There’s a lot of talk right now about the real estate market heading toward a “double dip” -a reference to housing prices continuing to deteriorate. The latest read on home prices, released Tuesday morning, shows fresh declines in the vast majority of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, according to a story in the Los Angeles Times.
Actor and singer Carlos Pena Jr. recently purchased a Mediterranean-style home in the San Fernando Valley listed by Rodeo Realty agent Carol Wolfe. Pena is probably best known for being in the pop music band “Big Time Rush,” and playing the character Carlos Garcia on the Nickelodeon series “Big Time Rush.”
To learn more about Carlos Pena Jr. visit: http://bigtimerush.spruz.com/pt/Carlos-Pena-Jr/blog.htm
The home is set back from the road on a gated private lot. It has paver-stoned courtyard with fountain. The custom front door, which has leaded and beveled glass and side lights, opens to a two story foyer with limestone floors, a curved staircase and crystal chandelier.
(UPDATE) Actor and real estate agent, Carmen Mormino, recently booked a spot on the hit television show CSI. Attesting to his earlier statements in a Rodeo Realty Journal article about how acting and real estate compliment one another, the Westlake Village agent landed the CSI role as a result of showing a piece of property.
Todd Jones of Rodeo Realty’s Studio City office recently got his first byline in a local newspaper, The Studio City – Sherman Oaks – Encino NEWS! The whole story he wrote is below. (Note: I tried to link Facebook directly to the article, but it gave me problems -hence the cut and paste job.) To view the newspaper’s original, visit:
Very cool stuff!
Rio Vista’s Fifth Grade Music Students Experience Glee
By Todd Jones
Rio Vista Elementary’s fifth grade guitar students got a special treat in December with a very unique field trip. It wasn’t to a museum, or an aquarium, or the science center, they took a trip to Paramount Studios where they interacted and performed with the cast of the hit TV show “Glee.”
Rio Vista Elementary was the happy recipient of a guitar and recorder class provided by a non-profit called Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETMLA). Every week this non-profit teaches children in select schools the basics of music. Their mission is that each student “deserves a well-rounded education…one that includes music.”
All the teachers and instruments are provided by ETMLA at no cost to the school and their presence fills a growing void in the ever shrinking budget of the LAUSD. The field trip was hosted by Members Project® from American Express and FOX’s “Glee” cast. The students made toy guitars, shakers, and tambourines with cast members Matthew Morrison (Mr. Schuester), Mark Salling (Puck), Jenna Ushkowitz (Tina Chang), Chris Colfer (Kurt Hummel), Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), Harry Shum, Jr.,
After making crafts, the “Glee” cast members became the audience as the fifth graders rocked out with Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” In true “Glee” style, they had a choreographed routine where the guitar students were sitting on desks while the other students sang. One student even stood on a desk for a little electric guitar solo.
The “Glee” cast enjoyed their role as an audience rather than the usual one as performer; and the fifth graders certainly seemed to have a good time. The finale didn’t belong to the fifth graders, however, but rather to American Express and the Fox/”Glee” team who presented ETMLA with a $100,000 check to further their mission of bringing music to students in under-funded schools, so that children’s lives will continue to be enriched by music. It was truly a day to remember for students and actors alike.
Todd Jones is a local Realtor and father of two boys at Rio Vista Elementary, which is located in Studio City and serves the children of Studio City, Toluca Lake, and North Hollywood.
The chairman of Habitat for Humanity San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys recently presented Woodland Hills agent Todd Bernstein with a proclamation from the City of Los Angeles. The proclamation recognizes Bernstein’s work for the non-profit organization that provides homes for families in need.
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.
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
Since the economy tanked, it’s no secret banks have tightened their lending standards. Borrowers need to at least have good credit, down payment and a stable job to buy a home -a far cry from the easy money days of the real estate bubble. And that’s still no guarantee they’ll get financing.
So if a borrower has all of the above, what else could go wrong to prevent lenders from forking over the money for a home? I recently sat down with Arin Crews of L.A. Mortgage to discuss the issue. She brought up a few key red flags that she’s seeing slow down or kill deals altogether.
1. Buyers and Sellers are rushing deals. In this day and age of short sales and foreclosure sales, some buyers and real estate agents aren’t taking the time to learn about home’s major maintenance issues. And the fact is sellers aren’t always willing to pay for such repairs when push comes to shove.
Even though a buyer and seller have agreed on a sales price, lenders may back out of the deal at the last minute if issues like termites, foundation work, and others have not been addressed. Crews encourages agents and buyers to slow down and do as much homework as possible before getting too far into the deal.
2. Appraisals are coming in low. It’s still hard to tell if the residential real estate market has hit bottom in many locations. So appraisers are covering their bases, and those of lenders, by giving very conservative prices for homes. And the fact is lenders are not going to provide financing for more than the appraised price. Real estate agents should also familiarize themselves with the Home Valuation Code of Conduct.
3. Self-employed borrowers are having to prove long-term revenue. Some self-employed folks took a significant financial hit when the economy soured. Fortunately some of those same folks have rebounded and are in the market for a home.
But lenders generally look at finances over a couple year period of time. So somebody who is self employed may be making money hand over fist today and still get declined for a loan if his/her 2009 or 2008 revenues were down.
Crews said some lenders may be more lenient than others if an accountant can help show that the borrower’s other finances are in line.
4. Condominium HOAs need to be in the clear. Many lenders will not finance condo purchases in developments where the homeowners association has pending litigation.
Some of Rodeo Realty’s agents found a niche last year selling only new construction condos. Sales were strong because builders have been liquidating condos, the HOAs are clean with no defaults, and the new developments are FHA approved.
This will be the last blog entry for 2010. So it seemed fitting to ask a handful of our real estate agents about the past year and what they envision for 2011.
Kittean Little – Beverly Hills
“2011 will be a far superior year than 2010. Consumer confidence is likely to grow and trickle into the real estate market.”
Bud Mauro – Northridge
“In 2010, as in 2008 & 2009, I think most REALTORS®, were expecting the market to make a come-back; to rebound, even just a little. Something to build up some confidence in the minds of the novice Buyers. It just didn’t happen.
Of course, the seasoned veteran Buyers didn’t have that problem. The “veterans” were buying Short Sales and REO’s with 50% cash down, and in many cases, all cash. Veterans “know a deal” when they see it. The novice Buyer, not understanding the current market and fearful of market stability always seems to want to “low-ball” the Listed Price. By the time they get the message that home has gone to a veteran Buyer.
The Sellers in the 2010 market had adjusted to the current market values. They had a need to sell and respected their REALTORS® opinion of market value. The novice Buyer was not comfortable with values, whatever the price. All in all, the real estate value of average priced homes stayed quite level in 2010. Some showing a slight increase (maybe around 2%), while the higher end properties showed significant price reductions.
The market was haunted all year long by the threat of the foreclosures still to come (Shadow Inventory). That hasn’t happened. Inventory is still low. NOD filings have lessened for the time being. The threat of an over abundance of foreclosed properties is still in the mix. When they will “hit” the market is a mystery.
The nation’s housing market may be headed towards a “double dip” slump, according to a press release from Standard & Poors. The good news is home prices in Los Angeles seem to be faring better than many other major cities in the U.S.
The S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices showed home prices fell in 20 major cities in October 2010 compared to September 2010. The overall decline for the 20-City Composite was 1.3 percent. It was 1.2 percent for the 10-City Composite. Los Angeles posted a -0.7 percent drop, the fourth smallest drop of the 20 cities.
To view the full press release visit: http://www.standardandpoors.com/indices/sp-case-shiller-home-price-indices/en/us/?indexId=spusa-cashpidff–p-us—-
“The double-dip is almost here, as six cities set new lows for the period since the 2006 peaks. There is no good news in October’s report. Home prices across the country continue to fall,” said David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at Standard & Poor’s.
“The trends we have seen over the past few months have not changed,” he added. “The tax incentives are over and the national economy remained lackluster in October, the month covered by these data. Existing homes sales and housing starts have been reported for both October and November, and neither is giving any sense of optimism.”
Six markets, including Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Portland (OR), Seattle and Tampa, hit their lowest levels since home prices started to fall in 2006 and 2007. This means average home prices in those markets have fallen beyond the recent lows seen in most other markets in the spring of 2009.
The 10-City Composite posted a +0.2% annual growth rate in October, whereas the 20-City Composite was in negative territory, down 0.8% in October.
Only four major metro areas showed year-over-year home price gains in October, including Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington D.C. Los Angeles and Washington D.C. posted the largest gains, 3.3 percent and 3.7 percent respectively.