West Portal Wreck, What’s It Gonna Take? (145 Madrone)

Just curious to see how up on your real estate all y’all are.

Take a look at 145 Madrone, a 3 bed, 1 bath, 1920’s home in prime West Portal, asking $849,000 (offer date next Monday). By all accounts, the one single photo doesn’t do this property justice. (Come on fellow Realtors! Even if it’s a wreck, you gotta put more photos up.) It needs a lot. We wouldn’t go so far as to say it “needs everything” like a certain Clipper wreck you may have heard about, but it needs a lot (new kitchen, new bathrooms, blow a wall out here and there, redo the floors, dry wall, ceilings…).

So what’s it gonna take to be the lucky owner of this diamond in the rough? We’re giving away a trip to Hawaii for the reader that nails the sales price in the comments below. (Not really, but we can dream, and we do appreciate all of your comments.)

145 Madrone, 3bed, 1 bath, $849,000 [listing details]

16 thoughts on “West Portal Wreck, What’s It Gonna Take? (145 Madrone)

  1. The developer market seems to have dried up a bit here in the 4th quarter so these places are sitting a little longer and selling for a little less these days. Not familiar with this area so can’t really guess the price.

  2. High end West Portal always costs less than folks seem to think. I see exactly one $2M sale in the MLS since 2000. It was across the street from this one, granted. But 849 right now for a total wreck on Madrone? I think that pretty much removes developers from the equation entirely. An end usuer could probably gain some nice equity tho.

  3. It is typically an end user hood. Lot’s of work being done, all by the home owners around here. Fluj is right, top dollar is lower than you would think. And for not much more you can get a finished (but smaller) house in the hood. I don’t see there being a lot of action for this so my thought is it sells just under asking.


  4. Karen,

    You obviously don’t know the neighborhood. With, the $500K+ this place needs there is no way it gets anywhere near that #.

  5. Sparky. Alex asked for readers to guess what the price point would be for this property. Karen guessed. Lay off the personal attacks.

  6. i won’t take that as a personal attack – even though it had “you are an idiot” all over it … ;-)

    it was just a number i threw out .. I have never seen the property (just the one photo). Not the best curb appeal either. You guessed low – I went for high.

    If it needs $500k in work, it is probably closer to a $950 closing price. I doubt it will go for under asking tho. You guessed low, I went for high.

  7. Karen,

    If you took that personally I am sorry, and apologize. I just didn’t think there was any way it would get that much money in this hood. But, I also would have said there is no way it gets 8 offers.
    I should have said, “I hope you are right Karen.” I would love to see them get that kind of money, as would everyone else around here.

  8. No offense taken .. you are right I think – I overshot it quite a bit *probably* – I also forgot to account for the normal slump of oct./nov. as well. we’ll see .. do you know what it went for? It seems I’m always shocked by how high things go for with “fixer” in the description.

    I’m not Realtor nor in the RE market .. I’ve just done a lot of shopping in previous years.


  9. I am a developer, plus live in the area and I passed. Ran into another developer outfront and he was passing as well. Also, I was only there in the first place becuase I thought it would also be an upgrade from our current house (4 blocks away), but it wasn’t. My wife went to the open too and thought the same thing. Our place is worth $1.05M in my opinion. Certainly you can buy a nice finished house in the hood for $1M-$1.4M, which is why this place does not make sense.
    But the editor said it got 8 offers. I would think that means it got over $900K. That number will make the Arden Estates developer very happy.
    As far as “fixer”, I’m like a broken record; still haven’t come down. It is amazing, I think there are some houses that would sell for more if you had a hammer party before the open house. Sledge not MC, or both if you have the proper attire.

  10. Yeah, well – when I said $1.1, it wasn’t because I thought it was really worth that … well, if it got that, i guess it’s worth what market will pay, but … it is just that we’ve been outbid on enough homes to know there are crazy people out there. I certainly don’t understand the fixer market – but, I guess that there are just too many people in it that think they do? I know experienced contractors that seemingly did get good deals on fixers and still got screwed when it came time to sell. Pretty big gamble. Is it just inexperienced people thinking they can do work for a lot less $$ than the can?

  11. “Is it just inexperienced people thinking they can do work for a lot less $$ than the can?”

    I have a client who is a very successful design-build developer. He has an architect on staff, a large crew, has been in the game for 20 years or more. And he calls this whole phenomenon “the housewife factor.” (Apologies to house husbands everywhere.) Whether or not people can actually pull the work off for less isn’t really the central question. It’s more like, “I’m gonna get my own house and make it exactly like I want it to be, damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead.”

    People around here for one thing have more disposable income than many ever took into account. (Not anymore now that Google is flirting with the Mendoza line, right? — well, bullshit on that. I’m talking generations of money.) Not like anybody, rich or poor, enjoys wasting money. I think it has to do with a pervasive and alluring draw … it’s HGTV, Dwell magazine, Metropolitan Home, and everything similar.

    It isn’t wasting money to these folks, though others can do it for cheaper. Like this West Portal house. A contractor would spend 400K, a client much more, and it isn’t large enough to be worth much more than $1.5M, in my opinion. In the terms of current markets there are better investments out there. That’s if the property is going to get immediately sold in a few years. If it is not, then it’s that siren song of designing your own place. I’ve seen it too many times by now. Let’s see if a year-long recession and “Flip This House” cancellations and whatnot don’t change things.

  12. yeah, interesting. that certainly makes sense – and, as someone who at least somewhat resembles that stereotype, as we start talking to architects to add-on/remodel this old house — I am becoming increasingly paranoid about putting our equity value under water – it will probably be close or over with what we want to do. We are planning on staying for long time (maybe forever) but, I don’t want to spend more than we could sell the house for – it just seems stupid – and, with two small children and associated expenses … we don’t have the money to gamble or waste. Is there a good formula you developers use? any advice to share?

  13. fluj, guilty as changed. (housewife, but I dont have TV at home, I’m only addicted to “fine homebuilding”, “this old house” and “Victorian homes”).

    HOWEVER, I have to say that our own buying to remodel was mostly linked to the general refusal of people to tackle real problems. In SF, a home would get a new kitchen, but none ever gets a new fundation. We sunk a lot of invisible money in our new fundations, and this money is lost forever (ROI = zero. Worse.. ROI is negative, because that same money invested in the kitchen would have KaChin).

    We took that decision, vs buying all remodeled, because we cannot sleep on both ears in a house not earthquake safe to our best ability – not with 3 small kids. Add some green requirements, european design/lifestyle (vs american), etc.. and there is probably no house that would have fitted our criterias without further remodel (which on a new house is ridiculous).

    I have to agree that buying to COSMETIC remodel is usually not financially viable, but there are owners who have a SPECIFIC need, and for those, fixers are the best (ADA compliancy comes into mind. example: a family with MS in early stages.).
    And that fixer is not a flip – it works only if it becomes the many many many years family home.

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