Only in California: This $1.5 million home is a fixer — because of the the meth lab inside

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HOUSING IS A BIG PROBLEM here in the People’s Republic of California.

There are many reasons why, but as the website CalMatters explains, “it’s complicated.” Years and years of regulations and restrictions have made building new housing a lot more expensive.

The result? As Cal Matters reports, “the median price of an existing single family California home is  $791,490, more than twice the national median of $375,700.” Yes, this is a terribly expensive place to live, and exorbitant housing prices are just one of the reasons that California has lost half a million residents since 2020.

That’s why the situation with the San Jose-area home shown above is so instructive, because it’s just another wrinkle you can add to the many challenges people face in buying a home in the most populated areas of America’s most populated state.

A house with a meth lab you need to get rid of

As the San Jose Mercury News reports in what is simply the latest unbelievable,”only in California” story:

“If you’re on the market for a San Jose fixer-upper, here’s a doozy: This one can’t be legally inhabited until the inactive meth lab inside is cleaned up. The list price? $1.5 million.”

I know people who might be tempted to make an offer on the 2,743-square-foot, six-bedroom home, but potential buyers have another hurdle that most homebuyers don’t face — the house is being sold as-is and the purchaser will have to make an offer without getting a look inside. That’s because, as the Mercury News notes, “no access to the house will be provided before the Santa Clara County Health department gives its approval …”

FOR THOSE WHO WONDER “why,” the newspaper also notes that the home “was raided in March of this year as part of an explosives investigation targeting 36-year-old Peter Karasev, who investigators said was using it as a base to stockpile bomb-making chemicals and methamphetamines. ”

San Jose “meth” house, as shown in Zillow listing

They add: “San Jose police and explosive specialists with the FBI and National Guard uncovered ‘homemade liquid explosive, multiple energetic homemade destructive devices and multiple suspected destructive devices,’ ” unspecified bomb-making materials, and pipe bombs, the Mercury News previously reported.

The Zillow listing notes that the cost to clean up the meth contamination will be added to the price of the home. Originally listed at $1.425 million, the home was recently increased in price to $1.55 million.

That should tell you that the realtor selling this house doesn’t believe that cleaning up a meth lab will be much of hurdle for potential buyers.

A home with a “Breaking Bad vibe”

ONE MORE THING: that photo at the top is how the home appeared in its better days, because the picture that accompanies the Zillow listing (the one with the chain link fence in front) is what appears to be its current, unoccupied state.

So much for the curb appeal, but that’s what a meth lab will do to a property.

Despite the negatives of a meth lab and bomb making facilities, there will probably be a number of would-be buyers willing to take a chance on this house.

Reasonable people in places with reasonable home prices wouldn’t touch it, but out here in California, even a property that needs major remediation because of a meth lab will find any number of potential buyers — even if it does have what the Los Angeles Times describes as a  “Breaking Bad” vibe.

HERE’S MY TAKE: I’m a native Californian, and for me, the former “Golden State” is not so golden anymore. It’s certainly not the place I remember growing up in.

The weather may be great — and it is probably the one saving grace left — but California today is terribly expensive, over crowded, over regulated, crime-ridden, and full of politicians who believe that passing over 1,000 new laws each year is the mark of a healthy society.

People don’t like it and are voting with their feet. More than 800,000 California residents have left since 2020, and even my next door neighbor of 25 years is looking to cash in and move to Florida.

It’s a one-party state that is, as USA Today notes, home to one-third of all the homeless people in the United States. And Gov. Gavin Newsom, the man who should be hyper focused on fixing what’s wrong with California, is globetrotting to Israel and China in what many believe is a shadow campaign for president just in case Joe Biden decides to bow out.

Is this just an odd story that could happen anywhere?

As Dan Walters, a man who has covered Sacramento for over a half century recently wrote, “Gavin Newsom won’t let tinges of hypocrisy impede his obsession with becoming a national, or even international, political figure.”

Viewed in that context, it’s not so strange that a story about a house for sale with a meth lab inside would not only be national news but also pretty ho-hum out here where it happened.

As the author, scholar, and California native Victor Davis Hanson wrote, it’s “the perfect storm that imploded California.” If you believe that, it’s not so odd to have houses being sold as-is with a meth lab and bomb-making facility where they make the new buyer pay for the clean up.

Some will say that this fixer-upper of a house being sold as-is with a meth lab is simply an odd quirk that is  overblown and could happen anywhere.

Maybe that’s true, but what is more likely is that it’s a story that reasonable people in more reasonable places read and say, “Well, here’s something that tells you everything you need to know about why California is going straight to hell.”

As a native Californian who hates what he has been seeing, take it from me — they wouldn’t be wrong.

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