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

Brush Clearance in Los Angeles

‘making your community a safer place’

Extreme Fire Danger Today Sign IsolatedProperty must be cleaned as required prior to May 1st so that it can pass the 1st Fire Department Inspection, thereby avoiding a time consuming 2nd inspection, which leads to a expensive 3rd Inspection. Property owners who are unable to clear their landscape vegetation themselves should hire a professional to do this for them. Note there is no need for property owners to call the Fire Department for an inspection, as a Los Angeles Fire Department computer keeps track of all properties. When your property is in need of an inspection, the appropriate Inspector will be automatically notified.

1st Inspection:

The 1st inspection is done by the Los Angeles Fire Department Brush Task Force, beginning the first week in May and continuing for 6 weeks until all properties in the brush zone have been inspected. Property found to be non-compliant will be issued a Notice of Violation. The property owner will then have 15 days to comply with the Notice of Violation.

2nd Inspection:

Property owners issued with a Notice of Violation on the 1st inspection will be inspected a 2nd time after the 15 day period to comply has passed. If the property is then found to be in compliance, the owner will receive notification from the Los Angeles Fire Department Brush Unit. If the property is not fully in compliance the owner will be notified via mail and the property will be assigned to the Area Inspector. The Area Inspector will then photograph the non-compliant property and create a package that will be presented to the City brush clearance contractors for bid.

3rd Inspection

When a 3rd inspection is required there is an automatic fee assessed to the property. The fee is applied even if the property is found to be compliant at the time of this 3rd inspection. This fee is for an Inspector having to inspect the property for a 3rd time. To avoid this cost, property owners must be in compliance by the 1st inspection and no later than the 2nd inspection.

If your property fails a 3rd inspection:

Property not in compliance with the Los Angeles Fire Department Brush Clearance requirements following the 3rd inspection will be cleared by Fire Department order. The property owner will then be charged for the cost of clearance, plus the 3rd inspection fee, plus an administrative fee. Failure to clear your property in accordance with the regulations in a timely fashion is not only expensive, but endangers the lives and homes of your neighbors and the firefighters. To learn more about the Los Angeles Brush Clearance Program, including as to why property owners who live in a Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zone (VHFHSZ) receive a $23 invoice from the Los Angeles Fire Department, please visit: www.lafd.org/brush

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 from www.westsideland.com