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 Real Estate e-Newsletter
by Cynthia S. Radom Award-winning Certified Seniors Specialist REALTOR ®
                                Specializing in Trust Sales        Since 1994
    July-September 2019   ·   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

  Having "The Talk"
Attention Kids!
No, not The Birds and The Bees talk ! This talk is between adult off-spring and their aging parent. The subject: Where is the best place to age-in-place for a safe and secure life?  The following excerpt is from an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution to help you begin that discussion, which is probably long overdue.

Like so many of her peers, Betty was a widow and vowed never to leave the home she had shared with her husband and raised their children. But, she could no longer drive, do house or yard work and found herself falling or tripping too often. Like many Seniors, Betty feared giving up her independence and confronting her own mortality. By the time her children discerned that she could no longer live alone, Betty had already arrived at that same realization and soon moved to a Seniors residence.

It's a big issue. So many parents believe, unrealistically, that they can take care of themselves for the rest of their lives; that moving is a sign of personal failure. The truth is , it is an opportunity for them to thrive and to remain in control of their health and well-being.

NOTE to offspring: Begin "the talk" by treading lightly and starting early, as multiple talks may be required to arrive at a decision. This will prevent making hasty decisions that don't meet your parents' needs or desires. Start before there is a physical or mental health crisis to ensure the best possible outcome.

Next, visit several residences while mobility is not an issue . A wise decision includes the facts. Ask management about the stages of care for aging in place, and talk to residents about their experiences at the community.

Betty states, " don't be afraid to let go. A home is not brick and mortar, that is just a house. A home is the memories and the relationships you bring with you. It's okay to look in the rear view mirror...just don't stare".

Housing Recap
Off to a slow start, but the LA housing market showed a slight rebound with a 3% price rise in April, after falling in March, compared to a year ago. The number of closed sales continue to dip with weaker Buyer demand. With low mortgage rates, more inventory and cooling competition, we will watch how Buyers react to rising prices.

Request your area listings by e-mail to:, and keep track of your changing home value.
The Real Story
It is what it is. A phrase often used when meeting with an owner of a fixer to market their home for sale. More to the point, you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Yet, some REALTORS ® o ften try by using unrealistic property photos, misleading descriptions or by staging with rented furniture to make a fixer appear move-in fresh ( analogy : when an 80-year-old person gets a face lift, their innards are still 80 years old).

W hen telling the real story about a property, part of the scenario is an asking price that indicates equal value . An over-priced home will only lead to subsequent price reductions. No Buyer is fooled by these tactics, only miffed after they wasted time viewing a listing that does not tell the real story.

It is easy to misconstrue reality with the advent of Photoshop (an online image-enhancement software that may distort reality) and photo drones. For example, using a wide angle lens makes a room appear larger; or a home that sits on a small knoll above street level photographed without showing the multiple steps required to reach the front door is misleading.

A picture is worth a thousand words.
City, mountain, ocean or other "million-dollar" views, unseen from the subject property, can be included in the listing photos using a high-flying drone. But, the listing remarks, provided by the agent, don't include: If you add another four-stories you can see the Hollywood sign!

A Seller always wants to present their home in the best possible condition. But, show and tell the real stor y. Or, as a Seller, you too will be wasting time.
Tiered Hillside

"Unusually big backyard has endless opportunities...", states the listing.
Is this the real  story?

Estate Sales vs. 2018
Even the the high-end market is changing compared to the same time last year in May:
$5M to $10M sales down 27%
$10M to $20M sales down 32%
$20M to $30M sales down 52%
$30M to $40M sales down 50%
$40M+: A Bel Air estate just sold for $45M (the first in 2019; four were sold in 2018)
Next Residence
W hen was the last  time you used your formal dining room? Or sat in your formal living room? Rooms that homeowners seldom use. Until home Buyers no longer require these expensively decorated formal rooms, builders will continue to add this wasted square footage. A recent UCLA study shows that the most-used common areas in a home are the kitchen and the informal living room (i.e. family room, den or great room).

When it comes to downsizing, think about how you currently live and your future needs. It is important to discern a need from a want, a wish from reality, when considering your next residence.
- Downsizing may be a way to transfer the holiday gatherings to your children's home (no need for a dining room).
- Without an extra (third) bedroom; your Millennial may move out of the nest (reducing your bedroom requirement).

Today's entertaining is preferred in the "great" room. An open space that includes the kitchen and an adjacent family room . Older Seniors and Baby Boomers mostly entertain friends or family members on an informal level. No longer is there a need to host gatherings in a large formal living room.

When downsizing, consider other ways to utilize the "formal" rooms in a smaller residence. Use the dedicated living room for your everyday " hang-ou t" room. Turn the dining room into a "hobby" room, or house your grand piano with some comfy chairs, or perhaps an art/craft studio or a library for quiet reads. Those who believe they need an extra bedroom for grandchildren to visit: buy a sofa bed or create a Murphy bed. Sooner than later those youngsters sleep elsewhere and you have an " unused " bedroom.

We think our spaces will create the lives we want. When moving to a smaller home, prioritize the spaces you need every day . If you want to entertain, then do so, within the smaller space.

All About Pricing
After one year on-market, starting at $6,395,000 and followed  by three price reductions to $4,995,000 (-22%),  the renewed listing came on-market for a $1M asking price!! M ultiple offers ensued and the home finally sold for  $3.4M. What are the lessons here? E-mail me.
Happy 100 Ida
When you are turning 100, let me know.  There are 14 homeowners over the age of 100 who read my Newsletter.
Buyers Are Waiting 
We are in the midst of a  market correction (from a Sellers' to a Buyers' market), and  perceived value is key as housing inventory begins to grow and homes for sale stay on-market longer.  The  asking price  of a home for sale is more important than ever today for a Seller to get the highest price for their property.  There are still plenty of Buyers, and multiple offers are still the norm, if priced correctly. The sale price may still result over the asking price. However, would-be Sellers, do yourself a favor and don't play these listing games:
Avoid advertising this statement:   
   -  Motivated Seller! Buyers make an offer!
Buyers know when the Seller is motivated; they will price-to-sell. Just realize that if you don't get an offer, you're over-priced.
Avoid looping the listing status   without  an  accepted offer  or  price reduction. For  instance Sellers (or agents) will juggle the listing status from:
   -  Active to  Hold to  Back on Market to  Cancelled to  Withdrawn to  Active again. Or, create a "new" listing with the same price!
Some agents use these tactics  to draw attention to a   stale   listing  when a Seller won't reduce the sell.

Buyers will out wait  a Seller , and astute Buyers (or their agent) will  review the  listing history before making an offer to see what has transpired.  What is needed is an indication that a property owner is ready, willing and able to stating a saleable asking price. Flippity- flop status activity indicates an unmotivated   Seller. Avoid the same tactics on a property for lease. Asking prices for rentals are dropping in our LA area, the first sign of a changing market.  Across the U.S., the real estate market is on the verge of a change to a  Buyer's market , the bell curve is at the  pinnacle. However, for now, the LA area home values are expected to stay flat in 2019.

Bee Wise
Here is a great way to handle a bee issue in your home. Instinctively, a bee sighting can be frightening, potentially life-threatening for those with an allergic reaction to a sting, and at the very least, an unwelcome guest. But, bees are responsible for pollinating and keeping our agricultural and ecological environments healthy and stable. They pollinate 91 of the 100 crops that provide close to 80% of the world's food supply. Without bees to pollinate crops and other plants, scientists believe humans might not be able to survive. No bees, no food, no people. And, there is a bee shortage.

Do not call an exterminator to eliminate the "problem". Bee Catchers, Inc. will perform full honeycomb removal, transfer bees to their sanctuary and subsequently give to beekeepers who will ensure that the bees continue their work. Keep their number, just in case: (866) 544-0074.

Tidbits of News
- Rumors came true: Nate 'n Al deli did sell, and is moving to the current site of Wolfgang Steakhouse, 445 N. Canon Dr.
- A unique style of co-habitating is being introduced with Treehouse Hollywood, now under construction.
- Home sales in CA are expected to drop almost 7% in 2019, and the median home price to decline -.2%. This may be the first price downturn since 2012.
- A median-earning family in the LA area needs to spend 43.7% of their total income to afford a typical mortgage.
- Falling mortgage rates are the lowest since the peak in 2011.
- Most REALTORS® agree that professionally  staging a home to sell does not increase the purchase price, according to a 2019 national survey. There was a  35% increase   of agents who hold this belief o ver a 2015 survey.
City Tree Pruning
T he Urban Forestry Division ( UFD) has control and authority over the pruning of street trees in the City of Los Angeles. However, the LA Municipal Code does not require the City to be responsible for pruning street trees. Historically, and currently, the City continues to prune most parkway trees. The number of street trees pruned annually varies in accordance with monies budgeted for tree trimming and the time period between each pruning.

UFD was created to ensure that the public right-of-way ( ROW) is safe and passable at all times relative to trees and other greenscape. This includes street trees as well as private property vegetation that may impact the ROW. Street tree pruning is not performed to minimize fruit, seed, or leaf drop, or to increase sun to a landscape or property, or for other discretionary purposes. This is an important distinction between street tree pruning and the type of pruning you may prefer to perform on your own private trees.

Property owners may prune street trees at their own expense if they would like to prune more often than the City budget allows. Contact the Bureau of Street Services at (800) 996-2489 for a required no-fee pruning permit, or call UFD for information: (213) 847-3077. Other areas:
Beverly Hills Public Works Dept. (310) 285-2467 or Santa Monica Public Landscape Div. (310) 458-8974.

Probate is Not Charity
If your home is not in a Trust, and you have not named a beneficiary for your estate...the proceeds from your home sale (through Probate) do not go to charity . All the money will go to the State of CA, not where you desire.
Cheaper is Not Better
"I'm not moving, I can't live anywhere cheaper!" Your mortgage is paid; you're under Prop 13 with low property taxes and all but the four rooms you use in the house are closed to save on heat or A/C. Cheap? Yes!  Better? Perhaps not!

Like a lot of longtime homeowners, people stay in their family home because they believe it is the least costly living expense. But, eventually that old house needs major repairs, which can mean large cash outlays.

What would you say if you could move to a brand new or recently updated smaller residence with less expense?
- First, determine your current monthly home expenses: i.e. gardener; heating and A/C; pool cleaner/upkeep; water and electric bill; home insurance. Some current expenses may be eliminated or significantly reduced with a smaller home. Even some condo dues include water.
- Next, pay all-cash for a smaller home or condo with the sale proceeds of your current residence. This results in no mortgage and cash leftover.
- Also, transfer your low property tax to your new residence under Props 60 and 90; no increase in tax expense.

Downsizing can be less expensive and offer the freedom from costly home upkeep on an older home. Renting a home or an apartment can further reduce your living expenses. And, when something needs fixing or replacing you simply call...the landlord.
Put Down a Deposit
There are waiting lists at some of the best Senior residences. Put down a minimal deposit so you can make a decision when a place becomes available. Otherwise, you could be waiting years to get in.
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©2019 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.