Why isn’t this Berkeley house selling?

North Berkeley investment property

This little North Berkeley duplex is in one of the most popular neighborhoods.

So why isn’t it selling after 2 months on the market…and a price less than what the owners paid a couple of years ago?

Wisdom says a property not selling is always about price. For income properties, you need to make sure you’ll net a profit.

But there’s a concept in real estate of “economic obsolescence” where external factors affect the value of a property.

Examples of economic obsolescence are:

  • A large building goes up next door an overshadows what was once a sunny yard.
  • A freeway is approved a block away, creating never-ending noise and pollution.
  • Zoning changes, and a liquor store with a parking lot opens up a few doors down.
  • A university shuts down, or an employer moves away, decreasing demand for local real estate.
  • A manufacturer opens up nearby, creating pollution and traffic.

I won’t even go into “eminent domain,” when you’re required to sell your property for a public works project.

So what’s the deal with this property?

People clearly lived here for decades. But you walk out the back gate, and the BART train runs about 20 feet from that gate.

BART is not a new thing, however the owners of this property can never get rid of the presence of BART.

How much could this property be rented for with that BART line just behind the building?

How to avoid buying properties that have neighborhood nuisances.

Part of the process of reviewing Disclosures for a property includes the Seller Property Questionnaire.

California home sellers are required by law to disclose problems with a house. They are also required to disclosure neighborhood issues that may affect the right to “quiet enjoyment” of your property.

Recently a disclosure noted an issue of music playing up until 10pm. The owner described how he would ask the music players to turn down the music. I made sure to get details — was this a daily thing? Was it all day music?

Taking note of what’s going on with a city, with laws related to tenants, with new developments is one essential aspect of buying a property.

This property profiled here is one example of why it’s especially important to have an on-the-ground local agent who can help you with insights beyond Google Street View and Satellite views.

Every property has a right price.

At some point this property will sell.

The owner can very likely build a sound-dampening wall at the back.

The question is at what point will location beat the noise issue whether it’s owner-occupied or used as a rental?

Share your real estate horror story or “dodged a bullet” story!

I would love to hear from buyers and sellers who would like to tell your real estate story for a blog post or YouTube video, whether your real estate tale takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area or somewhere else.


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