Marketing the Mega-Mansions: The Brave New World

Rayni and Branden Williams spent months lining up a director, cast and crew for their "lifestyle film." The plot line: A husband takes off for a business trip in his Corvette, leaving his wife to invite friends to hang out in their wine room, gym, massage space, movie theater and infinity-edge pool overlooking the city. But the actors are only a supporting cast to the real star — the $33-million house at 9133 Oriole Way, a modernist mansion with 12,530 square feet of sun-drenched living space nestled in the hills near neighbors such as Keanu Reeves and Leonardo DiCaprio. Click here to read more.                Continue reading

Credit Unions: The Unsung Heroes of Mortgage Lending

More than 100 million Americans are members of credit unions, and not just because they want inexpensive checking. These nonprofit lenders are increasingly winning over borrowers with low-cost mortgages and programs aimed at first-time home buyers. From 2005 to 2014, credit unions grew their share of the mortgage market to 8.3 percent from 1.9 percent of all originations, according to Bill Hampel, the chief economist and chief policy officer for the Credit Union National Association. They picked up a lot of business during the housing crisis, when the secondary market for mortgage loans collapsed. Because member-owned credit unions hold most of their loans in portfolio, they were able to keep on lending when the big banks pulled back. Click here to read more.              Continue reading

Asking Price vs. Selling Price: Market Tales

It's true what they say: real estate is all about location. In some markets, buyers are getting homes at nearly half off the listing price, while properties in other markets are selling for far above asking. On average, homes are selling at 82% of asking price nationwide, according to Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. Some areas in California are so hot that homes are going for more than 15% above asking. But in the Tampa, Fla., area, homes are selling for at an estimated 53% below the listing price. Click here to read more.            Continue reading

Market Trends: How Long Will Home Prices Continue to Rise?

More good news for those of us looking to sell homes. Home prices climbed 6.3% in May, marking the 39th consecutive month of year-over-year gains, according to a report by CoreLogic. Prices in 10 states, including New York and Texas, plus Washington DC, hit 40-year highs. But for owners and would-be sellers, the silver cloud has a gray lining. The rate at which prices are rising, which topped 10% in 2013, has begun to slow. Moreover, a key factor driving May’s growth, according to CoreLogic was 30-year mortgage rates, which remained below 4% during throughout the first half of the year. Low mortgage rates tend to push up home prices by making it possible for buyers to borrow more. Conversely, even a small increase in rates can add hundreds of dollars to a monthly mortgage bill. Click here to read more.    Continue reading

Los Angeles Still Has Great Homes for Under $1million

A million dollars is a ton of cashola. You could get 5,000 pairs of Yeezys (if they weren'talready sold out, that is). Or you could nab yourself 1,000 MacBook Airs. You could even spring for about 25 Audis. A million might be a hefty chunk of change, but when it comes to the L.A. real estate market, it doesn't get you very far — or so you thought.  Click here to read more.          Continue reading

Are risky mortgage loans on the rebound?

While applying for a mortgage recently, I was rather surprised at some of the loan options I was offered. Banks are now offering interest-only mortgages, balloon loans, and stated-income loans, and that's just what I found in my brief shopping experience. And while I wound up going with a traditional fixed-rate mortgage, the resurgent availability of these loan products definitely caught my attention. To give you an updated picture of today's mortgage market, here's a rundown of the types of loans that were widespread in the mid-2000s, whether they're available today, and whether we should be concerned about a repeat of the crash. Click here to read more.  Continue reading

VIDEO: What are the top interior design trends for 2016?

From state-of-the art kitchens to smart appliances, prefab modern modular homes to airstream trailers, this year’s Dwell on Design conference was not to be missed. Everything from the latest in smart home technology to the latest innovations in textile manufacturing could be found in this 650,000 square foot venue celebrating its 10th anniversary. For the rest of 2015 and beyond, here are the trends that will be driving retail globally: Click here to read more.  Continue reading

Is the pressure of the all-cash buyer going away?

In many parts of the country, housing prices gave returned to pre-recession levels. That's good news for sellers, bad news for buyers. But buried within the latest housing data is some good news for everyone -- everyone on Main Street, anyway. Click here to read more.           Continue reading

The legendary Manhattan home of a legendary DIVA fetches $28 million

e homes of a former Lakers coach, a Hollywood talent manager and a late toy mogul were among the top residential real estate sales in the greater Los Angeles area last week. $19.5 million -- Beverly Hills A newly built, 6,830-square-foot showplace in the Trousdale area of Beverly Hills sold for $19.5 million, or $2,855 a square foot. Listed in May for $19.9 million, the contemporary-style home sits on about half an acre in the 1800 block of Carla Ridge with an infinity-edge swimming pool, telescoping walls of glass and city and ocean views. Open-space interiors include formal living/dining rooms, a glass-enclosed wine cellar, a gym/office, five bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms. Click here to read more.   Continue reading

Calvin Klein, Reba McEntire headline L.A.'s priciest real estate sales

The homes of a fashion designer, a country music singer and a professional golfer were among the top residential real estate sales in the greater Los Angeles area last week. Click here to read more.              Continue reading