You'd Like to Move to Greener Pastures, And Keep Your California Property Tax Base?

 Propositions 60 and 90 are tools for helping sellers keep their property tax base if they are over 55: 

"(they)allow a person who is over age 55 to sell his or her principal place of residence and transfer its base year value to a replacement dwelling of equal or lesser value that is purchased or newly constructed within two years of the sale."  California State Board of Equalization. 

The number of counties participating in Prop. 90 fluctuates, it is currently at 10: 

  • Alameda
  • Los Angeles
  • Orange
  • Riverside
  • San Bernardino
  • San Diego
  • San Mateo
  • Santa Clara
  • Tuolumne
  • Ventura

 Currently this is a one-time only benefit, and one of the owners must be 55 years or over.  This is for principal residence only, not your investment properties unless you're living in one of them. There are certain guidelines if you buy one or two years after the sale in which the transfer of value may take place.  Depending on the county, a seller may have to relocate some distance to get into a new home purchase that is in a similar or lower price range, so this is not always viable.  If you stay with

in your own county, the transfer works in any county, but if you're moving out of your home county, then it applies only if you go to one of the other 10 counties.  In a rising market, this can be limiting, and some people cannot afford to move without that tax benefit.  

To find out about the Proposition 19 on the November ballot, go to this link for a summary, a yes vote allows more people to move and transfer their tax base anywhere in the State, along with other benefits.

For an estimate of current value on your home, please go to my site below for an instant estimation at the What is Your Home's Value?, or contact me directly.  I have been a licensed Realtor since 1994.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


New Listing, $599,000, Beautiful Single Family Home with Patio

It doesn't get any nicer than this two-story house just waiting for the new owner.  Beautiful custom touches, spacious plan with vaulted ceilings and a lovely patio area for outdoor relaxing.  All three bedrooms are upstairs, with a half-bath off the entry hall, and two full baths on the upper level. The large kitchen has plenty of storage and counterspace. Newer flooring and carpeting, tile floor in kitchen, living room fireplace all complete the ambiance. Over 1700 sq ft inside.  Two car attached garage.  Go through the separate laundry room to access the garage. It's a great price at $599,000, MLS PW20178644.  Near Lakewood shopping and the freeway!

Rear patio, fountain, room for dining

Large kitchen, dishwasher, double sinks








Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


What About Mortgage Forbearance? What Happens?

Here's a nice article from Bankrate, dated last April, about what forbearance means.  First of all, somewhere, depending on the source, between 4,000,000 and 6,000,000 people (mortgages) are in forbearance now.  Forbearance offers the opportunity to avoid foreclosure, a worse evil that the banks do not want to repeat from the last recession. But the consumer should be as informed as possible. The CARES Act covered some plans for forbearance, but just know that even though this Bankrate article says "No, mortgage forbearance does not appear on your credit report as a negative activity," some people are experiencing credit problems.  They have found entries on their credit reports about having a forbearance, and as a result, some credit card companies are shrinking the amount of available credit for these customers.  Others are having a hard time getting loans due to their credit reports.  Nerdwallet advises consumers that unless the lender has agreed not to report forbearance (which can be a possibility) it will be reported to your credit bureaus.  So if you are, or have, participating in a forbearance, you might want to make an inquiry first to find out what your lender's policy is.  Having your credit cards impacted, and the ability to buy using them, is a difficult thing to undergo.  Your FICO score is built on several factors, including your debt percentage to your overall available line of credit.  If that available credit is pushed down, your debt ratio now goes up, and your FICO score could take a big hit as a result. 


Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


Infographics on Los Angeles and Orange County Housing Reports for July 2020

 For Orange County, existing house sales were up in July from last year, but in Los Angeles County sales were down by about the same amount.  In both counties, the number of active listings was down over 40% from last year.  And in both counties the median price increased over 4% and 6% from July, 2019.  

What is driving the upward price trend?  Lower inventory and continuing buyer demand for homes.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


The Pandemic Has not Lowered Prices, Nor Kept Buyers from Buying

 Realtor.com just came Downtown Long Beachout with its study of the 10 hottest zip code markets in the U.S., based on turnover and number of views of the property.   (See links below.)

At the top of the list is Colorado Springs, followed by the rest which are located outside of California.  

But overall, the pandemic market has not lowered prices, nor kept buyers from buying.  

 Locally, zip code 90803 (Long Beach, Naples, Belmont Shore, etc.), one of the most expensive certainly in Long Beach and elsewhere, had an average sales price of $1,473,357 ending in July, but turnover has slowed somewhat for that price range, over 80 days average, 60 days median, on the market before going into escrow.  

By contrast, east Long Beach including Park Estates and Los Altos areas was a median of 10 days on the market, 27 average days on market, at average sales price of 870,877.

Going to west Long Beach,  to 90810, the average sales price was $519,045 and houses sold on average in 21 days,

 Going to north Long Beach, to 90805, the July average sales price was $539,559 with average days on market at 15 days.

 So with lower priced markets that are more affordable, the days on market is gradually shorter.

Overall, the entire City of Long Beach finished July with only 2 months supply of inventory, continuing the demand for more listings to accommodate the buyers who are looking and constantly competing with each other in this market.   Nearby cities of Cerritos, Bellflower, and Lakewood are in the same low inventory crunch, less than 2 months of inventory.

Compare the Long Beach prices (lower compared to other  coastal cities) to the hot zip codes in the Realtor.com study:   https://www.realtor.com/research/hottest-zip-codes-2020/ where the median list prices are under $644,000!!  And yet, buyers throughout Southern California are looking for sellers who want to sell.  

Will homes sales continue to defy expectations?  Here's more from chief economist Lawrence Yun with National Association of Realtors,  Defying Expectations

If you or someone you know is interested in selling, I can show you how to get your house on the market and get it sold.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


California Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Laws Starting in 2020

While ADU units require local jurisdiction approval, i.e., city permits for example, the State of California loosened requirements as of January 1, 2020.  Now, the state has passed updated conditions to reduce the costs for developing ADUs, and to grant automatic approval with local limits for certain ADUs.  The standards below include most of the updated law.

Where formerly ADUs must be owner occupied on the site, that is no longer a requirement by cities or counties if permitted by 2025. Applications must be approved within 60 days, without a hearing or discretionary review.
  • No impact fees for ADUs under 750 sq. ft.
  • Single-family homeowner associations must allow development of ADUs, subject to reasonable standards.
  • Single family homeowners can develop junior ADUs, which are under 500 sq. ft. within a residence.
  • Parking replacement is no longer required, and parking impacted districts (such as in Long Beach) are no longer a condition.
  • No minimum lot size
  • No height limit under 16 feet or side/rear setbacks over 4 feet required.
  • No maximum unit size limit less than 1,000 sq. ft for a 2-bedroom ADU.
  • No setbacks requirements for conversions/replacements of existing legal structures.
  • Unit may be added to a multi-family property:  New unit of existing non-living space allowed for every  four existing units; and two new detached homes, with 4-foot side/rear5 setbacks, allowed up to 16 feet in height.
It is the property owner's responsibility to consult with your local city/county jurisdiction to obtain local permits for construction.  For additional information go to https://www.caforhomes.org/aduupdate

For my "Quick Guide"  outlining the above points, please contact me.  It's important to know that following some of the guidelines and calling an unpermitted structure an "ADU" may only cause inspection issues at some point in time.  Following and obtaining necessary permits is essential, and it will give value to your property, besides providing someone with a legal rental home.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


The Latest on Open Houses

You've probably noticed that open house signs are few and far between these days. 

Actually, public walk-in open houses are currently not allowed under statewide law in California.  If "open house" signs are posted, there must be an accompanying sign rider stating advance appointments only.  Showings can only be set by advance appointment, with a signed form provided in advance declaring the party is free of COVID-19 virus, digitally signed by the buyer's agent and the buying parties and sent in advance of the appointment to the listing agent.

This is the State guidance, but local area restrictions may be more restrictive, so in areas prohibiting all open houses, no open house signs should be seen at all.  When properties are shown by agents, masks and hand sanitizer must be used, the number of people in the house must be controlled practicing social distancing (usually one buying party at a time, and the buyer agent and listing agent).  The entry rules also apply to home inspectors  and other professionals who enter the property during escrow. 

The Rules for Entry should be posted near the main entry of the home.

We miss the public walk-in open houses, but yet if you were the seller, especially if still living in the property, you would most certainly want all necessary precautions followed.  It's really to the advantage of everyone.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


June 2020 Housing Market in and Around Long Beach Area--Inventory and Price

The median price (same number above, same number below midpoint) lowered to $702,000 for a single family home in June, but this is well above December's $652,500.  The average days on
market was significantly lower than December's:  25 days in June, although the overall housing supply for Long Beach increased to 2 months' worth (still low, however). 

The median price for a Long Beach condo in June was $398,000, average price $454,000--this varies greatly depending on size and neighborhood.  The average days on market increased to 39 days in June,  and the inventory has increased significantly to 3 months supply, about the same amount as last October. 

In the last 30 days, 158 single family homes sold in Long Beach, most selling in 30 days or less, and all except 4 sold within 90 days, including the million plus homes.  Most buyers are looking below $600,000, which means Wrigley, west side of Long Beach, some in California Heights and others in North Long Beach.  Belmont Heights is typically not below $700,000 right now.

Lakewood single family median price dropped a little, but at $630,000 is still higher than 2019, but only 39 houses closed escrow in the last 30 days!  Which means a serious inventory shortage in Lakewood, at 1.2 months supply!!  So anyone who wants to sell in Lakewood now, it's time to consider!!!  There are currently 91 in escrow, and only 30 active listings on the market there ($529000+ starting list price).  So there should be a higher number of future closings, but there's opportunity to sellers with only 30 active on the market.

Cerritos:  Only 20 houses closed escrow in the last 30 days.  Sales price starts at $600,000.  Currently there are 32 homes in escrow, and 17 active listings available, starting at $689,000 and up to $2.2 million.

No matter where we look, it's the same story, we need more listings, because there are buyers who want to buy. 

The part of the market that is taking longer to sell is the over $1million market, with 256 homes on the market at an average of 137 days on the market for homes in Rossmoor, Long Beach, Lakewood, Cerritos, Signal Hill and Huntington Beach market.  More are very recently coming on the market in the last few days, so if this is your price range, there's lots of opportunity here!!!

Have some questions?  go to http://www.juliahuntsman.com/FAQs.html.  If you'd like another answer, just get in touch with me.  I'll try to help!

Curious about what your home might sell for?  Let me know, I'll send you my professional estimate based on 25+ years as a Realtor.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


May Market Mayhem - State and Local

Statewide, California home sales fell to their lowest level since November 2007.  May sales of single family homes was down over 41% from one year ago, and down 13% from April of this year.  However, pending home sales (properties in escrow) were up  67% in May.

Part of the problem, besides the general effect of pandemic slowdown, is housing supply, per CAR:
"All major regions recorded a decrease in housing supply of more than 25 percent, with both the Southern California and the Central Valley regions falling by more than 33 percent. All counties in Southern California, except Ventura, declined 36 percent or more from last year, with San Diego dropping the most at 42.7 percent. The Bay Area also experienced a significant housing supply decline, but at a relatively smaller degree compared to the Southland. Eight of the nine Bay Area counties recorded a decline in active listings on a year-over-year basis in May, and six had a decrease of more than 25 percent. San Francisco was the only county in the region with an increase in active listings from last year."
Additionally, SoCal home price unchanged
"Median prices continued to dip in May from last year in the Central Coast and the Bay Area but inched up slightly in the Central Valley region. The median home price was virtually unchanged in Southern California."  

Locally, prices continue upward, and anecdotally, buyers continue to experience multiple offer situations.

Long Beach median single family home price         $740,000, up 13%
Lakewood median single family home price            $649,000, up 8%
Bellflower median single family home price            $575,000, up 4%
Signal Hill median single family home price            $1,215,000
Rossmoor median single family home price              $1,349,000
Cerritos median single fmily home price                    $765,000, up 6%

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


5 Criteria For Pricing A Home (Plus More)

When you put your home up for sale, one of the best ways to determine the asking price is to look at comparable sales. Unless your home is in a tract where few house modifications have been made, there’s rarely a perfect apples-to-apples comparison, so a pricing decision often relies on comparisons to several recent sales in the area. Here are five criteria to look for in a sales comparison.

  1. Location: Homes in the same neighborhood typically follow the same market trends. Comparing your home to another in the same neighborhood is a good start, but comparing it to homes on the same street or block is even better. Appraisers usually use distance, i.e., up to one mile, as one of the selection bases for comparable homes, however a very similar home on your block will be included for value consideration over a very similar home a half-mile away.

  2. Date of sale: It varies by location, but housing markets can see a ton of fluctuation in a short time period. It‘s best to use the most recent sales data available. Depending on other factors, home sales from the previous 6 months, and if there are many, the previous 30-90 days, will be selected for comparison.

  3. Home build: Look for homes with similar architectural styles, numbers of bathrooms and bedrooms, square footage, and other basics. If your home is in a 1920s Spanish bungalow historic district, it's not likely that a 1962 contemporary style home will be selected even if it is not far away.  And, a condo is rarely ever considered a comparable for a single family home.

  4. Features and upgrades: Remodeled bathrooms and kitchens can raise a home’s price, and so can less flashy upgrades like a new roof or HVAC system. Be sure to look for similar bells and whistles. However, a remodeled kitchen does not automatically raise the price of a house using the cost of the remodel.  Since remodeled kitchens and bathrooms are more common in the market, they will be a more standard basis for comparison. 

  5. Sale types: Homes that are sold as short sales or foreclosures are often in distress or sold at a lower price than they’d receive from a more typical sale. These homes are not as useful for comparisons.  Some lenders when requesting an appraisal will not want to use a distressed property as a comparison for a standard sale, however, if a distressed sale property otherwise compares to your home, and it sold for market value, it may be accepted in the appraisal.

Other factors such as square footage:  Unless it is a very down market with very few sales and the appraiser must make adjustment calculations, a 2000 square foot house that is 4 bedrooms will not ordinarily be used as a comparison for a 900 square foot home with 2 bedrooms--it would simply fall outside the usual comparison parameters.  In that case, an appraiser is more likely to widen the search area to find a more similar property in a similar area.

An appraisal is an opinion of value by the appraiser, and sometimes one of the parties disagrees with it, in which case a buyer may request another one by a different appraiser (and probably have to pay the price for it as well).  Listing agents will usually meet the appraiser at the property and hand them comparables they believe justify the contract price.  When I've done this, most appraisers will review those properties especially when the agent is extremely familiar with the nearby sales.

Getting the right list and sell price is important for a smooth transaction, and these are the more common issues agents need to take into consideration when presenting market information so that a seller gets the proper perspective on pricing their home.

Julia Huntsman, REALTOR, Broker | www.juliahuntsman.com | 562-896-2609 | California Lic. #01188996


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