Hey, Buddy; Want to Buy a House?
Would you pay $849,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bath house on a street where they throw shoes over the telephone lines to indicate that drugs are available for purchase at this location? In order to sell real estate in San Francisco, you have to suspend your disbelief. Every week we see little tiny houses with $100,000 kitchens in sketchy neighborhoods, all available for just south of a million dollars. We must believe that there is a market for these houses. Otherwise, our heads will implode.
Generally, it doesn't bother me. I have adjusted to the point where I understand that $700,000 is entry-level. Probably within the past two weeks I've walked into one of these homes and said, out loud, "Hey, this is a good buy!" Just today we saw a place for $3.125 million and enthused, "Great price for that neighborhood!"
Sometimes, even those of us who have drunk the most Kool-Aid just can't get on board. Today provided an example of this. It wasn't the 1 bedroom, 1 bath place in "Fairmount Heights" (a vague area located between Noe Valley and Glen Park) for $825,000. That was eye-opening and throat-clearing, but the place was in great shape, cute as several very small buttons, and zoned RH-2, meaning that -- as the agent reminded us -- the buyer would be encouraged to expand, or even slap a second living unit. It had a big yard.
We shook our heads and said, "Man, that seems high," but were not actually offended by the price.
Six or seven houses later, we came upon the $849,000 "cottage", located in the deepest, darkest Mission, where the streets are named after states. And it's not the idea of living in a scary neighborhood that bothers me. If I wasn't a family guy, I'd probably live in a scary neighborhood. The other night, on my way to meet the frat boys, I was reminded of how much I love walking down Mission Street, looking into all of the stores, seeing the people.
Would I pay $849,000 to live in the scary neighborhood? Maybe if the house was a mansion. In this case, you get a gigantic, overwhelming Wolf range (with cool red dials), a Bosch dishwasher, nice redone floors, a tiny backyard a garage, and the aforementioned shoes flung over the telephone wires. A bargain!
Three years ago the Jawa and I were visiting my sister, who then lived outside of Dayton, Ohio, a very nice place. NOT SAN FRANCISCO, of course, and a place where people are not 100% certain that the president wears his hair long to cover his horns. We went on a "Street of Dreams" tour there and enjoyed looking at six $1,000,000 houses, all of which looked exactly like what you would imagine a million-dollar house to look like.
It felt so...sane.
Back to the $849,000 house on crack alley. Every so often you'll see a place like that, where the asking price is so offensive that you just feel sick. Fortunately, within an hour we were marveling at the $3.125 million bargain out in Sea Cliff. You've gotta do it to survive.