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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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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!

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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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.



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.



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




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





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




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




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




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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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 -, 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 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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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.



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



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


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



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.



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.



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.


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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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.



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.



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



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



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.



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



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.


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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1633 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.


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


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


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


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.



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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1579 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.


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



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


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


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.


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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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.



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.



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


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


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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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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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.


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.



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



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.




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




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



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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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.


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.



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


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.


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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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.  


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.


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.  


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


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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California Cottage at 4951 Hartwick Street

California Cottage at 4951 Hartwick Street

Ready for your discriminating updates or move right in and re-imagine life as it was in 1927.  The latest Eagle Rock home for sale is this charming California cottage with 2 bedrooms and 1 bath.


The original hardwood floors, an Arts & Crafts tile fireplace, lots of original windows, built-in cabinets in the formal dining room all add up to character, style, and a simpler time.


A spacious kitchen provides plenty of counter and storage space.


The tidy back yard is accessed from a deck off the kitchen with sunset views and has space for lawn and some gardening.  There is even a large walk-out basement for the laundry, storage, and perhaps a studio area or . .. ?


The 1-car garage is located at the end of the long driveway, providing off-street parking for at least a couple of cars.


Other features include a newer 50-year roof, copper plumbing, UV-protective windows, and a California-style landscaped front yard.


Listed for $499,000
2 bedrooms, 1 bath
884 sq. ft. on a 3,420 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1927

For more photos, details, and open house information visit 4951 Hartwick on our website.

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Mid-Century Modern at 2649 Medlow Avenue

Mid-Century Modern at 2649 Medlow Avenue

Live the Los Angeles dream in this midcentury modern with vaulted beamed wood ceilings, freshly refinished hardwood floors, and views of the final resting place of stars like Michael Jackson.


The open living/dining/kitchen offers a feeling of space and the opportunity to design your own gourmet space.


Upstairs are two bedrooms, with hardwood floors and beamed ceilings, and a bath.



Downstairs is a spacious family room, with ample storage space, and the master suite, both with access to the patio and back yard.



The backyard is large and completely fenced, with a parking pad for your Airstream Bambi. Conveniently located near the hip section of York Blvd and with easy access to the 2 freeway for downtown commuters.



Freshly painted inside and out with new carpet downstairs, you can move right in! Eagle Rock schools include the popular Delevan Elementary.

Listed for $599,000
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
1,539 sq. ft. on an 8,024 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1956

For more photos, details, and open house information visit 2649 Medlow on our website.

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Contemporary with Views at 1401 Wildwood Drive, Eagle Rock

Contemporary with Views at 1401 Wildwood Drive, Eagle Rock

Step into modern day easy living with this newer 2004-built home with views, quiet and style.


Originally finished with high-quality fixtures and immaculately maintained, this home is truly "turn-key" -- right down to every knob and faucet.


The kitchen opens onto the dining area, and looks out onto views of the mountains.


You might not ever want to leave the master bedroom and bath--the huge spa-style tub, separate shower, dual separate sinks all make it so you never have to feel crowded even when you both have to get ready at the same time.



The third level has a flexible floorplan with a large room currently used as an art studio, a smaller bedroom and 3/4 bath which could be another master suite.


Outdoor spaces include balconies on each floor and peaceful, verdant views.


With over 2400 square feet, there is space for everything in this 3-level home with attached 2-car garage.

Listed for $769,000
3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
2,413 sq. ft. on a 9,082 sq. ft. lot
Built in 2004

For more photos, details, and open house information, visit 1401 Wildwood on our website.

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What's Happening in the Northeast LA Real Estate World Now?

What's Happening in the Northeast LA Real Estate World Now?

The Northeast LA real estate market is an ever-changing beast.  Here are the main elements of what's driving our market today:

Increased Interest Rates

The big news in the real estate market is that rates have jumped up quickly. Most of the market volatility is stemming from speculation that the Fed will eventually be discontinuing its QE3 program. Rates have increased approximately 1% across the board on all products.

Although no one really likes higher interest rates, it is normal in a recovering real estate market to see rates rise. Also slightly higher rates will allow new lenders to enter the arena making for a more efficient market through increased competition. However, rates are still at historical lows compared to the 13.4% 30 years ago! The market is filled with opportunity and we cannot emphasize the importance of good strategic advice with access to innovative products to thoughtfully structure the right solution for clients.

Increased Inventory

The number of homes for sale in Northeast Los Angeles has definitely increased in the last few weeks. We are now averaging about 30 homes currently for sale in Eagle Rock. While significantly higher than the 12 we had earlier this year, we are still a far cry from the 75 homes for sale back in 2010. In Highland Park we are averaging about 40 homes active on the market, compared to 159 back in 2009. We are still seeing multiple offers on our listings.

Instead of perhaps attracting 10-15 offers, we are receiving 5-6. This of course depends on pricing strategy and what else is available when we come on the market.

The under $500,000 market continues to move very quickly. We received 10 offers on our one bedroom listing at 1915 Chickasaw (listed for $389,000).A house on Avenue 54 in Highland Park received 60 offers (listed for $299,000) and sold for 33% over asking price.

Increased Average Sales Price

The average sold price in Eagle Rock in June 2013 was $590,000, which continues the upward trend we’ve been experiencing. That’s 7.5% higher than the average of $549,000 in June 2013, and 27.4% higher than the average of $463,000 in June 2009.

In Highland Park the average sales price has reached $439,000, which is 44.9% higher than the average in June 2009, and 17.7% higher than the average of $373,000 just last year.

What does this mean for you?

This is still the best time to sell your home that we’ve seen in the last 5 years. While we are not experiencing the dramatic price spike that we saw earlier this year, prices have gone up considerably year over year. With more inventory available, the ability to move up into a bigger home, or down-size, while selling your home is more achievable. Our sellers are getting strong prices for their homes.;Our buyers are starting to see more opportunities in the market.

Call us today to discuss your real estate needs.

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Happy Fourth of July!


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From Lawn to Landscaped: Link Round Up!

From Lawn to Landscaped: Link Round Up!

I was driving up Highland View in Eagle Rock a couple of weeks ago and noticed one house had pulled up their front lawn and replaced it with a lovely garden, complete with planter bed. I love a good front yard transformation!  Here is a round-up of front yard ideas for you this weekend:

Before and After: From Thirsty Lawn to Xero-Garden

Lawn to drought resistant in 7 easy steps

An update on one blogger's front yard vegetable garden.

Sunset Magazine highlights creative front-yard makeovers.

Especially useful in our neck of the woods, five plants that can take the heat.

A suburban Twin Cities' family gets an edible estate.

Did you know that some front yard gardens are causing quite the controversy? Defying conformity and challenging authority.

And along those lines, six things that may be banned from your front yard.

Front yard farms and grass-free gardens.

And for those of you that just can't get rid of the lawn, here are 6 low-maintenance grasses.


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Just Sold! 4450 Yosemite Way and 4757 Avoca Street

On Friday we closed escrow on two great homes in Northeast LA - 4450 Yosemite Way in Glassell Park and 4757 Avoca in Eagle Rock.  Both homes came on the market at the same time - Yosemite Way for $549,000 and Avoca for $539,000 - and it was very interesting to see buyers' reactions to these two different homes. 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Yosemite-4450-front-1sm.jpg4450 Yosemite Way, Glassell Park
Listed for $549,000
3 bedrooms, 2 baths, plus a family room

4450 Yosemite Way is a midcentury ranch, 1,562 sq. ft. with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and a family room.  The sellers purchased it in 2007 and transformed it from grandma's house to a modern home with a comfortable floor plan.  They update the systems throughout, remodeled the kitchen, and refinished the hardwood floors.  The back yard is nestled in the hills with a covered patio, lawn, and plenty of room for entertainment, gardening, or play.  Buyers loved the amount of space in this home, and how well-cared for it is.


4757 Avoca Street, Eagle Rock
Listed for $539,000
2 bedrooms, 1 bath

4757 Avoca Street is a midcentury traditional with modern touches, 1,073 sq. ft. with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath.  The previous owner did a beautiful job updating the home, expanding the living room, remodeling the kitchen, installing hardwood floors, and creating an indoor/outdoor flow with large deck and easy-care yard.  Buyers loved the feel of this home, with its bright rooms, large windows, and access to the back yard.

We received 13 offers on 4757 Avoca and 15 offers on 4450 Yosemite Way.  4450 Yosemite Way ended up selling for $615,000 - 12% over the asking price.  4757 Avoca sold for $588,000 - 9% over the asking price. 

Congratulations to the new home owners!

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Nine Single-Family Homes Being Built in Highland Park

The latest in Highland Park real estate news - nine single-family homes are being built on Burwood Avenue in Highland Park. Curious about the rumors of "gated community" and the like, I attended the Highland Park Neighborhood Council Meeting to hear a presentation by a representative from Williams Homes, a smaller developer who works out of Santa Clarita, who is building the project. I will tell you right now, this is an opinion piece, not a news article. And when you say Santa Clarita to me, I think of packed-in-like-sardines cheesy spec-built stucco developments with no soul. Here are the facts according to Keith Herren, Executive Vice President of Williams Homes:


  • The development plan has been approved. Grading has begun, sewers and water are in, the streets will be in soon, and home construction will begin within a couple of months.
  • The homes will be 2400-2700 square feet. The flat lots will have 2-story homes. The hillside lots will have 3-story homes with the main living area on the second floor, bedrooms on the top floor.
  • The lots will be about 5,000 square feet and the homes will each have yards.
  • The price is going to be in the $700,000-$750,000 range.
  • The style will be contemporary, a lot like the Rock Row development on Yosemite Drive in Eagle Rock.
  • The development will not be gated.


The discussion at the Neighborhood Council was lively. Neighboring residents voiced their objections to the style and the size of the homes because they felt it would be inconsistent with their smaller, historic Craftsman-style homes. These folks have every right to their opinion. They feel that no one will want to buy the new homes because they don't represent the historic nature of Highland Park. 


I think it will be very interesting to see what becomes of these 9 homes. We have seen inappropriate developments in Highland Park before--the Monterey Hills development that sold out eventually, and the four homes on North Staley off of Avenue 64, to name two. Both projects were supremely not Craftsman style, the Monterey Hills project was a large enough development that it was its own community, separate from the main part of Highland Park. The four homes on North Staley were real tract-style homes, priced in the $800,000-plus range and they still haven't sold.


I think this development could be different. For one thing, the homes are going to have some style and character, even though it isn't a Craftsman style. I hope they will incorporate some green building materials and features, like the Rock Row development did. Personally, I would much rather see an honest contemporary-styled home next to an original Craftsman home than see an imitation of the faceless beige stucco homes that stretch for miles in so many developments in Orange, Riverside, or San Bernardino counties. 


We have a contemporary home coming on the market next week which will set a precedent for this development, and it's maybe a half-mile away. 5830 Buena Vista Terrace is an architectural, eco-friendly contemporary that knocks my socks off, and I think the buyers are going to flock over to buy it. It has about the same square footage as these homes, 4 bedrooms, 4 baths, views from almost every window, a very private setting, and much more. We listed it for $799,000, Come check it out and tell me if you agree that it's about good style versus no style. Highland Park is historic and full of Craftsman homes, but it also has some interesting modern and contemporary homes scattered throughout. 

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