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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 2018   ·   Cynthia@RealtorRadom.com   ·   (310) 288-0479  CalRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

Warning From LA Assessor
Don't Fall Victim
LA County Assessor, Jeffrey Prang, wants to alert all property owners of increasing deed scam solicitations and misleading mailings being sent across the county. Property owners are being urged to protect their homes from theft by unauthorized changes to deeds and other legal documents, which are causing concern among residents. The warning from the Assessor includes how to best protect yourself from falling victim to identity fraud.

Given the seriousness and frequency of cyber threats and identity theft, the Assessor and the Board of Supervisors have implemented a notification system alerting property owners of any change to a deed, a deed of trust or any similar document recorded with LA County. Implemented in 2012, the law requires that the last owner of record is mailed an official notice whenever a change is recorded. This provides the lawful owner advance notice, and the opportunity to challenge changes to ownership documents.

Another alert is for fraudulent mail solicitations, designed to appear as official from the Assessor or other government agency. These mailers are asking the property owner to pay fees for information that is already available for free. These notices often contain stern warnings of fines and threats of imprisonment. An example is a "Recorded Deed Notice" charging the owner for a property assessment profile (which can be obtained for free 24-7-365). The Assessor states that free information for all property owners can be resourced by logging into this website:
Portal.Assessor.LAcounty.gov or by phoning: (213) 974-3211 during weekday business hours.

Homeowners should always be vigilant of attempts at theft that can lead to changes affecting legal documents and property ownership. Assessor Prang asks homeowners to report suspicious solicitations by contacting the fraud prevention line at: (800) 973-3370.
$1 Billion Listing  
157 acres in BHPO,  read the history.
Amateur  Oops!
A property owner tried their hand at a complete home remodel, including a $300,000 kitchen...and forgot a pantry!
Pacific Village READY  
Update on Caruso's PP project... read.
Don't Leave Without It
I received an e-mail that piqued my interest, the topic:  Avoid Probate with a Living TrustIt never ceases to amaze me how many homeowners have never created a Trust for their assets, thereby avoiding Probate. The e-mail indicated two main reasons why homeowners seem to avoid this process, based on the unknowns of:
-  what it costs to create a Trust, and
-   what a Living Trust does

Here is an excerpt from the e-mail: Just like a Will, a Living Trust spells out exactly what your desires are with regard to your assets, your dependents, and your heirs.The big difference is that a Will becomes effective only after you die and your Will has been entered into Probate. A Living Trust bypasses the costly and time-consuming process of Probate, enabling your Successor Trustee (who fills basically the same role as an Executor of a Will) to carry out your instructions as documented in your Living Trust at your death, and also if you're unable to manage your financial, legal and healthcare affairs due to incapacity. Since the process of Probate can take up to 18 months or longer, and cost heirs thousands of dollars in attorney fees, anyone with beneficiaries (and a house) should set one up.

I knew a homeowner who owned a $7M property, without a Trust. He knew that when he died his estate would go into Probate, and, if no relatives were found, the proceeds from the home sale would go into the CA coffers. He had charities and causes of personal interest where a Trust could have specified a donation to each, but still he died without. The cost to create a Trust is a relative pittance for those who believe they can't afford attorney fees. Trust forms are on the internet and a Notary can be utilized to witness the signing of the documents. There are also Senior organizations who will assist in drafting a low-cost Trust. But, these are not a substitute for using an attorney.

CA Aversion
A new report shows CA is failing to cut green house gas pollution from automobiles. One contributing factor is d ifficulty finding affordable housing near work, which means Californians (who have  an on-going aversion to public transportation)  have to drive more to their jobs.
Ten Years Ago
The U.S. financial crash of October 2008.
Winter Weed Out
No more Spring cleaning! It's time for Winter Weed OutDuring the colder and (hopefully) rainier months in CA, when you  are more apt to stay indoors, Winter is the perfect time to tackle that long ov erdue chore to banish clutter for good. Long-forgotten items jammed into closets, drawers, attics, basements, bedrooms and every other nook and cranny. Piles of expired coupons, old magazines and mail. All that stuff that is using you, instead of vice versa.

Step-by-step Process
1. Ask  family member s to remove their personal items stored in your home, or to take a family keepsake that they would ultimately inherit. Now is the time to see if they want your fine china or grandma's sterling. Set a removal deadline because "unnecessary" items will not be kept after Winter Weed Out.

2. Gather supplies: large trash bags; marking pens; adhesive labels; fold-up storage boxes and "tidy" containers. (Use containers in new ways: i.e. an over-the-door shoe holder with clear deep pockets for storing bathroom items or electronic devices and cords.)

3. One room, one area at a time. Start with a closet, a desk, a filing cabinet. Only after that room is completely clutter-free do you move on to another room.

4. Divide and conquer: 

KEEP...DONATE...TOSS, then touch each item only once. There is no "maybe" pile.

5. Help is available: Ask your house cleaner or gardener to remove heavy, filled bags and boxes; call charities to pick-up clothes, furniture, etc. If you need a project helper, hourly fee applies, click here, Takl.com, or call REALTOR Radom for referrals.


NOTE: Call, 1-800-GOT-JUNK to haul away all the unused stuff in your garage or basement, there is nothing you will miss.


Families gather at holidays and this a perfect time for everyone to pitch-in, identify and remove. Two things will warm your heart as you begin Winter Weed Out; seeing your cherished items adored by others, and the freedom of space inside your home. It's cleansing. 

Change, Not Correction
While home prices continue to rise, slightly, there is definitely a downturn in the market for sales of $1M to $5M homes .  Fewer Buyers are looking in that price range and listings are staying on market longer  when   not priced to sell .
Reviewing HOA Documents 
Purchasing a condo or any property in a planned development or other common interest subdivision requires the Buyer to thoroughly review the Homeowners Association (HOA) reports and documents as a contingency of the purchase. As part of the  Seller's responsibilities, the owner must request and provide the Buyer with an HOA package containing copies of documents, required by Law, and detailed in paragraph 16-F of the purchase agreement. T he escrow officer requests a package from the HOA management company at t he Seller's cost of  roughly $300-$400, set  by the HOA, and is  payable through escrow at the closing. The package includes: CC&R's (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions); Bylaws, Rules & Regulations; Board of Directors minutes; and Financial information to be reviewed with an appropriate professional for clear understanding. A new form, Buyer's Homeowners Association Advisory,  is now required for signature.

According to an article in the AARP Bulletin, here are items to look for when reviewing the HOA documents:
- Detailed, well-kept Board meeting minutes (the past 12 months will be provided)
- Upcoming plans for big infrastructure projects, and if funding requires an assessment
- Examine the size of reserve funds and if invested conservatively
- Review the HOA monthly fees; what is included, and expected annual increase
- Inquire if a majority of residences are owner-occupied, and the leasing policy
Also, learn about pet restrictions; any pending or anticipated lawsuits and if the subject condo or home has had any HOA insurance or damage claims by the current owner. And, ask to see the subject property's file of all repairs completed by the HOA.
Accepted, Not Sold
An issue may arise when a Buyer cancels escrow, for whatever reason, and no subsequent offers are received. The Seller needs to face reality that the property did not previously "sell" (but, only had an accepted offer) and that the asking price may be too high. Some Buyers just like to put a property on hold in escrow and continue their search.

When the listing is put back on the market, often at the same asking price, another accepted offer should occur within days. However, if the original asking price was too high, the home will linger unsold until the owner faces reality. A Seller often hesitates to lower the price because "it sold before". The proof is always in the Buyer activity and actions.

Tidbits of News
- Stay tuned, new Bev Hills condos: Mixed-use projects are in the works for former sites of the Brooks Brothers and Cartier stores on Rodeo and the Friar Club on Santa Monica Blvd.
- The current housing shortage is costing California over  $140 billion per year  in lost economic opportunity. 
- California is now the fifth biggest economy in the whole world, surpassing Britain, France, India and Russia.
- Almost 40 percent of CA residents are living in poverty or near to it, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. That's the nation's highest poverty rate.
- Four hundred residents in 48-hours sent e-mails opposing plans to build a 99-room hotel and residential project on 33-acres in BHPO at the nexus of Hutton Dr., Wanda Park Dr. and Oak Pass Rd.
- Who's building 110,000 sq. ft. of living space on an eight acre parcel in Bel Air? Apparently, the Emir of Qatar...read.
- Side note: The current longevity record is  122 years of age.
- $150 million listing, just for the dirt. It's a deal compared to the $1B site in the same area.  Read the article .  
- Beverly Hills has the most swimming pools per capita in CA with 2,481, next is Rancho Palos Verdes.
- Saga of One Beverly Hills, in case you missed the update,  read here . Here is a timeline of purchase prices for this site:
2004   $33.5 million
2007   $500 million
2010   $148 million
2014   $420 million
- June 2018, peak home selling season saw LA prices reach a new medium high, however,  the number of sales plunged 12%  as would-be Buyers are getting priced out of the CA market.
- This year LA estate sales volume, over $5 million, is on target with last year's record breaker. Americans, by far, are the Buyers for $20M+ estates.
Seller Disclosures
Another new form has been added to the multitude of paperwork when transacting a sale of real property in CA. Designed to ensure that the Seller realizes the importance of disclosures, a three-page document titled Disclosure Information Advisory (DIA) is now required for signature. The form provides information to the Seller about stipulating disclosures. Also, a warning that failure to thoroughly disclose material conditions, defects and/or known issues that might impact the value or desirability of the property, can lead to a costly lawsuit or claim. Disclose, disclose, disclose.

Most Sellers will complete the following:
- Real Estate Transfer Disclosure Statement (TDS)
- Seller Property Questionnaire (SPQ)
When a Trust is selling the property, the Successor Trustee is exempt from completing the forms, unless there is an issue that was observed or is known. For example, did anyone pass away in the home within the last three years? In this instance, an Exempt Seller Disclosure (ESD) form will be signed.

Disclosure forms should be reviewed with the assistance of your agent, but only completed by the Seller. Some advisory instructions in the DIA include:
- Do not leave any question unanswered.
- When you are unaware, the answer is "no".
- Whenever an answer is marked "yes" there is space to explain the details.
- Be specific and provide facts for each response.
- Consider issues that are not on your property, but related to a neighbor or neighborhood; noise, shared fences, etc.
- Even if you have learned to live with an issue, disclose it.
- Don't assume. For example, if you personally have not received copies of permits don't assume all workers obtained permits.

Separately, the representing agent(s) in the sale are required to complete their own visual inspection and disclosure of the property. A multi-page form titled, Agent Visual Inspection Disclosure (AVID) will be completed for the Buyer's and their inspector's review.

 My House 
Do you have a file or folder that contains receipts for major home improvements or work permits pertaining to your property? Do you still have the blueprints for your home? Time to get these important documents compiled. Gather whatever you have in one place.
Myths & Mistakes
Let's review some common myths and mistakes when selling a home:
Three Myths Dispelled
1. The property's price is set by the Seller: The home Seller is often too emotionally involved and tends to over-value their home. Ultimately, market value is based on local comparable sales and what a Buyer is willing to pay.
2. Overpricing a home results in getting a higher price: Buyers will ignore an overpriced home until the Seller becomes more realistic and reduces the asking price. This is counterproductive, and home showings will quickly stall.
3. Overpricing a property leaves extra room for negotiation: Every sale takes a willing Buyer and Seller, without either, negotiations are non-existent. Buyers do not want to insult an owner by submitting what a Seller may view as a low-ball offer. Pricing to sell, at or even below market value, generates multiple Buyers and the highest sale price obtainable.

Seven Seller Mistakes
1. Pricing a home based on feelings rather than data: Study local sales, look at listing photos and attend open houses in your area as a comparison.
2. Keeping all your stuff in the house: De-clutter prior to listing; professional staging will not result in a higher price.
3. Not bothering to spruce up your place: Appeal to human senses: visual, auditory and smell.
4. Using lackluster listing photos: Hire a professional photographer (agent pays).
5. Assuming if you just list it, they will come: Maximize exposure to the marketplace by utilizing internet sites, posting a For Sale sign and having a Buyer open house (side note: wait several days before looking at offers).
6. Being inflexible with viewing times: Keep your home in showing order at all times for last minute showings. Try not to put restraints on showing times...the brief inconvenience is valuable.
7. Immediately rejecting low-ball offers: Delve into negotiations and see where the price lands. In the interim, keep showing the home to other prospects.

A joyous, healthy 2019! Seems like we were just celebrating the Bimillennial.

 Prop 13 Proposal
A ballot initiative to remove commercial and industrial properties from Prop 13 estimates $6B to 10B annual CA income. 
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©2018 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.