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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 ®
                                                           Since 1994
    July-September 2017   ·   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalBRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

 Reforming Prop 13
Possible Change to 13
Proposition 13 may no longer be the third rail of politics. Come January, voters may be addressing a change in this proposition to help solve CA's housing affordability crisis. In 1978, during Gov. Brown's first term in office, Proposition 13 was passed to limit high-rising annual property tax reassessments. Commonly known as the Senior's Proposition, 13 allowed retired and fixed-income homeowners the ability to stay in their homes, avoiding a forced sale because of high annual tax hikes.

Under Prop 13 residential, commercial and farm property owners had their taxes rolled back to 1976 levels and future increases were capped at 2% annually. Not only does the 2% limit remain until a homeowner passes away, but an off-spring can reap the same benefit by inheriting the house as a primary residence. Replenishing City coffers to the current tax rate (1.25% of the purchase price) can only happen when a property is sold.

Sacramento recently indicated that local governments need to boost property taxes to address area housing costs. Prop 13 takes a toll on local budgets to finance affordable housing projects. So, to increase revenue is to increase property taxes.

Commercial properties are the most likely to change under Prop 13 where a loophole allows new owners to avoid reassessment. Currently, when commercial ownership changes, a single individual must acquire a 50 percent stake in the property for the transfer to be reassessed at the current tax rate. Therefore the loophole, as many commercial properties are bought by an investor group, dividing ownership stakes among several people. Stay tuned as a change is in the making.

Bel Air Behemoth

Too big, too late. You may have been reading about the  40,000 sft. mansion on Somma Way, now on-the-market for a mere $75M. Click here to view a video and see what this monster has to offer. Too late, because this project was started before the passage of BA building ordinances. Next, stay tuned for the sentencing for the owner who built 901 Strada Vecchia.
My First Estate Sale
 Cecil B. DeMille  Estate
The year was 1996 when I listed, what was then called, the Cecil B. DeMille-Charlie Chaplin estate in Los Feliz. Icons of the early film industry, their neighboring homes were connected with a very long, pillared breezeway thereby creating a two-acre gated compound. I recall an entry door with a frosted glass insert etched with a life-sized replica of the "Little Tramp", Chaplin's famous trademark. Also, an empty, free-standing celluloid film vault where DeMille once kept his many award-winning treasures, and his floor-to-ceiling private-label wine cellar with fermented wine still bearing the DeMille name. Over the living room fireplace was a giant painting depicting a scene from his epic movie, "The King of Kings". DeMille and Chaplin were long gone, but their vibe lived on.

Now, after a $500,000 renovation by the 1996 Buyers, the estate was recently on-and-off the market with an asking price of $25M, nowhere near my 1996 sale price. Angelina Jolie snapped up the estate for $24.5MClick here for photos of the six bedroom, ten bath multi-structure DeMille estate, built in 1913.

Must See Photos
Click here to see before and after photos of CA's historic drought and the wonders of what a lot of rain can cure, although temporarily. In 2014, two years after the latest official drought was declared, photos were taken of ravaged lakes and land.  Compare today's photos of the same sites, three years later. Caution:  our State uses more water each year than nature supplies in one rain-soaked winter . Water conservation laws remain in effect for a homeowner and for a Seller of property.

Planning a Drive
Planning a drive up the Coast? Did you know that Hwy 1 is closed around Big Sur? A 40' layer of rock and dirt from a major landslide that happened in May. Winter fires and floods from the rain caused the slide. 
Hiring a REALTOR ®
Hiring a real estate agent is like any other professional. When you are ready to sell your home, interview two or three people to ensure the person is right for you .
Here are three must-haves to consider:
1. Professionalism: more than just experience, do they follow through as promised and listen to your needs instead of boasting about their accomplishments?Will the agent be working with you or are they a  rainmaker with a staff?
2. Chemistry: do you communicate well with the person; do they clearly answer your questions; will they go above and beyond to service your needs? Do they understand that you are overwhelmed?
3. Resources: there are many service providers who may be needed when selling a property-- from escrow to specific tradesmen, to a relocation company, even a mortgage broker may all be recommended by your agent.

An agent referral, or an agent who concentrates in your area is a start, but not the end all. Personalized service  is imperative  to help you through every step of the selling process. T he person you hire is your  REALTOR ®,  so make sure the choice is right for you.

Ins and Outs
Out:  thin plank hardwood   In:  wide plank
Out: granite counter tops   In: quartz
Out:  small windows   In:  bigger, more
Out:  thick drapes   In: Roman  shades or woven blinds with black out panels
Definitely In: smart homes with a click  that turns on and turns off electronic items
Phishing Scams, Fraudulent E-mails, Cybercriminals...
Even the youngest and brightest are falling prey to electronic scams. In the midst of e-mailing documents to my client, using a well-known electronic signature website, her computer was infected with a virus. She was the victim of a phishing scam . D esigned to look like the website we were using, s he opened a corrupt  link in the e-mail without noticing that the sender was not me and POOF!  In a nanosecond, all 500 of her business and personal contacts in her e-mail address book were deleted from her computer, and the same corrupt e-mail was forwarded to all. Whenever a cyber thief steals information it is designed to ultimately scam money from an unsuspecting person(s). Cyber-criminals install malicious software onto computers to obtain personal info: phone numbers, account codes and passwords. Then they call or e-mail trying to convince their victims to turn over money under false pretenses. The newest scam is  utility company callers:  stating you are late paying a bill, threatening to turn off services, then offering a "payment plan". Once they get credit card information...they fleece you. Be cautious, be wise, be safe and heed these tips : I f the caller sounds urgent, don't cave to pressure; if you don't recognize the e-mail not open a link or attachment; don't let people who door-knock into your home; always ask utility employees for ID; don't get lured outside to view a "broken" meter, call the utility company. If you get a call from "Microsoft" stating your computer is working slowly...hang-up, to avoid tech support scams. When an e-mail begins with a generic greeting instead of your name in the salutation , delete it! If you receive an e-mail with my name, hover the mouse over the sender's address and make sure it states:, or call me if you are unsure.
IMPORTANT: Make sure your computer back-up system works!!! Just because you back-up doesn't mean it is working properly.
Successor Trustee Help
When a Successor Trustee is responsible for selling a home, it can be a n extremely emotional process because a parent, a close friend or another relative has recently passed away. Furthermore, the residence to be sold may be the designee's childhood home and surfacing memories abound.  Here are some suggestions, a s a starting point, that I use to help these Sellers:
Identify items of value and consult with an auction house, a consignment or estate sales company.
- Ask family members to select and tag any item(s) they want as a keepsake.
- Separate  remaining items to donate or to discard.
- Pack/box documents and files that appear important, to be reviewed later.
- Determine a charity of choice.
- Get estimates from clean-out vendors for packing and hauling remaining items.
Tidbits of News
- Sold home prices
 all of SoCal have passed pre-recession level as of March, taking almost ten years to recover from the 2008 recession.
- Number of homes sold in LA county almost doubled in February vs. February 2016 as Buyers prepare for two more interest rate hikes this year.
- Ranked #1 in the U.S. for the 20th year in a row, announced NRT, parent of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, surpassing the next top four largest competitors combined in sales and closings during 2016.
- Lack of affordability keeps LA and San Fran on the top five unhealthiest housing markets in the nation.
- 52 of the 100 largest U.S. cities were mostly renters in 2015. Since 2009, 21 cities have changed to renter-rules.
- Smoke-free: almost a smoke-free City, Bev Hills issued new laws as of May 5th.
- What does a $120M Bel Air estate look like? Click here to view the best home that two music moguls can buy.
- LA has the fifth highest rental prices in the nation behind San Fran, NY, San Jose and Boston.
- Fountainview in Playa Vista now has available units. Must see...I have!!

Did You Know?
When your spouse passes away, you need to obtain a market valuation on any property that you jointly own. Call me for a free, no obligation appraisal that will deplete your capital gains.
Click Your Home Value
The CA coast, and slightly inward, has been on a  property value increase for five years running and no downturn is in sight.  Homeowners and their family members are getting more  curious about the value of their home, even though they aren't ready to sell. However, estimating the value is easy...with a few clicks.

No more looking on and other internet sites that do not  offer accurate comparisons or values of sold homes. Or, no longer wait for an agent's monthly mailer  that doesn't always give accurate updates. Get the same information as if a REALTOR ®  is  placing a value on your home...right from the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).

When a home on your street or in the general vicinity is listed for sale, you can receive an  automatic e-mail notice immediately from the MLS. Compare your home to a listed home  with only a click of the mouse. Use the detailed information about the listed home: lot size; amenities of  the property; numerous photos in and around the home and other criteria as a comparison to  your home. Later, be one of the first to know the selling price; how many days on market and any price reductions  required to get the home sold.

Are you considering a purchase or a sale of a CA desert home? Get the same MLS notifications for other areas to learn about today's value. Ordering " automatic listings" is easy, just send an e-mail to me . Specify your street address and the boundaries or a different area for listings. Inventory is low, so you won't be barraged with e-mails. Try it! If you don't like it, then it can be removed with a click.

Be Precise  
A recent study indicated that listing and offer prices are best received when not a round number. Apparently, people tend to place more value on precise numbers: $999,000 vs. $1M. The perception being that more thought has gone into the offering instead of ballparking a round number.

     Over 100 years of age?
I am looking for a local homeowner who will surpass the 109-year old record. If you, or someone you know, is currently a centenarian please let me know, confidentially.
Try It, Then Buy It
What a smart sales concept: try it and if you like it, then buy it Thanks to CA Propositions 60 and 90 that idea is possible. 

When Prop 13 became law in 1978, and annual property  tax increases were capped at 2% for land owners, it became a disincentive for  people to move. Only when a property sells can property tax be charged at  the current approximate rate of 1.25% of the purchase price. Then came  the passage of Prop 60 allowing property owners to transfer their low property tax to a less expensive replacement home, while staying in the same county. But, people still weren't moving and local budgets were depleting rapidly. Along came Prop 90, and today there are nine reciprocal counties that will accept your low property tax when you meet other criteria.

Even greater news, you have two years after the sale of your primary residence to identify a replacement home and still be allowed to transfer your low property tax. If you currently live in LA and have always dreamed of living in Newport Beach or Rancho Mirage, you can rent for a year and if you like the area, take another year to find the right replacement home. If you would like more information about these Props, e-mail or call me below:
(310) 288-0479.

Did You Miss It?
Rave reviews and an enthusiastic Q & A session by those who attended my new seminar,  Selling Your Home  101.
"Very informative presentation", "Gave me a lot to think about", "Well presented and so much to learn " were some of the comments.
Information that every homeowner and S uccessor Trustee should know before selling a property in SoCal.

Don't miss the next session.  A sk to be notified about a repeat performance , click here to pre-register. 

CA housing prices are 230% above the national average.
Affordability remains the biggest issue in CA.
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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.