*(Update - 06/12/2007): On June 6th, Snowflake brought the blog back (surprise, surprise!), with a vague and unspecified claim of having been "forced" to bring it back. A couple of days later Casey explained it was due to him violating his (very real and legal) contracts with his publisher and/or advertisers by shutting the site down. And just recently he has apparently fled the country to mooch off some fans in Australia. Oops, sorry, he's not "mooching", he's trying to "focus on getting the foreclosure book done and get a lot of other stuff done in a distraction-free environment" --all at OTHER PEOPLE'S EXPENSE and without his wife's approval, of course. I guess I'm one of those "Idiot Haterz" that keep misrepresentin' the facts about the Murseman.
As of this morning, IamFacingForeclosure.com has ceased operation*.
Galina finally had enough? The Feds or local D.A. (finally) caught up to him? Another cheap publicity stunt to attract a few more clicks (kind of like the local furniture store that's perpetually 'going out of business')? Who knows, but for now it seems to be 'lights out' for Mr. Manbag.
So now that everyone's favorite media whore and Flipper Nation poster boy has gone and pulled the plug, who will fill his shoes and sit proudly astride the blue ball of passive debt accumulation? Who will compete for the attention of Exurbannation readers? Some possible contenders:
1. SDCIA Jeff
2. Cindy Schwanke ("cupcake lady")
3. The Woodhulls
4. Dead FL homeless "flipper"
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Perhaps we should have a favorite troll thread. Trolls deserve TLC too. :)
Craftsman or not it looks like it is in the arts and crafts style and thats good enough for most fans of the genra.
Thanks for the clarification. That is news to me. The homes I associate with the Arts and Crafts movement are not only specific with regards to the architectural style, but also materials. To my layman's eyes, the home in question appears to use materials I wouldn't associate with "Craftsman" homes.
However, I found this site through a cursory search on the web which seems reasonably accurate and seems to agree with what you say:
BTW, based on your spelling usage, I wonder, are you an Arts and Crafts fan from the British perspective?
Good luck with that Latham house. I'd be surprised if it doesn't go for at least the asking price. Mountain View is still hot, and there are still too many contractor/flippers looking for places like that around here. They'll just gut it and rebuild it. Permits are easier that way. In 9 months you'll see it on the market for $1.1M.
Probate sale? Wonder if the old lady croaked inside it? That would drop the price a few $k.
Here's the backup for my post above:
Similar sq.ft., same street, on much smaller lot, closer to the apartment zone.
"BTW, based on your spelling usage, I wonder, are you an Arts and Crafts fan from the British perspective?"
Sorry to dissapoint but I grew up in Eagle Rock, a small community in Los Angeles just west of Pasadena. I learned to appreciate all things Arts and Crafts during a tour of the Gamble house back in the eighties. During the tour it was explained that the architects, Charles and Henry Greene, designed most of the furnishings for the homes they built but that the few items they purchased came from Gustav Stickley. This of course led to an interest in Stickley furniture which led to the discovery of Stickley home designs etc..etc. At any rate I am a fan of the Arts and Crafts style and personaly favor those designs with the elements you mentioned above that so typify the genra in the minds of most people.
You're right. It really depends on zoning laws and ability to get the zoning board to agree with you. However, I can't see a "prime" lot like that with a 1,800 sq ft home and I bet at the very least, it'll get bumped out in the back by another 1,000 sq ft.
Wierd world we live in where people publicly advertise their stupidity. Casey was the most craven, and though it's no excuse his youth has to explain some of his stupidity.
But why would an educated person volunteer to be featured in their local paper to be the subject of a story about people who refied 8 times and are struggling to get by? And they have kids! Do they really want to read about how their parents are fb'ed in the Washington Post. Dumb.
The Woodhulls in the Post article were who I was referring to, though the guy does look like a bit of jack-ass in this picture.
Or now that I think of it, maybe posing for a newspaper profile in stupidity is their indirect way of letting the kids know that they're on their own for college. Welcome to the world of the fb, son. Now fill out this student loan application.
In addition (as *astrid points out) the guy works at an "alternative" radio station! Hey, I've had clients that worked at mainstream radio stations and it truly is day to day.
Look, I understand taking risks. Had they decided to purchase (a) 2nd/vacation home no later than say 2002 I could reluctantly approve given their family's finances. At some point though, they drank the kool-aid and became PURE momentum players! This reeks of "my job is of little consequence, it's just a necessary evil to build "my real retirement" in RE!"
Now they're leaning on all this negative synergy and when 'pinching pennies' doesn't cut it they can truly say, "we never saw it coming"!
While Casey is (was) a lot of fun "I" believe he is dwarfed by Daniel Sadek the former used car salesman turned founder of QuickLoanFunding.com! CS may have been on the hook for a dozen or so properties but these clowns were churning out that many neg. am specuvestor loans an hour!
I have checked with our local video store and they promise they'll have the "Redline" DVD in this weekend!
Sorry to dissapoint but I grew up in Eagle Rock, a small community in Los Angeles just west of Pasadena.
Are you still in SoCal? I've always thought the housing stock there is SO much nicer than up here in the Bay Area. There's much more stuff built in the early 20th century that's still around and in good shape down there. That goes for Craftsman homes especially. Up here, you're inundated with ranches from the '50s and '60s, McMansion rebuilds, and all that weird clapboard stuff in South City, Daly City and a lot of SF proper.
But of course, SoCal is not as "special" as the Bay Area, now is it??? :)
Well.... agreed. At least where the human drama is concerned. When we look at Daniel Sadek though, he worked on a MUCH larger scale. At one point they had hundreds of employees cranking out hundreds of millions in bad loans A MONTH! He developed a taste for the good life going to Vegas every weekend, driving exotic cars, hangin' with starlets and turning out incredibly bad movies. The things CS's wet dreams are (were) made of.
Yes, I am still here but I don't believe I'll be able to stay much longer. Home prices are high enough that I am completely shut out of the local market. However the rent in my apartment is only $675 per month and as a result my wife and I are able to save at an alarming rate. The plan is to wait out the market for another couple of years at least and see if things have improved enough to make staying worthwhile. If not, we'll seriously consider leaving California. You are right about the houses down here. Numerous examples of Arts and Crafts style homes can be found on vitually every block in the older neighborhoods. If you are a fan of the American interpretation of the Arts and Crafts vision then this area should be a holy land of sorts. Homes from that era seem to have a different feel to them. I've actually never lived in a home built after 1920 and would prefer not to.
As far as SoCal not being "special", in many circles "special" is short for "special needs" which spawned the phrase "I'd rather be dead than special". So the bottom line is if SoCal is not as "special" as NorCal I'm perfectly ok with that. LOL
Oh, I'm pretty sure I won't get it. But the house is scary enough inside that only a real rehabber would pick it up, not a TLC watcher. Or if a TLC watcher does pick it up for asking, I'll buy it in a year and a half from the bank. It'd take 6 months to fully gut and refinish it.
Hey don't take my earlier comments as being a killjoy. I hope it does work out for you! In ways, doing a total rehab is.... a little bit easier than a "spot remodel". You don't have to concern yourself with banging, chipping or scratching anything b/c hell.... it's going in the dumpster anyway!
Just doing a room, or part of a room can be a real drag. Where and whenever possible I made a promise to myself that our home wouldn't look like "a work in progress" and was real vigilant about keeping the room/area presentable and functional during the remodel. With a total rehab, you can take the "kid gloves" off. Banzai! :)
If you are a fan of the American interpretation of the Arts and Crafts vision then this area should be a holy land of sorts. Homes from that era seem to have a different feel to them.
I agree completely. As I'm sure you know, the other part of the country with amazing Arts and Crafts home stock is the upper midwest. Up here, your best bet would be in Berkeley. Also, somewhat related, Stanford's campus has a Wright home that's very nice - it's a bit more prairie style, though.
RE: the "different feel", the way these homes are generally laid out and designed, they almost always speak to me more than any other home style. It's weird, because it's been the case whether it's a home that's been impeccably maintained, or a run down bungalow subdivided to be a rental unit that's clearly had some horrible formica-based renovation in the 70's or 80's.
Now I also like Adobe and Hacienda. Otherwise, I prefer some modern wood+glass look.
FYI: Snowflake updated his goodbye page:
McArthur Park restaurant in Palo Alto is in an old FLWright building, IIRC it was originally built as a USO building. Go eat there some time.
It's a carnivore place....if you order a bowl of chili there, they stick a pork rib into it as a garnee instead of a stalk of celery. :)
Oops sorry, it's a Julia Morgan design. http://www.macpark.com/page24.htm
just some data points for the value of land (which is what I am primarily interested in).
OO, please keep posting your "land" observations (especially if you see the market starting to turn). I guess I can always dream about purchasing a vacation home plot at the "end" of the downturn -- why have all those maintenance expenses for a real getaway when you can just pay taxes on some land while it sits there. Much cheaper that way .
I signed up for a propertyshark.com account and have found it quite addictive (thankfully they limit the amount you can "imbibe"). The biggest shocker for me is finding places where I assumed people were overleveraged as it would appear they overpaid... instead I only find a $200k first mortgage (fixed, of course).
It’d take 6 months to fully gut and refinish it.
SFBB, Sorry to be so skeptical, but I am guessing a year minimum (okay, maybe 6 months for actual construction -- but good luck with permits and everyting else)... at any rate, if you do bid, spending a couple hundred bucks on a contractor (or inspector who used to be a contractor) would probably be worth it for a back of the envelope "consultation". Or maybe try a remodeling coach.
If you go to MacArthur Park be sure to try the popcorn shrimp - they are excellent.
Its also one of the rare places where you can know exactly where it is, but still can't get there - you have to be heading towards Stanford on University and then make a right at the light before University heads over El Camino.
And... Schatz Home Furnishings is having another FINAL "going out of business sale" (again) this weekend only!
It's funny you should mention the upper midwest. I have a brother that lives in Cleveland and that is were we would most likely go if forced out of California. We've been looking at houses out there on Realtor.com and so far I've been impressed with both the variety of architectural styles available and the apparent build quality in the older neighborhoods. And on the upside, the same dollars that would only be a small down payment here will just about pay off a home there. The one thing that concerns me though is the winters. I've seen photos of houses with lake effect snow up to the rooflines.
Ughh, now you got me all upset recalling that there was a time when the case study houses, with their ethereal designs and fantastic lots, was in the reach of the professional class (and only one professional per family, darn it!).
And now I'm going to go and drown myself in a McMansion bathtub in despair.
Funny - I've wondered if that whole 'going out of business' gimmick was common in other states too.
Don't do it! It's not worth it.
When I was stationed in Long Beach, CA back in the early 80's I remember all up and down 3rd. Ave. (just in from Ocean Blvd.) there was block after block of 20's/30's Arts and Crafts homes. My buddy used to rent on 3rd and Orange and I always remember just what a classy feel it had to it. The yards were big enough to have a wedding reception in (as I'm sure was often the case in that era).
I'd love to go back just to see. At the time most were rentals and in a sad state of repair. Even still, they had a sense of style not even a Ford Pinto up on blocks couldn't take away from. Windows that had purpose, not windows for the sake of windows.
More Arts & Crafts related, but you may find this architect's website interesting:
My experience with rebuilding a condo -- 2X as long and 2X as expensive as I thought.
Hope you get it!
I can see your point. Speaking as someone who has spent substantial time on both coasts, I can say dealing with winters is tough at first, but you really do get used to it. I have friends in Cleveland working at the Clinic, and they have only nice things to say about the lifestyle there. Sounds like there are a reasonable amount of decent restaurants, and as you mentioned, the housing prices are shockingly affordable. Check this place out for less than the median Santa Clara county SFH price in Shaker Heights, one of the nicest close-in old-time suburbs:
I think there's some gang activity going on at my blog:
What's sad was that the comment was posted from a Modesto public school apparently.
Check this place out for less than the median Santa Clara county SFH price in Shaker Heights, one of the nicest close-in old-time suburbs:
If you tell a Bay Area person that, they'll quickly tell you that that's because people outside of the Bay Area don't get paid well.
Someone argued on my blog that "Seattle has a 30% lower cost of living, but that's because your pay will be 30% less too."
only if you can deal with NZ weather, which is 4 seasons skewed to the winter all in one day.
We went to NZ a few years ago right around LOTR release since we were lured by the scenery. We also toyed with the idea of keeping a vacation property down there just by dicking around the internet (NZD at around .5, and NZ asset bubble not in full rage).
Then after a 3-week trip in NZ, we decided that it is just too damn cold for us, even in a typical NZ summer. What you can't see in those scenery photos include wind chill, rain and shine every 5 minutes, and a general lack of infrastructure to sustain a care-free living. No wonder Bear Grylls hasn't done any series in NZ yet, he will be frozen to death for sure.
I have lots of friends in Seattle (ex-BAers), and they told me it is not 30% lower in cost of living. Those CA equity locusts don't really scale down their lifestyle, they just buy a bigger house at the same price. The real problem with Seattle is jobs. Outside of Microsoft, which does pay below the market, there are almost no viable choices, Amazon and Starbucks pay laughable salary. Startups in Seattle, much fewer in number to begin with, do pay more than 20% lower than BA. So if you quit working for Microsoft, the path of least resistance is usually moving out of the area.
However, it is more than 10% cheaper for sure, primarily due to the lack of state income tax. In fact, one of the guys moved up a year before he cashed out all his options to avoid the CA income tax.
The worst thing about NZ is, their general cost of living (except housing) is higher than BA, in absolute terms. I kid you not.
We checked out local supermarket chain at every stop and made sure we were not confining ourselves to toursity outfits targeting stupid Americans. The variety is food is decisively limited, imagine Safeway (not even Whole Foods) scaled down by more than half. The only three items that are cheaper than us (BA) are: lamb, milk and kiwi fruit. Everything else is either missing or more expensive.
If you are a gadget freak like myself, welcome to the hell of electronics. NZ has to source its electronics stuff from Oz, which is at least 30% more expensive than us to begin with. Every time I go visit my parents, I have to carry on LCD display, digital camera, ipod, printer, and whatever that will work down under because of the price difference.
Seattle has another problem - property tax assessed at the market price every year.
Seattle's housing price unfortunately fluctuates with CA, and it has been the case for many years. Because whenever CA housing bubble starts picking up, there will always be a certain portion of CA population cashing out and moving north, causing their property price to move in tandem. What they don't have is, the CA homeowners here are protected by prop 13 no matter how the housing price moves, the typical WA homeowners who bought a nice home @ $500K suddenly finds his property tax bill to be north of $10K just because some dicks in CA decide to bid up his neighbors' homes.
Given that Seattle home price more than double in the last 5 years, property tax bill is certainly a big part of the cost of living.
Someone argued on my blog that “Seattle has a 30% lower cost of living, but that’s because your pay will be 30% less too.”
Actually, that was probably true 10 or 15 years ago, but no more. When I moved to Atlanta 15 years ago, I recall being shocked at how little most professional jobs paid. $5-8/hour for entry-level office jobs was quite common and not much more for jobs that required college degrees. I once saw a want ad in the local paper for a college professor offering $14,000 --no joke. Nowadays, the two states are almost at par with each other HH income-wise, while houses here cost 2-3x what they do there, and gas, food, utilities, etc. are significantly more expensive as well.
I don’t think I’d trust the sushi in Cleveland.
I've heard it's actually not bad, believe it or not. As long as it doesn't come from the Lake, I suppose...
Yet another Casey saga update:
Snowflake's pulled the "the wife made me do it" goodbye info (see screenshot I posted above) and replaced it with "I'm sorry" in faint grey letters. The abrupt IAFF site closure has also started to attract some media attention:
Check this place out for less than the median Santa Clara county SFH price in Shaker Heights, one of the nicest close-in old-time suburbs:
Also, as it is an "old school" suburb, they actually built it around public transportation. You would be less than a mile from the Rapid Transit (light rail) -- might be a bit to hoof it through the snow, though :-)
Never thought Shaker Heights would seem so affordable. Maybe the Case-Shiller
Indices and Paperdinero can help me understand this phenomena better. Ahhh... now I see.