How To Price Your Palos Verdes Home For Sale

Palos Verdes homes sellers often ask how to choose the correct list price for their home.  Below is an excellent article which answers this question:

How to Use Comparable Sales to Price Your Home

By: Carl Vogel  Published: August 5, 2010

Before you put your home up for sale, understand how the right comparable sales help you and your agent find the perfect price.

How much can you sell your home for? Probably about as much as the neighbors got, as long as the neighbors sold their house in recent memory and their home was just like your home.

Knowing how much homes similar to yours, called comparable sales (or in real estate lingo, comps), sold for gives you the best idea of the current estimated value of your home. The trick is finding sales that closely match yours.

What makes a good comparable sale?

Your best comparable sale is the same model as your house in the same subdivision—and it closed escrow last week. If you can’t find that, here are other factors that count:

Location: The closer to your house the better, but don’t just use any comparable sale within a mile radius. A good comparable sale is a house in your neighborhood, your subdivision, on the same type of street as your house, and in your school district.

Home type: Try to find comparable sales that are like your home in style, construction material, square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, basement (having one and whether it’s finished), finishes, and yard size.

Amenities and upgrades: Is the kitchen new? Does the comparable sale house have full A/C? Is there crown molding, a deck, or a pool? Does your community have the same amenities (pool, workout room, walking trails, etc.) and homeowners association fees?

Date of sale: You may want to use a comparable sale from two years ago when the market was high, but that won’t fly. Most buyers use government-guaranteed mortgages, and those lending programs say comparable sales can be no older than 90 days.

Sales sweeteners: Did the comparable-sale sellers give the buyers downpayment assistance, closing costs, or a free television? You have to reduce the value of any comparable sale to account for any deal sweeteners.

Agents can help adjust price based on insider insights

Even if you live in a subdivision, your home will always be different from your neighbors’. Evaluating those differences—like the fact that your home has one more bedroom than the comparables or a basement office—is one of the ways real estate agents add value.

An active agent has been inside a lot of homes in your neighborhood and knows all sorts of details about comparable sales. She has read the comments the selling agent put into the MLS, seen the ugly wallpaper, and heard what other REALTORS®, lenders, closing agents, and appraisers said about the comparable sale.

More ways to pick a home listing price

If you’re still having trouble picking out a listing price for your home, look at the current competition. Ask your real estate agent to be honest about your home and the other homes on the market (and then listen to her without taking the criticism personally).

Next, put your comparable sales into two piles: more expensive and less expensive. What makes your home more valuable than the cheaper comparable sales and less valuable than the pricier comparable sales?

Are foreclosures and short sales comparables?

If one or more of your comparable sales was a foreclosed home or a short sale (a home that sold for less money than the owners owed on the mortgage), ask your real estate agent how to treat those comps.

A foreclosed home is usually in poor condition because owners who can’t pay their mortgage can’t afford to pay for upkeep. Your home is in great shape, so the foreclosure should be priced lower than your home.

Short sales are typically in good condition, although they are still distressed sales. The owners usually have to sell because they’re divorcing, or their employer is moving them to Kansas.

How much short sales are discounted from their market value varies among local markets. The average short-sale home in Omaha in recent years was discounted by 8.5%, according to a University of Nebraska at Omaha study. In suburban Washington, D.C., sellers typically discount short-sale homes by 3% to 5% to get them quickly sold, real estate agents report. In other markets, sellers price short sales the same as other homes in the neighborhood.

So you have to rely on your real estate agent’s knowledge of the local market to use a short sale as a comparable sale.

Carl Vogel, a freelance writer and former editor of The Neighborhood Works magazine, lives in a home in Chicago that is not typical of those nearby, so he appreciates a savvy comp.

“Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.”

Palos Verdes Real Estate Sales November 2015 For Palos Verdes Homes

Palos Verdes Real Estate Sales November 2015 For Palos Verdes Homes

Palos Verdes real estate chart November 2015 showing active, pending and sold Palos Verdes homes 90274 and 90275

Palos Verdes real estate sales for November 2015 for Palos Verdes homes decreased compared to October.  41 Palos Verdes houses sold in November which decreased from the 68 homes sold in October and the 46 homes that sold in November 2014.  There were 57 Palos Verdes single family homes pending in November which increased from the 55 homes pending in October.  The number of active Palos Verdes homes for sale in November decreased to 168 homes from the 202 homes for sale in October.

Average sales price for Palos Verdes homes sold in November decreased to $1,662,000 from $1,760,000 in October and from the $1,758,000 in November 2014.  Price per square foot for Palos Verdes houses that sold/closed escrow in November decreased to $569 from $629 in October.  Average days on market in November was 71 days which just about the same as the 70 days in October.  Months of inventory (months it would take to sell existing inventory at the current rate of sale) increased to 4.1 months in November for Palos Verdes homes for sale compared to 3 months in October.  A “normal” market is considered 6 months of inventory and Palos Verdes real estate “months of inventory” is significantly lower indicating the continuing high demand for Palos Verdes homes.  Entire charts can be accessed by clicking here or on the “Statistics” tab above.

Currently, there are 161 single family Palos Verdes homes for sale.  83 Palos Verdes houses are in escrow (38 homes have pending sales and 45 homes are accepting backup offers).  Additionally, 23 homes have sold/closed escrow in the first 10 days of December at an average sales price of $1,577,909.

To read last month’s report on Palos Verdes Real Estate sales, click here.

Chart courtesy of Trendgraphix, Inc.

Palos Verdes Home Improvements Cost vs Value 2015

Palos Verdes Home Improvements Cost vs Value 2015

Palos Verdes home courtesy of Arvin Design

How do you get the highest sales price for your Palos Verdes home?  A realistic listing price is important in addition to decluttering/staging along with possible home improvements.  Which home improvements and remodeling projects give the greatest return on investment?  For owners of Palos Verdes homes (and Los Angeles County) who choose upscale remodeling, the top three projects for 2014-2015 are a little different from last year.  The remodeling project with the highest return on investment is Window (vinyl) replacement at a 108.4% return (wood window replacement had a 93.9% return), followed by Garage Door replacement at a 103.1% return and both Grand Entrance and Siding replacement (fiber-cement) at an 89.4% and 89.6% return according to Remodeling Magazine’s “Remodeling 2015 Cost vs Value Report” (www.costvsvalue.com).  Curb appeal is important to buyers who are getting the first impression of your home.  In the midrange category, steel entry doors receive the number one return on investment at an outstanding 149.7%!

Of the top 13 upscale remodeling projects with the best return on investment for Los Angeles County, 6 are under $25,000 and include both vinyl & wood window replacement, siding replacement (foam-backed vinyl & fiber-cement), garage door replacement and grand entrance.  A Master Suite Addition which is the most expensive at $266,900 only nets a 54.1% return.

Owners of Palos Verdes real estate remodel for different reasons, like the need for more space, to improve the functionality of specific rooms and to update them.  Kitchen and bathrooms are usually the most expensive remodel as plumbing and/or appliances need to be moved and/or replaced.  There is no specific report for Palos Verdes homes but there is a Remodeling 2014 Cost vs Value Report (www.costvsvalue.com) for Los Angeles County which is broken down into Midrange priced projects and Upscale priced projects.  When you  open on the download button (www.costvsvalue.com), choose Pacific and then Los Angeles –  you will be prompted to register before gaining access to the report.  When you click on the project name (i.e. Bathroom Remodel) you can then read the features of that price range to compare to your own.

Remodeling just for resale rarely nets you a dollar for dollar return.  Most remodels are done for the enjoyment of the homeowner (who still wants to maximize their return when they do sell).  My experience is that most buyers are looking for newer kitchens, bathrooms, master suites and nice yards.  Curb appeal is also important because it is the buyer’s first impression of the home.

To read my prior article on Cost vs Value 2014, click here.

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

Preparing Your Palos Verdes Home For Sale

Preparing Your Palos Verdes Home For Sale

Palos Verdes home courtesy of Arvin Design

I read a great article below with excellent ideas on preparing your Palos Verdes home for sale.  I am a great believer in having a home inspection prior to listing your home for sale and have written articles in the past which can be accessed by clicking here.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Sale
By: G. M. Filisko  Published: February 10, 2010
Working to get your home ship-shape for showings will increase its value and shorten your sales time.
Many buyers today want move-in-ready homes and will quickly eliminate an otherwise great home by focusing on a few visible flaws. Unless your home shines, you may endure showing after showing and open house after open house—and end up with a lower sales price. Before the first prospect walks through your door, consider some smart options for casting your home in its best light.
1. Have a home inspection
Be proactive by arranging for a pre-sale home inspection. For $250 to $400, an inspector will warn you about troubles that could make potential buyers balk. Make repairs before putting your home on the market. In some states, you may have to disclose what the inspection turns up.
2. Get replacement estimates
If your home inspection uncovers necessary repairs you can’t fund, get estimates for the work. The figures will help buyers determine if they can afford the home and the repairs. Also hunt down warranties, guarantees, and user manuals for your furnace, washer and dryer, dishwasher, and any other items you expect to remain with the house.
3. Make minor repairs
Not every repair costs a bundle. Fix as many small problems—sticky doors, torn screens, cracked caulking, dripping faucets—as you can. These may seem trivial, but they’ll give buyers the impression your house isn’t well maintained.
4. Clear the clutter
Clear your kitchen counters of just about everything. Clean your closets by packing up little-used items like out-of-season clothes and old toys. Install closet organizers to maximize space. Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and big televisions. Pack up family photos, knickknacks, and wall hangings to depersonalize your home. Store the items you’ve packed offsite or in boxes neatly arranged in your garage or basement.
5. Do a thorough cleaning
A clean house makes a strong first impression that your home has been well cared for. If you can afford it, consider hiring a cleaning service.
If not, wash windows and leave them open to air out your rooms. Clean carpeting and drapes to eliminate cooking odors, smoke, and pet smells. Wash light fixtures and baseboards, mop and wax floors, and give your stove and refrigerator a thorough once-over.
Pay attention to details, too. Wash fingerprints from light switch plates, clean inside the cabinets, and polish doorknobs. Don’t forget to clean your garage, too.
G.M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer who has found happiness in a Chicago brownstone with the best curb appeal on the block. A frequent contributor to many national publications including Bankrate.com, REALTOR® Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, business, personal finance, and legal topics.

Visit HouseLogic.com for more articles like this. Reprinted from HouseLogic.com with permission of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

Photo courtesy of Arvin Design

What’s My Palos Verdes Homes Really Worth?

What's My Home Really Worth

Have you wondered about that little box on the left-hand side entitled “What’s My Home Really Worth?” Palos Verdes homes owners have asked for a reliable site to determine their home’s value.  Palos Verdes real estate value can best be determined by paying for a formal appraisal or contacting your real estate agent for a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA).  But what if you are not going to sell your home but are just curious or are doing some financial planning?

I installed a link at the top left-hand side of this site under my photo; it is a handy widget appropriately called “What’s My Home Really Worth?” which I invite you to use.  It is more accurate than most other sites as it uses data directly from the Multiple Listing Service which other sites cannot access.  However, it is still raw data and does not take into account condition of home, type of sale, etc.  When you are ready to sell your home, a Realtor is still best able to give you the most accurate price as they understand neighborhoods, location, market nuances, specific demand for different price point and features, etc. — but just in case you are curious, have a look!

2010 Home Sales by Neighborhood

Palos Verdes 2010 Real Estate Sales by Neighborhood for 90274 and 903275

Sales by neighborhood for Palos Verdes real estate detail an average price range of over $1,000,000 for 13 out of 17 areas; only 4 areas were below $1,000,000.  Single family Palos Verdes homes showed an increase in average sales price in 9 areas ranging from .8% in Lunada Bay to 46.4% in West Palos Verdes.  Rolling Hills posted the largest decrease in average sales price of 21.6%.

Lunada Bay had the largest number of Palos Verdes homes sold (61) and West Palos Verdes had the smallest number of homes sold (12).  West Palos Verdes also had the highest average sales price at $2,436,667 for Palos Verdes homes sold.   The higest average square foot price for Palos Verdes homes sold was in Los Verdes at $685 per square foot and the lowest was in Eastview RPV at $392 per square foot.

The average price for single family Palos Verdes homes sold in 2010 was $1,441,118 which was 3.6% higher than 2009.  The average price per square foot for Palos Verdes homes sold was $496 per square foot which was 2% lower than 2009.  A better view of the above chart can be seen by clicking here or on the “Statistics ” tab above.

What Is Your Home Worth?

What's My Home Really Worth

Palos Verdes real estate value can best be determined by paying for a formal appraisal or contacting your real estate agent for a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA).  But what if you are not going to sell your home but are just curious or are doing some financial planning?

At the top left-hand side of this site under my photo is a handy widget appropriately called “What’s My Home Really Worth?” which I invite you to use.  It is more accurate than most other sites as it uses data directly from the Multiple Listing Service which other sites cannot access.  However, it is still raw data and does not take into account condition of home, type of sale, etc.  When you are ready to sell your home, a Realtor is still best able to give you the most accurate price as they understand neighborhoods, location, market nuances, specific demand for different price point and features, etc. — but just in case you are curious, have a look!

Hot Tip Regarding Pricing

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Here is a hot tip to sellers of Palos Verdes real estate.  Pricing your property realistically will net you more dollars in the long run than over-pricing your property and then reducing downward to get buyers interested.  The majority of home buyers start their home search on the internet (in some cases they have been researching for months before they actually physically visit at any properties) and they are very aware of what the sales price for your home should be.  If you are not a serious seller, they will pass you by.

There are two recent studies that support this.  According to an article in the Los Angeles Times by Mary Umberger, “If you’re considering listing your house and you’re serious about selling, you’re better off being realistic (about price) right from the get go.”  Both studies cited show that a seller gets four times as many online views the first week compared to the second week.  If your biggest audience is available to you in the first week, why would you test the market with a high price and lose out on all those potential buyers?

Palos Verdes Homes 2009 Year End Results

In 2009, Palos Verdes homes sales increased 19% with 462 single family home sales compared to 388 in 2008.  Palos Verdes homes experienced a 16% decline in 2009 average sales prices compared to 2008.  It did not feel like double digits so I researched further. 

The sales mix changed significantly which is reflected in the lower average sales price.  In 2009, 38% of Palos Verdes homes sold were under $1,000,000 compared to only 28% in 2008.  In addition, in 2009 the high end, over $2,000,000, fell to 10% from 16% in 2008.  The very high end, over $5,000,000, was only 1% of Palos Verdes home sales compared to 2.5% in 2008.  In other words, we had more low end homes sell in 2009 and less high end sales which contributed to the overall decline in average sales price.

Did the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula which is comprised of 4 different cities (Palos Verdes Estates 90274, Rancho Palos Verdes 90275, Rolling Hills and Rolling Hills Estates) experience a 16% decline in price?  Absolutely not.  As a matter of fact, 2 neighborhoods actually showed an increase in average sales price – Monte Malaga in Palos Verdes Estates with an average sales price of $2,247,246 ($2,067,647 in 2008) and the city of Rolling Hills with an average sales price of $2,600,412 ($2,515,752 in 2008).  Pricing is really determined by the neighborhood, location and condition of the home.

My next article will be on the sales statistics for the month of December 2009.  Entire charts can be accessed by clicking here or on the “Statistics” tab above.

2009 Favorite Top Tuesday Tips

As I did last year, I thought it would be fun to go through 2009’s Top Tuesday Tour Tips for Palos Verdes homes and pick my favorites, tell you why and give you an update on those properties.

My favorite listing is Chris Adlam’s (Remax Palos Verdes Realty) 2775 Via Oleadas, Palos Verdes Estates, 90274, (above left) is a 4 bedroom, 4 bath, 3,568 square foot home that was originally listed for $4,999,000 and sold in August for $5,000,000.  This Lunada Bay ocean front estate has breathtaking ocean/bay views upon entry through the front door and from nearly every room in the house; it also had a tennis court right next to the ocean bluff and a pool!    Morena Cohen’s (Shorewood Realtors) 1633 Via Arriba, Palos Verdes Estates, 90274, (above right) is a 4 bedroom, 5 bath, 4600 square foot home that was originally listed for $3,995,000 and sold in August for $3,199,900.  This fabulous custom-built single-level Malaga Cove home is one of my favorites because it has panoramic ocean and queen’s necklace views, a wine cellar, 4 car garage and is on an exceptional double lot (20,717 sq ft).

Pamela Lieb’s (Remax Palos Verdes Realty) 32 Strawberry Lane, Rolling Hills Estates, 90274, (above left) is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 3,246 square foot home that was originally listed for $1,899,000 and sold in December for $1,875,000.  This Equestrian Estate is located on a magnificently level 50.090 square foot level lot and features a solar heated pool and a rare 20×50 meter Dressage Riding Arena (photo above left); there are only 2 such dressage arenas on the entire Palos Verdes Peninsula.  Sue Murphy and Marie Hoffman’s (Keller Williams Beach Cities) 30581 Rue Langlois, Rancho Palos Verdes, 90275, (above right) is a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,670 square foot home that was originally listed for $1,050,000 and sold in June for $975,000.  This comfortable West Palos Verdes home has fabulous ocean views, remodeled bathrooms and was freshly painted inside and out.  This is one of my favorite areas in Palos Verdes as it has unobstructed panoramic views for under a million dollars.

Photos courtesy of MRMLS