WTF-Were-You-Thinking Prices

When I am looking for flips to profile, I look at many properties. Most of what I find is priced near to what the current market will bear. In short, the seller and the realtor are at least trying to sell the home. However, sometimes I will come across properties where the pricing is so ridiculous that I laugh to myself at the stupid greed of my fellow man.


Shadenfreude, or joy in the misery of others, is why we feature failed flips, and it is part of the fun of this blog; however, as I have noticed myself laughing at the embarrassingly foolish asking prices of amazingly greedy sellers, I wanted to share that experience with the rest of you.

With the series the Knife Catcher Award, we are featuring flippers who put a property for sale within 6 months of purchase. The people foolish enough to knowingly attempt a flip in this market deserve a special honor. In this post, we are introducing a new honor: the “WTF Price Award.” To be awarded this honor, a seller’s asking price needs to be higher than a “wishing price.” It needs to be so high that I laugh to myself when I see it (plus it helps if there are comps to prove it.) From now on when you see the “WTF” symbol in the post, you know this is a special property which has earned this unique award.

Rustling Wind Back 2Rustling Wind Back

Asking Price: $905,000IrvineRenter

Purchase Price: $159,500

Purchase Date: 3/1/1979

Address: 17 Rustling Wind, Irvine, CA 92612

Beds: 3

Baths: 2

Sq. Ft.: 1,860

Year Built: 1978


Type: Condominium

View: City Lights, Park or Green Belt, Trees/Woods

County: Orange

Neighborhood: Turtle Rock

$/Sq. Ft.: $487

MLS#: S488161

Status: Active on market

On Redfin: 8 days

From Redfin “One of a kind! Absolutely spectacular! Rebuilt from top to bottom. Overlooks Nature Preserve and city light view. Top of the line everything! You have never seen anything like it! Professional gourmet kitchen w/ hand selected cherrywood cabinets, stainless steel appliances, Crema Bordeaux granite counters, extended self-closing drawers, 900 lb. pantry, recessed lighting, crown molding, Pella & Anderson windows and doors. Designer baths. When only the best will do!”



This is not a flip. Below is this units competition:

Rustling Wind FrontRustling Wind Kitchen

Price: $869,000


IRVINE, CA 92612-3210

Beds: 4

Baths: 2.5

Sq. Ft.: 2,855

Year Built: 1978

Stories: 2

Type: Condominium

View: City Lights, Hills, Park or Green Belt, Trees/Woods, Other

County: Orange

Neighborhood: Turtle Rock

$/Sq. Ft.: $304

MLS#: S471024

Status: Active on market

On Redfin: 125 days

Unsold in 90+ days

So here we have two condos in the same community. One is a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath home upgraded with granite tops etc., and it has been on the market, unsold, for 125 days at a price $45,000 lower.

WTF, are this seller and realtor thinking? If the bigger, better house is not selling at $304 / SF, how is this house going to sell for $487 / SF?

There are “wishing prices,” and there are “WTF-were-you-thinking prices.” This is one of the latter. I am tempted to go see this unit just to ask the seller, “Are you joking?”

13 thoughts on “WTF-Were-You-Thinking Prices

  1. anon

    Even though I have never really been to Irvine and don’t intend on living in Irvine, I want to thank you for this blog. Your posts are hilarious and your analysis is great. Sellers like this can only sit for so long until they realize that they need to cut the price or else take it off the market. Keep up the good work.

  2. oc-conservative

    Don’t be fooled by the “Home Sales Soar” headlines today of new home sales.

    Behind the headlines, the median price was the lowest on record. And the national data was heavily skewed regionally, in that the NorthEast was UP 43% while the West was DOWN 25%.

    In addition, the 1st quarter of 2007 is on pace for 1.3% GDP.

    Bottom line:

    – sales are showing increases, only if prices are lowered substantially (duh?!)

    – the housing market is starting to take hold on the economy. the current downtrend will put us in a consumer led recession by 2008 if things don’t turn around.

    – homebuilder stocks were unchanged after being up on the news. in other words, the news was nothing new or substantially good. things remain the same – the housing market sucks, and no matter how you skew the sales numbers, the housing market still sucks, and there is no sign of that changing.

  3. LAEF2

    Maybe its a typo in the ad? 605K puts it at 320$/sqft

    What would have been 15% higher than the peak value?

  4. IrvineRenter

    I hadn’t thought of that. It is possible. Of course, it has been on the market for over a week, and nobody caught the error, so it probably is the true asking price.

  5. No_Such_Reality

    4 Rustling Wind doesn’t seem to be on MLS (via Redfin or Zip) anymore.

    Are these condos detached SFR condos or Condos. The 4 Rustling Wind looks like it might be a townhome/condo. The 17 Rustling doesn’t have an outside picture to let us know. Anybody got the local scoop on wall sharing? I know the patio is minute.

    As a second note, did you guys start working with Kontera for advertising revenue?

  6. IrvineRenter

    This listing must have just gone off today. It was there this morning. Maybe the $304 SF price got someones attention. Either that, or after 125 days, the seller gave up.

  7. zovall

    It looks like 4 Rustling Wind sold on 5/16/2007 for $865k according to MLS. The listing shows that the original asking price was $929k. So even the bigger, more upgraded unit sold for LESS than the final asking price. Both of these are attached condos in the Vista tract.

    re Kontera: Yes, we just started working with them. If the ads are too annoying and there isn’t much revenue, we’ll drop them.

  8. No_Such_Reality

    Re: Kontera, I just noticed the double underline. Not annoying, although they did grab words you’d typically link off.

    Still wondering on the condo/townhome/SFR-zero lotline thing. Pricing could readily be explained between townhome/SFR-zero.

  9. Lost Cause

    Yeah, IrvneRenter, I like you savvy and smirky (WTF) remarks, even though I would never live in Irvine. I think you would go wild in Huntington Beach, where the bums eat right out of garbage cans behind million dollar condos. Your head would spin. You would never run out of WTF.

  10. fumbling

    I’m actually considering moving to Irvine possibly in the next couple of years, I check out this blog religiously, thanks for the info and the WTF laughs! Seriously, this blog is going to help me make very well informed decisions when it’s time to make the move.

  11. Neighbor

    I just stumbled onto the Citrus Turtle Ridge Flip blog and (1) I can’t believe you people have this much time on your hands, and (2) you have it all wrong about the original owners of 35 Hidden Trail. They were our neighbors and they bought the house to live in, not to flip. Life happens and the guy WAS relocated, the house didn’t sell before they had to move so his company bought it. So–have fun with the conspiracy theories, but you are completely wrong on this property. And (perhaps more important), what do you care? I hope life happens to you one day and you decide you have better things to do than conjecture about the motives and financial acumen of people you don’t know.

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