Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Are small-lot homes the solution to L.A.'s so-called housing crisis?

You may have seen these in Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Silverlake, Venice and elsewhere: small-lot homes.  L.A. City passed an ordinance allowing these kind of buildings about 10 or so years ago. These aren't "tiny" homes. Instead, they are a condo/single family home hybrid.  The unit is separate from its neighbors (but not by much), has a two-car garage, and usually a small yard.  There are no HOAs although there is usually a fee for common area upkeep (such as a shared driveway or trash pickup.) There are two to six on a regular residential lot, and there can be developments of 30 or more in outlying areas. Are these the solution to L.A.'s "need" for density?

Not everybody is a fan of these.  Personally, I think these are great ideas.  Now that Measure S has been defeated, what would you rather have -- four units on one lot on your residential street, or a three-story, 18 unit condo complex on the corner? If we must shoe-horn more and more people into residential areas (I'm not sure we do, but everybody else says we do), this can be a great option that preserves neighborhood character.  Just like the old-fashioned bungalow court apartment units.  Fun fact: none of my buyers want one of these, but I expect that may change as homes get more and more expensive.
Photo above: 2872 Allesandro, L.A., courtesy of

Saturday, March 25, 2017

From the New York Times - Home inspectors and their weirdest discoveries

Here's some Sunday newspaper reading, one day early.  The article from the New York Times is titled, "Home inspectors on their weirdest discoveries."   The title should link.  The photo above is just one of many from the sometimes bizarro world of real estate.  Enjoy and let's hope that none of this is present during your next inspection.

Friday, March 10, 2017

5544 Ventura Canyon in Sherman Oaks finally closed last week

5544 Ventura Canyon is a beautiful flip done by colleagues/friends of mine.  It closed last week at $888,000.  That was the third time it had been in escrow.  Yes, it fell out of escrow twice, which is a record for me.

Why? The house attracted very well-educated buyers who expected the home to be structurally pretty. They wanted the bones and guts of the house to be as top-notch as the finishes and top-off.  Alas, there were items that were just not up to that standard.  The flippers wound up fixing and redoing a lot of the structural stuff.  Finally, we got just the right buyers and the house closed last week.  The obvious moral of the story is that flipping houses can be very un-lucrative.  If you are considering flipping a house, make sure that you inspect, inspect, inspect beforehand.