Red-tagged Lafayette home teetering on landslide listed for $850K

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The house is red-tagged. It’s teetering on top of a landslide. And, in an only-in-the-Bay-Area kind of alternative reality, this house in Lafayette is selling for $850,000 and already has multiple inquiries.

“Grand home on a quiet cul-de-sac has met misfortune,” reads the ad on Redfin. “This is not for the faint of heart. Landslide at the rear of the home, house is currently red tagged. Geotechnical report available. Do the hard work and benefit from a incredible view of Mt. Diablo. Home is priced to reflect the cost of repairs. Will you be the one to restore this majestic home to its prior glory?”

Keller Williams Realty listing agent Valerie Crowell said she knows on the surface, that price tag might seem ludicrously high. But then she broke it down so it made more sense, well, again -- Bay Area-sense.

Homes near this Chapel Drive neighborhood fetch about $1.5 million, and Crowell priced this property as such. She figures it will cost $300,000 to stabilize the hill that got washed away during February’s rains, $250,000 to fully upgrade the 2,385-square-foot home and leave $100,000 left over for profit. “That’s the going price in this neighborhood,” she said. “The house is still near the best schools.”

The couple selling the house is in their 90s and were forced to move out of the home they’ve lived in since 1968 this winter. While the property underneath the home is shaky, Crowell said the four-bedroom, three-bathroom home is in really good shape.”

As of Monday, Crowell said she had at least 10 inquiries on the home. She said she felt supremely confident she’d sell it -- and soon. But she fully recognized that anywhere else in the country, a Realtor who asked for nearly $1 million for a home sitting precariously on a landslide and “you’d be nuts.”