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 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
    October-December 2017   ·   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalBRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

 How Much $$$ Higher? 
Rising Home Values
Home prices throughout SoCal have been on an upward climb since 2012, about 70 consecutive months. A recent article in the OC Register, highlighting a survey of economists and industry analysts, provides some insight about the state of SoCal home values. They all agree...SoCal home prices are not about to drop any time soon. They concluded, unanimously, that prices will keep rising for two more years and possibly longer (barring any unforeseen disaster). Fact: the last market run up in SoCal lasted 126 straight months!

Those surveyed all stated that there is no bubble in sight. For years, the "bubble" threat has been speculation, not based on reality, even though some believe that SoCal home prices are overvalued. The changes in lending policies and borrower practices is unlike the 2008 financial "bubble" crash. People are not overextending themselves in debt as they did years ago when they borrowed more than they could afford.
- 43% of CA borrowers in 2008 had a second mortgage vs. 4.8% in 2016.
- Spring 2007 there was an 11.5 month supply of homes for sale vs. four months in 2017 throughout LA and Orange ctys.

SoCal home values are also connected to the overall economy, and no recession is in sight, at least for the next two years. Buyers continue to pay the skyrocketing home prices with historically low interest rate mortgages, and multiple offers are now the norm. Prices keep flourishing with low supply and high demand. However, all those surveyed envision a gradual decrease in home price appreciation; the year-over-year rate increase of home prices from 5-6% in 2017 to 2.5% in 2019.

They conclude that now is the time to buy as the cost will be even greater down the road. Each year will bring a .05% increase in mortgage rates resulting in a 10-15% higher monthly payment. Seasonal fluctuations offer a little respite to Buyers in the latter part of the year when the market slows and prices dip, slightly.
Now for sale, the famous tv mansion from the  Beverly Hillbillies and the most expensive listing in the U.S. for $350M. See it here!
Property Tax Postponement
In 2016, the CA State Controller's Office (SCO) reinstated the Property Tax Postponement Program that was suspended by the Legislature in 2009. The program allows homeowners who are Seniors, or blind or have other disabilities to defer current-year property taxes on their own primary residence. Certain criteria must be met, including: 40% equity in the home and an annual household income less than $35,000. An approved application to the Program is required each year.

A postponement of taxes is a deferment of current year property taxes that must eventually be repaid. To secure a repayment, the SCO records a lien against the property, which remains in effect until the account is paid in full.

The interest rate for all postponed taxes under the Program is a whopping 7% per year, computed monthly. Interest continues to accrue until all postponed property taxes plus interest are repaid to the State.

Repayment in full becomes immediately due for any of the following if the owner:
- Moves from the property
- Sells or conveys title to the property
- Dies and does not have a spouse, registered domestic partner or other qualified individual who continues to reside on the property
- Allows future property taxes or other liens to become delinquent
- Refinances or obtains a reverse mortgage for the property

Full or partial payments can be made at any time. NOTE: if an owner is planning to sell the property, escrow advises that payment on (any) lien be handled through escrow at the time of sale to ensure the proper recording and clear title for the transfer. Questions? Call (800) 952-5661.
New Waldorf Astoria in BH

     Truly s tunning...a must-see

CurbLA mapped locations of the 25 most expensive homes for sale in the LA area, click here. Added to the list is Owlwood for $180M seen  here and here.
Protected Trees
Do you know all the types of trees on your property? If you live in Beverly Hills and want to sell or buy a home in this City, it is a good idea to educate yourself on the law. An owner must disclose to a prospective buyer if any protected tree is on the property.

A tree protection ordinance was established years ago for a variety of specific species, including "heritage" trees. If an owner wants to remove a coveted tree, to build a larger home, there must be an evaluation by the Planning Commission for approval. 

Three categories of protected trees include:
- Heritage: trees with a circumference of 48"+, located in the front yard or in the street side setback
- Native: trees on the City's official list of protected trees (13 types indigenous to the area) with a 24"+ circumference
- Urban groves: a grouping of 50 or more trees located anywhere on a single family property

Click here for a list of the protected trees in Beverly Hills. In the interim, remove dead trees on your property before an issue occurs.
Rookie Mistakes
Home selling is a skill that most people don't get to practice. Even homeowners who have sold before might stumble on their way to market. An article from is worth reading to hone your selling skills before you list.

The article highlights  eight ways people doom their own home sale, and always on top is overpricing the home. Other topics include: not budging on price, doing a lousy job of cleaning, using crummy photos and lurking around your own house during the showingsClick here to read the article as I could not have stated it better.

Enjoy the season with food, friends and family!
Know Thy Neighbor 
The street banner read:  Fourth  of July Block Party est. 1976. Imagine, that's one street where  the homeowners have (possibly) gotten together annually for 41 years to celebrate and to get reacquainted. Tradition lives on! But, in general, neighbor connections seem to be  waning.  When speaking to longtime homeowners, more times than not, they tell me  I don't know who lives on my block anymore .

Remember the (Welcome Wagon) days, when someone new moved in, neighbors personally delivered baked goods to their door with a cheery welcome? Or, when you would see homeowners mowing their own lawn, watering the flowers or washing the family car? Those activities required people to spend time in their front yard, and neighbors would stop by for a quick chat.  Today, neighborhood or condo homeowner association (HOA) meetings are where people gather.  However,   these meetings are not always the best opportunity for a friendly welcome as  HOA discussions sometimes generate rifts between owners.  But, I wonder if anyone introduces a new member at these meetings, or if anyone personally invites a new homeowner to attend? A re the new neighbors recognized and welcomed ? Consider this: when was the last time you reached out?
Get to know thy neighbor.  Who on your block has seniority? Who just moved in on your street? Who just brought home a new family member; a baby or a puppy? Who just got married? Stop by, knock on their door. Take your grandchildren to meet the neighbors with a bouquet of flowers from your garden. Start an annual party on your street or condo floor...bring back tradition. You may need your neighbor one day.
Loans for Seniors
Tight lending laws, following the 2008 financial crash, make it impossible for a retiree to qualify for a mortgage based on cash flow. Locking down a smaller replacement home before selling a current residence can be challenging. One way to buy before selling is to obtain a line-of-credit through a personal investment brokerage.

Using non-retirement funds as collateral, companies like Merrill Lynch, UBS and Morgan Stanley offer temporary loans without penalty of an early payoff. No need to cash out retirement investments as long as the qualifications are met. Most important, these programs allow older Seniors to compete in the all-cash home purchase arena, and to know where they will be moving in this fast- paced market. Once the current home is sold, the equity can be used to pay off the loan.

Like any line-of-credit you don't get charged for anything until you use the funds.  Fixed and variable rate loans are available. So, consult with your investment adviser , and complete an application. Call Realtor Radom for more information or for starting the downsizing process...(310) 288-0479.  

Tidbits of News
- DeMille-Chaplin-Jolie estate photos in the last  Newsletter had been previously removed by the listing agent. If you are still interested, here are two links about the renovation and today's pix .
- Tear down the new 30K sft. Bel Air mansion or re-construct to code  in lieu of jail time, sentencing ordered to the owner who pleaded guilty .
- Developers and investors are very unhappy with LA's revised building codes, putting a damper on new home construction. Tightened regulation, which shrinks total square footage, requires patios, decks and balconies to be included in the  overall  allowable home size. This includes all but 200 sft. of a two-car subterranean garage size, a great space saver, but expensive to build. As a result, we may see more multi-family dwellings being built for a greater investor return.
- Century Plaza Hotel in CC will re-open early 2018 as Fairmont Plaza Hotel. Upper floors will be converted to 63 condos, retaining 400 hotel rooms. Two 46-story condo towers on the backside of the property are next, making way for 300 more residential condos. Stay tuned for updates.
- Lenders are easing strict home lending standards, following  the subprime crash, amid the current affordability crisis to improve low sales volume.
- Best year ever for Westside high end estates with 434 closed sales over $5M so far in 2017. Americans bought 32 of 40 estates sold over $20M, and the year is not over.
- 2028 Olympic games in LA is far reaching, click here to see the venues.
Site Unseen
The biggest challenge in every real estate transaction is keeping the deal moving forward to ensure a close of escrow. The process begins with selecting the right Buyer, especially in this multiple-offer climate. The listing agent plays a major role assisting the Seller in making their Buyer choice since he/she has met each of the prospects...and the Buyer's agent.

Accepting an offer does not always mean the highest purchase price. Two key questions loom for the Seller: 
- Are the terms mutually acceptable?
- Which Buyer is most likely to complete the purchase with the least amount of issues? Their agent is a consideration, if known as a troublemaker.

Another factor: has the person who will be residing in the home physically seen the property? Personally, I will always advise Sellers to never consider an offer from a Buyer who has not walked through the home. Or, if a prospect states they are buying for a son or daughter, then I require the off-spring to see the home as a prerequisite. Same is true for a couple, both would-be residents must give their blessing, especially a wife.

A recent survey of 3,350 home Buyers indicated that one in three (33%) made an offer without first seeing the home, in-person. That figure is up from a year ago when one in five (19%) made an offer, site unseen. Among Millennial Buyers, 41% had not viewed the home prior to offering. Sellers take note!

What's in Your Garage?
A homeowner in Scottsdale AZ was moving to a Senior residence and, while cleaning out his garage, someone spotted an item that may be worth $15M Read the story , then look in your garage. I once represented a home sale where the owner paid $13,000 for a painting which the heirs later sold for $150,000 . You never know! 

Interest Rate Hikes
As expected, the Federal Reserve issued another quarter-point increase (.25%) in June to key short-term interest rates. This applies to rates for HELOCs (Home Equity Line Of Credit), credit card interest rates, car loans, bank rates, CDs, etc. What effect this may have on the mortgage market and the housing market remains to be seen. So far, nothing seems to be affecting the CA housing market.

One Beverly Hills (Robinson May site): IF ground breaks this year, on the ever- changing condo and hotel development, completion will be in 2020. Several ownership changes, a major financial crash, continuous site plan revisions and now rumors of the developer's money restraints...make this a big IF.
Resettle Together
There is a lot to be said about getting resettled into another residence while you and your spouse are still together. Whether the next downsize move is to a one-story home, a condo, an apartment or a Senior residence, the physical, emotional and decision-making toll is reduced when shared with a life partner.

It is no secret, for the most part, that women outlive men. A husband who wants to ensure the well-being of his wife is thoughtful and wise to consider making that last move together. Change of anything is usually fought more by the husband than the wife. And, when it comes to leaving the family home...more times than not, the man is the holdout.

In the Golden-age generation, it was the man who usually took care of family finances and home maintenance. But, consider for a few minutes what happens after the husband passes away. The widow gets bombarded with completing or revising unending documents; from their Trust to the property deed to revising every bill, statement or account that included the decedent's name. And, the overload starts immediately without time to pause and reflect. The widow is left to fend for herself. And, too often, she is left without knowledge of who, what, when and how to handle personal matters while maintaining a longtime family home with little knowledge to its workings.

When a surviving spouse is already settled into a residence where she or he can, and wants to, remain is a major comfort. Now is the time to have a conversation, while both of you are still physically, mentally and emotionally able to make the move together.

I recently took a tour of the new, luxury Seniors community, Fountainview at Gonda Westside in Playa Vista. Far and above the typical residence of its kind,
Fountainview offers first-class amenities, top-of-the-line kitchen appliances, bright and spacious residences, social and physical activities galore, and I hear the food is great! 

Although fully reserved prior to opening, there is now availability for a choice of location and unit sizes. If you want to meet new people, regenerate your social life, get resettled...before it's too late, without the upkeep of a home, call for a tour: (424) 216-7788

LA is second to Seattle in the total number of cranes being used for major new development projects.
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