Where are the flippers when you need them?

For as much as flippers annoy use because they drove prices up to such dizzying heights, in a healthy market, they do serve a legitimate function. When a property becomes distressed, a flipper can come in, perform the necessary repairs and make a buck or two. This rehabilitates our ailing housing stock and keeps our neighborhoods in good condition.

Lindstrom Front This house is at 4741 Lindstrom Ave., Irvine, CA 92604. The property is being offered on Craigslist for 647,000. See virtual tour video here. Zillow puts the zestimate at $782,126 (for whatever that is worth). A comparable property a few doors down just sold on 11/17/2006 for $732,000. The comp is smaller, but updated inside (it was listed as a rental just before the sale at $2,800 a month). The Craigslist ad says “Comps come in at $750,000–$775,000!” (again, for whatever that is worth). In a healthy market, a flipper would buy this property, and fix some of its problems.

Linstrom YardLinstrom Damage

This property is a mess, but it does not seem that bad off (I am not privy to any inspection info which might change my opinion). It is the kind of property that benefits from flipping. Anybody here want to put their own money and sweat equity into a property during a declining market? If so, follow the link, you might be cut out to be a flipper, and you might help rejuvinate an ailing property. Five years from now when a lot of our housing stock looks like this one, we will be begging the flippers to come back and fix up things; until then, I will enjoy watching their destruction as much as you do.


Update: Check out the funny new Craigslist ad “$647000 call for showing and make urself some money reselling!”

18 thoughts on “Where are the flippers when you need them?

  1. Mr Vincent

    From the listing:
    Irvine Home Must be sold…Contractors dream job…Invest today be wealthy tomorow.

    Desperation has truly set in. This is a 250k home at best.

  2. Markus Arelius

    Allow me, in true Romanesque form, to provide an immediate thumbs down on this property and the buy-one-get-one-free scenic toxic waste dump, otherwise known as their “backyard”.

    And that plumbing problem?
    Those are leaky pipes, people.
    No doubt resulting from the original homebuilder cutting corners back in the Reagan era (1980) using shoddy pipes and materials to make a quick buck.

    They will HAVE to rip out the walls to find the true leak source and then spackle the walls back together. Otherwise they will be revisiting the stains over and over again.
    Could be very, very expensive.

    Lastly, I would second the motion from Mr. Vincent above that this house is, located anywhere else in the nation, worth no more than $240K.

  3. Chuck Ponzi

    Markus and Irvine Renter,

    I too have seen this property. I took a chance and did a drive-by after I first saw it come up on the radar a few weeks ago.

    This is a toxic waste dump. No joke. It’s what people normally call a basket case. A basket case is where there are so many things needing to be done, that there can be no assurances that fixing the proximate cause is going to be sufficient. There may be many, many more underlying issues. The movie “The Money Pit” with Tom Hanks comes to mind. This house might even be ripe for bulldozer fodder.

    This would easily take 100K and 3 months just to flip. That’s a high stakes game when you’re hoping for most to have comps come in at 70K higher and dropping fast, and one that a flipper is sure to lose. In as-is condition, the house is likely worth no more than 450K if you can make a quick flip of it. That means you need to have a few hundred thousand to just make it over the “hump” and make it worth your time and risk. Flipping for flipping sake is a recipe for disaster. Besides, most of the flippers haven’t sold their last one.

    I would have to disagree that this house would be worth no more than $240K. I’d say much, much less. This is a liability. Likely termite infested, wet rot, and structural issues to boot. Tearing out walls? Ha! That’s not the only thing you’ll be tearing out.

    Chuck Ponzi
    Socal Bubble

  4. Chuck Ponzi

    BTW, I should show agreement on the statement “contractor’s dream job” Your contractors will be eating very well after fixing this one.

    From the Money pit:

    “How long until that’s done?”

    “Two weeks”

    Chuck Ponzi
    Socal Bubble

  5. Mexifornia Mortgage Broker

    No wander Fremont went under. This property has two loans from Freemont for a combined total of $800,000 which were generated back in 3/27/06. At $647,000 asking price they need the approval for the short sale from the note holder and I am pretty sure they have not gotten it. This dump is going to sit there for months, not only because it is a dump, but because they are not doing things right. I see a foreclosure in the very, very near future.

  6. IrvineRenter

    Mexifornia Mortgage Broker,

    Thank you for the mortgage info. I saw this owner purchased back in 1990, so there is no reason this house shouldn’t have lots of equity. Some of the bulls have speculated that everyone in Orange County is sitting on mountains of equity. I suspect people like this who have refinanced and/or HELOCed themselves into oblivion are much more common than many think. Sad really.

    If you look through the pictures, you see some interesting things.
    1. These people are suffering from excessive clutter. They need to stop by the dumpster on the way to their new apartment.
    2. They have a chainsaw in the living room. Have to wonder if they are planning to make firewood in a foreclosure.
    3. There is an office with two degrees on the wall, so I assume the owners are well educated.
    4. One of the pictures has a family member in it. It looks like they were sleeping in the living room. The TV was on in the background.
    5. The garage is so full of crap that there is barely a pathway to get through it.
    6. There is a piano covered with cloth with a number of family pictures on top. I doubt the piano will fit in their new apartment.
    7. The back yard is the worst I have seen in Irvine. I don’t think it has been touched since the bought the place in 1990.

    An interesting portrait of the Neg Am, HELOC, Refi fallout.

  7. Mr Vincent

    The virtual tour looks like something out of the Blair Witch Project.

    Yeah, talk about clutter. OMFG!

    That ugly balcony in the front. Wow, I have a great view of the house across the street.

    This is a serious distress sale and should be priced accordingly. I still say its worth 250k, and now that the suckers, uh, I mean sub prime borrowers can’t buy it…..I don’t think a flipper is going to touch it.

  8. EvaLSeraphim

    Ew. How many people were living there? And um … looking at the glazed clay pots in the backyard, were they making kimchi? Mold in the garage, and given that it was built in the early ’70s, there is likely asbestos in the popcorn ceiling. This is a real gem.

  9. Mexifornia Mortgage Broker

    I would expect to see a house like this in downtown San Bernardino or downtown Santa Ana, but Irvine! Things are worse than I thought.

    Run for the hills and ask for more concessions from your landlords because he will conside given the fact that more options will arise for tenants, I guarantee it. I will bet all the equity of my house on it, hold on. Maybe not now I realize that I am upside down with the last HELOC I got. 🙂 Forget it.

  10. OC Hunter

    Hi Irvinerenter,

    I have a request for you. You seem to hit perfectly on most posts and I truly admire your knowledge and senses. It would be a great post if you could shed some light on the NAR’s misleading Median Home Pricing philosoply. I somewhat understand meaning of median prices, however in the declining market where sales and prices are constantly falling, a report came out today that medial in Los Angeles went up 8% and in OC it went down 0.5%. I have people who constantly debate this issue saying that median prices are going higher and higher and they dont believe that prices will come down.

    Could you post an article on this?

  11. biscuitninja

    He he, my evil plan. How about 200k for this house with another 150k to fix in reserve. I’m going to check this out and see what I come up with. But just from the pictures, I see a complete plumbing job. New sheetrock in the upper and lower. New exterior work. 20k+ in backyard work alone. Of course the usual stuff, new carpet, new appliances, etc. I might even keep this for myself for a little while. We will see though, i’m just waiting for a nicer spot.

  12. Pat

    What it is that people have been smoking or drinking in California!?

    It seems to me that people are deluded or have drunk so much Kool Aid that they are beyond help.

    That is a small, nasty house on a postage stamp sized lot!

    On a good day it should be half the asking price…. maybe.

    Its a starter home basically, and in lousy shape.

    Who in their right mind is going to put down 5% or 10%
    (new requirement) and make payments of nearly $4000 per month
    not including taxes, insurance, utilities.

    The level of entitlement and special “we are special cause we’re Californians” Karma is just insane.

    I do not care what comparables are. The structure is not workable
    for the person who’d be interested in this type of minimally average property.

    The perfect storm is about ready to be unleashed in Ca on homeowners and working people.


  13. OC Hunter

    Thanks Irvinerenter, I will check it out. Specially that article being almost one year old, I believe fresh data could really be a egg on NAR’s face on what they claim and how they intrepert Median prices and mislead people.

  14. k.o.

    I pass by this house quite often on my way back from work and never realized it. Right on the corner there of Lindstrom and Yale. Surprisingly, its ugliness was somewhat hidden, but now that the gigantic sign is up there, I can see how much of an eyesore it is.

    That part of Irvine was old when I moved here with my family, over 20 years ago. I went to elementary school next door at El Camino, but most of the homes in that neighborhood are small compared to the rest of the ‘vine. Sorry to say, but I’ve been in a few of the homes in that neighborhood recently and if it isn’t the original owners or those living there for more than a decade, the place is trashed.

  15. wittbelle

    I really enjoyed that virtual tour! I got some great decorating ideas. Instead of putting my toiletry items away in the bathroom cupboard, I could leave them out on a card table or on a distressed bureau tucked against the wall at the top of the stairs. The bedding choices were really edgy! Kind of a “I’m not staying” meets “What’s a duvet?” And there was no shortage of stacked storage containers, giving it that industrial feel. The dual purpose file cabinet/night stand was GENIUS and putting all your garbage cans in one central location puts a new spin on simplicity. They really know how to make a house feel like a home.

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