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.

This entry was posted in: Deals

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

This entry was posted in: Deals

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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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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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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The Good News Keeps Coming…

I’ve been talking for awhile about the shortage of inventory out there, which points to a healthy local real estate market. I guess the Wall Street Journal agrees, because as they reported last week, the housing bust is “officially over.”

So… what does that mean for you?

If you were thinking about putting your house on the market, and maybe were on the fence about it, well don’t be. It’s a great time to sell, especially at certain price points. And to my buyers, I will remind you that it’s getting highly competitive out there. Check out my Buyers Guide for useful info on how to prepare and place yourself in the strongest possible position to get the house you want. If you need advice or have any questions, don’t hesitate to reply at the bottom of this post or get in touch. I’m here to help.

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This entry was posted in: Deals

Cool Small Lot Homes in Echo Park

Sounds like this isn’t quite a “go” yet, but I sure hope it happens. Curbed LA reports that these 18 Barbara Bestor-designed units, ranging in size from 1,300 to 1,650 sq. ft., would be built on a one-acre site on an Echo Park hilltop. The development is called “Blackbirds,” and represents the kind of urban planning that I very much support. Density is good, especially when done the right way, i.e. it’s appropriate to the surroundings, helps people “use less,” and gets them closer to where they work.

The bonus is, anything designed by Barbara Bestor is going to look awesome.

Can’t yet say what these will cost when (and assuming that) they’re completed. But my best guess is that Blackbirds is going to fly — and sell quickly. Stay tuned.

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Article and Photos Courtesy of Curbed LA and Bestor Architecture

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Spectacular Craftsman Estate in Los Feliz

List Price $11,995,000

7BDs/7BAs in 13,250 sq. ft./lot size 78,013 sq. ft.

Wow. And by that I mean, wow. “Artemesia” is the largest Craftsman residence in the United States, a 100-plus year old meticulously restored jewel situated on nearly two acres in the desirable Oaks neighborhood. What can one say about a place like this? Where to begin?
Well for starters there are these gates, giving the sense of privacy and seclusion that you’d expect in such a grand home. Amazingly, the property is situated quite close to the happening spots of Hollywood and Los Feliz.
A 25-year long restoration project has covered every detail, and there are electrical and systems updates throughout.

This entry was posted in: Deals

If This Doesn’t Get You Off the Fence…

It should! This article in the NY Times points to specific upward trends in real estate. One doesn’t want to get overexcited about this stuff, numbers will fluctuate after all. But I continue to see extremely low inventory locally, and competition for homes has been fierce. Certain price points are attracting literally scores of buyers, in fact my last several listings received multiple offers and sold quickly for over the asking price — sometimes way over.

What does this mean? I’m advising all my sellers who have been waiting for prices to rise to go for it. Buyers are out looking, and the right house at the right price is likely to sell.

For buyers, my opinion is it’s time to step up your search. Interest rates are historically low right now. The way things are trending, we will likely see increased prices — and competition — in the near term.

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Spanish Colonial Revival in Eagle Rock

1673 Hill Drive
List Price $649,000

3BR/2BA in 1,521 sq. ft. / 7,187 sq. ft. lot


Here’s my new listing in Eagle Rock, a gorgeous Spanish with period details in a prime North of Colorado Blvd. location. For more pictures and info, head over to my website — or better yet — come see it in person. I’m hosting an open house this coming Sunday, 7/8 from 2-5 PM. Stop by and say hi, I’ll be happy to show you around.

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This entry was posted in: Deals