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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...

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 her next trip to Paris.

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The 2017 Million Dollar Story Exceeds Expectations (Well, Mine Anyway)

The 2017 Million Dollar Story Exceeds Expectations (Well, Mine Anyway)

An investment in homeownership in NELA isn't just a sound investment in the good life. It's a good investment period. The numbers tell the story and they don't lie.

It's official. Owners of single family homes in Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and even Glassell Park homes are asking - and getting - a million dollars or more. Let's face it: There's never been a better time to be a homeowner in Northeast Los Angeles. The numbers are in!

As of December 29, 2017 (the last day of the year that sales could be recorded by the County), zip code 90041 had 51 single family homes sell for over $1 million each, including the highest sale ever recorded here. And now in January, 2018, an even higher highest sale ever closed escrow! Yes, after 7 years of trying with various agents, the almost 3-acre historic Bekins estate at last sold to a comedian and his heiress wife for $5,250,000!


The following table shows the number of $million homes sold over the last 6 years in Eagle Rock (zipcode 90041), Highland Park (90042), Glassell Park (including Mt. Washington--90065) and for some contrast, South Pasadena (91030).

Million $ Single Family Homes

  Zip Code 90041
Eagle Rock
90042
Highland Park
90065
Glassell Park
Mt. Washington
91030
South Pasadena
 
  2012 0 1 2 30  
  2013 0 1 4 63  
  2014 10 3 5 76  
  2015 20 7 18 95  
  2016 34 10 27 97  
  2017 51 19 50 95  

What is going on? Are we in a bubble? This is the question so many people are asking now. Respected real estate experts (and it seems like everyone else) have been asking this question since 2012. These very same experts have been absolutely certain that these price increases are unsustainable. And yet they continue. Why? Partly because we continue to experience low interest rates and low inventory. Also, Northeast Los Angeles is still cheaper than most communities to the west of us like Los Feliz, Silverlake, even Echo Park. We are considered the closest “decent” neighborhoods to downtown according to many buyers. Others are beginning to look at other neighborhoods like El Sereno and Lincoln Heights who are seeing prices go up accordingly.

Let’s face it, prices go up and some people can no longer afford to buy where they want to. This is not a new story, but it’s painful if it’s your story.

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2136 Hits

The new Tax Reform Act: How will it affect your real estate life?

The new Tax Reform Act: How will it affect your real estate life?

The newly passed Tax Reform Act supplies perks based on investments in property, but not everyone benefits and there is a downside.

It's been all over the news. Pundits have been spinning the plusses and minuses of the newly passed Tax Reform Act. Some say homeowners are going to get the shaft. Some say there will be a windfall for homeowners and investors. As a long-time real estate professional, my inbox has been inundated with questions from those who just purchased homes in Highland Park and Eagle Rock this year, as well as those looking to invest in homes for sale in Pasadena, Mt. Washington and other areas of North East Los Angeles.

The long and short of it? I have good news and I have not-so-good news. The good news is, the new tax reform act that was just passed by both houses of Congress isn't as bad as it could have been for those who have some financial interest in real estate. The not-so-good news is, it's not going to be as good for real estate as it has been over the past several years.


  1. We can still write off some state and local taxes up to $10,000. The bad news is that is actually a tax increase for those of us who have more than an $800,000 house and/or still pay some other state or local taxes.

  2.  We still have the mortgage interest deduction, but only up to a mortgage of $750,000, instead of the $1,000,000 it has been.

  3. The $500,000 capital gains exclusion is not affected! If you have lived in your primary residence for 2 of the last 5 years, you and your spouse can each deduct up to $250,000 of your net capital gain when you sell your house.

So there it is. The basic nuts and bolts. The rules haven't changed. When it comes to investing in any sort of real estate, the rule is, take your time, perform your due diligence, be well informed and understand the benefits and potential pitfalls.

It has always been advisable to consult your tax consultant before making any decisions regarding your real estate activity. This is certainly true today.

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2879 Hits

Priced Out of Prime NELA Real Estate? There's Still Hope For Something Affordable and Close By

Priced Out of Prime NELA Real Estate? There's Still Hope For Something Affordable and Close By

Let's face it: When buying a home, the word "affordable" is relative, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at what the numbers say.

The big question plaguing many wannabe homebuyers today is, where can I afford to buy? They say they can’t afford the high sticker price of homes for sale in Mount Washington, Eagle Rock or Highland Park. For many buyers, even homes for sale in Glassell Park - once up-and-coming and affordable - is out of their reach.

Always being mindful that the median price of affordable places like Detroit, Michigan ($36,000), Harlingen, Texas ($84,000) or even nearby Desert Hot Springs ($188,000) is what more people think of as "affordable", there are some communities in Los Angeles, not too far from Eagle Rock, that are a bit more affordable as you can see in the table below.

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1935 Hits

NELA's Low Housing Inventory - Here's Part of the Story

NELA's Low Housing Inventory - Here's Part of the Story

Experienced realtors understand that real estate sales is a numbers game. Why are there so few homes on the market? Let's look at the numbers.

While homes for sale in Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Mt. Washington are still greatly in-demand, there are fewer homes on the market in Northeast Los Angeles. This is true of real estate in Altadena, Pasadena and surrounding areas.

In the quest to understand why Northeast Los Angeles is experiencing such low housing sale inventory, I thought it might be helpful to start with some actual numbers.

There is quite a bit of talk about how many more people there are in Northeast Los Angeles than there used to be. For some perspective, I have also included nearby South Pasadena.

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1772 Hits

Is the Holidays the Best Time to Put My NELA Home on the Market? If Not, When Is?

Is the Holidays the Best Time to Put My NELA Home on the Market? If Not, When Is?

When it comes to selling a home in Northeast LA, conventional wisdom tell us, if you have a great home to put on the market, it will be in-demand no matter what time of the year.

They say "timing is everything" about, oh, everything and they're probably right. It's certainly true about buying and selling real estate. This is especially true in the red-hot Northeast Los Angeles real estate market, where homes in Mt. Washington, Highland Park and Eagle Rock are in high demand and real estate in Pasadena, Glendale and Altadena continue to surge.

Many potential sellers believe, for instance, that the holiday season is not an ideal time to put their NELA home on the market. Are they correct? This question is more complicated than it seems, but there is a way to understand it all.

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1353 Hits

Buying a Home? See Something You Want? Then Ask for It!

Buying a Home? See Something You Want? Then Ask for It!

When negotiating the details of a home sale, being shy - and making assumptions - are sure to work against you.

Homebuying is both an art and a science, whether we're talking about buying in the ultra-hot Highland Park real estate market or purchasing homes in Glassell Park, Mt. Washington or, our favorite neighborhood, Eagle Rock. There are tried and trued methods and rules that buyers should understand well in advance of signing on the line that's dotted. Here's one of those vital rules to remember:

When purchasing a home, never assume anything. I can’t count how many times I've heard homebuyers state: “But I assumed that the Seller would leave the refrigerator (or stove, or washer/dryer, or garden tools, etc.).”


Here is how it works under the current California purchase agreement—if it isn’t attached, it isn’t staying unless you specifically ask for it and the Seller agrees to leave it. I refer you to page 3, item 8 of the contract: “Items listed as included or excluded in the MLS, flyers or marketing materials are not included in the purchase price or excluded from the sale unless specified in paragraph 8 B or C.” I also include verbal statements from either agent or anyone else about what stays or goes as something to confirm in writing.

So do you want that birdbath that perfectly goes with the house but is just sitting on the ground outside? Then ask for it! In writing on Page 3, Item 8. Are you not sure if the birdbath (or washer/dryer, or bookcase, or kitchen island and bar stools) is going to stay? Trick question—if it isn’t specified in the purchase contract, it’s not supposed to stay!

Sometimes items that you thought were attached are not. If there is anything you want that you assume (that danger word again) is attached, ask for it anyway just to make sure. It’s better to err on the side of being thought silly for asking for the apparently built-in SubZero refrigerator than to see after the day escrow closes that it is gone.

Sellers, you need to pay attention also. If you want that wonderful chandelier that is the centerpiece of the whole dining room, you should replace it before you go on the market. Otherwise, you are supposed to leave it with the house. Putting it in the marketing remarks that it will be replaced in escrow is asking for the buyer to fixate on that as the main reason that they offered what they did for the house. You can negotiate that out in the contract, but why ask for trouble? Avoid problems, never give the buyer a chance to flip out over it. This is one of the rare times that it’s really better not to talk about something you know about the house.

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977 Hits

What Does the Million $ Real Estate Market Look Like in Eagle Rock 90041?

What Does the Million $ Real Estate Market Look Like in Eagle Rock 90041?

Eagle Rock homes are now selling in the millions of dollars ... for turnkey homes and fixers. What does this mean to buyers and sellers?

Everyone from homeowners, homebuyers, home sellers, Eagle Rock realtors and market analysts have been keeping a close eye on the Eagle Rock real estate for a long while. The long, steady growth of the market has been the talk of the town. Now enough data is in and the information we can glean from the numbers is telling indeed.

There are so many interesting things to note in this table (all data from TheMLS):

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1648 Hits

2017 Northeast Los Angeles Market Update

2017 Northeast Los Angeles Market Update

By studying the available data and comparing year-over-year market performance in NELA, there's much to surmise.

The Northeast Los Angeles real estate market continues to be strong, if not for how many homes are on the market, than strong in terms of the average final price of homes sold. Homes in Eagle Rock and real estate in Glassell Park and Highland Park continue to be in-demand. A quick look at the data confirms that even in 2017, it's still a perfect time to sell your home and, if you're seeking to buy, there are still some good deals out there to be had.

Let’s see how some popular zipcodes compare in terms of some of the factors we have to consider when looking for that dream house. This table looks at how competitive a marketplace is in terms of available listings of single family homes to buy and their average sales price, as well how much and what direction the market has changed since end of summer 2015.

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1493 Hits

The Benefit of an Army of Agents Selling Your Home

The Benefit of an Army of Agents Selling Your Home

There’s an art to selling real estate, but the science of numbers comes into play for any great real estate agent.

It’s no secret that the communities that comprise Northeast Los Angeles – Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mt. Washington and Garvanza, to name a few – represent a hot real estate market. Homes for sale in Glassell Park can draw several dozens of prospective buyers to an open house. Homes in Pasadena almost always sell quickly and with multiple offers. How does that work exactly?

Selling real estate is a numbers game. The more potential buyers that see your listing, the more inquires we receive. The more inquiries we receive, the more likely we are to have a lot of prospects show up to an open house or request a showing. The more showings, the more offers. The more offers, the chance of achieving an over-the-asking-price offer for your home.

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1516 Hits

Green LA and Save Our Trees!

Green LA and Save Our Trees!

The more sustainable "Green Thinking" we do in LA's Northeast, the more beautiful - abd valuable - our communities will be.

The communities that make up Northeast Los Angeles have generally been seen to be progressive and environmentally conscious. More and more, we see homes in Highland Park and real estate in Mt. Washington and Eagle Rock and Glasell Park coming on the market with what is today known as "sustainable landscaping".

Landscaping that requires little attention and resources is seen by homebuyers as a positive attribute in a home for sale for many good reasons.

For instance, did you know that if you're a homeowner in Los Angeles, you can still get a rebate from the Department of Water and Power (DWP) for removing your water-guzzling lawn and putting in a sustainable landscape?

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1278 Hits

Improving Our Eagle Rock Community ... One Small Step at a Time

Improving Our Eagle Rock Community ... One Small Step at a Time

The community of Eagle Rock is a special one. Let's do all we can to keep it that way!

Believe it or not, I spend more time thinking about my home community of Eagle Rock than I do about Eagle Rock real estate. Homes for sale in Glassell Park occupy my thoughts less than my appreciation of the community itself. Keeping a clean, safe community, after all, is what makes a neighborhood great.

I’ve noticed that in the midst of the chaos of modern day life, it's easy to find one’s self grappling with issues such as what is my purpose? Why am I here? What can I do to make the world better? These questions can be overwhelming, even paralyzing.

Remembering the “broken window” theory made famous by former New York City police chief, Bill Bratton, I decided to stop being overwhelmed and took a single step towards improving my community—I started picking up litter. It isn’t easy to believe that this one small step can actually can make the world a better place, but this is a task that almost anyone can perform and immediately see a positive difference in one’s surroundings.

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1372 Hits

Looking to Buy a Home in Eagle Rock? Now Is a Good Time!

Looking to Buy a Home in Eagle Rock? Now Is a Good Time!

Whether for homebuyers or investors, getting a great deal on a home in Eagle Rock is all about good timing.

The Northeast Los Angeles region's real estate market is always in flux. Many potential homebuyers are waiting by the sidelines for the perfect time to buy homes in Eagle Rock or invest in Highland Park real estate. The question for them is, "when is the perfect time?". The answer: Now.

So far this year, the Eagle Rock market has been almost as low in active listing inventory as it was in 2013, when the market caught on fire in the face of withering inventory and rapidly increasing prices. That means that there were usually fewer than 20 homes for sale then and now.

Suddenly, we have 26 homes for sale, and 7 of them are listed for over $1 million! Hold on to your hats—one is even listed for over $2 million!

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1348 Hits

Homebuyer? Home Seller? You’re Gonna Want to Know Home Values

Homebuyer? Home Seller? You’re Gonna Want to Know Home Values

What is the best way to obtain an accurate value of your home? There’s a simple answer.

Who would have thought 20 years ago that the rising values of homes in Highland Park and Eagle Rock - as well as real estate in Mt. Washington and Glassell Park - would be the talk of the town? If you own a home in one of these regions - or are looking to buy - odds are that home values are on your mind.

Regardless of whether you’re looking to buy a home or sell a home, it only makes sense that you will eventually want to gain an understanding of your own home’s value, if you’re selling, or the value of a different home if you’re buying.

But with all the information, articles, blogs and website tools out there offering home evaluations, its become easy to get, well, confused. That’s because as you’re performing your research and due diligence, the first thing you’ll notice is that there is little consistency in the values offered. One evaluation will be wildly different from the one before or after.


The reasonable question is, why? How? There’s a simple, straightforward answer: There are actually two types of values of homes - automated home values and manual evaluations.

Automated home values are very useful as a general reference tool, to give you a rough idea of what your home or any other home may be worth in the current market. And sometimes a general, rough idea is a good place to begin.

Let’s be honest, though.  

Every home is unique. This is especially true in the neighborhoods of Northeast LA where tract homes don’t really exist. Most every neighborhood in the region is dotted with custom homes and it’s rare to find one that is like another.

Also, there are all sorts of renovations, upgrades and features that aren’t reflected in automated home values.  Added up, these renovations and upgrades can make a considerable difference in price.

For instance, there is no way possible that an online tool can know if a home owner has refurbished the kitchen or the master bath. It doesn’t know if all the 80’s era carpet has been replaced with beautiful bamboo or magnesite. It might not even know if a room addition occurred since the last time the home was sold.

So the next reasonable question is, how do you as a home seller learn the true value of your home?

That’s where I come in.  As a local professional real estate agent, I know what sells ... and what doesn’t.  I know what buyers will pay more for, and how much that renovation really will net you in a home sale. Most importantly, I can provide you with a much more accurate and precise value of your home.

One last question …

When is the best time and date for me to stop by?

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1271 Hits

Market Update: Northeast LA Housing Market is Our Own Special World

Market Update: Northeast LA Housing Market is Our Own Special World

Well, my friends in Northeast LA and nearby environs, Northeast Los Angeles real estate is truly in our own special spaceship of home-buying and home-selling activity. The California Association of Realtors Chief Economist, Leslie Appleton Young, gave a talk on the state of California's housing in the recent past. According to her charts and statistics, California has not yet reached the peak prices of 2007. 

In contrast. we are experiencing the highest sales prices ever in Los Angeles--from the beaches to the mountains, across almost all communities. Is it any wonder that one of the most common questions we Realtors are asked now is "So when is this bubble going to burst?"

Here is the latest update for Northeast LA real estate market.

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2050 Hits

Are you Considering a Downsize?

Are you Considering a Downsize?

Working in the Northeast LA real estate world, we often talk to people who need or want to downsize for one reason or another. Downsizing can be fun and freeing, or it can be very hard and feel limiting. It's easy for us to look at someone else's situation and see clearly what is the necessary thing to do. When it comes to our own situation, though, it can be really hard to figure out.

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1539 Hits

2014 and 2015 Real Estate Statistics and What They Mean for You!

If you read my last post about the history of real estate in Northeast Los Angeles, you'll see that these numbers are unexpectedly positive. This bodes well for those thinking of selling their homes in neighborhoods like Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Mt. Washington.

 

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1534 Hits

Eagle Rock Schools: Renaissance Arts Academy

Renaissance Arts Academy is a charter school located in the heart of Eagle Rock in the historic Piller's Department Store building.  We just attended their annual End of Year show and were so impressed!

They performed a modern dance/recital/concert that used all their students who danced, played music, and I'm sure helped with the production, design, and backstage details. It lasted only about an hour, but it was electrifying and wonderful.

Once they closed the doors to the theatre, the performance commanded complete attention. Latecomers were only allowed in the back section, no cell phones or cameras flashed, the theatre sat spellbound by what happened onstage.

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2172 Hits

Transitioning from Renting to Buying in Today's Real Estate Market

The most important tip for transitioning from renting to buying is to Be Prepared.

Do two things first:

1. Talk with a good lender about the loan process and what you can afford to buy. You might be surprised--either happily or unhappily. If your credit score or income aren't as good as they should be to qualify for the loan amount you need to purchase your dream home, you might be looking at a longer time saving and paying off bills than you thought. There are good lenders who can actually have your loan fully underwritten and approved before you identify the home you want to purchase. This makes you look like a much stronger buyer to the seller who may be considering several offers as well as yours. Because, of course, if you love that home, you can bet others will, too.

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1904 Hits

The Myth of Price Per Square Foot

Every now and then, someone asks me to discuss what their home is worth as “price per square foot.” Fine, then. Here is my reasoning on why determining value by price per square foot is a myth.

Looking at value in terms of price per square foot is an attempt to make value an easily quantified number that is real. Example: the average price per square foot for sales of homes in the 90041 zip code over the last 3 months is: $504. Therefore, the home at 2014 Estes Road is 1735 square feet and the value calculates out to be $874,440.  

Great. Is that a real value? Should I list my home for, say, $869,000? Maybe, maybe not. Is it really “worth” that? I have a 14,000 square foot lot. Should I add in some value for that?  Or for my central air and heat? Or my view?

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2255 Hits

Zillow and the Essential Truth of What Your Home is Worth

In a recent Sunday Los Angeles Times, the discussion regarding the Zillow Zestimate of home values continued, as it does on Facebook and in almost every conversation that includes the question "What is my home worth?"

I love Zillow, because it embodies the essential truth of home valuation--no one really knows what a home is worth. What does Zillow know about your home? It knows the public record of its square footage, bedroom and bath count, and where it is on a map. That's about it. It doesn't know that you legally added 1500 square feet of exquisitely appointed master bedroom suite including spa bathroom and vast walk-in closet that somehow hasn't shown up on the tax records yet. It doesn't know that the house down the street that sold for $200,000 less than you think yours should was a tear-down. 

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2016 Hits