• Compass DRE# 01991628
  • Address: 2120 Colorado Blvd., Suite #1, Eagle Rock, CA 90041
  • Office Phone: 323-274-2148

Tracy King Blog - Eagle Rock Real Estate - Northeast Los Angeles Realtor

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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

Magical Thinking and this Crazy Real Estate Market

Magical Thinking and this Crazy Real Estate Market

Homebuyers and home sellers's expectations often clash with harsh realities of the market when it comes to the nitty gritty ... selling price and offers.

Magical thinking and this crazy real estate market. What am I talking about? I have some examples.

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A Home is the Perfect Valentine's Day Gift ... If the Time is Right

A Home is the Perfect Valentine's Day Gift ... If the Time is Right

There couldn't be a better gift for your Valentine than a house! But is this a good time to buy?

The best time to buy a house is when you think about it, almost or already have the money together, and see a house you like. But how about the market? Isn't it time for the bubble to burst?

Here are some facts for you to chew on as you consider your options:

For real estate in Northeast Los Angeles (zip codes 90041 (homes in Eagle Rock), 90042 (homes in Highland Park) and 90065 (homes in Glassell Park)):

Average sold price increased 9.6% from November - January 2015/16 to Nov-Jan 2016/17

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Pretty Costs More

The adage "Pretty Costs More" applies to a number of subjects, but especially to the current real estate market.

Buyers in today’s market are being bombarded on all sides with confusing stories about what a home might be worth, whether it’s a good time to buy, what to look for in a home, and especially whether the market is going up or down from here. What to do?

Many buyers go for looks. Just like a pretty girl gets more attention at the high school dance than the brainiac, a house that looks like it stepped out of Dwell or House Beautiful gets more attention and subsequently more money than the house with good bones, solid construction, but tired or out-of-date bathrooms and kitchen.

One example of the pretty theory: a 3-bedroom, 2-bath house in Highland Park recently came on the market for $379,000. It was a trust sale and the house needed a lot of work.  So the agent had inspections done, had the sellers clean, paint, and stage it, and hoped to get a few offers and a bit more than the asking price. Perhaps you saw it on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.  This property captured the attention of the media because it was cute and charming -- and at a great price. The paint and staging brought out the unique character of the home and buyers came running.  Seventy-three (yes, 73!) offers later, the property ended up selling for $542,000.  And that was even after the agent provided to all prospective buyers disclosures and inspection reports that showed the house needed lots of work, including foundation, electrical, plumbing.  Basically all the expensive, not fun items that make for a smooth-running, low-maintenance home.

Here’s another example: a cute little 2-bedroom, 1-bath cottage in Eagle Rock was listed for $419,000. At the time (the start of the spring buying season), it seemed like a reasonable price for a small house in a good but not the best part of Eagle Rock. Seventeen offers later, the house sold for $505,000 cash. This was an investor flip and all the investor did was polish it up a little -- new kitchen counters and a dishwasher, refinished the hardwood floors, painted and landscaped. The inspections showed that the chimney was completely unusable, the HVAC was at the end of its life, and the sewer line was invaded by roots to the extent that the camera couldn’t get through the whole line. No matter, the buyers were happy that they were able to buy the charming home.

The perfect example of how pretty is worth more is 2035 Ridgeview Avenue, which was perfectly updated and exquisite, but only 1353 square feet. We came on the market at $649,000, which was what the sellers had paid for it in 2006 before putting about $200,000 into in, and we ultimately sold it for $760,000, the highest price per square foot for a home sale in Eagle Rock since 2007.

The final example is where all the factors came together at the perfect time: a good 1920s house on a large lot with views, a wonderful private setting, a tastefully updated floor plan, and a seller who did everything the stager dictated. We priced it at $699,000 because that was a number the seller could live with, and at our first open house we were asked by some people why it was priced so high. There were no comparables for a house that size in that location, but the house had such emotional appeal that we ended up with 23 offers and the property ultimately sold for $865,000.

On the other hand, there are a couple of good solid homes in good locations that are currently sitting on the market. We priced them $80,000 to $100,000 less than the prettiest listings, and we have no offers. These are properties that a buyer could put their own designer touches to and have great properties for less money, but buyers obviously don’t see it that way. Why?

Buyers have no imagination. If it isn’t gorgeous already, they don’t see the potential. Sorry, buyers, this sounds harsh, but I have seen it time after time.

In today’s market, the pretty houses that are well-priced are going for more in multiple offers. If you are a buyer, tired of losing out in the intense competition, what can you do?

  • Find some more money and offer more on the next one.

  • Look for properties that have several good features, see if the ones you don’t like are ones that you could improve yourself, and make an offer.

  • Give up and stay where you are.


Another option that I have seen many people try is to keep looking, thinking they will surely find that needle in a haystack, that great house that nobody else has seen that is in a great neighborhood, has a great price, and is really charming and pretty besides. If this is the option you are pursuing, maybe you should ask yourself if you really want to buy a home right now, or do you just think you do.  This is the subject of another article that is coming up soon, so stay tuned.
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Why Do We Buy Homes?

Everyone has been so concerned with the real estate market’s ups and downs, gain or loss in value, future prospects, that we have lost sight of the point of it all: Home.
Why do people buy homes? Here is a list of all the reasons I could think of quickly. How many apply to you?
  • To have one to live in, for the most part.
  • To define a space that is an expression of ourselves, our creativity, our artistic vision.
  • To be safe.
  • To be comfortable.
  • To provide shelter for ourselves and our families.
  • To be a personal retreat from a hectic world.
  • To be a meeting place for friends and family.
  • To be a symbol of our success.
  • To represent a stake in the community.
  • To be a tax write-off.
  • To be an investment.
  • To be a do-it-yourself project all our own.
Today, mortgage interest rates are at a 60-year low (!), prices are the lowest they’ve been in 5 to 10 years, and we are now seeing real (though tiny) signs that we are inching into recovery. The smart people are stepping forward and getting some great deals, not only on distress sales, but good regular houses.
Here’s my thought: even the properties that seem to be selling at a premium are deals today. If you look at what happened in the 90s and what people paid for homes in, say, 1995, today they look like incredible bargains. Even what people paid in 2000 was dirt cheap compared to now.Sometimes things don’t work out the way we want or expect them to. We move before we think we will because of work or divorce or some other necessity. But even if you have to move before your home becomes a profit center, you will have had the enjoyment of your own space. If you take a long view of owning homes and you focus on what you have put into living in them, the good times you have spent, the lessons you have learned, you may find that the returns have been much more than monetary. After all, do you only do the things in life that make you money? Do you only assess your success in life by the profits you have made? Or do love, comfort, joy and beauty enter into it?
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Is Cash Always King?

Cash buyers are exerting downward pressure on prices, according to a report in DSNews.com, quoting a study from HousingPulse Survey. This article points out that with distressed properties, the investors with cash dominate the market and that sellers often take lower cash offers because the deal can be closed faster with fewer problems. As a result, the first-time and FHA buyers are shut out of the entry-level distressed property market. This is a funny kind of capitalism in action. Free market means that the seller does not have to take the highest offer, they are free to choose a lower offer with cleaner terms.

But if you are a cash buyer and you want a really nice home, you don’t necessarily have the same influence on price. You may still get the deal, but only if you do offer the highest price. I could quote several stories over the last several years in which the winning bid in multiple offers was cash for homes that were not at the low end of the price range. I represented a buyer last year who purchased a couple of homes in La Canada and Pasadena by either paying cash or agreeing to no loan or appraisal contingencies. One of the highest sales in Eagle Rock last year was all cash, and this year I have seen cash buyers competing with each other on good properties, driving up the price as a result.

Where is all this cash coming from? Lots of places: investments that have been earning a fraction of a percent interest in CDs, sales of businesses, inheritances, divorces, lawsuits, and retirement accounts, even savings. Another source is the Bank of Mom and Dad, which sometimes is a gift and sometimes is a gift that is expected to be returned at some future time.

What does all this mean?


  1. Don’t make the assumption that if you have cash you will always win at a bargain price.

  2. Don’t believe everything you read about how bad the market is. There are a lot of people who are serious buyers today because they have faith in the value of real estate over the long term.  And a lot of them have cash.
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Tracy King, Realtor
DRE# 01048877
Phone: 323-274-2148 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
COMPASS DRE# 01991628

Keely Myres, Realtor
DRE# 01834633
Phone: 323-274-2148 | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
COMPASS DRE# 01991628

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