Sonoma Housing Bubble

Pulling the cork out of Sonoma's bubbly housing foolishness

Monday, May 07, 2007

Buy at Your Own Risk...

"A young San Francisco couple's dream of buying a fixer-upper in a nice neighborhood at a low price and polishing it into a sweetheart of a home literally collapsed on Sunday afternoon."

"The light blue home on a hill in the Sunnyside neighborhood, full of charm and rotting wood, sold late last year in a court auction for an almost unheard of price in San Francisco: $525,000."

"Bill Zhou and his wife snapped it up and, according to neighbors, began fixing it up with little outside help."

"But the house was in such need of repairs that the real estate agent who had listed it had warned potential buyers to "enter at your own risk."'

"The one-bedroom, 870-square-foot cottage -- built in 1910 -- was featured last year on a Bay Area real estate blog and in a story in the San Francisco Examiner as the cheapest house in the city's pricey market, offered at $400,000."

'"Major Fixer Upper needs everything," read the listing about the home, according to the report. "Buyers and agents beware of unstable building, floors, dry-rot and foundations. Enter at your own risk."'

"At 2:47 p.m. Sunday, as Zhou tried to put in a new foundation, the house at 149 Mangels Ave. buckled with a great crash."

"So thunderous was the sound that one neighbor mistook it for a jet breaking the sound barrier and another likened it to lumber falling out of a lumber truck.

"A front corner of the Zhou house slammed into a neighboring house, breaking a window and leaving cracks in interior walls. A back corner twisted and ended up moving about 20 feet in the other direction, into one of those miniparks that San Francisco has built into urban hillsides.

Zhou was unhurt, and firefighters saved his dog."

'"Unbelievable," said Charles Sterling, 46, one of several neighbors who stood gaping at the wreckage of the house late Sunday behind a police barricade."

'"They're just a wonderful young couple trying to do the American Dream thing and may have gotten in over their heads."'


At 5/07/2007 11:39:00 AM , Blogger Bobby Griffin said...

Hi there,

I really like your site here, so I've gone ahead and included a link to it on mine, Bought A House . I'm just getting started, but I think my content and my design might merit a link back from your site here. I sure hope so. At least stop by and leave a comment some time. Thanks!

At 5/07/2007 11:42:00 AM , Anonymous Gary Anderson said...

I always knew that rotten wood could fetch 1/2 million in the City. Time to start throwing up mud and straw, and maybe we will get to 1 mil!

At 5/07/2007 05:13:00 PM , Anonymous rdm said...

They were clearly way over their heads in attempting this project. Surprised the city would allow a home owner to do such structural repairs without a licensed A (general engineering) or B (general building) contractor doing the work. If they did it legally I will bet the city will change this.
Also interesting that the house evidently wouldnt sell at 400K so they auctioned it off and got over 500k. An example of wanting somthing to much.

At 5/07/2007 08:41:00 PM , Anonymous tom stone said...

I don't think i have seen a "do it yourself" quite this bad in person.I might have been a contender for the Darwin award if he had died.i loved the article in the chron about the $1.5 m condo's built by lennar.they apparently were about as competent as this couple.ah well, the lot is still there,3 or 4 good crops of medical pot and they can start over.

At 5/07/2007 10:32:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not related to this story - but I hear Cisco has pretty much closed its Petaluma operation. Can anyone confirm?


At 5/08/2007 02:19:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This article is unbelievable. Soon we'll all be priced oot from under our homes.LOL..

At 5/09/2007 12:18:00 AM , Blogger Out at the peak said...

Bluzer, that sounds pretty crazy. Last thing that hit the news was 15% cut in all locations late last year. Cisco has been performing well since. I would have thought that I'd hear something big like that quickly from my coworkers. It's possible that I'm more far removed than I thought.

If it comes to be true, that's a lot of high paying jobs lost. The rest of the area cannot absorb that many employees (not that many positions available) especially with the demise of many small tech companies over the last few years. There are so many For Lease/For Sale commercial signs around that business park and throughout Petaluma for that matter that it is scary.

Cisco must support about 20%+ (guesstimate) of the high tech employees in Petaluma. Only Alcatel, Tellabs, Computer Associates, and Calix remain that I can think of which have a significant number of employees.


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