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Luxury Living Los Angeles County

Luxury Living Los Angeles County: Top 20 Priciest Home Sales of the Week (Jan 16-22, 2017)

The Week of January 16th - 22nd:

Total Number of Sales

849

Average Sale Price

$787,724

Average Days on Market

51

The Top 20 Sales:

#AddressCityClose PricePrice/SFLiving AreaBedsBathsLot Size Square FeetClose Date
11510 LOMA VISTABeverly Hills$18,000,00005720,8311/20/17
2178 ROCKINGHAMLos Angeles$8,800,000$1,0898,0816815,6151/18/17
32006 LA BREALos Angeles$4,950,000$1,1584,273451/17/17
41201 VILLA WOODSPacific Palisades$4,860,000$1,0224,7575616,5561/17/17
54733 BonvueLos Angeles$4,750,000$37512,65051117,4571/20/17
627493 CALICUTMalibu$4,650,000$6437,231681/20/17
71546 RodeoArcadia$4,398,000$5248,3917830,1081/18/17
81014 GLENHAVENPacific Palisades$4,200,000$8804,772331/18/17
913849 WeddingtonSherman Oaks$4,089,000$34012,03951237,6301/19/17
104265 BeresfordLa Canada Flintridge$4,000,000$5317,5346621,7381/20/17
114447 CROMWELLLos Angeles$3,875,000$9943,9004616,4791/20/17
121 EASTWINDVenice$3,600,000$1,5652,300337,4431/17/17
131601 LINDACRESTBeverly Hills$3,300,000$9463,487451/18/17
143522 Ranch TopPasadena$3,250,000$5805,6056637,7381/20/17
15918 YALESanta Monica$3,220,000$7974,042551/18/17
16637 LUCERNELos Angeles$3,190,000$3229,9188518,9001/18/17
171304 18thManhattan Beach$3,100,000$6504,771667,0021/19/17
1816418 SLOANLos Angeles$2,995,000$7723,8784522,2301/18/17
19344 SALTAIRLos Angeles$2,925,000$1,2652,313331/19/17
201010 SAN VICENTESanta Monica$2,876,000$1,0982,620338,8851/18/17

Data Source: CRMLS

Luxury Living Orange County

Luxury Living Orange County: Top 20 Priciest Home Sales of the Week (Jan 16-22, 2017)

The Week of January 16th - 22nd:

Total Number of Sales

391

Average Sale Price

$734,044

Average Days on Market

62

The Top 20 Sales:

#AddressCityClose PricePrice/SFLiving AreaBedsBathsLot Size (SF)Close Date
1648 Canyon ViewLaguna Beach$5,000,000$43611,47367105,2841/16/17
21257 Santa BarbaraNewport Beach$4,025,000$1,4952,693231/17/17
3804 Emerald BayLaguna Beach$4,008,880$1,3662,935346,0001/19/17
417 Oak CanyonCoto de Caza$3,290,000$5925,5585545,5901/17/17
51621 Bay CliffCorona del Mar$3,199,230$7324,3724510,3951/17/17
6506 AlisoNewport Beach$2,680,000$5644,752566,3501/18/17
723 BalconyIrvine$2,669,888$5614,761557,4491/19/17
83565 CourtsideHuntington Beach$2,600,000$8083,216436,4801/19/17
99 CataniaNewport Coast$2,600,000$7033,697458,7401/20/17
10128 Iron GateIrvine$2,562,723$5284,852566,4051/20/17
1120 SilhouetteIrvine$2,500,000$5644,430547,4491/17/17
1218985 SeabiscuitYorba Linda$2,110,000$3625,8305624,5771/20/17
13118 RetreatIrvine$2,050,000$5703,597556,1101/17/17
1430801 MarilynLaguna Beach$1,929,500$9891,950336,3131/17/17
15211 RubyNewport Beach$1,860,000$1,1681,592322,6141/20/17
162141 ChandlerTustin$1,850,000$3834,8255612,8001/17/17
1732622 Sea IslandDana Point$1,750,000$7902,2144315,2731/17/17
1856 LiviaIrvine$1,728,000$5862,947444,4101/19/17
1927830 Mount TriumphYorba Linda$1,698,000$3974,2765623,1001/17/17
206851 HitchingpostHuntington Beach$1,675,000$4194,001549,7501/18/17

Data Source: CRMLS

Appraiser Answers - Garage Conversion Value

How do you count the value of a converted garage when appraising a home?

This is a question that comes up more than you would think. There could be many different answers, so I'll try to cover each one below.

Garage ConversionConverting your garage into a studio, man cave, or whatever, can be an excellent way to add some living space to your home.

Most of the time when I see someone has done this is when they have a detached garage with a large driveway. The owners already find themselves parking on the driveway most of the time, so figure “Why not.”

Converting your garage can be perfect for you at the time, but as with anything, there are always pros and cons.

Pros of converting your garage

Of course, the biggest advantage when it comes to converting a garage is the added living area.

When you find yourself using your garage only for storage, then might as well spruce it up and use it for more. If you have plenty of room to park on the driveway, then go right ahead.

My advice to you is to take it a step further and see if you can convert it to a second unit that you could lease out.

Check your local zoning to make sure it's legal, and you might find yourself with a rent check every month.

Cons of converting your garage

While the pros seem good while you still own the home, the cons come to play when you go to sell it.

If the “conversion” consists of minimal cosmetic changes, like paint, then you're safe.

However, if you remove the entire garage door, or do some structural work, you might find yourself in a pickle.

Certain buyers will love the extra space, but many will be turned off by it, especially if they wanted a garage.

If you do decide to make the conversion, you will be left with no garage, and that is not always a good thing in the end.

As far as appraisals go…

There are different scenarios when it comes to appraising a home with a converted garage.

First, I would look at it to see if there are any structural changes.

I have seen people remove the garage door completely, add walls inside, or even add sliding doors.

Next, I would see if the owner pulled permits and hired a professional to do the conversion.

Third, I would look to see if this kind of conversion is typical for the area.

Finally, if the garage were now the second unit, I would make sure that it is legal.

Now, when it comes to the value…

The majority of the time, I will give the value to the converted garage as if it were still a garage.

That is to say unless you took the garage door off.

To have the garage conversion count as “living space”:

It would have to be permitted, completed by a professional, and be somewhat typical for the area.

If it follows the rules above and it was converted to a legal second unit, then I would most likely value it as a duplex.

If the garage is attached to the house and was converted illegally, then I would just value it as a garage.

If it is an illegal conversion, has no garage door, and is total crap, then I would value it as a storage space.

There are so many different scenarios that it's impossible to list them all here.

Unless it has permits and was done professionally, it will most likely appraise as a garage.

Appraiser Answers - Home Renovation Value

Do appraisals take into account home renovations? To what extent?

There are always pros and cons with any home renovation. The biggest pro is that your home always looks way better, and the biggest con is that it always costs too much money.

Bricks Home RemodelRenovation pros and cons also apply when it comes to home appraisals.

Renovations give your home the added value, but never as much as you spent on the renovations in the first place.

The question is then, are they actually worth it?

We will touch on that in a second. But first, let's talk about the problems with them and the ones that contribute the most and least value.

But first, I want to note that this is all written from the perspective of an appraiser. Homes sell higher than the appraised values all the time for many reasons. I wrote this article without the bias of outside factors that influence home values.

If you’re getting an appraisal and need to know what you should to prepare, get our free home appraisal checklist.

The problem with renovations and appraisals

A common problem with renovations is that people are spending money on the wrong things. They spend money on things that are not always practical when it comes to added home value.

Backlit onyx and Carrara marble might be appealing to you, but do they add more value in an appraisal?

Not so much.

The majority of the time, renovations like these are for the owner of the home, and not for the added value. Think of how many buyers would actually appreciate these kinds of finishes?

I'm assuming not very many.

Another common problem is that a lot of times the updates are required for safety or convenience.

These kinds of updates, like plumbing and electrical, might cost a lot, but don't add much value.

So what kind of renovations should you do then?

Keep reading.

Renovations that contribute the most value

PaintingAt this point, you're probably thinking, why even bother with renovations at all?

Well, I can tell you for sure that there are some that add the value you hope to get.

Most of these renovations are much needed cosmetic updates to outdated homes.

Many of them you can even do yourself, without the help of contractors. However, if you do try and do these yourself, make sure you know what you are doing.

These renovations include things like:

Renovations that contribute the least value

On the flip side, there are many renovations that don't make financial sense. These are typically renovations done from emotions and not practicality.

The ones that contribute the least value are usually completely unnecessary.

The added value (Or lack of) reflects that.

The worst of these (Unless you live in Beverly Hills), are high-end fixtures and finishes.

I have seen people pour half a million into high-end finishes for their home, only to get half of the cost back or less.

Here are some other renovations that don't make financial sense:

  • Installing a pool
  • Converting a bedroom to some other use (No, you don't need a wine cellar, and neither does the new owner)
  • Putting carpet over the hardwood
  • Converting the garage into a “studio” or “man cave”
  • Closet renovation
  • Bathroom/bedroom addition
  • Plumbing and electrical
  • Insulation
  • Extensive landscaping
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Crown moldings
  • Things appraisers can't see
  • Overbuilding for the neighborhood
  • Fountains, ponds, gazebos, playgrounds
  • RV garages
  • High-end fixtures and finishes (I can't stress this enough)

So are they worth it?

Yes and no.

Now that you have read the lists above, it's up to you to make the call. Renovations can work in your favor, and sometimes they won't.

Some general rules of thumb:

Contribute the most value:

Most of the time, if you are updating old features of your home, you should be safe. Just keep the spending reasonable and deliberate.

Contribute the least value:

If you are renovating out of personal preference for luxury or fun, then you might find yourself in the hole.


Ask an Appraiser

If you have any appraisal questions that you would like to ask us, head on over to our Ask an Appraiser page and fill out the form.

Home Appraisal Checklist

The Home Appraisal Checklist Form [Digital and Printable]

I’m often asked by homeowners if there is anything they need to do to prepare for the home inspection. I usually inform them to clean up a little and gather any information they have on the property.

However, if you want to get the most value out of your home, here is a home appraisal checklist to follow.

While most of these are not required (Except for the installation section), they all can help to boost your home’s value on an appraisal.

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free checklist that clearly lays out the items from this post in an interactive (And PDF) checklist.

Maintenance

One of the key factors that determine value in an appraisal is the condition of your home. The condition is something that every appraiser looks for on every home appraisal inspection.

What this means is that your home should look like you take care of it.

Although you may not have the newest and greatest finishes, the condition of your house can go a long way.

I have seen homes with dated finishes sell for similar prices as updated homes in the same area.

Why? Because the owners of the homes with dated finishes took care of them while the others did not.

That means, do some maintenance, clean up the house, and do some landscaping every once in awhile.

Curb AppealHere are some of the things you can do as far as maintenance goes:

  • Clean the house
  • Remove clutter
  • Mow the lawn
  • Do a little landscaping
  • Improve curb appeal
  • Touch up paint
  • Update old fixtures
  • Remove outdated decor

Installations

There are certain items lenders need to know your home has depending on the type of loan you are applying for.

If you are not trying to get a loan, then these are still important but probably not required.

If you are applying for a loan, then these are things that you will most likely need installed and working.

  • Smoke detectors
  • Carbon monoxide monitors
  • Strapped water heater
  • Security system (If you have one)
  • Appliances installed and working

Repairs

Repairs are a subset of maintenance, but I split them out because they take a little more money and time.

Like I said before, one of the key contributing factors to an appraisal value is the condition of your home.

This means repairs are always necessary if you want to get the most value for your property.

They may take a contractor and a small budget, but if you don’t fix them, in most cases, they will only get worse over time.

Look at the list below and fix whatever applies in your situation.

ToolsThe first three are the most important, but these all need addressing if you want a higher value for your home.

  • Roof leaks
  • Damaged flooring
  • Wall cracks
  • Damaged drywall
  • Damaged stucco
  • Peeling paint
  • Any other visible damage

Information Prep

Preparing any and all information you have about your property is a great way to help out the appraiser.

Having info that the appraiser might not have, also ensures that the value is as accurate as possible.

Appraisers have access to the local MLS and public records, but many times the data is not correct.

Changes like additions and improvements can be things that we wouldn’t know about.

While we do our best to be as accurate as possible, having the correct data makes it easier on everyone.

Here is some of the data that can be helpful to us:

  • List of recent improvements (Last 15 years) with estimated prices and dates
  • Copies of previous appraisals or sketches
  • HOA information
  • Known inconsistencies in data
  • Unpermitted additions
  • Easements or encroachments
  • Positive neighborhood traits (Recreational areas, schools, public transportation, etc.)
Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a free checklist that clearly lays out the items from this post in an interactive (And PDF) checklist.

Miscellaneous

These last three things on the list are to make the inspection easier when the appraiser comes.

The appraiser needs access to all the rooms in the home, including bedrooms and bathrooms. We need to take photos so once again, make sure you clean up a little!

Appraisers also need to be able to get around the entire perimeter of the home. This is so that they can measure and take photos.

I love dogs, but many people don’t. If you have an aggressive dog, make sure to contain it somewhere while the appraiser is there.

  • Make sure all rooms of the house are accessible
  • Make sure the appraiser can get around the entire perimeter of the house
  • Contain dogs somewhere if they are aggressive

Have you ever had an appraisal done on your home?

Did it go as expected? Would it have helped to know these things before the appraisal?

Let us know in the comments below!

Ready to Buy in Orange County?

Ready to Buy in Orange County? These Are the Cities You Can Afford

Some of the first concerns that come to mind when looking for a new home are the budget and how far that budget will go.

Since you’re most likely not a billionaire, knowing what cities you can afford is important.

To celebrate the New Year and the launch of our real estate appraisal business, we figured we would help out.

Harbor Blvd, Orange CountyWe wanted to put this concern into perspective for our home turf of Orange County, California.

To do this, we analyzed 28,512 sales of residential properties in Orange County that sold in 2016 and made two maps based on the average prices for each city.

These 28,512 sales included detached and attached properties in the incorporated cities of Orange County.

From this data, we determined that you are going to have to fork over around a half million just to get a decent detached home, or around half of that if you even want to get a place in Orange County at all.

If you didn’t have a heart attack (Or close the page) after hearing that, then check out the two maps below, and we’ll take a closer look.

Average Prices of Detached Homes in Orange County, California:

Orange County Detached Home Prices 2016

(Click to Enlarge)

Average Prices of Attached Homes in Orange County, California:

Orange County Attached Home Prices 2016

(Click to Enlarge)

To find the data for these maps, we used the regional MLS, CRMLS. This data was from the past year (2016) in the incorporated cities of Orange County.

That means that if it wasn’t listed on CRMLS in the past year, then it wasn’t included in these maps.

The 28,512 sales include 17,797 detached property sales and 10,715 attached property sales.

To represent the average home prices accurately, we created two separate maps.

One map is for detached properties, and one is for attached properties.

The reason we did this is that detached properties always sell for significantly more.

Now what you see may shock you, but don’t worry. These numbers are averages, not the entry price for a property in these cities.

Average Prices of Homes in Orange County, California

The data used for the maps is laid out below.

The following tables below show:

  • Name of the city
  • Number of sales
  • Price ranges
  • Averages of these sales

Detached Properties

City# of SalesPrice RangeAverage Price
Aliso Viejo348410,000 - 1,500,000$788,647
Anaheim1502280,000 - 4,300,000$624,864
Brea375425,000 - 2,465,000$761,364
Buena Park439250,000 - 1,200,000$546,609
Costa Mesa534505,000 - 3,300,000$859,747
Cypress267340,000 - 1,350,000$691,686
Dana Point337510,000 - 19,997,000$1,713,748
Fountain Valley303445,000 - 1,385,000$777,425
Fullerton852291,000 - 3,280,000$714,448
Garden Grove703331,000 - 1,480,000$566,686
Huntington Beach1152400,000 - 5,700,000$983,249
Irvine1379475,000 - 9,950,000$1,190,634
La Habra358288,000 - 1,315,000$579,845
La Palma76485,000 - 899,000$647,914
Laguna Beach308450,000 - 45,000,000$2,624,995
Laguna Hills264375,900 - 3,500,000$1,019,872
Laguna Niguel576520,000 - 6,295,000$1,033,988
Laguna Woods29475,000 - 1,050,000$734,862
Lake Forest629405,000 - 1,773,880$729,563
Los Alamitos54520,000 - 1,900,000$817,169
Mission Viejo1000415,000 - 2,500,000$722,867
Newport Beach739720,000 - 28,000,000$2,881,466
Orange869370,000 - 3,515,000$734,715
Placentia339310,750 - 1,200,000$678,934
Rancho Santa Margarita529448,000 - 1,525,000$737,016
San Clemente751425,000 - 7,588,000$1,076,612
San Juan Capistrano331383,904 - 6,500,000$1,152,300
Santa Ana817240,000 - 1,500,000$534,351
Seal Beach94590,000 - 2,226,000$1,045,996
Stanton64375,000 - 770,000$510,020
Tustin406423,000 - 3,750,000$847,259
Villa Park62600,000 - 2,650,000$1,335,370
Westminster353360,000 - 2,150,000$625,280
Yorba Linda646370,000 - 4,300,000$968,460

Attached Properties

City# of SalesPrice RangeAverage Price
Aliso Viejo585180,000 - 760,000$450,342
Anaheim800105,000 - 727,500$419,570
Brea125316,000 - 700,000$506,886
Buena Park116300,000 - 579,000$453,291
Costa Mesa264147,000 - 925,000$538,208
Cypress181168,000 - 835,000$458,327
Dana Point191186,000 - 3,875,000$694,493
Fountain Valley127180,000 - 651,375$460,136
Fullerton375120,000 - 645,000$411,519
Garden Grove304195,000 - 529,000$357,470
Huntington Beach785107,500 - 1,795,000$543,057
Irvine1405209,900 - 2,315,000$607,831
La Habra178185,000 - 512,500$324,127
La Palma15320,000 - 535,000$404,760
Laguna Beach58261,600 - 6,000,000$1,586,599
Laguna Hills199227,000 - 778,000$419,659
Laguna Niguel516235,000 - 1,550,000$499,457
Laguna Woods4602,000 - 1,170,000$306,591
Lake Forest470188,399 - 1,100,000$411,899
Los Alamitos26378,000 - 604,000$481,146
Mission Viejo423166,000 - 1,010,000$440,624
Newport Beach368300,000 -3,400,000$988,807
Orange338145,000 - 810,000$420,676
Placentia147178,000 - 635,000$413,597
Rancho Santa Margarita448198,000 - 744,900$409,439
San Clemente221239,000 - 2,600,000$631,060
San Juan Capistrano143185,000 - 820,000$451,075
Santa Ana53094,000 - 760,000$311,079
Seal Beach48243,000 - 935,000$412,792
Stanton131190,000 - 480,000$341,518
Tustin394200,000 - 920,000$448,740
Villa Park00$0
Westminster70262,000 - 620,180$428,299
Yorba Linda267185,000 - 1,130,000$515,234

As you can see from the data above, even if the averages are higher, it doesn’t mean that you can’t buy into these areas for less.

Notice how some of the cities have wide ranges, while some have tight ranges. It all depends on the city and what was available in 2016.

For the most part, these charts represent the housing market in Orange County for 2016 quite well.

With all this in mind, what cities can you afford?

Well, let me start off by saying that I’m in no way a financial planner of any sorts. I’m a real estate appraiser.

These are conclusions based on the average home prices over the past year and the budget you can afford.

$2,000,000+

If your budget is over $2,000,000, then you can pretty much buy into any city in Orange County.

You might need a little more to afford the trophy properties, but you can live comfortably on $2,000,000 anywhere in the county.

Laguna Beach would be my top choice if you want to live near a downtown. Newport Beach is another option of course.

If you’re into having large amounts of land like I am, then I would stick to areas like San Juan Capistrano, Tustin, Yorba Linda, and east Orange County.

$1,000,000 – $2,000,000

While $1,000,000 – $2,000,000 is still a hefty budget, it might be tight in the nicest areas like Newport and Laguna Beach.

This budget will still comfortably buy you into pretty much every other city in the county.

You could afford a suitable property in:

$750,000 – $1,000,000

Once you drop below the $1,000,000 line, your options start to decrease slowly.

The good news is that a $750,000 – $1,000,000 budget can still get you a lot for your money.

While you might not be able to get into the southern beach cities, Huntington Beach is still doable if you want to live near the water.

Recommended cities in this price range:

$500,000 – $750,000

$500,000 – $750,000 can get you into the rest of the cities in Orange County that I have not mentioned yet.

The majority will be in the northern part of the county, but there are also some other decent areas in the south as well.

If you want to live in south county, once you go east of the 5 Freeway, $500,000 – $750,000 will get you a decent place.

Cities worth mentioning in this price range are:

So where’s the cheapest real estate?

If you’re not too concerned about the safety and cleanliness of the neighborhood you live in, Santa Ana.

This past year, they had the lowest detached home sale at $240,000 and one of the lowest attached home sales at $94,000. Buena Park had the second detached home sale lowest at $250,000.

If you are looking for a safer and cleaner, but still affordable area to live in, Santa Ana has some nicer areas as well.

I would also recommend checking out the cities of Orange and Fullerton. You can still get some good deals on quality properties there.

And the most expensive?

Well, Laguna Beach for one, had the most expensive sale in the county this past year. You may recognize it as the Twin Points.

It’s safe to say that with its 2.28 acres and private beach, it’s the most desirable oceanfront lot in the entire county.

But that’s why the owners have had it in the family since 1930 and waited until this past year to sell it for a fortune. $45,000,000 to be exact.

The city of Newport Beach also some high dollar sales in the past year.

The next two highest sales in the county were a ~6,700 square foot home on Linda Isle and an 18,650 square foot home in Newport Coast. Both done to the nines of course.

Dana Point also had a couple of properties in the top 10 highest sales.

Both of these properties are on the most exclusive street in Dana Point, Strand Beach Dr.

Orange County’s Top 10 Highest Sales in 2016

In case you’re interested, here’s a table below with the top 10 highest sales in Orange County this past year.

I won’t give you the exact addresses for the privacy of the owners, but if you do a little snooping, I’m sure you could find them.

Street NameCityPriceSqftYrBuiltAc/LSqft
Marine DRLaguna Beach$45,000,0002308/A19282.28/99,317
MystiqueNewport Coast$28,000,00018650/AP20090.848/36,933
Linda IsleNewport Beach$20,000,0006788/B20160.19/8,276
Strand Beach DRDana Point$19,997,5009950/E20100.227/9,879
Emerald BayLaguna Beach$19,125,0001910/A19480.26/11,326
Strand Beach DRDana Point$17,225,0008838/E20100.236/10,289
Ocean WYLaguna Beach$16,000,0005650/E20090.23/10,019
Deep SeaNewport Coast$15,025,00010600/E20130.592/25,809
SkycrestNewport Coast$13,800,00012000/SEE20040.61/26,588
Masters CRNewport Coast$13,000,00011908/AP20010.473/20,596

So what can we conclude from this past year of sales data?

  • Newport Beach and Laguna Beach will always be the most expensive cities in Orange County
  • Cities by the ocean are always going to be more expensive than the cities that are further inland
  • Cities that are in the southern part of the county tend to have higher averages than the northern part
  • For detached properties, Huntington Beach as a whole is the cheapest beach city that you can buy in
  • Villa Park and Yorba Linda have the highest detached home averages in the northern part of the county
  • For attached properties, the majority of the averages are between $400,000 and $500,000, which gives buyers in that price range plenty of options
  • There are many other properties available in the unincorporated areas ranging from $140,000 to $4,600,000 that were not included in this data
  • Orange County home values continue to rise with no signs of slowing down anytime soon

If you’re in the real estate industry in Orange County or Southern California, I’d be curious to see what your opinions are on the market and this data.

Let me know in the comments below.

P.S. Feel free to print the maps and share them, or share this post! I created them with the intent to be shared.