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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!
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Craftsman with Good Bones at 5235 Mount Royal

Craftsman with Good Bones at 5235 Mount Royal

First time on the market in almost 60 years! This is an incredible opportunity to live in one of the best neighborhoods in Eagle Rock, on one of the best blocks on one of the best streets.

This 1922 Craftsman has good bones to start with.  The living room/dining room extends the width of the house and has the original hardwood floors. The large kitchen has two spacious pantries, plenty of cabinet and counter space, and room for a breakfast nook. 

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  1002 Hits
1002 Hits

Market Update for Eagle Rock, 90041, YTD 2013

The first nine months of 2013 provides some interesting real estate data to consider. We saw the number of homes on the market drop to its lowest point in my 24-year career by the end of the first quarter. The second quarter experienced an almost vertical climb in sales prices. Then the mortgage interest rates bumped up, inventory bumped up, and prices leveled out, with the average sales price staying at about $592,000 for the entire third quarter. Even with the leveling out, the average sales price increased by almost 25% from January to the end of September.

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  1059 Hits
1059 Hits

Open Houses for Thursday, October 31

It's Brokers' Caravan day in the real estate world, which is our chance to check out the houses that are new to the market.  This is a great opportunity for YOU to check out some houses as well! Here is what's on the list today:

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  1267 Hits
1267 Hits

New Construction in Northeast LA

There has been quite the surge in new construction hitting the Northeast Los Angeles real estate market lately.

First we saw a development of four homes by 4site Real Estate, designed by Holz Architecture, located in the hills of Glassell Park at 4239-4243 Scandia Way.  Featuring panoramic views, vaulted ceilings, and walls of glass, these modern homes started at $889,000 and went up to $959,000.  Three have sold and the fourth is currently in escrow.

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  1310 Hits
1310 Hits

Vine-Covered Artist's Retreat at 5054 Irvington Place

Vine-Covered Artist's Retreat at 5054 Irvington Place

Completely surrounded by vine-covered fences and garden walls, you will love to come home to this sweet Highland Park home that has updates, privacy, and oodles of charm!  

The kitchen has been updated with butcher block counters and white cabinets for a fresh look, and is open to the living room with a breakfast bar. Adjacent is a light-filled formal dining room. The main floor has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. There is also a full basement that includes the laundry, a separate room great for storage or a wine cellar, and a huge space for your workshop, rec room, or studio. 

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  1056 Hits
1056 Hits

Brick-faced Craftsman Cottage at 275 S Grand Oaks Avenue

Brick-faced Craftsman Cottage at 275 S Grand Oaks Avenue

The views of greenery from all the windows, that the garden changes with the seasons almost without help and brings new surprises all year long, the beautiful birds and insects attracted to the flowers and fountain--these are a few of the seller's favorite things about this classic Pasadena home for sale.  Originally owned by a mason, the outer facade of this charming 1927 Craftsman cottage is brick, which makes for an interesting exterior. Inside, the original character has been preserved yet updated with taste. The fireplace works as beautifully as it looks, the built-in bookcases on either side add both storage and style. 

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  1136 Hits
1136 Hits

Pool-side English Remodel at 4258 Brunswick

Pool-side English Remodel at 4258 Brunswick

Get ready for the pool party at this tailored English-style re-do on a block of lovely homes in the popular Atwater neighborhood of LA.  Let's take a look at this new home for sale:

Light fills the spacious living room, highlighting its high ceiling, crown molding and stunning fireplace. The kitchen has been remodeled to include marble counters, stainless steel appliances, engineered hardwood floors, and new cabinets. There is a formal dining room, plus a more casual eating space in the family room. The remodeled baths feature with marble tiles, a fabulous claw-foot tub large enough for two, new fixtures, and marble counters. 

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  1164 Hits
1164 Hits

1963 Midcentury Ranch at 612 Cheviotdale Street

1963 Midcentury Ranch at 612 Cheviotdale Street

Let's take a look at this 1963 midcentury ranch home for sale in Highland Park.

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From the dramatic Palo Verde stone fireplace wall to the Zen garden, this 1963 ranch offers style, views, an easy-going floorplan and many of the modern details buyers seek today.

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A previous owner converted the back porch into a relaxing den with views of the garden and covered patio.

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There is a separate master suite, and the other two bedrooms have cork flooring.

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System upgrades include central air and heat, copper plumbing, newer windows throughout, and seismic retrofit to the foundation.

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Located on a culdesac in the Historic Garvanza district, it's an easy distance to the shops and cafes on York, the Gold Line, Pasadena's Old Town, and much more.

Listed for $599,000
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
1,438 sq. ft. on a 6,292 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1963

For more photos and details, including open house information, visit 612 Cheviotdale on our website.

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1278 Hits

What's Going On in Real Estate?

Let's dive in to how the Northeast Los Angeles real estate market is looking these days:

Increased Interest Rates
Interest rates moved up over the summer and have settled into about 1-1.5% over what they were in the earlier part of 2013. FHA loans have become more expensive as fees for their Mortgage Insurance Premium has risen to balance the number of defaulting loans they are meant to insure, plus the MIP now stays in place for the life of the loan. Why would anyone choose an FHA loan today? Because they will lend to someone with a lower credit score than any conventional lender will. More loan products have come into the marketplace including low or no-documentation loans, but you will pay a premium for them. Again, as interest rates average 4.5 to 5% today, it is still a long way from the 13.4% of 30 years ago!

Inventory
The number of single family homes for sale in Northeast Los Angeles has settled back a little from the increase of the summer in Eagle Rock and moved up in the rest of Northeast. Eagle Rock averages in the low 20s, Highland Park surged up into the 50s, while Glassell Park (including Mt. Washington) is around 70. As more has come onto the market, more have opened and closed escrow as well. The market has been very active even though it seemed that most of Los Angeles went on vacation in August.

Average Sales Price
The average price for sold homes has continued to move up in spite of the rise in interest rates. In Eagle Rock, the market is strong with an increase of 5.3% in August compared to July, and 17 % over August of 2012. In 90042 (Highland Park area) zip code, a similar increase occurred. In 90065, prices levelled off slightly, though the year over year price increased by 28%!

What Does This Mean For You?
It is still the best time to sell your home that we’ve seen in the last several years. Since the inventory is more than was available in the spring, buyers are very concerned about value. There doesn’t appear to be any speculation or indication that prices will surge up soon. Therefore, buyers fear that they could overpay for a home now. A well-priced home in great condition generally sells quickly, but if there is any question about the location or amenities (yard, updates, schools), there is much more resistance to paying top dollar.

Call us today to discuss your real estate needs.

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  1124 Hits
1124 Hits

Modern Contemporary with Views at 921 Poppy Street

Modern Contemporary with Views at 921 Poppy Street

If living in style is your dream--run, don't walk, to this hip, fun, elegant contemporary Highland Park home, completed in 2005.

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Located in a little-known pocket bordering Eagle Rock in the hills of eastern Highland Park, the views from each floor plus the roof-top deck and upper patio are awesome every day, and incredible on July 4.

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The open kitchen and living area is airy and bright with high ceilings and walls of glass.

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The patio off the living area is perfect for entertaining with built-in barbecue, fire pit, and 15-foot water fall.

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The master suite features stunning eastern views, two closets, and a bath with dual sinks, separate shower and spa tub.

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The other two bedrooms are spacious with ample closet space and sliding glass doors to the rear patio.

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At the top of the property is a large yard area ready for lawn or garden, maybe a pool!

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Wired for security and sound, you can even control your security cameras, climate, and sound system with your smart phone. 

Listed for $799,000
3 bedrooms, 3 baths
2,088 sq. ft. on an 8,433 sq. ft. lot
Built in 2005

For more photos, details, and open house information, visit 921 Poppy on our website.

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1157 Hits

Straight Talk on Current Interest Rates

When looking for a lender to work with in the buying process, buyers tend to focus on who can give them the lowest rates. This isn't necessarily the best way to choose your lender. Here is straight talk from a lender regarding current interest rates:
 
During a fixed escrow period of 30 days, a lender really only has about 10-15 days in which to "lock" an interest rate.  Therefore, small variations of 0.125% from lender to lender aside, the rate is basically going to be what it's going to be. 

Buyers should understand that the rate they are going to get is actually more a function of the date they go into escrow and not really the lender they chose.  From lender to lender, the rates are going to be pretty comparable.

Don't believe everything you read on line - bankrate.com, Google "rates" and most online searches for interest rates are driven by one thing... ADVERTISEMENTS.  These sites are notorious for bait and switch tactics and/or profiling the best possible scenario for which 90% of our clients don't qualify.  Not sure what your personal experience has been with online advertisements, but if I bought stuff based on internet ads, I would have six-pack abs with no work required, a million dollar check coming to me weekly from Nigeria and would look like Brad Pitt.  Needless to say, none of these have come true yet... I've tried :-) 

Best way for novices to track rates - I pay thousands of dollars a year to get updates from Mortgage Market Guide, Barry Habib and Mortgage Toolbox type websites.  Generally, these companies give great guidance on when to lock.  I read technical reports and track rates across several different lenders on a weekly basis.  That being said, the first thing I do every day when I wake-up is check the 10-year treasury.  Simply go to www.Money.com and look at the 10-year treasury-yield on the upper right hand corner.  If that number is green (going up), then we are generally in a rising interest rate environment.  If that number is red (going down), then we are generally in a declining interest rate environment.  A bank's margin for profit is usually 1.75% - 2.25% above this number.  As of today the 10-year yield is at 2.88.  Adding the bank's margin gives us a rate range between 4.63% to 5.13% - which is fairly accurate.  This is oversimplifying a very technical process... but it's a good starting point.  

What does Page 1, Section 3-C-1 REALLY mean - On page 1 of the purchase contract you will find the verbiage "Loan will be a fixed (or adjustable) mortgage and the rate shall not exceed ___".  This clause is here to protect the buyer and should be reviewed by listing agents.  As of today I would put 5% on this line.  The buyer needs to know they can cancel if rates jump unexpectedly and they are suddenly in a spot where they cannot afford the mortgage.  The seller needs to know that this rate is not unreasonably low, and this gives the buyer a way to back out of the transaction should the buyer not qualify for the most attractive rates.  This section has gone widely overlooked for the last 10 years as we have been in a declining interest rate environment.  In an increasing rate environment, special attention needs to be given to this section for the foreseeable future.

 
Tracy's thoughts:
I have found that different lenders offer different programs, different staff, and different ways of working that truly can make a big difference in qualifying for and completing a loan. That's why I only recommend a few lenders of the many I have worked with over the years.
 

With all the credit for the credit talk going to Scott Groves at Groves Lending Team, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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1490 Hits

Contemporary Mediterranean with Views at 2451 Norwalk Avenue

Contemporary Mediterranean with Views at 2451 Norwalk Avenue

Margaritas on the terrace served with guacamole made from your own avocado tree's fruit, tricycle races in the back patio, fresh tomatoes and peppers ripening in the garden beds--all point to the good life at 2451 Norwalk, a contemporary Mediterranean Eagle Rock home for sale.

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This spacious 1991-built home offers a wonderful floorplan that can fit many lifestyles.

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There is an open plan with cathedral ceilings, living room, family room, and dining room.

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One bedroom is on the ground floor with its own bath, and there are three bedrooms upstairs.

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The Grand suite has a large walk-in closet and a recently updated spa-style bathroom that has one of the best views in the house--fully 180 degrees, plus a unique Victoria + Albert freestanding soaking tub, heated floor tiles, a separate shower with no-fog shaving mirror, dual vanity with Carrera marble counters, and separate toilet enclosure.

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The kitchen is huge and open with a large central island, expanses of counter space, and panoramic views. Appliance buffs will appreciate Delta touch faucets, a 6-burner Viking cooktop, Fisher-Paykel dual dishwasher drawers, a Kitchen-aid refrigerator, and a trash compactor. Other features include a separate utility sink, built-in oven and broiler, and a spacious breakfast area that opens out onto the terrace.

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Located in the Blue-Ribbon Distinguished Eagle Rock Elementary School and Magnet Center area, close to eateries like Mia Sushi and Auntie Em's, and to the cultural and sports opportunities at Occidental College, this is a wonderful place to call home.

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Listed for $849,000
4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
3,781 sq. ft. on an 8,421 sq ft. lot
Built in 1991

For more photos, details and open house information, visit 2451 Norwalk on our website.

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1111 Hits

Spacious Remodeled Traditional at 3946 York Boulevard

Spacious Remodeled Traditional at 3946 York Boulevard

Come home to this 1940 traditional home for sale in Glassell Park, with 2013 updates and style.  With over 2200 square feet per assessor, this one-level home offers a great floor plan for California living.

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From both the living room and the master bedroom, there are French doors which open onto a huge partially covered patio for your al fresco dining pleasure, or to enjoy a party for all your friends and even their friends.

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The master suite has a wall of closets and a spacious bath with dual sink vanity.

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The kitchen has marble counters, stainless steel appliances and another entrance to the patio.

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The huge family room has a separate entrance off Avenue 40, an adjacent powder room, and enough wall space to hold more than one media screen.

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Behind the garage are two storage rooms perfect for office and exercise.

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Located on the corner of West Avenue 40, you have the ease of parking on a quiet street or in the 3-car garage on York Blvd.

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Located in the popular Delevan Elementary and Eagle Rock Jr./Sr. High School area.

Listed for $599,000
3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
2,252 sq. ft. on a 6,483 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1940

For more photos, details, and open house information, visit 3946 York on our website.

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1069 Hits

Pool-side Traditional at 2027 Ridgeview Avenue

Pool-side Traditional at 2027 Ridgeview Avenue

Here is a 1924 traditional style Eagle Rock home that is a spacious 4 bedrooms, 3 baths with a pool and beautiful views to the west.

Located close to Occidental College off the upper end of Campus Road, you are near many amenities here from the hip York Blvd scene of art galleries, eateries, and shops to the hiking trails, library, cafeteria and athletic department of Oxy.

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Beautiful hardwood floors cover most of the house. The living, dining, and family rooms are ample for large gatherings.  

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Flow past the covered patio to the backyard with its pool, spa, and sports court.

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There are 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms upstairs including the master with its own bath and sunroom.

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Let your Pinterest collection become a reality when you put your own touches on the huge eat-in kitchen with center island and family room with fireplace.

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Well-maintained and loved by the current owners for 25 years, it's time now for a new family to make happy memories here.

Listed for $799,000
4 bedrooms, 3 baths
2,885 sq. ft. on a 8,776 sq. ft. 
Built in 1924

For more photos, details, and open house information, visit 2027 Ridgeview on our website.

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1014 Hits

Cul-de-Sac Traditional at 4709 Olson Street

Cul-de-Sac Traditional at 4709 Olson Street

This cozy Eagle Rock home is now available for viewing.  Remodeled and expanded in 2004, there are 3 bedrooms and 2 full baths.

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Plus a formal dining room and a cozy living room with fireplace.  

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There is a crisp kitchen with bay window, white cabinets, and just enough room for a small table and chairs.

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Freshly painted exterior and much of the interior, buffed and polished, this home shows what move-in ready means.

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Taking Park-like grounds to a new level, this charming 1938 traditional has views of Yosemite Park but also has its own forested backyard that is cool and private.

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Listed for $589,000
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
1,177 sq. ft. on a 7,630 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1938

For more photos, a floor plan, and open house information, visit 4709 Olson on our website.

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1022 Hits

Updated Craftsman (with guest house!) at 6139 Burwood, Highland Park

Updated Craftsman (with guest house!) at 6139 Burwood, Highland Park

In the hills of Highland Park north of York Blvd you will find a sweet Craftsman home with additional living space off the garage to total 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms.

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The 3 bedroom, 2 bath front house has wood floors & has been remodeled throughout with open kitchen/dining/living rooms, a master suite, new electrical wiring and 200 amp panel, and new windows.

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The back unit has a kitchen, bathroom, and studio/bedroom.  

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The peaceful back yard is pleasantly shaded by a large tree, with lawn and garden space.

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Listed for $579,000
3 bedrooms, 2 baths + guest house
1,215 sq. ft. on a 5,644 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1925

For more photos, details, and open house informaiton visit 6139 Burwood on our website.

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1150 Hits

The Home Buyers' Real Estate Market Update

After almost vertical price increases beginning at the first of the year, summer has brought a small lull in the market. We are actually seeing a number of price reductions appearing all across our Los Angeles marketplace, including the Westside.

Why? As prices jumped up, more homeowners who had been waiting for the market to "recover" put their homes on the market and our inventory of homes for sale increased from breathtakingly low to just very low. This, coupled with an uptick in mortgage interest rates, caused buyers to step back and think. Properties that came on the market priced to take into account the expected price increase all of a sudden seemed a little overpriced. Only the very best properties are still going in crazy multiple offer bidding wars (best in this case can mean an incredibly well done or well located house, or incredible deal for a house.) Those homeowners who have less than the best are finding that they are not going to be swept along with the buyer stampede as they had hoped.

We are also seeing a couple of interesting trends in how escrows are going. There seems to be an uptick in the number of escrows falling out, and largely over some aspect of buyer remorse. I've heard from escrow officers that they are averaging 30% fallout in the escrows they have. Why? Buyers are hugely afraid of overpaying. At the same time, there is much less willingness on the part of the seller to put up with renegotiating the price over conditions that come up during the inspection period. There is also less and less tolerance for letting contingencies drag on past their due dates. 

What to make of these trends? Buyers now have an opportunity to be a little more thoughtful about the home they purchase as long as they are willing to shop in the second tier of homes for sale (the best of the best still go for the most.) But once they go into escrow, buyers need to be more business-like in their behavior and keep up their end of the contract, or they might just be bounced out of escrow by a more business-like seller.

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1488 Hits

Italian Revival at 2129 Wollam Street

Italian Revival at 2129 Wollam Street

Unique Italian Revival architecture, unusual floor plan, remarkable details, lots of space--all add up to a fantastic opportunity for character home lovers.  This Glassell Park home for sale has many wonderful original features throughout.

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From the entry through the huge living room with its Batchelder-style decorative fireplace, the original double-hung windows, stunning wall sconces and chandelier, to the oak banister ascending the stairs, this is one fine and formal place to receive guests.

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A powder room with another charming chandelier is tucked behind the coat closet.

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Upstairs, the family hangs out in the huge formal dining room, and the party can continue through the large kitchen, through the sweet breakfast room with its own built-in buffet, and out the French doors to the patio and gardens beyond.

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The bedrooms are spacious, the bathrooms mostly original, the closets are large and plentiful.

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There are updated systems, beefed up foundation, a huge basement. There are views from every window.

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A delight to see and a home to cherish, come on over!

Listed for $599,000
3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
2,228 sq. ft. on a 7,880 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1927

For more photos, details, and open house information, visit 2129 Wollam on our website.

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1174 Hits

Spanish Triplex at 1242 Yosemite Drive

Spanish Triplex at 1242 Yosemite Drive

Eagle Rock investment property ideal for the owner occupant who wants additional income. This 1930s Spanish-style triplex has been in the same family since the 1960's.

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In unit 1242: The owner's unit (currently vacant) downstairs features 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, a formal dining room, living room, spacious kitchen and a laundry room.  There appears to be hardwood flooring under the carpet in some of the rooms.

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1242 1/2: the upstairs unit has 1 bedroom, 1 bath, a living room, kitchen and formal dining room, plus a large rooftop deck.

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1242 1/4: cute little cottage has 1 bedroom, a 3/4 bath, living room and tiny kitchen. Also part of the property is a 2-car garage and a separate open 2-car garage in the back. According to the preliminary title report, there is a recorded easement across the back neighbor's property allowing ingress and egress to the back garage.

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Listed for $499,000
4 bedrooms, 4 baths
2,288 sq. ft. on a 7,013 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1931

For more photos, details, and open house information visit 1242 Yosemite on our website

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1061 Hits

Remodeled Mid-Century Traditional at 1209 N Avenue 45

Remodeled Mid-Century Traditional at 1209 N Avenue 45

Perched at the top of its own hill, this adorable cottage is freshly updated and landscaped.  

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The current owners have transformed a sad little foreclosure into a charming updated cottage, with newly rebuilt 2-car garage, and a delightful garden of a yard with winding paths, fruit trees, and drought-tolerant plantings.

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Live in the best of all worlds: carefree living and seclusion just minutes from the hip eateries and shops along York Blvd and easy access to the 2 freeway and downtown LA.  

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Updates include remodeled kitchen and bath, new energy efficient windows, new flooring, freshly painted inside and out, tankless water heater, insulation, and more. 

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Listed for $457,000
2 bedrooms, 1 bath
784 sq. ft. on a 5,040 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1952

For more photos, details, and open house information, visit 1209 N Avenue 45 on our website.

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855 Hits