House hunting

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

Postby NSider » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:38 pm

I found the castle weirdly more livable inside than I expected--more so than a lot of houses you see these days.

That is some dumb/cheap toe kick lighting. I never understood that trend--I mean, do you want to see how dirty your kitchen floor is? I don't!

Beard
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Re: House hunting

Postby Beard » Wed Sep 26, 2018 10:22 am

Beard wrote:Question of the day: What do you think is a realistic price for this flipped house?

Here's what it looked like when it sold for $245k in June.

Less than two months later it looks like this and was listed at $435k.


$435k was obviously not realistic; the price has already come down $15k and is sitting at $420k. The Zillow estimate is $362k.

.


The price keeps dropping. It's now at (a still unrealistic) $410k.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:07 pm

It looks like somebody is preparing to tear the Heart House down. I drive by there fairly frequently, and I've seen a dumpster or two in the driveway. Then a few of the windows got removed and/or boarded up. Workers are there most days now, and I'm guessing they're removing whatever can be scrapped out before the remainder is knocked down and landfilled.

I might be wrong and they are getting ready to do some major remodeling, but having toured the place I think that's fairly unlikely. The ceilings in all three stories are extraordinarily low (I could reach up and touch them easily, so they're around 7' at most), and there isn't any reasonable way to remodel around a weird structural impediment like that.

The person who bought it put up For Rent signs, but apparently no one wanted to live there so he's gone on to plan B. In addition, efforts to sell the south portion of the property as a separate lot haven't gone anywhere.

If I see more activity I'll let ya know. I might be wrong, who knows. It's fine with me if they tear it down -- it's a landmark of eccentricity, but one that isn't getting any better over time.

Beard
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Re: House hunting

Postby Beard » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:39 am

That's not surprising about the Heart House. The pictures of the interior and your first hand description of the place creeped me out. I can't imagine anyone wanting to live in it.


Speaking of tear downs...

This house on Tonyawatha was just listed at $1,226,000. Based on the pictures, this will be a tear down. No one with a budget of anything close to $1million would see this as a nice house. The assessed value of the property is $697,500.

While the asking price seems downright bonkers, there were at least two other high priced Monona tear downs in recent history, one that sold for over $900k next to Stone Bridge Park and another near Arrowhead Park that likely sold for $1-1.5mil. It's really anyone's guess what this one will end up selling for.

frankiewhalen
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Re: House hunting

Postby frankiewhalen » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:20 am

What are those plates on the wall over the bathroom sinks?

narcoleptish
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Re: House hunting

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:28 pm

I've been waiting for one of these to come up for sale.

https://www.starkhomes.com/property/251 ... n-wi-53705

Asking price 1.6 million. Madison assessment 199,000

Several years ago I started a thread after coming across this house and it's neighbor on some historic Madison website. Both are large mansion-like houses (at least for Madison) and both had, and continue to have, these ridiculously low assessments and correspondingly low property tax bills. They have some odd situation where they are sitting on park property, but still enjoy the privacy of any private home.

I actually wrote to the city assessor asking about it and recieved the following response, albeit concerning the neighboring house (pictured in one of the aerials) which is only slightly smaller with a slightly less assessment.

Thank you for your inquiry into the property on 2 Thorstrand Road. This is a very unique property. First of all, it is a national historical landmark building that was built in 1922. Being a historical landmark property, it is mostly in its original state with a wood burning furnace, knob and tube wiring and asbestos covered pipes. The interior is very dated with much deferred maintenance. The property sits on a leased land that belongs to City of Madison Parks, but it is not opened to the public. Its value may seem low when compare to other properties of similar size, but is markedly justified for all of its encumbrances and major defects.



With their similar assessments I'm guessing I would have received the same response about this one, and as we can see it is hardly in need of deferred maintenance. So I'm calling bullshit on this and saying it's just two well-connected owners getting special treatment from our "fair" city.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:42 pm

frankiewhalen wrote:What are those plates on the wall over the bathroom sinks?


I can't tell for sure, but some bathrooms in the 1950s had little built-in recesses for the toothbrushes. There was a revolving thing that had a metal mirror on one side (the plate you ask about) and when you pushed, it sort of swiveled around to reveal the toothbrush storage on the other side.

The pink bathtub in the one bathroom hints at the original appearance of the room (the other fixtures having been replaced) and suggests that a toothbrush cove (or whatever you want to call it) would be another typical feature.

gargantua
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Re: House hunting

Postby gargantua » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:24 pm

narcoleptish wrote:I've been waiting for one of these to come up for sale.

https://www.starkhomes.com/property/251 ... n-wi-53705

Asking price 1.6 million. Madison assessment 199,000

Several years ago I started a thread after coming across this house and it's neighbor on some historic Madison website. Both are large mansion-like houses (at least for Madison) and both had, and continue to have, these ridiculously low assessments and correspondingly low property tax bills. They have some odd situation where they are sitting on park property, but still enjoy the privacy of any private home.

I actually wrote to the city assessor asking about it and recieved the following response, albeit concerning the neighboring house (pictured in one of the aerials) which is only slightly smaller with a slightly less assessment.

Thank you for your inquiry into the property on 2 Thorstrand Road. This is a very unique property. First of all, it is a national historical landmark building that was built in 1922. Being a historical landmark property, it is mostly in its original state with a wood burning furnace, knob and tube wiring and asbestos covered pipes. The interior is very dated with much deferred maintenance. The property sits on a leased land that belongs to City of Madison Parks, but it is not opened to the public. Its value may seem low when compare to other properties of similar size, but is markedly justified for all of its encumbrances and major defects.



With their similar assessments I'm guessing I would have received the same response about this one, and as we can see it is hardly in need of deferred maintenance. So I'm calling bullshit on this and saying it's just two well-connected owners getting special treatment from our "fair" city.

I have to agree. And if it's only worth $199,000, why is it listed for 1.6 million? Those numbers can't both be legitimate.

frankiewhalen
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Re: House hunting

Postby frankiewhalen » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:55 am

Ahh, thank you Sno.
I was looking at some reasonably priced listings in Monona the other day, and was struck by the 'realtor spin'. Rather that writing about a completely remodeled kitchen, one was indicating that you could enjoy the 'retro' kitchen.

Henry Vilas
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Re: House hunting

Postby Henry Vilas » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:20 am

gargantua wrote:I have to agree. And if it's only worth $199,000, why is it listed for 1.6 million? Those numbers can't both be legitimate.

If it sells anywhere near the asking price, the assessment (and taxes) will skyrocket.

Beard
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Re: House hunting

Postby Beard » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:41 am

Henry Vilas wrote:If it sells anywhere near the asking price, the assessment (and taxes) will skyrocket.


I always keep an eye on Monona listings. There's a fair number of listings right now but not many that are worth getting excited over. Once you omit high priced lakefront homes, homes that are really small and/or dated and homes that are priced way too high (many of them) there are really only about three left...

1. Dean Ave., $300k This one is nice. Maintains the charm of an older house but seems to be nicely updated with a nice finished basement. Large yard and garage. I like this one quite a bit.

2. Gateway Grn., $298k This one treads a bit too far into "flipped house" territory for me to love it but overall it seems to be a solid, immediately livable house. As is, I think it is priced slightly high.

3. Winnequah Rd., $285k This is my least favorite of the three but it looks well maintained and has a lot of amenities that people like.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:58 am

I like the Winnequah Rd house a lot, particularly the corner windows in the living room. On the downside, the windows look original and would be costly to replace, so I guess that's a wash. What's with the weird half-table in the kitchen, attached to the cabinets? (You can probably get rid of it with minimal trouble.) I like an eat-in kitchen, but not everyone does.

Nobody uses a dining room any more, though. Dining tables are a dime a dozen at thrift stores. People's eating habits have moved in another direction, and everyone needs to find the arrangement that works best for them.

The ranch on Gateway is probably my favorite kind of house: all on one floor, hardwood flooring, unfinished basement for storage and untidy kid/hobby activities, nice lot, nice screen porch. The flipping is unfortunate, because it looks like they replaced the interior doors with pseudo-six-panel ones. If they're sheet metal, that's an instant disqualification. Why would you do this???

Another vestigial dining room -- they aren't necessarily a liability. Zillow agrees with your conclusion the price is on the high side and so do I.

The Dean house is probably very old at its core, though in a cool way. Dean is one of the older streets in Monona, and the house's basic shape makes me think it could date pre-1900. No data is available online, which means you'd need to do your own research if you wanted to learn more. You might even have one of the area's original farmhouses. A look at the foundation might give more clues, and it looks like the basement is nice and deep. The old guys didn't usually dig deep in areas with excessive underground moisture, so this is a good sign.

Ducatista
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Re: House hunting

Postby Ducatista » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:11 pm

Beard wrote:Dean Ave., $300k

That poor goldfish, what the hell.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:57 pm

I'm pretty sure it's dead.

snoqueen
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Re: House hunting

Postby snoqueen » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:42 pm

narcoleptish wrote:I've been waiting for one of these to come up for sale.

https://www.starkhomes.com/property/251 ... n-wi-53705

Asking price 1.6 million. Madison assessment 199,000
...

I actually wrote to the city assessor asking about it and recieved the following response, albeit concerning the neighboring house (pictured in one of the aerials) which is only slightly smaller with a slightly less assessment.

Thank you for your inquiry into the property on 2 Thorstrand Road. This is a very unique property. First of all, it is a national historical landmark building that was built in 1922. Being a historical landmark property, it is mostly in its original state with a wood burning furnace, knob and tube wiring and asbestos covered pipes. The interior is very dated with much deferred maintenance. The property sits on a leased land that belongs to City of Madison Parks, but it is not opened to the public. Its value may seem low when compare to other properties of similar size, but is markedly justified for all of its encumbrances and major defects.



With their similar assessments I'm guessing I would have received the same response about this one, and as we can see it is hardly in need of deferred maintenance. So I'm calling bullshit on this and saying it's just two well-connected owners getting special treatment from our "fair" city.


A building sitting on land leased from some other entity isn't all that uncommon in real estate. I think recently Madison was proposing some similar redevelopment arrangement for the land under the downtown MATC building, though that plan might not have been carried out. And if you read the New York Times recent research into Donald Trump's father's fortune, it looks like the Trumps used the land-lease tactic all the time.

Oh, that's a bad example.

The house you linked is owned by some family trust according to the city database, and I get the feeling whoever they were, they left and died a long time ago. A bunch of lawyers are probably trying to liquidate for the beneficiaries of the trust, or just trying to get rid of the old place before it costs them more than it's worth due to the requirements of its landmark status.

How and when the whole land-lease under the houses was set up is a good question and I'm not surprised the person who answered your query to the city really didn't know. The city database hasn't got much either, leading me to believe it happened before city records were digitized (they usually go back to the late 70s). A title search would probably clear up the questions.

One possibility is the original owners of the houses wanted the land preserved as a park. So they gave or sold the land to the city but chose to retain the houses by paying the city rent for their use of the land -- a land lease. And now everybody's died and the heirs couldn't care less.

That's just a guess but it's not implausible.

The house shown is ridiculously original. It's so rare to see inside a big old house that hasn't been chopped into landlord apartments or subjected to crazy, tasteless sequential remodels. It looks like it's waiting for the paranormal investigation team.

I particularly like the pretty wrought iron details on the stair railing.


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