a thing, its not you.

Now I have some suspicions as to who wrote the above comment but
I will not air them here. Stop me on the street and ask if you really must know.

Up Next:
Knife Catching again!?!?!?!

Why Does It Take Me So Long To Do Everything?

Number 27.4 in a series of oversharing with my imaginary friends.

When I'm talking to people, family members, friends, I often get the
impression that folks are implying that it is taking me too long to
do my many, many, many remodeling tasks.

One of my fav things to hear is, 'Are ya done yet?.....how bout now?
No?...........how bout now?

Yes, it does take me longer than it should to do a lot of the tasks. Wanna
know why? I gots a very, very, very bad back.
Mr. famous UCSF spine surgeon said, 'You have the back of an 80yr old
day laborer.' Yay!!!

Below is a comparison study of two different MRI's. Take a read.

EXAMINATION: MRI LUMBOSACRAL SPINE. 7/11/2013.  
 
HISTORY: Back pain and radiculopathy.  
 
COMPARISON: 9/16/2011.  
 
TECHNIQUE: GE HDxt 1.5T Magnet. T2 sagittal, T1 sagittal, IR  
sagittal, T2 axial.  
 
FINDINGS:   
T11-T12: The disc is relatively narrowed. There is no disc bulge  
or protrusion. Central canal and neural foramina are normal.  
 
T12-L1: The disc is diminished in height and signal. There is  
slight disc bulge. There is no significant narrowing of the  
central canal or foramina.  
 
L1-L2: The disc is normal in height and signal. There is a  
moderate size right paracentral disc protrusion projecting  
approximate 4 mm from the posterior disc margin compressing the  
lateral aspect of the thecal sac and causing mild narrowing of  
the right nerve root canal. This has increased since previous  
examination. The left foramen is widely patent.  
 
L2-L3: The disc is normal in height and signal. There is no disc  
bulge or protrusion. Central canal and neural foramina are  
normal.  
 
 
L3-L4: The disc is normal in height and signal. There is no disc  
bulge or protrusion. Central canal and neural foramina are  
normal. There is no evidence of facet joint arthropathy.  
 
 
L4-L5: The disc is diminished in height and signal. There is a  
broad-based disc protrusion encroaching the ventral subarachnoid  
space causing mild narrowing of the neural foramina bilaterally.  
There is no significant facet joint arthropathy. There has been  
no change since previous examination.  
 
L5-S1: The disc is diminished in height and signal. There is a  
broad-based disc protrusion with associated annular tear  
projecting slightly more to the right. There is moderate  
narrowing of the neural foramina bilaterally. No significant  
narrowing of the central canal. There is mild facet joint  
arthropathy. There has been no change since previous  
examination.  
 
Alignment of the spine is normal. The vertebral bodies are well  
maintained in height and demonstrate normal marrow signal. No  
evidence of spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis. The tip of the  
conus is at the L1-2 level. The cauda equina roots are normal.  
There is no evidence of intraspinal or paraspinous mass.  
 
 

Impression:
 
IMPRESSION:   
  
L1-2: Increase in size of right paracentral disc protrusion  
narrowing the right side of the canal and causing moderate  
narrowing of the right foramen.  
  
L4-5: Broad-based disc bulge. No significant narrowing of the  
central canal. Mild narrowing of neural foramina bilaterally. No  
significant change since previous examination.  
  
L5-S1: Broad-based disc bulge with annular tear. No significant  
narrowing of the central canal. Moderate narrowing of neural  
foramina bilaterally. No change since previous examination.

Now I don't speak fancy back doctor but I'm pretty sure what the above means is.

Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!!

Spending an afternoon under the kitchen sink wrestling with plumbing can put me out
of commission for a week.
Carrying lumber out of the truck to wherever a couple of days.
Spending a couple hours on my hands and knees finishing the last of the baseboard
trim, a couple of days also.

Yay for me!