Saturday, June 30, 2012

How much value does a pig wallow add to a Burbank home for sale?

Here's my pic of one of the open house hosts I encountered yesterday when showing property in Burbank.  I don't know if this is a he or a she, but Piggy was quite friendly and polite.  Unfortunately, there was no indication on the mls to indicate that the home features a pig wallow.  Too bad as it might add value to the home.

Way more sales than listings on the mls

The multiple listing service's 24 hour market watch reports WAY MORE sales than listings.  Perhaps that's because it's the end of the month and more transactions close then than at other times of the month.  Still, it's the first time I've seen this in years.  The cumulative backup offers and pendings are higher than listings, too. Here are the numbers for the last day:
New Listing (675)

Price Change (388)

Back On Market (480)

Backup Offer (381)

Expired (123)

Pending (494)

Sold (898)

If you're a seller, now may be the time to list your home.  If you're a buyer, it looks as though inventory will be short for the remainder of the summer.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wild and wacky Weslin is closed

4167 Weslin in Sherman Oaks closed last week.  What a wild ride! The house is a fixer on a large lot south of the boulevard, and was owned by Dorothy Townsend, the first female L.A. Times city desk reporter.  It then passed to a trust with 18 (!) beneficiaries.  Here's how it went:

-We listed the house at $640k since it needed work.
-The brokers' open house drew so many people that there was a traffic jam of Realtors all the way down Benedict Canyon.  I received over 100 calls about it the first two days it was listed.  This is the most activity I've ever had on a listing.  Fifteen separate parties asked me to represent them in the transaction and I said no, because concessions would have been expected during the process.
-We received 20 offers within 5 days.  The offers ranged from $555k to $725k, with most being slightly above the asking price.  Half of the offers were all cash.
- We chose the highest cash offer.  They immediately backed out because they didn't like the condition.
- We went with our first backup offer, also all cash.  They backed out because they didn't like the condition.
- By now, we had two inspection reports indicating more fixing was necessary than we had originally known.  This included foundation damage. Uh-oh.
- Flop sweat.
- The trust attorney had a couple of issues to resolve as well, which caused us to put the property on hold for 10 days.
- We went back to the original offerors and furnished the inspection reports to them.  Five of them came back with reduced offers.
- We again went with an all cash offer.  The buyer immediately released $1000 to the seller and removed all contingencies.
- Still, more flop sweat.  And still plenty of phone calls.
- ...But there were no further incidents thanks to buyers' agent Art Oganesyan and stalwart escrow officer Harlene Dunn.  The trustee was a model of patience and graciousness, too. It closed a little over two weeks later for $604k.  Whew!

2410 Chandler in Burbank is closed

2410 Chandler closed late last week.  As cute as the house is, it took awhile to sell -- it is on a small, 2700 sf. lot and has no garage or off-street parking.  The house is a Venice Beach home trapped in a Burbank home's body, and that makes it "nonconforming." "Nonconforming" is never a good thing in real estate.  Further, most lenders want buyers to have off-street parking if that is usual for the neighborhood.  So that made this cutie ineligible for many types of funding.

But Barry Dane of Crosby Doe Associates pulled this off along with his buyer client and lender Gloria Schulman of Centek.  When Barry first told me that his client only had 5% to put down, I scoffed and told him nobody would lend on this.  But Barry is tenacious, as is Gloria, and they found a loan program for the buyer. (Barry even drove the streets and alleys of Burbank to see how common the no-garage thing really is.)  We closed last week at $380,000 and I wish the buyer best of luck in her new home. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Midcentury modern design comes to pet furniture

Now, you can have a really cool midcentury modern home AND a pet! Never worry about the dog's bed clashing with your cool 1963 furniture again! This pet bed is designed by a company called Hepper and is available on for $86 (gulp).  The inside bed part is 1960's orange.  Perhaps the company can be persuaded to make an exterior shell in 1960's turquoise?

Friday, June 15, 2012

3031 N. Lamer and what I learned

3031 N. Lamer, Burbank has finally closed, a little over a week late. That may not sound so bad, but on the 6th I was told that it wouldn't be closing at all because of loan problems.  I really learned a lot with this one (lots of which I can't put into print here).  First, I learned that no matter how much everybody tells me that they love midcentury moderns, location is still more important.  And Burbank seems to be perceived as just...not cool move to.  I hired a publicist and even with that, couldn't get much press or really even that many showings (thanks for nothing, Curbed L.A.).

I knew this already, but appraisals are still a big issue in our current lending environment.  This home sold over the appraised price.  It went into escrow at $829k, appraised at $805k, but the buyer and seller came to an agreement and settled at $824k.  Even though the buyer was putting a lot down, the loan had to go back through "appraisal review" at the lender's -- twice, apparently.

The third thing I learned was that lenders in Texas have a hard time funding loans in California, no matter how many branches they have here.  This makes sense as the financial industry laws are different state by state.  I won't go into the gory details because I'm not even sure about how many levels of screw-up there were with the lender, but we did get help from the lender's branch manager and regional vp.  From here on, I will only recommend local lenders (see my Local Partners page on my website for four lenders that I do recommend).

Fourth, and I pretty much knew this too: some people need to get off drugs.  And others need to take more.  (I'll let you guess what category I'm in ;).)

Now for a shout-out to Lisa Gaynor and her staff at West Coast Escrow.  Lisa and her team kept their cool although it took them about six times the normal amount of work to get this closed and Lisa must have dealt with over 30 people.  That's about 25 more people than an escrow officer normally has to deal with.

So, does anybody else have to sell an architecturally significant home in an area where nobody cares about such things?  If so, I'm your Realtor!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Does applying for a mortgage with more than one lender hurt your FICO score?

One of the reasons that clients give me for NOT getting preapproved by a lender is that they are afraid the inquiry will hurt their credit score.  (Why do you need a credit score in the first place...oh, never mind.)  Here's another article from the LA Times about this very issue. As you'll see, mortgage-related inquiries do not hurt your credit score. If you read nothing else, please read this quote, "The FICO models, Huynh said, ignore all mortgage-related inquiries during the 30 days immediately preceding the computation of the score. All mortgage inquiries during the 45 days preceding your loan application count only as a single inquiry. The same buffer zones cover shopping for auto loans and student loans — but no other forms of credit."  So please call your lenders, okay?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shortage of homes creates fierce competition, says L.A. Times

Just as I've been saying and buyers have been experiencing, today's L.A. Times has a front page story about our current market, its low inventory and how wildly competitive it is.  Click here for link.  The entire article is fascinating; here are some of the more succinct quotes:

"Housing inventory has sunk to levels not seen since the bubble years. The number of American homes with a "for sale" sign hit 2.5 million in April, the lowest number for an April since 2006."

"The much-predicted foreclosure wave that was expected to dump more homes onto the market has not materialized. Fewer borrowers are entering default, and banks are better managing the properties they do have on their books."

"Also important is having enough cash to make up the difference between the negotiated price and whatever the appraised value of the home turns out to be, he said. (Lenders won't provide a mortgage for more than a home's appraised value.) Many deals these days are falling apart because appraisals are coming in low, given how many recent comparable sales have been foreclosures or other distressed properties."

Saturday, June 09, 2012

13137 Margate, Sherman Oaks is closed

13137 Margate is a darling Mellenthin in Sherman Oaks and is now owned by my buyers, Sang and Anh.  The escrow couldn't have gone better -- yes, real estate miracles are possible.  First, the house is adorable, redone, and in a terrific neighborhood. There were several offers, but Sang and Anh were obviously the prevailing party.  But then it appraised for over their sales price!  That's rare, and makes us all feel so much better, yes? 

Then, even though it wasn't a high-down-payment transaction, Mike Hartunian of Prospect Mortgage got this loan done and closed in 3 weeks without being asked.  Way to go, Mike!  We had stellar cooperation from listing agent Jay Schoenfeldt of Brick and Mortar R.E., too.

I don't want to paint an entirely rosey picture though.  Sang and Anh and I were on the hunt for over a year.  We all got to know each other so well that they even became friendly with my husband. (Sang gave my huz an electric guitar in December which has changed huz's life for the better.  My life, not so much.)  This was the 3rd house they really liked that they could afford and the 2nd one that they offered on.  And of course we were looking at a lower price range when we started.

I'm looking forward to sitting in Sang and Anh's new backyard later this month and saying, "Sang, please pour me another."

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Lamer Street in Burbank is called that for a reason

Yes, the street name is pronounced Lame-er and is it ever.  My gorgeous midcentury modern at 3031 N. Lamer, which has been so much fun to market, is probably not going to close after all because the buyer's lender can't get the loan done.  It was supposed to close yesterday.  The sellers have already moved out and are now planning on moving right back in.  Ugh, this is the worst.  For another post: the most hellish transactions of my career have been due to lender incompetence.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Do not use Prime Lending for your mortgage loans

...Prime Lending is unable to close mortgage loans or even give correct information about their lending process.