House of 870 square feet for $350K

palimpsestMay 6, 2013

Pictures courtesy of Prufoxroach.
This house is around the corner, it is in an alley, it face the semi-submerged loading dock of a block-long public building. However, its neighbors are two large $1M+ house built in the boom when people would build a mansionette on a traffic island.

Its 12 feet wide inside. This is not the extreme stretchy camera.

View from front door:

Right inside the front door. The fridge is on the blue wall in the first picture. and the stair railing in the corner of this picture is right inside the front door. That is the front window over the sink.

Reverse view from front door. See the car outside? That is the actual street.

"Bedroom #1" or den. This is a walk through to the third floor. The open rail is over the fireplace. Those are the steps from the first floor to the right.

Bedroom #2:

Small for $349.9, isn't it? But it's the price you pay for living in a major metro area. But in the 19th century it probably housed a family of six or more.

I like the mid-century Chippendale-inspired metal railings, they are a change from the black twisted porch style.

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I'd like to say that's insane, but it seems about right. It's just hard for me to believe that my house was $420K and that's $350.

With those closets and the dormer, that top room must be tiny.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:43PM
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It's actually in the neighborhood ballpark for price per square foot, maybe a bit high. but this particular location, imo, is not so great. The street around the corner is nice enough, but this literally faces the loading dock (regular, massive, trash pickups) of a building that Looms over the street.

I think prices are starting to get a bit aggressive again. There is a newly listed unit in my complex for sale at a ridiculous price, while other, nicer units have been sitting on the market.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Prices are getting aggressive here again and most houses are selling quickly at or above asking according to a couple of my real estate agent friends and some of my friends who are looking to buy. There really isn't much inventory in the non-outrageous price band of $400-$500K.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:18PM
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Yes, nothing really available. If I had had to wait for the sale of my apartment before buying, I would no longer be able to find something that met the criteria that I could afford in this neighborhood.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Different housing stock, but Austin, TX has seen $400/sq.ft. recently. By brother and his DW had the option to buy the house they were renting at about that figure. It was insane. They found something a BIT more reasonable, but I was still gobsmacked by the prices.

Every time I think about leaving Alabama, I remember how reasonable our house prices are, and how little I could get comparatively about anywhere else in the country.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:26AM
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Although I'm sure its a great area to live in, I'll stick with my 78.00 a sq./ft., I'd be homeless at those rates.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:51AM
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Oh that's painful and hits so close to home. I've been watching the housing market in the city for about 3 years. Now that all 3 adult kids are renting there I keep hoping one of them will be in the position to purchase - while the mortgage rates are low and before things become wildly unaffordable. Two of them could be making a mortgage payment for what they're paying in rent and the third is just not ready.

We've considered buying a home or duplex and renting it to them, perhaps in a rent to own scenario. We remind them to be on the alert for something in their area. There are still quite a few under water properties available but it seems that many owners are just waiting it out until prices bounce back.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:24AM
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My son and daugher-in-law just bought a house. It's surprising how the market is heating up, at least at the low end.

Of course prices are way way below the peak. The house they bought sold for twice as much before the housing crash. But it still feels like things are set for the roller coaster to go up again. There were multiple offers for several houses they tried to get and they got out bid by investors.

The house they bought was on a program called HomePath where for the first week or so the house is only open to offers from people who will live in the house for a couple of years.

They were lucky to get a 1300 square foot house in decent condition for around $150K. Most of the others in that price range were 900-1000 square feet and or disasters needing heaps of work.

Is the larger "closet" of the three things that look like closets in the top bedroom a bath? Is there a bath on the main floor?

And what's behind those two really skinny doors on by the railing in the den/bedroom? It looks like the front one might be a heater or hvac unit because it has vents but it seems like the back one would be hard to get too with that skinny path and door and it looks so shallow.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 2:25AM
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Here in SF bay area, it is really crazy! $816/sq.ft with usually 15-30 offers with about a third as all cash offers. Most offers are with no contingencies. People are writing letters to sellers as if they are applying to colleges. Homes are selling for over 20% above asking. There is not much inventory for the demand.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 5:15PM
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Here's an 865 sq ft condo in my area for $595k, built in 1963 and looks like it hasn't changed much since then.

$688 / Sq. Ft condo

But for single family homes, well over $1000/sq ft is not unusual.

$1,259 / Sq. Ft 3 bedroom home

This post was edited by tinan on Sun, May 12, 13 at 1:03

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 12:58AM
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Tina, thanks. I actually like the condo as is, but yikes on the cost.

The other home, yikes again on price, but I wish they kept the reno inside more to the character of the exterior. I like them both, but not together! I would prefer a more vintage feel.

DH and I dream about relocating to the Bay area, but housing is the real barrier. We are in a lower cost housing area, and we would not bring enough with us. OTOH, two houses in our neighborhood just sold with pretty high asking prices. I don't know what they got, but even if it's close, it's decent news. Then there's the foreclosure down the block . . . sigh.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 8:16AM
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I know. And, quite frankly, a lot of people have no idea how much housing is in high-cost areas.
It bothers me when I watch HGTV and people look at 4000 sqft houses with a 3-car garage, home theater, walk-in closets the size of the condo Tinan posted, loads of upgrades, all for 145K and then complain that the master bedroom (with a fire place) "isn't grand enough."
It doesn't bother me because they can afford a house they would not be able to in the higher priced areas, but rather because I wonder how this affects their opinions, for example, on the sequestration, government employee salaries, or what constitutes "rich" in terms of taxation.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 10:30AM
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Right. "Entry Level" for a house in my general neighborhood if you have a couple of kids and need three bedrooms is about $500K now. The two bedroom + den (which usually gets used as a bedroom although there is no door) that I will be moving into, has two bathrooms that are a tiny bit larger than a lot of suburban showers, and a kitchen that is a bit over 7 feet wide with no possibility of expansion.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:08AM
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And a former neighbor of mine just sold a spot in a parking lot that is near my house for $50,000. It's outside, it's secure in the fact that they can not get your car Out of the lot, but it can get broken into. The person who bought it had been waiting for a spot in that lot for 14 years.

An actual parking spot at the house adds about $75,000, a single car garage over $100,000. (and the single car garage eats into the living space, generally).

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 11:14AM
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That price does seem a bit high to have a loading dock as your view. I recently received a marketing letter from a Realtor who always sends a list of recently sold houses in the area. I was surprised this last time to see houses selling more than the asking price, and selling quickly. It used to be that houses stayed on the market for months, but now are being snapped up quite quickly. Philadelphia Main Line location.

Pal, my friend had a house on Fitzwater that was so narrow, you could almost touch both walls by putting out your arms. Now they have a nice place on Pemberton, with a garage.

Houses like the one you show are for the young. I could not take all those stairs.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 2:29PM
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I do consider it a choice to live in a high cost housing area. We are fortunate to have the flexibility since we don't have kids of buying in a different school district where prices are lower than our "dream neighborhood", but close by. However we could always leave the bay area altogether and buy a much fancier home for less... but we love it here and we're willing to sacrifice living in a nicer house in order to be here.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 9:33PM
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