Thursday, May 13, 2010

Precious Peak-Priced Pretender

4301 East 2ND St Unit 2F, Long Beach, CA 90803
Wishing Price: $415,000
Beds: 1
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 900
$/Sq. Ft.: $461
Year Built: 1965
MLS#: P732255
On Redfin: 16 days
HOA: $175
Down Payment: $83,000/$17,000(FHA)
Income Requirement: $95,000
Monthly Nut: $2,400/2,800(FHA)
Description: Beautiful home in the Belmont Heights area. Enjoy the ocean breeze and view from a large bedroom balcony. Located blocks from the beach and Belmont Shore shops and restaurants, Belmont Pier and the Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. Meticulously maintained with the following upgrades: Bamboo floors throughout, modern walls, refinished cabinets, renovated modern bathroom, subway tile, console sink, remodeled living room with modern built-in shelving unit running expanse of wall, custom closet in bedroom, frosted glass and modern closet doors. Must see as this will not last!

What is a "modern wall"? Is he talking about that bad-ass technology from Minority Report that allows you to access and analyze digital information with the wave of a hand?


And notice no mention of in-unit laundry. Community laundry for $415,000?! HA!

I have bad news for you, dude: You are going to lose your ass on this one.

I must concede you've done a decent job upgrading this place, but if you think for one fleeting second you'll walk away from this transaction without your pocketbook sustaining serious blunt-force trauma, you're sadly mistaken.

I keep trying to spread the gospel, but nobody seems to believe me. Look, when you over-improve a property according to your personal whims, you can't expect new buyers to share your identical tastes and stylistic proclivities -- and you definitely can't presume they'll be willing to pay premium dollars and cents for your ideas of good design sense.

To wit:


Dude, you are asking $25,000 more than what you paid at the peak of the housing bubble. I don't care if the garbage disposal is 24-karat gold and $20 bills materialize in your trousers every time you take them out of that shitty IKEA closet of are not going to get 2007 pricing for this thing.

To give you an idea of what kind of imbecile we're dealing with (as if you needed more evidence), he purchased this 1/1 apartment for $390,000 from a guy who paid just $155,000 seven years earlier.

Really, guy? What were you getting for a WaMu CD back in those days, 5%? 5.5%? That 15% annual appreciation didn't set alarm bells off?

And for that top-dollar price you got a place so crappy that you had to gut it and completely re-do it? Yikes.

I'm no contracting expert, but I'd guess he put $30,000 into upgrades. And that's being conservative. Assuming that's the case, after commissions those upgrade costs will be a total loss. A vanishing act that would make Houdini blush.

And that's assuming this uneven bachelor pad "will not last!" as the realtor so boldly (read: dumbly) claims, and gets full asking price.

A promise:


Not with this kitchen, anyway.

Way to chintz out when it comes to the most important aspect of a property. I mean, original stove top and hood? WTF are you thinking?

And those cabinets definitely don't look new. They look (badly) painted with, at best, updated hardware.

Don't get me wrong, overall this is a slick pad in a good building in a killer neighborhood. It has some great attributes. The problem, as with all delusional Long Beach sellers, is the price.

I mean, this nearby property for sale, also with an unimpressive kitchen, is asking $439,000 (he's been on the market for 126 days -- he'll never get that) and features in-unit laundry, a fireplace, an extra bedroom, an extra bathroom, and 450 more square feet of living space. How can our featured seller possibly justify his crazy asking price?

I'm sure you've noticed that owners of these over-designed, over-decorated pads tend to be the most batshit insane when it comes to perceptions of what their "special" places are worth. In fact, this place kind of reminds me of this misguided, thoroughly-impressed-by-his-own-awesomeness fool (who claims to be under contract for full asking!).

They probably both read Dwell under the sheets with a flashlight while John Secada plays in the background if you know what I mean.

Well whaddaya know?

Now we know exactly the type of seller we're dealing with.

Armed with this information, it's guaranteed that this place will never sell. This ego-driven dope will take his self-stroker of a shack off the market long before he admits it isn't special and takes the massive financial hit required to garner a sale.


  1. I am a "car guy", who fixes up old cars as a hobby. I frequently see the same delusional thinking happening with cars."Fully restored 1976 Fiat-only $25,000. Spent $20,000. restoring it".
    Just because you fell in love with a place,or a car, does not mean that it is worth overimproving.

  2. I thought you were generous calling that a "good building" and a "slick pad". You must be feeling the need to be a little charitable today, and I'm not knocking you for that, but that building looks like crap, and the pad looks like it might fit the taste of a very select crowd.... and the fact that Long Beach is like "little San Francisco", maybe you'll get that weird type of crowd to be interested.

    That building is depressing though, and I hate those types of buildings.

    The place itself looks like some metrosexual, aging, wannabee hip, hollywood worshipping weanie designed it, and I'm not even focused on the faux pas of leaving the original stove and painting cabinets in the middle of a remodel. I'm talking about the overall vibe of the place, from that godawful lamp, to that ugly circular table, and that horrible closet.

    And that shower looks like something straight out of a horror movie.

    Nice pic of the dog on the couch too. Another negative.

    I wouldn't spend over $225 for this place. The building is ancient and depressing, and that alone would pretty much rule out me wanting to buy anything in it.

    The location IS nice though, and the balcony is, well a balcony.

    Aye carrumba, I'm depressed after viewing this listing.


  3. Anon,

    I'm a big fan of the car analogy. Since this building is so old, the classic car analogy works even better!

    I understand the emotional attachment (I've lost money on cars that I thought were special so I'm well-versed in the reality of "investments," but I guess for some people it's tougher to give up the ghost), but in due time the market will detach these types of people of any notions of "specialness."

  4. Mike,

    Fair enough. By "good" I guess I meant the location -- it's older than dirt (hence no in-unit laundry -- a telltale sign) and looking a little aged -- but it's rather iconic and "known" in Long Beach.

    An established building, even if it's kind of rough around the edges, can be a good thing when choosing where to invest.

  5. What up el bee,

    Pretty cool APT, but that's what this is: an APT.
    This isn't a "home". That's an abuse of the word. This is (attempted) price gouging. People need to wake up..who cares what area it's in.

  6. I can live with everything (except the price), but I just can't get into that closet door. Who wants a closet that has to always be kept absolutely neat to look any good? I mean why have closet doors at all then?

  7. I have to tip my hat to this forum as it's rare to see people thinking rationally and thinking clearly. I wish you had a site for New York City and the 5 Boroughs as there are plenty of pigs with silk hats.

    All of you who live in California here at the forum can rest assured that New York is not any better, the only difference is that there may be a few more amenities with the subway and all but sellers here are drinking the same Kool-Aid as the sellers listed in this blog. Just to add, I've been renting for quite some time and really don't want to own as the benefit to renting is the ability to simply pick up and walk away. The only way I would buy is if buying a home became a no-brainer, ridiculously cheaper way to rent in essence.