Home » Island Life

Knife Catchers, RIP

Submitted by on 1, May 28, 2009 – 5:45 am14 Comments

d_silhouetteJust got the head’s up from a friend that Alameda’s irreverent real estate pundit L. Opine has called it a day on the popular Knife Catchers blog, which I wrote up last September.

I checked in with L., and they said the blog may or may not come back, but for now, it’s off altogether.

The blog, which was set up to document the failing real estate market through a local lens, entertained many in its 18 months of publication with its brutally honest take on Alameda’s real estate market. But its author was maybe a little less beloved by some of the real estate folks who didn’t appreciate his/her sense of humor (including the folks at East Bay Regional Data, Inc., who sent a copyright infringement notice last year requesting removal of home photos, Multiple Listing Service content and MLS numbers for the properties that L. wrote about).

A typical post might begin with something like this:

We’ve seen a lot of delusional asking prices in this town, but today’s listing takes the cake, fruitcake, pumpkin pie, and bûche de Noël all at once.

Or include this:

I think my favorite part of the listing is “Abundant room for 30+ car parking and areas for Bbq’s and entertaining with friends”–it is indeed awesome for those parties with 50+ people you’re certain to be throwing on a very, very regular basis.

Visitors to the site now get nothing but a blank screen and a short note that says:

The Knife Catchers blog is now shut down permanently.

Feel free to overpay for houses in Alameda.


  • Peter says:

    Interesting … wonder what prompted the shutdown? A lawsuit, perhaps?

  • Sue T. says:

    A couple weeks before the shut-down, L. posted an item about why, contrary to the boosters, it was a bad time to buy real estate. That led to 60+ comments including many disagreeing with her take, some that were less than civil. She wound up shutting off comments and then shortly thereafter she pulled the plug on the blog. It's a shame — I enjoyed her rather snarky point of view.

  • L. Opine says:

    Thanks for the writeup, Michele.

    No lawsuit, just threatening idiocy from some realtors, and general tiredness about having to explain what I wrote over and over to people who were too willing to cling to their erroneous interpretation of what I wrote, or why I did what I did.

    I didn't shut down comments because of people disagreeing with me. I shut down comments because that particular post specifically said something like "this is a fact-based thread; you're free to disagree as long as you support your assertions with hard data." Instead people kept repeating intuitions with no supporting facts, and when called on it, they cried censorship and said I couldn't handle disagreement. So the discussion devolved into insults about my tone and attitude, and frankly I'm not willing to tolerate people insulting my on my own blog. After I shut down the comments, the idiots tracked me down and insulted me over email.

    So I just had enough and pulled the plug.

    Best to all.

  • Jill says:

    L. Opine wrote some pretty nasty things about homeowners and realtors from the comfort of her anonymity (she's not the only one, but she was the only anonymous writer with the visibility of her own blog). She was entertaining, and usually more or less on the money, but she made her points in a way that was unnecessarily rude toward specific people whom she didn't even know. People don't take well to having something as personal as their home insulted in public. From her post above it sounds like her identity had been uncovered, which may be why she pulled the plug.

  • Luke says:

    It is a terrible shame that the site has been shut down, whatever the reasons. It was an enjoyable read and thoughtfully composed resource for Alamedans and those watching the housing market and its continuing decline.

    Although not specific to Alameda, readers who enjoyed knifecatchers may enjoy reading the 5x weekly collected articles posted on the blog, http://www.patrick.net

    "We can never be sure that the opinion we are endeavouring to stifle is a false opinion; and if we were sure, stifling it would be an evil still."

    – John Stuart Mill

  • Milo S says:

    I’m completely crushed about the loss of Knifecatchers. I was looking forward to buying a house in Alameda this year, but now that Knifecatchers is gone, I feel like the only knowledgeable, trustworthy voice I found is gone. Now I’ll be at the mercy of a real estate industry that I never trusted. Now that they shut down the one informed dissenting voice I found, I trust them even less. If the Alameda RE agents are willing and able to do that to L.Opine, what will they do to me? I think I’m going to look elsewhere.

  • AC_joe says:

    Knifecatchers was entertaining, but L. Opine: Thinnest. Skin. Ever.

  • James W says:

    Good riddance. She seemed to be waging a personal vendetta against real estate sellers, with an underlying assumption that home buyers are too stupid to understand current market trends. Perhaps, she lost money on a poorly timed purchase and felt a need to vent online. Whatever the reason, it’s no surprise people reacted the way they did. Meddling with the sale of someone’s property is just poor taste and a good way to make a lot of enemies. For most people a home is the primary investment and nest egg for their future. It’s difficult enough to sell in a falling market without taking insults from an anonymous and opiniated half-wit. If you really want to gauge the value of a home then go take a look at it, then talk to a few agents and compare prices.

  • jw says:

    well i for one appreciated hearing a snarky second opinion and it seems that blogs were ideally suited for just that sort of thing. so if somehow offering a counterpoint on a website that people go to voluntarily is somehow too much for the sensibilities of some sellers/agents, that’s a shame. contrary to the pervious post, there was no assumption that buyers didn’t understand the market, but rather that one needed to look at the numbers and rely on information that wasn’t coming from sources with an obvious vested interest. if you feel differently about the market, that’s fine but it is too much to ask that those arguments be based on some data? even when i didn’t agree with something written, i got a lot out of the site, am sorry it’s gone, and feel that whether she insulted some folks along the way is really beside the point.

  • Hibryd says:

    I’m sorry to see it go. Knifecatchers was a much-needed opposing voice to the Used Home Salesmen Association (NAR) who never stop yelling from the rooftops that NOW is a GREAT time to buy!

    James – Yes, most people ARE too stupid to understand trends. Mainly because people make the mistake of listening to and trusting real estate professionals who will always tell them, no matter what, that they should buy now. A home should never be anyone’s primary investment and you should be ashamed for selling anyone on that idea; home prices, historically, barely outpace inflation, which means it’s a crappy investment for a “nest egg”. Buying a home means you won’t have to pay rent in another 30 years, and that’s a good enough reason to buy one, but don’t call it a “primary investment”.

  • Luckystars says:

    I used to post on the blog and enjoyed it. If anyone buys anything in the next 2 years you are going to be very sorry. The high end has years of supply right now, as does the middle (Alameda) as the high end crashes the investors will buy and raise median price. This is a false bottom. The media will cry “Bottom has been reached” only to find it descend lower and lower as the low end did. We won’t find a bottom till 2011-2012.

    Opine shut down the blog way to early, Alameda is just getting started which is why I suspect they jumped on her like the Lord of the Flies.

    I suggest Opine open her blog back up with moderated comments, throw the junk out. The blog was for those who are educated enough to see where we are headed, not for bubble cheerleaders.

  • Sara says:

    I will really miss the blog and L. Opine’s reviews. It’s a sad day when the delusional sellers and RE agents are able to shutdown such a great resource. L. Opine, if you’re still out there: thank you very much for the entertaining real estate reviews and the spot-on comments re the ridiculous Alameda RE sellers’ tactics.

Leave a comment!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.