Results tagged “mediterranean” from Knife Catchers
It's back (MLS #40505847) over two years later, apparently in the same condition--the agent is using the same photo, the price is in the same ballpark, and it's advertised as a "contractor special". Especially touching is the use of the same photo twice, with different aspect ratios, perhaps to highlight how versatile this house is, all 856 sqft of it. Or perhaps because the interior is NSFW.
The MLS(r) description says this:
Fixer! Priced to Quick Sale in Central Alameda. GREAT Opportunity! Buy low as a fixer and still have good value after fixing up! Not a Short Sale but is a distress sale and owers must Sell Now! Don't wait!!
The thing about fixing a house up is that there are fixed costs to the fixing, regardless of how small the house is. Your kitchen may be half the size of the average kitchen, but you're likely to spend more than half as much for a given finish level, if only because your appliances don't care where they live and cost the same in a 8x8 kitchenette as they do in a 20x20 gourmet extravaganza. In general, the smaller the house, the less (resale) value you're getting for a given improvement dollar, all else equal. Based on the original listing description, I wouldn't be surprised if the total cost of rehabbing this place was north of $50,000, bringing the TCO to a minimum of $300,000, or $350 / sqft for a tiny house on a tiny lot. Does that still constitute "good value after fixing up" in this market? You tell me.
Today’s “new” listing inspired me to dust off one of my old gripes about the real estate industry, namely its lack of transparency and borderline dishonesty.
3229 Fernside Boulevard came on the market this week, with the following specs:
4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,172 sqft, 6,439-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40453128, $895,000
Traditional Mediterranean family home of highest caliber.[…] Living rm w/ fireplace, office rm w/ built-in book cases & French doors which lead outside. […] wonderful backyard […]
Given the size, lot size, waterfront location, and tax-credit-fueled buying frenzy, there's nothing outrageous about the $895,000 price tag (although $412 / sqft is silly in almost any circumstances).
What really galls me about this listing is that, on March 2, 2010, over 15 years after the Web started gaining acceptance, 6 years after we sent unmanned rovers to another planet, the real estate industry and its various players still can't, or won't, get their act together and tell people the truth about their listings.
I surveyed several sites' records of this property and I am appalled to report that none of them paints an accurate picture of this listing.
- Redfin promises to give you the skinny, but hides it behind a registration wall due to MLS(r) rules. And even after you log in, you get no information about previous prices.
- Trulia shows the current price and its list date says "more than 180 days ago", but there's no mention of previous list prices.
- Yahoo! is completely out of date and doesn't even have an MLS(r) number.
- Kijiji suggests the listing is just one month old.
- Movoto, MLS East Bay and Sawbuck (never heard of them before) come out and say or imply the listing is brand new ("On site: 1 Days" could be interpreted as "new listing" or "new listing as far as we know", but I'd bet money most people pick the former).
- Cal Home Finder says the listing is pending at the old price and MLS(r) number.
What will it take for the real estate industry to get its act together and stop misleading people looking to spend six-plus figures on a house? I'm not holding out any hope for the industry to self-regulate, considering the myriad conflicts of interest: not telling the public a property has been on the market for a long time creates a false sense of urgency, which may help a sale, which helps the agent earn a commission, a percentage of which goes to NAR in the form of dues, so any transparency and data freshness rules are simply not going to be enforced.
What's blocking the establishment of a single, open, publicly-accessible, up-to-date repository of property information about for-sale listings, so that consistent, accurate information is available to consumers on any site they choose to visit? It's not that technology isn't available to achieve this. If Google can update its index of billions of Web pages from the entire world multiple times every day, surely a database containing a few million listings and a few hundred million data points can be kept up to date and published on a daily basis.
It all boils down to archaic, arcane, and paranoid barriers erected around real estate listing information by an industry fighting tooth and nail against its inexorable obsolescence.
2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,274 sqft, MLS(r) #40428088, $725,000 ($569 / sqft)
[...] charming split level house in the east end of Alameda. Light and airy, with french doors and paned windows. Beautiful moldings and wood work mantel fireplace. [...]
Property History for 1610 High St
|Sep 05, 2009||Listed||$725,000|
|Mar 13, 2001||Sold||$412,000|
Update 9/5/09: One of the MLS(r) photos that I'm not allowed to show here shows a bedroom with two overstuffed beds, presumably for two children who don't really fit into a 2-bedroom house. $725,000? Seriously?
Update 12/6/09: Dropped to $705,000, then to $685,000.
Update 4/11/10: Sold for $610,000.
YOU MUST SEE to enjoy this charming, two-bedroom two-bath Spanish influenced California bungalow. Located in a wonderful Alameda East End neighborhood near Otis School. This freshly painted home welcomes you with beautifully refinished hardwood floors throughout. The living room and dining room have dark wood original moldings and baseboards along with a built in china hutch. The kitchen, adjacent family room and second bathroom are additions to the original property extending the living space out to an awesome refurbished deck - perfect for relaxing or entertaining! Priced at $535,000---come make this your home!I can already hear first-time buyers go "look! we can afford it!" and sign their names on the line that is dotted, not realizing they'll outgrow the sub-1,000-sqft floorplan in a year or two (or a baby or two) and be unable to sell for what they paid for it.
Update 9/19/09: Sold for $510,000 on 7/31/09.
4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 bathrooms, 2,925 sqft, 4,013-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40400068, $799,000The sale history might be a lesson for future buyers:
Master developmnt [...] W/ Newer elementary Sch. Spacious Private sunny courtyard & backyard w/ morning & afternoon sun. [...] Extra large master suite. [...] Formal dining rm w/ spacious kitchen & lots of cabinets. Big family Rm. Anderson window.
But we know all too well home buyers aren't exactly the most prudent type, so somebody will probably think this is a great bargain at $273 / sqft and buy it near list price in the worst down market in US history. Oh well.
Property History for 310 BRYANT Ave
Date Event Price Mar 14, 2009 Listed $799,000 Aug 19, 2005 Sold $861,000
2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1,249 sqft, 5,016-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40399978(as of this writing, the MLS(r) description is a terse "Fabu").
Redfin and other MLS(r) sites show this as a new listing, but ZipRealty says it was listed on 1/14/09 (2 months ago).
The sale history suggests this little 2+1 is probably almost paid off:
A little history shows what happened to nominal prices between 1987 and the late 1990s (not much), so if we generously call this a $400,000 house before the 21st-century price runup, you might think it'd fetch something in the low $600,000s today (around $500 / sqft because of the waterfront premium), which is consistent with the presumed assessment value the $6,283 property tax is based on.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 07/30/1987: $340,000
- 2008 Property Tax: $6,283
Appropriately, this "fabu" property is listed for a paltry $1,150,000, which not even the inflated price tag of its neighbor at 3045 Marina Drive rivals on a per-sqft basis ($921 / sqft v. $872 / sqft after $400K price drop for 3045 Marina Drive).
The waterfront must be crawling with yard signs.
Rather than a full write-up on each of those properties, which would be singularly tedious, I thought I'd try the old compare-and-contrast approach in a handy little table.
|Address||3231 Fernside||3237 Fernside||3343 Fernside||2921 Marina||3045 Marina|
|Price / sqft||$611||$429||$338||$523|
|Prev. sale date||12/2/2003|
|Prev. sale amount||$690,000|
|Prev. sale date||6/2/1995|
|Prev. sale amount||$265,500|
|Odds of full-price sale||Medium||Low||Low||Low||Not happening|
|Agent||Keiko McDonah||George Borikas||Roberta Rossi||Bobbi Vogel||Nancy Hacker|
|Description||SELLER MOTIVATED - WILL CONSIDER ANY OFFER!!! 3+ bedroom home with water view and access. 40' Deep Water Dock. In Alameda's desirable "Edison School District". House may be larger then county records states. Up-dated kitchen, baths, newer windows and roof||Quiet Sophistication - Formal yet casual living in this 4 bedroom, 3 bath with all the rooms necessary. 46 foot deep water dock, a boat house , Large multi-level deck and an entertainment room with kitchen facilities if the weather becomes inclement. Refinished hardwood floors. Ready to move in!||Waterfront with dock and large deck w/ hot tub. Views of San Leandro bay & Estuary. Vaulted ceilings, spiral stair case, built in fish tank, skylights, balcony decking, BBQ, 2 car garage and ample parking, plus security decorative gate. Both units have separate entrance & laundry||ENJOY LIVING ON THE WATER in this beautiful Fernside home. Built in 1940, this spacious home come with a true deep-water dock and brand new 6,000-pound lift that has never touched the water! Inside, the home features three bedrooms, two baths, hardwood floors, a two car garage. .more! OH 2/15, 2-430||Waterfront with dock and large deck w/ hot tub. Views of San Leandro bay & Estuary. Vaulted ceilings, spiral stair case, built in fish tank, skylights, balcony decking, BBQ, 2 car garage and ample parking, plus security decorative gate. Both units have separate entrance & laundry|
It'll be interesting to see this play out--expect some serious market cannibalization, mostly because the buyer pool for high-end Fernside Mediterraneans (which I suppose excludes the bizarro spaceship at 3343 Fernside) is simply not big enough to move 4 or 5 listings in a short amount of time.
Update 3/5/09: More competition just appeared.
Update 3/11/09: Multiple price drops in a snail's race to the bottom of the marina. Who will be the next property to break $1M?
2921 Marina: $1,079,000 to $1,064,000 on 3/2/09Update 3/13/09: Yet another property, at 3031 Marina Drive, just came on the market.
3237 Fernside: $1,095,000 to $1,065,000 on 3/5/09
3237 Fernside: $1,065,000 to $1,035,000 on 3/7/09
Update 3/21/09: 3237 Fernside dropped to $1,010,000. Can't bring yourself to drop below $1M, eh?
Update 9/5/09: 2921 Marina Drive sold for $800,000, a $279,000 haircut (26% off).
Update 9/29/09: Family room of glass 3045 Marina Drive sold for $950,000 on 9/4/09 (47% off the initial list price).
2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 966 sqft + bonus room, 3,838-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40388323, $499,000Let me quote the juicier bits in case you can't decipher the scaled-down print in the photo:
Hard to believe....but this delightful Spanish bungalow offers something unique: [...]The Gold Coast must have a really wide fringe:
[...] overlooking the backyard which is like one, big patio that requires minimal upkeep
[...] at the fringe of the famed Gold Coast.
But my favorite, by far, is the "one, big patio that requires minimal upkeep" euphemism for "small paved-over backyard":
The Zillow description is also delectable (emphasis added):
Aggressively priced to sell! Where else can you find a property at this price that offers three -- that's right, three garage spaces? The 2-car garage in the rear of the property can be used as a garage, workshop, artist studio, office. Large patio offers minimal upkeep. Home has had lots of upgrades, done with permits! Remodeled kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances. Gas-burning fireplace with remote-control. Spacious yard and patio. Seller is preparing home for sale.I agree it's quite the fantastic find to have THREE parking spaces for your 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom, sub-1000-sqft home, for all the car-driving kids and grandkids you have living with you. You can also rent them out to Gold Coast fringe hobos for a tidy profit. Or maybe Ms. Dimacali is just grasping at straws trying to find something positive about this big garage with a little house in front.
Speaking of renting out the garage, perhaps the current owners are doing just that to offset the loss they're apparently taking on their Gold Coast parking lot:
Sale History & Tax Info Sale History 09/26/2003: $514,000 04/03/2003: $280,000 *
- 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.
3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2 stories, 1,600 sqft, approx. 5,660-sqft lot, boat dock, MLS(r) #40385068This property is reportedly in the DEEP WATER DOCK subdivision of Alameda:
Fabulous waterfront home [...] boat dock. Updated boathouse w/ kitchen & bath. [...] Putting green, 13 fruit trees, brick bbq. [...] totally one of a kind with finest appliances, family room of glass-ready for the most discriminative buyer. Great central location.
I'd like to know what the heck a "family room of glass" is, and in what universe that address is a "central location."
Keen-eyed readers will have noticed that I left the price out, except for the hint in the gray picture above the map.
For the benefit of large-print book aficionados, let me take a moment to display this property's price in a font size that fits its standing as The Most Grotesquely Inflated List Price In All Of Alameda. Drum roll please, as we reveal this home's list price of...
It comes out to
I understand the house has been
I wasn't able to find any sale history, so maybe it's all paid off and the property owners will be able to drop the price by, say, one million dollars or so, to bring it in line with the market.
This is so completely, mind-blowingly insane it almost deserves its own super-epic category.
Update 2/3/09: Another obscenely-priced property showed up on the same block, but at least 2921 Marina Drive has the decency to be priced at $1,079,000 for 2,064 sqft (29% larger, $523 / sqft) and come with a brand new lift (whatever that is).
Update 2/20/09: Price dropped to $1,395,000, perhaps in response to the onslaught of waterfront properties suddenly for sale.
Update 4/25/09: Price dropped to $1,195,000 with new MLS(r) #40406597.
Update 8/10/09: Price dropped to $950,000, with new MLS(r) #40423754. That's 47% off the initial price.
Update 9/29/09: Sold for $950,000.
Help beautify Alameda --- fix up this home!
2BR/1BA Single Family House
Year Built 1925
Sq Footage 856
Bathrooms 1 full, 0 partial
Lot Size 2,520 sqft
Help make Alameda look beautiful and fix up this house!
Not the worst of the worst, but close to it. This is a home a contractor would love. Spanish bungalow needs a total makeover. (Yes, it’s a fixer.)
The dining room was turned into a bedroom 30 years ago, without permits.
The roof leaks. There are holes in the ceiling, the walls, and the floor. Wood floors need refinishing. Paint is peeling inside and out. The bathroom and the kitchen are not pretty. The appliances stay, if you want them. Rickety back stairs. There is no heat, no cooling.
It is chockfull of stuff, including an abandoned Silverado truck in the driveway, a VW Convertible in the garage, and a jet-ski in the backyard.
Its real value lies in the fact that it is a detached single family home on a small lot, albeit a fixer, in the beautiful city of Alameda.
After I was done laughing, I asked myself the following questions:
- what would possess any sane agent to take on this listing?
- how does being a tiny fixer on a tiny lot in a crappy part of town constitute "real value"?
- why on earth is all that junk still on the premises?
- if the dining room is a bedroom, where does one eat?
- when was the last time anybody lived in that hovel (anybody human, that is)?
- what the hell is wrong with whoever priced that monstrosity at (drum roll) $350,000?
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 11/10/1969: $2,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $1,265
Ms. Dimacali: Are you bored? Desperate for a challenge? Doing a friend a favor? What is going on here?
Update 10/19/08: It seems the comments on this post may have had an effect. The copy has been modified from
This is a home a contractor would love.to
This is a project for a contractor.Update 10/29/08: Amusing edits have appeared in the copy.
The owners are working very hard to clear out the mountain of books and other things that have accumulated through the years. (Hallelujah! The abandoned truck has been hauled away. Now, about that VW in the garage....)Who knew writing marketing copy for Craigslist posts could double as occupational (anger management?) therapy?
Update 11/14/08: Price dropped to $299,500.
Update 12/20/08: Rumor has it multiple offers have been turned down. Fact has it the house is still sitting there unsold. My intuition has it it's not going to sell itself.
2919 Fernside is a large-ish Mediterranean home in the "prestigious" Fernside district, with substantially diverging specs depending on where you look.
Zillow (public records) says: 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1,711 sqft, 4,100-sqft lotThe copy in the description is not only all caps, it's completely discombobulated, but no matter. Maybe the media room used to be one of the 4 public-records bedrooms, and the 3rd bath was added on?
Real estate sites say: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2000 sqft, approx. 3,920-sqft lot, MLS(r) #40375131, $799,000
PRESTIGIOUS FERNSIDE DIST. [...] AMAZING HOME HAS 3 BED,INCLUDING A PENTHOUSE MASTER BEDROOM W/SKYLIGHT, [...] COUNTRY KITCHEN [...] LARGE MEDIA ROOM,WITH BATH, [...] PROFESSIONALLY LANDSCAPED YARD. COMPLETE 3 BATHROOMS. 100 YR OLD BRASILIAN TREE
In another stunning turn of events, the agent's "here's how much we need" comparative market analysis used to set the listing price came out to almost exactly the seller's previous price + 6% commission:
Update 10/15/08: Pictures went up. EBRD will have to accept their copyright claim is bogus when someone posts resized screenshots--I just have to post this delicious photo.
Last sale and tax info
- Sold 07/08/2005: $755,000
- 2007 Property Tax: $9,249
Update 10/16/08: It's getting weirder every day. They fixed the picture today--by flipping it so it's right side up. It's still a resume, not a house. In case you can't read, it starts with...
Frederick O. O'XXXXX
2xxx Shoreline Drive #XXXX
To XXXX a challenging position XXXX
Update 12/20/08: Sold for $800,000.