June 29, 2013

You know what they got? KAWLUMS

It’s been a while since we’ve been sent a MAWBUL KAWLUM heavy house. We miss them so much we were forced to present this one from (gasp) Southern California.

Good thing we just reordered red arrows.


The house itself is hideously overdone in Middle-Aged Movie Executive With Unlimited Budget, including the kawlum-bedecked indoor tennis court that meets US Open requirements. And no, we aren’t kidding. 


We didn’t even know there was a standard for kawlums at the US Open.

Let us know if any US Open Houses you tour this weekend have kawlums. Or tennis courts. Yes, this is your Weekend US Open Thread.

Comments (4) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:01 am

June 8, 2013

Deserted… We mean Desert Home

It’s the weekend! That means Open House Time! It also means we need to come up with some filler article, because everyone’s too busy planning on visiting Open Houses to spend all day commenting on Burbed.

While you visit homes and plan by how much you’ll overbid, here’s a honey for you to handle. It’s just a short drive out of the Bay Area… and out of Northern California… and out of the LA Basin… and out of the Southland. On the other hand, you literally could pay for this house with money you find under your couch cushions with the E-Z Seller Financing!

Thanks very much to Christin whose Redfin Collection “Just Wow” featured this… um… property.

130607-lorilisa-redfin1 LORI LISA Rd
29 Palms, CA 92277

0 Beds
— Baths
400 Sq. Ft.
$23 / Sq. Ft.
Built: 1957
Lot Size: 5 Acres
On Redfin: 141 days
Property Type: Residential, Single Family
View: Desert
County: San Bernardino
Style: One Level, Cabin
Community: Wonder Valley
MLS#: DC13006684

Want a secluded cabin on 5 acres next to open desert? This is the one! Has electric in street. The old cabin needs some work but hey it has got 4 walls up, just missing the room. Also on land is out house in pretty good condition. Old stove/bbq thing that is cool and looks like it could be used, inside cabin are old antique stove and sink. Seller will finance this jewel with 20% down @ 7 % interest all due 5 years. From Amboy Road go north on Meriwether Road all the way to the end then take a left on Lori Lisa Road and there is the cabin on the right side.

Jewel indeed, and all you need is $1,800! Look at all you get, in addition to this awesome listing copy!


But wait! There’s more!


Operators – we mean the seller – is, um, are standing by!  As is today’s Weekend Open Thread! Let us know how deserted the Open Houses were you saw today!

Comments (9) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:02 am

May 12, 2013

How do we know SF Bay Area Real Estate is in a Bubble? Part 712

In today’s installment of Yes There Is Too a Bay Area Bubble 4.0, we present a few signs what it looks like when a region is not in a real estate bubble.  Notice that there is nothing like this in the Real Bay Area.  When we have a recession here, homeowners simply don’t list their properties at a loss from typical RBA overbidding.

Not so in the “Gateway to the Delta.”  Remember, you can’t spell Solano County without S-O-L.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader Tom Paine for shooting us this article.

9 Worst Recession Ghost Towns in America

The Fiscal Times (Slideshow)


Rio Vista, CA

Once envisioned as an 855-home suburb with families populating the grid of freshly paved streets and sidewalks, now the only life you’ll see in this desert development are cows and eucalyptus shrubs. Thirteen abandoned model homes lie clustered in the center of the development, and streets like “Serenity Drive” stretch on past empty dirt lots into the barren distance. Construction was halted in November 2008 when developer Shea Homes abandoned the project.

Photo: Webecoist.com

These three photos below are from that link as well.  Truly stunning, spooky, and sad, these would make great material for Edgar Martins.


Be sure to check out this older story from the Chronicle on this unsuccessful development.


20130511-recession-riovista-statsThere’s more of the death of this development’s boosterism on the Rio Vista Wikipedia page.  The Census data for 2007 predicted the city’s population of 7,800 would swell to 20,000 by the year 2020.  The 2010 Census update mentions no such expected population surge.  Meanwhile, population dropped to 7,300.

This charming graph, courtesy of Zillow, gives you an idea of just what a “recovery” looks like far from the Real Bay Area. This shows the median sale price per square foot over the past ten years.

There are photos of other places on both sites further from exurban Bay Area.  California City (Not Anywhere Near the Bay Area, Hell, Not Even in Northern California) has huge areas that were platted out but never built on.


Just wait until you get to the Florida pictures!

Comments (5) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

December 9, 2012

10 Least Affordable Metros: We Are Number 2. You Are Number 6.

CNN/Money has another one of their Most/Least/Best/Worst/Good/Evil slideshows that could have been presented as a table, but then they'd get ten fewer click-throughs. This time it's one of our favorite regional competitions, for 10 Least Affordable Cities for buying. Actually it's Least Affordable Metros, but it sounds better if they call them cities, even if a couple of them are known locales for multiple Portals to Hell and very few yachts or polo ponies.

10 least affordable cities to buy a home


Looking to buy a home? You may want to skip these places. Prices are either so high or incomes so low that many families can't afford to buy homes here, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.

Anyway, we lost to New York City again, which is just so unfair. This isn't even an SF to Manhattan comparison, so we should have kicked serious butt here. However, California totally owns the Least Coast as far as leaderboard spots, and Washington DC didn't even qualify. We present the results in one easy list, so you don't have to click through their annoying one-city-at-a-time-gee-who-could-be-next-and-if-this-was-so-exciting-why-didn't-they-put-it-in-reverse-order-Top-Ten-List-style?

  1. New York, where 28.5% of homes are affordible. They seemed impressed by $1100 a square foot, too. But they didn't define the boundaries of any of these metro areas, so of course we can (and will) complain we were cheated on geographical grounds. We doubt this was an apples-to-Big-Apples comparison.
  2. San Francisco, 31.4%. The piece laments it's unaffordable all over, because nearby communities are also expensive. Nearby high-priced places such as Sausalito, Berkeley, and… wait for it… Daly City. We swear we are not making this up.
  3. Santa Ana, 43.5%. I kid you not. Perhaps the nearby beach towns are pulling up its results. And Disneyland. Because Santa Ana is not what comes to mind when we think “delightful but so unaffordable California real estate.”
  4. Los Angeles, 44.1%. Because “bunus” hydrocarbons and ozone raise home prices. Seriously, when did LA rediscover the bubbly?
  5. Bridgeport, Connecticut, 44.2%. Look, if you have to tell us what state the metro is in, maybe it isn't really worth mentioning. Just sayin'.
  6. San Jose, 46.2%. Above is the lovely photo they used to feature the Capital of Silicon Valley, probably because the Quetzlcoatl statue made the photog drop a perfectly good camera. Not one other metro had a freeway interchange featured. Not even Los Angeles, which loves its freeways so much they get definite articles. We suspect they're also putting their thumb on the scale by adding in San Benito County.
  7. Honolulu, 48.8%. Houses cost more because of good weather, expensive shipping, and hotel jobs pay squat. But they get a photo with palm trees.
  8. San Diego, 54.6%. Here the filler text spends more time lamenting the glory days of 6% affordability during the last bubble. Well screw you, because we're already on our next one.
  9. Newark, 55.3%. No, not that one, in New Jersey. Although Newark itself is cheap. It's la-di-da luxury locales like Hoboken and Jersey City that cost the big bucks. We're sure it's a complete coincidence that NJ made the list even though the feature author's surname is Christie.
  10. El Paso, 61.7%.This is an honest case of low overall incomes ($41.7K) as opposed to expensive housing ($141K).

Let us know if you find any of these results surprising, or what you plan to do to ensure we never lose to New York or LA or The OC ever again.. Or mention anything you want, because this is Your Weekend Open Thread.


Comments (7) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am

September 16, 2012

Catch current conspicuous country house consumption craze: countless crappers

Today’s story deserves a good long sit and read, followed by a good long sit and think.  Thanks very much to Burbed reader nomadic for wafting this one in.

Wealthy home buyers demand bathrooms; lots of bathrooms

Some mansions have nearly as many toilets as entire blocks in less regal neighborhoods

By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times, March 2, 2012, 6:34 p.m.

120915-bathrooms-center-tubHere’s another way the rich are different: They have more bathrooms.

Real estate brokers who cater to the moneyed say their clients typically want homes that have at least two bathrooms for every bedroom. And with spacious tubs, floor lamps, dressing areas and seating, some bathrooms rival bedrooms in size.

“The bathroom has become the dressing room,” said Bob Ray Offenhauser, a Studio City-based residential architect who routinely encloses the shower and toilet in their own rooms within a room. “They really don’t look much like bathrooms anymore.”

Some mansions have nearly as many commodes as entire blocks in less regal neighborhoods.

Pickfair, the Beverly Hills estate of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, was outfitted with 30 bathrooms in a later overhaul. But the record locally may be the 41 bathrooms boasted by an 18,400-square-foot Mediterranean-style home in Bel-Air that was recently on the market for $40 million, real estate agents say.

120915-bathrooms-swiss-army-toiletThis is an alarming trend coming out of SoCal.  Why would ginormous Southland estates need more bathrooms than the San Jose Convention Center?  Do they all need to do coke privately, but simultaneously?  Is this high-pressure trend going to affect estates in the Real Bay Area?

Discuss.  You may refer to Facebook stock prices to support your conclusion.

This is also your Weekend Open Thread, so feel free to mention any Open Houses you visited, or whatever else you feel like arguing about today.

Just keep the door shut until you’re done.

Comments (19) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

February 25, 2012

Your Weekend Open Thread

It’s time to get out there and look at Open Houses!  Spring Bounce is just around the corner, so you don’t want to miss out on your dream house.

Speaking of fantasies, here’s a find that’s way out of Burbed territory. Some of you could pick up for couch cushion change.  I know, it’s SoCal, but hear me out.  Many thanks to Burbed reader BookingIt for this terrific tenement in Twentynine Palms!

3281 Blower Rd


Super cute cabin on 2.5 acres. Has had some work done. Owner may consider terms.Brokered And Advertised By: INSPIRE REAL ESTATEListing Agent: JULIANNE BEGGS

If you’ve been thinking about simplifying your life, this could be it!  Things couldn’t be much simpler than outfitting this 192 square foot desert domicile.  And if you don’t have enough spare change on your dresser to pick this up, “Owner may consider terms.”  “Bunus”: the ZEstimate is way above the asking price.  Win-win-win!


Redfin also has this property listed, only they give an address in the heretofore never discovered community of WOND, CA. 

This is an Open Thread.

Comments (37) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

January 16, 2011

More Haircutting While Chasing the Market Down

Last Sunday we looked at a feature from Zillow Blog: ten expensive home sales in 2010 from all around the country (but NOT the Real Bay Area).  Today we take another look at more hideously high-priced homes across the nation, only these 12 housing tumors still haven’t sold.

This Luxist article ranks the lucky nominees by price reduction in dollars (not percentages) taken along the way.  I put the listings in the correct order (the blogger had one in the wrong place), and added one more property that came out on Luxist after the list was published.

Best of all, we have a San Francisco entry this time, so we’ll take an extra good look at that offering.  Even in the RBA it’s possible to overprice something.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#1: Albermarle House Charlottesville, VA

Original Asking Price: $100 million (October 2009)

Reduced Asking Price: $48 million (February 2010)

Current Asking Price: $24 million

Haircut So Far: –76% ($76 million)

This behemoth in the Blue Ridge Mountains has 25,000 square feet, 45 rooms (including 8 bedrooms and 13 baths), but all the furniture and art has already been auctioned off, so sorry!  The 907 acre grounds include the Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards (and that is also on the block).  Even places like this can get foreclosed on, but their loss is your gain!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#2: Henry T. Sloan Mansion – New York, NY

Original Asking Price: $64 million (January 2008)

Current Asking Price: $39 million (November 2009)

Haircut So Far: –39% ($25 million)

6 FL, 18267 SF, 15 BR/17 BA, 11 FP, 18 E 68th @5th, TAXES $79K, MAKE OFFER, SELLER DESPERATE.

“The owners have a real need to sell in the first quarter of next year, or sooner,” said Lawrence J. Selevan of Chesterfield Faring, a financial adviser to the owners. “They need to raise the capital to take care of other issues.” – New York Observer, 11/10/09

The current FBs bought their property for $20 million in 2007, then bought out all the tenants, one by one, for another $11 million, so they could turn the apartment building back into a townhouse.  The F-word has already been used and lis pendens was filed last January.  This property has the distinction of being on the 2009 list as well.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#3. Museum Tower Penthouse – San Francisco, CA

Original Asking Price: $70 million (August 2008)

Current Asking Price: $49 million (November 2008)

Haircut so far: –30% ($21 million)

Many properties have their own website when they go up for sale, but few use a description rather than an address: Museum Tower Penthouse.  You won’t find this place on the MLS, either.  But you will find it on the map, and Third and Minna doesn’t look like the RBA part of San Francisco.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>The owner doesn’t seem to be in much of a hurry to sell, with the price not budging in more than a year.  But this is not only the most expensive condominium in San Francisco, it may be the most expensive apartment anywhere, and $49M is one of the highest asking prices for any property in SF.

Then again, not many of those other properties are 20,000 square feet.  That includes 2900 sf over four terraces, a 2500 sf master suite, 5 other bedrooms, 7 total full bathrooms and 4 half baths, four fireplaces, a 13-seat cinema, an office with conference room, and parking for six cars.

According the Chronicle piece linked above, the owner lives for the most part in Hillsborough, so you may want to think about getting a country house in addition to this little pied-à-terre.  Perhaps your buyers’ agent can get you some kind of buy one, get one half off discount.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#4: Porcupine Creek – Rancho Mirage, CA

Original Asking Price: $75 million (March 2010)

Current Asking Price: $55 million (August 2010)

Haircut So Far: –23% ($20 million)

This resort masquerading as a private residence sits on 249 acres, 248 of which are a golf course.  The 18,400 sf metastasized mansion with 16 bedrooms isn’t large enough for visitors, as the lot boasts eight two bedroom guest houses as well.  The Yellowstone Club is selling (or should we say liquidating) to meet their creditors’ demands, and the bankruptcy court in Montana must approve your offer.  Divorce and lawsuits seem to be the cause.  Aren’t they always?

This home was originally ranked #2 on the list.  Why the author thought $20 million was more than $25 million is left as an exercise to the reader.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#5. Rocky Oaks Estate – Malibu, CA

Original Asking Price: $65 million (October 2009)

Current Asking Price: $49 million (November 2010)

Haircut so far: –25% ($16 million)

This 5 BR/5 BA hilltop lookout encompasses 37 acres, with not one foot of beachfront.  Kind of defeats having that Malibu address, doesn’t it?  As a consolation prize, you get a vineyard.  HUGE PRICE REDUCTION!  Only on market 459 days!  HURRY, THIS ONE WON’T LAST.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#6. Val Kilmer’s Pecos River Ranch  – 30 miles east of Santa Fe, NM

Original Asking Price: $33 million (early 2009)

Reduced Asking Price: $23 million (October 2010)

Current Asking Price: $18.5 million CASH (January, 2011)

Haircut so far: –46% ($14.5 million)

Even the website heading has Val Kilmer as part of the title.  And what a ranch, 5200 acres plus an additional 640 acres of grazing rights, right in the middle of the homicide capital of the Southwest.  The sales conditions are spelled right out here: you get all furnishings and appliances not owned by employees or reserved by seller.  That could mean none of them.  You get all the mineral rights not previous reserved – oops, same loophole.  In addition to the land you also get a 5500 sf main house with 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, 2 living rooms, and, get this: 2 kitchens.  You also get 2 guest houses, a manager’s house, and the usual equestrian facilities.

Just for grins, the IRS has a half a million dollar lien on the property.  And for another knee-slapper, Kilmer put the property up last October on Craigslist.  Final indignity: In 2006, Kilmer attempted to sell an 1800 acre parcel of the ranch, or a bit less than a third of it, for… $18 million.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#7. Michael Jackson’s Rented House – Holmby Hills (Los Angeles), CA

Original Asking Price: $38 million (April 2008)

Reduced Asking Price: $28,995,000(August 2010)

Current Asking Price: $23.5 million (October 2010)

Haircut so far: –46% ($14.5 million)

Yes, MJ was the tenant here, not the owner.  It’s just your basic 17,100 square foot 7 BR/13 BA French Chateau designed by Richard Landry off Sunset Boulevard.  Has the usual guest house and private cinema.  Ho hum.  Last sold for $18.5 million in 2004, and may very well sell for something a lot closer to that.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#8. The Razor – La Jolla, CA

Original Asking Price: $39 million (May 2008)

Reduced Asking Prices: $32 million(August 2010), $28.5 million (June 2009)

Current Asking Price: $25 million (February 2010)

Haircut so far: –36% ($14 million)

Perhaps the only home on the list with any architectural interest, The Razor was designed by Wallace E. Cunningham, with floor-to-ceiling windows set to take in the ocean views.  It’s 11,000 square feet, with 4 bedrooms, 5 baths, an 8 car garage and the obligatory guest house, set on 3/4 of an acre.  It also has a private entrance to Black’s Beach.

This is the extra house discovered Tuesday, after Luxist already published their 11 price cuts piece.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#9. Sea Lane Drive – Malibu, CA

Original Asking Price: $55 million (July 2010)

Current Asking Price: $45 million (December 2010)

Haircut so far: –18% ($10 million)

Never mind the 11,000 sf house with 7 bedrooms, 8.5 baths, guest house, theater.  Yawn.  Forget that it’s on 6.2 acres.  Meh.  No, this insane price is for the 339 feet of Malibu beachfront.

Do you know who this house belonged to?  Max Palevsky.  He died in May, so the house is for sale.  He founded some snack company that made chips.  They even have an office in Santa Clara!

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#10. The Webb Project – Montecito, CA

Original Asking Price: $42.5 million (August 2010)

Current Asking Price: $32.5 million

Haircut so far: –24% ($10 million)

Yet another 6 BR/8.5 BA house with theater, guest house, and two three-car garages on five acres. Enough, already. Enough.

Its address seems to be 000 East Mountain Dr.  Can any of you sleuths find the date the price got reduced?  I’m having no luck with Redfin, which I like for its price history section. This is the only listing where I couldn’t get dates from either Redfin or real estate blogs.  It was still $42.5 million this October, from my one hit on a Montecito site.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#11. Flying Dog Ranch – Woody Creek, CO

Original Asking Price: $56 million (July 2009)

Current Asking Price: $46.2 million (October 2010)

Haircut so far: –18% ($9.8 million)

245 acres, next to National Forest, and close to Aspen.  Other than 11,000 sf, 9 bedrooms, 7 baths, there’s next to no details about the house. The value really is in the land, and the seller assumes the interest is only in the land, too.

<img missing due to burbed’s terrible admin skills. working on restoring>#12. Villa Colina – Knoxville, TN

Original Asking Price: $21 million (June 2010)

Reduced Asking Price: $19 million (September 2010)

Current Asking Price: $12.5 million (November 2010)

Haircut so far: –40% ($8.5 million)

You get so much more for your money once you leave the coastal nexus of CA-NY-DC-FL.  You lose so much less when you can’t sell it, too.  Percentage-wise, though, you may take a pounding.

If you can figure out why someone built an Italian Villa in Knoxville, Tennessee, then you’ll can figure out how to sell it to the next victim, too.  This effronterous edifice is 37,000 square feet.  That’s right, it’s almost an acre of house, with 8 bedrooms and 11 bathrooms.  The garage has room for 5 cars.  Just like those Southern California ego trips, it boasts a guest house and a cinema.

And speaking of Things One Really Doesn’t Need In Tennessee, this house comes with… a doorman?  The buyer should send him to property #2 where he’ll feel more at home.

Comments (6) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:03 am

January 9, 2011

We Wuz Robbed Again

Zillow Blog recently had a post covering “Some of 2010’s Top Real Estate Sales.”  Yet not one of them was in the Bay Area, let alone the Real Bay Area.  The ten featured home sales were mostly in Southern California, with one at Pebble Beach, one in Manhattan, and three in Florida.

Something has got to be wrong with those statistics.  The most expensive home in the article was a Bel Air beast, and another Bel Air battlement checked in at #5.  There were also two from Malibu, the aforementioned Pebble Beach, plus Santa Barbara.  Florida had disasters in Delray Beach, Naples, and Highland Beach.  (No wonder Florida real estate is hurting even more than California, at least we know how to spell del Rey over here.)

I was able to find several properties that sold in 2010 over $10 million in the Real Bay Area, and we’ll talk about those places another time.  Instead, there’s something more of interest about this Zillow piece:  How bad were the haircuts on each of these houses?  When the seller thought they could get $20 million, how much did they actually get?  Are we talking five percent?  Ten?  Fifteen?  Zillow didn’t feel this information was all that important, but we at Burbed know that watching the sellers chase the market down is the biggest part of the fun.


#1. Le Belvedere – Bel Air, CA

Original Price: $85 Million (February 2009)

Reduced Price: $72 Million (November 2009)

Sale Price: $50 Million (June 2010)

Haircut: -43%

This house leads to all kind of speculation since nobody is sure exactly who owns it.  It has since been sold to 2 limited liability corporations.  The 11 BR/14 BA 48,000 sf home (yes, 48,000 square feet) requires a staff of 15 and is on a 2.2 acre lot.  You can pick up this Bel Air listing for $53 million (9 BR/21 BA) if looking at this picture is making you think, “You know what?  I really want an insanely large and expensive home in Southern California.”

Redfin had this listing for a 7 BA/15 BA 35,000 sf house on 2+ acres, which Zillow says is the same one, but key details differ.  A 10/15 did sell for $18 million last January, but it was less than half the size of La Belvedere.


#2. Carbon Beach Gem – Malibu, CA

Original Price: $57 Million (March 2010)

Reduced Price: $47 Million (June 2010)

Sale Price: $36,969,000 (October 2010)

Haircut: -35%

This 8 BR/12 BA is 12,785 sf and has a mere 3/4 acre lot.  However, that lot includes 180 feet of Malibu beachfront.  Plenty of instant equity, this place has a Zestimate of $39,733,000!  While the first house write-up above freely speculated over who the owner is, not a peep as to who bought or sold a home on “Billionaire’s Beach,” where “you could run into celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and David Geffen.” Or in this case, older ladies who go to lots of fundraisers.  Property Shark didn’t indicate who the new owner was.

image#3. Malibu Colony Beach House – Malibu, CA

Original Price: $23,950,000 (April 2010)

Sale Price: $21,475,000 (September 2010)

Haircut: -10.3%

Zillow points out that this house is only 5,000 sf, so we’re talking $4,295 a foot.  A half acre lot but only 60 feet of beachfront, and that’s 60 more feet than any house in Silicon Valley will have until the Pacific and the Bay rise a couple dozen feet.  The property has not one but two guest suites and a gym, separate from the main building.  Given that exterior has all the charm of a Santa Cruz 8-plex motel, that’s an improvement.  Plus, you might run into Tom Hanks, Bill Murray, and other celebrities even older than I am.

Property Shark doesn’t have the most recent sale record, but the seller lived in Tiburon.

image#4. Pebble Beach Jewel – Pebble Beach, CA

Original Price: $25 Million (March 2010)

Sale Price: $18.75 Million (May 2010)

Haircut: -25%

Almost twice as large as the last beach house, this 6 BR/4.5 bath on 1.3 acres has all the charm of a Presidential library, minus the historical documents or the gravitas.  Unlike Malibu Beach, here you have “Out one set of windows is the surf crashing along Pebble Beach’s craggy coast where harbor seals come to visit.”  Evidently out the back windows is some golf club or something.  Guess any celebrities worth running into would be out there clubbing the seals.

Seriously, does Zillow think nothing in the RBA has sold for more than $10 million last year?  Or just that they weren’t trying very hard?  I found this place in San Francisco that went for $15.5 million, and this one in Woodside.  Someday we’ll talk about those…

image#5. Bel Air Mediterranean – Bel Air, CA

Original Price: $24,500,000 (February 2009)

Reduced Price: $19,750,000 (July 2009), $18,950,000 (February 2010)

Sale Price: $16,250,000 (May 2010)

Haircut: -34%

Want it?  It’s for sale again, showing that flipping houses hasn’t gone out of style in some places.  Listed for $19.5M this October, only 5 months after it sold for $16.25M, the price was cut a whopping 3.8% to $18.75M a month later.  This is a 13,000 sf 7 BR/11 BA behemoth on 0.85 acre, plus the listing agent is married to a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills.  I swear I am not making this up.

Given that the listing doesn’t mention a speck of improvement that the new owner put in, anyone want to predict their exit price point?

Bonus feature: The property was foreclosed on during bubblicious 2004 for $700,000, before the current structure was put in.

image#6. Dramatic Delray – Delray Beach, FL

Original Price: $24,900,000 (July 2008)

Reduced Prices: $21,900,000 (November 2008), $18,950,000 (June 2009), $21,500,000 (July 2009), $18,950,000 (September 2009), $18,975,000 (February 2010)

Sale Price: $12,650,000 (April 2010)

Haircut: -49%

Nothing says dramatic real estate crash like Florida real estate, and here’s a spectacular example.  Best of all, it’s up for sale again at $19.5M with the exact same agent, showing some people are very slow learners.  At least they have over 14,500 sf of house to learn slowly in, with 6 bedrooms and a WTF 7.3 bathrooms on 2.13 acres.  Florida real estate is definitely different than anywhere in the US.  Where else would a 16 foot elevation be described as “commanding”?  Features 160 feet of “frontage” but onto what isn’t clear.  Perhaps the 16 foot towering precipice above the Atlantic.

image#7. Upper East Side – New York, NY

Original Price: $17,000,000 (September 2009)

Reduced Price: $15,900,000 (January 2010)

Sale Price: $13,150,000 (September 2010)

Haircut: -23%

Gordon Gekko might have said that “Greed is good,” but in New York City, stock market traders have another slogan about making money: “Bulls make money, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.”  And this “grand 20-foot wide mansion” sold for $10.5M in March, 2008.  Yes, you too can pay eight digits for a five story house that literally has the breadth of a double garage, and it doesn’t even come with one!  Boasting 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, 8000 square feet and a lot size of (get ready) 2000 sf (0.05 acres), and around the corner from an actual Park Avenue address.

The current owner is now a floplord, looking for a tenant for 109 E 69th St.  The rent?  $48,000 a month.  Hope they don’t expect three months’ security up front.

In case you’re interested, that makes this property have a rent ratio of 22.8.  Typical rent ratio for Manhattan is well over 30, which suggests some pig is about to get slaughtered again.

image#8. Santa Barbara Villa – Santa Barbara, CA

Original Price: $19.5 million (August 2008)

Reduced Price: $16 million (March 2009)

Sale Price: $13 million (September 2010)

Haircut: -33%

Whew!  That was too long outside of California.  Between the old people of Florida and the New York cabbies who enjoy speeding up to love-tap pedestrians in crosswalks, that was a definite dollop of cognitive dissonance.  Face it, high prices should stay in California where they belong.  Why would anyone pay lots of money to live in a city where 16 inches of snow shuts the whole place down?

No doubt the Zillow blogger who put this piece together was so relieved to cover a California property that s/he neglected to notice the original (and much higher) list price for this house.  Maybe this one item was farmed out to Tech Gal, the Peninsula real estate agent notorious for her sales to listing price ratios based on reduced asking prices.

Speaking of the house… This 8592 sf home thinks of itself as a Tuscan villa, but it’s got a modern tax bill to greet you.  A 5 BR/6.5 BA main house plus a 1 BR/1 BA guest home on the 3.4 acre grounds guarantee you’ll keep a gardening staff busy all year.

image#9 Gulf Coast Grace – Naples, FL

Original Price: $16.5 million (May 2009)

Reduced Price: $15.9 million (July 2009)

Sale Price: $13 million (January 2010)

Haircut: -21%

This over 9000 sf house on Naples Bay is situated on 3/4 of an acre but is still in the sinkhole of Florida real estate.  Even Zillow looks at last year�
��s sales figure and comes up with a Zestimate of $11,013,000, suggesting that this palatial estate lost another 15% of its value merely by spending all of 2010 in Florida.  Once more, the Zillow blogger missed the original price, misunderestimating the amount a Florida property can plummet.

image#10. Living the High Life – Highland Beach, FL

Original Price: $18,900,000 (May 2009)

Reduced Price: $15,950,000 (July 2009)

Sale Price: $12,650,000 (January 2010)

Haircut: -33%

If a second marriage is the triumph of hope over experience, then buying a 12,000 sf house on 0.95 acres of Florida real estate for 67% of the original asking price is the knifecatcher’s exhilaration.  This brain-damaged fool has put the place back on the market for $14,950,000, just six months after taking delivery.  Given that Zillow has depreciated the previous property by 15%, I would calculate that this Adventure in Real Estate is going to lead to another 28% trip down Equity Burn Esplanade.

Comments (49) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:06 am

October 23, 2010

Family Breaks Into Former Home, Moves Back In, Claims Foreclosure was Fraudulent, Lots of Legal Maneuvers

Thanks to a burbed reader for sending this in.  I know it looks like another TL;DR, but trust me, this one’s worth it.

Family reclaims foreclosed house, Simi clan moves in after home sold

By Stephanie Hoops, Ventura County Star
Posted October 12, 2010 at 2 p.m., updated October 13, 2010 at 6:58 a.m.
Photos by Karen Quincy Loberg, VC Star Staff

simi_family An 11-member Simi Valley family who claimed they were wrongfully evicted after a foreclosure forced their way back into the house over the weekend in a move meant to block the new buyer from moving in.

Jim and Danielle Earl and their nine children used a locksmith to help retake possession Saturday, despite an investor who spent $697,000 to purchase the house at a foreclosure sale in January and remodeled and sold it to people ready to move in Tuesday. The two-story house in the 5800 block of Mustang Drive has nearly 4,000 square feet, six bedrooms and 4.5 baths.

Police officers were on hand when the Earls changed the locks Saturday but did not intervene. The Earls’ lawyer, Michael Pines of Encinitas, held a news conference to announce the family was taking back the home and reportedly filed a complaint against the real estate broker and investor when police arrived at the scene.

Pines said the Earls are not concerned about the possibility of being charged with trespassing.

The Wall Street Journal covered this story too, and they said we may be seeing more of this.  Now it’s not enough for a bank to go through through all the steps of foreclosure and eviction on determined deadbeats.  You never know when they’ll turn around, hire a lawyer and a locksmith, and move right back into the house you sold out from under them in good faith! Your team of robo-signers worked hard forging a pile of documents and backdated every single one of them, and all for naught.

image Actually this story gets more and more complicated depending on which version you read.  But the basic facts are, the Earl family bought the house in 2001 for $539,999.  Being Southern Californians, they considered mortgage equity withdrawal a religious rite rather than a guaranteed method of ruining their credit and their future, and owed $880,000 on the first mortgage, when they were finally shown the door of their former residence.  Total debt and unpaid costs on the property was over a million dollars, according to foreclosure documents.

The house was bought by investors for $697,000, who put $40,000 of improvements into it (including the mandatory granite countertops) and flipped it for $800,000.  With the new owners scheduled to take possession within a few days, the Earls (both parents and 9 children) broke in and moved their stuff back.

A number of items are in dispute, which is where the fraud claims come in.  This may be a question of which party are the bigger slimebuckets, as absolutely nobody comes out looking good in this story.

The Earls had some financial difficulties, and in trying to set their mortgage right, say that a catch-up payment of $12,500 they made to GRP Services was never credited to their loan.  Danielle Earl says she then stopped making payments because the loan had been repeatedly reassigned to different lenders, she believed, fraudulently.  “They clearly didn’t want us to catch up,” she explained.  Their lawyer elaborated:

The Earls’ fraud claims are twofold, [Michael] Pines said: The loan was originated and serviced with improper documents, and the foreclosure and eviction were created with new and phony documents. He said there were multiple instances of people signing the foreclosure documents who were not authorized to do so.

Foreclosure documents says GRP Financial Services owns the loan.  The Earls’ mortgage was from WaMu, which was acquired by JPMorgan Chase, and went to B of A the same day the Notice of Default was sent.  The Earls claim Chase never properly acquired their loan and therefore had no right to sell it.  Not surprisingly, the group acquiring the house doesn’t see it that way.

“They broke in and are proceeding to squat in there,” listing agent Chris Garvin of Troop Real Estate, told HousingWatch. […]

Garvin was not only the listing agent but also the acquisition and sales partner for his client, Conejo Capital Partners, the investors. He says that he purchased the home in good faith for $697,000 in January on behalf of his client, at an auction on the courthouse steps.

In June, a judge refused to seat a jury for trial, claiming it was another delaying tactic by the Earls.  Conejo had been trying to get them out of the house since February.

In 1994, the Earls have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and they began two serial and voluntary Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings after their house was sold at auction  The judge claimed the bankruptcies were yet another delaying tactic.  Their liabilities exceed one million dollars, with creditors including both the IRS and the state tax board.

At the close of the trial, however, [Conejo attorney Stanley] Yates said of the whole matter: “I will say this, that the (Earls) are an indefatigable source of stalling and red herrings.”

The Earls are asking for damages of over one million dollars on the fraud allegations, and claim this means they own the house free and clear plus additional money owed them.

Good luck with that.

Comments (30) -- Posted by: madhaus @ 5:04 am