Sunday, September 30, 2012

Real estate discovery of the weekend: Leimert Park

Yesterday, I found myself in a Los Angeles neighborhood that I've never been to before: Leimert Park.  This area is in south central L.A., and is close to both Baldwin Hills and USC.  The residential streets I saw were lovely and incredibly pristine -- much more so than most similar neighborhoods in the SFV.  No weird add-ons, consistently well-landscaped, etc.  The house above is an example of one the homes I saw for sale; it's on Norton (okay, true crime fans*, does that give away what I was doing there?)  The city of Los Angeles and its neighborhoods just continues to amaze and delight me.

*I was on Esotouric's "Black Dahlia" tour.  Poor Elizabeth Short's body was found on 39th and Norton.

Article from the LA Times: Interest rates are low, but it is still hard to get a mortgage

Getting a mortgage isn't easy these days, and here's an article from today's L.A. Times to tell you why.  The subheading is

Lenders' underwriting standards appear to be tightening even further in some key areas, and the time to close a loan is getting longer.

Oh, great, right? Even our company's owner mentioned this recently as he is trying to buy a new home.  My take: there are lots of moving parts with mortgage lending, and the industry is still scared of a repeat of 2007-2008.  Which is probably exactly what they'll have unless they keep standards pretty tight.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wondering what to do with yourself during Carmaggedon? Come to my Burbank open house at 1429 N. Rose!

I'll be holding 1429 N. Rose in Burbank open on Sunday the 30th.  In case you've forgotten, this is a dreamy 3+2 with a huge backyard, redone kitchen, redone baths, hardwood floors, central air and more.  All for the low price of $499,000.  We'll be there between 2 and 5.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

In case you missed the headlines, home prices are up and sales are down

L.A. Times reports today that home prices are up nationwide. In L.A., however, the price rise is 1.3% over last month. Link to the article here.  However, numbers of sales are down.  You knew that -- inventory is ferociously low.  Here's a quote that we all like: "Economists have begun suggesting that the real estate market may have turned the corner for good since tanking in the recession."

Monday, September 24, 2012

1429 N. Rose in Burbank is back on the market

1429 N. Rose in Burbank is back on the market as the buyer couldn't perform.  Alas! It will be open Sunday, 9/30, from 2 to 5 and is easy to show in the meantime! Just call me.   For those who don't remember Rose:

This 3 bed, 2 bath rose-covered home on a huge 8372 sf lot is perfect for gardeners and/or for home additions.  Remodeled kitchen with quartz countertops and newer cabinets and appliances, remodeled bathrooms, central a/c and heat, gleaming hardwood floors, custom paint, custom window treatments, terrific neighborhood, great Burbank schools.  Magnificent backyard with raised vegetable beds, fruit trees, herb spiral, play area and swing set, many areas for relaxing.  Add a wonderful master suite, put in a pool, grow your own food and still have lots of room to play. Listed at $499,000.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Busy week in the home buying and selling world

It's been kind of a crazy week, and I know you all love the dirt, so here goes: First, I'll soon have a gorgeous, almost entirely brand-new home in Toluca Lake on the market. It's about 3,000 sf and will list for $1,297,000. We are working on staging now with pictures to come and then I'll have all the info here.

1429 N. Rose, Burbank is in escrow and all is going well, so far, there. The buyer just did her home inspection yesterday, the pest inspection was today, etc. This won't close until the end of October. By the way, the two cats (pictured above) that live at Rose now need to be rehomed. They are twin black and white kitties, about four years old, can live inside/outside or both, and are very sweet. They were born in Brazil and can meow in Portuguese! Any takers?

Next, there's the Ben Mar home in Burbank. That has NOT been a fun transaction so far. I will have a long post about this baby when it closes. For right now, I can tell you that the buyers and I celebrated the removal of all contingencies last night at Bow and Truss in NoHo.

Then there's the short sale condo in West Hollywood. Jeez, as if short sales weren't bad enough...when a condo is sold, both the buyer and the buyer's lender need to look at the home owners association's financial and governing documents. And getting the HOA documents in a timely manner is ALWAYS iffy. In this case, it's been an extra hard tooth-pull. And we learned that there is litigation against the home owners association from a disgruntled former resident. That's a red flag to the lender. At any rate, it's been one of those 50-emails-a-day transactions this week for me and everybody else concerned and I hope to have this sailing smoothly early next week.

Enjoy your weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Debunking the "shadow foreclosure inventory" rumor

Rumors goin' round: I continue to hear that the banks are holding on to a huge amount of foreclosed property.  Apparently, the banks are doing this in order to keep home values high and to not flood the housing market, thereby driving home prices down again.  The second part of the rumor is that the banks will release this "shadow" inventory at the first part of the year.  I've had strong doubts about this.  At this point, the banks have nothing to gain by holding anything.  Banks lose money by holding non-performing assets and gain money by making mortgages.

There's finally a study that debunks the shadow inventory myth.  Today, Lansner on Real Estate says foreclosures in the state are down by half Here's the link.  And here's a quote:

“We continue to hear about the foreclosure wave that is coming after the election or after the New Year. There is clearly no foreclosure wave in sight,” Michelle Lenahan writes in Foreclosure Truth...".

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Had a long day house hunting? How about finishing with a wine tasting right in the SFV?

Looking to do something a little different in the San Fernando Valley? Perhaps after a long discouraging day of house hunting?  How about wine tasting at D'Argenzio Wines in Burbank? Although I've driven by this place on Burbank Boulevard a million times, I had never stopped in until the other day.  The room was really nice. The D'Argenzio family staff was great. The other tasters were very friendly. A flight of wines is $10, which is remitted if you buy a bottle.  I learned that D'Argenzio is a major grape grower and vintner in the Sonoma area, and is very well known for their red wines.

But how is the wine? I say really, really good.  I particularly liked the Russian River Pinot Noir and the Dry Creek Zinfandel.  Each is about $34 a bottle, so this isn't the stuff you're likely going to drink as you, say, do your laundry.  But perhaps it's worth drinking during another evening spent looking online for homes?

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Open Sunday the 9th from 2 to 5! 1429 N. Rose, Burbank

Have you seen this adorable 3 bed, 2 bath in Burbank yet? If not, please swing by my open house tomorrow between 2 and 5 at 1429 N. Rose.  Redone kitchen, redone baths, 3 bedrooms, hardwood floors, central heat and a/c (which will be blasting) and a huge backyard are just some of the features this home offers.  Build a home addition, put in a pool, grow your own food and still have room to play. All this for $499k!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Pygmy goats in Burbank

Factoid of the day: you can keep up to two pygmy goats at your home in Burbank, but you can't keep full-size goats.  Makes your day, yes?

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Rae and Gus are giving up a successful acting career and leaving town. Why you should buy their Burbank house.

Rae and Gus are giving up a successful acting career and leaving town.  Why you should buy their Burbank house.  Rae and Gus are twin actresses who have hit the big time.  They’ve appeared in shows like Parenthood, Disney Channel programs, etc.  They currently live in Burbank and tell us why they’re leaving.  Rae and Gus are 18 months old.
So why are you leaving? You have a career that other actors would kill for. We’re moving away to spend more time with our family.  Really.  We’re sick of the Hollywood grind -- the auditions, being judged on our looks, long shoots that interfere with naps, and always having to watch the scale.

Tell us about the house you’re leaving.  Really, since we live there, it’s more of a celebrity property.  The address is 1429 N. Rose, Burbank and itwill be listed and available to show on September 4.  It’s a 3 bed, 2 bath house on a humongous lot.  The house is almost as adorable as we are and has two updated bathrooms, an updated kitchen with quartz countertops, newer cabinetry and newer appliances, central heat and a/c,  hardwood floors, custom paint and window treatments.  It also has an oversize backyard where the ‘rents have planted lots of good (and not so good – zucchini? Really?) things to eat.  We’ve gotten so much experience farming that we’re moving to a farm state!

How did you find this house? Actually, the ‘rents found it when we were still working on existing.  They fell in love with the house and the terrific neighborhood, too.  The house had the huge yard and they said, no problem, we’ll build on as the twins’ acting career takes off and we need to house more of an entourage.
But then, the backyard took hold of their imaginations, and they started to grow stuff.  Really, who isn’t a foodie these days? Who doesn’t like the whole farm-to-table, locavore movement even if you secretly eat every meal at McDonalds? And, there are still plenty of sitting (or in our case, crawling) areas to enjoy.  It was like having your own Napa – not to mention naps – back there.

What will you miss most? Everything.  Our warm and cozy home, helping Dad dig in the dirt, chewing on an occasional worm (it helps with our method acting skills) and our wonderful neighbors.  Oh yes – and being pushed around the corner in our stroller to Mucho Mas for margaritas.  Actually, we don’t really have too much memory of those apparently delicious and cheap margaritas but we’re told the paparrazi are in a bidding war over the pics.

The house is listed for $499,000. Are you negotiable on the price of the house? You mean what we’ll take in exchange? Heck yes.  If you’d like to give us a boat-load of resalable Disney princess items in exchange, we’re down with that.  The ‘rents and the agent say green papers are it, though.

Your agent must be unhappy to be losing you.  The only agent we’re concerned with now is our real estate agent, Judy Graff.  She will be negotiating on our behalf and can be reached at 818-370-4837.

For more info or to arrange a showing, please call Broker-Realtor Judy Graff, John Aaroe Group, 818-370-4837 or email

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Coming next week: Perfect Burbank 3+2 with a huge backyard

Ever dreamed of having a house with a huge yard? Look no further -- next week I'll be listing this property at 1429 N. Rose in Burbank.  It will be on the market Tuesday, and available for showing by appointment beginning later that day.  This home is a 3 bed, 2 bath with a remodeled kitchen and baths, central heat and a/c and a huge, 8300+ sf yard.  With a yard this size, you can build a home addition, put in a pool, have a vegetable garden and still have room to play.  More pics are on my website at under "featured properties."  More details will be here and elsewhere in the following days.