THE SECOND STORY | March 25th, 2011

Potential, floor plan, added value – what’s best?

Blog photo: It’s been so wet for so long (clearly the lament of one who does not live in Oregon or Washington) I decided to liven it up with a nice photo of Dale Chihuly glass.  This was at an installation at the DeYoung a couple of years ago.  It’s the way I’d love to think the best underwater coral reefs look!  Kind of a watery storybook!  What was so cool was they encouraged us to take photos.  But I didn’t know how to set my camera for dark indoors and one of the museum guards came right over and set it for me!  That rocked!

Blog post:  I read so many trade blasts online combined with my hard copy trade journals it all just runs together.  But something this week hit me (not a car) as I was riding my bike on the broker tour.  It was triggered by a merge of something I read, with some properties I saw on the tour.  The result illustrated potential, floor plan, and added value perfectly. 

Potential- 2212 San Jose is a complete fixer and is nothing but potential.  What’s potential? In this case it’s the ability to see through a mess, see how the space can work for today’s life styles, perhaps maximizing the high basement when the foundation gets redone by lifting the house or digging down for ceiling height, maybe pushing out the back and adding a great kitchen/family room, master suite, gosh who knows?  But it’s raw and ready.  Something like this may easily call for an all cash buyer and that buyer needs access to a bucket of cash to get the rest of the work done, whether sooner or later.  Of course the nature of this project means it has to be discounted to a price worthy of someone who can put all the pieces back to together again.

Floor plan- I won’t put the link to the house I’m thinking of.  The limited photos don’t give any indication of how it flows, and of course there is not a virtual tour.  Heaven forbid if more agents actually paid a few bucks to have some simple floor plans done by local appraisers.  Isn’t that something that’s helpful to you when you are house surfing?  (Shameless Self-Promotion Moment – all my listing have floor plans). Sure, the house is charming.  It also needs a foundation, doesn’t have any off street parking and no chance of ever getting it the way it sits on a small lot, needs an updated kitchen, and the bathroom is tucked into the larger bedroom so must be traversed to use the full bath.  Awkward.  Minimal potential here, and that limits the buyer pool!  This absolutely needs to be priced sharp in order for these objections to be overcome.  This buyer also needs a bucket of money to whip it into shape.  But what do I know…

Value added 1231 Court has an interesting history.  It’s been nice all along.  I’ve seen it on the market at least 4 if not 5 times during my time in Alameda real estate.  In 1/2002 it sold for 405K.  In 9/2006 it sold for 660K.  In 4/2008 it sold for 630K.  Now it’s on the market for 689K.  BUT it’s gone from being a 2/1 to being a 3/2 with a total of 1924 square feet.  These folks did a great job of  creating wonderful living space in the high basement.  Now that won’t help the super-dinky lot and minimal yard. And they didn’t expect to sell so soon.  But these folks saw the potential and worked it in such a way that it will appeal to a larger buyer pool!

So in answer to the question….what’s best depends on you!  It can be any or all of those things.

Sometimes all three mesh together.  We had that happen when we bought the place we’ve been in since 1988.  The basic floor plan worked for us. It had potential in the high basement and the foundation needed to be done anyway.  We created needed two bedrooms a laundry/utility room and a full bath.   And the price worked for us.  And since the dumb sellers didn’t get any pre-sale inspections, we were able to factor some of the price of a new foundation and an immediate roof into our price.

Just be sure you think all these things through…and plan on staying in it for eight years.  That’s the number I”m telling folks these days. 
Quick Glimpses-
What’s real vs nominal house price growth?  I got this from a post my bro in Washington put on his FaceBook wall today.
Shadow inventory – where is it?

My listing at 1808 Main Street, the small 1/1 single level stock co-op unit, has a HUGE price reduction.  It was 189K and now it’s 149K.

OPEN HOUSES – Island Blog is on vacation this week….gotta go back to the Friday Alameda Journal!

Unsold inventory this week 178, 179 last report
Pending inventory this week 92, 90 last report

Broker Tour  7

Highest and Lowest Priced NEW Listings this week

New  9

BOM back on market  2

Repositioned properties (price changes)  8

Pending  15

Sold  9

Expired  0

Withdrawn/canceled  2

ALAMEDA REAL ESTATE AWARDS THIS WEEK…remember this is only my perspective.
Got me a makeover

That’s it for now!  Carry on!  Make it work! Have a great weekend, rain or shine!  marilyn

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I arrived in Alameda in 1973, as a new bride...with husband Carl Schumacher, both of us from Newport Beach. He was embarking on his career as a Naval Architect (i.e. yacht designer) under Gary Mull. Please see the 'ABOUT ME' page in this website! to see how it has all turned out! I'm so blessed!