Sunday, August 14, 2005

Real (Estate) Adventures: Chapter 1

The "open house" sign was accompanied by another that said "for rent," which immediately caught our attention. This was west Los Angeles, not the sort of place where anyone rents anything other than apartments, so to see a house for rent was odd enough, but to see a house for rent having an open house, well, something was up. And so, we walked through. There was a young couple inside the two bedroom, 1 3/4 bath house. It had a rumpus room in what had formerly been the garage. The place was about 1,400 square feet with decent wood floors, but a very tiny kitchen that's smaller than the master bedroom's walk-in closet. Still, there was a nice backyard deck and the place was on a good-sized lot with shrubs that stretched at least 20 feet up, far beyond code height.

They said he was being transfered up north, so they had to sell, or rent the place out. This was complete fabrication as far as I was concerned. There were flipper fingerprints all over the place. Limited posessions. Museum-quality furnishings... The asking price? $1.1 million, but it recently fell out of escrow, so they're also trying to rent it out for a year, if they can find a tenant who will pay $4,100. Yes, that's right. They're obviously looking to get the renter to make the entire mortgage payment on this house for them. $4,100. Three blocks down there are luxery apartments of comparable size renting for under $2,000 a month. Granted, the apartments don't have a yard, but no yard is worth 2X your rent.

I asked if they had decided to rent because the market was softening, leveling out, and they quickly changed the subject. No reality talk here. It seemed one more piece of evidence that the ride is over.