The question is, "Who would buy an uninhabitable house for $400K?"

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

The news exploded over a new listing of a 1036 sq ft home that is uninhabitable because of fire, yet is listed at  $400K and received 17 offers.  Read: Uninhabitable Oakland House With Collapsed Roof Hits The Market for $399,999


Who would buy that? 

The answer is "Location, location, location."

It is a known fact that we have a severe housing crisis in the Bay area of CA, and perhaps in other parts of the state as well. By crisis we mean lack of affordable housing, low inventory of homes for sale, escalating prices.

In Paradise Park area of Oakland where this property is listed for sale, there are similar homes listed for sale:

  • 2 bedrooms/2 baths, 3432 sq ft lot at $675,000
  • 2 bedrooms/1 bath, 4000 sq ft lot  at $775,900
  • 2 bedrooms/1 bath, 2700 sq ft lot at $699,999


What makes that property attractive?

It's right on the border of Berkeley on one side, Emeryville on the other side. Commuting would be a breeze via public transportation. It's near shops, restaurants The land is level. And yes, the weather is temperate -- no extreme heat, no extreme cold. 


Sticker shock.

For many, it's sticker shock. We most certainly had it. We came to the Bay area from Florida by way of Tallahassee and Orlando, where we measure lot size by acres, not square feet. For what we sold our 4 bedrooms/3 baths 3000 sq ft house with screened in pool, 3-car garage in gated community just 15 minutes from downtown Orlando, we couldn't buy a 1 bedroom/1 bath condo with deeded parking space in San Francisco.


Is it worth it?

But, for what we lost in FL, we gained in CA.  We've lived in Alameda CA longer than any other place. We love the weather where we can be outdoors most of the time. The soil is so rich we plant nearly anything and it flourishes. We don't need air conditioning because ceiling fans suffice. We have low utility bills because we don't have to turn on the heat too often. Commuting by public transportation is easy and we have a choice of ferry, express, BART.  


Too high for others.

However, for many, the high cost of living is one of the reasons why "California is a national leader in outbound moves."



Comments (7)

Susan Hale
Re/Max Realty of Defiance,Inc. - Defiance, OH
Re/Max Northwest Ohio Realtor

The lot must provide a wonderful view!  There are properties like that in a lake subdivision.  Could have a run down shack and buyers are lined up to pay$$$"or a bare lot.  We don't have any such luck though in Defiance Ohio.  $400,000 buys you a high end house:-)

Mar 03, 2018 02:58 PM
Pacita Dimacali

Hi, Susan. No views on this property. Just your regular lot on a regular street in a hot market.

Mar 03, 2018 04:03 PM
Mary Jo Quay - Minneapolis, MN
I Move You Home

It's location!  $400 in NY will get you a closet, not much in Chicago, a middle-class home in the Twin Cities, but big acreage in North Dakota. It's hard to compare, demand is so different in one area from another.  A couple years ago I listed a $300K rambler as a tear down, really thought a builder would want it because it was half an acre on a lake, but a single man who wanted a fixer bought it. You never know. 

Mar 03, 2018 03:55 PM
Pacita Dimacali

Hi, Mary true. It's always location, location, location.


Mar 03, 2018 04:04 PM
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 116 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

It is amazing what differences there are in home prices across our nation.

Mar 03, 2018 05:14 PM
Pacita Dimacali

Judi, isn't it, though? Lots of people moving out of California because of high cost of housing....but then a lot of people are coming here, too.

Mar 03, 2018 10:21 PM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Many times the building has not value for the buyer.

Mar 03, 2018 08:27 PM
Pacita Dimacali

William, that's true. In situations like this, it's always the land and the location.

Mar 03, 2018 10:23 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Pacita, nice to see you back from your  sabbatical hope all is well, I find Developers are the usual candidates for this type of property, Endre

Mar 03, 2018 09:21 PM
Pacita Dimacali

Endre, thanks... I am trying to get my mojo back.....

Mar 03, 2018 10:24 PM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Hi, Pacita Dimacali

The answer to your question: "Who would buy an uninhabitable house for $400K?" is: INVESTORS…with cash, of course!

Mar 18, 2018 08:42 PM