Sunday, January 08, 2006

Deflation showing?

In a recent report, Courtney Love's home went into default and was put up for aution. The report stated that no bids were received. The report stated the debt was around $365,000 in outstanding debt. From the description, it seems that the property should have been able to get well over that amount in appraised value. Yet the report states no bids were received.
A Los Angeles mortgage company owns the historic bungalow Courtney Love bought in the late 1990s, after a foreclosure auction generated no bids."

"WMC Mortgage filed a lawsuit last year in Thurston County Superior Court, seeking foreclosure after Love stopped paying the bills."

"The debt on the house totaled $386,000, which includes court costs, sheriff's fees and interest, said Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Dan McLendon. Love could have prevented Friday's auction by paying off the debt."

"McLendon said he expected some bids after fielding about 100 calls from people expressing interest in the property, likely due to the celebrity connection."

"It really kind of shocked me," he said of the lack of bids. "We anticipated a lot of folks coming out."

"Love, widow of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain, bought the property in 1997 for Cobain's family. In the foreclosure lawsuit, she is named as a trustee of the Courtney Love family trust."

"Love stopped paying the mortgage in December 2003, court documents say. The house had been occupied by Cobain's sister, Kim, who moved out before the auction."

"The house, built in 1903, is on 13 acres bordering Capitol Forest in Littlerock, about 10 miles north of Olympia. It is one of the last remaining structures from the town of Bordeaux, which was demolished in 1941, according to county records, and is listed on the local historical inventory."
What do you guys make of this?

This has the smell of deflation starting to occur. If they could get a single bid at the auction. That is just weird. One of the only explanation I cam make of it, is that it is either indicating deflation and/or the mortgage company is doing some funny business to screw the mortgagee, Love, for more money than they are rightfully owed.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Santa Monican resists pressure to sell

In a recent article, interestingly printed in a San Francisco paper about a real estate story in Santa Monica's Dog Town, Ocean Park area. In the story it discusses how prices of real estate have skyrocketed in the last few years in Santa Monica, especially close to the beach, in Ocean Park area, and how one owner has been harrassed and pressured to sell their place. The owner has refused to sell.

"Early one recent morning, I was standing in my tiny front yard, wielding a hose toward the apathetic flowers on its southern flank. My neighbor Jan walked by and asked, 'Watering your million-dollar yard?' "

" 'Just grooming the estate," I replied, "hoping these guys will show me some love.' "

"As if. The roses and crocuses and spindly yellow things whose name I don't know all exhibit a distinct fear of commitment, with their droopy blossoms and mottled foliage."

"Other people garden; I do yard work. And when your effort is more maintenance than cultivation, you can't expect botanical ardor."

"That's OK; I have other suitors."

"See, I'm the Sally Field of this hot California property market -- all the real estate agents like me, they really like me."

"They don't care that my house combined with my separate office in the rear is only 650 square feet. On a good day. That my bumpy back yard -- the size of a Hummer3 -- supports more weeds than grass, and looks like the place where prairie dogs go to die. That the house is the neighborhood's last original "shotgun" model, which was all the rage for beach cottages at the turn of the century. Last century."

"I have suitors grand and small, from Coldwell Banker to Bulldog Realtors, and they all like to write to me a lot; some days, my mailbox is crammed with three or four of their exuberant appeals, their Market Updates and Ocean Park Sales Reports and SALES ALERT 90405. They all must get the fleet rate on capital letters."

"They keep me apprised of how much that 528-square-foot dump three blocks farther from the beach than mine sold for last month -- $1,060,000 -- and the $1,699,000 they're asking for the "Cape Cod Masterpiece" with "Curb Appeal and Staging Experts" seven doors down my street. If that boxy gray block is Cape Cod, my yard is the Japanese Tea Garden."

"One applicant for my affections -- let's call her Earth Mother -- includes photos of utterly prosaic properties that are 'Great For Owner-User,' although to my eye they have zero 'Curb Appeal.' I have no idea if they have 'Staging Experts' because I have no idea who or what they are. Her epistle is bordered with the prescriptive mantra 'The Best Investment on Earth is Earth.' "

"Then there's Sincere Guy, whose photos are not houses for sale, but headshots of himself, with square jaw, silver hair and the steely-eyed gaze of someone who should be playing a rogue TV police detective who can't quite seem to stay retired. His pitch includes a quote from Abraham Lincoln, 'I do the very best I know how; the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing so until the end.' "

"The smiling Surfer Duo of cute guys might have seduced me even though they didn't spring for a full-color invitation to make beautiful mortgage music together. They vow, 'We Make It Happen,' but they describe their featured properties as 'Dramatic Ocean Park Promontory.' Dudes, I live here; Sixth Street isn't a promontory -- it's barely a hill. To sell my house, you'd swoon 'Quaint! Cozy! Original Beach Cottage!' when what you really mean is 'no dishwasher, smaller than a Sub-Zero freezer, and teardown/land value only.' "

"My favorite petitioner is Theme Guy. He's into branding. His postcards do not depict properties for sale, or recent sales 'In Your Area,' but are practical and fun. His first campaign was, 'Your Recipe for Success in Real Estate,' illustrated with recipes for 'Fiesta Fajitas' and 'Broiled Cod' and some muffin thing I actually saved for my kitchen file. His homey meals were replete with nutritional information and preparation time. A few weeks ago, Theme Guy changed his brand and now he's animal warm and fuzzy: 'Did you know... Dolphins sleep with one eye open?' 'Did you know... A rhinoceros's horn is made of compacted hair?' 'Did you know... An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain?' "

"Then I read the smaller print: 'And did you also know... that moving into your dream home may be easier than you think? Because of my marketing, I often have qualified buyers looking for homes likes yours...'."

"No, you don't."

"Your buyers wouldn't live on this dinky plot of uneven land in a house that is to their current residence as a birdbath is to San Francisco Bay. But in the 100-plus years since my house was born, the neighborhood has grown up, and because a rising tide lifts all boats, because the value of ocean-adjacent property is the New Lunacy, Jan's appraisal is no fantasy."

"You, and your buyers, don't want my house. You're lusting for my listing in this beachy, parking-poor neighborhood because I own a driveway. It's irrelevant that my little lawn looks like a sixth-grader's science project, or that my diminutive dwelling bears some of the original 2 3/4-inch redwood siding. You've never even noticed that, years ago, I pressed scores of children's marbles into the newly poured concrete of the porch because it looks cool."

"Several neighbors recently have exploited this simmering market. Some have sold, and others have torn down and started over, added on, re-tiled and in myriad other ways burnished their investment with accoutrements you don't find in the toy department. Do they have more money than I do, or just different priorities? Do they have more confidence in the endurance of the real estate bubble, or just more muscular retirement portfolios?"

"You, my prodigious pursuers, are hoping I'll catch the neighborhood bug for bigger, better, different, and that you're the one I'll chose to treat the affliction."

"Sorry. I might have the smallest realm in the kingdom, but this land baron is staying put."