I went to see this 2 bedroom condo last week. The view is incredible. The picture above is several iphone photos stitched together because I couldn’t get the whole vista in one shot. The livingroom has a panoramic view of downtown, the space needle, Queen Anne Hill, and Lake Union. The bedrooms also have a very respectable view of Lake Union. And not only that, this building is perched directly over I-5, so the view is protected. And it’s six floors up, so you can’t hear the noise of the freeway.
Why is this 1,175 squarefoot condo going for a cool $325,000? It smells like old people. And it’s owned by old people. And it’s still going to be owned by old people after you buy it.
Let me explain. 308 E Republican is a co-op called Melrose Terrace. What that means is that when you purchase a condo, you don’t actually get the condo. You get shares in a company that is jointly owned by everyone in the building. That company issues you a contract granting exclusive access to your condo. The upside? Property taxes are paid by the company and come out of your monthly homeowners dues (for this place – $601/month). The downside? The board of the company (all residents) must approve you before you are allowed to buy, and they must approve any remodeling you wish to do, which might be a lot since the building was built in 1961.
Another downside: the building is in horrible repair. It appears to me that the board must all be on a fixed income, because the last maintenance or significant investment in the building was in the eighties. The roof, which admittedly has a lovely deck, also has standing water and needs to be replaced. The roof over the pool (did I mention there’s a pool?) is literally crumbling into the pool. The furniture in the common areas has not been changed since the sixties. The “workout room” looks more like someone spent a weekend garage sale hunting for any and all rowing machines and nordic tracks that could be bought for under five dollars. While it was mentioned several times that all these things were going to be fixed and replaced, they haven’t been in over thirty years, which indicates to me that the board actually has zero interest in fixing them.
The unit is a steal if you’re looking for a place to stay in Seattle for about a year, but it’s probably one of the worst condos in the city for a long-term investment.
The photos on Redfin pretty much do it justice, although I think they may have used artificial lighting, as the condo is much darker in person. My photos after the jump:
master bathroom (which is weirdly in the hallway instead of off the master bedroom):
second bathroom (which is weirdly off the master bedroom instead of in the hallway – maybe a converted closet?):
rooftop deck, which is honestly one of the best views in the city if you can get over your fear of falling through it: