Now the work begins on auctioned Monterey home.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Fourteen minutes, 11 seconds: “Going once, going twice, sold for $485,000.”
The auctioneer’s gavel summarily ends the piercing silence radiating from the crowd, there to bid or bear witness. It’s instantly replaced by high-velocity conversation launching in every direction as people form kinetic knots and tangles of discussion, only willing to disperse when the evening chill makes light of their clothing.
Monterey doesn’t see many property auctions like this.
The sale of the 1,179-square-foot, foreclosed, three-bedroom, two-bath house was a “bank ordered auction per file #187035,” bids to start at $100,000. Bidders must present a driver’s license to register. The winner must make a 5 percent down payment at the sale’s end, $2,500 minimum, the balance due in 30 days when the deed and title are handed over at the closing. Today the highest bidders are Trinette and Andrew, who requested their last names not be used.
“We’ve been looking for about six months and now know a good thing when we see it,” Trinette says. “But we’ve never done this and didn’t know if we had a chance. Our limit was [$485,000].” The couple already have the to-do list budgeted, implying they’ve not only thought out this purchase, but they’ve mapped out its renovation.
“We might rent it after we get it where we want it,” Trinette says.
The house was built in 1957 with upgrades made at various times since, one example being the hall bath where a custom, personally designed and laid stone floor has pebble edgings done with great care. And specifically in preparation for the auction, the once-upon-a-very-different-time owners who were foreclosed upon have painted all the walls a soft caramel, the crown molding white. The exterior is batten and board with a brick chimney on the back wall (living room fireplace), brick steps and planters at the front door and rickety decking wrapped around the side that bakes sweetly in the full sun. It’s accessed from the living room sliders and is seen directly out the kitchen window perpendicular to it.
Wonderful big windows show the house is privy to the city of Monterey Ravine Preserve abutting the property where the flat backyard slopes into the ravine and creek below. An added sense of sanctuary is the result of the rise on the opposite bank being far higher than this one and laden with trees; a bucolic calm that anoints anyone in the living room, kitchen and two of the bedrooms.
The house could be previewed two Sundays before the auction. One man who came had hired a well-known home inspection company and waited patiently for the lengthy process to inform him. The inspector was overheard saying that the house had no serious problems and was generally good to go. At the auction, the man was Trinette’s and Andrew’s competition once those with over-active optimism folded. The auctioneer heard “485” from the couple. Addressing the gentleman in back, the auctioneer asked, “Do I hear 490?”
Nope. The man turned and walked to his car. Game over.
From previewing the house, the couple knows remodeling will be a step at a time.
“We’ll replace the whole deck, terrace the grade down to the ravine,” Trinette says. “The hardwood under this [carpeting] gets refinished and this closet [in the hall] comes out to expand the shower in here [master bath].”