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Jeff White and Lori Donahoo


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A Cluster Of Landmark LA Homes Have Been Recently Listed

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

It has been awhile since we housesellers have seen so many rare listings on the market at the same time, but the last week or two has seen an influx of landmark homes put up for sale. The clearly most infamous listing among the bunch is the Los Feliz home where Leno LaBianca and his wife Rosemary were killed by the Manson family almost exactly 50 years ago. Built in 1922, the two-bedroom, one and a half bathroom LaBianca home sits on a lot that slopes gently in the back, allowing for views of the San Gabriel Mountains and last sold in 1998 for $375,000. Listing price today: $1.98 million. And, despite the passage of time, the agent’s notes do say: “Please research before showing.” 

We love when a prime R.M. Schindler home comes on the market and the recent listing of his Studio City Lechner house is causing quite a stir. Designated Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument No. 1024, the four-bedroom residence is one of the architect’s largest single-family projects and was built for Dr. Richard Lechner and his wife in 1947. The V-shaped house is hidden behind a surrounding wall on its street-facing side, but is lined with walls of glass on the other side that offer up glorious views of Laurel Canyon. One of the more unique features of the home is the expanded kitchen that has over 40 feet of counter space and pull-out pantry walls concealed behind smooth-surfaced cabinet doors.

Also just listed, and also causing a stir, is an historic Brentwood mid-century by master architect and Schindler contemporary, A. Quincy Jones. The Richard and Helen Arens house, a city landmark, is one of a collection of influential modern homes built for the Crestwood Hills Mutual Housing Association. Considered the only successful large-scale cooperative housing development in post-war California, Jones designed many homes for the Association and this one at 12346 Deerbrook Lane is a four-bedroom, two-bath post and beam home that features wooden tongue and groove ceilings, walls of glass, and clerestory windows. 

The new listing of a two-story post and beam home built in 1957 as the family residence of Richard Frank, and once owned by rock star Beck (it also currently stars in the Amazon series Transparent as the home of the main characters), has our mouths watering! That is because Frank was the famed restaurateur of Lawry's the Prime Rib and president of Lawry’s Foods, known for their addictive seasoning salt. The 5,000 sq. ft. Pasadena home was one of Buff, Straub, and Hensman’s (one of the most important post-war architectural firms in California) largest residential commissions and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Here Are The New Airbnb Rules That Took Effect This Month

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

In December, Los Angeles passed a set of rules to regulate home sharing to rein in the use of vacation rental marketplaces like Airbnb and HomeAway amid the growing housing crisis. Those rules took effect on July 1 and, since we housesellers know many homeowners are invested in this topic, we thought we would give a quick rundown of what you need to know. Probably the most significant change to how things were done is that hosts must now register and pay an $89 fee to the city. Hosts can only register one property with the city at a time and the property must be their primary residence (where they live at least six months out of the year). Rentals are limited to a 120-day annual cap, and rent-stabilized units are no longer allowed to be used for home-sharing even if the host owns the unit.

Some other key points are:

A host who rents rooms in their primary residence can create separate listings but can rent to only one set of guests at a time

Renters can’t home-share without prior written approval of their landlord

Those who own second homes or investment properties can rent only to long-term residents 

No longer will spaces in nonresidential buildings or temporary structures be allowed, such as an Airstream or RV parked in a driveway or a backyard storage shed

To counter complaints of rowdy Airbnb party houses, a code of conduct was established, prohibiting amplified sound after 10 pm and banning evening outdoor gatherings of more than eight adults

Hosts must tell guests about any restrictions like those above and they could be held responsible for nuisance violations committed by guests

There is an “extended home-sharing” option that allows hosts to rent out residences for an unlimited number of days. To get approval from the city, hosts have to pay an $850 fee and be registered with the city for at least six months or hosted for at least 60 days

One reason this has been such a hot button topic is that, according to the LA Times, Los Angeles welcomed a record-breaking number of tourists last year, with 50 million people visiting LA in 2018. This has fueled the rise in home owners willing to enter the lucrative home sharing scene and the city plans to work with a third party to monitor listings in violation of the new rules. For the complete list of rules and regulations, please visit this LA City Planning FAQ on home sharing.



The Free Summer Concerts Are In Full Swing!!

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

One of the most anticipated rites of Summer in Los Angeles is enjoying the exceptional season of free concerts that are performed in the area that kick into high gear following July 4th. The biggest happen at the Levitt Pavilion in LA which promises 50+ local, national and international acts. Meanwhile, the Marina del Rey Summer Concert Series at Burton Chace Park has consistently managed to draw top Pop and Symphony acts for many years (this summer we get Rickie Lee Jones, Kronos Quartet and Jon Batiste--all acts that command top dollar usually).  KCRW Summer Nights has also been a longstanding source of great free entertainment and offers outdoor performances throughout the Summer at multiple locations in LA and Orange Counties.

We housesellers have long been aware that the museums in LA have been some of the best places to catch great free live music, and this Summer that holds as true as ever. Sunset Concerts at the SkirballOff the 405 at the Getty, and Music at LACMA offer up excellent free shows. Of course, DTLA has become in recent years a year-round source of entertainment and Grand Park in the Summer really steps up its game with free events ranging from yoga sessions in the park to food truck festivals during work hours and Sunday dance parties in the afternoon/early evening featuring surprise guest performances.

Descanso Gardens is one of Los Angeles’ most beautiful settings, making it a perfect venue for free light summer music, and picnics are allowed (and while the concerts are free, some require an admission fee to the venue and/or advanced tickets so always make sure to check on that, as well as that the show is not sold out). The Summer 2019 Concert Series in the South Bay has free shows being staged at well over a dozen venues throughout the Beach Cities. Culver City's eclectic Summer Musical Festival starts July 11, and Beverly Hills also has an array of great acts that perform at the Concerts on Canon series. For those looking to extend Summer past August, the famed Santa Monica Twilight on the Pier presents major acts until the end of September. 

Why Independence Day Is Our Most Important National Holiday

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

The most obvious answer as to why Independence Day is the most important national holiday in the United States is fairly obvious...we would not be our nation if not for what transpired in the days leading up to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. many of you know how revolutionary the Revolution truly was? It was actually so inspiring that the events of July 4th, 1776 helped guide colonial independence movements around the world – especially in South America, where revolution overthrew the Spanish empire in the first decades after America won the Revolutionary War. Did you know that even though the Thirteen Colonies of America declared themselves to be states and no longer part of the British Empire, the Revolutionary War would still continue until 1783? The tenacity of the founders of the new United States of America inspired countless other budding nations to have the grit and patience to fight for their causes.

Did you know that in declaring Vietnam independent from France in 1945, Ho Chi Minh cited the American Declaration of Independence? Members of Solidarity in Poland and dissidents in Czechoslovakia invoked its words to oppose Soviet domination in the 1980s. And the Chinese students who occupied Tiananmen Square in 1989 used its language. Likely, there were some participants in the recent Arab Spring who are aware of our Declaration of Independence. Of course, every reform movement in American history—from the abolitionists of the 1830s to the feminists at Seneca Falls in 1848 to Abraham Lincoln (who made the most of the Declaration by invoking its assertions of human equality and inalienable rights) to the Civil Rights leaders in the 1960s—invoked the words and ideals of the Declaration.

We housesellers are definitely aware that the melting pot of people, liberties and freedoms we enjoy, especially so, in California stems directly from that July day in 1776. From the Bristol, Rhode Island salute of 13 gunshots in the morning and evening of 1777 (the town has held the nation's longest running Independence Day celebration since then) to Congress making the day an unpaid national holiday for federal workers in 1870, then a paid holiday across the country in 1938, to the parades and fireworks and red, white and blue decorations still so prominent today, we are a nation that holds this national holiday in particular esteem. 



Here Are Some Great Events For July 4th If You Don't Have Plans Yet

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

This week brings us the most patriotic of holidays, Independence Day, and with the fast-paced lives many of us Angelenos lead, we housesellers know that some of you sometimes wait until the last minute to make your holiday plans. As always, we are glad to offer up some suggestions for those of you who are stumped as to how to celebrate July 4th this year. We'll start with the parades, and LA has some great ones. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the LAX Coastal Fourth of July Parade down Loyola Blvd in Westchester and this Norman Rockwell painting come to life has the true feeling of a small town, old-fashioned American celebration. The Pacific Palisades Fourth of July Parade will provide a beach vibe for revelers, and the celebrations start just before 2 pm with a group of patriotic skydivers getting things going. The Huntington Beach Fourth of July Celebration includes the largest Independence Day parade west of the Mississippi River, with a march down the streets of Huntington Beach at 10 am. If you feel like a boat parade you can trek out to the Channel Islands Harbor where more than 50 patriotic themed electric boats which will cruise around the east and west channels of the Harbor.

Fireworks are the main draw for most on the 4th of July and LA has loads of them. The Hollywood Bowl's July 4th Fireworks Spectacular is one of the biggest annual traditions and this year Nile Rodgers and CHIC team up with the LA Phil for a three-night star-spangled celebration. Every night before the concert, there will be boogieing down in the Hollywood Bowl Plaza with DJs, disco dance lessons, and more. Long Beach has a BBQ fest and fireworks show at the Aquarium of the Pacific, as well as celebrations at the Queen Mary. Downtown LA offers up the Grand Park + Music Center's July Block Party & Fireworks, which is Los Angeles County's largest free July 4th celebration, as well as the 4th of July Fest & Fireworks 2019: Exposition Park, which is a picnic-style event with live music, games, fun & fireworks. Burton Chace park in Marina del Rey is another popular SoCal destination for their awesome fireworks display.

Other events include the 93rd annual AmericaFest at the Rose Bowl, which, in addition to having the biggest fireworks display in SoCal, will have a family fun zone, a motocross show, tons of live music and a Disney-sponsored live performance of the Lion King. Dodger Stadium is always a fun time on the 4th when the Dodgers are in town and this year the boys play the Padres, followed by fireworks. Muscle Beach in Venice hosts its free annual body-building pageant by the beach and competitors will be judged on a variety of categories including bodybuilding, bikini, figure, men's physique, classic physique, women's physique, vintage, and couples. Fourth of July Barn Dance at the Theatricum Botanicum, an outdoor theater in Topanga Canyon, offers live folk music and square dancing and the party promises a pie-eating contest, cake walk, relay races and other old-fashioned fun, with barbecue, wine and beer available for purchase.


Crazy, Weird, Perfect Lautner House Now On The Market!

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

We housesellers have raved about certain Los Angeles-centric architects for a long while now. Frank Lloyd Wright, R. Schindler (who originally worked for Wright), A. Quincy Jones, Charles Eames, Richard Neutra, and Frank Gehry are the obvious choices that immediately come to mind when you think about beloved and influential LA home designers. Very much at the top of that list is John Lautner (he of some of THE most famous LA landmarks like the Chemosphere and the Elrod, Garcia and Sheats Goldstein residences), whose Louise Foster House is on the market for the first time ever. Located in Sherman Oaks, the unconventional residence was built for Foster, a schoolteacher, in 1950. 

Among Frank Lloyd Wright’s most successful apprentices, Lautner excelled at technical engineering which allowed him to innovate and invent radical, new techniques in architecture. According to his published opinions, his work was concerned with the relationship of the human being to space...and of space to nature. Lautner’s designs share a sense of drama, powerful geometry and warmth, and a profound respect for the site the project is being built on. Basically, his goal was to have his buildings stand as functional sculpture.

Lautner is so important and influential to Los Angeles, and SoCal culture, that he is not only remembered for helping to invent the "Googie Style" of design, but also for being someone who has one of, if not, THE most amount of homes and buildings that he designed prominently featured in blockbuster films. These include, perhaps, most famously, Diamonds are Forever and The Big Lewbowski, but also films such as Lethal Weapon, Charlies Angel's, and Less Than Zero


Time To Focus On Gen X Home Buyers

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

While Millennials and Boomers tend to get the most attention from researchers, marketers and real estate-related media, Gen X buyers are actually the segment of buyers that should be most targeted. According to the National Association of Realtors 2019 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, Gen Xers lead buying trends in 4 important areas: 

  • Greatest share that purchased a multi-generational home (16%).
  • Largest share that purchased a detached single-family home (88%).
  • Highest median household income ($111,100).
  • Bought the most expensive homes of all the generations.

Often overlooked is the fact that Gen Xers, who NAR categorizes as those buyers aged 39 to 53 years old, are in their peak earning years and are the group that is most likely to upsize. With more income and more children living at home, Generation X are looking for bigger homes at a higher price point to accommodate their family and lifestyle needs. According to NAR, a lot of Gen Xers say they plan to live in their home for 10 or more years and they want a home that’s flexible enough for different phases of their lives. Buyers 39 to 53 were also the most racially and ethnically diverse group of home buyers, with 25% identifying as a race other than White/Caucasian, and had the highest percentage of home buyers that speak another language besides English.  

The NAR statistics also made sure to stress that as sellers, Generation X is a force to be reckoned with. They are:

  • Largest share of home sellers (25%).
  • Highest median household income among sellers ($123,6000).
  • Tenure in the previous home was a median of 9 years.
  • House too small was indicated as the primary reason to sell.
  • 91% sold the home using a real estate professional.

We housesellers have always stressed the significance of Gen X buyers and sellers and we are happy to see that so far in 2019, they are becoming much more recognized for their importance to the housing industry.



How To Find The Right Contractor For Your Home Renovations

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

If you are like many homeowners, Summer is a prime time of the year to tackle that home renovation project you have been thinking about. Whether you are putting in a new bathtub, redoing the kitchen or replacing doors and windows, if you don’t have the time or skills to tackle a DIY home improvement project, hiring the right contractor is your most important first step. Once you have decided the scope of the work you want done, the first thing you'll want to do is get referrals from friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers. Ask what made working with their choice a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and whether they would use the same contractor again. Make sure their suggestions are referrals for contractors who specialize in the work you want to have done. A great floor tiler might not necessarily know much about installing kitchen cabinets.

Once you have gotten the referrals, Consumer Reports advises that you ask each contractor on your list for details of their projects from at least the last year and compare each contractor’s portfolio. They suggest that a good portfolio should contain at least ten projects and include photos of each space before work began, during the remodel and after project completion. Treat the process like a job interview and be sure to check references and ask to speak to their three most recent clients to make sure they’ll deliver. HGTV says to find out whether they hold all of the required licenses from state and local municipalities, along with designations from any professional associations such as the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Association of Homebuilders.

Once you have done your research and due diligence, you will have likely noticed some red flags and narrowed down your choices, so the next step is to price the job with all of the remaining contractors on your list. Have each contractor present you with a brief proposal and estimated cost for the project (called a bid). Depending on the type of renovation, this might include details on the timeline for the project, the types of materials they recommend and the total cost of the project. You will want to get bids from the top three or four contractors on your list and select from these. After you’ve chosen your home improvement contractor and accepted their project bid, they will draft a contract proposal with more details about how they will complete the project, the timeline, materials, cost and more. Once you’ve reviewed and signed the proposal, your project will be underway. There are also many other things we housesellers could recommend during the contractor selection process so please feel free to contact us with your questions.

Los Angeles One Of Three Global Cities To Have Flying Taxi Service by 2023

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

If all goes according to plan, Uber Air flying taxis will take off in Dallas, Los Angeles, and Melbourne in 2023, the company announced at its annual Uber Elevate Summit last Wednesday. The service would roll out in Los Angeles first, and the company already flies well-heeled travelers from Los Angeles to Indio every year for Coachella. However, Uber has much bigger ambitions for the service it’s tentatively calling Uber Air and it plans to build numerous “skyport” stations that would include a retail component in which the skyports would be similar to bus depots or mini airports, with pickup and drop off areas alongside places to shop, eat, and wait for a ride. The skyports will be located at strategic points where passengers can easily access public transportation or shared devices like bikes and scooters.  

The skyports would also include charging stations for the electric air taxis and rooftop helipads with loading/unloading zones for as many as eight vehicles. We housesellers checked out the Uber Elevate video and the idea looks completely doable and could be great for the LA real estate business according to The Real Deal, one of the top sources for national real estate news. A number of local design firms are working on skyport concepts, which Uber wants to be capable of handling 1,000 landings per hour. Architecture giant Gensler revealed its CitySpace concept for LA on Tuesday and their vision is to have modular skyports designed to be quick to build from the ground up or converted from an existing parking garage so as to “minimize the effect on the local community and environment.” 

This is an ambitious project, to be sure, and regarding the helicopter-like taxis, Uber says it eventually plans to oversee production of 10,000 aircraft annually. The hope, of course, is to greatly reduce traffic congestion in cities like Dallas and LA, and test flights are slated to begin next year—with cautious FAA approval. Assuming all goes well, the short flights will start at $5 per mile, so a 20-mile trip would add up to about $100, with Uber officials anticipating the costs would go down as the service expands. Buckle up, because we are rapidly heading into the era of the Jetsons!


The Food Gods Descend On LA Just Before The Official Start Of Summer

by Jeff White and Lori Donahoo

We housesellers have written many times about the amazing transformation Los Angeles has gone through over the last 10 to 15 years as it has become one of, if not THE, best food destinations in the world. It is no surprise that in any given month (or week, for that matter), there is some amazing food event being held somewhere in one of our many eclectic and diverse neighborhoods. Sometimes, though, there is a mass convergence of stellar culinary events happening in the same time frame and this next month is one of those times. And a great place to start is with Smorgasburg, the largest open air food market in America. The massive Sunday food fair at ROW DTLA is celebrating its 3rd birthday this Father's Day and you can bet there will be deals and specials galore. 

After a 2 year hiatus, what Los Angeles Magazine calls "LA's Best Taco Festival" returns this Saturday to Downtown. The festival, called Taqueando (which literally means to eat tacos) brings together a spectacular array of famed street vendors and high-profile chefs all gathered to celebrate the singular beauty of the taco. This is an exceptional event not just for the fact that some of the most well-known chefs in the world travel from places like London, Monterrey and Europe to attend, but also because of the way these celebrated chefs get super creative with this simple food staple. Another popular food staple, pizza, is the star on Sunday at the Pain Pizza pop-up in Chinatown. What makes this event stand out, however, is that Pain Pizza makes French Bread pizzas like the one's we all loved to microwave back in the day (even the pepperoni slices are cut in quarters just like Stouffer's does it!), except these, of course, are ultra gourmet. We think this is a creative concept so...who knows, maybe this is the next food trend?

EAT DRINK VEGAN, the area's biggest vegan festival, takes over the Rose Bowl on Saturday, June 22 for the 10th year in a row. It will feature A-list chef demos, unlimited pours of over 250 different beverages (beer, kombucha, cider, tea, etc.), a marketplace of vendors selling plant-based food, personal care items, clothing, and more. The largest restaurant week in the country, dineL.A., starts on July 12 and goes through July 26. Offering substantial discounts on lunch and dinners, this event has hundreds of the best and most exclusive restaurants from Pasadena to the South Bay to Long Beach creating specially priced menus and/or lowering prices on dishes they are famous for as a way of attracting new customers to try a new place they might not otherwise be able to afford.




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