Saturday, October 29, 2016

Studio City does Halloween

Nothing to do on Monday, the 31st? Come on over to Studio City's Colfax Meadows, Tujunga Village or Woodbridge Park areas (the flat parts of SC).  These neighborhoods put on quite a show for kids and adults too -- haunted houses, sets, lights, costumed characters, sound'd think some of the residents worked behind the scenes in the film industry or something.  If you visit, make it early -- there's no place to park after about 6:00 pm. I will post pics next week.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Best things about living in L.A. that you may or may not know about

We all know about many good things about living in L.A. and the surrounding areas. Sunshine, climate, beach, bla bla bla Disneyland, bla bla bla entertainment industry, etc..  Here are a few of my personal best things about living here.  Yes, they're totally random.  Yes, a personal worst of L.A. is coming soon too.

- There's lots of wildlife in the city due to the Santa Monica Mountains.  Not everybody is crazy about that, I know; but it reminds me of how grounded in nature we are. The pic above is of a bear strolling up the driveway at one of my listings a few years ago.

- Vanowen and Chandler Blvd. are usually light on traffic and they're a great way to get across the San Fernando Valley.  Now that I've told you I'll have to kill you.

- Lots of places for cheap massages, as long as you are willing to keep your clothes on and forego the happy ending.  Look for the signs that say "foot massage."

- Korean day spas.  You can stay all day and enjoy salt scrubs, massages, steam rooms, jade rooms, etc. I dare you to channel your inner child and jump into the cold plunge pool. While we are on the subject of things in Koreatown, the whole area smells really good on weekend nights thanks to the many restaurants.

- Esotouric tours.  These folks will take you to secret places with lots of L.A. history.  They have the Black Dahlia tour, the Blood and Dumplings tour, etc.  It's a fun way to spend a day in parts of L.A. that you've never been to before.

- Kulak's Woodshed in Studio City.  This tiny spot is a listening room that hosts any musician that wants to sign up for a 5 minute gig on certain evenings.  They usually go through about 40 people a night.  There is a surprising amount of talent there, too.  No booze, just soft drinks for sale, and it gets wildly crowded the minute the doors open.

- Golden Road Brewery in Atwater/Glendale.  If you haven't been here, it's a huge beer garden/hall/brewery crafted out of three train sheds by the railroad tracks.  It serves food, and has a great beer selection including their own stuff. It's family and pet friendly, too.  Yes, it's almost always packed.

Please feel free to comment with your own semi-secret faves.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Where to find an affordable (?) condo or townhouse in the San Fernando Valley

Disappointed by the lack of affordable condos and townhomes out there? And by affordable I mean a 2+ bedroom under $500,000? (I know; that seems like an outrageous price but this is where prices are now.) I took a look through the mls for the San Fernando Valley and here are the areas with the most units available at that price or less: Woodland Hills, Encino, Sherman Oaks.  Glendale also has a bunch of units at this price, but isn't technically in the SFV. One of the major price-determining factor, as always, is location, location, location. Walkability to Ventura Boulevard is a huge plus and adds dollars, too.  If you are willing to go farther north, or father out, the prices go down.  I'm sure I've missed looking some communities, but this is a start.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

14784 Round Valley in Sherman Oaks has sold for full price

This is 14784 Round Valley in Sherman Oaks and it just closed escrow.  I would have bought this house if I could have -- the back area was very uniquely designed and the interior had everything I could want.  The home belonged to my agent and colleague Debby.  The sales process wasn't particularly smooth and the first escrow cancelled because those buyers didn't want to deal with the septic tank. Oh, those septic tanks! The second buyers didn't have a problem with septic tanks, but we had a problem with their agent's "team" of helpers (that will be the subject of another post soon).  But at any rate, onward! Debby and family are now on to a new life.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

The California Association of Realtors Expo and what I learned there

I attended several interesting panels at this past week's C.A.R. Expo and actually learned stuff! The most interesting speaker was Joel Kotkin. (Name should link.) That's him on the right, with the C.A.R. president. If his name is familiar, it's because he is an internationally-recognized authority on global, economic, political and social trends.  He also is an expert statistician. Major takeaways:
- California is losing population, not gaining population.
- Most Gen-Xers and Millennials want to own a home.
- Of those, 81% want a single family home.
- The biggest exodus from the state is by Gen-Xers. Hence, we are losing our work force.
- One of the major reasons for the exit is the lack of housing affordability. (No surprise there.)
This is certainly contrary to most of the factoids that we've heard, such as "we have to build more housing for our increasing population," "the housing needs to be in a high-rise close to major transit centers (i.e. downtown)." He also said that the regulatory climate in CA makes it almost impossible to build anything but multi-family housing near public transportation.  Interesting.  Mr. Kotkin has just published a book titled "The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us." I bought a copy and am looking forward to starting it.

Other convention take-aways: Instagram! Snapchat! 3-D marketing! Info on independent brokerages (like Judy Graff Properties). The unsustainability of rising housing prices except in the luxury market! PM me for more info.