Propertunities http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blogen-USCopyright 2012, Frontiers_PublishingMon, 27 Feb 2012 12:00:00 GMTMon, 27 Feb 2012 12:00:00 GMThttp://emmisinteractive.comhttp://www.frontiersla.com/EI/sharedobjects/handlers/ir.ashx?p=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&w=144&mw=400Propertunitieshttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blogWhat's Goin' On?<p> </p> <p>Way, way back in October 2010, I did an article about development and revitalization in some well-known spots in and around the West Hollywood area. Sixteen months later, some are under way, some have stalled and some new projects have been approved. This issue I thought we’d take a look at the status of these projects and where they’re headed.<br /><br /><strong>THE OLD</strong><br /><br /><strong>Movietown Plaza</strong><br />    Originally the Trader Joes that’s there now was set to be razed to make room for a project set to consist of 32,300 square feet of street-front retail space (including a new Trader Joes), 294 market-rate condos and 76 units of affordable senior housing. The project hit a major roadblock late last year after a major falling out between developer Allen Casden and private equity funder Cerberus Capital Management, and was scheduled to go to auction on Dec. 21 of last year. CIM Group, Inc. (the company responsible for Hancock Lofts, Sunset Vine Tower and Hollywood and Highland) was one of several interested bidders. You can tell things have sort of fallen apart by the fact that the website for the project still says “construction is anticipated to begin in 2010.” As it stands now, Trader Joes still stands, and the other merchants that used to be there are long gone.<br /><br /><strong>Ross Dress For Less at 3rd and Ogden</strong><br />    Another casualty of the Casden/Cerberus fallout, there was already a black cloud over this one when I first wrote about it, and now the project is nothing but a memory. There once were plans to demolish the discount store to make way for a 13-story structure with 75 senior rentals and 225 market-rate condos, as well as a parking structure with 662 spaces. Most recently, though, Ross Stores actually purchased the property for $45 million and 86’d those plans, instead opting to keep their well-performing retail outlet right where it is.<br /><br /><br /><strong>THE NEW</strong><br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" title="Photo: NMS Properties" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/luxe@375.jpg" alt="" width="400" /><strong>Luxe@375</strong><br />    Sited where the old Acapulco restaurant used to be at La Cienega and Westmount is a five-story, 125-unit luxury apartment building that broke ground in spring of 2011 and is expected to be completed sometime in 2013. Kind of vague, I know, but hey, that’s what their website says!<br /><br /><br /><img class="image_align_center" title=" Photo: Pacific Development Partners" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/walgreens.jpg" alt="" width="400" /><strong>Santa Monica Boulevard & Crescent Heights</strong><br />    Developer Pacific Development Partners first applied for a three-story, modernist mixed-use building to replace the forlorn stripmall at Santa Monica Boulevard and Crescent Heights in 2007. Say goodbye to Tasty Donuts. It’s being demolished, along with the former Marco’s Pizza. Despite some online petitions protesting (I was able to find two with about 500 signatures between them), there’s a new Walgreens going up there. It’s being designed by noted architect Lorcan O’Herlihy. Approved in January by a 6-1 vote among WeHo’s Planning Commission, the project will include 20 residential units (four of which will be low-income houseing) atop the pharmacy as well as various other retail. Curbed LA reports that development has been in the works since 2006 and, after complaints, went from 48 units to 28 to 20. The Walgreens will take up 13,276 square feet, with another 2,138 square feet set aside for other groundfloor retail. The project will also have a rooftop "Sky Park.” Because one of the major concerns about the project was increased traffic, once the project is done, you won’t be able to turn left onto Crescent Heights or Havenhurst between 3 and 7 p.m.<br /><br /><strong>3rd Street & La Brea Avenue</strong><br />    In what used to be the used car division of La Brea Chrysler Jeep, a new single-level, 10,370 square foot CVS is going up. They broke ground back in December.<br /> <br /><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/wilshire%20labrea.jpg" alt="" width="400" /><strong>Wilshire Boulevard & La Brea Avenue</strong><br />    Another big mixed-use project coming in early 2014, the structure will consist of 478 luxury apartment homes, 230 parking spaces and approximately 40,000 square feet of street-front retail and restaurant space. The community is set to encompass an entire city block at the southeast corner of the intersection, and will include over 500 feet of frontage on La Brea and 270 feet on Wilshire, giving retailers exceptional exposure to strong pedestrian and auto traffic.<br /><br /> <br />So there you have it. That’s what’s happening at all these construction sites that are slowing up your morning commute every day! There are several other projects happening around town that I don’t have room to go into, but if you’re curious about something you see going up, feel free to shoot me an e.mail and I’ll see what I can find out for you! As always, if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please put me in touch with them.<br /><br /></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/02/27/whats-goin-onhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/02/27/whats-goin-onMon, 27 Feb 2012 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickA Mid Century Night’s Dream<p>If you know me, follow <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealestate" target="_blank">my real estate page</a> or read this column, you know I am a huge fan of mid-century modern architecture. And L.A. has no shortage of amazing, architecturally significant examples. ‘Mid-century’ can refer to architecture, design, furniture, etc. It would be impossible to cover very much history in this limited space, but the term is essentially a descriptor used in reference to modern design, architecture and urban development from the mid-1930s until the mid-1960s. The goals of the modern movement were to bring elements of modernism into post-WWII design.<br /><br />Some characteristics you can expect to see in these homes include lots of windows; simple, clean design; visual representation of horizontal and vertical lines (often including flat rooflines)’ open floor plans designed with the intention of opening up interior spaces and bringing elements of the outdoors in. Another notable trait was the idea put forth by Louis Sullivan—“form follows function”—meaning that the result of design should derive directly from its purpose.<br /><br />Some of the most prominent architects in the modern movement are Frank Lloyd Wright, A. Quincy Jones, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler and John Lautner (among many others), and in L.A., it’s not as difficult as you might think to acquire a house by one of these giants of design. How easy is it? Funny you should ask! There happen to be several great examples of these homes listed for sale right now!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" title="Photo: Everett Fenton Gidley" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1925%20Carla%20Ridge.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="266" />1925 Carla Ridge</strong> <br />Trousdale Estates<br />$3,995,000<br />4br/3ba in 3,268 sq. ft. on a 21,190 sq. ft. lot<br /><br />Trousdale Estates is one of the most revered areas for real estate in all of L.A., with a very rich history of architecture and celebrity. Private, tranquil and tucked away at the top of Carla Ridge, this one has expansive city, ocean, mountain and valley views. Large, open living room with walls of glass leading to the pool. Curved walls, terrazzo floors, sculptured trees and large covered terrace. This one needs updating but can be absolutely stellar with the right eye! Virtual tour at <a href="http://bit.ly/xVf7sa" target="_blank">bit.ly/xVf7sa</a>.<br /><br /><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/3807%20Reklaw.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="255" />3807 Reklaw Dr.</strong><br />Studio City<br />$750,000<br />3br/2ba in 1,348 sq. ft. on a 6,370 sq. ft. lot<br /><br />You don’t have to have deep pockets to own a piece of historical architecture. This home, commissioned and built in 1941 and being sold by the original owners, is known as The Goodwin House and was built by R.M. Schindler. The house has many of its original features and charm but also has been well-maintained and has had upgrades to many of the systems. A street-to-street lot with great light and incredible views of the canyons from every room—minutes from everything but surrounded by nature and away from it all.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" title="Photo: Michael McCreary" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/7744%20Torreyson%20Dr.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="265" />7744 Torreyson Dr.</strong><br />Hollywood Hills<br />$2,650,000<br />3br/3ba in 3,365 sq. ft. on a 13,306 sq. ft. lot<br /><br />The Blevins Residence, 1965. Perfectly sited on a rolling hillside taking full advantage of the limitless views over the valley to the San Gabriel Mountains, this mid-century modern above famed Mulholland Drive features light-filled rooms, grand scale and an open floor plan conducive to modern living. A pure homage to the indoor/outdoor aesthetic of ‘60s modernism, the bright and open high-ceilinged public rooms feature walls of glass with views from every room. Spectacular grounds and a gorgeous pool.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1010%20N%20Rexford.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="286" />1010 N. Rexford Dr.</strong><br />Beverly Hills<br />$14,990,000<br />5br/6.5 ba in 7,718 sq. ft. on a 51,840 sq. ft. lot<br /><br />Situated on more than an acre of land, this rare A. Quincy Jones tennis court estate with pool was newly restored in 2005. A chef’s kitchen, separate butler’s kitchen, sushi bar and wine room facilitate easy flow for entertaining. Spacious living room, family room and dining room all lead out to a generous terrazzo outdoor living space.</p> <p>Oh, how much space I could fill with examples of great mid-century architecture in L.A. It’s all around. And don’t even get me started on the magnificence of some of the homes in Palm Springs. There are lots of great books and websites you can check out if you’re really into this type of design. <br /><br />If you see anything you like here, or are interested in finding out more about what’s on the market, please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or give me a call. And if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please put them in touch with me and I’ll be glad to help.<br /><br /><em>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams.Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto:%20jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor" target="_blank">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/02/17/a-mid-century-nights-dreamhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/02/17/a-mid-century-nights-dreamFri, 17 Feb 2012 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickEast Side Story<p style="text-align: left;">In Los Angeles, it seems that when people think about condos, they think about West Hollywood, the Westside or maybe Downtown where there is a large concentration of lofts. If you do consider yourself an East Sider, but feel like you’re more suited to condo living, never fear! There is a thriving condo market in Los Feliz and Silver Lake that tends to fly under the radar. I’ve written before about the pros and cons of single-family homes vs. condos, and there are a lot of well-priced homes in the Silver Lake/Los Feliz area. But not everyone wants the responsibility that comes with maintaining a house. That’s where condos come in. Check out some of what these areas have to offer!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/2330 Duane St.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="279" /><br />2330 Duane St.</strong><br />$669,000<br />2br/3ba in 1,597 sq. ft.<br />Awesome architectural unit in small complex overlooking the lake. Top floor unit with soaring two-story living room that opens to loft space with bath. Walls of glass, state-of-the-art, designer-done kitchen, inside laundry, rooftop terrace, balconies, pool and spa. Virtual tour at <a href="http://www.bit.ly/yWP4Dl">bit.ly/yWP4Dl</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/4411 Los Feliz Blvd.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="255" /><br />4411 Los Feliz Blvd.</strong><br />$399,000<br />2br/2ba in 1,076 sq. ft.<br />Los Feliz Towers is a very cool high-rise right on the boulevard. This beautiful, modern, southwest-facing second floor unit is a great buy. Renovated and move-in ready, central AC, stainless appliances, laundry in unit, doorman, heated pool, corner balcony and views galore.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1372 Edgecliffe Dr.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="263" /><br />1372 Edgecliffe Dr.</strong><br />$745,000-$795,000<br />3br/2.5ba in 1,600 sq. ft. <br />Four brand-new freestanding townhomes on a single lot, blocks from Sunset Junction, each with its own attached two-car garage and private roof deck with panoramic views. No HOA dues. Custom closets and cabinetry, Bosch applicances, five-fixture master bath, many eco-friendly features (such as energy-efficient envelopes, passive solar orientation and thermal chimneys), tankless water heaters and solar electric systems. Virtual tour and more info at <a href="http://www.bit.ly/AftvbG">bit.ly/AftvbG</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1701 Clinton St.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="293" /><br />1701 Clinton St.</strong><br />$249,000<br />2br/1ba in 843 sq. ft.<br />Located in the Lago Vista complex in Echo Park with panoramic views of the lake, the mountains and the city. Super cool building designed by architect Allyn E. Morris, this two-level unit needs work, but I’ve seen some amazingly redone units in there, and this top-floor diamond in the rough could be among the best with the right touch! Open kitchen and living area with balcony, plus pool. </p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/4005 Monroe St.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="267" /><br />4005 Monroe St.</strong><br />$549,000<br />2br/2.5ba in 1,340 sq. ft.<br />Gorgeous light, bright, pristine newer construction architectural townhome with city views. Built in 2007, 10-foot ceilings, Italian kitchen, multiple skylights, Ann Sacks tile, hardwood floors throughout, stainless appliances, laundry in unit, huge private storage room in garage, close to Sunset Junction. A real gem! Virtual tour at <a href="http://www.bit.ly/ztUFLU">bit.ly/ztUFLU</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">So there you go. You can be “East Side” and still indulge in the comfort and ease of condo living. If you see anything you like here, or are interested in seeing even more possibilities, don’t hesitate to give me a call or shoot me an e-mail and I’ll be glad to help. If you know anyone looking to buy or sell property, please pass my name along and they’ll be taken care of.</p> <p><em>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams.Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/01/27/east-side-storyhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/01/27/east-side-storyFri, 27 Jan 2012 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat Can I Get For $2,000,000 and More? <p>A million, $750,000, under $500,000—I’ve covered a few price ranges here in the past few months. I thought I was done. I was surprised, though, at the amount of feedback I got asking, “What’s out there for the high-end buyer? What’s hot, and what does that kind of money get you in today’s market?” Wanna talk luxury homes? You don’t have to ask me twice! This issue, let’s cap it at $6 million. Off we go.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1841 Outpost Dr.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="266" /><br />Outpost Estates</strong> <br />1841 Outpost Dr.<br />$2,149,000<br />5br/3 1/2 ba in 3,688 sq. ft. on a 9,580 sq. ft. lot</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Private Spanish compound, remodeled and restored. Wood coffered ceilings, period details, gourmet kitchen, sunken living room, 10-foot ceilings, fireplace, sunroom, lavish pool/spa, wired for sound. Absolutely gorgeous. Check out the full virtual tour at <a href="http://bit.ly/xjyKE1">bit.ly/xjyKE1</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/5063 Aldea Ave.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="263" /><br />Encino</strong><br />5063 Aldea Ave.<br />$3,000,000<br />6br/7ba in 7,817sq. ft. on a 18,095 sq. ft. lot</p> <p style="text-align: center;">It’s no secret you’ll get more bang for your buck out in the valley. $3 million in Encino gets you almost 8,000 sq. ft. of newer construction, privately gated Spanish/Hacienda luxury, complete with resort-style pool/spa, wine cellar, screening room, grand spiral staircase, gourmet kitchen—a true estate! Fantastic virtual tour at <a href="http://bit.ly/wbKYOr">bit.ly/wbKYOr</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/26966 Malibu Colony Cove.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="265" /><br />Malibu</strong><br />26966 Malibu Cove Colony Dr.<br />$5,700,000<br />3br/3ba in 2,948 sq. ft. on 6,538 sq. ft.</p> <p style="text-align: center;">So you’re the beachy type? I’ve got you covered. Peace, quiet and security coupled with the brilliance of the ocean are yours everyday with this dramatic architectural home in guard-gated Malibu Cove Colony. Soaring spaces incorporate the natural elements of wood, stone, sky and water, which together create a visual statement both daring and uncompromising. Gourmet kitchen, fabulous great room, huge garden/deck. Perfect for entertaining, showcasing art or just enjoying the ocean. Full virtual tour at <a href="http://bit.ly/zqFViA">bit.ly/zqFViA</a>.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1244 Bel Air Rd.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="266" /><br />Bel Air</strong><br />1244 Bel Air Rd.<br />$6,000,000<br />3br/5ba in 3,040 sq. ft. on a $16,810 lot</p> <p style="text-align: center;">If you follow my real estate page on Facebook, you know what a sucker I am for mid-century modern. This is no exception. Breathtaking reimagining of a 1959 classic, ultra-hip, sophistication, warmth, elegance. Jetliner views from Downtown to the ocean. High ceilings and walls of glass that open to the sleek pool and outdoor entertaining space. State-of-the-art technology, extremely quiet and gated motor court. Now, where’s my lotto ticket? Don’t miss the virtual tour at <a href="http://bit.ly/zMiYsa">bit.ly/zMiYsa</a>. You won’t be sorry!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/2649 La Cuesta Dr.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="326" /><br />Nichols Canyon</strong><br />2649 La Cuesta Dr.<br />$4,990,000<br />4br/4 1/2 ba, 5,000 sq. ft. on an 11,238 sq. ft. lot</p> <p style="text-align: center;">I saw this one called a “glassy cliff-hugger” in one write-up. Newly completed, architecturally groundbreaking, three levels of floor-to-ceiling windows and doors showcasing spectacular views of Nichols Canyon from every room. Open floor plan, chef’s kitchen, stunning saline infinity pool with spa. Close to Mulholland and Runyon Canyon.</p> <p>Whether you’ve made your millions or you’re just looking for something to slap onto your vision board for future reference, there’s something out there for everyone. One of my favorite things about this business is getting to see these types of properties. If you see something here that interests you and you’re considering ‘movin’ on up,’ give me a call! If you have any questions about real estate, I’m always available by phone or email.</p> <p><em>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams.Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/01/16/what-can-i-get-for-2000000-and-morehttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/01/16/what-can-i-get-for-2000000-and-moreMon, 16 Jan 2012 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat Can I Get For Under $500,000? <p>Happy New Year! Now that the holidays are over and we’re all back to the grind, I’m excited to pick up where I left off at the end of 2011 with my “What Can I Get For…?” series. If you recall, my last column before the holidays detailed what you can purchase for under $750,000, and the one before that was what you could purchase for under $1 million.</p> <p>This week, we tackle the under-$500,000 category. It’s easier than you think, too. A lot of these properties can be purchased with as little as 3.5 percent down payment.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="300" /><br />West Hollywood</strong><br />1318 N. Crescent Heights Blvd. #207<br />$225,000<br />1br/1ba in 622 sq. ft. condo<br /><br />It may not be huge, but it’s super cute, it’s in the middle of everything and it’s yours! Great mid-century building with vintage charm and retro style. Top floor, rear corner unit with great light. Building has a beautiful courtyard, central air, low dues and extra storage space.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1942 Grace Ave.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="300" /><br />Hollywood Hills</strong><br />1942 Grace Ave.<br />$299,000<br />2br/2ba in 1,100 sq. ft. condo<br /><br />Spacious, light, bright condo in Whitley Heights with hardwood floors, huge open living room, wood-burning fireplace, wet bar, washer/dryer, lots of closets and a view of the Hollywood sign from the patio. Pool, spa and racquetball court as well! Close to shops, bars, the W Hotel and Hollywood Bowl.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/5267 Saturn St.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="300" />Picfair Village/Mid-Wilshire</strong><br />5267 Saturn St.<br />$414,900<br />2br/1ba in 780 sq. ft. on a 3,000 sq. ft. lot<br /><br />This is a sweet little condo alternative for a single person or young couple who wants something stunningly remodeled and move-in ready. Featuring little splashes of Kelly Wearstler influence, this Country English gem is designer-done with hardwood floors, a new kitchen and all new electrical, plumbing, tankless hot water heater, roof and HVAC. Beautifully landscaped and steps away from cafés and boutiques.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/5847 Bevis Ave.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="300" />Sherman Oaks</strong><br />5847 Bevis Ave.<br />$489,000<br />3br/2ba in 1,280 sq. ft. on a 6,364 sq. ft. lot<br /><br />Situated on a huge lot on a tree-lined street, gated, beautifully updated and move-in ready. Hardwood floors, brick fireplace, glass doors leading to an outdoor patio, updated kitchen with stone counters, stainless steel appliances and a huge expandable dining area. Central to freeways, Target, Costco and the Sherman Oaks Galleria.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><strong><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/5050 W 12th St.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="267" /><br />Longwood Highlands (Hancock Park Adjacent)</strong><br />5050 W. 12th St.<br />$549,000<br />Triplex (three 1br/1ba units in 1,977 sq. ft. on a 5,009 sq. ft. lot)<br /><br />Live in one, enjoy the income from the others. This mid-century triplex is situated on a corner lot and has lots of potential for upgrading and increase in rents. New copper plumbing. The largest unit is vacant with a fireplace. Perfect for an owner/user!</p> <p>So there you have it. And there are tons more just like this. If I could fit them all on this page, I would. If you’d like to see some more examples, or are interested in what you might be able to find for yourself in this most affordable of price ranges, please feel free to give me a call. And if you know anyone who may be considering buying or selling a home in the near future, please don’t hesitate to have them call me, and I will take excellent care of them. Happy 2012!</p> <p><em>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams.Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</em></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/01/04/what-can-i-get-for-under-500000http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2012/01/04/what-can-i-get-for-under-500000Wed, 04 Jan 2012 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat Can I Get For $750,000? <p>Last issue, I presented you with six great properties meant to give you a broad idea of what you could buy for $1,000,000 in various areas of Los Angeles. As you could tell, you can do pretty darn well with that kind of money. But what if you’re not quite in that price range? What if you top out at, say, $750,000? Well, let’s go for a spin and see what that’ll get you. Like I said last time, let’s assume that everything’s at least somewhat negotiable!</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/8317%20Waring%20Ave.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>West Hollywood</b><br />8317 Waring Ave.<br />$750,000<br />3br/2ba in 1,584 sq. ft. on a 2,750 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Fab open and airy condo alternative—done, done, done. New roof, kitchen, plumbing and electrical. Cool tree-shaded brick patio great for entertaining. Long, wide master bedroom with balcony overlooking the street. Great house, choice location.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1301%20Hauser%20Blvd.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>LACMA/Miracle Mile</b><br />1301 Hauser Blvd.<br />$749,000<br />3br/1ba in 1,549 sq. ft. on a 5,000 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Charming 1926 Country English cottage, beautifully updated and maintained with period details and hardwood throughout. Large formal living room with barrel ceiling and wood-burning fireplace. Remodeled kitchen, updated systems, integrated A/V system, central air. Done, and affordable!</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/709%20Broadway%20%232.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Venice</b><br />709 Broadway St. #2<br />$749,000<br />2br/2ba in 1,303 sq.ft. (condo)</p> <p>Spectacular front unit, one of only three units in this unique contemporary Mediterranean building. Large private rooftop terrace, 20-foot ceilings in living room, wood-burning fireplace, tons of natural light, open loft space. Prime west-of-Lincoln location, laundry in unit.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1316%20Waterloo%20St.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Silver Lake<br /></b>1316 Waterloo St.<br />$739,000<br />3br/2ba in 1,300+ sq. ft. on a 7,492 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Painstakingly restored and upgraded California bungalow in the Silver Lake hills with Hollywood sign and observatory views, wainscoted living room, restored kitchen and formal dining room, redone hardwood floors, master with stunning marble and tile bathroom. Central HVAC, updated plumbing and electrical.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/17110%20Nanette%20St.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b>Granada Hills<br /></b>17110 Nanette St.<br />$739,000<br />4br/2ba in 2,077 sq. ft. on an 11,840 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Affordable architecture! 1964 classic Joseph Eichler residence by architect Claude Oakland exemplifies Oakland’s social concern of building better living for those without the pocketbook of the very wealthy. Here in the Balboa Highlands, Eichler built one of his now-historic modern neighborhoods. This is a classic, stunning mid-century modern beauty!</p> <p>These are just a few great examples of what $750,000 will do for you. It’s not the same as a million, but there’s an upside to this price range. Depending on several things, you can get into one of these houses for as little as 3.5 percent down payment. With interest rates at all-time lows, now is definitely a great time to consider getting into the market! If you like anything you see here, feel free to give me a call. I’m here to help! Next week, we’re gonna take it down another notch, and see what kind of good stuff you can get for $500,000 and under. And believe me, there’s plenty!</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/12/02/what-can-i-get-for-750000http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/12/02/what-can-i-get-for-750000Fri, 02 Dec 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat Can I Get For $1,000,000? <p><img class="image_align_top_right" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="111" width="74" />Let’s say you’re in the market for a home. You’ve done all your homework, you’ve gotten yourself pre-approved with a reputable lender and now you’re ready to search for a home. As we all know, there are certain parts of the city that sell for quite a premium based on location. Your money is not going to get you the same thing in West Hollywood as it will in Eagle Rock or Sherman Oaks. So what exactly <i>will</i> your money get you? This week, let’s look at what you can get for your million dollars (give or take, and hey—everything’s negotiable).</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1585%20Benedict%20Canyon.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p><b>Beverly Hills</b>, 1585 Benedict Canyon Dr. $995,000<br />2br/2ba in 1,344 sq. ft. on an 8,000 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>It’s actually Beverly Hills Post Office, but it’s still the 90210, and it’s a darn cute, hip, modern, designer-styled remodeled pad with an open floorplan and backyard ideal for entertaining. Vaulted ceilings, great master with oversized steam shower, jetted tub, Kohler fixtures and sconces from Waterworks.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/8827%20Rosewood%20Ave.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p><b>West Hollywood</b>, 8827 Rosewood Ave.<br />$1,049,000: 2br/2ba in 1,268 sq. ft. on a 3,999 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Quintessential Cape Cod with classic period detailing. Oak hardwood floors, french doors and custom casement windows. Vaulted ceilings in the living room and the master suite. Gated driveway, white picket fence and just a stone’s throw from the Beverly Center, Beverly Hills and Robertson Boulevard.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/2121%20Silver%20Lake%20Dr.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p><b>Silver Lake</b>, 2121 W. Silver Lake Dr.<br />$1,095,000: 3br/2ba in 2,500 sq. ft. on 7,000 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Character Spanish circa 1934, prime Silver Lake location. Large step-down living room with amazing lake views, original ornate beams and fireplace, hardwood floors, formal dining room with lots of windows and gorgeous moldings, skylights, wood-burning fireplace and more!</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/15308%20Stonewood%20Terrace.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p><b>Sherman Oaks</b>, 15308 Stonewood Terrace<br />$1,089,000: 4br/3ba in 2,400 sq. ft. on a 14,620 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Fantastic location, private setting on a large, gated lot close to Mulholland Drive. One story home featuring high wood-beam ceilings, hardwood floors, open living area, stunning canyon and city light views. Endless Pools exercise therapy pool with solar heating, built-in sound system and a premium lot with room to expand in a prime neighborhood south of Ventura Boulevard.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/1205%20Eagle%20Vista%20Dr.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p><b>Eagle Rock</b>, 1205 Eagle Vista Dr.<br />$1,049,000: 5br/4ba in 3,035 sq. ft. on a 30,120 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>A million bucks sure will do you right in Eagle Rock, which is quite an up-and-coming area. This three-level mid-century beauty is up a gated private drive, beautifully renovated and is reminiscent of a Palm Springs mini-estate. Cook’s kitchen, soaring ceilings, living room with fireplace, sparking pool and fab city and mountain views. Also has a pool/guest house. The perfect blend of comfort and luxury.</p> <p><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/943%20Masselin%20Ave.jpg" width="400" /></p> <p><b>Museum Square</b>, 943 Masselin Ave.<br />$999,000: 3br/2ba in 1,839 sq. ft. on a 10,268 sq. ft. lot</p> <p>Museum Square is around Wilshire and Curson, and is a great area. This is a beautifully sited ‘20s Spanish Character hacienda-style with a separate full guest house and room for a pool. Courtyard entry with fountain, living room with step-down den, large dining room with adjoining sun porch, open kitchen, informal dining area. Fine restaurants and the museum district are just steps away!</p> <p>See something you like here? Call me and let’s talk about it. Considering selling, or curious what your home is worth? Call me, let’s chat!</p> <p>In the next issue, we’ll take a look at what you can get for $750,000. Be sure and check it out. Once you get down to that price range, there are options that allow you to put significantly less money down, as little as 3.5 percent.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/11/18/what-can-i-get-for-1000000http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/11/18/what-can-i-get-for-1000000Fri, 18 Nov 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWe Didn’t Get The House We Wanted, So What Now?<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I’ve been selling real estate for almost nine years now. I’ve seen an insanely hot market and I’ve seen, well, the opposite of an insanely hot market. And I’ve seen some in-between (kinda where we are now). When I first got into the business, things were really starting to take off into the stratosphere in terms of sheer nuttiness. Agents were writing offers on the hoods of their cars during open houses. There were almost always multiple offers on houses, with bidding going well over the asking price.</p> <p>Things have cooled down now, as we all know. But even in this market, when a property is priced to sell, there can easily be multiple offers on it. It happens every day. And it can be extremely heartbreaking for a buyer to get their heart set on a house and lose it in multiples. The question is, though, once that happens, what are your options? One option you always have as a buyer is to attempt a backup offer. What’s a backup offer, you ask?</p> <p>Lots can go wrong in an escrow. Something like one-third of all escrows don’t successfully close right now. In a time of increasingly strict lending guidelines, often a buyer who had been pre-approved early in the game finds out that there was some mitigating factor they or their lender weren’t aware of, causing their loan application to be denied. And when that happens, it’s back to square one for the seller. Another thing that might happen is a failure to agree on credits or repairs that are requested by the buyer after they’ve completed their inspections. An escrow can even fall apart simply over cold feet on the part of the buyer. I’ve seen situations where a potential buyer lost their job during the escrow period. My point is, anything can happen—and it often does.</p> <p>The advantage of backup offers for the seller is that, should things with the buyer whose offer was first accepted go south, rather than having to put the property back on the market, hold open houses again, etc., you’re able to just go straight to that backup buyer and put them right into escrow.</p> <p>So the question at hand is, should you make a backup offer? Different agents have different schools of thought on this. Some agents advise against it because they feel that when the buyer who did get the house knows there’s a backup offer waiting to swoop in and snatch up the property, that can serve to increase their willingness to hold the escrow together. It gives the seller more leverage in those negotiations over repairs, knowing they have a backup offer too.</p> <p>I personally am of the school that thinks backup offers are a good thing. More often than not, my feeling is, someone’s going to put in a backup offer no matter what, so it may as well be my client. I have had many clients in backup position get the house they wanted. I always advise my clients that we should continue searching while we’re waiting to see what happens. If you find something else you like while waiting it out, you can always rescind your backup offer.</p> <p>Keep in mind that just because someone else got the house and you didn’t doesn’t automatically mean that your offer will go into first backup. Typically, the seller will choose the second strongest offer to go into first backup position. You might not be it. You might end up in second or even third backup.</p> <p>Backup offers can also be beneficial if you as a buyer come across a house you like that’s already in escrow. Maybe you just started looking, and for this one, you just couldn’t quite move quickly enough. Have your agent contact the listing agent. Is the current buyer still within their contingency periods? Then there’s always a chance of the house falling out of escrow, thus becoming available once again.</p> <p>Make sure that the offer you submit as a buyer contains terms you are comfortable with. If the offer that was originally accepted falls out of escrow, you’ll be on deck, and there’s very likely no negotiating terms at that point. The offer you submitted is what will be accepted.</p> <p>If you have any real estate-related questions, or know anyone who is planning to buy or sell a home in the near future, please don’t hesitate to give me a call at (323) 251-7883, or email me at <a href="mailto: Jefferson@kw.com">Jefferson@kw.com</a>.</p> <p>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto:%20Jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/11/09/we-didnt-get-the-house-we-wanted-so-what-nowhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/11/09/we-didnt-get-the-house-we-wanted-so-what-nowWed, 09 Nov 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickGet Pre-Approved Before You Start Looking At Homes! <div style="margin: 1ex;"> <div><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I work with a lot of buyers. A lot, lot, <i>lot</i> of ‘em. Many times I get calls from buyers (some first time, some not), and they want to start looking at houses right away. Yesterday even! </div> <div><br /> <p>“Whoa there … slow your roll," I have to tell them. “We don’t know how much you can afford yet.” Often, they have a good idea, which sometimes is fairly accurate, other times not so much. </p> <p>When you’re in the market to buy a home, you <i>must</i> first talk to a lender and get what’s called a pre-approval, or at least a pre-qualification letter. There is a difference between the two. Pre-qualification comes from the lender’s <i>opinion</i>—based on bare bones financial information from you—that you are credit worthy. Pre-approval means he’s got your financials, employment verification, tax returns, etc., and has determined that you are ready to go. Typically, I won’t put a buyer in my car until they’ve at least been pre-qualified. It just doesn’t make sense for us to waste time driving around when we don’t yet know if they can get a loan. </p> <p>But what’s preferable is a pre-approval letter. When you have a pre-approval, you are essentially locked and loaded and ready to shop. Here are just some of the many benefits a buyer enjoys when they get pre-approved first. </p> <ul type="DISC"> <li>No wasting time looking at houses in the wrong price range. When you’ve been pre-approved, that means the lender has reviewed all of your documents, tax returns, pay stubs, etc., and has determined, based on your finances, how much you are putting down, how much you can budget per month and exactly what price point you should be shopping in. This can save you from heartbreak too. There’s nothing worse than falling in love with a $1,000,000 house and finding out you can only afford $750,000.</li> </ul>  <br /> <ul type="DISC"> <li>Enjoy the confidence of knowing you are ready to pull the trigger. The pre-approval process can take a few days. Often, the lender will need documents that you may have to dig around for. Or perhaps you haven’t filed last year’s tax returns yet (side note: get on that!). When you begin looking at houses, having that pre-approval letter ready gives you the confidence of knowing that when you find that house that you’ve been dreaming of, you won’t lose it to another buyer while you’re in your garage digging for pay stubs from last year.</li> </ul>  <br /> <ul type="DISC"> <li>A pre-approval letter gives a seller confidence in your ability to close the loan. In almost all situations, a seller won’t even review an offer that doesn’t come with a pre-qualification letter. But, if you can submit a pre-approval with your offer, you are giving the seller the confidence that you are a serious buyer who has done your homework, and that you will not have a problem down the road getting a loan. Your offer is going to be favored nine times out of 10.</li> </ul>  <br /> <ul type="DISC"> <li>You can close faster when you’ve been pre-approved. Especially in today’s lending market, closing an escrow in 30 days is the exception rather than the rule, and the number one reason for that is delays on the lending side. Though one always likes to hope they can have it done in 30, it can often run over to 45 days or even longer. When you’ve already been pre-approved, you’re cutting out a lot of lag time in the loan approval process. As soon as your offer is accepted, your lender can get started getting an appraisal ordered and getting final underwriting approval.</li> </ul>  <br /> <p>Typically as a buyer you have a 17-day loan contingency (we’ve talked about contingencies here very recently). The sooner you can get that loan contingency released, the happier you and the seller will be, and you’ll be on your way to closing and becoming a home owner!<br /><br />In other loan related news, homebuyers received really excellent news this week regarding jumbo conforming loan limits. In a 60-38 vote, the Senate approved an amendment to a spending bill that would restore the $729,750 ceiling that was first put in place in 2008 to allow Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration to back what were previously considered "jumbo" mortgages not eligible for government support.</p> The limit had been increased in 2008 as a response to the housing crisis. It was extended several times but expired on Oct. 1, 2011. On Oct. 1, these elevated limits dropped to $625,500 from $729,750 in the most expensive neighborhoods. In each area, the cap dropped to 115 percent from 125 percent of the area's median home price.  <br /><br /> <p>Bob Nielsen, chairman of the <b>National Association of Home Builders</b>, applauded the Senate Friday morning and urged the House to reconsider their earlier rejection of the measure.</p> "Congress must act soon to ensure that this measure is enacted into law," Nielsen said. "Otherwise, the current drop in mortgage loan limits will reduce housing demand and place downward pressure on home prices in major markets. This will exacerbate the current housing downturn, trigger more foreclosures, impede job growth and endanger the fragile economic recovery."  <br /><br /> <p>The measure is expected to go to the House later this year.<br /><br /><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto:%20jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p> </div> </div>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/10/21/get-pre-approved-before-you-start-looking-at-http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/10/21/get-pre-approved-before-you-start-looking-at-Fri, 21 Oct 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickIncreasing Your Purchasing Power!<p>Usually when I meet a new buyer, they are looking to purchase either a single-family home or a condo. Often though, depending on the circumstances, there is a third option they may not be thinking about. Have you considered a duplex? You heard me—a duplex. There are several different ways of measuring the benefits of buying multi-unit property.</p> <p>Let’s look at scenario number one. Say you’re qualified for a purchase of up to $600,000. That’s a pretty nice purchase! It’ll get you one hell of a nice condo, or a smaller house south of Olympic or maybe in Silver Lake. Let’s say you’re not really into condo living, and you don’t want to be that far from the heart of WeHo/your job/your boyfriend/the 101/whatever. Enter the duplex.</p> <p>You can buy a duplex valued at much more than what you’d be able to afford in a condo or single-family home. When you qualify for a loan on a duplex, lenders will take into consideration the rental income from the side you aren’t occupying, qualifying you for more. The lender is able to factor 75 percent of the unit’s market rent in qualifying you for a loan. In addition, you get the added bonus of having the income from that unit going towards your mortgage every month. Nothing like having someone else paying a chunk of your mortgage!</p> <p>If you are considering occupying one half and renting the other half out, you do need to give some long, hard thought to whether you want to be someone’s landlord. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be, and good tenants can be hard to find. They can knock on your door at all times of the night, and they’re heavily protected by landlord/tenant laws. It’s not for everyone, and in West Hollywood, the laws are heavily tilted towards tenant rights, so you have to really watch your step.</p> <p>Another scenario is that you and a friend purchase a duplex together. Say you can afford up to $600,000, and your friend can afford that amount as well—that’s a $1,200,000 duplex you can buy. You can do quite well for that, trust me.</p> <p>It gets even better, though. If you were to identify a duplex priced at about $830,000 or less, you could even qualify for an FHA loan, allowing you to put down only 3.5 percent of the purchase price (as opposed to a 20 percent required down payment otherwise).</p> <p>There can also be some tax benefits to going the duplex route. In many instances, you can write off some or most of your repairs. For example, if you have to replace the roof on your duplex, and one half is a rental property, you can write off half the cost of that roof (as I always say, though, check with your accountant on these things).</p> <p>Don’t forget about triplexes and quads as well. Many of the same benefits apply. You can use the income from the other units to help you qualify for a loan. On a quad (or “fourplex”), you need to put 25 percent down. If you’re going to go FHA on a fourplex (loan limit of $1,202,925), there has to be positive cash flow (meaning the total of all the rents more than covers the mortgage and expenses), which could be tough.</p> <p>One of the greatest things about purchasing these types of properties is that, at least in an ideal world, as you grow and become more successful and prepare to make the move up to a single-family home, you would be able to hold onto the duplex and keep it as an investment property—hopefully one that even generates a little cashflow for you.</p> <p>As always, if you know anyone looking to buy or sell a home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. Referrals are what make my business tick!</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/10/11/increasing-your-purchasing-powerhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/10/11/increasing-your-purchasing-powerTue, 11 Oct 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickGet Off the Fence!<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />For pretty much as long as I’ve been a Realtor, which is since 2004, all I’ve ever heard is how unbelievably low interest rates are. “Historic lows!” “Never been this low before!” “Buy now or risk sharp increases!” And while it is true that they were indeed at historic lows, no one was really anticipating the impending financial meltdown and foreclosure crisis that has dragged the housing market down over the past three years or so. And with those factors, though it’s hard to believe, interest rates have continued to come down even further, to the point where it hasn’t been this cheap to borrow money for a mortgage in over 50 years!</p> <p>As the Federal Reserve continues its efforts to prop up a still-sagging economy, qualified buyers are finding interest rates as low as four percent on a 30-year fixed mortgage. While these historically low interest rates are unfortunately a symptom of the weakness of the U.S. and global economies, it does represent a huge opportunity for potential homebuyers (and current mortgage holders looking to refinance). If you’re on the fence, now might be the time to come on over to the buying side!</p> <p>What makes this a great time to buy is the rare combination of low prices and low interest rates. Often, you find one but not the other. If prices are extremely low, it’s because interest rates are high, and vice versa. Not now, though. At present, it’s the best of both worlds. As of this column, 30-year fixed rates are hovering at around four percent, while FHA loans (which only require a 3.5 percent down payment) are about 3.75 percent for 30 years fixed.</p> <p>The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury have jointly released the second edition of the Administration’s Housing Scorecard, showing that, thanks in part to interest rates continuing at all-time lows, home affordability in the U.S. remains near the most attractive levels in 10 years.</p> <p>“U.S. home affordability is at its highest level in more than 40 years, according to a new assessment from Beacon Economics” according to Dana Dukelow of Surety Financial. “The average U.S. family would need to pay only 16.9 percent of its monthly income to make mortgage payments on an average-sized home, according to the August Beacon Economics Home Affordability Index. The index is based on purchase price, mortgage rates and assumes a 20 percent down payment. That makes housing the most affordable it has been since at least 1969, when the data the index is based on first became available. The index is down two-tenths of a percentage point from July’s reading of 17.1 percent.”</p> <p>Why are low interest rates good? Because low interest rates promote home affordability. Since April of 2009, record low rates have helped more than 7.2 million homeowners to refinance, resulting in more stable home prices and $12.9 billion in total borrower savings, according to information provided by Dukelow. For a more clear understanding, here’s what you need to know. Most of the time when you take a 30-year fixed mortgage, a large part (sometimes almost all) of your monthly payment is comprised of the interest on your loan, with only a very small percentage going towards paying down the balance (this trend reverses over the life of the loan, however). Thus, anything you can do to get your interest rate down is going to have a very real, tangible effect on your out-of-pocket costs every month. You <i>will</i> feel a difference in your bank account.</p> <p>In addition to being a great time for buyers, now is also a great time to investigate refinancing as well, if you have some equity in your home. With as much value as homeowners have lost over the past few years, this can be a tough one. But if you have built up equity and have your credit still intact after the craziness of the last few years, this is a great opportunity to get your interest rate down.</p> <p>Refinancing mortgages at lower rates will hopefully help stimulate the economy by putting more money into the pockets of homeowners. Lowering the rate on a $600,000 30-year fixed mortgage from six percent to four percent would save a family approximately $8,800 a year. That ain’t pocket change!</p> <p>So if you’ve been teetering on the edge of making the leap into home ownership, know that right now you could be getting the lowest interest rate anyone’s seen since 1950. Give me a call or shoot me an email if you want more information or would like to set up a free consultation. If you think you’re interested in refinancing, feel free to call Dana Dukelow at Surety Financial to find out if you qualify. Dana can be reached at (310) 676-6666.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/09/26/get-off-the-fencehttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/09/26/get-off-the-fenceMon, 26 Sep 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat Are Contingencies?<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Anytime you enter into a real estate transaction, you will inevitably have any number of inspections done during the escrow process, as well as get your loan in order and have an appraisal done on the property. Contingency periods are the time frames during which you are expected to get these things done in order to move on to closing the sale. The beauty of contingencies is that in most situations, they are your out should the deal start to go south for you, or if your lender is not able to get your loan approved.</p> <p>You will always, always, always need to have inspections done on any property you purchase, no matter what anyone tells you. Inspections are one of the most crucial parts of buying property, and it is up to you to do your due diligence and inspect everything that might need to be inspected to <i>your</i> satisfaction (always by licensed inspectors only). This can include a general inspection, as well as sewer and chimney inspections (the big three when purchasing a single-family home). Depending on the subject property, though, you could have any number of additional inspections, ranging from a pool inspection to a heat and air inspection to a geological inspection.</p> <p>What inspections you have performed is at your discretion (with possible guidance from your Realtor). But the time you have during which to perform these inspections is limited to the contingency period that was agreed upon between you and the seller in the original purchase contract. The California Association Of Realtors purchase contract has a standard 17-day contingency period written into it, but that is negotiable. Depending on the size of the property, many times a seller will negotiate that time down, with the view that no one needs 17 days to inspect a condo, for example.</p> <p>In matters of multiple offers, where a potential buyer needs some competitive edge, it can often help you slightly against the competition to cut your inspection contingency down to seven, 10 or even 14 days. The seller wants to know as soon as possible that you are locked in, and your removal of the inspection contingency is a huge step towards that guarantee for them. Thus, the quicker you can offer to lift that contingency, the happier and more comfortable they will be selecting you as a buyer.</p> <p>This time period is your time to decide once and for all, now that you know all of the facts about the property (because you’ve done your inspections), whether you wish to move forward with the purchase. In California, during the initial inspection contingency period, a buyer can, in theory, back out of the sale for any reason whatsoever, including cold feet. In most cases, cancelling within this time frame entitles the buyer to a full refund of the three percent earnest money deposit they submitted to escrow when the offer was accepted.</p> <p>An inspection contingency is not your only contingency. The other two major ones that require your attention during a transaction are loan and appraisal. These, along with your inspection contingency, run in tandem, not concurrently. In other words, all three begin the day after acceptance of the offer. The amount of days in the contingency period refers to calendar days, <i>not</i> business days.</p> <p>A loan contingency is, like inspection, written standard as 17 days in the C.A.R. purchase agreement, and like the inspection contingency, can be negotiated. Back in the heyday of the market, when anyone with a heartbeat could get a loan, I often saw loan contingencies cut down to as little as seven days. I personally do not ever recommend to my clients cutting that down from the 17 days in the current lending climate. I rarely see full approval within the full 17 days for my buyers, let alone less.</p> <p>The final of the three main contingencies most buyers have is the appraisal contingency. With this, the lender has the agreed upon amount of time (also 17 days according to the C.A.R. contract, but negotiable like the rest) to have a licensed appraiser out to the property to perform an appraisal. The purpose of this is to ensure the lender the property is worth at least what you are paying for it. If the appraisal comes in below the purchase price, the price might have to be renegotiated, or a second appraisal done. During this period, should the appraisal fall short and a solution not be reached with the seller, the buyer may cancel the escrow, again with a full refund of their three percent good faith deposit.</p> <p>So, now you know what a contingency period is. But why are they important, and what happens if you don’t perform and release your contingency periods within the time allowed by the contract? Well, it can depend. Are you actively working to get your inspections done? Are you negotiating in good faith with the seller over a request for repair or credit? Is your lender still waiting for final approval, or still trying to meet a couple of conditions before that final OK comes through? Then the seller might be willing to grant you an extension if they believe you are doing everything you can. Are you completely non-responsive and failing to keep the seller and their agent informed? Well, then you might have a problem.</p> <p>If this is the case, expect a Notice To Perform from the seller. When a NTP is issued, you typically have 48 hours from when you receive it to do whatever it is you aren’t doing (usually lifting contingencies). If you continue to be nonresponsive or don’t perform, the seller has the right, should they wish, to cancel the escrow, citing breach of contract on your part. At that point, your three percent deposit (tens of thousands of dollars) is on the line, you are at risk of losing it to the seller and there could be legal ramifications as well. Not what you want!</p> <p>Please don’t hesitate to call me if you have any real estate-related questions, or if you know someone who is planning to buy or sell real estate in the near future. I’m here to help!</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries <br />at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/09/14/what-are-contingencieshttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/09/14/what-are-contingenciesWed, 14 Sep 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickSay Goodbye to Jons WeHo; New Apartments Rising on Kings Road <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Way back in October of last year, I reported that the Jons Market at La Brea and Fountain was to be demolished to make way for a new development of apartments by developer Monarch Group. In August 2010, the West Hollywood Planning Commission gave the ‘all clear’ for a six-story, 187-unit apartment building with 19,559 square feet of retail space at street level (according to Monarch’s website).</p> <p>Well, D-day has arrived, and as of Saturday, Aug. 13, Jons WeHo is no more. The store has run its clearance sales, emptied its shelves and closed its doors for the last time. Jeff Seymour, the project’s representative, has said work on the new structure is scheduled to begin this month.</p> <p>Architecture firm Newman Garrison + Partners’ website says of the project, “the public pedestrian level is inviting and unrestricted with its open air plaza, inclusive of retail and restaurant space and a contemporary art gallery, which displays and highlights the works of some of today’s most sought-after artists. For the residents, there are three private courtyards for recreation or leisure activities, a private pool with cabana areas [and] a state-of-the-art clubhouse and fitness center.</p> <p>“An expansive rooftop terrace overlooking La Brea, with views of the iconic Hollywood sign and spectacular city lights also offers a meditation/contemplation garden, outdoor entertainment facilities, BBQ and dining areas and a provocative ‘under the stars’ theater. This project was designed with every convenience and amenity for working, playing, entertaining or just opulent leisure.” The apartments will range from 680-1,254 square feet.</p> <p>I have to say, I’m kinda wrecked. I went into Jons the other day to buy a bunch of fresh produce and saw the store at least half empty. Long strips of pink packing paper hung over empty shelves, remaining items being pushed out at heavily discounted prices. Kind of a bummer. They had the best prices on produce of anywhere around. I could walk out with a couple bags full of stuff for less than $10.</p> <p>In other WeHo development news, the West Hollywood Planning Commission has approved plans for a four-story, 25-unit apartment complex on Kings Road, which has upset some neighbors, who feel the project is too “big box” and not in keeping with the area’s current aesthetic. WeHo Patch reports that residents have complained about the potential disruption to their lives the construction would surely cause, and expressed concern over the added street traffic and the impact on street parking.</p> <p>Currently, there are two 1920s-era single-family homes at 1232 and 1236 N. Kings Road (between Fountain Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard) that will be demolished to make way for the project. The building reportedly will be designed with the intention of blending it into the buildings on either side of it, with the north side being four stories to match its next-door neighbor, and the south side only rising two stories, matching its neighbor.</p> <p>On the plus side, the building will have four (<i>four!</i>) units set aside for low-income housing and will be a green project, complete with solar panels. “This is going above and beyond the green building design,” said Commissioner David Aghaei.</p> <p>WeHo Patch reported a strong turn out from neighbors living on the block who vigorously opposed the project during the public comments portion of the meeting, claiming it would disrupt their lives, add to traffic and impact street parking. Commissioner Marc Yeber accused the opponents of “classic NIMBYism” (also known as “Not In My Back Yard”), and said that despite opposition, he hadn’t heard any solid reason why the project should not move forward.</p> <p>Following the conclusion of the meeting, architect Edward Levin told WeHo Patch he was happy with the decision. “I worked with the city on their affordable housing guideline and I worked on the green building guidelines. So to work on this project is very gratifying.”</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries <br />at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/08/30/say-goodbye-to-jons-weho-new-apartments-risinhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/08/30/say-goodbye-to-jons-weho-new-apartments-risinTue, 30 Aug 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickGreat News Regarding Short Sellers; FSBO A No-Go <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Homeowners who are considering short sales got some good news this month, when it was announced that Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 458. When a seller goes through with a short sale, the bank holding the note agrees to allow the home to be sold at market value, even if that amount is less than is owed on the home. Prior to SB 458, the holder of the first mortgage could accept the sale price as payment in full for the loan amount. If, however, there was a second loan on the property, as is often the case, the holder of the second loan could go after the seller for the amount owed on the loan later, and it could be considered debt.</p> <p>“The signing of this bill is a victory for California homeowners who have been forced to short-sell their home, only to find that the lender will pursue them after the short sale closes and demand an additional payment to subsidize the difference,” says association President Beth L. Peerce.</p> <p>“SB 458 brings closure and certainty to the short sale process and ensures that once a lender has agreed to accept a short sale payment on a property, all lien holders—those in first position and in junior positions—will consider the outstanding balance as paid in full and the homeowner will not be held responsible for any additional payments on the property,” she adds.</p> <p>SB 458 contains an urgency clause, making it effective upon signing. According to the Multiple Listing Service, there are currently 40 active short sale listings in West Hollywood, and 49 short sales since the beginning of 2011.</p> <p>An interesting article ran in the <i>Wall Street Journal</i> last week about For Sale By Owners, and the lessons one home seller learned while trying to sell his own New York apartment. This was no ordinary seller though. The seller of this particular property was Colby Sambrotto, the founder and former CEO of <a href="http://www.ForSaleByOwner.com">ForSaleByOwner.com</a>, a consumer website that targets homeowners who aim to sell their home on their own without the assistance of a licensed Realtor. I have written on the pros and cons of For Sale By Owners before (check out <a href="http://www.frontiersla.com/Columns/Propertunities/home.aspx">the archive</a> of my columns).</p> <p>Sambratto is considered one of the forefathers of the modern, tech-driven For Sale By Owner movement, which became very popular during the crazy salad days of the market in the mid ‘00s. He also presumably became a wealthy man off of the website he created to guide homeowners through the process.</p> <p>According to the <i>WSJ</i>, Sambratto recently sold his New York apartment for $2.15 million, but only after giving up, following six months of unsuccessful attempts to sell it himself.</p> <p>He had attempted the FSBO using a combination of online listings and classified ads before turning over the listing of the 2,000-square-foot apartment to a broker at Bond New York in November. Ultimately though, Samratto hired a Realtor, at full six-percent commission.</p> <p>Eventually, the property went into escrow after an increase—yes, an increase—in price was suggested by the broker he hired. “At first he wouldn’t let me increase the price,” the broker, Jesse Buckler said. “I told him I know what I am doing—the market is picking up.” By May, it went into contract, he said, after attracting multiple offers. It closed recently for $150,000 more than the original asking price.</p> <p>This story serves to underscore two factors often cited by Realtors when it comes to FSBOs. First, it helps dispel the myth that a seller will pocket greater proceeds selling on their own. Secondly, it is not true that a home can be sold simply by putting it on the internet and into classified ads. Home buyers, while often incorporating internet searches as part of the overall process, largely depend on buyers’ agents to whittle down the available properties and get them into the ones truly worth seeing or that meet their criteria.</p> <p>If you or anyone you know are planning to buy a home or sell a home, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for a consultation. Have a great week!</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/08/16/great-news-regarding-short-sellers-fsbo-a-no-http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/08/16/great-news-regarding-short-sellers-fsbo-a-no-Tue, 16 Aug 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhen Should I Reduce My Asking Price? <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Pricing a home properly for sale can be a tricky proposition, especially in this market. Back when I first began selling real estate in early 2004, if a home didn’t blow out in the first week or two, it was assumed that something was wrong with it. I mean, this was a time when agents were writing offers on the hoods of their cars during open houses. Nothing stayed on the market long.</p> <p>Now, though, in this new world order, reductions are commonplace. There can be plenty of reasons for reductions that are really no cause for alarm. There are plenty of times a seller insists on testing the waters at a higher price to start off with. Anyone who knows me knows I think this is a terrible idea, as the first two to three weeks you’re on the market are the most critical, but sometimes you have to try it that way first if that’s what a seller wants. All I can do is give them the information they need to make the right decision, and hope they do so. Don’t get me wrong—sometimes we as agents are overly optimistic about how much a home might sell for as well. It’s not an exact science.</p> <p>In Los Angeles, there can be so many different sizes, price ranges, types and styles of homes all within a few blocks of each other, it can be difficult to price properly right off the bat. The most important rule, generally speaking, is that you want to put a number on it that causes people to walk in and see all the great things about the house, and cause them to feel that it’s a good value for the price. If you go too high over that sweet spot, people will walk in and find everything wrong with it, decide it’s not a good value and likely move on.</p> <p>If you overprice a home at the start, it will sit and sit, become a stale listing and you will ultimately end up selling your home for less money than you would had you priced it correctly to start with. Every day that your listing sits on the market, you are losing money. The longer it sits there, the less it will ultimately sell for. As a general rule, I like to lay out up front with a seller the concept of pre-planning reductions, should they become necessary. For example, if we’re not getting any offers in two to three weeks of being on the market, a price reduction needs to happen. If we aren’t getting very many calls or showings, then we might need to consider a more significant price reduction.</p> <p>When the reduction happens, make sure it’s enough to actually get the phone ringing. A series of very small, inconsequential reductions might not serve you well. This is what we call “chasing the market.” If you aren’t getting any action, you need to get ahead of the market and price to sell.</p> <p>In this market, buyers are more savvy and more cautious than they have been in the past. They are taking their time, because they can. Some are still waiting for the market to bottom out. This assumes it hasn’t already—one thing I am constantly trying to impress upon my buyers is that you can’t time the bottom of the market. How do you know when it has hit? By the time you do, it’s on its way back up. But I digress. My point is that buyers won’t buy a house in this market if they feel like they are overpaying.</p> <p>When a price reduction happens, appropriate marketing opportunities should be utilized as well. If your listing agent isn’t holding open houses every Sunday, one should definitely be held after a price reduction, and the reduction should be highlighted in any ads that run for the open house. A ‘brokers open’ should also be held to bring in agents who might not have seen it the first time or don’t remember it. The listing agent should use all of the marketing tools at his disposal to get the word out about the reduction, and make sure both agents and buyers (who tend to do their own internet searches these days) know about it.</p> <p>If you’re thinking about selling your home, or would like a free market analysis of the value of your home, please don’t hesitate to call me. I’ll be happy to be of service!</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/08/02/when-should-i-reduce-my-asking-pricehttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/08/02/when-should-i-reduce-my-asking-priceTue, 02 Aug 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhy a Buyer’s Agent? Spoiler Alert: It’s Free!<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I was making some calls last week to my database of clients, asking for referrals. In this business of real estate, it’s ideal that most of your business comes from referrals from friends, past clients, etc., and I find that happy clients actually love to refer their friends to you. Win/win! Anyway, during the course of one of my calls, my client told me he has a friend who was looking to buy, but he was looking on his own right now, he was writing offers through the listing agent and he was still missing out on properties that sold before he even knew about them.</p> <p>OK, there are several things that jumped out at me with that conversation. There is a misconception sometimes amongst those casually looking to buy that it costs you money to align yourself with a buyer’s agent. For this reason, buyers are afraid or embarrassed to hook themselves up with one. This is false—there is no charge to you for the services of a buyer’s agent. A buyer’s agent is paid by the seller of the property at the close of escrow. You really have nothing to lose. Often a buyer’s agent will ask you to sign a form called a Buyer Representation Agreement, which is an agreement of sorts between you as the buyer and the agent stating that you won’t two-time your agent with other agents, and your agent will fulfill his fiduciary duties to you to the utmost of his ability, among other things. But there is no cost to you to hire one.</p> <p>The other thing that jumps out at me is that his friend had lost out on properties that had sold before he even knew about them. Now, in the internet age, I will grant you that consumers have resources allowing them to see new listings pretty much as soon as they hit the MLS. With that said, the listings don’t propagate to those sites immediately, and I don’t know many consumers who sit online all day searching for new listings as they pop up. You people have fancy high-paying jobs, which are what allow you to buy a home. You have better things to do than weed through all of the dud listings to get to the good ones. A buyer’s agent will sift through the junk, preview the good ones and allow you to focus on other things.</p> <p>Beyond that, a good buyer’s agent has his finger on the pulse of the market and knows not only what just hit the market, but what is coming up that hasn’t yet been listed. Often agents have “pocket listings,” or listings that sellers don’t yet want on the open market. Or it may be the home just isn’t ready to list yet but the agent is putting the word out in advance. A buyer’s agent will have his ears constantly open for these off-market listings. At the very least, they can ask around to the hundreds of other agents they have access to, to see if they might have a listing coming up that may be perfect for you.</p> <p>Last, notice that this person was writing offers through the listing agents. Many times, buyers will do this thinking they’re crafty and that it’s going to get them a better deal. Occasionally it can. It can also backfire. When an agent represents both buyer and seller in a transaction, this is called “dual agency.” It’s perfectly legal in California, as long as the agent performing dual agency doesn’t breach any of his obligations that he holds to each party. Dual agency is not something I personally am a huge fan of. I feel strongly that both parties need to have their own individual going to bat for them on everything from price to terms to negotiations for repairs, etc. Why would you as the buyer want to be represented by a person who is legally bound to act in the best interest of the seller? Where will the loyalty fall if the agent is playing both sides of the fence?</p> <p>I’m not saying that dual agency deals should never happen, but I am saying to weigh all the circumstances before getting yourself into a dual agency transaction. I personally think it’s very difficult to best represent the interests of both sides equally.</p> <p>To summarize, if you’re in the market and thinking about taking the plunge into the wild world of home ownership, get yourself an experienced agent of your own who knows the market you’re looking in. They can run comparables for you to make sure you aren’t overpaying, and they will fight for your best interests in negotiations of asking price, repairs, credits, terms, etc. You need someone on your side!</p> <p>If you’re thinking about buying a home or selling a home, or know someone who is, please drop me a line. If you’d like a free market analysis of your home’s value, give me a call and I’ll be happy to provide one.</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="http://mce_host/mailto jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/07/20/why-a-buyers-agent-spoiler-alert-its-freehttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/07/20/why-a-buyers-agent-spoiler-alert-its-freeWed, 20 Jul 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson Hendrick'But It's the First House We've Seen!'<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I’m going to tell you a story, but know that it makes my poor little heart hurt to relive it. About four months ago, I began working with a new buyer. This buyer had been referred to me by a past client with whom I have a great relationship. I had this buyer in my office for a buyer consultation. During these meetings, I like to really dig in and get to the nitty gritty of what they’re looking for. What’s their motivation in buying? What are their real needs versus their wants? How long do they plan to be in this residence? I really try to find out what exactly animates this buyer and makes them tick so that I can get a feel for what kind of house is going to make them all hot and tingly.</p> <p>So once I felt that I had a good idea of what type of house this buyer wanted, I happened to mention a house I knew of that I thought might press all of their buttons. So we decided to set an appointment to see that one and a couple of others later in the week. Well, I was right. The house knocked their socks off. The wife was out of her mind over the view (as she should have been!) and the husband loved that there was a three-car garage for his vintage sports car. Those were but two of many things that it hit right on the head. Infinity pool, top-of-the-line kitchen—there wasn’t one thing they could find wrong with it.</p> <p>As we got back to the car, and after some discussion, I asked, “So, should we write an offer?” They said they wanted to think about it and would get back to me. I was a little surprised, but you know, they’re buying a house. They’re entitled to some time, right? That night, they called me and said, “We love it. <i>Love. It.</i> But we don’t think we should buy the first thing we see. It just doesn’t feel right.” “Well, there’s nothing else like it on the market right now, and it’s a very unique property you aren’t likely to see everyday,” I answered. They countered, “Well, can we just see what else is out there?”</p> <p>Of course, I have no problem with that. But here’s where it all starts to go downhill. While we continued to look over the course of the next week, someone else bought <i>that</i> house. Right before my guys decided it was the one for them. So now, we’ve spent upwards of four months trying to find <i>that</i> house again. Sadly, we probably won’t. And that house will continue to be the one by which all others are measured.</p> <p>So the question is, should you buy the first house you see? I understand the fears and concerns. How do you know it’s the right one if you don’t know what else is out there? What if there’s something even better you haven’t seen yet? What if it’s overpriced? Look, at the end of the day, it’s not that hard to see what else is out there. This is the internet age, and you and your agent can pull any and all similar listings and see them right there on the MLS. You’re going to know fairly quickly, within reason, if there are any other homes that you need to see first.</p> <p>Have your agent pull comparables on the house you’ve zeroed in on. See for yourself how it stacks up to similar homes—if any—that have sold recently in the area. There are some areas where a lot of the homes are somewhat similar and there may be a fair amount of turnover. If this is one of those areas, don’t sweat it too much. Another one will likely be coming down the pike. But in Los Angeles, it’s true there is a lot of unique architecture and a lot of very-difficult-to-find properties. Have your agent do a little research (or perhaps if they know the market well—which they should—they can tell you) on just how likely it is that something similar might pop up in the near future. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. As I am always hammering into your heads, just do your inspections, complete your due diligence and make sure you’re not overpaying for the house. Make sure you have that appraisal contingency. Ensuring those things is a good first step towards feeling comfortable about the property you’re purchasing.</p> <p>Should you buy the first house you see? I’m not here to tell you that you should. Do what you feel comfortable with, always. Just don’t let <i>that</i> house be the one that got away.</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/07/01/but-its-the-first-house-weve-seenhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/07/01/but-its-the-first-house-weve-seenFri, 01 Jul 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickKeeping the Sale Alive<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Selling your home is never really a picnic, even under the best of circumstances. But over the past few years, in this, shall we say, “difficult” market we’ve experienced, selling a home can be a nightmare of epic proportions. It’s tough out there, there is a lot of competition depending on what area you’re talking about, and buyers are walking around with money in their pockets and often want perfection in exchange for it. Whenever I take on a new listing, I like to prepare my clients for what lies ahead, especially if they are a first-time seller. There are several stages of a sale that have to go smoothly in order to actually get that transaction closed, and speedbumps in any of them can torpedo a deal if not handled properly.</p> <p>There’s an old adage in real estate that when you put your home on the market, you actually have to sell it twice. The first sale is obviously to a qualified, ready, willing and able buyer. But then you have to “sell” it again to the appraiser sent by the buyer’s lender to appraise the value. Let’s say you, Mr. Seller, believe your home is worth $1 million. You can believe that with all your heart, but it doesn’t necessarily make it so. When you find that buyer and the house goes into escrow, you must be able to show the buyer’s lender—using comparable sales from the last three to six months—why your house is worth that much.</p> <p>Unfortunately though, according to the National Association of Realtors, on almost 25 percent of all contracts on residential homes, either the contract fell though due to appraisal issues or the sale price of the home had to be adjusted downward to accommodate the lower appraisal value. Part of a good listing agent’s job is to be prepared to show an appraiser comparable sales that justify the sales price. When you are first meeting with your listing agent to discuss pricing, you should sit down together and review comparable sales in the area, so that you know ahead of time whether you are likely to encounter appraisal issues down the road. A buyer’s purchase contract will most likely have an appraisal contingency in it, stating that should the property fail to appraise at the agreed upon purchase price, the deal can be terminated at no cost to the buyer, leaving you, the seller, back at square one. Only now you have to tell potential buyers that the home did not appraise at the asking price.</p> <p>The second of the three trickiest areas for closing a real estate transaction is the inspection process. You as the seller will be best served by disclosing everything you know about the property on the required forms you’ll fill out when you list the house. If you try to slip something past a buyer—say the basement floods when it rains—it will very likely come back and bite you in the butt in the form of a lawsuit. It’s not a bad idea to have the home inspected before listing it, or at least have minor issues fixed by the appropriate tradesman. Another old real estate adage? “When in doubt, disclose.” In other words, if you aren’t sure it’s relevant that the dog next door is left outside to bark and cry from midnight until 6 a.m., err on the side of caution.</p> <p>When it comes time to negotiate for credits and repairs, be flexible. Though you might not want to give someone $12,000 in credits for the chimney that’s been declared a hazard by a chimney inspector, guess what? Now that you know about it, you’ll have to disclose it to the next buyer as well. It’s in everyone’s best interest to try to come to an agreement that works for everyone, and not lose sight of the big picture, which is that you want to sell the house, and the buyer wants the house.</p> <p>The final hiccup that will keep you awake at night is buyer financing. Unfortunately, getting a loan isn’t as easy as it was back in the heyday of real estate, but things are getting better. Still though, it’s not unheard of for financing to fall through on a deal in the 11th hour, right before it’s supposed to be moving towards closing. I mentioned that there’s not much you can do about this once it happens, but there are steps you can take to help prevent it from happening in the first place. First, if you are dealing with multiple offers, know that the highest offer is not always the strongest offer. You should go with the offer that has the best chance of closing. A higher offer is meaningless if the buyer can’t close. Don’t be shy about having your agent speak with each buyer’s lender. Further, if you really want to cover your bases, require that potential buyers also get approved with a lender of yours or your agent’s choosing. That way, should their financing fall through, they can go straight to a lender who can (hopefully) get the deal closed.</p> <p>Also, be sure that all potential buyers can provide proof that they have the funds necessary for their down payment and closing costs, and that they are readily available.</p> <p>There are obviously many, many things that can derail a real estate transaction, but if you can make it though—or, better yet, prevent—all of these, you’ll have fought the battle successfully. If you’re thinking about selling a home, please call me for a free market analysis!</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/06/21/keeping-the-sale-alivehttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/06/21/keeping-the-sale-aliveTue, 21 Jun 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickIf You Lived Here, You’d Be Home By Now! <p>The West Hollywood real estate market seems to surprise a lot of people that I speak to. Some prospective buyers are surprised at how high prices can go, some at just how little you can get into the market for. Whether you’re looking for a high-end, totally done four-bedroom house or a small condo that won’t break the bank—but still right in the heart of WeHo—there’s something for everyone on the market right now. Prices are still great, interest rates are still low and the inventory is there. Right now there are 45 single-family homes for sale in West Hollywood, with an average price of $1,094,000. There are also 174 condominiums, with an average list price of about $570,000. Here are a few prime examples of the variety of properties on the market now.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/346 Westbourne Drive.jpg" height="267" width="400" />346 Westbourne Drive<br />$1,995,000</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;">This one’s a beauty! One-of-a-kind, meticulously remodeled mini-compound with main house, guest house with kitchen and bath and a second-story guest apartment with kitchen, bath and laundry in a private, South of Melrose cul-de-sac street. It has a beautiful pool and is perfectly situated behind private hedges with great light and groomed grounds with private front and backyard play areas. Both beautiful guest apartments are rentable, and the lower guest house opens as a large pool house. Perfect for a family or those seeking great spaces for guests.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/8949 Rosewood Ave.jpg" height="284" width="400" />8949 Rosewood Ave.<br />$1,199,000</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Beautifully remodeled “designer-done” Spanish home featuring two bedrooms, two baths and a separate den. This one has a stunning kitchen with Carrara marble countertops, Viking appliances and a wine cooler—and who doesn’t need one of those! Beautiful hardwood floors, as well as a private backyard, and for those who really value their privacy, the front yard is hedged and gated. Close to all the best shops, bars and restaurants too!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"></p> <p style="text-align: center;"></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/8901 Rosewood Ave.jpg" height="266" width="400" />8901 Rosewood Ave.<br />$1,049,000</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Another sweet little casa on Rosewood. This one has been published in Better Homes and Gardens and is really a special, serene little house. Dark walnut floors and a remodeled, open kitchen that opens to a peaceful, private backyard. Barrel-vaulted ceilings and a large picture window in the living room that looks out to a lovely, hedged front yard. Detached guesthouse in the back, and a short walk to all the best shops and restaurants on Robertson, Beverly and Melrose.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/949 Kings Rd. PH1.jpg" height="252" width="400" /></b><b>949 Kings Road, PH1<br />$779,000</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Who doesn’t love a penthouse view? This top-floor unit on Kings Road comes with a whopping 1,400-square-foot private terrace that wraps around the unit with doors opening from every room, offering jetliner views from all directions. Better yet, if you really like it quiet, this is the one for you, as it has no common walls. Remodeled to perfection with new kitchen and bathrooms. Recessed lighting, fireplace, new hardwood floors—the works!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><b><img class="image_align_center" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/970palm116.jpeg" height="300" width="400" />970 Palm Ave. #116<br />$309,000</b></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Listen, you don’t have to be a big baller to set up shop in West Hollywood. This adorable little abode on Palm Avenue puts you smack dab in the middle of Boystown. This baby gets lots of light, has newly redone bamboo flooring, virtually unused appliances and has a great pool for working on your tan. Central air and one parking space—this is the one!</p> <p>No matter what your budget or your needs, there’s something in West Hollywood for you. If you see anything you like here, or are interested in finding out what else is available in the area, feel free to give me a call and we’ll find the perfect spot for you to hang your hat.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/06/08/if-you-lived-here-youd-be-home-by-nowhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/06/08/if-you-lived-here-youd-be-home-by-nowWed, 08 Jun 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickUpside Down??<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ve read about short sales and the short sale process here before. Mostly, though, it’s been from the perspective of a potential buyer. I get a lot of questions from homeowners who are considering short selling their own home but know very little about the process. This isn’t surprising, as there’s a lot to know, and it’s not something most people want to think about everyday.</p> <p>This week I thought I’d bring in a short sale specialist who can help answer some of the more common questions sellers have about the process. Ian Rhodes and Robert Rodriguez are short sale specialists who have been involved in over 150 short sale transactions since 2007.</p> <p></p> <p><b>First, explain a little bit about how a short sale works.</b></p> <p>A short sale occurs when the market value of a property is less than the outstanding balance on the mortgage. The lender (or lenders) agree to accept less than what is owed on the property in order to avoid a possible foreclosure situation.</p> <p>The thing to remember is, lenders are in the business of lending money. They don’t want to be in the business of owning and managing real estate. Whether the lender chooses to go through with a foreclosure or agrees to a short sale, they are taking a loss either way—but in most cases they lose less in a short sale than they would if they foreclosed on the owner.</p> <p></p> <p><b>Ian, let’s say a seller owes more on their home than it’s worth. Can they still sell their home? Is a short sale always the best solution?</b></p> <p>Well, the first thing I’d say is, you’re not alone. However, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all solution, so it’s important to get to the truth of exactly what your options are and how each will affect you. Who you choose to work with matters most. While a short sale may be your best option, it’s important to talk to professionals to see if there are other viable options.</p> <p></p> <p><b>What criteria does a homeowner have to meet to qualify?</b></p> <p>It depends. In order to be eligible for short sale and have us represent you, we have to be able to prove to the lender that you are experiencing a financial hardship. A hardship situation is one that may be the result of some extenuating circumstance that forces the borrower into a position where they will or can no longer afford their mortgage payments.</p> <p></p> <p><b>Should a homeowner stop making payments if they hope to short sell?</b></p> <p>Not always. Just because you called your particular lender and they told you that you couldn’t do a short sale unless you miss some payments, it may not be true. Every borrower’s situation is different, and a short sale may be done while staying current on payments. We’ve closed many short sales successfully where the borrower never missed a payment, but again, every situation with every lender is different.</p> <p></p> <p><b>How long does a short sale usually take, start to finish?</b></p> <p>That depends on a lot of different factors, like who the lender is, how long it takes to get an offer, how many loans there are on the property, whether you’re behind on your payments—the list goes on. With an agent who hasn’t done short sales before, it can take as long as six to eight months. We have a system and contacts with each lender, though, so we average about a two to three-month turnaround for approval. We’ve done it in as little as nine business days, but that’s definitely not the case for everyone. Every scenario is different.</p> <p><b>Talk a little bit about the tax consequences of a short sale, especially as opposed to foreclosure.</b></p> <p>Well, again, every situation is different, so I always stress that people consult with a tax professional, CPA or tax attorney—someone who is qualified to make this determination for you. When you do a short sale or a foreclosure, the lender is allowed to write off the loss and pass it on to you as income in the form of a 1099-C. The IRS considers this taxable income for you. For example, let’s say you borrowed $200,000 to purchase a home, but only were able to repay $150,000 in the short sale. You’ll receive a 1099-C for that $50,000 and will possibly be taxed on that according to your tax bracket.</p> <p>Now, the Home Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 states that if the property is your primary residence and the debt discharged was from your original purchase money loan, then you will not have to pay taxes on that amount. Also, if you did a refinance and used the money only to improve your home, then you may be eligible for exclusion of the taxes as well. This act has been extended until the end of 2012.</p> <p></p> <p><b>Does every Realtor do short sales? Do you recommend an “area specialist” for the job?</b></p> <p>Obviously, who you work with matters most in any real estate transaction, but especially in a short sale situation. We have in-depth experience, knowledge and a proven track record while understanding the emotional and financial complexities of a short sale. That’s why most of our clients come to us. The challenge many overlook is having an effective Realtor who can market and service the property in finding a qualified, patient buyer to close the short sale.</p> <p>If you’re considering a short sale or want more information, contact Ian Rhodes at (310) 623-1312 or Robert Rodriguez at (310) 623-1317.</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/05/20/upside-downhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/05/20/upside-downFri, 20 May 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickCash is King—or is it?<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I work with a lot of first-time homebuyers, and from time to time we’ll identify a home that they want to make an offer on that is either bank-owned or a short sale. Either way, you’re ultimately dealing with a bank, and they’re the ones calling the shots. Many times these properties are very well-priced, which naturally generates a great deal of interest—especially if it is a “fixer” with the potential for upside once it’s remodeled. More often that not, though, when there is an all-cash offer in the mix, it can be very, very difficult to compete. Usually a bank is more interested in the quickest, surest thing, even if it means accepting a slightly lower offer. Getting the house off their books is the main goal.</p> <p>In many cases, a bank will accept a lower offer if it’s all cash rather than have a loan involved. An all-cash buyer can close the sale with no concern for getting a loan, and this is very appealing to a seller—and they can often close in as little as two weeks or less. The last thing any seller wants is to take the home off the market for three weeks only to find out the buyer couldn’t get a loan and has to back out of the deal.</p> <p>Who has that kind of cash laying around, you might ask yourself? Well, it’s not so hard to believe when you consider what’s happened over the past few years in the real estate market. Prices of course have been driven down by such factors as the downturn in the economy, the foreclosure crisis and the resulting explosion of inventory, etc. Many people, often investors, are realizing that now is the time to get back to investing in real estate. They have reached the conclusion that we’ve hit the bottom of the market or close to it, and they’re ready to pounce. Some may be cashing out stocks or their 401(k) accounts, or some may be straight up investors looking to park cash.</p> <p>In February of this year, 33 percent of all home sales were all-cash deals, according to a study by the National Association of Realtors. In 2010, 58 percent of all homes that were bought as investments were bought with cash.</p> <p>But fear not—all hope is not lost. While it is true that often cash deals take all when dealing with bank-owned or short sale properties, there are some things an ordinary buyer can do to increase their chances of nabbing that little jewel they have their eye on.</p> <p>The first thing you can do is have yourself pre-approved by a reputable, competent lender. Not pre-qualified, but pre-approved. Be as certain as possible that you can close the deal, and have the documentation to back up that claim. Have the funds for your down payment liquid and verifiable. Anytime you are looking to buy property, this is good advice. When you are potentially competing with all-cash offers, it’s a must. The more cash you are able to offer as a down payment, the better. Twenty percent down is going to get you a lot further than 3.5 percent down when you’re competing with an all-cash offer.</p> <p>Make sure your agent has you set up to receive emails with new listings the moment they hit the market. Be available to go see them right away and if necessary, get an offer submitted as soon as possible.</p> <p>Another way you can increase your chances of trumping an all-cash offer is to steer clear of properties being sold by a bank and deal with individual homeowners. Even short sales can be a better bet than foreclosures, as there can be a long wait before short sale approval, and sellers want to know that a buyer is going to stick around during the approval process. Make sure your agent makes it clear that you are patient and willing to wait it out.</p> <p>Often, equity owners aren’t in as much of a hurry to get their home sold, and can afford to wait for the right offer for them. For a bank, it’s all about the numbers. For a seller who’s been in the home for 15 years, it’s more emotional. That’s when—in the face of competition—that flowery love letter telling them how much you love the house might make the difference. They might be more inclined to take the offer that’s $25,000 higher but that requires them to wait while a buyer goes through the loan process. Again, though, this is where showing how solid a buyer you are is important. Offer the shortest contingency terms you’re able to. The sooner you show yourself to be 100 percent committed to the sale, the more appealing the offer. Find out what terms the seller is looking for in an offer. Maybe the quick close offered by an all-cash offer isn’t even appealing to them. They probably need at least 30 days to get out of the house—maybe even 45 or 60, which you can offer.</p> <p>The bottom line is that when faced with an all-cash competitor, don’t be afraid to go for it, but be armed with as much as you can to tilt the odds in your favor!</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/05/10/cash-is-king-or-is-ithttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/05/10/cash-is-king-or-is-itTue, 10 May 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat the #*&$ is a Homeowners Association? <p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I’ve been selling real estate for almost eight years now, so it’s easy to forget that terms I use literally several times a day might be completely foreign to a real estate first-timer. I had a meeting the other day with a buyer who is dipping his pinky toe into the real estate waters for the first time. He’s able to spend just over a million dollars, but is uncertain whether he wants a house or a condo. Obviously there are pros and cons to each, depending on whether one is up for the responsibilities and expenses that come with owning your own house, or whether one prefers the convenience and more maintenance-free lifestyle a condominium offers.</p> <p>As I was explaining these differences and trying to get to the root of his wants and needs, I mentioned HOA dues to him. He kind of glazed over, and I realized I was speaking a foreign language. He’d never heard the term and didn’t know what these dues were or their purpose.</p> <p>The first thing you need to know, above all else, is that HOA dues are an additional cost you’ll need to factor in and plan for when figuring out what your total monthly costs will be for ownership of a condominium. These dues are not negotiable, and you don’t have a choice as to whether or not you pay them.</p> <p>In short, every condominium building (and some residential neighborhoods, actually) has a homeowners association. The HOA is a legal entity. The governing board (consisting usually of a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer) is made up of residents of the building but typically hires an outside management company to oversee building operations. The purpose of the association is to oversee the upkeep of the building, ensure that proper maintenance is done and that care is taken to preserve the integrity of the property and keep its value solid. The basis for the amount of dues each unit pays can vary. In some buildings, it’s based on square footage. In others, dues are the same for every unit. In some, there’s no discernable rhyme or reason to how the dues are assessed. When you buy into a building, membership in the association and payment of dues are usually a requirement of purchase.</p> <p>What are these dues used for, you ask? Your building, like any other, needs maintenance, upkeep and repairs, and it needs them regularly! Roofs, exteriors and common areas are most always the responsibility of the association. That money has to come from somewhere. The dues also typically cover things like water, garbage collection, security, pool and recreational facility maintenance and gardeners. They sometimes can include things like basic cable service or earthquake insurance. There are typically at least two funds in an HOA—an operating fund and a reserve account. The former goes to recurring expenses mentioned earlier, while the reserve fund is important in the event of significant repair costs or to repair any unexpected damage the building might incur. Without sufficient reserves to fall back on, a resident might find himself faced with a special assessment (more on that shortly).</p> <p>When you go into escrow on a condominium, you will receive a stack of documents pertaining to the HOA. You will receive CC&R’s (Codes, Covenants and Restrictions), HOA by-laws and the rules and regulations of the building, as determined by the HOA. There are times when a major expense comes up that must be addressed but exceeds what the reserves can provide for. HOAs have the power to levy special assessments on homeowners when necessary (usually by a vote of the association, but they can be mandated when they feel it’s absolutely necessary). Special assessments can range from $500 or less per unit to tens of thousands of dollars per unit (usually paid over many years).</p> <p>If you are considering a condominium building, it is incumbent upon you to do your due diligence and read the rules and regulations of the building. The last thing you want is to find out that there is a 20-pound weight limit on pets and your St. Bernard is not going to be welcome in your building. Carefully review the minutes from several recent meetings to determine if any dues increases or special assessments have been discussed. Investigate whether there has been any recent or pending litigation involving the HOA. Often lenders won’t lend if there has been.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/04/28/what-the--is-a-homeowners-associationhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/04/28/what-the--is-a-homeowners-associationThu, 28 Apr 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickDealing with the Foreclosure Market<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />By now, anyone who even remotely follows the real estate market knows that foreclosures have been a major part of daily real estate vernacular for years now, and that’s likely to remain the case for at least another year, maybe more. While it’s not great for sellers, it is great for buyers. The affordability index for buyers is the highest it’s been in years, and many who sat out the real estate gold rush of a few years ago are now taking advantage of the vast amount of short sales, foreclosures and just plain well-priced homes hitting the market.</p> <p>How much wheeling and dealing is there to be done in the foreclosure market? Even in Beverly Hills, there were 12 homes sold in foreclosure in the last 12 months, according to the Multiple Listing Service. Although there are currently only three on the market there now, including one that’s been listed for months and months, currently at $8,595,000 (having been on the market at $16,950,000 in 2008), you can see that no area was left completely untouched by foreclosure.</p> <p>My point is, by now every segment of the market has been affected by the foreclosure crisis, leaving plenty of openings for buyers of all price ranges to swoop in and make their move. But how exactly is buying a foreclosure different from a regular sale? What do you need to look out for and how do you protect yourself?</p> <p>If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to inspect that house like your life depends on it. In a standard sale, you have the benefit of a seller who knows the house backwards and forwards and ostensibly will be providing you disclosures with all types of useful information that will assist you in your decision whether to purchase the house. In a bank-owned home, though, no one who has any real knowledge of the property is involved in the sale. This makes it doubly important for you to do your due diligence. Beyond having a licensed and reputable general inspector, you will want to make sure you have sewer inspections, chimney inspections, and if necessary, anything else that applies, like pool, geological, mold, etc.</p> <p>When you write your offer, make sure you give yourself sufficient time in which to complete your inspections. The house may look dandy, but what lurks underneath could cost you dearly if you don’t do your homework. Admittedly, there are foreclosures out there that are in great shape—some even having had spiff-up work done by the bank. But don’t rely on that. Most of the time, the home is being sold as-is, meaning no repairs, no credits. Make sure that the contract is written so that you have an out if you find the house to be in such disrepair that it’s more than you’re ready to take on.</p> <p>Try to avoid being lured in by the temptation of “flipping” a house for a profit. Unless you are an experienced flipper, you might find yourself losing money. This is not the market for amateur flipping. That said, though, if you do buy a home that needs a significant amount of work, make sure you have the funds to do the work, even if it’s only enough to make the home livable at first. There are certain loan programs that can help you secure funds for rehabbing, such as a 203(k) loan, which is available to homebuyers who buy with an FHA loan (which requires only 3.5 percent down payment), allowing them to roll the cost of rehabbing into the loan.</p> <p>Also, make sure you’re buying a home in a good area. Everyone knows the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. Even at a foreclosure price, you may not be doing yourself any favors buying in an area that has depressed values due to crime or an extraordinarily undesirable location. Investigate crime reports online, drive the neighborhood at night, do your homework.</p> <p>Finally, make absolute certain you obtain title insurance. With the recent robo-signing scandal, lots of homes were erroneously foreclosed on. The last thing you want to hear is that the previous owner of the home was wrongly foreclosed on. As long as the new owner has title insurance, the previous owner can’t seize the home.</p> <p>As with most any home purchase, it’s best to get your financial house in order before you actually begin the search in earnest. Good deals don’t last (and you are looking for a good deal, right?), and it’s imperative that you be able to jump quickly. A delay of a couple of days while you wait around for a pre-approval letter can easily cost you the house.</p> <p>While a given home may be selling for as much as 40-50 percent less than it did a few years ago, don’t expect “fire sales.” In some parts of the country, maybe. But real estate is a hyper-local market, and in Los Angeles, even foreclosures will sell for close to market value.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/04/11/dealing-with-the-foreclosure-markethttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/04/11/dealing-with-the-foreclosure-marketMon, 11 Apr 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickStaged to Sell<p><b><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Hi Jefferson,</b></p> <p><b>In the next couple of months I will be putting my home on the market. (I will be calling you to discuss further!) It’s been vacant for about nine months, though, and I’m curious as to your thoughts on staging and what things I can do to prepare it for sale and really bring some sparkle to it before listing it. I want to really maximize my net sales price.</b></p> <p><i><b>—Victoria, Beverly Hills</b></i></p> <p></p> <p>I’m reprinting this with permission from Victoria, as we’ve already spoken, but I thought it was a great topic to tackle here in my column. Staging is the process of visually preparing a home before sale so that it can be shown in its best possible light. It can refer to a vacant or an occupied home. When staged properly, a vacant home tends to garner much more attention and showings, becomes more attractive to potential buyers and sells in less time for more money. Proper staging will give it a warm feel and allow buyers to see the home in a lived-in state. They immediately begin to imagine their own furniture and personal belongings in the home, and can really imagine themselves living there. Many people don’t have that vision and really benefit from seeing the home staged.</p> <p>If the property is vacant, the need for staging can hinge on a few variables. Staging a home can offer many benefits. In larger homes especially, tasteful staging can really serve to help potential buyers envision themselves in the home, as well as give a better perspective of size and scale. Rooms actually feel smaller without a stick of furniture in them. Buyers are able to imagine how they would furnish a room. In a larger home, staging can go a long way towards transforming a cold, detached, emotionless space into a warm, serene, inviting one.</p> <p>In a vacant home, one consideration you have to make is whether you will experience a sufficient return on your investment. Staging an average-sized three-bedroom home doesn’t come without its cost, but it really should be considered an investment, not an expense. The cost of staging a home will typically cost less than the amount of your first price reduction.</p> <p>If you’re in a great location, and are priced well, you may get by without staging. Sharp buyers and agents can spot a well-priced home without it being dolled up, but not all buyers (or agents!) are that astute. There are statistics that claim a staged home stays in the market for less time and sells for more money than an empty house does. Additionally, the property will photograph much better staged, and in a time when everyone searches properties on the web, photos can mean everything (as well as having professional shots).</p> <p>The term “staging” can also refer to the reorganization of a home that is currently occupied and furnished—clearing out some furniture, getting rid of personal photos, packing up knick-knacks and generally de-personalizing the home. Buyers should be taken in by the house, not your stuff. You may think your home is beautifully decorated, but decorating and staging are two very different things.</p> <p>Put as much of your personal belongings into storage (or, worst case scenario, the garage, though that’s not ideal) and keep the home as neutral as you can in staging it. If the home sells, you are going to have to pack all your stuff up anyway, so consider it an early start. Create vignettes in the home. A fully set dining table, a bed tray with a newspaper and coffee cup on it, a desk in the third bedroom with a faux laptop computer on it.</p> <p>When all is said and done, it’s up to you whether you want to have your home staged, but at the very least, if you are currently living there, have a conversation with your Realtor or a home staging professional about how you can help make the job of selling the home as easy as possible by ensuring that it shows well.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/03/30/staged-to-sellhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/03/30/staged-to-sellWed, 30 Mar 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickHow Long is Too Long??<p><b><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Hi Jefferson,</b></p> <p><b>I am considering listing my home this year, but I’ve heard different things about how long of a listing agreement I should sign. I would only want to sign for maybe three months, and if things aren’t going to my liking, be able to terminate and find another agent. I’ve been told that that isn’t really long enough to get a house sold, but how long does a good agent need?</b></p> <p><b>—Sean, West Hollywood</b></p> <p></p> <p>Hey Sean,</p> <p></p> <p>I’m glad you asked this question. I just had this come up last week with a potential seller. The short answer is, three months is not long enough. Consider this: When I take a listing, I provide the seller with a 16-point marketing plan of how I will get the house sold. It covers everything from professional photography to creating a website, getting the word out to all the other agents in town, holding open houses, brokers opens, contacting my client list and other well connected agents I know who might have a buyer, etc.</p> <p>The ramp-up time on this particular listing (about $2 million, if the seller has his way), is at least a week or so before all cylinders are firing. There is marketing material to be designed and printed, ads to place, copy to be written and more. On a listing of $2 million, I can expect to spend anywhere from $2,500 to $5,000 on marketing and advertising. For all of that time, energy and expense, I need to know that I’m being given sufficient time to find the right buyer for this property (“right” meaning one who is ready, willing and able to close the deal).</p> <p>If the house is extremely well priced and thus not on the market long, it could be significantly less than 90 days. But let’s be specific and talk about this exact listing I interviewed for. The house should be priced at no more than $1.75 million in my opinion, and based on comparables in the neighborhood.</p> <p>Thus, barring a miracle, there is not going to be much action on this house beyond an initial burst of interest at the beginning. So I am going to invest thousands of dollars into marketing a house that I only have 90 days to sell, at an overinflated list price. Keep in mind that every penny of those marketing costs comes directly out of my pocket. <i>Every penny</i>. Now, that’s all fine and good if the house sells. It was an investment in the listing, and that’s just the cost of doing business in real estate. But as a listing agent, if I’m going to invest that kind of coin into selling your house, I need to know I am going to have a fair shot at selling it. Otherwise, I never see those thousands of dollars again.</p> <p>Without question, I will give it everything I have in me to get it sold at that $2 million price, but I have to operate on the assumption that people will do their homework and come to the conclusion that it’s not worth that amount. That leaves me with the potential for that listing to become stale and a need for a price reduction within a few weeks.</p> <p>Now, all of the above notwithstanding, here are a couple of other things to take into consideration. First, if your concern is being able to break ties because you are not happy with the agent’s performance, have that conversation. Most agents aren’t going to force you to stay in an agency relationship you don’t want to be in, but keep this in mind. Do not mistake an overpriced listing for inadequate performance on the agent’s part. A listing agent can only use the tools he or she has to work with, and the most important one—the one that matters over all others—is a properly priced listing. All the marketing, advertising, wining and dining in the world is not likely to bring you a buyer who’s going to pay 10 or 15 percent over the home’s value. If you’re getting lots of showings and no offers, take note. You are very likely overpriced.</p> <p>If you are the type of seller who is confident enough in your agent to let them recommend the price (and let’s face it, if you aren’t, why in the world did you hire them?), and they say they’re comfortable with the price you’re listing at, then ideally it shouldn’t take three months to sell. But pricing a home correctly is both an art and a science, and sometimes we’re off a little in what we think a home should command. If you want three months and the agent wants six, maybe a compromise is in order—perhaps four or five months, or three months with an option to extend. But at the end of the day, I have to recommend that you give the agent you end up choosing adequate time to do their magic. Trust me, you both want the same thing, which is to get the house sold. They are going to do everything in their power to put it into escrow as soon as is humanly possible.</p> <p>Good luck!</p> <p>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/03/10/how-long-is-too-longhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/03/10/how-long-is-too-longThu, 10 Mar 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickCredit Where Credit is Due<p><b><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />Hi Jefferson,</b></p> <p><b>I’m currently in escrow on a house. The inspection report turned up some issues—some major, some minor—and I’m not sure what I should expect from the seller as far as repairs. The seller is refusing some of the things I want him to repair, and my agent says I should let it go. I want the house, but I don’t want to have a million repairs to do when I move in. Help!</b></p> <p><i><b>—Blake, Los Angeles</b></i></p> <p></p> <p>Hi Blake,</p> <p></p> <p>I feel your frustration. The inspection period can be the most tense and stressful time for buyer and seller (it’s no picnic for us agents either). It’s almost akin to renegotiating the price of the house. In California, it is actually standard language in the purchase contract that a home is sold in “as-is” condition. That doesn’t mean you can’t ask for credits and repairs based on the findings of your inspection, though.</p> <p>You agreed to purchase that home not yet knowing the condition, and there is always room for some negotiation. Don’t, however, go into that negotiation requesting that the horrible linoleum floor in the kitchen be replaced. You knew that was there when you made your offer, and one would expect that you made your offer accordingly.</p> <p>To answer your question, I’m making the assumption that this is not a new construction home, nor was it marketed as a “fixer.” A couple of key points to keep in mind. First, houses don’t stay in perfect condition forever. Things come up, wear out, get old, deteriorate, need replacement, require attention. I assume you’re basing your concerns on an inspection report from a reputable, licensed inspector, which brings me to my second point. A home inspector’s job is not to come tell you what a fabulous house you’re buying, or what a great deal you’re getting, or how lucky you are or how happy you’ll be in the house. They are being paid good money to find and point out every single solitary flaw in the house that might reasonably be of interest to you, the buyer.</p> <p>A lot of little things can come up in an inspection—anything from a loose doorknob to a suggestion by the inspector (or a plumber) that the entire house might be due for re-plumbing in the near future. Something like new plumbing is very likely going to be considered an upgrade as opposed to a repair by a seller. However, is the foundation cracked or showing a need for some kind of repair? Are there holes in the roof? Those are the kinds of things you might reasonably be able to expect to be fixed. It’s also likely that a seller would agree to address issues of health and safety. Found some mold in the walls? I’d say you might want to bring that up!</p> <p>It can become a matter of picking your battles. If you love the house and feel that you’re getting a fair price on it, it might be best to let the small things go. Even if you feel strongly that they should be fixed, and the seller is refusing, don’t get so wrapped up in being right or winning this battle that you lose the war. Is it worth losing the house over? It will serve the seller to act in the spirit of cooperation as well. Selling a house can be an exhausting process, and the last thing the seller wants is to start over at square one over a $500 repair. The best thing for all parties at this point is to remember that you all have a common goal—to sell the house. Don’t let shortsightedness kill a deal.</p> <p>Also keep in mind that in some instances, requesting a credit for the amount the work will cost is preferable to requesting that it be repaired. The seller has no vested interest in the home any longer and may not be as thorough or as detailed in the work as you would. Truth be told, they may also just prefer not to have to deal with it, and will happily give you the credit if it means they don’t have to worry about it.</p> <p>The thing to remember is, you as the buyer can request anything you like. The seller can respond yes, no, hell no or “we’ll do part of these and not others.” Provide a copy of all of your inspection reports with your request. You’ll get a lot further than if you just make requests that seemingly have no basis in reality. Be prepared to provide quotes from specialists to have the work done if you’re asking for a credit.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/03/01/credit-where-credit-is-duehttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/03/01/credit-where-credit-is-dueTue, 01 Mar 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickThe Cost of Waiting<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />We all know the market has taken a bit of a dive over the past three or four years. Prices have come down. And down. And down. And down a little more. One of the greatest things for me to see has been buyers who thought they were forever priced out of the market suddenly discovering that their ship has come in. I’ve sold clients homes for as much as 40 percent less than what it had previously sold for. No matter what price range you’re in, there have been excellent deals all around, with a seemingly endless supply of short sales and foreclosures adding to the inventory.</p> <p>I typically have two types of buyers. Those who go with their gut and buy a house when they find one they like, and those who really follow the market closely, read every real estate blog, know every single statistic released by the media (some of which are complete contradictions of others) and are convinced they know exactly where the market is going.</p> <p>Both of those have their ups and downs. The problem comes when the buyer is convinced that the market is still going down and that there are still even lower prices to be had, and so chooses to hold out just a little bit longer. The issue at the heart of this thought process is one of short-sightedness. Of course you don’t want to overpay for a house. No one wants to, nor do I want you to. However, many times the buyer is only considering the price of the house and completely ignoring the number that’s really the important one—the cost.</p> <p>The fact is, while they are still historically low, interest rates are creeping up. And unless you’re buying a home with all cash, this is going to affect your purchasing power. Understand that when you purchase a home with a 30-year fixed interest rate loan, the large majority of your purchase price is made up of interest.</p> <p>The Primary Mortgage Market Survey was released by Freddie Mac, which showed that the 30-year fixed rate mortgage was at 5.05 percent. Basically, prices have remained largely stable, but interest rates have risen steadily during the past few months. Guess what? You can now afford less house than you could three months ago.</p> <p>Here’s an example. Let’s say your loan amount is $500,000. In November, when rates were at 4.17 percent, you’d have been at monthly payments of roughly $2,436 per month. This week? Rates are 5.05 percent, giving you a payment of about $2,699 a month. That’s a $263 per month difference. That difference would amount to about a $50,000 loss in purchasing power, obviously putting you at a lower purchase price that you could have qualified for with a lower rate. That hurts!</p> <p>Additionally, chew on these numbers. That’s an additional $3,156 per year, and almost $95,000 over the life of the loan. You see where this is going. Even if prices drop 10 percent over the course of a year, the cost to you to carry the house will increase if interest rates rise one percent. For those in a price range significantly below that $500,000 mark, you could find yourself losing enough purchasing power that you end up, once again, priced out of the market. Now, do prices sometimes adjust accordingly? Yes. Can you always count on that, or will they adjust enough to make up the difference? Likely, no.</p> <p>For more info on this or any other real estate matters—buying, selling, investing—feel free to shoot me an e-mail at <a href="mailto: Jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a>.</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/02/14/the-cost-of-waitinghttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/02/14/the-cost-of-waitingMon, 14 Feb 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickRent or Buy??<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />I’ve been considering the possibility of putting my days as a renter behind me and joining the ranks of the homeowner, though I’m trying to figure out which makes more sense. I currently pay about $2,000/mo in rent (soon to go up). At what point is it more logical to quit renting and buy?</p> <p></p> <p><i>—Ryan K., Santa Monica</i></p> <p></p> <p>··········</p> <p></p> <p>Hi Ryan,</p> <p></p> <p>I get this question a lot. There’s no quick answer, and I would need some more information to give you a solid response. But I can tell you this. Real estate website <a href="http://www.Trulia.com">Trulia.com</a> recently released the results of a study of 50 U.S. cities, asking if it made more sense to rent or to buy in each city. When the housing market tanked and the recession began a few years ago, the answer in many cities flipped from one side to the other. According to the report, with massive foreclosures and homeowners unable to stay in their homes, the rental market became flooded with new customers. On the flip side, the sheer volume of homes saturating the market dragged prices down and created an opening for many who thought they would never be able to afford a home.</p> <p>The rule of thumb Trulia offers in calculating whether renting is more affordable than buying is to divide the purchase price of a home by the annual rent of a similar property. If you come up with anything over a 15, it’s generally considered that renting is cheaper. Anything below, it’s a good market to become a buyer in. Of course this is a very general equation. Not for nothing, but L.A. came in with a 20 (using a median purchase price of $489,700 and an median annual rent of $24,900). That said, I still believe that given the deals out there right now that fall under that price range, it is a great time to buy. Renting, you spend your money to fatten someone else’s kitty. It’s money you will never see or hear from again.</p> <p>There are many factors that have to be taken into consideration. First, do you have a down payment available, and do you qualify for a loan? Let’s assume for the sake of argument, yes and yes. Great! But there are other questions that address what your actual needs as an individual are. Maybe home ownership doesn’t make sense for you right now. If you plan to relocate in the next two to three years, renting is probably best. Also, some people don’t want to be responsible for any maintenance or upkeep. As a renter, all of that falls on someone else’s shoulders. Also, for renters, there are no homeowners dues, no property taxes and no major repairs. Maybe you’ve been in the same place for 10 years and pay $900 for a two-bedroom top-floor unit in West Hollywood. God bless rent control. It can be hard to give that up.</p> <p>However, if you are looking to stay put for a while, you may be best served by purchasing something and begining to lay the foundation to build wealth. Over the long-term, real estate is an excellent investment and will build equity. And that equity is what will help you afford to move up to that second home when the time comes. There are many financial benefits that come with home ownership too. For over half of the period you’ll be paying your mortgage, most of that payment will be interest, which is tax-deductible. You can also deduct your property taxes (always consult with a tax preparer or CPA on these things). When you rent, that money is gone forever, just helping to pay someone else’s mortgage.</p> <p>Home ownership brings with it a certain sense of accomplishment and pride of ownership. The property is yours to do whatever you want with (almost), and you can make improvements and upgrades over time to increase its value. There are significant tax breaks on the profit you make when you sell your home as well. The flip side of this is that some might choose to invest their savings into equities or the stock market or mutual funds rather than tying them up in the down payment on a home. To that, I say “to each his own.” I definitely don’t claim to be an investment professional. You have to do what’s right for you, but what I can say is that there has not been a better time to buy in Los Angeles in many years.</p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/02/01/rent-or-buyhttp://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/02/01/rent-or-buyTue, 01 Feb 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat To Expect When You’re Expecting (To Buy A Home) Pt. 3 of 3<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />The question I’ve spent the last two issues addressing is, what exactly does the process of buying a home look like? What should one expect? I’ve tried to really break it down for you in as much detail as possible while still keeping it somewhat brief.</p> <p></p> <p><b>8. Disclosures. </b>In the last column, while on the subject of inspections and repairs, I briefly mentioned disclosures. The first week of the escrow period is also when you will receive, via your agent, a stack of state-mandated disclosures that the seller is required to provide (all on forms provided by California Association of Realtors) regarding the property. This is the seller’s opportunity to disclose to you anything and everything they know regarding the condition of the property, the neighborhood, the land, the structure itself—<i>anything</i>—that they know that might affect the salability of the property. Failure to disclose is one of the leading causes of lawsuits between buyers and sellers. When I’m working with sellers, especially on high-end properties, my advice is “when in doubt, disclose.” In other words, if you have to ask, just disclose it. By law, you as the buyer have three days after receiving any new information about the property to decide whether it’s acceptable to you before moving on.</p> <p></p> <p><b>9. Getting your loan approved. </b>Over the next couple of weeks, your mortgage broker will be working furiously to get all of the required documentation from you in order to get your loan approved, and will send an appraiser to the property to make sure it’s worth at least what they’re lending on it. Don’t be surprised if the lender requires you to sign away your first-born child. It happens. Aside from being on standby for anything the lender needs, the next couple of weeks you’re basically in a holding pattern, beginning the fun stuff like making arrangements to move into your new home. On a side note, here’s a strong word of advice. Do not make the mistake of obligating yourself to be out of your current residence on the date you expect to close escrow on your new home. Delays can and will happen, and there is nothing more stressful than finding out two days before you are supposed to close that it’s been pushed back by a few days. Even worse is having a moving van scheduled for that day. Give yourself some leeway if at all possible.</p> <p></p> <p><b>10. Wrapping it up.</b> It’s a few days before you are scheduled to close escrow. Your agent will schedule a final walk-through of the property with you, so that you have the opportunity to make sure everything is in the same condition it was when you agreed to purchase, and that any repairs the seller agreed to make have been completed. At this point, your loan should have been fully approved and your lender should have ordered loan docs. About two to three days before the scheduled close date, you will wire the remainder of your down payment and any other funds due. Typically, you will go to the escrow company’s office, where you will sign loan docs. This will entail signing your name about 800 million times. Depending on a few things, your loan should be funded by the lender the next day. The following business day, the property changes hands legally and officially, and that change is recorded with the county.</p> <p></p> <p>Congratulations. You just bought a home in 10 easy steps! If you think you might want to try this process out for yourself, give me a call and I’ll hold your hand the entire way. Likewise, if you or anyone you know is planning to sell a home, give me a call and let’s talk about how I can help.</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/01/19/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-to-buy-a-2http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/01/19/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-to-buy-a-2Wed, 19 Jan 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson HendrickWhat To Expect When You’re Expecting (To Buy A Home) Pt. 2 of 3<p><img class="image_align_top_left" src="http://www.frontiersla.com/Pics/Columns/Propertunities/Jefferson-Hendrick_230_01.jpg" height="345" width="230" />First, Happy New Year. I hope you had an amazing holiday. When we left off last time, we were taking a casual stroll through the home-buying process, and what exactly one can expect when purchasing a home. As of the last issue, we’ve found you a mortgage broker, got you pre-approved, found you a buyers agent you love, zeroed in on the home of your dreams and negotiated price and terms. This is where it all starts to get real! Now it’s time to open escrow.</p> <p></p> <p><b>5. Escrow opens. </b>The escrow period is the time during which all the business of the actual transaction takes place. At this point, you will be required to submit your three percent good faith deposit to escrow—usually either by wire transfer or personal check. It will be cashed almost immediately and held in an escrow account. This three percent is part of whatever down payment you agreed to make on the property during the negotiation process. If you offered to put 20 percent down, you will have 17 percent due to close the deal. This three percent is what says “I’m serious about purchasing this property.” Provided you negotiate in good faith and perform as required by the purchase agreement, it is fully refundable should you decide to back out of the transaction (to a point). The escrow company—often selected by the seller, but not always—generates “escrow instructions,” which is the official direction they take based on all of the terms agreed upon in the purchase agreement between seller and buyer. They hold all funds, and no monies received by them can be released without mutual agreement from both sides of the sale. The typical escrow period is 30 days long, but that can vary, especially in today’s market where it can take much longer to get a loan locked in.</p> <p><b>6. Inspections. </b>This is also known as doing your due diligence. There are various inspections that you will want to do, at your cost, during your inspection period. At a minimum, you should have a general inspection done by a licensed and reputable inspector. You should always, always, always opt for a general inspection. This is not the time to cut corners. The inspector will do an overall top-to-bottom inspection of the property, and you can expect to pay anywhere from around $300 up to $500 or more depending on the size of the property. You’ll do well to remember that the inspector is not there to tell you what an amazing house you’re getting, or what great condition it’s in. Their job is to point out every little flaw or defect they see—it’s what you’re paying them for. Often, a lot of what they will note in their report is of little or no consequence, but there is always the chance that something major will come up.</p> <p>Depending on what the general inspection turns up, you may need to call in specialists to further investigate potential issues, such as a mold inspector, a plumber, an electrician, etc. Doing proper inspections can save you huge money down the road, and it’s up to you to do your investigations into the condition of the house to your satisfaction. Most every home sale is intended to be “as-is,” meaning you shouldn’t expect the seller to deliver the property to you in like-new condition. It does not, however, preclude you from taking what you learned and attempting to negotiate repairs or credits based on the inspection reports.</p> <p></p> <p><b>7. Negotiating Credits/Repairs. </b>You thought you were done when you negotiated your purchase price, didn’t you? Not so fast! Now’s the time when we take what we learned about the house during your inspections and decide what you can live with and what’s not acceptable. As I mentioned above, often during inspections, some expensive issues can be uncovered that someone is going to be on the hook for. Ideally, it’s not you. However, depending on a lot of things, you may have to accept the fact that you will be making at least some repairs on your new home. After all, it’s (most likely) not new construction. Let’s say, for example, your chimney inspection uncovers major damage to the chimney, and you have an estimate for $8,000 to repair it. Unless that defect was disclosed to you up front, you made your offer assuming the chimney was in good working condition (it’s possible the seller didn’t even know about the issue when they priced the house). Now you have grounds to issue a request for the seller to give you a credit for some or all of the cost to repair it (or request that they have it repaired themselves).</p> <p>One of a few things will come of this request. First, they might agree to credit you the entire amount you requested for the repair. Or they might tell you to take a long walk off a short pier—that the home is in fact being sold “as is.” Finally, they might respond with an agreement to give you partial credit. This is the most likely scenario in my experience.</p> <p>At this point, you’ll decide whether you’re satisfied with the outcome of your request and whether you want to move on and commit to closing the sale. From here on, there’s pretty much no looking back, and you’re all in. Next issue, I’ll wrap it up and take you through the closing, and we’ll have the keys in your hands by the time I’m done! Til then, if you or anyone you know are considering buying or selling a home, please don’t hesitate to call me for a free consultation and/or market value analysis of your home.</p> <p></p> <p><i>Jefferson Hendrick is an L.A.-based Realtor with Keller Williams. Contact him with questions, concerns and real estate inquiries at <a href="mailto: jefferson@kw.com">jefferson@kw.com</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor">facebook.com/jeffersonhendrickrealtor</a>.</i></p>http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/01/03/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-to-buy-a-1http://www.frontiersla.com/propertunities/blog/2011/01/03/what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-to-buy-a-1Mon, 03 Jan 2011 12:00:00 GMTJefferson Hendrick