February 2, 2012
That Flippin' Market Crash And 611 Laguna Honda
Purchased for $1,300,000 in 2007 as the 2,142 square foot home pictured above, 611 Laguna Honda Boulevard was remodeled, expanded, and returned to the market with a new façade and 2,592 refinished square feet listed for $1,600,000 in September 2009.
Having been in default on a million dollar first mortgage since 2010, three months ago 611 Laguna Honda was taken back by the bank with no bidders at $942,622 cash.
Today, the Forrest Hill Extension home is back on the market and listed for $1,099,000, Blum cabinets, Bosch appliances, Quartz counters and all.
∙ Listing: 611 Laguna Honda Boulevard (4/4) 2,592 sqft - $1,099,000 [Redfin]
First Published: February 2, 2012 11:30 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
Wow.. Was this an attempted flip? It's terrible. Add tacky facade? Check. Board up window? Check. Replaced original hardwood? Check.
Posted by: R at February 2, 2012 11:41 AM
So much cuter before.
Posted by: wc1 at February 2, 2012 11:51 AM
Holy Moly, is that ever an ugly remodel, especially that facade. The original facade wasn't an amazing beauty but this new one is reminiscent of some of the worst facades from the early 70s. Odd that they didn't even bother to upgrade the garage door. And what the *%$ with that fireplace mantle treatment? It looks like packing popcorn glued to the wall.
Check out the stairway. At the top is a sleek albeit cliche stainless cable railing. Leading of course to a traditional colonial oak wood railing at the bottom. And what's up with that upper deck out back. It looks cheap but hey, topped with another stainless cable railing.
Most deep remodels improve upon a bland and run down home. This place is the poster home for how bad flipping can actually degrade the housing stock.
An amateur like myself could have done better. I think. :-)
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 2, 2012 11:53 AM
What a steaming pile of dog crap. The next time somebody posts a comment on a post for a modernist project, a comment such as:
San Franciscans would do well to open their minds to new architecture and stop worshiping Victorians, and learn to embrace the present.
Posted by: noearch at March 22, 2011 10:21 AM
I'll just respond with a link to this place (I realize the original wasn't a Victorian).
Just because something is new, doesn't mean it constitutes an improvement.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 2, 2012 12:21 PM
It looks like a flying tank from "Tron".
Posted by: Ebrohinho at February 2, 2012 12:26 PM
I did some research into the former owners of this lovely abode...the husband is a real estate agent. I find it entertaining that ppl who should be in the better position (than the average joe) with regards to real estate/flipping are sometimes the ones who make terrible choices...
Posted by: foresthillext_chick at February 2, 2012 12:30 PM
I agree Brahma. Just because a design feels dated today doesn't mean that it doesn't have enduring merit and won't be appreciated in the future. I've seen my share of interesting deco, streamline moderne, and midcentry modern buildings torn down. And past generations have leveled those frumpy gaudy Victorians.
About the only exception are the bargain basement cheapo 7'9" ceiling boxes which were produced in prolific numbers in every city (including SF), mostly from the 60s through the 80s. It would be hard to remodel those into something worse.
And if your project starts with something even somewhat well designed then at least produce something that is better in aspects other than "new". This backflipper failed here when they could have shined, even within their budget.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 2, 2012 12:35 PM
Wow. What a tragedy. If you're going to update this place...update the interior, not the exterior. The house facade looks terrible. It almost looks like a castle with those two ends sticking up.
Posted by: Palms at February 2, 2012 12:48 PM
what are "Blum cabinets"? has Blum the hinge maker expanded into case goods?
Posted by: steve at February 2, 2012 1:14 PM
"I did some research into the former owners of this lovely abode...the husband is a real estate agent."
From the 2007 agent-buyer's profile on Zip today:
"I know from personal experience what a valuable and profitable investment real estate is. I have found no other investment that can offer both peace of mind and long-term satisfaction."
Posted by: nonanon at February 2, 2012 1:20 PM
I can't quite put my finger on the statutes violated by whoever created this thing but whatever the crime, the sentence is obvious: house arrest.
Posted by: BobN at February 2, 2012 2:11 PM
I only (mostly) mean this figuratively, but the folks who are responsible for this should be beaten. Severely.
That facade looks like something from the early 90's . . . maybe the architect went into prison or a coma in 1991 and just emerged?
And in any sense of a real "free market" that agent would never get a shred of business again, as his credibility would be zero. What an absolute catastrophe.
Posted by: mobileduck at February 2, 2012 2:49 PM
"I did some research into the former owners of this lovely abode...the husband is a real estate agent. I find it entertaining that ppl who should be in the better position (than the average joe) with regards to real estate/flipping are sometimes the ones who make terrible choices..."
Thanks for that. I was wondering who would be dumb enough to have paid 1.3 for that house on that street (in August 07 no less!) and then transform it into that mess. I should've known, lol.
Posted by: El Bombero at February 2, 2012 2:54 PM
I think redoing the facade was a bad idea but is the new one that bad? Is it really that much different from the new construction that has been prevalent in Upper Noe for the past 6-7 years? Let’s just say that the home could be described as Saitowitz inspired design…With a few cosmetic changes on the inside (redo stairs) and outside (new paint) it could be made to look OK. It’s not my cup of tea but it’s entirely livable.
Posted by: Willow at February 2, 2012 3:08 PM
Thanks for quoting me Brahma:
I'll stand by what I said.
All commentators: you don't have to "like" this remodel. that's your choice. We don't know the reasons why the owner chose to remodel, nor why they chose the architects (Levy Art & Architecture). that's their call. Whatever their reasons, they wanted a new more "modern" if you will update, inside and out.
On other recent posts, we had many comments about how EVERYBODY wants to put their 2 cents in on EVERY little detail and nuance of a remodel. And how that type of democratic commentary basically serves no purpose. It's simply nitpicking and micro-designing.
I love how some of you are (mock) outraged. Like it matters.
I support any owner and architect to make their own decisions and remodel the hell out of a house no matter how "charming" and "quaint" it may appear to the masses.
That's why the DR process should be abolished, among other reasons.
And just because something is old doesn't mean it constitutes worship.
Posted by: futurist at February 2, 2012 3:21 PM
I, for one, am certainly not arguing that these morons should be denied the ability to ruin their house and lose a ton of money while doing it. Have at it.
Posted by: R at February 2, 2012 3:53 PM
Hey, I'm not outraged at all that these people spent a ton of money and turned this remodel into complete and utter dogshit. Nor am I outraged that they lost money, either. It happens. I would be outraged, however, if they somehow managed to stave off the foreclosure through some sort of government-backed loan modification program. THAT would be a case for outrage.
Posted by: Fishchum at February 2, 2012 4:33 PM
Contributors of this forum never seem to amaze me with the snooty 'I'm better than most of the world' comments. Add the fact finding ability of who owns which piece of property and makes such personal remarks afterwards - Wow... Seems that most of you are "Agents" so one should not be so surprised.
Posted by: Oakland Chap at February 2, 2012 7:18 PM
As an agent who happens to know the previous owner as a kind and smart man, I do not understand why people can be so mean towards a fellow human being who get caught in the real estate bubble, like so many Americans. I thought San Franciscans are better educated and more civilized. I guess Socketside readers are different.
Posted by: Realtor at February 2, 2012 7:39 PM
Yea, and I don't know why people here have to call other people "morons" simply for exercise their freedom of choice in how they wish to remodel their own residence.
San Franciscans, for all their open mindedness and diversity are, quite often, a bunch of old busy-bodies.
Posted by: futurist at February 2, 2012 8:10 PM
"Wow... Seems that most of you are "Agents" so one should not be so surprised"
I detect maybe three or four agents posting out of like 50 regular posters. Rest assured no agents are ever looking at tax info in order to air personal information + value judgments on here. The behavior you ascribe to "agents" is actually folks like yourself ... folks who love to bash agents. Pretty ironic stuff all around.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 2, 2012 8:37 PM
> As an agent who happens to know the previous
> owner as a kind and smart man...
I don't know the guy, and I'm going to take Realtor's word that he is "kind", but no "smart" guy would do this to a house and lose it to the bank...
Then futurist wrote:
> Yea, and I don't know why people here
> have to call other people "morons" simply
> for exercise their freedom of choice in
> how they wish to remodel their own residence.
I don't want to speak for R (who called the guy a moron) but I think that the bashing has more to do with losing a lot of money (and losing the home to the bank) than bashing a guy who tried to remodel his own home the way he wished...
Posted by: FormerAptBroker at February 2, 2012 8:42 PM
Now I know why I never waste my time looking at Socketsite. It seems to epitomize the mean-spiritedness so prevalent in this country today. I would venture to say that the owner/agent/flipper/remodeler has suffered quite enough through the purchase/remodel/attempted sale/foreclosure process of 611 Laguna Honda. I only hope he does not see your venomous posts. What this person went through is about more than money, and your lack of empathy (especially because you ARE Realtors) is appalling. Can you really enjoy kicking someone when they are down? Does it make you feel more knowledgeable, smarter, better? Intelligent criticism is an art; vitriol is not. Shame on you.
Posted by: Salome at February 2, 2012 8:54 PM
R, Milkshake, Former Apartment Broker, El Bombero, Brahma, mobileduck, foresthillext_chick -- not one is a realtor.
The homeowner was a realtor. "Realtor" was the first post that was sympathetic.
Intelligent criticism that surely was not, "Salome."
So funny. The average Socketsite poster just falls all over his or herself to bash realtors. Even if it's their peers they object to, and not realtors. Naked hostility, that. Well, what do you expect? Look at how each item is set up.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 2, 2012 10:20 PM
I try to ignore the realtor bashing, and some of the "dopey investor" schadenfraude here. But I have no problem with people critiquing design choices, especially for properties meant to be flipped or that are on the open market. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, and this blog is all about opinions. LIfe might be more peaceful, but certainly less interesting, if everyone took the attitude "oh, that person is entitled to realize their own vision for a home and we should all respect that." In reality, the market will judge the value of those choices (hot pink rooms, awkward layouts, etc.) I for one appreciate other perspectives. And I think it's legit to ask "what were they thinking" about design choices or even financing/purchasing, since some people may be in the position of trying to make similar choices (not that I would rely solely on the advice of SS readers for anything!!!) I do object to the gratuitous ad hominem attacks on individuals - you can hate the house and question the choices, but don't have to bash the individuals personally.
And yes, I agree that this is a terrible looking remodel.
Posted by: katdip at February 3, 2012 6:45 AM
I am definitely not a realtor. The hours suck.
As for schadenfreude, I feel for people who got caught up in the real estate bubble and lost a ton of money, but I am not one of the folks on this site who gleefully post numbers about how much so-and-so lost on their home.
But this guy, a real estate professional, well, he should have known better. And any flipper who knows a thing or two knows 1. You make the money on the buy and 2. You don't change perfectly good features for personal taste.. Yeah, you put in a new kitchen, but you don't tear up nice original hardwood floors to replace with nice new hardwood floors. There's no money in that.
So, do I feel bad for this guy? Nope.
Posted by: R at February 3, 2012 8:55 AM
Yes, shame on all of you! Someone bought this place, remodeled and expanded it, sold the other place they lived in at a $400,000 loss (if the public records are accurate), moved in, and then lost this place to foreclosure. You have to figure they are in much worse financial shape than when they started.
You all should be ashamed of yourselves for kicking him while he is down, and he appears to be very, very down. I feel badly for him.
But wait. What's this? From the former owner's Realtor web site:
I truly love real estate! I know from personal experience what a valuable and profitable investment real estate is. I have found no other investment that can offer both peace of mind and long-term satisfaction. I believe in dealing with people in an honest, efficient and professional manner. (emphasis added)
Whoa. His personal experience is that real estate is a "valuable" and "profitable" investment? I guess these experiences must not have hurt him very badly if he gushes about other people paying him a commission to buy real estate like that.
I felt badly, but I'm over it. Typical realtor. Bash away.
Posted by: tipster at February 3, 2012 9:14 AM
Why does everyone here assume that the guy intended to flip it? Isn't it possible that he did the remodel for himself? (Vive la difference!). I went to Walmart to buy the same crystal ball you "people" have, but they wrere all out of them.
Posted by: OhDear at February 3, 2012 9:16 AM
San Franciscans, for all their open mindedness and diversity are, quite often, a bunch of old busy-bodies.
Posted by: futurist at February 2, 2012 8:10 PM
I think My Pink Pony and Princess Bride should buy this place. Perfect for them.
Otherwise, this is REALLY ugly.
Posted by: futurist at January 30, 2012 6:30 PM
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 3, 2012 10:10 AM
Salome, if you'd spent some of your time reading socketsite during the inflation phase of the bubble, you would have had the chance to read lots of mean spirited commentary from real estate agents and flippers, both amateur and professional, talking down to anyone who wasn't putting every dollar they had into highly leveraged speculative bets on real estate.
Add to that other people in the FIRE sector condescendingly posting comments about how other folks on this site, some if not a plurality of whom were patiently saving their money for a substantial down payment on a place to live, waiting for the speculative bubble to collapse, were fools, FOOLS were were told, to be working for W-2 income when there was so much money to be made in residential real estate, available for the taking to anyone with the desire to reach out for it. There were the hackneyed, trite quotations about entrepreneurial capitalism being the basis for all progress in society, and so on, ad nauseam.
How you only had yourself to blame if you weren't raking in the cash since loans were being given out to anyone who was asking for it, hell, strawberry pickers who spoke almost no english were being given loans to buy million dollar houses, so what was your problem? Come on in, the water is great!
I thought I restricted my comments above to the aesthetic choices the owners of this place before the lender made. Yes, I am assuming they were flippers, and I could be wrong about that, but I didn't address their business acumen. Were I to do that however, I think mean-spiritedness and schadenfreude is acceptable, if not wholly deserved, not only because the people who were correct about the bubble deserve to have their views validated. Certainly not because turnabout is fair play.
But because for the better part of the last decade, significant amounts of capital was misallocated to economic activities that hurt, rather than helped, the long range prosperity of the country. Malinvestment.
In order to avoid repeating this mistake, from a behavioral economics perspective it is critically important to make sure that people remember it. Publicizing and pointing out that lots of real estate speculators did a lot of damage to themselves and the country as a whole assists in that.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 3, 2012 10:11 AM
[Removed by Editor (along with the comment to which it referred)]
I think a Haiku is in order:
not a prince to start with but
a toad at the end
Posted by: curmudgeon at February 3, 2012 10:36 AM
"the other place they lived in at a $400,000 loss (if the public records are accurate)"
Impossible to buy in 2002 and sell in 2008 and suffer a >40% loss. Looks like this is a 2-4 unit, maybe he bought the whole thing and sold part as TIC.. but the records are a bit confused.
Posted by: R at February 3, 2012 10:43 AM
@ Brahma @10:11,
So what's your point? Realtors were condescending in the past, therefore Salome mistakenly attributing condescension to realtors last night is ... what, precisely? I don't follow. Other than if your point is, "I want to bash realtors no matter what, and I'll read my preconceived notions into anything, at any time." I get that. Easy peasy.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 3, 2012 11:24 AM
futurist/noearch: You've probably noticed that whenever someone does a "green" remodel or a "green" build of a new home that shows up on socketsite, such as Number 10 Deming Street, someone invariably notes that the "green" thing to do would be to leave the home as it is instead of expending the natural resources, energy, and manpower to build a new home on the relevant site or remodeling the home that was already there.
…indeed, lol brought this up earlier today regarding that place on Diamond Street.
My objection to poorly done remodels or reconstruction is along similar lines. Significant resources, in terms of material and manpower and finances, were expended to throw up this heap of dung.
And here's the thing: someone, probably whoever buys this from the bank, but I'd bet within the next two owners, is going to tear this down and start over or significantly remodel this place because the previous owners did such a poor job.
There are lots of places in The City where someone took a traditional home and replaced it with a modern one, and I have no problem with that, even if I disagree with their aesthetic choices and post what I think here. But there is a line at which, once crossed, virtually guarantees that the next buyer is going to have to undo the damage that the selling party did. You may draw that line in a different place than I would, but its not just me or all San Franciscans being "busybodies".
Like I wrote previously, I'm going on the assumption that this was an intended flip, and some folks above say that I am mistaken. If that's the case, I shouldn't be so critical.
It's one thing if someone pays all cash for a home, or at least does NOT get a GSE-sponsored mortgage, and then proceeds to take a perfectly good traditional home and ruin it ("make their own decisions and remodel the hell out of [it]") and then keeps it forever by taking title via a family trust. In that case, I'd accept your contention that an owner can do whatever they please.
Trust me, someone is going to have come along after these people and fix this place, because what they really did was create a problem. They made a mess, and whether they know it or not right now, someone else, someone more responsible is going to have to come along later and clean it up. And given how often SFHs trade hands in this town, we'll probably see it soon enough on socketsite.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 3, 2012 11:30 AM
Many participated in the bubble, most knowing full well that there was a bubble. But they figured they were smart enough to get out in time, or that the fallout would be minimal because their chosen area was special. Or they just really wanted the place and became willfully ignorant - they neglected that the math didn't really make sense and jumped in anyway.
In other words, there were very few real victims of the real estate bubble, and as such, very few people to actually feel sorry for.
Regarding the realtor bashing, the bubble encouraged swaths of characters of questionable ethics to get into this "profession." As a result, the entire trade got a bad wrap. I'm sure there are used car salesmen who are also really nice guys.
Posted by: Legacy Dude at February 3, 2012 11:44 AM
anon.ed, I clarified my point in the last two paragraphs, if you want to misread everything or make them easy to dismiss as "realtor bashing", then I'm sure no amount of clarification is going to stop you.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 3, 2012 11:45 AM
No, you grew expansive there. Not clarifying. You waxed pedantic in the last two paragraphs as if posting on Socketsite is an act of altruism. Your words flew wide of what Salome said, clearly.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 3, 2012 11:53 AM
I've never waxed my pedantic.
Does it hurt much?
Posted by: futurist at February 3, 2012 12:05 PM
The funny thing is, I criticize all the time. Lots of realtors don't try very hard, will stab a colleague in the back at the drop of a hat, are snooty if they've even had a modicum of success, give people bad advice, feign ignorance when they know full well that for example plans are NOT through planning and/or building, are lazy, not very smart, are greedy, have no follow through even to the great frustration of their peers, engage in ridiculous turns of speech that mean nothing, and the list goes on and on. But the bashers on here miss those marks and talk about other stuff like it was a realtor what told them the tooth fairy wasn't real or something.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 3, 2012 12:05 PM
Agree that they definitely blew it with the facade but that can be remedied / softened with some stucco detailing, teak, hardwood etc.
Surprised that DBI approved the design. obviously no one filed a DR.
I'm always amazed by some people posting here that know very little about SF or its neighborhoods, but still feel comfortable popping off. FHX is one of the more desirable hoods in SF and they wont have any trouble selling this place at the listed price.
Posted by: EsEfGerard at February 3, 2012 12:25 PM
I don't "love" the facade, but like it. It's not radical nor kitschy. Just probably about "right". It may be exactly what I might design, but it was the choice between that architect and that owner.
Ok, haters, don't start on me.
However, just to clarify to EsEfGerard and others:
DBI does NOT approve "design". That's not their jurisdiction. The visual aspect of a project is the role of the Planning Dept. (too often unfortunately).
DBI deals with the structural/health/safety/welfare of the public regarding the actual construction and assembly of the components. Things such as seismic issues, egress, fire safety, guardrails, clearances, etc.
Thankfully, IMO, no DR was filed, because that would be an abuse, again IMO, of what a DR "should" be used for. If a neighbor does not like what a remodel or new building looks like, that's too bad. They should move or get used to it.
I personally would like to see the entire DR process eliminated. If a project meets the strict and defined code rules and definitions regarding height, setbacks, bulk, floor area ratio, open space and similar issues, then the project should be approved without further "fine tuning".
This would have the effect of lowering some planning fees to the owner, and perhaps encourage more construction and responsible growth.
Posted by: futurist at February 3, 2012 1:41 PM
Sorry: meant to say it may NOT be exactly what I would design.
Posted by: futurist at February 3, 2012 1:42 PM
Looks like the former owners tried the old produce the note trick and Wells Fargo hit back with an unlawful detainer suit. At any rate, it looks like there was on 'construction financing' (second lien) from multiple parties on 12/09/2008. Wonder if they were made whole?
Posted by: EBGuy at February 3, 2012 1:55 PM
DBI does not approve design but the do enforce the Residential Building Guidelines set forth by the planning commission.
That includes a facade that generally conforms to the architectural character of the existing homes on the street.In this case, there isn't anything that remotely resembles a modern facade such as this in the area, much less the street.
Had a DR been filed, I can guarantee the builder would have been forced to tweak their plans towards a more conforming facade.
... and then we wouldn't be here discussing how ugly it turned out.
Posted by: EsEfGerard at February 3, 2012 2:24 PM
I meant "Residential Design Guidelines"
see Defined Visual Character, page 9
Posted by: EsEfGerard at February 3, 2012 2:49 PM
While I understand you may not like the facade and prefer to call it "ugly", that would never qualify as a rational basis argued before the Planning Dept. or the Planning Commission as to changing the facade.
They don't address "ugly".
Furthermore, on page 6 of the Guidelines is stated the following: "There may be other design solutions not shown in the Guidelines that will also result in a successful project. The Guidelines do not mandate specific architectural styles, nor do they encourage direct imitation of the past."
Not liking what a particular project looks like from the street will not result from the disapproval of the project to secure a building permit.
The Residential Design Guidelines, 2011 Edition are enforced by the Planning Dept. and Commission, not the DBI, technically speaking.
Posted by: futurist at February 3, 2012 3:41 PM
Actually, it seems to be the consensus of this thread that the facade is "ugly".
However, my concern is that the facade is non-conforming with RDG, plain and simple. and non-conformance would be a rational argument before the planning commission.
Where are you from? This is exactly why we have RDG.
This particular property is an egregious example of a non-conforming facade and most definitely would be modified by a DR hearing.
Geez, try watching the Planning commission on sfgovtv.
Posted by: EsEfGerard at February 3, 2012 4:33 PM
Brahma you are on a roll!
I would like to add that there are in fact some real victims of the real estate bubble: mostly normal people who just wanted to buy a house for their family to live in and were forced to either:
A) Overpay and suffer financially
B) Continue to rent and not be able to put down roots.
B is exactly a disaster but it can be a real problem for people.
So yeah, all those speculators who drove up real estate prices caused lots of real harm. I am not even blaming them primarily for the economic mess we are in, since I think that was more a function of an unregulated financial sector. But the speculators definitely provided the spark which lit the fire.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at February 3, 2012 5:10 PM
It is unfortunate that Socketsite has become a forum of personal attack. To all the smart people who have lost empathy or kindness towards another human being, you have lost something more valuable than wealth.
Posted by: Realtor at February 3, 2012 5:44 PM
I just couldn't resist commenting more with regard to EsEfGerard:
A non-conforming facade!! Oh my, whatever shall we do. We must all conform in San Francisco. This is just so egregious! I just can't deal with this radical architecture!
Sorry, I was getting a little carried away.
Oh wait. Where are we again? perhaps in one of the LEAST conforming cities in all of the country.
I'll simply say this: IMO it does conform to the very open and liberal components of the Residential Design Guidelines. And I also think that it's highly unlikely that the Planning Dept. would accept a DR filing based on the fact that YOU don't like what it looks like.
Whether or not there is even a consensus here as to the facade being "ugly" or not is quite irrelevant. Guess what? You don't have to like it, and the owner does NOT have to build what you like. This is one of the MAJOR reasons why NIMBY's have such a bad name in this city and why we should completely eliminate the DR process.
What's next? You're not gonna like the shrubs they install? or the color of the house? or the window coverings behind the glass?
How bout what kind of dog they have?
Enough said. More power to the owner and architect for doing what they wanted.
Posted by: futurist at February 3, 2012 6:22 PM
futurist - my comments were directed at this specific property, on this particular street, in this particular neighborhood; none of which you are familiar with.
one more time, Residential Design Guidelines - Defined Visual Character.
going off on a tangent only demonstrates the fact that you don't really know what you're talking about.
Posted by: EsEfGerard at February 3, 2012 7:57 PM
Fortunately, I do know what I'm talking about. Whether or not you care to listen is up to you. You might want to spend a good deal of time reading the RDG, and attending in person some of the Planning Commission meetings, which I do.
So my question is this: If the RDG are strictly enforced regarding "Defined Visual Character", then why was this project approved and why no DR was filed to protest such an "egregious example of a non-conforming facade"?
Fact is: this project met the spirit and intent of the RDG and quite frankly no one seemed as enormously concerned as you have been. Look, it's just a renovated facade on a single family home.
Posted by: futurist at February 4, 2012 10:08 AM
To all the smart people who have lost empathy or kindness towards another human being, you have lost something more valuable than wealth.The people most deserving of our empathy and kindness would be the true victims of the bubble: the many families who ordinarily could have purchased a home to live in, but were priced out of the market as a result of the aggregate actions of speculators, like the ones that attempted to flip this house.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 5, 2012 12:37 PM
Hmmmm. Interesting point of view Brahma: I appreciate your perspective. Unfortunately, I don't agree with it.
I wish no one looking to buy any ill will, but here's my take:
No one gave me and my partner any "kindness of empathy" when we bought our house. We had to save a few years for the down and then add some more with a short credit card cash advance to buy our house. It wasn't easy. We worked hard. I asked for no sympathy or support.
Life is hard. Life is not always fair. We are all responsible for our successes or failures.
Posted by: futurist at February 5, 2012 2:21 PM
The grudge that you base your words upon is from a market that only lasted a few years, and is now almost as long gone as it ever existed. The whole "realtors and others used to gloat on Socketsite during the bubble" thing? Basing all your words upon that? None of those people even post here. I didn't even post here during that time. It's five years ago, dude. You're not a crusader for justice. You're a guy on the internet. Let it go.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 6, 2012 8:08 AM
"Let it go."
When the Fed stops propping up the market I'll let it go.
Posted by: diemos at February 6, 2012 8:14 AM
No, thanks. I wasn't talking to you. Your marching orders are different. They are to own that your 50% reduction prediction was baseless, and then to go away forever.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 6, 2012 8:59 AM
Actually, I do agree with anon.ed on this one. It's rare but possible.:)
As for the "victims" comment by Brahma: No. No one, I believe is a victim, with regard to real estate transactions, unless you allow yourself to become a victim.
Free will, personal choices, both good and bad are what can reward you or cause you failure.
Posted by: futurist at February 6, 2012 9:01 AM
Don't forget the context.
It was "Realtor", above on February 3, 2012 5:44 PM, who said we should have empathy and kindness toward people who, by the looks of things, are real estate professionals and who threw up an incredibly fugly facade in place of a perfectly reasonable traditional one and along the way lost a lot of other people's money on a failed flip. And then they defaulted.
People may or may not wish to extend their empathy and kindness toward them. I just think there are more deserving parties and that's what I wrote.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 6, 2012 10:59 AM
"The people most deserving of our empathy and kindness would be the true victims of the bubble: the many families who ordinarily could have purchased a home to live in, but were priced out of the market as a result of the aggregate actions of speculators, like the ones that attempted to flip this house."
But wasn't the reason we had a bubble was because no one was priced out and could get a mortgage to buy just about anything as long as they could fog a mirror?
Posted by: Rillion at February 6, 2012 11:05 AM
But wasn't the reason we had a bubble was because no one was priced out and could get a mortgage to buy just about anything as long as they could fog a mirror?
No, the reason we had a bubble was because lots of people who actually were priced out in terms of what debt they could service were given huge loans they could never repay to overbid properties anyway.
And can we please stop calling this facade "modern"? It's not modern -- it's just lazy and bad. (What's up with the white between the windows anyway?)
Posted by: shza at February 6, 2012 11:16 AM
Rillion, some people who were responsible and in normal times would have been able to buy a home under conventional loan terms, but during the bubble were in fact priced out of the market, decided NOT to take out a dodgy loan and instead decided to wait until the price level returned to a level somewhat related to the fundamentals.
Yes, futurist, they were victims because they chose to be responsible, chose not take out a loan they couldn't afford to repay, chose NOT to participate in the bubble, but were harmed anyway, in the same way that children living in a gang-infested neighborhood can make a choice to not join a gang, but when a drive-by shooting spree happens, they can still be struck by bullets.
If there are people who deserve our empathy, it's those people, not speculators who default on million dollar mortgages.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 6, 2012 11:42 AM
And to [anon.ed] at 8:08 AM, it's not a grudge but an observation.
I would simply deny that there are no more people gloating about flips on Socketsite. Just going on what comes to mind most recently, 1027 Cole Street sold for $1.45M in December 2010 and now is back on the market for $2.85M after an interior remodel. Last I checked it hasn't even sold, but we got this in the comment thread:
What a beauty from a capitalist's point of view. They bought when most people were screaming that the sky was falling. They did a lot of thinking, planning, and hard work. With the fortune this helps them build, they can invest in other ventures that improve life for everyone…
Posted by: unwarrantedinlaw at January 13, 2012 9:49 AM
Gag me with a spoon. If the sellers of that place actually get $2.85 million (and I should add, I think they did an excellent job on that remodel), it'll be interesting to see what happens. I predict we'll get the ever popular "Don't hate the player, hate the game!" within the first five comments.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 6, 2012 12:16 PM
To you that is gag inducing type gloating? I disagree. Check out the threads about Zynga if you want to obnoxious, and totally incorrect in hindsight, gloating.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 6, 2012 12:30 PM
"It's over. Sorry. Scare tactics are dead. San Francisco never really took a price hit and it won't, either." - fluj/anon.ed in 2008
on a thread about the ritz!
Posted by: nonanon at February 6, 2012 12:49 PM
Those responsible people that had to wait a few years for prices to fall to pre-bubble levels were harmed in the "same way" innocents are harmed when they are shot in drive by gang shootings?
Posted by: Rillion at February 6, 2012 12:50 PM
It was only a matter of time. That quote has been owned, error admitted, context pointed out and the grown ups all moved on. Man. Gloating indeed.
Posted by: [anon.ed] at February 6, 2012 12:52 PM
"What's up with the white between the windows anyway?"
Yeah, that "focal point" on the facade seems to be a generator of ugliness. I can't really point my finger on it but it appears as if the architect made no attempt to achieve any sort of harmony or rhythm with the elements assembled here. It looks as if they used the standard aluminum U-channel that appears on so many mediocre stucco commercial building facades but neglected to consider how that dimension related to the other native dimensions of the original structure. That thin U-channel leads to thicker stucco verticals between the windows which in turn fight with the dimensions of the four narrow vertical windows. Then between the thin vertical windows are strips of vertical white panels that are just slightly wider than the windows. If this were a musical performance it would be played with every instrument slightly out of tune.
Instead of finding the Golden Ratio the architect arrived at a Leaden Ratio.
Even the colors are a mess. Beige + white + silver + brown? At least that can be fixed cheaply but then you're still stuck with those awful grating ratios.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 6, 2012 1:24 PM
Rillion, come on. No, I am not equating the degree of harm suffered by those priced out of real estate due to a bubble inflating and those struck by bullets.
I am saying that people can make responsible choices, like not joining the neighborhood gang, or refraining from participating in a bubble, but still suffer harm imposed on them by people who did. Futurist was trying to wave his arm and say "it's all good, you're only affected by the choices you make" and that demonstrates a pretty naive understanding of the way markets work.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 6, 2012 1:29 PM
Blaming the markets is just passing on the responsibility of choice to some rather hard to define entity.
Posted by: futurist at February 6, 2012 2:22 PM
So this place already has an offer. I liked the look of it b/f the remodel, but it's a big house and it doesn't need work. I think it's a good price for this size and this hood.
Posted by: SFBuyer at February 6, 2012 10:33 PM
Brahma - People that could have bought but decided to wait until lending standards were tightened and prices declined ARE NOT VICTIMS. To use your stupid analogy, these people are not the innocent bystanders hit by stray bullets but someone that chose not to move to the neighborhood watching it on the evening news and then talking about how they are such a victim because saw something that made them feel sad.
Posted by: Rillion at February 7, 2012 1:50 PM
Exactly. They were never VICTIMS.
They were responsible (allegedly) adults who made certain real estate decisions based on greed and desire to make fast money.
Posted by: futurist at February 7, 2012 2:13 PM
I read Brahma's explanation as a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. Retail home buyers who bought during the bubble are now feeling the pain of their choice. Those who didn't buy are also affected via the government backed bailouts. The winners were a small group of those who sold at the top and those in a position to skim off of the cash stream in the real estate and finance industries.
So the bubble created a small number of winners at the expense of a large number of losers.
I guess you could say that those layman losers could have seen it coming and chose to find a place at the trough before the surge of large transactions began to flow. But realistically those who were already in the game have the advantage.
The game was rigged in the favor of a small class of individuals (and a few lucky bubble top sellers). It is not too big of a reach to consider those who lost as victims.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 7, 2012 2:15 PM
futurist, no, the scenario you're describing in your comment at 2:13 PM roughly corresponds to the flippers who bought this place and failed to resell it before defaulting. Either you don't understand what I wrote at all or you're being needlessly obtuse.
I wasn't referring to those people as victims, not was I trying to blame the market for the decisions of flippers. Read what I wrote again.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 7, 2012 2:53 PM
Rillion, I agree that it wasn't a good analogy, but since we're discussing it, what you're trying to do is stretch the universe of choices beyond what would have been available to make your case.
I don't know what the latin name is of the belief that everything that happens is due to choices that one directly has control over, but you're relying on it and I reject it.
The teenagers were already living in the neighborhood, and the choice they had to make was whether or not to join the gang, not whether or not to move into the neighborhood. They made the more responsible choice, but due to circumstances beyond their control, were still exposed to violence by external bad actors.
Similarly, the real estate price level can be moved a large amount by bubbles, which can hurt, and yes victimize, people who chose not to participate in the bubble, by pricing them out of markets that they ordinarily could purchase in. Said bubbles are inflated by the economic decisions of the people participating in them, not those waiting for the bubble to disinflate.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 7, 2012 3:13 PM
Then why not just stop using the word victim, period, with regard to this discussion.
These people were adults who MADE poor decisions.
Posted by: futurist at February 7, 2012 3:30 PM
Then why not just stop using the word victim, period, with regard to this discussion.
These people were adults who MADE poor decisions.
Why is this hard?
Bad deal from choice ... Life
Bad deal from other guy's choice ... Victim
Posted by: Watcher at February 7, 2012 3:40 PM
Brahma - I don't see the harm suffered by people that chose not to use the financing available to buy a place during the bubble and instead held off on making a purchase. You keep saying these people suffered harm. Seems to me those that made that choice suffered the opposite of harm by not paying more to buy then it cost to rent and instead waited until prices came down. How were they harmed? How are they a victim?
Here was your description of what happened: "some people who were responsible and in normal times would have been able to buy a home under conventional loan terms, but during the bubble were in fact priced out of the market, decided NOT to take out a dodgy loan and instead decided to wait until the price level returned to a level somewhat related to the fundamentals"
Here is how you described the harm they had suffered: "but were harmed anyway, in the same way that children living in a gang-infested neighborhood can make a choice to not join a gang, but when a drive-by shooting spree happens, they can still be struck by bullets."
So please rather then just use an analogy to compare the harm they suffered can you describe to me the ACTUAL harm that the responsible people suffered by having to wait for the bubble to pop?
Posted by: Rillion at February 7, 2012 4:10 PM
I have to agree with Rillion on this one. I am one of those who declined to take an easy loan to overpay for a bubble-priced house and I do not feel that I've been harmed by that.
(I may, however, feel that way depending on how, if at all, tax policy or other government give-aways are used to rescue bubble-purchasers from their own poor purchasing and investing decisions. I.e., if their costs/harm are more fully externalized to the rest of us.)
Posted by: shza at February 7, 2012 7:15 PM
Good example of someone who made a CHOICE to not take an "easy loan to overpay for a bubble-priced house".
That's being responsible and not whining about being a "victim".
Posted by: futurist at February 7, 2012 8:11 PM
it's in contract....suckers
Posted by: foresthillext_chick at February 8, 2012 10:35 AM
^^^ someone already pointed that out several posts up. Unclear who you're calling suckers though -- the new purchasers? Those who dislike the design? (if so, I don't get the connection -- we don't know how much it sold for or what the new purchaser intends to do with the facade)
Posted by: shza at February 8, 2012 10:40 AM
The non-buyers are being victimized in ways that reflect government's bias toward homeowners. Tenants have inherited the downside of the bubble, without any of the benefits of either the bubble's upside (tax-free profits) or the downside (expensive attempts to stabilize the shelter of overextended homeowners and years of habitation without payment).
Where are the calls to modify rents? Where is the call for nationwide rent control that mirror mortgage mods and forcibly lowered interest rates? How can 4% rates be an entitlement but restricting rent increases is anathema?
Posted by: molly at February 8, 2012 12:58 PM
Rillon: These are the real ways in which those who sat out the boom were, and continue to be, victimized:
1-The Fed is generating inflation through lower interest rates, allowing property owners to lower their housing costs while driving up the cost to renters. The low interest rates are part of the bubble bailout.
The lower interest rates and corresponding inflation also devastate the savings of non-owners, while elevating the value of the mortgage-holder's assets. If interest rates were 6 percent, sales prices for homes would drop, raising the down-payment value of a prospective first-time buyer's savings.
2-All taxpayers are inheriting the red ink of Fannie and Freddie and will soon be picking up the tab for the under-financed FHA. More socializing losses.
3-Homeowners can still duck taxes on the first $250,000-$500,000 profits on a home, while workers without property pay taxes from the first dime of income. Government has padded the real-estate profits with lower interest rates, foreclosure-prevention programs that constrict supply and $8,000 buyer tax credits. It has given unemployed homeowners as much as $50,000 to keep up payments. Does anyone think that tab will be covered by taxes on homeowners alone? Of course not.
4-Budget shortfalls, exacerbated by billions in homeownership-based handouts, are being used as an excuse to lower Social Security benefits for people who make as little as $60,000 a year. (See the Simpson-Bowles plan, which calls for cuts in Social Security benefits but tax credits for all homeowners, even those taking the standard deduction.)
There is no mention of an assets test for lowering Social Security benefits, so homeowners will again be coddled financially at the expense of renters who worked to make their way in the world, paying FICA taxes that are not applied to property gains.
Posted by: molly at February 8, 2012 1:08 PM
1. Just what we need: nation-wide rent control. Then watch the maintenance and quality of rental housing collapse.
2. I was once a renter, like many of us here. I became, by CHOICE, a homeowner, like many here. I am happy for my choice.
Posted by: futurist at February 8, 2012 3:10 PM
You'd be less happy absent the biggest nationalization + bailout in human history, which has managed to artificially preserve much of your precious equity. You'd be even less happy had you bought in 2005 instead of 1955 (or whenever it is you bought) and were 20% down despite 6 years of ownership at this point.
Posted by: Legacy Dude at February 8, 2012 3:23 PM
Well, it does seem some of this dialogue is really attempting to pit a person who chooses to rent over a person who chooses to buy.
Both have good and bad points. For some, renting is ideal; others prefer being an owner.
But just for the record, I didn't buy in 1955. Wish my parents had. I bought a condo in 81, and a house in 84.
Posted by: futurist at February 8, 2012 3:39 PM
1) the Fed is trying to prevent deflation. Outside of some specific areas that have been impact by local supply demand issues (like SF) rents are not generally see large increases.
2) people that waited are not "all taxpayers" so you can not point to issues effecting "all taxpayers" as a reason those who waited suffered harm by being priced out, as they would have suffered this same harm even if they had bought.
3) Yes we all know the government does a lot to try to advantage homeowners but someone buying in 2005-2007 is not likely to receive any benefit from an exemption of the first $250,000 of GAIN. And again this comes down to a complaint about taxes and who will pay for it, since again this effects all taxpayers and it is not individualed harm that has been suffered by those that waited.
4) See 2 and 3 above.
Here is a real life example.
Elderly woman buys a home in 2002 for $185,000. In 2005 my friends buy the almost identical house next door for $315,000. I visit my friends often staying with them and wish I had the money to afford a place in their neighborhood but I can't causee the prices are too high. In 2010 the elderly woman next door is foreclosed upon and moves out. In 2011 I buy her house for $78,000.
HOW AM I THE VICTIM IN THIS STORY?
Elderly women that buys a house in 2002 and then tries to sell it six years later in 2008 but can't even get her principal back let alone short sell it and then is foreclosed upon. Not a victim because hey she wasn't forced to wait and wasn't priced out.
My friend that bought a place that is now way underwater, not a victim cause he decided to use an interest only ARM and is so far keeping the place because it doesn't cost him all that much isn't a victim because he wasn't priced out and forced to wait.
Apparently I am the victim that suffered harm because I was priced out of the neighborhood until after the bubble pop'd. Woe is me.
Posted by: Rillion at February 8, 2012 4:53 PM
Much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth would have been avoided if they had not let the banksters run wild.
But what a party it was while it lasted. Remember back when free money was falling from the sky and people didn't bother to work, they just refinanced every year and pulled out some more equity.
It must have been great for those that couldn't see the inevitable hangover that was coming.
But that's the thing about credit bubbles, the party is never worth the hangover that follows.
Posted by: diemos at February 8, 2012 7:59 PM
In case you didn't hear the news today, Federal and state officials announced at a news conference that 49 states had joined a group settlement with the nation's biggest mortgage lenders over foreclosure abuses that occurred after the housing credit bubble burst. From AP Real Estate, States, banks reach foreclosure-abuse settlement:
The deal requires five of the largest banks to reduce loans for about 1 million households at risk of foreclosure…Reducing loan principal will help some homeowners who are current on their payments but are "underwater," meaning they owe more than their homes are worth.
So at least some of the borrowers who were irresponsible during the bubble now will be rewarded for taking out loans they couldn't afford to repay, by having their principle reduced, their interest rates lowered even with no equity in the homes they are living in, or both.
The kicker, according to Yves Smith of Naked Capitalism:
That $26 billion is actually $5 billion of bank money and the rest is your money. The mortgage principal writedowns are guaranteed to come almost entirely from securitized loans, which means from investors, which in turn means taxpayers via Fannie and Freddie, pension funds, insurers, and 401 (k)s. Refis of performing loans also reduce income to those very same investors.
But as I have learned from this thread reading futurist and Rillion, those who were responsible and didn't take out liar loans and in so doing were priced out of the market suffered nothing and were not victims, they are just whiners. Oh, and everything was their fault because they "MADE poor decisions".
Yes, that's the ticket.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 9, 2012 12:55 PM
$200k underwater ....... Default
Now $180k undewater ....... Default
$20k headline ... $0k result
Posted by: Watcher at February 9, 2012 1:02 PM
If the past is any guide, Brahma:
The banks won't use more than about 10% of this money to help homeowners, instead some of it will go towards costs of administering the program, which means back to the bank itself, and most of it will never be used.
The government will announce it will help 1 Million homeowners, when it will really only get used to help about 100,000, about 2,000 per state.
They will apply it to people who should really just walk away. Someone who bought for $500K, and now the home is worth $300K. They will give them a $50K write down and lower the interest rate, so now they are paying interest on $450K when they could just buy the house next door for $300K and default on the one they are in now.
This isn't help for homeowners, its suckering people into doing what is best for the bank.
So no, I don't think this is going to bail anyone out but the bank. The administrative fees will eat up almost all of what gets distributed, and that will be only a fraction of what is announced.
Stop worrying about this: the reality is always quite different from the announcement.
Posted by: tipster at February 9, 2012 1:13 PM
Sure is the ticket. They were never victims, as I said before. They were irresponsible, some were lazy and just felt "self-titled" to get the bigger house, the bigger loan and to hell with paying it once it went under water in value.
This is not like getting and illness and being unable to work.
This is not like being laid off and not able to find a job.
It's all about greed and self-fulfillment by wanting more and more and more.
Posted by: futurist at February 9, 2012 8:15 PM
tipster, oh, I agree that this settlement is about doing what's best for the banks. I've even read commentary from Wall Street water carriers that the states attorney's general shouldn't have carried their investigations as far as they did before this settlement, because if the banks' balance sheets were impaired too much by the uncertainty of potential prosecution then the federal government would have to do another bailout. Just think about the twisted minds that come up with arguments like that for a minute.
But just because it works out best for the banks doesn't mean that the borrowers aren't getting a significant benefit. We don't know how many people will take a principal writedown and then be able to make their mortgage payments vs. those who will take a principal writedown and then still be underwater. All other things staying the same, it depends upon whether the overall market keeps declining or stabilizes and the rate at which it happens. I expect the speech that Bernanke is supposed to deliver to the National Association of Home Builders later today will at least touch on this.
I'm not nearly as sold on the idea of strategic default as you and almost everybody else on socketsite is, so I don't know what to make of your assertion that the people who will ultimately be getting payments from this settlement would be better off defaulting on their current mortgage and buying another place. If a person is wealthy enough to have five or six figures worth of cash or liquid investment laying around to make a down payment on another home after defaulting, they probably aren't late on their current mortgage. Of the people who are late, or start paying late because they want to qualify for a principal writedown or a mortgage modification, I'd hope that there aren't enough of them to constitute a market moving threshold.
What we do know is that borrowers who get something out of this settlement agreed to pay back one amount, and after a reduction will only have to pay back another, lower amount and possibly at a lower interest rate. On a six figure mortgage, those two adjustments will add up to something significant and I haven't read anything that indicates the money is guaranteed to come from the pockets of shareholders in these five banks. On the contrary, even though the GSEs aren't involved in this settlement, the Fed is still creating money and using it to buy mortgage backed securities.
noearch, feel free to just stop posting the same thing over and over again if you're not going to take the time to read what was posted before. You're not adding anything at all to the conversation. What part of "…those who were responsible and didn't take out liar loans and in so doing were priced out of the market…" didn't you understand? I have never maintained that "people who were irresponsible, lazy or just felt "self-titled" to get the bigger house" were victims.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 10, 2012 11:26 AM
Brahma - So only people that were priced out during the bubble are taxpayers, 401k owners, investors, pensioners, insurance owners, etc? Again just because this bubble caused huge economic issues doesn't mean that the people that were harmed were the ones that didn't buy because prices went up. The fact that indirect harm was suffered by the vast majority doesn't mean that the victims are the ones that only suffered the indirect harm particularly if they made wise decisions they are also able to take advantage of the bubble popping (see my real life example). Everyone in that example suffers the indirect harm done to taxpayers, 401k owners, pension funds, etc.
You have still failed to answer the question I ask which is: How am I the victim in that story?
Posted by: Rillion at February 10, 2012 1:05 PM
And, by the way Brahma, why would you tell others to stop posting when they disagree with you?
You're being dismissive, and that's not terribly cool or open minded.
And yes, tell us more just how are these people victims?
Posted by: futurist at February 10, 2012 1:41 PM
Rillion, you keep making up these crackpot, crontrived examples that are a bit orthogonal to the issue I was really talking about.
Take your "real life example" of buying a similar home to your friends, who paid $315,000, for $78,000 in 2011. Using your example, I'll concede that you're a winner and you weren't a victim. Do you honestly think that realistically applies to everyone who was priced out of the market?
More importantly and relevantly, in those six years you were priced out (again, I'm just going to use your scenario for the sake of argument, I don't think it's generalizable) and presumably paying rent, you don't think that constitutes harm? What, time has no value to you? The amount you paid in rent has no value to you?
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 10, 2012 4:23 PM
The sale of 611 Laguna Honda Boulevard closed escrow yesterday with a reported contract price of $1,172,000.
Posted by: SocketSite at February 28, 2012 4:41 PM
WOW. I am shocked.
Posted by: R at February 28, 2012 5:13 PM
I think this must look better in person than it does in photos..
Posted by: R at February 28, 2012 5:20 PM
Closed at 1,172,000.
Posted by: 94114 at February 29, 2012 10:43 AM