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  • Redondo Beach: Hot Properties April 27, 2017

    Posted on April 27th, 2017 acimetta No comments

    Today’s Brokers’ Open in Redondo Beach was loaded with new listings; it definitely feels like inventory is picking up! Outdoor spaces and some nice remodels caught my eye today. Make sure you check out these properties over the weekend. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’m always happy to coordinate showings and negotiate offers, if you need representation.

    North Redondo Beach, Area 152

    2312 Huntington Lane, #2, $999,000

    Back patio with high end bar, patio table and chairs iwht umbrella, built in fountain.

    Entertainer’s dream backyard in North Redondo

    This detached, back unit townhome is on an unusual (almost) 9,000 sq foot lot. Typical lot size for a two-on-a lot is 7,500 sq. feet.  This extra land affords both units a lot of space. There are two guest spots: one between the units and one to the left of the rear unit. And the backyard is much deeper than the typical two-on-a-lot, hosting a bar, large patio table and chairs, and built-in waterfall. It’s an entertainer’s dream. Not to be overlooked, is the recently remodeled interior. There are Acacia hardwood floors, beautiful custom cabinets and marble countertops. I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of marble in the kitchen because it stains easily, but it looks gorgeous. Upstairs is a family room and 4 bedrooms. This home is priced LOW at $999,000. I can guarantee that there will be multiple offers. It should go over $1.1 based on the upgrades and size of the lot and backyard. This is an unusual property and it should create high demand.

    Another angle of the backyard at 2312 Huntington Lane, #2 in Redondo Beach where you can see the built in fountain and patio furniture.

    2312 Huntington backyard 2

    Image of the kitchen with custom cabinets of a deep rich wood and small island.

    Kitchen at 2312 Huntington Lane, #2 with beautiful custom cabinetry.

    2504 Huntington Lane, #B, $1,260,000

    Just two blocks east, 2504 Huntington Lane is another townhome for sale. It’s a newer Mediterranean construction. It’s also a detached, rear unit. This 2003 built townhome also had a hefty makeover and shows very well. It has a light and airy feel, and there are many custom details like the stone on the fireplace and the chandelier in the stairwell. Priced in the right ballpark, this home should sell quickly.

    1907 Belmont Lane, #A, $789,000

    Bedroom with a large interior window that looks into the downstairs living space at 1907 Belmont Lane, #A in Redondo Beach

    One of the charming features of 1907 Belmont Lane. The 2nd bedroom has a large window looking into the downstairs space.

    This property was another surprise today. It offered a floorplan that I’ve never seen before in North Redondo. And in my opinion, different can be very good. The front entrance is toward the back of the house… not sure I’m sold on that, but it does offer some additional privacy. This townhome does not have the open concept that everyone seems to be looking for these days, but the design offers open, airy space. You can look down into the kitchen and living space from the stairway mid-landing and through the interior windows from one of the bedrooms upstairs., giving the home a lot of character. It’s a 3 bedroom that is currently being used as a 2 bedroom. It works well if 2 bedrooms is all you need because then you can enjoy the  charming formal dining room. But it can also be easily converted back to a downstairs 3rd bedroom… just need to install doors to the closet. There are a ton of outdoor spaces throughout this house and the side run is extra wide and extremely usable.

    North Redondo Beach, Golden Hills, Area 154

    Heading into the Golden Hills, there were 3 tall & skinny homes on Brokers’ today. These are all single families, and they earned the name tall & skinny from the typical narrow lot dimensions of 25′ x 100′.

    1109 Stanford Ave, $1,049,000

    This single family is in decent condition although it could use some updating. I like the fact that it has the additional half bathroom upstairs with the living space so the master bedroom doesn’t have to share a bathroom with guests. The backyard was my favorite feature. It has a zen-like patio with bamboo to create extra privacy.

    1215 Stanford Ave, $1,295,000

    Front patio with a couple of beach chairs firepit in this private front patio at 1215 Stanford in Redondo Beach

    This secluded, charming front patio offers a great place to chill at 1215 Stanford in the Golden Hills of Redondo Beach

    Front deck has a bistro table and chairs under an umbrella, offering another outdoor oasis in this Golden Hills single family in Redondo Beach

    Front deck offers a cute place to sit and chat.

    This single family is not the typical tall & skinny lot. The lot size is slightly bigger at 3,763 sq feet. The house is over 1,725 sq feet. It feels a lot bigger than what you expect when you walk up to it, doing a good job of fitting a lot of living space into this split level. This property also has great outdoor spaces that help extend the livability of the home. There’s a L-shaped backyard, a nice-sized front deck and a private front patio. You will want to spend a lot of time outside in these cozy spaces.

    Photo of an outdoor table and chair under a large umbrella, creating another space to kick and entertain in this Golden Hills home in Redondo Beach.

    Backyard has a deck and patio creating another place to kick back and entertain.

    South Redondo

    826 Knob Hill, $1,375,000

    I made a stop in South Redondo today at 826 Knob Hill. This house is across the street from Alta Vista Elementary. It’s an older home that’s been nicely remodeled downstairs. There are three large entertaining areas on the first floor plus a bedroom. Upstairs are three more bedrooms. There is no true master bedroom, but you could easily convert the front living room or back family room into an awesome master suite and still have plenty of living space. And the small downstairs bedroom would be a perfect home office. Buyers are currently circling this property and there very well be offers submitted over the weekend. This home is next to the Southern California Edison substation that had stray voltage a few years back, but supposedly SCE fixed the problem. As a homebuyer, you want to investigate this however.

    Have a great weekend and happy house hunting in the south bay!

     

  • Redondo Beach: Hot Properties for Sale 4/23/17

    Posted on April 23rd, 2017 acimetta No comments

    Here are some of my favorite properties for sale in Redondo Beach that hit the market in the past week (some a little longer). I selected each of these homes for reasons that I will explain below.

    504 S Gertruda Ave, Redondo Beach. $1,999,999

    This property has been on the market for 27 days now, but it’s worth a look if you haven’t seen it yet. I love this location in South Redondo because the incline allows for great ocean views. Also the streets in south Redondo are broad, creating lovely curb appeal, and a feeling of space that is hard to find in the beach cities.

    On the front deck of the house, looking out at the view of the ocean from the first floor.

    Ocean view from 1st floor

    Looking at the spectacular ocean views from the 2nd floor master bedroom.

    Unobstructed ocean view from the 2nd floor.

    504 S Gertruda 1

    Stairs from the back patio in this Redondo Beach single family lead to a large grassy backyard.

    So here’s what I like about this property:The backyard is large and versatile. There is a patio area just off the kitchen which is perfect for entertaining. Then take a few steps up to the grassy yard, ideal for kids or pets. 1. The location: not only is it esthetically pleasing, but it’s not too far from the beach and not too far south to make your commute north absolutely miserable. 2. Views: You can enjoy the ocean views from the front deck and living room as well as the master bedroom and bathroom. The views on the first floor can be blocked, but the second floor views are spectacular and they are safe from obstruction. 3. Square footage: This is a large home with 2,845 sq. feet. All the rooms are spacious; the kitchen has a huge island and a pantry. 4. The backyard: Like I said, it’s been on the market for almost a month so it may be time to negotiate the price down!

    2834 Pinckard Ave, Redondo Beach, $899,000

    This home is on one of the best streets in the TRW tract of North Redondo Beach. It’s a small remodeled home with only 2 bedrooms, but the lot is 8,315 square feet, leaving room to grow. You can live in this home and add on down the road. What makes the home very livable is the outdoor living/entertaining space. It’s an awesome free standing covered patio with bar, built-in barbecue, refrigerator, heater and flat screen TVs. You will want to invite all your friends over every weekend! This home is priced at $899,000. The house is small, but the home will sell for more due to the size of the lot and backyard.

    Redondo Beac home iwth outdoor patio with bar, barbecue, refrigerator, table and chairs and 3 flat screen TVs.

    Entertainer’s Dream Outdoor Space in Redondo Beach

    Second angle of the outdoor patio in Redondo Beach featuring stonework, granite counters.

    Hang out in your high end outdoor patio with all the amenities.

    Large backyard thanks to the 8,300+ sq foot lot in the TRW tract in Redondo Beach

    Large backyard of this 8,300+ lot on Pinckard Avenue in Redondo Beach. There’s room to build a much larger home and still have a rockin’ backyard.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2303 Harriman Lane, #B, Redondo Beach, $1,049,000

    The master bedroom in this North Redondo Beach townhome has a spacious alcove which is currently used as an office space.

    The master bedroom in this North Redondo Beach townhome has a spacious alcove.

    As usual a few townhomes in North Redondo Beach have it the market. My favorite this week is 2303 Harriman Lane, #B. It’s the back detached unit on a 2-on-a-lot. This home gets great light. It was built in 2000 but its appointments are still attractive and don’t feel too dated. I like the curved staircase. And my favorite features were in the master bedroom. There’s the tw0-way fireplace and a large, pretty alcove that is perfect for a home office, workout area or a sitting room. It’s well priced at $1,049,000. The current competition is higher priced and not as nice, in my opinion.

  • Things to Do: Brewery Art Walk in East Los Angeles 2017

    Posted on April 18th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    At the Brewery Art Walk, my two girlfriends and I pose in front of a large graphic art of two sharks bearing the letters LA (for Los Angeles) on their chests.

    My friends and I at a Sneak Preview of the Brewery Art Walk.

    This weekend I enjoyed a rare opportunity for a private preview of the Brewery Art Walk in East LA. The Art Walk takes place at the historical Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery which was zoned years ago as an Artists-in-Residence community. Artists rent live/work spaces in industrial buildings  that offer really cool lofts and other unique spaces that inspire creativity. We toured six different artists’ studios, meeting the artists, and listening to them speak about their art and their process. I even bought a small original piece from one of the artists we met on Saturday. Since she was selling it to me directly from her studio and didn’t have to give a cut to a gallery owner, she was willing to negotiate!

    The art covers the spectrum from massive oil paintings that sell for $25,000, to illustrations, to printmaking that requires a precise layering of colors, to realism, to graphic artists that celebrate the city of Los Angeles. And that’s just what I had a chance to see. Other exhibits include sculpture, ceramics, photography, architecture, landscape, and more.

    Brewery Art Walk 2017

    Artist Jill Sykes discussing her work at the Brewery Art Walk.

    Artist Jill Sykes discussing her work at the Brewery Art Walk.

    The official Art Walk takes place on April 29 & 30 from 11 am – 6 pm. More than 100 artists-in-residence will open their spaces to the public. It’s a free event; even parking is free. And it’s a cool way to spend an afternoon absorbing culture, exploring new and favorite artists, and visiting a world that is starkly different from the Beach Cities or west side. Come spark your imagination with an up close and personal look at these artists’ work. Viewing their art in their homes and/or studios where they create is fascinating, and at times gives a deeper understanding of their artistry. The community itself: the buildings and the space has artistic value, and just touring the brewery and surrounding industrial buildings on this 16 acre campus is fascinating and worth the drive. And to worry, there’s a beer garden, and the on-site restaurant, Barbara’s At The Brewery, will be open for your culinary delight.

  • Real Estate Advice: Rent-Backs

    Posted on April 14th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    A woman sits in a chair with her head in her hands. There are boxes all around her. She is exhausted and frustrated with moving. A rent-back agreement would give her more time to move.

    Woman frustrated and exhausted with her move.

    Just when you thought the stress of getting your home sold is over, there’s the next challenging hurdle of moving into your new place… if you even have one yet! A rent-back can be a helpful tool for a seller who needs more time to pack up a lifetime of belongings or still needs to find a new place to live. Some sellers need the proceeds from the sale before they can pay for and close on their upleg so there is a period of time between closes that they are essentially homeless.

    As a buyer, including a rent-back in your initial offer may give you a leg-up on the competition. If the seller is going to need more time after the close of escrow, a rent-back can make your offer more attractive. Other buyers may not have the ability or willingness to offer a rent-back.

    How a Rent-Back Works

    Image of a lease which is part of a rent-back agreement

    Rental Agreement

    A rent-back agreement is a legally binding part of a purchase contract that does what it says: the buyer rents back the home to the seller for a specific period of time. The seller/tenant and buyer/landlord agree on how long the seller will stay in the property and how much the buyer will charge. Typically, the seller agrees to pay the buyers’ PITI which is their total monthly payment for their loan plus taxes and insurance. In this way, the buyer is not losing any money while the seller is still living in the property. But like everything in the contract, it’s negotiable. For instance, I just sold a home in which my client, the seller, got a 30 day rent-back for free. We had so many offers that several buyers were willing to offer the rent-back at no charge in order to sweeten the deal.

    It’s best to negotiate all terms up front at the same time you’re negotiating the offer. Terms including deposit, utilities, renter’s insurance will be more easily agreed upon early on. But once the offer is fully executed, if the buyer did not stipulate a deposit, there’s very little chance the seller will agree to it later on.

    Also, keep in mind the following: Lenders typically allow rent-backs for no more than 60 days. A rent-back for 29 days or less requires a simpler agreement than a rent back for 30 days or more. The buyer gets the keys at the close of escrow, but possession of the property is not delivered until the end of the rent-back. The buyer/landlord must give the seller/tenant 24 hour notice, per the agreement, for access to the property.

    The Potential Negatives of a Rent-Back for Buyers and Sellers:

    An image of boxes stacked up along with a plant, chair and some pillows. A rent-back gives a seller more time to move.

    Household goods packed up for the big move to the new house.

    For a seller who has lived in a home for a long time with a small mortgage, paying the buyer’s PITI can cause sticker shock, because it’s based on a higher value and subsequently a larger loan amount. Another possible downside for the seller is that you’re now living in someone else’s house! This can have emotional implications that are hard to imagine beforehand.

    From the buyer’s perspective, you own a home, but someone else is living in it now! You have the responsibilities of a landlord. And there is the risk that the seller may not move out on the scheduled date.

    When executed properly, a rent-back agreement can be a win-win for everyone involved. If you have more questions about rent-backs or are looking for a solution for your particular situation, feel free to call me at (310) 428-8804.

  • South Bay Easter Events 2017

    Posted on April 4th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    In the South, Bay, a young girl holding an easter basket runs around the park looking for easter eggs. More kids in the background.

    Happy Girl at Easter Egg Hunt

    Easter is just around the corner, offering a lot of fun activities in the Beach Cities for your younger kiddos! Easter egg hunts are a blast and one of the best photo ops of the year. And Easter is always a great opportunity to get dressed up and treat the family to a fancy brunch. Here’s what’s happening in the South Bay:

    El Segundo

    You’ll have to grab your swim goggles to enjoy El Segundo’s Underwater Eggstravaganza at the Plunge. The underwater egg hunt starts at 7 PM on Friday, April 14 and costs $5 at the door. The Plunge swimming facility is located at 219 West Mariposa Avenue.

    Additionally, on Saturday, April 15 from 9:30 to11 AM, the El Segundo Recreation and Parks Department hosts their annual FREE Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza. Crawlers and Walkers and 2 to 4 year-olds start the hunt at 10 AM, 5 years and up at 10:30 AM. Recreation Park is located at 401 Sheldon St. For more information, call (310) 524-2700.

    Manhattan Beach

    You can find the Easter Bunny at the Downtown Manhattan Beach Farmers’ Market on Tuesday, April 11. Take a train ride, hunt for eggs, get your face painted and get some photos with your favorite furry friend. Bring your own camera as there will be no photographer! Metlox Plaza, 451 Manhattan Beach Blvd. For more info, check out their Facebook page.

    Enjoy a relaxing and decadent Easter brunch Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach on Sunday, April 16 from 9 AM to 3 PM. Treat yourself to a gourmet buffet at Shade’s contemporary restaurant and lounge, zinc@Shade. Additional fun for the kiddies includes crafts and an Easter egg hunt. For additional information and to make reservations, visit their Facebook event page or call 310-546-4995.

    Redondo Beach

    The South Bay Galleria’s Spring Fling Event will be held Saturday April 8 from 11 AM to 1 PM. This FREE family event includes balloon arts, prize baskets, a dance floor, face painting and more! You can also have your photo taken with the Easter Bunny to take home in a special frame. For more details click here. The South Bay Galleria is located at Hawthorne and Artesia.

    Shade Hotel Redondo Beach will have a fabulous Easter brunch! The grownups can enjoy a mimosa, sunshine, and a gourmet buffet at the Sea Level restaurant, while the kids partake in holiday activities, crafts, and an Easter egg hunt. Sunday, April 16 from 9 AM to 3 PM. For more info and to make reservations, call (310) 921-8950.

    Palos Verdes Peninsula

    The city of Rancho Palos Verdes hosts their Egg Hunt Eggstravaganza on Saturday April 15. For kids ages 1-8, there will be photos, prizes and of course an appearance by the Big Bunny! The fee is $15 per child, click here to register. At Ladera Linda Community Center, 32201 Forrestal Dr.

    Terranea Resort will host a luxurious Ballroom Brunch and Easter Eggstravaganza on Sunday, April 16. Kids have their own buffet stations, and afterwards there will be a petting zoo, music, arts and crafts, and of course an egg hunt! Of course, you can always enjoy the views of the South Bay from the cliffs of Terranea! For further info and ticket purchase, click here. Terranea Resort is located at 100 Terranea Way in Rancho Palos Verdes.

    St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church hosts a Community Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 15. A bouncy castle, snacks, games, crafts, and an egg hunt are all part of this FREE family event. From 10 AM to noon. 26825 Rolling Hills Rd in Rolling Hills Estates. For additional info, you can call (310) 377-2825.

    In Palos Verdes Estates, the Neighborhood Church will host an Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday, April 16 at 10 AM. The hunting happens between services on the south lawn. Gather up the whole family for this FREE event. For additional information, call 310-541-8485. The Neighborhood Church is located at 415 Paseo Del Mar in Palos Verdes Estates.

    Lomita

    The city of Lomita welcomes you and your family to Breakfast with Bunny on Saturday April 15 from 8:00 AM. to 9:00 AM at Lomita Park. For $10 per family you will have pastries, coffee, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. An Easter Egg Hunt follows at 9:30 AM for all kids under 14. Lomita Park is located at 24428 Eshelman Ave.

    Afterwards, the Lomita Railroad Museum will also host an egg hunt at 12:30 PM, followed by Easter arts and crafts and photos with the Easter Bunny. Cost is $10 per family. Call (310) 326-6255 for more information. 2137 250th St.

    Torrance

    Del Amo Fashion Center will have The Bunny Photo Experience through Saturday, April 15. For $10 kids can visit with the Easter Bunny and get a fun and memorable photo to take home. Make your appointment with Bunny here.

    The City of Torrance will celebrate Easter on Saturday, April 15 from 9 AM to noon. This special program includes breakfast, a cookie decorating station, pics with Bunny, and a special performance by Buster Balloon! Breakfast will be served from 9 to 9:30 AM and seating is limited. Tickets are $20. For more information and tickets, click here. The Torrance Cultural Arts Center is located at 3330 Civic Center Drive.

    Connection Point Church will hold their annual Giant Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, April 15 from 10 AM to noon at Wilson Park. This FREE event offers a whopping 75,000 easter eggs to find for kids ages 0-12, live music, face painting, bounce houses, relay games and a photo booth. For further info call (310) 326-0276 or click here. Wilson Park is located at 2200 Crenshaw Blvd.

    Have some FREE Easter cookies and celebrate Easter at Torrance Bakery on Sunday, April 16 from 10 to 11:30 AM. Sponsored by the Old Torrance Neighborhood Association, you can participate in a meet & greet with the Easter Bunny and take selfies with Mr. & Mrs. Bun. Torrance Bakery is located at 1341 El Prado Ave.

    San Pedro

    How would you like to have Easter breakfast aboard a real battleship? Well, here’s your chance as the Battleship Iowa holds this unique event on Sunday, April 16. Have breakfast like a real sailor in the mess hall and pet some critters in the petting zoo. The Easter Bunny will be hanging around from 10 AM to 4 PM. The cost of $45 per adult, $35 for youth, and $11 for children includes ship’s admission and self guided tour. Click here for tickers and additional info.

    Gardena

    On Saturday, April 15 at the Nakaoka Community Center in Gardena, breakfast and crafts offered from 8:00 AM to 10:45 AM, and an Easter Egg Hunt starts at 10 AM. The little ones can enjoy a puppet show at 10:45. Pre-sale tickets for Breakfast with the Easter Bunny cost only $5 and are available at the Nakaoka Community Center. Tickets at the door will be $7. The Center is at 1670 West 162 Street, Gardena.

     

    Whatever you decide to do, the South Bay and its Beach Cities has a ton of activities for you and your family to enjoy. Happy Easter!

    Young boy in the South Bay sprawled out in the grass with a big smile on his face pointing to his Happy Easter sign on a chalk board.

    Wishing you a Happy Easter!

  • California Poppies – They’re Here!

    Posted on March 28th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    Closeup of California Poppies in bloom.

    The poppies looked like they were glowing with their vibrant orange hue!

    Looking for something different to do this weekend? How about checking out the California Poppies in the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve? The poppies are in bloom and you only have a few weeks left to view them.

    My trip to see the California Poppies

    It was my first time visiting the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve a week ago. It was an easy hour and a half drive that allowed us to enjoy the rolling hills and farmland on the way. As we got close to the state reserve, there were poppies growing on the roadside. People were pulling over everywhere to spontaneously enjoy the poppies! But I wanted to get to the reserve where there was going to be a much larger expanse of flowers. The traffic came pretty much to a standstill as cars waited on Lancaster Road to turn into the reserve and pay for parking. We quickly realized it would be easier to park on the side of the road and walk into the reserve. It’s cheaper too! So even less of a reason not to make the trip! It was hot out there so we took our water and made the long walk into the park. And it was worth it! We feasted our eyes on a glowing carpet of orange.

    There were a handful of trails to follow. Picnic tables were available. And there was a small museum where you could learn more about… well, what else… the poppies.

    Wide angle shot of a field of California Poppies. Flowers fill the screen.

    Wide angle shot of a field of California Poppies.

    Closeup of California Poppies in bloom.

    The poppies looked like they were glowing with their vibrant orange hue!

    Image of a massive expanse of California poppies under a big sky with really cool clouds.

    Wide angle shot of a massive expanse of California poppies under a really cool sky.

    We headed to where we thought there would be the fewest amount of people and the largest number of petals. It was hard to avoid the crowds, but more importantly we avoided stepping on any flowers! We got lots of great photos and enjoyed the state flower. I will admit that I was on the lookout for rattlesnakes the whole time, but happy to report that I didn’t see any. Although now that I know that the rattlesnakes actually protect the poppies by killing all the rodents that would otherwise snack on the petals, I’m a new found fan of the rattlers. And apparently, rattlesnakes try to avoid people and use their rattler as a first alert system to let you know they’re there. Just give them space and they will slither away.

    It was a fun day with great weather to enjoy the outdoors and a beautiful landscape. My partner-in-crime was my on-again, off-again boyfriend and that’s a whole other story… but at least he knew about the poppies. He is handy to have around sometimes.

    Good things to Know for Your California Poppies Excursion

    Parking is $10 per car. There are other rates for seniors, handicapped, and buses. But you can also park on Lancaster Road for free and walk into the park.

    Other flowers include goldfields, lupine, and lacy phacelia.

    If you can get away during the week even better. The weekends are jam packed with visitors.

    There are eight miles of trails and areas that are paved to accommodate wheelchairs. The state reserve takes their poppies seriously so no tramping through the fields! There is a fine for killing any flowers.

    Leave Spot home. Only service dogs allowed.

    No tramping through the fields. It compacts the soil leaving it useless for new flower growth.

    And this is really important: Strong winds and cold weather cause the poppies to curl up. So check the weather before you go. For more info: visit https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=627

    Selfie of me and Robert in front of a field of poppies.

    Selfie with the poppies

  • South Bay Events March – April 2017

    Posted on March 25th, 2017 acimetta No comments

    Spring is finally here and it looks like the worst of the rain is over so… time to get back outside! Here are some fun South Bay Events in the upcoming month.

    It’s Paella week at Basque Kitchen! If you’ve never tried Paella, it’s a rice dish originating on the central coast of Spain and comes in vegetarian, fish and mixed versions. Basque claims they are “Abducting unsuspecting paella lovers everywhere” March 22-26. Located on the Redondo Beach Pier. Click here for details.

    The City of El Segundo is having its 100th anniversary concert on Saturday March 25. Admission is FREE! For more info, click here.

    The 2017 Multicultural Film Festival is happening from March 31 to April 2 at several locations in Palos Verdes. To find out where and when, click here.

    The Annual LA Harbor International Film Festival is going on March 16-19 at the Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro. Click here for schedule and tickets.

    Put your running shoes on for the 2nd Annual Matzoh Ball Run/Walk on Sunday March 26. Benefitting the kids of Hillel Hebrew Academy, it takes place at Dockweiler Beach. Click here for more info and to register.

    Don’t forget the Torrance Antiques Street Faire featuring over 200 sellers! Sunday March 26 from 8AM to 3PM. 1317 Sartori Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

    It’s no April Fool’s joke! The first annual Whisky, Wine and a Splash of Love event will take place on April 1 in Manhattan Beach. Sample fine wine, whisky and bourbon to benefit the P.S. I Love You foundation. For tickets, click here.

    The Annual Culture Fashion Competition is being hosted by the Multicultural Film Festival on April 1. Everyone is welcome to show off their wearable art inspired by the culture of any country you choose. Click here to register!

    Enjoy an overnight adventure, and spend the night on the Battleship USS Iowa! Take this extraordinary and rare opportunity to sleep on a real battleship. Tour the ships, have dinner in the mess hall and Q&A with legendary Veterans and more. Overnight April 1-2. Click here to book your passage!

    For more nautical fun, check out the Queen Mary’s 2nd Annual Fantasea Magic Festival. The Academy of Magical Arts and The Magic Castle team offer a day of magic, mentalists, illusions dinner shows, mind readers and even a haunted tour of the ship. Saturday April 8. For more info and tickets, click here!

    Easter is just around the corner! Come back next week for a list of upcoming Easter events in the South Bay.

  • Buyer’s Inspections: Crucial To Buying A Home

    Posted on January 28th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    Home inspector pointing out a problem to a buyer's inspections.

    The home inspector points out a problem to the buyer during the inspection.

    You’ve just got an offer accepted on a home and now the hard work really begins. It’s time for your buyer’s inspections to determine if this really is the right home for you. It would be nice to depend on the seller for all this information. But the fact of the matter is, most sellers can’t recall everything that has happened in their home over the years. And quite often homeowners get used to the funny quirks of their house and don’t even notice them anymore. And sometimes sellers are not aware of issues that exist, and wouldn’t be able to disclose them anyway. Therefore, it’s crucial to hire the right inspectors to assess the home’s condition. Keep in mind, inspectors can’t always find everything. If the roof needs repair and it hasn’t rained in years, the inspector is probably not going to detect it. But if it rained recently and they can detect elevated moisture, then you are on track to discovering a potential needed repair.

    The First Step is a Home Inspection

    Buyer’s inspections run the gamut. I will provide you with a pretty comprehensive list below, but it’s always important to start with the general home inspection. The home inspector will give you an overview of the home and then indicate where there may be a need for additional inspections or experts. The home inspector will look at the foundation, roof, plumbing, electric, appliances, water fixtures, doors, windows, and general condition. They will report any discrepancies or issues that they see. The home inspector is a generalist however. If they think there is an issue with the roof or some  cracks in the walls look suspect, they will make a note of it and then recommend that you bring in a roofer or foundation inspector, respectively.
    When I am working with a buyer, the buyer’s inspections that I always recommend, at the bare minimum, are the home inspection, mold inspection, and termite inspection. As I stated above, the home inspector will give a good general overview of the home. A mold inspector will focus on moisture elevation, water leaks, and well… mold. The mold inspection is so crucial because leaks often occur that no one is aware of. Left unattended, water can lead to wood damage and mold which of course carries health concerns with it.

    The termite inspection is also a smart move. As the buyer, you want to know about any dry rot, wood damage, and termite infestation. It’s so much easier to tent a house for fumigation before you move in. Termite repairs, as all repairs, can be negotiated with the seller.

    If it’s an older home with mature trees, then I also suggest a sewer line inspection. Quite often tree branches penetrate the sewer line because they are searching for water. They can cause quite a bit of damage and can be costly.

    Best Practices for Your Buyer’s Inspections

    Schedule your buyer’s inspections on the same day with some overlap in time. You want to be able to speak with each inspector separately, but it’s also a great idea to have the inspectors at the property at the same time so they can share information. I find problem solving more effective when different experts can share their perspectives. Recently, I had a client who was buying a house in the Hollywood Rivieria in Torrance, CA. The inspectors detected a high level of moisture all along the base of an exterior wall within an enclosed patio. Each of the inspectors had a theory on where the moisture was coming from. There was no nearby plumbing and the crawl space underneath the house was dry. Getting to the bottom of this mystery was important in order for my clients to know if it was a singular incident or an ongoing problem that could prove to be expensive to correct. In this instance, we ended up bringing in a water intrusion specialist. He determined that the dark stains on the floor were probably from potted plants that had sat under the windows even before the patio was enclosed eons ago.

    Woman watering plants on patio splashing water on ground.

    Woman watering plants on her patio can accidentally cause elevated moisture and water damage to structure.

    These plants had probably been overwatered causing the dampness and elevated moisture. The deceased owner’s children confirmed this when they disclosed that their mother kept plants under the windows as long as they could remember – even when they were kids and the patio was an outside space.  They also mentioned that they had asked their mom’s aide to stop overwatering the plants only a few weeks prior. Mystery solved! My clients could move forward knowing that there wasn’t a moisture issue to contend with.

    Here is a partial list of buyer’s inspections for you to consider when buying your home: General Home Inspection, Wood Destroying Pest Inspection, Mold, Foundation, Sewer Line, Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, Lead Based Paint,  Methane Gas, Asbestos, Pool/Spa, Chimney, Square Footage, Permits, Boundaries, Soils, Radon Gas

    Not all inspections will apply to every property and some will only come up if there are red flags on the home inspection. But it’s a good idea to know what type of inspections are available and what information you want to gather when buying a home.

  • Loan Limits Increased for Fannie Mae Home Financing

    Posted on January 10th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    Fannie Mae loan limits increase for home buyers in 2017

    Loan limits increase for home buyers in 2017!

    Conforming loan limits for Fannie Mae have increased for 2017!

    With the increase in housing affordability in the real estate market, conforming loan limits have increased for the first time since 2006. Here are the new limits for Fannie Mae loans for 2017 in Los Angeles county:

     

     

    Conforming Loan Limits
    1 Unit: $424,100
    2 Units: $543,000
    3 Units: $656,350
    4 Units: $815,650

    Conforming Loan Limits for High Cost Areas
    1 Unit: $636,150
    2 Units: $814,500
    3 Units: $984,525
    4 Units: $1,223,475

    What does this mean for home buyers?  Buyers have an opportunity to borrow more money (with a Fannie Mae product) which is good news since home prices have continued to climb since the market began its rebound toward the end of 2012. In fact, for the first time since the Great Recession, the average US home price has returned to pre-market crash levels. With the real estate recovery, the conforming loan limits should continue to have increases on an annual basis.

    There is also talk about interest rates increasing over the next year. They have already ticked up above 4% for the first time in a couple of years. For those home buyers who are at their maximum borrowing power already, any additional rate increase could prevent them from getting a loan. And if rates continues to climb, it could have a slow down effect on the market, and ultimately put downward pressure on prices. But for now, for homes priced at $1.5 million and below, the tight inventory and high demand has continued to push prices up.

  • Real Estate Advice: The Arbitration Clause in the RPA

    Posted on September 20th, 2016 acimetta No comments
    Buyers signing an arbitration clause in a real estate contract

    Signing the residential purchase contract.

    To Sign or Not to Sign the Arbitration Clause in the Residential Purchase Contract

    The Arbitration Clause in the Residential Purchase Contract (RPA) in Southern California is the only section of the contract that may not be agreed upon by buyer and seller and yet you still have a fully executed contract. Most buyers’ agents tell their clients to sign this clause without fully understanding it, and without fully explaining it.

    The Arbitration Clause comes into effect if buyer and seller have a dispute, and mediation does not work. Mediation is compulsory, but not binding. This mean that if there’s a dispute between buyer and seller, they must go to Mediation. However if they don’t like the result, they don’t have to adhere to it. Arbitration, on the other hand, is voluntary but the decision is binding. There is no jury in an Arbitration, and you can’t appeal a decision. The upsides are that it’s much faster and much less expensive than going to court.

    What a lot of agents don’t tell their clients is that you don’t have to agree to Arbitration at the time you sign the offer. Both parties can always decide to go to Arbitration at a later date even if the clause is not signed. In fact, my broker, RE/MAX Estate Properties has been instructed by our E&O insurance company not to sign the Arbitration Clause in a listing agreement for this very reason. The E&O company wants the flexibility to decide at a later date if there’s a dispute between the Broker and a seller.

    Many agents go on auto-pilot when it comes time to sign the contract. They see a blank line for a signature and they assume it needs a signature. Make sure to ask your agent more questions. Ultimately the decision is up to you, but your agent should be giving you the information to help you make these decisions.