Silver Strand Update

The real estate market has been heating up recently, especially in the Venice and Marina Del Rey area!

What does this mean for you? Whether or not you live in the Silver Strand, the trends we see there have implications that affect real estate trends for the surrounding neighborhoods.

If you are interested in finding out more about Silver Strand market activity, or local trends in any other neighborhood from the Venice Silver Triangle, to the Marina Peninsula, to the Venice Canals, to any other local market, we’d love to hear from you

debraandpat@bermankandel.com    —    310.577.2320

The Weekly Shortlist: Tuesday Edition

New Listings

$2,150,000
5 bed / 4bath
2144 Sq. Ft.

Enjoy DIRECT OCEAN VIEWS from this ocean front duplex and direct access to sand and beach! Find out more…

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Sold Listings

$6,500 / month
2 bed + loft / 2.5 baths
1,528 Sq. Ft.

Everything you’ve ever wanted in a beachfront home; oceanfront master bedroom AND living room, designer kitchen with Viking stainless steel appliances including gas range, wood floors, fireplace, side by side parking, and more!  Get the details here…

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New Escrows

$2,499,000
3 bed / 4 bath
4856 Sq Ft.
Incredible, canal front, beach compound like no other home on the Marina Peninsula with spectacular canal and ocean views! More info here…

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Open Houses

Tuesday, March 6, 2012 / 12:00 – 2:00pm

$5,900,000
9 bed / 7 bath
4390 Sq Ft
Incredible opportunity to own a piece of history! A Venice landmark since 1911, the Venice Beach House is now recognized by the National Register of Historical Places.  Find out more…

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$1,849,000
3 bed / 3 bath
2376 Sq. Ft.
Classic meets modern in this beautifully appointed Venice Beach Craftsman!  More info and photos after the jump…

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Sunday, March 11, 2012 / 2:00 – 5:00pm

$1,849,000
3 bed / 3 bath
2376 Sq. Ft.
Classic meets modern in this beautifully appointed Venice Beach Craftsman!  More info and photos after the jump…

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$250,000
1 bed / 1 bath
600 Sq. Ft.

Perfect penthouse condo for enjoying all that L.A. and Hollywood living has to offer! A quiet and sunny unit, just 1 block from Melrose! Get the details here…

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Real Estate News

30-Year Fixed Mortgage Rate Down Slightly (Zillow)
FHA to hike premiums on mortgages (CNN Money)
Pending sales of existing homes up to nearly 2 year high (LA Times)
Touring Glen Irani’s First Hover House on the Venice Canals (L.A. Curbed)
Rental Housing 2011: The State of L.A. Rentals (Economic Roundtable)

The Need for a True Real Estate Professional

The KCM Blog recently posted an article in response to NAR’s just released 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

Anyone in the real estate industry for any length of time realizes that the education required and the resources necessary to be a true industry professional have dramatically increased over the last two decades.

Consider the ups and downs of today’s volatile market.  As the KCM crew points out, “It is necessary to have a true real estate professional if you want to sell your home for the best possible price in the shortest amount of time – and make sure the deal gets to the closing table!”

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 18% of all contracts were cancelled in the previous month. This compares to 16% the prior month and 9% in August of 2010.

The good news is homeowners have realized that attempting to sell their home on their own is an arduous process best left to an industry expert. According to NAR’s 2011Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the percentage of sellers selling on their own, known as For Sale By Owners (FSBOs), has dropped almost in half over the last 20 years:

The bottom line is that if you are considering selling your home, now more than ever before, “It is best to take on the services of a local real estate expert. He/she will guide you through each step of the transaction thereby increasing the likelihood that there will be fewer inconveniences for you and your family.”

Berman and Kandel’s NPR Cameo

This past Friday, Berman and Kandel’s own Deb Berman was featured in an NPR (National Public Radio) morning edition segment about the recent uptick in the real estate market.

According to NPR, “Rock-bottom home prices and record-low mortgage rates are tempting buyers back into the market. The National Association of Realtors says sales of existing homes rose nearly 19 percent last month over the previous year.”

As an industry veteran and local real estate expert, Debra’s commentary provided an insightful perspective on rising real estate activity, particlarly in the Venice, Marina Del Rey, Mar Vista, Santa Monica, Culver City, and Playa del Rey areas.

Take a minute to listen to the full segment by clicking here.  You can also read the full transcript, which is available here.  We would love to hear any comments or reactions you may have

Inspection Basics

While the majority of real estate sales and purchases include a  physical inspection, it can be a gray area for many people.   Whether you are buying/selling a rehabbed bungalow in Venice, a brand new home in Playa Vista, a tear-down oceanfront home on the Marina Peninsula, there’s a few basics to keep in mind when it comes to your home inspection.

What is it and why do I need one?

According to the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA): “An inspection is a visual examination of the structure and systems of a building.”

As a buyer, it’s important to make sure your agent includes an inspection contingency clause in the real estate contract, which will allow the buyer to proceed based on what the inspection reveals.  As a seller, it can help identify potential problems that were previously unknown.   As the CREIA points out, “Many problems frequently encountered after the buyer moves in, are a routine discovery for a qualified home inspection.”

At the very least, the inspection is a key part of what should be an informed real estate process for everyone involved.

What does it include?

According to the CREIA:

A complete inspection includes a visual examination of the building from top to bottom. The inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the structure, roof, foundation, drainage, plumbing, heating system, central air-conditioning system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors. Only those items that are visible and accessible by normal means are included in the report.

What happens if there are problems?

Depending on the type and severity of any discovered problems, the buyer may or may not decide to request that the seller make repairs, and the seller may or may not agree to make them.  For some buyers, its enough just to know what types of maintenance to expect in the future.   Other buyers might feel that the potential maintenance might be too much of a financial burden and opt not to buy the property after all.

Do I need an inspection even if the house is brand new?

A home inspection, advises CREIA, is always a good idea, even if the home is brand new.  As they point out:

No home, regardless of how well it is constructed, is totally free of defects. The construction of a house involves thousands of details, performed at the hands of scores of individuals. No general contractor can possibly oversee every one of these elements, and the very nature of human fallibility dictates that some mistakes and oversights will occur, even when the most talented and best-intentioned tradespeople are involved.

What can I do to maintain my home?

One of the best things homeowners can do to ease the inspection process and minimize property damage is through regular maintenance.    The CREIA offers a number of excellent tips for cost effective home maintenance:

  • Clean both rain gutters and any roof debris and trim back excessive foliage from the exterior siding.
  • Divert all water away from the house (for example, rain-gutter downspouts, sump pump discharge locations, and clean out garage and basement interiors.
  • Clean or replace all furnace filters.
  • Remove grade or mulch from contact with siding (preferable 6-8 inches of clearance).
  • Paint all weathered exterior wood and caulk around trim, chimneys, windows, doors, and all exterior wall penetrations.
  • Make sure all windows and doors are in proper operating condition; replace cracked windowpanes.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs.
  • Make sure all of the plumbing fixtures are in spotless condition (toilets, tubs, showers, sinks) and in proper working order (repair leaks).
  • Provide clear access to both attic and foundation crawl spaces, heating/cooling systems, water heater/s, electrical main and distribution panels and remove the car/s from the garage.
  • And finally, if the house is vacant make sure that all utilities are turned on. Should the water, gas or electric be off at the time of inspection the inspector will not turn them on. Therefore, the inspection process will be incomplete, which may possibly affect the time frame in removing sales contract contingencies.

You can find more commonly asked questions on the FAQ page of CREIA’s website.  For more information about inspections and what to expect, visit CREIA’s Homebuyers/Sellers page, or email us at debraandpat@bermankandel.com.

Making the Decision to Buy

If you are considering buying a home for the first time, there are a few factors to take under consideration when deciding whether or not you are ready to buy a home.

Stability

  • Renters are subject to rate changes every year.  As a homeowner with a fixed rate mortgage, you will pay the same monthly rate for the whole life of the loan.   You also don’t have to depend on a landlord or management company to address repairs or problems with the property.
  • Owning a home can provide families and communities with more stability.  Some studies suggest a connection between home ownership and higher graduation rates as well as lower crime rates.

Finances

  • Employment.   Are you steadily employed?  If you need a loan, will your employment history qualify you? Do you expect any changes in employment within the next couple years?
  • Credit.  Is your credit good?  Will you be able to afford the monthly payment with your new home?
  • Savings.  Do you have enough savings for a down payment?  Most loan types require a 20% down payment on the property.  Do you have reserve emergency fund set aside?  It’s a smart idea to have at least 6 months worth of reserve in the bank, enough to be able to cover all of your monthly expenses for each month.

Once you decide you’re ready, now is a perfect time to buy a home!

For more info and talk about your options, please feel free to email us at debraandpat@bermankandel.com, or visit our website here.

June 2011/ Local Market Updates

At the end of every month, Berman and Kandel likes to put together a market update for all of the local communities.  Here’s a look at what’s been going on in your neighborhood and around town!

Marina del Rey – Peninsula

June Listings:

  • 3209 Ocean Front        —    $3,150,000
  • 5318 Pacific                    —    $2,675,000
  • 20 Topsail                       —     $2,325,000
  • 27 Quarterdeck             —    $1,925,000
  • 3710 Esplanade            —     $1,800,000
  • 124 Buccaneer               —    $1,695,000
  • 6 Voyage #204              —    $1,499,000
  • 24 Buccaneer #2           —    $1,350,000
  • 24 Buccaneer #1           —    $1,345,000
  • 114 Buccaneer                —    $749,999
  • 4105 Pacific #6              —    $739,000
  • 30 Driftwood #3            —    $719,000
  • 20 Catamaran #304     —    $679,000

June Sales:

  • 14 Ketch #1                      —    $1,100,000*

Year to Date:

  • Listed in 2011                 —     44
  • Sold in 2011                     —    16
  • Currently Listed            —     37

Marina del Rey – Silver Strand

June Listings:

  • 146 Channel Pointe           —    $2,875,000
  • 311 Bora Bora #310          —    $710,000
  • 3722 Via Dolce                   —    $629,000
  • 4200 Via Dolce #134       —    $559,000
  • 311 Bora Bora #306          —    $439,900
  • 4600 Via Dolce #210       —    $439,000

June Sales:

  • 4319 Roma Ct                      —    $1,825,000*
  • 310 Tahiti Way #107       —    $425,000*

Year to Date

  • Listed in 2011                      —     30
  • Sold in 2011                         —      17
  • Currently Listed                 —      24

Playa del Rey – Beach

June Listings:

  • 7301 Vista Del Mar #22   —    $2,175,000
  • 7301 Vista Del Mar #6      —    $1,288,888
  • 7301 Vista Del Mar #37   —    $1,200,000
  • 7301 Vista Del Mar $42   —     $1,199,000

Year to Date

  • Listed in 2011                        —    26
  • Sold in 2011                           —     4
  • Currently Listed                   —     25

Playa del Rey – Bluffs

June Listings

  • 8115 Zitola Terrace            —     $1,675,000
  • 8152 Billowvista                  —     $1,599,000
  • 8307 Zitola Terrace           —     $1,099,000
  • 8211 Billowvista                   —     $875,000
  • 8115 Colegio                          —     $620,000

June Sales

  • 8221 Tuscany                        —     $841,000*
  • 8216 Tuscany                        —     $837,000*
  • 8101 Tuscany                        —     $800,000*
  • 8138 Tuscany                        —     $751,000*
  • 7337 W 85th St                     —     $625,000*

Year to Date

  • Listed in 2011                       —     31
  • Sold in 2011                           —    21
  • Currently Listed                   —    16

Playa Vista

June Listings:

  • 5625 Crescent #221                           —     $725,000
  • 6020 Seabluff #129                            —     $720,000
  • 13173 Pacific Promenade #103    —     $585,000
  • 5935 Playa Vista #109                      —     $549,000
  • 13045 Pacific Promenade #125     —    $525,000
  • 5625 Crescent #110                            —     $479,000
  • 12975 Agustin #417                           —     $449,000
  • 6400 Crescent  #122                          —     $349,000
  • 12975 Agustin #319                           —     $338,400
  • 6400 Crescent #113                           —      $335,000

June Sales:

  • 5739 Dawn Creek                                 —      $875,000*
  • 12975 Agustin #408                          —      $550,000*
  • 13045 Pacific Promenade #136    —       $539,136*
  • 13173 Pacific Promenade #230    —      $529,000*
  • 5400 Playa Vista #6                           —      $516,500*
  • 6400 Crescent Park #224                —       $460,000*

Year to Date:

  • Listed in 2011                                        —       74
  • Sold in 2011                                           —        55
  • Currently Listed                                   —        32

Venice Beach and Canals

June Listings:

  • 480 S Venice Blvd              —     $1,450,000

June Sales

  • 2309 Grand Canal              —     $2,750,000*
  • 412 Sherman Canal            —     $2,250,000*
  • 36 30th Ave                          —     $1,300,000*
  • 2908 Grayson Ave             —     $1,149,000*
  • 3010 Grayson Ave             —     $750,000*
  • 36 Breeze Ave #1                —     $710,000*

Year to Date

  • Listed in 2011                       —     21
  • Sold in 2011                           —     15
  • Currently Listed                   —     13

*Price per MLS data

Short Sale: 101

The latest edition of the CAR’s bi-monthly magazine, California Real Estate, is focused entirely on understanding the short sale process.  One article in particular, “Anatomy of a Short Sale,” did an excellent job of breaking it down.  

“With nearly 1 out of every 3 homeowners nationwide owning homes that are worth less than their mortgages, the number of short sales tatewide is expected to increase as owners and banks seek a solution to the underwater market dilemma.”

Navigating a short sale  can be daunting and time-consuming process.  As a seller, the right agent–one with exceptional negotiation skills, who is overly-attentive to paperwork, and whose patience never seems to end–can make a WORLD of difference.

Experts in the short sale process advise that it would be wise for sellers to seek a Realtor with short sale training, “on the issues, options, and solutions involved in handling these transactions, which are changing from minute to minute in today’s economy.”

Step 1: Is a short sale right for you?

The 1st step in the process is determining whether or not a short sale is even the best option available.  Sellers should speak with a CPA or attorney BEFORE listing their home with an agent to determine the right course of action for their particular situation.

Step 2: Who is the lender?

The process for a conventional short sale will be different at every bank, while FHA loans will use the same guidelines every time.  Negotiating a short sale with Wells Fargo will be different from Bank of America, or Citibank.

“Sellers may also qualify for the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) program, a government-sponsored program that sets certain standards for the short sale process and provides financial incentives to lenders that participate. Requirements, however, are numerous. If a seller does not qualify for the HAFA program, short sale terms can still be negotiated with the lender outside of HAFA.”

Step 3:  Offer and Approval

In a short sale situation, the short sale involves the seller’s lender approving a loan payoff that is less than the balance owed.  Once the seller is presented with an offer that they subsequently accept, the offer and other paperwork–i.e. documentation of the seller’s financial hardship, status of their finances–are submitted to the lender to review.

“Unfortunately, that first offer is usually a teaser…The agent is forced to do this in order to find out what offer the bank will accept. If the bank counters with a price that’s higher than the buyer can afford, the agent will have to go through the process again, resubmitting all the paperwork with a new offer.”

As a Seller:

It is up to your agent to make sure that the bank receives all of your documents for submission.  Time is of the essence, and delaying at any point could seriously impact your short sale eligibility.  Ultimately, the sooner that you contact agents regarding a short sale situation, the better your position will be.

As a Buyer:

Waiting for a decision from the bank on a short sale can take a lot of time.  It’s not uncommon for buyers to continue seeing other properties even after the contract has been entered into.  In the interest of protecting the buyer,  the standard short sale contract will have a 45-day commitment clause, which allows the buyer to walk if, after 45 days, they see other opportunities.

You can find this month’s edition of California Real Estate in full here.