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Three Bedrooms, One Bath -- One Dollar

September 30, 2004|Annette Haddad | Times Staff Writer

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

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

That's not a typo.

Yet Harris acknowledged on Wednesday that he has no intention of actually selling the house on Burlington Avenue for a buck.

Lowballing 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 has numerous pending offers -- most of them far above the asking price. He also said he has corralled the names of about 350 potential clients.

The seller of the $1 home -- a speculator whom Harris declined to name -- 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 Assn. of Realtors, said Harris' ploy could give many anxious home buyers 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.

In some ways, that move may have been preferable. Noted La Canada-based agent Phyllis Harb: "If the commission is 3% of a dollar, that isn't much."

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