Deal Or No Deal?

1356lucile.jpg$467,500 for a tiny teardown on the outskirts of Silver Lake? Sold! I noticed an ad recently for an “absolute auction” that promised at precisely 12:07 on February 28th, this home at 1356 Lucile Avenue would be sold to the highest bidder. Of course, I couldn’t resist checking it out for myself.

I know the market isn’t exactly sizzling right now, but Silver Lake is still a pretty trendy area and it seemed rather extreme to be selling off property to whoever shows up that day. I admit, I had visions of maybe scooping it up for 10 or 20 bucks. But it was not to be. About 50 people turned out, including a Channel 2 news crew. It was quite a scene with balloons, refreshments, and 29 determined would-be buyers who had done their homework and come with a required $10,000 cashier’s check that they traded in for bidding paddles. (Money to be returned if you didn’t win.)

Not only were they better prepared than me, but they were clearly a braver lot—fixer-upper doesn’t even come close to explaining the situation. The 978-square-foot Spanish (built in 1922) was cute, but had clearly been neglected if not abandoned for a long time. (The sellers were a living trust, and it looks like it was purchased in 1981 for $100,000.) Cracked windows, every variety of termite, and if you can name it, it needed replacing, from the floors to the plumbing. Did I mention tiny? The location is also iffy—up the hill from Sunset Junction, which is great for walking to restaurants, etc., but not the prime part of the area.

On the plus side, the lot was big (8,208 square feet), and had a view from the top—since it’s in an area of duplexes and triplexes, a developer could do something with the land. Bidding was fast and furious, with the selling price hitting $425,000 in minutes (plus a 10% premium for the auction house, Pacific Auction Exchange). The fashionable young woman who won says she plans on living there.

So did she score a deal? Or a big headache? There aren’t many recent comps in the area—but this 2/1 sold last October for $535,000 and this 1/1 on Effie went for $620,000 in December, so the buyer does have some money to play with to get her new digs in order. Hopefully she’s single, though, because a remodel this big is a relationship-buster.