Making Upside-Down Work

By Dave Fratello | October 28th, 2011
Even flawed houses sell. It's just a matter of price.

608 29th (4br/4ba, 3070 sq. ft.) is a good, recent example.

As we said in our initial review in early August, the home "promises so much. It's got a lot of space on a great block... [plus an] ample, grassy yard with plenty of play space, patio/outdoor living and even tasteful landscaping."

For this, sellers sought $1.775m to start. In the abstract, this seemed not to be crazy.

We brought a client to the home on the first day possible, and that day, as we've said here, "excitement turned to disappointment."

That's because 608 29th has an "upside-down" or "flip-flop" layout, with the 3 main bedrooms downstairs, and living spaces (+1br) upstairs. (The gentler term for this layout is "reverse floorplan," but here we prefer terms that are more direct and descriptive.)

Upside-down in the Hills? Yes, if you've got a view.

In the Sand? Yes, for views or in a typical 3-story TH layout.

In the Trees? Upside-down is downright unusual. And in this case, it was a big turnoff.

Too bad, because the house has its charms and, while it could use updates here and there, nothing is screamingly urgent.

It was just going to take some time for the sellers to find buyers willing to make the tradeoffs work, and figure out how to price it properly to account for the layout factor. A deal came together about 2 months into the listing.

In the listing's first days, we agreed with another agent that the right price for this home was probably about $1.625m. We always knew it would sell, because the outgoing owners had just bought down the street.

Now 608 29th has closed for $1.630m.

For the location, size and yard, plus the home's existing updates, that's not bad. They made it work.

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