Riverside Realtor Blog - Alma Dizon

Alma shares her experiences and observations as a Realtor in Riverside California.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

UCR Area Sellers Stubbornly Keep Prices Up

All over town, prices are coming down except for right around UCR. A few sellers have come down 10k to 30k, but most are still pricing like it's spring of '06. What are they thinking?

First, most of these houses have an awful lot of debt on them. I looked at one Canyon Crest home's records and discovered that even though the family bought it in the 70's for less than 35k, they recently refinanced it for about 470k. The home is now vacant, so I guess they needed the money for another property...

And then there are the houses that are listed by agents who've never been inside. One such house last fall finally went for about 50k under where it started for a total of 325k. Sounds like a bargain for a 4-bedroom house. However, when I sent inside it and looked up, I saw daylight. Floors and walls were rotted out from old plumbing leaks. The home really needed 100k in repairs to make it safely livable (and not just another case of "let's paint over the dry rot"). The house had been completely paid off for decades, but the old man (now in a nursing home) had been convinced by his agent that it was a gold mine. Whoops.

Another home has been listed at 399k for several months. The out-of-area agent told me that he took the highest and lowest solds, and the sellers picked a price in the middle. This is very aggravating for someone like me who has sold some of the highest priced comps he used. This particular listing has 4 bedrooms on record, but good luck finding all of them. North of UCR, there are a number of houses that were given permits to add a bedroom (without a closet) that had to be entered through another bedroom. While this may have worked in the old days, people no longer consider these bedrooms but rather walk-in closets and (if large enough) studies or sitting rooms. Moreover, this house has numerous illegal additions, including random exterior doors (various heights, no stucco work, rotting wood frames) and a toilet in a closet (that also suddenly has an exterior door). They enclosed the breezeway to the garage (again, allowed in the area) but didn't put in any insulation. The "guest room" is an uninsulated 8 x 10 shed (and yes, there's someone sleeping in there). The backyard is bare dirt and a few pathetic trees, one of which had been attacked with an axe that was still stuck in a branch. The agent told me that even as a fixer, it only needs about 30k in work. So I have to ask, why doesn't he buy it himself? Maybe because no one will! Again, even while the family owes very little on the house (they would have owned it outright except that they refi'ed a couple of years ago), they've been convinced by someone who isn't familiar with either the property or the area that it's worth too much.

What this neighborhood does have going for it is proximity to UCR, an excellent high school, and a mellow "live and let live" community. Due to the rugged hills surrounding it, the area has a natural beauty and a protected feeling. Also, these hills mean that there isn't much more room to build. The limited number of properties is what keeps the value up here. But the small size of the houses by today's standards, plus the poor condition of many of them, make it a hard sell in the current market.

2 Comments:

  • At 3/17/2007 5:12 PM, Anonymous Joshua Dorkin said…

    Alma - What happened to your momentum? You won the top 10 of 06 award, but seem a bit out of steam! Get back out there and blog!

    I hope all is well with you and just wanted to see what's been going on with the blog?

     
  • At 3/18/2007 8:36 PM, Blogger Alma Jill Dizon, Riverside Realtor said…

    Sorry, Josh, I've been remiss! I won't bore you with the many little things that have kept me from blogging. But I'm starting up again! I figure I can ignore my screaming child for a few minutes every evening--so what if she ends up on the Jerry Springer show! And thanks for your comment--part of the slowdown was the feeling that no one (sane, that is) was reading the blog!

     

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