533 Laidley
From the listing for 533 Laidley:

This lot value sale of a 1906 Earthquake Cottage on lovely Laidley St. in Glen Park is ready for a new owner/developer…Home is not salvageable & is unsafe to enter or climb on (Do not attempt!). No plans drawn or approved for this property.

How somebody else might spin it, “asking over $1,000 a square foot in Glen Park!”
∙ Listing: 533 Laidley (1/1) – $499,000 [MLS]

69 thoughts on “Telling It Like It Is For 533 Laidley”
  1. My Realtor told me to ignore the listing description: this was nothing more than a cosmetic fixer.
    He said I could just remove that broken beam and replace it with decorative molding and I’d be all set to move in. He said he knew a guy who could do the whole job for $200.

  2. @tipster. I bet your Realtor also told you that you could get all permits from the City in a day for free ?

  3. $499k + the cost to demo and haul off – not knowing if there were any hazardous materials such as asbestos in any floor tile mastic. And then you get to start with the entitlement process? This really should be down in the low 200s at best.

  4. On the off chance that anyone is interested in discussing this seriously, how much would it cost to demolish the house and have everything hauled away?
    Would it be possible to get a loan for a property like this with only 20% down with no immediate plans to build or occupy?
    Anyone know when this place last sold and for how much?

  5. “Would it be possible to get a loan for a property like this with only 20% down with no immediate plans to build or occupy?”
    Would require a construction loan, without ability to occupy wouldn’t qualify for a traditional mortgage.

  6. @ bgelldawg: the place was on the market in 1996 with an asking price of $165K, but the listing expired (never sold). it would not be possible (most likely) to get get a conventional loan with 20% down. you will either need cash to purchase this or some sort of hard-money loan (at high interest rate). construction will likely cost you about $300-$425 per square foot, depending on the materials used. i’m not sure how much the demo/hauling would cost, but it’s an old earthquake cottage which may make the demo challenging. that said, it’s in disrepair, so the city may be more likely to grant the demo permit.
    personally, i think it’s priced a little on the high side, even for lot value…

  7. if it was that simple, any seller with half a brain would’ve demo’d it already. unless of course the seller is dead.

  8. 500k for that POS?? in Glen Park wow, I say it’ll go for half that price.
    considering it will be a cash only deal unless someone wants to pay for plans and permits before they purchase to get a construction loan

  9. If you can get the property condemned as unsafe, it may be possible to get a demo permit almost immediately. That said, getting it condemned might not be a walk in the park, but it would be the best route to an expedited demo. Otherwise going the traditional permitting route requires that you have the new design in hand to submit with the demolition application.

  10. Finally, a listing containing photos that enable evaluation of the structure !
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the existing owner intentionally let the structure rot to evade needing to preserve a historical structure. EQ cottages are historic and provide a great omen of what is coming down the road sometime in the next few decades. But how many earthquake cottages does SF need to preserve history ?
    BTW, this is not the part of Laidley that would justify a $500K price for bare dirt. A habitable home perhaps, but not dirt. And since this is being sold for the lot value, why doesn’t the listing describe the parcel size ? Wouldn’t that be a key factor to know ?
    [Editor’s Note: The listing does (“The 2,495 sq ft lot (25 ft x 100 ft deep), is zoned RH1”) as the ellipsis above is ours.]

  11. Somebody seems to have missed the last year or so of economic and real estate news.
    Throw in the PITA of it being potentially historical, and whoa.
    Not just a river in Egypt, as they say.

  12. Laidley, yes, but not really the area of Laidley where you find the more dramatic architecture. You could be in Chenery you wouldn’t notice much difference. South of Miguel Laidley street is pretty non-descript and gets more blah as you get closer to the BART station. The view is probably the reason.
    Apart from this, I love how they tried to make it more mid-century with the front.
    500K for this headache? The fool who will fall on his knife on this deal will do us a favor by removing stupid money from the buying pool. One less overpaying idiot to compete with.

  13. Talk to the Realtor – I think if you get that $250 home warranty most of the repairs will be covered.

  14. Well, in 2007 this would have gone for $700K, easy.
    How do I know?
    I remember well when the Sunnyside “dream home” collapsed, even racing over on my bicycle the morning I heard about it to see the chaos and get some laughs. It went for $125K over its $399K probate sale list price iirc, and it was fall down with signs saying “unsafe”, “enter at your own risk”, etc.
    And Mangels Ave in Sunnyside ain’t Laidley, that’s for sure!
    “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.
    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.
    “Bill Zhou and his wife snapped it up…”
    Snapped it up – lol, those were the days!
    SS featured the house too, but I’m too lazy to look up the links.
    [Editor’s Note: As Joe Sees It: 149 Mangels Before And After and The Sudden Collapse Of 149 Mangels (And A Dream).]

  15. Thanks SS, I was looking at the “Lot Sz:” field on the listing rather than the description.
    Hey, is that a pile of termite dust at the base of that snapped post ? Looks like the volunteer demo crew has already arrived.

  16. sellers should demolish first, then put it on market for lot value. Too many uncertain variables for potential buyers otherwise.

  17. Was eating lunch when I viewed the photos – my stomach turned and I had to put down the lunch. The price did not help also.

  18. LMRiM,
    I remember that one. This falls into the “overpaying idiots” category. Buyers expelled from the buying pool with a big “Crash” sound.

  19. I bet there is some issue with getting the demo permit. It would make more sense for the seller to have obtained the permit, taken the structure down, and then listed.
    Bgelldawg- Also, with a construction loan you will only get about 65% if you can find a bank willing to do one.

  20. it is ridiculous that we even have to discuss the difficulty of getting a permit.
    THIS PLACE IS A DANGER TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD. someone could go in there and that place could collapse.
    and yet we can’t demolish it because it might be historic?
    it’s a historic piece of garbage, that’s what it is.
    There isn’t a single other property near there that looks like that. What are we trying to preserve?
    I can see it now. the “San Francisco Historical Crap Society”

  21. Wow. It looks like you could hit that think with a toothpick and a feather and it would collapse.
    And just in case anyone is interested in buying/constructing, I think First Republic is still doing construction loans since our banker is still there. I have the contact info if anyone needs it. It’s been a pretty easy process overall.
    Demo/Hauling – let my kids in there with a hammer for an hour and it will be done for free. All kidding aside, I doubt it would cost more than $10K to get rid of that collapsing shed. The professionals tore most of our house to shreds in two days.

  22. All kidding aside, I doubt it would cost more than $10K to get rid of that collapsing shed. The professionals tore most of our house to shreds in two days.
    Perhaps this is true if you just mean “demolish” when you say “get rid of”.
    but disposal can cost significant amounts of cash depending on what the disposal entails. I’m not sure about SF, but where I live now costs go up substantially if there is asbestos in a building. Also if there are various forms of treated lumber (some treated lumber has toxic chemicals like chromium copper arsenate)

  23. I tore down most of an old garage out behind the house and then burned everything on-site. In the end there were only 3 garbage cans full of ashes to dispose of.
    Plus its a ‘carbon-neutral’ disposal method (burning just releases carbon that was already sequestered in the wood.
    My (patent-pending) disposal method cost me exactly nothing but a few hours’ entertainment stoking a huge bonfire.

  24. Socketsite readers often take the view (not always but often) that every seller has greed, an evil ulterior motive, or simply seller/buyer/realtor stupidity behind there actions.
    As a big fan of Socketsite, I find this humorous, thought a bit misinformed.
    The reality in real estate is that every piece of real estate has a human story behind it (or we would not be so fascinated by real estate) and sometimes those stories are sad as well.
    In the case of the Laidley lot, hypothetically what if this home belongs to a wheelchair-bound senior, who can no longer care for or make decisions for herself, and was unable to care for the property (and tragically lived in this home in that condition in her wheelchair for many years).
    What if the home is in a special needs trust and is being sold by her trustee to continue to be able to provide her with the necessary care she needs such as living in a very expensive care facility.
    The lot starting price is based on the last several comparable lot sales in Glen Park over the last few years, and yes, there are not many of them to go by as vacant lots in SF (and Glen Park particularly) are rare.
    As this is a trust sale, it is the trustee has a fiduciary duty to do what ever is necessary to ensure that the trustee receives the maximum amount they can for a property (and they need to prove that to all interested parties). And there is not money available for any fix-up, permits, demolitions, etc.
    So the trustee starts marking the property at the closest recent comparable sales to do their fiduciary duty and sees what happens. If they do not get interest after a certain number of days on the market, they lower the price until they do. This is how real estate works.
    The question readers should ask themselves is: If this was your grandmother’s home, she was incapacitated with no income or assets (except a lot in Glen Park), and you were the trustee responsible for making financial decisions, what would you do?

  25. andrew your post is well intentioned, but we would not be on a real estate blog if we wanted to know about the intricacies of every subject family’s situation whether it’s tragic or not. everybody wants the most money for their property whether it’s the trustee of an ailing grandmother or simply a greedy flipper. if a trustee is over-pricing the property and not getting it sold, they are not doing the grandmother any favor either, even if they are well intentioned. most posts are only saying 500K for the land plus demo/hauling costs plus difficulty of obtaining permits is too much, regardless of the family situation.

  26. Just another example of how unrealistic people’s valuation of real estate really is. No sane person would pay half a mil for this headache.

  27. “So the trustee starts marking the property at the closest recent comparable sales to do their fiduciary duty and sees what happens. If they do not get interest after a certain number of days on the market, they lower the price until they do. This is how real estate works.”

  28. Andrew – If I were the trustee I would get at least three agents to give me proposals on how they would market and sell the property and at what price. Then I would also pay to get an appraiser to tell me how much it was worth. Now I have some good documentation to justify the price I would list it at. Would some of that cost me some money, probably a few hundred dollars, but so what, I get to pay myself back when it sells. Also there are carrying costs to consider, so just picking a price based on thin market data and chasing the market like you suggest is not really the best way to go about it.

  29. Or you can list it at a price that will draw multiple offers and then the highest one is by definition the best price that could be obtained.

  30. you were the trustee responsible for making financial decisions, what would you do?
    I would have already transferred the house into an irrevocable trust for the benefit of her children or other trusted relatives. This would allow her to keep sucking off the Medi-Cal teat while protecting the proceeds from the sale of the lot from pesky reimbursement claims of the bureaucrats after she passes. There is no reason to spend down your own assets when there are so many foolish goo goos willing to subsidize you. A very brief intro to this well-used strategy can be found here:
    Perhaps that is what is really going on here??

  31. andrew,
    If this were one of these cases, this wouldn’t likely be on the MLS. The best deals are often off the grid and the potential profits already eaten and digested. A sleazebad specuvestor / salesman would already have snatched this shipwreck up for a song if he had seen a good risk/reward potential.
    Real Estate is a merciless business when it comes to people who are weak and can be easily influenced/swindled. I am talking of experience having been on both sides of the equation and having a couple of times profited of someone else’s problems. I wasn’t taken advantaged of too much but that’s because I am still young enough. I know I’ll need an ironclad plan when my family reaches old age.
    I would look at the profession first before crying out that posters (often potential buyers) are insensitive. This is where the tire meets the road. Not a Realtor rant. This is just business after all, just like any other business. Anytime you buy and sell something, the exchange often takes the most efficient path and the human element often takes a backseat to the transaction.

  32. Just to back up my $10K guess – our demolition labor was $7302.50 using our ridiculously expensive (but oh-so-worth-it) contractor. Most of the house was taken apart fairly skillfully since we wanted to keep the exterior walls next to the neighbors and the front two rooms. The back of the house was gone. The debris boxes were $2310 – but that also included the 50 cubic meters of dirt and concrete that we excavated from the backyard. Yes, we had asbestos. Yes, we had toxic treated lumber. Yes, it was all above board – Sunset Scavenger picked it all up.
    Perhaps a professional could weigh in though. I’m just the rube who is paying for the darn thing.

  33. Jimmy – the “carbon neutral” burn story is explained iff the wood would have disposed where it would naturally rot, releasing the same amount of CO2 as burning (albeit at a much slower rate).
    I think that’s probably the case for most landfills, but I’m curious whether deep burial of wood would prevent it from rotting (and forming neocoal a few millenia from now)
    Back to this house, if Andrew’s story is true then it might explain why no demo was done in preparation. Still, a $10K demo investment as nowonderitcostssomuchhere suggests would pay off handsomely in the form of reaching a larger market and reducing FUD, resulting in a higher sale price. If there’s not even $10K available, couldn’t some creative financing solve that considering that repayment could be extracted from the sales proceeds ?

  34. LMRIM – Did you miss the part where Andrew mentioned the possibility of a special needs trust? “What if the home is in a special needs trust and is being sold by her trustee to continue to be able to provide her with the necessary care she needs such as living in a very expensive care facility.”
    That is actually better then what you are suggesting since if it were just a regular Irrevocable Trust, the income that trust generates would count as income for public benefits.

  35. Oh and that link you posted is how to transfer a house to the kids, not how to transfer it to a trust to sell it and then use the money to support the person. A regular Irr Tr is probably sufficent to transfer a house to kids, but if the point is to sell a house and use the money to help support someone while also making sure they can qualify for public benefits, the Special Needs Trust is the better way to go.

  36. I did see that, Rillion. The key with the irrevocable trust is to put it in someone else’s name. So, you don’t run into any problems with siphoning public benefits because of asset test problems (not that there would be anyway as this is a primary residence). I’m fairly certain that with “no income” (which is not true of course, she will at least be getting the “income” from SSI (wheelchair) and/or straight SS) she will be receiving a number of public benefits, notwithstanding owning a $500K asset. Also, of course, no income is spun off from a trust the sole corpus of which is a dump in Glen Park, so there is no concern about “income” from an irrevocable trust.
    I don’t know all the details of the special needs trust here (if there is any), but the “Medi-Cal” trust is to be preferred in most cases, as this allows you to grab as much from the taxpayers as possible and still be able to pass the value of the asset onto your beneficiaries upon death (otherwise, the bureaucrats can make a reimbursement claim against the estate). If she were to die before the special needs trust is spent down – the state may well have a claim.
    Pretty straightforward stuff – I know a number of people in the Bay Area (all of whom are big supporters of taxes to support “the indigent”) who undertook such planning in order to make sure that they received the loot after the “state” took care of their ailing parents.

  37. Milkshake,
    Interesting analysis of the carbon neutral story.
    – Rotting wood will release methane, which is trapping 20 times more heat than CO2. Methane stays in the atmosphere longer and is not absorbed through photosynthesis, therefore it is better to burn than to let rot if both are the only options.
    – Burying wood would be a pretty crude way to “capture” carbon. It’s efficient if everything is sealed off and conditioned to be free of bacteria (acidic covering). Pretty tough to do on a large scale I guess, but coal deposits are a proof that nature did it on its own.
    – A question to the savvies: I heard that charcoal doesn’t rot. Is this true? Creating charcoal and burying it therefore would be a good compromise. Of course the charcoal has to be produced with minimal CO2 release.

  38. Interesting fact about rotting wood releasing more damaging methane Fronzi. I was starting to wonder whether my wintertime wood fire habit was canceling out the benefits of cycling instead of driving a car.
    But now I’m concerned about the damage that my cycling exhaust inflicts on burrito fueled days.
    As far as on-site incineration of demolition debris goes, I hope everyone knows not to burn pressure treated wood cuz it emits toxic gas. I’m pretty sure that DIY incineration is illegal though due to pollution and fire safety concerns.

  39. diemos,
    Thanks for the great link. Killing 2 birds with one stone: making more tropical land arable and doing carbon sequestration in the process. Very elegant solution. I suggest the future buyer of 533 Laidley creates charcoal out of his pile of rotting wood and then crushes it into small bits in his backyard. nowonderitcostssomuchhere’s kids can do the crushing with their little hammers for no fee.
    I guess all other cyclists have an extra motivation for getting ahead of you. Must be tough on the morale. Or maybe they stay way way back.
    This pressure treated wood will come back to haunt us one day. So much cyanide laying around cannot be safe in the long term. But I suppose we have no choice. Redwoods are running out and we are still building most houses with wood frames.

  40. The key with the irrevocable trust is to put it in someone else’s name.
    You need to re-read King Lear.

  41. I looked at this house as a possible purchase for myself back in 1996. Andrew is right about the wheelchair bound woman who lived there until she was moved into a home in Kentfield.
    I went as far as to get bids for removal and construction of a new home on the site and
    I made her what I tought was a fair offer for the time ($100K) It was rejected. Her agent confided in me that the seller was a little unreasonable (I’m paraphrasing to be polite).
    Anyway, I bought a cosmetic fixer nearby instead, but I always regretted missing out on an opportunity to build my own custom home on that lot. It’s a good location and yes, I would have over-paid at the time, but it would have worked out very well in the long term.
    My point is that a lot in that location is rare and valuable. I’m not in a position now to consider a purchase and construction project, but I would if I could.
    In my opinion, this lot priced at $500K is too high for a contractor to buy, build a spec home and make a profit. It pencils out fine for an owner though.

  42. Has anyone noticed the two homes for sale across the street? One is contingent with a listing price of $699,000 and the other is on Zillow asking $2,399,000.

  43. Here is a follow-up on my previous post for posterity:
    540 Laidley is a contingent short sale across the street and is asking $699,000. The agent indicated that the listing is seeking “backup offers”, and the current offer is above the list price.
    Though still on Zillow for $2,399,000, 538 Laidley has been pulled from the market. The listing company informed me that this building has gone the rental route.
    In case no one has noticed, this 500 block section of Laidley has underground utilities.

  44. 533 was just reduced $100,000 — to $399,000.
    Two more similar reductions and I’d say it is worth a look

    Sure. 199K for a decent GP lot with a potentially problematic teardown? One hundred percent of the builders in town would probably take that gamble. It doesn’t need to fall that far by a longshot.

  45. Nice product and significantly more solid than the house that used to be there. I’m not sure whether this location can yield $2.75 though.

  46. I don’t think it can get $2.75M either. I think the Surry house got $1.85M, this should do better but I don’t think it gets anywhere near $900K more.
    Of course D5 is hot, hot, hot.

  47. It sold for $2.65 mil. There was a lot of trash talk about this deal. But it seems like a good ROI to me. But what do I know?

  48. Wow…stunning outcome.
    Must have been that Bahamian themed paint job right across the street at 536 Laidley that pushed the buyer over the edge?
    And seems a bit far from the tech shuttle routes, but at that price, perhaps you just buy your own personal tech shuttle? Seems the next logical step in the bus invasion.

  49. We saw this $2.65m house here as well as the 761 Kansas for $3.2m. Interesting to do a compare/contrast on what an extra .5m will buy.

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