December 18, 2009

Latest San Francisco Listing Euphemism: "Unfinished" Versus Stripped

1522 Lake Street: Before

Purchased for $1,888,000 in October 2005, 1522 Lake Street underwent a major renovation and returned to the market this past July asking $2,100,000. It didn’t sell.

1522 Lake After

A week ago it returned to the MLS asking $1,750,000. From the listing:

…Skylights galore, Marble tiled baths, Box Beamed Ceiling, Period Details, New Andersen Dual Paned Wndws, Top Fixtures + much more! A Bargain at this price as the home is unfinished! Kitchen Cabinets, BA Fixtures, Speakers, Lighting/Trims are needed to finish this Grand Home!

While the listing notes "unfinished," however, a plugged-in reader reports: "stripped."

Oh, and did we mention the property also hit the courthouse steps eleven days ago with a minimum bid of $1,301,817? As a plugged-in tipster reports, it sold for $1,305,500. Yes, more than a penny over, but not too much so considering a reported three bidders.

∙ Listing: 1522 Lake Street (3/4) - $1,750,000 [MLS] [Map]
Are The Real San Francisco Foreclosures On Their Way? [SocketSite]
Noe Renovation Goes For A Penny Over Foreclosure Auction Minimum [SocketSite]

First Published: December 18, 2009 6:00 AM

Comments from "Plugged In" Readers

I assume the things listed 'to be finished' include the balcony railings and hand rail for the front steps.

Tile job on front was ill advised.

I would want to see before and after shots. Like the crappy flip job spoke of here earlier this week, I would want to make sure these idiots didn't get too deep into the systems. If a lot of the work was 'soft' like new paint and refinished floors, then OK.

Talk about screwing up what was probably a nice house.

Posted by: jtothed at December 18, 2009 6:15 AM

I saw the house. It has been stripped. All the lighting fixtures were taken out...so was the entire kitchen (minus the tiled backsplash and the exhaust fan)...so were all the bathrooms (minus the showers and the expensive marble)...no toilets...no bathtubs...no lights...no stove...etc...

I heard a lot of gossip about the house, including that it was impossible to get into the auction (don't understand why there were only three bidders--sounds like there were more people who wanted to bid on the darn thing).

Realtor stated that all permits were filed but they were never closed.

House is being sold "As Is."

I would have loved to have seen this home pre-renovation. I bet it was prettier. This home is blatantly just not my taste--too much marble--bathrooms were built to be centerpieces of living areas...

Posted by: anon at December 18, 2009 8:09 AM

I heard that the bidder was an out of town guy (Arizona, I think) who got investor money from San Diego (I think). Apparently, he freaked after he went into the house for the first time.

It's a family house and the bedrooms are too small. The bathroom in the attic with no doors is just... WTF where they thinking. Laundry is in the basement/garage accessed through stair opening so narrow you probably can't walk with a laundry basket and duck the low clearance all at once. I don't think they get their price in the state it's in.

Posted by: whatever at December 18, 2009 8:48 AM

"Yes, more than a penny over, but not too much so considering the reported three bidders."

translation : two bidders at a penny over asking and one willing to kick in a few thousand more to win.

Do I understand that someone bought this house for $1.3M and is now trying to make a $450K profit by doing absolutely nothing ?

And I hope they're not trying to pass that attic space off as a bedroom.

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 18, 2009 9:29 AM

I saw it. The last people who bought it didn't have any taste or understanding. It feels like some sort of weird shrine to showering. The current sellers are going to see a nice profit, probably, but they're lucky. The property probably needs 300 to 400K. It's a decent deal for 1.5M, I'd say.

Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 9:49 AM

Looks like the "weisenheimers" would have guessed right on this one -- only sold for a token amount above the note value.

Would this need an all-cash buyer, since it's not inhabitable?

Posted by: apparent weisenheimer at December 18, 2009 9:58 AM

Look ma! No handrails!

Posted by: sleepiguy at December 18, 2009 10:05 AM

Anyone know what the deal is with the prior sales of this place?

Oct 24, 2005 Sold (Public Records) $1,888,000
Apr 06, 2005 Sold (Public Records) $2,170,000

Isn't marble bad for bathrooms since you have to seal it heavily?

Posted by: corntrollio at December 18, 2009 10:06 AM

Looks like the "weisenheimers" would have guessed right on this one -- only sold for a token amount above the note value.

Easy to say that when the info is laid out for you. But it's still a rumor.

Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 10:08 AM

For starters, $60k+ of credit card debt.

Posted by: EBGuy at December 18, 2009 10:21 AM

^Lame^

Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 10:45 AM

Listing sez "This home is a Grand Edwardian " Should read this WAS a grand Edwardian that has been screwed up. Sad.

Posted by: Oceangoer at December 18, 2009 10:51 AM

Realtor stated that present owners are looking for a cash buyer.

You'd need at least one toilet, a stove/oven and who knows what other kooky accessories to make it habitable.


It is still probably a deal for a buyer. It is on the north side of Lake St and, it is a gorgeous block...just a tacky done-up house (bathroom showers really are centerpieces) on a gorgeous block...wish I could see the toilets--they must have been grand as well since they were valuable enough to be ripped out...

When I was touring, a realtor stated that she thought the stairs going to the third floor (finished attic) did not look like they were up to code.

Posted by: Anon at December 18, 2009 12:05 PM

Not that I'm going to run out and buy it, but there's something to be said for a house with no light fixtures, sinks, toilets, and appliances. I'd rather pick my own, thank you.

Posted by: BobN at December 18, 2009 12:32 PM

"Not that I'm going to run out and buy it, but there's something to be said for a house with no light fixtures, sinks, toilets, and appliances. I'd rather pick my own, thank you."

At least somebody seems to say this on every thread about a gutted house. These sorts of things are fine if you're paying all cash. But if you want a mortgage, it doesn't work. The building has to be inhabitable to be collateralized.

Posted by: sfrenegade at December 18, 2009 12:37 PM

Shower shrine on Lake
Flip failure on courthouse steps
As-is unfinished.

Posted by: haikus anyone? at December 18, 2009 12:43 PM

Monster marble bath
Cold shrine to defacation
Where is the toilet?

Posted by: OneEyedMan at December 18, 2009 12:54 PM

^Lame^
annon, You should know by now that these stories only get lamer. Thought I recognized one of the names on the title from a recent foreclosure. That individual (the one with the trust) was also responsible for the loan on 229 Brannan St Unit 3H which was foreclosed on November 9. First rule of 'investing': one is good, two is better...

Posted by: EBGuy at December 18, 2009 1:22 PM

You could have paraphrased in your own language and left the individual's name out of it.

Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 1:27 PM

You could have paraphrased in your own language and left the individual's name out of it.
I consider part of the time I spend here 'public interest reporting' -- combing public documents to uncover the individuals responsible for the near collapse of civilization as we know it (or at very least, the financial system). It is by no means certain that we are through the worst of it (though, I would hope so). I'm certainly up for submitting myself to a community consensus on what is in the public interest. Obviously, if someone is simply down on his luck, I don't want to drag them through the mud. Should it be number of foreclosures (2 is okay, but 3 is over the limt)? Or the a dollar amount (say $500,000)? If an individual (or group) is responsible of more than half a million in bank losses, then the public has a right to know? Folks, let me know what you think.

Posted by: EBGuy at December 18, 2009 1:49 PM

As far as I'm concerned, if it's publicly available, it's publicly available. That includes the county recorder and lawsuits, which is all that EBGuy really seems to be using. I generally prefer, as a courtesy, that people do not repeat non-famous people's names in blog comments so that those names don't show up in a Google search, but I don't have a problem with linking to pre-existing sites.

Obviously, if we're talking about fraudsters like the Lembis or that Muhawieh guy, it's a different story, because those are already easily Googleable names due to the notoriety of the persons. But I don't see what EBGuy did wrong here -- he just posted a link to details of a lawsuit.

Posted by: sfrenegade at December 18, 2009 2:13 PM

Come on. When you start talking about collections agencies versus some guy concerning credit card debt, you could just as well walk outside your apartment, throw a rock, and blog about whoever it hits. By name.

Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 2:19 PM

EBGuy: have at it.

Posted by: jds at December 18, 2009 2:22 PM

I agree with SFrenegade on this, links to public documents is fine, no need to repost names of non-famous people. So another vote for EBGuy to continue to point us to the details.

Posted by: Rillion at December 18, 2009 2:55 PM

EBGuy names names
anonn says obfuscate
OneEyedMan wants facts

Posted by: OneEyedMan at December 18, 2009 2:55 PM

I wish to join EBGuy's fan club as well. I am surprised a real estate "professional" would have a problem with public documents being posted. Has any realtor ever thought that perhaps this type of PUBLIC information could be used to a future buyer's advantage and helped to create a sale?

Posted by: LoveEBGuyinfo at December 18, 2009 3:09 PM

Note also that if EBGuy had merely summarized or paraphrased, we'd be hearing from the peanut gallery about why not to speculate about people and properties. Much better to cut off that sort of crap with facts. The peanut gallery sometimes even complains when there are eyewitnesses, as our editor pointed out the other day (scroll down to 12/17 at 4:24 PM: http://www.socketsite.com/archives/2009/12/are_the_real_san_francisco_defaults_on_the_way.html)

Posted by: anon at December 18, 2009 3:14 PM

go EBGuy

Posted by: leedless at December 18, 2009 3:18 PM

Folks, let me know what you think.

+1

Public info is public info.

Posted by: gumby at December 18, 2009 3:42 PM

not the first time i've said this, but i've got no problem repeating myself. EBGuy, you rock.

anonn? weak sauce. there's a reason public info is public. it's what we as citizens demand and helps make our system the envy of the world.

Posted by: marina girl at December 18, 2009 3:51 PM

^^ I thought the MLS was the envy of the world.

Posted by: OneEyedMan at December 18, 2009 3:55 PM

All of this information has always been available to anyone who was willing to invest the time to go down to the hall of records. Which until recently meant just the professionals in real estate. The democratization of information created by putting everything on the web has changed the game. I think for the better. But one can certainly expect a bit of whining from the people who used to have exculsive access and no longer have that advantage.

Posted by: diemos at December 18, 2009 3:56 PM

Lurker is a fan of EBGuy. Thank you! (And I agree with sfrenegade.)

Posted by: Lurker at December 18, 2009 4:48 PM

winter night grows long
details of flip clarified
one more vote for yes

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 18, 2009 4:52 PM

Hahhaha. Whatever. Some of these comments are about the posters who made them and their opinions of me, maybe also realtors, and nothing more. Do you even know what you're faulting me for? Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me for finding a link to a credit card debt court case naming somebody who we already know is broke a little out of context. Obfuscate? LOL. Why not give everybody the points against the poor guy's driver's license? What a bunch of bitter crumbs some of you are.

Posted by: anonn at December 18, 2009 5:08 PM

there once was a lad named ebguy
through internet searches he did clarify
the thing that he missed
was that some would be pissed
so he put it to vote and did ratify

Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at December 18, 2009 5:11 PM

Monster marble bath
Cold shrine to defacation
Where is the toilet?

OneEyedMan,

This is your Opus, and you are a mad genius.

Posted by: Paul Hwang at December 18, 2009 8:15 PM

Milkshake and OneEyed
Mad geniuses of haiku
Limericks are next

Posted by: Kurt Brown at December 19, 2009 8:47 PM

Excuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me for finding a link to a credit card debt court case naming somebody who we already know is broke a little out of context.
Your point is taken, but honestly, I really didn't know this person's status until I saw the CC debt. It's unclear to me (don't have detailed loan info) how much was lost in this situation. Was there a massive downpayment, or was a second used to finance this boondoggle? It seems that CCs may have been part of the 'financial backing'.

Posted by: EBGuy at December 20, 2009 4:51 PM

EBGuy, there was a sold out junior to BofA for $500k from Dec 2005.

In an urelated note, I'm changing my handle as several others have probably unknowingly used whatever.

Posted by: whatever at December 20, 2009 8:33 PM

And now you know.... the rest of the story. Thanks whatever.
Anyone know if, uhhhh, BofA was at the auction?

Posted by: EBGuy at December 20, 2009 9:45 PM

BofA apparently did not file a NOD. I think most of the time if juniors want to protect their lien, they will start foreclosure themselves rather than put out more cash to bid at the steps.

Posted by: formerly%whatever at December 20, 2009 11:30 PM

It reads like they put around ~500K down to buy it from a different trust in an offmarket deal and then took 500K back out with an equity line from BofA. They then transferred the property to their own trust and ran out of money.

I went back in the property last week for a second time. It's a loser, IMO. I liked it at first. But in order to be good you would have to excavate the lower rooms AND build out the upper level properly. On another lot on the north side of Lake it'd be worth it. Some of those lots open up to lovely big back yards with the Presidio behind. This backyard is small. It's got no chance of becoming a mid 3Ms type of property, no matter what.

Also, the head height under the beam between the formal living room and dining room area has a clearance of abotu 6'3. Pretty weird. There are numerous other areas with even lower clearance. The front room has a weird side door. The kitchen is repulsive, it wants be opened up and pushed to the back of the house, and on and on. It probably needs 600K to be a 2.5M house. Last I heard there were four offers, tho.

Posted by: anonn at December 21, 2009 9:13 AM

and as of this morning it's in escrow.

Posted by: Roxxie at December 22, 2009 9:20 AM

Don't worry, we'll make more. The home at 214 Arguello was bought for $1,600,000 about two years ago. Wells "Don't worry about our portfolio of seconds because we also financed the first" Fargo is on the hook for the $1,200,000 first and the $160k second. Sold at auction for $1,259,306 on Dec. 10.

Posted by: EBGuy at December 23, 2009 1:03 AM

The property at 3808 Noreiga St. is jointly owned by the original (pre-foreclosure) 'developer' of 1522 Lake. The Noreiga St. property received a NOTS on Jan. 19 and appears to be headed for the auction block on Feb. 11.

Posted by: EBGuy at February 8, 2010 4:55 PM

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