New Restaurant in Venice

Ready for a new restaurant to try in the Venice/Marina Del Rey Area??

Well Barnyard looks like it could be one of the new hot spot restaurants in our area!

Barnyard is located at 1715 Pacific and will open for dinner on February 1st. Entrées will be priced from $14-18. They will start serving lunch on March 1st. Click here to see the dinner menu and click here to see the beer and wine menu. As of right now they will be open from Tuesday thru Saturday from 5:30pm to 11pm.

The restaurant promises “a soulful and rustic menu of small and shared plates, small-production wines and beers” centered around meats and fish with “Mediterranean and Japanese flavors and textures”. They will also offer a variety of house-made sausages, slow-cooked stocks and seasonal produce.

A quick look at the Barnyard website and you can see that the location is “fully remodeled, the space is light, airy and open to the Pacific breeze, with modern, yet rustic interiors. The back patio is surrounded by greenery, with sofas and a community table encouraging groups to gather”.

We’ll see you there!

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Median Price of Homes is Going Up!

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“Experts expect the gains to continue, though not necessarily at such a brisk pace.” – L.A. Times Business Section

We ended 2012 with sharp gains, rounding out the first solid year of sustained improvement in the real estate industry after nearly five years of frustration. This gain has also helped to pave the way for further improvement in 2013.

The region’s median home price registered a 19.6% burst in December, real estate firm DataQuick reported Tuesday. A record level of cash buyers flooded into the market and more move-up homes sold last month. While housing is on the road to recovery, the recent steep increase in the region’s median price probably reflects several factors, such as the mix of what sold in December, and the run-up may not continue at that brisk pace, experts said. The median is the point at which half the homes in the region sold for more and half for less.

“There is no possible way that number can be sustained nor should anybody look at that as a long-term trend,” said Stuart Gabriel, director of the Ziman Center for Real Estate at UCLA. “We haven’t shifted from bust back to bubble, and nobody should think we have, and nor likely will we.” The median is heavily influenced by the types of homes selling, and some of last month’s pricier sales may have been driven by fears of increased tax burdens on the wealthy, as Washington wrangled with the “fiscal cliff” negotiations.

A rise in prices will mean more homeowners who had been underwater — owing more on their mortgages than their homes are worth, a condition also known as negative equity — can now put their properties on the market. That would help ease the region’s inventory squeeze, which is another major factor driving up prices.

The 2012 housing rebound came after foreclosures declined, housing inventory plummeted, mortgage interest rates hit record lows and demand from investors surged last year. “Consistent price increases throughout 2012 have started the process of lifting households out of negative equity, which will support home sales and refinancing volumes,” Paul Diggle, an economist for Capital Economics, wrote in an emailed analysis. “Lower levels of negative equity is good news for housing market activity and sets up a virtuous circle of rising activity leading to rising prices and pushing negative equity down further.”

The decline in foreclosures has been aided by an increase in short sales, as The Times recently reported, as well as other loan aid for borrowers. The drop in foreclosures should continue to help lift prices.

“For 2013, we largely expect more of the same,” Sean O’Toole, chief executive of ForeclosureRadar, wrote in a blog post this week. “Demand will remain strong thanks to Federal Reserve-manipulated low interest rates and affordability. Housing supply will remain constrained, largely due to government foreclosure intervention. As a result, prices will rise, though likely at a slower pace.”

The increase in the median home price in Southern California reflects market dynamics as fewer sales are logged in cheaper neighborhoods and pricier places take off.

Short Sale Soundoff: Short sales overtake sales of foreclosed homes in California

Short sales in recent months have overtaken sales of foreclosed homes in California for the first time since the housing market collapse of 2007, according to real estate research firm DataQuick.
The surge in short sales is partly the result of last year’s national mortgage settlement with the nation’s five largest lenders: Ally/GMAC; Bank of America; Citi; JPMorgan Chase; and Wells Fargo. The banks agreed to certain amounts of debt forgiveness for underwater homeowners. Short sales count toward those commitments.
– California Association of Realtors

Second Annual Venice Spring Fling This Saturday

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The second annual VENICE SPRING FLING is here! It will kick off springtime at the beach in Venice with a free day of art and music in Windward Plaza Park on Saturday, May 12, 2012. Live music will be performed on the Ocean Stage from 11am – 7pm.

An offspring of the highly successful and locally loved Venice Beach Music Fest, the SPRING FLING continues the tradition of bringing the artistic Venice community together in a celebration of the historical creative spirit of the beach!

The event will include:

Street Smart, Ya Harissa Belllydance, Fly N Lion , Stephanie Lallouz, ATS Bellydance and Drums, Candygram for Mongo, Delta Nove, Braw, Marc Blackbird, LOONER, Corty Byron, Barry “The Fish” Melton with Michael Hinton * Tony Saunders * Andy Kravitz, Michael Jost, Tracii Guns’ League of Gentlemen and more to be announced.

The Art Show will feature:

Ra Ra SuperStar, Kelly, Joel Harris, Martha Wilson, art by sky, Paris Davis, Kai Martin, Eric Evenson ,Jim Chelius , Alex Avila and many more.

Buying a Fixer-Upper for your first home. Is it right for you?

Are you a first time home buyer?

If you said yes, you may be considering purchasing a fixer upper. However, there may be some things that you don’t know. Here are the major ins and outs of buying a fixer upper.

Purchasing a fixer-upper can be a good option because the price will be lower. But you must keep in mind that fixer-upper homes come with flaws and some can be huge. Foreclosures and short sales can offer better prices if you can deal with potential maintenance needs.

Many first-time home buyers only calculate the mortgage, down-payment, homeowners’ association dues, property taxes, and other hard costs. However, being the inexperienced home buyers that they are they tend to neglect factoring in the everyday repairs and maintenance for the property. Things like a new water heater, stove, microwave, central heating/air conditioning systems, washer/dryer and dishwasher repairs and even plumbing and roof repairs. While some of these systems may be in decent condition when you move in, a year or so down the road they will need to be repaired. When they do, the added costs can put a strain on homeowners’ monthly budget.

With this in mind, buying a fixer-upper for your first home can be a great way to get into the real estate market at a good price. However, you must understand the repairs the home will need before you buy. Things to consider include how much you’ll save by buying a fixer-upper versus what you’ll need to spend to make it livable, how old the home is, who will do the repairs, and how much patience you have for this project.

Location, Location, Location! You must come to terms with the necessities of a first home. On one hand you can buy a brand new home that is done up to the nines but it is in a horrible location and then later nobody wants it. On the other hand you can buy an okay or fixer-upper home in an ideal location, and suddenly it’s worth millions. So, when shopping for a fixer-upper, be very careful to survey the neighborhood and make sure it’s in a location that is worth spending your time and money to fix.

You need to carefully study the cost and savings of buying a fixer-upper. Get a home inspection to ensure you understand the basic repairs and maintenance needs. If there are problems with the home, make sure you consult with experts to give you an idea about how much the repairs will likely cost. Very Important >> Be sure to consider the age of the home. If a home is very old, it may have some charm but it will most likely have a lot of nightmare issues that aren’t always easy to spot. This can be things like plumbing or electric wiring issues, lack of insulation, structural or foundation problems, etc. You don’t have to steer clear of an older home but you NEED to do your homework first.

Find a good, and trustworthy, handyman to help you go through the problems of an older home so they can help you understand the things that will need to be fixed.

Have patience! Remodeling and even just making minor repairs can take longer than you think. Remember you chose a fixer-upper to save money.

No go out and buy that first home!