The Avondale Albatross Now Bank of America’s Problem

The saga of the Avondale Albatross continues…

The Avondale Albatross

A brief history of this 4,900 sq. ft. spec home on 3 acres north of Redmond:

Can’t say I’m surprised. I could hardly believe it sold in 2007. Looks like the spec builder lucked out and just barely passed the buck to some poor sucker who was left holding the bag when this home eventually met its inevitable fate.

It will be interesting to see what this place sells for as an REO in today’s more rational market. Any guesses? For comparison, it’s currently assessed at $894,000, and Zillow’s got it at $925,500. I think both of those might be a little optimistic, especially considering that a bid of $725,000 would have bought it from the bank at auction.

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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. Tim also hosts the weekly improv comedy sci-fi podcast Dispatches from the Multiverse.

32 comments:

  1. 1

    70-80% of value at an auction is about right, so Zillow and the assessor might not be that far off.

    What is that siding on the first level?

  2. 2
    Haybaler says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1
    Shake, on the section around the door.
    The remainder is called “Board and Batten”. The wall is constructed by nailing a layer of oriented strand board to the studs, builder paper over the osb, then a layer of 3/8″ cedar textured plywood nailed over the paper, then pieces of cedar trim installed verically on 12 or 16 or 18 inch centers over the plywood. The horizontal rim joist below the BandB is trimed with 5/4 inch cedar or preprimed pine w/ a zee metal drip trim on top that the plywood panel sets on to shed water.

  3. 3

    By Haybaler @ 2:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 1 -The wall is constructed by nailing a layer of oriented strand board to the studs, builder paper over the osb, then a layer of 3/8″ cedar textured plywood nailed over the paper, then pieces of cedar trim installed verically on 12 or 16 or 18 inch centers over the plywood. The rim joist below is trimed with 5/4 inch cedar preprimed pine w/ a zee metal drip trim on top that the plywood panel sets on to shed water.

    This is the part I’m focusing on. Since this property isn’t currently listed I’m just going to say it. WTF were they thinking? Plywood siding on a $1M+ house? You might be generous assuming it’s cedar, but I don’t think that really matters. Who is going to want to send that kind of money on a house with plywood siding?

    (The answer might be someone who can afford to change it.)

  4. 4
    David S says:

    Assessor has Traffic Noise HIGH , Topography Nuisance YES, Other Nuisance YES.

    I wouldn’t even bother previewing something like this.

    Who looks for these type of features any more? Maybe four years ago these features were irresistible but not to me, not today.

  5. 5
    David S says:

    RE: Haybaler @ 2 – Nice work Sherlock. You sound like you are an invaluable resource. I’ll bet you can’t keep yourself from looking at the world differently than the rest of us.

  6. 6
    Haybaler says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3
    Well, it looks cool. That Craftsman style has a high appeal here in the NW.

    But, from my experience that thin cedar plywood material begins to fail with in a year, delaminating and “bubbling”. In addition, I’ll guarantee that water intrusion is already occurring into the walls at the lowest four windows (maybe not the little one sheltered by the chimney)….it is very difficult to flash windows in plywood. Most average siders don’t know how or don’t care enough to make the effort or use the flashing materials properly.

  7. 7

    By Haybaler @ 6:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3
    Well, it looks cool. That Craftsman style has a high appeal here in the NW.

    To me it looks cheap. Also, the trim around that closest window reminds me of the job I did installing T-111 siding on one side of our old garage and trimming out the window. That looks bad too, IMHO.

  8. 8
    Haybaler says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 3
    Now that I’ve had a chance to think about this a bit longer I need to give the builder a benefit of doubt. It is possible that the material in question is a Hardie type cement board that has an embossed wood pattern on it. (This type of material comes in plywood sized panels too and can be used in this kind of application.)
    Without actually being at the property to touch and inspect I can’t say for certain that it is plywood.
    That still leaves the issue of proper window flashing.

  9. 9

    RE: Haybaler @ 8 – My understanding is that product isn’t that long lasting either. 10-20 years, although that could be dependent on installation.

  10. 10
    Haybaler says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 9
    At the risk of getting myself in hot water with the cement board makers….I’ve noticed that cement board can be junk or it can be excellent long term depending on how it is handled. It is made out of paper mixed with a cement slurry. If you leave it laying out in the weather on the job site for a few days in the rain it becomes like a soggy noodle.
    Success with those products requires quick installation and good paint coverage initially and over the rest of it’s life. I feel like the materials will last forever IF a good paint coating is maintained….so, what your house has between you and the elements is embossed paper/cement powder with a thin coating of paint. It is not a structural product, needing to be installed over a plywood type surface nailed to the studs for structure.
    I use the cement products on my projects.

  11. 11

    “I think both of those might be a little optimistic, especially considering that a bid of $725,000 would have bought it from the bank at auction.”

    But your average home buyer is not at the foreclosure auction, and the flippers who do buy homes at the foreclosure auction are going to be more interested in something that would sell faster, like a 400,000 dollar home. My guess? It’s going to sell for somewhere in the 825-850 range, and not quickly.

  12. 12
    chico says:

    http://www.redfin.com/WA/Redmond/3624-175th-Ct-NE-98052/home/505377

    Another great Albatross. A spec home that was completed at the height of the bubble. Bought by someone and returned to the builder, or some such and returned again. It was a McMansion built on the lot of a tear down.

    The teardown, before it was tore down, belonged to a series of trailer trash people, going way back. A very crappy piece of property before crappy property became valuble.

    One of the kids that lived there back in the 70’s tried to rip me off when I took over his Seattle Times paper route. He went out collecting for the route after I had taken over his route, he got burned big time.

  13. 13
    David S says:

    By chico @ 12:

    “The teardown, before it was tore down, belonged to a series of trailer trash people, going way back. A very crappy piece of property before crappy property became valuble.”
    O

    This is what I said earlier: Assessor has Traffic Noise HIGH , Topography Nuisance YES, Other Nuisance YES.

    I can tell from the sky it is not a great lot. And, I can see rafters and roof deck under the eaves. The siding haybaler explained earlier is just spec grade.

    I don’t care what kind of structure you put on it or what kind of turf is sprayed down it was and still is junk. The ‘investors’ can keep it.

    I think Tim’s point is this property and it’s history epitomizes the bubble mania of an era gone by.

  14. 14

    When I Was Going to College

    I had a landscaping service. The landscape flower beds lack division boundaries, making the whole yard look like a joke. If they were going to get that cheap and flashpan on landscaping, they should have left all of it a simple small lawn.

  15. 15
    ray pepper says:

    There will be no interest at Trustee Sale unless they opening bid it at under 500k and hope they get a few snappers.

  16. 16
    wreckingbull says:

    Rough cut T-111 and battens can actually be pretty good, if done correctly. I built a barn using this method and it is holding up remarkably well over the years. But that’s the point that Kary is making – this is not a $40K barn.

  17. 17

    By wreckingbull @ 16:

    But that’s the point that Kary is making – this is not a $40K barn.

    Exactly. Perhaps it could be stated best that $1M+ homes should not have siding that is installed in 4×8 or larger sheets.

  18. 18
    matsayswhat says:

    Crazy, I lived right next to this lot (long before this house was built) from 92-2000. I remember when they were building this house (as up until a few months ago my parents still lived right by it), I wonder why they didn’t build farther back on the lot and preserve the noise blocking that trees provide. It seems like that weird “siding” choice isn’t the only poor choice the builder made…

  19. 19

    RE: chico @ 12 – I don’t want to look up my favorite albatross, but it was down south near Auburn. It was in a high end development, but the architecture was mid-evil. It looked somewhat like a castle inside and out, except for the elevator. I thought it needed a moat!

    I assumed it was built for a particular buyer who backed out.

  20. 20
    David Losh says:

    Or they could wait for some one who has so much money they don’t know what to do with it.

    [Totally off-topic content. Removed by The Tim.]

  21. 21
    Peter Witting says:

    RE: chico @ 12
    Offensive in every respect.

  22. 22

    RE: David Losh @ 20 – It’s pretty tacky to point out where someone lives, even though yes that is possible without much effort.

  23. 23
    redmondjp says:

    RE: matsayswhat @ 18 – Regarding why they didn’t build farther back on the lot – look carefully at the satellite maps and you’ll see that there is a HV transmission line bordering the back of the lot (no underground pipelines however, just checked the national map at http://www.npms.phmsa.dot.gov/default.htm ).

    And if they had moved the house further away from Avondale, well shoot, then all of your neighbors wouldn’t see what an awesome home you had every time they drove by, with bonus points for a Hummer parked in the driveway (well it has to be, as it won’t fit through those single-wide 7′ doors they love to put on McCrapshacks instead of a decent 16′ wide one).

  24. 24
    Jonness says:

    I’ll give em $564K for it.

  25. 25
    Jonness says:

    I just looked at the overhead view of this house, and I retract my earlier bid. I’ll reluctantly give $250K for it, but I suspect someone more giddy will probably pay $564K.

  26. 26
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 22RE: David Losh @ 20

    Completely on topic, look at the appreciation curve.

    If you post that flippers have done this, that, or the other, then the opposite is also true. Flippers, flip.

    Some win, some lose, you just never know.

  27. 27

    RE: David Losh @ 26 – You posted information about where someone lived (or at least the property they bought). The term “off-topic” used by Tim might not be the right term, and even my “tacky” might not be the right term. But it’s not a proper thing to do.

    (And again, I realize that with the Internet that information is fairly easy to get, but you don’t have to put it out there on a web site.)

  28. 28
    David Losh says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 27

    Odd juxtaposition of price, that’s all, and it is out there already this week, on the internet. That’s the only way I’d know. It’s not something I would look for.

    The information was stripped from the link and sites by the seller.

    My point is that people buy properties of questionable value. To say that this property is a mistake, while others are a value is odd.

    It’s odd that this article would be up at all, this week, this day, when the day before another site listed the property I linked to.

    It’s just an odd juxtaposition.

    While I’m at it, I also noticed that refin and Zillow are very similar sites. They look very similar, the information is similar. I had a conversation with Ardell a couple of weeks ago where my point was that Lennox paid for a lot of the research that brought us these internet search sites. Lennox gets villified because he wants a profitable business model, but it seems all sites are headed the same direction.

    Last, but not least is that Tim promotes the redfin brand, endorses it, and for what? Whatever he’s paid isn’t enough. redfin is a multi million dollar corporation with the backing of every big national brand name Real Estate Franchise. Millions, upon millions of dollars are being spent so that you, Kary Kismer, can’t collect a Real Estate commission. You Kary, and I are the enemy.

  29. 29
    Buford says:

    RE: Haybaler @ 2

    Shingles, not shakes.
    Shakes are the heavy rough product used primarily on roofs. Usually 24 inches long overall.

    Shingles tend to be thinner and more uniform with less layer overlap as they are usually about 18 inches long.

  30. 30
    Buford says:

    That is the style of a “craftsman” home. No enclosed soffits for authenticity.

    By David S @ 13:

    By chico @ 12:

    “I can see rafters and roof deck under the eaves.

  31. 31
    matsayswhat says:

    RE: redmondjp @ 23

    Good eye, I had forgotten about the power lines back there.

    Of course, you’re right about the Hummer bit too. I’m sure it would have been an H2 with over sized wheels.

  32. 32

    […] Albatross, the storied spec home first spotted on these pages in June 2006, and most recently foreclosed by Bank of America, who had been attempting to unload it since last […]

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