Thursday, April 2, 2009

It's Hard out Here for a Flip

I'm still scratching my head on this one.

Reader Carl sent in this property. Uh, thanks?

Because now I have a monstrous, pulsating headache, like I just spent the last 14 hours contemplating the implications of the dual resonance model in an ever-expanding universe. I mean, how am I supposed to have faith in this closed-form solution to non-linear finite-energy sum rules relating s- and t- channels if points in the universe are constantly moving away from each other, you know?

Ow. Head.

Anyhow, this is why this property is so difficult to figure out:

Mar 27, 2009 Listed $649,900
Nov 12, 2008 Sold $390,000
Sep 08, 2008 Sold $400,500

First, what the hell happened between September 8, 2008 and November 12? Two months and you eat $10,500 plus another $24,000 in commissions? Why did they want to get rid of it so badly? Does liquid asbestos come out of the faucets?

Second, take a look at that asking price compared to the last sales price. WTF?

With an exterior that ugly (the entire outside of the house looks like Austin Powers' teeth), you got a brass pair on you, pal.

A quick glance at the interior photos and you quickly see this thing has been staged within an inch of its life. Although I appreciate the effort (a smidgen of effort seems to be too much to ask of most Long Beach sellers these days), someone seems a little too proud of their staging accomplishments. Look at the focal point of some of these photos:

Uh. Nice pics of rented furniture?

Here are the numbers:

Address: 6564 E Brittain, 90808
Asking Price: $649,900
Year Built: 1953
Size: 3 beds, 3 baths, 1608 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $404
Purchase price: $390,000
Purchase date: 11/2008
MLS#: P681424
On Redfin: 6 days
Down Payment: $130,000
Monthly Payment: $3,400
Income Requirement: $185,000
Description: This Absolutely Stunning Carson Park Retreat is over 1,600 sq.ft. and features an open spacious floorplan, 3 Bedrooms + Den/Office + 3 Bathrooms. It is beautifully appointed throughout with recessed lighting, African Walnut Floors, rich cherry wood cabinetry, gorgeous granite countertops and exquisite carrera marble in all three bathrooms. The gourmet kitchen boasts a large breakfast bar, stainless steel appliances, expansive counter space & lots of storage. The den opens up onto a gorgeous Trex Deck and beautifully landscaped backyard. The Private Master Suite features a large bedroom, dual walk-in shower & a large walk-in closet! One of secondary bedrooms also has it's own private bathroom. YOU'VE GOT TO SEE THIS ONE!

Minor typos, but otherwise a pretty informative description. But trying to figure out how this flipper convinced him/herself that "African Walnut Floors" and a little granite is worth a $260,000 premium is even more confounding. Hey buddy, it's only 1,600 square feet--how much wood and marble could there be?!

And then we have the comps:

$450,000 3525 Monogram Ave Sold on Feb 24, 2009
0.27 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,544 Sq. Ft.

$451,500 3515 Josie Ave Sold on Dec 31, 2008
0.28 miles 5 bd / 2 ba 1,966 Sq. Ft.

$270,000 3457 Monogram Ave Sold on Feb 13, 2009
0.33 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,640 Sq. Ft.

$490,000 3973 Knoxville Ave Sold on Dec 24, 2008
0.33 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,512 Sq. Ft.

$525,000 3451 Monogram Ave Sold on Oct 29, 2008
0.34 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,746 Sq. Ft.

$302,000 3553 Conquista Ave Sold on Feb 27, 2009
0.37 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,369 Sq. Ft.

$435,000 3546 Canehill Ave Sold on Feb 18, 2009
0.41 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,544 Sq. Ft.

$460,000 6139 E Carita St Sold on Mar 06, 2009
0.41 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,367 Sq. Ft.

$422,000 3946 N Studebaker Rd Sold on Nov 24, 2008
0.42 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,682 Sq. Ft.

$435,000 3568 Lees Ave Sold on Nov 18, 2008
0.42 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,802 Sq. Ft.

$270,000 - $525,000

$264/Sq. Ft.

This home at $264/Sq. Ft.: $424,769

And you've got the balls to ask $404 per square?! Uggggggggh. Now my head feels like I just spent the last four days in a labyrinth trying to figure out how they sold four million Snuggies! FOUR MILLION!



  1. No ceiling fans. Not interested...


  2. Just a question on 'staging'. Do they really rent an entire household of furniture? Just curious.....

  3. L_Thek,

    Didn't even notice that. Weird.

    However, it does have central cooling. At 1,600 square feet, maybe the utility bills won't be too bad.

  4. drjim,

    Some stagers pull up with a truck FULL of furniture, unload it, and when the house sells, pack it back up and move on to the next house. It was probably a great business when people were "moving up" every 15 months and the potential sales profits were so big.

    Now, however, with bubble buyers pretty much guaranteed to lose money, staging probably isn't in the budget.

    FYI, check out for used furniture. These staging companies buy the furniture new, move it from house to house for a year, and then when it becomes "outdated" it's stored in warehouses and sold on the cheap. My buddy furnished nearly his entire house with really nice, heavily discounted furniture buying from stagers.

  5. Thanks for the enlightenment. My girlfriend said some of the houses we looked at had been "staged", and she didn't think they did a very good job. Not much furniture, and it was mismatched stuff. Kinda reminded me of my first bachelor pad!
    One of my friends at work bought an apartment full of nearly-new stuff off Craigslist from a realtor that was getting out of the business. I guess that's waht it had been used for.

  6. El Bee,

    you're welcome?

    Hey I was checking the history on Property Shark (I love con calls).

    The Sept. sale was a sale by the title company to Argent Securities. Then it was sold to LB Brokerage (or to an employee of said brokerage) in November.

    Guess what, the listing agent's name is the same as the buyer in November. So even agents are trying to flip!!!!!

    The River of Denial flows strong through the LBC.

  7. Carl,

    Seriously, thanks for the tip. I didn't want you to think that jokey question mark meant I wasn't anything but appreciative of your eagle eye.

    And thanks for the property info. Weird. Why would the title company be so eager to lose that much money in two months?

  8. I knew that, but I figured I would answer in kind!!!! ;)

    As far the November sale, I have no clue. My uneducated and untrained (in RE) mind makes me think that the title company needed some cash instead of a "toxic asset", such as home in Long Beach or that the title company didn't want to be a property management or maintenance company.

  9. Well, it looks like I have a final update on the 5634 E Mezzanine. It closed on 3/27 for........(drum roll, please)........ $ 555,000. HOLY SHIT!!!! That is $402.76 per square foot for a 2 bedroom house. The 2007 price per sq. ft. was $429, and 2008 was $ 356 (per Property Shark).

    The Redfin comps average price per square foot is $ 340. At 340, this house is now estimated to be worth $ 467,900.

    Look like this knife catcher caught this one in the fuckin' head..

    I really have nothing to say but FUCK.. That is the area we want to move to in 2010/2011.

  10. Looks like the mental institutions are closing, and every former realtors are back on the streets. Check this one out: MLS #: P683279


  11. olaj,

    holy crap!!!!

    i thought this was bad

    I mean $412 sq./ft. for living a stones throw from the 405 (and the nice wall), and then the desc. also says if you want to see the inside you have to make an offer first, and it also goes on to say this is as-is (including termites).

    Long Beach is more delusional now than ever. It is going to hard fall this summer.

  12. The 6564 Brittain home is off the market.

    Here is my dramatization on what went down. -

    Seller - "How come we haven't seen any interest in this house"

    Agent - "I don't know. It is priced correctly, seeing as how Long Beach is immune from the housing crash...."

    Seller (interuupting) - "That's RIGHT. I LOVE LONG BEACH. Everyone LOVES LONG BEACH!!"

    Agent - "... um, yeah, but what if we reduce the price down to say $599,990....

    Seller - " You're FIRED!!!!!!!"