Monday, April 28, 2014

Game of Thrones comes to Sherman Oaks

An agent in my office just sold Lena Headey, aka #Cersei of Game of Thrones, a home in Sherman Oaks. Is a war for control of Sherman Oaks about to take place? Does this mean that the San Fernando Valley is now part of the seven kingdoms?

One hundred degrees in So Cal today?!

Yikes! It's going to be hot today. Stay inside and stay hydrated.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ask me anything: is Spring the best time to buy or sell a house?

Is spring the best time to buy or sale a house? If you live in a place that's buried in snow four months a year, yes.  Not here.  Here, the best time to list or buy is whenever it's the best time to list or buy for you.  Here's what I can tell you about seasons (what are those?) and Los Angeles area real estate:
- Because the days are longer, you can squeeze more showings into the spring and summer months;
- Inventory usually is shortest in December.  But that doesn't mean that houses don't sell -- they do; and just as rapidly as any other time if they are in good condition and priced well.
Please let me know if I can give you any other insights into good times to list or buy a home.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Know anybody that wants to buy a townhouse in Studio City?

I think a townhouse is coming up in our Studio City building.  The unit is empty, and workers have been there all week painting, fixing, and installing new floors.  And...I just noticed the telltale lockbox installed on our front railing.  The unit is 2 beds, 2.5 baths, den and probably around 1600 sf.  I imagine that it will list for $525k or more.  Please contact me if you're interested, and if you'd like nice neighbors.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Prices rising, sales declining, says L.A. Times

Today's L.A. Times headline was Southland Home Prices Surge, but Sales Plummet.  Hey, welcome to my world! Click here for the article.  Here are some of the article highlights:

"The market for high-dollar homes is hopping, with sales on the rise and buyers launching bidding wars. But sales of low- to medium-priced homes have plummeted during the same period — with many potential buyers priced out.

Housing affordability is really taking a bite out of the market," said Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Assn. of Realtors. "We haven't seen this issue since 2007."


"...declines came even as sales of high-end homes increased. Sales of homes costing $800,000 or more grew 12%, while sales of homes costing less than $500,000 fell at twice that rate.

So if it seems like a case of "the rich and the rest," it is. 

If you are even remotely considering selling your home in the next two years, it's a good idea to start your preparations now.   Nobody knows how long this market will last.  Please call me to discuss the procedure, your home's value, and the near future.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Game of Thrones, real-estate style. (Yes, yet another GOT meme.)

For you prospective home buyers out there, I know buying a home can seem just as hard as battling for the throne of Westeros.  (Admit it, this is your fourth season of trying to buy something.) Your experiences on this journey probably look like this to you:

The part of town you'd like to live in:
It's a little congested, but it's really very walkable.

The part of town you can actually afford to live in:
The, um, "city" council is trying to get the next CicLAvia here, and has promised to create bike paths on the dirt roads.

Your seller:
Would have more fun killing you than closing the deal.  Would prefer it, in fact. Every encounter with your seller is fraught with menace if not outright danger.

Your agent:
Nice package but probably bitter, twisted and a little drunk.

Your lender:
Seems to be on your side, but can turn on you at a moment’s notice and scorch you.  Insatiable appetite for paper.

How the house you'd like to buy looks to you:

How the house you'd like to buy looks to you, after you get the inspector's report:

You, after you’ve lost out on yet another house.
Feeling trapped by fate.

Never fear.  If you are truly motivated and qualified, I can help you win your fight for your own palace.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

And...2008 N. Rose, Burbank is in escrow

We had a wonderful turnout at the 2008 N. Rose open house on Sunday.  If you were there, thank you for coming. And we received multiple offers from qualified, adorable people.  The seller selected one offer and we are now in escrow with backups.  The seller, who is leaving the state, says "whew"!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Open Sunday from 2 to 5 in Burbank - 2008 N. Rose Street

Please come visit us at 2008 N. Rose Street in Burbank on Sunday.  This remodeled 3 bedroom, 1 bath has been splendidly maintained and features a new kitchen (above), new bath, new paint, new landscaping, recessed lighting, gleaming hardwood floors, and more.  It also has all airport sound retrofitting, which includes double-paned windows and glass outer doors. It would be a great place to expand, or just live in and love as other generations have done.  It is listed for $505,000 and all the appliances stay -- even the big screen tv!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Five ways to lose weight while house hunting

Let’s all multi-task and combine our two favorite activities, weight watching and house hunting, shall we? Here goes!   

1.       Run, don’t drive, between Sunday open houses.  It will help to map them first.  Stay hydrated while you do this.
2.       Skip dinner and see a new listing every night instead.  Do NOT stop at a bar on your way home to drown your sorrows.
3.       Skip lunch on days when there are broker caravans (Burbank has theirs on Thursday from 9:30 to noon; the rest of the San Fernando Valley and L.A. have theirs on Tuesdays and Fridays.)
4.       Stop buying food and use that money to pay down your consumer debt, thus raising your FICO score.  High credit score = low scale score.
5.       Get so neurotic about the home-buying process that you can’t keep any food down.  This is called home-buyer bulimia and it’s my favorite.

Depending on your search length, you can lose between five and 40 lbs! Seriously, if you need a new home, call me – I can help.  I can’t really help on the weight loss but you can come to Weight Watchers meetings with me.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Another home sale record

Fleur-de-Lys in Holmby Hills (pictured above) sold this week for a record $120,000,000.  This is the highest sale ever recorded in California.  Here on the (cough) other side of town, 848 N. Avon in Burbank has sold and it broke records, too, at least for me.

This Magnolia Park home got eleven offers in 7 days.  Only a couple offers were at asking price.  Only one was below asking price, and everything else was above list. Three were all cash (but the seller chose buyers who got a loan. More about that below.).  The record-breaker here was that everybody was wonderfully qualified.  There were only a couple down payments below 30% and everybody had high FICOs.

Also, seller Todd got some great letters from the prospective buyers.  One couple even put together a charming video. 

Next, the house was priced at $675,000, which was in line with comparable sales and other factors.  However, it sold for $726,500.  Yes, that’s $51,500 over the asking price.  Did it appraise? Not sure, but the “finalists” were all willing to bring in money to close the gap if it didn’t appraise to value.

Third, we had 213 people at the open house and almost all seemed to be serious buyers.  I usually get quite a turn-out at my open houses, but this was a record for me.

Fourth, it was a three-week escrow.  This is due to the incredible Mark Young and his staff at Prospect Mortgage, and also the courtesy of the buyers.

The escrow process went very well.  The buyers and their wonderful agent, Robert Louis, were completely terrific throughout.  But the most terrific of all was my seller, Todd.   He staged the home beautifully – it doesn’t hurt that he is an art director – and really was extremely thoughtful in picking the buyers from the great offers we had.  Todd did want the highest dollar, of course, and the finalists were so, so close to each other in numbers.  But he also wanted a family that would really make the house a home and love it like he did.  Good on ya, Todd.  Here’s wishing the best of luck to both Todd and buyers Robin and Jay.