Author Archives: Michael Hiatt

The Delicate Balance Between Home Buyers and Home Sellers

The Delicate Balance Between Home Buyers and Home Sellers; or 5 reasons to Buy or
Sell before year end … and if your still thinking about it, consider before Spring

Wen I came across a blog posting on “5 Reasons to Sell before Spring,” I was compelled to encapsulate, edit, expand and educate those who have not acted upon advice I have been preaching to clients since end of 2nd quarter: Year end is the best time to buy, and 2013 year end maybe the best window of opportunity for some time to come. With serious Buyers in the market, home Sellers need to seize the opportunities, as well. Here are 5 reasons:

  1. SERIOUS BUYERS ARE IN THE MARKET.  Fall and Winter are not usually inviting times to drive or walk and visit homes as a Sunday past time. Yes, as good as Spring and Summer are with shear numbers of Buyers and lookers, Fall and Winter (year-end) have a greater percentage of ready to purchase Buyers. With Holiday past times of visiting Malls or preparing for a long winter, Sellers get your listing ready and be prepared to meet your act-now Buyers.
  2. THERE IS FAR LESS COMPETITION: SUPPLIES ARE SEASONALLY LOW. Those Sellers who wait for the spring are guaranteed to have far greater competition. Consider if you have the best house in the neighborhood, a perfect gem, it may not matter when you put your house on the market. For the 99.9% rest of us, Sellers should consider Buyers have choices, and in the Spring, they have many more.
  3. THERE WILL NEVER BE A BETTER TIME… TO MOVE-UP OR DOWN (SIZE). In most markets, home values have spiked. Through the first half of 2013, prices have recovered their loses, almost overnight, those suffered since 2007. Home values have held steady and projections are home values will appreciate by more than 25% from now through 2018. Consider further interest rates have remained at historical lows and all indications are there is only one      way to go from here… up. Which brings me to the mortgage lenders and getting a “yes” on that loan.
  4. THE PROCESS WILL BE QUICKER… BUT NOT LESS THOROUGH. There is money to lend and the industry is “healthy” and competitive. Lenders have embraced technology and have streamlined the process. Most qualified lending institutions can get a loan approved within 21 days. If they can’t meet those deadlines, I suggest shopping for a new lender. Lenders are      also offering a greater number of lending programs today and expanding the qualified buyer pool such as small business owners and asset based borrowers. Spring and Summer and especially this past first half of 2013, lenders were inundated with both purchase and refinancing loan requests. Both of these have now slowed in the winter facilitating the shorter timelines.
  5. IT’S TIME TO MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE. Examine the reasons you decided to sell in the first place and decide whether it is worth waiting. You have the power to take back control of the selling process by pricing your home at market value to guarantee it sells. Stop chasing the      market down and right now, pricing and year-end closings are the Buyer’s triggers.

There are buys to be made right now. Connect and deploy an agent to dig deep and it will happen; a win for all parties to the sale transaction. Much success.


Morning Loreto Bay: The Evolution of a Community

Morning Loreto Bay

Letters to Loreto

Morning Loreto Bay: The Evolution of a Community

Spectacular shadowed crescent at sunrise looking towards the bell tower of the soon to be hotel centerpiece of the Loreto Baja Golf Resort Spa, once and formerly the jewel, low-key, quaint Loreto Bay Inn. As I watch this day unravel, the realization of a community has at last come. A bold development concept started in early 2000, Loreto Bay will soon realize its highest and best use; an amalgamation of a restless dream, and now a recent hotel and land acquisition of one of the world’s richest men, Mexican multi-billionaire, Carlos Slim.

Many have endured. Some failed miserably. Today it is an oasis. Natural water aquifers are overflowing, and swelling desert land, and turning them green, and people are returning, “treading lightly” back to this world class fishing resort, culturally enriched traditions of the once capital and economic and religious centers of the Californias (when the Spaniards controlled the Pacific coast and north to the Oregon border up until the mid-1800’s).

Loreto Bay was Baja California’s “first” sustainable resort Read More Here. A thumb-nail mandate of “sustainability” is to be environmentally balance (fit into the environment and enhance it in size and design) ecologically balanced (eco-friendly) and socially balanced (improve and support the surrounding community and native people). With these lofty goals a land purchase of over 8,000 acres was transacted with 3,000 devoted to development which included almost a mile of coveted beach front. Lots were drawn and sales of 500 homes were completed by 2005. Construction began on a modern day interpretation of adobe built homes in an old-world style community of tightly knit of houses, casitas and condos centered around plaza style courtyards and walking streets (no cars and few garages) and verdant estuaries and marina for sailing. A new international airport was completed and the promise was on its way to being fulfilled.

Then 2007 happened and world fortunes changed; this part of the globe, this country, this Baja area, this Loreto town (from where the developers and builders had just completed my casita style attached home) and this homeowner, changed as well. I would become a participant on a battlefield of crushed economies, teetering financial institutions, construction debacles, social upheaval, demoralizing press and misunderstood drug wars. Our new home and priceless Loreto Bay development became a war zone; fenced-up, dug-up and messed-up. My wife and I, however, were the lucky ones.

As I write this letter today, Loreto Bay and its adjacent township, known as Nopolo, are poised for sensible expansion with new highway construction, operational airport and increasing flights, emergency treatment center/hospital (partially funded by the original Loreto Bay development’s sustainability commitment), and new homes being finished and people moving-in. A vibrant community is taking shape and in motion with colorful sidewalks and street landscaping of natural stone and indigenous plants, cactus and flowers,  wonderful restaurants and coffee houses among them, the Wine Bar (Wil and Cynthia’s place) and El Corazon (serving bold, full bodied coffee roasted in Vera Cruz principally), a community center, property management and construction companies, Vive Loreto, sport rentals, (and I must mention George at the beach shack renting kayaks and other water sport equipment next to the hotel) Loreto’s most prestigious furniture showroom, Del Sol, run by the talented owner and designer, Gustavo, and a Saturday street scene of vendors on the Loreto Paseo and in-town on Sunday a local flea market…. and coming soon a “5 Star” Ostar’s newest Luxury Hotel property, Loreto Baja Golf Resort & Spa. When in Loreto, however, don’t miss the opportunities to mix in the older, established stops along with the new offerings in Loreto Bay and in town.

Welcome Carlos Slim, there is a wonderful opportunity ahead.

Paseo Loreto

Letters to Loerto is a first in a series of entries about Loreto Bay. If anyone is interested in more information on hotels, housing, places to tour, eateries, shopping or sport, please connect or comment.


Selling High – Consider A Remodel

Some Professional Advice:

One of the keys to a very successful sale is to tap into your homes highest potential, beauty and value: That often means undertaking a remodel or partial remodel that you have likely thought (or dreamed) about and/or put off. Selling your house is as much an emotional decision as a business one and the investment in a remodel often can pay big dividends. The best remodels incidentally are those that make your home “just perfect” and now you may not want to leave or sell. Most importantly, however, move forward on  it now before you put it on the market and depending on your available cash, budget  or potential to secure a loan, read the following link from an article I think is full of knowledgeable, prudent advice. Pick one or two of the areas to concentrate on and improve. Seek the advice of a professional agent. Secure a good contractor and architect if needed and city permits if required and put your home in high value mode.

My top three:

  1. Make light and bright:  Put a fresh light coat of paint and if your budget can stand it, improve room flow hop over to this website. Wide open spaces that easily flow indoor and outdoor rather than nooks, crannies, hallways, passages and many separate rooms is the market choice today.
  2. Boost curb appeal: Paint, plant, trim add color, flowers, small details have big returns.
  3. Update/modernize kitchens, and older bathrooms, starting with the Master first: Big closets, separate dressing areas and hygiene is the rule today. The move to privacy and coming together in the middle with a two-door, common shower or dual access tub is a romantic, intimate meeting point and a start to a great morning or evening.

Enjoy and much success!

Click on the link below and let me hear your personal thoughts and challenges. I can share with you some personal and financially rewarding stories that might just be the inspiration and direction that will make a difference.

Pro advice about where to put your remodeling dollars for success in selling your home


Shutdown ‘Curveball’ Frustrating Buyers & Sellers

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The crystal ball is perpetually difficult to read, however, the federal government “Shutdown Curveball” is having an impact on sales and consumer confidence clearly. Westside real estate is less affected and well-priced, in sought after locations are still generating significant multiple offers. Consumer interest in real estate remains high but some loans, mostly FHA loans are running into funding difficulties for Buyers. Current Westside home buyers and investors have the assets and documented incomes to still close loans with banks within the conventional 17 day approvals and 30 day funding for escrows.

The real real estate policy issue to monitor with regards to Westside, Southern California and national market home sales and values is the debt ceiling. That’s the government policy “kniuckleball” that could affect the short term and long term values and unit sales significantly. Most economists and financial professionals agree current policy and raising the debt ceiling is good for real estate,  good for America, and a case could be made, good for the global markets.


Up and About In… (Westside Portraits reprinted from TagLife on “Flipboard”)

Brentwood sign (1)

Brentwood is a find… a great place to live: Small town and understated with upscale labels and genuine stock. Look at per square block and one can indulge in the best of the best. Active lifestyles rejoice: Bike and jog where the last leg of the LA Marathon is run on San Vicente (Jockway). Tune up at hot Maha Yoga. Refresh at the tastiest, healthiest cold pressed juice bar around (closet size, literally), Press Juicery. Celebrate the art of coffee at Caffe Luxe.  Dine large at Toscana, Osteria Lantini, Vicenti Ristorante or the Tavern where you could be seated next to Al Michaels, Mo Ostin, Reese Witherspoon, or Candy Spelling and the 90210 Women. Feast al fresco at Pizzicotta, Sor Tino, or The Farm Shop where you could be seated next to Reese Witherspoon, Ron Howard or Larry David.


When in Brentwood do take note of three restaurant jewels all on Barrington and all producing exquisite food products in spaces not much larger than Candy Spelling’s gift room (at the former 50,000+ sq. ft. Holmby Hills Spelling Manor). Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, October 9-11, Brentwood goes national on the Home Shopping Network with special offerings from its own Compartes Chocolatier.  The unassuming Barrington store front has been producing candy for generations and for decades. Now in the capable hands of the next generation, an up and coming young entrepreneur, Jonathan Grahm, this fine chocolatier is producing some of the freshest , richest and tastiest chocolate available anywhere, truffles, chocolate bars, chocolate covered nuts “Love Nuts” s, chocolate double dipped fruit and pretzels (My name is Michael and I am a chocolate pretzel addict)  and packaged inside and out to be absolutely irresistible to the eye and taste buds. Check out the HSN show and website, <a href="http://www.hsn Visit” onclick=”__gaTracker(‘send’, ‘event’, ‘outbound-article’, ‘’, ‘’);”> for some real Compartes chocolate deals:  My recommendation, the Hollywood Bar, high 71% cocoa dark chocolate simply with rock salt.


Then venture north up the street to the charming Brentwood Village and there you will find the most delicious roast meat sandwiches, roast vegetable sides, leafy salads and freshly made condiments at Roast Deli and Market. Quality and passion for food lives here and is underscored and overshadowed by its institutional neighbor, Lemonade.  While Lemonade serves tasty lemonade concoctions and broad eclectic menu choices, can it live up to the roasted Meyer Lemon Lemonade served at Roast. Organic, Wild and Delicious stop by and enjoy the food and talk to the passionate owner/chef Whitney Werner, former head chef at Santa Monica’s well-heeled, The Beach Club.

Cafe Brentwood

Last but not least, and just across the street from Roast is the Café Brentwood. The recently opened scaled down lunch spot annex to the venerable, Bruce Marder’s, hip, dark dining spot, The Brentwood, is yet another understated pedigree that will change the face and fortunes of this previous snake-bitten Barrington corner restaurant location where many previous restaurant ventures have failed. Serving comfort food with a flair and freshness uniquely Bruce, this is the place where you will want to go again and again for your breakfast and lunchtime foodie fixes.


Home Futures: Hot to Hotter to Hottest: Buying in Trending Upward Areas….

A series of recurring periodic articles:

Having grown up and lived here in Los Angeles; actually I am from three generations of a Westside family whose principle businesses include motion pictures and real estate development. The Warner Center came as a result of a vision my great uncle, Harry Warner, had in the mid 40’s of creating a city center to live, work and enjoy dining, shopping and entertainment. Not so novel today when you look at Century City and other city hubs, however then from the studio owned land and the cash business of producing movies, the idea and land use grew in popularity. My first job was in title, Charter Title, and I can remember going out to Ventura Blvd and Topanga when the 101 freeway had not been built and extended yet to Woodland Hills. My Grandfather, Sam, who died the night before his movie and first “talkie”, The Jazz Singer, premiered in New York read review. It was suppose to premier in Los Angeles at the Warner Theater he almost finished on Wilcox and Hollywood. When is was finally complete and ready to exhibit movies, legend says, Sam Warner’s ghost still lives there.

So I have witnessed many real estate cycles and migration patterns in our city. Flat, depressed, undeveloped or overlooked areas that suddenly turn into favor and values begin to soar. There are the upper end areas today like Beverly Hills’ Trousdale Estates, where the unparalleled views, classic mid-century moderns (the best examples in Los Angeles) uber urban centric, and inventive, inspired architects and celebrity names have recently seen values go through the roof. A recent sale off market saw Idol maker, Simon Cowell, pay over $11 million dollars for a home built by AEG honcho, Randy Phillips and purchased under $8 million.  So you should know the whole Tishman tract was in answer to celebrities like Groucho Marks and Dinah Shore wanting to move from the flats to higher ground and drop dead Hollywood to the Ocean views.

So where are the new hot value Westside neighborhoods? … I will tell more in this series of periodic articles.


Experts Predict Annual Home Value Appreciation to Exceed 6 Percent in 2013

More than 100 real estate and economic experts predict home values will end 2013 up 6.7 percent from the end of 2012, as the housing market recovery continues to widen and accelerate, according to the latest Zillow Home Price Expectations Survey. A majority of the panel also said that while rising mortgage rates don’t pose a threat if they stay within the 4 to 5 percent range, they could derail the recovery if they reach 6 percent or higher.

The survey of 106 economists, real estate experts and investment and market strategists was sponsored by leading real estate information marketplace Zillow, Inc. and is conducted quarterly by Pulsenomics LLC. Panelists said they expected median U.S. home values to rise to $167,490 by the end of this year, up from $156,900 at the end of 2012 and $161,100 currently. Based on current expectations for home value appreciation over the next five years, the panelists on average predicted that U.S. home values could approach new record highs by the end of 2017, coming very close to the previous peak level of $194,600 set in May 2007.

The expectations for a 6.7 percent year-over-year increase in home values was up significantly from expectations of a 5.4 percent bump predicted the last time the survey was conducted.

Panelists expect annual home value appreciation rates this year to end on a strong note, before slowing considerably from 2014 through 2017. Panelists said they expected appreciation rates to slow to roughly 4.4 percent in 2014, on average, unchanged from the previous survey. This rate is expected to slow further to 3.6 percent, 3 team collaboration app.5 percent and 3.4 percent in 2015, 2016 and 2017, respectively. Cumulatively, survey respondents predicted home values to rise 23.7 percent through 2017, on average, up from 22.3 percent in the last survey.

“Short-term expectations for home value appreciation through the end of this year are consistent with a nationwide housing market recovery that is both strengthening and widening, but still coping with high levels of negative equity, high demand and low inventory. Combined, these factors will continue putting upward pressure on home values for the next few months,” said Zillow Senior Economist Dr. Svenja Gudell. “But the days are numbered for these kinds of market dynamics, as investors begin to pull out of some markets, mortgage interest rates rise and more inventory becomes available. Over the next few years, these trends will help the market stabilize and will bring home value appreciation more in line with historic norms. As long as mortgage interest rates don’t rise too far and too fast, most markets should be able to absorb these changing dynamics while still remaining healthy.”

Panelists were also asked if recent increases in mortgage rates presented a significant threat to the ongoing housing market recovery. Among those expressing an opinion, 88 percent said no. Those panelists who responded “no” or “not sure” were then asked what minimum mortgage interest rate (on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage) would pose a significant threat to the housing recovery. Among these respondents, 61 percent said interest rates would have to rise to at least 6 percent to create a significant threat.


Stand Out! Ask Me How…

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3 Reasons to Buy that House NOW!

This is a straight forward advice I can impart. Seize the opportunities today to buy a home to trade up, to acquire something (rental income or owner use) for lifestyle changes (i.,e. empty nest, first home, kids in college. The values for home ownership are long term, consistent growth, stable asset class and personal and lifestyle enrichment.

One more word to the wise, allocate money and meet with a lender today if you need to get a loan and pre-approval and prepare yourself  for year-end bargains and buys. All indicators point to a robust sales period at the end of the fourth quarter. For Sellers, there are savvy buyers in the market place now and until the end of the year. Early 2014 will see a slowing of sales and shift in the financial markets… and hope there are no other world catastrophes to upset our global market balances.

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Shared from Tag Life on Flipboard.



Palisades Riviera New Construction Rush!

So what’s happening in your neighborhood with new construction? Like it? Hate it? Hmmmm? Or don’t want to think about it?

There has been a rush of new construction going on in the Palisades Riviera… for that matter new construction is appearing in every neighborhood on almost every street. 

In 2011, Metropolitan Los Angeles ranked 5th of the major metropolitan areas for the most new construction permits issued (Houston was number one). In my Riviera Palisades neighborhood alone of the almost 600 homes, I have counted more than 15 new construction projects, all high-end homes being started or slated for the wrecking ball. When finished, these homes will range from $6,000,000 to $10,000,000+, a market value of more than $150,000,000.

The last time I saw anywhere near this fervor was around 2005-2006. The new construction rush, many of them spec homes, signals more confidence in real estate as well as about the  economy in general. Redevelopment brings improved home values.and improved community infrastructure, The price ceiling of higher end  homes is raised as well as the low priced entry level homes.

With new construction, however, neighbors must endure the congestion and the disruption to the once serene idyllic lives: Not to mention community (demographic) make-up and those generational and lifestyle changes.

The disruption in the short term are well worth the long term values.