by: Natasha Chen Updated:
Neighbors across the Puget Sound are teaming up to sell their homes together, as upzones create lucrative possibilities for developers looking for land.
In Shoreline, a group of five homeowners have already sold their parcels together to a developer.
Another seven homeowners, along 6th Avenue Northeast and 5th Avenue Northeast, are looking to do the same, with their properties near a future light rail stop.
Andrew Freeman, whose 1939 home has two bedrooms and one bathroom, said he paid almost $250,000 for the house in 2002.
Late last year, the city of Shoreline approved an upzone near the future transit hub, which would allow buildings seven stories tall on Freeman’s street.
At that time, a startup called CityBldr reached out to some neighbors, to help them realize their full selling potential. KIRO 7 introduced CityBldr nearly two years ago, when the company built software that could calculate the maximum building potential for any plot of land.
Often the value of the land is much higher when sold to a developer who will convert the property into multifamily units.
In Freeman’s case, his home’s market value is under $500,000. He had wanted to downsize when CityBldr reached out.
He found out his home could be worth $739,000 if it was sold to a developer. But if he sold his home with six other neighbors as part of a larger bundle of parcels, he could make $875,000.
That’s three and a half times what he paid for the house in 2002.
“Oh my gosh, that’s twice – almost twice, what we were willing to settle for,” Freeman said.
Freeman said he is mainly hoping to pay off debts from medical bills and save money for retirement.
When asked whether he would be sorry to see his roses and plants razed, he said he’s ready to move on. Freeman said he recognizes the potential of supplying more housing for the many people moving to the area, especially near a transit hub where they wouldn’t need to drive to work.
He said he could imagine what they’d build: “They want to have a gym, a vegan poodle trimming shop, you know, uh – a Five Guys, a teriyaki and a Starbucks, at least…If it does happen, and it should happen while I’m still ... alive, I’m going to come here and work out at the gym, and eat at Five Guys.”
CityBldr CEO Bryan Copley said it is not unusual for neighbors to sell their parcels together, but it is unusual to have homeowners be the ones to proactively bring the parcels to market.
“If you could take seven units of housing and trade it for 250 units of housing within two blocks of the new transit coming in, would you do it?” Copley said.
Copley said he estimates the group of seven homeowners can likely make a combined $7 million.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
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