Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Low

Given some of the ridiculous bullshit I've encountered in my house search, I might have to come out of blogging retirement.

14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802

ASKING PRICE: $469,900
ADDRESS: 14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802
SQ. FT.: 1,214
$/SQ. FT.: $387
MLS#: P786112
ON REDFIN: 86 days
HOA: $260
DOWN PAYMENT (20%): $94,000
INCOME REQUIREMENT (3.5 x Income): $107,000
DESCRIPTION: Amazing sweeping ocean views from the main living space of this two bedroom, two bath condo. This secure unit is just steps from the sand and a large communal patio area, perfect for entertaining or watching the 4th of July fireworks. Condo features hardwood floors, updated kitchen, upgraded bathrooms and plantation style shutters. This could be your perfect ocean home.

I looked at this bank-owned condo a few months back and walked away unimpressed. Between the termite damage, filth, poor condition of the kitchen cabinets, darkness of the bathrooms, lack of street parking, community laundry, creaky floors and incredibly wonky layout, I quickly determined there was no way I was plunking down nearly half a million clams for this place.

Apparently I wasn't the only one.

Because after nearly 90 days on market and two price cuts, this thing is still rotting on the MLS. However, while checking out the listing photos I noticed the bank had finally staged the place to make it look more appealing to buyers. My first thought was, Maybe they're finally getting serious about selling!

14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802

Hey, not too shabby!

But then I took a closer look:

Something's off about the lines of the sofa and coffee table in relation to the walls...and the light sources aren't matching up with the rest of the -- wait, what the??

That's right, friends: PHOTOSHOPPED FURNITURE.

I mean, if it wasn't so pathetic it'd be hilarious.

Here is the real photo, with the "enhanced" one right below it for comparison:

14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802
14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802

Man, I have so many questions!

First, how long did it take to draw those shadows from the bar stools? That is some painstaking detail work. Second, where did the furniture and decorations come from? Another listing? A Crate & Barrel ad? Third, did the bank actually pay an outside firm for this cut-and-paste bullshit, or does an in-house Loss Mitigation employee just happen to have a passion for it?

I mean, why waste time with all this silliness? If you really want to sell, just lower the fucking price.

I'm sure the listing agent would say, "It's to show the potential of the space." And I would retort, "This has the potential to make you look like a low-rent, gold-bricking idiot."

The bank, which has already lost at least $200,000, is thinking the killer view will stop the bleeding. But that awesome white-water view is not nearly enough to overcome the dilapidated condition and layout disadvantages of this property.

But hey, instead of investing a few grand into actually repainting, cleaning, and staging the property, why not just waste time, money and effort digitally inserting fake paint, artwork and furniture into a listing photo? TOTALLY MAKES SENSE.

And hell, why stop at just one photo? Might as well go all the way. Here, I'll even supply a few freebies...

This original listing photo makes the bathroom look dark, dank and unwelcoming (um, because it is dark, dank and unwelcoming):

But the new version adds a much needed dose of mold-killing sunlight:

And yuck, look at those beater cars and stinky Port-o-Potty in this photo:

A little digital magic and we've really classed up the neighborhood!

I mean, is this where sellers are now in their quest to deny reality? Do they actually think this is going to have a positive effect on how people perceive a property?

I remember when the housing bubble first popped and people were giving away the brand-new Toyota Highlander in the driveway if you bought their overpriced McMansion. NOBODY FUCKING CARES ABOUT SOME SHITBOX YOU JUST BOUGHT WITH YOUR HELOC -- JUST LOWER THE GODDAMN PRICE!

For the record, if in real life this condo actually resembled the fraudulently altered listing photo, $387 per square foot, given the proximity to the sand, might be approaching a decent deal. But as it stands, I think this place requires entirely too much work to command such a premium price.

But hey, instead of putting in a little work to recoup more money at sales time, I fully support banks and listing agents lazily sprucing up listings with photo editing software. Sure, buyers are going to be bummed out that they were misled, but we will at least get a good laugh.


Please please please let this trend catch on.


  1. Somebody paid $600 a square foot fot this place? How on any planet did someone (and his banker) think this hovel could be worth that? It still boggles my mind even though we all saw it and lived through that madness. Boggles!!


  2. And it APPRAISED for that! In post-crash 2008!

  3. Same interior decorated has been spotted in San Pedro:

  4. You've earned a rightful bookmark. Bravo, another great find. I almost foamed my coffee when I saw the Photoshopped pictures.

    And yes-- nice shadow work on the two bar stools.

  5. Those pictures are nothing. I have a photo of Hitler shaking hands with John F. Kennedy.
    They were at a bowling alley.

  6. What is amazing to me is that they spent THAT much time altering a photo, yet didn't take one of the "amazing ocean view" from the inside of the condo.

  7. Hey El Bee, I haven't visited since buying a new place in December, and been so busy getting situated... looks like you haven't been TOO busy here anyways (though your latest blog is hilarious).

    Just wanted to point out that someone purchased this at the end of Dec, for 20K less. Was wondering your thoughts?

    Considering the low HOA, and being right on the beach, with 1200 square feet, I'm thinking 450K is a fair/decent price, though I don't have any idea of the termite damage, or other details.

    Hope all is well.

  8. This was hilarious!!