Sunday, March 24, 2013

Open today, 3/24, from 2 to 5 - 16909 Flanders in Granada Hills

Come visit me at this lovely 3 bedroom, 2 bath plus den and pool today from 2 to 5.  It features an open kitchen/dining area with a breakfast bar, living room and den oriented around the backyard pool, luxe master suite with tons of closets, parquet floors, living room and dining room with fireplaces, custom lighting and window treatments, sunny exposures, 2 car garage with direct access and more.  The backyard is immaculately gardened and features a pool-side cabana and built-in fireplace.  Listed for $540,000, it's on one of the loveliest streets in Granada Hills.  And yes, Steve will be dj-ing his playlist!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

San Fernando Valley ranch-style homes

I attended a fascinating presentation today by architect Alan Hess on ranch homes in the San Fernando Valley.  Mr. Hess has written many architecture books about mid-century modern homes, coffee-shop architecture (the so-called "Googie" architecture), specific architects like John Lautner and Frank Lloyd Wright, etc.  Needless to say, he knows what he's talking about. I learned the following nuggets:

- Did you know how the "ranch" got its name? Why, from popular culture and the movies, of course.  This particular style of development ran parallel to America's love for anything "western."

- Toluca Woods was the first large-scale planned community and predated Levittown in NY.

- The suburbs aren't just sprawl.  At the time they were built in the 1950s, they solved America's post-war housing shortage and were really planned communities.  Most were anchored by grocery stores, schools, and other things consumers needed at the time.  They were the original walking communities (nobody in those days knew about the need to walk to the tanning place or the craft beer bar.)

Most of Mr. Hess's books can be found online at

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just listed! Gorgeous Granada Hills pool home

16909 Flanders, a 3+2 pool home, just listed for $540,000.  I am particularly fond of this house.  It belongs to my friend Debra, the designer extraordinaire, and before that it belonged to my friends Brad and Joe, who were also designers extraordinaire.  I've been to lots of fun gatherings in this house over a decade and a half. I suppose I shouldn't tell you this, but I've been naked in the pool.*  More pics are coming later today and can be found at my website at

Anyway, here's the description: Luxe living in Granada Hills can be yours. This 3+2+den has been designed for both entertaining and relaxed living. High beamed ceilings, open plan kitchen/dining room, living room and den that open to backyard,  parquet floors, large pool and covered cabana, lots of storage and glamorous decorating (check out the lighting!) are just some of the features.  Terrific neighborhood above Rinaldi. Tax records say 4 beds, one is used as den. 1867 sf, 7540 sf lot, built in 1957.

*It wasn't as fun as it sounds.  I was there by myself, it was really windy, and leaves were blowing into the pool.  I needed to put the pool cover over, which had bunched up in the middle of the pool.  Realtors don't usually carry around bathing suits, and nobody else was around, so...

5227 Denny #101 in North Hollywood - mini-open house tomorrow

Need a gorgeous, 3 bedroom, newer condo in North Hollywood Arts District? I'll be having a mini-open house tomorrow (March 17) at 5227 Denny #101 from 2 to 4.  It's listed at $420,000 and the HOA dues are only $261.  You can see more photos on my website at

Yes, this just fell out of escrow.  In this market, it's not just buyers getting screwed, it's sellers too.  I can't wait to name names here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Coming this weekend: gorgeous pool home in Granada Hills

This weekend, 16909 Flanders in Granada Hills will be coming on the market for $540,000.  Yup, it's beautiful --3 beds, 2 baths, den, dining room, pool, and decorated to the nines by my old friend and owner, Debra.  I hope to have pictures by Saturday or Sunday.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Second chance at 1122 N. Cordova in Burbank is back on the market

Update 3/12: we're back in escrow with a cash buyer.Here's your chance to own a great 3+2 in Burbank's Magnolia Park now that the previous buyers have flaked out (yes, more dirt to come -- later).  No open houses are planned at this point, but call me or your own Realtor if you'd like to see.  The home is super-close to all of Magnolia Blvd's attractions and features a/c, hardwood floors, a huge backyard, huge master suite, all copper plumbing, new windows and more.  It's listed at $535,000 and I have a couple of non-scary inspection reports for serious buyers.  More pictures can be found at

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Deal graveyard, early March edition

A couple of deals fell apart last month and I'm here to dish the dirt.

The first was 2912 Buena Vista in Burbank, pictured above.  This sharp flip is owned by a group out of the Inland Empire who have their own real estate company.  My buyer clients originally submitted a full-price offer in January, but had to go through all sorts of gyrations to get the sellers to accept it a month later.  As many of you know, all real estate contracts must be in writing, and the Department of Real Estate and California Association of Realtors have contract forms.  These forms have been vetted by many generations of attorneys.  There is no reason not to use them.  So I was surprised to get back the sellers' personal contract for my buyers to sign.  No surprise -- the sellers' contract took away all of the buyers' rights.  And also removed all of the sellers' responsibilities.  I advised the buyers not to sign the contract, and predictably, the sellers sold it to somebody else.  Yes, we're disappointed.

The second deal-gone-bad was on 702 E. Olive in Burbank, another flipped home.  My buyers (not the same ones as on BV) loved this home and initially I could see why -- there were huge spaces for entertaining and nice character details. Yes, it is next to an apartment building, but still. The buyers came in over the (then) purchase price and were in escrow for $620k.  For a 2-bedroom in Burbank.  But as I said, they loved it.

Then we did the inspection.  The inspector noticed that there were no vents in half the house. Chimney had cracks.  Roof tile was falling off.  And best of all, there was a lot of loose asbestos in the semi-finished basement, which is a very, very serious health hazard.  The sellers-flippers refused to remedy anything (really? asbestos? You're gonna leave it just lying there?) and after very careful deliberation, the buyers decided to move on.  This house, too, went right back into escrow at a higher price.  To add insult to injury, the escrow company decided to keep $200 of my clients' money for opening escrow and receiving the buyers' deposit (reputable escrow companies don't usually do that).  Needless to say, these buyers are also sadder, but much, much wiser.