Bay Area real estate - GAHHH!!!

Let’s get the obvious out of the way: It’s absurdly over-priced. I did find something in San Francisco for $475,000. Only problem is it’s just a tenth acre of land with weeds on it.

What’s got me batty is what sellers think they can get away with. Why are allegedly professional Realtors showing homes still full of junk? Not a stack of boxes and a dresser in the corner that the movers didn’t get yet, but I mean up to your knees, watch your step, oops sorry, JUNK!

And good ol’ grubby, grimy, icky, vile nasty messes in the kitchen? How many years ago did something explode in the microwave? The seller is taking the fridge, right? No, I don’t want to negotiate for it. The seller IS taking that fridge! One house, we made the mistake of opening the fridge. We all had to run outside for air. How about the two townhomes with the overwhelming stench of CAT in one bedroom?

Anyone want to offer $569,000 for a screw-it-up-yourselfer’s dream? Everywhere you turned was some “improvement” at about 90% completion. Beautiful sink, lovely granite tile counter. Too bad the two aren’t actually joined together. Oh, the outlets really should be inside the walls, rather than dangling out on wires. Will there be a door on this bathroom? Would be a good home for TV’s In a Fix to work on. Another was in such sad shape that you’d need to beg This Old House to help merge the three micro-kitchens into one. This one was mind-boggling - the sink and a two-foot stub of countertop was in one room, the cooker was around the corner, and the fridge was thirty feet way, through two doorways.

Don’t even ask about the three-bedroom house powered by one 15-amp lighting fuse and one 15-amp outlets fuse. “Ma, the fridge is about to turn on! Shut off a light or two!” Speaking of old - “My, these 1960’s copper/dark brown appliances and sinks have held up surprisingly well!”

One house greeted me with a rain of cockroaches when I looked into a closet. My Realtor deadpanned “So this one’s a no?”

Another house had the curious smell of burned house. Might explain why every single wall was freshly painted and all the carpet was new. Uh, this will be in the disclosures, right?

Finally find one that’s not been burned, pissed on by cats, mutilated by weekend warriors or in need of an immediate gut-to-the-studs kitchen and bathroom remodel. To even have a chance at buying it, we have to overbid by $35,000. And write a letter to the owner. “We really, really love your home and would really, really love to own it!” Yeck. So now, we make the offer and wait for the seller to review whatever offers they get, make a counter-offer and be prepared to counter the counter-offer.

and they wonder why people just keep renting all their lives…

They’re probably expecting you to do what everyone in this neighborhood does: Buy the modest existing house, raze it, and build a McMansion 5 times as big.

We looked at a house recently for just a tad over the $475 you mentioned. Instead of a 1/10 acre of weeds, it was 4 heavily wooded acres, immaculate landscaping (think creek flowing through azaleas and under house, 5 bedroom, over 6,000 feet, porch wrapping around 3 sides, 4 car garage, architect built. Granted, it didn’t have a view of the Golden Gate but jeez, the prices y’all pay for what you get out there are simply overwhelming to most of us.

A recent study found that the average price for a home in Houston is undervaluedby about 20K, 155 when it should be around 175.

Well, my wife and I found our perfect house less than a year ago in the middle of Oakland–not too big or too small, an incredible back yard, good neighborhood, easy access to a variety of preferred things, and a minimum of required “fixer-up” items.

Of course, it’s the Bay Area, so everything’s relative. Some people would say we paid A LOT for it (and I suppose they’re probably right), though we came away thinking it was an incredible bargain given the area and the market, and we still love it, (few) warts and all.

So there are diamonds in the rough, and you’ll often find them when and where you least expect them. Don’t give up!

(Oh, and if you only overbid $35K, you got off lucky :slight_smile: )

{quote]Oh, and if you only overbid $35K, you got off lucky

Don’t remind me…

Talked to my mother in Illinois yesterday, and found that a house on a double lot a couple blocks from hers just sold for something like $860,000. That area does have a few cases of “buy two adjoining properties, raze them and plop down a McMansion,” but her flabber was thoroughly gastered when she saw it.

I just found that the home we’ve put an offer on is almost 20,000 feet from the phone company, so there’s not a chance of getting DSL there. :mad: This needs to be in the disclosures, dammit! Looks like my only options will be an ISDN line at 128k or cable modem from the demon spawn of Satan known as Comcast. Either way, I’ll have to go through the unholy mess of changing email addresses and losing the “free” webhosting that comes with my DSL account.

This demonstrates why my wife and I didn’t buy a house in the Bay Area. We could afford (a) a house that was a dump waiting to be come a firetrap, (b) a house in a demilitarized zone where we’d find the occasional dead body on the back porch in the morning, or © a house in Modesto. At the time (1990) a very boring 3-bedroom house in a moderately reasonable town was $300,000.

We moved to St. Paul and bought a beautiful 5-bedroom home for $170,000.

Hey! Those weeds cost extra; they’re called “natural landscaping.”

You kinda get numb after awhile. I’m just glad I bought my house some 20 years ago. It seemed like a ridiculously high price at the time, and now it’s about what the down payment would cost. :eek:

Just last week I was having a conversation with a fellow who works at Stanford who said he was sharing a 900-square-foot apartment for $2000 a month. Around these parts an apartment that expensive would have to come with a free car.

Rent prices around Stanford and in Palo Alto in general are almost as bad as buying. The whole status thing. Rent prices most everywhere else have actually gone down over the past couple years.

If it was just me, I could call up my manager and say that I want to move to Minneapolis, where she’s located, and she’d be thrilled.

Unfortunately, it’s not just me that’s involved here, and she tells me that real estate in the Twin Cities is well on its way to Bay Area style nuttiness. Lofts and condos along the river near the stadium are hitting the million dollar mark.

People are always asking me why I left California. I should print out this thread and carry it around with me.

I’d say we haven’t hit California levels yet. If I remember right, the median house price here is now in the $250k range. That’s for in the Twin Cities. Be willing to drive another 20 miles and take 20% off of that.

Well, there’s California real estate, and then there’s SF Bay Area real estate. Not the same thing. The median price for a home in Santa Clara County (rougly Silicon Valley) is now $665k. SJ Merc Article link.