By Betty Yu

SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A San Jose home that was abandoned for years before being gutted in a fire has sparked a bidding war. Potential buyers told KPIX 5 that they are ready to pay more than the $399,000 asking price.

The home on South Seventh Street may be burned out and boarded up, but it needs no brochures or pretty photos to attract a list of potential buyers with all-cash offers.

“We look at it as a thing of beauty actually, we really take great pleasure in renovating homes in a variety of conditions,” said potential buyer Michael Kaufman.

Mark Garrison, another potential buyer, told KPIX 5, “I would consider this dirt, is what really it is. It’s a good location near the San Jose State University campus.”

The Victorian-style, 2,000-plus square foot home built in 1895 was severely damaged in a fire back in 2012. Before that, the home sat abandoned for years.

Over the summer, the current owner paid nearly $400,000, hoping to develop it into student housing. She ran into some financial trouble, so it’s back on the market.

“I can’t remember anything like this in this condition that’s attracted this kind of attention,” said Bernie Sinsay, a realtor with Legacy Real Estate and Associates, who represents two bidders.

“You know, the old adage of location, location, location is very key to this property,” Sinsay said.

Garrison, who runs a design, engineering and construction firm, is one of Sinsay’s clients. If his bid is accepted, Garrison said his vision for the property would have the university population in mind. “To turn it into something, because of proximity to the campus, where students could take advantage of it,” he said.

He is up against several bidders, including Silicon Valley Home, which is part of a new HGTV show “Flip it to Win it” set to air next spring.

Kaufman had a different idea if his bid is accepted. “We’ll make it a beautiful stunning period-specific renovation into a single family residence,” he said.

Bids will be accepted by the homeowner until 6 p.m. Thursday. The homeowner said she hopes to close by Christmas.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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