Category Archives: blog

Hot Summer Real Estate In Calabasas & The West Valley

Oh my!  It’s 106 Degrees in Woodland Hills this week.  The summer is heating up.  The word on the street has been nothing but positive about the super spring real estate market and how property is flying off the shelves.  Summer is a tricky time to sell however and those of us selling real estate every day are keenly aware of micro trends, market blips, peaks and valleys.  There are many seasonal factors that only very active agents are likely to recognize, analyze and capitalize on.  In Calabasas we recently received a call from a potential client who is seeking our advice after having their home listed for nearly 1 year with no success.  In such a “Hot” market the sale should have been easy, no?  Not necessarily.  Hot market does not mean everything sells, no matter what.

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Real Estate Inventory V.S. Rates

Inventory has been a driving factor in the Calabasas real estate market for the past several years.  Now that interest rates are scheduled to rise we are seeing a massive sell off in the lower price points within the community.  There seems to be a real rush for buyers to acquire homes and I feel that the end of low rates may be a driving factor.   Higher end homes tend to attract buyers with larger equity cushions however homes in the $1.1m and under category tend to have buyers with large loan to value ratios. Continue reading

Three Reasons Calabasas Real Estate Will Outperform

Calabasas is a wonderful place to call home and there are almost too many reasons to list.  Real estate is a good investment in general but choosing the areas which will outperform is often difficult.  Up and coming areas often attract a lot of attention for low prices that show the potential to turn higher as redevelopment occurs and neighborhoods transform.   The main attraction is upside potential and low entry price.  West Hills has several areas that could be real up and comers with the development of Warner Center.  The other areas that attract the most from investors are the proven trophy locations.  Think of Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades or billionaire beach in Malibu.  (actually any section of Malibu will do)    These top tier locations barely go down in underperforming markets and are untouchable in strong markets.  They also seem to pull further and further ahead of the competition over time.  The high Continue reading

Real Estate Markets Are Hard To Predict

It’s a few days before Christmas and most people are distracted from their usual obligations.  There are far fewer real estate agents in the Calabasas office this week.  We spent some time in our Woodland Hills office too and the scene was no different there with fewer Realtors occupying the offices.  Home buyers are still excited about finding the right home but even the most motivated ones now have holiday travel interfering with their efforts.  Those selling homes need a few extra hours to prepare for showings as they tuck the wrapping paper and extra groceries away to make their home presentable to show.  It seems the market may be settling down for a long winters nap and many home sellers assume the market will awaken again in the spring.  This year could be very different than the typical real estate patterns of the past. Continue reading

Calabasas Realtor Rolls Up His Sleeves This Holiday Season

The real estate market changes during the holiday season and it effects buyers, sellers and realtors alike.   First I will address the home sellers.  If you are serious about selling during the holidays it is not a time to coast along and hope for a buyer.  We see homes in Woodland Hills that have been on the market 180 days.  There needs to be a much more aggressive plan in place by your real estate agent to target and locate motivated buyers in a market with fewer participants.  You need to have serious conversations and honest feedback with your realtor about what is the correct pricing.  Many agents lead their clients to believe something that is very optimistic and a slower market is not the time to overshoot.  It does not mean you have to price low but you do have to price correctly.  There is currently a $2.8 million home on the Continue reading

Halloween Activities & Real Estate

Halloween is a fun time of year for children and adults alike and there are so many great activities in the area.  In the past week alone I visited a pumpkin patch in Woodland Hills, a Halloween decoration unveiling for a client in West Hills and real estate office pumpkin give away.  I also made my way through the Calabasas pumpkin festival.  As I walked through the Calabasas festival I noticed a few real estate related booths giving away candy and it reminded me what a festive time of year this is for home selling.  I don’t mean that it’s a fun time to have a booth at a local festival but it is a fun time to show homes.  It is also a great time of year to create a warm and cozy feeling in your home which is a great tool for selling homes.  While it is true that less clutter is generally better when selling and that personal items give people certain impressions, there is something very warm about a nicely decorated family home.  Every realtor suggests staging your home for sale in some fashion but during the holidays I think a nicely Continue reading

Calabasas Real Estate Meets Autumn

Any Realtor in Calabasas who has been around a little while has been asked if now is a good time to sell. No matter what season it is, home sellers naturally want to know that they are listing their home at the best possible time that they can. No one wants to list their home for sale on Christmas Eve expecting the best turnout of the year. That said, with the exception of major holidays timing the market is a tricky thing and should be very carefully considered. My best advice is always that you cannot time markets and that you should strive for the best possible price in today’s market. I have seen far more people loose than win trying to guess what the market will be like next year. Small changes in the real estate market can mean big dollars lost if your timing is wrong. Case-Shiller just announced that home sale prices were up 5% year over year for the month of July. This follows many years of high single digit and double digit gains. With that in mind someone who asked their realtor at the end of June if it was too late in the season to sell would have missed out on a fantastic se Continue reading

Realtor Data: Choosing A Real Estate Agent

In real estate, as in any business, it is important to know the market and to know your competition. We keep a watchful eye on our most important markets, especially the West Valley areas of Woodland Hills, West Hills and Calabasas along with other key areas of the Valley such as Sherman Oaks and Studio City. It is important for our business to be aware of what is selling, how long it takes to sell and who is selling it. If you look at the data closely it becomes much easier to predict what homes will sell quickly and which homes will linger on the market. You can also distinguish which realtors sell homes in certain areas and how quickly those agents sell homes. Continue reading

Calabasas, Woodland Hills, West Hills: Real Estate Inventory Chaos

We recently sold two homes off-market in Calabasas. The lack of inventory is causing more off-market deals than ever. With near zero available for sale, good real estate agents are scouring for what might be coming up next. These deals which never come to market add to the existing inventory problem. In Woodland Hills we have seen recent new listings receive multiple offers at record high prices. Higher than the 2006 real estate top. Several Rodeo listings in the Walnut Acres section of Woodland Hills have set all time price highs for the area. For the first time in my career I have seen some markets run away from others. The development of the Westfield Village and other construction in Warner Center has pushed Continue reading

Upcoming Home For Sale In Mulwood, Calabasas

We will be listing a beautiful 5 bedroom home in the area of Mulwood, Calabasas, at the end of this month. Because of the yard, large pool and size of the home I believe it is one of the finest examples in the neighborhood. While the owners are getting prepared for sale we will schedule select showings. If you are interested in viewing the property please call us directly. Continue reading

Calling Calabasas Home

I moved from Woodland Hills to Calabasas after spending some of my best years in the Walnut Acres area. My wife was raised in that neighborhood and we relocated there for the same reasons many people do. We found a house we could afford with a nice lot and a pool. We had many friends in the area and family who would be very helpful as our own family grew. The area was close to Warner Center and West Hills where we could shop for suburban home goods and take advantage of family friendly dining. We also loved how easy it was to drive to the beach and head out of town to places like Ventura and Santa Barbara. We knew that Woodland Hills had some of the best schools and that the real estate values were going up. Woodland Hills offered Continue reading

Record Heat For Real Estate

The market is so low on inventory that buyers are searching high and low to find homes that just don’t seem to exist. Because we have so many buyers looking in Calabasas, Woodland Hills and West Hills, I thought this week’s blog post should focus on what we are looking for as well as what we will have to offer in the future. As a home buyer, if you think this is the market where you can casually browse open houses until you find something nice you are very wrong. You need to be serious. You need a good realtor Continue reading

Mulwood Calabasas Inventory Reaches Zero

I was speaking with another realtor about a house in West Hills that seemed very highly priced with almost no comparable homes in the area. I had been searching high and low for properties in West Hills and Woodland Hills for a certain client. At the end of our conversation we determined that the serious lack of inventory in the area, and the fact that clients like my own were having such difficulty finding an attractive home, was creating new market highs. I was successful in finding the client a home but once again it made me evaluate current pulse of the market. As I left an inspection for my client in West Hills I returned to my office in Calabasas and prepared for a listing appointment in Woodland Hills. Continue reading

Knowledge Of The Local Real Estate Market

Real Estate inventory is low and Calabasas is especially dry. We have several buyers currently seeking homes in Calabasas and not only is the selection dismal but anything that comes to market sell immediately. As a local realtor one of the best services we offer buyers is our knowledge of the area. If you are seeking homes without the assistance of an experienced agent your only view of the what is available locally is the limited inventory in the MLS. As a local realtor who is knowledgeable about the neighborhoods, homes and previous sales, I often tell clients of the type of homes they could find locally even if they are not currently available. Continue reading

As the 2015 Housing Market Comes To A Close…

Real estate was on the rise in 2015. The local markets saw healthy price increases over 2014 and inventory remained relatively low. Calabasas prices reached new highs in certain areas. The spring 2015 housing market heated up as predicted and it was another season of multiple offers, similar to spring of 2014. Homes in the best school districts were especially competitive. Woodland Hills and West Hills saw intense competition in the El Camino school district. The summer selling season, however, cooled earlier than usual. Continue reading

Helping Clients Succeed

As a realtor in Calabasas you face healthy competition for business every day. Many popular neighborhoods have very little turnover. Sometimes it seems like there are more real estate agents coming and going than there are residents moving. Buyers usually have to be patient to find what they want and many have to concede to paying more than they expected but that is the sign of a good neighborhood.

Currently inventory is low across the board. Woodland Hills, West Hills, Bell Canyon and most of the San Fernando Valley areas we service are all facing a similar inventory shortages. It these times of low supply the competition for real estate agents seeking new business is intense. Unfortunately, the competition in the industry is not always in the best interest of the market participants.
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Cooler Times, Autumn Real Estate

The weather finally feels like fall in Calabasas. After a record setting October and balmy Halloween it is nice to see a few days of seasonal weather. The local real estate market is feeling more in season as well. It has been interesting to watch the west valley and Calabasas market over the last several years. The “hot” spring and summer selling season seems to have grown a little shorter over the last two years. August has been unusually slow. The inventory we see across West Hills, Woodland Hills and Calabasas is extremely low yet demand wanes relative to tight supply.
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Real Estate Inventory- So Bad It’s Good?

Inventory has been the primary driver of real estate activity for the past several years. Low inventory has driven prices higher and higher as buyers compete for their ideal homes. We are now seeing prices stabilize but the inventory is once again looking exceptionally meek. Woodland Hills prices have reached near all-time highs. Some of the areas charming ranch homes, which are often sought by young buyers seeking something in the $500,000’s are now selling in the $650-800k range. We took note of inventory today in the $600,000-$700,000 range. The total Woodland Hills inventory in that range was 30 homes. If we removed the harder to sell homes, like major fixers, homes on busy avenues or adjacent the freeway, the number dropped to 15 and there were few great homes in that group. If you narrow further to homes in the desirable El Camino school district there are only 2. So what are buyers supposed to do in Woodland Hills? Their only choice is to look at higher priced homes. Now we get into the $700,000 – $800,000 range. The choices are a little better but not great and affordability issues really set in. The $550,000 home seekers are defeated by the inventory price squeeze.
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Real Estate: Fringe Markets, Trends And Price Relationships

If you study real estate market trends, or in my case you just happen to be surrounded by them, there are some interesting patterns that emerge. My office is in Calabasas and for this piece I am going to focus on Woodland Hills, West Hills and Calabasas in a little case study. Most of California like Florida, Arizona and other sunshine states has some of the strongest demand for real estate and high flying prices. Hot spots seem to go up the most when the market is hot and seem to be the places that get hit hardest when the market is cold. What is interesting is that the real estate in these states are very sought after so why the big downturns in cooler times? The reality is that in good times they gain at such an exponential rate that they have the most to give back in leaner times. There is more to it though. Have you ever seen any deals in Beverly Hills or Calabasas for that matter? Not usually because the best areas tend to hold their value. So why does California get hit the hardest in general but places like Calabasas hold value well? The clues are in surrounding markets and surrounding markets could be the indicators that predict where overall markets are headed.
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Buyers Agent V.S. Sellers Agent

Real Estate is competitive in Calabasas and the San Fernando Valley so there are plenty things that realtors do in order to differentiate themselves from the competition. You may notice there are certain neighborhood specialists. “I Sell Calabasas”, “Your West Hills Specialist”, “The Woodland Hills Home Team”. These are made up but you get the point. There are also agents who specialize in working with buyers and some agents are self-proclaimed listing agents. There are many other sub specialties from there. As a consumer it is important to dig a little deeper and get past the tag line when choosing a realtor. These specialties, focuses, concentrations and certifications that realtors promote are often simply the audience that they hope to attract, as opposed to the experience they suggest. If you pay attention to such things you may have noticed that everyone was a foreclosure specialist when the market was at its bottom.
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Back To School Shopping: Homes For Sale

School is starting soon. What does that mean for summer real estate? If you went to the concert on the lake in Calabasas on Sunday you probably saw school children running with friends that they hadn’t seen for much of the summer. The summer season sends children in all directions visiting different camps, going on family vacations and participating various activities. The reunion of kids at the concert was a reminder that the summer is winding down and that families are settling back in for their regular school time routines. This is a time of transition for the real estate market as well. Busy times affect buying patterns and selling patterns. Most families moving would prefer to be settled by the start of school so their home shopping has probably concluded by this time of year. There are still many buyers who have not been able to find the right property due to low inventory however. Continue reading

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’ … Keep Those Houses Rollin

Calabasas has a lot of homes for sale in The Oaks right now. If you are not familiar with The Oaks it is a gated community perched on the top end of the price scale in Calabasas. The most expensive homes in West Hills seem to be lingering on the market as well. Communities like the upscale Monte Vista neighborhood have several listings that have been sitting at the newly formed price plateau for some time. Woodland Hills too seems to have reduced activity towards the top of the price range. When you move down a notch to the middle ground in these neighborhoods the homes are rollin’ rollin’ rollin’. Continue reading

Get Your New Home Before The School Year Begins

Its official, school is out and summer fun begins. Chances are if you want to be settled into a new home before the next school year begins, you are spending a lot of time looking for homes right now. Real Estate inventory is tight but we have several new listings coming to market that may be just what you are looking for. Real estate agents are scrambling to find homes but we have a selection of off market properties that will be available soon. Do you need a home in West Hills? We will have a new listing in the upscale neighborhood of Monte Vista as well as a ranch style home near Welby Way school. If you are considering a purchase in Woodland Hills we will have several new listings in the El Camino School district. We will feature two 3 bedroom homes between 1600-1700 sqft. Continue reading

Will Real Estate Heat Up This Summer?

There is so much to look forward to in summer. Hot real estate. Calabasas concerts on the lake or Woodland Hills concerts in the park. Beach days in Malibu. Backyard BBQ’s and living the California dream in the San Fernando Valley. Real estate is definitely hot in the summer. Isn’t it? That is what we often hear from potential home sellers. They want to sell their home by September or October to capitalize on the hot summer market. If you follow real estate trends it’s not quite the way it used to be.

As you are probably aware, we have witnessed some extreme real estate cycles over the last 10 years. According to most Calabasas real estate agents we are just now getting back to a normal market. A normal market is when sellers have to price their home competitively within the inventory and buyers have to pay a fair price. We have seen prices return to a high but with a normal amount of activity. In Woodland Hills we just saw an all-time high price for a listing in the El Camino School District but there are still several homes that need to go through price reductions in order to sell. The market is normalizing. We have seen some changes in the seasonality however. Continue reading

High Season: Home Sales Soaring

The real estate selling season is in full gear. There are multiple offers and record prices happening across the San Fernando Valley and Calabasas. Most Calabasas homes are selling within the first couple weeks on the market and many with multiple offers. We are seeing the same across Woodland Hills, West Hills, Encino, Studio City and the entire San Fernando Valley. We have had 3 listings in West Hills that sold in less than 2 weeks. Our two most recent listings in Woodland Hills had offers within 1 day and we are setting new prices records in some neighborhoods. The demand continues to outweigh the supply.

Many homeowners may be surprised to see that their homes value may be $100,000 more than it was a year or two ago. We have buyers in Studio City and Sherman Oaks that have been disappointed by sellers making counter offers to their full price cash offers. Continue reading

To Build Wealth- Own Real Estate And Keep Moving

Should your first home be in Calabasas? My real estate office is in Calabasas and many of our listings span the west San Fernando Valley. Woodland Hills, West Hills, Bell Canyon, Tarzana, Encino etc. Calabasas has one of the higher points of entry for housing from a price perspective but excellent schools and some other perks. It seems logical that it would be a great place to buy your first home. We see frustrated buyers every day who want to move into the community but are getting edged out by high prices and are unwilling to sacrifice lifestyle. “How does anyone afford these prices?” is a question we hear all the time. The reality is, while some people are more financially able than others, one of the best ways to get there is to own real estate and move often. I’m not talking about sacrificing everything to squeeze your family into the rear unit of a dingy triplex. I’m referring to a realistic life plan that can improve your lifestyle while growing your wealth. Continue reading

Price Matters, Schools Matter, Welcome To The Normal Real Estate Market

Over the past 10 years in real estate we have seen the market peak, crash, stall, whip back and settle.  It has been anything but business as usual.  Sellers have been desperate, buyers have been discouraged and investors have made and lost millions.  Everyone is waiting for the next extreme but we may just have to sit back and deal with a normal market for a while.  I thought I would use some examples in West Hills, Woodland Hills and Calabasas to demonstrate the new normal.  West Hills offers some very different schools and a wide variety of homes.  In Woodland Hills real estate is generally broken down into two different areas for schools.  Calabasas offers very good schools across the board but covers a very wide price range. Continue reading

What kind of real estate service are you getting?

Real estate is a service business and as I peer from my Calabasas office I notice the kind of services people expect in their daily life. There are top rated restaurants, high end boutiques and exotic car dealers. There are valet parkers, car wash services and personal shoppers. Every business seems to cater to a market that demands exceptional service. So why would some people in the service industry deliver anything less? As I take the time each day to review new listings on the market and examine the offerings of my competition I am always shocked as to how some services are less than exceptional.

Calabasas real estate agents should obviously offer superior services than agents in less expensive neighborhoods. Continue reading

Super bowl Kicks Off The Real Estate Selling Season

Real Estate agents often get the question “Is it a good time to sell?” We recently had this discussion with a client in Woodland Hills. Sometimes clients are asking about the market and sometimes they are asking about the best time of year to sell. What is the best selling season? While changing markets can make each season different year to year, typically the spring is the best time of year to sell. In California we have the advantage of an extended spring. Winter holidays get in the way of buyer motivation and sellers often put off their listing until the new year. The month of January home buyers are dragging themselves back to work and readjusting to everyday life. Of course the Superbowl is a big distraction from open houses and the weekend typically has slow traffic for real estate. As the football season comes to an end the real estate season kicks off. After the Superbowl is when we see a big uptick in buyer activity. Many buyers plan to find their perfect home by the end of the school year. With distractions out of the way and the Superbowl over buyers hit the ground running in February. Continue reading

Is Your Real Estate Agent A Great Promoter?

I have been working as a real estate agent for over 10 years. I have sold properties all over L.A. county but I have spent most of that time living in Woodland Hills and Calabasas and that is where the majority of my business is generated. It feels like I have been promoting the area forever and I have become familiar with the pros and cons of all the different neighborhoods and what attracts people to them. Promoting is the key word. As a real estate agent I promote city’s, areas, neighborhoods and homes to the people most likely to purchase them. You cannot sell someone a home they do not like. You cannot sell someone a home they cannot afford. You cannot sell a buyer on a neighborhood that does not meet their needs or that they are not comfortable with. What you need to do is promote the things that specific people are seeking and attract those buyers. You have to bring the fans to you. Continue reading

Here Come The New Listings

The holidays are officially over and realtors have their eye open for new listings as buyers start coming out of their winter hibernation. Calabasas real estate agents have been complaining about low inventory and buyers in Woodland Hills are not having much better luck. We believe that is all about to change as new listings come to the market in 2015. Many home sellers have been waiting to put their property on the market and the outlook for spring is very promising.

As a real estate agent that represents homes for sale in Calabasas it is important to stay ahead of inventory and market trends. We know from what our own clients are planning that unless there is an economic event that changes everyone’s mood there will be plenty of new homes for sale and plenty of anxious buyers to snap them up. We have several buyers currently seeking properties in Woodland Hills, West Hills, Calabasas, Encino, Studio City and Bell Canyon. Continue reading

What Will The New Year Bring For Real Estate?

Calabasas has seen some cold winter weather mixed between 80 degree days. It has certainly been hot and cold this month and leaves us wondering whether it will be a good ski season or an early beach season. The real estate market has been the same way in 2014, sometimes hot, sometimes not. The market marched up in the beginning of the year followed by a slowdown mid-summer a near halt in the fall and finally an busier than expected fourth quarter. We have seen homes in Woodland Hills sit on the market for 3 months then sell for full price in December. Calabasas homes typically sell fast but many languished on the market through September and October only to sell at high prices in December. The market was hot at times and cool at times. Much of this has to do with attitude and inventory.

Home inventory has been a strong driver of sales in Calabasas and Woodland Hills for the last couple years. Continue reading

Real Estate Holiday Cheer

The commons in Calabasas are dressed in holiday cheer but this is not typically a season to celebrate in real estate. Even though everyone in Woodland Hills is planning to see the decorative displays and holiday lights on Candy Cane Lane, they may be skipping your open house to do so. I prefer my eggnog half full so I thought I would write about the best things buyers sellers and realtors alike can be doing this season.

Is the real estate market slower over the holidays? Usually yes, but it does not stop. There are always buyers who need a home now and always sellers who have to sell quickly. Buyers are still frantic in Calabasas. If you need to sell your home do it. There are plenty of buyers out there and there are some things you can do to take advantage of the holiday spirit. Is your house decorated? This is your chance to dress your home with cozy cheer. Buyers want to feel at home when they walk in potential house and nothing feels more homey than warm holiday décor. Do it up! Gingerbread candles, tasteful lights, impressions of cheer and celebration. More buyers will feel at home right away. Cookies and milk at the open house? Sounds good to me. Continue reading

Breezy Real Estate Market

Real estate can be a breeze but unfortunately that is not everyone’s experience. We are closing a sale in Woodland Hills that has been as smooth as silk. Most of the time easy transactions are because there are good realtors on both sides of the deal. Good real estate agents bring deals together and help overcome obstacles that arise in the transaction. The more experienced the realtor the more they can anticipate problems before they arise and plan for them accordingly. Real estate agents with experience know that what everyone really wants is a happy ending. They can help guide the buyers, who really want the house, and the sellers who really want to sell to a happy closing. When two experienced people work though a deal, real estate transactions feel like a breeze. Continue reading

Real Estate And Pumpkins In Calabasas

Although there are several theories many say that Calabasas is named after the Spanish “calabaza” which means pumpkin.  The annual pumpkin festival in Calabasas is a celebration honoring this history and a whole lot of Halloween fun.  October can be a scary time in the real estate market as it is typically the beginning of the slowest season of the year.   Holidays and celebrations interfere with home sellers schedules and home buyers don’t have as much time to shop.  Even some realtors get distracted as shopping and holiday parties get in the way of open houses and showings.  Perception sometimes becomes reality as sellers think they need to wait to be able to sell their home or buyers think that limited inventory will delay their purchase.  Don’t jump to conclusions though.  Having a contrarian view is often rewarding and can be in the real estate market as well. Continue reading

Real Estate Is Local. Trends in Calabasas and Woodland Hills

Current macroeconomic trends in the real estate market are interesting to watch on a local level. The news cycle does not always represent what is current or local. Activity and trends in our area can be telling. Woodland Hills is a strong indicator of first time buyer activity with large condo developments like the Met offering affordable first homes. Woodland Hills and West Hills also offer affordable ranch homes in areas with good schools which often attract young families. Woodland Hills happens to offer several tiers of properties from those small ranch homes to multimillion dollar estates in areas like Walnut Acres. Move up buyers who want to stay in the same schools can do so as they climb the economic ladder. Calabasas offers a the next level up in housing with unlimited options and prices that can climb into the tens of millions. Interestingly Calabasas is in close proximity to Woodland Hills and residents of both communities are patrons to the same shopping centers and service providers. So what do we see happening here? We will get to that so read on but first we want to talk about what most people consider indicators and how they determine trends. Continue reading

What Realtor Should You Work With And Why?

One of my clients used to say “Never try to beat a man at his own game”. He was a successful man who was retired with grown children and he bought and sold real estate investments as a hobby or for personal use. He was casual about what he purchased always wanting a good deal but knowing through experience that the deal was going to look best when he was looking back in the future. He had worked with realtors in Calabasas and had a real estate agent for years in Woodland Hills. He had worked on commercial real estate deals in Sherman Oaks and owned a commercial property in Hollywood. He used to always ask what I thought about everything. He would ask what I would do if I were him and he would ask what I would do if it was for me. I would always mention that he clearly had a lot of business experience and that he also had decades of experience buying and selling real estate but he would always answer the same way. Never try to beat a man at his own game. Continue reading

Real Estate Correction

I ran into another Calabasas real estate agent who was acting a little bit down and as we got talking they kept complaining about price reductions and falling prices. I mentioned that I am feeling a correction but that I was not worried about falling prices. “Isn’t that the same thing?” No, not really. A correction is like a breather on the way to the top of the mountain. If you are running full speed, like the real estate market has been in Calabasas and Woodland Hills, then you are more likely to need to stop for a breath. Once you catch your breath you can continue your climb. Whether you continue by sprinting more or walking the rest of the way is hard to say. Your ability to climb is like the fundamentals of real estate. The fundamentals are still strong. There is still strong demand from buyers and sellers alike. Pent up demand. Interest rates are still at a low and in fact lower than they were earlier in the year.

If we keep using the mountain climber example the crash of 2008 was a fundamental breakdown. Continue reading

What Real Estate Season Is It?

As the cool autumn air sets in over Calabasas and the leaves start to fall from the trees in Woodland Hills the real estate market too prepares for a seasonal change.  Oh wait, its 104 degrees outside and probably will be until December.  Well,  the actual seasons may not change but the real estate season does.  Clients often ask about the seasons as if they are always the same.  I often hear things like “Summer is the best time to sell” or “I hear that December is the best time to buy.”  Many years these seasonal norms hold true but like fall in Calabasas it is not always predictable.

We have seen anything but normal seasons over the last several years.  The housing decline showed that there were several springs and summer that were terrible for selling.  December of 2012 was actually time of recovery where higher and higher prices were being achieved.  2013 was all upswing and this year has been inconsistent.  2014 inventory in Calabasas has risen and fallen yet prices seem to have peaked.  The same holds true in Woodland Hills, West Hills and other surrounding communities. Continue reading

Back To School

This week is back to school for the Los Angeles Unified School District. Next week the Las Virgenes School District starts a new year. We have several friends and clients in Woodland Hills and Calabasas who are excited about a new year in their new homes. We are proud to have helped so many stay in their school district of choice which has included the El Camino, Welby Way, Hale, Lanai, and Woodland Hills Elementary along with Chaparall, A.C. Stelle, Willow and Calabasas High. Getting in the right school is a top concern for many buyers as well as a top selling point for many homeowners listing their home.

We have noticed that schools are one of the primary reasons that people relocate to Calabasas, Bell Canyon, Agoura, Woodland Hills and West Hills. Some of the schools that we mentioned earlier are top draws for clients with young children or who have outgrown a quality elementary school and are left with few options for middle or high school. Continue reading

Zillow / Trulia Merger

There is a lot of talk about the Zillow and Trulia merger. All of the real estate agents in the Calabasas area seem to be taking about it. Every real estate story I read has some mention of it and the business news cycle is following their stock values closely. Personally I find that both Zillow and Trulia are great tools for buyers, sellers and agents alike. I recently listed a home in Woodland Hills and the clients were very well informed based on the information they received from these sites. Not only were they looking at comparable sales but they were studying the regional information, schools and sales trends from graphs and charts easily accessible. They offer a lot of tools plenty of data. The client in Woodland Hills mentioned that he was told by another agent that the sites were worthless and full of inaccurate information. In reality they have far more accurate information than many realtor sites and the types of tools that many agents should be providing. Real Estate agents want to tear them down for what they are not, while ignoring the importance of what they are. Continue reading

Woodland Hills Real Estate

I talk about a variety of subjects in this post but as a realtor my number one job is to sell my listings. We have some nice things coming to market in Woodland Hills and I thought I would take the time to discuss them here. As a real estate agent serving the Woodland Hills community I come across all types of property from vacant lots to luxury estates. From condo’s to rentals we represent all types of properties in the area. Since we have some of each coming soon in Woodland Hills I decided that will be our feature this week. We will also have new listings in Calabasas and Bell Canyon but we will save that for another blog.

We will have a new listing south of Ventura Blvd. It is a four bedroom home with a pool on a quiet street. It features beautiful hardwood floors and peek-a-boo views of the Valley. Check in often for more information. The price will be in the mid $700,000’s

In the Walnut Acres section of Woodland Hills we have a beautiful estate property that Continue reading

Recent Inventory

As a realtor in the west valley I have been keeping an eye on inventory in Woodland Hills and Calabasas lately. The prices have climbed sharply over the last couple of years and some homeowners are reaching a point where they are testing limits. Pricing accurately is important and so is keeping an eye on the competition. The inventory driven price gains are only in effect if there is a limited inventory. Therefore pricing homes during periods of very low inventory is relative to what is available on the market. i.e. If there are no homes in Calabasas under $1,000,000 then the market may justify $1,000,000 simply because of a lack of choice. The actual sold comps are not as important as the buyer activity level and their limited choices. On the other hand if there are many homes to choose from the buyers will start to compete on value. The buyers can choose which home is the best value or bid on homes to see who is the most motivated to sell. Continue reading

July 11, 2014

As we move through July there seem to be more homes coming to market. Sellers are racing to get their properties sold before the buyers settle into a new school year and fall holiday planning. This is the apex of the selling season. The 4th of July fireworks were a blast in Calabasas and the beaches were jammed from Santa Monica to Malibu. It’s “fun in the sun” time across the southland. This too affects the market as home buyers are distracted by vacations and barbecues. If you are a seller pricing is very important this time of year and it’s time to pay close attention to the market. The serious buyers are out there and they have an agenda.

We are coming off a wave of spring selling that shot prices through the roof. Our favorite section of Mulwood in Calabasas saw Multiple seven figure sales. In Woodland Hills, Rodeo Realty was proud to set new record prices with sales in Walnut Acres that reached over $2,000,000. Continue reading

Happy 4th Of July

The July 4th holiday weekend is almost here and once again I look forward to the Calabasas fireworks show at Calabasas High School. I have had the pleasure of living in several different areas since moving to Los Angeles almost 15 years ago but there is something about Calabasas that feels like home. The sense of community that I feel at the fireworks or one of the summer concerts is comforting and reminds me of the smaller towns I grew up in. Every community offers something unique and there are good reasons for living in lots of different places. Often I notice that my clients follow a similar path to mine as they migrate through life and around LA County. I thought I would use this blog to tell my story. Since I have helped so many people make similar moves, the story might help someone who is trying to figure out where to go next. Continue reading

6/13/2014

We receive calls from homeowners almost every day who are considering selling their property.  Whether it is a $2,000,000 home in Calabasas or a $300,000 condo in Sherman Oaks one thing remains constant… many homeowners do not know what they are looking for in a realtor.  Sometimes they do not know why they should use a realtor and other times they are ready to hire an agent without question.  While that sometimes makes things easy for us, either is suggested.  The reality is that utilizing the expertise of someone with experience should help you achieve your goals.  If your goals are not achievable then that advise should be welcome as well.  When I meet with my financial planner they outline what I need to do to get to where I want to be.  Sometimes they advise I am not doing enough in certain areas or that I am overfunded in others.  What they don’t do is tell me what I want to hear.  They don’t tell me I will be rich soon without any attention to my investments or that it will be easy. Continue reading

Is it wise to upsize or downsize?

While some agents focus only on buyers and others only sellers, we tend to have an equal representation of each. In my opinion the market is always shifting and we want to be there for the clients who need our help the most. As a real estate agent in Calabasas I we often come across buyers who are moving up into the area or downsizing and moving out of the area. We represent many clients who sell their property and purchase another and this greatly contributes to our equal representation of buyers and sellers.

Through this process we have developed systems and techniques for maximizing the efficiency of two transactions and coordinating the clients move. Clients often sell a home in Woodland Hills or West Hills and move up to a larger property in Calabasas or Bell Canyon. By properly planning the sale, positioning for the right buyers and choosing the best terms of sale, we can develop a transition plan that helps our client get into a new property often with only one move. Continue reading

Inventory Updates

Limited inventory continues to force fast sales at high prices. The neighborhood of Mulwood in Calabasas has had three new listings sell in the first week leaving the neighborhood with extremely limited inventory and for the first time this year no homes are available under $1,000,000. Our clients have been lucky to secure properties in Woodland Hills and Bell Canyon recently as those areas also face extreme inventory challenges and rising home prices. We sold listings in West Hills and in Woodland Hills this month for full price in little time.

Our new listings this month are receiving attention before they even come to market. We have four new properties scheduled to be released and 1 of them already has buyers lined up. We will have new properties available in Mulwood, Walnut Acres in Woodland Hills, Woodland Hills South of Ventura, West Hills, Sherman Oaks, West Hollywood and Encino. Continue reading

May 9, 2014

If you have been following the blog I have been using the neighborhood of Mulwood in Calabasas as a model for what seems to be happening in the broader market. The storyline remains the same but there are some interesting twists that come into play. I know we are sick of hearing it, but inventory is very low. We currently have buyers on the hunt in Calabasas, Walnut Acres, West Hills, Woodland Hills, Encino and Sherman Oaks. The story for each is the same: lack of inventory, frustration over bidding wars and skyrocketing prices. While it is difficult, we are resorting to nontraditional techniques to find homes for these clients and help them get a leg up on the competition. While you have to work a little harder on the buy side, selling a home in Calabasas or any of these areas is becoming incredibly lucrative for sellers. In some transactions we are seeing all-time highs. Continue reading

April 25, 2014

Home sales have been slow (low) in terms of volume due to an overall lack of inventory. The lack of homes for sale results in a lower number of transactions. This hyper-low inventory also contributes to price inconsistency. If you follow my updates I often use specific neighborhoods to site as examples of the market overall. Mulwood in Calabasas has faced inventory constraints as well as affordability challenges for buyers. While these two factors are contradictory this is what is happening and we are also seeing it in Woodland Hills, West Hills and parts of Encino to name just a few areas. The inventory constraints drive up demand for the limited inventory yet the issue of affordability keeps more buyers from coming in and driving prices higher. In the Mulwood Calabasas example we saw inventory reach a low or 3-4 homes for sale at the beginning of the year. That number grew to 14-15 but many of those homes were priced outside of the affordable range of many buyers looking in the area. Affordability kept the higher prices from being achieved. The overpriced homes sat on the market while reasonably priced properties sold very quickly. Many of our clients searching for homes in the are sought $800-$900,000 homes while many of the listings were testing prices well over $1,000,000. So little inventory creates harsh swings in the market. Continue reading

April 18, 2014

The competitive market continues to create challenges for buyers and sellers alike. An associate of mine was in a competitive bidding war for a home in Calabasas. I am often asked by buyers as well as other realtors the question that comes up when any buyer is ready to make an offer. “What do you think we can get it for?” My answer lately often asks buyers to consider the sellers mindset. The seller knows that it is a sellers’ market. Usually they expect to get their price. In many cases today the sellers think they will get multiple offers. Their expectation is rarely “Let’s see what we can get” or “I better accept this I may not get any better.” In the Calabasas home example the home had been on the market for several months. The list price was $1,000,000 and the home had been in and out of escrow. When my associates clients asked about what price they could get if for we examined the situation. Even though the home was on the market for months they now had two offers. With the seller likely expected a price at or near their price. Continue reading

April 11, 2014

I was happy to see a smaller home in Mulwood, Calabasas go into escrow this last week at a list price that was over $1,000,000.  There have been a number of listings sitting on the market that were either in poor condition or testing the upper limits of pricing.  As the Calabasas real estate market gains velocity during the prime selling season this sale shows that the market will rise to the price if the inventory is constrained enough.  There is still a shortage of excellent homes on the market and something in very nice condition will certainly move quickly and at very strong prices.  There is a general lack of inventory across the board with little exception.  We have clients pursuing homes in the Oaks, Calabasas Hills Estates and Mulholland Heights and the current inventory in all three areas is limited. Continue reading

Selling Your Home Should Be Easy

I have been looking at homes for sale in Calabasas for the past month or two for a particular client and I have to say there are not very many good choices. The same stale inventory sits on the market for months while any attractive offering gets snapped up in a day. I understand that everyone wants the highest price for their home but if your home is not selling in this market there is a problem. There is no reason that a home should be sitting in this market or going through a series of price reductions. The rising market has enticed homeowners to reach for the stars and attempt to achieve unrealistic prices in some areas. I cannot reiterate enough that trying to achieve a price that is not realistic and then reducing your price over time is not the most effective strategy for getting top dollar. That top dollar that everyone seeks most likely to come by pricing your home with razor sharp accuracy. The “Let’s See” strategy is a poor option. A good realtor would not suggest it. A realtor who understands the Calabasas marketplace should know the highest price achievable and should also be able to read the market response in a very short time. Continue reading

Getting That Perfect Home

One thing never changes in real estate. Whether it is an estate in Calabasas, a ranch in Woodland Hills or a condo in Encino, a home will always sell to the person that is willing to pay the most for it. Whether you are a buyer or a seller this rule always holds true. OK, there are one or two exceptions. Maybe a cash buyer will win a home over someone with 3.5% down and maybe a seller will choose a buyer they feel good about over a slightly higher priced offer from someone they don’t. We happen to be experts at writing compelling offers and our clients benefit from creative terms and aggressive performance that could win them a deal in a competitive situation. However, generally speaking, the highest priced “qualified buyer” generally gets the home. Why are we stating the obvious? Because many buyers miss out on getting that perfect home because they have difficulty with this simple concept. Sellers too sometimes miss out on very good offers because they fail to properly analyze the market dynamics. Continue reading

Searching For Homes In Calabasas, Woodland Hills And Entire San Fernando Valley Just Got Easier.

Almost every day I get the call: “Hi I found this listing in Calabasas online and I want to know more about it”. I usually already know that it has been in escrow for 2 months. The frustrated client on the other end usually can’t understand why the website they are using is showing it as available. Someone searching for listings in Woodland Hills this week was asking me about setting up showings every home on a certain website that had missed a mortgage payment. The way the website displayed their listings in Woodland Hills which were in default was deceiving. The appeared to be for sale. The homes were not for sale, they were just in default and even that information was usually outdated. A client in Bell Canyon wanted me to look up a property that not only wasn’t for sale but was not a real address. It was just a realtor trying to get phone calls. Continue reading

Homes in Mulwood Calabasas

Sometimes you can do an analysis of the overall real estate market by looking closely at one submarket. In Calabasas, the neighborhood of Mulwood happens to be a nice case study. There are enough homes in Mulwood to have ample data. A small gated Calabasas community might not provide enough homes or a large enough sample. Other areas may have homes that are all exactly the same or very similar, and the sales could be limited to buyers who prefer that exact style or layout.Mulwood has approximately 1400 homes and a nice variety of architectural styles and home sizes. The activity in this area is a good snapshot of the overall market.

Mulwood inventory has been low for years but we are seeing an increase. As home prices have risen in the past couple years Mulwood homes (lets say that average 2500 sqft) have risen from the market low of $600-$800,000 to a high last year of $800-$1,100,000. This has been a steady progression. All of Calabasas inventory has been low and Mulwood has been no exception.
Continue reading

What does “spring forward” and “fall back” mean for Calabasas Real Estate?

 

For realtors across the land, daylight savings time is almost treated like a holiday. Most agents find 11 different ways to notify everyone they know that the clocks are changing. They send post cards, text messages and all kind of email blasts. I spend 15 minutes this morning just deleting emails reminding me to spring forward. It is a very well covered subject. As a real estate agent in Calabasas I suppose I have a duty to participate in this ritual. Today’s blog will have to suffice as my announcement that the clocks have changed. Besides being a great time for realtors to reach out to the world about clocks, daylight savings time is also a dramatic turning point for market activity. The terms “Spring Forward” and “Fall Back” also coincide with the traditional seasons of real estate. In spring the market moves forward and in fall the market settles back. Continue reading

Homes in the Las Virgenes School District

It’s not news that Los Angeles has a poor reputation when it comes to public schools. Overall LAUSD makes headlines regularly about budget cuts, bureaucratic gridlock and constantly changing policies. This is not to say that there are not some excellent schools within the system. In the west valley El Camino Charter School is a highly sought after high school that many moving to the valley seek out. Woodland Hills also has the highly ranked Woodland Hills Elementary located south of Ventura Blvd & West of Topanga Canyon. Continue reading

Woodland Hills Real Estate Review

We have lots of clients looking for homes in Woodland Hills this week.   They are mostly seeking homes under $800,000.  Woodland Hills is a great area to get good overall value.  Most buyers come west from areas like Studio City or the West Side and they see Woodland Hills as the land of opportunity.  You can purchase an attractive 3-4 bedroom home in a good neighborhood, with good schools, at an attractive price, without leaving the San Fernando Valley.  This typical Woodland Hills buyer has had some nice selections over the past couple years in the $500,000-$650,000 range. Continue reading

February 14, 2014

Inventory of Calabasas Homes Rising Again

Like all sought after locations, homes in Calabasas retained their value well through the downturn, relative to other areas.   While short sales and foreclosures certainly had their impact on the local market, many homeowners with ample equity had no reason to sell in a down market.  The distressed properties for sale also dried up far sooner than in communities that were more effected by the recession.  Many San Fernando Valley cities were riddled with nothing but short sales and foreclosures for years.  As the bargain homes in Calabasas started to disappear we saw an immediate inventory shortage.  Homeowners who had to sell had moved on and the residents with strong equity positions were choosing to wait until the market recovered further. Continue reading

Game Time In Calabasas And Woodland Hills

Superbowl’s over… Now it’s game time in Calabasas and Woodland Hills!

2013 home sales were through the roof but sellers (and some buyers) settled in a bit over the holidays and the sales volume dropped.   This traditional seasonality in the marketplace is expected each year as turkeys and vacations consume everyone’s free time.  This year however there were some additional forces weighing on the slowdown.  Calabasas real estate agents were left scratching their heads as the inventory dwindled to near zero and buyers in the marketplace refused to settle.  Mulwood, for example was down to 3 or 4 active listings in total.  Woodland Hills real estate did not perform much better.  Homes under $650,000 were almost nonexistent and the same stale inventory sat for weeks and weeks.   Where were all the good listings?

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Where Are The Calabasas Homes For Sale?

How’s the market?  That’s the question I get everywhere I go.  Well …markets are markets.  A better question may be “How are the prices?” or “Are there a lot of sales?”.  What people usually mean is “What is my home worth”.    I would be happy to answer all three.  The market is good for sellers because there are not a lot of Calabasas homes for sale.   In fact if you look at what is available for purchase under a certain price point you would be quite surprised.  If you want to experiment put yourself in the buyer’s shoes.

Pick a price that you think is on the high side for your house, then click on my website search tab.  Search for homes that are less than the high price you would put on your own home.  Try to limit size differences to homes that are not significantly larger.  (let’s say within 500ft) You will likely notice that there is very little on the market.  You will see that buyers have few choices when shopping under your price.   Most of my clients say there is nothing on the market better than their home for less.  For this reason buyers are keeping the prices firm.  Homes are worth what someone is willing to pay for them.  When the demand is high and the supply is low buyers will raise what they are willing to pay to find the perfect home.  So how are prices?  Firm.  They have risen dramatically in the last year and as long as demand outweighs supply there is little reason for them not to stay constant.  Is it a good time to sell?  Yes.  It is a great time to sell when there are dramatically more buyers than sellers.

There are fewer sales.  So if you ask “how is the market” and you mean “how many sales are there?”, the market is generating fewer sales than in the peak last summer.  There are fewer sales because there are few homes for sale, and the buyers who have no choices continue to search rather than complete sales.  As more selections come on the market they will likely be snapped up quickly until the pendulum swings the other way and the supply starts to outweigh buyers demand.   The spring time is a great season for sellers and buyers will be out in force.  The number of sales should pick up significantly as more sellers come to market.

The exceptions to all of these observations are the overpriced homes.  Overpriced homes sit on the market even if there is strong demand because even the most desperate buyers recognized that the homes are just significantly overpriced.  If you are buying a home you should carefully navigate the inventory, don’t be desperate and find creative ways to locate what you are looking for at an attractive price.  (I know a guy who can help you)  Don’t let a lack of choices convince you to buy something that is way overpriced.

As more homeowners look at the numbers and discover that they have more equity than they thought, more homes will come to market and if priced correctly buyers will snap them up.   Where are the Calabasas homes for sale?  They are coming.  The distressed sellers are in our past.  Now homeowners are waking up to new equity.  They are choosing to wait for the spring rather than sell in the holidays.  They are realizing more and more every day that it is a good time to sell.

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Holidays In Calabasas

I especially enjoyed the holidays this year even though we spend most of our time running around town.  Since my business is so focused on the community and the people in it, for some reason I was more attentive to the many festive activities than usual.  I was also more thankful for the convenience of all that the area has to offer.

The commons in Calabasas is always pleasant but something about the holiday season brings it to life.  We always enjoy a movie and perhaps a quick bite but the holiday season is what makes it more enjoyable.  Maybe it’s the holiday music pumping from the little fake rocks or the decorations but I have to say if you lacked holiday spirit, the commons was a great place to go.  Being outside with a Starbucks peppermint mocha just makes me feel festive. Some of this spirit spilled over into the downtown Calabasas area, and I’m not speaking of the spirits that are regularly spilling at the Cantina.  Tina’s trees had an impressive display and I have to say that it was one of the few places I saw such towering trees.  They really had some monsters.

I think we had the most fun doing a little skating at Woodland Hills Ice.  It’s always amazing to me that in the middle of sunny Woodland Hills we can put on some skates and some mittens and it’s like you are in Colorado.  The kids have an amazing time and although it felt like I was going down on more than one occasion, eventually it’s not very difficult to get your ice skills back, even if you haven’t skated in years. The ice rink also motivated us to try out one of my new favorite spots, Hook Burger!  I guess there are several of these around LA but they are new to Woodland Hills, and I for one welcome the addition.  It’s kind of an upscale “Habit” with more selections and a nice beer and wine list.

If I did one thing especially well over the holidays it was run to the mall and back a thousand times.  Again, I took a moment to be thankful of what our community offers.  Toys R Us and more mall stores than anyone ever needs are all right down the street. Now, they are also building this new “The Village” Mall, which I believe they will have to invent new stores to fill.  I cannot image what stores we do not already have in all of the other surrounding malls!  However, this too will only make more convenience for people in the community.  In fact, it will likely increase home values in the community.  I think the growth of Warner Center will attract jobs, tourists and really make the area a thriving city center.  These factors could be seen in local home values sooner than later as this becomes the place to be.

If “The Village” can add one thing it’s more restaurants.  Although the area has many great selections already, I am never mad at a larger selection.  The high end in Warner Center seems to be dominated by Steak House’s.  Now if you know me, you will know that I am a big fan of Steak Houses.  However, a big meal at Morton’s or Fleming’s or Ruth’s Chris can leave me full for a month.  Sometimes I want a little variety in the high end.  I welcome a world class Italian restaurant or an offering from a legendary international chef.  (no Wolfgang puck express please)  As and outdoor shopping area “The Village” will also offer something especially important for this foodie, the incentive to walk.

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