Monday, December 31, 2012

The year in real estate - part two

For those of you who can't get enough of year-end lists, here's part two of mine.  This will be more personal and have lots of love, plus a little dirt-dishing (you know you love it).

1.  More wonderful clients than ever.  This year, my relationships with many of my clients seemed to cross over from biz to friendship more often.  Sang and Anh, Jorge and Amy, Kara and Tom, I miss talking with you every day and am grateful that we've gotten to know each other.  Larry A, Frank H, Starr and Alex, Ryanne and Erich, David and Daniela, Mike and Hiroko, Ron S., Ryan and Misty, Sue and Mark, thanks for helping me love my job.

2.  More crazy people than ever, too.  What was it about real estate this year that made more people wacky? Are folks just nervous from the long recession? Either way, as I've said here before, either we need more drugs, or less, out here in real estate.

3.  More differences in Realtor skill sets and ethics.  Okay, there have always been differences, but this year the gap between good Realtor and bad Realtor seemed to grow.  Some of the lenders I met were no day at the beach, either. And on the subject, here's the dirt:

4.  I did a transaction with the most malicious Realtor in Studio City, Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Valley Village, Toluca Lake...maybe even the world. This Realtor was certainly the most awful person I've ever worked with.  No names or identifying details are mentioned here as I am sincerely afraid of retribution.  But this person was insulting to my clients and me, cancelled the appraisal twice which tipped us out of time frames, put the property back on the market during escrow for no reason, and tried to stop the closing at the last minute...for no reason.  I am suspicious about her relationship with her clients as well, but at this point it's a big 'ol WHATEVER.  My clients got the house they wanted, so at the end of the day, I suppose this person's maliciousness doesn't matter.

5.  I've been amazed and delighted by my brokerage, John Aaroe Group.  They continue to educate us and come up with new tools for us.  The management and staff are simply top-notch.

I hope all of your real estate plans go well in 2013. Onward!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

San Fernando Valley real estate 2012 year in review - part one

I'm jumping on the end-of-year list bandwagon here.  If you real estate news in Studio City, Burbank, Sherman Oaks, Hollywood Hills or anywhere else in L.A. for that matter, here are the big news stories -- to me, anyway -- for the year.  You'll know most of these already.

1.  Return of the real estate market.  Thanks to the feds and the super-low interest rates, buyers are out in droves.  Unfortunately, housing stock hasn't kept up and everything is going in multiple offers.  I am hoping that we'll have more inventory coming on to the market as rising prices catch up to what would-be sellers owe on their houses.

2.  Cash is king, and there's a lot of it out there.  It's mind-boggling as to how many all-cash transactions are out there now.  Where is all the money coming from? Foreign countries (the U.S. is still looking like a safe bet to stash your cash), investor pools, and boomers who have recently inherited money from their recently deceased parents.

3.  Trusted brands -- can they be?  As we all know, internet-based real estate sites like Zillow and Redfin are the trusted brands in real estate these days.  That's not surprising as their websites are very user-friendly and contain a lot of information on each page.  And people believe what they read, especially from big sites.  But is the info accurate? Be skeptical, friends -- Zillow, especially, can be way off on their zestimates from what a value really is (and they admit it in the small print).  Actually working with Redfin can be a mixed bag but yes, it can be with non-Redfin agents too.

The next post will include my personal favorite and not-so favorite transactions and clients, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy holidays, everybody!

I'm taking some time off and will be back on this blog before the end of the year.  I hope you're having a great holiday season.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

But you already know this: LA Times says home sales in Los Angeles are up

In case you didn't read the Los Angeles Times today, here's an article talking about how home sales and home prices have significantly increased in Los Angeles the past year.  Some quotes from the article:

The median home price for the region was $321,000, up from $315,000 the two prior months and a nearly 17% increase over $275,000 in November 2011.
All-cash purchases, many by deep-pocketed investors, also remain unusually high.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

News of the week: Tacos, government regulation, 737 N. Catalina, and mortgage lending

Say it ain't so: the much-beloved Henry's Tacos in Studio City/Tujunga Village may have to close! Nooooo! Apparently, the landlord wants to do something else with the property.  There will be a taco eat-in on Sunday to protest and we'll be there.

Seen 737 N. Catalina in Burbank yet? The adorable, unspoiled 2+1 for $425,000? It's not my listing, but I'm taking bets on how many offers it will receive.  I showed it last night, and there were so many other showings around the same time that it was like an open house.

Government regulation or lack thereof: the Department of Real Estate in California is going away next year.  Instead, regulatory matters and law enforcement will be handled by a new branch of the California Consumer Affairs division.  I don't know how this will work, but the DRE was understaffed, so perhaps this will be an improvement.

Learned today: Forget getting credits through escrow for repairs on the house you're buying.  If the house needs repairs, and you're getting a loan, your lender may require the repairs to be made before close of escrow by the seller.  Yup, they're tightening up on that, too.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

1429 N. Rose in Burbank has closed...and for a pretty high price

Little Rae and Gus's house is no longer on the market. It has sold to a wonderful young couple, Jesse and Julie.  Rae and Gus (short for Agnes) are on their way to the Midwest with their parents to start a new life there and all four of them will be really missed -- yes, sometimes I can get really attached to my clients. Happy trails, guys!

The transaction went well, thanks to everybody on both sides and buyer's agent Justin Bunch.  The house did take longer than "usual" to get into escrow as we had it listed pretty high at first, but then we lowered the price.  It closed at $486k after having originally been listed at $495k and getting lowered to $479k.  Sigh. I love these kinds of successful outcomes in real estate.