Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Grenade on Granada: UPDATE

Holy crap. Do you remember this dummy?

This design disaster was listed in June 2009 for $699,000 and pulled off the market after five fruitless months. No biggie, just another delusional nutjob who couldn't get his wishing price, tucked his tail between his legs, and delisted the house never to be seen again.

Well, not so fast.

Because he's back.

And he's armed with a $76,000 price increase.


He must be snorting massive rails of Hopecaine, because I simply can't figure out how he justifies that massive premium over the last failed listing.

It's also worth noting that the home has now been abandoned:

This pig-faced property is a Notice of Default waiting to happen.


Address: 341 Granada, 90814
Asking Price: $699,000
Year Built: 1923
Size: 3 bed, 3 bath, 1,650 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $424
Purchase Price: $415,000
Purchase Date: 4/2002
MLS#: P692837
On Redfin: 4 days
Down Payment: $140,000
Monthly Payment: $4,000
Income Requirement: $200,000
Description: A Long Beach Landmark! This stunning Collision design home features 3 levels of living space with spectacular Lagoon views from almost every window. 1st level features a large kitchen, laundry room, formal dining room, large bedroom and a 3/4 bathroom. 2nd level features large open living room area with tons of windows and light, optional 3rd bedroom and a bath. 3rd level features a huge master suite retreat with vaulted beamed ceilings, a balcony deck, large bathroom, and tons of light. The outside has been recently repainted to show the true uniqueness of this amazing home. The entire home features tons of natural light, wonderful open spaces, front courtyard area, and a 2-car garage.

Weird. I was just in this neighborhood yesterday (happy birthday, D!) and I don't remember seeing this house. You would think this Picasso-esque oddity--ERRR..."landmark" would stand out.

After looking at this exterior photo:

...I was expecting a lot more than 1,650 square feet.

But then I saw this one:

...and it became abundantly clear why the interior dimensions appear so cramped.
Plus, when you click on Aerial View you can really see how the tiny triangular lot affects the interior layout.

The most disappointing thing about this house is that the level of creativity that went into the exterior evidently did not make it to the interior.

Glass blocks? A gray tub? Given the gross 80s cues, it's clear that the current owner, who purchased in '02, was not the one who built this house--he purchased this place as-is from the 1989 buyer.

I have to give credit to owners expressing themselves and building something unique in Long Beach but as I've said before, one person's quirky (and pricey) personal taste means fuckall to potential buyers.

The greatest example of that is this idiot on Park. After a tortuous 684 days on the MLS, documented here, it's clear that there is virtually no market for these custom-built oddities (especially overpriced ones).

If you're planning on living in it forever, shit, build whatever the hell you want. Custom build a place too look like Winnie the Pooh's house if that's your thing.

But don't hold your breath in anticipation of finding a cash-flush buyer who shares your particular love of that honey-chugging charmer willing to hand you a handsome profit for what your particular peculiarities hath wrought.

You know what I think to myself when I see houses like this? "Yeah, if it was dirt cheap I might buy it as a goof." In other words, this kind of look-at-me "uniqueness" is actually a detriment to selling because this level of customization and personal flair can easily put houses in the Only-At-A-Discount category.

Heck, just ask the 1989 buyer. He bought this property for $410,000 in October '89 and (presumably) built it to its current condition. After 13 years of ownership and hundreds of thousands in construction costs, he sold in April 2002 for $415,000--just five grand more than he paid. But the NAR told me home values double every 10 years!

Sure, he successfully found a buyer who shared his quirky tastes, but in order to make the deal happen he had to slash the price to the extent that he lost massive amounts of cash. Will our current seller have to do the same?

Given current sales in this neighborhood, asking $424 per square foot isn't that far off. But, again, the key question is: Will this house require an Idiosyncrasy Discount to sell?


  1. Who'd have thought that the inside of that house could be WORSE than the outside! Was he just sick of using color by the time he got around to finishing off the inside? And nothing says 80's better than brass trimmed mirrored closet doors, tile counter tops, and gray bathroom fixtures!

  2. Another quirky place for sale, can be found at
    26 Castlebar Place, Alameda,CA94502.
    The inside of the house was designed to look like a cruise ship, circa 1980. Central stair way, oddly shaped "cabin" bedrooms, and a boat type galley. Price started at $2MM, now down to $1.8MM. Been off and on the market for around one year.
    Time to "head to the lifeboats!!"

  3. No one has any comments about this story?


    Bank of America halts all U.S. foreclosures
    Joins four other firms to announce freeze in the wake of documentation concerns

  4. Hey Mike, doesn't this just mean folks in foreclosure are going to be getting more free rent?

  5. Anon,

    Yep, but instead of spending every night sweating the Sheriff's knock at the door, they now have a GUARANTEED 90 days.

    Although I don't imagine people are suddenly going to strategically default who weren't planning on it anyway. Oh well, this is a big win for delinquent deadbeats.

  6. "big win for delinquent deadbeats" haha

    El Bee you crack me up.

    And anon, from what my moms was tellin me (she's a RE agent, though her knowledge is limited, ESPECIALLY compared to El Bee), this is going to have a HUGE impact on what homes are available, the interest rates, and future prices.

    Which brings me to another question...

    Does it matter -

    low interest rate/medium price


    medium interest rate/low price

    Do both of these scenarios pretty much equal out?

  7. Mike,

    The theory is that low interest rates mean higher prices because people can finance more, and higher interest rates bring prices down because borrowing power is reduced.

    But in this government-subsidized world, who really knows.

    The best explanation I've heard is that if you want to buy a $400,000 house at 4%, you have to think about what kind of interest rate your future buyer will have. And since we will likely never see these 4% rates again in our lifetimes, you have to assume it will be higher.

    So therefore, if in 7 years the new buyer has a 7% or 8% interest rate (close to the historical average), he can finance much less, meaning the price has to come down to, say, $300,000. And you lose your butt.

    But, if you buy a cheap house at a really high interest rate you 1) Have more to write off, and 2) Can always refinance to a lower rate.

    But it's going to be a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time before rates go up enough to affect home prices. And I just want to get on with my life.

    But to be honest, these current rates (my buddy just refinanced a 30-year fixed at 4.1%. And rates may be even lower after QEII) are amazing and very enticing. And if you're planning on owning your property outright in 30 years (like I am) then it's probably a good idea to take advantage of these crazy low borrowing costs.

  8. Change this monstrosity into three 550-sf apartments and I bet you could make some money out of it.

    Is that something than can be done easily in this municipality, or are there reams of city-hall paperwork to stop you?

    Love this blog BTW!