Thursday, September 18, 2008

Older Than Dirt

Wow. What a gem.

Address: 1540 Temple, 90804
Asking Price: $319,000
Year Built: 1920
Size: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,472 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $217
Purchase price: $472,500
Purchase date: 11/2007
MLS#: P639927
On Redfin: 109 days
Down Payment: $63,800
Monthly Payment: $1,900
Income Requirement: $79,750
Description: PRICE REDUCTION!!! Recently remodeled 3 bedroom, 2 bath home on a corner lot. Open floor plan. School in the next block. Detached garage. Corporate owned.

The listing information lists the STYLE as “Ranch.” What are you ranching over there, pardner? Mounds of dirt?

“School in the next block”? Um, try FIFTEEN FEET AWAY. I guess that’s handy if your kids happen to go to that school, but even so, why on earth would you want to live spitting distance from a schoolyard?

And I’m unsure what they mean by “corporate owned.” Public information on the property indicates a more apt description is “Countrywide owned.”

Could you imagine if this truly was "corporate owned" and this POS dirt farm belonged to Hewlett Packard or Xerox and they leased it out to executives when in town for training seminars? HAHAHAHA! You could write a sitcom about these pasty white HR managers flying in from Dubuque with the full assurances from corporate HQ that they and their family will be staying in “corporate owned” lodging. Philip Baumgardner, with his white short-sleeved dress shirt tucked into his tan Dockers, along with his toe-headed family get dropped off by the Town Car in front of this place.

"Uh, Geraldine, do you suppose this is a mistake?"

Then you could have scenes of them meeting all of their new "wacky" neighbors. Classic! Wait, I’d better stop revealing too much—I don’t want you to steal my “Must See TV” goldmine.

The most interesting aspect of this dump is the January 2007 purchase price. Yep, you read that correctly: $730,000. Setting aside the obvious fraud involved with that transaction, you’ll notice those lucky owners didn’t even last 10 months with the crushing debt load and it went back to the Countrywide for $472,500.

Now they’re trying to offload this mess for $319,900, representing a -35% discount from the sales price just 10 months ago, and a whopping -55% haircut from the January 2007 price.

You don’t need me to tell you that this dung box ain’t going anywhere so long as they’re asking $319k. To afford this place, assuming you could find someone with the testicular fortitude to live in this ‘hood, a buyer would need to make $80,000! That's more than TWICE the median income. What, you’re going to tell me this is an above median luxury home?

Given the dirt yard(s), the poor condition of the 88-year-old house, the location on the street, the undesirable neighborhood, and the proximity related to the noisy, busy school, they’d be extremely lucky to get $190,000 for this supremely undesirable property when this is all said and done. 190k would almost align with local incomes, rent vs. buy calculations, and a generous 4% annual appreciation since 2003. And frankly, I think $190k for this dump is being extremely optimistic.

I would also like to point out that between 11/2003 and 1/2007—a span of just over three years and five transactions--this house resulted in a total of $570,000 in profits to various flippers.

Nov 26, 2003 - $160,000
Feb 11, 2004 - $215,000
Aug 24, 2004 - $300,000
Nov 19, 2004 - $325,000
Mar 13, 2006 - $570,000
Jan 12, 2007 - $730,000
Nov 07, 2007 - $472,500

That doesn’t factor in the various commissions paid to appraisers, realtors on both sides of the transaction, lenders, and investment bankers. Isn’t that insane? Everybody got a piece of this piece of shit. All said and done, this house probably generated close to a million dollars, simply by virtue of being sold and re-sold to California residents. Like a twisted, expensive game of musical chairs.

And now the needle is off the record, the music has abrubtly stopped, and our entire financial system, reliant upon expectations of this magical Ponzi scheme of selling overpriced houses to each other for perpetuity, is imploding right before our eyes.

Dirt ranchers may be the only survivors.


  1. Hmmmm...I really love this property, but I just can't afford it! So I was thinking this morning about a possible solution to my dilemma. Here is the deal...many years ago, when I decided to go to grad school and take out a HUGE student loan to pay for it, I thought that I would be making more money than I am right now (that's right, I SPECULATED). Since I'm not making as much money as I thought I would, it's really hard for me to pay my loan every month! So here is my idea: I think that the federal government should bail me out too!!!! Then I could buy this beautiful property. :)

  2. Brilliant!

    I was also thinking the government could bring back zero down Option ARMs. That way deadbeats can get back into the market, bid up houses and create another bubble. The new bubble would in turn create new real estate jobs, so more people could enter the market and spend 12 times their income with government-guaranteed loans. And when people learned they could walk away from their obligations with little to no consequence and the bubble bursts again, we'll just print more money and start all over again!

    U-S-A! U-S-A!

  3. Lol...great ideas! Just for fun, I thought I'd send you this link, cause I know how much you appreciate good staging:
    Of particular note are the toilet shot and the laundry room....makes me feel all warm and fuzzy...