Monday, April 30, 2012

Who is Dorothy Townsend and what does she have to do with real estate?

Dorothy Townsend, an L.A. Times journalist from 1954 to 1986, was the first female staff writer to cover local news in a city room long populated only by men.  Soon after demanding that the city editor assign her to cover the 1965 Watts riots, Dorothy and her all-male team won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on the story.  She continued to cover tough news assignments and many women journalists who came after Dorothy saw her as a pioneer.  She recently passed away at 88.

Now, the Sherman Oaks home that Ms. Townsend shared with her husband, Richard Vanderveld, has been listed by me for sale by the couple’s trust.  The address is 4167 Weslin, SO 91423.  This classic traditional Sherman Oaks south-of-boulevard home needs some fixing and updating, but the stunning location, gorgeous landscaping and architectural details make it a wonderful, welcoming place to live. And two bedrooms plus den, 2 baths and full 1+1 guest house make this home a terrific value.  Other features include generously-sized kitchen, two fireplaces, living room with stepped ceiling and view; dressing area in master, formal dining room, formal entry, covered deck with view, expansive lot with pool, terrace and covered patio plus a view of the surrounding hillsides. Guest house (permits unknown) has kitchenette, separate bedroom and ¾ bath plus separate entrance.  Garage has 3 parking spaces.  Listed for $640,000; sold “as is.” Specs: 1719 sf main house, 10831 sf lot, built in 1939. MLS #12-597141.

For more info, please contact me or see additional pictures on my website at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The real estate market is back

According to today's L.A. Times, the real estate market is back.  Click here to read the front page story.  How is this different from other reports that the market is on an upswing? This actually quotes housing economist Christopher Thornburg, who has been one of the gloomiest forecasters, saying that things are looking up.  Corollary prediction: by the end of today, you'll be sick of hearing about how the market is back.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

New listing: 2+2 across from Burbank bike path

This is 2410 Chandler, Burbank, and I just listed this for $395,000.  Yes, you read that right.  It has 2 beds, 2 baths, 1407 square feet on a 2780 square foot lot (yes, you read that right too) a big kitchen, grassy front yard, new paint, 2 fireplaces, new carpet, and lots of fix-ups.  It has been exquisitely staged by Color Me Sold and is right across from the Chandler bike path.  All appliances stay, along with the patio furniture.  The floor plan is "flexible" -- either of the bedrooms could be home office space or a studio. The upstairs space opens on to the roof which could be turned into a fabulous deck.  It's really close to everything, too, including Tony's Darts Away, (I guess you know where my priorities are), Handymart, etc., etc.  It doesn't have a garage, though, which may make it ineligible for certain kinds of financing, such as FHA.  It will be open Thursday night from 4:30 to 7:00 and Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Palm Springs in Burbank

Hot enough for ya? Cool off at this gorgeous post and beam at 3031 N. Lamer in Burbank. Designed by Boyd Georgi, AIA, it features 3 beds, 3 baths, 2127 square feet, an expansive view, and a rehab that preserves the original, indoor/outdoor midcentury design.  Yes, it's just like all those Palm Springs getaway houses.  And it's exceedingly rare in its hillside, custom-home neighborhood (which features outstanding schools, by the way). Why drive 150 miles through the desert to Palm Springs when you can get all that here? And be only 15 minutes from Dodger Stadium? And have the same gorgeous pool and party house?

Home prices going up?

LATimes posted an article about rising home prices today.  Click here for the link.  Of course, the increases are miniscule and concentrated in the north of California.  But still... Prediction: we are going to see more headlines like this, at least through the rest of the quarter.  Inventory is short and a lot of buyers want to take advantage of the still-low interest rates.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Marilyn Monruff-ruff-ruff

Update: Panda's short sale offer was accepted today! At least by the title holder.  Stay tuned; BofA (our favorite bank) has the loans and we'll see how long it takes them to approve this. 
This is my client, Panda, sitting on her butler's lap.  I call her Marilyn Monruff-ruff-ruff because she is so beautiful.  Panda has just made a great offer on a short sale -- cross your fingers that she gets it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

How did yesterday's Burbank open house go?

Yesterday, I held a very well-attended open house at 3031 N. Lamer in Burbank.  This is not the first open house -- that occurred during a rain storm and attendance was, understandably, pretty poor.  But yesterday's festivities drew about 106 people. Although that's not a record for me, it's quite a nice turnout. Here's how it broke down.

Of the 106, about 35 were kids.  Of the remaining folks, there were many who just don't "get" midcentury modern homes (this one is a show piece).  Then, there were the "museum goers" -- people who LOVE midcentury architecture and were coming to see the design, but weren't buyers. And people coming to check out the view (pictured above). (Observation: men and kids love the airport view; women don't.)  And, of course, there were open house guests who just followed the signs because they were in the neighborhood but had little else to do.

However, there were a few groups there that were home buyers AND were interested in this particular house.  Will we get another offer this week? Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

In keeping with the Titanic meme, here's a mailing piece of mine from when the movie was out

Nobody got it then, either. By the way, I look exactly the same as I did then.

West Hollywood condos -- what I saw

I had the opportunity to view several West Hollywood condos for a client over the weekend.  All of the units were under $350,000 (yes!), had an HOA fee of under $500, and had just one bedroom.  All were in high-rise buildings.

You expect me to bash, right? No!  All of the units were lovely and clean, although small by current standards (700 to 800 square feet).  All of the buildings were stunningly well-kept up (as the former president of an HOA, this is not as easy as you'd think) and the common entries were as clean as operating rooms.  The pools were sparkling, the patio furniture new, the plants were groomed and green...

Here's what you don't get, however.  Most units were too small for a washer/dryer, although all of the buildings had common laundry rooms.  Oh, and you can't have any friends visit you, ever, unless they walk to your house, bike to you (dangerous) or parachute in, because parking is so extremely limited everywhere in West Hollywood.  I did manage to turn my car off close to my destination four times, which I understand is some kind of record. But still, if you can manage to get around, there's no better area for cool restaurants and other destinations.

Los Angeles, Easter Sunday, -- what I saw

I had the opportunity to be several places in L.A. this past Sunday and only a few of them were real estate-related.  However, all of the places made me realize why I love Los Angeles.

First, there was Lake Hollywood and the Lake Hollywood Park.  It was a beautiful day in a fabulous urban setting, and one of Councilman Tom LaBonge's staffers (Silvan?) was handing out Griffith Park hiking maps.  LH park is an off-leash dog park and several animals were enjoying the warm weather with their human companions.

Later, we drove through Elysian Park on our way downtown.  This is the best way to get downtown, IMO, unless there's a Dodger Game.  Then, traffic really chokes up.  Anyway, there were thousands and thousands of people and families enjoying barbeques and picnics throughout the park.  The smell of grilling meat wafted around, and in addition to people and cars, there were lots of volleyball nets, bounce huts, ice cream trucks, small soccer games... It was more crowded than I've ever seen it; the picture above is NOT a good representation.

When we arrived downtown, several streets were blocked off.  Oh no! Crime scene? Terrorist activity? Laker victory? But no -- it is the annual Sikh new years' celebration parade.

Not to gush, but where else can you go to find this kind of weather, scenery and culture?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Realtors: real or fake?

I have not sent out any neighborhood flyers for my listing at 3031 N. Lamer in Burbank, nor have I gone door to door in the neighborhood to promote it. (I'm using electronic marketing, obviously.)  Imagine my surprise when a neighbor told me that "the listing agents" had knocked on the door recently and asked to come in.  The neighbors say this couple was very professional, but insisted on looking at the entry to the house, the flooring, etc. for "comparison." They even had a flyer.  No, the neighbors didn't keep the flyer. 

I don't know anything about this and don't know who this could possibly have been, and I'm suspicious.  Sure, some Realtors go door-to-door, but you'd think I'd know about it if they were advertising my listing.  Were the couple really Realtors, or were they using that excuse to gain admittance for nefarious purposes? Yes, I called the Burbank PD watch commander.  Keep your doors locked during the day, folks.

Friday, April 06, 2012

New CA real estate disclosure: Marijuana

The California Statewide home buyers and sellers advisory is a required disclosure document on all residential real estate transactions.  It now contains a disclosure about Marijuana (it also contains another disclosure stating that you might be hit by a stray golfball. Connection?). Where else but in CA, I ask you? It discloses, among other things, that the Feds don't view pot as legal, and it might cause mold or moisture problems if you cultivate it.  Gosh, that's important to know when you buy or sell a house. It also discloses that brokers have no expertise in this area, so please don't ask me anything about this.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Residents of Burbank's Rancho neighborhood

Yes, your horse can graze in your front yard in Burbank's Rancho neighborhood.  The horse's name is Lightning, the dog is Tuzi.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Great article on ranch home design genius Cliff May

Today's L.A. Times has a great article about ranch home design giant Cliff May.  Title should link; if not, click here. Among other elements, May and his contemporaries popularized our indoor-outdoor home design.  If you'd like to see a home that represents this kind of style, please visit me today, April 1, from 2 to 5 pm, at my open house at 1585 Knollwood Terrace in Pasadena.