Real Estate e-Newsletter
Coldwell Banker  Residential Brokerage
Beverly Hills CA 90210
by Cynthia S. Radom Award-winning Certified Seniors Specialist REALTOR ®
                                                           Since 1994
    April-June 2017   ·   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalBRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

 2026 Get Ready to Ride
Subway Stops Here
Easy access to public transportation plays a key role for improving property values, and the long awaited subway is coming to the Westside. The Metro's Purple Line, which now travels from downtown Union Station to Wilshire and Western, will end in Westwood. Previously dubbed the "subway to the sea", the final stop will be the Veterans Affairs Hospital, just east of Brentwood. 

Here are some insights about the subway, taken from Curbed LA:
- Section One
: The line will initially continue westward along Wilshire Blvd., with stations at La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega.
- Section Two: The train will stop next at Rodeo Dr. before turning west along Santa Monica Blvd., then dipping down to a Century City station at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars.
- Section Three: The route then heads north, back to westbound Wilshire, before the last two stops at Westwood Blvd., then culminating at the VA Hospital, west of the 405.

Construction Schedule
- Section one, started in 2014, will be open to riders by 2023.
- Section two, to Century City, will begin construction in 2018 and wrap up in 2026.
- Section three is now scheduled for early completion by 2024, accelerated by voters approving Measure M. The last leg will be finished two years before the middle, but Metro is optimistic about accelerating the second leg.

Delays from multiple lawsuits have tried to stop the proposed route through Beverly Hills, but few options remain. The transit agency wants to have the last argument finished by this summer. To read more, view proposed renderings of two Purple Line stations and follow the route, click here. Be sure to watch for street closures during construction: view the schedule.

Words of Wisdom
Now is the time to discard the clutter in your home. Start with one room then take an area, a desk or a closet and remove what is not used or needed. 
Words of wisdom...
If you are not able to let go of things that you possess...
then the things are using you,
instead of you using the things.
 A New  Seminar for You
Mark your calendar and join us for my new seminar, Selling Your Home 101, where every property owner and Successor Trustee can learn the basics of selling a home or condo. CA laws change, new forms are required and selling strategies vary. What to do and what to know, for people who are selling or just curious. The ten step-by-step process includes:
- seller expenses
- CA laws and mandates
- buyer contingencies
- selecting a partner
- selling "as is"
- negotiating the deal
- staging ideas

Date: Saturday, April 22nd
Time: 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Where: Beverly Hills Public Library
(complimentary parking in adjacent lot)
Cost: Free! Refreshments, too

There is always an informative Q & A session afterwards with fellow attendees. And, a chance to win a $100 certificate to your favorite restaurant.

Reserve a seat by opening the link and completing the Registration Form. To bring a friend or a family member, click "add" under Guest Information. Seating is limited, so don't delay. See you there!

Cavalleri  Malibu
Now pre-selling, Malibu's resort-like luxury condo community with 4 four-story buildings containing 68 condos on a 10-acre gated enclave. Formerly Villa Malibu, re-invented offerings include a 52' pool, tennis courts, kids and dog play areas, indoor/outdoor fitness centers, cafe lounge and more. Condo sizes range from 1,577 to 2,232 sf. and listings start at $1,230,000. 
Century Plaza Condos

Read about the Century Plaza Hotel (re-opening 2018) and the two new 46-story condo towers (scheduled for 2019) including new renderings:  click here.
Rising Interest Rates
Just prior to the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve (the Fed) raised interest rates only twice. Both increases came at year end  December 2015 and 2016. T hat was only two increases in the last ten years.   The Fed has put an end to years of no interest rate hikes as the second increase in three months just occurred in March. So far, each modest qu arter-point increase is on track for two more of the same in 2017.

Mortgage rates have been and remain at historically low levels allowing the real estate market to prosper. Although rates are now solidly over 4%, any increase is added to a very low base. ( Note: Do you recall twenty-four years ago when double-digit mortgage rates were the norm?) It may take years before rates are back to the 44-year average of 8%. In the interim, higher wages and better employment can offset any mortgage payment increase.

But, what effect will the rate hikes have on an existing mortgage? None, if a borrower has a fixed-rate. If it is an adjustable-rate mortgage, payments will increase and timing depends on how often the rate is reset. While a .25% boost is inconsequential, it is the cumulative effect that borrowers have to watch closely. Getting into a fixed-rate loan now is good advice if a homeowner plans to stay put for a while. Same applies to a home equity line of credit. Converting to a fixed-rate home equity loan to pay off the credit line before rates move much higher is fiscally sound.
The LA area has seen home prices rise since 2012, and demand is outpacing supply. Values are projected to rise again in 2017, and Buyers are plentiful. This is a great time to buy and sell homes in CA.

New Palisades Condos
Pre-sales are about to begin for 38 four- and five-bedroom townhomes and 15 single-level condos, starting price in the upper $2 million range. Location is 17331 Tramonto Drive off of Sunset Blvd. with a first phase move-in expected early 2018.
Bequeathing Trouble
LA Times Article Money Talk Section -   by LIZ WESTON
Don't bequeath trouble to kids
A parent's desire to keep a house in the family could set up epic battles over who gets to live there. 

Dear Liz: I have two grown children, neither of whom owns a home, and three grandchildren. I would very much like to keep my house in the family for all to use, if and when needed. It is not large, and it would be somewhat difficult for two families to live here at the same time. I have a trust that splits everything between the two children. I also have handwritten a note and had it notarized explaining I would like the house kept in the family and not sold or mortgaged. Can you advise me? 
Answer: Please think long and hard before you try to restrict what the next generation does with a bequest, particularly when it's real estate. Is your desire to keep the house in the family worth causing rifts in that family? It would be hard for two families to share even a large home. You could be setting up epic battles, not only over who gets to live there but also how much is spent to maintain, repair and update the home. It's difficult enough for married couples to own property together; siblings are almost certain to disagree about how much to spend and the differences may be even greater if only one family is actually using the house. If your house is sold, on the other hand, it could provide nice down payments for each family to buy its own home. Alternatively, one family could get a mortgage to buy out the other and live in the house. Or the home could be mortgaged to provide two down payments and then rented out. Your notarized note wouldn't prevent your children from doing any of these things, but it may cause them unnecessary guilt and disagreements about honoring those wishes.    
Interesting New Law
Effective January 1st, a new CA law took effect requiring property owners to install water-conserving plumbing fixtures for single-family properties (built before 1994) and for all other properties by 2019. Additionally, if a property (built before 1994) is improved or altered after 2014, then water-conserving plumbing fixtures must be installed as a condition of final permit approval.

Interesting, because the law does not mandate installation, even when selling a home. All that is required is to disclose, on a few forms, that the fixtures are not installed. Click here to read more about this new law and a Q & A section. Installation deadlines will take effect in coming years. 

Tidbits of News
NAR,  The National Assoc. of REALTORS ®,  reports Baby Boomers (b.1946-1964) and the Silent Generation (ages 70-90) comprised 40% of all home sales in 2016.
- CA's Dept. of Housing and Community Development found home ownership rates in the state are at their lowest since the 1940s.
- Did you miss it?  Click here to read a feature article in the Beverly Hills Courier...about your Realtor Radom.
- Estate Sales:  2016 vs. 2015
  - $20M+ Total sold 32; five short of 2015. Most located in Bev Hills
  - $10M+ Total sold 150; ten more than   2015
 - $ 5M+ Total sold 503; 18 more than     2015
- Bank of China lends $390M to owners of the completed Ten Thousand luxury rental tower.
- Highest priced listing in the U.S. is in Bel Air to view pix and info of a 38,000 sq. ft. estate, asking price $250M. 
- A 16K sq. ft. mega mansion is under construction on N. Roxbury Dr. in Bev Hills.  Owner paid $19 mill for a 56K sq. ft. lot.
- Going solar for your heating and cooling system is a big decision. Before installing, speak to a few homeowners who in made the investment and learn firsthand if they would do it again.
- Westfield Century City will soon begin opening stores; first phase will be Macy's and Equinox in early April; Nordstrom opens October 6th and Eataly is TBD.
- 29 home remodeling projects paid back an average return of 64 cents on the dollar in resale value. Sell "as is" and let the new owner make improvements. 
- Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage is changing the long-standing name of its estates division (properties listed for over $2M) from Previews to Global Luxury.
Decide for Yourself
Procrastination is often the watchword of older homeowners about downsizing or moving to a safer, more manageable home. Then one day it's done, their children decide it's time to move mom and/or dad from the family home...and the decision is made for you.  
Lost control
You may not agree with their reason, but you waited too long and didn't make decisions that were ultimately in your best interest, according to off-spring. The bottom line: make decisions for yourself while you still can, before someone makes them for you.
Now is the Time
Sit down with your family members and discuss how and where you want to live for the remainder. If you want to stay in your home, then tell them. Just make sure it is a safe environment, suitable for changing needs.  One day you may no longer drive or be able to climb the stairs, then what?  Do you have a downstairs bedroom? Do you have the financial means for 24-hour in-home help, if needed? Are you facing living challenges now that can be easily remedied?
Know the Facts
No one can make a good decision without the facts .   Don't just discuss residence options, visit several before deciding. Look at apartments, condos and tour a few Senior residences. If your children live in another area, look at residences in their locale. Close proximity is not the same as living with your off-spring.
Take control of where you want to age in-place...or someone else may decide for you. As a Seniors REALTOR® counselor, call me for recommendations. I will be happy to discuss numerous residences.

Pet Deposits
As a renter, if the landlord asks for an added deposit for your beloved may be illegal. CA l aw dictates how much can be collected for security deposits (two or three months rental for unfurnished or furnished, respectively) and that amount cannot be exceeded. T here are ways for a landlord to get around this, for example, by calling it "pet rent" and not calling it a "deposit". Be sure to check local laws before signing a lease, when requests go beyond the norm.

Two recent computer tragedies may have caused me to duplicate mailings to you; or not follow-up as scheduled or to possibly lose your contact info. My apologies! If you don't hear from me by mail or by phone...please let me know.
Victory for BH Tenants
Beverly Hills' outdated governing laws for renters have long favored landlords, unlike any other neighboring area. Rental ordinances, dating back to the 1980's, have finally been changed and better late than never certainly applies. Now, annual rent increases are capped at 3% (instead of 10%); adequate relocation fees (instead of none), equal to Santa Monica's structure, are now paid for no-cause evictions. And, a new database registry of rental apartments will be established to monitor landlord issues, the rental market and building conditions.

Estimates indicate that 55-60% of Beverly Hills residents are renters. Landlords have used the 10% rate hike as a means of forcing some financially strapped or long-term tenants, like retired Seniors, to move in order to substantially increase rents. In this robust rental market, landlords were using the antiquated laws to their benefit. Some tenants said they were evicted to make way for vacation rentals, which is illegal in Beverly Hills. This newly enacted law became an urgent matter, and a major victory for Beverly Hills renters.

Housing Challenges 
According to a Harvard University study, the U.S. is at the beginning of a 20+ year surge in the older population: aging Baby Boomers. The p opulation of 65+ is expected to increase from 48M to 79M. The critical point is putting in place affordable housing options, accessibility features and in-home care services that will be needed over the next two decades. 
By 2035, one in five  (up from one in seven)  U.S. residents will be older than 65. Currently, only 1% of the housing stock is equipped with mobility and/or disability  features for owners to age independently in-place. These features include:
- zero-step entrance into the home
- single-floor living
- wide halls and doorways to accommodate a wheelchair
- reachable electrical switches and kitchen cabinets 
- lever-style handles on doors and faucets

Now is the time to start thinking about where and how you want to live during your Golden years. Or, to begin a discussion with aging parents.

Lowest Since WWII
California's homeownership rate is the lowest since WWII. Rising home prices is the State's biggest concern. In February, more than half of all homes sold in LA cost over $1 million. 
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©2017 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.