House hunting

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?
narcoleptish
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Re: House hunting

Postby narcoleptish » Sun Mar 26, 2017 9:57 am

I got nosy and looked at the assessors site where it says it has a stone foundation. Most stone foundations I've seen in Madison are at least partially sandstone and that coupled with the low area prone to wet basements just sounds like trouble. But I suppose if you can drop 375K on a house you can afford to deal with whatever comes along.

I don't understand the decision to pour so much money into a 100+ year old wood frame house as opposed to replacing it with a new efficient one. It also may not be as much money as it might appear. Everything from the doors and light/plumbing fixtures to the vinyl siding looks like standard issue Menard's or HD.

But anyway, it's easy to be an online critic so I'll just leave it at that. Somebody will probably be very happy there.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Sun Mar 26, 2017 3:52 pm

Well, if Buyer isn't happy, it's because they didn't read the critique in the Isthmus Forum.

I actually drove by there today to have a look. First, whatever is being built on the block just east of Breese Stevens is GINORMOUS. But that's not what we came to see. We're here for Ray Peterson houses.

In person, as narco researched, the Ingersoll house we were discussing has obviously got a sandstone foundation partly coated with that cheap spackle-stuff. Don't say we didn't try to warn you, Buyer. Do not store anything in your new basement except empty plastic tubs.

Also, the driveway is just as inconvenient as narco imagined and will be a fine deterrent to Buyer's coming home drunk more than once in a row.

But more interesting, the nearly-identical Ray house right next door (there was a pair) has been demolished and is being replaced by what looks like a reasonable new house. I looked on the assessor's page and found the two old houses were recently bought by the same party in one transaction for $310k.

Evidently they decided the one on the left was salvageable and the one on the right was not.

The rest of the story might be interesting too, but that's all I got. Why didn't they tear both houses down and use the double lot for more units? What was OK about the one house and not OK about the other? If they make their whole initial investment back charging a fortune for the flipped house, then how much will they charge for the new one?

Inquiring (or Sunday-bored) minds want to know. And that area is one in-transition real estate market right now, with very non-uniform outcomes.


ttt3
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Re: House hunting

Postby ttt3 » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:06 pm

Is the house on the right (117 N Ingersoll) really "new"? Looks like it might just be a heavy remodel. See the stuff (.pdfs) on this page:
https://madison.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2809152&GUID=3E22A082-1797-480E-A768-F43BAFC20C23&Options=&Search=

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:39 pm

If it's a "heavy remodel," they sure did take it apart. When I drove by, I didn't see much but new framing, which is in agreement with the drawings on the PDF that describe big changes to the front of the house. If someone wants to go into more depth (did they follow the drawings, or were things so bad they tore the whole thing down?) go ahead, walk around, and let us know what you find. I'll try to get over there myself in a day or two now that I realize I might have missed the whole picture.

The Legistar documents date to last August, and Legistar is notoriously slow to be updated so more could have happened later. The PDFs (especially the as-built drawings) are cool -- they show how totally nonstandard those original plat lots and houses can be, which is part of the overall quirky history of the east side. As we see, the houses on that whole block are not facing square to the street, and were built so they sit within inches of their north lot line as surveyed. It's as if someone plopped the houses down and only later found out where the lines were supposed to be.

The Google Street view shows the old white house I thought had been demolished, and the shabby pinkish one they fixed and flipped. It's still pretty hard to tell why they did what they did. It just seems like a series of peculiar decisions, in retrospect and without much real information. I feel a lot of ambivalence, because flipping and aggressively pricing decrepit old properties like that causes nearby assessments go up, making things more expensive for neighbors of limited means who want to stay. At the same time, somebody took a chance and restored a decaying old building, kept it out of the landfill and created respectable (though not exactly affordable) living space.

In any case, the dreadful Ray Peterson properties no longer blight entire blocks of the east side, and whatever the new owners are doing, I thank the city for doing what it finally did. The man wasted more than enough city resources in his landlording career.

fennel
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Re: House hunting

Postby fennel » Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:26 pm

And another flipper. This sprawling 1,135 sq. ft. estate went from 265K to 465K in 6 weeks.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:12 pm

Holy cats, they're asking half a million for that place.

It's a nice neighborhood and it looks like a sweet little 1940 house, but where does this end? I'll be curious to look later and see when it sells and for how much.

In other news, I went back and checked on the Ingersoll properties we were talking about earlier. They ended up tearing the white one (117) completely down. I suppose when they got into it, there wasn't enough to save so they didn't follow the plan they filed last year.

They kept the foundation, which is stone. Maybe it had to do with some legal complexities regarding how the older house (with its foundation) was only a few inches from the lot line as surveyed. Perhaps you can't build a new foundation so close to the line. I'm guessing here, but it looked odd.

Anyway, now we're getting almost an entire brand new little house instead of a fixed up one.

I don't hate those lime-mortar, local sandstone foundations as much as you'd expect. My old house had one and when we checked with a laser level, after 100 years it was only off by 1/4 inch. The basement was shallow (I couldn't stand up in it) which meant the floor drain was above the storm sewers and it didn't get standing water. Lime mortar is water-permeable, so you get moisture or even seepage on the inside, but water pressure does not build up outside the wall so it's unlikely to fail. The basement walls at my old place were between 18-24 inches thick at the bottom. Some of those old places were built better than others, of course. I guess mine was lucky.

If somebody slaps a coat of Portland cement, which is not water permeable and can't be removed, on the inside of a lime mortar stone basement it's ruined. Water pressure will build up, cracks will form, and eventually stones will be shoved around and the foundation will fail. If you see a basement where somebody did that, you probably don't want the house.

I hope whoever buys 117 is knowledgeable and doesn't expect their basement to be much more than a space for the furnace and water heater. Otherwise they are getting a new house. I wonder what the owner is going to ask for it, given the price they put on its next door neighbor. It's not exactly a little brick midcentury in Sunset.

ttt3
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Re: House hunting

Postby ttt3 » Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:02 pm

snoqueen wrote:Holy cats, they're asking half a million for that place.

It's a nice neighborhood and it looks like a sweet little 1940 house, but where does this end?


I don't understand how they're able to justify the price increase, especially as if someone puts an offer in and is taking out a loan to buy the place (which I'd imagine is the majority of offers), the bank providing the loan has to appraise it at/near the purchase price or the buyer's gotta cough up a whole lotta cash to cover the difference of (offer price - appraisal), since the bank won't loan more money than the appraisal comes in at.

Unless people are over-paying for these flips with cash... or somehow the flippers are colluding with the bank appraiser......which I have a hard time believing. Who has $500k sitting around to buy a house these days?

Also, sno, what do you do for a living? You seem pretty knowledgeable at this stuff :D

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 29, 2017 5:07 pm

I think a lot of young buyers these days get at least part of the financing from their parents. Nothing really wrong with that, except it showcases how home ownership is only possible for an ever-narrowing demographic.

To answer your other question, I actually have a two year MATC degree in architectural technology, but learned far more over a lifetime of remodeling, customizing, and restoring a whole lot of different buildings. I'm doing something else now, but I love just about anything having to do with the "built environment." If I'd been born 40 years later than I was, I would have been an architect or landscape architect. I didn't have the resolute personality it took to be the first woman in those fields in the old days. No regrets; I did other cool stuff.

narcoleptish
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Re: House hunting

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:06 am

The more of William Kaeser's work I see the more I like it. This one is a little "grand" but has some beautiful features like that stair railing and the original tiled bathroom. Any guesses on what those panels in picture 19 are if not just decorative?

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/6115 ... 8955_zpid/

Ducatista
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Re: House hunting

Postby Ducatista » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:24 am

narcoleptish wrote:Any guesses on what those panels in picture 19 are if not just decorative?

Another stair railing.

That place plus $789K (or likely more) might just entice me off the isthmus. Well... no. But it's pretty fab.

narcoleptish
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Re: House hunting

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Apr 01, 2017 10:52 am

Huh? I know the goofy camera lenses they use can distort stuff but that looks a little narrow for a staircase. But maybe?

edit: Yup, the one end is open with a little riser, gotta be a staircase.

They use those deceiving lenses to make places look more roomy than they are (which I think should be considered false advertising) but do you really need that for a 5600 sq ft house?

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:02 am

Yah, I think there's a little narrow stairway behind the panels. It looks like kind of an afterthought.

I hope the buyer doesn't take out that original bath.

What's cool about the stair rail is Kaeser's draftsman laid it out with no more than a pencil and drafting tools, and the carpenter built it by hand. No computer modeling back in 1939. The old guys were good.

Ducatista
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Re: House hunting

Postby Ducatista » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:09 am

narcoleptish wrote:They use those deceiving lenses to make places look more roomy than they are (which I think should be considered false advertising) but do you really need that for a 5600 sq ft house?

Mmmm, I think that's more side effect than intent. You need a wide-angle lens to get the shot.

narcoleptish
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Re: House hunting

Postby narcoleptish » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:15 am

Maybe so but the side effect can be very deceiving. I once toured a house on Oakridge where the ad had shown a nice wide porch with a loveseat on it. The loveseat turned out to be a regular chair and the porch was not so roomy.


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