ATTENTION: Would-be home Sellers...prices have never been this high.   Now is the time to sell.  

 Real Estate e-Newsletter
Coldwell Banker Previews International
Coldwell Banker  Residential Brokerage
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
by Cynthia S. Radom Award-winning Certified Seniors Specialist REALTOR
                                                          Since 1994
         April-June 2015     (310) 288-0479  CalBRE #01184864

                                     ** Writer and Publisher since October 1999 **

 New Laws for Homeowners
Energy Efficiency Rules
Increasing energy efficiency is a long-term mission of the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), and two new regulations involving air conditioning equipment and water heater replacements take effect this year.

A-C Unit Replacements
Effective January 1st the new
Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio
(SEER) increased from 13 to 14.  SEER calculates an A-C unit's energy efficiency during a typical cooling season.  In almost all cases, a full system replacement (indoor and outdoor units) will be necessary to make the system compatible to the higher rating.  This change is mandatory by the DOE and replacement costs for a new SEER 14 condenser (from a 13 ratio) may range from 55-66%, more for the larger unit's footprint.  Total energy savings for households will differ based on geography, usage and the existing unit's SEER rating. 
NOTE: Certain states, including CA, will be allowed a grace period until July 2016 to install an older model SEER 13 when replacing an A-C unit.  But, supplies may not last long.

Water Heater Replacements
Effective April 16th, the DOE will require a higher energy rating on all gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters.  Although the newer units may not be more costly, the financial impact will be based on where and how the larger, wider and heavier unit will be installed.

These new mandatory standards will eliminate about 172.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of about 33.8 million cars.
Excerpts from RISMedia article
     Have You Seen It?
Have a look at my Web site, just click the link:
Once you log-in, it is easy to send the information to family and friends or anyone who may need my real estate services.

Your referrals are always appreciated.
Roof Replacement Law
Effective January 1st, the City of Los Angeles enacted a new law
affecting residential roofs for new construction and any roof replacement of more than 50%.  An energy efficient "cool roof" is now law.

Cool roof installations are using
materials that reflect more of the 
sun's light rather than absorbing the sun's radiant heat as in today's roofing products.  Energy efficient materials help homes to be more than 50 degrees cooler on the surface, thereby reducing interior temperatures and promising lower utility bills for consumers.  (Cooler in the summer, but how about the sun's energy to help heat a home in the winter?  As we know, older CA homes are poorly insulated.)

LA is the first major city to require all new and refurbished homes to have a cool roof installed.  Cool roof products may be lighter in color (typically white), but some materials still come in traditional dark colors too (blue and black).  Made from a variety of materials, cool roofs may be applied on top of nearly any traditional roof surface.

More costly?  Absolutely!  However, the LADWP is offering a rebate program; up to 30 cents per square foot for residential roofs.  For example, a 3,000 sq. ft. roof replacement would be allotted a $900 rebate.

When any of the newly regulated energy products are needed, make sure to inquire about any and all rebate programs available.
  Financing Dilemma Fix
A southern U.S. regional bank offers a "cross-collateralization loan" to help Buyer's transition from one home to the next.  The loan is on the borrower's equity in their current residence and monthly payments are interest only.  If any reader finds this offering in SoCal, please let me know.

   27th Masterpiece Tour
Robinson Mansion & Gardens is having its annual event on May 16th.  Click here to read about one of the oldest estates in B.H.

Boomers' Housing Crunch
America's Baby Boomers are facing a serious housing crunch, with many expected to struggle to afford their homes come retire- ment.  According to a joint report by Harvard and AARP, the number of adults 65 and older will more than double to 73 million by 2030.  And many of these retirees will have to put so much of their income toward housing (30%+) that other expenses like transportation, medical care and even food will be cut back.

The problem: Boomers will enter retirement with less savings and more debt than previous generations.  A growing number of Seniors are carrying mortgage debt into retirement: 70% of younger Boomers (50-64) and 40% for older Boomers (65+).  Worse yet, they owed even more money on their loans putting Americans in a financially precarious position, the report found.

Meanwhile, non-housing related debt among the 65+ age group climbed almost 70% from 1992 to 2010 mainly from credit card and auto loan debt.  Adding to Boomers' burdens, less income is expected over the next decade.  The number of older Boomer households living on sub-poverty levels is expected to increase by 40% in the near future.

       Zillow - Forget It!
Are you curious about the current value of your home?  If so, here is the best way to approximate in lieu of a real estate agent's opinion.  First, forget looking on Zillow.  The prices on that site are based only on numerical data of local sales, and often contain incorrect information about your home's particulars.

The best guesstimate you can make is by comparing your home to sold homes on your street listed in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  The MLS includes photos of the sold home to compare with your property.  Click the blue link to request local home sales for your street or any other area:
What is a Home Warranty Plan?
Every real estate purchase in California is deemed sold "as is".  Paragraph 11 of the Residential Purchase Agreement (RPA) states: "As is", sold in its PRESENT physical condition as of the date of Acceptance.  "As is" indicates that the Seller does not make any warranties or guaranties to the Buyer about the condition or workings about the property after the close of escrow.  Therefore, Buyer beware, inspect...inspect...inspect... before removing contingencies.  However, since the owner is selling a "used" home, it is always a good faith gesture for the Seller to purchase a one-year home warranty protection plan for the Buyer in case of an unexpected repair.  After all, what is a few hundred dollars payout compared to the hundreds of thousand dollars received from the property sale?

A home warranty policy is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of home system components and appliances that typically break down over time.  The plan ensures that any covered item will be fixed or replaced by the insurer for a nominal one-time service fee.  The Seller, in good faith, usually pays for the cost of the policy while the Buyer agrees to pay for the service fee (about $75 to repair or fully replaced).  After the initial one-year policy expires, the homeowner may renew the policy and choose to add or delete any options.  A home warranty policy and its coverage is a negotiated item.  If a Seller declines, the Buyer should purchase the plan on their own. 
NOTE: American Home Shield offers plans to all homeowners and will cover rental properties, call 866-406-0440.
Residence Corner

SEGOVIA in Palm Desert

An Oakmont Senior Residence

The most upscale Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) in the CA desert for independent and assisted-living residents is Segovia. Spacious apartments or casitas, up to 1,821 sq. ft., provide one- or two-bedrooms with a separate living room and a full kitchen.  Some units include a den and a fireplace.  The smallest unit is a studio with only a bathroom and a wet bar.  An entrance fee is required, from $230K - $680K, and a monthly fee from $3K-$6K, depending on the residence size.

Covering five acres in prime Palm Desert, on-site amenities include: nine-hole putting course, pool, pet park, fitness center, movie theatre, salon/day spa, Grand Hall for special events and dances, bocce court, art studio, card room, computer center, parking garage and much more.  The monthly fee entitles residents to concierge services, gourmet meals, weekly housekeeping and transportation within ten miles.  Located off Country Club Dr., east of Monterey, and across the street from a shopping center with a Bristol Farms and nearby medical facilities, Segovia is a must-see: Click here for Segovia info.

         Tidbits of News  

- CA real estate 2014: Compared to 2013 the number of sold homes declined 7.6% and the median price rose 9.8%   

- New B.H. condo project: An 

upcoming 23-unit condo residence is slated for 9265 Burton Way at Elm Drive 90210.

- LA revises 'McMansion' law:

LA Times article (Feb. 24) states City planners will take almost two years to devise a permanent fix.  

- Smoke detectors should be replaced every ten years.

- New rental building: 313 So. Reeves Dr. (Legacy B.H.) will offer ten luxury apartments.    

- Pacific Palisades facelift: plans to renew a main street in the Palisades - Click here to read how Rick Caruso is changing the Palisades

- Billion dollar Malibu: 2014 was the second year of total home sales over one BILLION $.

- The Enclave at Century Woods

is now constructing ten additional multi-level villas from 5,000 to 6,500 sq. ft.  

- Coldwell Banker has 3,047 offices in 43 countries.  

If you belong to a book club, a Seniors organization, a garden club or any social or professional group and would like me to present my complimentary "Moving Made Easy" seminar, call me to schedule.  This is helpful and pertinent information for any longtime homeowner considering a move. 
Who Pays What

What are some of the normal closing costs a Seller and Buyer incur in a CA real estate transaction?   In paragraph 7-C of the purchase Agreement, who pays escrow charges is usually filled in: "split 50/50 with each paying their own specific costs".  This means the escrow fee will be shared equally, but if the Buyer or Seller incurs a personal expense (e.g. notary or messenger fee) they will pay in full unless mutually agreed otherwise, in writing.  Below are typical closing costs:

Seller generally pays:
- real estate commission
- owner's title insurance policy
- deed preparation fee
- documentary transfer tax (typically $1.10/per $1,000 of sale price)
- City transfer or conveyance tax
- pay-off of all Seller loans plus any associated lender fees
- home warranty (if desired)
- any judgments, tax liens, etc.
- property tax proration (if unpaid at the time of closing)
- any unpaid homeowner dues or transfer fees per their Association
- recording charges to clear all documents of record
- any/all delinquent taxes

Buyer generally pays:
- lender's title insurance policy
- document recording charges in Buyer's name
- property tax proration (from date of acquisition)
- new loan charges (interest on loan from date of funding to 30 days prior to first payment date)
- property inspection fees (some can be paid through escrow)
- home warranty (if not paid by Seller)
- first year fire insurance premium

Estimated closings costs are calculated on the purchase price.  The Seller will pay 1.5% to 2.0% plus the commission, and the Buyer will pay about 1% to 1.5% of the purchase price if a loan is needed. 


    Movie Features Local
Former Cheviot Hills resident, Maria Altmann (pictured below), is the subject of a feature film Woman in Gold, coming to the big screen in April.  Altmann, who died in 2011 at age 94 (played by award-winning actor Helen Mirren), is determined to recover five famous Gustav Klimt paintings from the Gov't. of Austria that were stolen from her family by the Nazis during WWII.

Exclusions from the Sale
Prior to listing your home, determine if there are any items, attached or not, that you want to exclude from the sale.  For example, certain outdoor trees and plantings or light fixtures. Seriously consider the value and the effort to retain an item before you delete from the listing.  According to the purchase contract, anything that is "fixed" or "attached" inside or outside the home remains with the property, unless the excluded item(s) have been noted in writing and given to the Buyer prior to acceptance.

An LA Times article stated one particular Seller (in VA) excluded "the kitchen" in their listing.  The Seller may have been from Europe where it's practically unheard of to move into a place with a fully-outfitted kitchen.  In Germany, by law, Sellers have to provide a stove and a sink, that's it!  In France, all that is required is the sink!  In Italy, nothing stays, everything goes!   But, in CA try explaining to the underwriter who approves a home loan that the house does not come with a kitchen!

Prior to listing, if possible, remove and pack the desired item and replace it, if necessary.  That way the Buyer will not see it and the negotiations will be smoother. Never try to take away any item after the acceptance thinking the Buyer will not notice.  They will! A Seller can always ask the Buyer (prior to the close) if an item can be excluded.  But, it is the Buyer's sole decision.

When signing the listing, it is required to list any/all of the exclusions.   The listing agent should advise all prospects during the showing, and reiterate the exclusions in the counter-offer during negotiations.    

 Montecito Luxury Hotel
Plans have been approved for developer Rick Caruso to build a 170-room luxury hotel in upscale Montecito.  Former site of the Miramar Beach Hotel, an all oceanfront parcel, the land has stood vacant for fifteen years.    


Founded in the 1880s, the Miramar Beach Hotel was one of the first resorts on the California coast.  The longtime owners sold it in the late 1990s to New York developer Ian Schrager, but plans for a large scale renovation floundered.  It has sat vacant since 2000.  Beanie Babies founder Ty Warner bought the property from Schrager in 2005, then sold to Caruso in 2007.  


A 2017 opening is planned for the hotel.  Finally!!

If you prefer the "Real Estate Newsletter" mailed to you, please e-mail:
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.

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.