Unfinished remodel - input?

While browsing Redfin I just came across a listing which might be a nice exchange for my current rental property. The listing price would be comparable to what would be my selling price, but it is much larger and not in a rent-controlled town. However, it is an unfinished remodel, with the 2 bathrms upstairs, basement, balconies and garage left. The back of the house looks discolored as well. Since some of you have experience, I wonder if itis possible to estimate the approximate costs to finish and if there are any red flags here. TIA


Not sure I would want to buy what looks like the nicest and biggest house in the street/area when the prospects that your neighbors will do the same to their properties is probably slim to non. I suppose ok if you get a great deal (under market) somehow.

My $.02 if that…

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Agree. I really wanted a different house, but it was a full remodel. It was clearly the nicest on the street. The street wasn’t bad. It was well kept starter size homes, and the home was bigger due to an addition. It was nicely done and flowed with the original floor plan. They added a master suite and made the living, dining, and kitchen areas open. I couldn’t pull the trigger buying the best house on the street.

You may need to buy with all cash.

Depends on how much extra you pay. Because it’s the best house in the neighborhood, you might have got a great deal when considering construction cost. With the crazy cost of the contractors, I would rather buy a fully remodeled house than buying one that needs work.

Also emotionally you gain a huge amount from living in the best house in the neighborhood. This could be better invaluable, you can buy this from the extra return. Much more cost effective than buying a fancy car.

It is the old adage about buying the cheapest house in the best neighborhood, not the other way around (most expensive in an ok or worse a bad neighborhood). Why? Because you in the long run will benefit very little from any appreciation since more than likely the neighborhood is not going to catch up to you. What you want is some give and take ideally. Take my Sunset for example. People who buy old or ok condition homes tend to do some nice remodeling before moving in. Ok, so they move in. Well, what happens? Other houses are bought and sold and remodeled, so that house now gets some company and the whole neighborhood moves up a rung. If no one else remodels, what does the remodeled house get? Nada.

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Well, you can get there (with your own house). All it takes is money, right? I prefer to do it myself, not buy something already dolled up to somebody else’s idea of nice. Why also pay the higher property tax right off the bat too?

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I get it, but in this case most of the remodeling has been undertaken by the seller (at least the property has not changed hands recently) and the listing price is in line with the neighboring, much smaller houses. Depending on the additional costs to refinish, it could be a deal. It would even be a plus to have the chance to choose some of the final finishes. There are other mostly unremodeled houses on the street that sold in the past year for 1.2 and 1.3 with 20% less square footage. To me the positive features are the size, newness (as well as schools and location) but not niceness on what is a pretty blah street. Why it was left unfinished is a mystery. Did it draw complaints from the neighbors or city planning or is the seller forced to sell?

No, more than likely, ran out of money. Any complaints serious enough would have probably come sooner in the remodel, no? I suppose if you asked directly that question, I wonder if the agent has to truthfully tell you why.

While the house obviously caught your eye, what you said about the street is telling (to me). I wouldn’t want a nice or best house in a blah or bad street. No way. You can fix your house to the gills (and it is mostly) but you can’t fix a blah street. Location, location, location!!!

True I guess, if I were going to live in it.

Hey, don’t let me stop you. The problem is that offers are due on what Tues/Wed? Not a lot of time. It is probably just me, but when buying a rental I don’t focus on dolled up or semi dolled up properties. Why pay the premium to only have tenants mess it all up? Not to mention the higher property taxes. My San Bruno home was not remodeled but functional which is perfect for me. Tenants have their fun for 2-3 years and then I come in and remodel to my liking.

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It looks like it is mostly complete. Just some railings, cabinetry and one large bathroom. I think the main issue would be looking at where it was in the permit process and the headache to resolve that.

Less than 50k. If you have to dig into the systems in the house it can escalate quickly.

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