As real estate in the South Bay quiets down for the holidays, I wanted to share some helpful tips to prepare you for the new year and spring selling season. There is a ton of specific, local information on every South Bay city that all buyers and sellers in the area should be aware of. In case you didn’t notice, we have updated sections of our website that include detailed neighborhood write-ups starting with Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach. Palos Verdes will be up soon. My hope is you learn something new or can refer to this when you are looking to buy or sell in a specific area.
If you are considering a home “Behind the Gates” of Rolling Hills, then you need to factor in the city’s HOA fee. That fee is calculated as $0.20 for every $100 of assessed value. So if you own a $2 million home, then you would owe $4,000 per year in Home Owner Association fees.
Rancho Palos Verdes
Have you ever heard of the famous peacocks that roam the streets of the Palos Verdes Peninsula? Well, they are still alive and flourishing. Some residents love the birds, some despise them. In short, peacocks do affect real estate values so you should do your homework. The city of RPV has released a handy guide known as the “Peafowl Management Plan”.
Rolling Hills Estates
Radon Gas is present on the entire P.V. Hill and is something residents should take seriously. Other additional gases residents of Rolling Hills Estates need to study are methane and carbon dioxide produced from the now closed Palos Verdes landfill and county of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors South Coast Botanical Gardens (a former landfill). Some homes within the city may be affected.
Palos Verdes Estates
New buyers to the areas should educate themselves on the Palos Verdes Homes Association and the Art Jury. The association and art jury are charged with keeping a uniform architectural standard for the area and makes building and remodeling more of a challenge. Currently, the city of PVE is enforcing their plant/arbor rules through inspection by their Urban Forester.
All cities within L.A. County are subject to a real estate transfer tax upon sale, also known as a Documentary Transfer tax. In the county it is $1.10 per $1,000 in sales price and in most areas, it is custom that the seller pays these fees (although it is always negotiable). There are only five cities that impose an additional city transfer tax, and one of those is Redondo Beach. An additional $2.20 per $1,000 is required upon sale in Redondo and the local custom is for that to be split between buyer and seller equally.
Many cities throughout the South Bay require a building report. Hermosa Beach is one of those cities and due to the fact that it is a small city, which outsources a lot of services, these reports can be slow to come through. As a seller, be sure to order them early in your listing process and if you are a buyer in a short escrow, be prepared to move forward without one depending on how your purchase contract is written.
The city implemented a toilet retrofit ordinance in 2010 that became effective on January 21, 2011. At the time of sale, residential dwellings need to meet certain water conservation standards for toilets. A toilet declaration needs to be filled out and signed. At this point in time, we have not seen the city enforce or double check these declarations, but it is good to get them done properly.
For buyers new to the area, you will want to study up on the industrial properties bordering this city. To the west, the county Hyperion Water Treatment plant; to the south, the Chevron Refinery; to the east, aerospace industrial manufacturing; to the north, Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
This area is commonly confused with Redondo Beach. Although homes in this area sport a Redondo Post Office aka “Redondo P.O.,” these homes are located in the city of Torrance and subject to Torrance laws and school districts. The Hillside Overlay is a district in this area that makes taller remodel and new construction difficult.
Much like Hollywood Riviera, there are areas in Torrance that are within the city of Los Angeles with a “Torrance P.O.” Be sure you know these areas as a real estate investor because even though the address may be in Torrance, it might be subject to rent control law implemented by the city of L.A.
The up-and-coming neighborhoods of Holly Glen and Del Aire in the city of Hawthorne have been recently desired for the great Wiseburn School District. The only thing missing was a great high school. That looks to be over as Wiseburn High School was recently opened as the newest state-of-the-art private/public high school in the South Bay.
Both cities require a city inspector to inspect properties at sale. Make sure your properties are in full compliance! Lawndale, in particular, is extremely over-baring and buyers should never purchase a property without clearing the city unless you are a seasoned real estate investor.
Westchester/Playa Del Rey
These neighborhoods are within the city of Los Angeles and thus subject to an additional city transfer tax. For Los Angeles, it is a whopping $4.50 for every $1,000 in sale price. In my experience, the seller pays these fees in most instances, however, they are always negotiable.
This neighborhood is in a Mello Roos district within the city of Los Angeles. A district like this tends to be a newer development that takes on a city-wide bond to help finance infrastructure, schools, and public services. Owners need to be aware that they may have more property taxes to service as a result of this bond.
The city of L.A. has very strict and detailed rent controlled laws also known as the Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Many investors avoid L.A. as a result of this restriction; however, not all realize that multi-family income property built after October 1, 1978 is NOT subject to rent control…this allows one to find diamonds in the rough with some major upside. Single-family homes no matter what age are exempt as well!
Much like Westchester, Playa Del Rey, Playa Vista, Venice, Sherman Oaks, Korea Town, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Chatsworth to name a few, San Pedro is a neighborhood within the city of Los Angeles. So again, as stated above, this area is subject to the additional L.A. transfer tax and is subject to rent control laws.