December 2, 2011

BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in Sonoma County

DEALS, DEALS, DEALS!  Aren’t you loving all these DEALS!?!  Remember, drive a little, save a lot!  So how much do you think you could save driving all the way to Sonoma County?  Remember, there was only one house under $200K in Marin County, so maybe we’ll find three here.  Plus, pick up an extra winery for the trip home.

But what would you say if I told you I found a property for under $100K that isn’t a hundred years old, isn’t a sub-750 foot cottage, and isn’t on a postage stamp-sized lot.  Would you believe me?

664 Acacia Ln, Santa Rosa, CA 95409


SQ. FT.: 1,404
$/SQ. FT.: $28
LOT SIZE: 0.43 Acres
PROPERTY TYPE: Residential, Detached, Single Family
STYLE: Ranch
COMMUNITY: Northeast Santa Rosa
COUNTY: Sonoma
MLS#: 21129043
STATUS: Active
ON REDFIN: 21 days

Listed price is Minumum bid. Single level home 3/2 with fireplace and central heat. Fenced rear yard with detached 2 car garage. Information on property gathered from public records.

The listed price is a minimum bid?  Sold for $635K in 2006, you get 94% instant equity!

Oh, dear, a quick trip over to Zillow has a very different story.  This house is on and will be subject to a minimum $39K bid starting December 18th (per Zillow) or starting December 1st (if you believe, ending on December 4th.  CASH ONLY!


This is the second house we’ve found where another site links to and Redfin doesn’t know anything about it.   Just sayin’.

Comments (38) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 4:02 am

38 Responses to “BLACK FRIDAY DEALS: Cheapest House in Sonoma County”

  1. PKamp3 Says:

    Buyer Assumes Responsibility of Occupancy – weird disclaimer, and insight on that one? You are responsible to Occupy it or not?

    Does it come with or without the Civic? That car, new, is probably more than half of $39K…

  2. SEA Says:

    #1 Did you read the documentation from the auction?

  3. SEA Says:

    At $89k: “Reserve Not Met”

  4. madhaus Says:

    Reserve not met? Why start bidding at such a low price when the reserve, that is, the price they’d actually sell the house for, is so much higher? And is the market price actually higher than their minimum acceptable bid?

    Putting a house on MLS with a ridiculous price like this means they’re on the hook for that commission, too. The $89K bid is definitely equal to or greater than their original asking price.

    The listing copy now says “This property is in an Auction – the Listed price is the Minumum bid.” Without the first part of that phrase it wasn’t clear at all.

  5. sfbubblebuyer Says:

    Buyer Assumes Responsibility of Occupancy = “Good luck prying the renter with the ridiculously long lease out of the house, buddy. You’re gonna need gasoline and a match.”

  6. SEA Says:

    “And is the market price actually higher than their minimum acceptable bid?”

    Uh, how can you be so sure?

    “Putting a house on MLS with a ridiculous price like this means they’re on the hook for that commission, too.”

    My guess: The so-called deal on this is flat fee, and that’s no matter if it sells. Certainly there is no price fixing in commissions, like gasoline. Now if you want to make claims of illegal price fixing activity, then the burden of proof shifts to you.

    Technically it is true that the minimum bid is $39k, but the reserve price makes the minimum bid quite meaningless. Also read the auction documentation, from #2. If I were a bidder, and I am not, I’d discount this quite a bit. I’ve purchased plenty of crap with these seller advantaged terms, but the price is adjusted accordingly.

    My guess is that the seller is trying to find buyers who are too lazy to hire an attorney to better understand the terms. You know, ignore the added risk, and bid higher.

    What is the difference in market value given the terms of this deal versus a more traditional sale with a warranty deed, specific performance, and no occupancy problems?

  7. SEA Says:

    “A traditional agent charges you 2.5% of your home’s sale price to sell your home. A Redfin agent charges only 1.5% (with a minimum fee of $6,000), without forcing you to compromise on service.”


    Also, given one must buy through the auction site and agree to the terms, there is no room for another agent to be compensated. Put differently, how would the buyer’s agent get paid, given the seller’s terms?

    The larger issue is (why) does the MLS allow crap like this?

  8. madhaus Says:

    SEA, you’re making us work too hard for this. What is in the auction doc that makes this such a terrible deal (not that I’m in the least bit surprised?)

    Yes, my point was that the MLS price was utterly meaningless, given that there’s a secret reserve amount that hasn’t hit yet at $89,000. And this kind of thing should not be allowed in MLS.

    But given all the shenanigans, this is Burbed Win.

  9. SEA Says:

    You want me to summarize a 27 page document written by a group of attorneys?

    My summary: Buyers are trash. If the seller suddenly decides at anytime to back out, the buyer should be very happy to be allowed to get his earnest deposit back. If the seller doesn’t perform, the buyer should have known. If there is any problem, the buyer needs to fix it. The seller has no liability to anyone for any reason. The seller knows nothing. The buyer knows everything. To the fullest extend permitted by law, the trash buyer also agrees that he has no legal rights.

    In regards to the occupancy: The buyer agrees that the seller has no idea if the place is occupied. “The Buyer may be subject to ‘Protecting Tenant’s at Foreclosure Act of 2009’ or state law, as applicable. Property may be subject to leasehold interest of various tenants.”

    Oh, yea, we don’t know if there is a tenant, and if there is one, there might be many more…

  10. SEA Says:

    “But given all the shenanigans, this is Burbed Win. ”

    Yes, a Burbed Win, but not really a “Black Friday Deal.”

  11. madhaus Says:

    All Black Friday Deals are, in actuality, Burbed Wins.

  12. SEA Says:

    “All Black Friday Deals are, in actuality, Burbed Wins.”

    Yes, but not all Burbed Wins are Black Friday Deals.

  13. madhaus Says:

    This is not a Deal.

  14. SEA Says:

    #13- Right: Just as suggested in #10.

  15. SEA Says:

    “Current Bid:
    Reserve Not Met”

    Guess: How high is the reserve?

    Given the foreclosure at $277k, I’m going to guess $250k.

    Mar 31, 2011 Foreclosure $277,515
    Nov 09, 2011 Listed (Active) $277,515

    Nov 30, 2011 Price Changed $39,000

  16. SEA Says:

    Also it should not be ignored that this was more than our ‘not a lot of money’ standard in late 2006:

    “Dec 08, 2006 Sold (Public Records) $635,000”

  17. ms Says:

    SEA, the auction doc is an abbreviated version of the reo addendum:

    You sign it if you’re going for an reo/foreclosure. You can still negotiate after, but it just gets more interesting

  18. SEA Says:

    #17- You see we have a very different philosophy here. Sure Wells Fargo might have its ‘standard’ agreement, but that is not an industry standard, and while there are certain legal standards, generally the terms are negotiated between buyer and seller. There is nothing prohibiting the seller from agreeing to provide occupancy at closing, and many sellers do. In this case the “standard terms” are weighted very heavy to the seller.

    If I were going to bid, and I am not, I’d be in my attorney’s office, and it would probably cost me $500 just to review this document with him. Money well spent, if I were going to bid.

    See also: Battle of the forms.

  19. nomadic Says:

    Bunus! The “lucky” buyer also pays a 5% buyers premium.

    All a prospective buyer needs to know is that it’s non-financeable. If a stupid bank won’t loan money on it, the risk must be high.

  20. ms Says:

    Most REO foreclosures are delivered vacant COE if you get them at the MLS stage.
    At the auction stage, it’s up to you to evict.
    One realtor was telling prospective buyers that it would be on the buyer to evict after COE. That particular property got yanked off redfin, is now scheduled for trustee sale, and nothing will happen until mid-2012.

  21. ms Says:

    Oh, and that property was a short.
    Realtor specified cash only, so maybe the 1+ additions aren’t financeable.

  22. madhaus Says:

    It’s up to $109,000! Reserve still not met! This is so exciting, what do you think the final bid will be when the auction ends Saturday at 6 pm?

    The bid increment has been pulled down to $5000, too. It was $10,000 before.

    My prediction: $169,000, which will not meet the reserve. And a good thing, for the buyer.

  23. ms Says:

    Prediction: Madhaus is correct on his figure, but seller may accept

  24. ms Says:

    As you can see here, houses that are supposed to go for auction on a certain date don’t:

    This house at 414K is already listing 20K below bank on Redfin. At this point, sellers would realistically take such a loss.
    But advertising 69K on
    These starting bids are on the very edge of fraud.

  25. SEA Says:

    “This is so exciting, what do you think the final bid will be when the auction ends Saturday at 6 pm?”

    My guess is that the auction will actually end Sunday around 12:30 p.m.

    That said, last night I went through all the auctions that end Sunday, and not one had a reserve met.

  26. ms Says:

    Up to a whopping 124K now.

    Prediction: Madhaus and SEA will both be right.
    Yeah, traders think on log scale, no way will they take $169K even if realistic.
    What a tragedy, what has happened through what we used to call the 9-county Bay Area not long ago.
    Remember when it was “the best news on Earth in the best place on Earth”?

  27. nomadic Says:

    $139k now. Reserve still not met.

  28. madhaus Says:

    Reserve is probably $599,999.

  29. SEA Says:

    “The over bidding will bring the price right up to where it needs to be.”

    Yet the seller has a higher reserve.

  30. SEA Says:

    Funny how it garners last second bids every 2 minutes or so… Shill bids, maybe?

  31. SEA Says:

    What bidder would bid $1k every 105 seconds, and at the last second, on a ‘reserve not met auction?’

  32. nomadic Says:

    Looks like a shill bid to creep up to the reserve and keep the “bidding” going. I can’t imagine a real bidder joining the action at this point.

  33. madhaus Says:

    A robo-bidder, that’s who. A robo-shill bidder. $177K! I was too low!

    Also every new bid adds 2 minutes to the auction.

  34. SEA Says:

    Up to $179k, and the reserve is not met. In a couple minutes, and at the last second, it will likely be $180k.

    The auction is extended if there is a last second bid. Funny, but there is a last second bid every last second, so the auction continues to be extended.

    What $180k all cash bidder bids in a pattern like that?

  35. SEA Says:


    I knew I had problems with your all buyers are trash contract, but I certainly didn’t understand the nature of your shill bidding. This is why I pay professionals to review the situation over before I bid.

    Fortunately, I only needed to watch one auction, and after watching that one, you saved me the expense.


    Question to others: Ever wonder why these situations should be left to professionals?

    Also, I’ll go back to my original question, as outlined in #6, ‘What is the difference in market value given the terms of this deal versus a more traditional sale with a warranty deed, specific performance, and no occupancy problems?’

    Basically, how much more is this place worth as a standard sale versus dealing with the crap?

    (I just checked, and the auction is still being extended. At $1k last second bids, it’s up to $191k.)

    I’d gladly pay 10% extra beyond the final price (including all the plus, plus, plus fees/premiums/whatever) to not deal with

  36. z2amiller Says:

    Since when did and the other penny auction sites get into real estate?

  37. madhaus Says:

    Looks like this place hit $208,000 and then disappeared from the site. Look for it to appear in a new coat of paint with an address change.

  38. ms Says:

    Bidding starts ridiculously low for a reserve that’s never stated, never met. You end up paying close to regular rates if you close on this house, at which point you’re buying sight unseen, no inspection contingency, and with your own title search.

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