Moving Day (or should ebay bet the farm on real estate?)

For those folks who were wondering why I stopped blogging about the LA real estate scene ~60 days ago it’s because we (finally) bought a house. We’re moving into it today, and right now I’m sitting in my tiny apartment with 75+ boxes of junk all around me.

It’s a funny story… in June when we started looking we fell in love with a French country house that was very unique , and that had all the things we were looking for (location, rooms, size, etc). The house had recently been marked down by ~15% after being one the market for over six months. I wanted to offer 10% less than than that recently reduced price but the selling broker told me “don’t do that” because I would insult the owner so badly that they would never, ever speak to me again.

I found this very confusing and was going to tell the brokers to do it anyway thinking that “heck, if I owned this house I would want to know what people were thinking it’s worth.” So, I didn’t put the offer in–huge mistake I think.

Four months after we first went to the house (and after seeing another 75 homes!) we got a call asking “is that offer still available?” to which I responded… “absolutely…. not.” The market really crashed over the summer here in LA, so we offered a little less than the 25% less offer we *wanted* to submit in June. After a little back and forth we settled into a number right between the old offer we never submitted in June and the offer we just made and came to an agreement.

Closing took like 60 days I think, and the process was filled with all kinds of drama and nonsense. In fact, the process of buying a house is so horrible that I think like buying cars, hotel rooms, and airline tickets it’s going to get reinvented by services like HelpUSell and Redfin–at least I hope so.

Frankly, I don’t know why more folks don’t just put their places on EBAY and be done with it. If I was running EBAY I would make EBAY real estate the #1 priority. In fact, I would hire a couple of hundred brokers and have them work on a salary + smaller commission basis to get people more comfortable with the idea. As the market goes down that’s when people are going to want to save costs (i.e. fees) and an EBAY solution would be killer. Heck, ebay should just buy Reddit and HelpUSell now and be done with it. Game over.

Anyway, I’ll be offline for a couple of days… see you guys in the New Year!

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