The winner of a bidding war to secure the crumbling house said he didn’t overpay and now expects to turn a six-figure profit by selling the new house on the lot.
A crumbling, toxic home that was too dangerous to enter quickly became a symbol of Seattle’s scorching housing market when it sold last year for $427,000 after what the listing agent called an “insane” bidding war.
With five feet of standing water, air too hazardous to breathe, piles of rusty old appliances blocking doorways, and ceilings that could fall down at any moment, it was such a derelict that prospective buyers weren’t allowed inside — only licensed contractors who signed a legal waiver could step foot in the home.
Nonetheless, the West Seattle house quickly attracted 41 offers and sold for more than twice the listing price in May. The $427,000 selling price matched what you had to pay for the average Seattle house just four years prior.
At the time of the sale, it was unclear what would happen to the home. But now we know that most of it was, indeed, beyond saving, and that the new owner expects to sell the totally redone home on the property for a six-figure profit.
Today, the house is gone — everything but the foundation was demolished to make way for a bigger, sleek house now springing up in its place. The new two-story home, with modern interior finishes across more than 2,800 square feet, is expected to hit the market in April.
The asking price? About $1 million.
After accounting for about $325,000 in demolition and construction costs, that would net the new owner, local developer Jimmy Tang, about a quarter-million dollars profit before various fees and taxes.
The home on Belvidere Avenue SW has come a very long way in the past year. Tang says when he first got inside, he saw a hole in the floor on the main level.
“We saw through to the basement,” Tang said.
When the story of his purchase went viral online, he posted the news to his Facebook page.
“Friends and family were like, ‘Oh my gosh you bought it? That’s crazy.’ But they also see the work I do, so they had belief in me that I knew what I was doing before I bid it up that high,” Tang said.
While it was the worst home he’d seen, he’s redeveloped others, and saw the potential in the lot and neighborhood.
“It didn’t freak me out,” Tang said. “I didn’t feel like I overpaid. I wasn’t just shooting in the dark.”
He said the home’s condition didn’t really matter once they determined it had to be largely torn down. Demolition, which usually takes just a day, was similar to other properties he’s redeveloped, and followed the city’s standard approval process, which includes testing for things like mold and asbestos.
By adding a second floor, he’ll be giving the future property owners nice views, and a rooftop deck.
And while the large, box-like design sticks out a bit in the residential street lined with older and smaller homes, he said neighbors have been thankful that the lot is finally getting spruced up. The couple who had lived in the home previously had died, and the house was in disarray for years, covered by a large blue tarp.
Tang is the latest in a long line of developers looking to profit by tearing down a smaller, older home in Seattle and replacing it with a larger and much more expensive one.
Seattle now sees one home teardown per day on average, with the rate of teardowns surging in the last year and a half. The typical new home that springs up on a tear-down lot sells for more than $1 million, about three times more than what its old, torn-down predecessor was worth.