Smart Home in Pacific Palisades

Home automation is growing in popularity, especially as digital technology evolves. The idea is to interconnect and remotely control electronic devices in a house,  such as lighting, air conditioning, security and other devices, from a centralized computer or Internet enabled telephone.
In its simplest form, home automation is convenient for the homeowner and cool for the tech hobbyist. He/she can do things like adjust the thermostat, or turn on music, well before arriving home. But some people also consider the technology to be a boon for energy efficiency and the whole concept of the smart energy grid. Actress Jennifer Aniston is even known for having incorporated smart home technology into her multi-million dollar California residence.

That said, Joe Babajian of Rodeo Realty and Bachir Oueida of Nelson Shelton & Associates just co-listed an 11,000 square foot architectural property in Pacific Palisades that has extensive smart home technology. You can manage  lights, media, fireplaces, AC/heat, and the home’s 12-foot Fleetwood pocket doors and screens with the touch of a finger.

The estate is on the market for $14,950,000. Joe Babajian can be reached at (310) 623-8800. Bachir Oueida can be contacted at (310) 722-7727.

3457 Knoll Drive Architectural

Here’s a really fun architectural home that Tom Otero of Rodeo Realty recently listed. Located in Lake Hollywood Knolls, the home was designed by the late Lorand West, an award winning architect who designed L.A. restaurants such as Morton’s, The Ivy and Trumps, according to the L.A. Times.

West built the house in 1959 as his personal residence. In fact, the circular roof was originally designed to be a helicopter landing pad. The next owner, Marc Christian MacGinnis, worked with his partner to add the second story on top of what was once the landing pad. They also added the Frank Lloyd Wright inspired interiors.

Check out the YouTube video. Very chic!
The two-story, 3,287 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2.75 bath mid-century contemporary has a wall of glass in the living room, city/mountain/canyon views, and a circular double-sided fireplace. The master suite’s bath has a custom shower with six heads and steam. Stainless steel, custom cabinetry, and views complete the kitchen space.
Other features include: a media/recording/entertaining room with large power viewing screen, projector, reclining theater chairs, and surround sound speakers; and an entertainer’s backyard with saltwater pool, colored fountains and multi-level large patio decks. The home is located in close proximity to five major studios.
Tom Otero of Rodeo Realty is the listing agent. The house is priced at $1,399,000.

High-end Rental Market in Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Times published a great story today about the high-end leasing market in the greater Los Angeles area. Cary Hoffman, manager of Rodeo Realty’s Encino office, and Carol Wolfe, top producing agent from the Encino office, were quoted.

The article also included photos of the home of one of Carol Wolfe’s clients, Benny Borsakian. Benny was quoted too.

Cary Hoffman

Carol Wolfe

Lease offerings priced at more than $10,000 a month were up 15% through the first part of April over the same period last year on the Combined L.A./Westside Multiple Listing Service, while those in the $7,500-to-$10,000 price range saw a 7% increase, said the L.A. Times., which specializes in luxury leases, reports that business has been brisk in Orange County as well.

Here’s one of the quotes from Cary Hoffman:

“We’re seeing increased leasing across the board — both luxury and non-luxury properties,” said Cary Hoffman, manager of Rodeo Realty’s Encino office, which has more than 70 agents and listings from the Westside to the south San Fernando Valley.

Rodeo Realty at the Beijing Real Estate Expo

Yan Yan Zhang of Rodeo Realty’s Beverly Hills office is currently in China at the 2011 Beijing Real Estate Expo.
More than 10,000 investors are expected  to attended the event. Yan Yan has a booth -complete with Rodeo Realty signage- to promote her listings and other Los Angeles area properties.
The Expo attracts vendors from more than 20 countries and regions, including the United States, Australia, Canada, Britain, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong.
YanYan advertises her properties quite a bit in Chinese publications and frequently travels to China to meet potential clients and get referrals. She also facilitates presentations both nationally and internationally on topics ranging from how to find income properties under the market, to the business of 1031 tax deferral strategies.
She speaks Chinese Mandarin fluently and attended Beijing University and the Beijing National Sports Academy. Outside of real estate, Yan Yan has worked on stage at both the Academy Awards and the American Music Awards. She can be contacted at (310) 724-7100 or

Dodsworth in Rome by Tim Egan

Tim Egan, Rodeo Realty’s graphic designer, is also a successful author and illustrator of 16 children’s books published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

He just released a new book, the fourth in his Dodsworth series, titled “Dodsworth in Rome.” The books are about the adventures and misadventures of a mouse -the title character- and his duck companion.
If you have children, or are just looking for a good chuckle, check out the books at: . You can also visit:
Here’s a cute animated short for Dodsworth. Egan did all of the artwork and digital animation.

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.

Victoria Lockwood Joins Rodeo Realty

Syd Leibovitch, president of Rodeo Realty, and Dave Osman, manager of the Beverly Hills office, are proud to announce that iconic Westside real estate agent, Victoria Lockwood, has joined the firm.
Ms. Lockwood, who is respected and admired by clients and peers alike, is an award-winning agent who has done over a billion dollars in career sales.
She has a flair for architecture and has contributed her guidance and expertise in conceptualizing and designing homes as well as participating in the construction of estate properties in Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Holmby Hills, and Beverly Hills Post Office.
Ms. Lockwood is an alumni of Syracuse University, charter founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and attended the U.C.L.A. Department of Interior and Environmental Design, to name just a few of her affiliations.
She has also worked with myriad celebrity clients over the years such as: Madonna, Michael Douglas, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Nicole Simpson, Robin Williams, Carol Burnett and Jenna Elfman. Welcome!

California Home Sales Decline in February

Following three months of sales gains, California home sales posted a weaker-than-expected performance and declined in February, according to data and a press release from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). 

Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 497,660 in February, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. 

February’s sales were down 9.0 percent from January’s revised pace of 547,080 and down 4.0 percent from the 518,390 sales pace recorded in February 2010. 

The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2011 if sales maintained the February pace throughout the year.  It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.

“With continued concerns about both the economy and housing market, consumers remain tentative moving forward with any home buying plans,” said C.A.R. President Beth L. Peerce.  “Nevertheless, current market conditions and loan rates at some of the lowest of all time continue to present attractive opportunities to those who are in a position to buy,” said Peerce.

The statewide median price of an existing, single-family detached home sold in California was $271,320, down 2.8 percent from a revised $279,140 in January and was down 2.5 percent from the $278,190 median price recorded for February 2010.  The February 2011 median price was the lowest since May 2009, when it was $263,440.

“The market pulled back in February, following three months of sales gains, when the ramifications of the robo-signing delays from last fall pushed sales into the period from November of last year to January,” said C.A.R. Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie Appleton-Young. 

“February’s sales drop indicates the effects of the foreclosure freeze are diminishing, and the market is returning to a more moderate sales pace,” she said.

Here are other highlights of C.A.R.’s resale housing report for February 2011:

  • The Unsold Inventory Index for existing, single-family detached homes was 7.3 months in February, up from 6.7 months in January 2011.  The index was 6.0 months in February 2010.  The index indicates the number of months needed to deplete the supply of homes on the market at the current sales rate. 
  • Thirty-year fixed-mortgage interest rates averaged 4.95 percent during February 2011, compared with 4.99 percent in February 2010, according to Freddie Mac. Adjustable-mortgage interest rates averaged 3.35 percent in February 2011, compared with 4.23 percent in February 2010.
  • The median number of days it took to sell a single-family home was 64.4 days in February 2011, compared with 39.2 days for the same period a year ago.

Top Residential Real Estate Firms in Los Angeles

On March 7, 2011, the Los Angeles Business Journal ran it’s list of the top Residential Real Estate Brokers in Los Angeles County. Bel Air, Calif.-based Rodeo Realty ranks as the fourth largest firm in L.A. based on sales volume for calander year 2010.

The data below shows 15 out of the 25 firms listed in the newspaper’s original publication. Data is directly from the Los Angeles Business Journal. Rodeo Realty customized the top and bottom portions of the document.

What the list does not show is that Rodeo Realty has a total of 11 offices, and more than 1,000 agents, in L.A. County and Ventura County combined. The company’s 2010 sales volume for both counties was approx. $1.8 billion

To view the Los Angeles Business Journal’s original and complete list visit:

A Short Sale Tale in Los Angeles

Danny Batsalkin
Perseverance definitely pays off for real estate agents and home buyers when trying to close on a short sale or REO deal. Just ask Danny Batsalkin of Rodeo Realty’s Beverly Hills office. He recently wrote on his blog that he closed a deal in Carthay Circle, Los Angeles after more than six months of going round and round with lenders.
The buyers -Batsalkin’s clients- originally submitted an offer on their dream home when it was listed as a short sale. The offer was accepted by the seller and submitted to the bank for review. After approx. three months, the bank finally began negotiating the short sale. The buyers were then informed the bank would likely approve their offer.
However there was a snag. The second lien holder, who was owed several hundred thousand dollars, would not cooperate in the short sale without a sizable owner contribution. The owner was not able to comply with these terms and the first lien holder was forced to foreclose on the home. This effectively wiped out the buyers’ offer.
Although the buyers were extremely disappointed, Batsalkin reassured them the house would come back on the market as a bank owned property and they would still have a chance to purchase it. He kept his eye on the property, following up with the bank almost daily. Eventually, Batsalkin found out who the new listing agent would be.

Carthay Circle Home
The buyers submitted a new offer on the property and, although there were multiple offers, the buyers prevailed and got the house.

This is an important story to keep in mind, because short sales and REO deals are a large percentage of the local residential real estate market these days.

In Southern California last month, the number of distressed sales — the combination of foreclosures and short sales — accounted for well over half of the market for previously owned properties, according to the Los Angeles Times, which sourced DataQuick.
Foreclosures made up 37.1% of the market and short sales 19.8%. Absentee buyers — mostly investors and some second-home purchasers — bought a record 26.1% of Southland homes sold in February, paying a median $198,000. Buyers who paid cash accounted for a record 31.7% of February home sales, paying a median $200,000.