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Tracy King's Blog

With over 30 years experience in helping clients buy and sell homes in Northeast Los Angeles, Tracy King has a depth of real estate knowledge that makes her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. When she's not holding open houses or negotiating offers, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, cooking, and planning he...r next trip to Paris. More

Presenting Your Home for Sale

We’ve talked in the past about the popularity of staging a home for sale, whether done with a professional stager or by the homeowner. This time, let’s just talk about basics that set the stage for whatever staging (or not) comes next.

I visited another agent’s open house today and found myself being rather critical (what, me, a Virgo, being critical?) But we learn our lessons where we can. Mind you, I can tell you absolutely hair-raising stories about homes that I have sold that were way negative on the pristine show-quality staging effort:

* There was the one where the cats had been using the kitchen counter for a bathroom for a long time...really!  We sold that for $175,000 over asking with 43 offers.
* The one that the tenant had used to express himself whenever he got upset by either spraying graffiti or chopping holes in the walls. That one sold for $180,000 over asking with 80 offers! But that's a true “event price” strategy. Would these houses have sold for more if they had been clean and well-maintained? Most assuredly.
* Another had a note on the refrigerator that said “Dave, please remember, NO DRUGS! We really want to sell the house!” I'm not kidding. And the price was too high just at the time that the market started its downward trek. Sigh, I'm afraid that one never sold and eventually ended up in foreclosure.

But even the regular homeseller may overlook some simple dos and don'ts that will help sell the home. They don't necessarily cost any money, either.

Dos:
* Clean your house
* De-clutter your house

Here are some don'ts:

* Don't leave the toilet lid up
* Don't leave dirty dishes anywhere
* Don't leave anything in the path from the car to the door.

These are just a few things to start with when preparing your home for sale.  For more, see our feature on Vern Yip's Design Tips to Sell Homes.
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Tax Implications and Consequences of a Short Sale or Foreclosure

Here is a really good article that explains the tax implications and consequences of going through a short sale or foreclosure:Tax Implications & Consequences of a Short Sale or Foreclosure
http://www.moneycrashers.com/short-sale-foreclosure-tax-implications-conseque...
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1032 Hits

View from Echo mountain

Wish I had My better camera for this view!

Photo

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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1034 Hits

Sneak preview

Available Sunday, 2-5 pm.
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Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate



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Spring morning in Eagle Rock


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Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate



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1010 Hits

Will L.A. Home Prices Ever Head Up?

L.A. Times headline reads: Will L.A. home prices ever head up?
Subtitled Yes, but foreclosures, demographics will make it a slow march.

After a wrenching 6-year decline, the good news is that Los Angeles house prices are no longer in a tailspin.

But here’s the bad news: Experts anticipate no roaring rebound - and some worry that further drifting, or even declines, may be in the offing for many neighborhoods.

“People always ask me, ‘When will I see my house worth what it was in 1989?’ I tell them, “It’s going to be a while,” said Fred Sands, president of Brentwood based Fred Sands Realtors.

Yes, folks, we are talking 1996 news in this article. Does that give you any hope? I remember in 2000, being worried about buying a house that cost $325,000 because it was such a big step up from the one we were selling for $250,000. Today, even Zillow says that our house is worth $584,000, and believe me, I would be able to sell it for a lot more than that.

Today, the latest Case Schiller report says that price dipped again in January. That is old history, folks. Do not base your home buying plans on the belief that the market as whole is declining. We have issues, certainly. Some of the biggest issues have to do with getting decent appraisals on good properties that people are willing to pay more for than lenders want to lend on. It’s a constant push-pull: lenders want to make safe investments and be assured that their money will not be lost. Some buyers want good houses that are a cut above the foreclosures and short sales they’ve seen and they understand that they will cost more. And of course we also have buyers who think that they should be able to buy a good house for less than a foreclosure is selling for. And sellers who think that they should get the same price they might have gotten if they had sold in 2007. That’s what makes it such a good idea to work with a knowledgeable Realtor!

In Los Angeles, if you bought your house in 1989, by 1999, it was worth a bit more than what you had paid. If you bought your house in 2000, by 2010, it was worth 1.5 to 2 times as much as you had paid. I’m just saying that real estate is a long term investment which means a long time. Like sometimes 8 to 10 years.
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More on Value vs. Appraisal



DSNews




Three States Move to Ban Foreclosure Sales From Appraisal Values





With foreclosure sales steadily rising, four states are concerned that the use of the foreclosure sale prices in appraisals of neighboring homes is distorting the market.

Legislators in Illinois, Nevada, and Missouri have all proposed separate bills that would exclude or restrict foreclosure sales from being used as comparisons to determine the value of homes around them.

Maryland had proposed a similar bill, but withdrew the legislation on Tuesday.

Industry participants have expressed reservation at the idea of barring distressed sales from consideration when appraising properties, saying such actions would cause homes to be appraised for more than they are really worth.

According to the Appraisal Institute, “Elimination of foreclosures and short sales as comparables would result in an artificial market and would mislead lenders as to the true value of their mortgage collateral.”

Furthermore, the institute notes that under the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice, all federally related transactions are required to consider all sales for appraisals, including short sales and other distressed sales. Most residential lending transactions fall into this category.

“In some markets, there are so many distressed sales that they are the market and must be considered. When there is a glut of distress sales in the marketplace, and those properties are truly comparable to the subject, it would be misleading not to use them as part, or in some cases all, of the basis for a value conclusion,” a representative of the institute said in an e-mail.

©2011 DS News. All Rights Reserved.

My comment: It's the insistence on using distress sales as sales comparables that is keeping "regular" sellers out of the market, further driving prices down. When you have a buyer and a seller ready to make a deal at $500,000, but the appraiser insists that the value is $440,000 because of recent distress sales, you end up never being able to rise above the distress market. Catch-22!

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate



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Realtor's Energy Audit Program

As part of the Realtor's Home Affordability Fund, the Energy Audit Program provides up to a $250 rebate on a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) home energy audit conducted by a certified HERS rater. You can find out how your new home rates in energy efficiency and find out how to upgrade your home with money-saving energy improvements.

Click here to find out how to qualify:

http://www.car.org/members/hafmainpage/reap/Also, visit the Energy Upgrade California website to plan upgrade projects, locate participating contractors, and find rebates and incentives.
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1271 Hits

What's So Great About Highland Park?

WHAT’S SO GREAT ABOUT HIGHLAND PARK, 90042? Lots of things!

 

 

    • It’s an easy commute to Downtown LA or downtown Pasadena by car, bus or the Gold Line. http://www.metro.net/

 

 

 

 

    • Great food! Lots of Latin foods from tacos to menudo, but there is more. Check out my Restaurant Guide. www.LADigs.com for names and addresses, but here are some highlights:



Cafe de Leche
The York
My Taco
Chico’s
Johnny’s
Schodorf’s Luncheonette
Folliero’s
La Abeja

 

 

    • Figueroa Produce has a real meat market, organic produce, a wide variety of ethnic foods--all at great prices! http://figueroaproduce.com/

 

    • Galco’s Old World Market and Soda Pop Stop. 5702 York Blvd. Long for some orange Nehi or curious about Grapette? Over 400 kinds of soda here. Plus good deli sandwiches. http://www.sodapopstop.com/



What are your favorite parts of Highland Park?

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1571 Hits

Reminder! Tracy King's New Weekly Email

Have you signed up for our all new weekly email update on real estate and Northeast LA?  We've switched email providers to improve the way we send you new listings, real estate news, open houses, and community info.

Here's a sample of the new and improved weekly email.

To get on the new list, sign up here.

We look forward to staying in touch with you!

Thanks,

Tracy King and Keely Myres
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It’s Up, It’s Down, It’s Up--It’s the Highland Park Market Update!

How is 90042 doing this year over last year at this time?

What looks like bad news is that the number of listings is up while the number of pending and closed sales is down:

But wait! Look at the average price per square foot!


And look at the average sales price vs. list price!


What is a buyer or seller to do?

If you listen to the news, you will be so confused. One day it’s a good market and housing is a good buy, the next day there is more trouble to come.


Right now, interest rates are back under the 5% range, sellers who are realistic and motivated are eager to sell, and buyers who have the courage to take advantage of this market can find good quality homes to buy.  So all of you, call me!  If you are motivated, I can help you realize your real estate goals.
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1419 Hits

Home Affordability Reaches New Highs

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Trusts, Wills, and Real Estate

When it comes to planning and organizing our “stuff” and making arrangements for our eventual demise, we act like we think we will live forever. The stories range from “my kids will get to deal with this” to “oh, we have a will and everything is set.” My guess is, 1 out of maybe 50 or even 100 people actually have sensible and useful arrangements made for what happens to themselves, their stuff, and their heirs after they pass on.

Without naming names, let me just share that there are people near and dear to me that  are among the majority of people unwilling to address the details of what to do with what they leave behind. Members of my family have had to play guessing games about “what would she have wanted us to do with ?” that cover a range of subjects from cremation or burial to who’s name is the house in? I’m not really pointing fingers, I know I should address some subjects like this for myself as well. I understand the reluctance to come to grips with the fact that none of us get out of here alive. But my husband and I did have wills and a trust drawn up a number of years ago.

Scenario 1: These days, many people live together without benefit of formal marriage. Yet, if one person owns a property separately and there is no will, the “partner” may have no legal standing to claim the property.

Scenario 2: A married couple have no children and no will. Let’s say the wife inherits property from a deceased parent in co-ownership with her brother. What happens if she passes away with no will? The probate laws will govern who inherits her share and very likely her husband will have a claim on the property even if she wanted it to go to her brother’s family. Or the property will have to be sold to settle the estate.

Scenario 3: An elderly couple have a will but no trust. The will was drawn up 40 years earlier and the laws have changed since then. One of the couple has a stroke and is no longer able to sign or understand a legal document. The other spouse no longer wants to live in the house and decides to sell it. He has to go to court and be declared his wife’s conservator in order to sign the deed on her behalf.

A very important fact that few people understand is that even if you have a will, your estate will have to be probated. This is an expensive, time consuming and cumbersome process. The best way you can escape probate court if you have property is to have a properly drawn up trust. Many people have thought that the joint tenancy method of holding property will take care of any issues and often that is true, but again you have the question of who eventually inherits and the state’s view may be different than what you really want.

A very simple and complete description of everything you need to have in place and why is here: http://www.amerilawyer.com/living_trust.htm. I don’t know anything about the law firm, but their website is very easy to understand and use.
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Hike to Echo Mountain, Altadena

Another clear, beautful morning for our 5 1/2 mile hike.

Photo

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Good Job News!


Unemployment Rate Drops Below 9%


The national unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent in February, as employers added 192,000 jobs to their payrolls, according to figures just released by the U.S. Department of Labor. The rate is down from 9.0 percent in January and 9.4 percent as recently as December.


Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate



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Please help support The Altadena Foothills Conservancy

This won't even cost you any money! Unless of course you decide to buy some great Patagonia clothes...

This month, AFC is competing with two other nonprofits for a grant through Patagonia Pasadena's "Voice Your Choice" program.

If you're in Old Town Pasadena during March, you might swing by the Patagonia store at Fair Oaks Avenue and Union Street to cast a vote for AFC. We'll receive $2,500 if we get the most in-store votes -- money that would fund our search for new open space to acquire and preserve.

AFC board members will be in the store between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 19, and Sunday, March 20, talking to Patagonia customers about AFC.  Drop in and say hello! Or, if you'd like to join us at the table and help spread the word about local land conservation, reply to this e-mail and let us know when you're available.



Best,


Nancy L.C. Steele


President, Arroyos & Foothills Conservancy


Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Altadena feels like Taos here

$1,545,000 and well worth it.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Kickoff Event for Eagle Rock's Centennial Celebration

Eagle Rock’s Centennial Year Begins...February 26 was a classic Eagle Rock day. Kickoff events started at 2 pm at the Center for the Arts, which has become the community center for our hometown within the great City of Los Angeles. Beginning with family-oriented events like the Dahlia Elementary School program and ranging through the Eagle Rock High Latin Jazz band and the Eagle Rock Jazz Quartet, the room was packed with folks of all ages.

Several community groups had booths including TERA (The Eagle Rock Association) promoting their fundraiser Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and their plan to slow down Colorado Blvd and save lives. The Centennial committee and Eagle Rock Valley Historical Society had great Eagle Rock stuff for sale from $5 calendars to mugs that we can buy online beginning next week. Treepeople has organized Saturday, March 26 for tree planting along Colorado Blvd and April 30 for tree planting along York Blvd in Highland Park. Register for tree care and tree planting at www.treepeople.org. Linda Allen told us about ERCPR, the group that has been working to improve the sights we see in the commercial corridor.

Every kind of group and individual was there celebrating the hundredth year of Eagle Rock. It was a great program from the kid events to Eric Warren’s presentation of the history of the buildings in Eagle Rock to the Dahlia cocktails and the unique performance by Morganne, our very own local chanteuse. Hors d’ouerves were served by the Eagle Rock High Key Club. Besides the tickets sold for the cocktails and wine, raffle tickets for prizes donated by local merchants helped defray the cost of the day and to add a bit to the Centennial kitty. Our local elected officials came with encouraging speeches and certificates of recognition for about half the people in the room.

I applaud the hard work of all the volunteers who made this day so special, and am so glad I was one of the diverse, eclectic, and friendly crowd that showed up to take part in the day.

Next up, this Friday, March 4, is Eagle Rock Day at the Los Angeles City Council Chambers beginning at 10 am at 200 N Spring St, 90012. RSVP to 323-254-5295 by Tuesday, March 1 to make parking arrangements. Attendees are asked to wear green if possible.

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate



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Turn your lawn into a Food Forest!

*Turn a Lawn into a Garden*

"Swan Song for the Lawn" with Larry Santoyo of Earthflow Design Learn how to transform a water-guzzling lawn into a garden paradise.

Join us Sat & Sun, March 12/13, 10:30 am to 4:00 pm in Eagle Rock$25 per day ($40 for both days with one payment)In this hands-on workshop you will learn the basics of Food Forestry, garden design, sustainable landscape construction and more.

Spread the word! RSVP for details and to pre-register via paypal to reserve your space toJoan Stevens 323-630-4673 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

*Please, no persons under 18 years old -no pets

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Oxy Lofts - A New Home Option for Eagle Rock

You all know we love Eagle Rock. In our humble opinion, Northeast LA is the best place to live, and we're not afraid to let everyone know it!

Well, now we've got a new option for all you Eagle Rock home-searches: Oxy Lofts! Perfect for those of you that want some square footage to call your own but don't want the hassle of taking care of an actual house. The 32 units at Oxy Lofts are classic post-and-beam architectural design with open floor plans, large windows, and natural materials. Complete with patios and balconies that bring the outdoors in, these units are California living at its best.

Courtyard



And even better - this project is FHA-approved! You could get into your new digs for as little as 3.5% down!

Even better than THAT, we can help you get settled in for as little as $359,000! I know what you're thinking, "But Tracy and Keely, for $359,000 I probably get only a one bedroom in such a stylish looking building!" But you would think wrong - $359,000 is the asking price for a 2 bedroom, 3 bath with 1167SF - what a deal!

So here's the thing. Go check out the Oxy Lofts. You will fall in love. As an added bonus - if you sign in and say you're with Tracy King, we'll give you a $10 gift card to The Bucket*. Of course we are here to help you navigate your way into a purchase, so don't hesitate to give us a call if you have questions. Or if you've completely fallen in love.

Oxy Lofts are open for your viewing pleasure daily from 11am to 2pm, Wed/Thu to 6pm, and Sat/Sun to 4pm.

For more pictures go here. For more information go here. If you have questions call us at 626.844.2256.

Loft Living to Kitchen


*(first 25 people to register with Tracy King at the Oxy Lofts open houses get a $10 gift card to the Bucket)

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