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Experience Pasadena by Walking Barefoot in the Park

Pasadena Weekly’s real estate columnist, Joanna Beresford has written another article. Not only is it a very beautifully written story, but it also mentions a couple of quotes from yours truly. Here it is for everyone’s enjoyment.

Barefoot in the park

Walking miles without anyone’s shoes is an eye-opening experience

By Joanna Beresford 09/18/2008

Earlier this week I was walking barefoot through the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Backpack over my shoulder and head down, I carried a pair of dilapidated flip-flops in my hand – Corona blue and gold, bought for 99 cents, having traveled many miles on many feet already and deserving their rest.

The outlandish Disney Center erupts on the block between Grand and Hope streets, where the blue plastic thong wrenched itself free from one of those flip-flops. After that, I was barefoot, but I really didn’t mind. The pavement was warm beneath my feet and the view was spectacular. I was looking for something and I may as well have found it with my scummy blistered toes as anywhere else.

Now I just can’t remember exactly what I was looking for, except I do know that I felt sad and worried and angry about a bunch of things, most of which had to do with money and love, naturally. I thought, if I can’t find some answers here, between the Disney Center and the Mark Taper Forum, these two bastions of culture, civilization and good taste, where am I gonna find them? So I walked all the way around the soaring structure that some call a monstrosity and others call miraculous.

The light and surfaces stimulated me to the point of renewal, and that’s something. But I wanted more, so I headed toward the cathedral. You know, The Cathedral. That Spaniard Jose Rafael Moneo’s vision of heaven – Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Temple Street. I’ve been there pretty often. I attended Sunday morning Mass once, and I bought a coffee and sat under the trees with the sparrows, reading. I love the sunbaked adobe color and the transparent walls and everything. But I should have known that a building famous for its lack of right angles (a design element dedicated to the aura of mystery that Moneo wished to explore) wasn’t exactly going to give me any solid answers. Anyway, it was late in the day, gates were closing, bells were ringing, and I kept walking. Past tourists, city employees and homeless people mostly.

“The first loss is the best loss,” Irina Netchaev says. She’s a Realtor, but she’s also my friend, so I believe just about every word that comes out of her mouth.

She’s talking about short sales when she makes this comment, and apparently she’s not the originator of the phrase. I think that means that banks and homeowners would rather lose a little bit of money now and get rid of a house that’s become a financial burden than dawdle around for one reason or another and lose more money later, or eventually.

“Ah, metaphoro, metaphoro!” cries my Italian friend, Noni. The best loss is the first loss. I don’t know. Is that universally true? Or can a long, drawn-out loss be better, more instructive, more redemptive, or otherwise more worthwhile than the swift and bloodless one?

Not in real estate, apparently.

If you’re interested in a short sale, by the way, or in scouting around Pasadena and its environs for a housing deal, you’re in luck; they’re out there. I accompanied Irina and a client recently on a treasure hunt for short sales, foreclosures and other homes that list for less than a half-million dollars.

A half-million dollars. Do we realize what that sounds like to a 12-year-old, like my son? Or to a throwback from the 1970s who could practically have bought Hearst Castle for half a mil?

Townhomes, fixers, houses-from-hell and homes that are not bad at all lie along the tree-lined streets of our neighborhoods and you can buy one for less than $500,000. I won’t tell you where, exactly, mostly because I can’t remember, since I suffer from early onset dementia. But call Irina, or your own favorite real estate agent and she or he can give you the tour.

Here’s the thing, though. I suggest you walk and go barefoot. Because, as I discovered in LA last week, you can’t really call a place home until you know what it would feel like to be homeless there.

Contact Joanna Dehn Beresford at [email protected].

More Pasadena Weekly Articles mentioning Irina: What Price is Paradise and Short Sales make Owning a Home a Reality

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