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OAKLAND – Oakland owner offers to sell his property for bitcoin or other cryptocurrency, a growing trend in the real estate industry but a relative rarity in the Bay Area.
Almost 400 houses are for sale on Bitcoin-RealEstate.com, a brokerage site specializing in emerging digital currencies, known for their volatile fluctuations and high level of risk. Of these, there are 15 properties for sale in California and another in the Bay Area: one unfinished seaside bluff near Half Moon Bay.
But, it was certainly a first for real estate broker Sean Beattie of Realty Experts. He’s been a licensed broker in the Bay Area for 17 years, he said, and has experienced boom after boom after boom. But, he has never seen any listings of homes traded for cryptocurrency locally, he said. So when the seller, Alec Wang, asked to sell his property at 2559 Oliver Ave. against bitcoin, litecoin, and other digital currencies, Beattie wasn’t sure how to respond.
“I wasn’t sure,” he recalls. “I contacted (our legal department) to see if I could even do it.”
They said yes, and so far the response from potential buyers has been overwhelming, Beattie said. It’s not uncommon to get dozens of calls and emails about a property as soon as it’s listed, especially not in Oakland’s scorching housing market. But, the type of response was unlike anything he’s ever seen, he said. After the property was announced on Friday, calls and emails arrived “every five minutes” from Italy, China and elsewhere around the world.
“I’ve never had so many people calling from outside the area who have no idea where Oakland is except it’s near San Francisco,” Beattie said. “They saw ‘bitcoin’ and that’s it.”
Wang isn’t quite sure how to react, whether it’s due to the cryptocurrency supply or just some insane, demand-driven housing market product from the Bay Area. This is a first for him too, he said.
At an open house on Saturday, a few potential buyers admitted that they hadn’t heard of the bitcoin offering until they arrived. But that doesn’t mean some didn’t think it was a good idea.
“It’s really cool,” said Angel Tiensovan. She is a financial consultant for Telegraph Hill, she said, and is looking for a new home. She has seen more and more financial markets turn to digital currencies in recent years, she said. “This is the direction a lot of foreign markets are going.”
But that doesn’t mean that she plans to buy the property with one of the nascent currencies.
“As high-tech as I am, I’m still old school in some ways,” Tiensovan said.
Originally from Fremont, Wang is no stranger to buying and selling homes and office buildings. As the founder and chairman of Tana Investment Group, a real estate investment company, Wang’s portfolio stretches along the west coast. He had seen the rise of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in other industries – and the real estate industry in other countries – but hadn’t seen anyone offering to accept them for real estate sales locally, he said. declared.
So he decided to take the plunge and give it a try.
“I try to stay ahead of changing trends and try to understand new technologies,” he said. “There is a lot to understand, but I’m ready to be the test case. “
In all likelihood, the buyer will likely convert the cryptocurrency to cash to pay the real estate broker’s commission, as well as the property agent and taxes, Wang said. But ultimately he expects the process to become much more transparent.
But what to do with the savage volatility of digital currencies? In a market where the value of bitcoin can fluctuate by 30% in a matter of hours, Wang said it would be essential to settle a dollar amount for the price of the house and then agree to an exchange rate at the close. The newly remodeled four bedroom, two bath home near the Oakland Zoo is listed at $ 648,000.