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
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.
Three States Move to Ban Foreclosure Sales From Appraisal Values
By: Joy Leopold 03/30/2011
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*(first 25 people to register with Tracy King at the Oxy Lofts open houses get a $10 gift card to the Bucket)
Here is an inside description of one family's experience with navigating the loan modification process. These are clients of mine who sold their first home that their growing family had outgrown and bought a larger one right at the peak of the market and then had the misfortune of losing a job and half their income. I've always admired these people for their positive attitude about whatever came their way and their ability to keep moving forward. They sent me this story of their experiences because they want to help others navigate these very choppy and treacherous waters if they can. Please feel free to comment or ask questions and I will get them to my client for whatever answers might be available.
Our story is a familiar one.
In January 2010, my husband lost his job. We could no longer afford our mortgage
payments, so we stopped making them. That sounds much easier than it actually was
(emotionally, anyway). We’d purchased our house at the height of the market so we
owed about $120k more than what we could sell it for. A regular sale wasn’t an option
for us. We began researching our other options and after talking to friends in similar
situations, reading articles and discussion boards online, we came to the conclusion
that despite Obama’s Making Home Affordable program (HAMP) and despite all the
efforts of millions of homeowners trying to save their homes, very few people actually
succeeded. Our particular loan structure made a work-out even more difficult. We began
trying to make ourselves comfortable with the idea that we would be losing our home.
Thanks to a persistent friend who couldn’t accept that we were going to let it go so easily,
we rallied. This month, we were offered a trial modification from our bank, which gets
us 90% of the way to getting a permanent modification. Here’s what we did right.
We bought our second mortgage.
We bought our home 4 years ago with two loans: the 1st mortgage was 80% of the
purchase price and the 2nd was 20%. Indymac held our 1st and CitiMortgage held the
2nd. This definitely made our journey more complicated. Thanks to a conversation with
a financial counselor, I discovered that it was possible to negotiate with the bank to buy
our second loan (a settlement). It’s basically like doing a short sale, except we could be
our own buyers. I did a little research on it, and despite not really having much in
savings, we thought we’d give it a try. I called the bank and asked to talk to someone
about a settlement. They transferred me to the loss mitigation department, who had me
fill out some paperwork and submit a hardship letter, which I wrote. In it, I outlined that
we had a hardship (income loss) that we’d like to make good on our loan in any way that
we could. I explained that because we bought at the height of the market, if our house
sold today in a short sale or foreclosure, after paying off our 1st mortgage, there would be
nothing left for the 2nd. I offered to settle with them by paying $9,000 for my $119,000
loan. It seemed impossible, but worth a shot. A few weeks later, they called and
countered. They offered $12,000 and I took it! I wired in the $12,000 and within a
couple of weeks the loan was written off as ‘settled for less than the amount owed.’ We
took a hit on our credit, but it meant that if we did lose our home, they couldn’t come
after us for the money later and if we didn’t lose our home, it was again worth
approximately market value.
We called a HUD Counselor and our Congressman.
After buying our 2nd mortgage, we started trying to modify our 1st. This was not
easy. This application was about 67 pages. It required constant updating (sending in
a new paystub every two weeks, a new bank statement every month and writing letters
explaining things when the packet was kicked back because the reviewer was confused).
I called 2x a week to check on the status of the modification and to see if they needed
any new documents. After 4 months, I had to resubmit my application (again, 67 pages)
because it had expired. And after 5 months, we got a notice on our door that our house was being sold at auction. It seemed like the end. But we had two things on our side.
First, our HUD counselor knew the California laws: that they couldn’t sell our home at
auction while we were in the HAMP modification process. She called our bank on our
behalf and made sure that we had a process for stopping the sale (that process was, of
course, complicated). Second, I’d contacted our congressman early in the modification
process, asking for his help. His office had a contact within the bank, who they regularly
called to check on the status of our loan. That’s all they could really do, but just the
fact that the congressman was working on our behalf helped us get special attention. I
called his office as soon as we got the foreclosure notice on our door. Within days, the
bank called us (this NEVER happens) to tell us that our sale was put on hold, that the
escalations department was handling our modification and that they were trying to finish
Three weeks later, we had an offer for a trial modification. From what I understand, this
means that the bank has established that we are eligible for a permanent modification and
that they can offer us a new loan. They are offering us a new payment, which is about
30% less than our old payments combined, and if we make those payments on time for 3
months, they should offer us a permanent modification. There are still things that could
go wrong. Trial payments have been known to go on much longer than 3 months. Banks
are overwhelmed and under-staffed, so they make mistakes. But this is a win, and for
now, we’ll take it.
Find yourself in a similar situation?
• Call a HUD counselor. Operation HOPE was very helpful to us: http:// www.operationhope.org/smdev/
• Contact your congressman and ask if he/she can assist you when dealing with
your bank. On Congressman Becerra’s website, he has a button right on his home
page that says “How can I help you?”: http://becerra.house.gov/
• Be persistent. It is a lot of hard work. But if you’re willing to fight, you might
just save your home.
“Adopt a Valentine” - Pet Adoption Festival
Saturday, February 12, 11am-3pm
Special Festival Day Adoption Discounts:
$83.50 (max) per dog - $50.50 (max) per cat (fees include spay/neuter, vaccinations & microchip)
Games - Food - Vendors - Door Prizes - Contribution Prizes
$25 Microchipping your pets
Located on the lawns of the North Central Animal Shelter - 3202 Lacy Street, Los Angeles 90031
Sponsors for this event include Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council, Atwater Village Neighborhood Council, City Councilmember José Huizar, Council President Eric Garcetti, and L.A. City Animal Services.
HUGE PRICE REDUCTION! OPEN SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 2-4PM AND SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2-4PM! For more pictures and info go to www.1857Hanscom.com.
4BR/3+1BA Single Family House
3 full, 1 partial
$0 per month
Enjoy stunning sunset views from two levels of decks on this sophisticated 3-level home. Updated kitchen, living room, dining area flow out to the deck and create an open floorplan for entertaining and easy California living. Second level features 4 original bedrooms (one has been remodeled to a large laundry room but hookups remain in the garage as well), with 2 bathrooms. The third level is not included in assessor's square footage and offers an office area, storage room, bathroom with sauna/wine cellar opportunity, and the most fabulous man-cave in town with bar, home theater potential, huge space.
REST measured the house to be over 3100 square feet. Seller says third level is permitted
Laundry area - inside
Balcony, Deck, or Patio
Other Special Features
Actual square footage is 3,100 including third level
Third level includes space for office, storage, family room and more!
South Pasadena School District
For more pictures and floor plan visit www.1857Hanscom.com
NEW LISTING! For more pictures and information visit www.652MiloTerrace.com
2BR/1BA Single Family House
1 full, 0 partial
2 Car garage
$0 per month
Want an affordable home that doesn't require a lot of work to make it your own?This light and airy 1937 traditional offers an open floorplan with the living, dining rooms and kitchen flowing from one to the other. The bedrooms are spacious as well. Original details throughout include bathroom tiles, the fireplace, the high coved ceiling in the living room, and hardwood floors. Comfortably updated with central air & heat. The backyard is a secret patio garden with garage rooftop deck. You can entertain with ease and have no lawn to mow.
Laundry area - garage
Other Special Features
Traditional exterior with Spanish style on the inside
Many original details maintained - hardwood floor, 1930s bathroom tile, fireplace
Outdoor space features a deck and patio - no lawn to maintain!
New listing! Open Sunday, February 6, 12-3pm; Tuesday, February 8, 10-2pm; and Thursday, February 10, 10-2pm.
5BR/2BA Single Family House
2 full, 0 partial
2 Car garage
$0 per month
Character and style emanate from this lovely spacious Tudor-style home located above Colorado Blvd. The treetop views from the living room are framed by the original picture window. Gracious arches separate the dining room from the living and family rooms. The kitchen includes a breakfast eating area. The floorplan can accommodate several lifestyle choices. Want a large master suite with its own office or sitting room? Or maybe two master suites including the upstairs layout? Do you need 5 bedrooms? Or would you rather have separate offices for each family member? The backyard is fenced and private, ready for your al fresco barbecue party.
Laundry area - inside
Balcony, Deck, or Patio
Other Special Features
Spacious Tudor-style home with character details
Located north of Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock
Floor plan can accomodate several lifestyle choices
The backyard is fenced and private, ready for your al fresco barbecue party.