Small Wonders: Jumping into housing bubble 2.0

Dear Home Seller,

Thank you for allowing us in your home during yesterday's open house. Our Realtor suggested we include this personal letter with our bid to set us apart from the 83 other offers you're likely drooling over right now.

I'm supposed to tell you how thrilled we'd be to spend the better part of $1 million to be the next proud owner of your 1,200-square-foot, depression-era fixer-upper. We hope you find our bid of $75,000 over asking price pleasing.

I fancy myself a writer, but I've got nothing on the wordsmith who drafted the listing for your "quaint California bungalow."

If "curb appeal" means planting primrose in that patch of abandoned earth that used to be a front lawn, then every flipped house in L.A. County has great curb appeal.

We truly admired the tile work throughout the house. Some lucky quarry owner paid off his second home thanks to you. Tile flooring on the walls and ceiling is going to be all the rage next year. Kudos for being fashion forward.

Not only do you have elegant taste, but a sense of humor, too. That "bonus room" that "could be used as a fourth bedroom" was hi-lar-i-ous! I'm no expert on building code, but a closet, four-plus square feet of floor space and airflow are usually minimum requirements for a bedroom.

We want to compliment you on the wall sconces, too. Some say gargoyles are a bad omen unless perched on a gothic cathedral. Not you. And the judicious use of Grecian columns to counterpoint the "vintage" mid-century cabinetry and Formica countertops in the kitchen? Tres chic!

Just loved what you did with the backyard, too. Who knew "going green" meant letting your lawn turn brown?

We've always dreamed of paying high six figures for a box on a busy street in a neighborhood "ripe" for gentrification. I'm sure we'll get used to the nearby airport traffic, fast-food drive-through across the alley and pit bull puppy farm next door.

We're so glad you took your agent's advice and listed your house extremely high, yet just low enough to create a feeding frenzy. We're honored to take part in Housing Bubble 2.0 since we missed out on the last one by being wise and not taking on a toxic mortgage in an overinflated housing market. Thankfully, with time comes desperation, so this time we're in it to win it.

And thanks to low interest rates, an infusion of all-cash buyers from Wall Street and overseas, and banks creating a beanie baby-like appearance of limited inventory by keeping foreclosed homes off the market, the sequel looks to beat the original.

Record high foreclosures and record low available homes for sale at the same time? Wow. The last time a con like that was pulled over on the American people, British settlers were handing out blankets to people with feather headwear.

If times are hard, you sure couldn't tell by the all-cash buyers crushing the hopes of the majority of the middle class. More than 30% of homes sold in the last few months went to investors with a half-million burning a hole in their pockets. The great recession is over, I guess. Wish someone would have told the other 99% of us.

And here I thought that good credit, steady jobs and the ability to pay taxes made us a sure bet to become homeowners. Silly me.

You see, as a family where both parents must work to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, we need to own a home at practically any cost for the tax write-off. We don't qualify for assistance, yet don't make enough to pay people to hide our money. I'd continue renting, but with so many foreclosed homeowners now renting, it costs almost as much as a mortgage.

I've included a family picture so you can see we're real people. That's us at the Grand Canyon. The smirk on my face is me trying to refrain from leaping off the edge so my family can get a measly life insurance payout to use as a down payment.

We truly hope you take our money in exchange for this thin slice of the American Dream. We'll gladly pick up all closing costs, your moving costs and six months' worth of your car payments if that incentivizes you.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know that we'd love to drain our savings, 401(k)s, credit cards and borrow from eight immediate family members to grossly overpay for your house. We have no idea how we'll make the monthly payment, but my therapist says I need to "live in the moment" more anyway.


First-time Home Buyer


PATRICK CANEDAY is bitter and discouraged. Reach him at Read more at

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