Redondo Beach Real Estate: Recovery Shifting to Owner-Occupants

I found this article from DSNews well worth reading and thought you might find it interesting too.  It speaks about national trends but relates directly to Redondo Beach real estate and other Beach Cities real estate as well.

It’s a long piece so I’ve highlighted a few things I found insightful.

–Lesley Siegel
RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay
Lesley Siegel Real Estate


Market Analysts Expect Slowdown in Housing Recovery in 2014

The housing market recovery is entering a new phase, according to the analysts at Capital Economics. They say the rapid bounce in home prices seen this year, which was driven by investors and tight supply conditions, will soon start to moderate, and the next stage of the recovery will be characterized by strengthening activity among owner-occupants and mortgage-dependent buyers, as well as a much more moderate pace of house price inflation.

Overall economic growth, on the other hand, will accelerate in 2014, according to Capital Economics, from around 1.8 percent in 2013 to 2.5 percent this year. The firm notes in its outlook report that monthly employment gains have already climbed back to the 200,000 mark. As the economy’s fiscal drag fades, it should more than offset the impact of rising long-term interest rates, the company’s analysts contend.

The Federal Reserve announced in mid-December that it will begin tapering its asset purchase program this month, but Capital Economics says any further increase in long-term interest rates that results will be “modest.” After all, the Fed is trimming its monthly buys of mortgage securities and Treasuries by just $10 billion. Officials strengthened the central bank’s forward guidance to emphasize rates are not likely to rise for at least another couple of years.

“And even if mortgage interest rates edge a little higher, the recovery in housing market activity should also continue,” Capital Economics said in its report.

Higher mortgage interest rates have taken a toll on housing market activity already, but further rate increases will see the recovery slow rather than reverse, its analysts stressed. Sales activity initially dropped when rates spiked, but the latest data suggest this was a period of adjustment rather than the start of a weaker trend, which fits with the fact that housing remains very affordable, they explained.

“We envisage 30-year fixed mortgage rates ending 2014 at 5 percent and 2015 at 5.5 percent,” they share in the report. There may ultimately be an upside to higher rates, according to Capital Economics’ analysts. This upside would come in the form of a quicker loosening in mortgage credit conditions now that lenders cannot rely on the refinancing boom to boost their profits, they suggested.

The supply of homes for sale is now increasing, Capital Economics noted in its report. In addition, rising prices and a reduction in negative equity are bringing willing sellers back to the market. Alongside a reduction in the number of heavily-discounted distressed homes for sale, the firm says this will drive a seachange in the composition of supply and trigger a loosening in overall market conditions as buyer demand increases, according to Capital Economics.

The rapid run up in house prices means that housing affordability has deteriorated over the past three months. But even though valuation and affordability metrics are becoming less favorable, the overall picture is still that housing is a good value and “on the cheap side,” the firm said in its report.

The National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) affordability index suggests that the typical U.S. household now has 166 percent of the income required to qualify for a mortgage on the typical home, down from 180 percent in Q3 2013. This deterioration in mortgage affordability means that average mortgage costs are once again above average rental costs, which may deter some households from leaving the rental market for homeownership, according to Capital Economics. Still, the firm notes that “[o]ther than the past four years, at no point during the 40-year history of the NAR figures has housing been as affordable as it is now.”

Similar conclusions hold in terms of housing valuations, Capital Economics explained, adding that the simplest valuation measure compares real house prices to their long-run trend level. On this basis, housing is 12 percent below fair value, according to the firm’s analysts. That figure is down from 21 percent below fair value two years ago, but the analysts say even now, prices still have room to increase before worries about overvaluation become pressing.

A second method compares house prices to disposable incomes per capita, and it suggests that housing was 14 percent undervalued in Q3. A third valuation measure paints a slightly different picture—the house price-to-rent ratio. On this measure, housing is at the fair-value mark. As the firm’s analysts already noted, mortgage costs come in above average rental costs now.

They say it looks like home prices will be up by 11 percent for 2013 as a whole. “We expect this year to mark the peak for house price gains, and anticipate that price rises will slow to around 4 percent per annum in 2014 and thereafter,” Capital Economics’ analysts predicted.

Read the article at its original source.

10 Reasons to List During the Holidays

Logic may tell you that listing a home after November 1st is a bad idea.  But logic isn’t always right!  As it turns out, there are a number of very compelling reasons to put a house on the market before the end of the year and here are 10 to get you thinking.  Feel free to share this with friends who may be on the fence.

Holiday Wreath10 Reasons to List Your Home During The Holidays

  1. While there may be fewer buyers in general, people who are looking for a home during the holidays are serious and are ready to buy.
  2. There are fewer homes for buyers to look at during the holidays which means that there is less competition for you as a seller.  Less competition means more money.
  3. After the holidays, the supply of listings increases substantially which lowers the demand for your home.  More competition means less money.
  4. Your home will show beautifully if you decorate for the holidays.
  5. Many buyers have more time to look for property during the holidays.
  6. We can control when your home is shown during the holidays to the times when it is convenient for you which means you remain in control and can enjoy the time of the year too!
  7. You don’t have to physically move until next year… we’ll focus on selling now, moving in the new year when everyone else is trying to sell.
  8. Buyers think that there is less competition from other buyers during the holidays.
  9. Companies are not overly concerned about holiday time when they are relocating employees…Relocation buyers are motivated to get the deal done.
  10. Your virtual tour will be even more beautiful this time of year.

If you have been thinking about listing your property, please give me a call so we can talk about timing.  It may make sense to get started now so that you are poised to sell when motivated buyers are anxious to get the deal done.

–Lesley Siegel

RE/MAX Estate Properties South Bay

Childproofing Your Property

Of the top five causes of death for children under four years old, most of them happen outside but near your home! Here are some tips on how to make the outdoors child-safe. [Read more...]

Home Values: A Happy Thought!

As a whole, people are thinking very positively about home values right now and recent statistics back that optimism up.  Look at these numbers from

  • Home values Redondo Beach – up 21.1 %
  • Home values Hermosa Beach – up 31.5%
  • Home values Manhattan Beach – up 26.1%
  • Home Values Torrance = up 14.4%
  • Home values Rancho Palos Verdes – up 15.4%

Call me if you’d like to have a valuation of your home.   It may be a good time to sell, refinance, or just have optimistic thoughts!



Lesley Siegel, RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay
Lesley Siegel Real Estate

Real Estate: Rent Vs Buy

I field the “should I rent or should I buy?” question almost every week. Guess what?  My answer is inevitably, “it depends”!

There are a number of factors to consider:
  • the monthly cost and the projected increase you will face over time if you rent.
  • the down payment required, interest rate, and property taxes you will pay if you buy.
  • the amount of time you plan to live in the home

I found a handy calculator recently that may help you or someone you know see the pros and cons of each decision.  Click the image below to take a look and see if it helps clarify things.

Rent vs Buy calculator

If the calculator indicates that buying is your better option, I’d be happy to help you find the right property in Torrance, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach or any city in your target area.  I am also happy to introduce you to lenders in the area who can assist with financing.  

If the calculator indicates that renting is your best option for now, I’ll share my “rental property finder” tools so you can search and find rental properties in your desired area at your desired price.

Either way, let’s talk!


Lesley Siegel, RE/MAX Estate Properties

QR Codes – All you Need to Know!

What the Heck is a QR Code?

qr-codeThis is a Q R Code!  Recognize it?  It’s how you can download my free Real Estate Ap!  Try it right now!  Scan the code and see what you get!

What does it do?

When scanned by a smart phone using a free QR Code Reader Ap, this funny-looking icon will take you to a web page, dial a phone number, send you a text, or bring up contact information… [Read more...]

Food Truckin’

These are NOT your basic roach coaches, for sure!  Take a look at the 10 coolest-looking food trucks in America according to Thrillist.

Even before Ford decided to create the Edsel with a front that everyone thought looked like lady bits, autos and design were inextricably linked. But in this century, the food truck has really taken cars and art to the next level. So with that in mind, we searched all over this great nation to find the 10 truck designs that’re far more than just billboards advertising the tasty eats they’re slinging.

Dallas’s Gastro Bomber‘s a vintange WWII-themed truck doling out modern pub-grub like green chile mashed potato-aided fried shepherd’s pie croquettes that thankfully don’t taste like rations.

Roving Mammoth lives on — wait for it — Mammoth Mountain, where it roves around the slopes feeding hungry, hungry skiers whatever they want, so long as what they want is burritos.

See more… at the original article on Thrillist.

Where are Food Trucks in LA? is a great place to start.  Sign up for their Twitter feed and you ‘ll be in the know every day.  Click the image to visit the site.

Find LA Foodtrucks

Whatever you eat, have fun out there!

–Lesley Siegel
RE/MAX Estate Properties, South Bay



Pricing Your Home to Sell

home for saleHomes are selling quite quickly right now… homes that are priced well, that is!    Smart, competitive pricing is essential. Price too high, you will have a long process.  Price too low, you’ll leave money on the table.

Read the information below and then call me to talk about a pricing strategy for your home.  I know how to price your home for maximum profit and minimum DOM (days on the market).


Home Seller Mistake No. 1: Pricing Too High

“I can always lower the price later if I don’t get any offers.”

That statement costs home sellers millions of dollars every year.

Yes, you can always lower your asking price, but that’s not a good strategy. Time and time again, experience shows that sellers who list competitively from the start get a better price than sellers who list high and then go lower and lower.

Why? Psychology.

When you price too high, here’s what buyers think:

“Wow, three price cuts in the last four months… There must be something wrong with that house.”

“With all the price cuts on this house, the sellers must be desperate. Let’s offer them far below what they’re asking and see if they bite.”

Sound Pricing Strategies

A far smarter approach is to find a knowledgeable agent who understands the local market and then work together on setting the right price. A good agent can help you avoid the overpricing trap.

An experienced agent will help set the right price for your home by considering the following:

Similar homes, via a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA): Your agent will provide a professional analysis that goes deep into stats about recent sales and current listings similar to your home in size, age, condition and features. Sales within the past six months are especially relevant.

General market conditions: Is it a seller’s market or a buyer’s market in your community? It’s important to note that what’s happening nationally may not reflect local conditions. Your agent can explain the difference and clear up any misconceptions you may have.

WD-40 ~ Who Knew?!

wd-40WD-40 ~Who Knew?

I had a neighbor who bought a new pickup.  I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray-painted red all around the sides of this beige truck (for some unknown reason).  I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news.  He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do….probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open.  Another neighbor came out and told him to get his WD-40 and clean it off.  It removed the unwanted paint beautifully and did not harm his paint job that was on the truck. I was impressed!

What the Heck Is it?

“Water Displacement #40″.
The product began from a search for a rust preventative solvent and degreaser to protect missile parts.  WD-40 was created in 1953 by three technicians at the San Diego Rocket Chemical Company.  Its name comes from the project that was to find a ‘Water Displacement’ Compound.  They were finally successful for a formulation, with their fortieth attempt, thus WD-40.

The ‘Convair Company’ bought it in bulk to protect their atlas missile parts.  Ken East (one of the original founders) says there is nothing in WD-40 that would hurt you.

Try it on your shower door!

It’s the first thing that has ever cleaned that spotty shower door. If yours is plastic, it works just as well as on glass.  It’s a miracle! Then try it on your stove-top…It’s now shinier than it’s ever been.  You’ll be amazed.

WD-40 Uses:

  1. Protects silver from tarnishing.
  2. Removes road tar and grime from cars.
  3. Cleans and lubricates guitar strings.
  4. Gives floor that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.
  5. Keeps the flies off of Cows, Horses, and other Farm Critters, as well. (Ya gotta love this one!!!)
  6. Restores and cleans chalkboards.
  7. Removes lipstick stains.
  8. Loosens stubborn zippers.
  9. Untangles jewelry chains.
  10. Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.
  11. Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.
  12. Keeps ceramic / terracotta garden pots from oxidizing.
  13. Removes tomato stains from clothing.
  14. Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.
  15. Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.
  16. Keeps scissors working smoothly.
  17. Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicles doors.
  18. It removes that nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen flooring.
  19. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to scrub nearly as hard to get them off.  Just remember to open some windows if you have a lot of marks.
  20. Remove those nasty Bug guts that will eat away the finish on your car if not removed quickly!
  21. Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.
  22. Lubricates gearshift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on riding mowers…
  23. Rids kids’ rocking chair and swings of squeaky noises.
  24. Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.
  25. Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.
  26. Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.
  27. Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.
  28. Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.
  29. Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons, and bicycles for easy handling.
  30. Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.
  31. Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.
  32. Removes grease splatters from stove-tops.
  33. Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.
  34. Lubricates prosthetic limbs.
  35. Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).
  36. Removes all traces of duct tape.
  37. Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve arthritis pain.
  38. Florida’s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from grills and bumpers.’
  39. The favorite use in the state of New York, it protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.
  40. WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose. Keep in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing are not allowed in some states.
  41.  Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and stops the itch.
  42. It is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray it on the marks and wipe with a clean rag.  Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!
  43. If you spray it inside a wet distributor cap, it will displace the moisture, allowing the engine to start.

As for that Basic, Main Ingredient…….Well…. it’s FISH OIL….

“Plan” to Live Well in Your Home

Whether you’ve just purchased a new home or if you’ve been in the same home for a while, it’s important to be financially aware so that you can live as comfortably as possible.  Here are 6 action items for you to take to do just that.  First time home buyers will find it especially helpful. [Read more...]