Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Big House of Joseph Babajian

SELLER: Joseph Babajian
LOCATION: Carla Ridge, Beverly Hills, CA
PRICE: $6,985,000 (reduced from $6,995,000)
SIZE: 3,443 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms
DESCRIPTION: Spectacular classic Contemporary in Prime Lower Trousdale completed in 2004. 180 degree head on views of City, ocean and gorgeous lush hills. 12 foot ceilings. State of the art technology. Terrazzo floors inside and out, slab marble and Honduran mahogany highlight the material used in this architectural masterpiece. Perfect for California lifestyle with seamless transitions between the interior and exterior. Done with architectural integrity with the finest quality and taste.

YOUR MAMAS NOTES: Your Mama does not know if indicted and beleaguered celebrity real estate agent Joe Babajian is selling his Trousdale Estates house to pay his soon to be exorbitant legal bills, or if he just thinks it's a good time to cash out on his investment. Or maybe he's concerned that now that he's out of a job, he won't be able to make the mortgage payments and pay the lawyers. Who can blame him? The Feds are already breathing steam down his neck, so the LAST thing he needs right now is a bitter bank up his butt looking for mortgage money. Whatever the case, it is an interesting, if not entirely surprising, time for the one-time top producing agent to unload his multi-million dollar Beverly Hills house.

Your Mama is no detective, attorney, or reporter, and we really can't even pretend to be, but because of all the recent bru-ha-ha surrounding Mister Babajian and his alleged bad behavior regarding real estate deals, we are going to try to reconstruct the chain of title for his property like someone who knows what they're doing.

It appears from property records that the house had been foreclosed on by Washington Mutual Bank in late 1998, and then purchased by an entity called Ronnex Corp. in early April of 1999 for $1,250,000 in cash. According to public records, in September of 2000, the allegedly shady dealing Mister Babajian paid $1,350,013 for the property. He took an adjustable rate mortgage and assumed title to the property in his own name. However, Mister Babajian does appear to use a P.O. Box in Henderson, Nevada on some property records, which Your Mama is quite certain is a creative, albeit legal, benefit to his taxes.

The house measures 2,872 square feet when Mister Babajian purchased the property. It appears that in 2002 he increased his mortgage by around $850,000, presumably to pay for the expansion and renovation that according to listing information was completed in 2004. The expansion brought the house to 3,443 according to property records. Listing information for the property clearly indicates that money was no object on the renovation and expensive features such as terrazzo floors that extend from the inside to the outside terraces, slab marble (that can be very, very expensive), and Honduran mahogany were used extensively throughout the property.

Personally, Your Mama thinks the inside of the house looks like the lobby area of a private investment bank in Chicago or maybe a fancy law firm in Atlanta. We're sorry, but it does not look comfortable at all. We are quite certain Mister Babajian paid top dollar for every stick of furniture and every scrap of buttery soft leather in that place, but Your Mama sincerely hopes there are other rooms with more comfortable and cozy furniture. Who wants to sit in the living room and feel like you're waiting for your attorney? Oh wait, hmm...

Your Mama is a fan of the low, sprawling and flat roofed houses up in Trousdale Estates, and we recognize that many of these properties exchange expansive outdoor space for staggering views. So we're good with the smallish courtyard feel of the back yard. And, we're good with the relatively small swimming pool. After all, Your Mama is not looking to swim laps in the back yard, just to take a slippery dip when the heat index goes up above 82, which of course it does frequently in Los Angeles. None the less, there's something rather sterile felling about the photos of this backyard. Does anyone every drag towels, magazines, books, and and iPhone out here and actually enjoy the view and the pool?

Your Mama hasn't a clue where Mister Babajian will go once he unloads this place. But given that's it's stratospherically priced at $6,995,000, he'll have several million clams left over after paying off the mortgage and the real estate fees to buy an inexpensive condo in Brentwood and the huge retainer fees for his attorney.

UPDATE (Nov. 27, 2007): This property has been reduced a smidge to $6,985,000.

Sources: LA Times, LA Daily News,

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I prefer Sally Hershbergers place a few houses up the street - I never think the views are that good on the lower parts of wallace ridge / carla ridge etc... there's so many trees that often the views are obscured.

Anonymous said...

You are right on. It does look like an expensive law firm. Beautifully done, but a little too polished and corporate.

Phoenix said...

I like this house alot, but agree with the corporate feel criticism. I think much of the reason for that is things are too matchy-matchy with next to no interesting variation. All the living room seating is nearly the same color the walls are, and the rug is just a shade or two lighter. I could go on, but you get the picture.

"Who wants to sit in the living room and feel like you're waiting for your attorney? Oh wait, hmm..."

LOL Mama.. it always makes my day when another instant classic unexpectedly drips from your keyboard like melted 'buttah' ;)

Anonymous said...

Mama, you truly are a goddess. I worship you.

Anonymous said...

Mama, you truly are a goddess. I worship you.

Phoenix said...

Anon, you better stop that kind of talk or the next thing you know, Mama's going to put an offer in on the Saperstein castle, lol... not :p

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Trousdale Bank of Beverly Hills, would you like to set up a checking account with us today?

No, but seriously, this house is quite tasteful, but ends up being a bit lame. The least they could do is what everybody else does, which is buy a massive Ed Ruscha painting that means absolutely nothing and hang it in the living room. I mean, keeping up with the Jones' can be a bitch in Trousdale & the "Birds."

David Alexander said...

$7 million and I get no front yard, hardly any back yard, no ocean view. No thanks.

I guess you get a view, but still.

Id look elsewhere to spend my 7 large.

Anonymous said...

Thats what you get for $7M - It's priced similar to other properties in the area - Move to Idaho!

Anonymous said...

David Alexander

It's a pretty competetive price, honestly. I don't even blink an eye when some of these homes go for $10 million.

I remember a home on Collingwood that sold for $16 million, and it was basically a jazzed up version of this home.

Anonymous said...

I feel it's well priced for the area. Truesdale is the new "flip" market. I remember when Joe was living in a rental with his then lover Kevin just off Doheny on Warbler Way during the Renovations. And Kevin, Mama you would have loved him, would show up for showings in his Full Length Black Mink Coat, I kid you not. He once told me he paid 27,000 dollars for it. It was fabulous. He would walk up and down and work it. Ms. Banks and Americas Next Top Model couldn't hold a candle to this guy. Ah, those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:22. Well, that shatters my illusion that Joe and Judy Cycon were a couple.

Anonymous said...

I live in Trousdale Estates and love it except for the huge parties that happen on almost a nightly basis- luckily not right next door to me. But I am confused with the description " desirable lower Trousdale" ( something like that) Carla Ridge isn't lower Trousdale at all. It may be the entrance off Schyler ( sp?) but it's actually half-way up the hill into Trousdale. I have seen this description before- lower is better- basically and have never understood the reasoning. I happen to be at the tippy top of Trousdale with an amazing view of the canyon and love it. The homeowners asscocation is in a constant battle with the city to get the trees cut and neighbors defy neighbors blocking views with trees and refusing to do anything about it. But still, it's a wonderful place to live and I have a decent sized front and back yard.

David Alexander said...

Idaho??? Is that where steers and you are from?

Anonymous said...

The price seems high, but I like the house and setting.

Anonymous said...

Great house, I was there yesterday...

I understand the "office" feel, but that is essentially what a lot of modern places look like. It's a great house, the views are amazing (although no downtown LA views) and is reasonably priced

It will be tough for anyone to give up that lifestyle

Anonymous said...

All these comments are quite endearing about the pseudo corporate mansion... yet where is the juice on the Babajian and Grasso indictment??? Much more exciting than that silly overpriced bank building in the hills... don't ya think???