Archives For September 2013

23639 Malibu Colony Rd, Malibu, CA

Featured in Architectural Digest, this Malibu Colony home is beautifully designed and decorated with unique Americana inspired pieces. With plenty of natural light, clean slate, and hardwood floors throughout, we love the contemporary barn feeling of this 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom home.

Listed by Irene Dazzan-Palmer with Coldewell Banker-Malubu Colony, this 2,243 square foot home is on the market for $3,795,000.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.


Let’s face it, everyone and their mother searches for real estate online; No big shocker there. Some sellers and buyers may feel broker representation is irrelevant since they can search online and find a great home themselves or, conversely, a buyer will find their home and make an offer and all is well. If it were only this simple. When brokering real estate, it was never the home search that was mission critical for my clients, it was everything that happened after the house was located or the offer came in from prospective buyers. While each broker brings their own unique skill set to the table, all good brokers excel in the following areas:

Contract Negotiator This skill cannot be undervalued. Like Kenny Rogers says, “You gotta know when to hold’em and know when to fold‘em.” A broker that is a savvy negotiator can mean the difference between buyer closing costs being covered, securing a $10k credit towards a roof replacement, or even saving the deal entirely.

Paperwork Ninja – Attention to detail and building in critical paperwork points have saved many a deal. When representing a buyer I always had a built in week extension written into the contract. Always. Last minute things come up, all parties are stressed, and sometimes you need an extra few days to close a deal. An excellent broker thinks about and plans for all outcomes up front.

Buff it Out – Buyers become personally invested when looking for a new home and selling a home? Forget it, we all know how personal that can be. Put even one emotional party into a negotiation situation and the whole deal can blow up. Having a broker negotiate the deal provides a great non emotional buffer to step in and gain mutual acceptance.

After all, at the end of the day a buyer wants to buy and a seller wants to sell, it may be in your best interest to find a savvy broker that can bring both parties together in a mutually beneficial transaction.

profeshpicRobyn Woodman is the head of Househappy Business Development and a regular blog Contributor. For more information about Robyn and her experience as a real estate broker, click here

Tony Cenicola via The New York Times

With the number of apartments for sale in Manhattan last month at its lowest level in 13 years, real estate brokers in New York City have had to develop non-traditional tactics for both drumming up inventory and selling homes. One of these strategies includes off-market deals––what has become known as “whisper listings”––when a property is quietly shopped among a small circle of well-connected brokers but never actually put on the market for the public to see.

Whisper listings were initially reserved for properties on the ultra-high-end market, generally with a price tag of $20 million or more; however, as sellers have realized the advantage of low inventory, this approach has spread to other price points, including apartments below $1 million.

“Sellers feel cocky,” said Brian K. Lewis, associate broker at Halstead Property. “Sellers feel like they have the ball. In an improving economy with no inventory, they have the asset people want.”

Whether the seller is a celebrity hoping to keep their transactions out of the tabloids, a landlord looking to avoid upsetting their tenants prematurely, or simply homeowners who don’t want strangers touring their home, this tactic is appealing in a variety of circumstances. It can also be useful for creating inventory.

“We as brokers know everything is always for sale at a price,” said Shaun Osher, chief executive of CORE brokerage, referencing his growing database of people willing to sell given the right circumstances.

This article can be found in its original form on

For Sale: 3425 NE Stanton St, Portland, OR 97212

Since the housing bubble burst in 2007, it seems that nearly every week there has been a new report or set of data on the current state of the real estate market. After years of hearing buzz phrases like “rising mortgage rates” and “foreclosure crisis,” its no wonder that the idea of buying can feel daunting to most people.

But, despite the seemingly endless amount of (often conflicting) information, the last quarter of 2013 just might be the perfect time to buy a home. According to U.S. News & World Report, here are 7 reasons you should consider taking the plunge this year:

1. Mortgage rates are still dropping. Yes, rates are up 1.15% from the historic low of 3.35% in 2012, but this is still an attractive rate for prospective home buyers.

2. It’s cheaper to buy than rent. Studies have shown that monthly costs for homeowners are significantly cheaper than for renters in the 100 largest metropolitan areas.

3. Home prices are relatively low. Housing price trends vary significantly by location, but the average trends across the country look promising. The S&P/Case-Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas increased only 1% this past season, so 2013 could still be a great time to buy.

4. It may be easier to get a mortgage. Less stringent requirements and qualifying criteria may make it easier for prospective buyers to qualify for a mortgage––especially if you have good credit and some savings available.

5. Less competition from home flippers. Because housing prices in some markets are increasing, house flipping has become less attractive. This means less competition from investors.

6. Avoid the cost of rising rent. Renting can be a more affordable option for the short term, but renters continue to face rising rental costs year after year.

7. Invest in your future. Buying a home allows you to stabilize your housing expenses, start building equity, and invest in your future. Even if you end up selling your home in 5 or 10 years, you could profit from the sale and invest that money elsewhere.

This post can be found in its original form on U.S. News & Word Report.

Before Stephenie Meyer spawned a tween revolution with Twilight and before Charlaine Harris’s The Sookie Stackhouse Novels were even a blip on HBO’s radar, author Anne Rice was the reigning queen of vampire fiction. From Interview With a Vampire to Queen of the Damned, Rice has had a successful nearly 40-year literary career––much of which was spent in her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. For our Househappy Property of the Week, we’ve selected Rice’s former home, a 130 year old Victorian mansion located––fittingly––in the heart of one of the most haunted cities in America.

With 9,545 square feet of interior living space, this incredible 6 bedroom, 6 bathroom estate features soaring ceilings, beautiful mahogany and cypress woodwork, and stained glass windows dating back to the 1800s. Though the gourmet kitchen has been updated to include all the modern amenities, the home has retained most of its historical charm; And the elaborate moldings, mantles, medallions, and crystal chandeliers throughout the grand entryway, double gallery, parlor, dining room, and study, make it the perfect setting to inspire a spooky work of fiction.

Anne Rice

Author Anne Rice

In fact, it wouldn’t be the first time one of the author’s homes found its way into her novels. The Rosegate House, another former Rice residence in New Orleans, is reportedly haunted by its original owner and eventually became the setting for The Witching Hour. The 3711 Saint Charles Avenue house, on the other hand, is pleasantly less haunted (thus far) and could be yours for $2,650,000.

For more information, contact listing agent, Brook Arthurs with Latter & Blum Inc./Realtors.

This property post can be found in its original form by clicking here, or view complete gallery below.


Transportable House ÁPH80, via Ábaton

Don’t be fooled––this cement structure may look like a simple garden shed, but turn it 180 degrees and it becomes a tiny, sustainable work of art.

Designed by Spanish architecture firm Ábaton, the 290 square foot home was created with three principles in mind: wellbeing for its inhabitants, environmental balance, and simplicity. Through the floor to ceiling windows, you can catch a glimpse of the interior which includes a living-room/kitchen, a full bathroom, and double bedroom. The best part, however, is that the entire home is constructed using recycled materials and can be transported by truck and assembled in a single day! According to Ábaton’s website, the cost of Transportable House ÁPH80 begins at 32.000 €.

Check out the slideshow below for more photos of this beautifully designed home.

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Sources: Curbed and Huffington Post

Christoph Gielen, from the book “Ciphers,” courtesy Jovis Verlag Berlin 2013, via

“I think the death of sprawl was probably pronounced too soon,” said Taylor Anderson, an engineer in Atlanta, where at one point the 2010 census was expected to show that the metropolitan area had expanded into Alabama.

If there is any town that could support Anderson’s claim it would be the small city of Otsego, just thirty miles from downtown Minneapolis.

Defined by its proximity to two highways, its two wastewater treatment plants, one grocery store, and low crime rate, Otsego is the definition of suburbia. And while trends have indicated an increase the desire for city living––smaller spaces with high walkability scores and mass transit––as soon as the housing market showed signs of resuscitation, building in Otsego immediately followed.

This reemergence of urban sprawl is likely due to the fact that single-family homes still define the American dream and prospective home buyers overwhelmingly prefer them; However, the price of sprawl has become undeniable. For moderate-income families transportation costs have ballooned to a quarter of their income, cities have discovered that low-density developments fail to pay for their own infrastructure, and new studies have indicated that sprawl can even prevent access to higher paying jobs.

In 2011, the National Association of Home Builders projected the ideal home size to shrink. But the median size US home has continued to rise, reaching a record high in 2012. Still, unlike Anderson, others believe that our country is moving in the right direction. In fact, even before the recession, trends indicated a decrease in driver’s licenses and commute times, and found that the rate of farmland lost during the boom had decreased by almost a third.

According to Jennifer Dempsey, director of the Farmland Information Center, sprawl had reached its limit at the height of the boom. “We were pleasantly surprised,” she said.

This article can be found in its original form on