SAVE THE DATE!!!  What you need to know about selling a home.  Click here for seminar details.

 Real Estate e-Newsletter
Coldwell Banker  Residential Brokerage
Beverly Hills CA 90210
by Cynthia S. Radom Award-winning Certified Seniors Specialist REALTOR ®
                                Specializing in Trust Sales       Since 1994
    January-March 2018   ·   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalBRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

 Cars and Housing
Change is Coming
How will the advent of the autonomous, self-driving car change where and how we live? According to auto and home builder insiders change will come, as the first self-driving cars appear for the public in 2018.
Around 2020 , the complete auto industry will start to be disrupted. You won't want to own a car, say the experts. You will call  for a driver-less car, the car will show up at your location and drive you to the destination. Y ou will pay for the distance driven while enjoying a productive commute, and worry-free about finding a parking space. Eventually, the next generations will never get a driver's license and they will never own a car.

Autonomous cars will change cities. We will need 90-95% less cars. We can transform former parking spaces into green parks. Real estate demands will also change. If work is accomplished while commuting, people will move farther away to live in a more desirable neighborhood. A less taxing commute will mean that people can live in homes and areas more to their liking.

One factor that drives the cost of rent in multi-family buildings is a required quota for parking spaces. Such requirements include additional costs in terms of land acquisition, construction for a parking lot or a garage, and maintenance. Fleets of reliable, automated cars will make a strong case for communities to reduce parking requirements.

Automated cars could directly affect the purchase and design of homes. Greater availability of on-demand cars means a smaller personal budget--omitting car expenses--thereby increasing available funds for other household goods, including housing itself. This could also mean additional interior space within homes and less space dedicated to car storage. In addition, if people work more in cars while commuting, such a change could also mean a reduced need for home office space.
Side Note: UberAir is rolling out an electric aircraft taxi service in 2020 to transport passengers in the LA area.

NOTE :   When a Seller wants  to take advantage of Props 60/90, the home sold must be titled in the owner(s) name or their personal Trust. An LLC or company will be denied, as it is not an individual.
Debate Continues
As a top-producing REALTOR ® in SoCal, I have yet to be a proponent of professionally staging (most) homes to sell. The adage: you have to spend money to make money, does not apply to this marketing tactic. Staging is expensive and there is no proof that a Seller obtains a higher price because of temporary (newer) furnishings, a fresh coat of paint or replaced carpeting. What does matter to a Buyer is the asking price based on the condition of the home (costly items: i.e. roof, plumbing, foundation, kitchen or bathroom updates, sewer line, HVAC, etc.).
- A Buyer once told me that she saw a beautifully furnished, professionally staged home that she could live in. When asked what she loved about the house, she was silent! Case in point: the rented furniture is not part of the deal.
- I overheard a soon-to-be home Seller say he is spending thousands of dollars on staging and painting to get "top dollar" (a.k.a. market value... whatever the Buyer is willing to pay). I may have suggested using those funds for a home inspection and repair items that are important to a Buyer. Or, better yet,  don't do anything upfront and possibly issue a credit to the Buyer for repairs, if needed. Spending money to sell, when a Buyer may  raze the home and re-build or remodel is a reality in today's marketplace.
- I was the second listing agent for a home that had not sold. The first agent told the Seller to repaint the whole interior because each room was a different, vivid color and the prospects were put off. The Sellers did nothing, the house sold and the Buyers never painted anything before moving in! They bought "as is".

A 2017 survey of nationwide REALTORS ® on the topic of staging revealed some interesting results. The highest rating, 93% of those surveyed, agreed... de-cluttering was the best preparation for selling, and only  43% believed the home sold faster ( not for more) with professional staging. But in SoCal,  during this  fast-paced multiple-offer real estate market, is it necessary to apply the marketing tactics of staging? Why not vacate the house of all furnishings so prospects can see what they are truly buying? Every Seller makes the ultimate decision.

     Breaking News !!!
Fairmont Plaza Hotel in Century City is now taking reservations for its luxury condos within the hotel. A two-bedroom  model can be seen now for a  January 2019 move-in. In late January a model for the neighboring tower residences can be viewed, scheduled for May/June 2020 availability. Call me for info (310) 288-0479 and an appointment.
Think Like a Buyer
When selling a home, an owner should think like a Buyer when determining the asking price or preparing the home for market. Consider if your home provides what today's Buyer wants or needs. Here are some thoughts that Buyers mull over while walking through a prospective home:

- Can we picture ourselves living here?
- Does it have our ideal number of rooms: bedrooms, bathrooms, den, office, etc.? 
- What is the cost to fix the issues and of deferred maintenance?
- How old is the hardware: furnace, A-C,
plumbing, electrical, sewer pipes, etc.?
- Is the location safe and does it have a place for our children to play?
- How much will it cost to decorate or remodel to our taste?
- Are the rooms adequate for our entertainment lifestyle?
- How can we use our current furnishings and what will we need to buy?
- What are the monthly costs for utilities, outdoor maintenance or Association fees?

As a listing agent, I ask Sellers to make a list of upgrades and enhancements that will appeal to a Buyer. For example: all new roof - three years ago; resurfaced the pool last year; enhanced landscape drainage; etc. Also on the list are some neighborhood features: close to grocery store, post office and restaurants; walking distance to local park or hiking trails; close to mass transit station.

I include the Seller's list with the Offer Instructions as a handout to everyone who walks into the home. Even though the info may be included in the listing remarks and/or disclosures, these features can be used as an offer enhancement and worth repeating.

For Sale: One Bev Hills
Here we go again! The former Rob-May site at 9900 Wilshire Blvd. is once again on the market for $1.2 Billion by the (cash strapped) Wanda Group. An interested Buyer, the Athens Group, is  Wanda's former partner. This means further delays for people interested in purchasing a condo at this site. The two links below include more information:
CA home prices were projected to rise 4.3% in 2017. Now that the year is almost over, a revised projection is a 7.2% rise in prices over 2016. Next year, a modest 4.2% increase is once again expected
R22 Phaseout
If your A-C system was installed in 2010 or earlier, it probably runs on R22 refrigerant and by January 1, 2020 this product will be phased out of production. R22 refrigerant has been used for years in central A-C systems, heat pumps, car A-C systems and other cooling equipment. R22 is a greenhouse gas and is the key to absorbing and removing heat from a space that contributes to the depletion of the earth's ozone layer and to global warming. Since we rely on the ozone to absorb harmful UV radiation, eliminating these gases is necessary whenever possible. In 2016, production of heating, ventilation and A-C (HVAC) units that use R22 refrigerant was halted.

Check the nameplate on your A-C unit to find out what type of refrigerant is being used. If your unit is out of reach, ask your technician the next time it needs servicing. However, you can assume that if the unit is older than eight years, it uses R22. While not required to replace the unit, the issue becomes significant when the system needs servicing as R22 supplies will be limited and more expensive. Make sure the technician repairs damaged refrigerant lines instead of topping off leaky A-C units. NOTE: Older units are not compatible with EPA approved R410 refrigerant, and can result in failure of your A-C unit. Call American Home Shield (AHS) at 800-735-4663 and ask for information about flushing out the HVAC unit and using an alternative refrigerant.
 Emergency List ten things you would take out of your home if you had to evacuate in a hurry! Any unexpected disaster can throw all of us into a tailspin with a jumbled mind. We never know what comes next, so get organized today for any emergency situation.

Make a list of your must-take items, assuming people and animals would go first. Keep the list in your cell phone, as that should be the first thing to grab. Create an "emergency" contact, or a "notes" page with your list of emergency items and location. Better yet, place some of those must-have items in a tote bag and store near the front door with your checklist. Click link for an  in-depth article and list.

Personalized list: list items in order of your priority t hat you can carry or quickly pack into a suitcase :
- pet leash or carrying case
- purse, wallet, phone, portable charger and keys
- eye glasses, contact lenses
- medication(s)
- laptop or external hard drive (backup) of your computer
- thick sole shoes and casual clothes
- coat or warm jacket
- jewelry, cash, family photo, keepsakes
- wrapped snacks and bottled water
- Note : lock windows, main floor doors

Be sure that all personal and business contacts, account numbers and codes are listed in your cell phone... and, lock the phone with a security code, today! 

Tidbits of News
- Santa Monica developers got hit with a new requirement to set aside 20%-35% of total new units built for low-income housing, the strictest in the State.
- People 55 and older own 53% of U.S. owner-occupied houses, the biggest share since the government started collecting data in 1900.
- Downtown LA is developing like crazy. View 23 upcoming new projects.
- Projections indicate that by 2020, 50% of the workforce will be telecommuting, making the home a center for both work and entertainment. 
- Check out a website to communicate with your neighbors:
- Be proactive! Update your old Trust (or create one) and take advantage of new estate planning opportunities.
- BH approved development for a six-story, mixed-use building with 54 condos and ground floor retail at 9200 Wilshire.
- Click the link,  Selling Your Home , to read about this upcoming informative seminar.  
- Experian survey of consumers in the West, ages 18-34, cited they will opt-out of home ownership, most stating lack of affordability, flexibility to relocate and not wanting to carry a lot of debt.
It's Free to Look
It's time for you to move! But, where are you going, and what do you want in your next home? Step one, s tart by completing my  Moving Questionnaire  to get your thoughts and desires on paper. 

If you have a spouse or a partner, fill-in the answers individually, then compare and discuss so you begin with the same focus when looking for a new residence. As an agent, I use the wish list to  search for the ideal home. It is a good starting point, and I can add some reality insight.

A Buyer couple, who had already seen over 100 houses, came to me for help. They were adamant  about buying, and not just lookey-loos, so I offered my assistance. When we arrived at our third home showing, they told me they had already driven by weeks ago and decided not to pursue. Since we had an appointment they agreed to walk through. They bought the house, and thanked me profusely for encouraging them to not judge a home by the outside.

As a Buyer, you need to be flexible and open beyond your wish list. First, concentrate   on your   top five must-haves . Also, c onsider some properties that don't meet your initial desire. For example, consider  a long-listed home out of your price range especially if no offers have been made. Or, a home that doesn't have an updated kitchen, but may be suitable for your needs as is. And,  look at a home that your partner had in mind.

Ask yourself these two questions when looking at a prospective home:
- Can you fix it?
- Can you live with it?

It doesn't matter if you're buying a condo or a house, or renting an apartment or an assisted-living residence. Concentrate on your top five must-haves and the rest will fall into place with flexibility.

   Show Feds the Money
Paying all cash for a home in CA that costs more than $2M? The Feds want to follow the money trail. As of 9/22/2017, the  Director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), U.S. Department of the  Treasury, requires the title insurance company to collect and report information about the persons involved in certain real estate purchases.

The "Order" is effective in  San Diego, Los Angeles, San Mateo, San Francisco and  Santa Clara counties. This applies to all-cash purchases over $2M, and the issue has been  money laundering.  Title (and escrow) will be responsible for submitting the information on Form 8300, and a sale cannot close without it
Senior Statistics
The following are tidbits about the U.S. Senior population offered by the Seniors Council of the National Assoc. of REALTORS®:
  - 53% of the population is over 65 years of age vs. 4% in 1900.
Year 2033: is the first time 65+ will outnumber those under 18.
79% of those 65+ own their home.
- 3.5 million older homeowners have no equity and are underwater on their home.
- 22% of all home Buyers are 62 to 91 years of age.
- August 21st is National Senior Citizens' Day in the U.S.
- May is declared Older Americans month.
- Eight out of ten Baby Boomers are planning to start a new business within the next year.
- 65+ Americans still employed: 21.5% men and  13.7% women.
- Year 2020: is the year Social Security will be paying out more than it's bringing in.
- Year 2034: is the year Social Security "spare cash" is exhausted and will need overhauling.
- 60% of Seniors are filing for Social Security before the full retirement age of 70.
- 9.4 million individuals, age 65+, were veterans of the U.S. armed services (2014).
- 25% of all Uber drivers are over the age of 50.
- North Dakota is the only State with more than three Centenarians per 10K people.
- Utah and Alaska each have less than 10% of their population over 65 years of age.
- Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the U.S., especially at retirement communities.
- 53% of the population in Sumpter Cty. Florida is over 65.  

Side No te: My professional mailing list contains 373 homeowners age 90-99, and 13 over 100.
Home Selling Myths
Excerpts from a article cite these seven pricing myths to stop believing if you ever hope to sell your home: 
- You always make money when you sell a home.
- Price your house high to make big bucks.
- If your home is overpriced, it's no big deal to lower it later.
- Pricing your home low means you won't make as much money.
- You can add the cost of any renovation you have made.
- A past appraisal will help you pinpoint the right asking price.
- Your agent might overprice the house to make a bigger commission.
Read the full article.
If you prefer the "Real Estate Newsletter" mailed to you, please e-mail:
Respecting your privacy and confidentiality, names and e-mails will only be used for providing pertinent material by Cynthia S. Radom and will not be shared with any other organization.

©2018 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.  Coldwell Banker ®  is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.  An Equal Opportunity Company.  Equal Housing Opportunity.  Owned By a Subsidiary of NRT LLC.  This is not intended as a solicitation if your property is already listed.