Monday, March 8, 2010

The Turdy Tudor

3943 East 5TH St, 90814
Wishing Price: $769,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1.5
Sq. Ft.: 1,738
$/Sq. Ft.: $442
Lot Size: 4,500 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1920
Community: Belmont Heights/Alamitos Heights
MLS#: P713889
On Redfin: 89 days
Down Payment: $154,000
Income Requirement: $220,000 (!)
Monthly Nut: $4,100
Description: Crafted by renowned architect, Joseph Halstead Roberts, the distinguished property officially referred to as The Elizabethan Studio. 2 bedrooms, great room/3rd. bedroom, 1.5 baths, formal living and dining rooms, fireplace, office/library, eat in[sic] kitchen, 1,738 square feet of living space, 1 car garage and an enclosed entertainers[sic] patio on a 4,500 sq. ft. lot. The subject of books, articles and prominent historical exhibits, this local treasure was Roberts[sic] home and architectural design studio. Within its storied, Tudor walls, hundreds of noted properties were designed, including some of the area s[sic] most prestigious estates and well known landmarks. This picturesque structure features beautiful brick laid in multiple decorative patterns, charming gables topped with finials and unique stained glass windows featuring Masonic Motifs and heraldic images. The walled front garden welcomes you to its illustrious past, rich in history and creativity. 3943studio. view24hours. com

So, let me get this straight. You bought this Long Beach oddity for $669,000 in late 2007, and now after the housing market suffered one of the most dramatic, catastrophic crashes in modern're demanding a $100,000 profit?


The only explanation I can come up with (other than greed, obviously) for this asking price is that it's to compensate the seller for all the money poured into improvements and upgrades during those two-and-a-half years of ownership. Let's take a look at the photos and see just how many bells and whistles this owner installed!




Yikes, what a mess. I think in addition to Joseph Halstead Roberts (FYI, he designed about 70 Long Beach buildings. And his work was so "renowned" that all but a handful of them have been demolished), this turdy tudor was designed by about 13 other architects as well. There are at least that many competing design themes going on here. I mean, glass blocks in a 1920s tudor? WTF?

And, since your realtor won't do his job, here's a little marketing advice (and I won't even charge you a commission): When asking more than three quarters of a million dollars, shell out the dough for professional staging. That ratty, shithole furniture isn't doing you any favors.

Given the effusive, nauseatingly flowery listing description and the lack of price reductions after 90 days on market, methinks someone has been getting high on their own supply. I just get that vibe of a seller being smugly impressed with their own taste in houses.

But this dullard is taking an awful big gamble assuming today's deal-seeking buyers share that same taste--and are willing to pay a monstrous premium to satisfy it.

Like I always say, one man's "charming gables topped with finials" is another man's "stinging pain in the ass because the entire roof needs replacing thanks to the previous owner's total neglect of this property."

Those shingles look healthy to you?

Honestly, this thing might be cool (and worth the money) if it had been taken care of throughout the years, but just how impressive and valuable can this place be if the previous owners didn't bother to maintain it?

And when dealing with a 90-year-old property (90!) with zero mention of plumbing/electrical/insulation improvements, deferred maintenance is a scary prospect for rational buyers pulling down the required $220,000 income.

Given that, is anyone surprised it's gone 90 days without so much as a passing interest?

This thing needs a price reduction and it needs it quick. Setting aside the fact that you could rent a comparable property for HALF of the monthly nut, only two nearby properties have sold for this kind of money during the last six months, and they are considerably nicer (if a bit less "unique").

315 EUCLID Ave
Sold on Dec 23, 2009 0.35 miles
2 bd / 2 ba
1,651 Sq. Ft.

343 EUCLID Ave
Sold on Sep 19, 2009 0.29 miles
3 bd / 2 ba
1,509 Sq. Ft.

However, one unique quality of this house is the wood-paneled office. This is one of my lifelong dreams, and along with those cool door arches, this is the most charming aspect of this house:

But a couple grand in raised paneling and bookshelves isn't enough to justify this woefully insulting asking price.


  1. El Bee,
    Pretty please lambaste the douche selling 61 the Colonnade! $1286 per square foot!?! Definitely a "smoking their own stash" candidate!

  2. Is that ladder up to code?

    If I have a party at the home, do I have to make guests sign a waiver should they fall down the ladder after I provide them alcohol, or will I get sued anyway?

  3. This house is right down the street from where I live. I've seen it before during walks, many times.

    It IS a nice looking place on the outside, and it IS a very nice neighborhood....

    BUT it is right on the corner, so there's definitely traffic to deal with, and wow that inside doesn't really do it for me.

    People without any direction in life, come up with this type of bs and call it "special".

    Agree with you El Bee, that the office is pretty nice.

    I think this place is probably worth somewhere in the 500Ks, but that's just my humble personal opinion.