Saturday, April 30, 2016

Redondo Beach Seller Tips: Read Before You List

Redondo Beach Home for Sale

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

New Listings Week of April 25 2016

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. 

Built in 1992, 1872 SqFt, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, $1,049,000. Listed by RE/MAX Estate Properties.

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. 

Built in 2000, 2306 SqFt, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, $1,149,000. Listed by Coldwell Banker Residential. 

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.

It is highly doubtful that the listing you want to buy is going to be available anywhere close to these average DOMs. So what you should really be asking is when the property was first listed and if the answer is longer than 30 days has it been in escrow before or have there been any price reductions (which many of the websites also show).

Here's another tip.

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.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Redondo Beach Buyer Mistakes

Does this sound familiar?

You have one or multiple mobile Real Estate apps and a number of searches saved. You go to open houses every weekend and put offers in only to get outbid or be asked to waive every contingency known. As you chase the market up and increasing price points you get more and more discouraged.

There's got to be a better way, right? Here's what I see going on.

Some buyers quickly "get it" and understand that in this low inventory multiple offer environment unless you are willing to do what it takes, you will not get into escrow.

If you are pursuing the new listing open house strategy, it is important to accept the fact that the listings you are looking at will sell for 3-5% over the asking price, or more, if they go into escrow the first few weeks after they hit the market. So rather than get priced out, you might be better served by reconsidering your downpayment amount as 25% of the purchase price and then looking at properties initially priced 5% below that. I totally understand that at the lower price point you may not be looking at properties you ostensibly aren't interested in. And there's no way I would recommend that you buy a home you don't love. But you will get into escrow by adjusting your expectations.

Alternately, another strategy is to be looking at homes that have not sold in over 30 days. They will sell below the asking price, often by 1-3%. You do not want to wait for the price reduction to happen because now you are in a competitive situation again.

Another good approach is to have your agent, maybe that's me, calling to check on properties in escrow whether the status is backup or pending. Properties fall out of escrow and if you can get one before the market frenzy starts again you may be ahead of the pack.

Lastly is the elusive "off market" pocket listing.

Monday, April 11, 2016

March Redondo Beach Sales Up | Inventory Still Very Low

North Redondo Beach had a nice recovery from Jan-Feb when sales were paltry but with low inventory of only 32 homes for sale, 90278 remains the hottest South Bay market by far.

With 38 sales in March, we are looking at less than 30 days of inventory on hand making for an extreme Seller's market.

Because the price point drops significantly from Manhattan and Hermosa Beach which may be part of what makes 90278 so hot.The median sales price was $862,000 and the "average" sales price was just about the same at $863,393. So, still "affordable" at least as things go these days.

Last year during March there were 54 sales so that's quite a drop off but mostly attributed to inventory shortages. Q1 2015 sales were 108 in N Redondo and this year Q1 sales were 89. That's a 17% drop off. With 32 active listings and 69 on escrow 90278 is an extreme Seller's market.

Prices may continue to escalate with the huge buyer demand we are seeing.

My opinion is that Redondo Beach has the potential to show the most appreciation in the South Bay over the next 5-7 years and South Redondo Beach may outperform 90278 once the public gets more familiar with the Redondo Beach Pier Revitalization plans. In particular I see a very big uptick in the homes North of Torrance Blvd on both sides of PCH.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Jumping the Shark in North Redondo Beach | New Market Highs

Highest Prices Paid for Houses in N Redondo Beach

Looking at all the sales recorded by Realtors in the MLS, there have only been seven instances of prices exceeding $1,600,000 in North Redondo Beach. In the prior market high, we had 3 instances in 2007, one in 2005 and this time around two in 2015 and one this year so far in 2016.
All of these previous sales were large SFRs, over 3000 Sq Ft with 4-5 bedrooms and with one exception were on 7500 SqFt lots. You've seen these houses around town, here's an example of what I'm talking about - this one sold for $1,634,000 almost a year ago and considering where prices are now was a great deal.

Take the same house and put it in East Manhattan Beach and add $750K or in South Redondo and add $450K. And considering that 2 on a lot detached townhomes are now approaching $1.3M these SFRs are certainly worth a lot more.

I find it indicative of the times to see that compared to 7 previous sales over 10 years, we now have 4 listings in active or pending over $1.6M in N Redondo Beach. For those who doubt that prices are going up this has to be disconcerting. And let me say that I am as surprised as anyone else.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

2725 Spreckels Lane Redondo Beach Sold "Off Market"

2725 Spreckels Redondo Beach CA 90278

We accepted an offer on my "pocket listing" in the Redondo Beach El Nido neighborhood at 2725 Spreckels Lane yesterday before it "officially" hit the market. I did advertise it as a "coming soon" listing on Zillow.

While I definitely received some calls from the Zillow "pre-listing" and had mentioned it to a number of agents and publicized it on this site and others, clearly there were those people aware of the property being offered and waiting for it to hit the MLS.

To them, I apologize because I believe that everyone should have a fair shot at every property. Also, for the record, I am NOT representing the buyer and this is not an instance of an agent being greedy in this low inventory market.

I entered it in the MLS for, as we say, "comp purposes". Well unless the deal doesn't go through.

Here's the description:

"Totally updated inside - newer wood floors in living room and dining area. Tiles on kitchen and bathrooms. New counter tops, built-ins. Lots of cabinets. Window changed to Vinyl. Newer front door with secure screen door. Big back yard with fruit trees and double car garage plus additional parking."

Not very exciting but really what can you say. List price was $750,000 and it sold above that of course.

Redondo Beach New Listings: What's Going On?

2206 Harriman Ln Redondo Beach CA

Yes, the inventory is as low as it appears to be with North Redondo Beach having far fewer homes for sale than South Redondo Beach. Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach seem to be increasing listings with only the lowest priced offerings getting multiple offers. Not so in North Redondo Beach where anything under $800K will most likely get a half a dozen offers or more and be bid up.

Here's some observations.

  • This does not continue indefinitely with an endless run up in prices. Many of the buyers looking today are Manhattan Beach or Westside renters who have figured out that they can own in 90278 for what they are paying in rent elsewhere. At some point they simply say no and that point may be closer than we think.
  • At some point, which may only be weeks from now, more homeowners say "I want to take my money off the table and move on" and the inventory increases. This is particularly true for those who bought at the height, were underwater and held on. They may have now been in a home for 10 years that under normal circumstance they would have sold 5 years ago.
  • Interest rates will go up suppressing prices. Yes, we've been saying that for a while now but it will happen. Not sure when but the effect will be even more demand than previously, most likely more inventory and then price stabilization.

I'm often asked why so many Redondo Beach listings hit the MLS on Wednesdays or even Thursday.

Great question. Here's what's going on.