Renovations – Where to Start?

Renovating your home can seem like a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be!

I have just finished up the refurbishing and sale of a home tucked away in the beautiful, La Crescenta.

Whenever I am first introduced to a project like this, I think of the different ways that updating the home can add value.

Flooring and carpeting are a great place to start. Changing out carpet is very refreshing.

We’ve all seen carpet that has been around for too long, it can make a room feel dull and dusty.

Renew the fresh feeling of your room and have the freedom to choose a new base color to build upon.

Switching out the carpet and adding hardwood compliments the natural aesthetic of the brick fireplace and gives the room a new energy.

The Power of Paint

Paint is another thing that I would recommend considering early on in your remodel process.

Simply changing the color of the exterior of your home can add character to the entire lot.

If not the entire home, updating the external features like shutters or a garage door,

can add that extra something to the ambience of your property.

A well cared for lawn will make those paint colors pop.


Do not assume that you have to get new cabinetry installed.

If your cabinets are in working order, paint works just as well.

Along with the walls, I painted the cabinets and added recessed lighting to make the home feel spacious and modern.

Lightening up the cabinets in the kitchen and dining room allowed for flexibility when furnishing the home.

Once all renovations were completed, I was ready to list the home for the first time in 30 years.

I received 5 offers on the listing and this 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home sold for $849,000.

View Full Slideshow – After

Posted on February 7, 2017 at 7:46 pm
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties

LA County homes along 710 Freeway to be sold

Hundreds of LA County homes will be sold along the 710 Freeway corridor, Caltrans announced. The homes were acquired decades ago for a freeway project that never materialized, according to news reports.

Caltrans plans to sell the 460 parcels it bought for the proposed route, starting with 42 single-family homes in Pasadena, South Pasadena and El Sereno. Many of the homes are occupied, and transportation officials said in a press release that residents of the homes will be given first opportunity to buy them.

la county homes to be sold along 710

The LA Times reported that decades of litigation and legislation stalled the 6.2-mile freeway project before construction could begin. As a result, Caltrans was the landlord for 460 structures. Those properties range from modest cottages to Craftsman mansions.

There’s no timetable yet for when any of the properties would be available to sell to the public, but Contact Me to be notified of when the homes begin selling/auctioning to the public!

How selling these LA County homes will work

Caltrans has said the homes will be sold at fair market value, but qualifying long-term residents and those earning under 150 percent of area median income will be given a chance to purchase the properties at more affordable prices.

The agency has a tiered priority list of potential buyer categories, so it could take a while before the general public gets a shot at buying the property.  After qualifying tenants, affordable housing development companies, current tenants above income thresholds and former tenants will get opportunities to make offers. After that, remaining properties are expected to be sold at public auction.

Conditional offers were sent to those who fall under those categories, with the top three tiers focusing on current and former tenants, according to news reports.

Contact Me now to stay in touch about when these LA County homes become available to the public!

la county homes to be sold along 710

Posted on January 5, 2017 at 8:16 pm
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties, real estate market | Tagged , , ,

Charming Craftsman home for sale in El Sereno

I’ve just introduced some lovely buyers to a charming Craftsman home for sale in El Sereno, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. The home, built in 1926, sits on a spacious lot in the rolling hills of eastern LA.


El Sereno is a primarily Latino neighborhood developed as a suburb in the early 1900s. In El Sereno, you’ll find:

  • Historic architecture, such as Craftsman, American Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival
  • A wealth of fantastic Mexican restaurants. An LA Times article cited such examples as El Vaquero (4884 1/2 Huntington Drive), Los Pino Market (4822 Huntington Drive)  and Mariscos Los Lechugas ( 5244 S Huntington Drive) were cited in an LA Times article.
  • Neighbors so friendly they stop to exchange greetings on the street.

El Sereno literally means “the serene one” but is also known as a term for night watchman. The neighborhood abuts the affluent South Pasadena

2905 Minto Ct: A charming Craftsman home for sale

You’ll find plenty of original character still intact in this 1926 Craftsman home for sale at 2905 Minto Court in El Sereno, Los Angeles. The home still has its original siding, as well as river rock accents that are classic to the Craftsman architectural style.

The home has two bedrooms and one bathroom, with bonus space available above the garage that can be used as an office or guest room. The kitchen leads to a light-filled breakfast nook great for enjoying morning coffee.

The view from the home, particularly from the back, is the hills of eastern LA, with no visible neighborhoods behind the house. In the backyard, you’ll have plenty of room for a garden or barbecue with family and friends.

2905 Minto Court was listed with NELA Homes at a price of $529,000 and sold for $585,000. The median home price in the area, as of October 2016, was roughly $500,000.

The El Sereno area went through several historic phases — from Native American village to Spanish Period to Mexican Rancho and American Ranch — before significant urban development took place.

El Sereno’s development is largely in part due to the first inter-urban rail route in Southern California, which opened from Los Angeles to Pasadena along the Arroyo Seco. In 1902, the Pasadena Short Line opened along Los Angeles-Pasadena Boulevard, now Huntington Drive. As housing developments followed the route — particularly some affluent ones — it created a need for community amenities such as churches, schools and social center.

From 1900 to 1915, the area that became EI Sereno lacked a unified identity. There was no coordinated plan for the community. It was only after a group of subdivisions grouped as “Bairdstown” were annexed into LA that the area became known as El Sereno, and continued to grow from there.

Don’t hesitate to contact me about homes in El Sereno or the surrounding Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Photo credit: Pierre Galant Photography

Posted on December 22, 2016 at 10:09 am
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties | Tagged , , , , ,

USC Village in Southern LA nears its finish line

USC Village in Southern LA will bring hundreds of jobs to a unique residential community and marketplace sure to transform the college experience when it opens in fall 2017.

USC Village, the largest development in Southern Los Angeles history, came with a $700 million price tag. It has pumped millions of dollars into the local economy and required more than 2 million hours of labor since it broke ground two years ago.

Now, as the project nears its completion, it will create jobs for another reason: to fill the more than 100,000 square feet of retail space that will be occupy the ground floors of six residential buildings. That space will hold Target, Trader Joe’s, Starbucks and Bank of America.

USC Village in Southern LA: Transforming the college experience

The six residential buildings will house approximately 2,700 students, creating a residential community where students can sleep, shop, dine and connect with one another.

In addition to a Harry Potter-themed dining hall, USC Village will be the site of food and beverage outlets such as Sunlife Organics, Cava Grill and the Greenleaf Gourmet Chop Shop. A 30,000-square-foot fitness center will open, as well.

USC Village in Southern LA will also host a transit hub, offer parking for retail customers and provide covered parking for bikes near building entrances.

The development replaces the outdated University Village mall built in the 1960s and owned by USC. The restaurants, movie theater and shops there were demolished earlier this year.

USC Village in Southern LA represents the biggest expansion ever of the University Park Campus.

Posted on December 15, 2016 at 5:32 pm
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties

Pacific Palisades real estate: Paul Williams estate for sale

Pacific Palisades real estate: Paul Williams estate

This week, a prime piece of Pacific Palisades real estate went on the market with my brokerage, John Aaroe Group. Designed by acclaimed architect Paul Williams, the estate is located in the prestigious Riviera area of Pacific Palisades.

The home was designed in 1937 for retail magnate Benjamin Zucker. Paul Williams is said to have designed more than 2,000 private homes, many of them for celebrities, including Frank Sinatra and Lucille Ball. He also designed iconic buildings, such as the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Pacific Palisades real estate listing: 915 Amalfi Drive

This luxurious 7-bedroom, 6.5-bathroom home at 915 Amalfi Drive is listed at a price of $9,995,000 with Sally Forster Jones, president of Aaroe International Luxury Properties.

The home is set on nearly an acre of parkland, overlooking the foothills below. It’s position offers great privacy within convenient reach of the exclusive Riviera Country Club, as well as beaches, parks, Brentwood, Beverly Hills and more.

The estate has lovely period details, from rich wood floors to crown moldings and wainscoting to large windows that flood the home with light and offer beautiful views.  

Other features include:

  • Formal living room
  • Formal dining room
  • Wood-paneled den
  • Piano room
  • Sun room with decorative tile floors
  • Upstairs sitting room
  • Manicured gardens and fountains
  • Almost 1 acre of parkland

If you’d like more information about this Pacific Palisades real estate listing, contact me today!

Posted on December 6, 2016 at 8:18 pm
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties | Tagged , , ,

Sell your Southern CA home over the holidays

Contrary to popular belief, you can and should sell your Southern CA home over the holidays. Spring and summer are known as selling season, but that cuts two ways. A busy selling season means more buyers, but it also means more homes flooding the market.

So, let’s take a quick look at the reasons you should sell your Southern CA home over the holidays instead of waiting for another spring season to roll around.

sell your southern CA home

4 reasons you should sell your Southern CA home now

You can Deck the Halls with great staging!

First impressions are everything with buyers. The holiday season gives you the perfect opportunity to wow them the moment they walk in the door. With tasteful decor you can emphasize your home’s best features while helping buyers better envision their own family living there. What better way to help your home stand out in its own unique way? This staging will also benefit your marketing, offering the opportunity for gorgeous photos for all those online shoppers!

You will more easily stand out 

Without the flood of new listings hitting the market, more buyers will see your home. Less competition means more negotiating power for you. A Redfin study even indicated that homes going on the market between Dec. 21 and March 21 had a better chance of selling quickly and at less of a discount than homes listed in spring and summer.

Your buyers mean business

While there may be fewer overall buyers in the market for a home, those who do schedule showings of your property will be seriously motivated. People don’t waste their time browsing homes over the holidays. You can bet if someone is requesting a showing, they’re serious about buying and soon. It’s not uncommon to see people who are relocating for a job or other life circumstances that require them to commit to a purchase.

You’ll receive unexpected gifts

Sell your Southern Ca home over the holidays

Closing your home sale near the end of the year has some additional benefits. Deducting interest, points and property taxes for payments made by Dec. 31 can be a major tax benefit!

If you’re thinking of selling, reach out to a real estate agent and/or staging professional to get you on the right path. I offer free home value evaluations, so don’t hesitate to contact me about selling your Southern CA home over the holidays!

Posted on December 1, 2016 at 8:25 pm
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties | Tagged , , ,

A Look at Frank Lloyd Wright’s First Masterpiece in LA


Frank Lloyd Wright’s !rst masterpeice in LA — named Hollyhock House — has a stormy and fascinating history to go along with the topsy-turvy relationship between the architect and the original owner, Aline Barnsdall.

It’s a story that requires entire books to effectively capture, but one thing is certain: Tumultuous or not, the Hollyhock project brought the architect to California for the !rst time, where he would go on to design many more homes and shape regional style.

Hollyhock House, with a combination of house and gardens, illustrates Wright’s attempt to bring in the natural beauty of California. In addition to a central garden court, each major interior space adjoins an exterior space, connecting via glass doors, porch, pergola or colonnade. Rooftop terraces also extend the living space and provide gorgeous views.

Now owned by the city of Los Angeles, the public may tour Hollyhock House. But even so, there are areas of the property that remain private and closed off. A video with Condé Nast Traveler, seen below, gives an exclusive look at some of its off-limits areas.

Without going into the personal and often dramatic relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall, here are a few key historical highlights about Hollyhock House.

  • The home was built between 1919 and 1921 and represents Wright’s earliest e”orts to develop a regional style of architecture for Southern California
  • Wright referred to the architectural style as California Romanza, essentially meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.”
  • Because of !nancial and artistic di”erences, only the main home and two secondary residences were built. The secondary structures, according to, include Residence A (extant) and Residence B (demolished in 1948).
  • Hollyhock House took its name from Aline Barnsdall’s favorite #ower.
  • Wright and Barnsdall developed a plan that included a home for Barnsdall and her young daughter, two secondary residences, a theater, a director’s house, a dormitory for actors, studios for artists, shops and a motion picture theater on a 36-acre acre site known as Olive Hill.
  • Some call Barnsdall the mother of modern architecture because she brought Wright, as well as Rudolph Schindler, and Richard Neutra, to California to work on the project.
  • Aline Barnsdall didn’t live in the Hollyhock House, and in fact, decided against completion of the artist colony.
  • In 1927, Barnsdall gave Hollyhock House and 11 surrounding acres to the City of Los Angeles for use as a public art park.

Hollyhock House: The Masterpiece of Today

This first foray into California architecture by Frank Lloyd Wright has had ups and downs, with Barnsdall’s apparent dislike and the city’s threat to raze it at one point. Today, however, it’s surrounded by a modern theater and galleries — much closer to its original purpose to function as a centerpiece in an arts complex.

According to, Project Restore oversaw a major restoration of Hollyhock House that was completed in 2015. Signi!cant contributions from the city and the Barnsdall Art Park Foundation led to the reopening of the house after several years.

“Walk Wright In” self-guided tours are available to the public, as are private docent-led tours of the property. To book a private tour, call: (323) 913-4030 or email:

Posted on November 4, 2016 at 10:42 pm
Chris Reisbeck | Category: Properties