Real Homes of Genius: Today we Salute you Santa Ana. 498 Square Feet for $440,000, What a Deal!

Today we salute the smallest home ever on Real Homes of Genius. This home spanning out on 498 square feet is located in the gem of Orange County, Santa Ana. Not only does this house convey the essence of living large, but you get two bedrooms and one full bath! Just because they can list this place with a straight face at that price I will take my hat off. The agent states that this place is small but cozy. I think he got that quote directly from a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. And at $440,000 we are talking about the bargain of the century. You are paying $893/sq.ft on this place because we are talking about the OC here.

But you need to have vision to be something in this world. Look at the picture above. You have all that space to your right hand side via the alley. Imagine what else you can do. You can convert this place into a drive through restaurant and make big money. Cash flow baby! How do I know you can make big money? Well our fruitful agent also tells us that this owner is “very motivated” to sell the place. Well, okay! Time to call New Century Financial and make a deal. Whoops, just did but no one on the other side picked up. Well let us see what other information we can gather on this home since we are so ready to bounce on this place.

Previous sales data reveals:

Sale History
12/15/2004: $323,000

Wow. So in two years we are talking about a tax free gain of $117,000. Not bad at all. Or let us reframe this and say living in this house made the owner $58,500 per year. This is fantabulous since the median income here is $48,200. Again, why work when you can live in your house and outpace all of your neighbors? Making money is as easy as living in your opulent mansion with all the amenities that a sub-500 square foot home can bring.

Today we salute you Santa Ana with our Real Homes of Genius Award.

17 Responses to “Real Homes of Genius: Today we Salute you Santa Ana. 498 Square Feet for $440,000, What a Deal!”

  • Make Mine A Bubble

    Geez, Loo-eez!

    I think the next-door neighbor should “invest” in buying up this house. Then they can add a bridge between the two and turn it into a walk-in closet.


  • Dr Housing Bubble


    498 + 498 and you’re still below 1,000 square feet. My college room was larger than this place.

    This is for the doubters thinking there is no housing bubble. Keep rubbing those ruby slippers. We are definitely not in Kansas.

  • Thank you, thank you. I really needed a laugh today. How do you even build rooms in that amount of space. Hell, the internal walls themselves will gobble up a good percentage. Seriously, 2 bedrooms, a full bath (versus what, an outhouse?), kitchen…there just can’t be room for a living area, much less a media and game room.

    New homes sales lowest in 7 years, foreclosures up 12%, lender stocks down more than 10% and that’s just today’s news. It’s over.

    Should I be buying gold or silver?

  • Dr Housing Bubble


    Did you see the original CNNMoney headline? It had the word “surprised” in it. I nearly kicked my assistant out of her front desk when I read that. So they are surprised this happened after the sub-prime massacre that occurred this month? The fact that median prices are down YoY for multiple months now? Oh yes, I was shocked when I heard this news.

    They watered down the headline to:

    “Pace of new home sales slumps 4% to lowest since August 2000 as glut of homes on the market rises, hurting prices.”

    In terms of where you should invest right now I would recommend you read some good bear books and how to invest in declining markets. In addition, you should always diversify in areas you have specialized knowledge about. This includes real estate (yes, Dr. Housing Bubble is not anti-real estate but anti permabull bubble real estate, there is a difference).

    I definitely recommend a book called Automatic Wealth because in reality, the main way to wealth is by increasing your income either through your career or business. This may mean going back to school or figuring out ways to be better at what you currently do. This can lead to you being financially secure in 7 to 10 years. Not a get rich quick scheme but definitely better than saving $5 a day for 40 years (although you should do this too in lieu of your other income streams).

    Or if you want to go for broke buy this place with a negative amortization loan and flip it! I heard the market is hot in the OC.

  • 2 bedroom in less than 500 square feet? I bet you can’t get a bed bigger than a twin size in either of them.

  • Omg number to agent please I want to ask if i qualify for a loan on this place and then lol my as off..

  • This definitely brought a laugh to this east coast bubble watcher. Blog on!

  • OF course, the word “career” in Dr. Housing Bubble’s post is underlined, with a pop-up add that reads:

    Work at Home
    Earn up to $25-$75 per Hour – Apply in Seconds – Start Today!

    I’m assuming ad is for a no-down loan, and the ‘making money at home’ bit is simply buying that home and living in it. 😉

  • Dr Housing Bubble


    What is up with the coastal regions and hyper-inflated real estate prices? We had a tornado warning in Southern California today…could this be a sign? 😉


    Actually you can sit in your house and make $75/per hour. Oh wait, not anymore. That bus is long gone. Now it’ll cost you $75/per hour to sit in your home. Hope that 600 square feet box looks mighty appealing. The walls are closing in.

  • Wow. Just wow.

    On the surface, this looks like the “best” RHOG ever, based on price and the specs and look of the house. However, maybe not – I don’t know as much about OC as I do about central L.A. County (my work territory includes Compton, Lynwood, South Gate, and Huntington Park), so I don’t know if this Santa Ana house has any teardown value or anything. Because the prior RHOG entries in Compton, Lynwood and Huntington park have NO teardown value. At all.

    OC’ers, feel free to chime in: How bad is Santa Ana? Is it so bad that no six-figure-salaried professional would ever live there, even rent-free? I can state unequivocally that is the case with Compton, Lynwood, and Huntington Park. Let’s hear it: would any non-blue-collar, non-criminal live in this house?

    Because if the answer is “yes, Santa Ana is that bad,” we have it: The Greatest Real Home Of Genius Ever.

  • Dr. HB,

    “What is up with the coastal regions and hyper-inflated real estate prices? We had a tornado warning in Southern California today…could this be a sign? ;)”

    We had hail and tornado warnings as well last night in the DC/Baltimore Area. What is funny about the coastal regions is that if Goreanator (Gore and Arnold) are right about rising sea levels due to global warming, then the real value of present coast land is merely the present valuation of future coastal fishing rights. I’m not saying I believe or don’t believe global warming, but this scenario has crossed my mind more than once over the past few years.


  • anon 3/27,

    Yes, 90% of Santa Ana is that bad. There are a few pockets here and there that are nice, but for the most part, its a dump.

    There are converted apartments that are selling as condos in SA and I went to look at them a few weeks ago. While they tout themselves as the cheapest in OC, you get what you pay for. Its in a not so great neighborhood and there are few redeeming qualities.

    Oh, you better know your Spanish – large majority of people here are hispanic. It does mean good Mexican grocery stores, though! Although I suck at other languages so I wouldn’t be able to make it in SA.

  • Well apparently alot of the neighbors in the area are a bit bullish on the economy, too: alot of the gangstas are wearing gold chains, gold grillz, bling-bling, etc. I guess they’ll be the saavy investors when the dollar is in the toilet, and gold and silver are King.

  • I guess the “real housewives of OC” won’t be living in this gem.
    Here’s another in Redondo Beach CA. Nicer area but look at these stats:
    LP: $749,000
    AREA: (244)Redondo Beach
    STYLE: Cottage YB: 1941
    BR: 2 BA: 1.00
    APN: 7503-007-028 ZONE: RBMDR* HOD: $0.00 STORIES: 1
    APX SF: 489/AS
    LDM: APX LSZ: 2,909/AS

    DIRECTIONS: West of PCH, North of Torrance Blvd, East of Catalina Ave, South of 190th St
    REMARKS: Don’t miss this charming cottage near the beach. With 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom, living area, and dining nook you can move right in. Tile floors throughout the home. Wonderful patio deck on the back of the house the overlooks the private backyard. Great for builder/developer who wants to add to the home or build on the lot. Close to schools and shops. Only blocks to the beach! Lots of potential! Submit all offers!
    Bottom Line it is aprox $1531 per sq foot on a small lot of 2900 sq ft.
    Guess they aren’t to smart in Redondo eigther….

  • We have garages larger than that and can make them into a very comfortable rental but not a two bedroom.

  • I want some of whatever they’re smoking. Several months back I bought a McMansion (but tasteful) in Houston, in the seedier end of a very desirable neighborhood. 42xx sqft, $7xx,000. Maybe $180/sqft for brand new construction. Lot value was ~275k. So construction cost less than $125/ft. In prime financial district of Houston. Commute to my secure job in medical center: 12 minutes door-to-door, maybe 18 minutes in the evening. No state income tax. Crappy weather 7 months of the year, Pretty nice the other five.

    My garage is 50% bigger than this house!

    Still think about moving back to CA, though.

  • how about this?custom chalet, new in 2002. 2996 sf 3 br, 3 ba w/ seperate guest cottage, three car finished garage, on creek w/ pond sitting on 2.91 acres and 6 miles to town on good unclogged roads. includes all the so. cal. flipper polishing amentities, only not done to cover rat pee stains and mold. 539 k

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