Just a Regular Maverick (Realtor)

Jim Klinge, the Realtor-cum-blogger who, first expressing pre-burst housing bubble incredulity, has since lit up the Web with an honesty rarely seen from a real estate agent. It’s not just that he’s telling the truth about his listings, it’s that many of his listings have become material for his ongoing (and often scathing) commentary on the housing market.

The broker, who operates in California’s North San Diego County, launched his blog, BubbleInfo, in 2005 when he saw prospective homebuyers emboldened enough to take on more debt than they could handle.

A recent blog post surveys a 1,900-square-foot, 31-year-old home directly across from Interstate 5 (or the Detroit River, as Klinge refers to it) that sold for $1 million in 2006 — the result of a “fraud deal” as Klinge speculates, noting that the purchaser financed $925,000 of the mortgage. The house, now an REO listed for $575,000 (“and that’s probably optimistic”) is replete with mold, a pool, and possible inhabitants already, as Klinge surveys the pool, he takes notice of a sign that warns against diving because of the shallow water: “This’ll be good for the homeless: they won’t hurt themselves out here.” But then realizes that all the doors to the house were open when he arrived so that “they’re probably living here now.”

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