• Personal Note: Dancing with the Stars contestant, Elizabeth Berkley, is my cousin.  Your vote for her is appreciated!! 
                     Send the Real Estate Newsletter to friends, family and associates, just click on the link:  
Cynthia Radom - Service, Sales, Success
 Real Estate e-Newsletter
Coldwell Banker Previews International
Coldwell Banker Co.
166 N. Canon Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
by Cynthia S. Radom Award-winning Certified Seniors Specialist REALTOR
 
         NEWS & ISSUES for BABY BOOMERS to GOLDEN-AGERS
         October-December 2013     Cynthia@RealtorRadom.com     (310) 288-0479

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

A 90-year-old Reflects
Why I Moved at 90
Reflections on Moving   
written by Edith Tolkin
After fifteen years living in a lovely large condo, I recently moved to a Senior's residence.  It was the tenth move in my (90 year) life and, as birthdays pass, moving does not get easier.  However, with a great REALTOR and other moving assistants, my change went very smoothly.

Why the decision to move?
I had given up driving, as had a number of my friends.  I was alone and feeling more and more isolated from the larger group that I had enjoyed.  I started feeling sorry for myself.  Deciding that I wanted to continue living a more social and stimulating lifestyle, the motivation to move was clear.  

Helpful hints  
My first step was to find a new home that fit my needs and desires.  After taking tours of three Senior residences, I placed a deposit on an apartment. 

Next, I called Cynthia Radom, a REALTOR whom I had gotten to know through her newsletters, and who specializes in working with Senior homeowners.  We met, discussed an appropriate asking price for the condo, and within days after listing we were in escrow.  

Careful advanced planning ensued to reach that final quick leap to relocate.  Here are some tips to share:
- First, I identified all furnishings I wanted to remain with me.
- Then, family members selected mementos, furniture, wall hangings and any items they wanted (Note: seeing my sons desire pieces that my husband and I cherished was truly heartwarming).
- Next, I selected a worthwhile charity to donate a large amount of remaining personal items, and one that would also pack and remove everything. 
- Plants and mattresses, that charities will not take, were given to condo personnel.

In the interim, REALTOR Radom referred a Senior-oriented relocation specialist.  In all, she orchestrated three separate moves of my belongings; two to family and one to my new residence. They packed, sorted and moved like clockwork. 
 
As a result of all the remarkable assistance I received, from the ease of listing and selling my condo to relocating with dedicated planning, I escaped pure exhaustion.

Priceless
Although my children are adults, I respect that they lead very busy lives.  There was no decline on their part to help.  However, the need that Cynthia and her service providers fill for Seniors who want to move is priceless.             Professionals who work with mature adults know about the emotional, physical and psychological upheaval a change of residence can have.  They are truly "surrogate daughters". Gratefully, I am now resettled in my new residence and...loving it!

      Uzbek Buys in B.H.
Rumor has it that the new owner of Le Palais on Angelo Drive in Beverly Hills is the 35-year-old entrepreneur and youngest daughter of the Uzbekistan President.  The newly built 48,000 sq. ft. mega-mansion was listed in 2012 for $58 million.  Then, 300+ days later withdrawn from the market as escrow closed in June for an undisclosed amount.

Sited on over an acre with seven bedrooms and eleven bathrooms, a Turkish hamam (steam bath), a swan pond and...well, see for yourself.  Click hereLe Palais then click "Add'l photos" for a look inside and around the grounds.
     NEW B.H. CONDOS
Luxury condos are now selling at
432 N.Oakhurst in BH (click address), two- or three-bedroom units starting at $1.5 million.
Important Propositions
If you are at least 55-years-old, allow me to remind you of the greatest benefit available to CA homeowners: Props 60 & 90.  These two propositions came about as Proposition 13 failed to motivate older homeowners to downsize and move.  Prop 13: if you owned a primary residence as of June 1977, your future annual property tax increase was capped at 2%.  This cap applied to all property owners including: income, retail, industrial, and commercial, even properties owned by stockholders of a company.

When the CA property tax coffers started to deplete, a Proposition incentive was approved whereby a homeowner could transfer their low property tax when buying a replacement home.  Also, a direct descendant who inherits a property covered by Proposition 13 inherits the low tax basis.  And, when a company-owned property is sold to new shareholders, they too can be beneficiaries of the Prop 13 basis.

As an example, if you are a longtime owner, or an heir, of a family home valued at $4 million, the property tax could be about $6,000 per year under Prop 13.  If the family home was sold for the same value, the new owner would be paying about $50,000 in property taxes, without a 2% annual cap.  Today's estimated property tax is 1.25% of the purchase price.  Go figure!

So, if you are thinking of moving, here are some of the eligibility requirements to benefit from Props 60 & 90:
Proposition 60 
- homeowner can transfer the current property tax basis to a replaced primary residence
- this is a one-time only benefit
- must buy or complete construction within two years of the original property sale
- the replacement property must be purchased at equal or at less value than the sale price of the long-held property    
- at least one spouse, residing together, must have been 55 years of age when the original property was sold
Proposition 90 
- the low tax basis can be transferred when buying a primary residence in any of these eight reciprocal counties, which adopted the ordinance:
- Alameda              - El Dorado
- Los Angeles        - Orange
- San Diego           - San Mateo
- Santa Clara         - Ventura
Be sure to check with the County to ensure the latest rule governing Proposition 90 still applies.

      Historic Properties 
The Beverly Hills Preservation Program is serious business for the prospective home Seller or Buyer.  If the architect is named on the City's Master List, there is a chance the home must be retained and renovated to strict guidelines and never razed.  The result can mean a variance in an owner's property value.   

Knowing the status of your property and obtaining the requisite approval is suggested before listing your property for sale.  This is a part of the disclosure requirement.

Determination can take up to two months and can cost about $6,000 between paying an outside "consultant" for a report and the City to review.  An alternative is to post a sign on your property for 30 days stating "pending demolition". Then, City council members are notified to voice their approval, or to object and require the Preservation Director's approval through the timely and costly process.  The latter is risky because it might be a waste of time.  

Any area where an Historic Preservation code applies, a Seller is wise to know the situation in order to negotiate properly and to not hold up the escrow process.  Call
REALTOR Radom for more information.
Home Staging
Before a homeowner lists their property for sale, getting the home ready for VIP company is prudent.  The basic question is: how do you want Buyers to see your home?  Even for an older, non-updated home the basic answer is:
- without clutter
- space to move among furniture
- counters and tabletops cleared
- odor-free (especially closets)
- temperature controlled
- no roaming pets or visible poo
This is called "staging"...and first impressions do matter.

Big time staging may include a fresh coat of interior or exterior paint, new carpeting, newer rented furniture with numerous and varied accessories creating the look of a model home.  That may be fine, if your home is updated or new.

No matter how you fluff an older home, it is what it is...either a teardown or a redo.  Spending money to make money is not always the best policy.

Ask the listing agent
After selecting a listing agent, ask what is needed to get your home ready for market.  A REALTOR will likely be more open and forthcoming after they have your trust.  Take another walk through the home and be prepared for a frank discussion about the pros and cons.  The feedback is not to hurt your feelings.  Rather, an agent will view your home from a Buyer's perspective.  All suggestions are made to bring the most money for your property: that is the bottom line.

Photo session
Another reason for a basic cleanup is for the photo shoot.  Each home listing is placed on numerous websites for the world to view inside and outside the property.  Overall, people do not have the ability to see past the clutter and to envision how their furniture will look.  Buyers need to concentrate on the bones of the home, and not the owner's personal belongings.  Besides, you don't want a photo of your cluttered room to appear on an "Organizers" website!!

Another suggestion
Start packing early, before the home is listed.  Remove the clutter by packing the collections and the memorabilia.  A stack of boxes in a closet or in a garage is much neater.

   Hard Money Lenders
Can't get approved for a traditional mortgage?  There are hard money lenders who will loan (private) money for most real estate deals.

Many Senior homeowners have a lot of their financial worth tied up in home equity.  Those who want to sell the family home and transition to a smaller home or condo, may have the ability to buy before they sell.  This is a short-term, higher than normal, interest rate loan.

Knowing where your next home is can help ease the stress of moving.  Buying a smaller, less expensive residence prior to listing the family property is always advisable.  In this fast- paced real estate market, where homes are selling in days, there may be a solution.

Hard money lenders are individuals who have money to invest and are willing, for a higher interest rate, to lend money to those who can not easily qualify.  What is needed in this scenario is a short-term bridge or swing loan, large enough to buy a replacement property before selling.  For more information, call REALTOR Radom
REGISTER NOW 
Register today to be notified for the next "Moving Made Easy" seminar designed for Senior homeowners.  This is both an informative presentation given by REALTOR Radom, and an open discussion with your peers.  Call today, Cynthia (310) 288-0479
Insuring a Living Trust
Highlights of "Understanding Title Insurance Requirements for Insuring Living Trusts" issued by Equity Title Company

- A trust is an agreement between a trustor (person creating the trust) and trustee (person/corporation) to administer designated assets for the use/benefit of beneficiaries.      
- A trustee is any individual (not under a legal disability) or a corporation that is qualified to do trust business in CA.
- The trust must specifically identify all parties that are necessary to sign when transferring real property.             
- Only the trust specifically provides for the appointment of an attorney-in-fact (aka power-of-attorney). 
- The title company requires a copy of the trust to confirm the provisions made on behalf of the trust.
- If the trustee is unable to act and the trust provisions prohibit the appointment of a new trustee, the court will handle the matter.
- When a trustee is transferring title (selling on behalf of the trust), the title company requires certified proof of:
1) date of trust execution   2) I.D. of trustor and trustee   3) powers of the trustee   4) identity of person with power to revoke trust, if any   5) signature authority of the trustee   6) manner in which title to the trust assets should be taken   7) legal description of any interest in a trust-held property   8) statement that the trust has not been revoked, modified or amended
The escrow officer will require the trustee to forward the above trust documentation for review by the title company.
- A trustee is limited by the provisions of the trust and may only act within the terms specified.                
Residence Corner
Tidbits of News
- Los Angeles: as of June, L.A. home prices rose 19.9% since June 2012, but still down 23% below 2007 peak prices;
- Brentwood:
"family" home of former Governator, Maria Shriver, et al sold for $12.9 million
- Bel-Air: publisher, billionaire and world's most eligible-to-be bachelor, Rupert Murdoch, bought the 13-acre Moraga Dr. estate with its award-winning vineyard, purchase price $28.8 million
- Culver City: check out every facet of this developing area
- Bel-Air: Zsa Zsa Gabor sold her estate for $11.4M, including a court approval for her and her husband to stay for the next three years
- BHPO: Saudi Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah has received legal approval to build a 52,000 sq. ft. mega-mansion on top of Tower Lane (former Spelling Manor is 56,500 sq. ft.)
- Westwood: village revival ideas include art/museum/cultural center and trendy restaurants - any improvement will do
- Beverly Hills: movie producer, Loews heir et al, Steve Tische, built a 4,000 sq. ft. art museum to showcase his personal collection ...next to his house
- Bev Hills: highest home sale ever in the south of Wilshire area, $4,575,000 sold to a family from Beijing
- MdR: the comforts of a six-story home, click link for pix: - Bev Hills: Judge Judy and her mister bought a condo at The Montage for $10.7 million
- New construction demand hit a seven-year high, unseen since 2006
- West LA: Casden developers has approval for a four structure, mixed-used project, corner of Pico and Sepulveda, with about 600 apts. of which 66 are affordable units for Seniors
- Need a property manager?
Call REALTOR Radom for a referral
- Mortgage interest rates are on the rise, now above 4% for a 30-year fixed rate loan
- Top 20 U.S. areas for foreign home Buyers includes nine CA locales: topping the list are Bel-Air, Beverly Hills and WeHo
- More photos of the nation's most expensive listing, $190M in CT (click the link) Copper Beach Farm
- Pasadena: 150 lux townhomes and apartments are being built on the former Ambassador College campus, first phase opening this year.

      Donation Pick-up 
When you have items to donate, and want someone to pack and haul away, call: Council Thrift Shops of NCJW (323) 655-3111.  Thank you, Rose Norton, for letting us know about this service.
Loan Gone Wrong
For obvious reasons this recent L.A. Times article headline caught my attention: Reverse Mortgages Can Be Hazardous to Seniors' Financial Health.  So did the sub-headline: ...fighting a CA bank in court over terms that are "unconscionable and usurious".

Nearly one in ten federally backed reverse mortgages is in default, risking foreclosure for owners.  A reverse mortgage places a lien against a Senior's home in exchange for periodic or lump-sum payments of cash.  The full amount borrowed, plus fees, does not come due until the borrower dies, moves or sells the home.

For the past two years, the daughter of a deceased homeowner has been in a law suit with One West Bank, which purchased the reverse mortgage assets of the subject loan.  Thousands of reverse mortgages during the 1990s included terms that amounted to "financial abuse of the elderly".  Terms of this loan, that included a 9.95% interest rate, also included:
- 50% of equity appreciation for the lender during the loan period
- a mandatory ($33,000) annuity added to the loan balance, and a
- 2% extra fee tacked on at the end

During the 13-year reverse mortgage period the homeowner received about $272,900.  Today, the home value is about $1.8 million.  The bank is trying to collect about $1.5 to $1.6 million plus legal and other fees.  Buyer beware!!!

    Underground Home
Rolling Hills Estates in Palos Verdes CA limits homeowners to a one-story residence and must have a white wooden fence bordering the property.  But, someone had a will to build a mega-mansion and found a way by going subterranean with a six-story, 50,000 sq. ft., mostly underground mansion.  Specs include: nine beds, 25 baths, an indoor tennis court, elevators, a 10,000 sq. ft. Turkish haman, all of which took 17 years to build. Click link: Hacienda de la Paz  and open "Virtual Photo Tour" for pix and estate details.
     
       A Church-house!! 
If a man's home is his castle, then what is it called when the home is a restored church?  Only in Kyloe
Northumberland (England) does a seven-year restoration project convert an old historic church into a single-family residence.

Click the link: converted church 
Renting After Selling
Not everyone is meant to be a property owner.  When moving from a long-term residence, the decision to rent instead of buying a replacement home depends on various factors like finances, stage of life, responsibility or security.

A first choice, for some, is renting an apartment in a Seniors' residence.  When that is not an option, what, where and how long to rent becomes the challenge.  Since none of us knows what the future may bring, a long-term tenant has to cover several bases.  Include an extra bedroom for a live-in caretaker, just in case.

When an older Senior is seeking a rental, an apartment is preferable to leasing a house.  A one-year lease with an option to renew, is the way to start.  When renewing, consider which is best: signing another one-year lease or a renting on a month-to-month term where you could easily give notice if an assisted-living residence is needed.  There are a lot of apartment buildings in every area where a would-be tenant is in control of the residence term.

When someone's needs cannot be met in an apartment, for example: bedroom count or size of living space, another option is to lease a condo.  But, the situation gets a little tricky since the condo owner has the right to sell at any time...by law.

Ensuring that a tenant will not be uprooted with short notice is accomplished when signing the original lease contract.  Consider a long-term, five-year lease to
start.  This way if the owner decides to sell, the next owner has to abide by the agreement until the lease expires.  Long-term leases are not easy to find, but a good REALTOR can accomplish the task.

Also, add a clause in the initial lease that allows the tenant to break the lease with 60-90 days notice in case of a required move to a medical care facility or should the tenant pass away.  It is best to have an attorney create the language.

New rental buildings now leasing:
The Hesby - NoHo apartments
5031 Fair Ave.  NoHo  91601
The BW - Brentwood rentals
1168 S. Barrington at Wilshire

        Spot a Fake Tree
L.A. photographer, Emily Shur, has been documenting various cell phone towers designed as fake trees in SoCal.  Click on the link and spot a fake tree.
If you prefer the "Real Estate Newsletter" mailed to you, please e-mail: Cynthia@RealtorRadom.com
Respecting your privacy and confidentiality, names and e-mails will only be used for providing pertinent material by Cynthia S. Radom and will not be shared with any other organization.   BRE #01184864

2013 Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.  Coldwell Banker is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.  An Equal Opportunity Company.  Equal Housing Opportunity.  Owned By a Subsidiary of NRT LLC.  This is not intended as a solicitation if your property is already listed.