Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bay Area Real Estate Sampler


You know how some magazines have a feature where they show gorgeous old houses around the country labeled with impossibly inexpensive list prices?

Today's blog post is going to do the exact opposite.  

Below are three houses that came up in a search for our first house in San Francisco's East Bay.  If you live in an area of the country where real estate is expensive, these prices may not surprise you much.  But for those of you living elsewhere, hold on to your hats.  By the end, you'll be feeling grateful for your local real estate market!


First up is this 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house.  I have nothing against manufactured houses, but I have a problem when they are listed for $425,000!

If you are going to ask me to pay $525K for this 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, please, please at least move out and hire a stager to come in.  I think there might be a fireplace buried under there somewhere.

This two bedroom, one bathroom is nice enough.  At around 900 square feet it's definitely on the small side, but the list price of $550K seems ok when you compare it to the previous two houses.  Except that rumor has it there were fifteen offers on this house and that it sold for closer to $800K. 

As a matter of fact, if you have a decent enough looking house in moderate to good condition here, you can expect it to sell for 20 to 25% above asking price.  That's right.  Above asking price.

And while we don't live in San Francisco, I can tell you that after reading this article on the rise of micro apartments there, I'm glad it's not on our radar.

Kayla Smith orders groceries on her laptop. She replaced her desktop computer as part of paring her possessions. Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle
Because this micro-apartment, which is size of a one car garage, rents for $1800 a month.  And it happens to be located in the single worst neighborhood of San Francisco. The kind where you are likely to step over a passed-out crack addict on the way out your front door. 

As you can see, our house search was starting to look pretty hopeless, but we kept at it.  After years of living frugally and saving, saving, saving, we closed yesterday on a teensy, tiny but totally adorable two bedroom house.  I recently joked with a friend that I might be changing the name of this blog to Living in Miniature.

More details to come, but in the meantime, get ready for lots of small space design posts. :)


  1. You closed! Congratulations (again)! I am so happy for you and know that you could work magic on any house, no matter how petite. I can't wait to follow along and see how you make your new home your own.

  2. Yeah! You got the house!! Congrats Camille!! We close tomorrow! It'll be fun going through all of this in parallel! I will definitely need your two cents!

  3. Congrats...how exciting! As a fellow Bay Area homeowner...I am not shocked at the prices...or the conditions. Nothing like a million dollar fixer upper! Welcome to California!! My realtor at the time said when the out of state buyers come here "they all cry on the third day" of house hunting. But after the tears...there is so much to be happy about while living here!

  4. Congratulations, Camille! That's exciting news. We look forward to seeing your new home.

    The prices of the places you featured are incredible! It makes me grateful we live in a region where the cost of living is very affordable.

  5. I can remember being really frustrated at the prices when I was buying my first place and they were half of what your market is now like. But once you finally get your own place, frustration turns to excitement. It's really rewarding making improvements on a place that's your own. I look forward to see how you make the house your home.

  6. Congratulations again Camille and so excited to see the process! I can't wait to see your new place in person. Also I'm selfishly so happy you stayed in the east bay. Yea!!!!!!

  7. Congratulations, Camille! I'm so excited for you and your family! I can't wait to see pictures of the house and what you decide to do with it. Yes, the Bay Area real estate market is incredibly frustrating and outrageous. We went to open houses every weekend for YEARS and always wound up pissed off and demoralized every Sunday afternoon. We were finally - incredibly - able to buy the house in Oakland we had rented for 8 years from our landlords at a relatively reasonable price. We love it and are so happy to (still) be here. But I still chafe when I see listings like the ones you posted above (ha ha re. "fireplace buried underneath there somewhere" : ) So glad you now have your (undoubtedly) charming and adorable new home!

  8. Huge news! congratulations. Real estate is the same price in DC, too. Im so excited for you and your decorating posts ahead!
    xo Nancy

  9. That is huge news my friend, congratulations! I'm so happy that you guys were able to find something you guys are happy with. And as a person in a tiny two bedroom house, the possibilities are endless. :) Can't wait to see it!!

  10. Okay...I'm catching up here. Congrats on the house, girl!! And can I just say that I'm very thankful I live in PA where you can get a ginormous house for $425K. Not that that's ever going to happen to us. I like my tiny 3 bedroom rancher just fine. ;) I'm so excited for you!

  11. Congratulations! So excited for you and your family! Happy thanksgiving :)

  12. Teeny houses are great I live in one. It provides challenges, but I rise to them!


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