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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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First Time Homebuyers: Feel Like You Have a Tiger by the Tail?

First Time Homebuyers: Feel Like You Have a Tiger by the Tail?

If today's homebuyers want to score big in the hot and active Northeast LA real estate market, it behooves them to think like a seasoned investor.

Many first time buyers in the crazy Northeast Los Angeles real estate market do feel like they have a tiger by the proverbial tail. From their point of view, they looked at dozens of homes for sale in Highland Park or Eagle Rock, dutifully attending open houses. They have competed time after time, pouring their hearts out in charming "I love your house and we are the cute couple you should pick to buy it" letters, scraping together every dime they can, revealing all their financial secrets to people they've never met and probably never will. And then, the 13th or 23rd time they go through this, they win!

They get to buy a house! Now what?


Now they do inspections and, oh my! This house needs work! It costs more than anyone they are related to — anyone they've ever known — has ever paid and it's not perfect! Not only that, this crazy market has been going up way too long and they just know that the minute they close escrow, the crash will happen and they will be stuck with an overpriced turkey that still needs work. Yikes! They have listened to their friends and reluctantly to Uncle Joe the accountant who bought his last house in 1982, and they are beginning to think the family and friends might be right—they are being chumps and they'd better get out while they can.

But they have a buyers' agent who reassures them that even though the house was sold as-is, even though the homeowners provided a general inspection and even a chimney and sewer inspection that revealed these issues, they can still ask for credits and repairs and negotiate the price down.

What the seller may choose to do about the requests is anyone's guess — but often they say no, or maybe they'll negotiate a little bit. Now the ball is back in the buyer's court. What next?

General thoughts: you can say yes, no, or negotiate somewhere between. But if this was a multiple offer situation, there is a good chance the seller has a backup offer, maybe even higher than yours, just waiting for you to back out. Or if you just give up and back out, often the property ends up selling for even more than you were willing to pay. We had that happen a few times in the last year, and sometimes it was a very significant amount of money.

Ask yourself if what you are feeling about this house is really your fear talking. After all, this is a big financial step for you—it might be the biggest step you've ever taken and you don't want to make a mistake. If you are asking all your friends and family what you should do, remember that the best advice they can give you from their perspective is to not take the step— because that is the "safe" choice. But in a couple of years when you still are renting an apartment and prices have continued to go up, will it really have been the safest path?

Some background: this crazy market has been recovering from the Great Recession for a good 5 to 8 years depending on where you are and what you define as "The Bottom." The majority of buyers have only been aware of it for about 4 years, when the number of homes on the market around my 'hood in Northeast Los Angeles dropped to almost nothing and prices started spiking up. For about the last 3 years, some people (many of them smart savvy Realtors) have said that this market is unsustainable and prices will soon level off—possibly even go down!

Suggestion #1: Look at what investors are doing. The beginning of the Renaissance of Highland Park began in 2009 when it truly was the bottom and investors came in and bought crummy thrashed foreclosures for cash, fixed them up with some style so that the people who could get a loan (if only from the Bank of Mom & Dad) would be attracted by the good looks and affordable prices and buy them—and the investor made a good profit. When the great deals got scooped up after a few years, eventually most investors moved on to higher priced neighborhoods where the profit margins were even higher again. Look at what's going on now, though—the investors have come back! Now NELA is where they can make a profit.

Many buyers today say that investors have scooped up all the "deals" and they cannot afford to buy the $million-plus flips that they produce. My question is, why didn't you buy the fixer when it was affordable and fix it up yourself? I have often heard buyers say that that is what they would like to do, but the investor went in and scooped up the property for themselves. In many cases, that is just not so. Here are the facts: in the 90041 Eagle Rock zip code, there were 34 $million + sales in 2016. Of them, 19 were flips. Of them, 12 were listed in the MLS, they were on the market an average of 69 days, and they sold for an average price of $645,000, which was slightly under the average asking price. And they sold fixed up for an average of $1,184,000 in 20 days on the market. That's about a $500,000 gross profit. Figuring in maybe $350,000 in renovation and sales costs, you have a net profit of $150,000. I'm guessing on costs, by the way.

But let's assume you never wanted to buy a fixer. The other interesting lesson to learn from where the investors are buying is that they think Northeast Los Angeles can sustain their investment/profit formula. Remember, they have a lot of risk—they generally pay cash (often with expensive hard-money loans), often self-fund the renovation, and generally take several months to complete the project. They do not want to risk so much money and time and then see the market go away, so if they have faith in the future market, that's a good sign.

Suggestion #2: Don't be confused about what you are really buying. Fix-it items on a house are just that, fixes. What is really important is the location, the lifestyle it offers you, the amenities nearby. I know my friends in the Midwest think our market is crazy—and they thought so 34 years ago when we bought our first house in Eagle Rock for $95,000. That particular house is probably worth $750,000 today, while the same house in Springfield, Missouri might be worth $125,000 today, maybe not that much. If the price of the home is that important or necessary to you, by all means, move to a less expensive area.

Keep in mind that real estate is primarily a long-term investment. If you are planning to move on in 2 years, maybe you should rent. But if you have the money and it seems like the right next step in your life, don't let your fears hold you back.

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2010 Hits

Just Sold: Home in Eagle Rock!

Just Sold: Home in Eagle Rock!

This home in Eagle Rock is located at 5333 Waldo Place.

Sold for $949,000
2 bedrooms, 2 baths
1,786 sq. ft. on a 7,510 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1960

If you are thinking of making a move, give us a call to discuss a strategy to achieve your goals in today's real estate market.

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2001 Hits

Just Sold: Home in Highland Park!

Just Sold: Home in Highland Park!

This Highland Park home received multiple offers and we negotiated a strong price with a solid buyer.

Listed for $799,000
Sold for $840,555
3 bedrooms, 2 baths
1,568 sq. ft. on a 7,499 sq. ft. lot
Built in 1981

If you are thinking of making a move, give us a call to discuss a strategy to achieve your goals in today's real estate market.

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  1960 Hits
1960 Hits

Peaceful Dream Retreat in Mt. Washington with Stunning Views

Peaceful Dream Retreat in Mt. Washington with Stunning Views

There's a reason why homes in Mount Washington are always in demand as well as why it has become one of LA's hottest real estate markets. Located only ten minutes from downtown Los Angeles, hillside homes like this one, command stunning views while offering a rural-feeling and idyllic, dream-like lifestyle. 

In Mt. Washington, dreams do come true: It isn't hard to imagine the kids walking along a scenic trail to their great elementary school, views from the whole property, a quiet cul-de-sac that feels remote yet is minutes from downtown Los Angeles and every hip crowded boulevard in Northeast LA. Is it possible?

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  1851 Hits
1851 Hits

Loads of Potential with this Craftsman-style House on Professor's Row in Highland Park

Loads of Potential with this Craftsman-style House on Professor's Row in Highland Park

Homes in Highland Park are much in demand for many reasons, especially because the homes are loaded with character and charm. The opportunities to get your hands on an older classic Craftsman-style home and tranform it into the home of your dreams is what make Highland Park real estate a hot, hot commodity. But every once in a while, something really special comes along and THIS IS IT!

Built just after Occidental College moved from Highland Park to Eagle Rock, this 3-level, 3-unit, Craftsman-style house on Professor's Row (Sycamore Terrace) is ready for your loving touch. It's all about the potential--and there's lots of it to work with in this 2500-sqft former beauty.

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  1539 Hits
1539 Hits

Real Estate Contract Fun

Real Estate Contract Fun

If you are planning to buy or sell a house, you should be familiar with the new Residential Purchase Agreement. "Oh, my Realtor will tell me what I need to know," you say. Think again! This contract underwent some major changes within the last couple of years, and continues to have little tweaks done to it with no real fanfare at least twice a year. Most of these changes are designed to clarify items that didn't even exist a few years ago, like leased solar and alarm systems. But some items that don't look like a big change can be if they apply to you. Also, There are some subtle bombs hidden in straight-forward boiler plate sentences.

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  2143 Hits
2143 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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2275 Hits

This Week's Give Back: Pasadena Humane Society!

This Week's Give Back: Pasadena Humane Society!

This week we were pleased to send a donation to the Pasadena Humane Society on behalf of our client, whom we helped to sell her long-time family home in Eagle Rock.

The Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA is an independent, donor-supported, non-profit agency that provides animal care and services for homeless and owned animals in our community. PHS takes in nearly 12,000 animals each year from the cities of Arcadia, Bradbury, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge, Monrovia, Pasadena, San Marino, Sierra Madre and South Pasadena.

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1703 Hits

This Week's Give Back: Dahlia Heights Elementary School!

This Week's Give Back: Dahlia Heights Elementary School!

This week we were excited to send a donation to the Dahlia Heights PTA on behalf of our clients whom we helped to sell their first home, a sweet bungalow in Eagle Rock, and purchase their next Eagle Rock home!

Dahlia Heights is a beloved elementary school here in Eagle Rock. Since it is no longer considered a Title 1 school, the PTA is working compensate for the hundreds of thousands of dollars the school no longer has in the budget for staffing, extra programs and other resources.

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1840 Hits

This Week's Give Back: Hamilton Elementary School!

This Week's Give Back: Hamilton Elementary School!

This week we had the pleasure of directing a donation to Hamilton Elementary on behalf of a lovely family who we helped to purchase their first Altadena home, a three bedroom, two bath, updated traditional in the foothills.

Hamilton Elementary is a math, science, and technology academy in the Pasadena Unified School District. When budget cuts started forcing elementary schools to delete their extra programs, Hamilton Elementary set up an annual fund in order to continue making those programs accessible to all of their students. You can read more about the annual fund here.

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  1595 Hits
1595 Hits

A Charming Cottage in the Hills of Highland Park

A Charming Cottage in the Hills of Highland Park

Living in the city, we dream of the country life--the quiet, space, privacy. At the same time we are spoiled by the convenience of nearby shops and restaurants.

Here in this sweet 1922 cottage, you are less than a 10 minute drive to the Eagle Rock Trader Joe's, 6 minutes from the heart of the York Blvd. scene, and only a mile from Fusion Burger and El Super. Highland Park real estate is booming and the availability of ideal homes such as this is the reason!

Who says we can't have it all? This is a small, charming cottage with wood floors, 2 small bedrooms, a living room and a spacious kitchen, a front porch big enough to sit on with your morning coffee--but the basement offers an additional space for a workshop, a "person" cave, whatever you need.

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  1740 Hits
1740 Hits

What is Influencing the Real Estate Market today?

What is Influencing the Real Estate Market today?

Many clients ask us why Northeast Los Angeles real estate has become such a hot commodity. Good question!

There are a few factors that influence the real estate market in general:

  1. Mortgage interest rates

  2. Employment statistics

  3. General economic trends

  4. Buyer/Seller expectations

Mortgage Interest Rates: We have experienced historically low interest rates for several years now, and although we have seen some movement up and down, nothing seems to indicate that the dread interest rate of 5% is likely to happen soon. Frequent readers are probably tired of me harking back to the early 1980s when interest rates were 14%.

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  2169 Hits
2169 Hits

A Character Spanish with Incredible Lot

A Character Spanish with Incredible Lot

Do you dream of building your own home in Eagle Rock some day? If so, you're not alone. Homes for sale in Eagle Rock have been a hot commodity for a few years now. but here's a way to have it all: a great character home now, plus a great 3/4 acre lot that you can possibly divide into 2 and build your dream home on the flat pad above (check with the City of Los Angeles for what is required).

Not interested in building? How about your very own urban farm? Vineyard? This lot is over 34,000 square feet!

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  1387 Hits
1387 Hits

An Elegant Spanish with Original Beauty

An Elegant Spanish with Original Beauty

Originally built in 1922, this Spanish lady has managed to retain her original beauty even after 96 years. A real treat to find in the Eagle Rock real estate market, this home has it all.

Miraculously intact after years of neglect then flipped by an investor who was sensitive to appropriate updates and additions, it was then treasured and improved by the current owners who have loved and cared for it throughout their 10-year stewardship, preserving its seductive charms. 

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1425 Hits

A Great Opportunity under $400,000!

A Great Opportunity under $400,000!

Wish you had a pool on these hot summer days? Grab your sunscreen and beach towel and let's go!

Townhouse homes in Duarte can be the best of both worlds--leave the maintenance of the exterior and the pool to the association for a small HOA fee and then decorate the interior of your home just the way you want.

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1436 Hits

An Eco-Friendly Home with Great Design

An Eco-Friendly Home with Great Design

Here is your opportunity to live in a modern, eco-friendly home in Eagle Rock! 4786 Rock Row is located in a development of 15 LEED-certified single-family homes located off Yosemite Drive.

The living room is bright and spacious, with sliding doors that open onto a balcony. The kitchen opens onto the dining area and has Caesar-stone counters, stainless steel appliances, and breakfast bar. Another balcony is just off the dining area, perfect for your BBQ and container garden.

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  1382 Hits
1382 Hits

A Contemporary Mediterranean with Mountain Views

A Contemporary Mediterranean with Mountain Views

This custom-built Altadena home nestled in the quiet foothills will have you saying, "wow."  Featuring the open floor plan everyone is looking for, this tastefully designed home offers 3 bedrooms, 3 baths, a gourmet kitchen open to the great room, and a backyard that goes on forever.

Park on the ample driveway and walk through the beautiful landscape to the 8’ hand-forged iron double doors. Just inside, a welcoming entry leads to a large, natural light-filled great room that has built-in-ceiling surround-sound speakers and a gas fireplace.

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1234 Hits

An English Cottage with Bonus Space

An English Cottage with Bonus Space

It's said that your home is your castle, and at this Eagle Rock home you even have the turret! This sweet 1928 character home has so much to offer a buyer starting out or even downsizing.

Lots of original details like the hardwood floors, the hexagonal reading nook, two spacious bedrooms and a charming living room with art deco-style cutouts framing the door to the formal dining room.

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  1382 Hits
1382 Hits

A Stylishly Modern Craftsman Bungalow

A Stylishly Modern Craftsman Bungalow

The Eagle Rock real estate market is filled with charming bungalows, and this one is a real treat to see. Walk on into this sweet little 1924 bungalow past the drought-tolerant landscape and you will find yourself in a "Dwell" contemporary designed and built by the current owner/architect in 2012.

The front room flows into the open kitchen with orange tile backsplash making a colorful accent to the open, calm, Zen-inspired interior. The kitchen opens to a 2-story open family/dining room with loft and the perfect California life-style design that opens to a large redwood deck for your al fresco dinner party.

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  1977 Hits
1977 Hits

An Atomic Ranch in the Hills

An Atomic Ranch in the Hills

Atomic Ranch enthusiasts alert! A rare opportunity in the La Crescenta real estate world - this classic 1960 4-bedroom ranch home is almost entirely original. It offers a unique opportunity to live in a spacious one-story ranch on over a half acre lot (with a 4-car garage) in one of the best neighborhoods in La Crescenta.

Wow! The true soul of this ranch for mid-century aficionados is the fantastic wood-panelled family/dining room with its vaulted ceiling, fireplace wall of Palos Verdes stone, and cascade of period appropriate lights suspended from one side. This vast room, which has 3 distinct areas, extends from the front of the house to the back.

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  1388 Hits
1388 Hits