Buyer pays close to $1 million for fire-gutted San Francisco Bay Area home

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In the red-hot Bay Area real estate market, you’d be surprised what people will pay to get their hands on a home — even one that’s nearly destroyed. After all, it’s not necessarily the home they want. It’s the land, which is scarce in the Silicon Valley.

Recently, a 1,066-square-foot home in Fremont that was completely wrecked by fire sold for $900,000 — a whopping $100,000 over the asking price. The home has a 5,850-square-foot lot, which would allow the buyer to tear down the ruined home and build a new and even larger one in its stead. The location also adds to the value of the home, as it sits just a mile away from where Google has plans to open up a new campus.

This isn’t the first time a nearly destroyed Bay Area home has fetched big money. In March, a Fremont home that was “condemned” by the owner’s admission, sold for $1.2 million. In April, a home that was almost utterly destroyed by fire in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose went on the market for $800,000. It’s safe to say interested buyers are willing to pay sky-high amounts of money for unlivable homes, and many bidders will line up with cash offers in hand.

The Bay Area is one of a few real estate hot spots in the country where ruined homes are commanding ridiculously high prices. Seattle, which has become a high-tech hub in its own right thanks to the success of Amazon, recently saw a home go on the market for $775,000, even though the owners admitted that it had black mold. “Build your dream home in vibrant Ballard,” read the listing. “Tear down. Investor. Enter at your own risk. Wear mask as Black mold is present. Do not enter if you are pregnant or have health issues. Lots of debris and steep stairs. Property sold ‘as is.'”

The three-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling sits in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. The property has an appraised value of $634,000, which is a $57,000 increase from last year. Seattle’s own red-hot property market is buoyed by a steady increase in job availability over recent years, and the city is now the sixth-most expensive city to live in. The median list price of a home there is $553,000.


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