Sunday, November 29, 2009

Curb Appall

273 ROYCROFT Ave, 90803
Asking Price: $749,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,200
$/Sq. Ft.: $624(!)
Lot Size: 4,100 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1922
MLS#: P705294
Status: Active This listing is for sale and the sellers are accepting offers.
On Redfin: 61 days
Down Payment: $149,800
Income Requirement (4x income): $187,000
Monthly Nut: $4,100
Description: Totally rebuilt like new in every way possible. A beautifully appointed home with a designer touch and flare for the modern, and lives larger than its size with total openness from entrance to the family room fireplace, and an abundance of natural lighting. Perfect turnkey home for the owner with discerning taste, rebuilt like new thruout and surrounded by mature and professional landscape. New/ upgraded: plumbing, electric, roof, tankless water heater, dual pane windows, interior and exterior doors and hardware, new cherry kitchen and bath. It offers a private yard and stone patio for great bbques with lots of friends. Seriously a don't miss

"Thruout"? As in, "Let me clear my thruout"?

Or, "Hey guyth, whoth's in for thsom thruout fithing thith thaturday?"

"Bbques"? What? Why not just write "BBQs"? Or get off your lazy ass and write out "Bar-B-Ques"? But to sloppily combine the two? I don't get it.

I particularly love the strong ending: "Seriously a don't miss[.]"

Too bad their price is seriously fucking retarded.

Three quarters of a million dollars?


Where do you think you are, asshole, on a private island in the Mediterranean?

Good lord.

It's nice to see Long Beach meth dealers still doing well in this tough economy, because there is no other rational explanation for this greedtarded wishing price. What is with these bungle-ow sellers and their never ending supply of "I'm Special" juice?

Remember how I used the seller from A Man's Sport (they obviously share a dealer) to illustrate the perils of being one of the most expensive listings in the neighborhood?

Well, today's featured numbskull is suffering from the same delusions of greedeur. He's one of the most expensive 2-bedrooms around. Hell, not even beachfront property is so boldly violating $600 per square foot.

And our Roycroft seller has even more in common with the nutter from A Man's Sport than just avarice. Check the tile-happy bathroom:

And the paint-by-numbers granite and stainless kitchen:


Don't get me wrong, this is a sweet little property with an impressive amount of upgrades. But with a $4,100 monthly nut, this thing is egregiously overpriced.

How do I know? Pull up Craigslist and try to find the most expensive 2-bedroom/1-bath bungalow for rent in this area. What did you come up with?

Here's one asking $2,475:

And sure, the kitchen isn't as nice, but you're telling me you'd rather shell out an extra $1,600 per month to cook your franks n' beans in a "nicer" kitchen?


Because if that's the case, I have some tulips, beanie babies, and stock to sell you. You're just the buyer these Belmont Heights sellers (and every other huckster on the planet) has been waiting for.

Look, as long as the Rent vs. Buy calculation is so far askew, we potential buyers might as well hibernate in an Afghan cave because we have a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong way to go before housing prices make any kind of sense.

And speaking of not making sense, here's the thing that really gets me about this place: It's supposedly "totally rebuilt like new in every way possible" (a ridiculous claim because unless it was bulldozed to the foundation and built new, it can't possibly be "rebuilt." Renovated, maybe, but not rebuilt. And who the fuck would tear down a house only to rebuild only 1,200 square feet in a prime nabe?) and with all the effort, time, and money put into improvements and upgrades...this is your idea of curb appeal?

More like curb appall.

Sorry, but that porch and front fa├žade is mudfence ugly considering the price tag.

This seller, who dumped untold wheelbarrows full of cash into his house, purchased in Fall of 2004 for a double-take inducing $675,000. After fixing it up and living in it for five years, he plopped it on the market for $785,000 --with the full expectation that it appreciated a whopping $110,000 ($1,833 per month). That's right: During the worst housing crash this universe will likely ever see.

I'm dying to know what he would ask if the bubble had never burst! A cool mil? Two?

It only took him about a month to realize the house was located on the corner of a noisy intersection and had a useless garage, and he quickly cut the ask by $36,000.

But really, what was the point? It's still woefully overpriced.

I imagine his first demand of $785,000 was his "profit" price. And judging by the estimated costs of upgrades and commissions, his current demand of $749,000 is probably his "break-even" price.

Which means the next inevitable discount will put him deeply in the red.

Pal, if you wanted to walk with any semblance of profits, you're about three years late to the party. Now all you have in store is a fiscal kick to the nuts.

Interestingly, just like the Man's Sport house, this place sold for a bubble price before the bubble even got going. You see, in 2002, this place, ostensibly without any of the considerable upgrades, sold for $519,000. More than half a million bones for 1,200 non-upgraded square feet in '02!


Maybe it really is different in The Heights.

And if you believe that, I'd like to thank you for keeping crank dealers in the greater Long Beach area gainfully employed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Man's Sport

After reading some recent posts, a dear friend noted that I'm awfully negative and really bash the hell out of sellers. I tried to defend my position and explain that delusional sellers put themselves out there for ridicule and that harsh treatment by yours truly is not only well deserved, but necessary.

I mean, imagine if there weren't countervailing voices out there? Buyers (especially those in Long Beach, which is a seemingly forgotten real estate market--largely devoid of newspaper coverage) might get suckered into a financially perilous situation, as so many former "owners" did when they listened to biased, one-sided, commission-driven, largely unchallenged horseshit like "they're not making any more land," "we're definitely at the bottom" and "prices always go up."

I thought I had recently lightened up--especially since the early days of the blog--there was some real venom in those days--but from his outside perspective I was still oozing with negativity. So from now on I promise to be more positive.

Well, actually, I promise to be more positive after today. Because...


261 GRAND Ave, 90803
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Asking Price: $639,000
Sq. Ft.: 968
$/Sq. Ft.: $660 (!)
Lot Size: 3,696 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1919
MLS#: P701487
Source: SoCalMLS
On Redfin: 85 days
Down Payment: $127,800
Income Requirement (4x income): $160,000
Monthly Nut: $3,500
Description: 2 bedroom, 1 bath + office; Remodeled 2009 Modern Craftsman Style home on a quiet street in Belmont Heights, 1/2 Mile to the Beach. Exterior features include, custom paint work, new window screens, newly painted porch, easy to maintain landscape, Custom Dual Pane Front Glass, Custom made front/back screen doors, Beveled glass added to front/back door. Timed sprinkler system and Malibu lights to show off this great exterior!Interior features include, refinished hardwood floors, new electric system to include recessed lighting, dimmer switches, TV swivels, ceiling fans and Custom Wiring for your Entertainment Systems. Architectural styles preserved; rebuilt china hutch, closet doors and molding. Bathroom features include new copper plumbing, Body Wash Sprayer Shower & new tub with Air Bath System. Kitchen upgrades include custom made crown molding , Under mount lighting added, Frosted Kitchen Panel glass and Glass Tile Back Splash finishes this beautiful kitchen.

He's got a set of brass balls attempting to sell in this environment for such a precious sum, I'll give him that. This System of a Down lyric immediately came to mind:

I play Russian roulette everyday, a man's sport,
With a bullet called life, yeah mama called life,(sugar)

It's always a bad idea to have the most expensive (second-most, in this case) listing in a given area, but that didn't stop this guy:

Mind you, during the last six months, nothing has sold for anywhere close to $639,000. Not by a long shot.

So what was this guy thinking coming on the market at a belief-suspending $660 per square foot?

"I'm special," that's what.

Don't get me wrong, this is a nice house in a great neighborhood. It features every flipper accoutrement, including granite, (too much) tile work, stainless appliances, hardwood floors, and crown molding. I think it's a bit over-upgraded and looks too much like a paint-by-numbers flip job, but the fact remains you wouldn't need to put one thin dime into this place. And for that he deserves a premium.

But he's been rotting on the MLS for nearly three months with no price reductions--the calling card of someone with a case of Greedfluenza (Swine Fool?).

And speaking of pigs, you can slap on as much lipstick, mascara, and rouge as you want, but it's still only a 2-bed, 1-bath plus office crammed into 968 square feet. Do whatever you want to spruce up and upgrade a property, but the one thing you can't do is make it bigger.

And how about a picture of the front of the house? 16 photos and not one shot of the curbside view? Really?

This seller purchased in March 2008 for $605,000 (after the property had spent nearly a year on the market). After putting some work into the house (the listing from the 2008 sale shows the kitchen, patio, backyard, interior paint, and hardwood floors had already been upgraded), it went on the market this September for $639,000.

Some might say 17 months is a long timeline for a true "flip," but it's clear this person never really intended to live here long-term. Or at least could never afford to.

I have no idea how much this guy put into upgrades, but it's safe to say that after commissions he will be staring at a big, smoking crater in any bank account reserved for anticipated profits.

And that's assuming he can find a buyer for this crazy, please-someone-come-along-and-answer-my-prayers-for-breaking-even-on-my-horrendous-malinvestment asking price.

This thing is way overpriced. Or maybe I'm missing something about this property? What I do know is that the average price per square foot of sold properties in 90803 is about $470.

Is this place worth an extra $190 per square foot? Only the market knows for sure, but I'm going to say no.

What I find most interesting is this house sold for $515,000 in 2003, before all the upgrades. For '03 that's a lot of money for 968 non-upgraded square feet!

As you know I love these little bungalows. But some sellers are straight up smoking Plymouth Rocks if they think they can get these insane prices.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Long Beach Loses Out

Via curbed la and District Weekly, Tesla has chosen Downey over Long Beach to manufacture the new four-door electric Model S.

The highlight:

But while Downey’s city officials were united and aggressive in their pursuit of Tesla’s enigmatic CEO Elon Musk, the City of Long Beach—particularly Mayor Bob Foster and city management—was accused of being difficult and nearly indifferent toward the possibility of a manufacturing plant that is expected to bring between 1,000 and 1,200 jobs to the area.

In fact, it was Musk who most strongly voiced that criticism, telling in an August 16 interview that “if the behavior of city management and the Mayor were the deciding factor, Long Beach would definitely not win.”

In that same interview, Musk said Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske was “the first and only call” to him personally and confirmed her internet journal (blog) dispatch to the effect that his company’s staff came away from meetings with other Long Beach officials “thinking that Long Beach actually didn’t really want us there and would much prefer the movie studio.”

Nice work!

It would have been nice to have those 1,000+ jobs in our beloved LB. Sad.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Daily Nut Job: UPDATE

The list price was "$809,500" and changed to "$629,000"

Quite a discount!

I'm back, but delirious from the jet lag. What did I miss while overseas?

Monday, November 9, 2009


The good news: I'm going to Tokyo!

The bad news: No RE in the LBC posts for two weeks.

I'll try to drop in and update you with my assorted shenanigans. And a special thanks for those of you that wrote in with tips. I'm going to do my best to see and do as much as I possibly can.

Best Wishes,

-el bee

Daily Nut Job

4422 East 2ND St, 90803
Price: $809,500
Beds: 2
Baths: 1.75
Sq. Ft.: 1,737
$/Sq. Ft.: $466
Lot Size: 4,373 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1954
MLS#: P702474
Source: CARETS
Status: Active
On Redfin: 56 days
Down Payment: $162,000
Income Requirement: $231,000
Monthly Nut: $4,400
Description: Great Belmont Shore/ edge of Heights Home! Original Hardwood floors throughout! Great floor plan with open living room that leads to dining room. Plus large Den that could be used as office or extra living room! Separate laundry room easily accesible off of kitchen. Covered patio with spa with plenty of backyard to spare. Additional side yard great for dog retreat or any retreat for that matter! Plantation shutters in living room with fireplace. Bedrooms are extremely spacious. Keep as one story home or add second story for full view of the shore and the ocean. Location is ideal; end of 2nd street while at the edge of gorgeous Belmont Heights!

You know what, for once I think this seller can get away with calling it "Belmont Shore." Most sellers try in vain to claim the nearest nicer neighborhood, attempting to glom off the higher values--but I think this guy is being unecessarily precise with the "edge of Heights" thing. Dude, you can claim the Shore. It's okay.

Whether it's the Heights or the Shore or whatever, there is little debate that this is a prime neighborhood. Which begs the question: If the nabe is so wonderful, then why the Ghetto Gate (to borrow a term from FreedomCM) on the front door?

Yikes! Judging by the absurd asking price of $809,000 for this dump, I'd say it's not so much to keep undesirables out, but to keep the batshit crazies in.

Let me just say, unequivocally, that there is not enough government intervention or free ponies in the world to make this a good deal. Sorry. It doesn't matter how great the "Belmont Shore/ edge of Heights" area is, the lot is horribly, horribly located.

Check out the Aerial View on the listing and marvel at how the property not only sits right atop busy-ass Livingston, but ALSO gets the noise of the 2nd Street/Ximeno four-way stop (two of which are downhill, requiring harder stops)!

Ass-loads of traffic noise + weirdly shaped lot + no yard to speak of = Mondo Undesirable.

On top of that, when I went by last night I noticed it's flanked by two, two-story apartment buildings on either side.

Plus, IT'S ONLY A TWO-BEDROOM! For $810,000?! Really?

Hell, not even the pollyana uber-optimist dreamweavers at can muster up the strength:

$598,080(low); $712,000 (estimate); $776,080 (high)

Even their "high" estimate, which connotes a truly amazing property that's in spectacular shape and fully upgraded, is $33,420 lower than this nutter's asking price.

Does this look "truly amazing," "in spectacular shape," or "fully upgraded" to you?

What a fucking joke!

Speaking of jokes, here's a little listing history for that ass:

Sep 09, 2009 - Listed $809,500
Aug 15, 2001 - Sold $460,000 (+17.3%/yr)
Oct 28, 1999 - Sold $345,000 (+15.4%/yr)
Apr 26, 1996 - Sold $209,000

Look how dirt cheap this joint was during the last housing bottom! And anyone who needed proof that the bubble started before 2001 should take a gander at the difference between the 1996/1999 and 1999/2001 sales prices. Boo-ya!

So, considering our seller purchased for $460,000 eight years ago and the deplorable condition of the house, just how the hell did he come up with an asking price $349,500 more than what he paid?

The same reason people hoard cats, I would imagine.

Because even assuming this hovel appreciated at a (very generous) 4% per year rate since purchase, this dusty dung button would be worth--at most--$629,500 today.

And considering not one dime went into upgrades, I simply fail to see how this asking price is justified. I guess someone might be interested in it as a teardown, but the lot price is too expensive. I mean, take another look at the interior!

Halloween's over, guy. Stop scaring the kiddies!

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the inevitable price cut amounts to. This seller has tons of equity (assuming he didn't cash-out refi to the hilt) so he can afford to be aggressive. But I have a funny feeling the voices in his head will convince him his place is "special" and we'll have a LOOOOOONG time to ponder how people still exist that haven't heard about the collapse of the greatest housing bubble in history.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Made in the Shade: UPDATE

The list price was "$995,000" and changed to "$875,000"

Wow! Quite a price reduction!

But before you get too excited and start thinking he suddenly found religion and will start pricing aggressively, it took him four long months to make this much-needed cut. In the grand scheme of things this reduction doesn't mean anything. All it means is the property was $120,000 overpriced.

This jackass is less than a month away from his one-year anniversary on the MLS. That's a scarlet letter ("S" as in "Stale") any seller should fear. You think he'll wake up in time to beat the clock?

Considering it took 340 days to get to a somewhat realistic price, I'm going to go out on a limb and say...

Happy Anniversary, Numbnuts.


16 12Th Pl, 90802
Price: $995,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 2,056
$/Sq. Ft.: $484
Lot Size: 2,915 Sq. Ft. (yikes!)
Year Built: 1904
MLS#: P666834
On Redfin: 254 days
Down Payment: $200,000
Monthly Payment: $6,100 (@ 6.5% jumbo)
Income Requirement: $285,000
Description: $200,000. PRICE ADJUSTMENT!!! This one of a kind Alamitos Beach Bluff home has the location and views you've been wanting! It has an updated kitchen and breakfast bar with top-o-line Starmark European maple cabinets,bamboo flooring,recessed lites and S/S appliances.The large formal dining room and open living room lead to the patio overlooking the beach for your morning coffee or brunch. The large family room with recessed lites and crown moulding leads to your own private rear yard with new hardscape and landscape.The inside laundry room with premium washer, dryer and sink off the kitchen also has a upgraded 1/2 bath. The upper level off the foyer has two large master suites with walk in closets,berber carpet, ocean views, top-o-line Hans Grohe fixtures in the upgraded baths and a sun porch. This home has too many upgrades to mention.... a must see for your fussy clients! CLICK ON MEDIA 21 OR MAIN PICTURE TO ACCESS VIRTUAL TOUR AND PICS.

Boy, for a house "at the water's edge," you would think the realtor would be smart enough to include shots of that glorious ocean view.

Wanna know why she didn't? Because there isn't one.

Weren't you beginning to wonder why the exterior shots looked a bit, um, shady?

Well, it's because this house, with only two bedrooms on a cramped lot, is completely surrounded by enormous apartment buildings and a parking structure. Engulfed might be a better word to describe how deep in the shadows this house is.

Do yourself a favor and click on the Redfin listing and check out the Aerial View. DOH!

And is it just me, or does it seem like every "Cape Cod" homeowner has a graduate degree in Application of Clutter as Home Decoration?

To give you an idea of just how greedy and delusional this seller is, the original listing price in December 2008 was a laughable $1,400,000. After four months with no interest, they relisted in April 2009 (presumably with a different realtor who promised vastly more bubble profits) with an unbelievable $1,700,000 price tag.



They are obviously convinced the proximity to the water is worth big bucks. But I have news for them: With no actual view of the ocean, that's like Rachel Bilson being your girlfriend online.

Or living near the most scenic point of the Grand Canyon--in a windowless mansion.

Great in theory, but about as useless as braille on a Harley Davidson owner's manual.

So, the current asking price of $995,000 represents a $705,000 fall from grace--ERRR, wake up call--ERRR, reality check--ERRR, discount from the highest asking price.

Jul 17, 2009 - Price Changed $995,000
Apr 07, 2009 - Price Changed $1,200,000
Apr 07, 2009 - Relisted ($1,700,000)
Dec 18, 2008 - Delisted
Dec 02, 2008 - Listed $1,400,000
Sep 06, 2002 - Sold $459,000
Oct 20, 1998 - Sold $300,000
Nov 22, 1996 - Sold $255,000

Dang, can you believe this place sold for $255,000 during the last housing downturn? Sheesh.

The crazy thing is, the 2002 purchase price of $459,000 means if this seller just priced realistically, he would walk away with a pallet full of cold, hard cash. Assuming he didn't HELOC himself into the stratosphere, that is.

But given the costs associated with "too many upgrades to mention," all bets are off.