Greg Germann Leases Home in Santa Monica

Lauren Beale of the L.A. Times included one of Ian L. Brooks’ listings in Hot Properties last week. Here’s what she had to say:

Actor Greg Germann, who starred on “Ally McBeal,” has leased a home in Santa Monica that had been listed for sale at $1.7 million. The lease price was not available.
The Cape Cod-inspired house includes high ceilings, skylights, balconies, terraces and a master bedroom with coved ceilings, a fireplace and dual closets. There are four bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Germann, 52, played Richard Fish in “Ally McBeal” from 1997 to 2002 and starred on “In Case of Emergency” (2007). Since then he has appeared on “Medium” (2010), “Ghost Whisperer” (2009), “CSI: NY” (2009) and other shows, as well as in the Broadway play ” Boeing-Boeing.”
Ian L. Brooks of Rodeo Realty was the listing agent and handled the lease transaction.

Home Once Owned by Elton John, Joan Collins and Christine McVie

This gated and private East Coast traditional view estate is located in the star-studded Crest Streets of Beverly Hills. Not surprisingly, the home has a long list of former celebrity owners including: Christine McVie of the rock band Fleetwood Mac, Joan Collins, and Elton John.

The estate is on more than ¾ acres of lush, park-like grounds. A large motor court entry leads to a majestic home that features flagstone exterior and slate roof.

Interiors are elegant and comfortable, with wood floors and wonderful spaces for entertaining. The living room features a marble fireplace and French doors that lead to a covered patio overlooking the landscaped grounds and breathtaking city, mountain and ocean views.
The formal dining room also features French doors that open to a fragrant rose garden. The centerpiece of the home is a gourmet kitchen with center island, breakfast area, pine cabinets, exposed beam ceiling and top of the line commercial stainless steel appliances. An adjacent family/media room with oversized fireplace and built-in bookcase plus separate den/office with fireplace are also featured.
The master suite offers tranquil city and ocean views, an oversized fireplace and a gorgeous master bath with dual sinks, spa tub and steam shower with ocean view. Three additional bedroom suites complete the interiors. The lush and verdant grounds include several flat grassy areas, a swimmers pool, sun deck and pond with shady gazebo.
Joe Babajian of Rodeo Realty and Judy Cycon of Prudential California Realty are co-listing the property. The price is $7.45 million. For more information visit:

Ben Salem and Cash for Keys Transactions

Ben Salem of Rodeo Realty’s Sherman Oaks office just returned from the 2010 CoreLogic® Vendor/Broker Conference in Orlando (formerly First American) called “Insights for Success,” where he was asked to lead an educational panel on REO evictions and best practices. Here’s what Salem had to say about the experience and another upcoming speaking engagement:
“This was an amazingly insightful conference, packed with three days of educational tracks covering a wide range of vital issues involving BPOs, REO servicing, and field services. I know attendees, myself included, took away some valuable ideas and advice on what to expect from our clients and how to employ best practices in evictions. Of course it also gave us all an opportunity to network with our industry colleagues.
My panel, titled “Evictions—Avoid Costly Delays and Penalties,” allowed me the opportunity to share my experience and ideas on how to negotiate a successful cash for keys with compassion, while avoiding delays and other costly issues that can impact a servicers’ bottom line. We had a fantastic turnout.
Through a comprehensive overview of the evictions process my goal was to offer REO agents a unique perspective on how to handle this most delicate aspect of any foreclosure and effectively complete cash for keys transactions. We focused on borrowers rights; the difference between personal property and debris; techniques for occupancy determination; and how to break the ice with occupants.
Next month I’ll be speaking at the Five Star Default Servicing Conference and Expo (Sept. 21) in Dallas. I will be presenting another educational session on the do’s and don’ts when negotiating cash for keys transactions and dealing with not-so-welcome occupants. Former first lady Laura Bush will serve as one of several distinguished keynote speakers, and I can’t tell you how excited I am about this upcoming industry event!
Ben Salem Properties and the Elite REO Team continue to think outside the box when it comes to innovative ways to help our clients manage and move their properties in the most efficient amount of time with the least amount of complications and for the best price possible.
Educating other REO agents on how to provide compassionate relocation assistance to struggling homeowners as we serve our clients goals is part of our commitment to excellence and to our community.”

Marketing Celebrity Homes

Talk to Todd Jones of Rodeo Realty’s Studio City office if you’ve ever questioned whether or not to promote the fact that one of your real estate listings, or purchases, involves celebrities.
Jones is currently representing soap opera star Katherine Kelly Lang, and husband Alex D’Andrea, in the sale of their home in Sherman Oaks. The 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 3,410 square foot abode is listed at $1.449 million.
The house was featured last week in the Los Angeles Times, and Curbed LA blogged about the listing and posted a direct link to Jones’ web site. The property was also featured on news sites throughout the United States.
Note: All of this press was garnered without revealing the property address. The celebrity couple still lives in the home and requested the address remain confidential. News outlets are generally cooperative with privacy matters like this.
Jones used Google Analytics to track the amount of visitors to his web site. All of the press led to 550 more hits than usual. He said the Curbed LA mention probably contributed the most since it provided a direct link to his site. Jones’ name also appeared on the Web and in the Saturday print edition of the L.A. Times.
He said the publicity keeps the seller happy, because he’s able to show another one of Rodeo Realty’s strengths and capabilities. Follow-up from the exposure –meaning whether or not it leads to showings and an eventual sale- will also be a good indicator of whether the home is priced right.
Public relations is just one element of Jones’ overall marketing strategy for this home. The fact that he had a web site for the property gave readers a place to “land” and a way for him to track the numbers. Jones’ name appearing in the news is also a plus for landing clients in the future.
Of course, as real estate agents you need to respect the privacy and wishes of celebrity clients. And if confidentiality agreements are in place, you cannot break those agreements. But if celebrity clients are open to using their names to help sell the home, it can give your marketing efforts a significant boost.

Eric Billingsley, Publicist, Rodeo Realty

Katherine Kelly Lang Selling Home in Sherman Oaks

Soap star Katherine Kelly Lang, who has played Brooke Logan Forrester on CBS’s the “Bold and the Beautiful” since 1987, and husband, entertainment industry executive Alex D’Andrea, have listed their Sherman Oaks home.

The South of the Blvd. abode blends warmth, charm and impeccable designer interiors. It has 3,410 square feet of living space, 5 bedrooms and 3 baths. Soaring ceilings, wood floors, fireplace, and a 7’ built-in wine rack are just a few of the home’s perks.

The generous master suite includes a spa tub, separate shower and walk-in closet. The backyard boasts a basketball goal, lush landscaping, viewing area, and even a putting green.

Lang and D’Andrea’s home is situated in the Dixie Canyon Elementary boundaries and close to many prestigious private schools. The house is priced at $1.449 million and Todd Jones of Rodeo Realty is the listing agent.

For more information visit:

Kenny Roger's Former Home On the Market

Lauren Case and Stefani Porter of Rodeo’s Woodland Hills office are co-listing the former home of country music icon Kenny Rogers. The 3,147 square foot Spanish Hacienda hideaway is on more than an acre of land in the Mulholland Scenic Corridor. Apparently Kenny Rogers was the home’s first owner back in the late 1970s.
Designed for indoor/outdoor living, the home has numerous French doors opening to pergola covered patios featuring a built-in BBQ grill, a large swimmer’s pool and spa, a putting green, flat lawns and mature landscaping.
Close to hiking, bike trails and urban areas, the multi-level 4 bedroom, 3 bath residence has sweeping mountain views from bedroom verandas, custom plaster walls, carved wood & iron entry door, tall ceilings, wood beams, skylights, and imported French stone & tile accents.

The chef’s kitchen has a large custom built eat-in granite table large enough to seat six with wood cabinetry and wine rack beneath, granite counters, Sub Zero fridge, and Viking range with grill. For more information contact Lauren at (818) 974-8722 or Stefani at (818) 999-2030. You can also visit the listings section of

Renewing Your Real Estate License

The “Broker’s Corner” contains information on current issues regarding the Department of Real Estate, National Association of REALTORS, California Association of REALTORS and legislative activity affecting our industry.
By Ken Davis of Rodeo Realty
I would like to address procedures for renewing your real estate license. The DRE provides two methods for renewing your license, whether it be a Salesperson’s or Broker’s license.
The first is sending paper documents by mail. Assuming 3-5 days for the post office to deliver, and 3-5 days for the DRE to log it in and cash your check or charge your credit card, you can expect at least 6-10 days before you have any evidence the DRE has acknowledged your renewal application and accepted your payment.
If you have 2-3 months before your license expires, you probably will not experience the stress of your license expiring on the DRE website. Or maybe you will. The DRE is generally running 45-60 days late in processing mail-in renewals.
If your license expires, the DRE requires your broker to sever you from Rodeo Realty, until proof of renewal is provided. The DRE forbids you from practicing your profession while your license is expired. This is not something any of us want to face.
The second method is “E-Licensing”. You simply file the same information you would have submitted by mail, but you do it on-line. When you complete the on-line form, you fill out a credit card payment authorization and click the submit button.
If you have a broker’s license, you are finished. If you have a salesperson’s license your broker is immediately notified by e-mail that your renewal has been submitted electronically. Your broker logs into the DRE e-licensing page and acknowledges the submission. In a nanosecond, your license expiration date is advanced four years and you and your broker can go on to more important things.
The moral of the story is, if at all possible, please use E-Licensing to renew your license. It will save you stress and make your broker smile!

Pricing a Home Competitively: Rodeo Realty Agents Share Thoughts

In the current housing market, sellers are trying to make up for lost ground from the housing bubble burst, and buyers are trying to snatch up properties for rock-bottom prices. Both are understandable positions to take.
But how do you get the former to list their homes at competitive prices and the latter to make realistic offers? Here are a few thoughts from Rodeo Realty agents.
Ron Tanzman of Rodeo Realty’s Calabasas office said it’s important to suss out the educated versus unrealistic buyers and sellers.
For the “unrealistic” ones, find out how they came up with their numbers. Are they basing those numbers on pure emotion, desire to make up for lost ground in the economy or what?
Tanzman said in most cases he can get buyers to list at a competitive price by simply showing them comparables in the area. If not, he pulls the “Sale or sit close” – e.g. If it’s priced at X amount you can plan on selling. If it’s priced at Y you can plan on sitting on the home.
Homes in the under $500,000 segment are netting multiple offers when priced right, he said. Those in the $700,000+ are moving when priced competitively. Otherwise, they may sit for five or six months and go through multiple price reductions.
For buyers, “winning” is often more of the objective than price alone. So Tanzman points out multiple ways they can win right now. Historically low mortgage rates and the benefits of home ownership are a couple examples. If they’re still not willing to budge from an unreasonable offer, and that offer isn’t gaining traction with the seller, it might be time to show them another property.
Denise Nelan of Rodeo’s Studio City office said one of the hardest factors to contend with is buyers and sellers thinking they know about real estate. Unfortunately, many get their information from friends or web sites that are out of touch with specific market realities.
She stresses comparable sales in the area. When dealing with a buyer who’s asking for everything under the sun during the negotiation, she also may ask them to put themselves in the shoes of the seller.
Nelan recalls one multiple offer scenario where a buyer asked the seller to “pay for any and all repairs.” Needless to say, the vagueness and potentially expensive nature of that statement didn’t go over so well.
Agents have to learn to count to 10, take a breath, and write or lose offers until they get the one that sticks, said Nelan. Sometimes you also have to know when to pull back. Agent’s communication skills are certainly being put to the test right now, she added.
Scott Cort of Rodeo’s Beverly Hills office lists properties ranging from $600,000 to $13 million. Despite money being dirt cheap right now, there has been very little activity on some of his listings – a fact he chalks up to some sellers not being willing to drop their prices.
In contrast, he recently listed a short sale property for $699,000 (Mind you, all of his properties are A-A+) That listing netted more activity than some of his others combined
Cort said you have to be realistic with sellers up-front and have a lot of patience.
He draws up Excel spreadsheets for sellers and lets the comparables speak for themselves. In one case where a seller was asking too much for a property, it took a month of e-mailing back and forth for the seller to digest the realistic asking price. He finally came to terms with reality and dropped the price.

By Eric Billingsley, publicist, Rodeo Realty

Bob Mackie's Former Beverly Hills Home

bob mackie house

Rodeo Realty’s Joe Babajian is listing the former Beverly Hills abode of fashion designer Bob Mackie. It is located in the desirable “Crest” streets in prime BHPO. Recently renovated designer interiors include: a dramatic living room with fireplace and 12’ ceiling; showroom-quality kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances that opens into a family room; formal dining room; and separate office. The master suite features a sitting room, dual closets and master bath with spa tub. There are four other bedrooms including a staff room with separate entry. Floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the house provide plenty of natural light and prime views of the city. Other features include wood floors, integrated audio visual system and security system. And the grounds? The property is on a street-to-street lot that offers a tranquil and private setting. It also has a large patio and fire pit for entertaining. List price: $2,695,000. See more at:

High-end Home Sales Up

June 2010 was a great month for Rodeo Realty, said Syd Leibovitch, founder and president of the company. The number of sales and total production were good for all levels. And most striking was the number of sales for homes in the $1 million and more category.
High-end sales in 2010 versus 2009 are up significantly, he said, and several homes have sold in the $6 million plus range. These are great signs, because this segment of the market wasn’t very active from mid 2008 to the beginning of 2010.
The California Association of Realtors reported the median price of an existing home in California in May 2010 increased 23.2 percent from May 2009. But Leibovitch said it’s obvious those increases are not sustainable.
Although sales have been moving along at record levels, there’s a bit of grumbling about sales slowing down slightly in the mid-range segment.
With a bit of research it’s evident that listing prices are much higher than previous sales, he said. This might have worked last year when prices were increasing quickly, but it’s not going to work now that prices seem to be leveling off.
As the market stabilizes, listing prices need to be closer to sales prices. The ones who push list prices are the ones who will end up sitting on their homes.