Big Time


When you run with the big dogs, you have to lift your leg high. Today’s property is a big house for throwing big parties attended by people with big names. This is a property for those who live a big life and spend money big time. When you live here, you don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s, you have to pass them — they have to keep up with you. It is a big church where you pray to the big God of financial consumerism. If you aren’t a big player, a person of distinction and importance, you can’t live here. This is the big time…

6 Plumeria Kitchen

Asking Price: $1,650,000IrvineRenter

Income Requirement: $412,500

Downpayment Needed: $330,000

Monthly Equity Burn: $13,750

Purchase Price: $733,000

Purchase Date: 12/30/1998

Address: 6 Plumeria, Irvine, CA 92620Short Sale

Beds: 5
Baths: 5
Sq. Ft.: 4,400
$/Sq. Ft.: $375
Lot Size: 8,500 Sq. Ft.
Type: Single Family Residence
Style: Mediterranean
Year Built: 1999
Stories: Two Levels
View(s): Hills
Area: Northwood
County: Orange
MLS#: S514221
Status: Active
On Redfin: 115 days

Unsold in 90+ days


LAST CHANCE FORECLOSURE OPPORTUNITY!!! Executive Estate with all the upgrades and amenities. Prestigious Gated community, end of cul-de-sac, no neighbors behind. Wonderful location within walking distance to award winning schools. Abundant amemities within community. Some of the best schools in California.

LAST CHANCE FORECLOSURE OPPORTUNITY!!! How can this be? Do you think some HELOC abuse is involved?

Abundant amemities? Say that 3 times real fast…



So how did it come to this? Why is this a potential short-sale preforeclosure opportunity? It started out normally. In 1998, the property was purchased for $733,000 with 20% down. There was no activity until 2005 when the owner took out a HELOC for $147,191. A couple of months later, the house was refinanced with a 1% Option ARM for $1,190,000. This was followed by two more HELOCs for $250,000 each. There are two scenarios by which this could be a short-sale / preforeclosure: 1. The two HELOCs are maxed out, and the total property debt would be $1,690,000 which leaves this seller underwater, or 2. The Option ARM exploded, and the payments are far greater than the seller’s income. The seller has a different mailing address than the property listed, so it is possible they moved to a different home and could not sell this one and just stopped making payments. No matter how they got there, this house has a stated asking price more than $900,000 greater than its purchase price, and it is a foreclosure opportunity. Only in Irvine…



I have an interesting fact I would like to share with you today that may help put the economic stimulus the housing bubble provided in perspective. From 2001 to 2006, the median income of Irvine households averaged $78,934, and the increase in the median home price during the same period averaged $77,637. Every single homeowner in Irvine had another breadwinner in the household — the house itself — which was earning the median income. Also, since withdrawing one’s equity was untaxed at the time, anyone withdrawing this equity — which there were obviously many doing this — was experiencing a doubling of their household spending power during this time. Is it any wonder people were living large and felt they were “big time?”

Big TimeIm on my way, Im making it

Ive giot to make it show, yeah

So much larger than life

Im going to watch it growing

The place where I come from is a small town

They think so small

They use small words

-but not me

Im smarter than that

I worked it out

Ive been stretching my mouth

To let those big words come right out

Ive had enough, Im getting out

To the city, the big big city

Ill be a big noise with all the big boys

Theres so much stuff I will own

And I will pray to a big god

As I kneel in the big church

Big time

Im on my way-Im making it

Big time big time

Ive got to make it show yeah

Big time big time

So much larger than life

Big time

Im going to watch it growing

Big time

My parties all have big names

And I greet them with the widest smile

Tell them how my life is one big adventure^

And always theyre amazed

When I show them round my house, to my bed

I had it made like a mountain range

With a snow-white pillow for my big fat head

And my heaven will be a big heaven

And I will walk through the front door

Big Time — Peter Gabriel

124 thoughts on “Big Time

  1. George8

    Whatever reason the featured home owners ran up the home debts, they are in deep messes. Their non recourse part of the debt is only $1.19 million. And, this house may not find buyer until $1.2-$1.3 million.

  2. Hmmmm

    If they refinaced to the option arm is the whole thing now a recourse loan?

    I can tell they didn’t buy fancy furniture or granite countertops.

    OT.. We were watching a show called Weeds.which is about a neighborhood in CA. In the opener they show a fly over of some tract neighborhoods with the title song Little Boxes. Does anyone know where that neighborhood is? Is that Irvine? I thought it might be.

    We don’t really understand the show so we don’t watch it anymore.

  3. FromtheEast

    There may be no neighbors behind, but that’s a big building almost in the backyard that’s used enough to require over 150 parking spaces. You’d think that might be significant if you’re paying $1 mil plus.

  4. Mr Duncan

    I love both those songs: “Big Time” and “Little Boxes”. I chose “No, for other reasons” because my neighbors have never been impressed by my appearance, so why start now 🙂 I live a good life without any bling.

  5. Everett

    I chose “no for other reasons” because I realized right around age 18 that the only person I really need to impress is myself. A couple years after that, I realized that my material possessions had little to do with my sense of self-worth. As a result, my adult life has been spent pursuing those things that interest and impress me, rather than those things that interest and impress others.

  6. Anonymous

    No because most people are stupid and ignorant, so why would I ever care about their opinions?

  7. ex-tangelo

    Lending foolishly on Orange County McMansions vs. a lending foolishly to “a black man in a stringy vest” in the South… Gee, I wonder which one has done more damage to the economy?

    I thought it was otherwise a funny video by John Fortune and John Bird but came away with the impression that Brits are racist jerks.

  8. Dr. Wu

    “No neighbors behind”…except for that big commercial building. And the neighbors on the sides are close enough to open the window and make out with them. At least there’s only about 500 square feet of grass to mow, which your illegal Guatemalan maid living in the 5th bedroom can take care of when she’s not busy scrubbing the grout on those ceramic tile countertops. “View: Hills?” That’s strange; the aerial photo shows it in the middle of a sea of other tract McMansions. Maybe the neighbors across the street are named Hill. Let me call my Realtor before this once in a lifetime opportunity slips away!

  9. ex-tangelo

    Btw – “Plomeria”, one letter off this street name, means “plumbing” in Spanish.

    C’mon, you snarkalicious bastards, that’s quite the fat, slow pitch you ain’t swinging at…

  10. Kevin

    Looks like the building behind is the Chinese Baptist Church of Central Orange County. Elementary school right across the street from that, and it looks like Yale dead-ends there, which should make morning and afternoon traffic pleasant.

  11. sleestak

    “From 2001 to 2006, the median income of Irvine households averaged $78,934, and the increase in the median home price during the same period averaged $77,637. Every single homeowner in Irvine had another breadwinner in the household — the house itself — which was earning the median income.”

    Not exactly. You’re talking about a 5 year period for the increase in the median home price, so the other breadwinner in the house was actually earning roughly 20% of the median income per year.

  12. William E. Jones


    It would be interesting to do an “projected future value” analysis of these homes assuming a return to normal rent multiplier, affordability ratio, etc. I wonder what this thing will be worth in 2010!

  13. ex-tangelo

    People like you are the reason America is going down the Plumeria. Don’t you realize 70% of our economy is consumer-driven?

  14. CapitalismWorks

    Why is the their range electric? Only a moron would have an electric stove in a $700-$1MM house.

  15. IrvineRenter

    The comparative rent would need to be $4581 to justify the original purchase price of $733,000. I don’t know what this would rent for, but I doubt it would fetch the $10,312 per month needed to justify its asking price.

  16. Gindy

    No because I don’t really think other people have much say in how I feel about my life. I am like Everett above in that I don’t live my life to show off to others. I was a poor kid, wore hand made clothes, thought McDonalds was eating out and never went to any summer activities. I didn’t care then what people thought and I could care less now.

  17. bob5540

    Doesn’t this also present a tax problem? If a homeowner walks away from debt of 1.6M on a home that cost him 700K, isn’t that a constructive capital gain of $900K?

    Or worse: If he sells for 1.1M, and walks away from the rest, maybe that’s a capital gain of $400K and ordinary income of $500K.

  18. ex-tangelo

    It is not considered taxable by the IRS, but I don’t know about California.

    Update Feb. 4, 2008 — The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 generally allows taxpayers to exclude income from the discharge of debt on their principal residence. Debt reduced through mortgage restructuring, as well as mortgage debt forgiven in connection with a foreclosure, qualify for this relief.

    This provision applies to debt forgiven in 2007, 2008 or 2009. Up to $2 million of forgiven debt is eligible for this exclusion ($1 million if married filing separately). The exclusion doesn’t apply if the discharge is due to services performed for the lender or any other reason not directly related to a decline in the home’s value or the taxpayer’s financial condition.

  19. Mooser

    You are so full of shit, irvinehousingblog! That house looks exactly like mine, and we live a very retired and modest lifestyle. And I bet they don’t even have chickens in their yard, like we do in ours! Look, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, and we got plenty. And our little souffle’ never falls!

  20. ex-tangelo

    I know my tastes are not normal, but if money were no object, I’d have solar panels, all-electric appliances, electric dryer and water heating (with a solar thermal assist), electric radiant heating and LED lighting. And an electric car.

    My wife prefers gas stovetops, though. So this will remain in the fantasy realm even if I did have the money….

  21. George8

    I believe the increase in the median home price during the same period averaged $77,637 was every year for five year. So, the total home value increase during the five year period was $388k.

  22. George8

    Are you saying your wife will still be in charge of stovetops in your household when you have more money than you know how to spend:)?

  23. Steaming Pile

    To the extent that we occasionally like to entertain our friends, it does matter that the house is nice. We don’t have a 26,000 BTU four-burner grill on our big front porch just to cook a few hamburgers for ourselves. We have it because we occasionally want to cover the grill space with dinner for eight. Is this wrong?

    Our front porch is kind of a throwback; most McMansions don’t have them. We have a very nice view of the Mohawk Valley from ours, and it’s good that other people appreciate it as much as we do.

    Curb appeal is also important to us. I want to see a nice landscape when I come home from work. I work hard for it.

    Do we go deep into hock to impress the Joneses? Hell no. We have a 5.5% fixed on our place. No HELOCs, no ARMS, none of that crap. We still remember double-digit interest rates, inflation, gas lines, etc. We get what we can handle; if we couldn’t have afforded our place when we bought it, we would have looked elsewhere. When interest rates and inflation go berzerk, we’ll be smiling ear to ear because we got ours while it was available.

  24. George8

    However, the question was the capital gain liability after $500k exclusion (not the debt forgiveness itself) . Is it also forgiven by the Relief Act of 2007?

  25. 40yearoldbaldwhitedorkwithagoatee

    I voted yes for other reasons. I am 40 and overwieght (5’8″ and 220#) And even though me and my buddies all have goatees to hide our double chins, wear ballcaps to cover our bald spots and like to refer to ourselves with terms like “hey I am a big guy”, none of this makes up for the fact that we know other see right through us.

    Even going to the gym was an embarrasment with all of these younger uncircumcised guys to compare myself to in the shower; that made me feel even more inadequate. And no I am not gay, I like to watch football and I am conditioned to admire big chested nasty looking women (even though I secretly like smaller breasts, dont tell noone)

    So you see, I think that by buying a lot of cool stuff, motorcycles, TV’s, fancy cars, others will envy me and think I am rich and this will make me feel better.

  26. Laura Louzader

    I respectfully beg to differ with you on the matter of electric ranges.

    I despise gas, and wouldn’t consider a gas range of any type. It is unsafe. Gas ovens, even “premium” brands, tend to heat unevenly. Even “premium” gas ranges like Wolfe and Viking are troublesome, and it’s humorous to me that Frigidaire ranges of all types selling for less than $1500 are superior in performance and reliability to Wolfe and Viking models costing more than $5,000, according to Consumer Reports.

    To me, nothing beats a Diva induction cooktop for efficiency, safety, cleanliness, and all round luxury. In combo with a good electric convection oven, you have the ultimate in performance and safety.

    However, induction limits you on cookware, so 2nd best is a fine ceramic cooktop with halogen elements.

  27. Surfing in Newport

    I looked this up and I don’t think it applies to the house in question. It only applies to debt related to the purchase of a house, so the additional debt and refinance since that time would not qualify. It is also a very specific change to the existing IRS code. Previously, if you had a non-recourse loan and you lost your home, the IRS would not tax you on the “income” associated with you not paying back the full amount. They essentially considered it balanced by the lost in your investment. What they changed is that if you restructure your loan, you don’t get charge with the income, but you do have the basis of your house changed. It is unfortunate that the media hyped this change as much as they did.

    For the house in question, they are not staying in the home and they are not the debt forgiven on the purchase of the home. So they are going to be in for one nasty surprise from the IRS.

    I’m an Engineer, not an accountant, so don’t mistake this for any financial advice 😮

  28. DavisDawgs

    Wait a second. So these guys sucked out >$500k in equity “income” from their house and just walked away, leaving the bank with a severely overvalued house? Do they ever have to pay that half million clams back? Shouldn’t there be some bounty hunters involved here? 🙂

  29. Nic

    IR, just a thought. Would you be able to profile homes recently sdold and see where they compare vs the listed properties? Or should how much some properties got sold for vs the asking price when you profiled them in the past? Anyway, great work and keep it up!

  30. DeadBeatRenter

    Santa Clarita!

    I have seen every episode, but dont tell anyone here. Thier a bunch of tight as**s on this blog.

  31. Laura Louzader

    This is just too sickening. This former owner’s predicament is just so unnecessary.

    The only excuses acceptable are catostrophic medical bills, and if that is the case, I extend my sympathy. Have a formerly affluent acquaintance who was completely destroyed by mountains of medical bills due to a car accident caused by a drunk. The co-pays ran to hundreds of thousands of dollars- totally nonsurvivable financially for anybody who isn’t Bill Gates.

    But IR doesn’t mention just what all that HELOC money was spent on, so we have to figure it was either on really high livin’, or on extending himself in a lifestyle that became unsupportable because of loss of income. I have met too many people who were formerly affluent and who could have held onto most of their money through the loss of executive jobs, but they clung to the belief that the next great job was “just around the corner”, until 2, 3 years of joblessness forced them to lower their expectations drastically. In the meantime, they went through all their resources in an effort to maintain their executive lifestyles (and appearance!), while if they could have just squared with reality early on, they could have adjusted to life on a lower (though still very nice) level, and saved themselves from ruin.

    This looks, at first flush, like someone who just couldn’t face that his glory days are behind him.

  32. CapitalismWorks

    I don’t bank much so the oven isn’t that valuable to me. A Gas Range is utterly superior to electric for even cooking, temperature control, heating tortillas etc.

    Perhaps I’ll be more concerned with the safety issues when I retire and senility sets in. But for the next 30 or so years, I will be “Cooking with Gas”.

  33. buster

    George8 obviously isn’t married. Here’s a tip George8 – the wife is ALWAYS in charge of everything in the house except the TV remote. And that’s a pretty fair deal in my book.

  34. buster

    I vote “No” because I’m too old and jaded to give a crap what other people (except my wife and daughter) think. And I learned long ago that the only people who might be impressed by materialistic crap are people who are easily impressed by money, and those people are so shallow and vain that I really don’t want to be around them anyway.

  35. WaitingForFiveYears


    It does not matter how much money once’s make. I could be richer that Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and my wife will STILL be in charge of everything.

    That is just how the world is 🙂 Ask any married man.

  36. dilbert dogbert

    RE up here in SillyCon Valley is smok’n!!!!! Smoking big time! The finest RE dope.

    Just down our street is a 1040 sq ft house on a 4000 sq ft lot asking $1.4mil. One house over is a 4000 sq ft house on 20 to 30000 sq ft asking $8mil.
    Ours is a 2000 sq ft 1950’s rancher museum piece that we are not leaving until the FD Medics pull up with a gurney to take us out feet first.

    Did any of you see the attack of the ditto heads on LALand?

  37. Alan

    Don’t you people watch Alton on Good Eats..

    Just fill you oven with bricks, then you get the good radiant heat like a real Dutch Oven, much cheaper…

  38. IrvineRenter


    You missed the point entirely. The median went up on average $77,637 per year. In total over the five years the median went up $388,185. It was literally like the house was another wage earner.

  39. ex-Tangelo

    My wife agrees that electric ovens are superior. Since she makes awesome pies, who am I to argue?

  40. tenmagnet


    Today’s post is sheer gold.
    Reading the OC manifesto about “one upping” the Jones’s was motivating and inspiring.
    Reminded me of those pep talks we had in the locker room before taking the field.
    “Big Time” brings home the significance of taking hold of the reins and living the dream. Scoring a trophy home validates your identity, reinforcing core values like confidence and alphaness which eminate from within. On that note, the seller at 1 New Dawn cut his asking price by another $100K, bringing me one step closer to ultimate glory, or as Johnny Drama says “VICTORY!!”

  41. ws

    no wonder they can’t sell it, the bathrooms aren’t even shown. bet they are old-fashioned — no chunky italian tiles.

    who needs two christmas trees? therein lays your tale of exuberant excess!

    maybe it can be rezoned and turned into a boarding house, remember those, depression-era kids?

  42. momopi

    um… this discussion thread is going down the toilet.

    My guess is many people here are bitter or envious of the large home, so the responses/comments reflects their inner selves.

  43. tenmagnet

    You need to rid yourself of those limiting beliefs, because they’re crippling.
    It’s self-fulfilling; so stop dreaming about what is possible and start taking action to create the outcome you desire.
    Get off the couch, head back to the gym, and force yourself to keep going no matter what.
    Stop measuring yourself with other guys there.
    Your “possessions” are merely crutches and beautiful women will see right thru knowing your trying to compensate.
    Your reward will come the day she pulls up your shirt and places her hands on your six pack.
    Until, then work hard and focus on the prize.

  44. Major Schadenfreude

    When I read “…no neighbors behind”, I first interpreted it as “no [view of] neighbor’s behind”, which would certainly be a selling point in high density Irvine.

  45. Tubbyaz

    No, because my PRIMARY financial goal is to have a comfortable retirement. That’s it. That’s where my money goes. If and when I get to the point where I feel I have enough saved so I don’t have to eat store-brand cat food in my 70’s, then I’ll worry about what the f*ck my neighbors think of my crappy car.

  46. skek

    So I voted yes and no. There’s nothing wrong with buying a big house if you can. More power to you. But, assuming these owners frivolously HELOCed themselves into oblivion, they either couldn’t afford it or they weren’t mature enough to handle it.

  47. Laura Louzader

    Same here, with small differences.

    My choices would be geothermal heating for my condo with a solar assist to run the bldg’s elevators in the event of a brownout. Then, an induction cooktop, electric convection oven, Sunfrost frig, electric washer and dryer.

    It will be interesting to talk the condo board in the place I eventually buy into investing in a geothermal heating system, and even more interesting to see if I can sell them on sacrificing the parking lot to have a place for all those pipes.

  48. michael

    IrvineRenter –

    I do not want to be critical – because I think your site is great. I keep wondering if you have an economics degree or something. But….

    Sleestak responded correctly to your writing – what you meant to write I believe was “the median home price during the same period averaged $77,637 PER YEAR”.

    Notice how I used caps – knowing how you hate them.

    Thanx again for the great site.


  49. Laura Louzader

    I don’t detect envy of the larger home, but I pick up a lot of anger at the people who helped destroy our financial system in order to live larger than they could afford.

    Most people in this country in every income bracket pay their way and live withing their means, and they are very angered by a system that encourages people spend way over their heads while punishing the responsible and prudent.

    Someone here in Chicago, with an income of $60K a year, purchased a house in Park Ridge (Hillary’s suburb) for $900K and went into foreclosure within a few months. This enrages me- and envy is no part of it, except that a person who makes about the same sort of income I do got to live rent-free for many months in a house he never had any business in to begin with while I pay my way for a much more modest lifestyle. I have no problem with my wealthy friend who told me of this, who lives in a large, lovely home. He earned it a paid for it. If you can afford what you buy, that is great.

    But it fills me with bile to be asked to help someone like this foreclosure “victim” in a house that goes way beyond basic necessity while I and most other people in this country struggle with rising costs, unaffordable home prices driven to these levels by people like this ‘victim’, and don’t ask other people to pay our costs. Worse, these people have helped destroy our financial system, which was once the most orderly and stable in the world.

  50. Genius

    Voted no, but for some reason I still find myself trying to do it, and not with just home or possessions. It’s a pretty crippling trait and one of the few things I hate about myself.

    That being said, my desire for a home on the coast really has nothing to do with impressing anyone. I have an actual real use for the ocean, and the closer I am to it the more able I am to wake up and surf before work, or get home for a little session before the sun sets. Also, if and when I have kids, it would be nice for them to be able to walk to the beach.

    What I find ironic is that people will lease their cars, which is usually a terrible deal (no, not always), so they can drive that BM or Benz around. However, they feel they need to OWN their house, usually via leasing money, even when they could live in a much nicer place by renting. I’m not sure when thought became so difficult, but it seems to be in very short supply these days.

  51. CapitalismWorks

    Ten? You are kidding right?

    “Your reward will come the day she pulls up your shirt and places her hands on your six pack.”

    In my experience, a guys looks matter very little (relative to a girls).

  52. irvinechild

    Im in charge of the cooking in my house. Granted, my wife is in charge of what we eat, when we eat, or where we eat, but I am in charge of the cooking of what we eat nonetheless. 🙂

    Also, I dont even get the remote control.

  53. Mr Duncan

    I agree. Induction is clearly the most efficient, gas the least. But I prefer gas over electric because I know when it’s on. With electric, I boil pots dry.

  54. IrvineRenter

    “Not exactly. You’re talking about a 5 year period for the increase in the median home price, so the other breadwinner in the house was actually earning roughly 20% of the median income per year.”

    If I misunderstood him, please explain this quote to me.

  55. Emma Anne

    I’m kind of leaning towards medical emergency or the like in this case. These folks bought in 1998 with 20% down and didn’t refi or get a HELOC for years, until 2005. Then in the course of about two years, they took out almost $1 million? It doesn’t match their previous behavior.

  56. IrvineRenter

    Yes, I own my cars and lease my house. It doesn’t impress anyone, but then again, I couldn’t care less.

  57. IrvineRenter

    Everyone likes to throw out the medical problem contingency, and I know first-hand having a member of your family with a condition that is not covered by insurance is a real financial problem. However, I don’t think it explains even a small fraction of the HELOC abuse we have profiled here.

  58. Kevin

    I said yes to the poll because I like to have a nice place that family and friends can come and get together. It was my wife’s place in the country before we got married and we rebulit it when it burned down. So either house is not so grand but we have TWO 🙂

    and one has electric flat top halogen burners and the other has gas.

    Each has advantages. THe gas has better heat control of course but once you get used to the electric you can do the same thing and it boils the heck out of water.

    and I think grililng is better in the electric….

  59. Gene

    I’m with Laura on this. For the past 8 years or so I kept looking around at people buying this large houses and wondered “how can they afford that?” And yes, it did make me chagrined that I couldn’t afford it. Now I find out that lots of them couldn’t either, so no I don’t feel sorry for them, and yes I am VERY pissed off that part of the bill due is going tro land on my doorstep

  60. politrix

    He meant you should’ve pointed out excplicitly that it was per year. Not a big deal.

    Living in Irvine it was obvious what you meant knowing the magnitude of the price inflation, but for someone else it might’ve not been as clear.

  61. politrix

    I know of a couple who bought a 2000sqf house for 600k in Irvine right now. I don’t understand… They say the price is going to go up again in a few years. Why do people still believe this?

  62. ipoplaya

    Short duration ARM rates took a nice little dip today… I locked me up a 5.125 3-year interest only for no points and $950 in lenders fees. My reset in July would probably be to a lower rate, but what the heck, might as well have some multi-year protection just in case!

  63. Genius

    See my above comment on thought. It is much easier to be told something than it is to figure something out for yourself. Unfortunately the former only offers one possible, and often incorrect, conclusion. To put it simply, they believe the hype. As many others have stated before, when the common consensus is that real estate is a terrible investment and should be avoided at all costs the smart money will become interested in buying again.

  64. ConsiderAgain

    Maybe that hope is all they have in the face of potentially crushing price declines? Either they see the truth soon, or keep telling themselves it will all change next week. If their definition of a few years is 10+, then they may be right.

    I wonder if the reality of the next few years is going to change the “happy and carefree” persona of OC?

  65. tonyE

    If money were no object I’d have a gas pipeline brought to my house so I could have a twelve foot Viking range with dual woks that would make a chinese restaurant jealous. My chefs would be sooo happy.

  66. Alan


    thought you were coming in from the dark side and so the light, the need to sit this market out for 2-3 years.

    IR… we can’t save everyone.

  67. Alan

    It’s obvious that people here only own kitchen appliances to impress and don’t actually cook.

    Ranges are for baking or roasting, most cooking in your Chinese restaurants is done stir fry and that’s hard to do in the home setting because indoor cooktops just can’t get hot enough.

    Personally, nothing beats B-bque and there is no substitute for charcoal. Sorry, Alton’s master steak recipe throws the steak right on the coals.

  68. tonyE

    The comment was preceeded by “if money were no object”. In such a case my chefs would need a big gas stove to prepare the many delicacies offered by the World’s great gastronomic traditions: mediterranean, northern european, central french, japanese, Cantonese, Mandarin, etc….

    Meanwhile, when money IS an object, we have a six burner Viking gas range top that I love cooking on. And, yep, we cook a lot.

  69. 25w100k+

    Uhm, except some premium brands (BMW) *heavily* subsidize their leases so yes it is very economical compared to buying them.

  70. tonyE

    We have a Viking gas range. IMHO gas is the way to go for cooktop cooking. Instant ON/OFF behavior. Flip side is that added cleaning up chores.

    For baking we got a GE Monogram convection electric and a GE Advantium oven.

    The Advantium oven is a halogen/microwave combo. Great unit, but takes a 30A/220V dedicated line. :-0

  71. Genius

    I stated that leasing wasn’t always a bad deal in my original comment, so I’m not sure where the “Uhm” is coming from.

    I’m curious if there is a formula somewhere (there must be) to determine what the cost of leasing vs. buying a car is. I suppose I could google, but I’m far to lazy to sift through the results.

  72. ipoplaya

    Exactly Al, that’s why I am refinancing into a 3-year. If I was as eager to buy as I was a few months ago, I’d let my ARM reset and be into something bigger within the next six months.

    My ARM reset will be to around 4.50-4.75% so I’m actually going to pay a bit more each month for the security of two extra years rate protection so this market can get to bottom or at least much closer…

    Consider me a visitor to your dark and dreary territory.

  73. soapboxpolitico

    I voted no on today’s poll but must confess, it does feel nice to own nice things.
    However, I don’t get much satisfaction from the “Newport Beach/Irvine Credo” … “Spend money you don’t have, on things you can’t afford to impress people you don’t like.” 😀

    That said, we all like nice things. But for me, the pleasure is in the delayed gratification and accomplishing a goal. For example, I bought my Caddy CTS when I first crossed $100K/yr in earnings, it was my reward and believe it or not, my first brand new car! Up until then, every car I ever owned was purchased used. I don’t use credit any more except for my cars. I have two major credit cards for emergencies and travel and I don’t carry a balance. If I can’t pay cash for it, I doubt I need it.

    Just my two cents.

  74. sunnyview

    Surprise to me, ipop.. lock for 3 yrs, interest only. Is it the strategy to buy bigger after 3 year, or just temporarily breath ? Last week I lock on 15 yr fix for 5%, by reducing loan amount to little comforting. Still not sure it will get close 30 days. I heard underwrite is slow and tough.

  75. soapboxpolitico

    Maine East in da house!!

    I’m a born and raised North Sider myself but spent the last 10 years here in Irvine. Actually went to Maine North which of course, no longer exists.
    “The Breakfast Club” anyone? 🙂

  76. Laura Louzader

    That’s the beauty of induction- it is only “on” when you put a pan on the cooktop. It produces no heat on its own, but only by the magnetic reaction between the cookware and the stove top, which is why you need ferrous cookware (iron, steel).

    It is the safest way to cook there is, and restaurants are adopting it. I was flipping through a restaurant and hotel trade mag and saw an immense induction cooktop island advertised, big enough for 8 chefs to work at. It was tremendously expensive relative to the normal restaurant-grade gas range,but might be worth it in improved safety, steeply lower energy costs, and hugely reduced insurance premiums.

  77. granite

    CNN article – Irvine’s Subprime Ghostown. It would be nice to connect some of these profiled houses to people who used to work at these failed subprime companies.
    Snobby people who took fat commissions while taking advantage of the gullibility of others deserve to be tarred and feathered publicly.

  78. Laura Louzader

    Actually, I don’t live in Park Ridge, but on the north lakefront of Chicago. But I have many friends there, including this lovely retired businessman who told me of these morons in the $900K house. It seems like I roll through that place a lot these days, and it’s a great small-town style suburb with the same charm and geniality it’s always had.

  79. Laura Louzader

    Yeah, you have to wonder what came first, the mental illness or the 6 kids.

    Hearing this, I have much more sympathy for this family. There’s a sad story here, and I wonder if the husband isn’t stressed by the situation to the point where it has impaired his judgement.

    Of course, we know he should have sold the house long ago and moved to something much less expensive, to free up needed cash, but it is easy for us to see that, while he’s buried in the situation.

    And I worry about the children in this situation… they are in a certain amount of danger, it would seem, and I wonder if the local social services should get involved.

    Severe mental illness is a crushing burden on the sufferer and everyone around her. I’ve been close to people with severe mental illness, and can attest that it is much more difficult to deal with than even catostrophic physical illness. And it’s incurable, for the most part. Long term treatment is crushingly expensive- it costs thousands of dollars a day to stay in a private facility, and insurance will usually pay for only twenty days a year if it pays for it at all.

  80. NoWow!way

    I guess I am just a fuddy duddy about expenses, but if you get a big home like this you had better be prepared to pay all the taxes, insurance, housekeeping, heating, utilities and ac/ etc….

    Unless you have a family of 8, why would you want to have this kind of square footage? Unless you really really love cleaning and would refuse to get a housekeeper – that place is going to require a ton of basic cleaning done each week just to keep looking presentable.

    I notice no pictures of the bedrooms. None of the furniture looked like it belonged to a millionaire, either

  81. former_irvine_resident

    “And small businesses, such as local trophy shops that produced the monthly sales awards, have been hurt.”

    Unreal… They gave out trophies? Wow, now that’s pride for ya!

  82. Laura Louzader

    Well, that’s much better… at least there are the grown children to ease the load and look out for the kids. I really, really fear for the children trapped in situations like this, given what has happened to kids at the hands of deranged parents.

    That also leaves less justification for the situation. However, the husband could by now be having mental health issues, that have crept up on him over years of dealing with someone in his wife’s condition. He doesn’t realize, perhaps, that his thinking is impaired.

  83. belle waring

    nowow!way: if you read above in the thread you’ll see there were 6 kids in the family though 4 have moved out. I do have more sympathy hearing this. being the dad and having a mentally ill wife would be very difficult indeed. I am wishing the best for their family.

  84. ipoplaya

    Yes sunny, I just want to get my rate low in case I stay in my condo for another 2-3 years. Interest only to keep my payment down and ease my qualifying when I go to buy non-contingent.

  85. pencipa

    I find the assumptions made by the above commenters to be (mostly) hilarious…

    1) Huge “generation of sympathy” giving The Foreclosed “every possible emotional break” (“maybe a serious illness” etc).

    2) General assumption that “flippers w/zero-down wagered nothing”

    Regarding #1, an equally-likely assumption regarding the defaulter was…

    A) “If I sell, I still have to find a place to live/party”

    B) Selling “loses status”

    c) “HELOC-to-infinity and walk-away”

    Regarding #2 above, the “zero-down” likely incurred $10K+ in fees (not “points” which may or may-not have been rolled into the loan). Then the flipper had to pay the mortgage, if just 6 months that’s $5K/month *above the rent-cost* which I will call “real loss”. Another $30K (total loss $40K).

    According to Taleb (author: Black Swan) we will *never* know the specifics of any particular default.

    Personally, like the 80’s banking fiasco, I believe there is much more fraud/crime here than meets the eye…

    In closing, I also like to compare the “suffering masses who lost their homes” to certain characters in Atlas Shrugged…


    Sanction of the victim

    The Sanction of the victim is defined as “the willingness of the good to suffer at the hands of the evil, to accept the role of sacrificial victim for the ‘sin’ of creating values.”

  86. rkp

    That is really sad. I think it sadder that people continue to attack the owner even after Silly’s post.

    Perhaps I am naive but I am going to believe a regular commenter post about the family living there.

  87. Lost Cause

    You had the award for Best Entendre of Cliché Television Street Name. But good snark needs no instruction booklet, does it?

  88. Trooper

    Yeah, but you haven’t had one blow up in your face before ! That did it for me ! Electric, all the way from that point on.

    Can I just say, that singed hair does NOT smell good ?

  89. Trooper

    ipop, don’t you think that when you go for financing on a future home (in the next couple of years) the new lender won’t factor in your eventual rate reset ? … protect themselves ?

    I’m thinking the financial institutions should ALL be considering stuff like this. Self preservation and all that.

  90. tonye

    Ghost Town? That may sell newspaper but it’s very sensationalist. Better they highlight their own neighborhood because because the bubble affected the whole country.

  91. tonye

    Actually the safest way to cook is to “eat out”. 😉

    People will hurt themselves in the kitchen no matter what. Give them a fork and they will stab themselves, a knife and they will slice themselves.

    That’s why I’m very careful when I use my chinese cleaver or 14 inch french knife. No Benihana for me then.

    I like gas for cooking, I looked into the induction and halogen but they are not for me, although I put halogen stove in the rental house we owned for a while. It was very easy to keep clean.

    I don’t like electric because it doesn’t have the BTU.

  92. Strom has a calculator that shows the difference, but it’s based on some estimates (like the depreciation of the vehicle over the period in question).

  93. ipoplaya

    I would think they would consider such things but apparently they don’t right now. They only give you a 75% credit of rent/market rent when they run your numbers so maybe this pad accounts for something like a future rate reset…

    It would be hilarious if we wait all this time to buy because my wife didn’t want to move twice and have to rent, but not be able to buy non-contingent any longer and have to sell, rent, buy, and move twice anyway.

    Hilarious in a gut-wrenching, money-losing, beat-your-head-against-a-wall-for-days kind of way…

  94. ipoplaya

    That condo will go for list or just a little shy. I’d bet its in escrow within two weeks and sold within 45 days…

    A smaller, more poorly located place, with less upgrades, closed recently for $675K. No interior pics but this one apparently has the requisitie granite, stainless, Pergo, etc. along with crown.

    Same model, also bank-owned, is in escrow now on a list of $699K.

  95. r mcdonald

    I think that refinancing the 1998 purchase money mortgage with the Option ARM makes the entire Option ARM recourse.

  96. Headless Unicorn Guy

    I just made the final payment on my place in Downtown Anaheim. I have to work in Irvine; all I can say about this $1.6 meg asking price is —


  97. StudyEcon

    Pretty amazing to read all of the negative stuff on this situation for this family. I hope all of you “know it alls” feel better for your venting and criticism of this family, some of which was brought to light below by others.

    Indeed, the story gets even sadder, as the wife was mentally ill, took a turn for the worse three years ago (note the HeLOCs), was institutionalized and then suffered a devastating stroke less than 3 months ago. Her husband of over 30+ years finally gave up and let the bank have it and it is going to auction soon.

    They tried to downsize and sell 3+ years ago but nobody in their right mind would change their real estate tax base from $733K to over $1 million+ of which virtually every home in the area near their family was. For you non-Californians, the tax on the new house could be double the tax on this one due to Prop 13.

    So to all of the geniuses who posted here, what would you have done?

    Does your health insurance (if you even have any) pay a lot toward mental care?

    Do you have unlimited coverage of medical expenses?

    If somebody you were married to for 30+ years got seriously ill and you were sitting on $500K of equity, would you tap it or abandon your spouse?

    God forbid any of you should ever face a situation like this.

    Yeah, right, this is just another high-flyin’ California “Big Time” family.

    Brilliant blog Irvine Renter!

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