South Bay Environmental Services Center HHW/E-Waste Collection

This Saturday, September 21st from 9 am – 3 pm, there is a household hazardous waste collection at the Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in the West Maintenance Building Parking Lot. The address is 24501 South Figueroa Street.

Sponsored jointly by the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts and the Department of Public Works. The Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Program gives Los Angeles County residents a legal and cost free way to dispose of unwanted household chemicals that cannot be disposed of in the regular trash.
THINGS YOU CAN BRING…
• Motor Oil, Antifreeze, Paint, Paint Thinner
• Turpentine, Cleaners with Acids or Lye
• Pesticides and Herbicides
• Household and Car Batteries
• Old Computers and Television Sets
• Sharps or Used Needles
• Expired Pharmaceuticals and Mercury Thermometers

HOW TO PREPARE…
• In general there is a limit of 15 gallons or 125 lbs. per vehicle.
• Bring items in a sturdy box, preferably in their original labeled containers.
• Be prepared to leave your containers.
• Do not mix products together.

For more information, call THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY SANITATION DISTRICTS at 800.238.0172

Redondo Beach / Area 151: Home Sales August 2013

North Redondo Homes Sales August 2013

Seventeen homes sold in August 2013 in Area 151 in North Redondo. This is 2 less than the number of homes sold in July, and 4 homes less than sold one year ago in August 2012. In most cases, it has continued to be a sellers’ market although buyers still have the advantage of buying homes at prices below the peak of the bubble and at low interest rates.

New construction is still a good buy considering you can spend the same (and even more money, in some cases) and get a town home that is up to 7 years old. Most homes are still selling quickly… many within the first week. And this translates into offers coming in immediately followed by a couple of days of negotiations before an offer is accepted.

One of the sales that really surprised me is 2144 Perry Ave. It’s a single family that had an addition. It does have a lot of square footage, but there is only a one car garage and it’s lacking in the quality department. this one sold for $1,115,000. This surprised me and many of my colleagues, but it showed that buyers are still feeling that desperation to get in the market and ultimately willing to pay a premium.

Address Sq Ft. Lot Year B/B DOM Sold Price Original List Diff
2219 Curtis Ave, #C * 1,060 7,499 1975 2/2 7 $464,000 $499,000 -7%
1900 Voorhees Ave, #B * 1,471 1987 2/3 6 $553,000 $495,000 +12%
2512 Gates Ave, #B * 1,610 7,526 1999 4/3 48 $667,500 $663,999 +.5%
2811 Barkley Lane 1,064 5,872 1947 3/1 21 $669,000 $669,000
2225 Mathews Ave, #C * 1,718 14,687 2000 3/3 8 $700,000 $649,000 +8%
2223 Voorhees Ave, #B * 1,955 7,504 1981 3/3 8 $708,000 $700,000 +1%
2415 Thomas Ave 1,590 6,550 1945 4/2 49 $722,150 $724,900 -.4%
1918 Ruhland Ave, #B * 2,477 7,513 1987 3/3 0 $725,000 $725,000
1921 Nelson Ave, #A * 2,054 7,480 1990 4/3 56 $750,000 $775,000 -3%
2116 Plant Ave, #A * 2,050 6,655 1989 3/3 5 $817,500 $799,000 +2%
2205 Nelson Ave, #B * 2,387 7,495 1986 3/3 34 $820,000 $769,000 +6.5%
1913 Nelson Ave 2,180 1959 4/3 49 $828,000 $859,000 -3.5%
2003 Curtis Ave, #A * 2,085 7,501 1990 4/3 9 $830,000 $779,000 +6.5%
1914 Ernest Ave, #A * 2,300 7,500 2004 4/3 1 $910,000 $910,000
2109 Plant Ave, #B * 2,357 7,504 2006 4/3 11 $930,000 $929,000
2021 Gates Ave, #B * 2,508 7,481 2013 4/4 1 $959,000 $959,000
2204 Plant Ave, #A * 2,500 6,645 2007 4/3 6 $959,900 $959,900
2144 Perry Ave 3,134 7,509 1947 5/4 14 $1,115,000 $1,150,000 -3%

3635 Michelle Drive, Torrance

I was out on Brokers today and here’s a listing that I liked a lot. 3635 Michelle Drive in Torrance. It’s listed at $849,000 by RE/MAX Estate Properties. It’s in a good location on a lovely street. It has a really nice, homey feel. It has some nice updates but there’s room for more – which always means more equity! This one is worth checking out.

Cozy Living room that opens up to Dining room.

Real Estate Advice: Negotiating Repairs

So you have fallen in love with a home. You made an offer; the sellers accept it. And now you do your inspections. And you’re shocked by all the things that the home inspector points out that needs to be fixed, replaced, upgraded. All the safety issues; all the concerns.

First I will tell you to take a deep breath. Every house is going to have its issues. Even the cleanest of homes is going to have some things to deal with. You will sit down with your Realtor and decide how to approach the situation. Here are some of your options:

You can ask the seller to make repairs.
You can ask the seller to credit you the cost of the repairs.
You can ask the seller to reduce the purchase price.
You can ask for any combination of the above.

Second, you should know that the seller doesn’t have to do anything. And in the state of California, the seller doesn’t even have to respond to your request. More than likely they will, but keep in mind that they are not contractually obligated to do so.

Third, be careful in what you ask for. I’ve seen many buyers list every single item on the inspection report. I understand that you want to get as many repairs taken care of as possible, but you may also turn off the seller so much that they don’t want to do anything. Many sellers get so infuriated that they no longer approach the Request for Repairs with an open mind. Or you may risk the seller agreeing to do the items on the list that are least important to you and ignoring the ones that are the deal breakers. It’s important for you and your agent be strategic in your request to get the most favorable outcome.

Fourth, there’s a trade off with asking for repairs vs. asking for a credit. If you ask for repairs, the seller will take care of the work, but you may not have control over how the work is done. However, what appears to be a minor repair can sometimes turn into an expensive ordeal. The good news here is that the seller has agreed to do the repair and no matter what the cost, they must fulfill their obligation. On the other hand, if you ask for a credit, you are able to do the work yourself. There will be less risk in getting sub-par repairs. However, if you don’t get proper quotes up front and there are surprises along the way, you may not have collected enough of a credit to take care of the repairs. There is risk in both sides; you have to decide which option works best for you.

Termite work and your lender

When you buy a home, your lender requires a copy of the purchase contract. They want to make sure that all the terms are met and their investment is protected. One of the sticking points is often the termite work. Once you include the Wood Destroying Pest Addendum in your contract, the lender requires that the work is done prior to close, and in some cases, prior to funding the loan. Without the termite clearance – proof that the property is clean – the lender will not approve your loan.

Typically, in southern California, the seller agrees to pay Section 1 items and the Buyer will be responsible for Section 2 items. Section 1 items are those that must be fixed, i.e., dry rot, termite infestation, etc. Section 2 items are things that are not a problem now, but may lead to a problem later. These are preventative measures. The lender normally is not concerned with Section 2 items, however I have heard of some lenders requiring Section 2 items to be repaired as well. Consequently, I advise my buyers not to agree to Section 2 items so that the lender doesn’t require they be completed. This is as simple as not checking the Section 2 box on the WPA form.

South Bay – Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach
In the South Bay, we do come across some challenges from time to time. Due to the fact that we have many properties that have 2 or 3 attached town homes, but no active HOA, a problem arises when the seller of one of the units has termites and needs to tent for fumigation. In order to tent, they have to tent the whole structure which includes his attached neighbor(s). But what if the neighbor doesn’t agree to tenting? You are forced to do secondary local treatment to eradicate the termites, but the lender might not accept this alternative treatment and the loan, and ultimately the deal, could be in jeopardy.

This can also be the case with two detached units that share the same gas line. Because you have to shut off the gas during fumigation, the neighboring unit must agree to this. It can make for a very sticky situation.

If there is no way to convince the neighbor to cooperate with the fumigation, the other option is to remove the WPA from the contract. Once the WPA is not part of the contract, the lender will not require the work. However, as a buyer, you must be comfortable with he fact that the termite work will not be completed and you may need to tent in the future if and when your neighbor is cooperative. You may want to negotiate a credit from the seller for the cost of the fumigation in exchange for removing it from the contract in order to close the deal.

 

 

 

 

Just Sold: 602 S Broadway, #A Redondo Beach, CA 90277

Just got an accepted offer on 602 S Broadway, #A! It’s a custom built townhome in South Redondo just a few blocks to the beach and close to Riviera Village! It has 3 beds and 2.5 baths with 2,355 sq. feet. There are 18″ ceilings in the living room. This home is light and bright and feels welcoming the moment you step inside.

602 S Broadway, #A Custom Built Townhome

Chasing the Real Estate Market

Typically when Realtors talk about “chasing the market”, we are referring to a seller who has priced his home to high. The property sits on the market for some time without offers, and then the seller decides to reduce the price. This new price may have been attractive when the house was first listed, but now the market has changed – prices have dropped further, and even though the property is sporting a new, lower price, it’s ultimately still overpriced. This can happen again and again… price reduction, wait, price reduction, wait… but with each price reduction the seller never seems to catch up with the changing market, and he ultimately chases the market down hill. This trend is what drives Realtors to recommend to their sellers to price the home right at the beginning. They may be asking for less than what they would like to get for their home, but it will be more money than what they will ultimately make if they start too high.

But these days “chasing the market” can also be applied to buyers. There has been such high demand in so many markets with extremely low inventory that competition has spiraled out of control. Buyers lament that they went $20, 30, 40 thousand over the asking price and they still didn’t get the house. And after missing out on property after property, they learn their lesson. On the next listing, they come in like gangbusters, make the offer of the century, and blow everyone else out of the water. Ultimately, each home that is sold sets a new benchmark. And the next listing can start at the new level and go up from there. The sooner a buyer gets super aggressive the better, because she will secure her home and get out of the race while prices continue to go up. The buyers that continue to hem and haw and make conservative offers will chase the market up and possibly price themselves out of the market or pay a great deal more money than they would have had to pay just a few months prior.

As a Realtor, I don’t enjoy having the conversation with my buyer clients that they need to make an offer over the asking price. I’m much happier when my clients feel like we did a good job negotiating and they got a good deal. But not all markets work that way. And when you find yourself in a market that has rising prices, the sooner you are aggressive, the better.

 

Redondo Beach, CA 90278

For instance in North Redondo, the price of a 4 bedroom, upgraded town home was selling in the mid to high $800,000s at the end of 2012 and into early 2013. They are currently selling for low to mid $900,000s, and in a couple of cases close to $1,000,000. It’s a big price swing in a short amount of time. If a buyer was aggressive back in January, he could have purchased 2109 Huntington Lane, #B for $829,000 or new construction at 1905 Plant Ave, # B for $859,000. (These are sold prices.) In the past 6 weeks, buyers have paid $998,000 for 1906 Morgan Lane, #B, $960,000 for 2208 Warfield Ave, #B, and $950,000 for 2118 Pullman Lane, #B.

The key to buyers “chasing the market” is that at any time it can stop. Once buyers decide enough is enough and they feel prices are too high,  they will pull back and prices will come back down again. But until then, the competition is stiff and sellers are in the driver’s seat. And for once they are not the ones chasing the market.

 

 

 

Making Home Affordable Program Has Been Extended

The Obama administration has extended the Making Home Affordable Program until December 2015 in an effort to still help homeowners who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure. This also includes the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Home Affordable Foreclosures Alternative program (HAFA). The former handles loan mods and the latter is for short sales.

South Bay

In the South Bay, we have seen far less REOs and short sales this year. However, there are still a number of homes in pre-foreclosure. Here are some current stats as of July 20, 2013:

Redondo Beach: 34 homes in pre-foreclosure, 30 homes are bank owned

Manhattan Beach: 7 homes in pre-foreclosure, 7 homes are bank owned

Hermosa Beach: 14 homes in pre-foreclosure, 8 homes are bank owned

Torrance: 24 homes in pre-foreclosure, 30 homes are bank owned

 

Listing of the Day – 1208 Fontill, Torrance 90503

I saw a really cute 4 bedroom in central Torrance today (Are 126) during Brokers’ Open. It’s 1208 Fonthill Avenue. What I like about it is this typical floor plan has been nicely updated and given a fresh look. The kitchen is well done and opens to a dining area off the living room. And there is a large master suite in the upstairs addition. It has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with 2,342 sq. feet. It’s priced at $818,000. This is definitely one to check out!

Real Estate Advice: I’ve been waiting a week for my prequal letter. Normal?

It sounds like you’re actually getting a preapproval letter and not a simple prequalification letter.

Here’s the difference:

Prequalification  Letter

The prequal letter can be done relatively quickly – you could have this within the hour if the lender gets to it right away.  It’s a cursory look at your numbers without an underwriter looking at all your financials. It’s not as reliable as a preapproval. For example, I had a listing a few months ago in which a buyer submitted a prequal letter from Bank of America. I spoke to the lender and he confirmed that the buyer could get the loan. But it turned out that when she eventually handed in all her financial documentation she was, in fact, not qualified for the loan. The initial prequal process involved the lender simply asking her a few questions. He took her at her word and  provided her with the letter. The deal ended up falling through because she didn’t go through the preapproval process up front and she was poorly prequalified.

Preapproval Letter

In order to get a preapproval letter, you need to submit all your information which is then sent through the underwriting system. This can definitely take a week. However, the difference is that the preapproval letter is stating that you are pre-approved for the loan. This letter holds more weight with sellers so it’s more valuable to you.

I would suggest that you call the lender and ask them explain to you exactly what their process is. Ask them to clarify if you will be getting a prequal or a preapproval. Ask them if your file is with an underwriter. If it’s with the underwriter, then try to hang in there a little longer.

Side Note

By the way, if you’re not happy with the customer service you’re getting from your lender or you don’t feel like your lender has built a good rapport with you, you don’t have any obligation to work with them. You can always use the preapproval letter, and still get a loan from a different lender. You are free to shop rates.   You should feel comfortable with the lender you are working with. Make sure they communicate well with you because this is crucial during a real estate transaction. Also, if you do decide to talk to another lender, I suggest you get a copy of your credit report from the first lender. They are supposed to send you a copy of it, but if for some reason you don’t receive it,  just ask and they will send it to you. You can then give a copy of this credit report to other lenders so that they don’t need to pull your credit again. The credit bureaus are not supposed to penalize you for pulling your credit multiple times within a 30 day period (I believe) when you’re shopping lenders, but if you can avoid it altogether, I would.