710 Fwy Expansion Buzz(kill) in NELA & SGV

KPCC reported this morning that the long simmering and oft-debated 710 Freeway expansion proposal is back in the spotlight, with a new set of “options” that include an above-ground route through one of my all-time favorite neighborhoods — the serenely beautiful San Rafael section of Pasadena(!) Needless to say, homeowners are not amused. The idea of extending the 710 has been on the launchpad for what seems like forever, and whether you’re a resident of Pas, South Pas, San Marino, La Canada-Flintridge, Glendale, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Alhambra (phew, did I leave anyone out?) you are likely in the crosshairs of at least one of these above-or-below-ground proposals (see above map).

Obviously the when, where and if of this thing could have significant impact on you and the value of your home. To learn more, head over to tonight’s event at the Pasadena Convention Center, where at 6:30 PM the Pasadena City Council will discuss the 710 expansion proposal and open the floor to what I expect will be a vociferous public.

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Map courtesy of the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans).

This entry was posted in: Deals

A Pair of Aces in NELA

I like these two, both new to the market this week in the happening northeast LA neighborhood of Eagle Rock. Good houses and I think they’re well priced too, offering value along with style.

House #1

List Price $699,000

3BDs/2BA in 1,580sq. ft./lot size 7,799 sq. ft.

Here’s the first house, originally built 1925 but now completely redone with architectural flare. It has views, a pool (!) and check out the interior…

A lot of custom work here, with updated systems throughout and tons of light. It’s an easy walk to the shops/dining of Colorado Blvd and is in the Dahlia School District. This one won’t last, so if you want to see it get in touch with me here.

House #2

List Price $589,000

3BDs/2BA in 1,180sq. ft./lot size 5,096 sq. ft.

This second house is a contemporary floor-to-ceiling redo, originally built in 1960. It has panoramic views off the deck and indoor-outdoor flow that many buyers covet.

Open floor plan, sleek design — and a detached office/studio/creative space. Pretty much everything’s new and updated and my guess is that this house will see plenty of interested buyers.

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House #1 listing courtesy of Grant Linscott, Keller-Williams Realty, Los Feliz

House #2 listing courtesy of Robert Carey, Sotheby’s Int’l Realty, Pasadena

This entry was posted in: Deals

Architecture = Social Change (?)

I’m a huge fan of the Hayden Tract in Culver City and advise anyone who loves innovative, modern architecture to go check it out. Here’s a great way to do it: on Saturday, 8/18 there will be a panel discussion and self-guided walking tour of this massive and inspiring collection of structures that architect Eric Own Moss has been creating over the past 25 years.

From the SAH/SCC website: “We begin with a dialogue with developers Frederick and Laurie Samitaur-Smith, whose visionary belief in the transformative power of architecture, art and design has revitalized a forlorn industrial area, creating a bustling community for creative workers.”

The event is $29 for SAH/SCC members, $55 for non-members and must be purchased in advance. Includes refreshments. More info can be found here.

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Photo of the Hayden Tract / Samitaur Tower courtesy of the Society of Architectural Historians Southern California Chapter website.

This entry was posted in: Deals

More from the Big Picture

Joe Light has an article in the WSJonline today titled “Is the Real Estate Rebound for Real?” Happily his findings are yes, at least according to Warren Buffet and a host of portfolio managers who are bullish for r/e related holdings. The article cites a key indicator in our trade where we look at the inventory of new, single-family homes. Six months is a tipping point — meaning — if the number of available homes could be sold in less than six months, that tells us we’re in a strong market (the opposite being true if it would take more than six months to sell those homes). So the skies in the big housing picture continue to brighten and local inventory remains low. Some of you sellers out there might be waiting to see a bit more “upside” before bringing your property to market. However I will caution that if interest rates rise (as they did this past week, slightly) then the time to sell your house is now, in this market where sellers are rare and buyers plentiful.

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Photo of the Kentfield Hillside Residence courtesy of Turnbull Griffin Haesloop Architects and Arch Daily

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San Marino Spanish has Hidden Value

 List Price $1,369,000

3BDs/3BA in 2,422sq. ft./lot size 8,280 sq. ft.

It’s a funny thing about San Marino. For some of my clients this quiet, leafy neighbor to Pasadena and South Pas is the only place they want to live. Yet for others, the little city that hosts the Huntington Library & Gardens is entirely off their radar. So consider this character-filled, 1930 two-level Spanish home. At $1.3 million, it’s not in everyone’s price range. But add top-notch public schools through 12th Grade to the equation and I’d say that anyone who has kids or is planning on having them should consider what this house — and San Marino — have to offer.

There are original details, modern updates, and high-end appliances in a remodeled kitchen. Great outdoor spaces, too. But let’s get back to the schools. San Marino Unified is a small district with just two elementary, one middle, and one high school, all ranked among the very best in the state. They get major support from the community, have tons of parental involvement and — yep. Amazing test scores. So think of it this way…

PRIVATE SCHOOL: $18K/year (average) x 13 years (K-12) = $234,000

SAN MARINO UNIFIED: $0/year x 13 years = $0

And that’s just for one child. Say you have two kids — or more. My advice is, call me. It will be my pleasure to give you a first-hand tour of Pasadena’s beautiful and sophisticated neighbor, San Marino.

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Listing courtesy of Janice Lee, Prudential California Realty

This entry was posted in: Deals

Light Filled Spanish in Los Feliz

 List Price $1,200,000

4BDs/2BA in 2,275sq. ft./lot size 4,902 sq. ft.

Here’s a winner, I love the look and the price seems right. The enduring popularity of Spanish architecture will certainly help move this home quickly, especially given that it has modern updates along with original period details — and a great Franklin Hills location.

Two levels, two fireplaces, a deck, redone kitchen with Viking appliances, detached garage, sweeping views… you sold yet? I am. Give me a shout and we’ll go take a look.

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Listing courtesy of Carol Stewart, Sotheby’s Int’l Realty Los Feliz

This entry was posted in: Deals

It’s Getting Better All the Time

Home prices in the nation’s 20 biggest cities improved again in May, strongly in fact, according to the Case-Shiller index and reported here by Alejandro Lazo of the LA Times. The graphic above is a current snapshot of the median price paid in California by county — also an improvement from numbers we’ve seen in previous months.

An uptick over two consecutive months (April, May) is certainly good news. The flipside — i.e. the problem I’m seeing — is our continuing lack of local inventory. Buyers I’m working with are eager to find their house, understandable because they don’t want prices to keep going up. Yet they find themselves in a growing pool, with increased competition for the best homes, many of which are selling in multiple-offer bidding wars.

Sellers: I cannot overstate how good a time this is to get your house on the market!

If you have even considering selling, or would like to simply “test the waters,” get in touch with me here. I have a long, proven track record selling houses, and several instances where I set neighborhood records for price-earned-per-sq.-foot. I will give you a carefully considered, complimentary valuation on your property. If the numbers make sense, you can make an educated decision about what to do next. Believe me, the buyers are out there.

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Graphic courtesy of the California Association of Realtors.

This entry was posted in: Deals

You Should Know: Overhang

I read an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal today about the challenges that policy makers face as they spool through the remnants of the housing crisis. Should certain homeowners be granted amnesty on a portion of their mortgage? It’s a tough call for sure, and as journalist Nick Timiraos points out, economists are divided. Granted, our local market was not nearly as distressed as other parts of the country. But this still impacts us because whatever the outcome on the issue of “overhang,” there may well be changes in the way that banks write mortgages in the future.

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Aerial photo of Bonita Springs, FL, courtesy of Boston.com and Google Earth.

This entry was posted in: Deals

Modern Architecture at Minimal Cost

I had the pleasure of spending part of yesterday with Jerome Pelayo of Sunia Homes. He showed me around the Echo Park house he shares with his wife, which he designed and then built in just five months at a cost of approx. $150 per sq. foot. You read correctly. Best part is, he can do it for you, too.

Pelayo designs homes that are minimalist in style, big on usable space, and fully engaged in the ideals of eco-friendliness and sustainability. I could tell that the build quality was excellent, so you sacrifice nothing to live in one these amazing homes that are inexpensive to put up and cheaper to live in than most houses of comparable size. We’re talking solar photovoltaics, greywater systems, wood-pellet stoves for heating — and Sunia Homes just look so cool.

Maybe you’ve been searching for awhile and are frustrated by what’s for sale out there. Or have always wanted to build a place from the ground up but are intimidated by the process, the very idea of taking on such a task. Well you needn’t be.

Contact me about locating a piece of vacant land or suitable “tear-down” property. Once I find it, I’ll get in touch with Jerome so he can come look at the place, and assess which of his Sunia Homes will fit. Modern design, minimal cost, and friendly to the planet. What’s not to like about that?

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Photos and Plans courtesy of Sunia Homes.

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Mediterranean in Silver Lake

List Price $795,000

2BDs/1BA in 1,317sq. ft./lot size 6,818 sq. ft.

Saw this very cool house in SL today. It’s a smaller home, and like many of this vintage has only one bathroom. But there’s a bonus space downstairs which could serve as an office, guest room — or could be converted for other means.

This house is all about character and soul, there’s tons of it. Built in 1926, it has an updated kitchen and systems — with city-lights views from pretty much every room. Really has to be seen in person, if you’re interested you can get in touch and we’ll go check it out.

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Listing Courtesy of Mark Mintz, Keller Williams Realty

This entry was posted in: Deals