Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Redondo Beach Real Estate Market Update: Are Sales Slowing Down?

Months of Housing Inventory N Redondo Beach
So there's a lot of chatter recently that the housing market has "softened". Really? I guess it depends on what your expectations are and whether you are buying or selling real estate. As for Redondo Beach, it is still, for the most part, a seller's market. Having said that, let me also add that buyers aren't just writing offers on anything that comes on the market and sellers can't arbitrarily set prices not supported by facts and comps.

Let's start with the facts, because, well numbers don't lie (for the most part). Of course they can be cleverly manipulated but I'm just not that clever.

During July there were 50 closed escrows in North Redondo Beach 90278. The most expensive property sold was for an even $1.3M and the least expensive was a mobile home in the park on 190th. So even taking the mobile out of the equation, that would be 49 sales. The median sale price, with or without the mobile is right around $750K. 

By comparison, the were 42 sales in June, 43 in May and 52 in April. Median prices were $715K, $715K, and $730K respectively. So based on those numbers looks like the market is fairly stable to me.

Currently as of this blog post, per the MLS there are 56 properties in escrow in North Redondo Beach and 10 listings have closed escrow in 99278 during the first 10 days. Looks like another month of 40-50 home sales is taking shape. 

For Sale vs Sold Real Estate Listings
So why the perception that the real estate market at the beach has slowed or softened. Well for one thing there are currently 70 active MLS listings for sale in 90278 and that is somewhat more inventory than buyers (and agents) have been seeing. But, make no mistake we are still in a seller's market. Let me define that again for those who have not been following my posts.

In Real Estate, a seller's market is less than 90 days of inventory on hand. So, with an average sales rate in the mid 40's per month, let's say 45 units, we would need to see 135 MLS listings in North Redondo Beach before we could say it is a "balanced" real estate market. We're simply just not there yet. As the first graphic on this page shows we're running at about 1.5 months of inventory right now and except for a short spike have been below 2 months of inventory for quite while.

So why the perception of a slowdown? A few reasons. First housing prices are not accelerating at the rapid rate they were last year when my buyer clients would literally see the value of their new homes increase by the time they closed escrow 30 days or so after making an offer. Second, there have not been the flood of buyers at open houses - including broker's opens, that there were a few months ago.

Let's look at each of these individually.

As for traffic at listings, with the heat, humidity, and summer vacation scheduled there is no doubt that foot traffic has slowed down somewhat. As schools start up again and people get back from vacations we'll get a good indication over the next few weeks as to how vibrant buyer interest is. But even with the slower traffic what I am definitely seeing is that any listing priced to sell will get multiple offers the first weekend and over list price in most instances. By "priced to sell" I really mean 3-5% below the market.

Average price per sq ft 90278
And to me it is somewhat ironic that with all the information available for buyers on the various portal sites that they have not figured out yet that listing agents are still playing this game. (Truth be told I do it sometimes as well.) 

The second piece of the supposed market slowdown is reflected in the listing prices. As a seller, you can not just add 1-3% to the most recent sale to "test the market" and then expect t get offers the first weekend. If you do get offers they will be lowball ones at that.

What I am feeling is buyer resistance to over exuberant (there's that word again) prices. Also buyer weariness at making multiple offers and not only not getting into escrow but sometimes not even getting a response (counter offer). My rule of thumb is that if I get a fully documented offer at or above the asking price I believe the buyer at least deserves the courtesy of a counter offer. Unless you already have the proverbial offer you can't refuse.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Contemporary Townhouses for Sale in Redondo Beach CA

If you follow me on any of my blog sites or social media you know that I really like modern, contemporary architecture which for the most part we haven't seen enough of in Redondo Beach CA.

But that is starting to change.

I really like the new construction project in South Redondo Beach (yes I know this is a North Redondo blog) located at the corner of Garnet and Prospect. MLS list prices range from $1,449,000 to $1,679,000. These detached townhomes are about 2700-3000 sq ft  and 3-4 bedrooms. Some have ocean views.

Here's how the listing broker, E Real Estate Corp, described one of the units in the MLS:

"Contemporary Elegance at its best! This newly constructed home features approximately 3000 sq. ft. of living space with 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and a full service 3 stop elevator. The magnificent gourmet kitchen features Italian Pedini custom kitchen cabinetry, wine cooler, large entertainment island with six burner cooktop and breakfast bar with Viking appliances and Bosch dishwasher. There are spectacular views of Santa Monica Bay, Malibu Hills, Hollywood sign, downtown Los Angeles, mountain white caps, and Long Beach harbor. There is also a rooftop deck that features 360 degree views. The home is very open and bright with natural light. There are floating fireplaces featured in the living room and master bedroom and exotic Kempas solid hardwood floors throughout. The home is pre-wired for 3 entertainment systems - living room, master bedroom and on the rooftop deck. Other features of the home include spacious laundry room, CAT-5e wiring, pre-wired for security system, central vacuum, glazed aluminum garage door, Navien tankless water heater, accent lighting throughout the home, complete exterior sensory lighting and much more."

Built in 2012, this like North Redondo Beach, detached town-home is super high-quality, contemporary themed, and loaded with features normally reserved for multi-million dollar, ocean front real estate. 1933 Gates is about the details. From the richness of solid mahogany hardwood floors, to carefully crafted Ceaserstone countertops, you will appreciate the build quality and high-end materials used throughout. Mahogany doors and six-inch baseboards compliment the flooring, creating a warm, architectural continuity. On the first level is a wonderful, open floor plan space with breakfast bar, dining area and great-room with fireplace. The large chef's kitchen has high-end stainless appliances by KitchenAid, a wine fridge, glass tile backsplash and ceramic tile floors. There's even a built-in doggie door. Up the flight of mahogany clad stairs to the second level there are four bedrooms, including two large master suites with private, super deluxe baths. 10 foot high ceilings make the rooms feel large and airy. Second floor skylights keep things bright and light. The home is wired for technology, security and includes a built-in central vacuum, water softener and instant hot water at the kitchen tap. There is also a landscaped rear yard.

Listed by Pier to Pier Brokers. MLS SB14157344. $1,049,999.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Redondo Beach Realty: What's Hot and What's Not!

With the Real Estate prices in Manhattan Beach rising to astronomical levels beyond the reach of most home buyers and Hermosa Beach housing not too far behind, the Redondo Beach real estate market remains hot and many homes are still selling at or above the MLS list price with multiple offers and often the first week on the market.

So, here's how that tune goes. Many listing agents will price their new listings substantially below the targeted sales price. By "substantially" below, what we mean is tens of thousands of dollars less then the market. Throw in making the listing active on Thursday morning (Broker's Open) and the result can be in general a feeding frenzy no matter how often buyers are told that this is the play. In fact, to keep the musical analogy going one of my favorite riffs that I play for my buyer clients is that it is a terrible strategy to continually chase the newest listings (because that's exactly what everyone else is doing). It makes a lot more sense to try to find some value and savings in listings that have been on the market for 30 days or more.

The two hottest Redondo Beach neighborhoods right now are (no surprise) The Golden Hills in North Redondo Beach and Hollywood Riviera in South Redondo Beach. The Golden Hills "standard product" Tall and Skinny SFR with a reverse floor plan continues to be in high demand. Unfortunately, Sellers may be getting somewhat ahead of the market and I am seeing list prices in the mod $900's on 1980's properties needing updates and/or without the second 1/2 bath on the upstairs level. Buyers (rightly so) are not going for that because it was just 90 days ago that you could buy a 1990's Tall and Skinny in the Golden Hills for under $900K. As a further example of how far and fast these prices have escalated, earlier this year I was selling 1980's Golden Hills Tall and Skinnies for under $800K.

This also brings me to another topic I'll visit multiple times in this post: resale vs new pricing. Should a resale home ever be priced higher than new? (Sometimes? Maybe? Never?)

1980's Golden Hills "Tall and Skinny"
Over the last 60 days, there were 17 Single Family Residence sales in the Golden Hills. That's almost 2 per week. (Three were on Stanford and I currently have one in escrow on Stanford so I guess Stanford is hot, lol.) Of the 17 sales, 2 were in the $900's and 4 were above $1M. below $900K, 1712 Carlson sold for $865,000 (full list price) after 6 days on market. That home was built in 1985. So, I'm not quite sure how we get to $949K for 1701 Morgan or 1640 Haynes which are both also mid '80s homes. My more jaded and pessimistic point of view tells me that in a low inventory environment, agents will lead Sellers to believe that any sales price is obtainable even though at the end of the day it is unlikely that even the most inexperienced agent would want to waste their own time marketing a listing that isn't priced to sell (as opposed to pricing under the sales price as discussed above). Speaking of selling above the list price, 7 of the 17 homes under discussion sold in the Golden Hills closed escrow above the list price. That's about 40%.

The most interesting segment of the Golden Hills market to me are the sales above $900K and specifically above $1M. Here's why. At $900K to $1M, buyers are making a very specific decision to pass on an often much larger townhouse with a standard floorplan and typically more outdoor space in order to buy a smaller SFR on a smaller lot. In fact, I've had buyers who consciously made that same decision.

4 Bedroom Casner Resale
1127 Stanford (pictured) was listed for $879,000 and sold for $900,000. It was a very nice standard layout Tall & Skinny SFR built in 2004 with 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths and the typical reverse floor plan layout. It sits on top of the hill maximizing it's City and Mountain view. Custom built and completed in 2004. Includes beautiful hand painted tiles, stonework and cabinetry throughout. High ceilings create a great room feeling with hardwood floors extending throughout the living area kitchen and hallway leading into the master suite. Master suite has a spa like custom bath, plenty of closet space and it's own fire place. Downstairs two spacious bedrooms, a full bath with colorful custom tiles.

Which is why I am struggling with the older houses listed for more. So, in the "not hot" category, overpriced listings for sure! How do you define "overpriced"? As in all things "real estate", it depends.

A recent Golden Hills sale that really surprised me was 1728 Haynes. Listed for $985K, it went for $1,005,000. The property is somewhat unique in that it is a standard floor plan with 4 bedrooms, yes 4, located upstairs and the living area downstairs flowing out to the rear yard. It was also built by Casner Construction, my favorite builder in the Beach Cities, in 2006 when the builders were jamming in all kinds of upgrades.

So here's why I was surprised by this sale. Two very similar floor plan new houses built by Anastasi were recently on the market in the 1700 block of Spreckels priced at $1,019,000. So, would you pay about the same for a resale. In this case, most likely yes. Truthfully I found the finish work and construction of the older Casner resale to be superior to the new construction (which was also very well done). But that's just me. The properties on Spreckels are still in escrow and I'll be curious to see how much they sell for when they close.

Casner Quality Finish Work
Then there's the new urban legend of the "off market sale" which is a horse every agent is flogging right now in an attempt to get new buyers (for which they do not have anything to sell). Here's an example of a Golden Hills "off market" sale.

1520 Carver St sold for $925,000 "off market". It is a 4 bedroom "Tall and Skinny" single family house built in 2000. It is 9149 sq ft which is a little larger than standard and while it has the typical layout upstairs, downstairs there are 4 bedrooms. The sale price was probably pretty close to what may have been realized on the open market. But therein lies the dilemma. Because it never reached the open market we just don't know.

So, what's hot and what's not in Golden Hills?

  • 4 Bedroom SFRs
  • Standard Floor Plans
  • Newer Construction
  • Proximity to Jefferson Elementary
  • Overpriced 1980's properties
  • No updates
  • Hodgepdge remodels
  • All bedrooms below grade

On another note, I wanted to share a sort of related story. At my Open House last weekend at 2117 Huntington, a nice young couple came in and let me know they are followers of my blog. I assume this one because the OH was in North Redondo Beach. Thank you, I put a lot of time and effort into these various websites and trying to help both buyers and sellers get some insight from the perspective of a working agent. If you do read this or any of my other blog sites and run into me, please take the time and introduce yourself, I'd love to thank you personally for taking the time to read my writings. And whether you are buying or selling now or anytime in the future just let me know your real estate objectives because I can help you.

I'll be continuing Redondo Beach "Hot and Not" discussing 3 on a lot Townhomes next.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Redondo Beach Townhomes for Sale: 2117 Huntington Lane Unit A

Living Room
I just listed 2117 Huntington Lane Unit A in North Redondo Beach for $1,079,000. This is quite possibly the nicest townhouse you will ever see in 90278.

Built in 2007 by Casner Construction, this immaculate over size Mediterranean town home has upgrades and a unique 2725 square foot floor plan you will not find anywhere else in Redondo Beach. The entire downstairs has an open great room layout and faces south and west for lots of natural light. The open cooks kitchen has high end Viking stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, a pantry, and gorgeous cabinets. There's a formal dining room plus room for a second dining table adjacent to the kitchen. Step out of either set of double glass doors to your side patio and garden. 

Master Bedroom
Upstairs you'll find four bedrooms including an amazing master suite with double door entry, walk in closet, and room for a sitting area in front of the dual sided fireplace that also opens into a  master bathroom that features custom tile work and a separate large frameless shower. One of the other bedrooms has its own attached bathroom and a terrace perfect for relaxing on while you watch the sun rise or set. There's even a second living area upstairs with cathedral ceilings and skylights for relaxing or just hanging out. The laundry room is on the second level and features it's own sink. This home has exquisite finish work usually found in much more expensive houses. In addition to the granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances, you'll find other luxurious features including 10 foot high ceilings with 8 foot doors, wainscoting, coffered, and vaulted ceilings, and beautiful engineered hardwood downstairs, on the stairway and upstairs in the second living area. This home is downright different from any other 2 on a lot and there are just too many features to list. Put this one on your list because you really have to see it in person. And be prepared - you will want to make this your new home! MLS SB14149928. Listing Broker Shorewood Realtors.

MLS SB14149928

Watch the video below then call me at 310 975 5139 for a private showing.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Coming Soon Listings: Townhomes for Sale

Cook's Kitchen
Everyone is looking for those "off market", pocket listings. I have 2 that are "coming soon" the next 2-3 weeks or so. But, you can get a head start by contacting me now at 310 975 5139.

So as you might very well be aware, Casner builds some of the finest homes in the Beach Cities with a quality not found from most other builders. Actually, in my opinion, simply the best builder in the area in terms of customer satisfaction, quality, resale, problems (as in very few) etc.

I'll be listing 2 Casner resale townhomes in MLS Area 152, South of Artesia Blvd.

Probably hitting the market first will be one of the most unique and luxurious 2 on a lot townhomes you will ever see in North Redondo Beach. The home originally was built in 2007 when builders were just going above and beyond with upgrades and finish work. The first sale was in late 2007 and those original owners have kept the home in almost better than new condition. It is larger than most 2 on a lots at 2726 sq ft (per the builder). There are 4 bedrooms and a den upstairs with a wide open very airy downstairs living area.

The second unit, most likely to hit the market at the end of July, but I can sell it to you now, is a 4 bedroom attached 3 on a lot built in 2006 that again has all the bells and whistles. It also features the in demand floorplan that has 2 bedroom downstairs and 2 upstairs

Call for pricing. I can sell these now!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Redondo Beach Golden Hills Houses for Sale

1107 Stanford Ave - I'm representing the Buyers
So as I always say to start these posts off, Redondo Beach Golden Hills Tall and Skinny Single Family Houses (SFRs) remain in high demand with multiple buyers for almost every MLS listing. Why? Location and schools.

The Golden Hills Neighborhood is serviced by two great Elementary Schools, Jefferson and Birney (depending on where in the Golden Hills you live). Many of the houses are located within (long) walking distance or (easy) biking to the beach and most of the neighborhood is as far west as you can get in North Redondo Beach before you are in Hermosa. In fact, as you drive down some stretches of Harper you can see the Hermosa Beach - Redondo Beach border in the roadway (different pavement). Some of the houses in the "Golden Triangle" area are just south of Manhattan Beach and that adds desirability for many buyers as well.

If you are not familiar with the Golden Hills neighborhood of North Redondo Beach, we are talking about the streets south of Artesia down to 190th, and on either just east or west of Aviation (for the most part). Think of Stanford, Goodman, Steinhart, Dixon, Ford, etc.

As of the beginning of the end of June 2014, here's what's for sale:

MLS Area 154 Houses for Sale June 2014
Yes, the 4th picture down is at an angle. Maybe the listing agent knows something I don't and this is the new preferred way to market homes. (There are also a few condos for sale in the Golden Hills but this post is focusing on "houses" only.)

Redondo Beach 19080's Tall & Skinny SFR
Of the available listings and prices, my "pick" would be 1811 Goodman (which I have previewed 2X). Okay its my current pick but I would like it a little better for a few dollars less even though it has had the price reduced once already from $859,000. As of this blog post, it has only been on the market for 20 days.

The reason I'm picking this one is because it is what I consider "Standard Product" for the area and the location is good. By standard product what I'm referring to is your classical 1880 sq ft reverse floorplan house with 2 bedrooms downstairs, master, living room, dining room and kitchen upstairs with a high soaring cathedral ceiling. Everyone gets what those are and the design really isn't changing anytime soon.

As for location, 1811 Goodman offers good parking with no homes across the street because that wide open ravine area sits there just south of Artesia Blvd and Manhattan Beach Mira Costa High School.

I just put a very similar Tall and Skinny SFR into escrow representing the Buyers at 1107 Stanford Ave. (pictured above) That property was listed for $879,000. There were multiple offers but I was able to get it for my clients none the less. Here's how the listing agent described that property in the MLS:

"Immaculate home located in the desirable Golden Hills with city and mountain views. Walk to AWARD winning Jefferson Elementary from this quiet street. The high ceilings and extra large balcony make this great room/living room feel huge and extra bright with tons of sunlight from the eastern exposure. The hardwood floors in the kitchen and master bedroom are impeccable and give the home a nice craftsman beach feel. The master suite is upstairs on the main level and has its own private balcony with a spa! In addition, the master suite has a large walk in closet and bath with a separate vanity area. Downstairs there are 2 more bedrooms and a bathroom with a private enclosed back yard perfect for kids or entertaining. Don't miss this home located close to the beach, schools, shopping and freeways."

Wood Cathedral Ceilings
Truth be told, we had the home inspection this last Saturday and it is in pretty immaculate condition except for a few small things typical of most homes in the area.

In addition to 1107 Stanford, there are 12 other Golden Hills Single Family Houses for Sale that are currently in Escrow (MLS status "backup" or "pending"). That means there is only 2 weeks of inventory on hand. Talk about a Seller's market!

So, with this much demand, how come the other homes for sale in the Golden Hills haven't sold? Excellent question. Price, as in too high, or just non conforming floor plans or undesirable customization.

So, let's see what comes on the market this week and what closes escrow.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Top Redondo Beach Real Estate Agent Ellis Posner in Executive Agent Magazone

I am being featured on the cover of Executive Agent Magazine for their July 2014 issue. This is mostly an "industry" publication circulated to other Realtors and lenders. But any press is good press and I really appreciate the recognition. Its pretty amazing that they actually printed some of my non traditional comments on being a Real Estate Agent. More power to them and it is great to be acknowledged as one of the Top Agents or Brokers in Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Torrance CA. Plus I get to share some anecdotes. You can read the interview here.

 Related articles
Redondo Beach CA Homes for Sale: Search MLS Real Estate Listings 90278
Selling a Home in Redondo Beach CA?
Redondo Beach Real Estate Agent Ellis Posner Outsells the Competition!
Redondo Beach Townhouse Guy Sells Another One
Are you selling a home in North Redondo Beach This Year?
Who are Shorewood Realtors Top Hermosa Beach Agents?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Redondo Beach Townhomes and Condos for Sale: MLS Search

Townhomes and Condos are one of the most popular forms of home ownership in both North and South Redondo Beach CA, 90277-90278. You can find everything from single level 1 bedroom starter units through million dollar plus detached townhomes that for all intents and purposes feel and live like single family houses. FYI, in Redondo Beach all townhomes are condominiums from a legal ownership perspective. If you are buying, make sure that your lender knows that you are considering a townhouse because there are some loan programs that are only available for single family homes and some lenders might charge a higher condo rate. Also, the HOA dues will need to be calculated into your payment for qualifying purposes.

So while all townhomes are condos from a legal perspective, in general when we refer to townhouse what us usually meant is a multi story attached or detached home. Condos are usually thought of a as flat one level units.

Here's some other links for Redondo Beach townhomes and condos for sale:

North Redondo Beach Townhouses and Condominiums for Sale
South Redondo Beach Townhouses and Condominiums for Sale
Townhouses and Condos for Sale under $500,000
Townhouses and Condos for Sale $500K-$800K
Townhouses and Condos for Sale over $800K
4 Bedroom Townhouses and Condos for Sale

Can't find what you are looking for in Redondo Beach? Here's some quick searches in other South Bay neighborhoods.

Manhattan Beach Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Hermosa Beach Townhouses and Condos for Sale
El Segundo Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Torrance Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Rancho Palos Verdes Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Rolling Hills Estates Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Lawndale Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Hawthorne Townhouses and Condos for Sale
Gardena Townhouses and Condos for Sale

Friday, May 23, 2014

Homes for Sale North Redondo Beach CA: New MLS Listings

Oversize Corner Golden Hills Lot
The inventory drought continues with about an equal number of homes for sale as in escrow in North Redondo Beach 90278 and many new listings receiving multiple offers even before the first open house. There are currently some very nice properties for sale but there is no doubt that many Sellers (or their Agents) are getting a little ahead of the market in terms of pricing. On one hand we have listings coming out at teaser prices in order to multiple offers above the asking price the first weekend and others that are priced based on the last comparable sale plus $50K. Really. There's also no doubt that many Buyers are pushing back on the price increase while others move to alternate financing to be able to qualify. Specifically, I'm seeing more buyers move to 5/1 and 7/1 ARMS and before long we may start to see interest only as well. Golden Hills remains one of the hottest neighborhoods. Four bedroom homes, whether attached or detached townhouses or SFRs are in high demand. Don't be surprised if you are seeing some resale listings priced close to new construction. A disturbing (at least to me( trend that I'm seeing is listing using the source of the square feet of the home to be other than the tax assessor. And guess what, this other source almost always states a larger number. Here's some of the properties and new listings I saw this week.


Standard Floorplan - Living Area Downstairs
1700 Herrin St, Redondo Beach CA 90278: I liked this a lot and it is even better in person than the listing pictures (left and above) show. The house (pictured above) sits on an oversize 3500 sq ft corner lot (as opposed to the typical 2500 sq ft lots in the neighborhood). Because the home is somewhat smaller at 1440 sq ft than others and the lot is larger you have a lot more very usable outdoor space. This home also features all 3 bedrooms upstairs which many families are looking for. It is priced at $789,000 but I think it will go for more, possibly over $800K. Some Buyers will pass on this one because it only has 1.5 bathrooms and was built in 1968 but that would be a mistake. In my opinion, the location, lot size and floorplan far outweigh any negatives. Upgrades include hardwood floors, crown molding, plantation shutters and more. The kitchen has stainless steel Kitchen Aide appliances, French country kitchen cabinets, Caesar stone counter tops, and a large spacious dining room area and half bath. There is surround sound throughout this home, both indoor and outdoor, copper plumbing throughout, new exterior paint, fresh interior paint throughout,  and ceiling fans in every room. And some nice fruit trees on the property. Listed by Shorewood Realtors for $789,000. MLS SB14105630. See it this weekend because most likely it will be gone very quickly.

Casner Built Golden Hills Tall and Skinny
1728 Haynes Ln, Redondo Beach CA 90278: So if you combine almost everything many Buyers are looking for - 4 bedrooms, standard floor plan, Golden Hills, walk to Jefferson Elementary, Single Family House, the best builder, relatively new construction and high end finish work, this amazing Golden Hills property is what you get. Hence the price tag of $985,000. Here's what the listing agents state: "It's unprecedented that year-after-year Casner continues to build beautiful homes in the Golden Hills. If that isn't consistency, I don't know what is. This home was built in 2006, when builders had to spend more to make more. And, this one in particular is even better. The amenities include walnut hardwood floors, dual zone AC, ceiling fans in all the bedrooms, intercom, security system, plantation shutters, central vac, stainless steel appliances, living room fireplace, 8 foot doors and high vaulted ceilings, travertine stone, huge stairway skylight, side-by-side sink laundry room, garage shelf storage, master suite with a south facing balcony, walk-in closet, jet bath bathtub and beautiful bougainvillea to boot in the south facing backyard. It's one of the few homes with the much needed traditional floor plan in a neighborhood with lots of families. The highly-regarded Jefferson Elementary is less than a block away." Price point aside, I really liked this property a lot more than I wanted to and for the right Buyers it is the perfect home. Listed by Coldwell Banker Residential. MLS SB14105391.

High End Finish Work


2021 Grant Ave Unit A, Redondo Beach CA 90278: Grant Ave is a sub market of a submarket with rules all its own. Many Buyers perceive it as being too busy and noisy while others prefer it to the one way narrower side streets. Truthfully, the newer homes with better insulation and double paned windows are not as noisy as you would expect but it is a well traveled thoroughfare for sure. I've always liked this property steps to Birney Elementary. Here's what the listing agent states in the MLS: "Custom built newer construction townhome with exquisite high-end finishes and attention to detail throughout. Coveted 3 Bedroom, 2.5 Bath reverse floor plan with bright and open living space upstairs boasts soaring ceilings and beautiful hickory floors. Gourmet kitchen with custom alder cabinetry, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. There is a breakfast bar that flows directly into the open dining space and living room. This spacious home is South facing and the sunny deck off the great room is the perfect spot for entertaining. The Master Bedroom is generous with his and hers walk in closets and large master bath boasting extensive use of travertine, glass accents and granite. The custom stone entry leads to two nice sized bedrooms, a full bath and direct entry garage. This home is immaculate and in turnkey condition with newer carpet, neutral designer paint tones and plantation shutters. Inviting front yard, low HOA dues. Close proximity to restaurants, beach, award winning Redondo Schools, shopping and freeways." Listing by Beach Cities Brokers.

2116 Carnegie Lane Unit A, Redondo Beach CA 90278: This has always been another one of my favorite properties in the neighborhood. I showed it a number of times when it was new. The enclosed front yard and curb appeal make it extremely attractive. And it is larger than other 3 bedroom townhomes in MLS Area 152 but may not be as large as advertised. (More on that later.) Here's what the listing agent states in the MLS: "Built in 2008, but like new. Custom, contemporary craftsman townhome, 3 bedroom/2.5 baths, approximately 2,067 SF, beautiful master suite with vaulted ceiling, upgraded carpet, spacious closet with built-in, master bath with Jacuzzi tub, tumbled travertine shower, double sinks, imported marble counters, travertine floors, gourmet kitchen with built-in stainless steel appliances, granite counter tops, breakfast bar opens to great room with vaulted wood beam ceilings and El Dorado stone fireplace, private front yard with white picket fence, 5" wide white oak floors and solid core doors, craftsman style construction, laundry room, skylight cat 5 cable system, 2 car garage with direct access, lots of landscaping. Buyer to verify gross living area." That last sentence is what I am talking about. If you don't think the property is the size advertised just use the tax assessor records. As much as I like this home, I have been struggling with the list price of $829,000. But in this marker I'm sure they will find a Buyer and hopefully an appraiser too! MLS SB14103866. Listing Broker Ann Leung Realty. List price $829,000.

Carnegie Ln Craftsmen Townhome


Here's what came on the market this week. Happy House Hunt and have a save Memorial Day Weekend!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Staging or Remodeling Your Redondo Beach Home to Sell

Free download - 7 Seller Tips
I've recently had somewhat of a change of heart regarding both staging and remodeling in order to sell based on what I see going on right now. Here's why. As markets change, the best strategy is the most flexible one. When prices were on the decline during the housing downturn, it really didn't make a lot of sense to spend any money to sell your home. There was simply no assurances of recouping that investment. As prices were running up last year and every property received multiple offers, why spend money you didn't have to. But today we're in a different market and because of the price points we're at in Redondo Beach, buyers simply expect and want more (as is their prerogative).

Let me be more precise in what I mean by staging (as opposed to "presentation"). I'm specifically referring to bringing in a professional staging company that will supplement or provide furniture accessories and other items strategically placed in the property in order for it to show better. I am not referring to what I usually do with my listings. That is, to walk the house with the sellers and help them prepare a better presentation which most often involves addition by subtraction, ie moving a number of items to the garage or off site so that the home is less cluttered. Removing clutter is actually one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to enhance your sales price and really costs nothing. But not what I'm referring to here. (For my 7 Home Seller's Tips, follow this link.) My own theory on de-cluttering is this. Because most people are preponderantly "visual" in their orientation and most buyers are looking at many houses on any given day, the more "stuff" you have laying around, the bigger the distraction and the less likely that buyers who view your home will remember its best features. Your clutter becomes clutter in their heads.

Here's a video of a North Redondo Beach townhome I recently listed and sold that was presented well and properly de-cluttered at low or no cost:

So, why would you crack open the checkbook and pay a staging company? First, your property may be vacant and creating a warmer feeling in your home can work wonders. There's many reasons that homes are vacant. You may have already moved to your up leg or relocation. Or the home for sale may have previously been tenant occupied. And some homes just look better with "stuff" in them.

Another reason to pay a professional stager is if your home for sale has a floorplan that leaves potential buyers asking "where do I put my TV?".  In other words, not a standard layout or one that is hard to visualize where everything goes. Or is deceptive in the size or use of the space.

The last reason might simply be that people don't like your furniture and taste. Ouch. I recently sold a home, I'll keep the address private, that how should I put it - could have been decorated differently. At one point I asked Brokers in the area what they thought about the property and what I should do and the feedback was tell the owner to get his stuff out of there and stage it.

Neatly Staged - Nice Recessed Lighting
Depending on the size of the house, staging can be upwards of $3500 per month or even approach $10K for a 4 bedroom 2300+ sq ft property. There's usually a few month minimum so that's not an investment to be looked at lightly.

Which leads me to remodeling and updating your home specifically for sale. This is another area I've changed my opinion on (for the reasons mentioned above) recently as the housing market has changed.

What I'm seeing currently, is that there are some circumstances where doing updates or even remodeling can be beneficial in unlocking the equity you have but won't otherwise see unless you spend a few bucks (assuming you have to budget to do so).

One of the most cost effective projects you can do is to improve the lighting. Many homes in Redondo Beach still have "drop ceilings" in the kitchens with ugly florescent lights. Get rid of it. It is a relatively inexpensive handyman project if you are not handy enough to do it yourself. Probably less than $500. Actually a lot less.

The next most cost effective project is to install recess lighting in any flat ceilings in larger living areas. Depending on what you put in and how large the room, budget about $1000 for a typical Redondo Beach living room. You'll get nice return on both of these investments. And I've yet to meet a buyer who prefers plastic drop ceilings in the kitchen or dark rooms that need to be lit with multiple lamps (but I'm sure there's one out there).

Next up for bang for the buck is removing popcorn ceilings. This is a messy and sometimes hazardous job that may run into the multiple thousands of dollars but will definitely help sell your home. If you remove the popcorn and install recessed lighting, even better. You most likely not only will get the money back but will sell your home quicker and most likely for a higher price as well.

Last up, at least for this blog post, is flooring. This can be a very expensive proposition and there's no guarantee that the floors you put in will even be what the buyers want. I had one sale recently where brand new bamboo floors were pulled out as soon as escrow closed and replaced! But there are some instances where putting in new floors makes sense.

For example, I had a listing recently where there was a leak from the refrigerator creating water damage to the main laminate floor as well as damage to the sub floor. Fortunately the sellers were able to recoup some money from their HO6 insurance and are now most likely putting down new engineered wood floors to replace the laminate.

But even if you don't have insurance money to play with, you might consider this project anyway. You definitely want to go with a good grade of engineered wood. Unless you start looking at exotics, budget about $10 a sq ft installed (and you can do this for less). So, if you have an older home with worn carpet in the living room, spend $5-10K on floors. You'll most likely get it back and then some.

In a future post I'll address kitchens, bathrooms and other projects. Be good.