Sunday, September 14, 2014

Homes for Sale North Redondo Beach CA Real Estate Week of 9/8/2014

The torrid pace of new listings continues with 21 homes hitting the MLS the week of 9.1.2014 up from 16 the week before (which I thought was high). Two of the new listings went into escrow in the first few days so the net new inventory gain is 19 homes.

As of Sunday morning there are now 78 properties on the market, up from 73 last week. We might see the same results next week. I know that I'm putting 2 new listings out: 2105 Mathews Unit 12 and 3303 Johnston Av. More on those later.

Last week 13 homes went into escrow (including on of mine), and 8 properties sold. So compared to the prior week, the same number of homes sold, more went into escrow, and more were recently listed. Market slowdown? I don't think so. At least not at the beach.

N REDONDO BEACH HOMES SOLD WEEK OF 9.8.2014

Closed sales last week ranged in price from $430,000 up to $1,019,000 with the median being $675,500. That was significantly skewed down by the $430K sale. Taking that out of the equation, the median was $720,000 which is probably more indicative of a reasonable expectation to buy a decent North Redondo Beach 3 bedroom (townhouse).

So what do you get for $430K? 952 sq ft "fixer" on Kingsdale across the street from the Galleria Mall. Curiously I always thought that was the "Torrance" part of 90278 but apparently it is Redondo Beach Schools over there as well. I just showed the "sister" house this morning and that one needs a backhoe more than a buyer. I always say that when they don't show the inside there is a reason. Mold on the walls, no kitchen or floors is a pretty good reason.

At the extreme other end of the spectrum is the gorgeous detached front unit townhouse at 2115 Clark Lane Unit A (pictured above) that sold for $1,019,000 (down from $1.039M). That property which was just built in 2009 with a Tuscany elevation features the standard detached 2 on a lot floor plan with 4 bedrooms upstairs. This home also features a roof deck which is rather rare for North Redondo Beach. Front units feature front and rear yards and this property is the usual "builders data" 2585 sq ft.

Of the properties that sold there were 5 SFRs and 3 townhomes. 2520 Grant was the rare Hoffman Murphy listing that sold for the list price and not above. Curiously the buyer had put an offer in on one of my listings and then cancelled. I wonder what the timing of that may have been. Hmnn.

IN ESCROW WEEK OF SEPT 8th

Fairly strong activity with 13 listings opening escrow last week. One of my favorite properties is 1114 Harper on one of my favorite blocks in North Redondo Beach just at the Hermosa border. Actually when that Tall & Skinny SFR was new in 2007, I almost bought it. Located just a stones throw from Hermosa Beach, it is a great property. Listed for $939,000 it is 1889 sq ft with a reverse floorplan. Lasted on the market 3 days. Wow. Golden Hills is HOT!

Also quickly in escrow was 2512 Spreckels Lane in the "El Nido" neighborhood. This is your classic 1950's 3/1 SFR on a 5000 sq ft lot. My prediction is that the SFRs in MLS Area 153 will come up in price as they are now selling for the most part for less than similar homes in the Torrance West High or Southwood neighborhoods. Curiously this standard sale was listed by Leo Nordine who is known for REOs and foreclosures. The house was priced at $695,000.

1306 Phelan was initially priced at $1,135,000 but as soon as it was lowered to $1,099,000 they got an offer. That property is a detached 2 on a lot townhouse with no common driveway built in 2007. It has 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths and the appraiser says it is 2760 sq ft.

I was really surprised to see 2100 Speyer scooped up so quickly. That house is a 3536 sq ft SFR on a 7502 sq ft lot in the El Nido neighborhood. It has 5 bedrooms and 3.75 baths and was built in 2009. It sits high on a corner. Finish work (marble, tons of wrought iron), just not my style. List price $1,449,000.

NEW LISTINGS WEEK OF 9.8.2014


NEW LISTING COMING NEXT WEEK

I have 2 new listings coming out. The first is an over 2000 sq ft 3 level end unit attached townhouse at 2105 Mathews. It has a great kitchen remodel and a unique floorplan with 2 bedrooms on the upper level, living room, dining room, eat in kitchen and bedroom on the middle level and a huge bonus room downstairs. It will be priced in the mid $6's but we expect it to get bid up closer to $700K. Also coming is a SFR at 3303 Johnston that I may have in escrow before it hits the MLS. It is a 3/2 SFR, about 1400+ sq ft on an 8300 sq ft lot. It will be priced in the low $7's.

Not on the MLS yet but expect to see the "Amir Amiri" SFRs on Clark (pictured above and below) hit the market next week also. These are 4 bedroom very contemporary homes standard floorplans - all bedrooms upstairs. I just don;t get the pricing which I am told will be a little above $1.2M. Really? I would have bought Harper or any number of other properties first. We'll see.

If you are surprised to see some N Redondo Beach prices creeping above $1M, don't be. With Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach priced out of most buyer's budgets, North Redondo Beach has become increasingly desirable. I am seeing some very curious examples of pricing inversion though with some resales selling for as much or more than new construction, South Redondo Beach townhomes offering significantly more than some Tall and Skinny Golden Hills properties, and as I mentioned above relative to the El Nido neighborhood, some North Redondo Beach older '50s tract SFR selling for less than their counterparts in Torrance. Sure is fun.
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Sunday, September 7, 2014

Redondo Beach 90278 Homes for Sale: Sales Activity Week of 9/1/2014

There was a crush of new listings in North Redondo Beach (90278) last week with 16 properties hitting the MLS, one of which went into escrow after 3 days for a net new of 15. Additionally 7 more properties either were re-listed, had price reductions or increases or were otherwise "churned" somehow showing up with new listings. Some of this burst of activity was no doubt due to properties that were held off the market the previous week due to the long Labor Day weekend.

Eight properties closed escrow this week (remember that Monday was a legal holiday and nothing happened) and 6 homes went into escrow (MLS status "backup or pending").

As of this blog post there are currently 73 homes listed for sale in North Redondo Beach CA. This compares to 76 in South Redondo Beach, 35 in Hermosa Beach, and 60 in Manhattan Beach. For North Redondo Beach this is the most inventory I've seen on the market in quite a while.

Let's take a deeper dive into the recent sales activity.

REDONDO BEACH HOMES SOLD WEEK OF 9.1.2014

North Redondo Beach Sales Week of 9.1.2014
The eight properties that closed escrow ranged in price from $475,000 for a 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath at 2413 Carnegie Lane up to $1,019,000 for a 4 bedroom 3.5 bath detached 2 on a lot townhouse built in 2012 at 2222 Bataan Road in MLS Area 151 "Villas North". The median price was $874,500 and the average price was $812,487. Average days on market (DOM) was 39. MLS Area 151 "Villas North" recorded 5 sales while there were 2 in "Villas South" of Artesia (MLS Area 152) and one in Golden Hills. No sales in "El Nido".

But here's the analysis you really need whether you are buying or selling.

Four properties sold above the asking price, 3 of which were below the average or median sales price. Another four sold below the listing price and all of those were above the average sales price. So what should that tell you? Basically that prices will tend to gravitate towards the median or average.

The 2 bedroom on Carnegie that was the lowest priced sale was listed at $469K and sold for $475K for cash (assume investor) in 11days. 2512 Curtis #4 was listed for $599K and sold for $607,000. 1916 Marshallfiled Unit A was listed for $699,900 and sold for $719,000 and 2112 Bataan Rd Unit B was listed for $899,999 and sold for $910K.

These four are excellent examples of my advice to sellers: price your home just below the relevant "comps" and if possible within the top half of $50K search quadrants and "the market" will bid the price up. You DO NOT have to price higher than you really will accept (yes I know you want as much as possible) to "leave room to negotiate".

Let's look at the 4 that sold for less than the MLS list prices.

Townhouse Sold for over asking price
1811 Goodman in the Redondo Beach Golden Hills was initially priced at $859K. My humble opinion $849,000 would have been a better price out of the gate. It was subsequently reduced to $849K and then sold for $839,000 after 44 days on the market. Surprising to me considering how hot Golden Hills Tall & Skinny SFRs have been.

2302 Vail was listed for $959K and sold for $949K after 48 DOM. This property was advertised as a SFR but is in fact a detached 2 on a lot townhouse (LA County property tax records show use as "condominium".)

These last 2 listings support my notion of NOT going $9-10K over a search bracket; ie list at $749,000 not $759K.

2110 Gates was originally listed for $999K and sold for $950K after a price reduction to $975K. That one really was a 2460 sq ft SFR on a 7504 sq ft lot.

And 2222 Bataan sold for $1,019,000 after 43 days as I mentioned. That listing started at $1,049,000.

IN ESCROW N REDONO BEACH WEEK OF SEPT 1st

These listings went into escrow this week
Of the six homes that went into escrow, 4 had already had price reductions and 3 were on the market for longer than 56 days including 2700 185th St which was listed for a whopping 167 days. Ouch. That 3 bedroom 1 bath 1034 sq ft SFR on a 5449 sq ft lot in the El Nido neighborhood started at $619K and you know what I think of that pricing methodology. It really should have been at $599K to start. Most recent list price was $574,900. We'll see what it finally sells for. I'm guessing less.

Another one with bad pricing was 2219 Rockefeller Unit B which originally started at $685K and was lowered to $665K. And its a SHORT SALE. Price it at $599K, not the retail price. Short sales are supposed to be "deals".

Here's an example of how sometimes numbers lie and as I am known to say, there's just enough real estate information available on the internet to get the public totally confused.

2321 Vanderbilt originally was listed for $675K on May 16th yet it only shows 17 "days on market". How could that be. It was put on hold numerous times before it was finally reduced in price to $560K. It is a probate sale and this one requires court confirmation which is not for the uninitiated or feint of heart. Particularly if you are a a first time buyer.

NEW 90278 MLS LISTINGS WEEK OF SEPT 1st


As I started out mentioning, a flood of new inventory here. There's a few properties I really like.

2004 Harriman Ln Unit B has one of my favorite floor plans for detached 2 on a lot townhomes. This is the layout with the extra bonus room at the top of the stairs on the second floor. Expect the usual crown molding, plantation shutters, coffered ceilings, stucco arches, double ovens, and everything else jammed into these mini mansions. This particular property has A/C which I think is becoming more and more useful these days and while it was built in 2004, has had numerous updates and upgrades including new stainless steel appliances. Priced at $980K which is where the newer, nicer, detached properties seem to be heading these days.

Resale SFR built in 2012
Speaking of newer and nicer, I always liked 2620 Robinson (pictured left) which was just built in 2012. It is an almost 3000 sq ft (per the builder) Craftsman style 4 bedroom (including one on the main floor) SFR in the TRW tract neighborhood. Priced at $1,399,000 on a 5158 sq ft lot and expect it all including a great open floor plan, quartz counter tops, distressed hardwood, center island kitchen, tankless water heater, backyard, stamped concrete driveway, and ready for A/C (my new theme).

An interesting property is 1204 Mackay Ln priced at $729,000. It reminds me of the before of 1506 Flagler which had been heavily remodeled and they just couldn't seem to give away. Flagler was much further west but possibly that one was a marketing snafu. 1204 Mackay is a 1388 sq ft SFR on a 2502 lot. It's not a Tall and Skinny but does have 3 bedrooms and 2 baths (even if they do need some updating). It is listed by Hoffman and Murphy who usually price their listings to sell very quickly the first week. I can't expect that they expect to get multiple offers over the asking price on this one but who knows these days.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Selling a Home in Redondo Beach CA: Avoid these Mistakes

Almost every homeowner has heard that it is a "Seller's Market" for Real Estate, nationally, locally, in LA and at the Beach. If they didn't read it online or in the news or hear it on TV, no doubt dozens of Realtors have door knocked them, cold called or sent some mailing to let them know they "are working with a family looking for a home in their neighborhood". (Yes, sorry sellers, that's just a line Real Estate agents use -  except of course when I say it when it is 100% truthful.)

So seriously, it is a Seller's market. What does that mean? Less than 3 months of available inventory "on hand" ie listed for sale in the MLS. My previous post indicated that at no point over the last year of so have we had more than 3 months of inventory is North Redondo Beach, there were times when it was under one month, and for the most part we have been looking at 1.5 months of available inventory. Currently as of this blog post, there are 70 homes listed for sale in 90278 and there have been 309 sales so far this year. So we've been averaging about 41 sales per month meaning we have 1.7 months of inventory on hand. (Currently 56 properties in escrow - some will fall out.) Seller's Market.

But there are also 39 properties that are over 39 "Days on Market" (DOM), of which 28 have been on the market longer than 45 days, 23 longer than 60 days, and 11 longer than 90 days.  So if you start to factor out the ones that are lingering with no buyers, what you see happening is that a number of properties sell very quickly and others sit. Why. Or more appropriately I could also have titled this Blog Post: Why isn't my Redondo Beach House Selling?

It's a multi-part answer that comes down to 4 factors: Price, Presentation, Marketing, and "Your Property Has Some Really Major Issues".

Let's look at each of these.

PRICE: Speak with the more pessimistic, jaded, Realtors and they'll always tell you it is price. I'm neither pessimistic or jaded but sometimes it is price so don't make this mistake. You home is not worth $25K more than the most recent comp just because the market is going up or there's no inventory or any other of a number of factors that may tend to weigh in your favor. You and your agent need to be brutally honest with yourselves and price it right. By right I mean certainly no more than the most recent comps and if you want offers the first few weeks than 1-3% less than the most recent comps. Here's why. The listing is hottest when it first hits the market. You will get showings and activity but if buyers do not perceive it to be a "deal" they will not write offers and just wait until it gets lowered. On the other hand if the public thinks it is a great deal, you will see offers, often over the asking price and quite frequently a lot of them. I see it all the time. A property that would get no offers if it were listed for $775K gets bid up to close to $800K if it is priced at $749K. I agree that it makes no sense but let's face it, a lot of this is emotional. So if you neighbors home which was identical to yours sold for $849K, price yours at $835K or even better at $829,900. You will be very happy with the outcome.

The response I often get to this methodology is "Don't we need room to negotiate?".  No. Let me repeat that. No, no no. Here's why. Buyers who have missed out on a few properties because they didn't offer enough will be well aware of the value and in order to not miss out again will make an offer over the last best comp. I see it every day. Multiple times. You don't have to go to the extreme of listing it at $799K which I see some agents do (shame on you). Just 1-3% below the most recent comp.

The key to this is being very honest with yourself about the condition of your home vs the currently active competition, what's in escrow and what has sold. If your house has original bathrooms and kitchens and the most recent comp has updated kitchens and bathrooms, make the appropriate adjustments because the buyers most definitely will. Just remember that at the end of the day the "market" not you, not your agent, sets the price.

PRESENTATION: You want to get the highest price possible, make your home as appealing as possible. It may rub some people the wrong way but once you decide to sell, you have to look at your home, all the memories, all the emotions gone and it is now a "product" that has a value that you want to enhance to the greatest extent possible.

So how do you do that?

Well every situation is different but you can most likely start by clearing out the clutter. And getting it professionally cleaned (including the carpets.) And in some instance painting or putting in new flooring. And make necessary repairs. The buyers will want to deduct from the price for the roof that is near the end of life (or water heater or furnace or who knows what). But once those items are updated they go from being negatives that will be deductions to positives that will add value. You will get your money back and more. Why? Because by advertising new roof, newly painted, new furnace you are showing pride of ownership even if you only did it to sell.

So to be clear, I am not recommending doing a major kitchen remodel to sell because for all you know the buyer may have totally different taste than you do. But I am recommending that if the roof is gone, replace it. Plant some nice flowers out front. Yard browned out, put in some grass. You get what I'm talking about.

MARKETING: You know my saying "It takes more than a yard sign and an open house to sell". So what does it really take to sell for the highest price? Massive exposure however you can get it. Hint, that does not mean print ads in the Beach Reporter or Digs. You want the maximum exposure on all the public facing portals (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com), YouTube, a single property website, and every social media site you can leverage.

Part of marketing though is also availability of showings. While open houses are great to make it convenient for buyers (and their agents) to see your home truthfully your buyer is just as likely to come for a showing with their agent. So you have to ask yourself, how do they get in?

If your house is vacant because you or your tenants moved out, the easiest simplest solution is for your agent to put one of those blue "Supra" lockboxes on it allowing access anytime. Well almost anytime as long as the lockbox is not "timed out" to limit access.

If you are living in the home and want to limit access but make it available, your agent can place the lockbox out of site or in a place not easily seen and indicate in the showing instructions in the MLS "call first". That may not prevent some of the pushier agents from coming in unannounced but most people will be respectful and polite.

Lastly is "by appointment only". It keeps out a lot of lookey loos but also maybe a few real buyers. And you agent has to be willing to do the private showings (I am).

"Your Property Has Some Really Major Issues": Ouch. This is a tough one and ultimately the only solution is price as in lower it, lower it and lower it again. We're getting to the point where some North Redondo Beach homes really have what is referred to as "functional obsolescence" meaning that the house might be structurally fine but the floor plan and layout doesn't work anymore and even worse can't be fixed. An example that comes to mind are the older SFRs in the Golden Hills that are more like "long and skinny" than "tall and skinny".  This floorplan has 3 bedrooms upstairs and only one bathroom that is too small by current standards and situated in a way that would make expanding it very costly. And the houses have small one car garages.

Another example of major issue problems are related to location. For example on Inglewood Ave or very close to it. Or under the power lines. Or too close to Aviation.

Redondo Beach CA "Off Market" and Pocket Listings: Townhomes and Houses for Sale

"to die for" kitchen
Every couple of years or so it seems that Real Estate Agents come up with some new preposterous bait and switch hook to attract buyers (I'm sorry to have to say). A few years ago it was that there was a (secret) list of foreclosures that you could only see if you were "working with them". Now the pitch seems to be "I have off market properties that you can see if I am your agent."

Last week I was with some of my buyer clients at an open house in Hermosa Beach CA and I actually over heard the agent working the open house state (in sort of hushed tones as if he was sharing a major trade secret) "you know 50% of the sales in Hermosa are private and done off market. You really have to be working with someone like me to get one of those." Really? Fifty percent? I don't think so.

Which leads me to another one of my favorite questions: "Do these agents really believe this stuff when they say it?" It reminds me of the old joke: What's the difference between a used car salesman and a Real Estate Agent? The used car salesman knows he's lying!

So after that great intro I want to tell you about a few pocket listings that I can sell now "off market" before they hit the MLS lol. Oh, you can only get these if you are working with me! Really.

Hardwood Floors
The first is a "C" Unit Casner built in 2006. It is a rear unit 3 on a lot that's about 2000 sq ft +/-. It  has 4 bedrooms, 2 up and 2 down and 3 full baths. Amazing finish work and upgrades. The kitchen (pictured above) is as the say "to die for" (but I'd prefer not to right now) with double ovens, beautiful counters and back splash and larger than some Tall and Skinny SFRs in the Golden Hills-Golden Triangle neighborhood. The great room and dining room have real hardwood floors. The rear yard is somewhat over size as 3 on a lot townhouses go. Many of the rooms face west so there is ample light in the afternoon and throughout the day. When it hits the market in about mid September, it will be priced in the high $7's. But you can buy it now for $800,000. And here's the rub about many off market sales. The seller wants to make sure they are getting top price to not expose it to the greatest number of potential buyers possible. Fair enough.

Redondo Beach TRW Tract
The second one is a 1400 sq ft single family house in the "TRW" tract of North Redondo Beach 90278. If you are not familiar with the neighborhood I am referring to, the "TRW" tract is found south of Manhattan Beach Blvd, west of Inglewood Ave, east of Vail and north of Robinson. Got that?

If not, look at the North Redondo Beach 90278 map and go to the north east quadrant and look for streets like Dow, Beland, Pinckard, etc. That's where I'm talking about.

So my pocket listing in that neighborhood is a perfect project for a flipper. The house is a 3 bedroom 2 bath on an 8000 sq ft lot (huge). Make no mistake, the house needs work. Here's the good news. My client will sell it for around $700K off market if he can get certain terms (call me for details). Similar houses in great shape could sell for the high $8's or even $9's. So just about workable for a flipper or a great deal for someone looking for a major remodel project.

Up next we have a huge over 2000 sq ft 3 level townhouse built in the late '70s with a very unique floorplan. On the main level when you walk in downstairs there is a huge open bonus room off the garage as well as a bathroom and separate laundry room plus storage. On the middle level you will find the living room, dining room, remodeled kitchen and one bedroom as well as a bathroom. The kitchen was nicely remodeled a few years ago and is quite nice. There is also a nice deck off the living room.

On the third level you'll find 2 more bedrooms, including the master. This is a quiet end unit off the street. The townhouse is located in MLS Area 151 North of Artesia Blvd and will be priced in the $6's with a target in the high $600's.

So are these really "pocket listings" only available to the select few? Yes and no.

I'm not trying to "hoard" these or double end them. Here's the reality of what happens.

TRW Pocket Listing SFR
Most sellers and their agents know weeks or in some cases months in advance that a property will be listed for sale. The lag time often has to do with making repairs, scheduling, vacations, job transfers, uplegs and a ton of other reasons. The typical discussion with a seller may go something like this: "if I can bring you buyer willing to pay (some premium over) list price, would you be willing to sell it before we hit the market." Sometimes the answer is yes, sometimes no. Or what often happens is that if the seller sees they can get X dollars with only a few showings then they surmise that with more showings they will get X plus. Possible but more likely that buyer is willing to pay more than you can get on the open market because of the exclusivity factor.

So, a few take aways from all this. First, don't mistake properties that agents know about that will be listed, their own listings or others, with those that are for sale and will never hit the market. Not one and the same and two entirely different beasts. Second, buying "off market" may save you the counter offer multiple offer two step but isn't likely to equate to a huge price advantage. The "win" is getting the deal.

So if you are interested in buying an "off market" pocket listing.....

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?

HOT
  • 4 Bedroom SFRs
  • Standard Floor Plans
  • Newer Construction
  • Proximity to Jefferson Elementary
NOT
  • Overpriced 1980's properties
  • No updates
  • Hodgepdge remodels
  • All bedrooms below grade
GOLDEN HILLS HOMES SOLD ABOVE MLS LIST PRICE


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.