Sunday, June 8, 2008

All the Time in the World

Sometimes when I see a property that is so clearly driven by delusion, I want to call the listing agent and set up a meeting with the buyer. Curiosity gets the best of me and I obsess over the circumstances of the sale, and I want nothing more than to pick the brain of the seller and gain some perspective on their tenacity in the face of such disastrous odds.

This property is a perfect example of that.

Address: 420 Redondo #203, 90814
Asking Price: $379,000 (HAHAHAHAHA)
Year Built: 1970
Size: 2 beds, 1 baths, 1183 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $320
Purchase price: $344,000
Purchase date: 3/2005
MLS#: P579512
On Redfin: 380 days
Down Payment: $37,900
Monthly Payment: $2,900
Income Requirement: $94,750

Description: Rarely on the market-2 bedroom unit in prestigious Redondo Plaza. Walk to beach, restaurants, shops and night clubs. Open floorplan with great views of the city and PV Hills. See the Queen Mary fireworks from your balcony. Huge master suite with mirrored wardrobes. Large bathroom features separate shower and tub&long double sink vanity. 2 protected parking spaces with locking storage cabinets in secure garage. Very strong association with extensive reserves. Stylish living in Belmont Heights.

"Rarely on the market," eh? At that price, it will be on the market for a long, long time. Oh, but it already has been! This rather spacious condo has been dwindling on the market for 380 days. Yep. More than a year with no bites.

And guess how many price cuts there have been in that agonizing amount of time?




Goose Egg.

One hell of a pricing strategy given that we're in one of the most severe housing collapses in US history. That bold rejection of reality says, "Look here, pal. You're lucky that I even priced it this low. My place is SPECIAL, and you're going to pay whatever I think I deserve."

And this place is plenty special. Just look at the bathroom!

And the seller is obviously sophisticated and super classy. In addition to living in such a "prestigious" building, he also has exquisite taste in fine art:

And look at the "special" neighborhood. The condo has an excellent view of a shady-looking liquor store. What a relief! Writing a $2,900 check every month is going to require plenty of booze.

And take a gander at that "special" decor:

Here it is from another angle.

That's odd. They included a picture of this:

...but no shots of the kitchen. Rut-roh! Don't they know that a majority of buyers base their purchase decision on the kitchen? I'm sure their realtor is waiting for the right time to share that nugget of "expertise." All the time in the world, right?

See? This is why I'm dying to meet with these people and gain some insight into their twisted, greedy mindset.

This troubling demonstration of stubbornness will cost this seller dearly. The current inflated price represents a less than 10% increase over the March 2005 sales price. Can you believe it? In the midst of one of the most catastrophic housing meltdowns, when people are losing their homes to foreclosures at a record pace, inventory is flooding the market, sales rates are dropping like an anvil...this assclown is trying to eke out a profit.

Why isn't his realtor stepping up to the plate here? Aren't you paid to advise your client about the current market conditions? You are, after all, an "expert" aren't you? Maybe you'd also mention some of the comps on the SAME STREET selling for way less, and in some cases way earlier in the housing downturn.

This idiot is clearly uninterested in selling his apartment, so why not just pull it off the market? Obviously those bottom feeders out there are too blind to recognize that this is the most special condo in all of Long Beach--nay! In the greater Los Angeles area--so just give up.

Oh, and I hope that when you do finally decide to pack it in (another 380 days from now?), that you can afford the carrying costs until market conditions return to a time when a POS like this could actually sell for nearly $380,000. Because if you think you're just going to wait a few years to "ride out the storm" you've got a reality check coming at you like an iron skillet.

Somewhat related: Isn't it strange how we've been conditioned in LA/OC to beleive that $350,000 is the right price for a 2 bedroom condo built in the 60s or 70s? It seems bizarre to me that people I know have accepted that figure as "fair market value" for what is essentially an apartment. Actually, what confounds me more is that the general population (especially sellers) STILL believes that is the Golden Figure. Why have we become so comfortable with paying a third of a million dollars for an apartment that requires a further $200 to $300 premium on top of that to cover the HOA fine?


  1. wow, I thought this was a ridiculous price, but using redfin to look around the whole area, it is actually quite average.

    with little prospect of appreciation, who is going to be willing to pay 300-400k for a 2bd that will set you back $3k/month when you can rent the same thing for $1500? At some point it has to come crashing down to reality, but how long will all of those sellers (there have to be ~100!) hold out?

    the LBC is crazy!


  2. This looks vacant and "staged" I wonder what they owe on it or if an NOD has been filed.... It doesn't look lived in (by the photos)

  3. FreedomCM: "the LBC is crazy!"

    You got that right.

    And you're right about the price--it's actually not that insane compared to comps and other nearby asking prices. The reason is because this is in an above average area.

    Keep in mind, the properties I feature are in a very concentrated area of Long Beach. Probably 75% of Long Beach is comprised of neighborhoods you wouldn't drive a tank in. Therefore, an above average neighborhood in the Belmont Heights area will command a premium.

    HOWEVER, it's not THAT nice of an area. Plus, it's sitting right on top of an extremely busy street. Sure, it has decent square footage, but look at the place! See anything in the photos that makes this thing worth nearly $400k?

    The answer to your question about how long the nearby sellers will hold out: If this guy is any indication, at least 380 days

  4. Hi Phyllis! Thanks for commenting.

    And good catch on the "staging." I too noticed that the furniture looked cheap, mismatched and temporary, and that the entertainment center was empty.

    No doubt that it's unoccupied.


    If there was a NOD, I would imagine we would have seen at least some attempts to chase the market down in pricing. But not a single reduction. Strange, eh?

    By the way, I enjoy the reality-based viewpoint on your blog. I know I say some not-so-nice things about real estate professionals, and if past posts haven't made it clear, I don't think ALL realtors or mortgage brokers are incompetent or bad people. There are professionals out there who provide great advice and service to their clients--just not for the clients I feature on this site.

    I've always said that I'm open to differing viewpoints on this blog, so please don't think that by bashing the realtor representing this property that I won't welcome your opinions--whether I agree with them or not--equally. I just won't tolerate personal attacks.

    Judging by your blog, you are a realtor who gets it, so hopefully we'll hear more from you in the future.

  5. "At the risk of being repetitive . . . " -- no, please, keep it coming, I love seeing housing prices at least starting to make tiny incremental steps towards sanity -- your blog is great and always refreshing!


    ps true, those properties you highlighted are somewhat unappealing BUT it certainly makes me perk up to think that soon . . . soon . . . . sanity will spread to the more desirable areas!