Sunday, May 29, 2011

Need to short sale your California home? You may be eligible for up to $5,000 in relocation assistance

If you are a low-to-moderate income home owner who is considering a short sale on your home, check out this article: .  It claims that California is offering up to $5k in assistance -- the devil is in the details, I'm sure -- to help you relocate or even get counseling.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My new listing at 1106 N. Cordova, Burbank - gorgeous 2+1 for $459,000

Here's my gorgeous new listing at 1106 N. Cordova Street, right smack in the heart of Burbank's desirable Magnolia Park neighborhood. This home was professionally renovated and features a large kitchen with dining area, lots of cabinets and plenty of counter space.  Beautiful glass block tile adds a contemporary flavor.  The remodeled bathroom features subway tile, brushed nickel finishes, and all new fixtures.  A fireplace in the living room, gorgeous hardwood floors, and crown molding all add a warm feel.  Central A/C and heating were just installed, as were all the windows, the sliding door and all light fixtures.  Relax on the covered porch in the huge backyard yard – there's plenty of room for a pool or expansion. Both the exterior and interior have been freshly painted, and new landscaping has been added in front. This home is in a location that can’t be beat.  Very close to Porto’s, all the shops on Magnolia Boulevard, and the Burbank bike path.  Short distance to studios. Award-winning Roosevelt School nearby.  Don't miss out on this rare move-in ready gem. And it's a regular sale, not a short sale or REO!

Our first public open house will be on Sunday, June 5, from 2 to 5.  There will be broker caravans on Thursday, June 2, from 9:30 to 12 and Friday, June 3, from 11:30 to 1:30.  Please visit my website at for more info and pictures!

My first video! Starring client Elisabeth

Here's my very first video, starring client Elizabeth.  It was taken with my brand new Sony Bloggie as we searched for property today in Encino.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

If I were a property investor, I'd consider buying these Burbank and Toluca Woods properties

I was pleasantly surprised this evening to show some nice properties in Burbank around the $400k range.  Seriously.  Decent properties in this price range don't come along every day, and my client may want to buy one of these, but here goes:
  • 2410 Chandler - 2+2 plus cute rooftop patio, really well decorated;
  • 1316 N. Lincoln - 2+1 and clean as a whistle;
  • 1726 N. Pass - 2+1, could be considered "move-in condition" and
  • 700 N. Clybourn in Toluca Woods - 2+2, needs updating but floorplan is good.
Yes, these are all small.  None have been remodeled.  But they all have lots of potential and, IMO, make great first homes or rental property.  None are distressed property sales either -- what a pleasant surprise!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Gorgeous in Studio City: 3658 Woodhill Canyon Dr.

This is 3658 Woodhill Canyon Drive in Studio City and it was, hands-down, my favorite home from today's broker caravan.  Yes, it's large (5 bedrooms, 5 baths, 6000 square feet) and expensive ($3,799,000) but it has been so well put together and is in such a gorgeous green setting -- well, it's breaktaking.  Had to share.

Lakestreet Cremery is opening a Burbank shop!

If you're into food trucks, you may know about Lakestreet Cremery, the world's best ice cream truck.  All their ice cream is made right on the truck. I've just learned that they're opening an actual store in Burbank! This is the best news and I hope I'll be done with Jenny Craig by then.  My favorite flavor: Blackjack, which is licorice-flavored ice cream.

Monday, May 23, 2011

New listing coming Friday, May 27

Wait until you see how gorgeous this 2 bedroom, 1 bath is.  The owners have updated and redone it, and it features an expanded, remodeled kitchen, a remodeled bathroom, sunny bedrooms, new windows, new light fixtures, hardwood floors, new a/c and heat, a big back patio and huge backyard.  It has also been staged by Color Me Sold. It's in the heart of Magnolia Park, in Burbank, and is very close to the Chandler bike path and all the cool restaurants and shops on Magnolia Boulevard.  Plus, it's in Roosevelt Elementary's district.  It will be available to see and on the multiple listing service on Friday, May 27.  More then.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Rapture: good for the real estate market or bad for the real estate market?

...It depends, but mainly bad.  Those of us left behind will have to contend with empty houses, unwatered yards, and unpaid condo association fees.  And that will have a depressive effect on property values.  So if you're a seller, my advice is to sell your home within the next six hours.

But if you're a buyer, here might be your chance for some real bargains.  Houses don't hold up well when they sit empty, so plan on doing some fixing.  Hey, maybe this is an idea for a new HGtv show -- how about "Fix this Rapture"?

And if you're a bank, you can look forward to getting your oily mitts on yet more property when you have to foreclose on all these empty homes.

And if you're a Realtor, you will not be getting raptured (except for maybe a few of you in Texas), and there will be plenty of houses to show and sell.  Begin courting bank asset managers today to position yourself as a post-foreclosure rapture specialist!

Friday, May 20, 2011

It's just like Malibu to try to steal some of Burbank's thunder

Curbed L.A. has a story about 30065 Morning View, a very special Malibu property that's on the market.  This place was a recording studio for Bob Dylan and the Band. Lots of famous musicians either lived or visited this property at one time or another. This post is not about that.

The story also says that Mr. Ed was stabled on this property.

Not so fast, Malibu.  Mr. Ed was in Burbank in the 1960's, for at least part of them, anyway.  His stable was behind a residential home that was for sale a few years ago although I can't remember the street.  Francis the Talking Mule was stabled there as well.

So Malibu can just quit trying to steal Burbank's talking equines cachet and fame, already.

Weekly home listing/sale stats for the areas I serve

Sorry that I didn't get to this the last couple of weeks, but here are the figures from the mls for the last seven days for the areas I serve:
New listings: 252
Price changes: 234
Back on market: 96
Expired: 64
Backup and Pending: 242
Sold: 145

It looks like more equilibrium will be reached in the local market a month or two from now.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Housing Trends eNewsletter for May

Here's the link to Housing Trends eNewsletter for May.  It has lots of articles, local stats, etc. on our real estate market.  Please let me know if you like/don't like/already know all about it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

4362 Clybourn, Burbank/Toluca Lake -- there's a lot to this story

This is yet another short sale tale. I promise to stop telling these. The property above is 4362 Clybourn, in the Burbank portion of Toluca Lake.  The house and guest house combined are over 5,000 square feet.  The lot is over half an acre.  And it is spitting distance from the Toluca Lake Country Club.  It's a real trophy property.  It's also a short sale, and listed for $1,349,000. If you've seen this property, or made an offer on it, there's a lot to this story.

I represented some buyers who made an offer on this in December, when it was listed for $1,350,000. The seller accepted our offer. It went back and forth between my clients and Bank of America for four months, the bank wouldn't budge on it's counter of $1,820,000, and they wanted a cash contribution from the seller. My clients weren't willing to pay that amount, nor were any of the other folks who had submitted offers around the same time.

The file was closed in April when it looked like the foreclosure sale was imminent, and my exhausted clients indicated that they were not going to pursue the property further. Somehow, the seller managed to have the foreclosure sale postponed then -- for the fourth time. That must be a record. It subsequently listed with another Realtor (it was a different listing agent the first time around) for $1,349,000. The mls says the house has several offers on it now and the prevailing offer is in to the bank. Will the bank still want $1.8+ mil? Did it get offers in that range? How many appraisals have been done so far? What's the story with the seller?  Why did Countrywide, BofA's lending predecessor on the property, fund a loan of $3.2 million on it in 2009? Ah, sweet mysteries of short sales! Perhaps we'll have answers some day.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shadow inventory of solds?

We’ve all heard about the “shadow inventory” of foreclosures that is supposed to hit the real estate market. But could there be a “shadow inventory” of sold properties? Last week, L.A. Times published an article which states that real estate sales and home prices are not so hot for the Southland. Here’s the link if the title won’t link. As always, I’m not going to argue with statistics, but I don’t know that they tell the whole story. Yes, the early part of 2011 was slow, but I think there could be another reason for low numbers.

IMO, the sales numbers may be skewed by the sheer number of short sales out there. Here’s how it works. A regular home lists, attracts offers, and the buyer and seller enter a contract. The house usually closes escrow 30 to 90 days later and the sale is reported in both the multiple listing service and to the county tax assessor. That’s where all the data comes from. But with short sales, the buyer and seller can be in contract for four to eight months before the bank even approves the sale. During the time period, regardless of the agreement between buyer and seller, the house must be listed as “active” on the mls (the banks in their wisdom mandate this.) And then it can take a month or so to close. (For example, I had one last year that went eight months before it closed, and another one cancel after four months before the bank even got around to approving it.) Not to be Pollyanna-ish, but considering that a high percentage of homes on the market are distressed sales, I think we may be experiencing more of a time delay in reporting actual sale transactions, than in actual sales. What do you think?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Short sale gossip! This is on my Facebook page, too

Note for 5/13, 11:00 a.m.: I'm having problems with Blogger.  It has lost a couple of posts.  I'll put 'em back up soon.  This is also on my Facebook page Judy Graff, Broker Realtor.

I have short sale gossip! A few weeks ago, I heard that the Bank of America short sale system, Equator, had "lost" 30,000 files. One of them was a transaction file that I was working on for buyers.

Now, here's the latest:
Our office’s short sale experts told us the following on Tuesday: Bank of America has okayed overtime for its short sale staff and has also begun to outsource some of its short sale files.  Apparently, they are expecting many more short sales in the coming months.  Also, for BofA customers that are behind in their mortgage payments, the bank is apparently going to begin requesting that those owners list their home for sale as a short sale.  Don’t quote me on this, but also don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Burbank and Glendale rock the API school scores

Academic Performance Index scores just came out for California's public schools.  The title above should link to the Burbank Leader article, but if not, here it is again. Once again, Burbank and Glendale are at the top of the charts.  Seventeen Glendale schools, mostly in La Crescenta, Verdugo Woodlands and La Canada, got 10s! That's the highest score possible. Seven schools in Burbank got 9's -- no surprise.  Here's a special shout-out to Disney Elementary, which received a 9 -- for the first time, I believe.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Henry's Tacos in Tujunga Village

Have you ever wondered about Henry's Tacos, that little taco stand on the corner of Tujunga and Moorpark? It's been there forever and is almost always crowded.  Gotta be good, right? Who here in the L.A. area doesn't love a good taco? I've been spending a lot of time in Tujunga Village lately, so the husband and I checked Henry's out a couple of weekends ago.  We both ordered soft tacos; there's only one kind of meat filling available: ground beef. Hmm.

Pluses: clean, cheap.  The cheap part alone is fabulous.

Minuses: Really ordinary.  The food tasted like what you get at Taco Bell.  The soft taco came wrapped in a flour (not corn) tortilla, with iceburg lettuce, tomato, shredded cheese, and really ordinary ground beef. Ordinary hot sauce, too.

So, Henry's fans, please tell me what I should order next time and why this is such a popular place.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

THAT'S ALL that $1 mill buys you in Pakistan? Calling HGtv...

Here's my myopic Realtor take on bin Laden's compound: I was really surprised by the pictures. You probably were, too.  Really, it looks like a dump has absolutely no curb appeal.  And it's worth $1 million dollars? In the third world? Wow, talk about an inflated real estate market -- are that many terrorists people clamoring to live in Abbotabad? Jeez, the schools must be really excellent in that neighborhood.  For $1 million, you'd think there would be rain gutters, not to mention windows. And what about that weird fence? Jeez, thank God for city inspectors in this part of the world.  And this makes L.A. real estate look like the bargain of all time.

Seriously, this is a job for all of the producers of all of the shows on HGtv.  Let's start with Curb Appeal...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

But wait! There's more! on the Studio City open house: it has just been reduced by $50k!

I've previously posted about this lovely traditional at 4209 Fair in Studio City.  I'll be holding it open on Sunday, May 8, from 2 to 5.  It's a 3+2 with pre-war charm and 21st century updates, and is in pristine condition. Not to gush, but...features include hardwood floors, crown moldings, sunny exposure, a/c, an entertainers' deck off both the kitchen and the master bedroom, updated kitchen and baths, built-ins, copper plumbing, detached garage, lots of storage and lots of greenery, plus a great location near Tujunga Village.  And best of all, it has just been reduced by $50k to $699,000.  This makes it one of the best deals in Studio City.  Can you tell that I'd like to live there?

Low interest rates. It's not supposed to be like this.

Haven't we all been told that interest rates would rise this year? And didn't interest rates tease us a little bit by rising in the late winter?  But now they're down again.  Buyer clients of mine got an FHA loan for 4.75% with no points on Monday.  And jumbo conforming loans -- up to $729k -- can be had at 4.85%.  And jumbo-jumbos at 5.5% (with 25% down).  Thanks, for once, banks.  You're just full of surprises, and this one is delightful for a change.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Today's property showings featuring special guest stars: drunken neighbors

My clients saw lots of nice stuff today in Valley Glen, Toluca Lake and Burbank.  The first home we saw, in Valley Glen, is a gorgeous 4+2 for $440k.  It will be on the mls Tuesday, and I won't print the address because my clients may want to buy it.  It's a flip, and I have seen the contractor's work before.  The second, at 6633 Murietta in Valley Glen, (above) is listed at $375,000 and is updated.  Unfortunately, it backs up to apartments, but the house has a lot to offer and the neighborhood is really charming.  Once you get off the major streets, there are lots of really, really nice -- yes, suburban -- residential pockets all throughout the SFV.  Trust me on this.

Maybe it was the beautiful weather that brought out the inebriated hillbillies when we went east.  We saw a townhome in Burbank/Toluca Lake.  The listing agent hadn't warned us about the obnoxious security alarm. Or the obnoxious drunk neighbor who accosted us about the alarm noise and repeatedly exclaimed, "Nancy doesn't know a thing about this!" Um, who is Nancy? 

But anyway, on to a sweet house on Chandler in Burbank.  Again, no address here because my clients are also considering making an offer on this one.

Next, we saw 316 Ontario in Burbank.  It features a teeny knotty-pine kitchen that's too small for a full-size refrigerator, and a place for a washer/dryer in the dining room.  The home was billed as having two guest rooms, which is accurate if you count a partitioned garage with gold pile carpet.  We were watched by two hillbillies from the porch across the street. (Would those be Bur-billies?)  One staggered towards us, but I locked up and we scampered back to the car before he could intercept us.

Our final interaction with drunks was at a gorgeous condo in an older building in west Burbank.  At least, it looks gorgeous in the pictures -- we couldn't tell much as the electricity is off.  We could tell that it is huge and that the kitchen has been totally redone. We could also tell that we didn't want to live there when we were button-holed by the final drunk neighbor of the day, who demanded to know what we were doing there, and if the condo board had approved us.  No, and I don't think they'd approve of you either, mister.

In spite of the "local color," it was a fun and productive day for my clients.