Monday, June 20, 2016

Classic home for sale in Studio City - 12412 Rye Street

Looking for a classicly proportioned home in a great Studio City neighborhood? One that is just waiting for your design stamp and decorating? If so, 12412 Rye Street may be for you.  Listed for $890,000, this beauty features 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, a huge den, 1472 sf, big added-on den, large backyard and luxurious landscaping in a pretty above-Moorpark neighborhood.  She's been splendidly maintained over the years and has a newer roof, tankless water heater, and mostly new windows. Update, remodel, or add square footage and this home will be seriously stunning. Come visit me at the open house on Sunday, June 26, from 2 to 4. More pics at 12412Rye.com.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Huge townhouse in stellar Studio City location - $530,000

I am pleased to announce that my listing at 4332 Coldwater Canyon #1 in Studio City will be on the market on Monday, June 13. If you've been looking for a perfect place, this may be it – 1452 sf, two bedrooms, three baths, dining room, spacious kitchen, high ceilings, two fireplaces and a big, private rooftop deck with a tree top/hillside view! Other amenities include lots of closet space, an electric car charger, built-in book shelves, two balconies and two parking spaces. The unit’s corner location in this small building (only 4 units) guarantees a bright, sunny exposure. Low HOA of only $200/month. It's walking distance to Ventura Boulevard with all of its shops and restaurants, and close to golf and tennis clubs, too. Add your own creative stamp to this -- it's a decorator's dream at an unbelievable price.  Appliances included; Dixie Canyon Elementary. Call me for more info or to visit. Currently scheduled open houses: Friday, June 17, 11:00-2:00; and Sunday, June 19, 2:00 to 5:00.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

My clients just bought a home in Sherman Oaks and I learned more about septic tanks than I thought there was to know.

Congratulations to Joe and Amy on their recent purchase of a wonderful mid-century home in Sherman Oaks!  Over the months, we saw every home in Sherman Oaks and Studio City, but nothing clicked.  Then, we arrived at this Sherman Oaks home and it was love at first sight.  It was recently bought and flipped by a celebrity flipper couple; click here for L.A. Times article.  Yes, we had competition, but Joe and Amy really brought a lot of creativity to the offer process and ultimately prevailed.

Did you know that portions of Sherman Oaks' hillside properties are on septic tanks and not city sewers? Neither did I until this sale -- septic tanks are not common in L.A.  So as part of the buyers' due diligence, they had the entire septic system inspected.  And we read reports previously obtained by the sellers. And learned lots and lots about tanks, pits, depth of pits, how often the clean-out needs to happen, care and handling, drainage, etc.  We combed over the findings (the inspection videos are on Youtube, if you are brave enough want to see them).  This is definitely NOT the sexy part of real estate.  At the end of the day, all was well and we all are much better educated than when Amy and Joe began their journey.  The house and view are truly lovely and I'm sure Joe, Amy and their dogs will be very happy there for many years to come.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

I am quoted about Studio City in today's L.A. Times Hot Property section

Bellwether restaurant

Today's L.A. Times' Hot Property section has an extensive profile of Studio City.  Click here for the link.  And I am quoted in the Expert Insight portion:

“The great thing about Studio City: It’s not all high-end,” said Judy Graff, a real estate broker who lives in Studio City and specializes in the neighborhood.
The same is true when it comes to real estate.

“There's quite a variety of housing stock here, from town houses and condos, which are quite affordable, to of course estates up in the hills in Fryman Canyon,” she said. Because of that, “prepare yourself for a bidding war.”

Friday, May 27, 2016

3% down payment mortgages are back. Does this sound familiar?

Wells Fargo is now offering first-time buyers mortgage loans with only a 3% down payment.  Click here for today's L.A. Times story.  That's even cheaper than FHA which has 3.5% down payment loans.  Funny thing, tho -- once these loans are originated, they will be sold to Fannie Mae, the government-insured entity.  Other banks are developing similar loans.

The loans are for first-time and low income buyers, and will have other restrictions as well that will need to meet Fannie Mae underwriting standards.

Does any of this sound familiar? From, like, 2006 and 2007?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Coming attractions - real estate, not films

Here are a few listings that are coming up in the next few weeks.  Yes, you can see them now -- just call me.  First, in Burbank's Magnolia Park, 1112 N. Cordova will soon be listed.  We all know this is the hottest neighborhood in Burbank.  Not only are the public schools here particularly excellent, but this area is walking distance from Porto's.  No pics yet, but Cordova is a 2 bed + den, 2.5 bath home with lots of extra bonus square footage next to the garage.  This is classic post-war Burbank with built-in book shelves, a separate dining room, and a huge galley kitchen.  The master bedroom is sizeable, too, as is the backyard.  It needs some elbow grease to make it really shine -- or it can easily be remodeled to today's standards.  It will be on the market in a couple of weeks for $719,000.

Next up is 12412 Rye in Studio City.  This home is a 2+1+big den on a big lot.  The landscaping is super-attractive.  The house has been well-maintained and is perfect for creative people who like to do their own expanding/remodeling.  It will be on the market in mid-June for $890,000.  Here are some pics.

A great Studio City townhouse is also coming in June.  This Coldwater Canyon 2+2.5 is in a 4-unit building with low, low HOAs and is walking distance to everything in the area.  It also features a huge rooftop deck with view -- perfect for summer evening chilling.  Two fireplaces, two balconies, an electric car charger and much more complete the picture.  We're still spiffing up, but currently plan to list it at $530,000.

Interested in these? Please call for a chance to see any of these before they hit the market.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Jacaranda trees are in bloom again -- it must be spring in So. Cal.

Check it out -- Jacarandas are blooming here in the Los Angeles area, which means it must be Spring (as we know it). I think this is my favorite local foliage.  Blooming soon: agapanthus (favorite deer food), wild garlic, hydrangeas... . These really dress up a yard, so if you're planning on selling your home here in the SFV this summer, you may want to plant some of these.

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.