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How to Sell your Home for Top Dollar…During a Pandemic!

Interested in how to sell your home for top dollar during a pandemic?  In order to do so you have to understand a few things about the way that the concept of a “home” has changed as a result of the pandemic.   Before the widespread shutdown of just about everything, you – like most Southern Californians – probably spent a great deal of time outside the house.  Commuting to work, dropping off kids at school, going to the gym, going out to dinner, attending concerts…all of these things pulled us out and away from the few odd bedrooms and baths we returned to at the end of the day.  And then Covid happened.

Overnight people needed their homes to stand in as a substitute for all those things that used to take place outside.  From gym, to restaurant, from home office to playground here are a list of things you can highlight to make your home “HOT” in eyes of the new market.

  1. Top Notch Media and Marketing – Unbelievable video and photos are the new curb appeal.  Gone are the days of open houses.  Instead, buyers are relying on how well your property is presented online.  This means professional photographs with drone shots, and stabilizers, compelling story-based videos, floor plans, and high end 3D interactive tours of the home.  Once these things are created, there is an entirely separate necessity: the know how to market these things online, so that anyone in the market to buy a home like yours will see them.

2.  Home Gym – Remember the days of waking up before the sun, and taking a Zumba group class, or pumping iron at the corner gym.  Those days are gone.  24 hour fitness just filed for bankruptcy, and countless small private gyms are struggling.  The need to exercise didn’t disappear though.  When selling your place, set up a space that is clearly delineated as a home gym.  You don’t necessarily need a dedicated room, but defined space in the corner of a garage, or family room with a gym mat, or some weights and swiss ball will go a long way.

3. Home Office –  Working from home is the new normal.  If you have a guest bedroom you never use, consider putting the bed in storage, and bringing in a desk, and filing cabinet.  A nice blank wall for a Zoom backdrop, and a printer with phone, and strong wifi.  A room beyond the standard bedroom count can be a valuable asset, distinguishing your home from all the others on the market.

4. Kitchens – Although kitchens have always topped the average buyer’s list of wants/needs, now more than ever before they make a home more desirable.  There are very few places in LA County where you can go out for a meal anymore.  People are taking their sense of culinary adventure to YouTube, and Cooking Shows, and recreating those events at home.  A kitchen that allows for multiple people to cook comfortably together, or has easy access to the rest of the family is the new Spago. Accentuate what you have, or make small changes that show off your kitchen’s “chef-factor.”

5. Outdoor Space  – These days, the more yard you have the better.  People are getting into gardening, working out under the sky, and if you want to entertain, a comfortable outdoor space is a must.  Show off the possibility for socially distanced socializing by setting up things like fire pits, outdoor speakers, small decks, and patio furniture.

6. ADUs – The Accessory Dwelling Unit is one of the most desirable features a property can have today. A separate space on one’s property can serve as anything from the list above.  A quiet, clean spot for working, exercising, meditating, or just about anything your imagination can come up with is in more demand than ever.  Even prefabricated sheds with a finished interior, insulation and electricity are bringing multiple offers from buyers looking for more space, and the feeling of getting away, even if for a few hours during the day.

These are some things I keep hearing about from clients. And whereas in the past they considered them luxuries, today they are considered essential.  Thinking about selling and want some advice on how to accentuate any of these things?  Give me a call and I’ll be happy to take a look at your current layout and give you some advice.


Until Next Time



Altadena Weekly Real Estate Report – 10/11/20 – 10/17/20

This week in Altadena real estate there were 8 new listings that came to the market, bringing the total number of listings fr sale to 36. This is more in any given week than we’ve had in a while. The least expensive listing is $599,000 for a heavy fixer located at 476 Alvey. This one has been on the market a while and is probably overpriced. The most expensive active listing is $4,559M after a price reduction. Thhere were 5 properties that sold this week. The least expensive was $571,000 for a fixer on a large lot, and the most expensive was located in La Vina. A 3 bed, 2 bath home with some special features that made it stand out even in La Vina, such as a private lap pool made this property a pretty good value even at $1,265M.

New Listings – 8
Total Active – 36
Most Expensive For Sale – $4,559M
Least Expensive For Sale – $599,000
New Pending – 2
Expired – 0
Sold – 5
Most Expensive Sold – $1,265M
Least Expensive Sold – $571,000

Altadena Weekly Real Estate Report – 9/13/20 – 9/19-20

There were 7 new listings that hit the market in Altadena this week, bringing the total number of active listings to 31. The least and most expensive were the same properties from last week. 1 property went pending, and no properties expired. 3 properties closed escrow this week. The least expensive was located at 2141Lake Ave, and sold for $790,000. This was an interesting home located in a commercial zone, which made it someplace you could live or work. The most expensive sale was located at 1270 Rubio. This was a 4 bed/4 bath 5500 sqft estate, on 1/2 an acre. This exquisite home was designed by architect Harold Bissner and went into escrow in only 4 days.

New Listings – 7
Total Actives – 31

Lowest Priced Listing. $595k
Highest Priced Listing. $4,675M
New Pending – 1
Expired – 0
Sales – 3
Least Expensive Sold – $790,000Most

Expensive Sold – $3,650,00

Last week’s Report

What is a Mega Open House Anyway?

Most realtors will tell you that “open houses don’t get properties sold”  This simply isn’t true…as long as you throw a #MEGA OPEN HOUSE.  When I have been hired to sell a property for top dollar I won’t be sitting around with a row of water bottles, and snacks laid out on a table, praying a potential buyer stops by.

Instead, I will engineer a specific plan for your home, based upon the architectural style, the price point, the condition, and the neighborhood. It is typical that 90-130 people will attend. I might hire a jazz band for a sit down champagne brunch.  Or I might have a good old fashioned backyard BBQ. There might be raffles, wherein we give away a gift certificate, or even an ipad. It all depends on your property and what it calls for.  That comprises the event.  But more importantly is the lead up to the date itself.

Through a detailed step by step process, my team and I will identify the profile of the most likely candidate to buy your property.  In addition to standard blanket advertising, we will reach out to buyers that might have a unique interest in your property.  Do you have stables?  We might identify owners of horses.  Is your home an original Mid-Century Modern built by a noted architect?  We might identify enthusiasts of the Case Study Homes.  We might seek buyers with certain income levels, or who work in a certain proximity to the subject property – the filters are endless.  We will reach out to these people via social media, proximity marketing technology, or enthusiast websites and spend the money it takes to be sure that they see your home, know it’s for sale, and have an event that is interesting enough to compel them to attend.

These are just some of the things I do.  Want to find out more?  Just give me a call or fill out the contact form and either I or someone on my team will get back to you.  I can tell you one thing for sure.  No matter what we plan for your home, it will sure beat sitting around with a bunch of snacks and a prayer.

A Great Night of Music in Altadena

Saturday marked a night of great music in Altadena with two fantastic musical combos playing at two very different, but very satisfying venues.   I started the evening out at The Folly Bowl, a cool and intimate space to enjoy live performances. The Folly Bowl is located at a private residence in Altadena, with an amphitheater built into the hill in the backyard.  Altamusica commanded the stage with a clean cut through the swath of jazz styles, playing some originals, as well as beloved standards. The weather was beautiful, and the crowd was very relaxed, taking in the setting scored by an evening of jazz.

I had to pull myself away,  because a little way down the road at Farnsworth Park, Bleeding Harp was rocking a crowd of dancing, clapping fans.  The Blues Rock combo was loud, and satisfying, the perfect counterpoint the quiet intensity of Altamusica earlier in the evening.   With this kind of musical scene going on, it’s no wonder so many people want to move to Altadena. Many thanks to everyone that worked together to make all of this happen.

What is a “Flip” anyway?

As the real estate market heats up again, people seeking quick profits by “flipping” properties are coming out of the woodwork. Experts worry that they are going to hurt the California market, but what is a flip? As it turns out, there are good ones and bad ones. A Good Flip, is one where a junker property is purchased, improved, and resold. The improvements can range from upgrading kitchens, bathrooms, and paint, to complete home renovation, including all major systems, landscaping, and possibly adding substantial square footage. In these situations neighborhoods are improved, as eye-sores, or even abandoned homes are replaced by desirable homes, with new owners that ultimately reshape the community for the better.

What is a Bad Flip then?

Bad Flips were common in the last real estate run up before the bubble popped. These were represented by scenarios where people purchased property, and then resold it quickly thereafter for a profit. The distinguishing factor is that no inherent value was being added by the “flipper.” No work was being done, and nothing was improved. This only works when market conditions are such that appreciation is occurring so rapidly that people are encouraged, and able to take advantage of it.

Another bad scenario is when competition for fixer upper property gets so stiff that people (often newcomers to the flipping world) buy properties for far more than they can buy them for, and reasonably expect to make a profit. In other words, the less experienced, or the careless investor comes to rely on appreciation to make deals work. Without substantial rapid appreciation, fueled by buyer frenzy, these flippers would lose money.

The bright spot on the real estate horizon this time around is that in order to obtain property to flip, substantial amounts of money are needed in the form of down payment and rehab budget. Gone are the days when banks freely doled out money to overpay for a property, and overspend to fix it up. In today’s world of tightened lending guidelines, people have to prove that they qualify to borrow money. They also have to demonstrate that they are likely to be able to rehab a property in a timely, and profitable fashion.

Flipping is sexy. The prospect of making large profits over a relatively short amount of time will always bring people into the fray. And when rapid appreciation makes it seems easy, everyone wants to get in on the action. With today’s more responsible lending standards, one can be hopeful that flippers won’t push the market out of balance too quickly. But one thing is certain: When Flipping has the attention of the nation again, as it does today, the market is in for a wild ride.

How Does 12% Sound?

Over the last few years it seems like there isn’t much to be excited about when it comes to finances in the Good Ol’ US of A. Every time you turn on the television, click on yahoo, or read a magazine cover (possibly while standing in line to buy groceries) you’re hit with something negative:

  • Unemployment Up
  • Unemployment Down (But not far enough)
  • Foreclosures are Rising
  • Gas Prices Rising
  • Rents are Rising

You get the picture…

How is your retirement doing? Last I checked, my wife’s 401k at work was earning about 3%. Lousy. My friend’s actually lost money last year.

But one smart investor I know just averaged about 12% annual interest by lending me the money to buy the Highland Park Bungalow I posted last month. He made a simple loan secured by real estate. We found the property, fixed it up, and resold it in a matter of months. He got the full amount he invested back, plus interest. He earned more in a few months than my wife’s 401k did all year.

Wanna learn how? Call me for more details.

This month’s mailer was filled with strategies to help you maximize your efforts whether you needed to buy OR sell a home.

Here is a link that pertains to one particular point for sellers: Price Reductions.

Although due to strong demand it might seem absurd in some areas, in others, price reductions are still very real. And if your realtor didn’t help you to price the home correctly out of the gate, then there can be even more trouble. Click on this link for important facts about “How to Get Your Home Sold.”

Case: Highland Park Bungalow

This cooler than cool Bungalow will have Whole-House Sound, a Giant Back Yard, Super Sweet Kitchen with Island Bar, and a Master Suite that opens onto a 300 sqft deck!  How’s that for summer parties?

Highland Park