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.

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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

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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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1954 Post & Beam in Pasadena (x 2!)

Take your pick, two houses and they’re both amazing. But don’t wait too long. Mid Century Modern homes have been flying off the market, and I’m guessing this pair won’t last.

List Price $1,495,000

3BDs/3BAs in 2,799 sq. ft./lot size 16,438 sq. ft.

Designed by noted architects Neptune & Thomas, this jewel in the Linda Vista neighborhood has had just two owners. I can guarantee you a third will be along soon.

It has original details throughout, a pool and expansive views. The 4th of July fireworks at the Rose Bowl are practically right in your living room. Count me in.

List Price $2,396,000

4BDs/3.5BAs in 3,125 sq. ft./lot size 12,220 sq. ft.

Madison Heights is one of my favorite neighborhoods, a great SW Pas location with magnificent homes on flat, walkable streets that are close to things. This one’s a few short blocks from South Lake Ave.

The Nyberg & Bissner designed home has been totally redone by Ned Engs of E4 Architects. No expense spared, and you can see the results.

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1st Listing Courtesy of John Fairbanks, Coldwell Banker

2nd Listing Courtesy of Catherine Cheney, Coldwell Banker

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You Should Know: Appraisal

Appraisal, aka the “valuation” of a property, is a critical part of any home purchase or sale that involves a mortgage loan. It can feel arbitrary at times, this magical number that materializes from either A) careful analysis and numbers crunching, or perhaps B) which way the wind was blowing that day. But there are things you can and should do to take control of the process, as this recent segment from the Today Show points out (clip is about halfway down).

Note that in her interview with Savannah Guthrie, financial analyst Vera Gibbons says that a good realtor can be helpful in navigating this make-or-break step in the transaction. Couldn’t agree more. I deal with appraisals every day, I’m a trained, experienced negotiator and job #1 is to look out for the best interest of my clients. If you have any questions about appraisals or any other part of the home buying or selling process, post them below. Or get in touch directly. I’m happy to help in any way I can.

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Clip courtesy of NBC-Universal Television.

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So… Why the Hot Market?

Lately I’ve been talking about the high level of activity in the local housing market, and a pair of recent articles in the LA Times help explain at least some of what’s driving it. Check out this reporting by Alejandro Lazo about how the drop in foreclosures is boosting prices. And E. Scott Reckard tells us that there’s a new record low in the mortgage lending rate, per Freddie Mac. This is valuable info for anyone who’s shopping for a home — or thinking of selling.

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Photo Courtesy of ConstruKsa

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Spanish in San Gabriel

List Price $515,000

2BDs/2BAs in 1236 sq. ft./lot size 7497 sq. ft.

This to me represents a really good opportunity, a cute little Spanish circa 1925. Granted it’s a bit of a fixer, but it’s freshly painted, has a barrel ceiling, a wood-burning fireplace and sits on a large lot with mature trees.

But the best things here are the price and especially the location. I’m amazed by how many people I meet who have never explored the small, historic city of San Gabriel — that is if they’ve even heard of it. It flies below the radar but believe me, this is one great place to live.

Bordered by San Marino on the north and the 10 freeway on the south, San Gabriel is a leafy community of older homes that offers quick and easy access to Pasadena and Downtown LA. The main drags are Valley Blvd. and Las Tunas, home to the best Chinese restaurants in LA County — don’t believe me? Ask Jonathan Gold. SG also has Howie’s Ranch Market, Vincent Lugo Park, the Mission District…

Do yourself a favor. If you haven’t checked out San Gabriel already, it’s time you do.

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Listing Courtesy of Marlene Evans & Louie Liu, Coldwell Banker

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Trending Today in Real Estate…

You know how I love good news, and there’s plenty of it right now. The U.S. Census Bureau says that housing starts for June were up nearly 20% from a year ago…

And since Wall Street loves positive housing data and earnings reports, stocks got a boost as the NY Times outlines here

All of which is backed up by what’s happening in our local housing market. Dataquick reports a rise in sales as well as in the all-important median price paid for homes here in the Southland.

But my favorite news actually comes courtesy of the Arch Daily, a wonderful website devoted to one of my greatest loves in life — architecture. Irinia Vinnitskaya has written an article about what planners, architects and designers are doing to create active, healthy cities. Very cool.

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Photo: The Highline Eastern Rail Yards, courtesy of the City of New York and Friends of the Highline

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2290 Silver Ridge Avenue, Silverlake

List Price $899,000

3BDs/3BAs in 2,607 sq. ft./lot size 4,617 sq. ft.

Here’s my latest listing, a modern and super sexy architectural in Silverlake. Click here for lots more pictures, or stop by my Open House this coming Sunday, 7/22 from 2-5 pm. Hope to see you there!

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