"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

September Newsletter

Dear Neighbor:

The real estate market slowed somewhat around the end of last June.  When there is no obvious cause, I always attribute it to an affordability factor – prices have had a pretty good run-up the last couple of years (in Spring of both) and, at some point, prices get to where there just aren’t enough buyers to sustain them.  It takes sellers a while to recognize and admit that, so asking prices keep rising, causing the market to slow yet further.  Fancy studies, metrics, and algorithms aside, that’s what it looks like from out here in the trenches.

The subject this month is the agent you choose to help you sell or buy.  This sounds like “inside baseball”, but it will affect you when you sell.  About 15 years ago there was a big push to get the various Multiple Listing Services to merge into, essentially, one big statewide MLS, giving agents access to properties anywhere in the State.  This was a bad idea on several levels.   I led the fight against it locally, but it was voted in.  Used to be that agents had to join the local MLS essentially to do business in a given area – the Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance, San Pedro all had their own MLS’s.  Why does this matter to you?  It matters because Palos Verdes is a very desirable area in which not only to live, but also in which to sell real estate.  Since the merger, agents from all over Southern California have descended upon Palos Verdes – you may have noticed all the flags, strange real state signs and open house signs on every corner on weekends, balloons, you name it.  The problem is that most of these agents hardly know Palos Verdes from the Palisades, and definitely don’t spend enough time here individually to know the market, and have little knowledge of the area generally.  However, they are happy to have a listing here, and the result is often ridiculous prices seemingly borne of the excitement of “having a listing in PV”, or prices too low simply from being unfamiliar with the past sales.  When you’re interviewing agents, please be sure to get a list of the homes in PV that they’ve actually sold.  This is an indication of their involvement in, and familiarity with, the Palos Verdes market.  As a seller, you need an agent who has actually seen the recent past sales, knows what the Art Jury is and what it does, and understands why the place you live is so special.

Speaking of knowing about PV, did you know that a light rail system was in the original plans for Palos Verdes Estates?  The terminus of it was where Cataluna Place is now.  Back in the 1920’s, that little draw was pretty much at the end of civilization, and the barn and repair facilities were slated to be located there.  If you drive around Montemalaga and Lunada Bay, you will see what were originally easements for light rail, running behind lots and across current streets.  One easy one is now an alley behind the houses in the 1400-1500 block of Paseo Del Mar, or behind the houses on the east side of the 1300-1400 block of Granvia Altamira, then curving to cross Granvia about 1200 and continuing down that little valley to cross Via Fernandez with a stop at Montemalaga Park, which was originally slated to be a small commercial center.

When you’re thinking of selling or buying in PV, give me a call at 310 613-1076.  I have lived here since 1947, and there is no one in the business more familiar with the Hill than I.  While light rail may not be at the top of everyone’s list, in-depth knowledge will help ensure top dollar for your house, while avoiding unpleasantness after escrow closes.


Dana H Graham


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