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A San Francisco Experience

Stories from the city of love on art, architecture, and life

By Becky Neil | Other/Just Looking in San Francisco, CA

New Construction Problems?

So, there are these three houses in the Mission that have been undergoing repairs and renovations for about the last six months.  What happened was that they caught on fire from the inside, so the structure was still standing afterwards.  That was over a year ago....as long as I can remember they had been boarded up and unoccupied.  Until about February, when I started noticing construction crews coming in...and pretty paint colors being applied...and it seemed like someone started to care for them again.

These houses were, as far as I could tell, completely gutted.  Over the past six months, I have seen them strip the paint and expose rotting beams, raise it to add a garage/storage underneath, re-roof, and more.  Personally it's been fascinating to watch their daily improvements, and what steps they've taken to get thess homes & apartments liveable again. 

Throughout the process, I've always wondered why they kept the original frame when it looked so bad.  Granted, I've never seen the skeleton of a wooden house (I grew up in the south where everything is brick colonials), so maybe it's normal for a home that's nearly 100 years old.  But still...I was a little surprised to see this come up on Trulia. 39 Lexington St For Sale for $1.25M!!! 

Yipes!  If I can burn a house down, put some fresh paint on it, and resell it for $1.25M dollars, it gives me some new career ideas!!

So my question is...what sort of disclosure is necessary when selling a home like this?  Do the buyers have to know that it was repaired/remodeled due to fire damage?  And the inspector...is he going to be able to tell that the original frame is still there, and whether it's in good enough condition?? 

Tell you what...even if it does turn out to be a safe purchase, I wouldn't want to live across from a corner that always smells like pee.  But then, you're buying in the Mission...so I guess you've come to terms with that :)


By Alissa Everett,  Fri Sep 26 2008, 10:13
I heard you there, sister! I see things like this all over the city and wonder the same thing myself. These poor prospective home-buyers have no clue what their getting into. And it's so unfortunate that people think just by slapping on a new coat of paint it constitutes "remodeling"... I'm not even a buyer or seller and it's common sense to me! You pose some seriously relevant questions, B!
By David & Samuel Rifkin,  Thu Jan 31 2013, 08:59
Thank you very much for this great information.

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