Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Remodel Your Manhattan Beach Kitchen

The biggest deal killer for many buyers is often a tired old kitchen that just needs a lot of work or a total gut job. Conversely, updated contemporary kitchens in older properties will often make the sale.

One of the challenges for updating kitchens at the beach is that often we just don't have that much space to work with. Or budget. So let me share a few ideas with you.

If your basic layout is good but you have the 1980's cabinets and drop ceilings there are a number of reasonably cost effective upgrades starting with removing the drop ceiling and putting in a few recessed lights or at least some eclectic lighting from Ikea.

First you can do a refacing or resurfacing. That's a process where entirely new cabinet doors, hardware and drawers are brought in and then a veneer is matched to the remainder of the exposed wood. Depending on who does the job and the size of the kitchen this may run anywhere from $8,000 up to $15,000.

A far less expensive solution, which I've also seen done with great success is just painting the cabinets. Some companies use a lacquer and others just, well paint the cabinets. Depends on what look you do. This can run anywhere from $2,000-$5000 with new hardware.

If you have some more budget and old white appliances, spending $3-5K on new stainless steel might be a good investment to consider.

Backsplashes and counters can cost more to install but these days many buyers prefer some of the alternative materials to granite and the price can come down.

Here's my rule of thumb for most updates for sellers.Sometimes you spend $10K and get $20K back but that is not too common. More likely if you wisely invest $7-10K you may bring a dated looking home up to "hot property" status and not only sell at or above the market price but even start a bidding war.

Not sure what to do? Just call me for a free consultation.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mid Century in Manhattan Beach CA

A question I frequently get, whether it relates to staging listings or just refreshing the home you live in, is how can you "modernize" the look and feel of your home.
  • Minimize and keep the essentials only
  • Clean lines, neutral palettes and  pared down decorating
  • Use strong shapes like squares and rectangles create an effect count
  • Keep it simple. Minimalism and Modernism complement each other
  • For high style use high contrast, ie blacks and whites in the same space
  • Glass and stainless steel are must haves as are wood tones
I often write about the value of decluttering when it is time to put your home on the market. For living in the house and creating a modern effect you are going further than simply removing the clutter.

A good rule of thumb to get a modern look is to remove everything from a room you think you don't need and them find something else to take out.
Even go a step further so that the room feels like it is missing something and then add back in a classic mid century piece.

Remember that modernism is a thing. There is no "contemporary-ism".

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Teles Properties Manhattan Beach CA

I'm very proud to announce that Teles will soon be opening a (physical) office in Manhattan Beach CA continuing the ongoing expansion of the fastest growing Real Estate Brokerage in CA.

The changing landscape of the various Brokerages operating in and around the Beach Cities has been interesting. Sort of our own Game of Thrones with just slightly less drama but plenty of intrigue. We've seen some of the traditional local independent power houses either sold or merged into other sometimes unfamiliar names. Then we've seen an influx of "Westside" Brokerages plus a number of previously successful agents strike off and start their own companies.

Teles Properties is somewhat different in that Teles is privately owned and not a franchise but has offices from Carmel to San Diego. One of the real (no pun intended) benefits is that with such a broad footprint we are able to cross market our listings to Teles clients looking to invest in vacation homes or who are relocating from one part of CA to another.

As for office location and timing. The build out is about 60 days out and I'll disclose the location when we getting closer to the grand opening. For now suffice it to say very close to the Strand!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Selling Your Manhattan Beach Home? Follow these Tips

1) NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS UPGRADING: Door hinges, vent covers, cabinet knobs and light fixtures are good places to spend because they’re small fixes that make a big difference in appearance. Think about other small, easy upgrades you can make. Focus on above-grade improvements over below-grade. Finishing that basement won’t make a difference. If you’re not sure about where to put your money, stick to kitchens and bathrooms. Check with me first to find out exactly what to do in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Also, don’t hide your house behind those ugly bushes.  If the lawn is brown, think of drought tolerant landscaping. Give your home a fresh coat of paint. Seal the driveway. Make a good first impression because you’ll never sell your home if you can’t get a buyer through the front door.

2) HOME STAGING COUNTS: If you can't declutter, it might be better to move out. Really. It’s difficult to imagine yourself in a home made up for someone else. It might be your ideal style, but it probably isn’t anywhere close to the buyer’s taste.

Focus on keeping the staging as clean and simple as possible. If it’s going to be difficult keeping things cleaned up, move out. Clutter and mess won’t sell your home.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Manhattan Beach Sales Update March 2016

There were 31 closed escrows during March with a median price of $2,462,500 compared to 34 during the same period in 2015 (prior year median $1,850,000).

So sales slightly down but prices in 90266 way up. Q1 2015 there were 74 closed escrows and Q1 2016 there were 69. So no question we can say sales down about 9% blended.

At the low end $984,000 bought a townhouse in Manhattan Village. If your budget was $5.7M you bought the highest priced property which was in the Hill Section. And for $5.150M you could have bought a 33*105 SqFt lot with ocean views on Manhattan Ave.

Of concern to Manhattan Beach would be Sellers should be the inventory level. There are 101 active listings in Manhattan Beach right now and 54 homes in escrow. Based on the sales calculation, the absorption rate is over 90 days which is a more balanced market and looking at the UC, under contract calculation, we're at around 2 months. I've been warning about this inventory buildup for quite a while and we'll see if it get worked through over the Spring Selling Season. But as of now the increased inventory is leading to price reductions and properties selling at a discount to list. In fact, 16 of 31 did so on March.

I am also concerned with the number of lot sales I've been seeing going at what I consider very high prices. Yes, I get it that builders need lots but at the end of the day they have to be able to make some profit. So I think a lot of this is getting highly, highly speculative. But what do I know.

Let's take a look at some actual sales.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Manhattan Beach Strand vs Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu Prices

Real Estate on the Manhattan Beach Strand, whether it is land value or an actual home you can live in, is by far the priciest and most desirable in the Beach Cities. Well let's make that the South Bay.

After 9 closed sales in total in 2014 and 2015 there are now ten properties listed in the MLS and one in escrow. Land value and SFRs for what is currently available start at $7.5M and top out at $28,500,000. (Well there is a condo for $2.987M).

So with more listings available for sale today than actual sales over the past few years, a few things came to mind not the least of which is "when is that next Powerball Drawing?".

Seriously, because with this much money at hand this has to be serious, right, I was curious as to how Manhattan Beach Strand prices and sales activity stacks up against let's say Hermosa Beach, Venice, Santa Monica, and Malibu CA. Do you get more or less for your money other considerations aside.

And no doubt there are a lot of other considerations aside. Many of us love the laid back lifestyle and overall convenience of living in Manhattan Beach. But for those who need to be closer to work, wherever that may be, or want more land, or some other amenity, it is a matter of personal preference. And if you are fortunate enough to be able to purchase in this price range you certainly get that choice.

So let's look at what approximately $20M, gets you in Manhattan Beach and elsewhere. You don't have to spend that much to buy on The Strand or as you will see beachfront in other parts of LA but it is a fun comparison. And since this is my blog, I get to have fun.

For the current Manhattan Beach Strand listings you'll have to scroll down to the bottom of this post after the break. That's just my clever way of getting you to look at the entire article!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Manhattan Beach Micro Market Report

Manhattan Beach CA SFR Micro Market Report - Teles Properties
A few months ago I started warning of the possibility that there would be a buildup of inventory in Manhattan Beach and that we were in danger of seeing the market dynamics shift from a Seller's to a Buyer's market. It looks like we may be at that tipping point right now.

Real Estate pricing is all about supply and demand on the local (micro) level with broader economic issues on the macro level. Based on the trend line we are seeing, Manhattan Beach home owners are pushing their sales price beyond the buying publics perceived market value. This has led to both price reductions, longer days on the market and inventory buildup.

As of this writing there are 79 active single family homes listed for sale in the MLS and 40 in escrow. Month to date there have been 18 closed escrows of SFRs (with 10 business days remaining in March) bringing the total for 2016 up to 48.

So either looking at "in escrow" compared to sales or actual sales we have anywhere from 2 months of supply up to over 6 months. Not exactly the trend line you would want to see as a seller.

Also troubling as far as further price appreciation, over the 79 active SFR listings 27 (34%) have had price cuts and 44 (56%) have been on the market longer than 30 days. Only 5 of the less than 30 day listings have had price reductions leading me to conclude that either sellers or their agents grossly miscalculated initial listing prices.

The best practice for listing still remains to price your home to sell with multiple offers the first 10 days on the market. That is still how you get the highest sales price.

Follow this link to get a quick automated home estimate for Manhattan Beach Real Estate then call me directly to learn how to sell for a higher price.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Homes for Sale in Manhattan Beach CA

Manhattan Beach CA is one of the most desirable beachfront towns in Los Angeles County and Southern CA. With easy proximity to LAX, the Westside, freeways jobs great schools and a laid back lifestyle what more could you ask for? And it you are curious homes are expensive, very expensive.

So how much does it cost to live in Manhattan Beach CA? The best way to tell is by actual current home listings which you can see on the map below. Many of these properties will sell close, at or above the MLS list price.

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 socalistings.com but don't worry, you are always welcome back here!

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

Monday, March 14, 2016

Manhattan Beach Pricing Strategies

Selling Manhattan Beach Real Estate?
The most common question we get as listing agents is most likely "how much is my house worth?". And truthfully, that's a loaded question. A better discussion might be "what is the anticipated final sales price and how do we get there?". Let me explain.

Price, worth, value and other similar words may not have much weight in the equation. What we really are driving to is a final sales price and a strategy to get there. And make no mistake, the right strategy will get you a higher price.

When listing your home, I try to have clients focus more on final sales pricing than list price. And the way to get there is by analyzing the sales to list ratios.

If the inventory in your neighborhood, price point, or property type is low and there is demand, your best strategy is what I call "event" pricing as in create a listing event with a mega open house and a price to get the buyers in. Your goal is multiple offers and over bids. And very, very favorable terms.

So here's an example.

Similar homes to yours are selling for $1.750,000. Don't price yours at $1.9M to "leave room to negotiate". Price it at $1.6M to get a lot of showings and enthusiasm.

But let's say there are other listings similar to yours including some that have been on the market for a while with price reductions. Best strategy in this situation is what I call market perception pricing. It has to be a good deal compared to the competition. So, in that case you might price at $1,699,000.

Lastly is "aspirational" pricing. This is for the situations where there are no direct comps, your home has some more desirable features (pool, view, updates) that have value but hard to quantify. That's where you price higher to see what the market will bear. You might be at $1,990,000 when other are at $1.75M.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

How Long Has it Been on the Market?

Over the years I've done hundreds of Open Houses. Maybe even over a thousand, I lost track quite a while ago. What I can say is that I've spoken to thousands of potential buyers, neighbors, and tire kickers on all those Saturdays and Sundays. And if there is one question I have absolutely heard the most it would have to be "How long has it been on the market?" What agents refer to as Days on Market (DOM).

And, that's not a bad question but usually for reasons other than what the person who is asking it realizes.

There's no doubt that any listing is "hottest" during the first 7-10 days it is exposed to the public. But let me qualify that somewhat. These days many Realtors will place their listings on Zillow as "coming soon" or publicize it through social media, or do a blast to their database and other agents advertising it as a "pocket listing". So does that count?  In some ways yes, but if we are just gauging making the listing broadly available and syndicated to all, not selected, websites, then maybe not. And definitely not included in the MLS DOM counter.

What you find in most neighborhoods and price ranges is that homes sold during the first 30 days are very likely to sell at or above the asking price. After 30 days that number goes down and the longer on the market the lower the sales to list price ratio is likely to be.

Here's a few other considerations if you are one of those inquiring how long it has been on the market.

If the property has been on the market for longer than 30 days, has there been a price reduction (or increase). If there was a reduction 3 days ago chances are the seller isn't really looking for a price a lot below what they already reduced it to. But if it hasn't been reduced already, maybe you get lucky and catch it before they do the reduction and avoid competition.

You should also inquire as to whether the listing has been in escrow. If a property falls out of escrow, the DOM counter doesn't start at zero, it just picks up where it left off. That is, unless the listing agent put it in "backup" status.

Let me explain a little but about "backup" status because this is causing a lot of confusion in the marketplace.