Hi Folks! Today’s Friday’s Featured Flip is…not inspiring. Hillgirt is listed for almost $2m and there are so many things wrong with it, starting with the finishes, paint colors and then staging. It’s so bad it makes me a little angry…okay, a lot angry. I am convinced that Hillgirt is an out-of-town flipper and didn’t adjust his out-dated style for the Bay Area market. I hope the best for Hillgirt but I think this house will not sell for as much as it could have had it been properly redone.
***Update folks: I managed to hit the Open House at Hillgirt this past Friday. B.O.L.O. (Be On the Look Out) below for “***” for all my new thoughts and even a few pictures from the Open House. Enjoy!
I don’t think Hillgirt added any square footage since there isn’t any space to add-on in the backyard and they didn’t add another story.
***At the open house, I figured out where the added the extra bedroom: it’s off the family room. At 2638 sq. ft., this house is huge for Oakland. This neighborhood has a surprising number of larger homes but since this is an up and coming neighborhood many of them are run down or were converted to multi-unit apartment complexes.
The neighborhood is a 10 minute walk to the Lakeshore shopping district, which is a very desirable area in Oakland. But it’s separated from that neighborhood by a major freeway and it’s on the “wrong” side of that freeway. Generally, neighborhoods to the north of the freeway are more desirable than those to the south. This house is south of the freeway. If this house were in the neighborhood to the north of the freeway, it’d probably be listed for over $2m…(correction: if this house had been redone better and was north of the freeway, that would be true.)
***Until the open house, I didn’t appreciate this particular block of Hillgirt. It’s much nicer than I’d originally thought. On this block there are many large, nicer homes and very few apartment complexes.
I hope the buyers of this home are a family because otherwise this is a lot of space for a single person or even a childless couple. It might attract some multi-generational families but the price point and stairs (inside and out) might turn those buyers off.
***There is a downstairs bedroom with a full bathroom a few steps away so it might still appeal to the multi-generational buyers. Nonetheless, I think it’s more likely the buyers will have 3+ kids (or 2 and an au pair) and need the space this house offers but couldn’t otherwise afford this home were it in the neighborhood north of the freeway. If I’m right, those buyers will not appreciate the finishes and staging Hillgirt put in.
Shall we do this thing?!
If you disagree with me about this color combo, than you’re in luck because you’ll be seeing a lot of it…***The color does not read any better in person, unfortunately.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an after to show you of the entry but it will give you some perspective about some of the other before and after pictures. ***Actually I managed to get a picture at the open house.
Please forgive the crappy iPhone picture.
***I believe this used to be the dining room and now this house doesn’t have one, which is actually quite tragic since the only eating area is small (considering the size of this house) and in the kitchen. They also used part of this space to create the extra 3rd bedroom.
Family room: before
Family room: after
Living room: before
Living room: after
This is original kitchen had to go.
***The fridge does go in the space noted in the picture below. This means that the work triangle is pretty cramped and there’s not much counter space. Only one person could really cook in this kitchen at a time and if someone else was doing the dishes that would probably frustrate the person cooking. I suspect Hillgirt decided to keep the kitchen small because they wanted the kitchen to have an eat-in area. I think they should have kept the dining room and made the kitchen larger.
What’s amazing about this house is that it was built in the 1930’s and has two bedrooms with their own on-suite bathrooms. That’s so unusual. This brings me to a debate I need you to settle: should Hillgirt have kept the bathrooms original or replaced them? (Based on what you’ve seen of Hillgirt’s work so far, there’s no doubt what Hillgirt did.)
My business-flipper side says that these bathrooms had to go. But my preservationist-side, thinks these bathrooms are pretty cool as is, and with some paint and/or wallpaper and new fixtures, people would love these bathrooms. My business, flipper side is rolling her eyes hard and muttering “Stupid” to my preservationist-side. Who’s team are you on? (Okay but all of me is agreed that the after is terrible.)
***Bathroom #1 below is actually a jack-and-jill bathroom. I’m pretty sure Hillgirt created this and I must tip my hat off to him because it was a pretty clever use of space, and if they had to get rid of the old bathroom to do so, that was probably the right call. Don’t get me wrong, the finishes Hillgirt chose are as tragic in person as they are in the photos but creating a jack-and-jill bathroom was a boss move!
Guys the staging and photography is particularly tragic in these spaces. I feel like I should apologize for showing them to you but since we’re all here to learn, I felt like I had no choice. (Hillgrit, however, does owe us an apology.)
***As you probably noticed in the before pictures the bedrooms all had hardwood floors. I didn’t notice that until I was there today and realized they’d laid the ugliest carpet over them. Guys, they carpet is so bad and even more offensive knowing it’s covering original hardwood floors.
Well there you go. Do you think Hillgirt did a good job or not?