Saturday, May 18, 2024

L.A. Realtors Are Advertising Phony Prices To Perk Up Fading Sales

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I recently bid on a two-bedroom condo in Palms. The price was $750,000. When my realtor told me the listing agent strongly hinted that the offer likely to be accepted hovered around $925,000 to $950,000,

I became enraged by the blatant bait-and-switchiness of it all. This price suggestion by the seller’s agent came before any offers had been submitted; that putative “asking price” was actually what my agent called a “marketing price.” Not real, and not even close to what the sellers expected to get. In other words, a lie. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t get the condo.)

According to my agent, who asked not to be identified for speaking publicly about the practice, significantly underpricing property is “very common and very standard. I’ve seen this frequently.”

One of her other clients got caught in a bait and switch where a lovely home, with a too-good-to-be-true $1 million listing price, ultimately went for more than $400,000 over asking, with 15 bidders. This is the real estate equivalent of shopping a spec script with Baz Luhrmann attached for WGA scale.

Indeed, I have bid on several of these deceptive listings; one of them sold for $1 million over asking, with 25 of us furiously vying. The agent knew he was underpricing the home by that much and played us one against the other. Unethical? Of course. “But that’s how it works sometimes,” says my agent, sheepishly.

 Los Angeles Lakers.

Want a water view for millions less than Malibu? Consider the possibilities smack-dab in landlocked L.A.

Franklin Canyon Reservoir

Highlights Upper Franklin Canyon Reservoir was featured in The Andy Griffith Show’s opening credits. This four-bedroom, four-bath hacienda, near the reservoir’s lower reaches, includes a koi pond and spa.

Price $2,950,000

Contact Vinny Morales, The Agency, 424-230-3700

Stone Canyon Reservoir

Highlights Lake views from every room—is this really L.A.? Six-bedroom, eight-bath, 5,720-square-foot urban retreat with floor-to-ceiling windows, infinity-edge saltwater pool, plus—why not?—an elevator.

Price $13,000,000

Contact Tracey Clarke, Sotheby’s International Realty, 310-724-7000

Silver Lake Reservoir

Highlights Duplex with twin two-bedroom, one-bath units. The reservoir is now an urban wildlife sanctuary and a thriving refuge for local and migratory birds. Plus, there’s a 2.2-mile jogging path around the lake.

Price $2,300,000

Contact Fay Fata, Coldwell Banker Calabasas, 818-222-0023

 Get Over Your Lawn…..

Now that L.A. is officially in a drought emergency, water-sucking lawns are again passé. But there’s an eco-friendly alternative to yucca and gravel: fruits and vegetables. Delivering produce to market is estimated to generate 8 percent of all man-made toxins annually. According to UCLA horticulturist Jill Morganelli, citrus trees, herbs, mustard greens, sunflowers, and grapes are all less thirsty than a lawn. Bonus: “All this greenery absorbs carbon monoxide better than sod, so you’ll breathe cleaner air around your home,” she says.

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