Sunday, July 08, 2018

What will your monthly mortgage payment be?

Here's an easy way to calculate what your mortgage, tax and insurance payment will be every month if you buy a home here in So. Cal.

First, THIS IS JUST AN ESTIMATE CALCULATION. Your payment may be different, but let's assume for now that all other things are equal -- you have good credit, lack excessive debt, and are putting 20% down on your home purchase.  Now, divide the purchase price in half and take off two zeros (or use one of the many great online calculators).

Examples:
- $500,000 purchase price = $2500 month mortgage, tax, insurance (called PITI).
- $1,000,000 = $5000/mo PITI
- $1,200,000 = $6000/mo PITI
- $1,500,000 = $7500/mo PITI

...And so on.  Condo and townhouse buyers will need to add their HOA dues on top of this.

It's really important to know that the Federal Reserve intends to raise rates more this year, so these numbers are just for now.  Yes, property taxes and insurance are still somewhat deductible from your taxes, but the numbers above reflect the outgoing cost each month.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Please celebrate the birth of our nation on July 4th by registering to vote. Here in CA, it's easy.

Here in CA, you can register to vote online.  Here's the site: https://registertovote.ca.gov/.

I get all the reasons why you may not have voted in the past:  

1.  Perhaps you don't feel educated enough on the issues.  Everybody feels this way.  But you don't have to vote for everything to have your votes count on what you do vote for.  And there's always an issue or candidate who will resonate with you.

2.  You just don't have the time on election day.  Did you know that by law, your employer needs to give you one paid hour off to vote?  But an easier solution is to vote by mail.  You can fill out and mail your ballot several days in advance of election day.  You can request to always have your ballot mailed.  Just visit the site above.

3.  All politicians are crooks.  Okay, but that shouldn't keep you from voting for the propositions and initiatives that may mean something to you.  For example, this year in CA, the gas tax repeal will be on the ballot.  So will the initiative that divides CA into three states.  We all have opinions on these; voting is a way to make the opinion count.

4.  Finally, your vote doesn't matter.  I sure understand how a person could feel this way.  But many of the local races, initiatives and propositions are carried or defeated by just a few hundred votes! Yes, your vote really does count on these.

Thanks and happy Fourth of July!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Troy Drive in the Hollywood Hills just closed


Andrew and Brian not only bought themselves this really cool midcentury modern home in the Hollywood Hills, but they bought this exquisite view as well.  Good on ya, guys -- I'm happy that I could help.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Fed raised interest rates again, and probably will do so two more times this year.

Today's L.A.Times ran this article about interest rate rises and what they might mean to you.  Interest rates up = home prices down, right? Not so fast.  From another article about how expensive homes are here: The UCLA Anderson Forecast said there is no sign of a correction in home prices around the corner. The report forecasts job growth of 2.2% this year, 1.7% in 2019 and 0.8% in 2020.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Now I've heard everything. I hope.

I recently looked at one of our area's ubiquitous new builds.  These are the Cape Cod-style, open floor plan, five bedroom, six bath, 3000+ sf, all grey and white, etc, etc, luxury everywhere, new houses.  They are not tract homes; they are built by different builders and scattered around the city.  They just happen to look the same.  This particular one is in Valley Village, about half a mile away from one of our also ubiquitous homeless encampments.

For this particular home, the agent took me into one of the bathrooms and pointed out the huge quartz panel in the shower, above. Those aren't reflections, those are lights behind it.  He proudly said, "That piece of quartz was hauled out of a volcano.  In Brazil.  It cost $40,000."  He was serious, and for a minute I wondered if I had just time-traveled back to eighteenth-century Versailles.

Did you know that you needed a piece of quartz from half a world away in order to have a really good shower experience? I certainly didn't.  Is this truly over the top and is it end-times, or is it me?

Friday, April 27, 2018

House of the week - sideways

Would you like to live in a house on its side? That costs over $1 million in the Hollywood Hills? No? Me neither.  But here's a new post and picture direct from the mls.  I won't add the address because I don't want to embarrass the listing agent.  Further, when you click on any of the links, including the actual mls number, it will take you to a different house.  New-fangled marketing, unfortunate mistake, or end times? You decide.

Friday, April 20, 2018

House of the week: 210 N. Norton in Windsor Square, in an HPOZ neighborhood

Yes, we all love mid-century modern architecture, but I'm a sucker for this kind of character design.  Before getting into the specs, why did I select this home? Because it's in an HPOZ, or historic protection overlay zone.  This, yes, preserves the historic architecture of many L.A. neighborhoods.  Owners can't make many changes to these homes without city approval.  Before you get all "too much government interference in our lives" on me, here's the benefit.  Many homes in these HPOZ neighborhoods qualify for Mills Act property tax exemptions -- yes you pay property tax, but not nearly what you'd ordinarily pay.  Nice, eh?  Anyway, this home features three bedrooms, three baths, almost 3000 sf of living space, and is on an 8000+ sf lot.  It has been splendidly maintained inside and is priced at $2,699,000.  A property tax cut on that assessed value would be quite welcome.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

White, gray, wicker: is home-for-sale staging beginning to look all the same?

I love good staging at homes for sale.  Yes, furniture and accessories do help to sell homes.  Lately, though, I've noticed a sameness to the staging at most of the homes for sale that I see here in the L.A. area, regardless of who the staging company is.  Everything is white and gray, with a "pop" of  bright accessory color.  And wicker.  Lots and lots of boxy wicker outdoor furniture. (There's a lot of new home design similarity too, but I'll save that for another time.)  The east side homes aren't quite as guilty of this as the west side and valley, but they're catching up.  For example, this is what I saw during just the last few days. I wish I had invested in this patio furniture company.





Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Studio City sunset. And Champagne.

When clients Josh and Mac closed on their Studio City home in early December, we planned to celebrate by having champagne on the deck and watching the sunset.  However, either 1) the sun set too early, or 2) it was too windy, or 3) it was raining, or 4) our schedules just didn't mesh.  (The house is still a work in progress.) We finally got a chance to enjoy the view and the sunset last night, and here are the pics.  That's Josh pouring champagne, his wife Mac, and my husband Steve getting ready to toast this special home.

Monday, March 26, 2018

L.A. homes for sale in great high school districts

Most home buyers who are looking for great schools are focused on elementary schools.  But what about buyers with older kids? Recently, a client asked me to research public L.A. high schools with stellar ratings.  Here's the list, with ratings between eight and ten by GreatSchools.com.  Caveat: this is by no means an all-inclusive list.  Many areas with terrific schools are not here because I concentrated on a specific geographic "core" (roughly, with a Silverlake bulls-eye). I also left out magnet schools with super-specific focuses. 


Renaissance Arts Academy – Eagle Rock
Great Schools rating: 9

Alliance College Ready Academy – Silverlake & Echo Park
Great Schools rating: 8

Larchmont Charter – Hollywood & Larchmont
Great Schools rating: 8

Camino Nuevo High School – East Hollywood & Hancock Park
Great Schools rating: 8

Francisco Bravo Medical Magnet – East of Downtown
Great Schools rating: 9

Los Angeles County High School for the Arts – Eastside and South Pasadena
Great Schools rating: 8

South Pasadena Senior High School
Great Schools rating: 10

Alliance Media Arts and Entertainment Design High School – Boyle Heights & East L.A.
Great Schools rating: 8

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies – Westside but east of 405
Great Schools rating: 8

Culver City High School
Great Schools rating: 9

Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies – Reseda
Great Schools rating: 8

La Canada High School
Great Schools rating: 10

Anderson Clark Magnet School – La Crescenta
Great Schools rating: 10

Crescenta Valley High School – La Crescenta
Great Schools rating: 10

North Hollywood Senior High
Great Schools rating: 8

Burbank High & Burroughs High – Burbank
Great Schools rating: 8


High Tech LA – Van Nuys
Great Schools rating: 9

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Milla Goldenberg is a rock star Realtor.

Milla Goldenberg (that's her smiling face, above) joined Judy Graff Properties several months ago, and just closed a really challenging sale at 4211 Redwood, #202 (pictured above) in Marina Del Rey.  It takes a very talented Realtor to have done this, and not everybody could have pleased the other transaction parties as she did.  First of all, even though the unit was aggressively priced, Milla hung in for months and finally convinced the seller to take the market price.  Next, the building's HOA is in litigation.  It is almost impossible to get a conventional loan on a condo unit in this case.  But Milla drilled down, called a million lenders, and found one who would make the loan at a reasonable cost to the buyers.  Next, there was a bad appraisal, which Milla smoothed over with both buyer and seller.  There were other issues, too -- a robbery during an open house (yes, it happens), divots in the floor during an open house, and on and on.  Yet, she persevered, and performed the amazing feat of getting this property closed to everybody's satisfaction.  Major kudos, Milla -- I am honored to have you as part of the company! If you would like service like this, please contact Milla at Millagoldenberg@gmail.com.

Friday, March 02, 2018

House of the week: 2139 Baxter in Echo Park. It's a probate, but don't let that scare you.

This week's house of the week, 2139 Baxter in Echo Park, was chosen because 1) it's a cutie that's ripe for a renovation or just great decorating taste, 2) it's in a cool Eastside neighborhood, 3) it has a view and a backyard, 4) the price is affordable (although it will probably go over) at $699,000 and 5) it is special because it's a probate sale.  Don't be scared of buying a probate property.  You can do it. 

Here is the quick story on probates.  The thing you need most of with a probate sale is patience.  The sale takes a long time because attorneys are involved and a court date needs to be set.  First, you line up your loan and do your inspections.  Next, you make an offer, put down 10%, and if the estate accepts your offer, you then wait for notice of the court date (your agent and the listing agent will go with you to court).  The judge will ask if anybody objects to the sale and if not, s/he will open bidding.  Yes, you can be outbid in court, so plan to go higher and bring extra cashiers' checks for the increased deposit just in case.  Once the judge rules in your favor, closing is usually within 10 days.

Yes, this takes a lot longer than an actual sale, and there are more details, but this is the overview.  However, this house would definitely be one worth waiting for.

Friday, February 23, 2018

House of the week! 3510 Chandler, Burbank

I'm going to start picking a "house of the week" to feature in this blog (don't hold me to this weekly timetable, though).  The home will be in the L.A. area, and will hopefully be unique in one or more ways.  To start--

This one is for every buyer who believes that there is no such thing as a home for sale in Burbank under $700,000 anymore.  You're right.  But the exception proves the rule, and 3510 W. Chandler in Burbank is a great exception for the right buyer.  It is listed (not by me) for $584,500.  That's less expensive than many condos and townhomes in similar areas these days.

Chandler has a lot more to offer than meets the eye budget.  Yes, the house is small -- 809 sf., 2 beds and 1 bath.  And it's on a small lot -- 2,589 sf.  That's bigger than a lot of townhomes and condos, though.  It has a one-car garage (there is lots of street parking around here too), wood-burning fireplace, a/c, laundry room and little yard.  These homes on this stretch of Chandler are little gems.  They were built along the railroad tracks as starter homes back in the 1940's.  The railroad tracks are long gone, and a gorgeous -- and famous -- bike/walking path has replaced it.  The home is also walking distance to all of Magnolia Park's attractions.  Did I mention the great schools in Burbank?  

Of course, buyers, call me if you would like to tour this home.  It's going to be a terrific choice for buyers who are looking for a condo-alternative, or investors who want those hard-to-find, relatively inexpensive rental properties in great areas.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Are real estate agents becoming obsolete? Asked and answered.

For residential real estate brokerages, the beginning of a new year can bring many changes.  It's agent recruiting season.  There are several big conferences.  Everybody (including me) wants to weigh in on how the industry will change in the coming year and future.  

This year, the r.e. industry talk has all been tech, tech, and more tech, such as:  Artificial intelligence will make agents obsolete.  Agents need more tech tools.  For brokerages, "my tech is bigger than your tech" is the new rallying cry.  Even the head of Keller Williams has stated, "We are no longer a real estate company.  We are a tech company."  What does this mean, and how will it impact home buyers and sellers?  Regardless of what you hear, I believe tech will have little impact, that it hasn't already had (Docusign, Zillow, Redfin), on residential real estate.

This is coming from an agent who loves technology.  I had a website in 1998, before most people even knew what a website was.  I've had this blog going since 2008, for pete's sake.  Docusign enabled me to start my own brokerage.  My social media footprint is strong, and I've tried (and paid for) lots of shiny new stuff along the way.

So, if I love tech so much, why am I flying in the face of industry "experts"? Because agents in wear at least two hats.  Sure, you can find a home online.  If you're a seller, you can create video walk-throughs and hope nobody pesters you to actually see the house.  But the second part of any real estate transaction is negotiating, shepherding, and managing the sale.  It is an even bigger part of a transaction than the initial find/buy, and it takes a client-centered, individual touch that no tech can provide.  As an example, here is a post from the online blog Quora:

Sean Hess
I am a Realtor and a Broker, and if you could just jump online and buy a house you wouldn’t need me. Actually, there are auction sites where you can buy a house online, so you really don’t need me.

But I will always have a job, and I chalk it up to human nature.

Buying a house should be easy. You should be able to go out and find a house you like, and then buy it. But there’s so much drama.

Here’s some of the issues I’ve seen pop up over the years:

A buyer wanted to buy a house near the beach, and yet seemed astounded when I advised her that she needed flood insurance.

I had a seller tell my customers as that some river rocks around the house made it “termite proof.” I had to convice these customers that there is no such thing as “termite proof” in Florida.

The first thing almost every buyer asks when they sign a purchase agreement for a home is, “How do I get my money back if…” (the question is always open ended). In other words, they’re already thinking of backing out before they’ve even made the offer. 

In a sale where I had the buyers, the sellers claimed on a written disclosure that the home never had termites, yet proudly presented receipts for work done to repair “extensive termite damage.”

I’ve had the sellers in a transaction swear a home was termite free. After termites were discovered and a pest service came out to fumigate, the neighbor strolled over and said, “Well, they’re finally doing something about those termites.”

After a lender told me three days before closing that the buyer’s paperwork was good and we would close on time, the lender literally disappeared. I had the sellers and it was a very rough month until we could close again with another lender.

I once had a couple lose a house because they put off some required paperwork in order to go play bingo.

At a home inspection one of my partners attended, he opened the door to find a man with a gun drawn. The seller didn’t bother inform the tenant (with the gun) that people were coming over that morning. The tenant thought someone was breaking in.

Is a pattern emerging here?

So why do you need a Realtor? 

You would think it’s the marketing, the access to all of the homes, knowledge of certain neighborhoods, the understanding of contracts, or all the background expertise about inspections. But it’s not.

Because in every real estate transaction at least one of the parties visits Crazyland somewhere along the way. And that’s normal.

The Realtor’s core value, the sole reason we exist, is to keep the other side honest and to massage away problems when they happen.

A real estate sale is probably the highest dollar transaction a regular person will ever be involved it. It creates a huge amount of stress.

Because of this stress I often see people at their very worst.
Something goes wrong and they get so upset with the other party that they are willing to cut off their own nose to spite their face.

They break promises and lie because they think telling the truth will cost them money. Usually it ends up costing them money anyway and it always takes a Realtor to iron things out. With grace and with tact.

So even though I’m the business of selling a staple product (food and clothing being the other two), I actually owe my job to human nature.

Honestly, I would rather deal with sane people. But when one of my agents comes in with a transaction blowing up I tell them, "That's our job, that's the reason they need us. Let's go save somebody's world again..."

Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Housing and the January Jobs report: instant reaction

This is straight from the National Association of Realtors website.  Please read until the end.

The following is NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s reaction to this morning’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report on January employment conditions:
“The best news from the January jobs report is accelerating wages, which rose 2.9% from a year ago. The continuing job growth of 200,000 in January, and 2.1 million over the past 12 months, have kept the economy at essentially full employment. It is now to the point where employers have to offer higher wages to attract new employees.
Not all is fine, however. The labor force participation rate is still stuck at 62%, compared to 67% a decade ago, prior to the big recession. Also, the tightening labor market along with faster wage gains means that the Federal Reserve is inclined to raise interest rates more frequently.
Ultimately, the desire to buy a home will rise because of this strong job growth with higher pay, but the financial capacity to buy will be cut because of rising interest rates.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Another two great Yelp reviews.

I am grateful and thankful to have worked with these folks.  Here are my new Yelp reviews:

"My wife and I have now bought two properties with Judy's help. We couldn't be more impressed with her diligence, honesty and hard work. 

Here's how we know Judy has the buyer's best interests at heart: she talked us OUT of making offers multiple times because she knew the homes we were looking at either weren't worth the money or had too many major problems. 

Every time an agent talks a buyer out of making an offer, that agent runs the risk of never getting paid. 

Judy is willing to run that risk, because she knows what a big deal it is to buy a house. So she's determined to make sure the buyer gets the RIGHT house. 

She's amazing and we would never work with another agent."

"I met Judy through my now-husband when we were in the beginning stages of searching for our first home together. He had been following her real estate blog for quite some time and was really impressed with her knowledge and of-the-moment perspective on the real estate climate in the area. 

What is so refreshing about Judy is that she talks to her clients as friends first. She's honest and real during the entire process. And also INCREDIBLY patient! She finally helped us get into our townhouse north of Ventura Boulevard in Studio City after a somewhat painful and laborious process with the sellers. That was five years ago. We entrusted Judy to help us yet again on our search for our long-term home as newlyweds. 

Countless open houses, countless MLS listings, and countless emails back and forth later (did I mention how patient she is with her clients?!), Judy helped us find our new home in the Studio City hills. After another somewhat stressful and laborious process with the sellers, Judy was just fantastic. She was completely on her game through every moment of the process and was able to nudge us along gently to help us get our ducks in row. But I need to mention, Judy is on her game ALL THE TIME. She's a real gem in the real estate world here, and I feel so lucky and fortunate to have found her. I'd recommend her to friends in a heartbeat."

Friday, January 26, 2018

It's official. Los Angeles home prices have broken previous records.

Yesterday's L.A. Times featured an article with the following headline: Southern California median home price breaks record set last decade during housing bubble.  The headline should link to the article.

My favorite paragraph is the first.  It states, "The Southern California median home price in December finally surpassed bubble-era highs, a milestone that took more than a decade to achieve and is once again raising concerns that housing is too costly." Raising concern? Ya think?

Do I foresee that the bubble will burst? No.  The fundamentals for that to happen now just aren't there.  We no longer have high unemployment, and there's just a lot of money in this state.  Do I think prices will continue to rise?  Perhaps a bit.  But I doubt we'll see the yearly 8%-10% rises we've seen lately.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

I am pleased to announce that Realtor Dayna Cussler has joined Judy Graff Properties

Watch our company grow! I am thrilled to announce that Realtor Dayna Cussler has joined Judy Graff Properties as an associate licensee.  I have known Dayna for many years and love her expertise and her cool vibe. 

Dayna has lived in the Los Angeles area for over 30 years.  She knows this great city well and loves all the diverse culture it has to offer. She has helped many entertainment professionals, families and people new to the LA area with their real estate needs, providing quality service to both buyers and sellers.  She can also stage your home to help in the selling process.  Her number one priority is her client.

Daynas been in the real estate industry for ten years.  She also has a passion for creative arts and endeavors.  A former actress, flamenco dancer and wardrobe stylist for movies, she now enjoys playing the drums in her band, Stations Of The Sun, driving classic cars, photography, creating childrens books and caring for her rescue dogs.

Areas of Expertise:
Toluca Lake, Burbank, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Glendale, Pasadena and La Canada-Flintridge.

Dayna can be reached at 818-590-5944 or daynacuss@hotmail.com.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Wait! Before you tear down that rock wall around your fireplace...

Rock walls are really unpopular and difficult to get rid of.  What are they good for?

This:
No need to go to the rock wall climbing gym ever again!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Salute to a couple of local businesses

This isn't an ad, just high praise for two local businesses that I frequent.  We all love Lowes and Do-It Center, but if you're in Studio City, there's no better hardware store than locally-owned North Hollywood Hardware at 11847 Ventura Blvd.  These folks not only have just about any hardware that you might need, they also have the most knowledgeable, helpful employees.  I was just in there to buy a little lightbulb and got immediate, expert assistance for this tiny part.

What would you give to (almost) never have to go to the DMV again? Smogland in Studio City will smog your car and electronically take care of your registration before you can finish looking at your Instagram feed.  In addition to registration and smog checks, they do title transfer, vin verification, duplicate registrations, stickers and license plates.  They are located at 4021 Radford and Sassan Dameshghi is the very friendly, knowledgeable owner.


Thursday, January 04, 2018

Curbed has selected San Pedro as neighborhood of the year!

Every year, Curbed LA runs a neighborhood contest in which their readers select the best livable L.A. neighborhood.  This year, our own little Burbank almost won. (Finally, some recognition for Burbank.)  But at the end, it was beaten out by...San Pedro! Check the link here.

I actually sold a home in San Pedro this year.  Before that, I just thought it was an industrial port with cruise ship berths.  My buyer clients, who knew better than I did, convinced me otherwise.  Once I went down there, I became impressed by the housing stock and the affordability.  Many of the homes, including the one my clients purchased, are on the hill and have views of the harbor.  Yes, it's a bit far away from many attractions, but the Ports of Call development is getting a huge face lift, so new and better entertainment and dining options will be coming very soon.  Good on ya, San Pedro!  And hopefully Burbank will win the Curbed contest next year.
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.


























































































































































































































Wednesday, December 20, 2017

What the new tax plan means for Los Angeles area home buyers and sellers

Unless you've been doing last-minute holiday shopping 24/7, you know that the U.S. Congress passed a new bill that governs the federal taxes that you pay.  Without getting deep in the weeds about the details, here are the major issues that you should know about if you are searching for a home or selling a home in the Los Angeles area.

Re the mortgage interest deduction: it has been lowered from $1 million to $750,000.  That's the amount of the mortgage loan, not the total cost of the home.  Mercifully, it will not hurt affordability for most people who buy a home in the $400,000-$900,000 range -- and most properties in L.A. County are in that range -- so your MID is safe.  What does it mean for sellers? Not much. Your pool of qualified buyers will not shrink for median-priced homes and townhomes/condos.  And, if you are selling a very expensive property, your buyers are probably not as concerned as they already (presumably) have ample means to pay the mortgage and don't require a big yearly deduction.

Re the capital gains on home sales exclusion:  This is unchanged.  If you are a single person who has lived in your home two out of the last five years, you can still exclude up to $250,000 in profit from capital gains taxes.  If you are married, you can exclude up to $500,000 in profit.  For buyers, no concerns here.

Stay tuned, though.  I have a feeling that the U.S. Congress is not done tinkering with this tax plan yet.

Monday, December 11, 2017

3747 Berry, Studio City - sold! With challenges, of course

Although you can't see the house well, this is 3747 Berry in Studio City and it just sold to my friends and clients, Josh and Mac.  Josh and Mac have been looking for a home in the hills for several months now.  You know the drill: find the house, make an offer, get excited, only to find out that you are one of 18 other offers, don't get the house.  Our number must have come up this time because we got lucky and got into escrow at our offering price.

It was a challenge for a couple of reasons.  I won't go into detail here, but if you buy a house on a hill, please get a geologic inspection.  Also, please use a direct lender for your loan and not an investment company.  The investment company is very reputable and came through at the end, but the buyers had to jump through higher and higher hoops and the communication from the company was just plain bad.

Obviously, the story has a happy ending.  Josh and Mac intend to build an addition and are in the fun process of getting started on that now. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Another sexy subject: How to paint your place

The first thing almost all buyers do when purchasing a new place is paint.  And often, sellers do this before putting their homes on the market.  Paint is the quickest way to begin decorating and freshen up the look of a house.  But it's such a hassle that many people outsource it to professionals, and that can get expensive.  However, yesterday's New York Times had a great how-to article on how to do it yourself.  It's really specific.  Click on this title for the link: A Pro Teaches You How to Paint Your Apartment.  My favorite "don't" in the article? "Don't shop for paint before 10 am or after 4 pm or you'll get caught waiting in line behind all the contractors."

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

3rd anniversary of Judy Graff Properties, Inc.!

Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the formation of Judy Graff Properties.  Three years ago, I made the move away from large agencies and opened my own full-service real estate company.  I have never looked back.  JGP is slowly growing, but will always be providing the difference, and leading with a heart for service.  Thanks to all the clients and agents that have made this endeavor such a success!
Graphic courtesy of Steve, of course.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

LA Times published my letter on affordable housing and density

I am tired of hearing about so-called "affordable housing" and I am tired of the L.A. Times support of  high-density as a way to produce more affordable housing.  (Yes, as a Realtor, I know that I benefit from more stuff to sell, but I also benefit as a human from a more livable city.) I wrote this letter earlier this week and it was published in today's L.A. Times.  First, the link:


To the editor: 
I am disappointed by The Times’ support of high-density housing near transit stops as a way to solve the “affordable” housing crisis. Getting people out of their cars plus giving them affordable housing are two separate issues and should be treated as such. (“L.A. obviously needs dense housing along the Expo Line. Why isn't the city planning for it?” editorial, Nov. 9)
Why not build affordable housing in neighborhoods where people actually live now rather than where we want them to live?
Let’s continue allowing granny flats and guest houses in neighborhoods that are not close to transit. Let’s allow spot zoning in residential neighborhoods for duplexes, triplexes and small-lot townhome developments — yes, with parking spaces.
A guest house that can be rented offsets the high cost of a single-family home and may put home purchases within reach for people of modest means. A guest house will surely rent for much less than a fancy new apartment in, say, downtown Los Angeles. Let’s stop trying to cram more people into areas that were never meant for high density in the first place.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Another great Yelp review

I love Abhi and Shweta.  I've seen them purchase their first home and now, their second home.  I've known them since they just had one baby -- now, they have two kids and the oldest is almost as tall as me.  Both of them are smart, focused and practical.  It has been an honor to work with them.  

Judy helped my husband and me buy two houses.  She is a very sweet and skillful lady with a golden heart. I absolutely love her and her smart way of working. 

She understand the importance of time, therefore she will not show you any random house. She will first understand you and your choices and then filter the houses that will best match your requirement, your taste and also is a very good house according to Market.

The Best thing I like about Judy is her HONEST OPINION. She don't care about making more and more money, all she cares about is to do right what is right for you. 

I over looked and missed a lot of things in my both houses but nothing skipped from her eyes. The way she analyzed things and looked at every single details, shows her amazingly deep knowledge and experience in this business.

She entered in our life 9 years earlier as a agent but now she is like a family to me
She is an absolutely pleasure to work with and will HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY  Highly recommend her.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Roof repair is so sexy

Californians, you probably haven't thought about your roof since the rains last year.  However, before it begins to rain again (if that happens), now is an excellent time to do roof maintenance.  You're probably thinking that I mean shingles.  Actually, the really important stuff is having the vents and pipes properly sealed (sealant wears out) because that's where moisture comes in.  And having the gutters cleared so they don't top out with water that sloshes back where the roof meets the house.  And shingles too.  Maintenance isn't expensive, and an ounce of prevention beats a pound of whatever, bla bla.  

Another reason to do this now: you can actually schedule a roofer now, something that will be impossible once the rains start -- these folks get all booked up really quickly. You don't want to be the person who wrestles a blue tarp up a ladder and over a leak.  It may be less expensive now than in December-January-February, too.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My clients just closed on this cool Highland Park home


Clients Alison and Jason just bought this very cool 3+2 Highland Park bungalow.  Although the house is almost a hundred years old, it has been expanded and extensively rehabbed.  Even though I tried to interest them in other areas, the buyers had their hearts set on a Highland Park home.  They had made really good offers on three other houses prior to this one, and were quite philosophical about their previous disappointments.  Needless to say, we were delighted and went out for bubbly the night we learned that the seller had accepted our offer. (By "we," I mean me and Ali.  Jason is working out of town and has only seen the house once, for ten minutes, after it was already in escrow.  Risky? Yes, but in this hot market, none of us wanted to wait.)

My favorite thing about the house is its stellar location.  You can see and walk to the Occidental College campus from the street.  It's also very easy walk to The York, which is a very cool pub.  I hope Ali and Jason have many wonderful years here.

New price heights for L.A. area homes

I know, I know -- this blog is getting to be just a news clipping service.  But bear with me for yet another article from yesterday's L.A. Times by Andrew Khouri.  Here's the link.  The title is "Home prices in Southern California reach bubble-era highs." Among the other data points is this: L.A. County home prices have risen 9.5% this year to $505,000, which is $25,000 higher than the highest 2007 pre-recession price.  The article also states that economists aren't as worried this time around, since the rise is not driven by risky loans.  Instead, it is driven by an improving economy, historically low interest rates and a shortage of homes for sale.

Do I see prices getting soft and perhaps even dropping a little? Not in the foreseeable future.  I predict another rise in prices in the Spring.  I wish I could foresee more affordability instead.
Photo courtesy of  Brian Chan/Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Steal this Studio City midcentury rental

3541 Laurelvale has had another rent price reduction! The monthly rent is now $4300 and pets (with some restrictions) are allowed.  This great midcentury features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2 car garage with pull-through for extra parking, appliances included, and serene hillside location.  Got kids? It's in the Carpenter School area.  Carpenter Elementary is one of the most renowned schools in the LAUSD district.  Get it while it's hot!