Thursday, January 31, 2008


Well, Peeps, today I bring you the sad tale of a little house that is being put on the market for $2,500 less than what the owner paid for it back in January of 2005. That's right: 3 YEARS AGO.

5762 ANDASOL AVENUE, Encino, CA 91316
MLS #: F1752098

Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2.5
Square Feet: 1,909
Lot Size: 5,550 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 2005

Listing Date: 01/29/08
List Price: $770,000

Last Sale: 01/04/05
Sales Price: $772,500

Zestimate™ $771,500

Based on List Price: $403
Based on Zestimate™: $404
Sold Homes: $329

Here's the sad part: it won't sell for that price. Uh-uh. See, this little house is North of Burbank Boulevard. It's worth maybe $600k right now. Maybe. Woe is this house.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another Reason Property Shark Rocks

There's an REO in Fashion Square that caught my eye this morning. So I looked it up and found some surprising things. First, let's look at the listing:

14656 HUSTON STREET, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
MLS #: F1747738
(Photo not yet available)

Bedrooms: 4
Baths: 2
Square Feet: 1,843
Lot Size: 6,000 Sq. Ft.
Listing Date: 12/27/07
Price Reduced: 01/24/08 -- $729,900 to $709,900

But here's the part that got me wondering. Accoring to Zillow, this house is valued at $807,000 and was last purchased in September of 2001 for $270,000. Crazy, right? I mean how does a house that was purchased in 2001 for about a quarter of a million dollars get foreclosed when it's worth about three times that value today?

So I consulted with my excellent friends at Proptery Shark. And I noticed that they have added mortgage information to their site. Uh huh. That's right. Now you can look up mortgages. Supercrazyfantastic! So Property Shark tells me that this house was actually sold a couple of times since that 2001 transaction. Behold:

Last Sale: 4/3/2007
Sale price: $647,743
Buyer: Homecomings Financial LLC
Seller: California Reconveyance

Prior Sale: 12/21/2005
Sale price: $0 (How did it get recorded as zero when there is a mortgage? Hmmm.)
Buyer: Kayode Akinrele
Seller: Fortress Real
First mortgage: $595,000Variable Rate (Washington Mutual)
Second mortgage: $170,000Variable Rate(Washington Mutual)

Prior Sale: 9/18/2001
Sale price: $270,000
Buyer: Fortress Real
Seller: Dianne Kretchmar Estate
First mortgage: $243,000Conventional Mortgage Variable Rate(Impac Lending Group)
Second mortgage: none (Ah, the good old days.)

That $0 dollar transaction (that really was closer to a three-quarter of a milion dollar 100% financing transaction) is a bit of a puzzler. Something tells me it's not just a typographical error. I'm sure the reasons will come to light eventually.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Notice the Tell-Tale Dead Lawn...

UPDATE: Just 15 days on the market and already a $10k price reduction:

Price Reduced: 01/30/08 -- $694,900 to $683,900

Here's an REO for y'all. I know how you love those! Owner paid $850k for this heap last May. And, gee wiz, he's already out! Can you say "fraud"? I knew you could!

Bank is trying to unload it at a whopping $150k discount. But good luck with that. No matter what Zillow currently says, this North of the 101 tract house won't be worth anywhere near $700k for many many years, if ever.

5324 GOODLAND AVENUE, Valley Village, CA 91607
MLS #: B2102379

Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2.5
Square Feet: 1,442
Lot Size: 6,337 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1956
Listing Date: 01/16/08
List Price: $694,900

Last Sale: 05/01/06
Sales Price: $850,000

Zestimate $748,000

Based on List Price: $482
(How many times do I need to tell people they need to price at or below $400/sq.ft.?)
Based on Zestimate™: $519
Sold Homes: $435

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Eat at Nick's!

Located just East of the corner of Moorpark and Tujunga at
11334 Moorpark St., Studio City
Call (818) 760-3890 for reservations
Lunch -- Tuesday - Friday -- 11:30 - 2:30
Dinner -- Tuesday - Sunday -- 5:30 - 9:30
Brunch -- Sunday -- 10:00 - 5:30

I just visited Nick's Grill in Studio City for the first time. It's fantastic! Sure, the Zen-like atmosphere is not what you expect for a grill but it's cozy. And the veal scallopini was amazing. If veal isn't your thing, they also have burgers and salads. This isn't really a vegetarian restaurant (duh. It's a grill.) so I wouldn't personally order a garden burger but they do offer one if you insist.

The wine list included several of my favorites by the glass so that always makes me very happy. If you like Maxx, Boneyard Bistro, Spark, and LaLoggia, I highly recommend you give Nick's a try. Feel free to add your favorite neighborhood (assuming YOUR neighborhood equals MY neighborhood) to the comments section.

Los Angeles Trustee Sales

I'm in a bit of a rush so I can't do a big post right now. But I wanted y'all to get your hot little hands on these new charts from our good friends at Property Shark. I hope to update later...

(Click to enlarge any image)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Brittany's Realtor

Y'all know that both Brit and K-Fed are my neighbors. Brit lives in Studio City and K-Fed in Tarzana. So, when I see Brit wearing a Realtor's t-shirt, I have questions. Not the least of which is: "Why would you wear that lame t-shirt?"

But also: "Who is Rogers Healy?" I've never heard of them. I googled them, and they seem to be based in Texas. Is Brit moving to Texas? Hmmm.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

For my condo shopping friends...

(Click to enlarge image)

There were several condos for sale on Ventura Canyon Avenue recently so I looked up one that appeared to sell. It was a 1,600 sq.ft. 2 bed/2.5 bath with one of those granite + stainless kitchens. It sold for $530k. Which is not too big of a surprise...

Until you realize that the identical unit next door sold for $610k in February 2006 (a 13% decline over two years). And the slightly bigger unit on the other side of it (1,700 sq.ft.) sold for a whopping $680k in July 2005. The graph above illustrates the sales on the $680k unit. Anybody wanna bet these units will be available in the $300k range by this time next year?

Check it out for yourself on Zillow.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

More on cutbacks...

Of the 90,000 mortgage jobs lost in 2007...nearly 16,000 were in California. Read about it here.

Th-th-th-that's All Folks!

I guess I was wrong when I predicted the WGA strike wouldn't really affect the local housing market. I figured that working writers weren't generally living paycheck to paycheck and non-working writers were either renters not affected by the strike anyway (since they weren't working in the first place). I also figured that the it would be over before there were too many casualties.

Well, color me wrong because there will be up to 1,000 layoffs at Warner Brothers due to the WGA strike. (And this isn't the first round).

Check it out at The Hollywood Reporter and Huffington Post.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ode to NotMartha.Org

At NotMartha you can get an update of what's shaking with Megan and, being the unimaginitve creature I am, I figured I'd do the same thing here on Fridays. Or maybe one Friday a month. Or until I fall behind. Or just get bored with it. Anyhoo, here goes:


Lordy, I know some of you are likely to let loose in the comment section all over poor Al. But, say what you will, the man's led an interesting life and I want to know what he thinks.


"Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants" Carson is so fabulous plus one of the mom's has had so much facial surgery that she can't close her eyes. What? I am not ashamed to watch trash on TV. I've got nothing to prove.


I love Ira Glass. And you can download or stream past episodes for free! Especially interesting is the episode about people pooping in retail stores. Yup.

eating... Fruit. New Year's resolution and all.


Yeah. I'm busy with dancing. Not 'Dirty Dancing' and not dancing with E. Just dancing.


I'm wanting a certain Doodle to have a bath. Let's just say she's ready.

Don't make me smack you, Bevis Beavis!

UPDATE: See new reduced list price & Zestimate below.

I am having trouble coming up with the words to properly illustrate my frustration with Valley home sellers. First off, what part of this phrase is hard for you to understand: "Valley home sales FROZEN"? Either you want to sell your damn house or you don't. If you want to, you MUST price it below $400/sq.ft. and even that is not promising. So please stop clogging up the MLS with your delusion. Delusion like this:

4252 SUNNYSLOPE AVENUE, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423
(MLS #: F1748066)

Bedrooms: 2
Baths: 2
Square Feet: 1,136
Lot Size: 5,562 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1947
Listing Date: 01/02/08
Price Reduced: 01/30/08 -- $829,000 to $799,000
Zestimate™ $714,417 $649,000 D'oh!
Based on List Price: $730/sq.ft. $703/sq.ft.
Based on Zestimate™:$629 $571/sq.ft.
Sold Homes: $390/sq.ft.

Now, please focus on what I am going to tell you. Ready? I really need you to focus! Here goes:

Your house will NOT sell for $700/sq.ft. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not this year. Not next year. Not the year after. And not the bloody year after that either!

Do you want the magic sales price? $443k.

Too bad you paid $675k back in '05. You don't have an ice-cube's chance in hell of getting that back.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

MLS Photos of the Week!

We haven't done the MLS POTW for quite some time so I did some digging around and came across a house on (be still my heart!) June Street in Hancock Park. This is a house with great bones built back in 1925. Apparently, somebody outlived her husband and then decorated the house just exactly as she saw fit! Behold:

629 S JUNE ST, Los Angeles, CA 90005 (MLS #07_222897)

List Price: $4.2M
Bedrooms: 5
Baths: 4.5
Square Feet: 6,056 (!)
Lot Size: 24,000 Sq. Ft.

Seriously. Somebody loves her some aqua blue.

Nothing compliments flocked foil wallpaper like a pink velvet fainting couch. Am I right?

The extensive use of floral motifs throughout this home can only be described as man repellent.

The bedspread, the shams, the headboard, the curtains, the valence: all floral. I can't tell from the photo, but I it looks like there are two teddy bears on that chair in the corner that are also floral. The lampshades remind you of petticoats, no?

And finally, there's this room. I have no idea why there are two giant banquets facing each other like that. It's the kind of thing you expect at a bowling alley. Same goes for the linoleum floors and blonde wood paneling. And is that a bar in the lower right hand corner? I imagine this was where her husband (god rest his soul!) once entertained his man friends. What else could explain all those stain resistant finishes?

Revisiting Contour Drive

Back in July I was looking at some houses on Contour Drive. (See Prior post at L.A. Land). It's been about six months, so I thought we should see what happened to those four houses and guess what? One sold, one is for rent and two have been relisted at reduced (but not far enough!) prices. It seems like if you want your house to sell on Contour Drive, it needs to be priced below $400/ sq. ft. But, hey, if you think you can get over $700/sq.ft. (you'll see what I mean below) then ... umm... good luck with that!

13507 Contour Dr. (MLS #: F1719868 )

Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2.5
Square Feet: 2,038
Lot Size: 4,994 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1952
Last Sale: 4/21/2005 at $1.026M ($503.43 / sq.ft.)
Listing Date: 06/14/07 at $1.149M ($563.78 / sq.ft. )
Zestimate: 01/02/08 at $1,155,096 ($566.78/ sq.ft.)


13545* Contour Dr. (MLS # FR2055214 & F1732673)

* also known as 13547 as this is a consolidated double lot.
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 4
Square Feet: 2,820
Lot Size: 12,088 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1979
Last Sale: No Record
Listing Date: July 2007 (?)
Price Reduced: 07/23/07 -- $1.599M to $1.495M
Price Reduced: 09/03/07 -- $1.495M to $1.349M ($478.37/ sq.ft.)
Zestimate as of 01/02/08: $1,195,825 ($424.05/ sq.ft.)


13553 Contour Dr. (MLS # F1722523)

Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 3.5
Square Feet: 2,300
Lot Size: 6,650 Sq. Ft.
Yr Built: 1951
Last Sale: No Record
Listing Date: July 2007(?)
Price Reduced: 07/12/07 -- $1.025M to $950k
Price Reduced: 09/05/07 -- $950k to $895k ($389.13/ sq.ft.)
Zestimate as of 01/02/08: $853,397 ($371.04/sq.ft.)

STATUS: SOLD 11/29/2007 for $755,000 ($336.96/sq.ft.)

13566 Contour Dr. (MLS # 07_215347 & F1732137)

Bedrooms: 3
Baths: 2
Square Feet: 1,500
Lot Size: 7,270 Sq. Ft.
Year Built: 1955
Last Sale: 02/01/2007 at$845k ($563.33/sq.ft.)
Price Reduced: 08/29/07 --$1.169M ($779/sq.ft.) to $1.099M ($732/sq. ft. )
Price Reduced: 01/10/08 -- $1.099M ($732/sq.ft.) to $1.075M ($716/sq. ft. )
Zestimate as of 01/02/08: $692,296 ($461.53/sq.ft.)