FSBO Needs Help on Camphor, University Park, Irvine

You don’t need a realtor to sell property. If you know how to market and negotiate, you can do most of the work yourself; however, if you are not skilled in these areas, perhaps a little help might be in order.

3 Camphor S back

Asking Price: $440,000

Address: 3 Camphor S, Irvine, CA 92612

Check out an interview with me at Matt Padilla’s blog, Foreclosure is the ‘cure’.

On My Own — Three Days Grace

I walk alone
Think of home
Memories of long ago

Being a listing agent is where the real money is made in real estate. It takes much less time and effort, but it does take some financial risk in property marketing–although most seem to defer to the MLS and the Internet. Good agents are obsessed with obtaining listings because they know that is where the real money is.

The relationship between cost and value is debatable, but what value there is in the work of a good listing agent can be readily identified. In our modern Internet era, there are really only two things an agent needs to do: (1) obtain good property photographs, and (2) write a good property description. Any property that has those two things will sell itself on the MLS through sites like Redfin or the many others that provide MLS search capabilities. Any agent who can not do these two things well really should not get any listings.

Today’s featured property is For Sale By Owner (FSBO). As such he has probably already been contacted by dozens of agents trying to get his listing. He probably should have taken one of them up on their offer.

This property is a complete mystery to me. There is no description, the photo of the front is so bad that I cannot tell which property is for sale, and the photo of the back yard leaves more questions than it answers. This is a perfect example of how not to market a house. The only way this sells is because the inventory in Irvine is so limited that people will do their own research to find any available deal.


Just for a little fun, let’s see how many problems we can identify with the photos.

  • The photo of the front immediately draws your eye to a light pole. WTF?
  • It was taken with a fish-eye lens that distorts everything in the picture.
  • What s that at the base of the light pole?
  • Why is this so out of focus? Was it taken on a camera phone?
  • Are those stepping stones in the grass? They do not seem to lead anywhere.
  • Don’t the trees make this yard look tiny (it probably is).

3 Camphor S back

Asking Price: $440,000

Income Requirement: $110,000

Downpayment Needed: $88,000

Monthly Equity Burn: $3,667

Purchase Price: $488,000

Purchase Date: 11/16/2004

Address: 3 Camphor S, Irvine, CA 92612

Beds: 2
Baths: 2
Sq. Ft.: 1,184
$/Sq. Ft.: $372
Lot Size: 2,957

Sq. Ft.

Property Type: Single family
Year Built: 1974
Community: Irvine
County: Orange
Listing #: 25493785
Source: Zillow
Status: Active
On Redfin: 5 days

I recogize that most descriptions are a useless waste of words, but give me something….

This property was purchased on 11/16/2004 for $488,000. The ower used a $390,000 first mortgage and a $98,000 downpayment. He refinanced in 2005 and took out most of his downayment with a $388,000 first mortgage and a $97,000 stand alone second.

If this property sells for its asking price–which doesn’t seem very likely–the lender will lose most of the second mortgage.

41 thoughts on “FSBO Needs Help on Camphor, University Park, Irvine

  1. Dan in FL

    In response to Newbie2008 from yesterday:

    “As for #1, why aren’t the seconds going after the borrower? I’ve not seen it happen. What’s the status of limitation in bring a suit for defaulting?”

    Second mortgages are going after borrowers, but not very often. We have a handful of such cases right now. The banks have the right to do it, but I think you don’t see it more often for a few reasons.

    First, it would make for bad publicity. Can you imagine if all of the seconds started pursuing judgments? Second, they can wait it out. The statute of limitations in Florida is 5 years. Third, most of them have insurance policies they can make claims against. Fourth, the banks are overwhelmed as it is with foreclosing on the homes. The banks, attorneys, and courts couldn’t handle the influx if all of these seconds started suing right now. Finally, some of the seconds aren’t worth pursuing a judgment against. Court costs, attorneys fees, etc.

    I think you will see a lot more of these type suits over the next five years, especially as the insurers start running out of money. Sorry for the late reply Newbie.

    1. KO

      To add, part of the answer, at least in California, is a mixture of the “one action” rule and not being able to get a deficiency judgment for a purchase money mortgage.

      They way it works generally, and there are exceptions, is if the mortgage, first second or third, is used to buy the home the only recovery is the property. If the mortgage is not for purchase of the property, HELOC etc, the lender can obtain a deficiency but it all has to be done in one action. If the second moves to foreclose, since they are second in priority, if the house sells for less than the first, then the only thing the second gets is a deficiency judgment. The lender must then pursue and obtain the judgment, which for people who were just foreclosed on, is usually not worth doing.

      I think as this mess goes up the food chain and when people with higher net wealth start walking, it is possible that some banks might consider doing deficiency judgments as the wealthy may still have assets after a foreclosure. And there is usually enough money at stake to make a lawsuit worth it. A good lawyer can usually find the assets and seek judgment against them or make life hell for the debtor to the extent they would negotiate a deal for the judgment, but its obviously not free.

      Given the carnage with layoffs in the legal field, I think there are enough lawyers to handle the work, but the courts, with all the furloughs, do not have the resources.

      1. Kishore

        I know a couple of people who’ve bought new homes at a cheaper price and are negotiating with the bank to do short sales on their previous homes which they bought at the peak.

        That seems to be like a no risk situation on their previous purchases.. profiting if the market had gone up but not losing anything since the market went down.

    2. newbie2008

      Thanks for all the explainations. What is the statue of limitations in CA on defaulting. On the purchase loan, that’s the first set of loans on the inital financancing of the purchase and not future refinancing?

      If so IMHO, lots of borrowers that refinance will be in bigger touble with the non-recourse loan becoming a recourse loan. Not only can they loss the house but their 401k and other future assets.

      I’ve read that are buyer who will purchase a new house at the current low and short selling their highly morgaged house as Kishore wrote. Banks are trying to stop it by making the new loan basis on ability to pay for old house and new house without rental income from the old house or only verified income from the “rental” by a signed lease (but lots of phony leases).

      Some in the IE are getting their principle reduced if the house was purchased with nothing down or have large negative equility. Those with equity or large down payments have a tough sell for reduction of principle.
      The govt and banks are still rewarding the ilresponsible and punishing the responsible.

  2. Lee in Irvine

    Hello Photo!?!

    I don’t understand how these sloppy agents get listings at all. Do they not have any pride in their work. Un-fu*kin-believable!

    Like I said before … 1 Nikon D40, 1 50MM lens, 1 wide lens, and 1 photo class. It’s one of the best investments any realtor can make.

      1. Lee in Irvine

        Photos are generally the first or second lure that attracts the eye to the listing. More than 50% of listing photos are crap … this one may be the worst ever.

      2. Geotpf

        Yeah, that’s sort of the point. The homeowner is the one who’s clueless here, since there is no agent.

        It doesn’t matter if an agent does it or the homeowner-this ain’t rocket science. Writing a decent description and taking a dozen good photos is not difficult, IMHO. But you’d never know that from some of the listings seen on this blog.

        1. IrvineRenter

          You would think it wouldn’t be that hard, but when you see the awful photos and descriptions day after day, it does make you wonder. The really sad part is that most of the bad photos and descriptions come from “professionals.”

          1. Geotpf

            I think a lot of people are just stupid, to be blunt. Things that seem simple to you and me and the other readers of this blog are beyond their abilities.

      3. Lee in Irvine

        Oh, one more point. Before I read a word about this being a FSBO, I saw that photo!

        1. Illuminatus

          Me too – -I am very visual (learning, etc.) and the very first thing I look at, beyond all else, is the photos. If I see a listing and it has no photos, I immediately skip it. I love the “photos coming soon” graphic on MLS when the listing is over 100 days old. I figure that not showing photos, or where only a certain aspect is shown (i.e., no bathroom or kitchen photos), means that there is something that they don’t want you to see. And I skip those based on the lack of photos. I may be the exception, but if the photos don’t lure me in, I won’t look any further. I’m not an investor, but I can’t see how it would be much different for investors as opposed to end users…

          1. Lee in Irvine

            The last 2 years I’ve become a photography enthusiast. I look at visual composition more broadly now. When I’m watching a movie, sometimes I focus more on the cinematography than the plot.

          2. Geotpf

            I like bad listings with no photos, because there’s less competition from people like you who skip a house that has no or bad photos, so there’s a higher likelyhood that I could get the house, and at a lower price. The house I bought had exactly one photo in the listing. I assume that a lack of good photos is due to the incompetence of the listing agent more often than the house being horrible.

          3. cara

            as Geopf… stated, that’s a really bad plan. More often than not, lack of photos simply mean that the owner still lives there and hasn’t staged it. Lack of staging = lower demand = lower price. Photoless listings are your friend if you’re doing anything more than browsing for fun.

            If you’re afraid of ripping up a carpet or two and some painting, then yes, stick to ones with photos. I.e. if your needs require move-in ready.

          4. MalibuRenter

            Do/did you by any chance do the same thing on internet dating sites? A surprising number of the women who don’t post photos are trying to keep men who only look at photos from responding.

          5. RE in the LBC


            That’s a really good point, and something I hadn’t really considered. I had a habit of skipping photo-less listings because I assumed if the seller was too stupid to list photographic evidence of something they had the gall to ask HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR, then they were likely too blockheaded to engage in reasonable negotiations.

            I’m going to start paying attention to the mystery listings from now on.

      4. IrvineRenter

        “It’s a FSBO. Pride of ownership on display here.”

        You would think people selling their own home, would go over-the-top showing it off. That is not what I generally see. Most FSBO listings are like this one.

  3. Marilyn Kalfus

    What about the opposite — homes that are so altered or airbrushed they look like something out of shangri-la? I always wonder how a prospective buyer feels when he or she drives up and sees the actual house! I write the Huntington Homes blog for the O.C. Register and whenever I can I take photos to show what the place really looks like. Or if it’s gated, at least an aerial shot will show a slice of reality!

    1. Lee in Irvine

      I don’t know how you can improve an image of granite, or a front yard, or a swimming pool with an airbrush tool. It is, what it is.

    2. cara

      Or when you simply figure out that the rooms are much much smaller than they looked in the pictures, which apparently must have been taken with a wide-angle (but non-fish-eye) lens from the doorway above the agents head.

      That’s a big turn-off too. Traffic is useless if all the buyers are dissappointed in what they find.

        1. priced_out

          That’s the most lazy thing I’ve ever heard of. Who can’t be bothered to take their own picture of their house?

          Maybe this is a deadbeat landlord who lives in another city or state?

    3. Blueberry Pie

      You never know. A few years ago I found a date online. The girl had a picture that showed her looking pretty good. No lie, when I met her in person she was 100 pounds heavier than in the photo. The photo was a couple of years old.

      Did she think I wasn’t going to notice the 100 pounds? Did she think she was going to be able to begin a relationship with anybody based on a lie to kickstart the relationship?

      1. Mike7

        When you 100 pounds plus overweight, people get desperate. The words online and dating shouldn’t be in the same sentence.

  4. Anonymous

    The ironic thing, IR, is that just by linking it, there is a ton of free publicity. What is he/she sells it due to your link, while the picture perfect listings do not 🙂 ?

    1. IrvineRenter

      Yes, it would be interesting to see if the quality of photos and listing descriptions actually declines in Irvine because they know it would gain them free publicity on the IHB….

  5. theWupr

    If you look up that address in google maps, check out the street view. You might recognize the photo…

  6. thrifty

    I’m continually amazed at the number of r.e. listings where ocean view is clearly meant to be the highlight: either the headline or stated in first sentence, usually in glowing terms. And there is no photo of the ocean view. Or, if there is, it is taken with a telephoto lens. Occasionally the photographer does outsmart themselves: There is an interior shot incidentally containing a window that just happens to show what the actual view looks like – and it’s laughable.

    1. Marilyn Kalfus

      Thrifty, also funny are listings with only a photo of the ocean — meant to be a quintessential Huntington Beach photo, even though the home itself has NO ocean view!

      1. Dan in FL

        That happens here all the time. Homes 5 miles inland will have a picture taken ON THE PUBLIC BEACH!

  7. stepping_up

    The yard looks small because it is small, not because of the trees. However, those trees do like ficus, which you do not want because their roots are so destructive. Notice the edger popping up? That’s only the beginning. The root system is very aggressive and will grow to 7 x the drip line of the tree. I’m sure you all have seen sidewalks torn up by these things….

  8. Mike7

    The photo comes from Google street view. It’s the exact same photo. (you can tell from the US flag position) It just seams the photo didn’t load all the way before they took it.

    1. djd

      “…didn’t load all the way…”

      Worse yet – I’m pretty sure it’s the thumbnail that shows above the “street view” link in Google maps.

      I was able to reproduce the image artifacts quite well by taking the thumbnail, enlarging it using Bell resampling, then passing the result through a 50% quality JPEG compression. That would also explain why they used the default camera pose instead of pan/tilt/zooming the lamppost out of the center.

      I suspect that they didn’t know how to extract the full sized image from street view.

  9. Eat it in the OC

    Don’t know if you saw that an “Real” Housewive of the OC has defaulted on her loans, all five of them I think. Check out the OC Register’s blog.

  10. JK

    Marilyn is right. I’ve seen those “airbrushed”..aka Photoshop photos from certain realtors all the time in HB listings. Sky is just a little bit more blue than normal, fireplace is always burning just perfectly. In some cases I can look at the photos and then tell you who the listing agent is since I’ve seen them more often.
    But to give them credit they sell more homes than this idiot FSBO listing every will.

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