BERKELEY (KCBS) – As real estate prices heat up in the East Bay, two large Berkeley brown shingle homes have gone on the sale at the unlikely bargain price of $1 each. The only catch is the buyer must take it to go – physically move the house off the lot.
The pair of vacant two-story homes on Walnut Street were built in 1905. They’re historic in that they retain much of the period charm, despite the disrepair. They’re not landmarked, and the developer about to build on the lot plans to demolish them if no buyer comes forward.
KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:
One potential buyer, Tom White, has done this sort of thing before. Last year, he paid UC Berkeley $16 for a 1885 home he wanted to renovate. The asking price was so small because he had to deal with moving it from its College Avenue address over to a lot on 62nd Street.
“As I drive around town, I often look at the street and say, well, could I move a house down that street? It gives you a new perspective on the town you live in when you start thinking of where houses could be moved to if needed,” he said.
Moving run down homes and restoring them doesn’t necessarily save the buyer money, White said, but it’s an invaluable way to preserve the city’s architectural history. And it’s a very good deal for the environment.
“The greenest building is the one that’s already built. If you’re taking all of that energy that was invested in cutting down those trees and building those homes, and you knock it all down in an afternoon and haul it all off to a transfer station, that’s an enormous amount of wasted energy.”
White has noticed a push in Portland, Oregon and in North Carolina to save old homes rather than demolish them.
The buyer of the Walnut Street homes has until May 2013 to move them to another site within Berkeley.
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