Lemon County - 'Un' Real Estate...

36 square inches of prime real estate...
36 square inches of prime real estate...

Lemon, Lemon, Lemon...

The timeworn statement, location, location, location, is nowhere truer than in Lemon County. The majority of Lemon County residents are in fact qualified as realtors, and the buying and selling of homes accounts for something like 99% of all commercial transactions. Or it did. It would appear that over the past few years, people have been playing 'chicken' with homes and loans.

Now, I am eminently qualified to discuss this as I watch all the home selling shows on HGTV, live in a house, and, I have a friend who is a realtor.

My friend, lets call him Bob, because that is his name, has been in the business of selling houses for many years. He has also been in the business of not selling houses for a couple of years. Thus he is very experienced, and after a couple of vodkas will wax lyrical on the state of the planet from a realtor's point of view. And I have been taking notes.

The first thing I have made a note of is how utterly money crazy the entire world of realty-ing is. Land is incredibly valuable. It is so valuable you can not let crops suck the value out of it. Land has to be maximized value wise by having stuff put on it. There are three things that are allowed in Lemon County, buildings, parking lots, or roads. Specially watered green bits are wrapped around the former three, but only if you can't actually put a building, road or parking lot on it. There are some legally protected green bits, such as golf courses, as they are necessary for the builders, developers, bankers, and realtors to knock little white balls around on, and do their bidness.

I have noticed that when a piece of raw land (I prefer mine medium rare) is slated for development, the first thing that happens is that a hole is dug. Quite literally, the land is scooped up and sent away in an army of trucks. This is due to genius developers figuring out how to upgrade the monetization of the lot (their words) by putting parking under the building. Put a garden on the roof and from a satellite it looks like there is still "land" - brilliant!

I have mentioned in an earlier hub, that I have taken up walking for my health and entertainment. My daily walk is along the beach, which, by sheer coincidence is along the very last little section of coastline without buildings on it. Yet. The space has been graded, divided into miniscule lots and had a fringe of green stuff planted around each lot. The ones directly on the beach have an asking price of about seven million dollars, pause, gasp, yes I said seven million.

Several wealthy owners, and a couple of very courageous developers have bought a few of the nearly 100 lots. They have dug holes for the garages, and built mini and not so mini mansions on top of them. I am reliably informed by Bob, when he was somewhere between vodka two and three, that these homes are for sale in the seventeen to twenty million dollar range.

So, not exactly tract homes...

This gives me pause to do a little math. Mortgage payment, plus HOA fees for the green fringes and guard gated community guards to guard the gate, plus property taxes, plus a mysterious tax called Smello-Dues, which no one can quite figure out, equals, well, a shit load of money.

Added to the twenty cents a day I earn through google adsense, that would mean I would have to sell a kidney every five minutes to have that kind of income. So, not going to happen, having only the two kidneys to sell.

And building is happening. Even in this nobody-has-any-money economy. I strongly suspect that while 95% of the working stiffs in America are plunging ever deeper into third world-dom, there is a small group that has as much money as China.

And they live here. Drive unbelievably nice cars up and down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) and buy some of the most expensive land on the planet.

Great motivator, being reminded that the American dream is only for "special people".

Now, truth be told, a few years ago, we were all rich. Our homes, which had been purchased for two or three hundred thousand, were now worth over a million.

Naturally, the obvious thing to do was to mortgage your home to the hilt and use the equity to buy all the stuff you had dreamed of. It didn't matter if you couldn't actually pay that big a mortgage, your house would be earning the money for you.

The advertise-y people (and many of your so-called friends) were busy telling you that you deserved a better car, mohair carpets and a membership to the upgrade-your-kitchen-once-a-month club.

I was not allowed to partake in this madness due to She-who-is-adored being a math teacher and way too smart and clever to be tricked by the trickery, plus it was her house.

Then came the giant oops. Your house was only worth as much as people would pay for it. Which was not very much at all anymore. The banks suddenly got mean, and wanted all their money back, to pay themselves their smug-as-hell bonuses. After laughing at the stupidity of people borrowing more than they could ever afford to pay back, they strong-armed the gubment into borrowing more from China so that they could pay themselves gazillion dollar bonuses, and throw millions of regular folks out of their homes, just because they could.

Thus the economy of Lemon County tanked. No one was buying or selling houses. The houses were no longer earning more than the occupants and that left no money for the luxessities (Luxury necessities), like cars, shoes and kitchen remodels.

And Bob couldn't sell houses.

So he walks with me, looking at the mansions being built, and we dream of finding a job that will help us to help our better halves pay the mortgage...

Pictures are worth a thousand words, right?

I sensed some, no way, he's making this stuff up, so, to assist in understanding my people, the Lemonillos, here are photos (taken today March 22, 2011) of the lower section of this development...

Chris

Seriously, it is not possible to make this up...

Looks like a field, but look at the lot divisions...
Looks like a field, but look at the lot divisions...
Clever use of green fringe bits...
Clever use of green fringe bits...
Yep, that's a lot...
Yep, that's a lot...
Bit crowded, you think...
Bit crowded, you think...
No, that's space for two wonder homes...
No, that's space for two wonder homes...
A twenty million dollar view...from the free parking lot!
A twenty million dollar view...from the free parking lot!
Yeah, let's take a look at that again...
Yeah, let's take a look at that again...

Dear Hub Reader


If you enjoy this hub, please check out my book,

Homo Domesticus; A Life Interrupted By Housework,

A collection of my best writings woven into a narrative on a very strange year in my life.

Available directly from:

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/homo-domesticus/12217500

Chris


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Comments 16 comments

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

And then along comes "the big one" and all that property disappears into the Pacific ocean. And everyone moves to Texas and lives unhappily ever after.


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

AustinStar,

I think it is kind of noble for the mega-wealthy to sacrifice themselves when the tsunami comes. The incentive to dig through the rubble would be pretty high though, the odd Cezanne, gold bars, stupidly expensive bottles of wine.

I have to admit I'm a bit scared of Texas. I know you and Nellieanna are out there with Dallas and some other hub type people, but it's the other people who worry me. I do not have a white pick up, with or without a gun rack, and speak funny. I think I might end up as road-kill...

C


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

That derned ol' gubment!

I tell you what, at the top of the boom my trailer was worth 12 million! I wanted to sell, but my dogs were attached, so we stayed. It's now it's only worth 8 cents.

Your Lemon County is so high class that I bet I'd get a ticket for driving on your PCH in my beat up White Ford 150! Do they even own trucks, or are those "truck type vehicles" just for the gardeners? (who probably make more than most of us!)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Sue,

You would get two tickets. One for the truck, and the other for the outfit you are wearing. The fashion police are merciless...

Three, you prolly talk funny...

And the gardeners get paid in pesos...

C


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

What? So, if I'm hearing you right, what you're saying is tube tops and spandex pants are NOT fashionable in Lemon County? OMG how do you stand it!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Sue,

Let me help...

(First I need to get that picture out of my head...)

Any clothing from a place with "mart" in the name, not OK.

Any clothing with label on the inside, not OK.

Any clothing that cost under $100, not OK

Any clothing that makes you look like a two dollar whore, not OK (Unless you are actually in Middle School).

There are strict standards. During the day you will be wearing spandex, but it will be black with subtle white highlights, and leave just enough ankle to point out your designer "tennis" shoes, and your body has to be perfect,

During the evening the LBD is re riguer and heels. Big ass mega heels...

You could try the "Oh, but officer, I'm a writer and I'm being ironic..." line, but he or she will need to get off duty real soon and provide security for a famous basketball star, so you only have, like, five seconds of their attention. (Do NOT lower your top, this is not New Orleans...)

C


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

LMAO! (also, I'm sure not allowable in Lemon County as every woman MUST have one, but not a big one, unless it's in mega heels apparently)

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that my Target apparel is good then. No mart.. just a get.

I have this great face where I look over the top of my glasses with my eyes crossed and do a goofy side grin with buck teeth.. it's very Carol Burnett-esque... I'm thinking the fashion police may let me go if I do that. Mostly because it's too gross to look at for long...kind of like the tube top.

Just to be safe, maybe you and SHE should just visit us here in Indiana sometime....


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Sue,

Honing in on the salient point in a hub about real estate, ladies butts...apparently there are rules about not only size, but shape, and what it's clothed in.

You would be OK with Target if you learned to pronounce it in the manner of the French, a la "taarjay", still risky though...

As to visiting Milltown, please check into my fears stated above in my reply to AustinStar...

And not meaning to be funny or anything, it is my understanding that everyone east of a narrow band of the west coast actually does look like Carol Burnett...

I might be in trouble now...

C


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Dress Code for TX-

Dallas follows the same code as Lemon County

Houston dress codes include kimonos and saris

San Antonio must be colorful and flowery, all women must wear combs in their hair

Ft. Worth - jeans and cowboy hats for everyone

West Texas - jeans, cowboy hats or baseball caps, shirts with snaps, pick up trucks with gun racks and beer coolers.

Austin - Whatever! Crocs with velvet short shorts are way cool!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Sue, AustinStar,

WHAT THE ...

This is about real estate, houses, assorted manly stuff, and you have heaped on all this girly stuff, I'm loosing man-points as we speak.

You're killing me here...

And Crocs, really? They are so last year...


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

I wondered where the saying, 'buying a lemon' came from. Leaves one with a sour taste that's for sure. But then again it's better than living in Newcastle where rust is at a premium and a 'real' estate is a war zone. Nice to see the lie of the land as i feel a bit envious now. I'd love to amble along that beach with you solving the world's major issues, like dust balls. Cheers


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

Sorry Chris.. (clearing throat) (deep voice) Wow! That's a lot of real estate going sour in Lemon County, it's nice to see that the filthy rich don't mind moldy lemons.

I can't imagine paying 7,000,000.00 for a piece of land.. the property taxes alone must be insane!

SHE was very wise, indeed e doo, to have thought ahead. You should keep SHE. SHE is awesome. Make sure to hide that dust-buster you bought with a credit card when SHE wasn't looking.

Funny and excellent commentary on the Lemon County housing situation.

~grin~ (better?)


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Atthum,

My next hub is about my house just outside Newcastle!

The beach walk would be good, sadly the houses are built of sticks, no bricks, so you'd have the same amount of work as me...

C


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Dear Mr. Sueroy,

Excellent discourse on a very serious matter...

You had me heading for the laughing floor with indeed-e-doo, though. Especially as I now picture Carol Burnet fussing with a tube top...

Did you like the pictures I added?

And the clothing riff - there is an excellent hub in there somewhere. I just hope Austin doesn't dress her Bob up in velvet short shorts...


sueroy333 profile image

sueroy333 5 years ago from Indiana

Holy Crap!

Those pictures are unbelievable! I can now imagine what it must be like to live in a mansion yet still feel crowded and broke! WOW.

Chelsea and I have decided that should we ever sell our trailer for it's "true" worth... we're buying an island!


ChrisLincoln profile image

ChrisLincoln 5 years ago from Orange (or Lemon...) County, California Author

Sue,

The area in the pictures used to be a trailer park, can you imagine how great that was? The land was unstable (yes, too unstable for trailers) and lay unused for many many years.

A fool and his money...

Swap the trailer for a boat and head out west...

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