NEWS

Can good looks get you a great price?

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Do attractive real estate professionals get higher prices for their sellers than their less-favored cohorts? My question would be, “Who spends money on this research?” Well, at least we have the answer to my question…

Researchers at the Journal of Housing Research investigated whether an agent’s looks and demeanor could influence buyers’ overall impression of online property listings. Over 15,000 home buyers took an online audio-visual tour of a typically-priced home in their area hosted by one of eight agents varying in gender, attractiveness, and pathos—or how they enhance “the verbal description of the property with superlatives,” the study says.

Video home tours conducted by attractive male agents (who were also deemed to have pathos) yielded the highest overall ratings. 68% of married buyers had a better impression of homes listed by attractive females than single buyers (48% of singles favored females). And 78% of buyers without a college degree favored homes listed by a female agent than buyers with a degree (who were split 45% female v. 55% male).

One of the researchers summed-up the study of superficiality this way: “Selling homes is a business where image plays an important part, but you have to have the smarts to back it up to get higher prices for sellers.”

The Value of Words

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Welsh poet George Herbert once said, “Good words are worth much, and cost little.” He’s right, according to a study out this week which finds that properties containing certain words and phrases in their listing comments tend to sell for higher prices.

Researchers analyzed more than 1 million single-family transactions that closed in the first half of 2017. Every property analyzed had public remarks and comments from which researchers extracted word pairs. How much weight certain word pairs have varied geographically. “Heated pool” on the west coast scored high, as well as “solar panels.” “High ceilings” and “family room” scored well on the east coast.

One combo of words that stood out as a winner in terms of increasing sales prices was “pane windows,” which could represent dual-pane windows or energy-efficient windows (like the newly-installed ones on our listing pictured here). Other word pairs that affected sales prices are “new construction,” “remodeled kitchen,” “new paint,” and “large lot.”

Who goes there?

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Nearly 30% of Americans admit they don’t know most of their neighbor’s first names. But at least 90% have smiled or spoken to their neighbors—at least once—according to a new survey of more than 1,000 Americans released by Safehome.org, a home security systems review resource.

53% of those surveyed said they’d introduced themselves when a new neighbor was moving in, but they won’t likely become best buddies. Only a fraction of Americans (34%) say they’ve been in their neighbor’s home or vice versa, and only 16% have hung out with neighbors outside of the neighborhood.

Baby boomers tend to be the most neighborly generation, according to the survey. 76% of boomers said they’ve spoke to their next-door neighbor frequently, while only 36% of millennials have said they’ve done the same.

 

To rent, or not to rent?

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Thinking about finding a new apartment in Los Angeles? You might be able to save money by moving in at exactly the right time, according to a new report. A study released this week showed that rental prices in L.A. peak in June, when they are 4.1% higher than in November—the most affordable month of the year to rent. Based on the median price of listings posted on rental sites in 2017, that 4.1% difference amounts to a savings of $85 per month for a 1-bedroom unit.

If you’re renting a 2-bedroom, the best time to do it is December, when prices are 4% lower than in September (when they peak). In 2017, renters saved themselves $103 per month just by waiting 3 months to sign a lease.

Separate reports found that L.A.’s rental prices dipped in October, November, and December of 2017—after rising steadily for the previous eight months. Despite the slight downturn in 2017’s 4th quarter, reports estimate that rents continue to rise across the L.A. Basin at a rate higher and faster than the percentage of price increases on condos (like our listing pictured here) and single-family homes.

 

Got $32 billion? Then you can afford to buy Beverly Hills.

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If you wanted to buy up all of Beverly Hills, you’d need $32 billion in your pocket based on tabulations by the Los Angeles County assessor. The assessed value of properties in Los Angeles County increased by 6% in 2017 to reach another record level and mark the seventh straight year of increases, according to figures released this week by the assessor’s office. The property roll put the assessed value at $1.416 trillion, up $80.6 billion from 2016.

The county’s largest city, Los Angeles, led the way with a valuation of $568 billion, up 6.6% from the previous year. Long Beach placed second at $54 billion, followed by Santa Monica at $34.4 billion, Beverly Hills at $31.9 billion, and Santa Clarita at $30.7 billion. The fastest-growing cities in the county were El Segundo, with an 11.6% assessment growth; Hawaiian Gardens, up 10.9%; and Avalon, up 9.3%.

If you only have the funds to buy one property, then here’s a handy accounting of 2017’s median sales prices in L.A. County’s 10 most-expensive neighborhoods:

1.      The Colony, Malibu: $13 million

2.      Trousdale, Beverly Hills: $9.3 million

3.      Carbon Mesa, Malibu: $8.587 million

4.      Beverly Hills Gateway, Beverly Hills: $8.020 million

5.      Malibu Cove Colony, Malibu: $8 million

6.      Beverly Hills Flats, Beverly Hills: $7.6 million

7.      Malibu Road, Malibu: $7.446 million

8.      Serra Retreat, Malibu: $6.35 million

9.      Broad Beach, Malibu: $3.85 million

10.   Point Dume, Malibu: $3.785 million

 

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