Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Flipped Out

The median price for a home in or around Los Angeles is ridiculous. On the news this morning they said that the average value of a home in LA has risen 85% since last year. Now, I think that’s a little high, but I’m sure it’s not by much.

This was all in a segment about “flipping.” Flipping, as you know, is when a person buys a home, does some rudimentary repairs and cosmetic work, and then turns around and sells the house for a profit.

This is not a new thing. It’s been going on for a long time now. The only difference now is that every slightly upwardly-mobile Joe thinks that they’re going to be the next real-estate baron.

And we wonder why the price of houses in this country has risen so absurdly in the past few years?

I, for one, am tired of the whole stupid business. I’m tired of opportunists. I’m tired of real-estate (which is probably because I don’t own any). When the entire country tries to get rich quick in the same way, things go to hell in a hurry.

And thus we have LA.

I’ve given up all hope of ever buying a house down here in southern California (at least until the housing market bubble bursts). It’s just not worth it. Plus the “flippers” here in LA aren’t your average run-of-the-mill flippers. They’re “super-flippers.” Catering to the rich and famous. Or at least the well credited and known-by-someone-famous. People with money, or the ability to talk someone into giving them money at a reasonable interest rate.

The suburbs here in LA are littered with “McMansions.” Huge houses practically bursting out of their property lines.

What happens is that developers buy up small houses on average or small lots (you can’t really get your hands on big lots down here anyway). Then they tear down the houses and build humongous, poorly constructed stucco, particleboard and foam monstrosities.

Pretty much everything you’ve ever seen on an episode of “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” (which, by the way, since ABC has cancelled “Extreme Makeover” could they give the Home Edition a more wieldy title?).

This new trend in gaudy developing is called “Mansionization.”

Because everybody wants a bigger house, am I right? Who cares if your neighbors can see in every window of your home and vice-versa? It’s well worth it to have “His and Hers” master bathroom suites, right?

Freaking His and Hers master bathroom suites?!

That’s the trend here in La-La. People want great rooms and about a thousand bedrooms each with their own bathrooms, walk-in closets, servants’ quarters and small antechambers just for soiled underwear.

I can understand the servants’ quarters and the antechambers, but why on earth would people need to have His and Hers bathrooms? I’m not just talking about two sinks here. I mean two sinks, two toilets, two spa bathtubs and two additional showers as well as dressing areas (and servants’ quarters).

I know that sometimes Tanya gets on my case for leaving things on the bathroom counter, saline solution, glasses, magazines… But, come on, if your significant other leaves their side of the bathroom in such a disgusting state that you have to add another 500 feet onto your home just so you never have to deal with it again, you’ve got bigger issues.

In fact, if this is the case, when you get home tonight, give your spouse a good once-over; make sure that it’s the person you married. Just check to be sure that your loved one didn’t get accidentally mixed up with the neighbor’s pet ferret or something.

If they did, try to think long and hard about the last time you actually saw them…and start the manhunt.

Whatever you do, don’t initiate intimate relations until this mess is sorted out.

But seriously, what the hell has this country come to when we need two bathrooms in the master bedroom? And what middle income family needs a goddamned ballroom?! When was the last time you had friends over for a party and said to yourself “man, wouldn’t it be nice if our guests could bust a move to some Strauss?!”

Granted, I don’t attend the most hoity-toity parties. And I do like Strauss…and I did take ballroom dance in college…

Okay, you can keep the ballroom. Ballrooms are cool. But no His and Hers master bathroom suites.

In fact, nothing that can even be called a “suite.” Suites don’t belong in my neighborhood.

My people have “rooms.” They were good enough for my sainted grandparents and they’re good enough for me.

Goddamned flippers.

Fun Fact: I’ve never flipped a house or a condo, but I did once flip over the handlebars of my bike. And I like to flip other things as well; pancakes, steaks, chicken breasts, mattresses (every 6 months), double-sided DVDs, my opinion on unimportant issues just for the sake of argument, apartments and houses, light switches, the numbers in my age…

And I love to flip people off on the freeway.

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