Showing posts with label FAIL. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FAIL. Show all posts

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Schadenfreude: UPDATE

In one week this turd waffle will celebrate the three-year anniversary of trying to unload his over-improved albatross.

What a tit.

Although at least now I see why he was so reluctant to post interior photos:
207 NIETO Ave, Long Beach, CA 90803
Poltergeist pipe!

Good luck putting up crown moulding, Chachi.

And look at this sad-ass kitchen:
207 NIETO Ave, Long Beach, CA 90803
Is this a playhouse? Where the hell do you even buy those miniature appliances? The microwave looks monstrous compared to that lil' Easy-Bake Oven below.

Yes, yes, I'm sure that's a photo from the rental unit, but it's still funny looking. I mean, how much square footage are you really saving?

This dumbass needs to just throw in the towel. I guess compared to the 2009 asking price of $1,295,000, begging for $979,500 seems downright reasonable.

But this price is still way out of line with reality. The thing I have never understood about these delusional sellers is how, after years on the market begging for someone to buy their property, the thought never goes through their mind that maybe, just maybe, the price is too high.

Even markets as artificially supported as ours have a ruthless efficiency about them: Reasonably priced stuff sells, overpriced stuff sits. It's the same for cars, dishwashers, used music equipment on eBay...things priced to sell, sell.

Insane price per square foot ($639) aside, I'm betting the proximity to that huge apartment building next door, the nearby alley, and the BofA parking lot are keeping buyers away. Not to mention how crazy it is to ask a million bucks for a house with three bedrooms and only one bathroom.

Alas, the parade of delusion marches on.

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Post from 4/2009:

Now that the real estate bubble has burst, there is plenty of schadenfreude to go around. Those who were priced out of the market, refused to participate in the irrational exuberance, or who didn't buy into the frenzy just out of dumb luck, are all watching with amazement (and yes, a bit of glee) as the house of cards burns to the ground.

Personally, I was made to feel like a fool for not buying an overpriced house in 2005 and had to endure condescending conversations with people who barely made it out of high school but were now rolling in fake "equity" and looking down on me for being a lowly renter. And when I started this blog I was castigated further for pointing out the truth and documenting the all-too-obvious housing bubble implosion. So I have to admit that many aspects of the housing crash bring a smile to my face.

Some say it's wrong to take pleasure in others' misery. In certain circumstances that's true, but that won't dissuade me from feeling all warm and fuzzy inside when some idiot flipper, who helped bid up housing prices beyond the reach of hardworking families, mistimes the market and loses his ass. That makes me smile.

Or when an arrogant seller, willfully ignorant of reality, slaps an insane WTF price on his house and refuses to even make counter offers on what they consider "lowball," "offensive" offers. Then, once they realize they're in a position where they can no longer afford their monstrous mortgage and lower the price, it's too little, too late. And they end up chopping tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands, depending) off the price...all to no avail. The market has long passed them by and they are punished for their greed with the haunting realization that they just cost themselves an extra $100,000 by refusing to deal when they had the chance. That tickles me pink.

Obviously the schadenfreude is tempered by the fact that you and I ultimately will pick up the tab for this mess (enjoy my money, CitiBank!), but still.

And there are limits to how far the schadenfreude should extend. People are always quick to drag out the (incredibly rare) exception of the person who was diagnosed with cancer and had to use their mortgage money for chemo treatments. OBVIOUSLY nobody should take great pleasure in that person losing their (our) house.

And I have some friends in shaky situations, and I don't want to see anything bad happen to them. However, I also don't want anyone--even my own friends and family--to get the impression they can live well beyond their means without very steep consequences.

And guess what? Other than a ding on a credit score, the worst thing that happens to people that lose a house is they rent. Nobody is being put on a rack and having their arms torn out of their sockets--you just rent. You still have shelter. There is no shame in that and, as is so clear now, renting was the right move all along during this unprecedented run up in housing prices.

My point is, if you're a person angry at those that appear to take pleasure in others' failures, just take a look at this listing and tell me you don't want these sellers to fail, and fail MISERABLY.



Address: 207 Nieto Ave, 90803
Asking Price: $1,295,000
Year Built: 1924
Size: 3 beds, 2 baths, 1,533 sq. ft.
$/Sq. Ft.: $845
Purchase price: N/A
Purchase date: N/A
MLS#: P681498
On Redfin: 22 days
Down Payment: $259,000
Monthly Payment: $8,000 (@6.75% jumbo)
Income Requirement: $370,000
Description: California classic expanded to include a 2 br./1 bath residence with large master suite and an additional 1 br./1 bath deluxe apartment above a large 2 car 1 bath garage, housed in a separate building. Resort Living at its finest! Enter seclusion through solid Brazilian mahogany gates as the protection of hand-laid brick privacy fencing surrounds you; yet, the heart of the shore's action is only steps away! A passage of spectacular stoneware planters and exotic fishtail palms leads to a courtyard w/2 deep-seating patio conversation areas, an outdoor kitchen, fountain, and bbq. Premium Super-Krete garden-stone graces the deck. From copper/galvanized plumbing, bronze emergency shut off, secured storage area, tank-less hot water, and bronze solar window screens, to the large Mediterranean dining-set w/ umbrella for outdoor entertaining, the exquisite charm & meticulous attention to detail of this Hacienda Oasis is amazing! Design elegance that translates into near Zero-Need-Upkeep.

$845 per square foot? FUCK YOU. DIE IN A FIRE.

See, doesn't that feel good?

And what exactly is wrong with the realtor that they include only five photos of the house, and THREE random "Scenes of Long Beach." Tell me exactly what this has to do with your listing:



How about a picture of, oh, I dunno, THE FREAKING KITCHEN?! Is it too much to ask you to include a snap of one of the bathrooms? This is what you think sells houses?



WTF? If those idiotic waste-of-bandwidth photos are what sell houses, then here are a few more you should definitely add to the listing:







What a dolt.

And it's worth mentioning that out of the five actual house-related photos, only one, count 'em, ONE, is an interior shot:



Gee, thanks.

And the others are as useless a snooze button on a smoke alarm:







Judging by the realtor's marketing "skills" I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and guess that their business isn't doing too well these days. Just a hunch.

And then there's the price. Let's consider what this seller sees all around him to better gauge how they arrived at their insane asking price. After all, maybe Belmont Shore is holding up better than we think. Let's see:

On a price per square foot basis, this is by far the most expensive listing in ALL of Belmont Shore. The average in BS is $478/Sq. Ft.

Of the handful of BS homes lucky enough to have sold in the last four months, the most expensive went for exactly half of this asking price.

Even the most optimistic rainbow-bolts-shooting-from-your-rectum estimate from the always laughable Zillow.com is $787,860.


So how on earth do you explain the decision to ask $1,295,000?!

AVARICE.

Pure and simple.

And sometimes the only way to respond to this level of greed is to wish misery, failure, and abject financial ruination upon them to teach them a lesson about letting the worst in human nature take over.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New, New Low

A while back I openly prayed for the hilarious staging-by-photoshop trend to catch on.

Well, it looks like it's gaining traction:

146 LA VERNE Ave, Long Beach, CA 90803146 LA VERNE Ave, Long Beach, CA 90803

This is my absolute favorite:
146 LA VERNE Ave, Long Beach, CA 90803

You're not even trying!

This is going to be a very entertaining spring.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

WOODEN TEETH: FINAL UPDATE

Sold on 02/01/12 - $165,000

At $155 per square foot, that is less than half the original asking price. Way to hold out for top dollar!

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Since there is no new inventory to speak of, out of "Where Are They Now?" curiosity I've been revisiting past Long Beach Housing Blog properties. Although most RE in the LBC victims--ERRR...featured sellers have since pulled their properties after unsuccessfully pursuing insane wishing prices ("Well, I'm not going to just give it away!"), a few deluded soldiers continue marching on.

Like this idiot:
732 North WASHINGTON Pl, Long Beach, CA 90813
This dreadful piece of doodie is now entering its FOURTH YEAR on the market. The good news is that after more than 1,100 days of wholly ridiculous prices and slack-jawed market chasing, this dolt seems to be finally waking up to reality. To wit:

Jan 05, 2011 Relisted - $223,000 ($210 per square foot)

But take another look at the photos and ask yourself if $223,000 is even that great of a price for this shit hole. Even if it was asking $50,000 -- the 1981 sales price -- I still don't think it's worth it. In addition to the property taxes and insurance, you have to factor in the significant (and mandatory) teardown and rebuilding costs. But look at the shitty lot and horrible neighborhood -- is that really where you want to build your dream home?

Exactly.

Still overpriced.

At this point I'm beginning to wonder if any price would garner a sale.

But, thanks to foreclosure moratoriums and can-kicking HAMP HAFA HARP BARF FART programs, properties like these are about all we've got. Right now in Long Beach we literally have the cream of the crop as far as wildly delusional sellers. The chaff has already been separated from the market and now we're left with the real kooks.

It's like if you took a stadium full of Raiders fans and systematically began whittling them down:

"All fans who have completed high school or college, please leave the stadium."

"Okay, now everyone with a job please head home."

"Anyone with a credit score above 500 please head for the exits."

"All of those without criminal records, please disperse."


Imagine what you'd be left with! That stadium would be the scariest goddamn place on earth. And sometimes I feel like most of the current Long Beach sellers are those scary, unstable nutjobs.

Think about it:

Longtime owners with assets, equity and/or stable, fixed-rate loans (like this guy) don't need to sell, and so they won't. They pull their properties off the market and we never see them again (it may seem like a good thing to get fair-weather sellers off the MLS, but they are sometimes the most willing to deal because they have equity and will still clear a huge profit if they decide to get real).

Most ticking time-bomb mortgages already blew up and went back to the banks, but the few remaining with resetting and recasting mortgages are busy playing the loan-mod, extend-and-pretend lottery. They (like
this moron) are most definitely distressed sellers, but they are not really on the market because they will game the system for as long as they can before their loans explode and they moonwalk away (or a miracle buyer bails them out of their foolishness).

As we all know, short sales are not actually for sale -- that inventory is technically on the MLS, but given the length of time it takes for banks to approve short sales (not an accident), you might as well check the "Exclude Short Sales" box on your Redfin searches (I sure as hell do). Short sales are just a way for banks to delay recognizing losses associated with foreclosure and prevent the property from falling apart (keeping a deadbeat in the place is better than letting it sit abandoned) in the meantime. Short sales (like
this fool, at 481 days) may technically be on the market, but in reality they have left the stadium.

You can also disregard listings of those who overpaid during the peak but are gainfully employed. They are severely underwater but can still make their mortgage payment if they really stretch themselves. The tell is they ask peak pricing plus exactly enough to cover sales commissions (like
this guy or this dummy), or they are juuuuust below their peak purchase price but after a few reductions have been stuck at the same price for months because further cuts would mean writing a big check at closing or becoming a short sale (like this dreamer). These house-poor suckers won't get anywhere near peak pricing, but they have no choice but to hope for a miracle because they're stretched too thin and have absolutely no room to negotiate. They are technically on the MLS, but they, too, have left the stadium.

So really we're left with only a handful buyers who actually intend to, and can (financially speaking) sell, who don't budge on price because they know they're in the power position, and a mob of delusional die hards at 500+ days on market (like this asshole), populating the MLS with their insane wishing prices and demands for nothing short of jackpot-sized prices.

It's a sad state of affairs out there. Realtors I've spoken to believe inventory will start coming back on the market in March (the "seasonal" thing never really made sense to me in SoCal -- sure, in Des Moines I get that people don't want to go house shopping in January, but it's 75 degrees in Long Beach! I would love nothing more than to check out houses on a day like today!). Sure, inventory might pick up in Spring, but the real question is: What types of sellers will they be?
Long Beach number of homes for sale graph

I guess we'll find out.

What are you seeing out there?

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The price was "$299,000" and changed to "$269,000"

Days on Market: 911

NEVER FORGET!

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Well, this is a fun way to start the new year:

The price was "$344,000" and changed to "$299,000"

By the way, this marks the THIRD YEAR on the MLS for this property. There are a lot of notable delusional greedtards in the LBC, but I think this guy, given that he paid $50,000 ages ago yet is still too dumb fucking stupid to price realistically ("I'm not going to just give it away!") and take the money and run, earns the Official RE in the LBC Eternal Shitbird Award:


I think it's especially appropriate given this photo:




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732 N Washington Pl, CA 90813
Price: $344,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 1,064
$/Sq. Ft.: $323
Lot Size: 3,850 Sq. Ft.
Property Type: Single Family Residence
Year Built: 1905
MLS#: S514617
On Redfin: 630 days
Down Payment: $67,000
Income Requirement: $95,000
Monthly PITI: $2,100
Description: HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!!!Historical Craftsman w/loads of charm.Huge Formal LR,original features:hardwood floors,doors & hardware glass & brass doorknobs,kit with 'ice box' cabinetry,mosaic tile counter,coved ceilings,wrap around porch has been enclosed,orig sash windows,light fixtures,french doors.Oversized lot w/alley and street access.'Potters area off kit with washer and dryer hook-ups. Formal Dining room. 1 BR w/original built ins above closet, 2nd BR has double walk in closet. Bath has built in linen cabinet above tub. Tandem gar divided

"HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!!!"

JUDGING BY THE LOOKS OF THIS THING, YOU'RE GONNA NEED A LOT MORE!!!

Sweet mural. GONE!

Sweet kitchen. GONE!

No pics of the one bathroom, so you know what that means...GONE!

This realtor must have graduated from the Shaky McParkinson's School of Photography:



Really? 628 days to fix that shit and your potential buyers still get vertigo from viewing your listing? Clever.

The listing says "No Laundry in Unit" but that there are hook-ups in a "'Potters" area (a euphemism for "out-the-fuck-side"). That must be some kind of mistake.

Because there's no way someone is dumb fucking stupid enough to ask $344,000--nearly TEN TIMES the median income--in this awful neighborhood with no freaking laundry hook-ups in the house.

There's just no way.

Plus, the owners don't have a washer and dryer?! Just the hook-ups? Seriously, who the fuck lives here? The Swiss Family Slobinson?

But hey, at least it's got a "sleeping porch!" After viewing those interior photos, I think I'll take my chances sleeping outside.

This thing doesn't need fixing up, it needs a bulldozer.

This is a perfect candidate for Real Estate Intervention. The owner purchased this 104-year-old lean-to in 1981 for a paltry $50,000 ($47 per square foot, y'all!). In other words, with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, this dump should be paid off in a year and a half.

Considering the interest rate was 17.5% in '81, I'm sure this owner refinanced during the last 28 years. But the point is, there have only been three price reductions in nearly two years. Even with refinances they still must have a truckload of equity--why not just cut the price and walk away with stacks of bubble cash?

Nah, forget that. Just keep doing what you're doing. And by "doing what you're doing" I mean napping on your sleeping porch, washing your loincloth in the bird bath, and making drinking water from your pee.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A New Low

Given some of the ridiculous bullshit I've encountered in my house search, I might have to come out of blogging retirement.

14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802

ASKING PRICE: $469,900
ADDRESS: 14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802
BEDS: 2
BATHS: 2
SQ. FT.: 1,214
$/SQ. FT.: $387
YEAR BUILT: 1953
MLS#: P786112
ON REDFIN: 86 days
HOA: $260
DOWN PAYMENT (20%): $94,000
INCOME REQUIREMENT (3.5 x Income): $107,000
MONTHLY NUT: $2,500
DESCRIPTION: Amazing sweeping ocean views from the main living space of this two bedroom, two bath condo. This secure unit is just steps from the sand and a large communal patio area, perfect for entertaining or watching the 4th of July fireworks. Condo features hardwood floors, updated kitchen, upgraded bathrooms and plantation style shutters. This could be your perfect ocean home.


I looked at this bank-owned condo a few months back and walked away unimpressed. Between the termite damage, filth, poor condition of the kitchen cabinets, darkness of the bathrooms, lack of street parking, community laundry, creaky floors and incredibly wonky layout, I quickly determined there was no way I was plunking down nearly half a million clams for this place.

Apparently I wasn't the only one.

Because after nearly 90 days on market and two price cuts, this thing is still rotting on the MLS. However, while checking out the listing photos I noticed the bank had finally staged the place to make it look more appealing to buyers. My first thought was, Maybe they're finally getting serious about selling!

14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802

Hey, not too shabby!

But then I took a closer look:


Something's off about the lines of the sofa and coffee table in relation to the walls...and the light sources aren't matching up with the rest of the -- wait, what the??

That's right, friends: PHOTOSHOPPED FURNITURE.

I mean, if it wasn't so pathetic it'd be hilarious.

Here is the real photo, with the "enhanced" one right below it for comparison:

14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802
14 5TH Pl, Long Beach, CA 90802

Man, I have so many questions!

First, how long did it take to draw those shadows from the bar stools? That is some painstaking detail work. Second, where did the furniture and decorations come from? Another listing? A Crate & Barrel ad? Third, did the bank actually pay an outside firm for this cut-and-paste bullshit, or does an in-house Loss Mitigation employee just happen to have a passion for it?

I mean, why waste time with all this silliness? If you really want to sell, just lower the fucking price.

I'm sure the listing agent would say, "It's to show the potential of the space." And I would retort, "This has the potential to make you look like a low-rent, gold-bricking idiot."

The bank, which has already lost at least $200,000, is thinking the killer view will stop the bleeding. But that awesome white-water view is not nearly enough to overcome the dilapidated condition and layout disadvantages of this property.

But hey, instead of investing a few grand into actually repainting, cleaning, and staging the property, why not just waste time, money and effort digitally inserting fake paint, artwork and furniture into a listing photo? TOTALLY MAKES SENSE.

And hell, why stop at just one photo? Might as well go all the way. Here, I'll even supply a few freebies...

This original listing photo makes the bathroom look dark, dank and unwelcoming (um, because it is dark, dank and unwelcoming):

But the new version adds a much needed dose of mold-killing sunlight:

And yuck, look at those beater cars and stinky Port-o-Potty in this photo:


A little digital magic and we've really classed up the neighborhood!

I mean, is this where sellers are now in their quest to deny reality? Do they actually think this is going to have a positive effect on how people perceive a property?

I remember when the housing bubble first popped and people were giving away the brand-new Toyota Highlander in the driveway if you bought their overpriced McMansion. NOBODY FUCKING CARES ABOUT SOME SHITBOX YOU JUST BOUGHT WITH YOUR HELOC -- JUST LOWER THE GODDAMN PRICE!

For the record, if in real life this condo actually resembled the fraudulently altered listing photo, $387 per square foot, given the proximity to the sand, might be approaching a decent deal. But as it stands, I think this place requires entirely too much work to command such a premium price.

But hey, instead of putting in a little work to recoup more money at sales time, I fully support banks and listing agents lazily sprucing up listings with photo editing software. Sure, buyers are going to be bummed out that they were misled, but we will at least get a good laugh.


UPDATE: AN EAGLE-EYED READER SPOTTED THE SAME PHOTOSHOPPED FURNITURE IN ANOTHER LISTING. AMAZING CATCH, ANON!

Please please please let this trend catch on.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Argonne, Baby, Gone: UPDATE IV

Anonymous writes:

This house has been in default - NOD filed 1/27/2010 (apx. 14K delinquent). [Trustee Sale] filed 4/29/10. Sale postponed, then I'm sure was eventually cancelled with no new NOD filed. Currently off the market, probably trying to modify $400K 1st TD. Problem is there's still some equity in it so likely will be denied.

Thanks for the inside information, Anon. I actually tried to get in to see this house when it was still on the MLS. They wouldn't even take appointments. Like the vast majority of short sales, it wasn't actually for sale.

From what I've been told, you are correct that they are in the process of modifying the loan. As I predicted in May, they'll play the short sale game and sign up for every government program (HAMP, HARP, HAFA, etc.) to buy some more time and enjoy the free/discounted rent. But what definitely WON'T happen is the bank foreclosing.

It's going to be a long time before we see this place back on the market.

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This rock-biting mongoloid is back on the market yet again. Jesus, bro...give it up already.
Despite the fresh "New Listing" classification, astute Long Beach Housing Blog readers will note that this joint has been around for more than 15 months, begging and pleading for some sucker to pay his ridiculous asking price.

In case you were thinking this refreshed listing would be, well, refreshed, we're treated to the same two useless photos (one of which features the shittiest MS Paint job you've ever seen).
309 ARGONNE Ave, Long Beach, CA 90814
The current listing price of $539,000, while certainly more realistic than the original $610,000 2010 ask, is still clocking in at $610 per square. Yo, I didn't know they relocated the Shore all the way up to 3rd Street!

I'll remind you that this is yet another in the growing contingent of buyers who got in "at the bottom" in Fall 2008 and refuse to believe that they are about to take it right in the devil's onion ring. Assuming he could somehow get this dreamscape of an asking price, his total losses would be roughly$92,000. Yep, 2.5 years of ownership and nothing but a smoldering pile of dust where his bank account once was.

Don't be surprised to see this thing start playing the short sale game in a few months.
Anyhow, good luck dummy! I feel like this time it's really gonna happen for you!

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Ugh.

This dummy is still around?

The listing says "77 days" but don't be fooled -- this thing has been begging for nearly a year with absolutely no interest. Tiny square footage aside, it's obvious that the rabidly delusional pricing is the primary cause of its long, sad tenure on the MLS.

The current wishing price is $595,000, a whopping $5,000 discount since we last checked in last March. Aggressive!

Anyhow, it appears the last realtor didn't work out (probably suggested lowering the price to, you know, actually get it sold...which is exactly what sellers afflicted with My Place Is Special Syndrome -- MYPISS -- don't want to hear) so the new listing agent, instead of doing some actual work, decided he'd just fire up MS Paint and fuzz out the Century 21 sign from the old listing photo:

309 ARGONNE Ave, Long Beach, CA 90814
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
Can you believe this lazy turd?!
Gee, with a consummate pro like that on your team, I'm positive you'll find that full-price buyer during the 2011 Super Spring Selling Season(tm). This year is your year, bro!

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Happy St. Patrick's Day!

The price was "$610,000" and changed to "$599,999"

We're officially below what he paid in September 2008 -- just a scant year and a half ago. After commissions, this will represent a $37,000 loss. And that's assuming this piss-ant price reduction garners a sale.

The bottom was in 2008? HORSESHIT.

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Welcome Patrick.net readers!

And thanks Anon for sending this property in.
Wishing Price: $610,000
Beds: 2
Baths: 1
Sq. Ft.: 883
$/Sq. Ft.: $691
Lot Size: 2,520 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1923
MLS#: P720288
On Redfin: 26 days
Down Payment: $122,000 (20% down)/ $24,000 (FHA, although the loan amount would justexceed the jumbo limit, let's assume you could get a gov't loan)
Income Requirement: $174,000
Monthly Nut: $3,300 (conventional)/$3,800 (FHA)
Description: Beautiful 'Turn Key'home [SIC] in Belmont Heights. Do not waste your time with Short Sales! Standard Sale here. Home boasts hardwood floors throughout home, NEW kitchen with granite countertops, wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, ceramic floor, bay window, recessed lighting, designer paint throughout and french doors to rear patio. An updated bathroom w/ ceramic tile and new plumbing. The garage has been completely finished with drywall, insulated, lighting, electrical & laminate flooring and offers you approximately 190 Sq. Ft of additional space for your office/gym with a french door entrance from the patio. New double paned windows throughout, new washer & dryer, new electrical/plumbing, new air unit & energy efficient water heater. Private patio offers you outdoor living room to entertain or enjoy secluded mornings/afternoons. .. Customized closets in bedrooms. Landscaped to be drought resistant. Award winning school district. Walk to the beach, Belmont Shore, Colorado Lagoon, golf course's [SIC] & parks.

Yet another 2008 loser!

Seriously, what were people thinking buying in late 2008? Don't they read this blog? I wonder if we'll be saying the same thing about 2009 buyers?

It only took this guy 18 payments before he figured out he couldn't possibly afford this place. And now he's looking for an out and is optimistically asking $9,000 more than he paid a year and a half ago, hoping to somewhat mitigate the pain of a -$28,000 loss (all in commissions).

This asking price seems based on the assumption that he perfectly timed the bottom in '08 and the housing market has been steadily recovering ever since.

I guess he doesn't read the news:




Yes, massive government intervention, artificially low interest rates, manipulated REO supply, extend-and-pretend HAMP tomfoolery, and free ponies in the form of first-time homebuyer tax credits have helped to stem the housing free-fall, but a slowdown in price declines is very different than an increase in values.

If you go from losing two quarts of blood per hour to half a quart, you're still losing a half a quart of blood! Slowing down the blood loss is very different from stopping the bleeding, mounting a full recovery, and being discharged from the hospital.

Unless he gets aggressive with his pricing very soon, our misguided seller could easily end up without a chair once the game of Government-Manipulated Musical Chairs comes to a grinding halt. I'd do whatever I could to sell now instead of taking my chances with higher interest rates, the elimination of homebuyer incentives, and more foreclosures on the market (and in the pipeline).

Once government attempts to keep home prices inflated (and, ultimately, unaffordable) run out of steam (or political support, or funding) and home values are allowed to return to some semblance of normalcy, sellers like this will regret not taking a big hit earlier. Because that "big hit" will look like what you find in the bottom of a clothes dryer compared to the massive loss incurred as a result of sticking to your guns and demanding a batshit-crazy wishing price in an worsening selling environment.

Peep the listing history:

Feb 03, 2010 - Listed $610,000
Sep 02, 2008 - Sold $601,000 (7.7%/yr)
May 23, 2008 - Price Changed $660,000
Apr 08, 2008 - Listed $695,000
May 26, 1993 - Sold $192,500

This dude probably thought he was getting a smoking deal in September '08 when he negotiated a 15% "discount" from the original $695,000 asking price. I bet he was quite proud of himself for "stealing it" for only $601,000 ($680 per square foot).

Hey, dummy, 15% off of something overvalued by 50% is still overpaying by 35%.

It's the Men's Half-Yearly Sale analogy: Nordstrom gives you a 20% off coupon and you go suit shopping. You find a tough-looking pinstriped Hugo Boss with a $1,000 price tag. After running the numbers you're thrilled to pay only $800. Wow, a $200 savings! I'd be stupid not to buy!

But you didn't do your homework. And you failed to notice the suit was $700 last week. You see, the night before the sale, the price was jacked up by 30%, meaning a suit that used to be $700 with zero discounts just cost you an extra $100 with a coupon. But, that doesn't matter because buying it on sale "felt" like a better deal. After all, the initial asking price of $1,000 was such a big number, $800 by comparison seemed like a more drastic "savings."

Realtors and home sellers similarly rely on Americans' complete inability to do math.

I know plenty of people who use peak pricing as the yardstick, and compare today's prices to that insanely lofty, easy-money-bullshit-fueled number to feel better about overpaying. What they should be doing is starting at pre-bubble pricing and comparing today's asking prices tothat number. If more people did so, they would realize prices have a long way to go before they are in line with traditional home value appreciation.

Back to the property at hand: the lot is tiny but the location is great. The interior, although cramped, looks pretty nice too and the listing description mentions a decent amount of upgrades and goodies.
The solo bathroom is straight out of Scarface, but it's nothing a basic remodel couldn't fix. You know, because you'll have so much spare cash after making that $3,300 monthly payment.
HORF!

However, the backyard patio looks pretty cool:
And with only 883 square feet of living space, I'm sure you'll be spending quite a bit of time out there to offset the terminal claustrophobia.

I particularly like this photo of the junk accumulating the driveway:
For some reason, the first thing that came to mind was this:
What, you don't see it?
From what I can tell, little bungalows like this rent for around $2,000 a month. Let's be generous and say this could rent for $2,200 given the location and interior quality. So now you're paying $1,100 more per month (or $1,600 more if you go FHA) for "pride of ownership." Does that make any kind of sense?

Knowing that the bottom will arrive when the monthly rent approaches the Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance (there is debate about how to calculate this. Some say not to consider the tax refund because that money will largely be eaten up by maintenance and ancillary ownership costs. Others, mostly commission-based, suggest factoring in what you'll get back in tax refunds, which lowers the "buy" aspect of the rent vs. buy calculation and just happens to make buying more easily pencil out. I personally think the latter approach is dangerous because of the likelihood taxes, fees, insurance, and ownership costs will increase in the future given the impending state and federal fiscal issues), this asking price is way out of line with reality.

How far out of line? By (roughly) calculating pre- and post-tax monthly payments, in order for this to make sense as a purchase the price needs to be between $450,000 at the low end and$510,000 at the high end.

As you can clearly see, $610,000 for this snuff box is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overpriced.

However, I am confident a knifecatcher will step in long before the asking price drops below $510,000, but I'm just pointing out what it would take to make any kind of financial sense and ensure you're not overpaying.