Oakland house up for grabs - with a catch

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- If you've dreamed of owning a Victorian home in the Bay Area, now's your chance. There are a couple free ones available in Oakland.

"I love old houses," said Kelly Tan, an Oakland resident in the Northgate neighborhood. "I don't know how much it's going to cost to move it. Maybe it's cheaper than a mortgage."

The home on Valley Street must be moved by late October or it'll be torn down.

Real estate sites show the two bedroom, two bath selling for $1.5 million last year. The real value comes from the development potential of the 4,000 square foot lot. It's surrounded by new apartments and condos.

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"The area is quiet, residential. Pretty sure all these buildings are pretty new," said Tan.

There's another house for free around the corner on 23rd Street, but it lacks the charm of the Valley Street house.

Signature Development Group owns the property and several years ago also bought the land under the King Fish Pub. The owners of the pub decided to purchase a lot across the street and move the old building from Claremont Avenue to Telegraph Avenue. The 1920's structure is now on a new foundation and has modern plumbing and electrical. The dive bar charm remains untouched.

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"This is history. I mean nobody spends that kind of money to do it right and the main owner said, 'I want that building over there,'" recalls Mike Flynn, a longtime customer who witnessed the move.

Another example is a little 1930's home that was threatened by a Children's Hospital expansion. The plot of land at MLK Jr Way and 52nd Street was wanted for an addition to the hospital. The homeowner was a holdout until he died and the hospital acquired the land. In 2015, a neighbor saved the house by buying and moving it under the BART tracks to its new location.

You can preserve a Victorian, but moving your historic deal will likely cost six figures. Not to mention buying a place to put it.

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