Who Is A Coterminous Owner? (Hint: Do You Have Trees on Your Property?)

Property owners are probably most familiar with the understanding that if part of a neighbor's tree branches overhang their property, they have the right to remove those branches back to the property line, and may cut roots also if doing so does not damage the health of the tree.  But there could be more . . .

Tree, Fence, House, Shade, North Carolina, Outer Banks
Overhanging tree branches
An adjoining homeowner wanting to cut back a tree is advised to obtain the services of an arborist (tree professional) beforehand, in order to avoid any trespass issues (the saw goes over the fence line), and/or cutting correctly to avoid the appearance that too much of a branch was cut off (it can curl back) which could result in an award of double or triple damages in court.  And next, coterminous owners of a tree, meaning a tree trunk that straddles both properties so both owners own the tree, are subject to the following:
"Neither coterminous landowner may remove a tree on a property line without the other's consent, nor may either land owner cut away any part that extends onto his or her land if by so doing the landowner injures the common property interest in the tree. Each owner has an interest in the tree identical with the part that is on his or her land and has a right to demand that the owner of the other portion use his or her portion so as to "not unreasonably…injure or destroy the whole." (Scarborough v. Woodill, 7 CA 39 P. 383 (2d Dis. 1907)) (Anderson v. Weiland, 12 CA 2d 730 (1936)."
 Should leaves fall onto the adjoining neighbor's property which are seen as a problem, that owner must prove in court that the tree owner is causing a nuisance.  It might be easier to clean it up yourself.  An overhanging tree that might topple onto a house may also have to be taken to court, so an adjoining owner should first get photos and help from an expert.

Is your tree shading an adjoining neighbor who has solar panels? The 1978 California Solar Shade Control Act put limitations on shading during hours of maximum intensity, and according to California Association of Realtors legal experts, the property owner there first determines who has to cut back their trees or not.

Should an owner of an encroaching tree put his/her property on the market, the appropriate disclosures must be made to the incoming buyer, including any ongoing dispute with a neighbor.  Such a dispute could be a potential obstacle in the sale of the property for some buyers--and make no mistake, if a seller does not disclose the issue before close of escrow, the neighbor most certainly will. 

Some people are really not that upset about tree issues from their neighbor, but just watch Judge Judy and you will hear the exceptions.  Just being a good neighbor and keeping your tree trimmed can alleviate many future problems!

For more information about these disclosures, please contact me, I will be happy to forward the entire article.



Home Safety Check - Things Every Homeowner and Renter Should Do

Gate, Fence, Wrought Iron, Iron, Gated, Property, Home 

A home security breach is not a pleasant thing to experience, or even just think about.

Besides reviewing your home, condo or renter insurance policy annually for adequate coverage, and taking home videos or photos of possessions for your records, there are several essential things to do if you experience a break-in.

I once knew someone who always rang his home doorbell before entering after being away for a period of time, thinking this would alert someone who might still be in the house, give the burglar a chance to get away and avoid a personal confrontation. This assumes there is a window or back door through which an uninvited visitor could escape. But if it already looks as if a break-in has occurred, call the police first.  If you have prior documentation on what was taken, your job will be much easier.

Protect yourself against being a target, by doing the following:
  • Automatic timers on lights and radios, especially when away.
  • Always keep your garage door closed
  •  Do not leaves notes on the door for anyone or leave newspapers in the driveway (this can be a problem sometimes when newspapers decide to give you a free promotional newspaper while away, so have someone remove your throwaways); keep your landscaping maintained.
  • If home is new, change your locks when you move in.
  • Insert steel rods into track of sliding doors.
  • Install impact-resistant glass for windows
  • At a minimum, install deadbolts on all doors (be sure they do not require a key from the inside).
  • Arrange for removal of trash receptacles from the street.
  • Forward your calls to another number that is answered while you're away--a no-answer call can be a tipoff that no one is home.
  • Ask a relative or friend to do a drive by while you're away.
  • And, if you're home during the day, keep your doors and windows locked especially when you are at the back of your home. Don't assume you live in a perfectly safe area, because opportunists can be anywhere at any time.


Wire Fraud in Real Estate Is An Unfortunate Fact

Fake, Forgery, Counterfeit, Fraud, Imitation, False
Don't be a victim of wire fraud and lose your mortgage money.  This has happened, right here in Southern California, and it can cost everyone involved.  Here is how one article by Colleen Tressler on the FTC website explains it:
"The Federal Trade Commission and the National Association of Realtors® are warning home buyers about an email and money wiring scam. Hackers have been breaking into some consumers’ and real estate professionals’ email accounts to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. After figuring out the closing dates, the hacker sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes. Often, that’s money the buyer will never see again."
 So, real estate professionals including Realtors and escrow companies are now explaining how NOT to have this happen.  Although I recently attended a talk given by an FBI official who stated Gmail is actually pretty secure, there is also a two-step verification process in Gmail which makes emails much more secure.  And now, escrow companies are not taking or sending out wire instructions via ordinary email but instead using alternate methods to send instructions to clients in escrow.  A general warning to anyone in an escrow is to know who you are dealing with and to not accept emails as described above. Responsible escrow companies are now giving instructions in advance, and Realtors are advising their clients.  Any site that financial information goes through should have a "https" configuration in the browser bar.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Never trust wiring instructions sent via email. Cyber criminals are hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions. These emails are convincing and sophisticated. Always independently confirm wiring instructions in person or via a telephone call to a trusted and verified phone number. Never wire money without double-checking that the wiring instructions are correct.

Any suspicious sources should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission.


Average Selling Prices in Long Beach, Cerritos, Lakewood, and Orange County, June 2017

Average Sales Prices chartLong Beach, Cerritos, Lakewood, Orange County prices
Prices are going up, and here's what they look like locally.  For a single family detached home, the average prices in this group range from $575,786 to $770,826, and for overall comparison to Orange County at over $1 million, they're obviously somewhat lower.  Overall Los Angeles County average price is $918,450 (the median price is $632,000 for June).  All these prices are for the month of June, 2017, based on data from CRMLS

One characteristic to note is that Orange County as a whole has increased just over 4%, Los Angeles County has a whole has increased over 9% in June.  The areas with more lower priced homes (relatively speaking) are seeing bigger increases than Orange County, with overall higher priced homes, with a smaller percentage increase.
How much higher will things go?  Unknown, but as long as the interest rates are lower, and buyers are able to find sources for down payment funds, the end is not in sight according to many market experts. The Federal Reserve, however, is expected to raise rates one more time this year.
"But while interest rates will increase to an estimated 5% by the end of 2018 and 6% by the end of 2019, most economists expect home price growth will also slow to between 2% and 4% once rates begin to rise."
If a buyer were interested in the average selling price of $350,000 for a house, then San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire would be the place to search in Southern California, and Northern California in many counties, excluding the Bay Area, would hold some similar opportunities.

For an online and automated home valuation, try my site at http://www.juliahuntsman.com/home-evaluation.  It probably works more accurately for single family homes than condos in some areas, depending on what properties lie within about a one-mile radius.  Try it!  And I am always happy to do a more customized report to send out via e-mail.  If you're thinking about making a move, do something besides stare.

Cat, Funny, Goofy Face, Animal, Cute, Pet, Feline


Long Beach and Los Angeles County Selling Markets for June, 2017

It's an ever declining inventory in California.
For all of Los Angeles County in May, the median house price was $600,000, vs. $555,000 in May 2016.  Yet the sales volume decreased by 30% in that time period.

The California statewide median home price continued over $500,000, as the competition for lower priced homes keeps pushing the overall trend upward.  The number of active listings has decreased by over 13% compared to one year ago.

In Long Beach, it's a similar story. New listings are down over 7%, pending sales down almost 40%, and days on market are less than 50% of last year, but median and average sales prices of single family homes are up 5% and 6%.   The inventory is less than 3 months supply. And the list-to-sell ratio is often at 100%, or higher. In the last 30 days, only 211 single family homes sold in Long Beach, and average days on market was 26 days, with an average closing price of $701,000, per the MLS, at a los $275,000 to $3.5 million.

Yet, sellers must be reminded that unless they have an all cash buyer, current financing regulations dictate certain conditions for the borrower, and ultimately for the seller.  And buyers expect a well-prepared property. Favorable for everyone is that fact that mortgage rates continue to be low at this time.

If you're thinking of selling, please contact me for a competent estimate of market value of your home! Or go to www.juliahuntsman.com for a quick automated estate give to you online.


Long Beach Concerts and Summer Places to Go

The Long Beach Municipal is in its 108th season; Long Beach is one of the few cities which has its own municipal band!

June 27 - August 4. Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. Free. No concert July 4.
Tuesdays: June 27 & July 11 @ Whaley Park, July 18 & 25 @ Bluff Park, August 1 @ Veterans Park
Wednesday: June 28 - August 2 – Los Cerritos Park
Thursdays: June 29 - August 3 – Marine Stadium
Fridays: June 30 – August 4 – El Dorado Park West

See the concert information for the summer.

Visit the Historic Ranchos:

Based on early adobes located on what were the early land grants from Mexico, these became part of one family's history in the area.  They are now owned by the city of Long Beach. They are great family places to visit, with docent tours, children activities and arts programs.

Rancho Los Alamitos
Rancho Los Cerritos

Visit Aquarium of the Pacific  - In downtown Long Beach for family fun -- tours, animal encounters, and educational activities of all types for everyone.

Harbor Breeze Cruises - https://www.facebook.com/cadinnercruises/ and https://www.facebook.com/harborbreezecorp/.  Daily boat trips out of Long Beach Harbor that offer many opportunities for marine life watching!

Find more places to visit at http://www.juliahuntsman.com/beach_cities_links.html


What About Holding an Open House in a Tenant-Occupied Property?

When a landlord decides he/she is selling a tenant-occupied property, there are certain requirements on both parties. The landlord has the right to sell the property and find a prospective purchaser
open house
under normal and customary market conditions of the area, and that usually includes open houses and prospective buyer visits to the property with proper notice. Tenants are understandably not anxious to participate in the selling process, but landlords and their REALTORS have certain tools for handling the situation. 

The law permits a landlord to hold open house, since a 2013 decision in Dromy v. Lukovsky which allows open houses on weekends with "reasonable" notice.  This case said that there should be no more than two a month, and 10 days advance notice should be given to the tenant.  The tenant may propose alternate days within 48 hours of receipt, which the landlord should consider.  The judge in the above case approved an open house on either a Saturday or a Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm.  The agent must be present, and the tenant may be present.

If a tenant is not cooperative with these terms, a landlord should try writing a letter (REALTORS have sample forms also) explaining possible eviction, costs and attorneys fees and a possibly a negative credit report entry from the entire process. 

Another method is to provide a 3-day notice to quit (check with your REALTOR).  The landlord may have to consider eviction if neither of these work.

However, many tenants do see it in their own best interest to cooperate because an income property may be sold to another investor who would like to retain good tenants. 

For more specific information on this issue, please contact me via email on best procedures to follow when listing your income property with tenants.


Sales in Los Angeles County: Prices Still Continuing Upward in 2017

The median price of an existing, single-family detached Los Angeles County home rose in April 2017 to $595,000 from $570,000 in March. The March 2016 median price was $542,000.  All data comes from CoreLogic. The median sales price is the point at which half of homes sold for more and half sold for less; it is influenced by the types of homes selling as well as a general change in values.
The median price of an existing, single-family detached Los Angeles County home rose in April 2017 to $595,000.
But while prices are going up in the County as a whole, sales volume has decreased in the Spring:
the number of single family homes sold in April 2017 was 4,524; in March, 2017 it was 6,051; in March 2016 homes sold was 6,329.  This is a lower but similar sales volume compared to the same time last year.

The 2017 sales volume for Orange County is a similar picture, but with much lower sales numbers: total SFR sales thus far are 1772 and 2469 for April and March, respectively, with median price at $745,000 for both months.

Less inventory means much more competition for buyers in Long Beach.  In the past month, the lower price range under $500,000 sells on average in 25 days on average (overbidding and multiple offers is common), while properties in the $1,000,000-plus range are on the market for 62 days on average.

While housing prices continue upward, housing affordability in California is increasingly a topic of concern.  Another indication of housing prices is that investors are buying fewer single family and multi-family properties.  California Association of Realtors 2016 California Investor Survey found 10 percent of real estate investors purchased more of the other types of properties, such as commercial, land, and mobile homes, in the past year compared to previous years.

Lack of inventory continues, especially in Southern California, and is still an issue for sellers who want to move on--but for those moving out of the area, or for those who have all cash for a purchase, the ability to move on may be much easier, and would bring more housing inventory onto the local market for sale. From that standpoint, it's a good time to sell while interest rates are still low. 

Please contact me for a customized report on home value for your property! And while most people are little uncertain about them, reverse mortgages as a new purchase can be a good purchase tool for the right buyer 62 and over.
 (See the 2016 post on this:  https://longbeachrealestate.blogspot.com/2016/04/sales-volume-in-los-angeles-county-is.html)


Long Beach's Past: The “Cougar” Countess and Long Beach’s Blackstone ...

Here is the fascinating history of the Blackstone in downtown Long Beach, written by my friend Claudine Burnett, formerly a librarian for the Long Beach Public Library system.  The Blackstone, located at 330. W. Ocean Blvd., was at one time a hotel and is now an apartment building which was granted landmark status.

Built by a woman who had inherited wealth from her first husband, she was one of the many people who came to Long Beach in earlier decades and left her mark on local architecture.


"What did this new property Kate now owned look like inside? 

 "The Blackstone had 70 rooms on the second and third floors and 75 apartments on the other floors. Rooms and apartments were finished either in mahogany or ivory.  On the second floor there was a ballroom (dancing was held there every Saturday afternoon and evening), billiard and card rooms. Each of the 8 floors had a sun parlor. Furnishings included floor lamps and table shades and over-stuffed furniture.   In the basement there was a garage for 75 automobiles, shower and dressing rooms for the use of guests returning from the beach. It was quite a luxury to be able to step from one’s car, catch an elevator and go directly to one’s apartment or hotel room. Single apartments rented from $85 to $150 ($1200-$2,120) per month; double apartments $165-$225 ($2330-$3,180) per month; a room started at $2.00 ($28.30) a day.  It opened for business on July 1, 1922."


Long Beach's Past: The “Cougar” Countess and Long Beach’s Blackstone ...: Postcard Long Beach History Collection


A Time to Sell in Long Beach Real Estate

Whether you have a condo, house or residential units (1-4) that you use for income property, I can help you with market value, seller disclosures, and capitalization rates and market rental rates on income property.

"It takes all kinds of sellers for all kinds of buyers", and in a city with such diverse housing opportunities, there are buyers for every part of town.  Contact me or look at my website www.juliahuntsman.com.  See more at NewsReal 2017 and Realty Times.


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