Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Man's Sport: UPDATE II

The status was "Active" and changed to "Contingent"

Fingers crossed.


The list price was "$639,000" and changed to "$599,900"

For those keeping score at home, this failed fliptard is now $5,000 below his 2008 purchase price. After commissions, we're talking about a $36,000 loss plus however many tens of thousands of dollars in upgrades and improvements.

Man, what the fuck were you thinking paying $625 per square foot last year? By that point you had been inundated by the media about the Great Housing Bust for at least six months!

This is going to end very, very badly for him. It's too bad he wasn't a reader of this blog back in '08. He could have saved himself a lot of money and heartache.


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. Me thinks you have the itch to flip El Bee.

  2. Hahaha!

    But it is tempting. The ease with which buyers can purchase a house (FHA-sourced subprime loans, $8,000 FTHB tax credit, low interest rates) puts cash-flush savers in a good position to buy a foreclosure and flip it (depending on the deal, of course).

    Long Beach, however, with its incredibly old housing stock, is a little too iffy for me (not to mention a shaky interest rate situation). On the courthouse steps, banks don't have to disclose squat about structural problems.

    But if the right deal comes along (and it's a place I would want to live in if the shit hits the fan), you never know...