Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Real Estate Photo of the Day

We're used to seeing egregious typos in listing descriptions, but this is something new:

Unless of course they mean Keith Sweat Dreams:

In that case, you bet!

Via It's Lovely! I'll Take It!

Flip or Flop? UPDATE

Well well well, looks like someone might have found that last remaining drunken knife catcher!

The status was "Active" and changed to "Contingent"

Only 22 days on market and it's already accepting backup offers. Not bad!

If this sale actually closes, I am DYING to get a peek at the final sales price. If he gets anywhere near asking price of $599,000, huge congratulations are in order.

You see, the updated property records show he picked it for $407,500. So, assuming Flippy here put $40,000 into it (we have no photos so that's pure speculation), he would make a hefty $150,000 profit (boosted by his realtor's commission). WOW.

That, of course, is assuming this sale actually closes.

A message to the prospective knife catcher:

1) Wipe drool from chin.
2) Turn on computer.
3) Open Internet Explorer.
4) Go to www.redfin.com.
5) Type in 4201 E 3rd St, 90814.
6) Scroll to Property History.
7) Reconcile the fact that you are about to pay $200,000 more than the last sales price FROM A FREAKING MONTH AGO.
8) Seriously reconsider.

Friday, March 27, 2009

West Ocean Two Auction Part Deux

Uh oh. West Ocean Two is back on the radar.

To jog your memory, here is a blog post from September 2008.

Anyhow, I was perusing the always-entertaining Irvine Housing Blog Forums and I saw this:


According to Curbed LA:

A flyer was just released announcing that they are auctioning off 39 units. But here's the difference: Lower minimum bids. In August, the minimum bid on a 834-square-foot unit that was previously listed at $534,000 was $275,000. At the April auction, the minimum bid will be $195,000.


Meanwhile, the developer reported that 33 of the 39 condos sold at that first auction, but the number didn't indicate how many had closed.

Don't you find it odd that after a 39-unit auction in August, seven months later there are exactly 39 units for sale?

That can mean one of several things: 1) None of the "sales" from the previous auction actually closed, and this is the same 39 units, or 2) This unmitigated disaster of a condo tower was dealing with at least 78 vacant units (out of 114!).

Either way, this building is a bigger FAIL than Mickey Rourke's plastic surgeon.

By the way, remember when I mentioned a friend-of-a-friend bought one of the ocean-facing units:

A friend's co-worker recently bought a 1 bed/1 bath ocean view unit for $350k. Sweet deal, right? Sure, as long as you don't count the additional $250,000 (over the life of the loan) in non-deductible HOA fees. I don't know about you, but it's difficult to write $700 checks and not "count" that money.

Well, according to my friend his buddy's sale never actually closed! He apparently couldn't get financed due to an investment property he had and the sale was never completed. That was the best effing thing that could have ever happened to him!

How furious would you be if you had purchased one of these at the last auction for $275,000? I hope you're enjoying your $80,000 loss in equity. Congratulations, you just caught a falling knife! Worse yet, what if you bought one for half a million? If you haven't walked away by now, these sub-$200k opening bids might just have you stuffing your keys into a manila envelope.

And as one Curbed commenter noted, "$1000 /mo HOA? Seriously? If you got a condo for $195k- the minimum bid- your HOA fee would be the same as your mortgage."

There's a little perspective for you, eh?

(Here is an HOA discussion that was prompted by my first WO2 post).

And I know I have already beat this point to a bloody pulp, but what is downtown Long Beach going to look like as the unemployment rate continues to spike? Crime? Homelessness? Safety?

It's just a shame that the city was making such great headway cleaning up downtown and now, thanks to this severe economic downturn, in all likelihood it's going to revert back to its old ways.

The last time I lived in downtown (in the late 90s), my comfortable suburban upbringing was in for a major culture shock. Now, I wasn't living on Ocean Blvd. in a luxury tower, but that's not the point. It doesn't matter how nice your house is on the inside, you've got to go outdoors eventually. And an astute buyer would be factoring this in.

Frankly, I don't care how low the starting bids are, with those highway-robbery HOAs, the demonstrated ability to easily shed hundreds of thousands in "value," and highly questionable future for the downtown environment, I would still be cautious about purchasing at West Ocean Two.

HOWEVER, there are some major government incentives to purchase now and we don't know how much longer the Fed will be able to artificially suppress interest rates. If you're chomping at the bit to buy, you're running out of excuses to keep waiting.

Regarding these low interest rates, some people, including me, have said that the problem with buying at incredibly low rates is that when they creep back up, property values plummet because higher rates severely limit how much buyers are able to finance. This isn't a problem AS LONG AS YOU ARE PLANNING TO KEEP THE HOME AS PART OF YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO. In fact, locking in a 4.5% rate for 30 years is a really smart move if you're not planning on selling any time soon.

However, if this is only a "starter" condo and you're planning on selling it in five years to buy a detached home, you might be better off waiting for rising interest rates, the remaining bubble equity loss yet to be realized, and the ever-increasing unemployment rate (and subsequent reduction in demand) to bring down the property value of that detached home. Plus, with higher interest rates you'll be able to realize more of a tax advantage.

I don't know. There are advantages to both buying soon and continuing to sit on the sidelines--everybody's situation is different.

But make no mistake: If you buy one of these condos today, you will lose equity IMMEDIATELY. Like driving an AMG Mercedes off the lot.

Plus, nearly $2,000 a month still seems too expensive for a one-bedroom apartment--even in a building as nice as this one. Unless of course, you believe after dropping from $534,000, to $275,000, then to $195,000..."this is as low as it will go."

Anyone who reads this blog knows better, but it's your money.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Summer of '89

Address: 232 E Louise St, 90805
Asking Price: $129,900
Year Built: 1979
Size: 2 beds, 1 baths, 874 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $149
Purchase price: $324,307
Purchase date: 8/2007
MLS#: S08153774
On Redfin: 147 days
Down Payment: $26,000
Monthly Payment: $800
Income Requirement: $37,000
Description: Built in 1979 this is a newer 2 Bedroom 1 Bath Home. in near move in condition. in good condition, shows well, Clean the carpets, maybe a little paint and it will look great, It has a 2 car detached garage, cute back yard with rose bushes and at $129,900 is price at less than 35% off its sell price in 2006. A screaming deal as a rental or starter home. Corporate owned and sold AS-IS.

"Newer," eh? I guess that depends on what you're comparing it to, but okay.

"Clean the carpets, maybe a little paint and it will look great"?


I thought you were actually trying to sell this pile of crap! If it only needs minor work like carpet and paint to make it "look great" then what the fuck are you waiting for? Isn't your role as a realtor to ensure your clients' houses are clean, presentable, and attractive to buyers?

Readers, do yourself a favor and click the Redfin link and peep the Aerial View of the property. What is this thing? A Union Pacific railcar?

And while you're at it, you should zoom out on the overhead map to get an idea of just where this house is located. Are you sure that's still Long Beach?! Yikes!

And here's another interesting claim in the description: "at $129,900 is price at less than 35% off its sell price in 2006." From what I was able to decipher from that quasi-literate sentence, the agent claims $129,900 is "35% off" the 2006 price of $380,000 (that's $435 per square, by the way!). Uh, noooooo...35% off of $380,000 would be $246,700.

This idiot has no idea what he's talking about. A realtor who can't do math? That's weird.

Ohhhhh...I see. The listing agent added an extra "f" to "35% off." $129,900 is roughly 35% OF the 2006 sales price.

If this listing agent were smart, he'd boast that this shack is actually 65% OFF the 2006 price. It's a much stronger number from a marketing perspective. But remember, I said "if this realtor were smart."

65% is a huge number. This is an insane, catastrophic loss in just 23 months. I don't think I've ever featured a bigger collapse in "value" in the history of this blog. Some people are wondering at what price-year values will finally stop declining...2002? 2001? 2000?

Well try this on for size: This saltine box is a 1989 ROLLBACK.

The August 2007 sales price of $324,307 is also notable because that is when this wretched hovel went back to the bank. It was promptly dumped on the market 10 days later and has been rotting away on the MLS ever since (it says "corporate owned" but I think they mean "bank owned." Oh, who the hell cares. Whomever owns this thing is neck-deep in turtle shit).

So assuming this dump sold today for the asking price of $129,900, the bank would face a staggering loss of $194,407. Not to mention a year-and-a-half of carrying costs. Ouch.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Pounding on the Promenade

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the Promenade in downtown Long Beach, but these places are pretty nice.

Unfortunately, the units were incredibly overpriced during the bubble and as a consequence have been getting absolutely annihilated during the ensuing housing crash. UPDATE: Here's a picture of the "real" building and not some artist's utopian rendering:

To wit: A 2-story, 2-bedroom (plus loft), 2.5-bath unit is asking $419,000.

Not bad, right?

Too bad the 2007 sales price was $850,000.

That's right, friends, in just 24 months this condo's value has dropped an astounding 51%. Brutal! I'd rather shit hot knives than be the bagholder on this one.

And that's assuming this place sells at the current asking price. With a 10.5% unemployment rate, I think we all know the odds of that happening. About as good as Steven Adler becoming Obama's Drug Czar.

Some say walkaways are a minor aspect of this housing crash, that those who can afford their payments won't hand back the keys simply because they're upside down--it's only those who have no other choice who are moonwalking away from their financial mistakes.


You're telling me a majority of people will continue happily shelling out $5,000+ a month knowing full well the new neighbors are paying HALF that for the exact same unit? They would have to be complete idiots, and you'd have to be a complete idiot to think they wouldn't exercise their ruthless put option.

And speaking of complete idiots, the listing agent for this "OWN OF A KIND" unit claims the Promenade is "SOLD OUT."

Hm. That's funny because I see at least seven units for sale.

And considering how severely underwater every loanowner in the building is, the number of units for sale is guaranteed to increase exponentially.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Where The Wild Things Are

I'm back from Winston-Salem with a property in need of a little grooming:


Address: 732 N. Washington Pl, 90813
Asking Price: $364,000
Year Built: 1905
Size: 2 beds, 1 baths, 1,064 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $342
Purchase price:
Purchase date:
MLS#: S514617
On Redfin: 466 days
Down Payment: $73,000
Monthly Payment: $2,000
Income Requirement: $104,000
Description: HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!!!Historical Craftsman w/loads of charm.Huge Formal LR,original features:hardwood floors,doors & hardware glass & brass doorknobs,kit with 'ice box' cabinetry,mosaic tile counter,coved ceilings,wrap around porch has been enclosed,orig sash windows,light fixtures,french doors.Oversized lot w/alley and street access.'Potters area off kit. Formal Dining room. 1 BR w/original built ins above closet, 2nd BR has double walk in closet. Bath has built in linen cabinet above tub. Tandem gar divided

Anyone else have a headache from reading that thing? This is punctuation and abbreviation hell, but the spelling is on point. Congrats?

And speaking of headaches, how about this photo:

I'm particularly fond of this essential snapshot:

You really put the F in effort, guy.

The opening salvo of the listing description is “HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!!!” but in typical realtard fashion the last price reduction was in June 2008.

Jun 13, 2008 Price Changed $364,000
Jan 08, 2008 Price Changed $379,000
Dec 06, 2007 Listed $419,000

LOL! What a moron!

I want to buy this 104-year-old dump simply for the amazing haunted houses I can put together during Halloween!

And you know it’s a rough ‘hood when the dude .17 miles down the street can’t get rid of his house for $100,000 ($120 per square foot!).

Shall we revisit my previous post about Martin Luther King Blvd?

Do you want to hear something really sad? Even if this fool cut the price in half tonight to $182,000, it would STILL be asking more than the vast majority of nearby sellers.

$99,900 620 Lime Ave
0.17 miles2 bd / 1 ba 836 Sq. Ft.

$189,900 801 ORANGE Ave
0.27 miles2 bd / 1 ba 1,120 Sq. Ft.

$129,900 1075 Martin Luther King Jr Ave
0.3 miles2 bd / 1 ba 816 Sq. Ft.

$175,000 1020 E 11th St
0.32 miles2 bd / 1 ba 761 Sq. Ft.

$179,000 1240 E 7th St
0.34 miles3 bd / 2 ba 1,142 Sq. Ft.

$140,000 1021 Orange Ave
0.35 miles2 bd / 1 ba 804 Sq. Ft.

$325,000 1220 Olive Ave
0.43 miles2 bd / 2 ba 778 Sq. Ft.

$299,000 1417 E 8th St
0.43 miles2 bd / 1 ba 1,054 Sq. Ft.

$220,000 1337 W Lewis Ave
0.51 miles3 bd / 2 ba 1,240 Sq. Ft.

$209,900 418 Nebraska Ave
0.51 miles2 bd / 1 ba 836 Sq. Ft.

And so far this year, there was only one house that sold for more than $250,000. Which means, just judging by comps, this dude is already at least$100,000 overpriced. Doesn’t look good for this bumbling bushmaster.

466 days on the market? Really? No inkling that you might need to lower the price at some point in the last 10 months. No?

Cool, see you in another 466 days.

And, just for fun, here is another Long Beach house with serious foliage problems:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Flip or Flop?

You’ll notice lately that I’ve been featuring a lot of Belmont Heights properties. That’s because while I’ve seen evidence that a decent number of Belmont Shore sellers are willing to deal, Belmont Heights sellers seem to be drinking a particularly strong blend of Kool-Aid.

According to Anonymous, this RE in the LBC-featured property was recently picked up by a real estate agent in an attempted flip. Attempted, I said.

He apparently bought it from under the bank at auction, put a little elbow grease into it, slapped together a new listing with a whopping three photos (all exterior—smart!), and now expects a nice fat profit for his "backbreaking" work.

Yep, a profit.

Flipping houses.

In the middle of the worst housing decline anyone alive has ever seen.

Good thinking, pal.

Here is the new listing:

Address: 4201 E 3rd St, 90814
Asking Price: $599,000 (increased by $84,100 from the January price)
Year Built: 1922
Size: 2 beds, 1 bath, 1,163 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $515 (up from $443)
Purchase price: $576,250 (by bank—I don’t know what the realtor paid)
Purchase date: 11/6/2008
MLS#: P678859
On Redfin: 4 days
Down Payment: $120,000 (an increase of $17,000)
Monthly Payment: $3,300 (up from an already ridiculous $2,900)
Income Requirement: $171,000 (up from $147,000)
Description: Classic Spanish single story remodeled home on corner lot with very bright and cheery rooms. Den/sunroom for office or even possible 3rd bedroom. New granite countertop kitchen and beautiful darker stained cabinets with all new stainless steel appliances included(microwave, dbl door refrig, gas stove with above mounted microwave). Laundry room off kitchen with new washer/dryer included. New tiled bath, new classic front door, newer windows and floor furnace, newly painted inside and out with major new landscaping, new copper plumbing throughout, new electric service, new window blind coverings, wood floors, custom new tile, and unique architecture of years past along with detached garage with workshop cabinets, work area, and unique driveway on Roswell all combined make this well worth purchasing. AMAZING HOME IN HEART OF BELMONT HEIGHTS WITH ALMOST NEW EVERYTHING YOU COULD ASK FOR. YOU MUST SEE THIS PROPERTY TO APPRECIATE IT.

He did a really good job sprucing up the exterior. To wit:

Quite a difference!

This shot of the phone/power lines isn't too flattering, but the exterior still looks much better. You have to give the guy a lot of credit.

The interior, however, is another story altogether. If you recall, the first time it was listed the inside was in utter shambles and photos of the bathrooms and kitchen were notably absent (always, and I mean ALWAYS, indicative of major issues). Check these out from the old listing:

Feral dust bunnies, gnashing at your toes.

Well, despite what I'm sure are some decent improvements, we’re still not treated to any interior photos. Dumb move.

What exactly is the point of installing a “New granite countertop kitchen and beautiful darker stained cabinets with all new stainless steel appliances” if you don’t show photos? I bet the inside looks pretty nice, judging by what’s been done to the outside, but we’ll never know unless we take a total leap of faith and go to an open house for what we already know is a severely overpriced property. Yeah, no thanks.

I’ll remind you that this house has been struggling on the market for more than a year with no action. It was in desperate need of attention and it appears—outwardly, at least—that the flipper provided some. Sadly, no matter how much lipstick you put on this pig, it’s still a corner location at a four-way-stop intersection (which I never noticed before). Incredibly unappealing.

The asking price of $599,000 in this environment is straight up greedtarded. Dude, it didn’t sell when it was a fixer-upper priced at $514,000. And now because you installed some countertops, copper pipes, and appliances it suddenly has a clean shot at selling for $84,000 MORE?

Boy, I would expect a little more investing savvy from a real estate agent.

HA! Just kidding, no I wouldn’t.

You may think you’re undercutting the neighbors by asking $599k but you’re not. Look at some of these Days on Market:

$670,900 305 Quincy Ave
0.23 miles3 bd / 1 ba 1,242 Sq. Ft. - 177 days

$674,000 4315 Broadway
0.26 miles2 bd / 1 ba 1,254 Sq. Ft. - 277 days

$575,000 218 Ximeno Ave
0.34 miles2 bd / 2 ba 1,191 Sq. Ft. - 175 days

$449,000 4741 E Colorado St
0.38 miles2 bd / 1 ba 922 Sq. Ft. - 231 days

$599,000 3901 E 2nd St
0.44 miles3 bd / 2 ba 1,394 Sq. Ft. - 269 days

And just take a gander at some that have actually sold:

$430,000 4322 E 4th St Sold on Feb 12, 2009
0.24 miles 3 bd / 1 ba 938 Sq. Ft.

$440,000 435 Roswell Ave Sold on Jan 27, 2009
0.28 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 927 Sq. Ft.

$425,675 229 Loma Ave Sold on Jan 16, 2009
0.46 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,032 Sq. Ft.

Nothing above $440,000 in 2009. Let's go further back:

$567,000 638 Quincy Ave Sold on Dec 24, 2008
0.49 miles 3 bd / 1 ba 1,320 Sq. Ft.

$500,000 201 Quincy Ave Sold on Dec 16, 2008
0.46 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 784 Sq. Ft.

$577,000 603 Grand Ave Sold on Dec 11, 2008
0.46 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,056 Sq. Ft.

$434,284 4319 E 5th St Sold on Nov 07, 2008
0.33 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 760 Sq. Ft.

$495,000 4819 E Trimble Ct Sold on Oct 03, 2008
0.43 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 884 Sq. Ft.

$577,000 was the highest price in October through December 2008. And if we step into our Way Back Machine and travel all the way back to September, it's the first time we see anything above this flipper's current asking price of $599,000.

$615,090 215 Roycroft Ave Sold on Sep 30, 2008
0.43 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 984 Sq. Ft.

$600,000 4140 E Colorado St Sold on Sep 16, 2008
0.1 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,230 Sq. Ft.

Yes, yes. These are not exact comps and we don't know what condition these places were in--but you get the overall point. This dude is pricing in fantasy land.

Here are the facts, Flippy: if you want any chance at selling (or even want to get in line with the price per square foot of nearby comps!) you’d need to slash nearly $200,000 from the asking price TODAY.

But I have a strong suspicion you’re not going to do that.

Plus, what the hell do I know? I’m not a "professional" like you are, just a blogger. But in my unprofessional opinion, unless you picked this thing up for $300k at the auction, you are straight up FUCKED.

I hope for your sake there is one more drunken knife catcher left in Long Beach, because if not, your losses will be in the hundreds of thousands when this is all over.

Flippin’ ain’t easy, but then neither is resisting delusions of expertise.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Arigato: UPDATE V

And on and on it goes...

The price was reduced $275,000 to $1,975,000.

For those of you counting at home, they've reached 577 days on the market.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Yardless Wonder

Is this a mobile home?

Address: 4319 E 5th, 90814
Asking Price: $390,000
Year Built: 1990
Size: 2 beds, 1 baths, 760 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $513
Purchase price: $434,284
Purchase date: 11/2008
MLS#: P679069
On Redfin: 1 day
Down Payment: $95,000
Monthly Payment: $2,600
Income Requirement: $135,000

This bank-owned property comes complete with a bank-owned-quality description.




What is it with LB listing agents who don't know that it's Belmont Shore, not Shores? How can you expect people to believe you understand Long Beach real estate when you can't even correctly spell the name of one of its premier neighborhoods?

This mediocre modular has been sitting on the market since December 23 with no interest. With this ridiculous price (which is a result of four price reductions!) it's no wonder why.

The tiling theme in this place reminds me of a padded cell (not that I've ever seen the inside of a padded cell. Uh, recently).

If you can believe it, in late 2006 this hardwood-floored water closet sold for $635,000. You got that right, Chachi: $835 per square foot.

Exactly two years later (the fact that they lasted that long pretty much rules out fraud, meaning they actually found someone dumb fucking stupid enough to pay $4,000 per month for this thing) the bank took it back at auction for $434,284. How's about a $200,000 loss on a 760 square foot shack? Good times!

And there will be another $200,000 write off unless they wake up very soon. That's because there is no doubt in my mind this undesirable property on an undesirable lot (in an okay neighborhood) will revert to 2002 pricing (~$200,000) when the bubble has fully deflated. No doubt.

Lender: if you have any hope of selling before that frightening 2002 threshold is met, I strongly recommend setting the price at $325,000 today and hacking off 10 grand every month until it sells. You do that and you're sure to find a knife catcher before summer.

But since as a bank you were foolish believe this tiny 2 bed 1 bath was somehow "worth" $635,000 and lent money accordingly, I doubt you'll suddenly start making intelligent decisions.

But I'm hopeful.

Chop chop.

In The Year 2000...-UPDATE II

20 days ago I wrote:

Wake up, buddy. Slap a price tag of $200,000 on it TONIGHT and keep cutting by $10,000 every two weeks until it sells. I know it's difficult to accept that's what it will take, but if you keep this up you'll be looking at even more dreadful comps a year from now. I mean, how much longer are you willing to shell out that $2,500+ monthly payment to "own" before you realize you could rent the next door neighbor's house for half that?

I'm starting to think we have a secret Long Beach Housing Blog reader on our hands because I just saw this:

Mar 10, 2009, Price Reduced - $209,900

You're getting warmer, buddy...

ur doin it wrong

Someone’s been snorting too much Kool-Aid Kocaine.

Address: 535 Grand Ave, 90814
Asking Price: $474,000
Year Built: 1920
Size: 1 beds, 1 baths, 624 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $760
Purchase price: N/A
Purchase date: N/A
MLS#: P662564
On Redfin: 132 days
Down Payment: $95,000
Monthly Payment: $2,600
Income Requirement: $135,000
Description: Charming 1 bedroom, 1 bath California Bungalow in fantastic Belmont Heights corner location. Great opportunity to own a single family residence in prestigous Belmont Heights for around the price of a condo. Close to the ocean, shopping, restaraunts and transportation.

“Single family residence”? Is that a joke? It’s a 624 square foot 1 bed/1 bath, you dolt!



The most astounding aspect of this property is the $760 per square foot asking price. Really? With a straight face? You do realize there isn't a 50-foot boat slip behind it, right?

This is a probate sale and the vultures--ERRR, next of kin are obviously trying to cash in. You pathetic, greed-faced mongrels. Seriously, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

And the listing agent should feel embarrassed too. Way to play to just about every negative realtor stereotype: Oblivious to market realities, quasi-literate, and greedy to the core.

This listing just makes me terribly sad.

Even if the price was CUT IN HALF, I have serious doubts a buyer for this ominously ordinary octogenarian could be sussed out.

Assuming a single person (let’s dispense with this “single family” horseshit) earned the $135,000 required to reasonably afford this house and had a $95,000 down payment handy…does anyone honestly believe this is where that lawyer or doctor would choose to live?

Especially if he or she could rent a similar home, in a better neighborhood, for $1,000 less per month?

$1450 / 1br - House in Beautiful Belmont Heights

Your own house in excellent neighborhood
Secluded yard
Garage with washer dryer hook-up and storage
Parking space in driveway with plenty of parking on the street
Quiet neighborhood
1 bath
Water, Trash, Gardener paid
Walk to Belmont Shore shopping and dining
Blocks to quaint neighborhood market/deli

305 Prospect at 3rd


This is sheer lunacy.

I’m dying to understand what is going through the minds of these greedy shysters after 132 days with absolutely no interest. Honestly, do you think ANYONE has actually come to take a look at it since it’s been on the market? I very seriously doubt it.

UPDATE: The asking price is now $449,000, clocking in at $720 per square. Commence bidding war!

UPDATE II: As reader Carl pointed out, I didn't even list the nearby comps! What was I thinking? Here are the most recent nearby sales:

$190,000 3209 E 15th St Sold on Jan 29, 2009
0.94 miles 1 bd / 1 ba 726 Sq. Ft.

$182,400 411 Coronado Ave Sold on Dec 11, 2008
0.33 miles 1 bd / 1 ba 737 Sq. Ft.

$160,000 1114 Loma Ave Sold on Dec 19, 2008
0.55 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 576 Sq. Ft.

$375,000 3524 E Vista St Sold on Nov 26, 2008
0.52 miles 1 bd / 1 ba 648 Sq. Ft.

$314,000 1411 Termino Ave Sold on Oct 09, 2008
0.83 miles 1 bd / 1 ba 633 Sq. Ft.

$229,000 1343 Termino Ave Sold on Oct 02, 2008
0.73 miles 1 bd / 1 ba 560 Sq. Ft.

$285,000 3815 E Wehrle St Sold on Oct 02, 2008
0.76 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 700 Sq. Ft.

Please note that even the crazy ass $314,000 and $375,000 comps (from last fall) are still $200,000 LESS than our featured delusional seller. Best of luck with that!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It was Nice Knowing You, $200 Per Square Foot: UPDATE

Has someone finally seen the light?

This poorly-located bank-owned doo doo pile has been enjoying solid $10,000 cuts for the last two months (which I recommend to any seller languishing on the market for more than 60 days without a bite). It's a smart, disciplined way to go about things and I hope they continue with this pricing plan.

Let's re-crunch the numbers:

Address: 837 E. Ocean Unit #??, 90802
Asking Price: $199,900
Size: 2 beds, 1 baths, 1,206 sq. ft. (built in ??)
$/Sq. Ft.: $166 (WOW!)
HOA Fee: ??
Purchase price: $389,534
Purchase date: 3/2008
MLS#: 08-333463
On Redfin: 101 days
Down Payment: $40,000 (from $47,000)
Monthly Payment: $1,300 (assuming $200 HOA)
Income Requirement: $57,000 (from $67,000)
Description: Bank-owned property in prime Long Beach location move-in condition 2 bdrm, 1 bth with great open floor plan. Kitchen opens to living room and dining area with nice front porch. In heart of downtown only 4 units in charming building.

101 days. Same useless listing description and awful photos. Smart!

However, the Redfin map has apparently been fixed. Now the overhead view shows this is the corner property, not the building directly behind the gas station.

In December I marveled at how the $200 per square foot barrier was breached, but now it appears, just a few months later, that we're about to bust through $150 per square. Wow.

I wish there was a way to typographically represent the whistling sound a bomb makes as it plummets to the ground.


Fun Fact: My dad was a B-52 navigator for the Air Force!

Anyhow, if the bank keeps this up it will most certainly find a buyer. Rental parity is right around the corner. But, as Morekaos pointed out in the comments section of the December post, there was a price INCREASE during the last few months so you never know what this bank is going to do.

I commend the bank for what appears to be a disciplined discounting strategy, but I hope it doesn't lose its nerve. There is this prevailing perception out there that aggressive price reductions "leave money on the table," but the wise sellers realize sticking to WTF prices only leads to even more money, along with the damn table, being thrown into an industrial incinerator.

I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hammerhead Sharks and Jacuzzi Tadpoles

I can't believe this isn't listed as a Fixer Upper.

Address: 777 St. Louis Ave, 90804
Asking Price: $299,000
Year Built: 1924
Size: 4 beds, 2 baths, 1,674 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $179
Purchase price: $650,000
Purchase date: 4/2007
MLS#: R811004
On Redfin: 65 days
Down Payment: $60,000
Monthly Payment: $1,700
Income Requirement: $85,000
Description: Bank owned. Sold for 650K in 2006. Raised foundation, hardwood floors, formal dining, 50x135 lot, big private yard.

"Sold for 650K in 2006"? WHO GIVES A SHIT?! Mark McGwire's 70th home run baseball sold for $3 Million at auction in 1999. What's that thing worth now?

I strongly suggest you click the Redfin link and check out these amazing pictures. Here are the greatest hits:

I mean, wow. What a colossal, stank, rank, piece of shit.

And speaking of pieces of shit:


You'll also notice there isn't a single picture of those "hardwood floors" the listing agent seems so proud of. All I see is bong-stained carpet and crusty kitchen tiles.

When I started writing this post, the featured property was asking $349,000--renewing my faith in the idiocy and greed of Long Beach sellers. But yesterday the price was slashed by $50,000 (one glance at those pictures and it's astoundingly obvious why), demonstrating a granule of common sense.

Regardless, the bank is getting royally screwed on this one. From what I've been able to piece together, this house was purchased for $454,000 in 2004. Those people sold to another buyer two and a half years later for $650,000 (*cough* fraud *cough*). That new "owner," unable to make the insane monthly payment, gave the keys back to the bank in June 2008. The bank claimed this shitbox at auction for $532,914 and has been sitting on it ever since.

Assuming the bank can offload this Ebola dumpster for current asking price (giggle), the loss will be at least $250,000. But, as usual, the question is whether the bank could sell for this brain-rattling wising price.

Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, no.

Not in this condition. Look at the jacuzzi for Pete's sake! Mosquito Central!

The question here is not affordability. It's getting there. The question is whether someone wants to put the overwhelming amount of work into this place to make it inhabitable. New bathrooms, appliances, landscaping, kitchen, rear deck, jacuzzi, interior and exterior paint...not to mention the mystery issues (plumbing, heating, water heaters, etc.) that are bound to surface the moment you sign on the dotted line.

Admittedly, it has a much better shot at $179 per square foot than the original, batshit crazy $229 per square, but this place is in absolutely terrible shape and no investor in the world could perform the required work and achieve positive cashflow.

Knock another $50,000 or $60,000 off and you might find someone brave enough.

Until then, we'll try to decipher the meaning of all that crap on the bathroom walls.

Any interpretations you'd like to share, dear reader?