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.


  1. Hey, isn't that Redfin chart showing the signs of a reverse head and shoulder pattern?

    BUY BUY BUY!!!!!

    (btw, Welcome back, El Bee).

  2. Let the greedtards in the LBC have it! If you want to hear someone say nice things about crappy real estate, go get a realtor.

  3. The answer to this puzzler is in the description. "Malibu lights". Hence Malibu pricing.

    Keep up the attitude. People often confuse pessimism with realism. And optimism with delusion.

  4. "People often confuse pessimism with realism. And optimism with delusion."

    ...and reality with realty :0)


  5. I back what Jason said. I like this blog just the way it is. Please don't change a thing.

  6. Your friend needs to get real and face reality. Is he/she a real estate agent?! Most sellers live in a fantasy world, thinking it's still 2004, and that buyers are just as insane as they were then. Those days are over. It's a buyer's market and will continue to be for years to come.

  7. Yet another classic post. Love it. Don't change a thing. I enjoying laughing too much. Welcome back! KC

  8. Thanks for another amusing and truthful post. Keep your blog the way it is - it is great! They should have realtors subscribe to it in order to get their license. Why would I be motivated to pay a commission to many of these numbskulls based on examples of their stellar work? Granted, there are a few good ones out there, but most are just horrible. I checked out a real gem on the SE corner of 6th and Grand thinking I had discovered the Bugatti barn-find of LB...yet another INHABITABLE disaster. But it did come with an ample supply of flip-flops scattered througout the property - among the many treasures left by the previous owner.

  9. Stick to your guns El Bee.

    You the man!

    In this current day and age of PCism, where most everyone is afraid to speak any bit of truth, or step outside the crowd, and everyone is busy being a victim and offended, I can't tell you how refreshing your commentary is.

    Hell I'd vote for you for president!!

    Get rid of that friend of yours, and start hanging out with us!!