Thursday, April 21, 2016

Twighlight open house in Studio City tonight from 5 to 7

Come see the terrific view and watch the sunset at 11411 Decente Ct., Studio City.  This is open to both real estate brokers and buyer clients.  This terrific house features 4057 sf., private location, 3 big balconies with panoramic views, 5 bedrooms, den, 6 baths, and superb maintenance.  Price tag is $1,999,900.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Open Sunday! 11411 Decente Ct., Studio City


Need views? We got 'em.  How about 4057 sq. ft., 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and a den? All in the Studio City hills? Please come to our open house at 11411 Decente Court on Sunday from 2 to 5. This house is truly amazing with views across the SFV from all three levels.  It has been splendidly maintained and is in Carpenter Charter school district, too (buyers to verify). Price: $1,999,900.  For more stellar pics, see www.11411Decente.com.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Brian and Lisa buy a Burbank home

Clients Brian and Lisa have just closed escrow on this redone Burbank home, adjacent to the Chandler bike path.  The transaction was amazingly smooth.  I originally began working with Lisa in 2008! Just shows that the right house is out there if you're willing to be patient.  

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Eleven offers for this Sherman Oaks condo

I listed 14115 Moorpark #202, Sherman Oaks in late March.  By the beginning of the following week, we had eleven offers.  All of them were good.  All were at least a little over the asking price.  We counter-offered on six, and opened escrow with the buyer who had the "winning" bid last week. Yes, it went substantially over the list price.  I have never had this many offers for a condo before -- but then, this is a mighty cute property and is in a great, walkable Sherman Oaks neighborhood.

Monday, March 28, 2016

R.E. market has low inventory and fierce competition

The L.A. Times had a substantial feature in today's paper about how many homes aren't for sale, and the resulting strong competition among buyers.  Title should link; if not, click here.  Trends I'm seeing in Sherman Oaks and Studio City: overpriced homes for sale that are not reducing their prices but just waiting for the market to catch up.  Also, some of the higher-priced properties are only having two or three public showings, total. If you miss one, you're out of luck for seeing these select homes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

2+2 chic condo in Sherman Oaks' hottest neighborhood is now on the market

Looking for a very cool condo around Hazeltine and Moorpark in Sherman Oaks? This is 14115 Moorpark #202 and it's really lovely.  It has 2 beds, 2 baths, 1250 sf, beautiful laminate floors, huge living room, on-trend kitchen and dining area with re-done cabinets and new appliances, long pass-through bar, fp, and big balcony.  It also faces trees instead of your neighbor's stucco!  There are two tandem parking spaces and extra storage in the garage. And, it's walking distance from The Local Peasant, mega-Ralphs, Westfield Shopping Center, Cafe Bizou, Mendocino Farms, etc. Price is $420,000 and the HOA is $425/mo.  The building is well-managed and even has a pool and spa. HOA includes earthquake insurance and yes, allows 2 pets per unit!  I will be holding it open on Sunday, March 27, from 1 to 4.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Cool things on Studio City's caravan

I checked out a few homes for sale in Studio City today.  Just like you, I enjoy seeing really cool interiors. The home at 4218 Farmdale Ave. in SC was splendidly decorated and here are a few of some of my favorite things about the home.  BTW, this brand-new listing is a 3+2 and listed for $1,325,000.
The succulents in the front yard and back yard are awesome.
This is a big canvas that hangs over the tub.
I fell in love with this dining room light fixture.  Where can I get one of these?

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

The buyers are ready to buy...but where are the sellers??

A colleague recently listed a home for sale in Studio City.  He had two open houses and one more just for Realtors.  A total of 500 people came through the house.  That's right; 500.  That's a huge amount of people for one house.  Yup, there are a lot of buyers out there chasing very little inventory.  If you're thinking of selling your house, this might be the time. And if you're thinking about buying a home, don't wait too much longer -- limited inventory tends to drive prices up.

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Why you can't find and purchase that cute new house

Today's L.A. Times featured an article titled "Fewer starter homes being built" in the print edition and "Why millenials are staying away from home ownership..." in the on-line edition.  Last sentence and should link.  The gist: "Builders are catering more and more to affluent baby boomers and building larger and more expensive dwellings..." instead of more modestly-sized entry-level homes.  We are certainly seeing this trend in homes in Studio City and the east SFV.  The article has all kinds of interesting statistics and is definitely worth a read.

Will home affordability return here in L.A.? Perhaps not for brand-new homes in hot areas anytime soon.  But if you're a first-time buyer, or even NOT a first-time buyer, there are lots of not-new homes and homes in not-so-popular areas that are certainly worth considering.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Favorite homes from today's Studio City caravan - warmth makes a comeback!

If you've been seeing homes for sale in Studio City and L.A. lately, you've surely seen many brand-new Cape Cod-style homes with lots of neutral finishes, white-on-white decorating, and a general starkness that seems to be the hallmark of the local r.e. market.

Are you ready for something different? I thought so. Both houses on today's fave list are in the traditional style that used to be so popular -- and I hope will be again.

The first, above, is 4167 Klump Ave. in the Woodbridge Park area of Studio City.  This great neighborhood features lots of mature foliage and one-of-a kind homes.  It is completely walkable to stores, restaurants and Tujunga Village.  The house itself has lots of warm traditional touches in its delightful public living spaces, but also has an open floor plan. It also has a green yard and guest house with full bath (total 4 beds, 4 baths, about 3k sf including the bonus sf).  It's listed at $1,249,000 and I bet it will be sold this weekend.

The next is 11212 Canton Drive, just east of Laurel Canyon Blvd.  Listed for $1,799,000, this house has 4 beds, 4 baths, about 3300 sf on a gorgeous, private, terraced lot.  The country-French interior charmed my pants off along with big sunny rooms and all the outside greenery.  It's on a quiet cul-de-sac and is really close to lots of hiking trails.  It's so refreshing to see lush, comfy decorating again.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

From today's L.A. Times: L.A.'s hottest zip codes

Today's LAT has published an article called L.A.'s hottest zip codes. It details the areas with the greatest home price appreciation in 2015.  No surprise: both the east side and the beach areas saw the greatest gains.  Also no surprise: a lot of the home sale price appreciation in these areas reflect prices for smaller homes.  Developers are buying these smaller homes at a premium, tearing them down and putting up much larger homes.  Anyway, re the east side, Lincoln Heights and Elysian Valley (which used to be called Frog Town) saw home sale prices rise 14.6% -- and the median price there is still a relatively low $458,500.  (And by the way, if you're looking for a house on the east side, I can help you.)  Of course, Marina Del Rey's and Manhattan Beach's price have much higher median prices.  Toluca Lake/Studio City was listed as well, with a median price appreciation of 3.2%.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Coolest, most affordable house on today's caravan: 10400 McCormick in Toluca Terrace

On today's caravan, I checked out several homes for sale in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Valley Village and the Toluca Lake area.  The coolest house, and the most affordable one at $759,000, is 10400 McCormick, located in tiny Toluca Terrace.  This home has lots of original charm, top-notch maintenance and upgrades, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, plenty of closets, a nice backyard, two-car garage, PLUS a complete guest house with 3/4 bath and kitchen, pictured below.  (I don't know about permits.)

My other favorite features of McCormick include the kitchen table which folds into the wall (pictured below), outside fire pit, gorgeous quiet street and stellar location. Toluca Terrace is bordered by Magnolia, Chandler, Pass and Cahuenga.  If you're a home buyer looking for a combination of cool style, price, condition and location, McCormick might be for you.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Listing your home for sale? Here's an easy way to make it smell really g-o-o-d

Happy new year! If you're showing your home for sale, it always helps if it smells really nice.  You already know the tricks of baking cookies (save me some), lighting scented candles, sending Fido and Puff to daycare, etc. You may know about this too, but if not, here's something even easier -- homemade potpourri. (Thanks, Serafina Magnussen!)

In a medium pot, put a few cinnamon sticks (not the ground kind pictured above; I just didn't have any sticks today), some whole nutmeg pods, whole cloves, orange peel or lemon peel, cover with water and simmer.  After a few minutes, your home will smell really wonderful.  You don't have to keep it simmering for long as the scent will linger, and you can reuse the same mixture over and over -- just make sure to add more water before you simmer. You might even like to do this when you're not showing your house.

A couple of other hints: feel free to experiment with savory spices, bay leaves, rosemary twigs, apple peels, etc.  And cinnamon sticks in the Hispanic section of your grocery store are half the price of the ones on the spice aisle.  Happy home selling.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Cool Studio City house

My favorite home for sale on today's broker caravan is at 4540 Beck Ave. in Studio City.  This four bedroom, 3 bath, 2017 sf house is a perfect 1940's progressive-style mid-century house time capsule.  The picture above?  It's the refrigerator, not the kitchen cabinets. (The listing agent, Karen Medved, provided the sandwiches and snacks.)  The electric stove top burners have push buttons.  All bathroom fixtures are pink.  Coved corners, two stone fireplaces and knotty pine cabinets complete the picture  There's olive green shag carpeting too (okay, that's 1970's). It's on a huge lot (12,000+ sf).  Is anybody out there a 1940's house geek? If so, this may be for you.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Another great Yelp review for me

Andy and Lynette and I worked together three years ago when they bought their home in the Magnolia Park area of Burbank.  In the meantime, their little family has grown from two kids to three kids and they've completed several remodeling projects on the house.  I recently assisted them again with their refinance transaction and Andy just wrote this wonderful Yelp review for me.  Thanks, A&L!

Judy is a fantastic agent! She helped us buy our home 3 years ago; she made it a clear and low stress process. Even after we closed we've stayed in contact with Judy and she has been an indispensable resource as we worked on a refinance. Judy knows the market and is incredibly supportive. 6 stars for this one; she is the best!

Friday, December 04, 2015

The Federal Reserve says they are definitely, positively going to raise interest rates.

Check out this article from today's L.A. Times.  Click here for link.  Yup, the Fed now says that there is no doubt they'll raise interest rates, and soon. Nooooo!  The good news is that the rise will come gradually, so it doesn't shock the economy.

What that means for home buyers: interest rates have been gradually inching up this fall anyway, but it means that buyers will have higher mortgage payments than in the recent past.

What this means for home sellers: there will be fewer buyers, especially for starter homes and condos.  There probably may still be multiple offers on properties, because inventory is short.  However, if a house for sale sits on the market for more than a few weeks, a price reduction is probably warranted.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Today is a GREAT day for an open house

Home sellers, if it's not too late, today -- the Sunday after Thanksgiving --  is a terrific day to hold your house open.  People are sick of being in the house with their relatives, the exciting football games are over for the weekend, and home buyers are going stir-crazy and itching to get out of the house.  You'll have more people traffic than you'd expect. Really.

Friday, November 27, 2015

This is maybe the best song about trying to buy real estate, ever.

Check out Depreston by Courtney Barnett.  You buyers out there will totally get this, and there's a lot of poignancy to this song too. It's available on iTunes, of course.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Anniversary party and awards banquet for Judy Graff Properties

One year ago, I left big real estate brokerages behind and opened my own brokerage, Judy Graff Properties.  This year has flown by and has been really wonderful! I miss my old colleagues, of course, but otherwise I wish I had made this leap sooner.  All props and thanks go to my superb clients, who have made this venture a success.

We had an awards ceremony the other evening (produced by Steve and bff Paula); here's a pic of the swag.  Also, I am thrilled to report that my sales production places me at #1 in the office!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The east side of L.A. is hot, as if you didn't know

This is my client, Samantha and her dog Willis.  They are standing in front of the brand new #HighlandPark home that they just bought with Sam's boyfriend, Robin. Just in case you're new to L.A., Highland Park is on the north east side, and that whole part of L.A. has gotten insanely trendy.  It includes Silverlake, Eagle Rock, Glassel Park and Mount Washington. (It may include Atwater, Boyle Heights, Los Feliz, and other communities, depending on who you ask.)  Sam and Robin looked for a year and a half before they found this house.  They had been in escrow once before and had written countless offers.  But we finally found this brand new from the foundation on up beauty and all the stars aligned.  

The house was built by a pro flipper and the escrow went really smoothly.  Of course, there were several items that hadn't been completed by our inspection (no surprise) but the builder took care of everything.

This was Willis's first look at his new house.  Shortly after the photo was taken, he gave everything a thorough sniff and seemed to like what he found.  Best wishes on your new home, Sam, Robin and Willis!

Monday, November 02, 2015

Pounced on by Realtors at an SFV open house?

I applaud my buyer clients who go to open houses by themselves and most home buyers do that nowadays. They've viewed the home on line and only have Saturday or Sunday to see it.  But here's what often happens:  a buyer innocently walks in to an open house and is immediately assaulted by the Realtor there and peppered with questions -- what are you looking for? Are you preapproved? How much are you preapproved for? What do you want your monthly payments to be? Are you working with an agent?  What do you have for a down payment? The poor buyer, who was compelled to sign in, finds themselves called, emailed, texted, sexted, you name it.  I used to do this kind of hard sell when I was a new agent too -- until I realized that people hated it.

Do you think that they are doing this because they are working hard for the seller? Nah. They are trying to pick up business -- your business -- any way they can.  (Again, disclaimer: I used to do this too back when I was a new agent and the earth was still warm.) There are lots of hungry Realtors out there.

Here's my client's experience from yesterday, and it's all too common: What I failed to tell you about my experience at ... open house yesterday is what a hard sell I ran into. I was met by 2 agents AND a mortgage broker. I felt like I was at a Mercedes CPO lot and everyone was trying to meet their month-end quota. I was "required" to fill out their guest sheet and now I'm getting calls and emails. 

AND, one of the agents was trying to steal my business, "I know you have an agent, but I might be able to find you some things."  

Sure, buyers, there are lots of great Realtors out there who are doing open houses.  They'll greet you, and give you the information about the property that you seek.  And then get out of your way. Sellers, please keep agreeing to open houses.  They work.  But you might want to reign in your agent's obnoxious hard sell enthusiasm. Buyers, please keep attending open houses.  They're a wonderful way for you to see a property when your agent can't be with you.  But be firm with pouncing Realtors.  Or take your pepper spray with you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

No interest rate hike in 2015? That's good news for buyers.

Check out this article from today's L.A. Times here.  Interest rates, including mortgage interest rates, won't be going up this year. This contradicts pretty much everything the Fed has been saying about interest rate hikes since the beginning of 2015, but hey, I'll take it.

Friday, October 09, 2015

99 Homes -- powerful new movie about real estate

I have often found it odd that there are no contemporary films or fictional tv shows about real estate. (Feel free to correct me on this.) After all, isn't the r.e. crash what caused our Great Recession? Perhaps HGtv has sucked up all the interest in the topic?

99 Homes, a new movie about the r.e. crash in Florida, changes that. I saw it last night. It has the unique distinction of being realistic with both language and details about the housing downturn (I even learned about some scams I haven't heard of before).  The most riveting -- and cringe-worthy -- parts are the several scenes of people being evicted from their homes.  It's really worth seeing "lest we forget." Here's hoping this never happens again.

Sound interesting? Or not?  It's rated really highly on Rotten Tomatoes and I highly recommend it. Here's the Google synopsis and two review blurbs.

A desperate construction worker (Andrew Garfield) reluctantly accepts a job with the ruthless real-estate broker (Michael Shannon) who evicted him and his family from their home. 
99 Homes is a stunningly effective melodrama of flipped houses and mortgaged souls.
-The perils of illegally gained One Percent privilege make for engrossing, high-stakes viewing

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Before and after with JB and Karen


Clients JB and Karen bought a 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo in an older Sherman Oaks building last year.   As you see, the kitchen wasn't anything to write home about.  The remainder of the unit is pretty basic, too.

And here's the after picture.  Karen and JB both have full-time jobs, aren't flippers, haven't done this before and just got married as well.  Even though they only got to this project on weekends, they managed to turn the kitchen/dining area into a show place.  Kudos, guys! I look forward to seeing what else you do with the condo.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another great Yelp review

I just received another great Yelp review from my clients Briana and Mike.  Their condo was really hard to sell due to HOA issues that most lenders don't like. Other posts about the unit can be found in the archives here -- the address is 5227 Denny Street #101, North Hollywood.

Anyway, we were able to get the unit sold and get Briana and her family into a particular home that they've always wanted.  It's been wonderful working with them over the years and I can't wait to see what they've done with their new place.  From Yelp:

We've worked with Judy for 6 years now. First, when we bought a condo in 2009 and just a couple of months when we sold said condo and purchased a house. Our condo situation was not ideal. It was unwarrantable and near impossible to sell and somehow Judy did it. It was a flawless transaction and I still can't believe we got out of it.

As far as our new home, we had mentioned a couple of times we loved it overt he years as we walked by it all the time. She happened to be the agent for the people who purchased it years ago and mentioned it to us that they were looking to sell. Being that our condo was "unsellable" we thought it was a complete long shot that we would be able to sell it and some how get this new home.  Apparently Judy is a miracle worker because she did it. We closed the condo and moved in to are new home all within days of each other. I cannot thank her enough for putting up with a very stressful me and making this happen. Then, on top of that she thanked us with a thoughtful gift. Judy is the real deal and she just basically makes shit happen. Thanks Judy!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Fed is leaving rates unchanged

For now, the Fed is leaving rates unchanged. Whew! What will this mean for Southern California real estate? Buyers won't have to worry about their interest rates spiking, and sellers won't have to worry about a lot of buyers being knocked out of the real estate market due to high rates.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Need to rent a home in the Studio City hills?

3541 Laurelvale in Studio City is now available for lease for $4,500/month.  This serene mid-century home features 3 beds, 2 baths, A/C, big sunny kitchen with new appliances, separate dining room, flat backyard, lots of storage, and an attached 2-car garage with "pull-through" for extra off-street parking.  It has been recently spiffed up and features new flooring, new paint, newly landscaped front and backyard, and a brand new washer, dryer and refrigerator. The cul-de-sac location guarantees lots of privacy. It gets even better -- this home is in Carpenter School District! Pet cats are allowed with an extra deposit.  Please call me for details or showings.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Four don'ts for home buyers

It’s a tough world out there, real-estate wise.  I know that you home buyers are beaten and bruised and just may not care about the other party’s emotions.  And I know there are a lot of nutty sellers (and buyers). However, it’s always a good idea to keep your transaction going as smoothly as possible – good will goes a very long way in Southern California real estate.  Here are some don’ts for buyers:

- Don’t make disparaging remarks about the house or neighborhood when the sellers are present.  All sellers, even flippers, want to start home sale transactions on a positive note.  Being a hater gets you nowhere.

-         -  Don’t make a purchase offer that is way lower than it should be for the comps or condition.  No matter how adorable the home sellers think you are, they don’t love you so much that they are willing to lose money. Yes, there are unrealistic sellers who have priced their home too high. And of course you don’t want to overpay for your property. But don’t get crazy low on the price if you want a response. Your Realtor can guide you to making an offer and counter offer with a realistic chance of being negotiated.

-          - Don’t miss contractual dates.  Performing the purchase contract’s tasks (yes, there are things you need to do after the agreement) by the agreed-on dates should not be a problem for a serious buyer.  Missing those dates makes you look flaky and can even get you kicked out of escrow.  If you truly need an extension of time (for an appraisal, for example), your Realtor can request one in writing.

-          - Don’t ask for silly stuff after your home inspection.  If the seller knows that you plan to do a $50k home remodel, don’t ask for $500 for “miscellaneous." That just looks greedy.  Also, please know that just because a property element or system is at the end of its useful life, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to immediately fail the minute you take possession.  Unless something is really broken, or is a safety hazard, keep in mind that you’ve agreed to take the property “as is” per the contract.  Also, your home warranty policy will help with repairs for your first year.


In great transactions, the seller gets almost everything they want, and the buyer gets almost everything they want.  Almost is the key word.  Smooth sailing, buyers and sellers.    

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Need a gorgeous Sherman Oaks condo on a blissfully quiet street? Check out 14560 Benefit #207, 2+2, $525000

I just listed this sublime, move-in ready condo below the boulevard in Sherman Oaks.  It's next owner is going to be really lucky -- the front balcony faces the peaceful, green street (no views of stucco here), it's 1518 sf, has a big kitchen with all appliances included, fireplace, new carpet, some new paint, and lots of closet space. The master closet is bigger than my first apartment.  The bedrooms are suite-like and can be closed off from the rest of the unit, which makes this a perfect roommate set up. The well-managed security building has a pool, rec room and spa.  It's walking distance from all of Sherman Oaks' fun stuff, and the local public elementary school is the excellent Sherman Oaks Charter.  The first brokers' open house is Tuesday, 8/4 from 11 to 2 and the first public open house is 8/9 from 2 to 5.  Please call with any questions!