Monday, May 23, 2016

How to Get that Modern Look in Your Redondo Beach Home

We're seeing more new construction homes in Redondo Beach being built with a contemporary or modern look which is my preferred style in most instances. A question I frequently get, whether it relates to staging listings or just refreshing the home you live in, is how can you "modernize" the look and feel of your home.
  • Minimize and keep the essentials only
  • Clean lines, neutral palettes and  pared down decorating
  • Use strong shapes like squares and rectangles create an effect count
  • Keep it simple. Minimalism and Modernism complement each other
  • For high style use high contrast, ie blacks and whites in the same space
  • Glass and stainless steel are must haves as are wood tones
I often write about the value of decluttering when it is time to put your home on the market. For living in the house and creating a modern effect you are going further than simply removing the clutter.

A good rule of thumb to get a modern look is to remove everything from a room you think you don't need and them find something else to take out.

Remember that modernism is a thing. There is no "contemporary-ism".

Here's some examples of modern.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Redondo Beach Real Estate Market Update

Redondo Beach Golden Hills SFR

If you've been thinking of buying, selling, or investing in Redondo Beach Real Estate and trying to figure out where things are going, hopefully these few random thoughts from yours truly will help you sort things out.
  • We've seen a nice flow of new listings hit the market over the last few weeks. Probably not enough to meet pent up buyer demand and the flood of new listings buyers were expecting to see as we got further into the selling season is not likely to materialize.
  • Even with the low persistent low inventory more than half the Redondo Beach listings linger on the market for over 30 days. This holds true whether we look at active, in escrow or recently closed sales. Something closer to 40 days on market (DOM) is a more accurate reflection of reality. 
  • About half the listings will sell at or above the most recent list price and half below. Buyers are armed with a ton of data, much of which they misinterpret, and are only going to bid up properties priced extremely competitively or those that offer an unusually desirable amenity or benefit.
  • Interest rates are very much in the news again with talk of a rate hike. While short term that may not immediately affect mortgage rates, it will over time tend to drive rates up. As I have written about previously, present price acceleration most likely can not be sustained if rates go up more than 50 basis points. 
  • As Redondo Beach prices have continued to climb we are seeing substitution becoming a more prevalent factor. Specifically, those priced out of Redondo Beach SFRs are more actively looking in Torrance now - as opposed to just buying a townhouse. With 3 on a lots around $800K and nicer 2 on a lots over $1M, those price points still buy a lot more elsewhere in the South Bay.
Here's some numbers for those of us who are data driven.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Remodeling Your Redondo Beach Kitchen

The biggest deal killer for many buyers is often a tired old kitchen that just needs a lot of work or a total gut job. Conversely, updated contemporary kitchens in older properties will often make the sale.

One of the challenges for updating kitchens in Redondo Beach is that often we just don't have that much space to work with. Or budget. So let me share a few ideas with you.

If your basic layout is good but you have the 1980's cabinets and drop ceiling there are a number of reasonably cost effective upgrades starting with removing the drop ceiling and putting in a few recessed lights or at least some eclectic lighting from Ikea. A few hundred dollars total in most instances.

First you can do a refacing or resurfacing. That's a process where entirely new cabinet doors, hardware and drawers are brought in and then a veneer is matched to the remainder of the exposed wood. Depending on who does the job and the size of the kitchen this may run anywhere from $8,000 up to $15,000.

A far less expensive solution, which I've also seen done with great success is just painting the cabinets. Some companies use a lacquer and others just, well paint the cabinets. Depends on what look you do. This can run anywhere from $2,000-$5000 with new hardware.

If you have some more budget and old white appliances, spending $3-5K on new stainless steel might be a good investment to consider. Backsplashes and counters can cost more to install but these days many buyers prefer some of the alternative materials to granite and the price can come down.

Here's my rule of thumb for most updates for sellers.

Sometimes you spend $10K and get $20K back but that is not too common. More likely if you wisely invest $7-10K you may bring a dated looking home up to "hot property" status and not only sell at or above the market price but even start a bidding war. Not sure what to do? Just call me for a free consultation.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

3506 Blossom Lane Unit B | Contemporary Modern Townhouse

You will love this contemporary, hip, oversized townhouse with a unique floorplan featuring 3 bedrooms and laundry upstairs on the same level. Downstairs is a separate room perfect for an office or working out.  The main level is west facing and drenched in natural light with a large living room opening up to a deck perfect for entertaining and sunsets. The gourmet kitchen has stainless steel appliances, tons of storage, a wine bar, and breakfast counter flowing into the perfect dining area with dramatic high ceilings and exquisite lighting.The large master suite boasts an oversized walk-in closet and the bathroom features a spa tub and separate shower. There's tons of architectural detail throughout including lit niches for your artwork. Two car direct access garage garage plus parking for 2 more cars. Best of all, no common driveway as often found in 3 on a lot townhomes.  Not a cookie cutter property this unique middle feels like a front unit. Conveniently located at the Manhattan Beach border, this wonderful home is close to restaurants, shopping, malls, parks, movie theaters, Trader Joes, the Rosecrans Corrider and the beach. Easy freeway access. Put it on your list to see. It will be your best move!

Check out the 3D Tour then call me directly for a private showing if you can't make it to the Open House.

If you've been in the market for a great Redondo Beach townhouse, this is the one: 3506 Blossom Lane Unit B. It is 1,991 Sq Ft with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Built in 2004 and priced at $799,000 which is below the Zillow "zestimate".

More pictures and floorplan:

Friday, May 6, 2016

North Redondo Beach April Sales: Best Month This Year

Redondo Beach Golden Hills Homes are in High Demand

I knew it was coming based on the number of properties in escrow but was still somewhat surprised when I saw the final closed sales in North Redondo Beach 90278 for April 2016: 53 properties closed escrow. This was up substantially from Q1 when there were only 89 sales in total. And with 67 listings in escrow as of this blog post we can expect another strong month for closings during May.

The flip side is that we have been trending at about 30 active listings in 90278, except for Thursday mornings, at any given point. So whether based on sales or properties "under contract", the absorption rate available inventory looks to be over 100% and somewhere between 2-3 weeks. Great for sellers, not so much for buyers.

Here's a few things that jump out at me looking at April sales.
  • Median Price is $882,000 but the average sold price is 935,662 indicating that.....
  • Prices are still going up with no end in sight (yet).
  • 20 homes sold were built 2000+ and 4 new construction.
  • Prices ranged from a low of $565K all the up to $1.5M.
  • 21 homes sold for over $1M (39.6%).
  • 11 sales in the $700's, 7 in the $800's and only 5 in the $9's
  • 27 listings sold in 30 days or less
  • 29 properties sold at or over the list price which means that.....
  • 24 homes sold at a discount to asking.
  • The longer the listing was on the market, the more likely it sold for less than asking price.
Here's an analysis by micro market area and some of my favorites.


Homes in the Redondo Beach Golden Hills neighborhood are in high demand. Very high demand to be more precise with 15 out of 53 closed listings occurring in MLS Area 154. Prices ranged from $715K up to $1.5M.

Eight listings sold at or above asking and seven below. For properties that did get bid up, $50K over asking was not uncommon at all. SFRs were 14 of the listings with one detached 2 on a lot townhouse thrown in for good measure (pictured above - very rare to find in this neighborhood).

If you are in the market to buy a Golden Hills "Tall & Skinny" be prepared to spend $1M or more for a nicer newer example or a remodeled older 70's 80's property. Median price for April was $1,025,000.

Buyer demand seems equally split between the Triangle area adjacent to Manhattan and Hermosa Beach and the streets around and within walking distance to Jefferson Elementary. Anything larger than the standard 1888 SqFt reverse floorplan 3 bedroom on a 2500 SqFt lot will bring a higher price particularly with a neighborhood or mountain view.

Here's the April Golden Hills sales recap.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Redondo Beach Seller Tips: Read Before You List

Yes, we all know it is a "Seller's Market" but it still takes more than a yard sign, an open house, some photos on the agent's iPhone and a printout from the MLS to sell your home. That is, if you want to get top dollar and the best terms. Here's the best practices for selling your Redondo Beach home today.

1) NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS UPGRADING: Door hinges, vent covers, cabinet knobs and light fixtures are good places to spend because they’re small fixes that make a big difference in appearance. I recently changed the handles on the kitchen in my house and it really changed the look. (Home Depot Aisle 18 - I know it well.) And we swapped out some fans and pit in LED recessed lighting where the old bulbs were. Less than $1500 can go a long way in many homes.

Think about other small, easy upgrades you can make. If you’re not sure about where to put your money, stick to kitchens and bathrooms. Just check with me first to find out exactly what to do in the those rooms because it is easy to over spend.

Also, don’t hide your house behind ugly landscaping. Maybe it is time for drought tolerant landscaping or to give your home a fresh coat of paint. Seal the driveway. Make a good first impression because you’ll never sell your home if you can’t get a buyer through the front door. In other words, up market or down, curb appeal is still part of the game.

2) HOME STAGING COUNTS: Your potential buyer is visiting other listings that show well. Really well. You may love your "stuff" but it is time to get a lot of it in the garage or a storage unit. 

If you can't "declutter" just think of doing edits to make your home more generic and less specific to your family and needs. It’s just too difficult to imagine yourself in a home made up for someone else. It might be your ideal style, but it probably isn’t anywhere close to the buyer’s taste. You can come to my house and say the same thing. 

Focus on keeping the staging as clean and simple as possible. If it’s going to be difficult keeping things cleaned up, move out. Clutter and mess won’t sell your home.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

New Listings Redondo Beach CA

Finally some new listings in both North and South Redondo Beach CA this week. Maybe as we enter the peak selling season we will start to see a better flow of listings. If you have been wondering why new listings seem to mostly hit the MLS late Wednesday and Thursday AM, it is just Agent's playing games with the days on market so they can say at the weekend open house that it has only been on the market for 3 days or 4 as opposed to 5. I'm not a big fan of this practice for a variety of reasons not the least of which is that as a listing agent you want the maximum market exposure to make sure you get the greatest buyer interest.

Here's some I like. Check them out before they are in escrow. The best ones will be gone by the middle of next week.

1621 Carver St, Redondo Beach 90278: Redondo Beach Golden Hills. Very cool, hip, modern architectural Tall & Skinny SFR. Sitting high on the crest of a quiet one-way street, this home invites plenty of natural light and air through its many windows and skylights. The design of the home intentionally capitalizes on this light and air as it is flows through the angles and curves. oThe upper level living space, with its cathedral ceilings, includes a two-sided fireplace for additional ambiance. The open dining area benefits from the fireplace and also features a built in china cabinet. The kitchen includes stainless steel appliances with a low profile exhaust hood and colorful cabinets. The spacious master suite includes a west-facing balcony for more sunlight and breezes, two fan/light fixtures, new carpet and a walk-in closet. The master bathroom features a separate shower and tub each with their own faucet plus hand held sprayers, dual sink vanity with granite counter tops plus espresso cabinets. 

505 El Redondo Av # A, South Redondo Beach 90277Detached Town Home in South Redondo Beach on quiet tree-lined street within walking distance of Redondo Union High School. This stuccoed, tile-roofed, 2,300 square foot home offers 4 bedrooms, all on the 2nd floor, plus an office on the 1st floor. The master suite has a large walk-in closet with custom built-ins and a balcony overlooking the private landscaped front yard. Beautifully updated living room fireplace, plantation shutters, hardwood floors, travertine marble baths, new Berber carpeting and one of the best neighborhoods in the South Bay. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Don't be Fooled by "Days on Market"

How Long Has it Been on the Market?

At every Open House I hold, buyers always ask the same 2 questions: "What are the taxes" and "How long has it been on the market?". I find the second question rather interesting when everyone these days is walking around with some mobile app that is giving them exactly that information. But it is asked none the less. Let me ask "Does it really matter"? The answer is, yes and know.

On the yes side, with the low inventory we've been experiencing, the old adage that the listing is hottest the first 10 days is more valid than ever before. A hot listing won't even last ten days. The implication for buyers is that you can expect the newest listings to sell at or above the list price during the first ten days on the market. If a property has been listed for 30 days or longer, chances are that it is over priced or undesirable in some other way unless, of course, it has fallen out of escrow through no fault of the home. For example the buyer did not qualify for the loan (after presenting a very solid pre-approval letter).

So let's say 123 Main St was in escrow after 3 days on the market and 21 days later the buyer couldn't perform and canceled, the days on market (DOM) might show 24 even though it was only available to the public for 3. Huh, how could that be?

When an offer is accepted the listing agent has the option of changing the status to either "backup" or "pending". The DOM counter continues to add days to properties in backup status which in some ways makes sense because in theory it is available for backup offers. I say in theory because mostly the agents really just want their listings to continue to show as active on all the websites so they get calls. Yes, Zillow, Trulia, and all the others continue to show backup listings along with truly available properties - most likely so they can sell more "impressions".

The point I am trying to make for buyers who are focused on Days on Market as an indicator of value or how much to offer is that as currently construed it is a misleading data point. Here's what current DOM looks like for North Redondo Beach.

Friday, April 22, 2016

How Much is My Redondo Beach Home Worth?

Like most things real estate related the answer is "it depends". Are you talking about a value for refinancing or selling? If you are selling what is your time frame? Do you need any special buyer concessions such as a leaseback? Is the property a trust, probate, or distressed sale?

So while the general lack of inventory has created what the economists are characterizing as "choppiness" in the market, the simple fact is that there are still more buyers than sellers and the bidding and activity on new listings that present well are marketed and priced correctly is fierce.

With rents steadily rising and average fixed rates on loans still at 4% or below, the environment is ripe for selling. But unfortunately the low inventory in the range of affordability for first time buyers persists. While you will find properties priced lower, for the most part $750,000 and up is what it takes to buy a 3 bedroom 2 bath home in Redondo Beach these days. On the upper end we are seeing prices for new construction in South Redondo Beach coming in at $800 SqFt and list prices of $3M and over. In North Redondo Reach you can be looking at new homes selling for over $1.3M and up to $1.8M. Of course as new goes so goes resales. 

While I am not a great fan of the automated valuation models (AVMs) such as those found on Zillow and other sites they sure are fun to play with, Especially if it shows the value of our homes as higher than we think. But that rarely happens.

One of the problems with AVMs is that they are "automated" meaning they crunch the numbers of your home based on age, location, lot size, Sq Ft and other factors but they have not seen the house. So if you have a great view, lots of updates etc there's just no way the AVM is aware of that and your number will come in low. On the other hand if every comparable property is in great shape and yours is a dump, the AVM may over value it. But that doesn't mean you can sell it for that price.

Remember, the seller may set the list price but the market decides the sales price.

For the link for your automated home value and then contact me directly to find out how much your home is really worth.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Redondo Beach Golden Hills | Still the Hottest 90278 Neighborhood

Sold in Redondo Beach Golden Hills | Buyer Represented by Ellis Posner

The insatiable demand for homes in the Redondo Beach Golden Hills continues unabated with many new listings selling quickly with multiple offers over the asking price. And prices continue to go up simply based on supply and demand.

So far this year there have been 28 homes sold in the Golden Hills. Curiously there were only 15 sales Q1 and 13 so far this month. There are also 14 properties currently in escrow. So for April we most likely will exceed the previous 3 months combined.

Prices ranged from a low of $555K for land value of a small 1547 SqFt lot up to $1,699,000 for one of the nicest new construction SFRs I have seen in North Redondo Beach. In fact, 9 of 28 sales in the Golden Hills were over $1M this year. That's over 30% if you don't have a calculator handy.

The median sales price right now of closed escrows is $930,000 and the average sales price is $974,710. Seventeen homes sold at or above the asking price and eleven below the asking price. As with every time I do this analysis, the ones that go into escrow the first ten days or so will most likely get full price or higher.