Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ask the Realtor: Does the seller have to disclose all property reports in their possession?

Any real estate transaction contains lots of paperwork, much of which are disclosures.  A property seller has an affirmative duty to disclose anything and everything that they know about a property.  I once had a seller disclose that a house was haunted.  Seriously.  The buyers bought it anyway.

So if a seller has property condition reports from another, earlier escrow, those must be given to the buyer, too, right? Ethically, yes.  Legally, no. 

I know; this is really surprising, and I just learned the legal answer myself.  Part of the contractual legalese says the seller only discloses "known, material facts" and doesn't specify reports. And some unethical agents will say that they never read a particular report and therefore can't possibly "know" what's in it.  I call bullshit, but there it legally is.  Property sellers, your buyers will likely find out everything about your property anyway -- why risk their wrath? And a lawsuit? Buyers, think twice about getting into a transaction with a seller that appears to withhold information -- if they seem to be concealing something, they probably are!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Insider dope: Zillow and Trulia may merge

Zillow and Trulia are having discussions about merging.  What does that mean to Los Angeles-area home buyers and sellers?  It will make home searches easier.  Rather than having two portals to view, you'll now have one.  No more cross-checking, or getting the same listing from separate sources.  And by the way, the sales info on all of the megasites comes from, yes, the local multiple listing service.  Not the Zestimates or tax records, of course, but the pictures, descriptions, showing info, amenities, etc. -- we Realtors create that and add that to our local multiple listing services.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I view SFV condos and townhomes so you don't have to

Lately I've been viewing and showing condos and townhomes in Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Toluca Lake, North Hollywood...there are lots of nice, and not so nice, properties on the market now.  Here's a sample of what I've seen.

First, there's 11485 Camarillo #3 in Studio City (pictured above) for $409,000.  Another fixed up unit in the building was on the market for months, and never sold.  So I thought the price for this might be a little high.  But no -- I'm told it is already in escrow (after three days on the market) for over list price.  Just shows what fixing and staging can do, and it doesn't hurt that the townhouse is very close to Tujunga Village.

If you're looking for good deals on condos and townhomes, Granada Hills has several.  Most of the units there have nice square footage, private garages, and are in large complexes with amenities.  The one pictured above, on Crestview, has a gorgeous view of the entire San Fernando Valley.  Yes, Granada Hills is quite far north, and the community doesn't have a lot to boast about, but you can get units like this in the lower $400,000's.

Here's another great townhome on Camarillo in Toluca Woods.  It's in escrow now.  It has three stories, the building is beautiful, and it has a roof-top patio.  Less than 1,000 sf, it was listed for $390,000.  Worth every penny, IMO.

It's common for buyers to want to overlook condos in older buildings.  I get it, but that might deserve a re-think.  I've seen several condos in older buildings on Dickens in Sherman Oaks, like the one above.  Yes, they look like apartments inside, but huge apartments! And the buildings are amazingly well-kept up by their activist HOAs.  Condos in buildings like this can go for the $340k's up to $500's, with most being in the low to mid-$400's.

Finally, there's this one in Burbank.  It's the cheapest unit on the market at $320,000.  There's a reason it's so cheap.  The best I can say about it is that the neighborhood is nice.

Inventory is not as short for Los Angeles condos and townhomes, so there are still plenty of nice units out there.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Home buyers and (some) home sellers are coming out of the woodwork in the San Fernando Valley

Something must have happened during last weekend's rockets' red glare, because all of a sudden, everybody I know is busy with several sets of home buyers and some home sellers.  What happened to you, people?

Perhaps buyers realized that lots of home prices might come down a bit in the next few months.  That often starts to happen in early July. Maybe sellers realized that prices have peaked for the year, too.  And then, interest rates are still low and haven't seen the predicted rise.

Nobody can predict the market, but I would recommend that sellers sell now, especially in the areas of Burbank and Studio City -- people want to buy homes in good school districts before their kids start school.  And, if interest rates do go up, as all experts predict they will by the end of the year, that will have a negative effect on home prices.  And I would recommend that buyers buy now -- interest rates won't be this low much longer.