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May 23, 2014

Tips on how to avoid being burglarized this summer!

The number of residential break-ins spike during the summer months. In 10 minutes, approximately 40 homes will be burglarized. That averages one burglary for every 15 seconds. So whether you will be jet setting around the world or going on a weekend getaway this summer, make your home less attractive to thieves with these 10 tips.

Lock All Points of Entry
According to security company ADT, 40 percent of all burglaries were no-forced entries meaning someone was able to walk, crawl, or climb inside the house. Before leaving make sure to lock all windows and doors, including the door leading into the garage.

Set Your Alarm
Homes without an alarm system are three times more likely to be burglarized. Your security company should wire all windows and doors to the alarm system, including the window over the sink and all points of entry on a second floor. Make sure to set your alarm before leaving your house, even if it is just for a quick errand.

Conceal Your Trash
After purchasing a pricey electronic or appliance, break down the empty box and conceal it in a trash can before placing it next to the curb for trash day. Leaving an empty box by the curb will let anyone canvassing the area know about your newest purchase and heighten their curiosity of valuables in the home.

Create an Illusion Someone is Home
Don’t leave signs of an empty house when going on vacation. Set the lights and radio or television on a timer to give the illusion someone is home. If you are worried about electricity, fluorescent light bulbs reduce electricity use and are environmental friendly.

Prune Back Shrubbery
Cut back any overgrown shrubs and trees around windows and doors. Overgrown foliage provides potential hideouts for burglars waiting to break into the home and a place to hide if something goes wrong. Houses with visible entry points to the street and open yards are less appealing to thieves.

Keeping Up With Appearances
Overflowing mailboxes and piled up newspapers are signs of being on vacation. Mail and newspapers can be stopped while on vacation or hire a house sitter to stop by daily to pick up any mail, newspapers, and any leaflets left on the door.

Bolt Safes Down
Often times, homeowners think valuables are protected if they’re in safes, even if it isn’t bolted down. Burglars will take the unbolted down safe with them and open it when they aren’t under pressure. If you are worried about valuables on vacation, keep them in a safety deposit box.

Check Your Check-Ins
Avoid announcing your vacation on social media and checking in on geo-tracking apps such as FourSquare. Websites like www.pleaserobme.com allow burglars to keep track of your whereabouts.

Put Away Outside Toys
Lock up anything lying around in plain sight. Leaving items like bikes or scooters in your yard can attract thieves to your property who will roll away with your possessions.

Redecorating
Consider hanging privacy curtains or thin curtains on any bare windows. Privacy curtains still allow light in, but make it difficult for peepers to see valuables in the room and if the alarm is set.

MY #1 burglary weapon!

Get yourself a dog!  I have two yappers who notify me immediately if someone is on the property that shouldn’t be!

May 8, 2014

MORTGAGE DELINQUENCY RATE CONTINUES TO DROP

The mortgage delinquency rate (the rate of borrowers 60 days or more delinquent on their mortgages) declined for the ninth consecutive quarter to 3.61 percent at the end of Q1 2014, according to TransUnion’s latest mortgage report. The mortgage delinquency rate has declined more than 24 percent in the last year (down from 4.76 percent in Q1 2013), and it is now at the exact same level as it stood in Q2 2008.

April 3, 2014

Top Seller Mistakes

Selling a home involves more than putting up a “For Sale” and waiting for the offers to roll in. But what, exactly, does it take to make the process as simple and successful as possible? The first step is knowing what NOT to do by avoiding the following most common mistakes home sellers make:

—Not choosing the right REALTOR®.
Common mistakes people make in choosing a REALTOR® include: picking someone based on personal relationships instead of professional credentials, choosing the agent that recommends the highest listing price or choosing the agent with the lowest commission.  Does the agent you choose specialize in the area you are selling in?

–Over-improving the house.
Don’t improve the house above the general level of other neighborhood homes and make sure remodels don’t end up making the house much more pricey than the rest of the neighborhood. Avoid unusual improvements like adding second stories that don’t fit in with the neighborhood.

–Making staging mistakes.
Be ruthless in depersonalizing the house. Repaint atypically colored walls, put in neutral flooring, and put away collections, family photos and other mementos. Be equally ruthless in decluttering the whole house, including storage spaces. Clear out unnecessary furniture, pack away nonessentials, and put items in an off-site storage facility. Do a deep cleaning before showing—hire a cleaning service if necessary. And remember to keep up with maintenance cleaning while the house is being shown.

–Neglecting curb appeal.
Most people won’t even come inside to look it they get a negative impression from the street. Give as much attention to staging the outside of the house as you do the inside.

–Not removing evidence of a pet.
It’s tough, but keep your pet away during showings. Deep clean carpets, upholstery and wall treatments or replace them entirely. Remove all evidence of fur throughout the whole house. Patch up walls, screens and other spots pets have scratched up. Remove stains and marks from a bathroom or kitchen cat litter box. Clean and deodorize wood floors and, if pet smells persist, strip and revarnish, seal or paint. Getting the airducts cleaned can also help with odor issues. Have a non-pet owner stop by to assess your de-petting success.

–Limiting showings.
Buyers need to be able to see the house so sellers have to be flexible to get the most potential buyers through the door. Some buyers do a sweep of house tours during a specific time period and if a home isn’t available, it won’t make the schedule.

–Going to showings
Owners who attend showings tend to hover; inhibiting buyers and making them feel uncomfortable. Owner also may find it difficult to hear people talking their homes without taking comments personally and can reject good buyers for emotional reasons.

–Trying to hide problems or failure to make required disclosures.
Be clear and honest in disclosing all problems. You can still be sued after the sale if problems are later uncovered.

–Not making repairs.
A house that needs more work becomes less appealing than its competition. If a home needs a major overhaul, it immediately reduces the pool of people willing to look at it. Offering a credit to buyers upon closing to make repairs tends to be less effective than just making the repair beforehand.

–Making mistakes with offers.
Don’t ignore early offers. If the house is priced correctly and gets an offer in line with what you’re asking, take it. Be ready to act immediately–a house get the most attention and highest offers in the first weeks after it’s listed. Also don’t blindly accept the highest offer. When all aspects of a contract are considered, the highest bid might not actually be the most advantageous.  It all depends on your situation so discuss offer strategy’s with your agent before you list.

–Not trusting the REALTORS® advice.
You know your home, but a REALTOR® knows how to sell it. Take advantage of their experience and listen to their advice on things like staging, pricing, and repairs.

–Not paying attention to the legal and financial details.
Even with a REALTOR® onboard, you need to stay involved with the process. Make sure you read contracts, understand offers and know what you are and aren’t agreeing to.

–Expecting an unrealistic price.
Pricing mistakes include: pricing too high, not understanding the local market, not heeding a REALTOR®’s advice, setting the price according to money you want or need for another purchase, and not being willing to lower the price when necessary.

–Unwillingness to negotiate.
Like it or not, negotiation will be necessary throughout the entire process on things like what repairs will be made, what fixtures and appliances might stay with the house and the dates when things will happen. Being stubborn will slow the process and can cut into your profits. Failure to negotiate on price, for example, can mean losing a sale during the crucial first weeks when the best offers typically will come it.

March 5, 2014

Hollywood Riviera, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance and other South Bay Beach Cities – Low Inventory Still a Problem

Hollywood Riviera, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance and other South Bay Beach Cities – Low Inventory Still a Problem – It’s March 5th, 2014 and it’s been almost 2 years now that we’ve had a serious low-inventory problem here in the South Bay.  May 2012 is noted as the date that inventory started shrinking and it’s been going on ever since.  Our inventory levels here in the Hollywood Riviera are indicative of what’s happening pretty much all over the South Bay Beach Cities markets including Palos Verdes.  Currently there are 5 single family homes actively for sale here in the Hollywood Riviera neighborhood listed on our CRMLS.  There are 12 houses in escrow.  This shows a relationship of how quickly homes are selling.    The average days on market of the homes that are in escrow is approximately 40.  There are a couple of homes that just recently went pending that really ruin that average because for instance one of the homes which sat on the market for 249 days was grossly overpriced from the beginning and they made 4 price adjustments from their initial price totaling approximately $120,000.  With that said, this seller’s market is still finicky when homes are over-priced.

Jan 2014 : For Sale vs. Pending in Hollywood Riviera

What to do as a Buyer in this voracious market that is moving quickly?  BE READY!   How do you get ready?  Understand what a seller is going to want.  The ball is in their court right now and if they have multiple offers what can you do to make YOUR offer stand out.  One of the most important things you can do is get your finances in order and get pre-approved with a lender.    This process actually can take time these days as lenders are requiring a lot of information from borrowers to make sure they can repay their loans.  If you are pre-approved with a lender up front, going into the bidding process will make you feel much more comfortable with what price you are able to offer and what timelines you can work within.    If a seller wants a quick close and you are already pre-approved, you can offer a seller that.  You need to be the buyer who can meet the seller’s terms as well as what price that seller may be looking to get.  It’s not an easy process and one that requires patience.  Buyers need to be ready at all times to immediately go and see properties that meet their search criteria as soon as they come on the market.  It is not unusual to see 5+ offers on one property right now.  Call an experienced real estate agent who is familiar with the neighborhood in which you are looking.  They may be privy to homes that are not on the market yet and maybe you can get a leg up on the competition this market is full of now.  Good luck.

Congrats to Christina and Andrew for the lovely remodel!

BEFORE

Andrew and Christina live near the corner of Monte D’Oro and Calle Mayor and as you can see did an amazing job transforming a very basic hillside view home into a gorgeous Mediterranean beauty.  With new smooth stucco, windows, front door, lovely front porch and new paver driveway, pathway/stairs to the front porch and all new landscaping.

Here is what they said.  “We used the Martinez Brothers Landscaping for both the hardscape and landscape. We worked with Jorge Martinez.  The landscape architect was Ric Dykzeul. He designed and drew up the plans for both landscape and hardscape a few years back for us.  Yes, we are extremely happy with the results :-)!

Thanks for making the Hollywood Riviera even more beautiful!  Great job.

AFTER


January 28, 2014

Hollywood Riviera Home Sales – January 2014

Hollywood Riviera For Sale/Sold Homes

Hollywood Riviera Homes Sales – January 2014 :

There are currently only 8 single family homes and 1 condo for sale in the Hollywood Riviera neighborhood.  The average price of the single family homes currently for sale is $1,347,187 with the lowest price home currently for sale being $899,000.   That house has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms but is located on a large hill and there is little to no backyard.  There is a nice deck in the back and there are very pretty city lights views from most rooms of the home.  The most expensive home for sale currently is listed for $1,875,499 (reduced from $1,950,00.)  This is a 3 bedroom, 2 1/2 bathroom home with just over 2200 sq ft according to the MLS listing.  While this home looks very charming and has a neat lap pool & spa in the backyard, it has not sold in 166 days and most likely could use another price adjustment (downward) to get it sold.

Properties that are sitting on the market are more than likely overpriced these days as there is very low inventory, and buyers are out early this year for properties that are competitively priced as evidenced by the fact that the average price of the 5 houses that have actually sold this year (since January 1st, 2014) have sold over their listing price!

There are 9 single family homes currently under contract or pending sale here in the Hollywood Riviera.  The average price of those pending sales is $1,217,222.  The highest listing price of those homes is $1,500,000 and the lowest listing price of those homes is $869,000.  These homes had an average Days on Market of only 48 days.  That is very low!  More evidence – if you price it right, it will sell quickly!!

Preparing your home for sale is a key factor in ensuring a quick sale.  People like to walk into homes that look like “Model Homes.”   Thus the term – builders know how to sell homes and they always stage them and they coined the term, Model Home!  I always know a house will sell quickly when I hear the buyers that are looking through say, “Does anyone live here?  It looks like a model home!”

If you would like help preparing your home for sale, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We’d love to help you prepare your home for sale this year!

January 24, 2014

Del Amo Fashion Center stores brace for end-of-the-month moves to make way for remodel

Proposed Del Amo Mall Remodel 2015- Artist Rendering

Del Amo Mall held the “largest mall in America title” from 1981 through 1992, will now undergo a huge remodel that is slated to take until Fall 2015 for Nordstrom and the new food court to be ready, according to the Daily Breeze article published January 20, 2014. Del Amo has undergone several remodels since the early nineties and today has the amazing new outdoor mall area that has terrific restaurants, movie theater and shopping which attracts many of the local South Bay residents on a daily basis.    Stay tuned and follow along with what’s sure to be an amazing community shopping/entertainment area.

November 25, 2013

Holidays in the South Bay – 2013

Hermosa Beach Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

December 5, 2013 – 6:00 p.m.
Hermosa Beach Pier

The Hermosa Beach Chamber of Commerce will host the Annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Thursday, December 5th at 6 PM at the Hermosa Beach Pier. Hermosa Beach Holiday Tree Lighting CeremonyThe event will feature the official lighting of the Hermosa Beach Holiday Tree to help kick off the holiday season in Hermosa Beach. The festivities will include holiday carolers, bands from Hermosa View and Hermosa Valley Schools, hot cocoa sales from the Hermosa Beach Woman’s Club and an appearance from Santa.

More info on our website!

Riviera Village Holiday Stroll

December 5, 2013: 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Riviera Village, Redondo Beach

Start your holiday celebrating in Riviera Village at the annual Holiday Stroll on Thursday, December 5, from 5 to 9 pm. This wonderful collection of upscale shops will stay open late that night, offering fabulous finds and delectable treats to all. The Holiday Parade steps off at 6 pm down Ave. I and Catalina Ave. and features local bands, dance teams, and dignitaries.

Sand Snowman Contest

December 7, 2013
9am-12pm

The weatherman says it’s nothing but sand! Sand! Sand! Sand! Bring your family and friends, shovels, scarves and mittens because Hermosa Beach will be showcasing its annual Sand Snowmen Contest December 8th from 8:45 PM – 12N. This holiday tradition is open to all ages and abilities. Come early and mark your spot for the best Sand Snowman! Don’t forget to bring your camera! Event check-in begins at 8:45 am and sculpting begins at 9:00 am. For more information, contact the Community Resources Department at 310.318-0280.

Spyder’s Snowfest in Hermosa Beach

December 7, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Pier Avenue Hermosa Beach

Spyder’s Snowfest in downtown Hermosa Beach is back Saturday, December 7th! The third annual event will drop over 60 tons of snow on Mt. Hermosa. Although last year’s Snowfest didn’t happen, this year Spyder, Mountain Hight and the general goodwill of the snowboard industry have teamed up to bring the event back to Pier Avenue. A riding exhbiton will be put on by the Mountain High Team and some of Southern California’s best jibbers. Tons of vendors will be there handing out free goodies, playing games, and having contests.

Vist our events page to find out more about this year’s Snowfest.

25th Annual Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks

December 8th, 2013
Manhattan Beach PierFireworks South Bay

The Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks Festival is held at the Pier every year in December. This year’s Fireworks Show will take place on Sunday, December 8th with festivities starting around 3:30 pm. This is a very popular event and crowd size can swell up to 15,000… for good reason. Manhattan Beach, with the help of sponsors like Skechers and others, puts on one of the most spectacular firework shows west of Carson. Traditional holiday favorites like a snow park, toy & canned good drive, and live music by Hyperion Outfall highlight this annual event… and of course there will be fireworks:

  • (7:00 PM) – Fireworks Show choreographed to seasonal music

Bring blankets, a bottle of wine, some gloves, friends, family, and your baby stroller, this event is a blast and the fireworks show is always top notch. The Holiday Fireworks are expected to go forward, rain or shine, on Sunday.

Find out more about this year’s 25th Annual Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks on their website.

Holiday Concert

Torrance Civic Chorale & Orchestra
December 13th & 14th, 2013 at 8:00PM
David Burks – Conductor

Celebrate the holiday season at the James R. Armstrong theatre in Torrance. The Torrance Civic Chorale has been sharing its passion for outstanding choral music with the South Bay since the early 1960s. This year they weave together an evening of Christmas and Hannukkah songs as well as major excerpts from “The Polar Express” and “Home Alone” movies. Reserved seating is available for $16.50, call the theatre box office at (310) 781-7171.

More info on our website!

Holiday Concert & Santa on The Redondo Beach Pier

Redondo Beach Pier
December 14th, 2013 – 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Surfin’ Santa Claus & Holiday Music

Holiday celebrants fill the Redondo Beach Pier Saturday afternoon for a free, community event put together by the Redondo Beach Pier Association. The stage is set for two hours of live music provided and an appearance by Mr. Claus himself. This event is family friendly and parking is FREE!.

Check out what else is happening for this annual holiday event on our website!

22nd Annual King Harbor Christmas Boat Parade

December 14th, 2013
5:30 pm

Nothing says California Christmas events like a boat parade. Combining the love of California beaches and waterways with the spirit of celebration, dedicated yachtsmen spend thousands of dollars on intricate lighting systems to deck out their boats and yachts for the annual King Harbor Christmas Parade. The seaworthy vessels within the channel follow a route that sweeps past vantage points where the public can watch the spectacular display of colors, designs and themes, often tied to the Southern California lifestyle.

The Boat Parade will light up King Harbor in Redondo Beach. Spectators can view the balconies from the International Boardwalk, Marina or Pier and the boat parade can be viewed from the seawall or Fisherman’s Pier.

The Nutcracker – Presented by Los Angeles Ballet

December 28th, 2013, 1:00 PM & 5:00 PM
December 29th, 2013, 2:00 PM

Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center

Welcome to the world of The Nutcracker. This is the production that is the heart of Redondo Beach’s year-end holiday season. Whether it is a family tradition or a once-in-a-lifetime visit, your experience of this glittering classic ballet will stay with you forever and warm your spirit. From the moment the lights dim, you will be transported to a magical place filled with adorable children, marching toy soldiers, a glowing giant Christmas tree that seemingly grows forever, mischievous mice, crystalline waltzing snowflakes, the Land of Sweets and some of the most glorious dancing on earth. Visit our event’s page to find out more about this end of the year event

There you go…fireworks, Santa, snowmen on the beach, and everything in between. Grab a jacket or at least a hoodie and join your fellow locals for these unique holiday events.

April 27, 2013

Hollywood Riviera Real Estate Market Update – April 27, 2013

Hollywood Riviera Real Estate Market Update – April 27, 2013 –

There are currently 19 homes for sale here in the Hollywood Riviera.  They range in price from $720,000 to $4,200,000 (but I am going to take this outlier from the equation to keep things on an even playing field)  So the next highest priced home is $1,989,000.  Keeping these numbers in mind, the average price for a home here in the Hollywood Riviera today is $1,271,206.  Which means the average dollars per square foot are $538.   The average days on market of these 19 homes is 48 days.  (This time last year there were 12 homes for sale with an average days on market of 72.)

There are 13 single family properties that are currently under contract or in escrow here in the Riviera.  They had an average days on market of only 33 days.  The average price of the pending properties is $1,020,077, or $524 a square foot.  (Notice that the average price and average dollars per square foot goes down from the ‘active’ homes to the ‘pending’ properties.  And it will go down further for the’ solds.’)

There have been 32 homes sold since January 1st, 2013.  The average price of those 32 homes was $1,058,622.  And the average days on market of those homes was 44 days.  The average dollars per square foot is $514.  Let’s compare this to last year (same time period: Jan 1 – April 26th.)

Jan 1 – Apr 26 – 2012
Number of homes sold = 26
Avg price = $997,750
Avg dollar/sq ft = $460

That means we’ve sold 19% more homes this year over last year with a 2.2% average price increase.  13 of the 32 homes that sold this year so far sold at or over the asking price.  9 sold over the asking price – that is 28% of the homes sold in 2013 selling above their list price.  This is an exciting time for sellers and still a great time for buyers to enter the market.  The inventory has increased over the last few weeks which means there are a few more homes to choose from.  Interest rates are still being offered at historic rates (thanks to the Feds who are still looking to stimulate our economy.  Thank you, Uncle Sam.)

April 16, 2013

Hollywood Riviera – Least and Most Expensive Homes for Sale April 2013

Hollywood Riviera real estate – Least and Most Expensive Homes for Sale – April 2013

It’s April 2013 – Spring selling season is here, yet we have low inventory compared to years gone by.  What can someone looking to live in this picturesque neighborhood expect to find?

The least expensive home currently for sale here in the Hollywood Riviera was just listed one day ago for $680,000.  It’s a fixer upper one home in from Calle Mayor, one of our micro-main drag-streets.  This quaint (aka – small) home of 1225 sq ft has ‘Riviera Fixer in need of TLC” as its main description.  Need I say more?

For those buyers wanting to get something a bit more spectacular here in the Hollywood Riviera, you might want to take a look at the home for sale on Calle de Aragon for $1,998,000 (also written up by the Redondo Beach Patch as one of Redondo Beach’s priciest homes for sale recently.)  It’s a lovely home with an incredible view of the ocean, city lights and mountains, not to mention it’s been extensively remodeled throughout – including the impeccable garage.  The backyard is all-pool and one that just doesn’t match with the rest of the home’s new style.  No idea why they didn’t dress that area up as well?  It’s been on the market now for 50 days (which as of today the average days on market of the homes currently for sale here in the Hollywood Riviera is down to a mere 45 days (although if I had to average out the days on market of the ‘high end’ homes for sale here – of which we have a bit of a glut – you’d find the days on market number increases to 82 days.)  

This leads me to a whole other story the one about pricing your home properly in today’s market.  Stay tuned….



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