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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 made her the go-to for both the first-time home buyer and the seasoned real estate investor. Now retired, Tracy enjoys wine tasting, hanging out with her grandson, and planning her next trip to Paris.

Last week the sky was falling, this week...?

The big real estate news in the last few days has been the Case-Schiller report which says that home prices have slid! Let’s look at this rationally:

This report is for October-November 2010 sales. When interest rates ticked up in December, the buyers came running for homes to buy before they were priced out of the good deals.

This “big slide” in prices totaled a whopping 1% in Los Angeles County. Come on, folks. Is Chicken Little back in town?

Nationwide, as President Obama says, “…after the worst recession in decades, we see an economy growing again.” Oh, but the news says different about the housing market:

U.S. Home Prices Keep Weakening as Nine Cities Reach New Lows According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. November 2010
U.S. Home Prices Weaken Further as Six Cities Make New Lows According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Data through October 2010,
Broad-based Declines in Home Prices in the 3rd Quarter of 2010 According to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices. Data through September 2010.

FACTS:
April, 2006 was the highest index for Los Angeles County: 273.10
November, 2010, was 171.86.
The lowest index was 160.34 in May 2009.

So what is this NEW LOW? The index was all of .22 lower than the previous month’s report, and although it was the lowest of 2010, we are still talking about a total spread over the whole year of less than 5 points, which is over 10 points higher than the low of May 2009. All this in comparison to the truly big drop of over 110 points from the peak of April 2006, to the trough of May 2009. OMG! But let’s not all leave our homes in despair quite yet. (And where would we go? Under the nearest bridge?)

Let’s look at more local data.  Just so you don’t think I’m a Pollyanna insisting that everything is wonderful, the table below shows the “peak to trough” numbers for several zip codes in Northeast LA, Altadena, South Pasadena, Northeast and Southwest Pasadena: You can see that we had drops of 41 to 77% from the highest quarter to the lowest. But that doesn’t mean that if you live in Southwest Pasadena that your particular house lost 77% of its value and is now worth less than half of what it was in August of 2008. That zip code actually lost less value over the last 4 years than the others. These numbers reflect what houses sold for in the last few years, not what your house is worth today. And although lenders hire appraisers who look at the past sales to indicate current value, we don’t have very many housing tracts of identical houses in Northeast Los Angeles. What your neighbor’s house sold for is not necessarily what your house will sell for.



Confused yet? Think about the poor buyers in the market right now. Last week it was all about how prices are sliding. Today the December numbers showed much stronger improvement than “the experts” thought. We who own homes think we are above any of this value talk. My house is worth $800,000 because I say so, doggone it! What is a buyer to do? We can only look at what is available versus what similar (?) properties have sold for, versus what a lender will agree to lend on it. Unless we can pay cash. I wish we could. Then we wouldn’t have to put up with all this loan craziness. Unfortunately, most home sales involve a lender and the lender wants to make sure their investment is secure. Tiresome, but understandable. Especially if you own stock in a mortgage company or a bank (you don’t want these banks just lending money on anything do you?)

This is the dynamic of the housing market: recent sales influence the value of the current sale. In custom-built, diverse, eclectic neighborhoods like ours in the Northeast LA and Pasadena areas, pricing is an art not a science. Average price per square foot is a Zestimate, and we all know what we think of Zillow’s numbers. I don’t care what some appraiser says, there is a huge subjective aspect to valuing a home. Sometimes the appraiser, buyer, lender, seller and agents all agree, and many times we don’t.
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A Positive Slant on Buy vs. Rent


Can you believe it? One of the cities where it is more affordable to buy than rent is Los Angeles!

Check out this article from DSNews.com:






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Featured Home: 3641 Kinney Place, Glassell Park

3641 Kinney Place
GLASSELL PARK, CA
OPEN SUNDAY, JANUARY 30, 1-4PM! For more pictures and information visit www.3641Kinney.com.

3BR/2BA Single Family House
$489,000
Year Built 1962
Sq Footage 1,392
Bedrooms 3
Bathrooms 2 full, 0 partial
Floors 2
Parking 2 Car garage
Lot Size 5,290 sqft
HOA/Maint $0 per month
Description

Nestled in the hills above Glassell Park, this delightful secluded home affords both stunning views from the city to the mountains from the top deck and cozy treetop views from the balcony below. Updated features include: new designer-remodeled chef's kitchen with 2 matching Swanstone sinks,Rosemary Caesarstone counters and custom maple cabineting with glass-front cabinets. The floorplan is just what buyers want today with the kitchen, dining and living space all open to the view and the deck, secluded by surrounding trees. There is new bamboo flooring on the main floor, slated tile entry and fireplace, premium dual-pane windows throughout and much more. The 2-car attached garage has direct access into the house and a new garage-door opener. There are 2 bedrooms, 1 bath upstairs. The third bedroom was converted to a convenient den off the living room with the laundry room and downstairs bath adjacent. The backyard down below offers a potential for great gardening or pet/play space
Property Features

Central A/C Central heat Fireplace
Tile floor Living room Office/Den
Dishwasher Refrigerator Stove/Oven
Laundry area - inside Balcony, Deck, or Patio
Community Features

Garage parking
Other Special Features

Built in 1962
1,392 SF on a 5,290 SF lot
Designer-remodeled chef's kitchen
New tankless water heater
New 30-year main roof
New bamboo floors on main floor
New dual pane windows throughout
Open living space that flows to a deck with spectacular views!
Additional Photos

View to Griffith Observ.
3641 Kinney Place
Kitchen
Living Room
Kitchen Window
Dining Area
Contact Info
Tracy King
Coldwell Banker
DRE Lic#01048877
(626) 844-2256
For sale by agent/broker

Equal Opportunity Housing
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Interest rates tick up again


Here is a brief summary of mortgage rates for the most common loan programs, prepared by Babak Moghaddam, Mortgage Adviser at Charter Pacific Lending Corp.  Please note  that rates vary greatly based on credit scores and loan to value. Go to www.ChartPac.com for details.  You can also reach Babak at (800) 322-1217 X103 for more information.


Conv. 30 Yr Fixed 1 Point
Rate   APR
4.750  4.790

FHA 30 Year Fixed 1 point
Rate    APR
4.625   5.046
FHA 30 Yr Fixed 1 Point> $417K
Rate     APR
4.625    5.050
Conv. 30 Yr Fixed 1 Point> 417k
Rate     APR
4.875    4.956
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How to sell a house

Price it right and people will come to see it.
My friend Kendyl's listing at 1973 Ashington in Glendale is a good example.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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South Pasadena vineyard opportunity

This listing on Peterson in South Pasadena is listed for $1.1 million. Lovely house, but buy it for the bare hillside ideal for wine grapes.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Echo Mountain

This gentleman is showing hikers a video of the Mt. Lowe railway from the 1920s on his IPad. How cool is that!

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Santa Monica Pier View

Scenery from our monthly RealEstate coaching meeting. Worth the commute just for the view, I say.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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How to age successfully

Since we all do get older, here is a helpful article from Jenny Buchanan, staffer at the Solheim Senior Living Community.




Ten Tips About Aging For 2011
by Jennybe on January 5, 2011 in Senior Living Tips

I imagine each of us would like to move gracefully into old age knowing when and what steps to take so that we are as happy and safe as possible, and that our grown children or other caring family and friends don’t need to worry about us and/or shoulder the burden of caring for us.

I’ve worked at a Senior Living Community for two years. Here are a few things I’ve learned from observation as well as personal experience: I’ve chosen to use the pronoun “you,” since sooner or later if we grow old…

1. OUTLIVING YOUR SPOUSE AND FRIENDS.
Most aging adults find that their network of friends and contacts are dwindling and even if they don’t talk or complain about it, they are worried about aspects of their health and mobility.

2. FALLING IN ONE’S OWN HOME IS LIKELY TO HAPPEN.
One way to prevent unnecessary falls is to remove rugs – though they add warmth and beauty to home, the cost of falling is not worth it.

3. PHONE MAY BE OUT OF REACH IN EMERGENCY.
With heart attack, stroke, and many other health threats, getting medical help in a timely fashion can save your life. Consider implementing a health alarm system that travels with you such as Life Alert or Life Line.

4. SKIPPING OR TAKING TO MANY MEDICATIONS CAN CAUSE SERIOUS PROBLEMS
Implement a counting system if you take more than one medication a day – this is simple and inexpensive.

5. FORGETTING TO MAKE REGULAR BATHING A PRIORITY.
From my experience working with seniors, I would not have believed that personal hygiene would ever be an issue, “cleanliness is next to Godliness,” in most people’s personal belief system – so it is sad and bewildering that seniors sometime neglect this priority unless reminded regularly.

6. CHANGING REGULARY INTO CLEAN CLOTHES.
Again, I never would’ve believed that this could have grown into a real issue of daily living as senoirs that once were successful professionals accustomed to wearing cleanly laundered dress shirts and a suit and tie to work every day now find it difficult to dress.

7. MISSING MEALS.
When aging people live alone this tends to become a real problem. Shopping, cooking, and preparing meals takes planning, time, and effort. Though we all know regular nutrition is imperative for sustaining good health, it is often a short cut that those living alone begin to take all too often.

8. NOT DRINKING ENOUGH FLUIDS.
Lack of hydration is common with the aging population and creates or contributes to ill health and well being.

9. NOT EXERCISING ROUTINELY.
As most of us know, exercise is vital to good health no matter what one’s age, but maintaining an appropriate exercise routine changes with age and is probably more difficult to maintain with age.

10. LACK OF SOCIALIZATION WHICH CAN LEAD TO DEPRESSION.
While some people are naturally more sociable than others, we all need social interaction at some level. Those people who maintain interaction with peers and/or regular socialization report healthier happier lives at all ages.

About Solheim Lutheran Home:
We are a single-site, non-profit Continuing Care Retirement Community in Los Angeles, California providing four levels of care to seniors: Residential Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care and Skilled Nursing. For more information about Solheim contact Jenny Buchanan at (323) 257-7518.

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Google Party NYC!

Honoring Inman Connect Attendees. Fun!

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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NYC

Let those girls skate. Hot drinks at the Algonquin Hotel in sight of the famous round table. My kind of City!

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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NYC

A drink at the Algonquin Hotel. This is my kind of New York! History, style, fun. Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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NYC

Bryant Park Iceskating. Brrr!

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Another beautiful morning in Eagle Rock.

Yetanother sunrise I Paradise.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Property Auction at 921 Poppy Street

Someone is going to get an incredible deal at this auction!

Property information for 921 Poppy St:
921 Poppy Street Auction
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Where the heck am I?

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Why the Mortgage Interest Tax Deduction is Worth Saving

Check out this letter from the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun:

Home Ownership Letter from Lawrence Yun.

Yun sent the letter to the editor of The Washington Post in response to the January 1, 2011 article, “Trim the Excessive Tax Subsidy for Real Estate.”

My thoughts? Tax incentives have influenced the ability for people to own homes for decades. The first-time buyer tax credit of the last couple of years was critical in propelling the market through a very dark time. Many people are nudged into home ownership on the advice of their tax adviser when their income improves to the point of being able to benefit from the mortgage interest tax deduction.
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First walk around the Rose Bowl of 2011

For me and my girls. That's no fire, that's a sunset!

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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New Listing! 1051 Dexter Street, Highland Park

1051 Dexter Street
HIGHLAND PARK, CA
New listing! Open Tuesday, Jan 4, 10-2; Thursday, Jan 6, 10-2; and Sunday, Jan 9, 1-4!
For more pictures and information, go to www.1051Dexter.com
2BR/1BA Single Family House
$469,800
Year Built 1921
Sq Footage 864
Bedrooms 2
Bathrooms 1 full, 0 partial
Floors 1
Parking 1 Car garage
Lot Size 6,400 sqft
HOA/Maint $0 per month
Description

Sweet Craftsman cottage is tucked up and away from the street on a private lot in Highland Park. Shielded from the street by rose and bougainvillea landscaping, perched on a hill with fantastic views, you are offered privacy inside and out. This 2 bedroom, 1 bath home features original details such as hardwood floors, built-in bookcases around the fireplace and a built-in buffet in the dining room. Major upgrades have been done including: foundation, front retaining wall, chimney and fireplace replaced and rebuilt in 2007, rewired electrical with upgraded circuits, and new floor tile in the kitchen and bath. There is a screened bonus room above the one-car garage with half bath (permit status unknown), perfect for guests, home office, art studio, storage. The terraced yard provides beautiful outdoor space with room for childrens' toys, a patio and stunning views of the mountains.
Property Features

Fireplace Hardwood floor Tile floor
Living room Bonus/Rec room Dining room
Dishwasher Refrigerator Stove/Oven
Balcony, Deck, or Patio Yard

Other Special Features

2 bedrooms, 1 bath
Upgraded foundation and front retaining wall
Chimney and fireplace rebuilt in 2007
Rewired electrical and upgraded circuits
Terraced yard with mountain views!
Bonus room above garage
Additional Photos

1051 Dexter Street
Living Room
Dining Room
Back Yard
Bonus Room
View
Contact Info
Tracy King
Coldwell Banker
DRE Lic#01048877
(626) 844-2256
For sale by agent/broker

Equal Opportunity Housing
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Foreclosure and Short Sale Update for Eagle Rock, 90041

How did Eagle Rock do with distressed property sales this year? It’s interesting. In 2009, there were 118 sales of which 17 were short sales (15%) and 45 were foreclosures (38%); so a total of 53% of all sales were distressed. The average sales price was $446,000.

In 2010, we had 22% short sales (28) and only 12% (16) foreclosures of the 130 sales recorded (according to the itech Multiple Listing Service).  So 34% of all sales were distressed properties. The average sales price was $468,000. It’s good to see an improvement, but we certainly haven’t “bounced back” as many hoped that we would.

A big difference is that there were a lot more foreclosure sales in 2009 than in 2010. I credit the increase in short sales and resultant decrease in foreclosure sales to the change in lenders policies toward short sales. They became much more amenable to granting short sales.  I closed more short sales this year (3) than the year before (0), all of them listings.

It looks like we are doing a bit better in 2010 with somewhat more sales and higher average sales prices as well as fewer distressed properties sold overall. Another way to say it is that 66% of sales in 2010 were “regular” sales as opposed to 47% in 2009. It’s interesting to note, however, that the highest sales price in 2009 was over $200,000 higher than the highest in 2010. In my opinion, the reason there were more distressed sales in 2009 than regular sales was more because “regular” sellers wanted to wait out the downturn and sell later when the market recovered.  This year, some of those people either couldn’t or decided not to wait any longer to sell. Price is of key importance, as well as the perceived desirability of the property for sale.  Buyers are not as reluctant to make offers much lower than the asking price today, which is helpful when they are sincere offers that can be negotiated up. One of my sales this year started off with a $165,000 difference in offer vs. list price, and we eventually ended up at $65,000 less than asking.  With no predictions or indications of a quick return to prosperity in 2011, it will be interesting to see how sellers and buyers deal with that. I have noticed that the uptick in interest rates has encouraged an end-of-the-year flurry of business.
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