So I Heard This Rumor – It’s About A Vintage, Retro Huntridge Cottage In Downtown Las Vegas

Someone bought a house that was listed for 35,000. Before you go all “Damn, I could have bought THAT!” …. think about this.  It was a really beat up huntridge cottage. I think it’s been a rental for something like 40 years. At least it looks like it has.

It was of a Vintage where the windows were wooden doublehungs. They haven’t been opened in years except for with a pry bar. Even then they required a pry bar.

It’s got the original (or is that retro) kitchen and bathroom. The thing is…every piece of tile,  and every porcelain fixture is cracked or chipped. The cabinets are beat up. The plumping is original galvanized pipe. No one ever updated it.

No one bothered to dig out the concrete floor when it started humping. It’s standard re-hab work and not all that terrific of a task when the house is empty, but it’s  a real pain when you’re living in it.

The bank had no use for the house. They weren’t about to put any money into it to make it better. They knew there are a few cash only, as-is buyers out there. There’s no way to sell it retail, as the house won’t qualify for financing on it. The bank knows that if they don’t figuratively GIVE IT AWAY, that it will just sit there and cost them even more money. The banks are under cutting each other to get the limited pool of buyers to jump on theirs instead of the competing homes. Of course they knew that no  retail buyer could get a loan on it. But there’s cash buyers out there at the moment.

The bank could have listed it at 40,000 or 45,000 just as easily. Probably at 60,000 as a list price, those same buyers might not have been in such a hurry. But every cash investor who’s looking for project houses seriously RAN to look at it because it was 35,000.  That’s the power of bargain basement prices. It’s the same thing for whatever you went back to the Mall to buy on the day after Christmas.

My client got the house. It was multiple offer. I happened to run into one of the people we were bidding against at a terrific Christmas Eve Cocktail Party. I didn’t know that I knew him at the time, but he got another similar house that same week and wasn’t unhappy about not getting the one I’m telling you about. I had a different client who was doing some thinking about the house that he got. Many people at least looked at it during the 4 days it was on the market. At least 3 bid on it.

NEWS FLASH! Not all Hundridge Cottages are now worth $35. per square foot.  However, I wonder if some bank will finally get to the point of GIVING one a way. Now THAT would really be a bottom. On the other hand, I think the one that’s under contract with a 40,000 list price is in even worse condition. 

So what’s a similar house that’s been loved and cared for worth? Especially if the owner bought it for about 106,000 in say…2001. That’s about what a typical 2bedroom 1 bath 1000 sf home sold for in the early 2000’s. In the early 1990’s it would have been about 60,000.

Yes, the banks are throwing away the unloved, beat up, worn out, and abused houses. The actual price is proportionate to the square footage, but that’s how we compare them. Dollars per square foot. But we are back to 1980’s and 1990’s prices for the “JUNK”. 

There was a house recently that I featured that got sold in the first week. It wasn’t Huntridge. It wasn’t JUNK. It could have been really cute and really functional and it could have been lived in while the restoration was going on. It was a desert modern in the John S. Park Historic Neighborhood. It had hardwood floors, and a salvageable, but not great kitchen. It was listed for 80,000. It was also a 2/1 and also about 1100 sf. Why wasn’t it $35,000? I had 2 clients “thinking” about it, but someone else swooped in and grabbed it up, and it didn’t have to be $35,000 to get it done.

There’s some even better ones around 100k, and some better ones yet at every step of pricing as you go up the scale. But there IS a shortage of WELL loved, well maintained homes, where the seller ISN’T desperate. They exist. They’re the majority of the homes in Vintage Vegas. Many of you are living in one even as we speak.

They exist, but they’re not on the market. And they won’t be till the owner of any particular home can get a price for it that’s equal or greater than what the property is worth to him at that same moment in time. That has NEVER changed. It’s a fundamental rule akin to gravity. But if you change some part of that equation, such as “we’re now behind in payments” or “I just inherited it, get me what ever we can for it”, or “it’s bank owned” then the value of the house will be different. I just isn’t worth as much to the seller anymore.

That’s how we price houses now, and that’s why the LOWEST PRICE sale is more important than the highest price one. Obviously, the ones that are in better condition, and have the coolest features ought to get a higher price. People are fighting over the lowest priced ones. That’s a real good sign. A few more of you who can, ought to jump into it.

There’s retail buyers who are buying the best of the “SELLER MUST SELL” homes. I’m starting to see multiple offers on them. Every single “Fun Fixtures Found In Foreclosures” homes sold soon after I posted them.  The pricing of homes in comparison to others is always a hierarchy that builds from the bottom up. To the typical buyer who I work with, it sounds like “the best house I can get for the least money that meets my needs”. That’s not a new thought. I never ever ever met a buyer that didn’t think that—-regardless of what the market was.

It ALWAYS builds from the bottom, and prices will always start increasing from the bottom up. That’s why it’s called “The Bottom”.