This Month in Real Estate (March)

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Rolling Hills The Early Years: June

The Early Years – Sheriffs Posse, Los Angeles County

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In the early days of Los Angeles, the Sheriff had a group of men he could call upon him to help him in capturing highwaymen, murderers, and desperados. The men of the posse were all mounted because the bandits would escape to the outlying country and had to be caught by men on horseback.

By 1940, the Sheriff’s Posse was primarily a social organization. It was composed of a group of expert horsemen – you’ve seen them ride many times in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

The Sheriffs Posse probably reached the height of its prestige in 1930-1940 under Sheriff Eugene W. Biscaluiz. It was a large group of men, and occasionally they would go to some of the large ranchos around Southern California for rides. All of it was for fun – they would trailer their horses to the rancho headquarters that they were going to, and saddle up their favorite horse with a western work saddle, equipped with lariat, etc., and go off for a ride of miles and miles, and end up having a barbecue and then going home.

Just after the hay was harvested, in the late summer of 1940, the Palos Verdes Corporation invited the Sheriff’s Posse to come to Rolling Hills and ride over our 12,000 acres, and be the guests of the Palos Verdes Corporation, and enjoy themselves.

They all assembled at Ken Buggy’s Rolling Hills Riding Stables, unloaded their horses and saddled up with western saddles and equipment. From the assembly point, they rode across fields until they came to Rancho Elastico. It was a beautiful, clear, sparkling Autumn day – and dry. So, by the time they got to my ranchito they were all ready for a drink.

I had arranged to have a bar set up on a pickup truck. It was all equipped with liquid refreshments that a Sheriff’s Posse would like. After a round of drinks, the children’s ringtail monkey, who was a great household pet and who really ruled the roost, showed up. He had been in the habit, when we had guests, of stealing a sip from the Old Fashioned glasses – and here was his golden opportunity.

The riders thought it was funny as heck that a monkey would like liquor. After a drink or two, Adolph, which the children thought was a fine name for a monkey, climbed to the top of the tallest eucalyptus and then would leap high in the air to the neighboring black acacia tree – but he rapidly got to the point where, on account of being a little the worse for liquor, he would miss the upper limbs of the tree and come tumbling down and just barely catch himself. He did this over and over. That monkey really had a head by the time the Posse rode on to the next stop.

From Rancho Elastico the Posse rode down the Long Valley until they came to a stack of straw. This year we had threshed the barley rather than baling it, and where the Peninsula Center is at the present time was a huge stack of fluffy, loose, barley straw. They were all feeling pretty good – it was a nice, warm day. They got to riding around and around and around the stack of straw. Then every once in awhile, one of the riders would get very hilarious and he would his horse straight into the straw, which was very loose, and the horse would stumble and fall down, and the rider would fall off – and the only way the could get the rider and horse back onto firm ground again would be to lasso them and drag them out. And that is one version of what you might call “horsing around”

By 1:00 pm everybody was starving, and ready for a good meal, and they had a good meal. We had employed caterers to barbecue the food. They barbecued a steer, and it was ready by the time the boys got there. There were all kinds of Mexican dishes – lots of frijoles, tamales, and green salad — anything they wanted. There was plenty of beer, plenty of coffee, and plenty of fun.

From there the Posse rode down Georgeff Canyon back to the Rolling Hills Riding Stables, where they unsaddled, put their horses in the trailers, and returned to their homes.

Excerpt from: Rolling Hills: The Early Years by A.E. Hanson

Choosing a Listing Price

Picking a Listing Price can be extremely stressful, what you think your home is worth might not be what the Market thinks your home is worth. A Real Estate Agent will give you their expert opinion, but make sure they explain the current market trends and have enough information to back it up.

Your Homes First Price Should Be Its Best Price photo

Dangers of Overpricing

Broker- and buyer-interest is at its highest when a home is first put on the market — and that interest will remain high for about four weeks. But if a property is priced too high during this crucial period, it won’t attract the right buyers. Once that momentum is lost, it’s difficult to recover.

  • By overpricing your home, you create the need to reduce the price at a later time in order to compete with the listings that are really in your price range.
  • If you’re interviewing several Realtors to choose a listing agent, you may be tempted to pick the sales professional who suggests the highest price for your property. But sellers, like buyers, need to beware. The Realtor who provides the best comparative market analysis and explanation of how your home should be priced will be more likely to sell your home quicker and for a higher price than someone who tells you only what you want to hear.

Look at Comps

Talk to a Realtor and have them find Comparable homes,that are on the market and homes that have recently sold, also known as a Comparative Market Analysis . Your asking price should be within 10 percent of the average sold price in your neighborhood.

Realtors will evaluate three factors: comparing your home to others that have recently sold, others currently listed and adjustments needed for extraordinary improvements.

Although home improvements can increase the value of your property, it is more likely these upgrades will simply help the home to sell faster than the others without similar renovations. This concept is sometimes difficult for sellers to understand. They feel that if they spent a certain amount on a home improvement, they should be able to recoup that cost by tacking it on to the sales price. But unfortunately, that’s not always the case. According to Home Remodeling Magazine, very few home improvements return 100% of the investment, and that percentage of return declines as the years go by.

Upgrades are important, but buyers may not share the owners’ enthusiasm for — nor agree with — the owners’ perceived value of the improvements. And if a buyer doesn’t see the value, then there is no value.

A professional analysis of the market, will take all of this into consideration as well as analyze the price other homes have actually sold for, not just the asking price — there can be a sizable difference. The most common mistake sellers make when pricing their property is to only consider the asking prices of other properties. Remember, a list price does not suggest market value of a home. It is simply the “asking price” or “dream sheet” of another seller. Its relevance may, however, be in how you position your home with the others on the market.

Other Factors:

  • Time of year — Ah, spring. Spring is considered the best season to sell a home since families are trying to get situated before the start of the next school year; however, fall is a close second since it comes right after the quiet days of summer when most people are away on vacation. Winter is usually the worst season — especially in areas where it snows — but also because of the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays when people’s minds are on socializing, not buying or selling a home.
  • Interest rates — If rates are reasonable, it seems everyone is in the market for a home. But, if interest rates start to climb or they do not seem reasonable, you’ll see less action on the street.
  • Inventory — In Economics 101, we were taught the basics of supply and demand. This theory laid the foundation of what drives costs, and so it goes with real estate. If your home is one of 20 in the neighborhood that’s for sale, you will have a hard time getting your price since the supply is great and the demand may not be so great. However, if it’s a hot market and you have a home in a great neighborhood, chances are you will get your asking price and maybe even more. Scope out the neighborhood to see if inventory is high or low. (And ask a real estate agent.)