Dilapidated Seattle Home, Vandalized and Unsafe to Enter, Fetches $467,500

The value (land and improvements) of new homes is typically 4x to 5x the value of a lot.  For instance, a $350,000 lot would generally support  a home value, including the lot, of $1,400,000 to $1,750,0000.

On the surface, the Central District home had a bit of curb appeal: a traditional fireplace, a detached two-car garage, and in walking distance to trendy cafes and mass transit.

And yet the 116-year-old house at 805 23rd Avenue was so unsafe, even the listing agents wouldn't go inside.

Despite the graffitied exterior, the broken windows, and the hole in the roof; the plant life growing between the gutters or the squatters who had taken up residence inside; the home sold for $467,500 last month, listing agents say.

The buyer paid cash -- and spent more than 50 percent above the $299,990 asking price.

It sat on the market for just 12 days, drawing 11 offers.

"I've never seen anything like it," said Brian Hayter, with Windermere Real Estate. "I've dealt with some 'fixers' before but certainly nothing I've never seen the inside of, so it was definitely unique."

Hayter was one of two listing agents on the home. Because of safety concerns, he never stepped foot inside the house. Prospective buyers were told the same. 

Agents listed the home as-is on May 19, setting the asking price based on the rough value of the land.

It sold less than two weeks later.

"My phone was ringing off the hook -- a lot of emails, a lot of inquiries. We had people who just wanted to offer cash, first day on the market, for full list price," Hayter said. "We figured it's a nice area, good location, very walkable, good access to everything."

It comes at a time when home prices continue to escalate in the Seattle region. A recent report from CoreLogic, a property analytics company, found that home prices are climbing faster in Washington than in any other state across the country.

Some real estate experts, in fact, were stunned that the lot didn't sell for more.

"I think it's interesting. I actually think it was listed too low," said Kamal Jain, CEO and co-founder of Faira, a Kirkland-based real estate startup. "If you think about the Seattle market, just the land for a plot is, like, $400,000. It looks like a very good lot. It's a bigger-sized lot, so I would think it would have sold for even more."

Faira bases its model on transparency, Jain explained. Buyers can see all competing offers, which are listed online, and are only charged a 0.5 percent fee. The service is free for sellers.

He said the company was seeing heavy interest for homes in the area due to the tech boom.

"We are very fortunate that we are living in a very desirable area of the country. A lot of people want to move here," Jain continued. "The economy in Seattle - a tech economy - is doing very well. We have some of the very important employers."

Meantime, Hayter said he didn't know who the buyer was -- or what the plans were for the property.

"It's a great time to be a seller, and if you're a buyer, you gotta hang in there," Hayter said. "It can be really frustrating and a lot of people are feeling defeated, but stick with it and you'll find something."

*This article originally appeared on KOMO News

Aaron FreemanComment