Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Arvada, Colorado

Four bedrooms, four baths, finished garden level basement, over 3,200 square feet of living space, mountain views, backs to a golf course, built in 1991, IN FORECLOSURE --- Asking Price $289,900. On the market since Monday.

I found this beautifully upgraded home while door knocking yesterday. It had been listed for $339,900 as recently as six months ago, when Mr. and Mrs. Seller felt there was still time on the clock. It has been lowered to $324,900 in time for the holidays, which didn't work either.

The property was pulled off the market at the start of this month, then magically reappeared on Monday with a $35,000 haircut. It's a sad situation, but somebody is going to make out very well here in the next couple of days.

Meanwhile, a thousand miles away in another galaxy, there's this home:

Santa Ana, California

498 square feet, two bedrooms, one bath, "low maintenance" front yard, priced affordably at just $440,000, or $893 per square foot.

Santa Ana isn't exactly the garden spot of "The OC", but the housing insanity isn't simply confined to gated communities and ocean front properties.

This picturesque alley-side home was sold most recently in 2004 for $323,000, so obviously our seller here is trying to eke out a tidy $117,000 profit to show for two years of hard work mailing in mortgage payments and collecting rent checks.

Eleven of the top 25 lenders in America have shut their doors or severely curtailed operations in the past 30 days... anybody out there want to offer 100% Alt-A financing on this beauty??

Friday, March 9, 2007


Have you heard of Casey Serin?

Everyone else has.

Casey Serin (www.IAmFacingForeclosure.com) has become a cult figure in much of the real estate investing world. A 24-year-old immigrant from the Ukraine who came to Sacramento in 1994, Casey has parlayed his atrocioius (and admittedly fraudulent) real estate investing career into national celebrity, including a feature story this week in USA Today.

Using a string of stated income, 100% financing and hard money loans, Casey has left a trail of implosion throughout the western United States, buying homes with the intention of flipping them for profit in New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and his home state of California.

Except right about the time he began closing his deals, the market fell apart.

Casey has taken his calamity road show national, appearing on numerous television programs and admitting freely he lied on his loan applications, fudged paystubs and tax returns and pretty much signed anything they put in front of him in order to close on another house.

The interesting thing is, like certain American Idol contestants, although pathetically inept in the area of personal decision making, he's a rather intriguing and likeable guy.

Only in the era of YouTube and the Internet could someone become a cult hero because of his own massive personal failures. Google the name "Casey Serin" and you'll find dozens of references to America's poster boy for the impending collapse of the subprime lending market.

It's very hard to say where Casey is going to end up... will it be in jail, or will it be in the next new Fox prime time sitcom? You'll have to stay tuned.

Cheers to you, Casey. You have figured out that shame and disgrace is the "new new", and you're going to ride that horse as far as it will take you.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007


I hate to admit it, but I’ve developed a bit of an addiction. It started a few weeks ago in this space when I listed some of my favorite “Housing Bubble” blogs, all of which I bookmarked and refer to at least once a week when I’m in need of inspiration. (The MOST creative of these remains OC-FlipTrack.com, which is just hilarious in the way it roasts property flippers who in the process of being burned at the stake in Southern California)

If you have watched the news this week, you know there’s a meltdown going on right now in the lending industry, specifically with the Alt-A (slightly less than perfect) and subprime (way less than perfect) credit markets.

Last year, a friend of mine told me half of what was being funded in Orange County was 100% financing product, a claim I found so ridiculous and beyond belief that (at first) I laughed it off. But upon further review, it didn't turn out to be such a far-fetched statement after all. And nearly 1/3 of the properties being purchased in Southern California were 2nd homes or investment properties, which clearly showed that wild-eyed investing was still cool, even as the housing market was finally hurtling back toward earth.

So here we are today, many months later, and suddenly all those 100% loans aren’t looking so hot, and all those ARM’s from 2003 and 2004 are now adjusting upward to the tune of 2% (or more) a year, and hey, who turned out the lights???

Goodbye New Century. Adios Ameriquest. Strike up the band, another one bites the dust.