Buy a California house for a buck? Not really

Agent's marketing stunt annoys some colleagues

October 17, 2004|By Annette Haddad | Annette Haddad,LOS ANGELES TIMES

LOS ANGELES - Seven-figure homes have become the norm in many parts of California this year. But here's something you don't often see: a one-digit dwelling.

In an audacious marketing gimmick, real estate agent Brock Harris has listed a recently renovated three-bedroom, one-bath California bungalow in Echo Park for $1.

That's not a typo.

Harris acknowledged last month that he had no intention of selling the house on Burlington Avenue for a buck.

Low-balling a listing to attract attention is nothing new, he pointed out. "This is an extreme version of that," he said.

Without providing specifics, Harris said he had numerous pending offers, most of them for far more than the asking price. He also said he had the names of about 350 potential clients.

The seller of the $1 home - a speculator whom Harris declined to identify - bought the property in June for $335,000. He "is open-minded about different marketing strategies," Harris said.

Less open-minded are other real estate agents, dozens of whom have called Harris to chew him out.

Ann Pettijohn, president of the California Association of Realtors, said Harris' ploy could give many anxious home shoppers "false hope."

Harris noted that he could have turned the tactic on its head and made the house the most expensive on the market. That would "have gotten the same attention," he said.

The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

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