Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How can I use catvertising to promote my real estate services?

The burning question on my to use cats in my advertising?

5703 Troost in North Hollywood is closed

I brought the buyers for this 3+2 in a great little North Hollywood pocket. The neighborhood is close to the subway, restaurants (Federal Bar! Eclectic Cafe! Coley's!), night spots and the police station.  Lots of young couples are buying there these days.  I brought the buyers, who are 8 months pregnant.  The house needs a little work but has lots of potential, and Mr. Buyer is very handy.  Unfortunately, the buyers were unable to get a loan, but the parents rode to the rescue and bought it for all cash -- it closed at $362,000.  Yes, there's nothing like the impending arrival of a little one to loosen parental purse strings.  And yes, I've asked to be adopted into the family

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Did everybody have a good holiday week? And what's on the horizon...

There's no "house of the week" this week because I didn't see any real estate for sale last week.  We had family stuff, and I was too busy with the existing escrows and listings. Here are the issues -- and my worries -- for the upcoming week.
- Will Norwich close without any further shenanigans or claw-backs from the buyers?
- Will Troost close before the buyer has her baby?
- Will the seller of 2012 W. Verdugo vacate by the bank's "must close" date of Dec. 23?
- Will I get some decent offers for the 2007 N. 6th Street property?
- Will the buyers' cash come in for the house on Skyline?
- What will the other sellers on the other house on 6th decide?
- And what of the possible Glendale short sale?
Stay tuned for all answers...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Botched appraisals -- this just happened to me on the Norwich condo

Here's an article on botched appraisals from today's L.A. Times.  If you scan posts below, you'll see that this just happened to me on the Norwich condo.  We got the appraisal reversed.  Yes, it is possible.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Properties of the week -- 2 condos in Burbank

I viewed two condos for sale -- units #210 and #204 --  at 345 Alameda Ave. in Burbank and they are my properties of the week.  Why? Because they are so nice and so relatively inexpensive.  Unit #210 (top picture), which has been extensively upgraded with a lot of high end finishes, is $299,900.  And unit #204, (bottom picture) which is a two-story townhome, is listed at $260,000.  I never thought I'd see "nice" units in Burbank at this low price again.  The last time I showed units in this building was two years ago and beaten-up ones were still going for $330k. I don't think units in this building were this cheap when they were built in 1992!  Both units are 2 beds and 2.5 baths.  Unit #210 is 939 square feet and #204 is 1012 square feet, the building is very well maintained, and the home owners' association dues are $230/month.  Yes, Alameda is a busy street, but the building is really close to Disney, the 5 Fwy and the Equestrian Center.  I don't think buyers looking for condos in Burbank could go wrong with these -- and no, they are not my listings nor my office's listings.  Okay, I'll quit gushing now. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why my listing at 2007 N. 6th in Burbank must be purchased for cash

2007 N. 6th Street in Burbank needs to be purchased for all cash because it is a FIXER. Yes, there are some FHA programs and banks that will loan on fixers, but not one that's below minimum standards like this one.  This house has been vacant for many years and needs way beyond the typical DIY coat of paint and new windows.  So, do you know anybody with $485k in cash that wants a project?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

If buying a house seems hard, that's because it is.

I recently worked with some first-time buyers in Studio City who made an offer on a gorgeous foreclosed condo.  They were very qualified, had 20% down, made a really good offer, were told they had it -- and then they freaked out.  And backed out.  Why? The process was really painful for them.  Issues arose that they had no previous idea that they'd have to deal with. (And yes, it was a huge time-suck for me, too.)

So let me set the record straight, first-time buyers: buying a home is no day at the beach.  Here's what you need to know:
There is pain in every transaction.  This is true whether the pain is in the negotiating or in the physical inspection or in getting the loan.  There are lots and lots of moving parts to a real estate transaction.  If you're a buyer, no matter what kind of offer you make, there will be a time when things don't go your way.  And opening escrow can be just the beginning of the story.  But if you stay focused on the end result -- how you're going to be living in the house -- it will be a little more bearable.
All your friends and family will tell you a horror story and likely try to talk you out of buying.  Your friends and family are well-meaning, especially in this economic environment, but they can't live your life for you.  I myself had such a first-time buyer horror story that I became a Realtor so nobody else would go through what I did.  Let's talk about your fears.
I have no magic that I can use that will counter-act a seller's mental illness.  A seller can be crazy as a bedbug and still have a very nice house to sell.  If it seems they are being mean and recalcitrant, they probably are.  Their emotions are running very high, too. We just need to get through this; you won't remember their name in six months.
Sometimes it's not meant to be.  Don't give up even if you have to cancel a transaction; the right house is out there for you.  Educate yourself about the process, be prepared and you'll find it.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

New Burbank listing coming tomorrow! Probate fixer!

I will be listing 2007 N. 6th Street in Burbank tomorrow for $485,000. This probate fixer offers stellar upside opportunities and expansion possibilities.  And it's right across from Jefferson Elementary, one of the best elementary schools in Burbank.  It's 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1712 sf on a 8989 sf lot and has a bonus room, attached garage, fireplace, big backyard, etc.  But people, this is a serious fixer and NOT a DIY project, so contact your contractors.  It won't qualify for a loan, so offers will need to be all cash.  And it doesn't need probate court confirmation, but there are special probate procedures involved.  If you're interested, please contact me at my email address and I'll send you an information sheet.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

BofA called to help on my short sale, but didn't

BofA's social media team has been monitoring their online reputation, because after I last bashed them online, they contacted me to ask if they could help with the short sale on Verdugo.

Short answer: they didn't help at all.

Back story: I have used a third-party negotiating company on this transaction.  That's not uncommon.  The 3rd party company is listed as the authorized contact.

So the first thing the nice BofA lady told me was that she had indeed looked up the transaction -- and I wasn't authorized to talk about the sale because I wasn't the listing agent.  I tried to correct that, but she wasn't having any.  She said that the real listing agent should contact them through Twitter, and perhaps then BofA could escalate the short sale.  When I explained this to the 3rd party negotiator -- he's the listing agent according to BofA -- his jaw dropped in astonishment (he's only had about a bajillion live-person conversations with BofA staff about this).  So he's contacted @BofAhelp, but has not received a response.  And they are not answering their phone either.

So much for managing your online reputation, eh? I wish BofA would devote as much manpower to getting their short sales wrapped up as they do to social media.

Friday, November 04, 2011

237 S. Reese, Burbank is sold!

Buyer clients Shelley, Theron, and baby Hunter are the new proud owners of 237 S. Reese in Burbank.  The buyers have been looking for about a year and even had previously made an offer on a property in the Burbank Rancho.  However, they immediately fell in love with this property.  A senior citizen has lived there, and the house needs updated decorating, but is structurally very sound.  That's right up Shelley and Theron's alley.  My partner on this, Bryce, says it's the smoothest escrow he's ever had.  The buyers made a full price offer on the weekend that the property listed and okayed the inspection immediately, too.  I'll be eager to see how they transform the property.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Canadians and Australians are investing in L.A. area real estate

Apparently, a significant number of Los Angeles real estate investors are coming from Australia and Canada, and many are paying all cash for homes for sale in L.A!  Will it be long now before California secedes and becomes part of the British empire? Do you know anybody in either of those countries? If so, please let them know that you know a top Realtor. By the way, the pic above is Australia on the left and Canada on the right.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Now BofA wants to know if they can help me

For those who don't think social media has an effect: BofA Help has tweeted me several times since I posted the item below.  I've tweeted back that they can help me by telling me what is going on with my short sale.  Now, they've promised to call me tomorrow.  I wish they'd spend more time clearing their backlogs of short sales and less time managing their online reputations.