Loss leaders: October 2008 Archives
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,694 sqft, $740,000
You might think $437 / sqft isn't too bad, and it's certainly a bargain compared to two years ago:
$740000 36 Sea Bridge (alameda) (map)
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org [?]
Date: 2008-10-31, 3:05PM PDT
Sunny one level House in great location. Remodeled Kitchen. Updated bath w/ skylight. Elegant Wood floors. 2 patio doors. High catherdal ceiling. Sunnny floor plan with atrium. Cul-de-sac. private backyard w/ hot tub. Spacious front driveway. Steps to lagoon path, school & shopping. No bonds.
You read right, somebody paid almost $500 / sqft for a boring late-1970s rancher in a tightly-packed neighborhood filled with boring 1970s ranchers.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 09/08/2006: $842,000
- 2008 Property Tax: $10,248
Why Ringo Liu doesn't mention the potentially appealing fact this property is within walking distance from Alameda's giant golf course is a mystery. Maybe people have learned that "near the golf course" also means "near the Oakland airport."
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,035 sqft, 2,250-sqft lot, $134 / month HOA, $499,000 $482 / sqft)
This well-priced detached two bedroom two bathroom home on Harbor Bay in the tranquil Normandy development offers a great opportunity at $499,000.
The single story home is located on a tree lined court, within steps to the community pool and park. Shopping, bayside trails, and ferry service to San Francisco are all within a half mile.
The home's open and functional floor plan features vaulted ceilings and a unique open hallway that enhances the living space. Everything is located on a single floor for convenient living.
The master suite has a full bath and sliding glass doors that open to the sunny patio. The kitchen features tile floor and counters with modern appliances and a breakfast nook.
Both bedrooms sport newly installed carpet and the living/dining area and hallway are enhanced with newly installed high quality flooring.
Also featured is an attached 2 car garage with laundry hookups and direct access to the kitchen.
All these great qualities add up to a special opportunity to own a detached home on Harbor Bay!
Was it a great opportunity two years ago, too?
I'm getting really tired of agents calling overpriced properties (we're still talking about half a million dollars for a hair over 1,000 square feet, for goodness' sake) "great opportunities" just because they're listed for less than their previous excessive price. A "great opportunity" is a house whose price is not only affordable but on the low side compared to similar properties, or comparably priced but special and desirable in some way. An unremarkable little house on a handkerchief-sized lot that happens to be somewhat less overpriced than it was a couple of years ago does not qualify.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 08/01/2006: $590,000
- 2008 Property Tax: $7,358
3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,249 sqft, 3,000-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40378425, $394,900You may remember this property from when it was known as MLS(r) #40287584 and trying to sell itself honorably in the mid $500s (here's the current Trulia page with a wonky prior transaction price of $6,130,182 back in April, 2007):
REO bargain priced below comps. [...] fixer needs work but priced to sell! [...] full basement [...] Ideal neighborhood of much more expensive houses makes this a worthwhile investement.
If you've been to that part of town, you know the only reason the other houses on the block are more expensive is because this one is cheaper, which is not completely tautological--it's like saying the clearance aisle at the Dollar Store is in an ideal store of much more expensive items, as opposed to, say, strolling through Saks and finding an ever-so-slightly scuffed pair of Dior pumps with a 10% off tag.
The sale history is a bit odd:
Whatever actually happened in 2007, it's certainly remarkable to have added $150,000 to the loan balance in just 9 years and still have a "fixer" that "needs work." Sure, foundations don't come cheap, and the previous listing claimed the property's was just ten years
The previous listing also noted a remodeled kitchen with new tile floor and cabinets; just how much more work is needed in this house? And if it needed everything redone, why pay that much in 1999?
A closer look at one of the pictures reveals an interesting taste in door and window designs (note there's no date available,
The little house four blocks away we looked at a few weeks ago now has a friend in misery. Expect more as the winter frost starts biting.
3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,980 sqft, 5,040-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40377243, $799,000
Georgeous and spacious! [...] original styling and tasteful updates. Move-in condition, excellent layout. [...] serene backyard. Beautiful, recently remodeled in-law cottage [...] Coveted East End location!
I wonder if the property's ZipRealty agent, Marissa Kjera, is new to Alameda, because that section of Otis is not exactly a "Coveted East End location." It's not bad, if you don't mind the constant flow of commuter traffic to and from 94502 and the Oakland airport, but it's not the East End that drives people crazy. Here's a helpful labeled chart for Ms. Kjera's future listings:
1,980 sqft makes for a nice big house, and $799,000 is a nice big price ($404 / sqft, buyers not found). But what with those pesky agent commissions and the recently remodeled cottage, maybe our sellers can't afford to list it for a more realistic price:
The property tax alone makes me shudder, not covet.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 03/31/2005: $750,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $9,361
2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,389 sqft, 1,980-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40376605, $588,000
Alameda's Gold Coast calls those who want a fine neighborhood AND a classic Colonial Revival. [...] small lot has an afternoon sun-drenched garden. Nice sized rooms on both levels [...] surrounded by many of Alameda's large stunning properties.
From the outside, it's pretty and certainly holds its own against its neighbors; at least as much as the big Craftsman right next door to the Zeus temple building a couple of blocks away, if it weren't for the tiny lot and possible garagelessness. But what's of interest is that the asking price is almost reasonable given the area ($423 / sqft), and is strategically below $600,000, which seems to be the sweet spot for "starter homes" in Alameda--except it's a lot larger and/or in an arguably better neighborhood than most of its sub-$600K brethren. Another notable tidbit is that $600,000 is precisely what the owner paid four years ago, almost to the day:
The list price is also less than the current Zestimate of $615,000, the much-maligned inaccuracy of which some agents are very willing to ignore when it serves their interest.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 10/19/2004: $600,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $7,644
Unless there's something truly wretched about this property, I expect it won't last terribly long.
Update 2/22/09: Thanks to readers bespoke and Alameda Realtor, who pointed out this property is back on the market as MLS(r) #40396374, at a lower price ($565,000).
Update 3/21/09: Dropped to $549,000. Death by a thousand price cuts. Maybe next time the owner will buy a property with a garage (or at least a driveway) and more than 24 inches separating it from its neighbor.
Any non-round list price makes me suspicious there might be some foreclosure action going on, so I went over to Zillow to check things out, and sure enough...
I'm beginning to feel a bit like Oscar the nursing home cat.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 09/17/2008: $483,230 *
- 2008 Property Tax: $7,078* Transaction not included in Zestimate.
- Transaction Not Included in Zestimate
- This transaction was not used in computing the Zestimate for this house due to anomalies we detected with this transaction. These anomalies can include unusual document or transaction types, sales between possibly related parties, unusually high or low transaction prices, or other data irregularities that might indicate the transaction is not a full-value, arms-length transaction.
Update 12/04/08: Dropped to $463,900 this week. Below the foreclosed amount, even.
Good luck, or not.
4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,300 sqft, MLS(r) #, $599,000The location is great if you like peace and quiet--it's at the end of a cul-de-sac--but less so if you like large lots. I couldn't find the lot's square footage anywhere, but judging by the Google map's aerial view, it doesn't look too big. The property (or part thereof) appears to have been used as the headquarters for a painting business named Grand Finishes.
Victorian Duplex Pride of Ownership , 2 floors, harwood floors
Listed at $599,000 ($461 / sqft), it's probably going to sell reasonably quickly, although the current credit contraction + holiday season combo is not exactly playing in its favor. It's also not clear how it would be cash-flow-positive as an investment property, given that a 6.5%-interest mortgage assuming 20% down is at least $3,000 / month, not counting maintenance or property tax, and I have a hard time imagining either unit in this house renting for much more than
It certainly hasn't been a terribly cash-flow-positive investment for the current owners:
Who exactly thought this little house justified paying almost three quarters of a million?
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 09/30/2005: $720,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $9,404
Update 11/3/08: Here's a bank that doesn't mess around. Priced at $420,000 today.
Update 11/20/08: A reader reported this property sold for $476,000, a 34% drop in value from its previous transaction just three years ago. Yay (and thanks for the tip)!
Update 11/25/08: Back/still on the market?
Update 1/2/09: Still on the market.
Update 1/11/09: Back on the market with new agent, new price ($380,000), and old musty smells. Thanks to the commenters who pointed this out.
Great buy!!!!!!!!!!The house itself is a hair over 1,000 sqft (on a 2,970-sqft lot), yet it boasts 2 stories, 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. It's currently listed at $545,000. It makes me wonder if it's just a shotgun house that someone stood upright (no good photos available). The public records on Zillow indicate only 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, and a bizarrely expensive transaction in 2007:
Maybe the 2007 transaction was some intra-family transfer with a
Sale History 10/04/2007: $770,000 * 12/29/2004: $550,000 01/07/1999: $167,318 05/18/1993: $149,500 * Transaction not included in Zestimate.
Whatever the case may be, though, this great buy is listed for less than was paid for it not just the last time around, but the time before that as well, which is a first on this blog.
Update 1/23/09: Price dropped from $545,000 to $525,000 in mid December.
Update 3/11/09: Price drop bonanza:
$545,000 to $525,000 on 12/19/08Imagine what a truly fantastic buy this must be now that it's 24% off its "great buy!!!!!!!!!!" price.
$525,000 to $505,000 on 01/31/09
$505,000 to $495,000 on 02/13/09
$495,000 to $415,000 on 03/02/09
Update 1/10/09: Finally sold on 11/25/09 for $400,000.
3 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,327 sqft, tiny approx. 2,600-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40374902, $598,000
(no description at all)
There isn't much to see on the Google Street View map, and aerially the only notable geographical information about this property is that it sits on a tiny corner lot at the busy intersection of Broadway and Encinal.
The last two sales are so recent they're easy to find on various sites (agent Joe LoParo; SFGate and again in 2006). Interestingly, only the 2005 transaction seems to have left a trace on agent sites.
Back in 2005, the property was described as:
Sale History 09/01/2006: $645,000 05/17/2005: $520,000 04/22/1997: $135,000
This 3/1 Needs Some TLC But Can Be A Great Family Home Partial Basement.[...]Based on the fire that caused an estimated $75,000 worth of damage in 2006, one imagines it might still need some TLC if it's anything like the other property that suffered $75,000 worth of fire damage around the same time:
Structure Fire on BroadwayDecember, 2006
On December 25, 2006 at 5:31 a.m., the Alameda Fire Department responded to a reported house fire at 1256 Broadway. Upon arrival fire crews found fire in a second floor bedroom extending into the attic. The department initially responded with three engines, two aerial ladder trucks, one ambulance and the Duty Chief. Fire crews made an interior attack on the second floor and in the attic area. A second alarm was requested and arrived on the scene. Fire cause is presently under investigation by Fire Investigator Captain Ken Rankin. Structural loss estimated at $75,000 and contents at $10,000.
It can't be fun to have a fire on your first Christmas in your brand new house, especially if you paid too much for it ($486 / sqft) just three months before. Equally fun is putting it back on the market two years later for $47,000 less (plus commissions and fire damage repairs).
Update 11/14/08: Price dropped to $575,000 this week, and this interesting graphic on ZipRealty:
Update 12/04/08: Price dropped to $535,000 this week.
Update 1/22/09: Price dropped to $499,000 on 1/12/09.
Update 9/28/09: Sold for $440,000. Jolly well done.
Today's brilliant financial move is what looks like a small Victorian chopped up into two units, on the 1500 block of Santa Clara.
2x 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, 1,572 sqft, no lot size available, MLS(r) #40374298, $449,000
Appealing investment opportunity! Upstairs [...] 1 bedroom and 1 bath with 2 bonus rooms, [...] updated kitchen and bathroom. Downstairs [...] updated kitchen. [...] Desirable location!
Interestingly, the previous sale price wasn't all that high, especially for 2004. It makes you wonder how much of the "updated kitchen(s)" was financed using a HELOC.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 05/14/2004: $405,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $5,797
I don't know what's going on in that part of Santa Clara, but it seems to be a hotbed of foreclosures and dilapidated houses. Maybe it's the bend in the street just a block to the east? Or the church across the street?
Update 1/1/09: Sold for $465,000.
4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 1,725 sqft, approx. 5,200-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40373096, $788,000
[...] elegant architectural design in East End. Close to parks, schools, [...] Cathedral ceiling & frpl in living rm, [...] updated chef's kitchen, den/fam room w/French doors [...] Fig, plum, apple & citrus trees.(resized thumbnail from property web site shown under fair use, not EBRD copyrighted photo)
I wonder how much of the house is being claimed as a business tax deduction by Gleicher Employment Law Group, a law firm headquartered at 1101 College Avenue. This sure gives a new meaning to "in-house counsel". Perhaps the basketball hoop and the stainless steel appliances are legit business expenses--you want to be able to entertain your big clients:
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 02/10/2005: $790,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $9,819
Founder D'Anne Gleicher started the Gleicher Employment Law Group to address the growing need for pragmatic, focused, and cost-efficient employment law advice and counsel; human resource investigations; and training. [...]
Principal of the Gleicher Employment Law Group, D'Anne Gleicher, was naturally drawn to employment law. She has a superior understanding of employment law, an easy confident manner, and truly enjoys the professionals with whom she interacts.
[...] Before founding the Gleicher Employment Law Group, D'Anne worked as an in-house employment counsel for a dynamic Fortune 500 company
I'm also curious how big that "group" really is--nobody other than D'Anne Gleicher is listed anywhere on their site.
That said, maybe the whole home-based business thing is a solution to parental logistics for Ms. Gleicher, and I certainly can't fault anybody for working out of their homes--if nothing else, it saves energy.
For some moms, like me, what hurts is a deep-seated notion that we should be better parents than our spouses — more instinctive, more inventive, more in tune with our kids' needs. D'Anne Gleicher of Alameda, California, finds herself battling this idea when her daughter is sick. Because she can't get paid time off from her job as an attorney, her husband is usually the one to stay home with Ava, 8. "I know he's very capable of caring for her, but I want to believe I'm better at it than he is — even though I'm not. I think it's the whole 'I'm the mommy and I can fix anything.' It's almost like a savior thing."
Update 10/5/08: I wonder how recent the blue-and-red paint job is. The house is yellow in a Google street view, which only came online a few months ago in Alameda. I like the red trim better, so I hope the photo on the property's own site is current.
Update 1/1/09: Sold for $770,500, unless that funny price is a typo for $775,000.
- 1800 Alameda Avenue, a bitsy Gold Coasty Craftsman
- 1724 Alameda Avenue, a large Gold Goasty "Italianate" with 2 structures on an enormous lot
- 1101 College Avenue, a grossly overpriced, probably upside-down East End home
- A mysterious, expensive, address-less Gold Coast house
- A less mysterious, overpriced house in the East End
- A very expensive fourplex built in the 1960s at 1354 Pearl