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Man's Dreams Crushed When He Finds Out His Malibu House Isn't The Biggest
A millionaire from Hong Kong purchased a home in Malibu, thinking that it was a huge mansion. It was a huge mansion, but not exactly as massive as he thought, and now he's very sad. This tale of woe revolves around Hiroshi Horiike, who is very, very rich. He bought a mansion in Malibu for $12.25 million in cash in 2007, the New York Times reports. The City of Malibu limits mansions to be 11,172 square feet or smaller, so Horiike was under the impression his 15,000 square foot home was pretty special.
It's not like he had never seen the property, or made a rash decision. He had also looked at 80 other properties with his own broker before he saw this one, listed by Chris Cortazzo—a very successful Coldwell Banker broker and real estate agent to the stars. And for two years, Horiike lived in the house without an issue.
Then, in 2009, he sought to increase his estate by adding a sunroom. This is what led to the county planning commission telling him, to his horror, that his house was under 10,000 square feet.
Record screeching noise. Horiike told the Times, "It has become a bad dream. It has broken my heart and broke my dream about American people. Before, I thought everything here is beautiful. And perfect." That's America, all right. It really does seem perfect from your insular Malibu mansion until you have to deal with it in any other way.
Now, typically when buying a house, you'd have an appraiser from the bank come to the home because you're getting a loan. That appraiser would tell you if the home you are buying is 5,000 square feet smaller than you think it is. However, when you're buying a house in cash, as is often the case with gigantic mansions in Malibu, you end up bypassing that step.
As it turns out, the square footage discrepancy is fairly common in Malibu. Malibu uses 'total development square footage,' which can include guesthouses, garages and other spaces not typically included by real estate agents as living spaces.
Horiike has been involved in a legal battle against Cortazzo and Coldwell over the size discrepancy for several years, first losing in 2012, but then winning an appeal. The case will be decided sometime this year by the California Supreme Court. Horiike is seeking $5 million in damages.
Cortazzo's argument, shared by Coldwell, is that listings often include disclaimers about the accuracy of their measurements and suggest buyers get their own measurements done. Cortazzo also said in court filings that the 15,000 square foot estimate had come from a letter from the architect of the mansion. Cortazzo had previously lost buyers on Horiike's house because they asked for the architect's plans, and he could not produce them. The architect said in a deposition that the measurement included a barbecue area as well as the garage.
The funny thing, really, is that Horiike just didn't notice until he was told. For some, perhaps ignorance really is bliss.
[h/t to Curbed LA]