Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday America. Yes, I know it is a day early, but I didn’t want any of you to miss this listing because you were out enjoying your holiday activities. I would also like to wish this listing a happy birthday. It is more than one year on the market.

Sierra Roja Kitchen

Highest Asking Price: $2,100,000


Current Asking Price: $1,980,000

Purchase Price: $742,000

Purchase Date: 11/7/2003

Address: 5512 Sierra Roja Road, Irvine, CA 92603

Beds: 5

Baths: 4

Sq. Ft.: 3,600

Lot Sq. Ft.: 5,833

Year Built: 1970

Stories: 2

Type: Single Family Residence

View: HillsWTF

County: Orange

Neighborhood: Turtle Rock

$/Sq. Ft.: $583

MLS#: S446818

Status: Active on market

On Redfin: 369 days

Unsold in 90+ days

On Redfin, “Custom home rebuilt- High quality building materials include crown mouldings, stone flooring, Dramatic entry, Large Dining Room, gourmet kitchen, walk-in pantry, granite, stainless steel appliances, convection double ovens, stone work, recessed lighting, A/C and heating. Giant Master Bedroom, walk-in closet-fabulous bathroom forever hill view. .award winning schools (university high)NO MELLO ROOS-LOW ASSN $91.00/MO -OWNER ANXIOUS. .JUST COMPLETED”

I’ll bet the owner is ANXIOUS. Perhaps they could lower their anxiety by lowering the price a bit more…



This listing needs to be nominated for the WTF Hall of Fame. I have never seen a listing that left me so perplexed, so speechless that my mind can’t even comprehend it…

I am in such shock, I can’t even find the energy for a rant…

I sit here staring at the computer, my mouth dropped in disbelief…

I see the asking price; I see the purchase price, and it just does not compute…




Is this listing for real? I need to check another source… Zip Realty… There it is… That is really the asking price…

(after 10 minutes to compose myself…)

I need to create a new category for this listing. What do you call a price that is even beyond WTF? This seller is clearly suffering from a kool aid overdose.

Kool Aid Man

This seller is locked in a housing bubble time warp. This listing hit the market on June 24, 2006, almost the exact peak of the bubble here in Orange County. It appears to be empty, so add a year’s worth of carrying costs to the investment cost. You would think after failing to sell for a whole year — a year which saw declining home prices — this seller might consider lowering the price a bit. Personally, I think it might be a tough sale even if the asking price were cut in half, but what do I know?

This is pure speculation on my part, but a couple of weeks ago when I profiled Turtle Ridge, there were a couple of new posters who seemed to take issue with my analysis. One of these posters has the same first name as the owner of this Turtle Rock property: Coincidence? Let’s judge by the comments.



I wish to offer special thanks to JoonB who emailed me about this property, and to squareround for the complete pricing data below:

5512 SIERRA ROJA ROAD, Irvine, CA 92603**

Price Reduced: 10/17/06 — $1,850,000 to $1,795,000

Price Reduced: 12/05/06 — $1,795,000 to $1,749,999

Price Reduced: 03/27/07 — $1,749,999 to $1,685,000

Price Reduced: 05/10/07 — $1,685,000 to $1,625,000

Price Increased: 06/27/07 — $1,625,000 to $2,100,000

Price Reduced: 06/28/07 — $2,100,000 to $1,980,000

55 thoughts on “Happy Birthday

  1. Darin

    w00t! Love the Kool-aid man!

    C’mon now everyone, let’s experience the fruity flavors of (electric) Kool-aid and take an out-of-this-world price trip.

  2. biscuitninja

    Would that happen to be magic cool aid? 😆 for those of you old enough out there….

  3. anon

    Very very funny. I love it. You hit the nail on the head every time. Thanks for all your work.

    I am very jealous of all those great declines you have down in Irvine. I’m located in Santa Monica and prices have held up for the most part so far. Suggesting they could come down is worse than killing another human being…shocking! oh the horror!

  4. SoCalwatcher

    A 300% profit in a year?? There better be a cellar full of gold bars to justify that increase. This seller is looking not only for a greater fool, but the GREATEST FOOL of all time.

  5. ochomehunter

    Seller may not lower the price as he may have cashed out and invested in another property/ies, he will be forced to foreclose and thats when we will probably see a big drop.

  6. IrvineRenter

    That is what is even more strange about this listing: there is no debt on the property. This is a cash deal. I think the seller must have been drinking some of the magic kool aid they are talking about above.

  7. Kevin_SanDiego

    But folks,… granite! It has granite!!!

    Don’t HOMEOWNERS® deserve 300% w/granite!

    (I am not a REALTOR®, in spite of the liberal use of exclamation points!)

  8. squareround

    I visited this house. It is completely rebuilt but not very comfortable. Current market price should be arround 1.2 million.

  9. SD_Seaside

    “On Redfin, “Custom home rebuilt- High quality building materials include crown mouldings, stone flooring, Dramatic entry, Large Dining Room, gourmet kitchen”

    That’s a gourmet kitchen?? WTF, 2Meg and all I get is that POS that looks like a handy man’s special from The Home Depot. Come on, the realty clerk must have screwed up the photos … tell me that’s a picture from a $350K Condo, not a $2M Gourmet Kitchen. Someone tell me they made a mistake, please.

    IR, I want to commend you on a wonderful blog, very informative and highly entertaining. The Roll Back, WTF and Knife Catcher “specials” are a real stroke of genius. In that vain I’d like to suggest another “category”. Something like “Stupid is as stupid does” where you high lite anything as drastically over priced and over hyped as this little gem that actually changes hands at near asking price. I know the market is slow, but there are still reports of some higher end houses changing hands for astronomical prices … it might be entertaining and informative to see a couple of these STUPID transactions. Just a thought … thanks again for the blog, it’s a “don’t miss” for me every morning.

  10. Robert

    Big fan of the Irvine Housing Blog. It is amazing how many people bought properties in 05 or 06 and think they can still make a huge profit. How many years will these properties sit on the market at an insanely inflated price. I know you only do stories on Irvine, but Newport has more WTF listings by far. There are so many properties that are over priced by at least 50% that one has to wonder if the Newport drinking water is laced with Kool Aid. Check out some Newport properties on redfin and compare to 05 and 06 sales. You will die laughing.

  11. monkey_about_town

    I think 742K is about the right price for this property at this time. I suspect this is an advertising for a sale fraud (i.e. cash back) as one of the scheme suggested by Jim in San Marcos over in BMIT.

    For 1M, I expected better than this and the owner is asking for almost 2M.

    May be a “head” doctor (that is a psychiatrist not a psychologist) had prescribed the house owner some special drug that even better than drinking kook-aid.

  12. No_Such_Reality

    I highly doubt it is completely rebuilt. It would have been cheaper to tear everything down but one wall and rebuild with a modern plan.

    This looks like a standard California garage on a modifed A-frame. The owner “rebuilt” each room, but it appears they left the original cruddy floorplan in place.

    For having 3600 feet, maybe they can show something other than a cramped kitchen with center island leaving two letting 3 or 4 foot galley-way walkways. A fireplace room that looks to measure 10×15? Maybe 10×20 with a walkway on the side. And what may be a dinner area L-shaped around a wall. Oh, and a beautiful picture of a long narrow master bath.

    Someone needs to beat the REALTOR® with a marketing 101 fun-bat until they get it!!! Obligatory!!!!!!! since I mentioned REALTOR®!!!

    $2.1 Million is not too much!!! It is only half of the lifetime earnings expected for being a physician!!!

  13. Irvine_Native

    That sure is a small kitchen for such a large home! I’ve seen 1500 foot places with bigger kitchens. What’s up with that.

  14. Pioneer10

    Umm WTF is up with that price increase?

    Not selling when we’re cutting prices so we’ll jack it up over the original asking price? Completely non-sensical

  15. Irvine_Native

    742k puts this place at $206 per foot. $206 per foot in Turtle Rock might be a bit too wishful.

  16. Aboot

    I was going to ask, why did the price jump 400k? Did the Canadian demigod Holmes on Homes come in there and spruce the place up?

    Say it with a boston accent: This homeowner is a “retahd”

  17. Masterofdamoney

    I recently visited this home with a realtor who I am training. She had no knowledge of the listing price on this home at the time.

    After we walked the house, I asked her what she thought the listing price was. Her answer was “It should be priced around $800,000.00, but I bet they’re asking $1,000,000.”

    When I told her it was listed a $2 mil, she started laughing. “I would never even bother to show this home to a buyer looking in the $2 mil range. Do they think it’s on the beach?”

    She makes me so proud! ..sniff…

  18. JimAtLaw

    You may be right on that fraud invitation thing… heck, if you bought for $2M and took $800k in cash back, you might even be able to carry those monthly payments for a few years!

    Think of it as free rent until the cash runs out. Hmmm….

  19. JoonB

    I saw this home too when it was $1.625 million. It is very noisy because it backs up to Shady Canyon Drive. And it’s definitely not a gourmet kitchen.

    I have been looking at NB homes as well (Harbor View, Seaview, Eastbluff, etc), and I agree with Robert above- NB realtors in this area all must be in collusion with one another. Regardless of the home size or upgrades, practically every home in Harbor View (Port Street houses) are the same price, $1.995 million. I am waiting for someone to capitulate!

  20. speedingpullet

    They lost me at “Gourmet Kitchen”……as idiotic a bit of Realtorspeak as ever was, and it drives me bonkers whenever I see it.

    A gourmet is a person who enjoys food. This does not imply that they actually cook it, just that they enjoy eating it.

    Logically then, a ‘gourmet kitchen’ is a place where you prepare gourmets for eating.

    I know that the housing situation is bad, but condoning cannibalism, nay modelling a room especially for it, seems a little bit far-fetched, even for Realtors ™.

    Why not call it a ‘well-equipped kitchen’ (though, technically, its not actually ‘equipped’, as it only has fixtures, not appliances in it) or even the less henious ‘Cook’s Kitchen’. At least the apostrophe in Cook denotes that the room belongs to a cook, not that the cook may end up being an entree that is cooked in that kitchen….

    Sorry, that particular bit of Realtorese always rubs me up the wrong way.

    And, as the place itself, I have to wonder if the sellers don’t live in Santa Monica, or at least think they do. That kind of pricing is the norm over here in Westside LA at the moment. My favourite is the ‘teardown’ on a 5000 sq ft lot, sold ‘as is’ for 1.8 million – there are several of them on ZipRealty at the moment.

  21. Incredulous

    When you look at the Redfin listings photos something strange shows up – there are 11 pictures but most are duplicates of each other. There are three of the same shot of that smallish fireplace room.

    Perhaps the listing agent, when doubling down on the photos, decided to double UP on the price? How come there are no bedroom photos – after all, there are five bedrooms in the “manse.” For over two million, I would want to view photos of every wall and cranny in the place!

  22. lendingmaestro

    This post makes for a great laugh today!!! Thanks!!

    I think there is little chance here for purchase fraud. Purchase fraud works during manic price appreciation. In today’s market there is no way that house could appraise for that much money. If it did, the bank would deny it and the appraiser would be put on an exclusionary list. Now that the game is up, appraisers are more willing to be conservative with their values. They can’t risk being black-listed.

    I think this is just a mindless retard that thinks by having an original list price of 2.1 mil he can sell it for 600k off at 1.5mil. Problem is, this thing isn’t going to sell for anywhere close to that. It looks like something the Brady Bunch would live in.

  23. Kris

    I was just wondering where everyone gets info on how much a particular property ending up selling for.


  24. speedingpullet

    Zillow has previous sales prices, but it can take a few months to update.

    I believe that local county offices also have the information, but as I’m just a looky-loo at this time, I don’t know how/where to access it.

  25. buster

    Why bump the price up? To later lower it dramatically, hoping to spur some interest. This thing has sat so long it has listing rot. A lot of agents have an automatic program that e-mails new or newly reduced listings to potential buyers they have met over the years. If you’re on the list, you get an automatic listing sheet when a new listing appears or the price drops. So they bump up the price, let it sit for a few weeks, then drop the price and all those e-mails automatically fly out. And the recipients go, “Hey, look, might be a bargain since they just lowered their price by $600,000! Let’s go take a look.”

  26. buster

    Geez — kids. Go “Google” Jim Jones and Peoples Temple. You’ll get it. It’s also a cheap fraternity drink made with Cool Aid and Everclear. Now go “Google” Everclear.

  27. Masterofdamoney

    I can look it up in MLS… do you have a particular property you are curious about?

  28. Masterofdamoney

    I think you’d be very surprised about this…

    I’ve seen some insane stuff go through smoothly just like this…

    All they need is 1 good sold comp and a shady appraiser/broker combo.

  29. SoCalwatcher

    It is a place to eat your “gourmet” take out food or the left overs from the all nighters you need to pull at the office to pay for the place.

  30. Patience

    Can anyone explain why the association fees for condos in Turtle Rock are so high? On the order of $300-400. Is it because the units are generally older and might need more repair?

  31. Masterofdamoney

    That home is not sold as of now. The realtor placed it in ‘Hold – Do not show’ status on 6/28/2007. The projected activation date is 7/7/2007 (next week).

    Maybe the people are having a big 4th party? Or everyone (realtor included) is out of town?


    Price is still ranged 799-819K.

  32. Major Schadenfreude

    I don’t know about you guys, but I think a “walk-in closet-fabulous bathroom” is a cool feature! You walk into the closet, take off your clothes, put them on hangers and then use the fabulous toilet. When your finished, you put your clothes back on and walk back out of the closet.

    You’ll probably want to keep the closet door closed after you’re finished though because I don’t think it has a fan.

  33. Irvine_Native

    The homes are 30 years old now. They require replacement of all wood exterior siding, new roofs, termite repair, wood rot, paint, mailbox repair, driveway and street replacement (the streets are private, not city), etc. Even with $400 a month, they still don’t have the reserves to do the needed repairs. For example, the garden glen tract in TR just had a $12,000 special assessment to do repairs and they also raised the monthly fee.

    Home ownership is expensive! High HOA on old tracts or high Mello Roos on new. Pick your poison.

  34. SMF

    FYI, saw a property once that had indicated that it was an all cash deal. Ended up that the owners (flippers) had bought it ‘cheap’, HELOCed OTHER properties to pay cash for this one. So this could still be an owner trying to recoup their investment.

  35. Darin

    HAHAHA! Can you imagine having english as your second language and reading some of these redfin listings. You eat gourmets, you undress to go to the bathroom, Vikings cook your food. “forever hill view” – Irvine has hills that go on forever?!

  36. MMG

    “It should be priced around $800,000.00, but I bet they’re asking $1,000,000.”

    now that’s one smart cookie.

    for 1 mil, means some one making in the 250 to 350k range, they would have alot of options other than a 70s house.

    in my opinion, Irvine will be hit hard when all is said and done. a slow process but at some point, money will be harder to get and people will think twice about what they are paying for.

  37. William E. Jones

    It is clear that the WTF award understates the magnitute of hubris to which these owners have fallen captive.

    I propose a new category, and perhaps we should have a contest to name it. It is above and beyond WTF. My name for this award is the “Hunter S. Thompson What Were They Taking” Award (HSTWWTT).

    Obviously someone was on something when the prices for this listing were being thrashed out. I am not sure if it was the owner or the realtor, but I am willing to wager it was both.

    By the way, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia has a house in Aspen listed for $135,000,000 or maybe $145,000,000, I believe. Perhaps his agent on that deal is listing this one as well.

  38. speedingpullet

    No, it means that you’re glued to that particular window, looking at a hill.


  39. Trooper

    “All they need is 1 good sold comp and a shady appraiser/broker combo”.

    You know, the above quote struck me….. perhaps we should all watch this and if a transaction does go through, report it for investigation. These guys need to be careful now because states are starting to prosecute.

  40. tonye

    This is (as I recall) a model 5 on the Broadmoor. In stock form they come in at 2450 sq feet.

    These are not true five bedroom homes but four bedrooms with a large den over the garage and a master bedroom behind the kitchen downstairs. 2.75 bathrooms.

    This homeowner went for the square footage but left the walls on the original kitchen stock. This reminds me of another one of my neighbors who went also for size over quantity.

    Big, Huge mistake.

    When you see a house rebuilt like this then you have to really question the priorities of the reconstruction and start to wonder where they cut corners behind the walls? Electrical, HVAC, vent size, insulation, etc…

    Those are the kinds of things that truly raise the value of a home after a rebuild: quality and livability.

    The pictures of this home show a dark tiny kitchen with no counter space and no island and off the shelf cabinets. If you’re gonna ask for 500++ bucks per square foot you better have a fully custom kitchen with some big name brand stuff throughout the house.

    As it stands, I think that the poor quality of the remodel detracts from the home rather than adds.

    I’d say this house is worth no more than 1MIL because it needs LOTS of rework.

  41. Mr Vincent

    Backyard too small. Bad position of house in the tract – headlights from cars at night hit the house.

    It did not sell for the reduced price, so now they raise the price? HAHAHA! Yes, i sense a cash-back deal coming soon. Potential for fraud with this house.

  42. WaWaWeeWah

    While you’re at it, you should start reporting all sales in the last few months “for investigation,” because if anyone is buying at these prices, it must be fraud! And even though none of us are parties to these transactions, aren’t we all victims because affordability has been so negatively impacted?

  43. Major Schadenfreude


    That’s a good idea about investigating every sale for fraud; not just because it is illegal and hurts people, but also because it is real easy to do with so few sales happening now!

  44. Sue

    It’s part of the myth. If you somehow get a fancier, bigger kitchen, you or your spouse will somehow be inspired/empowered to make better, more gourmet food.

    Not really true of course. Although I miss my BBQ … that did make a difference…

  45. monkey_about_town

    Thanks for this comment. I was not so wishful afterall, am I. I was about right on the target. 742K is about right to offer. A few more negotiaton and depends on how much one wants this house. I have learned not to so too much emotional attachment to any big item purchase especially for cars and houses.

    Hear not evil, See no evil, Speak no evil, and Know no evil monkey

  46. shady

    There’s a castle down the street from this that has been under construction for a year and a half. It’s at the corner of Sierra Casa and Sierra Mia.

    If you are driving down Shady Canyon, you can’t miss it, as it protrudes prominently over the wall. Anyone know what the story is with that?

  47. LoveMeSomeTurtleRock

    I think I remember seeing this house some time ago. I don’t think it impressed me – at least not in a good way. I think it is way, way overpriced. I hate cheap remodels.

    Having said that, I think Turtle Rock will eventually go even higher than it is today. It is a premium location with a solid trend of rebuilding – much like Newport Heights and Harbor View. It should track slightly behind those other two areas. It’s all about the rebuild. Driven through Newport Heights lately? Where once was a 1,000 sq. ft. shack is now a 5,000 sq. ft. masterpiece. Newport Heights is permanently more expensive.

  48. biscuitninja

    Upon rereading this article, I think the owner may have taken ALOT of money out of the house. So they are probably WAY over their heads in debt. Only time will tell.

  49. CrashHappy

    Hey masterofdamoney,

    At least you and your realtor-in-training are drinking LESS kool-aid!!!


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