"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

January, 2012

In 2011 Palos Verdes sales continued at about the same pace as last year, aided by a continuance of historically low interest rates in the 4%’s.  However, the average sale price in Valmonte , for example, dropped from $1,482,438 to $1,209,634, and the average sale price in dollars-per-square-foot (if you’re into that sort of thing – I’m not – see below) dropped from $632 to $506.  A cursory look might lead one to conclude that prices in Valmonte had dropped around 20% during 2011 which, of course, is not true; however, it does illustrate how the media is led to report such sensational statistics.  As one who is out here where the rubber hits the road, I would estimate that prices in Palos Verdes generally have dropped something like 20% total from their 2007 peaks.  Due to the variety of house characteristics less quantifiable than size and sale price (location, condition, lot size and flatness, floor plan, view, etc), there is no ironclad way to nail this down any further. 

As to dollars-per-square-foot analyses, I tend to downplay them because they are so inaccurate in an area of custom homes as to be close to useless.  When the dollars-per-square-foot number is applied to a given house, wildly inaccurate numbers generally result, mostly because only the house square footage is being used to determine the value of the total parcel, of which roughly 75% is the land, as well as not considering the more subjective criteria listed above.  This is where websites such as Zillow run off the rails:  purporting to give the value of a house from a computer keyboard thousands of miles away simply using dollars-per-square-foot statistics of other sales, has about the same validity as a National Enquirer story about some celebrity having a baby fathered by a space alien. 

If you’re thinking of selling, you will get a lot of advice about what to do to prepare the house.  Some of the advice I’ve seen in the media is good, some is not, and some is actually counter-productive.  If I were a seller, I’d interview the agents I was considering and rely on the advice of the one I selected.  My approach to this is to recommend you do what I would do if I owned the house; and I would only consider doing those things from which I would at least get my money back in the sale price.  I’m a hard sell on costly preparations because I’m usually not convinced that you will recover that money, which I look at like it was my money.  You might sell the house for more, but not enough more to get back what you spent, in which case it makes no sense.  So if you’re thinking of selling, call me; I’ve been down this road hundreds of times and can keep you from wasting time and money. 

Visit my website at www.DanaGraham4re.com.  I am re-vamping it after 15 years (wouldn’t want to do anything rash), which will allow up-to-the-minute market updates, articles searchable by subject (Sellers, Buyers, Market Trends), and generally be more user-friendly.  Or just call me at 310 613-1076, which is my cell phone guaranteed to get only me (not a secretary or assistant) and, even tho I might be crawling around a client’s attic or fixing a plumbing problem, I’ll be happy to talk with you. 

I hope you have a great 2012!

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