Knife Catcher Wanted

By request…

(all right you Chipmunks! Ready to sing your song?

-I’ll say we are!


-Let’s sing it now!

Okay, Simon?


Okay, Theodore?


Okay, Alvin? Alvin? ALVIN!


Christmas, Christmas time is near

Time for toys and time for cheer

We’ve been good, but we can’t last

Hurry Christmas, hurry fast

Want a plane that loops the loop

Me, I want a hula hoop

We can hardly stand the wait

Please Christmas, don’t be late.

The Christmas Song — Alvin and the Chipmunks



139 Treehouse Front 139 Treehouse Kitchen

Asking Price: $1,324,998IrvineRenter

Income Requirement: $331,248

Downpayment Needed: $264,999

Purchase Price: $962,000

Purchase Date: 12/17/2003

Address: 139 Treehouse, Irvine, CA 92603

First Mortgage $769,342

HELOC $500,000

Total Debt $1,269,342 + Neg AmGourmet Kitchen Award

Beds: 5

Baths: 4.5

Sq. Ft.: 3,049

$/Sq. Ft.: $435

Lot Size: –

Type: Single Family Residence

Style: Contemporary

Year Built: 2003

Stories: Two Levels

View(s): City Lights, Hills, Has View

Area: Quail Hill

County: Orange

MLS#: S511977

Status: Active

On Redfin: 38 days

From Redfin, “Back on the market. Buyer take over existing loans. .view side. .Gourmet Gas (5 burner cooktop) Granite kitchen. Stainless steel appliances. .2 convection ovens+microwave. .Enormous walk in pantry. Giantfamily rm/cozy fireplace. Downstairs bedroom and full bath. Wood floors thru out downstairs. .Extra lg. lgrm & DR. 2nd floor plush carpet. Fabulous master/retreat(or 5th bedrm) Separate oval tub & big stall shower. 3/4 bds. up+loft. The builder states plan 3 is 3049 Sq ft plan 2 is 2841 sq. ft. $275 mo. mello”



Buyer take over existing loans? Whoa! Think about what is going on here… This seller has taken out a negative amortization loan with a 3.6% teaser rate that is about to recast. She has also taken out a $500,000 HELOC to cash out her downpayment and likely fuel some consumer spending. Now that the bills are coming due, she wants someone else to come in and pay them. Unbelievable!!!

(I feel like such a realtor 🙁 )

Any of you want to overpay for her depreciating asset so she can pay off her bills? I will pass.

Mortgage Equity Extraction

141 thoughts on “Knife Catcher Wanted

  1. AZDavidPhx

    What was this seller’s original down payment? Does this seller earn 331,248? Wow, talk about pillaging the village coffers on this one. I don’t think that people like this should be allowed to escape debtors prison in 7 years. An extended sentence (maybe 15 years) is probably applicable here in cases like this where the offense is this egregious.

    The house certainly does not look like it should be worth more than 400K.

    Looks pretty cramped in all of the pictures. The kitchen looks about the same size as the kitchen in my apartment. Is all of the square footage in the wine cellar?

    The view is nothing special.

    The house sits very close to the street almost in McMansion style. No diamond studded driveway fence?

    The house looks like every other house on the block.

    You can shake hands with your neighbor through the bedroom window.

    Enough turn-offs for me to wonder WTF these people were thinking.

    Does have a “granite kitchen” though. I know that is worth a half million dollars these days.

  2. lee in irvine

    The seller simply has ZERO chance.

    The seller should just stop making the payments, and wait for the bank to force her out. Take the hit, then start over. The longer she waits for the inevitable, the longer she’ll wait for the recovery.

  3. FairEconomist

    3000 square feet is pretty big. Those pictures look like a small townhome! Maybe they only took pictures of parts of the house they don’t use because the rest is too much of a mess? And did you catch that they have not one, but *two* copies of the Quail Hill sign in the gallery?

  4. Larrygg

    Check out the range hood. It looks like the same one I had in my crummy apartment I was renting a while back. $1.3 Mil huh? Good luck.

  5. AZDavidPhx

    Yes, Quail Hill must mean a lot to someone in the know.

    Personally, “Quail Hill” sounds a little Sesame Streetish to me, but oh well.

    Are you also trying to tell me that for a million dollars, I don’t get my own room of treadmills? I have to use the community gym?

    240.00 HOA fees. Nice. Where do I sign up?

  6. Diana K

    “Buyer take over existing loans”

    Holy cow! Who do they think would actually agree to this? Even a knife-catcher would have to know better by now.

  7. former_irvine_resident

    I’m not sure I would want to live in a subdivision with a herd of miniature riding cows. WTF is that picture doing on the listing?

  8. Diana K


    In the graph, it looks like it’s differentiating from refinancing any previous loans & any 2nds or 3rds.

    Am I looking at that right?

    Why would they separate when it amounts to the same thing?

    Unless the cash-out refi side includes the original note?

  9. AZDavidPhx

    How about the kitchen table? You could probably fit a couple of Hungry Man frozen dinners and maybe a fork or two.

  10. AZDavidPhx

    The local park that is probably never used as anyone with a family to feed can’t afford this.

    Most likely is used by the locals to walk their dogs.

  11. dataguy

    The asking price is one thing; those don’t make me laugh anymore.

    I always laugh at the taking over payment option.

    You can’t really have a bigger act of desperation.

    Perhaps it’s the best way to find the greater fool.

    Key assumption made: someone with bad credit but a good income might bail the seller out.

    When you provide this take over payment option it is an admittance to the fact that the house is not worth the asking price.

    I think listings that have this option mentioned are not actually looking to sell the home. They know that bankruptcy is immenient. There is no way they will sell the home at a price the bank could agree on. The only option is to find the guy with bad credit and a good income who really REALLY want’s a house…. good luck.

  12. IrvineRenter

    I don’t know exactly how they calculate MEW. Their methodology is consistent year to year, so the trend was toward rampant equity extraction as prices rose.

  13. George8

    Disaster awaits this one. Carrying costs: tax $13180, HOA $240/month and mello $275/month. Just these three is $19,360 a year.

  14. GavriloPrincip

    I wonder if this posting will draw another nastygram from listing agent and owner Greg Oranges. If you recall, he got very irate back in August over IR’s post “Stepping Down” featuring another of his listings.

    This was the first of his many delightful comments on that thread:

    “Comment by Greg Oranges, Quail Hill Community Assn., President
    2007-08-02 14:33:36

    You want the TRUTH on real estate – contact a Realtor! – I saw 112 Stepping Stone yesterday and it is not bad – it is a short sale – good luck – Nothing compared to this one>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>You want a great property in Quail Hill – call me for a private showing of 91 Stepping Stone – it is deluxe! Best location and upgrades of any Casalon on the market. Buy a house and get a life!

    Greg Oranges
    First Team Real Estate”

  15. ice weasel

    You see this is where I, however slightly, start to grin whenever someone talks about the insanity in pricing of Irvine. Back in the day Irvine was the flatlands crotch between the 405 and the 5. Now it’s moved “into the hills”. Apparently this luxury home is perched on a hill high enough to allow her to see her neighbors’ tile roofing. Wow.

    And the pictures are terrible. The whole place looks small, cramped and cheap (nice vanity lights).

    If this is a million dollar home in Irvine then cheers to those willing to sink their money into it. Once again we see the absolutely deluded nature of this market. How many people making 300 plus large a year have a quarter of a million cash to put down on this thing? And even if there was a huge pool of people willing to do it, why?

    Oh, and nice backyard.

  16. dataguy

    disaster? you think anyone is paying these? the owner definitely isn’t

    these people made out like bandits

  17. GavriloPrincip

    Now, I visited 139 Treehouse in the summer (when it was for sale for a lower price), and Adrienne Oranges told me that they owned it, and it had been their personal residence until they moved to another part of Irvine. Can someone with access to public records confirm this?

    This could get interesting.

  18. dataguy

    This house is clearly over valued; but I would caution you to think that there are not wealthy people in OC who can afford this home and who would not buy it around $900K.

    This is like the conservative person who can’t believe how someone can afford a $20K wedding dress or a $200K car.

    These people exist… whether or not you can imagine it or not. I don’t think a conservative person will ever be able to “afford” a home like this in the OC: 3,000 sq. ft., 5 bed / 4 bath, view, etc.

    A home like this is for an entrepreneur. There are plenty of these in the OC. Some are wildly successful with huge cash flows. Others fail…. but for everyone one that fails a new one comes into to take there place at the table.

    A home like this is not for the conservative corporate type.

  19. Mr Vincent

    Another detached condo. No lot at all, and of course, they dont list the lot size. If you want to play catch with little Johnny, you have to drag him to the assoc park.

    The neighbors house is so close that any noise is amplified. I would not buy this place for this reason alone. I mean look at the first pic of the front. The windows of the neigbors are a handshake away.

    Only good thing is that no-one is directly behind.

  20. John

    Yep. Not even a 5 burner cooktop in a granite kitchen would make me want to take over those loans. Good grief.

  21. Slugster

    Is these “take over” deals common for SoCal?
    I am watching the SoCal/Arizona circus from a St Louis-area town, 50K pop.

    Last spring I began to see a few signs for houses around, said things like “$3K and take over payments”, or $4K,,, or $5K,,,,

    This area is NOT a high-end or bubble area, yet these people are so stuck they can’t even pay the transaction cost, even with a willing buyer. Or maybe they need the cash to get into an apartment–whatever… but I am 38 years old, lived here most of my life and haven’t ever seen this before.

    These deals might have been out there before, but they didn’t put it on a sign and stick it in the front yard.

  22. Kim

    112 Stepping Stone was listed for $629,900 in August when it was featured on IHB. The original list price in July was $639,900.

    Some here have asked for updates on properties featured in the past…the current listing price is $538,000.

  23. ipoplaya

    First installment of this year’s taxes was paid on time, 12/7/07, in the amount of $6734:

    Parcel No. 481-111-11
    View Original Bill (See Bill Disclaimer)
    Legal Description N TR 16304 BLK LOT 88 U
    Tax Rate Area 26-073
    Roll Type Secured
    This bill was generated on 10/01/2007 (also known as the enrollment date).*
    Installments Delinquent Date Status Amount Due Remarks
    First Installment 12/10/2007 PAID $0.00
    Second Installment 04/10/2008 NOT PAID $6,734.38 Until 04/10/2008

  24. zoiks

    Not that a blog like this needs another doomsayer, but I don’t think most people realize how screwed the local homeowners are.

    Think about how much you make. Probably the visitors on this site are reasonably high income. Now think, with all that money you make, what a struggle it is to save money – for retirement, for investments, for a nest egg. With the cost of living these days, saving money is an epic feat. Look at the money left over every month after taxes (Fed + state), rent, IRA contributions, cable, gas, electric, gasoline, food, clothing, medical, daycare, dental, furniture, phone, internet service, DMV and car taxes, smog checks, car maintenance. Then throw in a little bit for fun, like movies, vacations, eating out, maybe (god forbid!) a boat or RV. There just ain’t much left! Renting helps, of course, but still it’s a struggle.

    My household makes great income, but the costs do make it a struggle to keep saving. But save, we do. We are very conservative about spending, and find deals on everything we get.

    Now remember that most of these FBs and serial refinancers have little control over their spending habits. As this example shows, they are paying huge sums every month to finance their American Nightmare lifestyle. For what? For the same stuff that we renters get, but for half the price. And we can save the rest, assuming we can control our own spending habits.

    Money is flowing very rapidly away from OC households. The house ATM has an “out of order” note taped to it. Rest assured there are a great many people in OC, SoCal, California whose costs are well beyond their means. Most of those are “homeowners” who are going to go down one of two paths: compelled separation of their homes by either sale or foreclosure, or they are going to be making very big payments on these homes for longer than they would want to know. There are no two ways about it.

  25. buster

    Yes there are SOME people in OC who could afford this home. Not plenty, but some. And they already own or rent houses in Laguna or Newport.

    What about the “new entrepreneurs” and their hoards of cash? Well, they want to show off their BLING with a capital “B.” And Irvine tract homes just don’t seem to have much “Bling” appeal. Yeah, the smokin’ hot supermodels will be just streaming in to party at this crib…if they can squeeze past the neighbors’ minivans and giant inflatable snow globes from Lowes.

  26. buster

    I’m in! I’ll take over payments (on the FIRST only) at 80% of the original loan amount. The banks can eat the negative amort and the HELOC, but they should be used to it by now.

  27. Priced_Out_IT_Guy

    Perhaps they’re just organic vegans and blend all of their food and pour it into a glass. No forks required.

    You’re certainly not going to do any real cooking with that white apartment hood unless you want to stink up the entire house and enjoy repainting the ceiling every 3 months.

  28. Priced_Out_IT_Guy

    …because successful entrepreneurs totally want to live in mediocre overpriced track homes.

  29. dataguy

    so they paid $6734 out of their $500K HELOC… they still made out like bandits

    do you think the owners might have a few more just like this?

  30. JimmyJohnson

    “Buy a house and get a life!

    Greg Oranges
    First Team Real Estate”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA ROFL !!!!!!!!!!!!

    Gawd, these phoney Realturds just DONT GET IT, do they?

    Hey Greg, try getting on your knees instead, you’ll get better results….


  31. Purplehaze

    Greg and other realtors:

    Potential home buyers do not owe you or the OC economy a dime. We have worked hard for our money and I definitely know how I have earned my dollars pay check by pay check without living off someone else’s dime and prentending to be rich like the rest of OC. I tell you everytime I meet a homeowner who bought in the bubble years especially first time buyers I am grinning ear to ear. I am so glad that I did not participate in the mad herd mentality dash for real estate.

    All that the realtors are proving by their actions is that they are a bunch of liars and will stoop down to any level to sell a home – even if it means lying to a potential buyer against unsurmountable evidence of an impending housing crash in the coming years.

  32. NanoWest

    ………… about 4 years a million dollar home will be near the beach in Newport. That will force the value of these types of places down to about $600K.

  33. NanoWest

    I might take over the payments if the Realtor professionals that are selling it will work for me for the rest of their lives as servants. They would need to clean, cook, wash, grocery shop, and all of the other chores that they are qualified to do.

  34. dataguy


    Using gross rent multipliers at $600K would put equivalent rent at:

    190 GRM = $3150
    160 GRM = $3750

    you could be right, but that sounds way too low to me for a 5 BR / 4 BA, 3000 sq. ft. home in quail hill…. granted the pictures make it look like a 2 bed / 2 bath condo, I’m taking the bed/bath/sq.ft. data at face value.

  35. mark

    But I don’t get it. You can’t just “take over” some else’s loan. Every mortgage note has a “due on sale” clause that calls the note should a sale occur. I guess a lender could agree to a take over? Really, it might just be the lender’s best option…

  36. Alan

    I’m with buster,

    you can ask $3,700/ month but in reality, finding tennants willing to pay this is harder than you think, you place will sit vacant for a long time with neg cash flow.

    If I was going to rent for $3700/month I’d be in Newport too.


    $600-650 K at bottom.

  37. mark


    I would bet that the commenters on this blog are all highly educated. I would even bet that a third have graduate degrees. That would also place the vast majority of IHB commenters above the Irvine median income of $85K. They also share the common belief that there are many goals in life that cannot be achieved if too much of that income is devoted to housing.

    I share your disbelief in how people can make these decisions. But I think we should acknowledge that we are in the minority. We are outnumbered. There are far more people/Americans who live paycheck-to-paycheck with no eye toward their financial future, than there are people investing 20%+ of their incomes and refusing to spend more than 25% of their incomes on housing.

    These people keep the economy humming along, but aided by illogical lending have also inflated housing. I try to just be grateful for the good these people do for my investment returns.

  38. dataguy

    I agree, but given the way developers developed land here…. the only option is to move out of the OC if you want to play catch little johnny for under $1M.

  39. Pete

    Another “home” that looks inhabited. No one ever lived there, probably.

    So many houses, condos, dwellings, etc.. built on speculation and never lived in. Waste of materials, waste of energy, waste waste waste …. McPOS, mega this, ultra luxuous that … blah blah blahhh

    Meanwhile, even the middle class keeps struggling to find/keep a decent place to live and raise a family. Capitalism is truly working well, and we are #1 .. not

  40. MMG

    600k when all is said and done. :mrgreen:

    if we do go back to regular lending standards, people with that kind of income and downpayment will be very picky on what they buy. with realestate losing value, it does not make sense to just buy any McPOS in Irvive. some homes will command a higher value depending on design, location, etc. but this one—–GOOD LUCK.

  41. Buyer in 2010

    people in irvine spend outside time at the mall, they don’t spend it in the backyard. that’s why no one here really cares too much about how big it is.

  42. AZDavidPhx

    Good point. If you work 3 jobs to pay for this house, you probably don’t have much time for cooking.

  43. dataguy

    I can do it now with 20% down.

    I would consider if it had a Mission Viejo sized yard and the pictures did not make it look like a 2 bed / 2 bath condo.

    I’ve noticed some Irvine people don’t like yards due to maintenance; strange aliens who live here.

  44. GavriloPrincip

    Actually, the DID try to rent it. Starting in the summer, it was put up for rent for around $5,000, IIRC, while it was also for sale. No takers. Then, they progressively chased the market down. IIRC, the asking rent came down to about $4300, with no takers. Also, 149 Treehouse, the same size plan, also with no backyard, has been for rent since at least July, and dropped even lower than $4300. Still no takers.

  45. MadMax

    Hehehe. At first, I didn’t understand that “Oranges” part. I thought you were referring to Orange County or a Mozillo-wannabe.

    Anyway, I used to live in Albuquerque, NM. Perhaps there’s a Mr. Albuquerques RealTurd there, too…

  46. Laura Louzader

    Today’s featured house and some of the great comments triggered many thoughts.

    Today’s is truly a WTF.

    First of all, why would anybody at all want to take over an outlandishly oversized trickbag mortgage that should never have been written for anyone, for a house that is at least $400K overpriced?

    Why on earth would anybody, anywhere, but especially at this moment, assume a suicide mortgage? What reason would they have to do that?

    I mean, I feel like I’m asked to pay a premium for some other woman’s ripped, dirty designer dress and thank her for it. And then I get the charge bill for the dress she didn’t pay after she bought it. Swell deal.

    This house is, judgeing from what I’m hearing and seeing of your local prices, worth about $750K in this market. It’s a pretty house and I rather like it, but it is not worth $1.3 MM, and for that figure I would want more.

    As for there being wealthy people who wouldn’t mind paying $1.3 million for a house-well, yeah, sure there are. There are people who wouldn’t mind paying $13 Million, or even $130 million, for a house.

    I just don’t believe they would pay $1.3 million for this one, and I also believe that wealthy people are probably less likely than anyone else to overpay for what they can see is a wasting assett. Only middle-class and lower-class boobies trying to act rich do that. Most people in any bracket want the most they can get for their money, and in a normal market people are very value-conscious when it comes to buying a dwelling, whether it’s a one-bed vintage on Sheridan Road or a Malibu palace. And people who have accumulated wealth tend to be a bit more skilled than the rest of us at getting the very best deal possible for the money- ask my designer friend what it’s like making clothes for this crowd.

  47. John Albuquerques

    How dare you call me a RealTurd?! The homes that I sell next golf courses are the best here in Albuquerque.

  48. ipoplaya

    You might want to talk to the assessor’s office then AJ, Mello Roos are actually less than $275 per month on this property. Outside of the basic tax load ($10,205), everything else including Mello Roos, various bonds, IUSD assessment, etc. totals up to around $272 per month.

    Property tax data is public info people… It’s not that hard to check before you post non-sense:

    Parcel No.: 481-111-11

    A1 BASIC LEVY RATE 1.00000 $1,020,539.00 $10,205.38
    A1 METRO WATER D-MWDOC 0.00450 $1,020,539.00 $45.92
    A4 IRWD #206 SEWER BOND 0.02330 $690,832.00 $160.96
    A4 IRWD #106 WATER BOND 0.01648 $690,832.00 $113.85
    A4 IRWD ID #161 BOND 0.00001 $690,832.00 $0.07
    A4 IRWD #261 WATER BOND 0.00001 $690,832.00 $0.07
    BA MOSQ,FIRE ANT ASSMT (800)273-5167 $5.14
    B3 VECTOR CONTROL CHG (800)273-5167 $1.92
    C7 MWD WATER STDBY CHG (866)807-6864 $10.08
    E0 IRVINE USD-ASMT (949)250-8300 $52.11
    ME 1915 AD BOND ME (866)807-6864 $1,721.84
    N1 LNDSCP & LTG #1 (866)807-6864 $43.96
    R3 MELLO-ROOS R3 (800)858-8233 $1,107.46
    Total Tax: $13,468.76

  49. lendingmaestro

    NINE hundred thousand!

    nine HUNDRED thousand!

    nine hundred THOUSAND!

    That’s more money than I have amassed in my entire lifetime. And all i get is a building? No cure for cancer, no elixir of life, no free retirement? Just a cheaply built stucco box on a tiny lot.


  50. lendingmaestro

    Who cares about Mello Roos, the godforsaken taxes are over a grand a month! Doesn’t that make you want to pass out? All the renters who live in Quail Hill, who’s children go to school for free, thank you from the bottom of their hearts.

  51. oc

    I’m just guessing here but I’m sure rent in Quail Hill is high. A portion of that may not be called mello roos but trust me, the renters are still paying for it. Nothing is free.

  52. Buyer in 2010

    the sellers couldn’t get anyone to bite @ 4300, you really think they can get someone to rent it for $4800?

    how is that possible?

  53. dataguy

    what percentage of properties in Irvine allow you to have catch with Johnny in the back yard? It’s not a question of what you want; it’s a question of supply. If having catch with Johny in your backyard is important the best advice is to move out of Irvine.

  54. dataguy

    I know, it’s also impossible for a sports car to sit on the lot for 6 months and eventuall get sold for $200K.

    Blogging with you all makes me feel like a bull.

  55. Buyer in 2010

    since they initially tried to rent it for $5000 & you think it should rent for $4800, you really do have a lot more in common with the seller/agents viewpoint than anyone here.

    maybe you really are a bull.

  56. dataguy


    I’m just trying to be logical.

    The $600K valuation people are claiming is supposed to be 3 – 4 years from now.

    Maybe you think rent is going down in 3 – 4 years.

    I think that’s a bad assumption.

  57. tealeaf

    Meanwhile, even the middle class keeps struggling to find/keep a decent place to live and raise a family. Capitalism is truly working well, and we are #1 .. not

    And the middle class is doing better in which part of the world?

    Capitalism isn’t perfect, but in time, will even out. The middle class can swoop on any home they want… in the IE. In a couple of years, we will be able to do the same in OC. Read this morning’s WSJ for more desparation in the B-E-A-utiful area of inland Corona.

  58. Alan

    Exactly my point, asking rent (a wish number) and what renters actually will pay you for your house are two different animals. The rental value is the latter, not the former. If the actual rental value is $2,800/month (what they could get if they really wanted a tennant and the multiplier is 150 x rent for purchase value then this house should be $420K. In a rational market, that is.

  59. dataguy

    Irvine Renter,

    Can you start doing a monthly “Bear Sentiment” poll?

    the question would be:

    “Do you think house prices are over priced in Orange County?”
    *** or something like that ***

    My expectation is that the current state of bear sentiment (me included) would yield: 100% of bears responding: “YES, they are over priced !!!”

    My expectation is that when we hit the actual bottom in 2, 3, 4, or 5 years…… 50% of the bears will still think home prices are too expensive.

    Maybe it won’t be 50%, maybe it will only be 30% at the actual bottom, but I’m fairly positive many bears here will still think homes are over priced at the actuall bottom.

    Speculation is a funny thing, on both upswings and downswings.

  60. IrvineRenter

    I don’t know. I suspect when we are nearing the bottom, most of the people on this board will become bullish because they understand the economics better than most. This board is populated by people who are bearish because the fundamentals of the market support it. When this board turns bullish, the masses will be very bearish because so many will have lost so much. The masses only look at changes in price with little or no understanding of fundamental value.

  61. Mark in Pa

    For a million plus I’d at least want some real estate, land, besides the wood and stucco dwelling. I know there’re a lot of people with more money than they know what to do with but I can’t imagine them spending it on something like this. Unless minimum wage rises to $50 an hour these prices will have to drop a lot more.

    The seller is amazingly brazen to try to push their financial disaster on someone else. Crazy!

  62. Buyer in 2010


    rent doesn’t have to come down for this place to be worth $600-$750. I think $4000 is reasonable 3-4 years from now. (They can’t even get that now. & I’m sure that’s bc it isn’t reasonable right now) & by IR’s multiplier that would be $650,000. Not $900,000.

    In 2003, I can remember talking to coworkers & reading in the paper local economists saying that RE prices were already overvalued. & thinking to myself that a neighbor could only afford her mortgage on an 3/1 ARM.

    I bought in 1999 & sold in 2004, making an awesome profit that went even bigger in the stock market. I don’t care what the eventual bottom # happens to be, but I just don’t think that one can assume $4800 is reasonable, especially when you can’t rent it at that price.

  63. Stupid

    Wow, what a link. Crazy times.

    She recalls a heartbreaking eviction before Christmas a few years ago. “The family’s little boy asked me: ‘How is Santa going to find us?’ ” Ms. Card says

  64. Buyer in 2010

    I agree with that on a large portion. The houses here do not offer any real backyard if you’re used to one.

    But that doesn’t mean that 3-4 years from now, you won’t be able to find something good under $1 mil. In fact, considering the sheer % of people here who bought with ARMs & Neg Ams, I believe that I will be able to find a house with a yard for under a mil.

  65. Ron

    I live about a mile from this place and my property taxes are $1600 per YEAR. No mello roos. I remember back in ’93 when I bought my home, I asked my agent what Mello-Roos was and when he explained, I thought “why would anyone buy a place with this tax when you could get a perfectly good older home without it?”

    IIRC the MR tax is supposed to stop when the improvements it funded were paid for, but even back then, my real estate agent said “don’t count on it”.

  66. Straight Digs

    In the “old” days, due on sale clauses weren’t as prevalent and taking over the old loan was more desirable. My understanding is that the vast majority of loans in the last 5-10 years are not easily assumed. But there are some that are and it is worth it if the price is right AND the loan is right.

  67. dataguy

    Irvine Renter,

    I think some here have too much Schadenfreude.
    They are likely to miss out; as I think their expectations are not aligned with market realities. 30-50% would still be my expectations. I believe there is some irrational exuberance now that we are hot and heavy in the downturn.


    I hope you are right. I don’t plan to buy anytime soon. I moved here at the peak and rented a house.

  68. Buyer in 2010

    You are right that speculation tends to swing too much on upswings & downswings.

    But that would actually run counter to your argument. If speculation brough prices way too high, then it should also bring prices way too low, as well.

  69. dataguy

    Buyer not necessarily….. there can be bag holders on both ends. Bag holding on the bottom is MUCH less painful though… haha.

  70. Straight Digs

    IR, I suspect you’re right that most folks here understand economics fundamentals better than most. However, some comments I’ve read suggest that the site also attracts some bears for bears sake.

    There were folks in 2000 that thought that prices were too high. I’ll bet some of them comment or lurk here as well.

  71. dataguy

    Totally agree with Straight Digs; that’s my point.

    Additionally there are people here who feel entitled to properties which they will never be able to afford.

    These people will continue to think prices will fall even at the actual bottom; even though a property they can afford exist.

  72. shhhhh

    I wonder … if I set a hot plate next to my stove, can I call it a ‘gourmet kitchen.’ After all, it now has 5 burners.

  73. Mark in Pa

    For a million plus I’d at least want some real estate, land, besides the wood and stucco dwelling. I know there’re a lot of people with more money than they know what to do with but I can’t imagine them spending it on something like this. Unless minimum wage rises to $50 an hour these prices will have to drop a lot more.

    The seller is amazingly brazen to try to push their financial disaster on someone else. Crazy!

    Oh and the link to the Craigslist rental listing was deleted today! They are watching and reading all of this. LOL.

  74. Chuck Ponzi

    My last home loan had an assumable clause. That was 2003. They’re not that rare, actually. ABN AMRO has them as standard boilerplate loans.

    Chuck Ponzi

  75. IrvineRenter

    I rarely if ever post the owners names on the blog. It is all public record, but it becomes a bit too personal when we know their names.

  76. NanoWest

    I went to Big Lots on Sunday and bought a brand new water heater pot to boil water in for my coffee……it is really nice, stainless steel with a really nice pouring spout…..cost me $35.00.

    Does this mean I have a gormet kitchen too?

  77. No_Such_Reality

    “funny post buster, so you really think this home will go for less than $900K?”

    Nope, it won’t. The seller won’t sell it for that. So either the seller will keep it, or it’ll go back to the bank. There it will languish on the REO roll for months while the bank attempts to recoup their losses. Maybe next Christmas after the place as sat empty for 6 months the bank will try and fluff their balance sheet, but I doubt it.

    For this property, I suspect the next actual sale to a buyer that intends to live in it or resell it after repairing it will be around Christmas 2009. Yes, that’s when.

    Unless the seller already has a NOD, hell, a NOT, it’ll be June at the earliest they leave. Then the bank won’t cut a deal to move it until they have to fix their year end balance sheet.

    In the words of Warden Martin, “What we have here is … failure to communicate”

    The communication has surely been missed. This home, whether or not vacated by the current ‘owners’ is going to be functionally out of the available housing pool until late 2009.

    In effect artificially suppressing available current supply at at market rates but setting up a extended latent supply that chases and pushes the market down further.

  78. dataguy

    I predict this will sell somewhere between 12/2008 and 12/2009 as an REO; and I don’t think it’s going for less than $900K.

    that’s more than a 30% price reduction from current asking.

    I find it completely humorous that people here expect more than a 50% asking price reduction on a 5 bed / 4.5 bath / 3000 sq. ft. in Irvine.

    Hey it can happen; I willing to say maybe it will….. but to expect it without any doubt is a joke; what else are you entitled to?

  79. No_Such_Reality

    “that’s more than a 30% price reduction from current asking.”

    Asking price means nothing. I can ask for $100,000 for a Prius with a carpool sticker, it doesn’t mean anything.

    The last real purchase of this property was December 2003 at $962K. It was immediately leveraged with an HELOC and apparently a Neg-Am loan, it marginally qualifies as a purchase that can be repeated.

    Since current and near future buyers won’t be able to readily extract their down payment or equity, $962K is looking like peak if not over. Frankly, it’ll likely pull back 20-30% from that sale.

    If the sellers don’t get with the program, the next sale for this place, and frankly, places like it, will be in the $700-$775K range come 2008/2009.

    Rent won’t prop this properties up. Rents above $3000 are a hard sell. The rental tenant pool is too small above that number to make viable rentals.

  80. dataguy

    $700 – $775K is more reasonable than $600K; I will give you that.

    Let’s see it sold in 2003 for $962K. 2003 price maybe $900K, fairly reasonable? heck I’ll give you $850K for fun.

    those with expectations of $600K — 4 years from now? $200/sq. ft. and 4 years from now ?!?! in Irvine? on a property that is nearly new?

    what else do you expect? world peace? rock hard abs with no working out?

  81. IrvineRenter

    “what else are you entitled to?”

    Most people here are not engaging in wishful thinking nor do they have a sense of entitlement — that is what most current owners have. The only thing that pushed prices up to where they currently are was a combination of loose lending standards and the pathologic beliefs of a financial mania.

    It will be safe to buy once properties drop to their rental equivalent value, but that may not necessarily be the bottom. If the inventory of REOs is large (which it will be) prices could easily push through this level and drop to where rents produce a positive cashflow. At that price level, at a GRM between 120-100, idle money will enter the market in large quantities. In fact, this is most likely the fate of most undesirable properties.

    As properties come up with a rental breakeven, we will be saying so on this blog. When the available inventory of REOs drops below 1/2 of the monthly sales volume, and the number of NOTs and NODs declines, we will be loudly calling the bottom. Until this happens, prices will likely continue to drop. Piggington did a great analysis on this phenomenon:

  82. dataguy


    I’m sorry but I think there is entitlement on both ends. (existing buyers and sellers)

    You may not have it; you might have realistic expectations.

    Some post here reek of entitlement.

  83. dataguy

    Irvine Renter,

    I have never owned because I have lived in Chicago, New York City, and San Francisco.

    Do you actually think your affordability statistics will apply to those markets? I sure wish they will; but I know they won’t.

    I don’t think the OC is Chi, NYC, or SF…. but I know it’s not Minnesota or Iowa. How far removed from the Chi, NYC, and SF markets is the OC? that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

  84. tonye

    Homes in Quail Hill were overpriced from Day One. That’s why I think their bottom will be BELOW ’03. On paper this is a desirable property: 5b/4ba but it sits on a very tight lot and it has a very SMALL LIVING ROOM…

    I never understood that design nor the location. It sits low on the foothills overlooking the freeway and the hospital.

  85. No_Such_Reality

    SF & NYC have higher incomes. Also, outside of a few prima-donna spots that are well known, those markets aren’t necesary as high as you think.

    Another way looking at the bottom is looking at the expense for a hypothetical buyer. Assuming rates stay were they are at, roughly 6%, and assuming the premium for jumbo and 2nds goes away, returning to a more circa 2000 style, what do you get?

    A $150,000 a year family in the 40% combined marginal tax bracket, will need to allocate a $75,000 down payment, have another $25,000 – $50,000 on top of the down for reserves and fees, etc. Will take a $600K first, $75,000 2nd at 6% and 8% respectively and spend 42% of their gross before tax advantages on this home with a purchase price of $750,000. After taxes, it still runs 28% of gross.

    Doable? Yes. Will people jump at the chance to do it? Maybe, maybe not. After tax advantage expense is still $2800 a month. All the maintenance is theirs. The $75,000 is locked-up. Anothe $800/month is being driven into the principle.

    After taking the tax advantages, this place at $750K may barely be less expensive than renting, however that doesn’t account for maintenance, insurance, lost principle interest etc.

  86. dataguy

    affordability statistics put NYC and SF as way WAY un-affordable, the same type of affordability statistics IR is using for the OC.

    Again I am not saying the OC is Chi, NYC, or SF….. but come on, it’s not Minnesota.

    Also I respect both you and IR as being very intelligent. I just want to challenge some assumptions here.

  87. tonye

    Hey, this guy is the President of the Quail Hill Homeowner’s Association.

    Wow, I’m really impressed.

    What a bunch of crap… What an ego…. to make that a badge of honor and use that to market himself in his web site. Like who cares, dude?

    And then he uses up my village for his own purposes.

    If I buy take over his loans, can I also take over his position as El Presidente?

    You know, I deal with egos like this every month ( and more often ) when I have to go the HOA meeting and deal with the nazis… err.. the other Directors.

  88. Kirk

    “The builder states plan 3 is 3049 Sq ft plan 2 is 2841 sq. ft.”

    So, like blame the builder dude if it’s not really 3049 square feet. Hey, and I never said it was a plan 3 anyway. That’s why I list 2 plans man! Which is it? Haha, neither.

  89. Larry in OC

    I’m curious as to where your “income requirement” comes from? Assuming a 20% down payment of $264,999.60, gives you a 1st loan amount of $1,059,998.40…let’s round it down to $1,059,000 for simplicity sake. Assuming a 30 year fixed at 6.75%, that gives us a PI payment of $6,868.65/month. Now, this is a 3,000 sq. foot house NOT located in a Flood Zone so monthly insurance would run about $85. Taxes at the new purchase price with MELLO ROOS would be approx. $19,875/year or $1,656.25/month. That is a total PITI of $8,609.90/month. Add a $270/mo. HOA and it is $8,879.90. Under any lender guidelines, max 40% Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) means your monthly income would have to be $22,000/month with no other debt to qualify. Assuming they have the standard $1,500 month in other debt payments, that pushes their total debt payments to $10,380/month meaning to qualify at max. DTI their income would have to be $26,000/month or $312,000/yr…this is less than the $331,248 (???) you mention…if they had little or NO debt total qualifying income would have to be at least $22,000/month or $264,000/year, considerably LESS than what is referenced to make the point here. Obviously still a LOT of money needs to be made to afford a house like this (I wouldn’t pay it) but I just am curious where these figures come from since they don’t “pencil out”! There a more people in OC making $250-300,000 a year than $300+.

  90. Kirk

    LOL! I just went to and the first picture has the text “Distinctive Monument” with a picture of the Quail Hill sign. That’s the only reason I wouldn’t buy in Quail Hill. I hate the throngs of tourists that visit the distinctive monuments.

  91. GavriloPrincip

    Also keep in mind that 101 Treehouse was just “sold” back to the lender in November for $962k. I believe 101 Treehouse is actually another builder and was only 2500 square feet, but IIRC the homedebtors were still trying to sell it for $1.3m before the foreclosure.

    Displaying 200 records per page: 1
    Sale Date Property Detail Sale Detail
    11/20/2007 2:00:00 PM Address: 101 Tree House

    City: IRVINE
    State: CA
    Zip: 92603
    County: Orange
    APN: 481-121-16
    Sale Status: Sold on 11/20/2007
    TS Number: 220738CA
    Notice of Sale Amt: $962,281.96
    Opening Bid Amt: $962,322.18
    Sold Amt: $962,322.19
    Sale Location: At the North front entrance to the County Courthouse, 700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana, CA.

    Trustee: California Reconveyance Company
    Trustee Phone#: (800)892-6902

  92. former_irvine_resident

    This is a good point. Based on the pictures and everyone’s comments are we sure this is a 3,000+ square foot home? It seems awfully tight for 3k sq ft.

  93. No_Such_Reality

    The difference between Minneapolis and Chicago is very small.

    OC is not rural, however, it is not NYC, SF style dense with 16000 people per square mile, Irvine is closer to 3000.

    SF has low affordability, 15%ish. However SF, also has one the greatest income disparities, high homelessness and high crime. It is literally a city of haves and have-nots. Irvine, is suburban with the homogenity of diversity in family orientation and yuppies on their way to family-dom. NYC is even more so.

    Irvine was conceived and continues to be middle/upper middle class “working” professionals centric.

    Most professional property management companies will shy away from renting to someone if the rent exceeds 1/3rd of their income. They know it will create problems and eventually they’ll have issue collecting rent. Housing group like Acorn know and promote ‘living wage’. Living wage is defined by rent not taking more than 1/3rd of your gross income.

    It has been demonstrated repeatedly that when housing expense exceeds 1/3rd of gross income, the tenant frequently experiences trouble.

    Many won’t be happy with what $500,000 buys in California compared to small town USA, however we aren’t small town USA. One scan through the job boards will clarify why. That said, the kind of house that $500,000 buys will be driving by the interest rates, tax structure, rents and income distribution in OC.

    Rents are harshly governed by income. 1/3rd breaks people. When it get too high, you see increased demands for 2 and 3 bedrooms. You see 2 or 3 unrelated adults renting a 3/2 or 3/3 SFR.

    They don’t necessarily desire this, however, it’s a necessary coping behavior. Once they adjust too it, it effectively lowers their rental push. Instead of looking at the $600K townhome and they look at their half of the townhome rent at $1000/month. They look the townhome to buy and what do they see? Property taxes and HOA fees running $1000/month.

    It’s counterintuitive, but the higher rents go, the lower average single person goes since they start to co-habitate with unrelated people. Once rents get over a threshold, higher rents actually decrease the desirability of owning to singles, the predominant rental pool, because they’ve learned to cope and realized intangible and tangible financial benefits.

    Buy and lease to a roommate? Sure. But having a roommate when you’re a single adult owning is about having party money, someone to watch the dog and house when you go on a trip. If you need them to pay the mortgage, you’re DOA.

  94. No_Such_Reality

    “It’s counterintuitive, but the higher rents go, the lower average single person goes”

    Oops, missed a word. That should be:
    It’s counterintuitive, but the higher rents go, the lower average rent / single person goes

  95. no_vaseline

    “I would bet that the commenters on this blog are all highly educated.”


    “I would even bet that a third have graduate degrees.”


    “That would also place the vast majority of IHB commenters above the Irvine median income of $85K.”


    “They also share the common belief that there are many goals in life that cannot be achieved if too much of that income is devoted to housing.”


    Nice post.

  96. dataguy


    Thanks for your response.

    I am still unsure of whether I agree with the assumptions Irvine Renter has made on the characteristics of certain OC markets like Irvine.

    I have no doubt that certain undesirable properties will see 120 GRMs. I think plenty of nice condos will see GRMs of 160. I question whether more desirable locations in Irvine will ever see 160 GRMs. In fact I question whether desirable detached properties will ever see 180 – 190 GRMs.

    I could be biased based on my experience in the Chicago, SF, and NYC markets. I cringe when I hear Irvine Renter compare this market to regions like Minnesota and I feel much of his assumptions are claiming this is an “average joe-american” market in the middle of no where.

    I do hear entitlement from some potential buyers on this blog; much like there is clear entitlement expressed on the selling side.

    I have said enough. I will shut up, listen, and sit on the sidelines from here on out. Good blog.

  97. Lost Cause

    Yes, there are places here in Huntington Beach that sit for years at that price. But you kind of think that because it is a beach area, that is why the lots are so small. And I don’t think those houses have plastic showers. And no taxes like that, nor association. Yet they still sit.

  98. Lost Cause

    Why not bathe in Schadenfreude? It is a realtor speculator seller.

    But I want to see IR posting some bargains. I noticed that there are some great deals in San Marcos, $151 sq/ft. (It is the inland Carlsbad.) Christmas would be the best time to find bargains. But I notice that some OC sellers are raisiing their prices in this dead season, positioning themselves for price cuts in the spring.

  99. Kirk

    Elitist secularist liberal rotter!

    I used to make twice as much between 2003 and 2006! But, you don’t hear me bragging about it. Why? Because Christ expects humbleness. I’m at least four times as humble as any of you people.

  100. IrvineRenter


    “Additionally there are people here who feel entitled to properties which they will never be able to afford.”

    I don’t see the entitlement part you are referring to. I may scan past some of the more bearish comments that you are focusing on, I don’t know. If there are some bears with a sense of entitlement, they are going to be disappointed. Prices will only drop so far, and there will be competition for more desirable properties keeping prices somewhat higher for them. Basically, if they can’t afford to rent it, they can’t afford to buy it either. Prices will not drop so low as to make that change.

    “I believe there is some irrational exuberance now that we are hot and heavy in the downturn.”

    Perhaps. Although, I have noticed many people when they first come to the board often go through a period of kool-aid detoxification. We usually try to help them through this with factual information and rational arguments. Some are more intoxicated than others.

    Most of your posts have been looking for a bullish interpretation of data. You appear to have formed an opinion that the market will find support at a higher level than many of us believe. You may be correct. The future is uncertain. If the past is a good guide to the future, then the predictions contained in the analysis section will likely come to pass. For as bearish as I am, I have tried to be somewhat conservative in my predictions. If you want to see how bad it could get, please read:

  101. IrvineRenter

    I have been using a simple 4 times income requirement, mostly because I don’t want to endure the brain damage you went through above for each post. Also, the bottom of the last downturn was at 4 times median income, so it has some history.

  102. Jake

    Anyone who pays 900K for this stucco box is a moron.

    Anyone who pays 800K for this stucco box is a moron.

    Anyone who pays 700K for this stucco box is a moron.

    Shall I continue?

  103. awgee

    I dunno. Considering how much cheaper it is to rent than to buy right now, it seems renters are not paying for the property taxes and few other costs also.

  104. bucktooth

    “Website not found!
    Your account has been canceled. if you want to reactivate it, please contact our customer service at 1-888-354-6361.


  105. awgee

    Oh my gosh IR! Your calcs are off by 6% by Larry in OC’s obviously much more refined numbers. What is wrong with you IR? 6%? How could you?

  106. awgee

    “Website not found!
    Your account has been canceled. if you want to reactivate it, please contact our customer service at 1-888-354-6361.”

    Now, now, be kind. Maybe he took his own advice and got a life.

  107. ipoplaya

    It’s really sad when you have to get a quote from your office manager about how cool you are. My office manager will say anything I want since I pay her salary…

  108. skek

    “The couple listed the house several times, even before the final refinancing, which raised their monthly payments to about $6,300. Earlier this year, they were asking $839,000 for the house. But it just sat. Elsie Cambone, the Coldwell Banker agent who had the listing, says prospective buyers were put off by the vacant home next door.”

    Yeah, it’s the vacant house next door that prevented it from selling. Not the $839,000 price tag. No way.

  109. skek

    It gets better…

    “In the run-up to their move, she says, the couple lived off credit cards to “make sure we had cash for the house payments” in Corona. They packed up in June, and then took their 9-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter on a long-planned Caribbean vacation. …

    Neighbors … note that shortly before leaving, the couple bought a new Lexus.

    Mrs. Oropeza says that she and her husband recently bought a Lexus and a Chevrolet Suburban with no money down.”

    Tell me again why our tax dollars should bail these people out? Let’s see — we are maxing out our credit cards to make house payments, but I see nothing wrong with the Caribbean vacation, the Lexus and the Suburban.

  110. k.o.

    Its these types of web sites that our prof’s would use to give an example of “bad” interfaces. The lame use of HTML tags, odd pics, and overall positioning of everything just screams 1998. Jeez, you think for all the $$$$$ these Realtors (R) bring in they’d hire someone to make a decent web site.

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