It’s really hard to maintain a positive attitude when you’re looking for housing in the Bay Area; when a place sounds too good to be true, it’s usually a scam involving someone who needs you to wire them money for an apartment you’ve never seen in-person.

So why, in a seller’s market, is a two-bedroom/1-bathroom home in North Oakland sitting empty when its asking price is free?

When Anthony Associates acquired the property and land three months ago, the City of Oakland deemed the house – built in 1920 – a historical property. Even though they found no evidence of a historic event taking place, the city wanted to do all it could to at least recycle the place and made a deal with the real estate brokerage firm.

Anthony Associates, who plans to build 10 new homes on the land, is listing the house as free* for two months at the city’s behest, in hopes to help preserve the unassuming house whole. But here’s where the hefty asterisk kicks in – you have to physically move the 1,053 sq-ft home off the property for it to be yours.

As it stands now, the listing has been active for two months, and according to Anthony Associates, it's had some interest, but no one serious has come forward to move the house. Speaking with Thomas at Anthony Associates, part of the reason no one has claimed the house is because most people looking for houses in the Bay Area don't own land. And even if you did, he estimates that laying down foundation would run you $200,000. On top of that, it is totally all on you to move this ENTIRE house (more money), and you are also responsible for getting it up to code (even MORE money). Finally, Anthony Associates technically can’t give the house away for nothing; you'll actually be paying $1 for this "free" house. So add another dollar on to this historic moneypit home.

The deal does have an expiration date: if no serious buyers come forward in the next month, Anthony Associates has permission to tear down the house and begin construction. Considering the current median price of a home in Oakland is $470, 250 – this deal is definitely worth giving pause (if you own land and if you're a contractor, that is).

You can check out the house yourself if you’re interested; it’s currently vacant and located at 4455 Howe Street in Oakland. 

[Image via Thinkstock]

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