"Palos Verdes Resident since 1947"

July Newsletter

And on it goes.  Demand for homes continues to outstrip supply.  Reasonably-priced houses in Palos Verdes are selling within a week, often with multiple offers.  You pretty much can’t buy a house on the Hill for less than $1.3 million, which generally gets you a 3 bedroom, 2 bath 1400 square foot original 1956-1963 house in RPV without any kind of a view and probably needing work.  I remember when the original Grandview houses were built by Zuckerman in 1956 off Basswood — $27,000 for the basic model.  If it’s been well-maintained, that’s your $1.4 million house today.

I know I’ve talked about this before, but based on the evidence it bears repeating:  briefly, when you sell your house on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, you really should use a Palos Verdes-based agent – not one from Torrance, Redondo Beach, San Pedro, or even Beverly Hills.  Without getting too deeply into the weeds, here is the issue:  when deciding on a list price, you need an agent who knows the market, the definition of which does not include sitting at a desk in Manhattan Beach and looking at a computer screen.  To know the market, an agent must work full time in it and see the houses when they are for sale, so that when you call him/her to put yours on the market the agent knows what those now-sold houses were and how they compare to yours.  One cannot do this by looking at the sold listings and pictures on a screen because the agent for the now-sold house was trying to present it in the best possible light (imagine that) and left out the fact that half the 20,000 square foot lot went down a canyon and was unusable, you had to walk thru the 3rd bedroom to get to the 4th one, took the picture of the “panoramic view” by standing on the toilet in the powder room, or the overpowering smell of pets that greeted you at the door.  One must have actually seen the houses to know this kind of significant information.  The same applies when you get offers and the buyer’s agent is trying to grind you on price – “Look at this house.  It has a 20,000 square foot lot and yours is only 10,000, and it sold for less than you’re asking” which, of course, is the above example where 10,000 square feet was unusable.  Your agent must be prepared to counter this.  When interviewing agents, it is a good idea to ask them for a list of PV homes they’ve actually sold in, say, the previous 5 years.

 And beware of pricing based upon dollars-per-square-foot.  As you know, this does not consider condition, location, view or not, floor plan, etc.  It is also true that for older homes, the land is roughly 75% of the value, so using the square footage of 25% of the value (the house), is going to yield wildly inaccurate numbers.  This is where Zillow and other parasitic on-line sites get into trouble – given that they haven’t seen ANY of the houses, they use quantifiable data such as bedroom/bathroom count, house size, etc, to determine their “Zestimate” for your house which, given the obvious inaccuracy of such a method, is pretty much worthless.

Thank all of you who came to my May 12 lecture on the history of Palos Verdes – the room was packed and happily the fire marshal didn’t show up.  If I do say so myself, there aren’t too many other people who could give that talk from the perspective of an eyewitness to over half of it.  If you missed it, the PV Art Center is talking about having me do a reprise, which will be publicized.

Thank you for your continued support, and please feel free to visit my website – www.DanaGraham.com, or email me at [email protected], or call me at 310 613-1076.  If you are considering selling your home, it’s hard to think of a more qualified than Dana Graham.

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