Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Market is Softening, But Inventory is Still Low

Several things have happened in the past few months. It's odd because it's a good time to sell, but it's also weirdly a good time to buy. Some of my thoughts and feedback from clients:

1. Interest rates have gone up. This has affected prices a tad. And yes, I mean only a tad. We're talking 1-3% price shavings from the summer. Meaning, prices are still very good if you're in the market to sell.

2. It's still a Seller's market, mainly because prices are still high and inventory is still low. So is it a good time to sell? Heck yes if you have equity or are needing to unleash.

3. While interest rates are hitting up to 5% depending the lender, I dare say it's still relatively cheap to borrow compared to 20 years ago. Interest rates are slated to go up a bit more in 2019, so that means if you are planning to buy in the next 6-12 months, now is probably a good time.

4. Rents are higher than ever. I can't believe the gorgeous 2+2 unit in a duplex I used to rent in Hancock Park 15 years ago for $1200/mo, is now renting for $4200/mo. That's about a 400% increase. What I mean to say, sadly, is that it's really hard to rent these days with prices so high. If your budget is under 3k, and you don't have a decent downpayment (10-20%) saved up, it's ok to keep renting. If your budget is about 4k, then it's probably better to think of buying something small in an up and coming area and holding on for 3-5 years, and then cashing out on the 100k+ equity you'll gain. Seriously, I believe the market will go up in certain areas while other areas will plateau.

5. Will the market keep going up 5-10% each year like it has since 2010? Likely no for the next 2-3 years. However, 5 years from now, some areas will. These are areas that are in transition, like West Adams, Glassell Park, Montecito Heights, Lincoln Heights, and the Fashion District & Art District in DTLA. There's just room to grow in these areas.

6. At the end of the day, real estate is about security, equity, and leverage, so whether you're selling to make a profit and trade up, or buying to build equity and peace of mind, if it's the right time for you, then that's all that matters.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Immaculate Loft in South Park with In-unit Laundry Room and Parking for Lease

Beautifully maintained loft with upgraded glass partition, stainless and stone kitchen island, upgraded glass shower doors, spacious laundry room, 1 parking space. 960sf provide ample space in this 1 bed, 1 bath South Park gem. Building has 24/7 front desk concierge & security, lush outdoor deck, BBQ, fireplace, and pool.

Asking $2750/mo.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Amazing Price on a 2 Bed, 2 Bath Split Level Corner Penthouse Unit in South Park

Rare Corner Penthouse Unit at the luxury 717 Olympic building in the heart of it all. The unit features amazing views from just about every room and bathroom. Spacious upstairs main bedroom with double walk in closets, a spacious ensuite bathroom with separate shower and soaking tub. he bedroom opens onto a beautiful landing that's perfect for an office space or sitting area, and further along is a private terrace that looks out onto the rest of the views beyond. The second bedroom or guest suite is downstairs, complete with two closets as well. An ample laundry room offers extra storage, and an open plan kitchen and living area complete this spectacular home. The building offer 24/7 concierge services, valet parking, plunge pool, fitness center, business center, wine storage, indoor and outdoor lounges, fire pit, outdoor terraces, media room and more.

Asking $8298/mo

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Buying vs Selling in a Changing Market


1. We've reached another height

2. There are talks of plateauing and possibly even microdips in the market

3. You have amazing equity and can upgrade from the starter pad to a forever home

Words of wisdom when selling: Be patient and smart. You will have to have your home in great shape and priced right with a local realtor who knows what's up in the area.


1. Rents are through the roof, and still going up due to high demand and low supply

2. Why pay your landlord's mortgage?

3. Population in LA keeps growing

Words of wisdom when buying: Look at the big picture. Inventory is low, and it's still a seller's market. So bid wisely. Do not nitpick about overbidding 5k here, 5k there. Over a 30 year fixed, that's like $3/mo. And try to be less emotional about the things that can be changed, such as ugly carpets.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

When Is It A Good Time to Sell, When Is It A Good Time to Buy?

Everyone can look back in hindsight and say "I should have bought in the crash." Then why did so many people jump ship and short sell in the crash? It's because everyone has different motivations, different circumstances in their lives.

There's no really right answer unless you know for sure where the market is heading, and if we could all predict the future, all of us would be in the 1%.

The best answer to the question of when to sell or buy is when you can afford to, and it's the right property.

If you can afford a house at what we're calling the "height of the market," then you should be fine. Even if the market dips, you can afford the payments (Please people, get a 30 year fixed and you're mortgage is like rent control for 30 years). Some people have bought at the height, but got some amazing interest rates, so they ended up just as good as other buyers who got locked into a higher interest rate at a slightly lower price.

If you're selling because you need to, or you want to upgrade, or you want to cash out on equity and get a better investment, go for it. We're at new heights so if you're looking to sell, then duh, this is the best time. If you're not needing to sell, there's no real reason why you should, and it's not like you're needing the cash right now, then hold onto it. You can always rent the place out for killer rents--just as prices are high, rents are even higher than ever before.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Live/Work Lofts in DTLA

Every week I get approached about live/work lofts, especially from artists. The reason is because these artists are getting kicked out of their studios for conversions or having their rents increased by 100%. It's always the same story. And some of these artists aren't having it anymore. They are buying their own spaces in live/work buildings.

The beauty of the live/work situation is that it is multipurpose. The space can often be shared with other artists or entrepreneurs during business hours who are paying you to use part of the space. Think of it like your own coworking space (that you own) or think of it as a duplex, where the other tenant is paying half or more of your mortgage. It's a pretty sweet situation, and best of all, you own the place so you are building equity. This is how you say goodbye to the unstable housing situation and unreasonable rent hikes.

...And Still A Sellers Market!

Tariffs, weird economic rumblings, cryptos, housing shortage, global warming...what a strange time this is. How does this affect real estate?

Real estate has been interesting in the last 10 years. It was a seller's market (prices going up!), then quickly turned into a buyer's market (prices crashed), and since about 2014, has been a strong seller's market. We're due for a dip (buyer's market!), yet the shortage of housing has been keeping prices high.

It's not helping that a lot of people have found that properties are a good way to grow their money rather than banks. The passive income due to high rents is often too good to pass up. And the Airbnb potential of properties is causing a shortage in rental housing, not just housing to buy.

Forecasts are pointing to a dip in about 2020. Of course nothing's perfectly predictable. But what do we know for sure? It's a Seller's market. Prices have been going up for about 10 years, and if the equity is there, and you're ready to trade up, there's no time like the present.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Flipping in DTLA

I've been getting requests from investors about flipping in downtown. Flipping is not as common in condos. It's just such a hassle to buy a condo, get board approvals, deal with building restrictions, and, with the way prices have been (especially in DTLA), sell for a modest profit at best.

But it does happen, and sometimes, it can be very easy. The best type of condo is often one that has been banged up a bit due to years of tenants living there. Appliances are in bad shape, cabinetry needs updating, flooring needs an overhaul, etc.

Typically, a condo that's been overhauled can fetch about twice the amount of remodel money put into it. For instance, a condo with a market price of $800k with a remodel that cost $75k can end up being worth $950k to the public. Not a bad return on your money.

What are the typical remodels that generate the most ROI?

1. Kitchen (Appliances help, but more than that, modern cabinetry and ventilation.)

2. Bathroom (Just changing out the sink makes a huge difference. Then of course, tiles are a big deal right now, and you want to err on the light color side)

3. Flooring (Worn, stained, dated flooring needs to be replaced asap! It's the biggest turn off for buyers)

4. Storage (Add an extra closet, pantry space, etc. So many options these days. The biggest cheat is a floating wardrobe that is fixed to the wall.)

5. Lighting (Please add nice, modern lighting to dull, dark spaces. Even $2k worth of electrical work to add more ceiling lights will hugely add to value)

6. Paint (Please choose flat white for your walls if in doubt. Do not go crazy with colors unless you have a designer who can put the room "together" for you. I know wallpaper is hot right now but honestly, it has to be done right)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Just Leased - Douglas Lofts #4D at 740sf - Highest Leased Price for Floorplan

Douglas Loft #4D - 740sf + 1 parking
North facing unit with views of City Hall and mountains.

Listed at $2450/mo, which was already just above market rates for the building, this studio ended up getting $2550/mo, the highest price ever paid for a rental for a studio in the building. Rentals are slowing down in general due to an influx of new construction competition, but good units are still going strong.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Apple Store Forging Ahead on Broadway

Photo: Tower Theater Group

After a long period of silence, the Apple store coming in the Tower Theater space on Broadway has made more movement. Renderings are hush at the moment, but something exciting while preserving the integrity of the historic theater. The opening might coincide with the Broadway Trade Center restoration across the street.