About landinlosangeles

Neville Graham has over fifteen years experience selling Los Angeles real estate and his extensive knowledge of the industry has earned him praise from clients and peers alike. WestsideLand.com creates opportunities for buyers and sellers by brokering raw unimproved land and tear-downs.

Lot Creates Splitting Headache

‘the law of the land’

A Buyer wanted to purchase vacant land that could be subdivided (split) to build two houses. The Buyers agent, found a vacant lot in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) described as “all usable 2.62 acres, county states 1 acre min. lot size could be split”

The Buyers agent confirmed with the Sellers agent that the lot could be split. The purchase contract gave the Buyers the right to investigate and inspect the vacant lot within 21 days of acceptance. After the sale closed, the Buyers learned from their civil engineer that the lot could not be split because the county had designated it ‘impact sensitive’ requiring a 4-acre minimum lot size. The Buyer sued the Sellers agent for intentional misrepresentation.

At trial, the Sellers agent argued that the Buyer had ample opportunity to inspect and investigate the requirements for Lot Splitting before the sale closed. He also testified he had talked on the telephone “to the county” and was assured the lot could be split. The Buyers made it known to their agent and the Sellers agent that they wanted to purchase a vacant lot that could be subdivided so as to build two houses.

Though the sales contract had an exculpatory clause that said the Sellers did not guarantee the condition of the property, the judge said, the MLS Listing and the Sellers agents statements led the Buyers to believe that the lot could be divided. The fact the Buyers had 21 days to investigate and inspect the property to verify whether it could be divided did not create a legal obligation to do so, the judge emphasized. The evidence presented at trial indicates the Sellers agent intentionally misrepresented the vacant lot, he noted. Therefore, the exculpatory clause in the sales contract does not protect the Sellers agent from liability for deceit, and the Buyers may proceed with their lawsuit for damages.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers by brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained from www.westsideland.com.

Why use an Expediter?

‘time is money’

There is no magic to processing land use applications with a City or County government, but an expediter who has a broad level of knowledge and skill that most land professionals do not have, is the ‘go-to-person’ who should be consulted for assistance with such applications.

A competent expediter knows and understands the laws that govern the type of land use applications their clients need, and a good expediter will act as a consultant, often finding better, faster and less expensive ways to reach their client’s goals. While most City Staff at public counters really want to assist, they are often less experienced personnel and their knowledge is confined to only their particular job. They do not have the range of knowledge needed to provide clients with options and a clear overall picture of the intended build. For example, the Planning Staff will understand the Planning and Zoning Code procedures, but may not fully understand issues with other City Agencies.

A good expediter can and should act as the clients’ advocate, speaking at community meetings and before City officials who will actually make the final decisions. An expediter who only does the paperwork is not providing the best service a client needs to succeed. Technical aspects of filing paperwork, while important, are not the most crucial aspect to getting the necessary approvals.

While no expediter can guarantee the results of a particular case, good ones will be able to give an honest evaluation of the likelihood of success or failure, or offer possible alternatives, and most importantly, greatly increase a client’s chance of success.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers by brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained from www.westsideland.com

Something of Value

‘place a value on; judge the worth of something’

Appraisal: An appraisal is an assessment or estimation of the value of the subject property, with respect to its worth.

Land Appraisals: Selling land, begs the question, why does a Seller need a land appraisal before putting it on the market for sale? He/she needs, to appraise the land for many reasons with a qualified Land Appraiser. Sellers have confusing ideas as to what their land is really worth, especially when it comes to valuing same, as comparables are often few and far between. It is important to note, that in appraising land, city ordinances, city zoning, and plotted easement reports amongst others, all have to be taken into consideration to find true land value. Without an appraisal, Sellers may list their land for sale and subsequently become very disappointed in the listing agent when they get no attractive results, except ‘low ball’ offers and their property languishes on the market for months and months. The agent, who has the listing will spend time and incur advertising costs, including showing the property, all to no avail.

Restricted Report: By obtaining a Restricted Report aka Estimated Value Report, Sellers, Buyers and Agents will get a more realistic value of the subject property. This report is summarized, costs less than a full report and saves all parties time and money. This report is for internal use only and cannot be used by a Buyer for lender purposes.

Regular Appraisal Report: The regular appraisal report is a more complete report, designed to stand up to audits, which can be used by the Buyer for lender purposes but will cost more than a Restricted Report.

Since the 2008 collapse of the Real Estate market, it is my opinion that raw land has lost almost 30% to 35% of it value, and with the new City of Los Angeles’ Baseline Hillside Ordinance (BHO) www.baselinehillsideordinance.com which comes into effect in April 2011, land in residential hillside areas will lose even more value. Moreover, Banks are not lending on the purchase or raw residential land and those that did in the past, have at the present time, completely ceased making all cash land sales the best option for both Sellers and Buyers.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers by brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained from www.westsideland.com

Out of Bounds

A fence or a wall is not necessarily one’s property line.

It is my opinion that before one purchases any property, one must, at least, obtain, a Boundary survey performed by a qualified surveyor, to ensure complete knowledge as to, what one is purchasing. In this connection, it should be noted that there, are various kinds of surveys, that a surveyor can offer.

Boundary Survey: This is a survey, in which, boundaries are set at, or near the corners of the property. Should one have concerns that a neighbor is building ‘something’ that may encroach on one’s property, or should one want to build a fence or wall, one will need a Boundary survey to establish the exact location of the property line.

Topography Survey aka Topo: A Topo survey is one, which shows structures, trees, fences and or driveways on a map with dimensions to the property line. If one is not sure whether one’s neighbor owns the fence or wall, one should call for a Topo survey which will determine the exact location of the fence or wall in relation to the property line.

Architectural Survey: This survey is comprehensive and will show on a map almost everything on one’s property including boundary stakes. If one is planning to remodel or build a new home, one will need an Architectural survey. This survey will locate and measure everything on one’s property, including elevations,(as related to sea level) major structures, hardscape surfaces such as walkways, landings, and driveways, all shown accurately on a map.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers by brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained from www.westsideland.com

Land Banking

‘land value created over time’

Summertime! A time to execute the meandering and wandering that you have been planning. It is peak season to be out and about and taking in the season of the sun. After all, should a balmy summer’s night not be savored with good company?

While summer is tops for warmer days, leisure and relaxation, taking time out to map your future is always a very wise move. In planning for what is ahead, you can give yourself (and loved ones) the gift of comfort and security for years to come.

Land Banking is just one of those smart ways to plan for the future. Strategically located raw land hardly requires maintenance in order for its value to increase. Historically, land appreciates over time and may be a very good speculative investment for those who wish to purchase and hold it for a number of years. And since land is a fixed commodity, its value continues to rise with population increases in the area. Detroit can build more cars, Wall Street can float more stock issues, but there is only so much land.

Whether you are new to the concept of Land Banking or a seasoned speculative investor, an individual or group considering raw land as part of your portfolio, owning the right piece of dirt can provide a handsome return on one’s investment.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers by brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained from www.westsideland.com

The Top 10 Landowners in America

By Robert Frank CNBC – Tuesday, October 1st, 2013.

As the wealthy get wealthier, they are putting more of it into land.

landinlosangeles-top-10America’s 100 largest individual landowners added 700,000 acres to their landholdings last year, according to the Land Report 100, put out by the http://www.landreport.com and http://www.fayranches.com. Those 100 individuals or families now control more than 30 million acres, or 2 percent of America’s entire land mass.

Ranches and farmland have become a popular investment for the wealthy, who are looking for more stable and tangible stores of wealth. Many of the largest landowners also generate income from their land, from sustainable timber and agriculture.

“Significant properties are a finite commodity and have repeatedly shown over time to be resistant to our most challenging economic times”, said Greg Fay of Fay Ranches, the ranch brokerage firm.

Topping the list again this year is John Malone, with 2.2 million acres. The cable titan added to his landholdings this year, with the purchase of two properties in the posh horse country of Wellington, Fla., totaling more than 120 acres.

Ted Turner ranked second again with 2 million acres-making Malone and Turner the Gates/Buffett of landholdings.

Most of the top landholders are families that either own or owned timber companies, like the Emmerson family and Irving family.

But big changes in the list were further down the ranks, with Stan Kroenke the real estate and sports magnate vaulting from No.10 to No.8. He purchased the Broken O Ranch last November, giving him an additional 125,000 acres and bringing his total to 848,571 acres.

Some other big landowners include Jeff Bezos, with 290,000 acres, the Koch family with 239,000 acres and hedge fund titan Louis Moore Bacon, with 215,990 acres.

Here is the full list of the top 10:

  1. John Malone, 2.2 million acres
  2. Ted Turner, 2 million acres
  3. The Emmerson family,1.86 million acres
  4. Brad Kelley, 1.5 million acres
  5. The Irving Family, 1.25 million acres
  6. The Singleton Family, 1.1 million acres
  7. The heirs of King Ranch, 911,000 acres
  8. Stan Kroenke, 848,571 acres
  9. The heirs of Pingree lumber and wood-products company, 830,000 acres
  10. The Reed family, 730,000 acres.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for more than 15 years creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained http://www.westsideland.com

The Architect

‘architecture should speak to its time and place, but yearn to be timeless’

The ArchitectSo, you have found the perfect piece of vacant land – quiet street, panoramic views, excellent school district, close to work – and you are planning to build the house that you have always dreamed about. How certain are you that this pile of dirt can deliver? At the risk of sounding repetitive, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of ‘knowing your dirt’ so-to-speak. Far too many people have purchased land only to find out after escrow has closed that what they intended to build, is actually an impossible build or simply put, not permitted.

Whether you are looking in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Glendale, Beverly Hills or any of the other municipalities within the region, there will be a litany of questions you will want answered before you buy. You will need to familiarize yourself with the property’s Zoning Designation, Lot Area, Property Lines, Setback Requirements, Easements and FAR (floor area ratio) to determine if there will be enough dirt to even locate a building footprint. In addition, obtaining a property survey which includes the site contours will be crucial to navigating the intricacies of building height restrictions. You will need to take into consideration the Baseline Hillside Ordinance, www.baselinehillsideordinance.com the Coastal Commission and the Mulholland Scenic Parkway Planner. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on. Because the success or failure of your dream home depends on the strategic negotiation between these and other requirements, you will need an experienced advisor to shepherd you through the process.

An architect possesses the unique knowledge and leadership to assemble and guide your team from the moment you become interested in the dirt, until you move into your dream home. An architect has relationships in place with consultants, contractors, and city agencies to obtain rapid and accurate information regarding the potentials and pitfalls surrounding any given building project. In addition to the role as information clearing house, the architect is specifically trained to convert different and sometimes conflicting information into a three-dimensional diagram to represent the restrictions imposed upon the ‘dirt’ in question. Keep in mind that once the property is determined ‘build-able’, the architect is there to advise you on translating the potential of your property into the home you have always dreamed about.

I have been a realtor and real estate land specialist in Los Angeles for the past 15 years, creating opportunities for land-owners and Buyers by brokering vacant land throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. I can be contacted at sales (at) westsideland (dot) com and information can be obtained from www.westsideland.com