Venice Eco Home by Bridgid Coulter

Interior designer and actor Bridgid Coulter has just completed construction on a newly renovated eco home in Venice, CA. Coulter runs a boutique design studio adjacent to her retail storefront where she carries a signature line of textiles, pillows, eco candles and custom furniture; along with eclectic home accessories in Santa Monica. She did all of the design work on the house.
In addition to her interior design work, Coulter appeared in a number of movies, television shows and theatre in the 1990’s; including Rosewood, Always Outnumbered (with Laurence Fishburne,) A Different World, Family Matters, and Murder She Wrote. Most recently, she will appear in an episode of the new HGTV design show called, “Design Wars” to begin airing December 2011.
She developed the eco house with the support of long term beau, actor Don Cheadle, who was nominated for an Oscar® for his performance in Hotel Rwanda, and has been in a long list of television shows and movies over the years such as Iron Man 2, Traffic, Crash, Oceans 11, Oceans 12 and Oceans 13. Cheadle also serves as UNEP Ambassador for the Environment and is committed to exploring solutions for climate change issues.
The 1,297 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2 bath single-story modern bungalow was originally built in 1953 and has been taken down to stud with responsible debris disposal and recycling methods. The eco renovation and design includes: operational clerestory windows for natural light infusion and air circulation; radiant floor heating; bamboo floors installed with “green” glues; Energy Star gourmet appliances; non VOC interior paints; an eco ethanol fireplace; Greenguard certified countertops, and all built-in cabinetry employs sustainable materials and methods that are FSC certified and do not off-gas.
The roof of the home is pre-piped for solar installation. The professionally landscaped yard includes low water use plants, drip irrigation, recycled concrete walking paths and patios, and raised planters for growing vegetables. The outside of the house uses energy efficient HardiePanel® – a sustainable siding material for buildings.
There will be a reception and discussion at the eco bungalow on Thursday, December 15th from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The event will include live music, vegetarian hors d’oeuvres and wine.  Project designer, Bridgid Coulter will be on hand to answer questions, along with architectural consultants Todd Erlandson & Nori Fukuda, construction advisor Eric Engheben, landscape designer Annie Wright, and Rhonda Payne of Rodeo Realty. The address is 2494 Glencoe Avenue in Venice, California

Rodeo Realty Voted Best Real Estate Company

The numbers are in, and Rodeo Realty was voted the “Best Real Estate Company” by readers of the Los Angeles Daily News! Here’s a snapshot of the the award we received at our corporate headquarters in Beverly Hills.

Syd Leibovitch founded Rodeo Realty in 1986. It’s now one of the largest independently owned residential real estate firms in California, with more than 1,000 agents and 11 offices in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Affiliate companies include: L.A. Mortgage, Encore Escrow and Progressive Title.
Thank you to the Daily News, readers of the Daily News, our clients and our agents and brokers!

Top Residential Real Estate Firms in the San Fernando Valley

The latest edition (July 18-31, 2011) of the San Fernando Valley Business Journal includes a special report on residential real estate and a ranking of the top residential real estate firms in the greater San Fernando Valley area.

Titled “Reviving the Housing Market,” the report includes stories about the mortgage industry, agents sounding off about the region’s housing market, real estate schools, the moving industry, and the importance of price point in selling homes.

As for the list of top firms, Rodeo Realty ranked #1 in the greater San Fernando Valley area based on sales volume in the region from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. The business journal also included some great quotes from company owner Syd Leibovitch and Rodeo Realty agent Carol Wolfe.

Here is the list of top firms.

Carmageddon and Real Estate

As real estate agents or folks buying and selling homes in the greater Los Angeles area, what are you doing for the so-called “Carmageddon” this weekend?

The apocalyptic term refers to a 10-mile section of the 405 freeway, one of the busiest stretches of pavement connecting the Westside of Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley and beyond, being closed for construction.

Sepulveda Blvd. parallels a section of the 405 freeway slated for closure this weekend. Here’s a little sample of afternoon northbound traffic on Sepulveda when the 405 freeway is open!

Will L.A. experience gridlock on a level never seen before? Or will the weekend just be a small bump in the road?

Syd Leibovitch, Rodeo Realty’s founder and owner, was quoted in a USA Today story about the closure. See the original story here:

Here’s what Leibovitch had to say.

Neighborhoods affected include super-expensive homes north of Sunset Boulevard, where prices can run $25 million to $50 million, says Syd Leibovitch, owner of Rodeo (pronounced Row-DAY-oh) Realty.

With so much money on the line, he and his agents aren’t heeding the warnings.

“We’re going to leave our offices open that weekend, and we’re just going to hope for the best,” he says. “It’s going to be a nightmare for them, but they’re still going to show (homes).”

So there you have it. For many real estate agents, life goes on as normal. And you never know, some of that diverted traffic may just end up driving by your open house.

Rodeo Realty's 25th Anniversary

For those of you who don’t already know, 2011 is Rodeo Realty’s 25th Anniversary! Here’s a snapshot of how the company began and where it’s at today.

Syd Leibovitch, founder and president of Rodeo Realty, studied economics and banking in college. He got into the real estate business at the age of 23 when he and a former college roommate were looking to make a little extra money during the summer.
After passing the California real estate licensing exam, he went on to sell four houses over the course of three weeks. By the time he was 25-years-old he was a top selling agent in the Los Angeles area. He eventually opened Paramount Properties out of his garage in 1986.
The firm was later re-named Rodeo Realty and is now one of the largest single-owner residential real estate firms in California, with more than 1,000 agents and brokers and 11 offices throughout Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Affiliate companies include L.A. Mortgage, Encore Escrow and Progressive Title.
From the beginning, Leibovitch’s mission was to give agents the support they need to succeed. So his corporate center offers advertising services; in-house print shop; in-house public relations; and access to all of the company’s offices. The firm operates its own real estate school and Leibovitch continues to be a hands-on business owner who makes himself accessible to agents.
This year has started out great! Rodeo opened the Sunset Strip office in January, ranked as the 4th largest firm in L.A. County, according to the Los Angeles Business Journal, and is placing the finishing touches on a new 13,000 square foot office on Canon Drive in Beverly Hills. Rodeo’s sales volume for 2010 was approx. $1.8 billion.
Rodeo and its agents are regularly featured in the Los Angeles Times, E! News, OpenHouse LA and other media outlets. Leibovitch, and the firm as a whole, is a trusted source of information for news reporters nationwide. The best part is that there’s plenty more exciting news to come.

Professional vs. Amateur Photos of Real Estate Agents

It’s ironic, because there are real estate professionals out there who are camera shy.

They are marketing geniuses who can sell a client’s home for a profit in the worst of times, and help clients buy homes for a steal in the best of times. Yet they post sub-par images of themselves on professional social networking sites and marketing material.

So just for fun, and using myself as an example, I want to talk about the difference between amateur and professional personal photos. 

Professional photo


Amateur photo


The photo on the left was taken by a friend on a decent quality digital camera. Cost: Free. Many professionals, even high-level executives in real estate and other businesses, only have this type of image on file.

The one on the right is a professional shot. About a year ago, I spent a couple hours with a fashion photographer. I wanted images that were different from those taken by portrait studios, and ones that could be used for professional and social networking purposes.

Cost: $200 for five different shots in different locations. This is just one.

Now if you were looking to sell your multi-million dollar home, which photo is a better piece of marketing material for the agent? (Just to be clear, I am not a real estate agent. I am just using my photos as examples.)

Personally, I think the professional shot is better. It shows the agent invested in quality versus settling for convenience.

You might be one of those people who relies on “friend shots,” and ticked off at this subject right about now. But the point is not to knock your value as a real estate agent. You might just be camera shy and have overlooked upgrading your personal photos.

Ironically, I’m a publicist who did the same thing for a long time. One day a friend recommended paying for a formal photo shoot. I agreed and was blown away by the results. The photographer brought out multiple sides to my look, personality and professionalism that I never expected.

Those photos have more than paid for themselves.

Investing in quality photos is a way to put your best foot forward in everything from marketing a home to marketing yourself. And one of these days you might be interviewed by a local newspaper about the real estate industry. Wouldn’t it be nice to send the reporter a photo that shines?

By Eric Billingsley

Rodeo Realty Celebrates the Holidays in Style

Rodeo Realty’s 2010 holiday party took place on Saturday, December 18th at the Sheraton Universal in Universal City. What a blast! More than 700 agents, brokers, employees and guests attended decked out in their finest holiday attire.

The five hour event included an open bar, dinner, a few words from Rodeo’s founder and president Syd Leibovitch, and lots of dancing. It was a great way to wind down 2010 and start looking forward to great things in 2011!

Here are some photos from the party. Wish I could have included ones of everybody, but this will at least give you a taste of the festivities and hopefully a few chuckles.

Rodeo Realty Secures Space for New Sunset Strip Office

Rodeo Realty is moving forward with plans to open a new office on the iconic Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.
The company recently leased an approximately 9,000 square foot office space at 9200 W. Sunset Blvd., Suite 200.
The zip code is 90069 and the office building is located at the intersection of Sunset and Cory Ave. Sotheby’s International and DBL Realtors used to occupy the same space.
Rodeo is currently building-out the office and plans to have it up and running by mid January. The branch will house approx. 100 agents and is the company’s second Westside location -the other being located in Beverly Hills.

Fred Henry, who joined Rodeo Realty to manage the new branch, said the Sunset location is in close proximity to the Beverly Hills office. It’s a fabulous building with great exposure and amenities. The location also gives agents easy access to Westside communities and clients in the entertainment industry.

Leslie Appleton-Young Gives California Market Update for 2011

Leslie Appleton-Young, chief economist for the California Association of Realtors, gave her 2011 California Market Update today (December 8th) at the ArcLight Cinema in Sherman Oaks. More than 150 Rodeo Realty agents and employees attended the event.
The short version of her presentation on what’s to come for the economy next year: “We’re kind of stuck and there’s not strong momemtum to make 2011 much different,” said Appleton-Young.
The economy is recovering, she said. But high unemployment is preventing the recovery from gaining momentum. Consumer confidence is bouncing along at a lackluster rate. Consumer spending remains quite low. And while inflation isn’t much of an issue today, it may be a bigger issue in the future.
Fixing California’s financial problems is also likely to involve more layoffs in the state.
There continues to be a disconnect between high-end list prices and sales prices, she said. Some high-end markets, such as Malibu and Beverly Hills, have supplies in excess of 10 months. Inventory is tighter in some of the lower-end markets.
Short sales are closing, but banks need to do more to speed up the process, said Appleton-Young. And distressed properties will continue to play a large roll in many markets. Agents need to understand what type of market they’re working in, either a distressed one or others. 

The median home price in California is forecast to increase 2 percent, according to Appleton-Young.

She encouraged agents to leverage technology in the coming year, and get involved in the issues. A few of her reading recommendations for 2011 include: “Crisis Economics” by Nouriel Roubini; “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hsieh; “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath; “Linchpin” by Seth Godin; and “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis.
To see Appleton-Young’s slides from the presentation, visit the following link. Please be patient, because it takes about a minute for the presentation to open:

Protecting the Mortgage Interest Deduction

If you haven’t seen it already, the National Association of Realtors has issued a Call for Action to protect the mortgage interest deduction. 

The California Association of Realtors web site says the President’s Deficit Reduction Commission has released preliminary recommendations to change how the country spends money and collects taxes. One of its provisions calls for dramatically limiting the mortgage interest deduction.

NAR has issued a Call-for-Action and is asking all REALTORS® to call their members of Congress and urge him or her to preserve the MID. As the housing market continues to recover from the worst financial crisis in recent history, any change that reduces the ability of the market to heal is misguided and must be rejected.

Please contact your member of Congress today. When you connect to NAR’s Action Center, enter your name, e-mail address, and your phone number. NAR’s phone system will immediately contact that phone number. You will hear some brief talking points and then be connected to your representative’s office. It’s a quick and easy call. Please make it today.

More info:

Here’s a link to CAR’s web site: