Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Magically Expanding House

4512 East VERMONT St, Long Beach, CA 90814

ADDRESS: 4512 East VERMONT St, Long Beach, CA 90814
ASKING PRICE: $699,900
BATHS: 2.75
SQ. FT.: 1,500
$/SQ. FT.: $467
LOT SIZE: 4,735 Sq. Ft.
COMMUNITY: Belmont Heights/Alamitos Heights
MLS#: P772185
ON REDFIN: 4 days
DOWN PAYMENT: $140,000
INCOME REQUIREMENT (3.5x): $160,000
DESCRIPTION: Remodeled 3 bedroom 2 3/4 bath Home with Contemporary Open Floor Plan and New Laminate Floors throughout. Light & Bright Living Room w/ Venetian Plaster Fireplace opens to Formal Dining Room. New Kitchen w/ Granite Counters, Pantry, & Stainless Steel Appliances including Gas Cooktop, Oven, Dishwasher, & Breakfast Bar opens to Dining Area and to spacious Family room which overlooks NEW Wooden deck with view of the Private Peaceful Backyard. Spacious Master Suite with a New Bathroom with custom flooring, Skylight tube, Vanity & oversized shower w/ seamless shower doors. 2 other custom remodeled bathrooms. There are many other NEW features such as Roof, Copper Plumbing, Tankless Water Heater, Ceiling Insulation, 2 Separate Heating systems, Doors, Paint, Top of the line Designer Sinks & Fixtures, Sod, Sprinklers, Drip System, and some Windows. Opportunity Knocks, Don't miss this Gorgeous Belmont Heights Home!!

Hooray For Intermittent Title Case!

Our featured property was purchased last April for $405,000, and now this flipper is trying to get his mitts on the $294,900 in profits he so richly deserves.

Now, to be fair, in 2010 this place was a certified turd pile:
4512 East VERMONT St, Long Beach, CA 90814

But, as with all flippers, the important question is whether this kitchen is worth the nearly $300,000 premium over the probate sale price:
4512 East VERMONT St, Long Beach, CA 90814

4512 East VERMONT St, Long Beach, CA 90814

4512 East VERMONT St, Long Beach, CA 90814
"But El Bee, clearly they did more work than just the kitchen."

Really? Prove it.

Because although the listing description mentions a laundry list of desirable amenities and upgrades, these are the only other photos:
That's right, friends. A $300,000 markup and only four photos in the whole fucking listing.

I mean, how incompetent do you have to be to dump a bunch of money into flipping a property, jack up the price by hundreds of thousands of dollars, boisterously crow about all the upgrades and renovations, and then fail to, you know, actually include pictures of what you're trying to sell?

And please note that for $700,000 you don't even get a goddamn refrigerator. The balls on this guy.

I'm also curious about something I saw in the description from the 2010 probate listing: "Detached garage. Two rooms off garage that were previously used as additional bedroom and study."

So, since the garage is detached, and these two rooms are off the detached garage, does that mean these rooms are detached from the main house?

The reason I ask is because the public records (and the 2010 listing) clearly indicate this house is a 1-bedroom/1-bath spanning only 888 square feet, but the flipper's new listing is a 3/2.75 clocking in at 1,500. How did this house magically sprout an extra 612 squares?

It appears this dude is trying to include the two rooms off the garage in the total square footage. It's worth noting that if you calculated the price per square foot according to legally confirmed figures in the county assessor's records, the current (and relatively palatable) $467 per square foot would jump to a whopping $788! Motive, anyone?

That seems really fishy. If you're thinking of plunking down nearly three-quarters of a million dollars for this place (HAHAHAHAHA), definitely do your homework and ask the right questions.

Assuming the 1,500 square feet is somehow legitimate, I think a minor price reduction will garner a sale. It's on a relatively big lot in a prime area, has a wealth of upgrades (allegedly), and I think a working couple, forced to wait five years for this massive housing bubble to deflate and return prices to reasonable levels, will look around at the dearth of quality Long Beach inventory and simply bite the bullet and overpay for this flip job.

I myself would feel nauseous paying nearly $300,000 for upgrades that cost, at most, $120,000, but that's just me.

UPDATE: Listing photos finally added.


  1. This "house" seems perfect for some high-maintenance typical self-consumed Americans, who need everything "all pretty".

    I don't know, but it just looks like a toy house to me.

    And I keep wondering to myself, why the people in the 500K price range, don't just save themselves a hundred K or two, and find one of these houses just like the flippers, and do the freaking upgrading THEMSELVES!?!

    That way, you can not only save money, but you can actually do the remodeling that YOU want, instead of living in some fast-food minded concoction of some flipper, who is going to make the choices of thrift and convenience, versus actual style, livability, longevity, etc...

    Oh and just to update you El Bee, we are nearing the phase of getting the underwriting done. We are close, but I'm still biting fingernails.

  2. Mike,

    In general, its the wife, combined with the husband's failure to be a man.

    Simply put, most american men will not stand up to the wifey.

    What SHOULD be done of course, is what I do. When a relationship seems like it might get serious(as my current one is), inevitably the lady starts talking about settling down and where and how that might be. IMO, this is a perfect opporunity to assert ones masculinity...take charge of a situation. In my case, the lady is dreaming of westside living, mcmansions, and private schools. Cool. Except our combined income is ~$130K/year. So westside is out, private schools are out, and so are mcmansions. And I told her so. Crushed all her dreams in one fell swoop. As it should be. She ought to be in the relationship for me, not for material gain.

    I pointed to Lakewood as an affordable option with ok schools. I told her that she needs to have an open mind as some of the houses are quite old, and not upgraded and so forth. And that we could save and have money for downpayment AND upgrades. That the house doesn't need to have all that stuff added in(and corresponding profit margins as well). Just go in with an open mind, and creativity so that WE can do what WE want.

    And it was really that simple to get her on board. To make her realize that princess dreams don't always come to fruition as immediate gratification. Sometimes things need to be worked towards.

    But all too often men don't do that. And the wifey shreiks in joy at all the "gorgeous" upgrades. And the man takes it in the shorts during negotiation.

  3. My guess is that the fliptard figured that anyone that can afford a $700,000 "masterpiece" can afford to have groceries delivered to their door daily and thus do not require a fridge. Refrigerators are so "Burjoise".

  4. Anon, I think you nailed it.

    Combine the era of militant feminism, along with PCness, pro-homosexuality agendas, and all of this with a combined narcissism to levels never before seen in history, and it's a perfect storm to take almost any remnants of manhood or masculinity in males.

    I mean, this house is a perfect example. It's VERY nice!!!

    But it's ridiculous.

    I mean look at the front of that thing...

    Another example - have you watched HGTV lately? The design ideas in that show are so overly flaming, that I can't believe the show is serious.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on gay people, but when you design a "palace fit for a queen", and then give a lecture about how the design is "so right", I just sit there jaw-dropped in amazement.

    But alas, the show is headquartered in NY, and so it's perspective and attitudes are understandable.

    I'm just amazed at how they aren't aware of their own bias and subjectivity though...

    and in the midst of every show, is this promotion of "how things ought to be"


    So if I want to be "stylish", I need to have big pillows with lavendar tassles, and big frilly curtains around my windows, etc, etc.....

    watching that show is like watching wannabees and elitists walk through a museum, trying to become "enlightened"..

  5. oh snap, the realtor added photos!

    caught wind of El Bee's blog maybe? (no telling)

    But looking at the additonal photos, it just proves my point... just look at the first room next to the front door. Who the fuck is going to sit there?!

    And all the upgrades and design features are "very nice" (on a side note, count how many times you hear the word "nice" when people observe houses), but is this a home or a stage for models?

    Like that bathroom....

    Sure, the furniture and features are new, but is this something really chosen for anyone's particular style? OR is this just people following trends, and trying to convince themselves that they are styles, because they have conformed to said trend. (rhetorical)

    I would never in a million years have chose that sink, cabinet, and layout. And in a bathroom that small, what's the point of coming with all of these "big shot" choices in furniture and design? I mean, who ya tryna impress???

    Again, you can look at it all and state the cliche - "it's very nice"

    I look at it and see a bunch of frosting on a fake cake.

    I'd rather either design things myself, or save money.

    To each his/her own I guess.

  6. Mike,

    I must say, those added photos made me say, "This place is nice." The bathroom looks great (love the glass shower doors), but I would immediately get rid of that terminally trendy sink. Ugh.

    Again, as nice as it looks I seriously doubt they spent more than $120,000. It's just not possible in a house this small. Although the seller is suddenly claiming it's a 3-bedroom, you have to remember this is a ONE BEDROOM/ONE BATH! I sure as hell didn't see any photos of the additional bedrooms off the detached garage, did you guys?

    So we have to go by the objective public records and the previous listing and conclude that this is not a true 3-bedroom.

    Maybe the seller will comment and give us the scoop??

  7. lol...

    Seriously, sometimes I watch HGTV, and cringe at the use of the word "nice" over and over (and over) again.

    Heck, I'd say it too with this place!

    I mean, the fixtures in this place really are - NICE!

    But it's just a little dinky toy model house, that makes me feel kinda sick to my stomach. Don't get me wrong, I like "nice" interiors and fixtures...... but at what point do you say enough is enough, with all the artificial house make-up.

    I mean have we all gotten THIS superficial, to where we need to nice up every little corner of the place with some artsy fartsy ish in order to feel good in our lives?

    This house to me just signals how fake and shallow and self-centered as a society we've become.

    Maybe I'm thinking it too deep... maybe I'm just stressed out from my Statistics class...

    Oh well, thanks for letting me rant El Bee. hehe

  8. I walked through the house recently. It's an odd layout and decidedly cheap looking. It has the pergranteel look and some odd counter that looked like a big gob of pressboard. The realtor said it was salvaged. I found it tacky. But some moron will probably fork over the cash.

    Not to pile on the gays but they're so far out of the closet they're becoming passe. Oh, your gay? --- YAWN!

  9. Anon,

    What's the deal with the detatched rooms? Are they janky or normal? And it looks like they already dropped the price by $25k.