Monday, October 26, 2009

The Detriments of Delusion

Likely owing to the fact that I am constantly blathering about Belmont Heights bungalows, an anonymous commenter requested that I feature this property:

3135 E 3rd St, 90814
Price: $657,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,003
$/Sq. Ft.: $655
Lot Size: 3,375 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1920
MLS#: P702470
Source: SoCalMLS
On Redfin: 46 days
Description: Absolutely Adorable Home in the Heights! Completely remodeled throughout while still maintaining the charm of its California Bungalow style! Hardwood floors throughout, plus gorgeous slate faux fireplace. Bathroom is completely upgraded with marble tile bath/shower combo. New fixtures and is extremely spacious. White Marble kitchen counters with all white cabinets, make the kitchen modern and clean, plus new appliances. Under counter w/d in the kitchen as well. Front bedroom has added loft with new carpet. Forced air heat and Central AC!! Kitchen and Master bedroom lead to amazingly large deck perfect for entertaining! Original refurbished molding, doors and windows! Newer roof, newer exterior paint, and new interior paint! Detached garage has saltillo tile floor which can function as a garage or a home office. Manicured front lawn with landscaping equals great curb appeal!

On what fucking planet can a bathroom in a 1,003 square foot house be considered "extremely spacious"? I mean, it looks to me like I can wash my feet in the tub, brush my teeth at the sink, and expunge my bowels all at the same time.

But I'm not chugging Haterade--this place is awesome cubed.

New roof, kick ass yet tasteful upgrades, decent floors, clean, simple kitchen, etc. I'm in love. The original windows might bum out some shoppers in this price range, but in this case I think it works.

And I would like to congratulate this listing agent on a properly spelled and informative description. It's not perfect (Title Case issues and a "!!" thrown in), but compared to what we usually see here at the Long Beach Housing Blog this is a freaking masterpiece.

But let's cut right to the marrow: This place is insanely overpriced.


$655 per square foot?

The neighborhood is amazing, but this seller is obviously letting that get to his head. Let's not forget there is only one bathroom, it's on a postage stamp lot, and doesn't have a garage. For $657,000? Really?

So, considering no other nearby comparable properties are asking anywhere close to this greedtastic price, how exactly did the seller conjure up his $657,000 demand?

Feb 28, 2007 - Sold $659,000


I really hope this seller wasn't the one who put in the upgrades because a sale at this price will mean instantaneous detonation of his bank account. Like, a-wine-cask-full-of-TNT detonation.

But even if he didn't put any money into it (if the '05 buyer was the one who shelled out for the upgrades, he still walked with at least $100,000 when he sold to this chump! Nice work!), he's still in deep guano for two reasons:

1) He has to pay 6% sales commissions;
2) There's no way in holy hoagie hell this place will sell for this Glory Days asking price.

Just look at the recent sales:

$460,000 3226 E Vista St Sold on Jun 10, 2009
0.16 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 924 Sq. Ft.

$695,000 366 Orizaba Ave Sold on Jun 11, 2009
0.17 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,112 Sq. Ft.

$527,000 335 Gladys Ave Sold on Jul 28, 2009
0.2 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,060 Sq. Ft.

$575,000 329 Temple Ave Sold on Jun 10, 2009
0.25 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,062 Sq. Ft.

$355,000 435 Orizaba Ave Sold on May 20, 2009
0.31 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,100 Sq. Ft.

$425,000 211 Newport Ave Sold on Jun 09, 2009
0.37 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 790 Sq. Ft.

$400,000 630 Obispo Ave Sold on Jul 22, 2009
0.4 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,078 Sq. Ft.

$452,000 627 Loma Ave Sold on Aug 05, 2009
0.47 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,088 Sq. Ft.

$410,000 530 Grand Ave Sold on Jun 24, 2009
0.53 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 773 Sq. Ft.

$321,000 714 Gladys Ave Sold on Aug 07, 2009
0.53 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,101 Sq. Ft.

Wow. Only one house during the last six months sold for more than $657,000 and it sported an extra 109 square feet on a bigger lot and was located in an interior location of the neighborhood--not right on 3rd Street.

Whatever you're smoking in that little loft up there, it must be the kind!

But unless you stuff that loft to the rafters with the sticky icky as a sales concession, best of luck trying to unload for your wishing price.

**I'd like to give a special shout out to Sushi Studio! They finally re-opened the PCH location (I've been making the trek to I Luv Sushi in Lakewood in the meantime--same owners) after a gnarly fire (gosh, was that a year ago?) and I'm glad they're back. Parking still sucks, but to me it's completely worth it. If you've never been, give it a try. The Monkey Roll might just blow your mind**


  1. Interesting that one of the comps you listed ($695,000 366 Orizaba Ave Sold on Jun 11, 2009
    0.17 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,112 Sq. Ft.) was previously featured in your blog at

    The selling price was totally delusional! What were the buyers thinking?!!! Almost $700,000 for a 1,100 sq foot home with ONE bathroom?!! Granite countertops and stainless steel applicances do not make a property worth close to a million dollars! Can you post an update about this?

  2. Anon,

    Wow, great catch! Admittedly that Orizaba house is freaking nice.

    But whoever bought that place in June is severely bummed. They were instantly underwater the moment they signed on the dotted line.

    The weird part is they paid just $5,000 under asking price--an asking price that had been around for MONTHS.

    Fraud? Or just an incredibly stupid (and/or impatient) buyer?

    Either way, I have to congratulate the seller for finally ridding himself of his albatross after a year chasing the market. And for a truly absurd asking price--nice work.

  3. The craziness continues. So many listings like this that bought at peak and need to cash out but can't. Re: Orizaba house- that is one dumb buyer that will regret the purchase as long as they own the property.

  4. Qualified,

    Agreed. Plus, the new buyer ALSO paid peak prices for 366 Orizaba if you think about it. That's like $700 per square.

    IN 2009!

    I'm going to blame lack of inventory. For an exasperated buyer who wants a nice, fully-upgraded Heights bungalow and doesn't want to put a dollar (or construction time) into it--there weren't a whole lot of other options besides 366 Orizaba.

  5. Hey El Bee,

    I just wanted to say I love your blog. You used "the kind" in a sentence. That is so 80s of you ILUBEET.

    PS - next time you have sushi issues, try Koi in Seal Beach (PCH). Very tasty, but pricey. Ask for Taka, he is the most creative.

  6. Anon, I was just about to post about that!!!!

    I haven't heard "the kind" come outta anyone's mouth since 82!!

    El Bee, surely you can't be THAT old (old as me, lol)?!?!?

    You really bug me out, with your astute/sharp/witty/hilarious/etc commentary.

  7. Anon,

    Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading! Koi is pretty tasty--ever had the shrimp sushi where they bring out the fried fish heads? Delicious!

  8. Mike,

    HAHA! I was six years old in '82, so that must have been something I picked up later in life.

    So many Long Beach sellers are smoking it, I need to come up with new (old) words to describe it!

  9. Cute house but really small lot. Has the garage been converted into an office? The loft may not qualify officially as sq. footage; does it?

  10. Good for you tho, you're not as old as me! lol

    I was 12 in 82.


    People would never guess tho. I act like a kid.

    Always will.