‘Hot’ mid-century modern home lists for $749K, needs major work

It’s rare to find an original mid-century modern home in Berkeley for sale at any price, let alone $749,000, and this one has a lot potential, albeit also in need of a lot of work.

841 Alvarado Rd., a 1955 home that needs work priced at $749,000. Photo: Courtesy MLS/Red Oak Realty
841 Alvarado Rd., a 1955 home that needs work priced at $749,000. Photo: Courtesy MLS/Red Oak Realty

It’s rare that a relatively unscathed mid-century modern home comes on the market in Berkeley at any price, so to see a listing for a 1954 house boasting Golden Gate Bridge views with a price tag of just $749,000 causes the eyebrows to raise. Not least as the average home price in Berkeley now tops $1 million.

The two-bedroom, one-bathroom home at 841 Alvarado Rd. is described by online real-estate brokers Redfin as a “hot home,” and one that, on Saturday, was  “expected to sell within the next six days.”

The evaluation also made clear, however, that it is a “major fixer.” “The left and right side of house sag because they cantilever off of the steel I-beams that serve as the foundation,” writes James Leal, a Redfin agent who visited the property.

Having said that, for the right buyer — a contractor perhaps, or someone who is passionate about mid-century architecture and has a fair chunk of cash to spend on rehabilitating the place, there’s a lot to like about the home. “The loveliest views of the Golden Gate you can imagine,” writes the listing agent, Red Oak Realty’s Andrea Gordon, and its condition is mostly original. It’s a modest size — just 1,000 sq ft — and currently the second, sub-level bedroom, is only accessible by an exterior staircase.

According to Gordon, the lot is large enough for expansion, and the street level garage could be converted into a master suite.

The median home list price in the area is $1,347,000, according to Redfin.

The living room with central fireplace, open-plan kitchen view. Photo- MLS/Red Oak Realty
The living room with central fireplace, open-plan kitchen view. Photo: MLS/Red Oak Realty
The view from 841 Alvarado Rd, Berkeley. Photo- Courtesy MLS/Red Oak Realty
The view from 841 Alvarado Rd, Berkeley. Photo: Courtesy MLS/Red Oak Realty
Living room with view to front door. Photo: Courtesy MLS/Red Oak Realty
A bedroom at 841 Alvarado Rd. Photo; Courtesy MLS:Red Oak Realty
Stairs to a lower level. Photo- Courtesy Red Oak Realty
Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside. Email: tracey@citysidejournalism.org.