• 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!

Green Real Estate

I'm happy to announce that I've earned the NAR (National Association of Realtors) Green Designation. I now have access to the research and information from the Green Resource Council to share with you, like this essay on Why Go Green?

There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we've experienced, we need to take action.

Green building is a great place to start, as buildings consume 14% of potable water, 40% of raw materials, and 39% of energy in the United States alone (according to the US Green Building Council). That's 15 trillion gallons of water and 3 billion tons of raw materials each year! If that's not enough to convince you, here are some other reasons to go green:

FOR THE ENVIRONMENT


Want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.



FOR THE SAVINGS


Want to make your dollar go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your dollar go further for longer.



FOR YOUR HEALTH


Want to live healthier? Green building isn't just good for the environment; it's also good for YOU. Sustainable design and technology enhance a resident's overall quality of life by improving air and water quality and reducing noise pollution. According to a 2006 study by the Center of the Built Environment, University of California, green office buildings improve productivity and employee satisfaction in the workplace.

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A Special Thank You from Tracy

These last three years have been some of the most economically challenging we’ve experienced not only in real estate, but in this country and even in the world. It’s commonly said that our economy is the worst since the Great Depression. The continued high unemployment figures have been holding back a housing recovery since unemployed people don’t commonly buy houses. Doom and gloom seem to fill the headlines. Short sales and foreclosures are common occurrences, even in the best of neighborhoods.

Every Realtor I talk to agrees that every transaction is harder to do than it used to be. Not only are we dealing with buyers fearful of overpaying and sellers unhappy with how prices have come down, we have extremely challenging lender and appraisal situations with an unending stream of new rules and regulations to implement. Real estate is a team effort, every transaction involves so many more people than you might think.

So I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the people I’ve worked with this year. From the sellers and buyers to the escrow officers, title officers, representatives, other Realtors, the staff at all the many kinds of companies, the termite inspectors and workers, the stagers, the marketing support from floor plan drawings to office supplies--I thank you for your business and for helping me do mine. I thank all the people who have visited my broker’s and public open houses and I want you to know you are always welcome to stop in when you see my open house sign out front whether you want to buy or sell a house or not. It’s good to have your presence and your response to our efforts.

They say that a home purchase results in at least $60,000 additional spent in the community as well, so when the real estate market is good, the economy is better. And talk about supporting your local businesses--what could be more local than the house for sale in your neighborhood? So thank you, all of you, for being such good citizens and helping to keep this economy going. May you have a wonderful holiday time and may we  all prosper in 2011!

Warm Regards,

Tracy
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Inca Trail

Tracy King
Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Breakfast before the trek begins

In Ollaytaytambo we had American breakfast: eggs, bread, butter, jam. And coca tea. Everyone is in different stages of altitude sickness from none to almost didn't make the trek.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Peruvian food

Chicken and potatoes. Delicate and yummy.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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The adventure begins

Checking in for our trek.

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Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Invitation to view Tracy King's Picasa Web Album - Inspiration point

You are invited to view Tracy King's photo album: Inspiration point
Inspiration point
Nov 10, 2010
by Tracy King

Message from Tracy King:
What a perfect day for a 9.5 mile hike to Inspiration Point and back.
If you are having problems viewing this email, copy and paste the following into your browser:
http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/sredir?uname=tracyking23&target=ALBUM&id=5538109441313342033&authkey=Gv1sRgCPbfqKafx6bFTQ&feat=email
To share your photos or receive notification when your friends share photos, get your own free Picasa Web Albums account.

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Fall morning at Echo Mountain

The remnants of the Mt. Lowe Scenic Railway.

Sent from my iPhone

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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Better deal than your grandparents got!

One of the agents in our office pitched his new listing at 1375 Coronet in Pasadena this morning, a 4 bedroom, 3 bath traditional in Hastings Ranch.  The cool thing about the pitch was that the sellers had the original ad for the property from 1952.  The original list price was $15,005 - at a 4% interest rate!  There ya go folks... it's not everyday that you will actually be getting a better deal than you would have almost 60 years ago!


coronet



 

coronetinterest



A little blurry, but wow!

1375 Coronet is listed for $649,500 (unfortunately for buyers, home prices haven't dropped to 1950s prices!).  If you want to see this home it is open today 10-2, or you can give us a call at 626.844.2211.

Listing courtesy of Darrell Done, Coldwell Banker
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Newsletter, Newsletter, Get Yer October Newsletter!

Alright, folks, here's this month's newsletter:

October Newsletter


In this issue, you will find:

  • Market Update for Eagle Rock

  • All you ever wanted to know about chimney care!

  • Linoleum, a misunderstood flooring option

  • Oh, Great Swami, Answer Me This... in which I respond to my most asked question

  • Arroyo Arts Tour Information

  • My Recent Activity


Comments? Questions? Anything you want to see more of?  Shoot me an email to tracy[at]tracyking[dot]com, give me a call at 626.844.2256, or comment below!
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533 Neva Place, Highland Park

If you are looking for a completely done little Craftsman cottage in Highland Park then you are in luck. 533 Neva Place is back on the market! Two bedrooms, two baths, plus over 1,200 square feet of bonus space. Upgrades include: tankless water heater, central air and heat, laundry, and a finished two-car garage.

Specs: Listed for $479,000, 1,050 SF on a 4,600 SF lot. Built in 1908.

Want to see it? Give us a call at 626.844.2211.

Living Room

Living Room

Dining to Living

Dining to Living

Kitchen

Kitchen

Bedroom

Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom

Master Bath

Master Bath

Back Yard and Garage

Back Yard and Garage

Listing Courtesy of Matt Manner, Extraordinary Real Estate

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Buy an Incredibly fresh Christmas tree, benefit the Eagle Rock High Boys' Tennis Team!

ERHS Tennis Team Fundraiser -- Order Your Christmas Tree
It's time to preorder your Christmas tree, wreath, or garland to help the boys' tennis team at Eagle Rock High School. Both Noble Fir and Douglas Fir Christmas trees from five to eight feet tall are available, and delivery to your door (for $5) is available in the Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, and Highland Park areas.

All trees are 100% guaranteed, or your money back, to be the freshest and most beautiful you've ever had. This fundraiser has been around for 10 years now! Orders are accepted only in the month of October, so act fast.

Please call boys' tennis coach Eric Jacobson at (323) 340-3571, or complete and mail the order form below to order your Christmas tree item today.

I've bought one of their trees for many years now, and they are the best! And how convenient that they deliver!

Click on this link to view and print order form:                            christmas wreath

EPSON003

and then you can fill it out, write a check to ERHS Boys Tennis, and send it all to:

Eric Jacobsen, Counseling Office

Eagle Rock High School

1750 Yosemite Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90041

And you'll have a fragrant, merry holiday and feel so good that you're helping out Eagle Rock High School.
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6163 Buena Vista Terrace, Highland Park

Here is our new listing in Highland Park (right on the Eagle Rock border) - listed for $399,000! Two bedrooms, 1 bath, plus den in 1,292 SF on a 4,835 SF lot. This 1912 Craftsman retains much of its original charm, like the built-in buffet in the formal dining room, the built-in bookcases and desk surrounding the fireplace in the living room, and the graceful arched doorway between the two rooms. Hardwood floors, large windows that let in lots of light, and rooms beyond the two bedrooms that are currently used as an office and a den. The home is complemented by a landscaped front yard and private, fenced back yard.

Open Tuesday, October 12, 10:00-2:00pm
Open Thursday, October 14, 10:00-2:00pm
Open Sunday, October 17, 2:00-5:00pm


You can also call to schedule a private showing if you can't make the open house times. For more pictures, visit www.6163BuenaVista.com.
Dining Room, with view to Living Room Dining Room, with view to Living Room

Master Bedroom Master Bedroom


Living Room Living Room


Back Yard Back Yard

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Market Update for Eagle Rock and Highland Park October, 2010

As everyone knows, the last three years have been a roller coaster ride for real estate prices all over the country. In Eagle Rock (zip 90041) and in Highland Park (90042), the average price of single family homes that sold went down over 50% between the peak of the market in January, 2008, and the depths of the recession in March of 2009. Wow. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that the value of your individual home necessarily went down 50%, but if you bought your home in January of 2008, you probably would not be able to sell your home for what you paid for it either in 2009 or today. 

Since the so-called “bottom” of the market in March, 2009, we have seen an overall beginning recovery of prices so that as of August of this year, the average sale price in Eagle Rock was up over 27% and in Highland Park over 15%, even accounting for the slowdown that happened after the first-time buyer tax credit expired at the end of April. It felt kind of like home buyers all decided to take a long summer vacation, but about half the current pending sales have opened escrow since September 1, probably due to the most breathtakingly low interest rates we have seen in our lifetime (at least since 1955). Sales prices in 90042 so far this year have averaged both for list and sales price about $337,000. In 90041 Eagle Rock, the averages have been $454,000 list price and $457,000 sale price. Since the 90042 zip code is much larger than 90041, more than twice as many homes have sold there.

If you are new to Eagle Rock and Highland Park, you will love the eclectic mix of older character homes dating from the Arts and Crafts era of the early 1900s to the interesting midcentury moderns that often look out over stunning views of the Verdugo Mountains to the north and downtown Los Angeles to the south. There are traditional, Spanish-style and newer homes scattered through the mix as well. Truly something for everyone. You can purchase a small foreclosure for as little as $300,000, even less in some places, but expect to compete with investors who can pay cash. The highest sales prices so far this year in 90042 for a single-family home was $801,000 in Highland Park for an architect-designed contemporary with 275 degree views and $888,000 for an unusual Zen-influenced home with guest house on a wonderful private garden lot in Mt. Washington. In Eagle Rock, it was $876,000 for a remodeled older home-turned contemporary that also boasted amazing panoramic views. 

The people of Eagle Rock and Highland Park are as diverse and interesting as the housing is. From long-time residents who were born and went to school here to the recent migration of renters from Silverlake, Echo Park and Los Feliz to purchase their first homes in our residential neighborhoods, everyone gets along pretty well and is generally devoted to this vibrant community. You will find a huge number of artists alongside many professionals who work downtown and love the relatively short commute. You will also find a growing number of family-owned places to eat and drink and shop that cater to just about every taste. The recession was a setback, but the positive spirit of our community is irrepressible. Welcome to Northeast Los Angeles!
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Linoleum, a misunderstood flooring option

Recently, I recommended linoleum as a good choice for a kitchen floor and the homeowner laughed at me! She had a tile floor that she had installed in recent years and thought it was much superior. Well. Everyone is entitled to their opinion about design choices, but here is my case for linoleum.

First, it’s linoleum I‘m talking about, not vinyl.   Real linoleum is made from natural ingredients including linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, tree resins, ground limestone, and pigments, pressed into a jute backing--a product originally patented by Frederick Walton in 1863.  Cheaper vinyl flooring came along in 1947, is made from hydrocarbon products like natural gas or petroleum, came in lots of bright colors and patterns and linoleum appeared drab in comparison. Besides being made from non-renewable resources, vinyl offgasses volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which make many people ill.

But today, real linoleum is back as an eco-friendly flooring. Armstrong, the main U.S. manufacturer of vinyl flooring,  bought the world’s second largest linoleum producer, Deutsche Linoleum Werke, and we can now buy green and buy American. Linoleum is also back as an interesting design element as it now comes in a number of fun colors. Some artistic types have created wonderful patterns and designs with the flooring and have added real excitement to the fairly boring world of flooring decisions.

Another feature is that linoleum is as appropriate for historic homes from the Victorian and Craftsman eras as it is for modern homes today. There is a  book called Linoleum by Jane Powell which has great photos of interesting vintage and newer lino designs. You can look at some pages and also order a copy from Amazon.com.  Check out the Wikipedia entry for linoleum and see one of the fun styles from the 50s.

True linoleum (also called Marmoleum, which is a brand name by Forbo) is not only made from renewable resources, but it is anti-static which makes it easy to clean. It is also antibacterial, hypoallergenic, and recyclable. It offgasses as well, but it is from the linseed oil, which is not pleasant to some, but many other people enjoy the fragrance.

But why linoleum instead of tile? It’s true that linoleum is not as impervious to water as tile is, so if you’re the type to leave standing water, or if you want to be able to power wash your floor down at night like in a commercial kitchen, lino is not for you. But if you are a serious home cook, you will enjoy the cushioning effect of linoleum which will be better for your feet, legs and back, and much less likely to destroy your china should you drop it on the floor.

Another advantage of linoleum is that it is easier to install or remove, and it is less expensive than quality ceramic tile. Linoleum costs about $7 to $10 per square foot installed, while ceramic tile can cost from $6 to $30 per square foot installed, and stone, granite and marble can cost even more. These costs vary wildly for custom designs, special preparation or underlayments of the sub floor. And the variety of styles and quality of tile varies hugely. Linoleum is only manufactured by a few companies, and they   all produce  the same high quality.

In my opinion, while some people might prefer ceramic tile over linoleum, linoleum is a more affordable, more neutral flooring. And if you are careful to pick a linoleum style and color that is consistent with the period and color scheme of your home, you will have a floor that will look stylish far longer than the ceramic tile that is currently in vogue.
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1829 Avenue 51

1829 N. Avenue 51 is an adorable, renovated 1927 Spanish-style home in Highland Park, located north of York Boulevard. The home has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and is 808 sq. ft. on a 6,800 sq. ft. lot. Renovated by ModOp Design, the home's original details have been carefully restored and are complemented by a brand new eat-in kitchen and updated bath. The terraced back yard has a drought-resistant garden plus a vegetable garden, a covered patio, and a 400 sq. ft. studio space. Listed for $449,000.
1829 North Avenue 51

1829 North Avenue 51

Living Room

Living Room

Kitchen

Kitchen

Bathroom

Bathroom

Back garden

Back garden

Bonus Studio Space

Bonus Studio Space

This home was snatched up quickly when it went on the market over the summer, but lucky for you it is back on the market and ready for YOU to grab and take residence in. If you'd like to see it, give me a call at 626-827-9795.

Listing courtesy of Rob Kallick and Matt Morgus, Keller Williams.

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Positive views of the real estate world

There must be something positive going on! But what?

Well, there are a few things.

  1. Interest rates are the lowest since 1971, according to Freddie Mac. There is a lot of variation depending on whether you are purchasing or refinancing a property, have a conforming or a jumbo loan, have a 30-year fixed or an adjustable, have good credit or excellent—but some people report obtaining less than 4.5% for a conforming ($417,000 or less) loan.

  2. More sellers have more reasonable expectations now.

  3. The number of days on market for homes that sell has dropped slightly in Los Angeles (according to www.happyrenews.com).

  4. Although everyone was disappointed to hear that closed sales of homes dropped 27% in July, those that went "pending" (real estate language for removing all contingencies in escrow) actually increased by 5% over the previous month. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/02/business/la-fi-pending-home-sales-20100903 .


Still the question I am asked most often is “When do you think prices will go up?” Come on, guys! If I knew the answer to that I’d have also known the answer to the question “When will the bubble burst?” and “What’s the secret to making $1 million in a year?” My answer to you is if you are contemplating making a real estate move, don’t try to time the market. You will never know where a bottom or a peak is until it’s past.  In my experience, people who are clear about why they need to make a move generally have a better  experience than people who can’t make up their minds or want to get the very last penny they can when they sell or the very best deal when they buy.

We don’t know right now if we will have a “double dip” recession, if prices will go up or down in the next few years. If you make your plans to buy or sell based on what you guess the market will do, you are avoiding the real issue. People generally move for more personal reasons like changes in their employment, family, health, and lifestyle – and if you  keep this in mind while you contemplate your real estate decisions you will most likely end up in a better situation to suit your needs.
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Foreclosures that didn't have to happen

I was looking at the properties on Foreclosure Radar that are in default, checking on some properties that have been recently listed as short sales. I recognized an address I had visited several years ago to discuss selling it. At that time, the owner could have sold it easily and made a bit of money, but it wasn’t enough for her to do what she thought she wanted. We have talked about once every couple of years since then, but the last time I spoke with her, I had to tell her she wouldn’t make enough to pay off what she owes. Today, I saw that the property is in preforeclosure, scheduled for a possible sale at the end of the year. She may be able to drag the process out for several more months, maybe even years, but it doesn’t look like she’s going to be able to sell it “when the market recovers,” because she will owe too much in back payments, penalties and interest.

Once you fall behind, it can be very difficult to catch up. I can tell you several sad stories from the past few years. Each time, the owner could have sold it for enough to pay off the loans with a little bit left over to move and rent a place. But they “had” to have more. They “had” to be able to buy another house, or pay off all their debts, or something. But things didn’t go as planned, they slipped further and further behind, and lost it all—with the added bonus of having trashed their credit and made their lives even more difficult.

It is hard to face the reality of a bad financial situation. And the minute you fall behind in your payments, every scheme suddenly seems realistic. It’s a trick your mind can play on you, and it is made worse by every grifter who sees a chance to make some money off of your troubles. It is difficult to know who to trust. Since the notice of default is a public record, unsavory characters have an easy time finding people in trouble. Here is the advice you should heed: don’t ever pay anyone a fee upfront before they deliver on their promise of a loan modification or a short sale. It’s actually against the law for someone to accept such a fee.

But I also have some success stories to tell you. I helped several homeowners sell and move on before they fell behind in their payments, and a couple whom we managed to help right before the auction gavel came down. They didn’t get as much as they wanted to get. Some of them barely managed to pay off all their loans. But they are done and moved on. They may have regrets over what might have been or what they should have done earlier, but they don’t have that big “foreclosed” sign stamped in their memory to seal in the misery. And certainly, if they fell behind in their payments their credit suffered, but not nearly like it would have if they had lost their house in foreclosure.

If you find yourself in a situation where you need to change your real estate position, don’t let your emotions get in the way of what you know in your brain you need to do.
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Did you know? The deal on paint law

By now, we all know that lead is not-so-good for our general health.  Unfortunately, the U.S. did not ban the use of lead-based paint until 1978.  This means that hundreds of thousands of homes still contain lead paint, and when these older homes need remodeling, the lead can be released into the air, soil, and water it contacts.

Finally, on April 22, Earth Day, of 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule that requires lead safe practices by contractors who perform any renovation or repair projects that disturb lead-based paint in home, child-care facilities, and schools built before 1978.  No longer can a contractor just go in to a home and start demo work, or even just sanding, without being certified and following specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

A little background on lead -- did you know that some scientists believe that the lead used in some ceramic glazes and in the water pipes helped destroy the Roman Empire? Yes, the long term effects of lead poisoning leads to decreased bone and muscle growth, damage to the nervous system, kidneys, hearing, seizures and unconsciousness in children. In adults, effects can include everything from fatigue to infertility, anemia, high blood pressure, and dyspepsia. In general, lead poisoning makes humans sickly and weak, and therefore easily conquered.

If every one of us were all-knowing and filled purely with concern for humanity, we wouldn’t need government intervention. But consider the banning of the use of lead in paints. Did you know that some nations in Europe banned lead-based paint in the 1920’s to protect painters? Meanwhile, the U.S. government endorsed the use of lead in paint because it helped make paint more washable, thereby allowing homes to be cleaner and reduce the incidence of infectious disease. There is a lot written about how in the 1950s scientists found lead in paint to be the cause of lead poisoning among children who lived in poorly maintained homes (with peeling paint).

So, while even more regulations on how you can work on your own home can be annoying,  one of the most important jobs a government can do is to protect you from things that you can’t see.

For the complete information on the rule and the certification and regulation of professionals, go to www.epa.gov/lead/pubs/renovation.htm.
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Ask Tracy: is staging a good idea?

Q. Do you think staging a home for sale works?

A. Let me answer this question with a little case study.

Highland Park (90042 zip) is undergoing an interesting renaissance. This area lost about 50% of the average price value in the 2 years from the peak to its valley, between 2007 and 2009. When prices dropped that low, a number of investors began buying properties, fixing them up and re-selling them.

I sold a small 2-bedroom 1-bath fixer in Mt. Angelus last year for $235,000. The investor did a huge amount of work including a reworked foundation, listed it for $429,000 and it sold for $455,000 in March of this year.

Even the fixed-up price seems pretty reasonable compared to hip areas like Silverlake and Los Feliz, and so the re-birth has begun. Companies like Better Shelter are going in and doing quality flips. They install good quality systems, artful paint schemes, nice finishes—and then they go all out and stage them even at the lower priced level. It pays off, too. The house at 4955 Meridian was listed for $499,000 and sold for $540,000 earlier in the spring.

Does staging make a difference in the ultimate sales price? It’s hard to say. The flip done from the one I sold last year wasn’t staged, but the one on Meridian was.  It seems to be trendy in Highland Park to stage homes these days. There was a property on Lincoln listed for $399,000 and designed by Native Homes LA that was staged and went into escrow within 3 weeks of listing. My listing on Range View (also listed for $399,000) was staged and went into escrow after just 2 weeks. The key to how staging works is that it makes the property look really attractive and in top condition.  It also helps prospective buyers imagine how their own furniture might work in the house  such as where the television might go, or if a breakfast table and chairs would fit in that corner. It can be difficult for a buyer to figure out a completely blank canvas especially if the floorplan is less than ideal.

Price is just as important, however. If any of these homes had been priced too high, the staging wouldn’t have helped. When you see properties selling for over asking, you know that more than one buyer thought enough of the home to bid on it.

Location is the last piece of the value puzzle.  Here is where the condition and the price are essential. There is a property in a very less-than-desirable part of Highland Park near the freeway that looked adorable in the photos and was priced well for the rest of Highland Park, though not really that inexpensive for that particular area. It went into escrow 11 days after it was listed.

So what’s the answer to the staging question? Some sellers feel that if it’s priced under $500,000, it doesn’t need staging because the low price will sell itself. Others stage any priced home. While it costs money to hire a stager, the money is probably justified by selling the house quicker, possibly with more offers, maybe pushing the price up a bit. If you have a property that has an odd floorplan or is vacant, you may want to consider some staging. If you want tiptop dollar, you probably want to do everything you can to get it. Don’t you?
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Compass 179x55

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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