In May, a decrepit Seattle home for sale with five feet of standing water in the basement, collapsing ceilings and infested with toxic mold had sparked a bidding war between approximately 40 desperate buyers. The home was only on the market for 10 days and the unlucky bidder ended buying the home for over double its $200,000 listing price for a whopping $427,000!
The property was described has a Halloween haunted house that was so dangerous, you couldn’t go inside. In fact, only licensed contractors who signed a legal waiver could enter it.
Hell, the price is not only insane, but apparently the buyers are as well. This story proves that we are now officially in a toxic housing bubble that has reached the point of insanity!
The Seattle Times reported:
“That is insane, obviously,” said the listing agent, Bruce Phares of Windermere Real Estate. “I’m absolutely flabbergasted, given how damaged the property was.”
The couple who lived in the Belvidere Avenue house in the North Admiral neighborhood of West Seattle died a couple years ago, apparently after living in the house in disarray for a decade or more. A local firm that specializes in rehab bought it, and Phares said it will almost assuredly be a teardown job.
Phares said Windermere noticed an empty plot of land in the area had sold recently for about $225,000, so it listed the three-bedroom, one-bath home for $200,000 at the end of April. One potential selling point: Building a second story might create a mountain view.
The agent never got to go inside the 2,100-square-foot house, built in 1951, but contractors licensed to enter and take photos said the home likely couldn’t be saved.
Phares was shocked when developers, rehab companies and regular homebuyers alike began showing up in droves, enticed by anything with a low price tag in a neighborhood where the median house costs more than half a million dollars.
“With the conditions of the marketplace and things so slim, people are trying every approach they can,” he said. “It was amazing how many people wanted to live in the neighborhood.”
The water damage in the basement fed toxicity concerns (“you’d walk in and your glasses would fog up,” Phares said) and there were various other biomaterial and mold hazards. There was also debris filling the rooms, so that even if you could avoid the floors falling out from underneath you, you might step on a nail, he said. Kitchen appliances had deteriorated from all the moisture in the air. And some of the ceilings had collapsed.
While the new owners certainly have visions of making a profit, Phares said that at a $427,000 price, the purchase wasn’t a wise investment.
“I think those people are just taking Hail Marys at this thing. That’s what’s dangerous about our marketplace,” he said. “That’s not sound, and that’s not sustainable.”