40% Off and Counting for the Avondale Albatross

Remember the Avondale Albatross? Last gracing these pages a year ago, the storied spec home (something of a Seattle Bubble mascot) was first noticed on these pages way back in June 2006 when it was priced at $1,625,000.

The Avondale Albatross

Here’s the history of this 4,900 sq. ft. spec home on 3 acres a bit north of Redmond:

The current asking price represents a 39% drop from the February 2007 sale price, and it’s apparently been sitting on the market for a month now with no interest. Of course, I’m sure this isn’t helping:

Occupied by tenant. No access at this time – make offer subject to viewing interior. … Sold as-is, no warr of any kind.

Seriously, who’s going to make an offer sight-unseen on a three-quarter-million-dollar house?

This show just keeps getting better.

[Update 12/28: Another price drop, down to $743k. Now down to 42% off the 2007 sale price (and 54% off the original “Ridiculous” June 2006 asking price of $1,625,000).]


About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.

34 comments:

  1. 1
    ARDELL says:

    “Alas, poor (albatross). I knew (it) well.”

  2. 2

    Seriously, who’s going to make an offer sight-unseen on a three-quarter-million-dollar house?

    I ran into one earlier this year where an offer was made on one sight unseen for just a bit less than that (between 1/2 and 3/4 million). But you’re right, it doesn’t help.

  3. 3
    wreckingbull says:

    Furthermore, who is going to pay that kind of coin for a home sided in T1-11 and battens. I’d expect Alaskan Yellow Cedar for that kind of money.

  4. 4

    This bad Economy Has Some Golden Edges to It

    This house wasn’t worth $500K IMO in 2006/2007, let alone 2011….the buyers in over-priced urban areas like Seattle are like buyers in LA, NY or SF, etc, they think dinky shacks or over-priced bigger ones in high density population areas are miner’s gold, when we all know its fool’s gold….

  5. 5

    RE: wreckingbull @ 3 – I think I mentioned recently a fairly new townhouse style SFR property that was built with 4×8 plywood and battens. It was actually real plywood, and not some of the synthetic sheeting, but still. I can’t see that for our Seattle weather and told the client to expect to have to paint every 5 years.

  6. 6

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 5

    Yes Kary

    We’re currently harvesting trees in the 18″ diameter realm and the plywood made from this too young growth is soft and cheap, so are the two by fours.

    As bad as the glue board is, it may not be much worse.

    Is this then a good reason to buy really old homes with old growth wood? IMO, no. Then you trade wood quality concerns for plumbing and electrical concerns….all leading to one conclusion, likely money pit down the line, no matter what the choice.

  7. 7

    By softwarengineer @ 6:

    Is this then a good reason to buy really old homes with old growth wood? IMO, no. Then you trade wood quality concerns for plumbing and electrical concerns….all leading to one conclusion, likely money pit down the line, no matter what the choice.

    Again I’ll note the remodel possibilities. We did a “to the studs” remodel on a house, replacing all the supply plumbing with copper and new electrical throughout the house. Finish it off with modern insulation and it’s put back better than new.

    I do remember though after the original sheet rock was stripped having the contractor comment on the quality of the 2x4s. Not something I would have noticed.

  8. 8
    Jason says:

    Awesome. Love the followthrough — please keep it up, I’ll be here with popcorn.

  9. 9

    my unlicensed daughter says she wants it!

  10. 10
    Pegasus says:

    Don’t worry. Some one living in Vancouver, Canada will swoop down and steal it thinking they are getting a real bargain. It’s all relative.

  11. 11
    David Losh says:

    RE: softwarengineer @ 6

    There’s more than wood in rehabbing. It’s a complex formula.

    Actually some one commented today on my article about the differences between a rehab, and a tear down.

    One of the things that others have done is jack up a house a full story to add a first floor. We’ve gone up a foot, or two. Just consider the savings of site work, and framing. Some times it works, other times it’s a money pit.

  12. 12
    David Losh says:

    RE: raymond pepper @ 9

    Tell her the back yard has power lines. Yikes!

  13. 13
    Dweezil says:

    Despite foreclosing, the bank stands to still make money if they get anywhere close to current listing. Yea, I know chances are slim.

    Ouch! That person lost over 1/2 million trying to flip. Curious why there was no attempt to sell during the year prior to foreclosure. No attempt to break even. Maybe they were collecting rent and skipping mortgage payments.

    And more than a year after foreclosure, the tenant still has a lease? Weird.

  14. 14
    joe dirt says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 3

    Maybe its Hardipanel with battens.

  15. 15
    Kmac says:

    By Dweezil @ 13:

    Despite foreclosing, the bank stands to still make money if they get anywhere close to current listing.

    Highly unlikely. Depends on what your definition of “making money” is.

    Curious why there was no attempt to sell during the year prior to foreclosure. No attempt to break even. Maybe they were collecting rent and skipping mortgage payments.

    Most likely the seller was p-o’ed (for any number of reasons) and said “screw it, the bank can sell it themselves.” or like you suggested, put a tenant in place and pocketed the green.

  16. 16
    John Bailo says:

    The thing is even at the peak price…it is a spectacular bargain compared to a “normal” home.

    Reason? 3.05 Acres

    If for a multiple or two of a standard home, you can get the land of 12 homes, then you’ve scored.

    Conversely, it really points out the absurd half million dollar valuations of 1/4 acre homes…or worse, landless air condos with $400 HMA fees!!

  17. 17
    Jonness says:

    Let’s play another round of guess the sold price and date. I guess $100K cash on sept. 11, 2015.

  18. 18
    David Losh says:

    OK, if you won’t mention it I will. It’s septic, and filtered well. You put that together with being in the middle of nowhere and you’re at $350K. Alright it’s $450K because so much money was spent on construction.

    What size septic, and what well capacity?

  19. 19
    wreckingbull says:

    RE: joe dirt @ 14 – The point wasn’t wood vs. engineered siding, it was the fact that it is panel siding.

  20. 20

    RE: wreckingbull @ 19 – I sort of raised that issue in post 5, where I was talking about another property I had run into.

  21. 21
    Peter witting says:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 19 – I think he was making a little j-o-k-e….

  22. 22

    By Kmac @ 15:

    By Dweezil @ 13:

    Despite foreclosing, the bank stands to still make money if they get anywhere close to current listing.

    Highly unlikely. Depends on what your definition of “making money” is.

    What are you two talking about? One lender gave a first and a second. Over $1M was owed at the time of the Notice of Trustee’s sale just on the first.

  23. 23
    Kmac says:

    By Kary L. Krismer @ 22:

    What are you two talking about? One lender gave a first and a second. Over $1M was owed at the time of the Notice of Trustee’s sale just on the first.

    I didn’t look at the assessors website, just what was written in the post.

    Looks like $1,180,233.16 total unpaid debt. WOW!

  24. 24

    RE: Kmac @ 23 – That’s presumably what the bank bid in at the sale. They don’t always bid in what they’re owed. If someone had bid $1 more than that, they would have likely owned it now. What they bid can be sort of an asking price.

  25. 25

    By Peter witting @ 21:

    RE: wreckingbull @ 19 – I think he was making a little j-o-k-e….

    A question for both of you. When I think of T1-11 I think of this, a real wood product.

    http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/c2/c2443494-22b9-43e5-8c66-a253c976cf6b_300.jpg

    But a web search indicates that there are synthetic T1-11 products, although neither HD or Lowes apparently sells it. What say you? Does saying T1-11 imply real wood? And does it imply that type of grooving?

  26. 26
    Kmac says:

    My family has been installing siding in Seattle area since the early 60’s. T1-11 was originally a designation of the groove design of real wood panel siding. That is all there was back then, real wood.

    Now there are concrete & osb panel sidings w/ grooves, but the manufacturers call it “grooved panel siding” or “vertical siding panels”.
    T1-11 is used as a generic term such as “bandaids” and today, I think it “implies” all products with grooves, synthetic or otherwise.
    http://www.lpcorp.com/smartside/panel/
    http://www.jameshardie.com/dealer/popImages/panel_sierra.shtml

  27. 27

    RE: Kmac @ 26 – That’s what I was seeing on sites like this: http://www.servicemagic.com/article.show.T1-11-Siding.13965.html

    Until today I’d always thought of it as just the stuff in my link above–the real wood w/ grooves product.

  28. 28
    Kmac says:

    By wreckingbull @ 3:

    Furthermore, who is going to pay that kind of coin for a home sided in T1-11 and battens. I’d expect Alaskan Yellow Cedar for that kind of money.

    Now this is an opinion, and we all know what part of the anatomy those are like, but……,

    I think that panel siding with battens is a more weather resistant wall cladding than authentic Board & Batt(en) siding. Real B&B siding has gaps between the 1×12’s for weather to potentially penetrate. Probably not a big issue here, but it could be.
    The most notable B&B siding that I installed was at the vocational rehab center next to Evergreen Hospital some 20 years ago. It was 1×12 & 1×3 cedar board and batt. Thick 3/4″ siding does makes for a substantial “appearance” of quality and the real wood grain look can’t be beat.

    Cedar is a more preferable product in my eyes, but it costs more too. All of the “For that price, I expect…” kind of reminds me of first time homebuyers that want Slab granite counters, stainless steel appliances and built in vaccuum system in their starter homes, all for a ” starter home price”.

    The most common cedar in Washington is Western Red Cedar. I haven’t seen much of Alaskan Yellow.
    In the late 90’s Spruce siding was being promoted as a cost effective option to WRC, but my experience with it seemed to show that it was more susceptible to twisting and warping and it seemed to drip sappy goo for quite a while.

    Merry Christmas everyone!

  29. 29

    By Kmac @ 28:

    I think that panel siding with battens is a more weather resistant wall cladding than authentic Board & Batt(en) siding. Real B&B siding has gaps between the 1×12’s for weather to potentially penetrate. Probably not a big issue here, but it could be.

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen real board and batten around here. I would think though that you’re right the panels would be better, because fewer places for water to enter.

    Still, I’d prefer an overlapping horizontal siding. But out of curiosity, what do you think of the overlapping vertical cedar siding that is probably about 6″ wide and is probably the stuff that the original T1-11 was designed to imitate? I’d prefer that over either board or panel & batten, because water would run down rather than sit, but I’d like to know what you think.

  30. 30
    Kmac says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 29

    The product you are describing is called Channel siding. Some locales call it Drop siding. It most commonly comes in 6′, 8″ & 10″ varieties. Cedar and Pine/spruce/whitewood.

    There is a lot of that around Seattle too. The most notable problem with Channel siding is: if the installer didn’t face the overlap away from the prevailing weather the wind can drive rain into overlap and problems can ensue, even with a weather barrier behind it.
    Also, with tall walls that require a mitered ‘weather” joint to join two or more pieces of Channel siding, especially on south side of house, these joints are susceptible to water infiltration. This is more of a maintenance issue than a product issue.

    The one other issue with Channel siding that I have experienced happens when the builder refuses to install nailer blocks every 18 to 24 inches in the wall cavity. If Channel siding is only nailed into the wall sheathing, there *could* be some future problems from buckling of siding. This can be minimized if stainless ring shank nails are used, but not a preferrable method of installation.
    Channel siding does look great on the right type of house. I like it above a brick or stone wainscott.

    By far, the siding that has had the most problems in Seattle area that I have had to repair, aside from the failed LP siding from a few years ago, was tongue and groove installed on walls. Horizontal or vertical, it doesn’t matter. Water gets in that like nobody’s business. This type of siding is common on contemporary style architecture. These types of homes almost always have flat roofs and many decks and are often on the waterfront. The common question presented to me is “where is the water coming from?” which always leads to me scratching my head. Water often shows up inside the house at a point far away from where the leak is occuring in contemporaries.

  31. 31
    patient renter says:

    They couldn’t sell it, so they’re renting it. Now they won’t be able to sell it because they’re renting it. Hope the measly rental income is worth the continued losses.

  32. 32

    By Kmac @ 30:

    Water often shows up inside the house at a point far away from where the leak is occuring in contemporaries.

    Thanks. And yes, water issues can be difficult because of how it travels.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    chad says:

    If you have ever built a home you would know that NOTHING about the high price is odd except that people built an expensive house that they couldn’t afford to keep. I am building a home. And I am doing clever and resourceful things to keep costs down. But it is a VERY expensive endeavor. And I can tell by looking at this ONE PICTURE that this house could easily have COST $750k to build. Forget about the land. Forget about profit. That’s the cost to make the thing.

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