Saturday, November 28, 2015

Are You Adding Solar Panels to Your Manhattan Beach Home?

Solar Panels over the Courtyard

A few years ago I listed and sold a home in the Beach Cities that had Solar Panels. It would have been fair to say at the time that I didn't know what I didn't know about solar. Imagine my surprise when I found out that my seller clients had just signed a 20 year lease for the panels six months earlier. I guess they thought they would not be moving anytime soon. Whoops.

I heard someone say Solar Panels are the new Granite and I know many people are thinking of installing solar panels. In fact, I've been toying with the idea. Kind of goes with my desire to get an electric car or plug in hybrid. But as with all home ownership decisions, there are definitely a number of considerations because things are not always what they seem:
  • Under state law, owners of rooftop solar systems benefit from “net metering,” a system that credits them for any electricity that they contribute to the grid at the same price they pay for electricity. 
  • These credits essentially are banked and are redeemed when the homeowners use electricity at night. 
  •  Edison, for example, charges its customers a minimum of 15 cents per kilowatt hour for the minimal amounts of electricity needed for lighting, refrigeration and other basic needs before the prices go up to 21, 24 or 30 cents per kilowatt hours, depending on how much electricity is used. 
However there are a number of changes that may be coming down the pike.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Are You Expecting Holiday Visitors? Plan Your Guest Bedroom Now

Guest Bedroom in Manhattan Beach

Chances are that either you will have some guests during the Holiday season or you may be a guest in someone else's home. 

Here's some ideas to make guests comfortable and we'll skip cleaning out everything you've been storing the guest room since your last visitors left.

1) Make it easy for your guests to charge their phones, tablets, and laptops. Generic docking stations or strategically placed power strips go a long way.

2) You guests may not have brought their bedroom slippers. If you have wood floors, put down a nice throw rug.

3) I'm not the only one who likes midnight snacks. Well actually 1 AM for me. Leave some munchies out in the kitchen and let them know they can help themselves. You can even ask them in advance what they like to snack on or maybe leave some water in a carafe.

4) Adequate window coverings. Your guests may be coming from a different time zone and not want to get up at the crack of dawn local time.

5) Make it easy to turn lights on and off. If you don't have nightstands maybe bedside sconces. Also make sure the hallways are well lit, use night lights. Your guests may not know where they are when they wake up. 

6) Pillows, pillows and more pillows. And leave some extra blankets. Everyone is different and likes to sleep at different heating/cooling levels. Speaking of which, if you keep your home very cool at night you may want to leave a space heater in the guest room.

7) Even if they are in a nearby guest bath, you want to leave an adequate supply of tissues.

8) If you have the space, put an armchair in the guest room. Maybe some local reading material as well for their amusement while their phone is charging. Digs magazine is one of my favorites!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Manhattan Beach Real Estate Brokers | Teles Properties

As the real estate industry goes through consolidation we've seen a fair amount of change in the local Manhattan Beach landscape relative to Brokerages and Realty companies. While some of the old names such as Shorewood Realtors remain albeit under new management and different locations, others such as South Bay Brokers and Moore and Associates have been rolled up, acquired consolidated into bigger, often franchise based shops.

So what's going on?

Well we're seeing tectonic changes on two major fronts.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Homes for Sale in Manhattan Beach CA | Multiple Listing Search w/Map

These are all the currently active listings from all the Real Estate Brokers, Agents, and Realty companies listing and selling homes in Manhattan Beach CA 90266. The map and results will also update in real time whenever you visit this page and display Open Houses when available. Single Family Residences (SFRs), Townhomes, and Condos. Houses in the Sand Section, Hill Section, Tree Section, Manhattan Village and East Manhattan Beach.

When you click on any of the listings, you will be taken to our sister website but don't worry, you are always welcome back here!

If you are not familiar with these neighborhoods, here's a quick guide.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Is Your House Ready for El Nino?

Winter is coming: Berms will be Built

So for GOT fans winter is coming and for everyone else in the South Bay, El Nino will be here too. Jon Snow has his wall, we have berms.

And if you weren't in town for the last El Nino winter (I was) be prepared for rain, lots of rain. It will be very, very, wet. Here's some things you can do to prepare.

Make Repairs Before it RainsThe recent dry heat may have caused wood structures to shrink and to open up expansion joints, possibly creating leak points. Most roof leaks occur at metal flashing connection points, so make sure the flashing is free of debris. Use your hose to make sure the flashing is directing water off the roof and into the gutters.

Garage and Windows: make sure the garage door is flush all around. We all store things in the garage that we would prefer to not get wet. If your driveway slopes down towards the garage make sure you have proper drainage or even sandbags. Really. Are your windows secure or will they leak? Many people put in replacement windows that have not been tested. Also check any skylights to make sure they won't leak.

Examine your window glazing compound: The persistent hot, dry weather may have caused the glazing compound to shrink and pull away from the glass panes. Loosened panes can allow rain penetration. Check and re-caulk as needed.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Before You List Your Home for Sale | Should You Do Updates?

A few times a month, sometimes more often, I get calls from homeowners who want to know what they should do to their home before they list it for sale. The good news is that they are making the call well in advance of when the first prospective buyer will view the property. Beyond some general advice, the call usually ends with I have to really see the property before I can make any kind of intelligent comments.

Often the call is coming from people who have inherited or will inherit the house. Recently I met with a couple in this situation who had some pretty good ideas as to what to do but also may have been thinking of some expenditures that may not have penciled out from a pure business perspective.

For example, they wanted to spend some money on a kitchen that most likely will be gutted by the new owners. Why bother. We can put some "stagey" looking accessories in there and maybe a stainless refrigerator and not spend much.

And that's my "mantra". Spend what you have to in order to maximize the sales price but no more.

If you are a follower of my blogs you know I am a big advocate of making sure that you do everything possible to maximize your sales price before your home is listed for sale. That starts with decluttering (biggest bang for the buck) and continues on to minor improvements like fixing whatever comes up in your pre-listing home inspection. Then we continue on to possibly painting and of course staging. Another great investment is in updating the lighting and possibly door handles as in get rid of the gold/brass dated stuff and replace it with brushed nickel or chrome.

If your roof is leaky, maybe a good idea to fix that with the El Nino coming this winter.

Putting in new wood floors? Possibly, if your current floor coverings are 1980's shag (orange preferred). When we get to new kitchens, bathrooms, etc. most likely not going to get you the return on the investment you would hope for.

Here's the question I always ask.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Are You Thinking of Buying or Selling a Home During the Holidays?

So every year as we start to get closer to the Holiday Season clients ask me whether it is a good idea to buy or sell Real Estate at this time of year. My answer is "Absolutely" with a few caveats.

For Buyers, considering how low inventory has been and that interest rates most likely will be rising soon, if you can find the home you want in Manhattan Beach, no reason whatsoever to wait. Sure there will be more homes on the market after the first of the year but you will be competing against more buyers. And for many sellers who have their home on the market they may be more likely to make a deal now when there are fewer buyers.

If you are thinking of selling now you will also have less competition as other home owners wait until after the first of the year to put their homes on the market. And to the extent that there are buyers out looking right now they are most likely very serious.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Manhattan Beach Real Estate Agent Teams

One of the recent trends in Real Estate practice is the formation of agent teams. In fact, the "team" concept has grown exponentially. There are a few reasons driving this.

In the legacy real estate mythology, each and every agents is supposed to be proficient in multiple facets of the business with the "Top Producers" hiring assistants to handle certain functions. Problem with that business model is that a) not everyone is great at everything and b) the business has grown more demanding and requires more attention. This is all further compounded by the fact that unlicensed assistants are precluded from engaging in certain activities with the public - which is why we get licenses to begin with.

While it is also true that forward looking Real Estate Brokerages are now providing more in terms of marketing and support than in the past and many aspects of the transaction can be handled via online signings, the items that do require attention require a lot more.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What is "Luxury Real Estate" | Manhattan Beach Homes for Sale

Manhattan Beach CA is a "Luxury" Real Estate Market

We often see properties described as "Executive Home", or "High End" or "Exclusive" with certain listings falling into the "Luxury" market. So, what does all that mean? For me, it is about "lifestyle" and convenience and I'll get to that later in this post as I dissect the difference between the Luxury (ie Lifestyle) Real Estate market and the housing market in general.

Recently there was a conference held by Inman in Beverly Hills addressing that specific question and here's what some of the research indicated based on Realtor input.
  • Most common cited price range for "Luxury Real Estate" is $2M-$5M.
  • Location is most important factor for "Luxury" home buyers.
It should be no surprise that "location, location, location" is the response to “what motivates luxury buyers”  and overwhelmingly “living in the right neighborhood,” with 69.71 percent of the vote is extremely important as well.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Manhattan Beach CA Real Estate | Neighborhood Guide

Manhattan Beach CA 90266 has a number of very distinct and unique neighborhoods for a rather small city. And locals even sub-divide some of these neighborhoods even further.

As a local Real Estate Agent when I work with Buyers, which I do frequently, the first step is helping them understand the price points and types of properties you are likely to find in each area. Once that knowledge is transferred it is far easier for a prospective buyer to decide which neighborhood best fits their needs or budget. Or both.

I usually explain the neighborhoods west to east because that's just the way we tend to think. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west we have the Sand Section which includes the walk streets and the Strand. South of Manhattan Beach Blvd, the Sand Section is bounded by the Valley-Ardmore green belt but north of MB Blvd it meanders somewhat.

West of Sepulveda there are two other distinct neighborhoods in Manhattan Beach: The Tree Section which stretches from Rosecrans Ave down to MB Blvd and then the Hill Section which is south of Manhattan Beach Blvd and North of Hermosa Beach.

As we go further east of Sepulveda you'll find Manhattan Village, a gated master planned community. South of Marine are the neighborhoods of LibertyVillage and Manhattan Heights. Further south bordering Redondo Beach is the Mira Costa neighborhood.

As I mentioned the locals even further sub-divide the town. The Sand Section boasts the Strand - the ocean front properties with un-obstructable views and lots of people passing by your house. There are also the Walk Streets so named because there are no cars on them. Some of the walk streets are on steep inclines which seem to remind people of San Francisco but it looks like Manhattan Beach to me. In the Sand Section we also have the Gaslight area.

As you go further west there are larger lots. In Manhattan Beach we consider 7500 SqFt to be a large lot. You'll find those in the Hill Section but there are more the further east you go.

While many of the original beach cottages are long gone replaced by mansions, you'll still find some older properties with the original charm. Over the years there has been a lot of spec homes built so those reflect whatever was in vogue at the time. Try to avoid the 70s and 80s examples. There are some less than desirable properties from that era. Because the current crop of homes were primarily built as one offs there is not a lot of conformity - which I like. I have known some buyers to be put off by this because they have previously lived in master planned communities which definitely have a different look and feel.

Personally, I like seeing multi million dollar homes next to knock downs. Just what I am used to. Maybe its the result of having moved from Manhattan to Manhattan Beach CA.