Here's a little game I play all the time. Basically you pick an MLS listing and, based on the photos and description, you try to figure out what they AREN'T telling you. Ready to play?
The description reads:
Land lovers [sic] dream! Half acre in studio city's [sic] silver triangle [sic]. A 'demi designs' retreat with private walking paths to intimate viewing patios and lookouts. Remodeled baths and kitchen with viking [sic] range, detached studio/garage, and flat yards. Walk to ventura [sic] and carpenter school [sic]. Location, location, location!
I have no idea what "demi designs" means. Do you? I'm also not sure what an "intimate viewing patio" is but I suspect it means you hike up the hill to a clearing if you want to see the view.
(MLS #: 08_267633)
Looking at the featured photo, right away you might wonder: "Where's the house?" A red flag in any listing. Of course, if your front door was this dark and uninviting, you might not want to feature it either:
I dunno, something about this porch makes me hear banjo music in my head. And not in a good way. More like in a "Deliverance" way. Anyhoodle, let's move on to the details.
Square Feet: 1,360
Yeah, I figured it was lees than 1,700 square feet. No wonder they want you to focus on the lot. So how big is the lot?
Lot Size: 21,180 Sq. Ft.
WHOA! That's a big ole lot. Kind of a small house, but a giant lot. You probably want to see more of the lot, right? I mean, the feature photo is lovely but that doesn't exactly look like buildable land.
Odd angle. Perhaps they hope you won't notice that this is about a 6 foot wide strip of grass (but how could you not notice that?). I suspect this is the "flat yard" they mention and I'm sensing a lot of unsuable land here so I Google Mapped it (I heart Google Maps!). Trees obscure the view of this lot (and if you can't see in, you can't see out) but the neighbor's house gives you a good idea of the terrain. Here's the neighbor's place and I've angled the camera up.
That's a pretty steep hillside a'ight. But just because this is a small house with a mostly unbuildable lot doesn't mean it's not a good buy. I mean, I'd still consider it at the right price. So what is the price anyway?
Listing Date: 03/31/08
List Price: $999k
Oh, Sweet Fancy Moses! That's $735 a sq.ft. Is there gold in dem dar hills? Seriously. But guess what? That's about what the owner paid back in '05.
Last Sale: 12/02/05
Sales Price: $965,000
I don't know why they paid that in '05 -- there must be one of those super fancy gourmet kitchens or something -- they did mention a Viking range. Let's look.
Guess not. I can't say for sure but it looks like those cabinets are from our excellent Swedish friends at IKEA and that stove is not the professional range you picture when you think of a Viking range. Love the way it's just sitting in a corner all by itself. Hello? Counter space? And what's up with that little shelf and stool to the right? Is that where you sit after the teacher yells at you? I expect a little (okay, a lot) more than that in a million dollar house. Let's look at the bathroom.
I guess this is the bathroom. There's a sink and a mirror so it's a safe guess. Judging by the fact that they won't actually step in there to take the photo, I'd say it's not a luxury spa style bathroom.
Well, it must be the view that's justifying the price. Of course, when you have a stunning view the listing typically features no less than three photos of it: daytime, sunset, and twinkling lights at night. Here we have zero shots of the view. And I don't think they forgot to post them.