Jim Klinge sighed as he made his way through a foreclosed home littered with empty bottles of rum and mattresses. It was 2008, and Klinge, a real estate agent, was filming a YouTube video for his blog documenting the housing crash in the cul-de-sacs and condos north of San Diego. As he opened a closet, daylight illuminated walls splattered with black mold spores, like a tie-dye project gone awry. “Oh, lovely,” Klinge said. “People were living in here like this, looks like. They were lucky to make it out alive.”
Five years later, Klinge’s videos tell a different story, one of limited inventory and jampacked open houses, bidding wars, and quick sales. When a buyer finds a good house in a desirable location, game on. “This part of the environment is just like 2003, when the frenzy was so big it all became about winning and losing,” Klinge says. In some ways, it’s like the bust never happened. “People forget about bad news,” he says. “They just forget.”
Klinge, who pronounces his name with a silent “e”—“like the Klingons, although they are a little better-looking”—has been selling houses since 1984, except for a brief hiatus during the California housing slump in the early 1990s, “when I learned the market doesn’t always go up.” He started blogging in 2005 and regularly posting his Jim the Realtor videos on YouTube in 2008. Camera in hand, he documented ornately sculpted McMansions (“When you see lions out front, you know you’re in for an interesting tour”), abandoned pot farms (“You can always get a good deal on a drug house”), and tract houses turned into virtual ATMs via home-equity loans and refinancings (“This guy borrowed $1.3 million from Countrywide”).
Thank you Karen! Read the full story here:
Here is my video of the experience: