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 Real Estate e-Newsletter
by Cynthia S. Radom Award-winning Certified Seniors Specialist REALTOR ®
                                Specializing in Trust Sales        Since 1994
              NEWS & ISSUES for BABY BOOMERS to GOLDEN-AGERS
    October-December 2019   ·   Cynthia@RealtorRadom.com   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

 2020  Election and Housing
Taking Center Stage
Excerpts from a Curbed.com article.
Housing policy may take center stage in the 2020 election. With home prices having long surpassed the 2008 financial crisis peak, many Americans can't afford to buy a house or to rent in urban areas. Many Democratic presidential primary candidates have made housing policy a major issue, with the Republican administration already taking cost-cutting measures and other stances. 

Here are a few of the Dem topics: some can only be handled at a state or local level:
- Renters Tax Credit: Giving taxpayers a credit for the amount they pay in rent above 30% of their income.
- Investments in Federal Housing Programs: Addressing the affordable housing crisis, advocates want increases in federal funding for public housing.
- Yes in My Back Yard (YIMBY): An off-shoot of NIMBY, which opposes empty lot development and certain building policies in some neighborhoods. YIMBYs want federal grant money tied in to changing local zoning reforms.
- Eviction Protections: Support for expanded federal protections for tenants against eviction.
- Homelessness: An ongoing issue in CA, some candidates want to substantially increase federal funding for urban development and cheap housing.
- Discrimination and Fair Housing: Ideas include down payment grants for first-time home Buyers in certain areas; financial assistance for those hurt in the 2008 crisis, requiring banks to invest in local branch areas and a discrimination ban against people using housing vouchers to pay for rent.
There are all sorts of housing issues to be discussed in the coming year.
 

Baby Bonds for Housing
Another resurfacing proposal by Dems is Baby Bonds: giving each new baby born in the U.S. a $1,000 bond and annual additions up to $2,000 per year depending on the family income, to be invested by the Treasury. At age 18, the recipient could possibly use the money for a down payment on a home. 
Not So Popular
This headline from a Realtor.com article piqued my interest:  Buy Now, Hate Later: Things in Your New Home That Will Soon Drive You Nuts. Mentioned are  items that Buyers think they want while shopping for a home, but may actually end up driving them crazy.  

Buyer beware:
- Open Floor Plan:  At the top of everyone's wishlist is an open floor plan. But to some people it is a bit like living in a large echo chamber.  There is also a lack of privacy to take into consideration; rooms without walls. And those dirty dishes and cooking utensils that can be seen by guests during dinner in a "great" room. In a vast open space, area rugs, plants, tall dimensional artwork and window  panels are  needed to fill in the space to create a warm, cozy ambiance. 
- Upstairs Laundry Room: An idea that seems c onvenient and practical is to put the washer and dryer near the rooms where most of the laundry stems. But to some, this dream scenario can quickly turn into a noisy nightmare. Some la undry rooms are so loud that homeowners end up moving it to the main floor.
- In-ground Pool:  Who uses it once the kids have left the nest?
- Downstairs Powder Room: Undesired by guests when located near the kitchen, dining room or off public areas. This room requires privacy, so guests go upstairs or to the bedroom area making a downstairs powder room seldom used.
- Designer Sinks: Pedestal or bowl sinks are t rès chic ,  but highly unpractical with the lack of counter space, the awkward height of the bowl and no storage.
- Hardwood Floors: While still highly desired by homeowners, these floors are not practical in the kitchen or bathroom.

  The Manor  Sets a Record
The Manor mega-estate just sold again following an extensive overhaul after Candy (Aaron) Spelling sold for $85M in 2011. Fast forward, almost eight years to the day, the 56,500 sft., 123-room Manor set a record high sale of $119,750,000 Click the link and scroll down for pix of  The Manor .
Everyone is Welcome
There is no better way to learn about real estate values than to compare your home with a recently sold home in the area. The best way to do this is to attend a neighborhood open house.  

REALTORS® welcome, and expect, neighbors to attend opens, and viewing on Tuesday or Sunday doesn't matter. After all, how many times have you passed by the listed home with curiosity? Is it in the original condition or how did the owners update the home? Maybe it's a new design idea you walk away with. Attending an open house allows you free-flowing access to look, wander and peruse inside the listed property, and to check out the backyard. How does the home compare to yours?

Yes, you're dubbed a "looky-loo", but you are more than welcome to take a look. After all, falling in love with a home may turn you into a Buyer. Or, perhaps you will tell a friend or a family member about the house for sale near you.

Never think that you're being nosy or intrusive. It's fun to attend open houses. People make a Sunday outing of looking at other people's homes, especially in neighborhoods that they dream or read about. And, if you have ever wondered what condos look like in a specific community or building, attend an open house there, too. However, some Associations exclude public opens on Sundays.  In the LA area, Tuesday "Caravans" are open houses meant for agents to preview the listing, with or without a Buyer in tow. 

But, any open house is fair game for a looky-loo to attend. Whenever you see an open sign or an advertisement, stop by. Everyone is welcome.


 To all of my past, present and future  clients ... a heartfelt thank you!
What Category is Your Home?
There are three types of homes and each requires a different marketing strategy when selling:  

Move-in ready : A  newly built or a recent, totally updated residence. Relaxed mortgage qualifications make it easier for Buyers to obtain a larger mortgage where updates are folded into the loan. Busy Millennials, multi-home owners, and especially Senior Buyers, will pay a premium just for adding decorative touches.  
Fixer-Upper: Determined by the amount of work required by the Buyer.
Light fixer: Requires simple repairs and offers some recent updates (within five to seven years). These homes may need a quick fix; i.e. interior painting; changing counter tops to quartz; replacing a water heater; installing wood floors or new "smart" home appliances. This Buyer does not want to move walls or rebuild the foundation and the home is usually purchased by a Millennial or down-sizing Boomer.
- Major fixer: Is the hardest property to sell because the Buyer needs to be cash rich for bringing a home up to today's codes and standards. This home contains a lot of deferred maintenance: i.e. asbestos in the ceiling and heating ducts; closed floor plan; outdated infrastructure, old roof or water-intensive landscaping, etc. The Buyer may be a flipper who sees upside potential after updating.  
Teardown: This is a home that cannot be easily, or economically, fixed. Normally purchased by a developer/flipper or owner/user to build a new home when the upside return-on-investment is solid. Sellers often accept a lower price (land value) when a Buyer foregoes inspections and will close quickly with usually an all-cash purchase. A changing market with future price uncertainty is making these Buyers skittish. 

As a Seller of an older home, leave the updating and repairs to the Buyer. There is no need to spend money without knowing if the house will be torn down or remodeled by the new owner. Let the Buyer make adjustments to their desires and lifestyle.
Hugh Hefner Did It
Before   Hugh Hefner  passed away, he sold the famous Playboy Mansion, which included a Life Estate. When his neighbor bought the famous property in 2016 for $100 million, he allowed Hefner to remain in the residence until his passing.  An open-ended possession date, but li mited to the   d eath of the owner,  Hefner became a "life tenant" until his death in 2017. A Life  Estate  allows the owner to sta y in their residence for the remainder of their lifetime following the sale of their property. 

Benefits of a Life Estate:
- Seller: As the real estate market begins a downward turn, the owner is able to negotiate a price that may otherwise be lower in the future. The owner may desire to stay in their home until "feet first", but may need the sale proceeds for living or health expenses.
- Buyer: Takes possession of the property when the Seller passes away, thereby ownership is guaranteed. There may be a need now to purchase a property with funds from an investment property sale (1031-exchange rollover), and the Buyer wants/needs ownership.

A property transaction can take many shapes. For example, a transfer of ownership does not have to occur for a Buyer to release funds on a negotiated Purchase Agreement with a specified closing date. When a property owner and a prospective Buyer agree on price and terms, the sale can be structured in many ways. The issue is finding a Seller and a Buyer who can agree. 

There are pros and cons to consider. The Seller is taking a chance that their property value will not increase substantially by the time the sale is completed.  The   Buyer   is losing interest on funds which could be otherwise invested.   Remember, real estate sales are always negotiable. 

Tidbits of News!
Watermark at Westwood Village
(formerly Westwood Horizons at 947 Tiverton Ave.) is set to re-open in mid-2020 after a $70 Million renovation. This longtime independent Senior residence will be in high demand. Click here to register, and be one of the first to request a showing appointment when available.
- A $50 Million price reduction  was issued for the Chartwell  estate after 244 days on market without an offer,  click here, then scroll down for photos.
- Change is in the air. The real estate market is in the midst of a change, but it does not mean a crash is coming. This slowdown is a correction in an overheated market. Price your listing to generate multiple offers.
- Sidewalk issues in LA?   Here is a link for a rebate repair program .
- The Mountain; listed for $1 Billion sold for a measly  $100,000,  read here .
New Rules
Effective November 1st , LA began enforcing the newly imposed short-term rental laws after three years of deliberation by the City Council. New home-sharing regulations change the way hosts from  Airbnb and other rental platforms can book vacation stays and short-term rentals.

The City's tourism and convention board cited a record-breaking number of tourists with 50 million visitors to LA in 2018. As of July 2019, there were 23,000 housing units available for rent in the City, and about half are used primarily for short-term rentals.

What a host needs to know:
- Only the primary residence can be rented (where the host lives at least six months out of the year), and only one rental at a time can be registered.
- Rentals are limited to a 120-day annual cap.
- No rent-stabilized units can be rented.
- Host must register with the City planning department and pay an $89 fee.
- Each guest will be given a Code of Conduct with rules about amplified sound and "evening outdoor congregations".

Even if a short-term rental property is listed with a REALTOR ® on the Multiple Listing Service, the same laws apply.
More information and to sign-up for more updates,  click hereExcerpts from Curbed LA

Home Break-ins
Most U.S. burglaries occur between 
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 41% are spur-of-the-moment crimes with only 12% planned in advance.
Burglars look for opportunities:
- Trash cans in the street days before or after trash pick-up
- Porch light staying on 24/7
- No change in night-time activity; no lights turned on/off
- Tall bushes in front of the house providing cover
- Dog doors or open windows used for a cat to come and go
- Garage windows, to look for cars

Homes with security are 300% less likely to be burglarized. However, less than 10% of all homes in the U.S. have home security. Today's smart home technology allows for less costly security measures with these devices:
1. Remote home monitoring
2. Smart doorbells
3. Remote garage door opener
4. Remote LED home lighting
5. Key-less locks
How secure is your home?

HOLD YOUR MAIL!
Think twice about forwarding mail, unless you have moved. You are better off asking a neighbor to collect mail, or to put a hold on delivery until you return. Even every day, normal mail delivery is not the best service. So, hold and wait.
Stop, Drop and Cover
NOTE: This column was written July 1st! I trust  you and yours were safe from the EQs that rocked and rolled during the July 4th holiday. 

This information is not meant to jinx our status quo, and only an abbreviation (EQ) will refer to the subject for reviewing some related reminders. Out-of-mind does not mean never again, so let's be safe rather than sorry and review the inevitable.
Statistics
-  There is a 99% chance of a major CA EQ (M6.7+) occurring within the next 30 years.  
- CA averages an EQ every three minutes.
- Most Californians live within 30 miles of an active fault.
- CA has the strictest EQ building codes in the U.S., but homes are approaching 100 years old and most CA homes are not retrofitted.
Bolting
- Seismically retrofit (bolt) your home built on a raised foundation where there is a crawl space. Even homes built on a slab should be bolted.
Personal safety
- Experts recommend: do not run and stand in a doorway, instead:
STOP: don't move more than 5-7' to get away from windows, tall furniture, kitchen cabinets, or stay in bed as shakers last 20 seconds or less. (Ridgecrest aftershock of M7.1 lasted for 30+ seconds.)
DROP : get your center of gravity low, and
COVER: protect your head
- Secure your space: Identify hazardous objects and secure movable items now.
Insurance Changes
- 90% of Californians do not have EQ insurance; LA residents are about 84% uninsured.
- Affordable EQ insurance is now available: big changes were made in 2016, which include:
- choices in deductibles and coverage; 
- ability to have a separate smaller deductible on contents vs. the larger deductible on structural damage.
Contact for Information
Call the CA EQ Authority (CEA) for the latest insurance information, t oll free: (877) 797-4300, or price EQ insurance on the website, click here.  

Record High
The LA County Assessor announced an all-time high of   $1.604 Billion   in total net property value. This includes all types of property assessed in 2019 due to strong growth in the local real estate market for the ninth straight year. Beverly Hills recorded the fourth highest total assessed value totaling $36.6 Billion.

$16M Fighting Purple Line
Beverly Hills spent almost $16M to fight the  Purple Line construction, to no avail.
And, apparently, the City is still fighting while the construction moves closer to the high school.
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