"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

What Your Kids Don’t Know Can Hurt Them

If you’ve raised your family, the kids have moved away, and you are now just enjoying life in the same house, you might want to make sure the kids know what your wishes are when the time comes.  I know this sounds obvious, but having lived in Palos Verdes since 1947, many of my schoolmates, in addition to dealing with myriad issues at an emotional time,  are faced with selling the family home.  The problem is that, especially if they’ve moved out of the area, they are probably not tuned in to the local real estate market.  You, who have lived here the whole time, are probably much more aware than they are.

When the time comes to sell the house, the importance of hiring a local, respected agent active in the area can’t be over-emphasized.  As I’ve said elsewhere, one of things technology has done is to make it too easy for Realtors to do business anywhere in the State, even though they’ve never sold a house there.  In the last 15 or so years, Palos Verdes has been invaded by outside agents presenting themselves as “Palos Verdes” agents, especially on the internet, where you can be whoever you want to be.  If your kids live out of the area and are looking for a Realtor from scratch, they can easily fall for one of them, which is not good.  Here’s why:

1)  Market Knowledge:  unless a Realtor specializes in a relatively restricted geographic area, he cannot possibly know the market.  There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to know the properties if an agent “does business from Manhattan Beach to San Pedro” as some claim.  Running the computer for past sales in an unfamiliar area is a poor substitute for having seen the houses when they were for sale — how is the agent going to know how good/bad the other sale really was compared to your house?  Do you think the listing agent for that house is going to talk about the negatives when they’re writing the listing or ad copy and trying to sell that house?  I get into this at some length in my article “Show Me Your List(ings)“, so I won’t go any further on it here.

2)  Known Locally:  as you can imagine, when an agent is out showing property and his buyer likes one of them, the identity and reputation of the listing agent can have an effect, good or bad.  Face it, the buyer’s agent knows that if his buyer’s offer is accepted, he’s going to be living with that agent for 60 days, and reputation matters.  An unknown agent is just that.  But even before that, if the listing agent is from, say Manhattan Beach, the buyer’s agent can be pretty certain that that agent has never seen the other sales, may have dug himself a hole with the seller (aka:  listed the property too high, possibly to obtain the listing) and may not be ready to have that exposed via a realistic offer.

3)  Familiarity With Local Business Practices:  business practices vary from area to area.  I can personally tell you, having sold a few houses in West LA for Palos Verdes clients who “would never use anyone else”, it’s a completely different environment there.  The agents are always present every time a house is shown, are accustomed to doing different things during the escrow, as are the escrow companies, and the general atmosphere is much more adversarial than it is in Palos Verdes.  Palos Verdes, by the way, is now more adversarial than it used to be, primarily because of the influence of outside agents who bring their business styles here with them.  And if a Palos Verdes house is listed by an agent from anywhere north of Manhattan Beach, that agent is going to want to use the escrow and title companies they’re comfortable with.  Odds are that the buyer’s agent isn’t going to be thrilled with that.

4)  Familiarity With Local Regulations:  Here’s just one example of where this can really matter:  it often comes as

Not the PVE Art Jury

Not the PVE Art Jury

a surprise to outside agents that Palos Verdes Estates has something called “The Art Jury”.  If you live in PVE, you knowwhat they do; but let’s say you’ve moved on and your kids have hired someone from Torrance who they know or who has a nice website touting themselves as a “Palos Verdes Expert”, but who had to look on a map to find your house.  The odds are fairly high that he isn’t even going to know of the existence of the Art Jury, let alone why it matters.  Let’s assume your house goes on the market at a reasonable price (see 1 above) and your kids get an offer from an agent from Long Beach . . . who is also completely unfamiliar with Palos Verdes.  Let’s say the escrow closes and the buyer decides he wants to add a family room.  At some point he will then discover the Art Jury, shortly after which he will discover all the things done to the house that were never approved by them (maybe you added some things back in the days when nobody cared), immediately after which he will receive a letter from the Art Jury informing him that these 18 violations must be “brought into compliance” before they will consider his family room addition.  The next letter is written to the listing agent and your kids by the buyer’s attorney, the gist of which you can imagine.

The commission is going to be paid no matter what; doesn’t it make sense to get the most for your money and hire a Realtor who brings all the above benefits and knowledge to the transaction at no additional charge?  With 65 years of Palos Verdes residence and 30 selling homes here, it would be hard to think of anyone who meets those criteria better than Dana Graham.  Call me at 310 613-1076 so we can figure out how to let the kids know.


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