Monday, December 30, 2013

The Realtor buys a house: What I re-learned

If you've been reading this blog, you know that my husband and I bought a townhouse in Studio City.  This will likely be the last of the "Realtor buys a place" posts.  I go through all of this all the time with my home buyers and sellers, but somehow, when you do it yourself, it's...different.  Anyway, here's what I re-learned.

1.  No matter how excellent you lender and staff are, the loan paperwork is burdensome.  And some of what lenders ask for? It's unbelievable.  Thank God for the ability to scan.  Here's a picture of all the stuff we have to keep.

2.  Many of the disclosures are redundant, and after you've signed about 100, you tend to take them less seriously.  We signed a disclosure about the Mullholland Scenic Parkway (wha?) three separate times.  The disclosures are worth reading, though.

3. The inspection period is a little nerve-wracking.  Power through it.  With appropriate drugs if necessary.

4.  I still don't know what many of the closing fees are for.  After all these years, I can't get a straight answer from anybody at an escrow company or a title company about what they are, either.  I'm talking about "loan tie-in fees" and "sub-escrow fees" and miscellaneous other fees.  The best answer I got was "Oh, those are for doing all the paperwork." Okay, then what are the fee fees for?  Good news here: there are very few lender junk fees these days.

5. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, moving is hell!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Happy post-Xmas, and Big Bear, CA

Happy post Xmas and on to New Years, everybody. We just returned from a few days at a cabin in Big Bear, CA. Ever thought of buying property there and living, sorta, "off the grid"? There are a ton of r.e. offices, naturally, so there must be lots of homes, condos and cabins for sale. The mountains are lovely, the lake is beautiful and there are year-round outdoor recreation opportunities. There was even some snow, although the south of the state is really dry this time of year. But that's it. The town is cute but touristy, the restaurants don't offer much variety -- and are expensive. There aren't any real bears. And for culture or a variety of opportunities? Doesn't seem like there's much. However, if all you like to do is hole up in a cute cabin or A-frame and "cocoon" maybe Big Bear is for you. (We certainly enjoyed the solitude.) You'll need a four-wheel drive and you'll need to like cold weather. Forget mid-century modern architecture, Starbucks and EMO. The good news is that L.A. is only 2 hours away; Palm Springs is even closer.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Realtor buys a home: why you need to read the Home Owners Association stuff.

If you’ve reading this blog, you know that my husband and I are in escrow on a Studio City townhouse.  We finally got the home owners association documents and they contained a few surprises.

HOA documents are usually voluminous.  They contain the Articles of Incorporation and the CCRS (covenants, conditions and restrictions).  These documents have a lot of boring legalese about how the “corporation” is formed, who is a member (you), how and when the Board can assess a dues increase, etc., etc. All of this is recorded at the county and legally binds the unit owner. The documents should also contain the yearly HOA budget, and income statement, and the minutes for a year’s worth of HOA meetings. If you’re going through this process, you’ll be so over the paperwork by the time you get these that you’ll be tempted to just glance at them.  Don’t.  There are things there that you really need to know.

By the way, it’s also a good idea to speak with the HOA president.  They will be able to give you the back story on everything and even tell you where the bodies are buried.

Back to the documents.  First, yes, you can lightly review the Articles of Incorporation and the parts about who is a member and who can vote, etc.  However, when you get time or want to put yourself to sleep, please read every word.  But then, turn to the rules pages of the CCRs.  This will tell you how many pets you can have, storage rules, how many cars you can park, and if/under what circumstances you can make changes to the exterior of the unit, among other things.  You cannot disregard these, although you may ask the HOA president if specific rules (like pet rules*) are strictly enforced.

Next, please review the budget, income statements, and minutes.  This will tell you a lot about your new neighbors – do they spend money to keep the place up? How much? Do they spend money frivolously?  Are dues projected to go up? What repairs has the building needed and what is anticipated? Have they done any termite remediation?  Are there disagreements at the HOA meetings? If so, about what?  Remember, you and the other owners are all in this together. These HOA folks will be your neighbors (gasp!) and will have an impact on your life and home while you live in your condo/townhouse.  You’ll want to know as much as possible about them and how they view the HOA.

*Digression re pet rules: The vast majority of HOAs (but not all) allow domestic pets but may limit how many pets you can have.  And some HOAs have breed restrictions.

Okay, back to us.  Our new building does spend a lot on upkeep, and it shows.  The building has had a few special assessments for painting and termites.  And it seems as if the other owners are a convivial bunch.  At least we hope so.  All in all, we think we’re pretty lucky about our new place.

Coming soon: what are condo and townhouse HOA dues for and why they are worth it.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Check out my new Yelp Realtor review!

Cathy D has just written a glowing Yelp review about me. I recently represented Cathy and her family members in a Burbank home purchase.  I've worked with this family for over a decade and this is the fifth transaction that I've helped them with.  Needless to say, I've become extremely fond of the family and look forward to our next real estate fun.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Need vintage clothes or goods? Burbank's Magnolia Park has you covered

I've posted before about the plethora of vintage clothing and merchandise shops on Burbank's Magnolia Blvd.  Today, the L.A. Times features an article about the Burbank treasure trove of vintage stores.  Click here to read.  The article focuses extensively on the gigantic Playclothes store (pictured above) and its services to the entertainment industry, but the whole area features lots of retro goods (check out The Blue Pig) and is a pretty fun walking area, too.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

1215 Sparks in Burbank has sold in spite of Union Bank and a Realtor that was off his meds

This is 1215 Sparks in Burbank, and it just sold to my clients Carly and Ulises.  Carly and Ulises are a wonderful young couple who have already faced many challenges together.  I was delighted to help them in their search and had helped other members of their family before this.

Once we got into escrow, the fun started.  The buyers chose a loan program from Union Bank.  And we have all now learned that Union Bank is really, really slow to get things done.  And they want a ton of financial info from buyers, naturally.  The loan and escrow looked like they were going to close a week late.  The listing agent, who moved to New York City in the middle of the transaction, was fine with that.  Or so he said.

Well, he wasn't so fine with it after all, especially when it looked like it was going to close two weeks late because of the bank.  Nobody likes this, by the way, and I've been on the other side of this, too.  He began to have tantrums, complete with insults and name-callings.  He wrote long, rambling emails IN ALL CAPS to both my manager and me and declared that we were responsible for all ills in the world, including the derailment of the middle east peace process. (Good to know.)  We were thankful that he was 3000 miles away!

Anyway, it closed; thankfully we've heard nothing more from the listing agent.  I wish Carly and Ulises much happiness.

Monday, December 02, 2013

LA Times Article: Many buyers find the home loan process unpleasant. You don't say!

Yesterday's L.A. Times featured an article about the unpleasantness of applying for a mortgage loan.  Click the link here to read.  Among those surveyed by the National Association of Realtors, 1 in 4 said they'd rather gain 10 pounds than go through the process again. Seven percent would prefer having a root canal or spending a night in prison.  And many were more comfortable being around snakes than applying for a loan again.

Most of the distress came from first-time buyers, of course. Craig Martin, director of the financial services practice at J.D. Power says: "First-time buyers often have questions and should not be afraid to ask prospective lenders about the specifics of the mortgage process and how they will be kept informed. Much of the stress with borrowing comes from a lack of information and knowledge during the process. Asking when you will be updated and how that information will be provided are two key questions that may help improve the borrowing experience."

Of course, if you're applying for a loan (or refinancing) and would like to work with a great lender than I've personally vetted for customer service, please check my website at and click on the "Resources" tab.  Then please click on "Local Partners." You'll find several lenders who are always available, have great rates, and explain the process thoroughly.

Photo courtesy of Chuck Burton/AP via Los Angeles Times.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Realtor buys a new Studio City house -- and whines, whines, whines

This is the paperwork we've had to either produce or review for our Studio City home purchase.  And we're only five days into escrow.

Why you might consider EFT...What is EFT?

This lovely lady is Melinda Utal-Martinez and she is a long-time friend of mine.  She has also been an EFT practitioner since 2000.  EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a fantastic and easy mind/body acupressure tapping technique that quickly reduces stress and other unpleasant negative feelings. EFT and hypnosis can be a fantastic help if you want to improve your life, health, habits, relationships, stress, self-esteem, and creativity.  Check out Melinda's site here.  You can also check out her tremendous reviews on  Melinda also offers a new service, using EFT, to help interested clients explore a harm reduction approach to their possible over-use of substances such as alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and cigarettes.  This can be a refreshing alternative to 12-step programs.

Melinda just moved to a new office in Atwater and to celebrate, she is offering a discounted one-hour session at her office or by Skype.  Check her website and call her for details.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

House burned down but it's for sale

Last month, there was an awful house fire at 910 N. Evergreen in Burbank. The house was destroyed and the renter-occupant and her dog died.  Two others were injured.  It was probably one of the worst house fires in Burbank history.

And now, the property is for sale again.  For $350,000 -- land value only.  I know the landord-sellers lost as well, but out of respect for the dead, isn't this a little soon?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Realtor buys a home, chapter 2

We are getting a full-documentation loan. Gathering all the financial documentation to give to the lender is a big pain in the neck.  Necessary, but not fun, especially when your records are in different places all over your house.  How do you buyers do it?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Realtor buys a place -- and freaks out about the process

My husband and I just had an offer accepted on a new place to live.  We love our old place in Burbank that we've owned for two decades, but it's a matter of location.  We're moving to Studio City to be closer to our work and activities.  And it's hitting home about how scary this home buying process can be.  Over the next few weeks, I'll be giving you updates, pictures, and gory details.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Maybe think twice about buying a condo or townhouse?

When we asked our neighbor why he wouldn't let the pest inspector into his townhouse unit, he replied, "Because I came to this country for freedom."  Right on! Isn't there something in the Constitution about the right to bear vermin?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Why was the price on this Burbank home so low?

I sold 2112 N. Brighton in Burbank sold in early October for its list price, $430,000.  That price seems low for a Burbank home these days, yes? What happened here?

One word, three times: location, location, location.  This home is located 1 block from the freeway, one block on two sides from industrial property, and six blocks from the airport.  All of these elements -- known as "incurable defects" -- served to keep the price below average.

Plus, the house itself was not large -- it was a 2+1 with a den.  There was no air conditioning.  It needed a lot of updates. The sellers let the yard go.  The only exciting feature was a new garage at the back of the property.

And we asked potential buyers to forego pest work of about $6000.  (Yes, pest work is negotiable.) Plus, the sellers had just purchased another home, so they weren't inclined to wait for a higher offer. We had it in escrow within five days of listing and a fair price was had by both sellers and buyers.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Check out my new five-star review on Yelp!

Thanks, former client Melinda, for my new five-star review on Yelp.  It was a total pleasure to work with Melinda and her family -- we had a lot of fun! Please check out the new review at Yelp/Judy Graff.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

There are 3 gun stores in one mile on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank

In light of recent current events, I'd like to point out: there are three gun stores on Magnolia Blvd. in Burbank between Buena Vista and Victory.  One is about 60 feet away from a children's daycare center.  In the same stretch of Magnolia, there are only two bars (both serve food), Tony's Darts Away and Tin Horn Flats.

BTW, on the morning after the Trevon Martin verdict, there was a line outside of one gun store at 10 a.m.  It was a Sunday.

I've blogged about this before.  What kind of businesses does Burbank really need? I know that it's tremendously difficult to open a restaurant or place like Luna Vine (wine bar) in Burbank. Was it difficult for the gun stores, too?  Shouldn't it be? And how many gun stores do we need in a one-mile stretch?

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Missed my episode of House Hunters Renovation on HGtv? You have another chance, lucky you.

The House Hunters Renovation episode that I'm in with clients Josh and Mac will run again late night (11 pm) on Tuesday, November 5, so please set your DVRs.  Colleague Amber is in it too.  You'll see mostly the back of my head, which is fine with me.  The episode was filmed mostly in Studio City.  I can't wait to dish on the process, but that will be in the future while the episode is running.

Friday, November 01, 2013

1034 N. Evergreen in Burbank has closed and I'm sorry to see it go.

1034 N. Evergreen in Burbank has closed at $650,000.  It was listed at $630,000 and we received eleven offers (see Allegra the potty-trained cat below).  The seller did NOT take the highest offer or the all cash offer because she wanted a real family in the place.

I will really miss this house.  The seller and I are friendly and I've been to many parties and gatherings there over the past ten years.  I watched the seller's daughter grow up, got sunburned in the pool, and had lots of nice meals there.  I'll miss hanging out there with the seller.  Sigh.  We Realtors get sentimental about homes, too.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Novo Cafe in Toluca Lake

Are you doing carbs this week? Tried out Novo Cafe in Toluca Lake with friend and former client Kerri last night and it was terrific.  It looks like an unassuming coffee place and yes, they have coffee, snacks and pastries that are ordered at the counter.  But they also make their own pasta, and offer many pasta dishes at lunch and dinner.  Although I had the beef ragu with papardelle (delicious) there are many entrees for vegans and vegetarians, too.   And, essential for my dining experience, they have wine and beer.  The entrees are ordered at the counter and brought by the enthusiastic wait staff.  Dishes are bare bones -- no salad or bread unless you order those on the side -- but with the low prices nobody should mind not eating even more carbs.  The address is 3900 W. Riverside.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

5703 Troost, North Hollywood is sold and I get taught a lesson

5703 Troost in North Hollywood, listed in September for $495,000, sold this week for $512,000.  It had been in escrow for $515,000 but that got 'walked back' during the inspection process.  My sellers were wonderful, savvy clients who moved to get a shorter commute.

I met the buyers at the open house and it was immediately evident that they liked the property.  The buyers told me they were going to use an agent from a popular online site that we'll call Greenscale.  I told them this would put their offer in a bad light -- Greenscale chunks its tasks down so much that you never know what agent you'll be dealing with that day, or who said what to whom, or who has the paperwork, etc.  Because of that, they are quite difficult to work with and that's a material fact I would have to tell my sellers as they considered the multiple offers we received.

So the buyers picked a regular Valley agent instead.  Hurray -- but not so fast.  This Realtor is completely untrained on the internet or any electronic communication devices.  I should have known I was in trouble when I received a hand-written offer on forms that were six generations old.  Anyway, we wound up double- and triple-doing and communicating everything over and over again, which is exactly what I wanted to avoid with a Greenscale agent.  And I got taught a lesson about trying to make transactions easier.  But the transaction closed, and I will miss my sellers and their baby.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My House Hunters Renovation episode airs Sunday on HGtv

...That's what the producers tell us -- it could be another Sunday night soon as well. The couple with the house to find and renovate are clients Josh and MacKenzie, and colleague Amber is in it too. I signed paperwork saying I wouldn't spill the beans about the production, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to say that it was kind of a hassle, and I'm glad Josh and Mac got something out of it.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Happy one year anniversary to Amy and Jorge on their Burbank home!

This is Amy, Jorge and baby Charlotte in front of their Burbank home.  They closed and moved in just at this time last year.  It was a horrible transaction, but these buyers hung in there, closed and are busy doing fix ups and enjoying their new baby.  What a difference a year makes -- congrats, guys!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Using Blockshopper for home research? You might want to think about using another source too.

I just checked out a particular street in Burbank on  The data was incorrect on at least two homes that I know of, because I sold them.  BS had not updated its info on these two houses in over a year and still had the old owner info.  It's an otherwise great site, but I just don't know where they're getting their data.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Would you buy a hoarder's home? Somebody will.

Yesterday's NY Times had a very interesting article about selling a hoarder's home.  Yes, it sold.  It was on Park Avenue in NYC and went for over a million dollars.  Click the link here for the article.

Over the years, I've had two hoarder listings.  In each, the hoarders were really lovely, intelligent people who were not distressed in any other way.

The first was in an apartment building for sale in North Hollywood, and the buyer-investor didn't care as long as the tenant-hoarder paid the rent on time.  The tenant had her stuff piled up very neatly and had made paths through it.  The "walls" on either side of the paths were so high that I could barely see over them.

The other place was owned by two very brilliant people who just couldn't see how much junk they had.  They were willing to work through it, though.  With the help of family, they actually threw stuff away.  They filled eight City of Glendale dumpsters from a 1200 ft. Glendale house.  It didn't hurt that they were moving out of state.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Trulia scam for rentals with two extra-creepy bonus details!

1034 N. Evergreen in Burbank got a lot of activity this week and not all of it was good.  I began to get calls from people looking to rent the property, which was for sale.  They all told me they'd seen rental info on the internet, specifically mega real estate listings site Trulia.  And the property was going for $1,100 a month.  That's so low I'd rent it myself.

The folks who responded on line then got an email back from somebody purporting to be the owner, in Africa, along with a rental application.  Yup, typical phishing scam.

I called Trulia, and they were most helpful in taking down the rental listing.  I also wrote back to the fake owner and told him/her that if they didn't stop, I'd report them to the FBI.  It appears that it's down as I haven't gotten any calls lately.

Extra-creepy detail #1: during this, the owners woke up at 7:30 to a woman poking around their backyard.  Yes, she was a prospective tenant.

Extra-creepy detail #2: The name of the supposed landlord was the name of my seller's ex-husband.  She hasn't spoken with him in many years and he was never on title.  How did the scam artists get his name and use it in an email? Ewwww.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Letters and pet pictures from would-be buyers

So far on the offers I've gotten on 1034 N. Evergreen in Burbank, I've received some compelling pictures from would-be buyers.  The pics are of the would-be buyers, their families, their dogs, their cats, their babies in front of the house for sale, and one toilet-trained cat named Allegra* hovering over the toilet. Keep 'em coming, people and pets!

*The picture above is a stock image -- Allegra has privacy issues and hasn't given permission for her likeness to be used yet.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Crazy busy

We had 120 at the Evergreen open house yesterday...almost as many at the Troost open last week...Troost is now in escrow and Evergreen will be before the end of the week.  In the meantime, there's been a lot of drama with the Naomi and Brighton closings.  But no drama with the Parish closing.  I will have more posts when I come up for air.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Yes...1034 N. Evergreen, Burbank is open tomorrow, Sunday, 2-5!

I have run out of adjectives for this (except this adjective) incredible house.  So you'll just have to come see for yourselves.  We'll be there from 2 to 5, tomorrow, the 22nd.  Three beds, 2 baths, bonus room, and huge pool. All for $630,000.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

1034 N. Evergreen, Burbank is on the market

This is 1034 N. Evergreen, Burbank CA 91505 and it's a GLAMOROUS 3+2 with a huge pool and separate office. It's truly one of the loveliest homes I've listed recently and features lots of gorgeous decorator details. See more pictures at under "Featured Properties." It is listed for $630,000 and will be available to show Monday, 9/16.

Like sweets? Around Burbank much? Then you'll love this Sunday reading has the San Fernando Valley on its radar, unlike some other online blogs we could mention.  Today, the article is Sweets Tour of Burbank and here's the link. The photo above is from the pastry case at Portos.

Friday, September 13, 2013

This kitty leads an oh-so-glamorous life Burbank

You can tell from his Hollywood bed that this kitty leads a pampered life in a beautiful crib. Now you, too, can lead this kind of glamorous existence! This guy's digs will be on the market next week.  The home has 3 beds, 2 baths, a bonus office, a huge pool, and lots of the luxe decorator details that any cat or human could wish for.  It comes with a petpedigree, too -- it was the childhood home of a famous movie star. The house will list for $630,000 -- call me for more details or stay tuned.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Is your loan broker or Realtor a sole practitioner? Yikes.

There are many, many wonderful mortgage lenders and Realtors out there who have only your best interests at heart.  There are some that are not so good, as well.  I'm sure that comes as no surprise.  I've been having lots of bad luck with sole practioner Realtors and loan brokers lately.  Why? Because they don't answer to anybody, not even you, their client.  They're in business for themselves for two reasons: they don't want to work with other people in the business (hey, we're all a little misanthropic sometimes, but...) and they want every. last. dime. for themselves.  Make sure that if you're interested in working with these folks, you check them out very, very carefully.  The neck you save may be your own.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Past = Future at 5703 Troost, North Hollywood

From this...
To this... 5703 Troost Ave., North Hollywood

This delightful 3+2 home has been updated and enhanced for the 21st century.  It began life as a bungalow for WWII workers in the 1940’s.  Over the years, generations of people raised families there and made improvements that suited their particular needs.  And North Hollywood changed and changed again.

Now the home has been refreshed for the new century and future life styles.  Enjoy the gorgeous new kitchen built for today’s and tomorrow’s chefs. Program the A/C, security system and sprinklers from your smart phone.  The innovative new double-pane windows are super energy efficient, as is the tankless water heater. Charge your electric car from the universal, dedicated charger (the electric rate is discounted).  Don’t want to drive at all? The Redline and Orange line are close by, as are all the new attractions that NoHo has to offer.

Need a little old school charm with your future?  This home still has lots of its original character. The hardwood floors gleam, the 1960’s vintage screened patio is perfect for parties, and the huge yard has just been re-landscaped and sodded. And how about the old school price of $499,000?

This house embraces all good things from the past and becomes the future. Future of Los Angeles homes and life style? Future for you?

Please contact me for more details.  The first open house will be Sunday, Sept. 15, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Yes, I sold this Sherman Oaks home twice in one year. Here's how it happened.

4484 Stansbury, Sherman Oaks just closed for the second time this year.  I was the listing agent both times.  Here's how it happened.  It was a short sale in 2013.  By the time it got a great offer and the (long, long) short sale process was done, it closed at the beginning of May.  The price was $538k and it went out at all cash to an investor (yes, I thought it was low, but that was all the lien holding bank wanted).

The investor rehabbed the house (which was pretty cute to begin with and in good shape) and hired me to list it again.  Hey, I know Sherman Oaks real estate, right?  We put it on the market in July for $799,000.  This is what homes go for in these parts.  And it quickly got an offer like everything else, and sold for $809,000 yesterday.  That's how I came to sell the same home twice in one year.

Friday, September 06, 2013

What does Debbie Reynolds have to do with Burbank real estate?

For those of us born, um,  a little while ago, Debbie Reynolds is one of the iconic stars of the 1950s and 1960s. What does she have to do with Burbank homes for sale? Well, I will be putting her childhood home in Burbank on the market in a week or so.  You'll be happy to hear that it has been significantly updated since Debbie lived there.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

5703 Troost Ave. North Hollywood 91601 is coming to market soon!

A simply terrific 3+2 will be listing next Monday at 5703 Troost Ave. in North Hollywood.  This home has been updated for the 2000's with all sorts of things, including a brand-new kitchen.  Stay tuned for details and pictures, of course -- list price will be $499,000.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Nobody walks in L.A.? -

Nobody walks in L.A.? - Just as I've been telling you, North Hollywood is turning into quite the walking community, especially around Lankershim/Magnolia.  I'd love to see the restaurants and the other attractions there spreading out a little further each way on Magnolia.  One bad thing: it's really hard to park to start your walk if you're coming from someplace else.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Another show on HGtv? Yes, and your home can be the star

Will those nice folks at HGtv never run out of ideas? Here's the flyer I just received.  They will do up to $25,000 in renovations before you list your home. If you're interested, please let me know.

Are you putting your house on the market? Do you need a home appraisal but are worried it won’t be valued high enough? Do you need help taking those extra steps to ensure you get the most out of your home investment when it comes time to sell?
Well, a new show wants to help!
From the creators of ABC’s "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" comes a new show that will pair you with a nationally recognized home improvement consultant who will help you make the necessary improvements to ensure that your family gets the best appraisal possible!!! 
This is an opportunity of a lifetime! Please send photos of your home, your family as well a little bit about yourself and your situation Don’t forget to include your name, age and contact info. Send ASAP to be considered!!! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

For Burbank parents re Jefferson Elementary

Here's from friend and former client Barbara Wise: "Jefferson Elementary has a new principal with great ideas. She worked with our computer specialist to put a long-awaited link on the school website - if you use the link, a portion of your purchase is donated to the school Booster Association. love the school and am excited to see how things will evolve with new leadership. Great selling point for this area."

If you already shop at, a portion of your purchases will automatically go to Jefferson Elementary Booster Association if you simply paste this link into your browser and access through this link:

Thanks, Barbara! Barbara has twins in second grade at Jefferson and had an older son there as well.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you...

My clients just learned that their offer on a particular house has been accepted.  They have been looking for FOUR YEARS.  They've made countless offers.  They offered on this particular house at the beginning of the month, and through attrition of other offers, theirs' was finally accepted.  Congratulations -- dreams can come true.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Children aren't the only people who need to go back to school

Lately, I've been getting really elementary questions from other Realtors.  Not just from one Realtor, but from several.  Not just about a house's condition or a plan during an escrow, but really simple questions that, uh, anybody with a r.e. license should know.  What's going on? Aren't you heads of brokerages teaching your people about r.e. practice? We all need refreshers from time to time, but...makes me wonder if I'm really dealing with licensees or if the state of California has dumbed down the test made the license exam even simpler than ever.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Open today, 8/18, from 2-5: 5227 Denny #101, North Hollywood and 2112 N. Brighton, Burbank

Seeking an adorable 2+1+den in Burbank for $430,000? Please visit me today at 2112 N. Brighton. If you'd rather have a really cool 3 bedroom condo in trendy Noho, please visit colleague Scott at 5227 N. Denny #101 in North Hollywood.

Friday, August 16, 2013

2112 N. Brighton will be open Sunday, August 18, from 2 to 5

Here's a pic of 2112 N. Brighton in Burbank. More pics can be found later today on my website at Brighton is an adorable 2 bed, 1 bath home with a den, a generously-sized kitchen and 2 separate garages. It is listed for $430000 and is open on Sunday, 8/18, from 2 to 5. Come visit me and Steve!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Don't give up your home search yet. 2 beds+1 bath+sunny den in Burbank for $430000 lists Friday.

Just when you thought you'd never find a home, along comes 2112 N. Brighton in Burbank. With 2 beds, 1 bath and a big, sunny den. Big yard. Two garages: a single car plus 2-car garage off the alley. Hardwood floors, generously-sized kitchen, dining area, coved ceilings, included appliances, great neighborhood. Just waiting for your creative touches. And affordable, too. See? Wishes can come true. 2112 N. Brighton will be available to see on Friday and open this Sunday, 8/18, from 2 to 5. I'll have pictures on Friday. Sellers are motivated and will respond to all reasonable offers -- I know, it seems too good to be true, doesn't it?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Monday reading from Sunday's NY Times. Trust me, it's interesting!

I know that reading about Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is kinda boring, but this may help explain it all for you.  Gretchen Morgenson is a business columnist for the NY Times.  In my opinion, she's one of the best business writers ever, and her columns always explain a lot in plain English.  Her column from yesterday's NYT is The Housing Market is Still Missing a Backbone (title should link).

In a section about winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Morgenson writes " prove how hard this will be, both companies later in the week announced enormous profits for the second quarter of this year, most of which go to the government in the form of dividends. Together, the companies reported $15 billion in profits; with Treasury on the receiving end of this lush income stream, it will be tempting to keep the mortgage finance giants in business." She continues "...For starters, banks have grown accustomed to earning fees for making mortgages that they sell to Fannie and Freddie [Emphasis mine.] Generating fee income while placing the long-term credit or interest rate risk on the government’s balance sheet is a win-win for the banks."

Morgenson goes on to discuss why it's so hard to lure private investors into the mortgage market.  She's not talking about a flipper that has, say, 30 houses.  She means the institutions that buy millions and millions of dollars worth of bundles of thousands and thousands of mortgages.  Anyway, this is a great read from a very talented columnist.

Friday, August 09, 2013

News of the week: 5227 Denny #101 is still available! And more...

Do you know anybody looking to buy in Noho? Or anybody that simply wants a gorgeous three-bedroom condo? Consider 5227 Denny #101, pictured above.  Yes, it's 3 beds, 2 baths, fireplace, big newer kitchen, bamboo floors, 2 extra storage spaces, 2 patios, and much more in one of L.A.'s coolest neighborhoods.  It is listed for $420,000 and the HOA fees are $261/month.  I can usually arrange a showing with just a bit of advance notice.

In other news, prices are still going up and inventory is still down.  It looks like small (under 1,000 sf) homes across the east San Fernando Valley are hitting the $500,000+ mark now.

And Realtors are continuing to list properties low and then entertain multiple offers and bidding wars.  One client set has been waiting a week now to hear about their offer, which they increased from the original price.

Stansbury is in escrow.

In more upbeat news, I will likely have a small house listed in Burbank soon, along with a 3+2 in Noho that's currently being fixed up.  These may be on the market later this month; just not sure yet.  There may be one coming in Valley Glen, too.

I met a friend and former client at the lounge at Amarano last night and it was swinging! With a chic, younger (than me) set, of course.  Amarano is a boutique hotel right on the border of Burbank and Toluca Lake.  It's a really classy place and we had lots of fun.  My only criticism is that they could improve their house Cabernet.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Need an aviary? You might want one after you see this

It's always fun showing property in the hills of northeast Los Angeles as you never quite know what wildlife you'll find (animal AND human). Today I met these red-billed hornbills, who have their own professionally- built backyard aviary.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Why contractors should NOT attend open houses when they've done the work on that house's flip

...Because they will be snagging all the open house guests to show them all the cool new plastic face plates they've put over the electric outlets. Contractor/investors, forget what you've seen on HGtv's Flip or Flop.  Let the potential buyers discover the house's ambience, not the $1.75 parts, on their own.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

4484 Stansbury in Sherman Oaks is open Sunday, 2 to 5. Comes complete with its own beer garden.

Please come visit me and check out 4484 Stansbury in Sherman Oaks tomorrow, 7/28, from 2 to 5.  This splendid redo has 3 beds and 2 baths in the main house.  Plus, there's an additional unit above the garage with a full kitchen and 3/4 bathroom, open beam ceiling, and hardwood floors.  If that weren't enough, there's a pool house with 3/4 bathroom, too. It's very close to Westfield Fashion Square, Jinky's, Guitar Center, Boneyard Bistro and more of Sherman Oaks' hotspots. We call this area below the "beer garden."

You can check out more pictures on line and at my site:  The house is listed for $799,000. For those of you who'd rather hang in the house, here's the living room: