2625 Ridge Road, Grass Valley 95945, 2 bedroom 1 bathroom, bungalow with a garage, listed for $289,000

With so many similar homes that come up for sale in Grass Valley it is not hard to peg the price right on the market value. This one is exactly what comparable prices say it should sell for. It has move in ready and nice upgrades, a small garage that can be used for storage or parking a car, small lawn, flat lot, enough space to spread out a bit. Exterior and interior are both well maintained. I suspect this one will sell at or near asking in less than a week.

211 Nevada Street, Walk to Nevada City, Victorian Era Home, modest fixer, listed for $325,000

True Nevada City Victorians are so rare in any price range there are never comparable sales data. And often times people of done them up with such high end features and amenities these homes can sell for 1/2 a million or more. This home surely has that potential, but the question is, how much would you need to spend to make it worth more than the $325,000 list price?

Like every Victorian the floor plan of this house reflects the sensibilities of a different era of home building. There are tall ceilings and a parlor room, but the downstairs extends out past the kitchen with rooms that were clearly “add-ons” probably in the 1940’s or 1950’s when this home might have been a boarding house, or rented to multiple families. Today, the floor plan feels obsolete, but that’s the way all Victorians are, and when you own one, you have to love the quirky way the home is laid out. Upstairs is also typical of these Victorian renovation homes. When it was built the upstairs probably did not exist. It was originally a one story house, and the tall pitch of the roof simply provided attic space. Only in later years were staircases added, and the upstairs was sheet rocked, and electricity was added along with doors and windows. The result on may Victorian homes is completely unusable upstairs rooms with awkward jags in the ceiling for the hip roofs, but this home is actually quite a bit better than typical. The two upstairs rooms are spacious, have tall enough ceilings for adults, and could actually be used for day to day living. No bathroom upstairs! which is also typical of the Victorian homes. What is really unique about this home is the second bathroom on the rear porch that has a claw foot tub. Again, the changing sensibilities of home owners over the years has resulted in dozens of variations on the Victorian theme, and bathtubs on enclosed porches are not as rare or usual as you might think. Just remember, at one time there have been two or even three families living in this house, with five or six adults and kids. A second bathroom was a god-send necessity, regardless of what we might think about it today.
This one is worth checking out.

12896 Roadrunner, a Lake Wildwood, 3 and 2 listed for $279,000

This is a good comparable listing with several homes already on the market in Wildwood this year. Yet another three bedroom and two bathroom house.

The lot is a steep up slope, so this one is not a functional as several of the flat or near flat lots we have seen so far this year. And the house is small, under 1200 square feet, which means some portion of the floor plan will be undersized in relationship with conventional 1300 to 1500 square foot ranch floor plans. In this house, the trimming came in one of the guest bedrooms. While the rest of the home feels just about right, one guest bedroom is just 9 X 10, too small for any bed other than a single. The room was used by the current owner as a sitting room, and did not have a bed in it. Also, to the detriment of the home and due to the steep lot, the two car garage is 40 feet and down four steps from the back sliding door off the dinning area. That means that sliding door becomes the de facto entry for the house, and the actual front door, way off on deck on the other side of the house would never be used.
I don’t think this is $300,000 house, but I do think a price conscious buyer who wants something of a less expensive house, and realizes the discount is because the home is quantifiably less desirable that the flat ranchers for $310,00 to $325,000 that we saw all winter.

18851 Penn Valley Drive, Penn Valley, 95946 Price reduction to $325,000

There are not many three bedroom and two bathroom ranch style homes for sale under $325,000 outside of Lake Wildwood. A couple of fixers in Grass Valley, the occasional home in Alta Sierra, but nothing on over 1/2 an acre, so when this home was reduced from $349,000 to $325,000 I went out to see why is hadn’t sold.

First note, the home is tenant occupied. The tenants are accommodating, but not the best house keepers. Sellers may think that getting that rent check every month is important to their cash flow, but in fact, the tenants may cost the seller tens of thousands in lost valuation on sales end of the transaction. If this home was vacant and move in ready, I believe it would have already sold, and probably closer to $350,000 instead of where is will likely end up, a bit south of $320,000. Besides the general discouragement of having to deal with the tenants poor house keeping habits, what else is causing this home not to sell?
the home has a long narrow gravel driveway. That might be expected with 1.6 acres, but for buyers looking for a “ranch floor plan” the long driveway might actually look more like a maintenance issue, and potentially limit access in low clearance vehicles, motorhomes, or trucks with trailers. While the privacy is desirable, there are plenty of buyers who have toys that need easy access to the parking areas, and this home might scare them off.
The home itself is pretty much exactly what you expect from a 1979 ranch single story with a 1990’s era facelift. Nothing special. Worn in all the ways you would expect, and well lived in by the tenants, who also have several dogs. The home does have some kennels in the back, so for pet lovers or buyers with ambitions to have several dogs, this property might fit the need.
One last negative point. The home had a one car attached garage that was converted into a bedroom. No covered parking. The bedroom conversion looks like it was a “home-owner” job. Structurally it looks well enough made, but clearly, converting a garage to bedroom makes for uneasy tension in the floor plan. It is also quite likely no permits were obtained for the conversion, so lenders may not give any valuation to added room.

10030 Hope Street, Grass Valley, 95945 2 bedrooms and one bath cottage, listed for $269,000

Another 2 bedroom Grass Valley cottage. One of 24 that have been listed or have sold in the last six months. This is the most common of all types and styles of homes sold under $300,000 in our area. Grass Valley had dozens of these small cottages in every possible state of improvement or disrepair, so the market comparisons and pricing is driven entirely by previous sales. Sellers and buyers both know what a home like this worth, even if there is nothing that is exactly the same on the market because you can triangulate between all types of previous sales and pretty much figure out what one of these homes is worth, even if it has it own unique flavor of upgrades and maintenance issues. Have a look, call me with questions.

The video contains a spreadsheet, so it is best to watch it on a large screen. be sure to expand your screen size to full screen when viewing so you can see the spreadsheet. Pause the video in the spreadsheet to get the picture, and of course, you can always look the home address up on my previous blog posts to see more pictures of any of the homes listed.

16318 Banner Quaker Hill Road, Cascade Shores, 95959 price reduced to $334,000

This is certainly a disappointing marketing experience for the sellers of this home. Over priced in the early fall of last year at $399,000, this home languished over the winter, and is only now reasonably priced about where it should have been when it was first listed. It is a nice home, but it has several challenges that make it an “under $350,000” and maybe a $325,000 given how long it has been listed.
The upside is the home appears well maintained from street. It has good paint, trim and siding are well maintained, widows are dual pane vinyl sliders, decks, rails, and stairs are in good shape. Interior the home is in good condition, Formica counters, appliances are less than five years old, carpet and paint are in reasonable condition.
The floor plan makes good use of the space, but the master bedroom has no shower, just a toilet and sink. The guest bathrooms are on each floor with standard single piece tub and stall combination with dated fixtures. There is good sized laundry room downstairs, along with extra bedroom that has no closet. The garage is only a single car garage. It has a steep driveway leading up to the garage, no flat apron in front of the garage, and only a single car flat spot below the garage for parking which is not properly aligned for a turn around. You need to back down the driveway and out to the street to turn around.
Using the standardized system of home ratings I give this house a rating near $8000. I would want to see this home priced below $320,000 to make it a great value.

11650 Lower Colfax, home has been pending for 4 months, listed for $335,000. What’s up with that?

So, here is a home that most certainly is a “fixer” in every sense of the word. The home looks great on stats sheets, and the pictures in the MLS don’t reveal anything wrong with the home, but a site inspection shows this home has serious challenges. The yard is a full acre, but it is neglected, has lots of trash, an abandoned motor home, and barn that is near ready to fall down. There is also a dry pond, that is about 15 feet deep and held back by a berm, but it is filled with brush and no water. Where does the water come from and where does it go when it run down on to the neighbor’s property? Far from appearing like an asset, this pond looks like it could be a major headache if it were ever fill up with water.
The inside of the house is a disaster. There is personal trash in every corner of every room, fixtures and appliances are broken, missing, and everything is at least 30 years old. Broken windows, broken doors, it needs new paint and floor covering, and the bathrooms are thrashed. The floor plan is unconventional. It looks like the owner may have split the upstairs and downstairs into separate units, both have kitchens and one bathroom. Both have two bedrooms, and each has its own living room. Do any of these improvements meet county codes or are they allowed in within the permitted uses for this home? I doubt it.
I called the listing agent and asked what’s up with this house. He told me an investor put down deposit on the house last year but the title company has not been able to get clear title due to and IRS lien on the house. Once the IRS lien clears the investors is ready to close up the deal. Really? At $335,000? Yes, the listing told me that price the investor was offering was $335,000. That seems way over the top for this property. This is no $500,000 house when it is all fixed up, maybe not even a $400,000 house! Even with two new kitchens, and 2 new bathrooms, and all the cosmetic fixing, and clean up the landscaping, even with all those things, this house would be mid $400,000, and it needs everything! OK, well, that’s why I go out and look. You never know. I will keep watching this one. Don’t be surprised if the buyer has an epiphany when the IRS lien is settled and this one is back on the market at $300,000.

17179 Clover Road, 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, on 1.15 acres, listed for $329,000

The three bedroom but only one bathroom floor plan was the prelude to what became the classic “ranch” where a bathroom was added to the “master bedroom” staring in about 1957 or 1958. Between about 1950 and 1957 these proto-ranch floor plans were fairly common, and so when this house is listed as of “unknown” age, my guess it was built in the late 1950’s. That being said, the upgrades and modernization looks typical of the 1970’s. Windows, counters, appliances, and fixtures all appear in good operating condition, but they also look like they could 40 years old or more. Paint and carpets look to be in good condition, probably ten years old or more, but the home definitely looks like it had light use. Maybe it was a second home or vacation home, of just some very conscientious home owners who tread very gently on their home. In any case, homes like this always present a bit of an unknown in terms of establishing value. A furnace that is 30 years old and looks like it has been well maintained and in good working condition is still a furnace that is 30 years old! Every appliance and fixture that is several decades old is at or near the end of its service life, regardless of how well it was maintained or how infrequently it might have been used over the years.
So, where is the value here? A 3/1 of this era in Grass Valley on a city lot should sell for about $300,000. The oversize lot and creek add value, but how much? We hardly ever see homes with this much acreage so it will be interesting to see how much value a buyer puts on the oversized yard.

11788 Francis, Alta Sierra two-story 3&2, listed and pending at $324,900

There is not question that a quick sale of this home indicates upward pressure on prices as we go into the end of the winter market and start thinking about where prices will head in spring. A very similar single story ranch home two houses away just sold for $295,000, and it took 15 days to go pending. This home was listed and sold the same weekend, for almost $30,000 more. This home is a bigger home, but it is also a two story home on a much smaller lot. Buyers recognize there is a lack of inventory as we get ready for spring. This sends a shot across the bow for both buyers and sellers regarding the coming market.
Keep your eyes wide open, even a small house that needs a bit of work could be good investment if it is priced right. With buyers now clearly willing to pony up $300,000 for just about anything that is move-in ready, price spreads between list and repair costs get some buffer, and there may be some money to be made if the right deal comes on the market in March. I will be watching closely.

11510 Colfax Hwy- another Grass Valley Bungalow-cottage, 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, listed for $269,000

Grass Valley cottages and bungalows with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom make up the largest class and type of home listed for sale in Nevada County priced under $300,000. Last year there were 20 of them. Only homes in Lake Wildwood make for a larger potion of the under $300,000 market. With so many comparable sales it is not hard to give a broker price opinion on a home like this.

Here’s the basics- on the upside, this home has received a nice facelift both interior and exterior- Hardwood floors are freshly refinished and shine. New Formica counter in the kitchen, new sink, fixtures, stove, and refrigerator, new paint on the interior, new carpets in the bedrooms, new vanity in the bathroom.

Standard desirable features include ad flat lot with plenty of room for gardening, a garden storage shed in back, an enclosed rear porch for laundry, and enclosed front porch for staking off shoes and hanging coats.

Downside- Corner lot right on Hwy 174. Busy street, lots of noise from traffic and pedestrians associated with church across the street and the elementary school one block away. As always, home like this on very small lots typically have older septic systems that would need to be inspected before a valuation could be determined.

Priced under $270,000 this home is just right for last fall’s market. Important to realize that while a dozen homes like this sold last year, all priced between $250,000 and $300,000 and this one fits that price model exactly, this is also the first home of the 2018 season, so it will be interesting to see how long it takes buyers to jump on it, and what price discount they are going to extract due to the road noise. This home is definitely nicer than many of the similar homes that sold for $275,000 and even $285,000 last year, but the road noise factor is a serious defect.

Here is a little more detail about how I track comparable home sales data.