Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The list price was "$295,000" and changed to "$520,250"

Getting started early on the "Spring Bounce" 2039?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

RE in the LBC's 300th Post!

300! Can you believe it?

When I started this blog in January 2008, I never imagined this little hobby of mine would become so, well, prolific.

I also can't believe how much has changed since the Long Beach Housing Blog's inception. I remember all the hate mail I used to receive from real estate "experts" and others who simply refused to see what was so obvious: The housing bubble party was as dead as Elvis and things were about to get real ugly, real quick.

And obviously not everything I predicted came true, but a depressing amount of my prognostications did. But the point is I took the time to educate myself and see both sides of the coin even as the circumstances changed. There's no glory in being wedded to a certain outlook or position--especially when data and facts show that position to be woefully ignorant or contrary to an ever-changing reality. Having an open, nimble mind is a great quality--one I strive to maintain, and seek out in others.

Anyhow, as I've educated myself I hope you have also gotten something out of this as well. Even if it's just a few laughs at some ignorant clod's expense.

Site traffic has exploded during the last 18 months, and I'm still amazed at the interest people take in this blog from all over the world (we even have readers in the Middle East!). The comments are insightful, funny, and provide priceless on-the-street information and observations.

On a side note, work is incredibly busy (I wish I could pay the bills writing this blog, but alas, no dice). That means this week will not have much in the way of posts. But in light of the 300th Post milestone, do me a favor and drop into the comments section, even if it's just to say Hi anonymously. I think frequent readers would get a kick out of seeing just how many fellow readers are out there.

41 Coronado Ave, 90803
Price: $575,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,060
$/Sq. Ft.: $542
Year Built: 1922
MLS#: P687008
On Redfin: 136 days
Income Requirement: $164,000
Down Payment: $115,000
Monthly Nut: $3,300
Description: NOT A SHORT SALE OR R.E.O. Located in the historical district 'Bluff Park' this unique French Normandy building is highly recongnized [SIC] in Long Beach as one of the cities [SIC] finest examples of French Normandy/English Tudor architecture. Restored with todays [SIC] modern ammenities [SIC] this beautiful condominium home features 2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths, modern kitchen, inside laundry, air conditioning, forced air heating, hardwood floors, alarm system, central vaccum [SIC], courtyard, private patio and a detached 1 car garage. Located just 1 home off the beach and walking distance to belmont shore [SIC] and pier, shopping, dining, and beach front [SIC] parks. Truly a 'rare opportunity' to own a condominium home in a highly sought after neighborhood.

I'm getting quite [SIC] of all these lazy ass realtors.

However, this functional illiterate is correct about one thing: This baby is rare--these units don't often pop up on the market.

But apparently, at least in this scary economy, once on the market they stay on the market. Check this out:

Jul 31, 2009 - Price Changed $575,000
Jul 17, 2009 - Relisted
Jun 25, 2009 - Price Changed $499,000
May 12, 2009 - Listed $599,000
Nov 01, 2007 - Delisted
Aug 20, 2007 - Listed

Almost 500 days on the market in some form, if you count that idiotic three-month trial balloon from '07.

The only smart thing this seller did was knock $100,000 off the (certifiably insane) $599,000 asking price, but just five weeks later this dummy jacked it up to $575,000.

Now that is some solid logic.

For the record, eclectic, yet tasteful buildings like this are what makes me love Long Beach so much.

But $542 per square foot?

By every single metric in the book this idiot is way overpriced.

Price vs. Rent?

You can rent any number of swanky two-bedrooms (with direct ocean views, mind you) for around $2,000. The monthly nut on this place? $3,300.

Dude, instead of "owning" this place, you could rent an ocean-facing unit in AQUA and lease a Maserati with the money you save.


What about median prices and price per square foot of nearby properties?

Alamitos Beach: $207,495; $265 per square
90803; $459,900; $376 per square
Long Beach: $232,115; $262 per square
Los Angeles County: $369,000; $319 per square

Faced with that data, asking $542 simply doesn't compute.


And during the last six months, nothing has sold for anything close to what this greedhead is asking:

$390,000 3609 E 2nd St Unit 407 Sold on Apr 03, 2009
0.28 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,190 Sq. Ft.

$329,500 3529 E Broadway Apt 1 Sold on Jun 09, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 810 Sq. Ft.

$330,000 3529 E Broadway Apt 3 Sold on Jul 30, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 880 Sq. Ft.

$329,500 3529 E Broadway Apt 8 Sold on Jul 15, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 880 Sq. Ft.

$339,500 3529 E Broadway Apt 10 Sold on Jul 01, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 850 Sq. Ft.

$339,000 3529 E Broadway Apt 6 Sold on Jul 07, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 810 Sq. Ft.

$334,500 3529 E Broadway Apt 9 Sold on Aug 11, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 880 Sq. Ft.

$329,500 3529 E Broadway Apt 7 Sold on May 26, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 880 Sq. Ft.

$319,000 3529 E Broadway Apt 4 Sold on May 22, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 880 Sq. Ft.

$329,500 3529 E Broadway Apt 5 Sold on Jun 03, 2009
0.3 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 850 Sq. Ft.

(Most of those are in the same building, which is odd, but it's still the competition and that building is obviously having no trouble offloading units)


Hell, even the moonbats at Zillow and Eppraisal aren't this optimistic:

Zillow: $342,800(Low) $428,500(Estimate) $458,495(High)
Eppraisal: $282,563(Low) $332,428(Estimate) $382,292(High)

I dare you to look at these interior photos and tell me this falls under the "High" estimate.


According to these metrics, this place is overpriced by HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

I must admit I'm smitten with this building's charm and location. But I'm not infatuated enough to stick my hands out and catch what is so obviously a falling knife.

After an eternity rotting on the MLS, I guess I'm not the only one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I Hate to Brick it to You

257 Belmont, 90803
Price: $955,000
Beds: 4
Baths: 3
Sq. Ft.: 2,536
$/Sq. Ft.: $377
Lot Size: 6,150 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1931
MLS#: P675017
On Redfin: 227 days
Description: Sophisticated Tudor style 4 bedroom home with 2 1/2 baths, stunning hardwood floors throughout, formal entry, huge living room with gas burning fireplace wood beamed ceiling and corbels, formal dining room, breakfast room with built-ins, original door knobs, wainscoting throughout, 2 downstairs bedroom, inside laundry room, spectacular remodeled upstairs bathroom, large bedrooms, a secret playroom, basement, original kitchen with Wedgewood stove, 2-car garage and more. This property has so much charm and character throughout. A must see for the appreciative Buyer!

See the implication there? If you aren't interested in checking out this place or paying the million-dollar price tag, you're not an "appreciative Buyer" with a capital B.

So why don't you just run along to the welfare line and get some food stamps, ya worthless bum!

This has got to be one of the ugliest houses in the universe. And lucky us, it's right here in Long Beach!

While the exterior is odd (to be generous), the interior has some neat design cues and built-ins. However, when you're talking close to a million clams, it's really quite unimpressive (to everyone but the seller, that is).

The kitchen is absolutely BRUTAL. Don't stare for too long or you'll turn to stone. Or asbestos.

Anyhow, here we are after 227 days on the market with no sale. Por que, cabron?

Well, besides the severe deficit in the looks department and the lack of a discernible yard, there's one obvious reason why buyers--even "appreciative" ones--have flatly rejected this 4 bedroom chimney.

It starts with P and ends with E and isn't PEYOTE. Well, actually, peyote might be involved here, BUT the reason, as usual, is PRICE.

$955,000...227 days...

To borrow a phrase, There's nothing price can't fix.

Wanna see something neat?

Dec 21, 1995 - Sold $350,000

That seems like a pretty good deal for '95, given the location. And a damn cheap payment for the last 14 years! This dude should be nostril-deep in equity. Translation: If he dropped the price to a reasonable level, he would walk away with a trunkload of cash.

How's that price dropping going?

Feb 09, 2009 - Listed $1,095,000
Mar 17, 2009 - Price Changed $995,000
Jun 23, 2009 - Price Changed $955,000


"Glacially" is a word that comes to mind.

Of course, a glacier wouldn't last long in this house seeing as it's made of brick, has tiny windows, and no air-conditioning.

Maybe he HELOCed himself into the stratosphere, maybe for pride reasons he's resisting "just giving it away," or maybe it's yet another vanity listing and he really has no intention of selling.

Whatever the reason for his steadfast refusal to accept reality, assuming he hasn't refinanced to the high heavens, every single day that goes by without an offer represents another stack of bills he's leaving on the table.

It's over, pal. Cut the price, take the money and count your blessings. Otherwise, this fickle, ruthless market will brick your heart.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

High FICOs Hightailing It

Anton Chigur writes:

El Bee: Would appreciate your thoughts/comments relative to the scenario outlined in the below article.,0,2560658.story

Thanks Anton for sending this in. This article has been making the rounds and basically says owners with high FICO scores are walking away from properties in droves. No surprise. Those with good credit scores tend to be better with money and can spot a worthless investment when they see one. So they bounce when they see the writing on the wall.

As far as my opinion on the matter, lots of people have encapsulated my own thoughts pretty well. One such person is a reader of this very blog:

Wizard writes:

Anton Chigur.
Purely a business decision.
Nothing ethical or moral.
It's in the contract,house is collateral for loan. They made loan with said collateral.
Also to be considered: With so many walkers..
credit scores will adjust to suit.

That pretty much says it all. And Wizard's credit score point is especially important because ultimately, as long as there is no real penalty (I'm sure having busted credit is no Swedish massage, but in the context of being among MILLIONS of newly FICO-challenged ne'er-do-wells, it won't mean much. I mean, the banks have to lend to somebody, and if they excluded everyone with a foreclosure, short sale or bankruptcy, there'd hardly be anyone left to lend to!) or social stigma attached then there will be absolutely nothing to stop this rapidly growing trend.

And especially now that the mainstream media has caught onto what Dr. Housing Bubble and Calculated Risk have been talking about for ages, you better believe Joe Six-Pack will finally see the advantages of such a move and be all aboard the Hightail Express.

Is anybody out there ACTUALLY still using the "immorality" argument? Even if someone could make a compelling argument about the "unethical" nature of moonwalking away from a severely underwater, potentially life-ruining albatross, it's tantamount to moaning, "Hurricanes are doo-doo heads."

Well, yeah, maybe so, but that's not going to stop a Category 5 from wiping out trailer parks in Florida.

Solar Heated Fool

3626 E Vermont St, 90814
Price: $589,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,180
$/Sq. Ft.: $499
Lot Size: 5,940 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1920
MLS#: P703217
On Redfin: 8 days
Down Payment: $118,000
Income Requirment: $168,000
Monthly Nut: $3,300
Description: 1920 Craftsman gem located in Belmont Heights. No water landscaping in front yard. Expansive front porch with stone accents. New carpet and fresh paint in living room and both bedrooms. Completely remodeled kitchen with granite, new cabinets and new appliances. Laundry room located off of the kitchen for convenience. Back yard has a solar heated endless pool and large patio. Huge back yard perfect for gardening. One car finished garage and long driveway for extra parking.

"Completely remodeled kitchen." Thanks for not providing a decent photo. Bang up job there, Sparky!

This thing was purchased in 1988 for $230,000. Now that the mortgage has reached legal drinking age, they're unburdening themselves and trying to walk with a tidy little profit.

And by "tidy little profit" I mean $324,000 after commissions. That's a lot of loot! That must be a very special house.

Oh, uh, wow. That dirt yard is mighty special. A blank canvas, if you will!

I think they meant to say, "No water landscaping anywhere."

And can someone please tell me just what the hell this thing is?

Is this the "solar heated endless pool" or did they steal one of those big ass grills from El Pollo Loco?

But if you thought that back yard was fancy, prepare yourself to be blown away by the interior:

Boo ya! How about some wood paneling for that ass?! What a quaint retro (wretch-ro, more like) touch!

Other than the new windows, I'm having a tough time identifying any significant upgrades. In fact, the interior looks pretty dreadful for this price point:

But, before we get carried away with how ridiculous $589,000 seems for this shabby house, let's check out some sold comps:

$588,000 4201 E 3rd St Sold on May 19, 2009
0.38 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,163 Sq. Ft.

$695,000 366 Orizaba Ave Sold on Jun 11, 2009
0.39 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,112 Sq. Ft. maybe this guy is priced where he should be. But let's check out the rest of the comps:

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

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

$385,000 229 Loma Ave Sold on Apr 17, 2009
0.39 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,032 Sq. Ft.

$360,000 3107 E Theresa St Sold on Apr 21, 2009
0.44 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,272 Sq. Ft.

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

Gee, now I'm not so sure.

The median price per square foot of sold properties in this zip code is $435, making this house about $74,000 overpriced. Plus, you can rent nicer, bigger Belmont Heights houses for $500 - $1,100 less per month. The fundamentals are screaming "NO SALE!"

BUT, never underestimate the amount of stretching that families will do in order to get into prime areas like Belmont Heights.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pepto Dismal: UPDATE

Remember this pink panther slinking around the MLS?

The list price was "$345,000" and changed to "$325,000"

I guess I missed a price reduction earlier this month because the last time we checked in, this stinky pinky was asking a mind-blowing $365,000.

$40,000 more in imaginary equity down the drain. Wow, this short sale just keeps getting shorter!

Unfortunately, it's still incredibly overpriced. And, uh, hideous.

This short seller, if he doesn't get serious soon, is fucked with a capital F. As for some guidance to where you should be priced, let's check out the recently sold comps (seller, I strongly suggest taking a swig of Pepto, crunching a couple of Tums, and bracing yourself for this):

$190,000 1919 E Beverly Way #1 Sold on Apr 08, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,014 Sq. Ft.

$163,000 1919 E Beverly Way #2 Sold on Jun 29, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,014 Sq. Ft.

$235,000 1919 E Beverly Way #3 Sold on Jun 02, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,014 Sq. Ft.

Please note, those three are in the same building!

$190,000 1900 E Beverly Way #39 Sold on Jul 13, 2009
0.03 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,014 Sq. Ft.

$187,500 623 Walnut Ave #10 Sold on Jun 17, 2009
0.22 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 810 Sq. Ft.

$126,331 1506 E 4th St Unit 104 Sold on Jun 18, 2009
0.29 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 793 Sq. Ft.

$116,000 841 Gardenia Ave Apt 203 Sold on Jul 06, 2009
0.29 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 830 Sq. Ft.

$278,500 2033 E 3rd St Unit 1D Sold on Apr 22, 2009
0.33 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 953 Sq. Ft.

$191,250 2033 E 3rd St Unit 3A Sold on Aug 19, 2009
0.33 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 953 Sq. Ft.


But hey, the good news is you get enjoy that free rent while the bank pretends your house is for sale. Sweet!

Friday, September 18, 2009

That's a Helluva Sales Strategy You've Got There: UPDATE LXVIII


I love my readers. Littletiger1969 hooked us up with the 411 on our favorite saltine box. Finally some closure, but at the same time I'm pretty floored it took this long for the "Cycle of FAIL" to be completed. Check it:

Littletiger1969 says:

"Got these from RealtyTrac
416 Roswell Ave
Long Beach, CA 90814

History of Notices

Recording Date

Recording Date

Default Amount

Keep up the good work!!"

Oh for fuck's sake.

Just two days after this...

The list price was "$414,000" and changed to "$389,000"

...we get this:

The list price was "$389,000" and changed to "$414,000"
The status was "Active" and changed to "Contingent"

Can someone with access to public records please look up whether a Notice of Default has been filed? I'm curious if this dude has been living rent free while the bank dicks around with this short-sale-that's-not-actually-for-sale.

I mean, just look at this:

Sep 16, 2009 - Price Changed $414,000
Sep 13, 2009 - Price Changed $389,000
Aug 27, 2009 - Price Changed $414,000
Aug 27, 2009 - Relisted
Jul 26, 2009 - Price Changed $426,000
Jul 25, 2009 - Price Changed $399,000
Jul 20, 2009 - Relisted
Jul 01, 2009 - Price Changed $426,000
Jul 01, 2009 - Relisted
May 14, 2009 - Relisted
May 13, 2009 - Delisted
May 11, 2009 - Listed $399,000
Jun 09, 2008 - Delisted
Jun 01, 2008 - Relisted
May 27, 2008 - Delisted
Apr 07, 2008 - Price Changed
Feb 12, 2008 - Listed
Feb 01, 2006 - Sold $533,000
Feb 27, 2003 - Sold $350,000
Jul 27, 1999 - Sold $187,000
Apr 16, 1991 - Sold $199,000

This house has been on the MLS for 570+ days and I want to get an idea of when it will go back to the bank and finally, mercifully, be put out of its misery.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shot in the Dark

1990 Chestnut Ave, 90806
Price: $439,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,638
$/Sq. Ft.: $268
Lot Size: 4,233 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1931
MLS#: P678516
On Redfin: 195 days
Down Payment: $88,000
Income Requirement: $125,000
Monthly Nut: $2,400
Description: Discover Wrigley. This 1931 Spanish Charmer on a corner lot has classic period details throughout. Enter through hall into a living room with soaring coved ceiling, mock fireplace and hardwood floors. Step up to formal dining room with period windows, updated large kitchen with bright and airy breakfast nook. Vintage tile in both bathrooms. Each of the 3 bedrooms has large closets. Walled back yard has a long driveway and a 2 car garage. This is a very special home! From Wrigley area bike path to downtown New Pike, Marina, Restaurants, Aquarium.

"Bike path to downtown New Pike, Marina, Restaurants, Aquarium"?

Yo, that's like a two mile bike ride! I guess that's good if the Aquarium is low on water and can use the sweat generated during your trek to refill the shark exhibit.

Our seller purchased this Wrigley area (aka "The Other Long Beach") home in 1991 for $179,000. Now, 18 years later, the seller believes it is worth two-and-a-half times what he paid (according to the NAR, house values double every ten years--and we all know they are unbiased "experts" in these matters).

However, that belief is foolish and incredibly misguided--this house is painfully overpriced. But don't take my word for it--the market, the only voice that counts, has already spoken: 260+ days with no action.

Outside of a four-month sojourn, this thing has been on the MLS since August 2008. Keep up the good fight, pal!

It's pretty neat inside, but in this declining post-bubble market that's not enough to nab an interested buyer. There are more factors at play here.

It's not just that you can rent a nicer home in the Wrigley area for about $450 less per month.

But that's part of it.

And it's not just that the price per square foot of $268 is a $46 premium compared to the rest of the homes selling in this zip.

But that's part of it.

And it's not just this asking price is 11 TIMES the local median income.

Estimated median household income in 2007: $40,798

But that's part of it.

You see, lest you think those bars on the windows are there for beautification, they serve a very distinct, and disturbing purpose:

Long Beach Man Killed in Shooting

A 20-year-old Long Beach resident was gunned down and two other men were shot and injured in an attack Monday night, police said Tuesday.

Long Beach police were called to the 200 block of West 20th Street at about 9:30 p.m. and arrived to find the three gunshot victims, said Officer Jackie Bezart.

All three men where taken to local hospitals, and one of them died. He was identified as Robert Tripple.


The preliminary investigation found the three victims were standing in front of a residence when they were confronted by at least two suspects, Bezart said.

Words were exchanged between the two groups before the gunman or gunmen opened fire, the officer said.

Residents in the neighborhood Tuesday morning said the victims were linked to a local black gang and the shooters were believed to be members of a Hispanic gang.

People are willing to pay more for personal safety. But nobody of sound mind is willing to pay a premium to live in a shitty, dangerous neighborhood. And the days on market and lower listing prices of sellers within half a mile prove that beyond any doubt.

$220,000 2175 Cedar Ave
0.24 miles 3 bd / 3 ba 1,469 Sq. Ft.

$375,000 2000 Maine Ave
0.24 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,735 Sq. Ft.

$287,100 2324 Magnolia Ave
0.44 miles 4 bd / 2 ba 1,495 Sq. Ft.

$300,000 2246 GOLDEN Ave
0.47 miles 2 bd / 1 ba 1,393 Sq. Ft.

$225,000 1501 N Chestnut Ave
0.48 miles 3 bd / 1 ba 1,500 Sq. Ft.

$199,000 1593 Pine Ave
0.48 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,560 Sq. Ft

This seller needs to get with the program--and needs to do it quick. What, you think this area is going to improve with a rising unemployment rate?

I say drop the price and get out while the gettin' is good.

Or before you get gunned down in your driveway!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Don't Stop Believin'

1230 E Ocean Blvd #103, CA 90802
Price: $1,150,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,264
$/Sq. Ft.: $910
Year Built: 1985
MLS#: S523506
Source: SoCalMLS
Status: Active
On Redfin: 564 days
HOA: $416
Down Payment: $230,000
Income Requirement: $329,000
Monthly Nut: $7,100
Description: Live at the beach! Listen to the surf! Enjoy this corner unit with a front on ocean view at sand level. Appealing upgrades include hardwood flooring throughout, gas/wood burning F.P., plantation shutters, recessed lighting & French doors. Innovative open wall spaces in kit. with granite counters, stainless steel appliances & cherry wood cab. Clever use of mirrors, updated baths with pedestal sinks, jacuzzi tub & sep glassed-in shower. Direct beach access from L-shaped balcony.

"Live at the beach! Listen to the surf!"

Die in a fire!

$910 per square foot? How's that working out for you? Oh, 564 days rotting on the MLS? You don't say.

By the way, the only reason to employ "clever use of mirrors" is to distract from how tiny your house is. So, um, very clever!

You know what else is clever? Using your kitchen as a photography darkroom:

You know what else is clever? Using the kitchen's leftover granite for a table:

You know what else is clever? Leaving your bathroom untouched since 1985 and asking $1.15 million dollars for it:

I mean, does this look like a million dollar house to you? My gorilla scoffs at you.

One look at the photos and the pricing history and it's abundantly clear we're dealing with an equity-rich nutjob:

Sep 02, 2009 Relisted
Sep 02, 2009 - Delisted
Mar 02, 2009 - Relisted
Mar 02, 2009 - Delisted
Aug 29, 2008 - Price Changed $1,150,000
Mar 01, 2008 - Listed $1,099,900
Feb 27, 2008 - Delisted
Sep 27, 2007 - Price Changed
Jun 02, 2007 - Price Changed
Apr 28, 2007 - Price Changed
Apr 26, 2007 - Price Changed
Mar 03, 2007 - Listed
Feb 01, 2007 - Delisted
Aug 04, 2006 - Listed
Apr 13, 1990 - Sold $342,000

What a moonbat!

Although the listing says 564 days on the market, it's actually been for sale since August 2006! Well over 1,100 days with no sale!

1,100 DAYS!

Sweet Jesus! I wish I had a bigger, redder font!

How do people that are so obviously out of their fucking minds function in modern society?

Are they dumbstruck by the awesome, complicated madness of stop signs?

Confounded by the majestic beauty of binder clips?

Yeah,'s not cool to make fun of retarded people, I know. But come on, this person is in serious need of an intervention. And remedial math. I feel like it's my civic duty to drive over there and deliver the hard slap of reality.

Look at the recently completed sales in the building:

$355,500 1230 E Ocean Blvd Unit 605 Sold on Jul 08, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,330 Sq. Ft.

$217,611 1250 E Ocean Blvd Apt 406 Sold on Jun 02, 2009
0.02 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,103 Sq. Ft.

These two comps are on higher floors (meaning no direct beach access) and might not have this ocean view--but can you honestly tell me with a straight face this unit's location is worth an extra $800,000? Really?

Some comps in nearby buildings are a bit more expensive than those two, but still substantially undercut that laughable $1,150,000 asking price. Take a look at these sales...

$747,000 21 7th Pl Apt 208 Sold on Jun 11, 2009
0.02 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,355 Sq. Ft.

$539,000 1310 E Ocean Blvd Unit 1501 Sold on Apr 30, 2009
0.06 miles 1 bd / 2 ba 1,290 Sq. Ft.

$437,000 1400 E Ocean Blvd Unit 2105 Sold on Jul 02, 2009
0.11 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,310 Sq. Ft.

$668,000 1400 E Ocean Blvd Unit 2208 Sold on Jul 21, 2009
0.11 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,293 Sq. Ft.

$355,000 1334 E 1st St Apt 1 Sold on Aug 05, 2009
0.14 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,030 Sq. Ft.

$610,000 1415 E Ocean Blvd Apt 202 Sold on Jun 01, 2009
0.14 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,256 Sq. Ft.

$625,000 1500 E Ocean Blvd Unit 512 Sold on Aug 31, 2009
0.16 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,455 Sq. Ft.

$459,300 1500 E Ocean Blvd Unit 614 Sold on Apr 09, 2009
0.16 miles 3 bd / 2 ba 1,326 Sq. Ft.

...and tell me this Long Beach seller is of sound mind. It's all very sad, really.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

That's a Helluva Sales Strategy You've Got There: UPDATE IV

Ugh, just put a bullet in this thing's brain already.

The list price was "$414,000" and changed to "$389,000"

Has there ever been better evidence of banks doing everything in their power to delay the foreclosure process and keep properties off their books?

A year and seven months of this happy horseshit. Just sayin'.

Monday, September 14, 2009

ARTICLE: L.A. mortgage brokers are accused of stealing nearly $1 million

Via the LA Times:

The California attorney general's office says that beginning in 2007, the three co-workers conspired to forge clients' signatures on phony refinance documents and pocket fees based on bigger loans.

By Nathan Olivarez-Giles, September 12, 2009

Three Southern California mortgage brokers have been arrested on suspicion of stealing nearly $1 million from borrowers seeking to adjust their home loans.

Michael McConville, 31, and co-workers Garrett Holdridge, 23, and Alan Ruiz, 28, are scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court on charges of bilking more than 70 homeowners, said Scott Gerber, a spokesman for the California attorney general's office.


In May, the attorney general's office sued McConville and his brother Sean for alleged roles in a property tax reassessment scam that targeted Californians looking to lower their property taxes.

The McConville brothers sent out thousands of mailers, adorned with official-looking logos, demanding hundreds of dollars for property tax reassessment services, the suit said.

The mailers told homeowners that if payments were not received by a due date, they faced late fees or would have their tax files marked "ineligible for future tax reassessments," court documents said.

I know someone who unfortunately got caught up in this tax reassessment scam. Thankfully it was only $200--it could have been much worse. It should be noted that their realtor, a so-called "expert," said to pay it immediately.

Friends, stay diligent out there, and most importantly STAY SKEPTICAL. There is an endless supply of scammers and hucksters licking their chops at the prospect of getting into your wallet during these confusing, uncertain times.

Not Selling? Try a Price Increase!

This International Tower apartment made its debut in the Girls, Girls, Girls post as an example of this guy's competition. The featured seller has since given up the ghost, but Unit #1004 has soldiered on.

The last time we checked in, he was asking $565,000 (which seemed like a deal compared to the absurd $859,000 of #2505) but time has been unkind. Now he's asking $419,000 and has slipped into short sale territory.

700 E Ocean Blvd #1004, 90802
Asking Price: $419,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,260
$/Sq.Ft.: $333
Year Built: 1965
MLS#: L28059
On Redfin: 305 days
HOA Fine: $635
Down Payment: $83,800
Income Requirement: $120,000
Monthly Nut: $2,900
Description: ACCEPTING ALL OFFERS !!!Attn This is a must see!! !!!!!Coastline view!!! Well Priced!!!! , fabulous views at night!! Designer decorated throughout open and spacious with glass walls floor to ceiling and a wrap around balcony!!Complex has a pool. gym and 24hr concierge!!2 parking spcaes and extra storage unit.condo is legally a 3 bedroom but has been converted to an open 2 bed contempory space !!!Steps to the beach and walk to Restaurants and all that Downtown Long Beach has to offer !!



What a loser. Seriously. 305 days on the market (technically, he's been on and off the market since 2007) and the listing agent can't be bothered to fix egregious errors that took me seconds to identify?


The view is definitely panty-dropping, but the 2005 price of $690,000 was absolutely jaw-dropping. With a $635 HOA fine on top of that?! What was this dude thinking?

By the time the in-way-over-his-head loanowner got around to putting his mistake on the market, it was too late and he damn well knew it: The (woefully optimistic) listing price in November 2008 represented a guaranteed $95,000 loss before commissions.

And instead of getting ahead of the market quickly and ridding himself of this overpriced albatross, a bolus of denial was mainlined into his system and he spent the next 10 months slowly chasing the market down. I have to give him credit for the larger price cuts toward the end--it's just that they weren't nearly aggressive enough. Take a look:

Sep 11, 2009 - Price Changed $419,000
Jul 02, 2009 - Price Changed $399,000
Jan 23, 2009 - Price Changed $449,000
Jan 09, 2009 - Price Changed $529,000
Dec 11, 2008 - Price Changed $565,000
Dec 03, 2008 - Price Changed $575,000
Nov 13, 2008 - Listed $595,000
Apr 11, 2008 - Delisted
Jan 12, 2008 - Listed
Jan 11, 2008 - Delisted
Oct 15, 2007 - Listed
Jul 01, 2005 - Sold $690,000
Oct 13, 1998 - Sold $260,000

And now here we are, asking $419,000 and there’s still no discernable buyer interest. Well no fucking shit! That's 20 Grand MORE than it was listed for during the past two months--you know, when it was rejected like a stood-up prom date. What on earth makes them think potential buyers are suddenly going to view a $20,000 “Fucktard Fee” as an incentive to buy?

I’ll never understand the mentality of short sellers like this guy, who after stacking up months and even years on the MLS, decide to suddenly jack up the price. Shitty realtor? Greed? Cluelessness? Inept asset manager at the bank? All of the above? It's confounding to say the least.

Or, could it be these two very recent comps?

$470,000 700 E Ocean Blvd Unit 1606 Sold on Aug 07, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,080 Sq. Ft.

$429,000 700 E Ocean Blvd Unit 1607 Sold on Aug 04, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,040 Sq. Ft.

Those two make $419,000 seem like a bargain, no? But what about these two recent comps:

$285,000 700 E Ocean Blvd Unit 1501 Sold on Jul 06, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,080 Sq. Ft.

$312,727 700 E Ocean Blvd Unit 1502 Sold on Apr 01, 2009
0 miles 2 bd / 2 ba 1,080 Sq. Ft.

That's $106,000 and $135,000 lower than this guy's asking price! Ouch!

Anyhow, for those of you keeping score at home, the price reductions (and inexplicable price increase) add up to a total of -$271,000 and there is still absolutely no interest. With a God awful kitchen like this, I'm not surprised:

Good grief! Look at that thing!

The monster HOA taxes have proven to be quite effective buyer repellant, but the (still) rapidly imploding values must really be scaring people off. And to top it all off, that kitchen is like Kryptonite Cap'n Crunch.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Millennium FAILcon

Yo, is that rooftop dish from the Millennium Falcon?

1041 E Amelia Dr
Long Beach, CA 90807
Price: $899,900
Beds: 4
Baths: 3.5
Sq. Ft.: 3,019
$/Sq. Ft.: $298
Lot Size: 10,880 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1951
MLS#: P681979
On Redfin: 384 days
Down Payment: $180,000
Income Requirement: $257,000
Monthly Nut: $5,400
Description: Price reduced another $100,000! Extensively remodeled in 2000, the 4bd, 3.5bath, pool home is an entertainer's dream. Large formal living room with bay window. Formal dining room. Large gourmet kitchen with granite counters, stainless steel appliances, cherrywood cabinets, walk-in pantry with travertine marble floors. Large Great Room with fireplace overlooking salt water pool and spa with pebblecoating and 3 relaxing waterfalls. Master suite as two large walk-in closets and French doors that open to pool area. Master bath has seperate soaking tub and shower with marble double sink vanity. 2 large gallery hallways to exhibit art collection. Home and backyard wired for sound system. Backyard landscaped in Southwest style with drought tolerant plants. Private meditation area with soothing fountain. 4th bedroom is currently used as workout room. 3 car attached garage with seperate work room. Copper plumbing and updated electrical. This home is light,bright, yet very private.

"seperate"? Twice?

The growing trend of realtors misspelling that word is getting out of hand. Oh well, it's only been on the market for 384 days--cut the guy some slack.

And have you noticed that the longer and more flowery the listing description, the more likely the seller is to be languishing on the market?

I mean, this guy seems exceedingly impressed with his house. If you're so goddamn enthralled with the thing, then why are you selling it? Seems to me this "entertainer's dream" (or at least your idea of one) is something you'd want to keep.

I think this place is pretty nice, if a bit overdone.

And in some instances, quite average for a million dollar house.

And speaking of a million bucks, guess what you don't get for that kind of loot?

"Listing Price Excludes: Cat and mouse sculpture in backyard, washer and dryer"

Damn it, if I'm throwing down nearly seven figures I want that fucking cat and mouse sculpture! How dare you.

Photos of the garage always give me a chuckle. It's like including a shot of the toilet or laundry hookups--dude, we believe you! We don't need picture proof.

But the garage shot makes way more sense than a photo of your groceries:


However, regardless of what faults we can find with this spot, you have to admit the pool is flat out AMAZING:

Yes, please.

But is it enough to justify asking $900,000--Oh, sorry...$899,900?

Well, the market has spoken. And the answer thus far has been a resounding, "HELL TO THE NO."

Seems to me this seller, rotting on the market for over a year, needs to visit his "private meditation area" and meditate on maybe, possibly, dropping the price another $100,000. And then another. And another until it sells.

This place was purchased for $290,000 in 1994, and there is no way in holy hell that $550,000 has been put into renovating it. And when you factor in the 15 years of equity, this seller should be in a position to cash in on some substantial bubble profits. So why the heck hasn't he dropped the price to compete with nearby listings and driven off into the sunset with his truckbed full of cash?

Say it with me:


This guy seems to be too impressed with his own taste and preferences, and wholly unable to step back and think objectively about how much pure, unadulterated bubble equity he is losing every week he rots on the market. This is also known as getting high on your own supply.

Believe me, kitty, I know how you feel.

At this price you, that weird sculpture on the counter, and potetial buyers will be forced to look at the awkward way the crown molding meets the cabinet for YEARS. Poor things.

However, readers of the Long Beach Housing Blog (and those perusing the MLS, for that matter), can just write this seller off as yet another delusual Long Beach greedhead, and never have to think about this place again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Bell Tolls in Bixby Knolls

1024 E Freeland St, 90807
Price: $550,000
Beds: 3
Baths: 4
Sq. Ft.: 3,169
$/Sq. Ft.: $174
Lot Size: 8,250 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1955
Community: Bixby, Bixby Knolls, Los Cerritos, California Heights, Memorial Heights (Wow. That's a lot of communities!)
MLS#: R805792
On Redfin: 455 days
Down Payment: $110,000
Income Requirement: $157,000
Monthly Nut: $3,000

"QUITE" neighborhood?

"MUST SEE TO APPRECIATE." Translation: It's a real shit hole.

And with a conspicuous lack of interior photos and no upgrades mentioned in that impressive listing description, it's a sure bet that it's pretty awful in there.

In March 1996 (the most recent housing bottom), our featured seller purchased this house for $160,000. Somehow, someway, 13 years later, the $550,000 asking price will result in a short sale.

Um. Congratulations?

To no surprise, anyone dumb fucking stupid enough to rack up that much cash-out refi and HELOC debt against a house that should be half paid-off by now is also greedy enough to start with a patently absurd asking price of $699,900.


Mind you, that ridiculous asking price was originally posted 455 days ago.

455 DAYS!

Just look at that photo and ask yourself: Even assuming it was decent inside, if you and your family pulled in the $157,000 household income required to realistically afford this house, is this the place you imagined buying?

And if you were misguided enough to believe $550k was a good deal (you'd be the only one, given the year and change with no sale), just what would you get for that princely sum?

Well, um, the realtard didn't give us much to work with.

But judging by the one solitary photo, you'd get a clean, albeit wholly original, cottage-style house in North Long Beach.

And, because it's in North Long Beach...

"Security Description: Window Bars"

For half-a-million plus? Yikes.

Anybody wondering what you don't get for $550,000?



Oddly, from a price per square foot standpoint ($174 per) this seems like a decent deal. By comparison, most houses selling nearby are going for around $218. So why no sale? Other than the asking price, I can only guess it's because the interior is much worse than I'm imagining.

But man, if you thought this guy was in deep shit, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

1012 E Marcellus St, 90807
Price: $460,000
Beds: 5
Baths: 2.75
Sq. Ft.: 2,554
$/Sq. Ft.: $180
Lot Size: 9,010 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1953
MLS#: N08043065
Status: Backup Offer
On Redfin: 533 days
Down Payment: $92,000
Income Requirement: $131,000
Monthly Nut: $2,400
Description: This large 5 bedroom pool home is situated in the prestigious Bixby Knolls area of Long Beach. It features hardwood floors, a large pool, and terrific floor plan for entertaining or large families. The home is built in such a way as it wraps around the spacious patio and pool, and opens up to the pool area from three different sides, including from the kitchen which allows for superior entertaining possibilities. The home is ready for your personal touches to make it truly yours. This home previously sold in 2007 for one million dollars, so take advantage now and save money on this large home in this great neighborhood while the opportunity still exists-- you'll be happy you did!

Wow, the realtor is just rubbing the short seller's nose in it: "This home previously sold in 2007 for one million dollars." Take it easy, buddy. No need to advertise to the world what an unbridled idiot the soon-to-be former owner is--he's been through enough.

You have to admit a 55% discount from the peak price is a pretty impressive property value meltdown.

And how does that bode for our featured short seller on Freeland? Well, this place has about 600 less square feet, but it features a pool and, well, pictures.

Wait, is this the same pool?


Sure, the kitchen is a disaster, but assuming the bank approved this price (it's in Backup Offers which is meaningless, I know, but bear with me), a buyer would have an extra $90,000 to build a new kitchen and add onto the house (it sits on a larger lot).

Which would you prefer?

I think Bixby Knolls might be the Long Beach neighborhood to watch. And by "watch" I mean grab a bucket of popcorn and a tasty beverage, and enjoy the equity-melting, comp-killing show.