In late 2010, my late mother's property at 325 Bel Air Rd. was listed at $19.5 million, then $14.5 million in mid 2011. Were these realistic

Asked by Brianribbey, Los Angeles, CA Sun Aug 26, 2012


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Christopher Lefebvre’s answer
Christopher…, Agent, Methuen, MA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
The true value of a property is the highest amount that all willing and able buyers are willing to pay for a property after it has been advertised properly on the open market. I don't know your area, but one question is what have similar homes sold for in your area? My advice is for you to contact 2 to 3 local agents and ask for price opinions.
0 votes
Jay Hofstadt…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
obviously not, brian.

the queston i would like to know was whether the agent suggested the original list price or was pressured by one or more of the sellers into listing your mother's home at a greatly inflated unrealistic price of more than double the current list price, which is still not selling.

if the former, a case could be made that the agent is either incompetent or might have unrealistically built up the seller's expectation in order to beat out any potential competition from other brokers being considered for the listing.

i could understand that the list price might have originally been off by 10 - 25%, or even 35% had it been listed at the height of the market in 2006, or even into 2008 as the maket spiralled downward and before people really knew how bad the economy was, but i can't understand how any real estate professional, even one who was not familiar with a specific area, could have been off by more than 10 - 15% in 2010, if the list price were upon his recommendation.

i really would like to know where the list price came from because the reality is that nothing on bel air road has sold for more than $12 million (a 9,236 sf home), and every other home between stone canyon and beverly glen and between sunset and st cloud that have sold since 2010 were a 23,227 sf home on st cloud that sold in april, 2011 for $40 million; two homes on bellagio road sold - one a 17,700 sf home on a 74,920 sf lot that sold in january, 2010 for $18 million and a 4,928 sf home on 62,290 sf of land that sold in may, 2011 for $16.6 million; a 9,359 sf home on a 70,130 sf lot on nimes that sold in march, 2010 for $12.2 million; two on stone canyon - a 11,700 sf home on a 81,000 sf lot that sold in june, 2011 for $11.4 million and a 9,450 sf home on 30,730 sf of land that sold for $6,375,000; a 11,817 sf home on a 43,120 sf lot on copa de oro and a 10,00 home on 25,996 of land on strada corda, both that sold for $10.5 million; and finally, a 5,188 sf home on 28,650 sf lot that sold for $4.5 million two months ago. nothing i found found from 2008 or 2009 in that area was above $7.5 million, so i again ask, who decided on those higher list prices for your mom's property?

i can appreciate it if the agent had given a realistic assessment of the market value of the home and his client (your mom's trust) had demanded that the listing be at a higher price, with the understanding that the list price would be periodically lowered. an agent has a fiduciary duty to follow a client's instructions, despite his own professional judgement (provided that all of his actions are legal and ethical) or to teminate the agent-client relationship.

of course, another possibility is that perhaps one or more of the sellers intentionally inflated the list price for another reason -to establish a higher price in valuation for a buyout of one of the benficiary's interest, or that a trustee liked collecting his fees for managing the trust.

i don't know what the true facts and circumstances are, but, in short, to answer your question, yes, the past and current list prices appear to have been and are unrealistic in light of comparable sales and properties currently on the market.
0 votes
Sounds like a problem with the Trustee!!! Is he getting paid monthy for this? Then of course he wouldn't want it to sell!!!!
Flag Mon Aug 27, 2012
Why would one of he sellers want to artificially inflate the price?? If they were trying to buy out the others, wouldn't this just cost them more? Sorry, I'm a marketing guy and don't understand why - and it appears to have been the case - one of the beneficiaries kept insisting the house be listed at a ludicrously high price and, facts notwithstanding, the trustee agreed.....

Another question: The neighbor has long said and proven he'd outbid any other offer...why won't the trustee give him a fair chance to do so if it's his fiduciary responsibility and isn't he liable for the difference in price between what the neighbor would've paid and an accepted, lower offer from someone else?

Final question: Is somewhere between $7 and $8 million, cash, 10 day escrow and no contingencies outside title search a good offer in this market and with potential 2013 tax increases on capital gain taken into account?
Flag Sun Aug 26, 2012
Thank you all for your responses. I'm mystified. The trustee set the original price and the realtor did what he was told. The trustee extrapolated $19.5 million (which, btw, was a response to a $5 million offer by a neighbor) from what a developer with a home for sale in the area was quoted in the LA Times as saying property in Bel Air's "Platinum Traingle" was worth per square foot. What is truly unusual is that a neighbor has suggested - and demonstrated - a willingness to purchase the property at a price higher than any other bona vide offer. Yet the trustee (not a family member) says he feels no obligation to provide that neighbor with such an opportunity. When neighbor agreed late one evening to a great price, our realtor set a deadline 12 hours later, pulled the offer 2 hours after the deadline passed yet he was still awaiting an offer from another party 5 days later. It came 5 months later, then fell out of escrow. 2 of 3 beneficiaries weren't told house was in escrow. Weird?
Flag Sun Aug 26, 2012
Richard "RJ"…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Mon Aug 27, 2012
Hello Mr. Brian Ribbey,
Sorry for your loss. As far as this property goes... all that pricing was very agressive. It is not anywhere that the market would have paid in that time or currently. Having sold throughout Bel Air for the past decade, I would still say the pricing has a way to go. It is a lovely home and very clean, but appears to need a bit of updating. I believe a sizable price cut is still due... I would be pleased to comment further if you wish. I happen to specialize in Bel Air, please let me know if I can be of future service. If you are no longer listed with a broker at that time, I would like to ask you if I can make a formal presentation. Thank you.
Richard "RJ" Kas (SFR, SRES)
"Representing the finest properties from Los Angeles worldwide"
KAS Properties - Coldwell Banker Previews International - Beverly Hills South
166 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210
310.859-5334 office - 310.488.9826 mobile - 310-273-0690 fax ATT: RJ - - DRE: 01352771
Sellers Buyers Investors Leasing Consulting
1 vote
Bill, , Beverly Hills, CA
Tue Aug 28, 2012
Funny you should ask that question , I would too if I were you. As a matter of coincidence I showed your
Moms house last week and think its great. I absolutely love the grounds. My buyer did not like it. As much , but I think it to be great . Your agent there Neil has had the listing awhile and I see the decline
In asking price from the MLS listing price( Neil , by the way is very nice, courteous and appears to be a good agent)However I imagine that the $19 and $14 were on the high side , since homes are selling
At the right price now and there is not that much inventory. I see you have it just under $10 now.
I also see very negative comments in your response section about Neil. I certainly would not listen to them as those agents just want the listing and nothing else.
Stick with Neil , he is very professional.
2 thoughts for you , I think your home needs more marketing exposure( we have a lot of buyers
Coming in from Europe) as in international exposure . If you have Neil send me over high Res photos
Of your home, I would be happy to have your home posted over there( no cost to you),I have another
Thought about more outside( driveby exposure) for u but I can discuss that with Neil with your. Permission. Stick with Neil,do alittle more marketing via us and you will probably sell it.
Regards Victor Kaminoff ( www. Victor and speak to Neil, he won't mind the help.
0 votes
I have no problem with Neil and disparaging him is probably unfair, as he answers to the trustee and I don't believe Neil had much to do with pricing other than trying to get it lower at one point. Agreed, a nice guy, a gentleman, and probably a good agent struck in a tough situation. Please feel free to pas anything on to Neil, I have no power here. As I said, I wasn't even informed the house was in escrow at one point until it fell out, so I can't help the situation right now. I'd have preferred a marketing plan in writing for this property and I think some other aspects of the attempted sale (staging, etc,.) haven't been ideal, but Neil appears not to have been in control of his own destiny here. I wonder what he could've done if left to his own devices more.
Flag Tue Aug 28, 2012
Ron Escobar -…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
Realistic prices to sell? Hard to tell... but there are many reasons why people list a home, so the answer is always it depends... then we get into the details and the purpose..

0 votes
Douglas Perez, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
No, I don't think those were realistic prices at that time. At that time market prices were still dropping and still dropping. There are several factors to determine value. Besides location, location, location, size, view, age and conditions determine a competitive price.
0 votes
Meredith McK…, Agent, Pasadena, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
Dear Brian:

I suspect that one of the reasons why you have asked this question is that you are concerned about your perceived erosion of your share of proceeds from your mother's estate, of which this property is an asset.

Since I do not know the specific facts of your situation, I will provide some general comment as a broker who has handled many real estate probate and trust transactions. First of all, the executor of the estate has a legal duty to seek the highest price possible to protect the 'corpus' of the estate. That would explain its initial $19.5 million list price, especially given the rather 'heated' appreciation in property value in the 2002-2006 time period. Secondly, the property came on the market in 2010, after the real estate bubble had burst, meaning that property values were dropping dramatically during this time period, in some cases 50-60% from their highest value.

As others have pointed out here, the marketplace ultimately determines price. Because this property is an luxury/estates home based upon its location and the price information you've given, you are also facing steep competition for buyers because of an unusually high number of luxury homes for sale and because these luxury buyers generally want to purchase a property that has been upgraded and in total move-in condition. In addition, financing is difficult to obtain in this price category, though many of these transactions are all cash sales.

I appreciate your frustration. Assuming that you are satisfied with your current broker, I suggest that you work with them in arranging an 'executive review' by at least three other brokers who work the high end luxury market on the Westside to 'refresh' both the property's listing price and its marketing strategy. If you are considering changing brokers, I still recommend the 'executive review' process, with at least one agent not being a candidate to list the home. As a former Beverly Hills agent, I also recommend that, if changing your listing broker, that you consider a co-listing between two separate Westside real estate firms with high visibility luxury divisions to maximize the property's exposure in the marketplace, since, after all, you are seeking a 'niche' buyer.

I am sorry for both your personal loss and for the unfortunate false expectation that it appears others gave you about the true value of this property and its impact on your inheritance. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon scenario. I hope that you will now look forward to settling the estate based upon current market-driven factors to close this chapter of your life and move on to new happiness.

Best wishes,

Meredith McKenzie
DRE #01142186
Broker Associate
Luxury Home Specialist
Podley Properties
0 votes
Thank you, Meredith, very thoughtful, well-written and appreciated input.
Flag Tue Aug 28, 2012
carlos parra…, Other Pro, Monrovia, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
It seems a little high for 2010. Last years listing price might have been OK. Hard to tell without seeing condition of home and property.
0 votes
SERGEY FEDNOV…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
Dear Brian!

Sorry for your loss...

Here's some info on this property:

Looks like this property was on the market for some time now and price was reduced multiple times:

05/14/12 - 12589295 - Price - 9950000
03/22/12 - 12589295 - Price - 10500000
11/08/11 - 11532345 - Price - 12250000
06/06/11 - 11532345 - Price - 14250000

Usually it is done because there was very little interest from buyers. And looks like listing agen is trying to do best to sell it at a reasonable price.

Please contact me direct so that I can provide you more info on this property.

Help with any Real Estate Transaction: Buy and Sell
FREE Consultation - Please call now: 424-777-9377

Should you have any questions - please do not hesitate to call me Toll Free 1-855-TRUST-55 ext.777 ( 1-855-878-7855 ext.777).

Sergey Fednov
Trust Sale Realty
Toll Free: 1-855-TRUST-55ext. 777
Toll free: 1-855-878-7855 ext. 777
Phone: 424-777-9377
Fax: 310-356-4925
* We Hire California Licensed Realtors - 100% Commission!
0 votes
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
Dear Brian,
It would be in your best interest to work with a local Realtor in order to get a good and timely idea of what your property is worth. Many factors come into play that only a personal visit to the property will reveal.
0 votes
Madelaine Ko…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
Hi Brian,

Sorry for your loss.

I wanted to let you know that an experienced agent with knowledge of the area should go over the comparable properties with you. You should be able to look at the competing homes for sale, days on market and the solds in the area. You can and will be able by looking at the condition, square footage, age, style and location come together on the right price. Yes, the tax records show the home value between $6,300,000 and 8,200,000 but there are many other factors that you need to take into consideration. If you price a home to high in the beginning it will take reduction after reduction and you will not get market value for your home, buyers look at the home and will think something is wrong with it. It is imperative that you price the home right from the beginning so you get market value for the home.
I grew up in Brentwood, I went to Bellagio Road School(when it was a normal school) and know Bel Air very well.

You can get average days on market and price graphs on HOW 'S THE MARKET at my website by putting in the zip code. if you have further questions you can call anytime 310.869.1712

Madelaine Kolisnyk
Power Brokers International Beverly Hills
DRE#01377862 | 310.869.1712
0 votes
Sona Gallatin, Agent, Santa Clarita, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
First, I'm sorry for your loss, losing a parent is difficult.
The property is listed as standard and in remarks noted as probate, and trust sale with. O court confirmation. Conflicting descriptions, please ask your agent to correct it.

What's hurting the value of this beautiful homes is the recent sales.
County title records show from $6,300,00 to $8,200,00. How those figure effect you is your buyer will have to be a 40 to 50% down to finance this purchase., if you get lucky with an all cash buyer and they get this for the current asking price, they will be getting a bargain.
I know the area well as my sister lives close by in Beverly Hills. The home is beautiful and worth at least the asking, you just need the right buyer.

Good luck!
0 votes
Alyssa Fry, Agent, Studio City, CA
Sun Aug 26, 2012
I have to agree with Chris's answer below. If you would like, I can research the market in your area for that time period and then what it is now. I see that this house is currently listed at a little less than 10 million and is a probate sale. It is a gorgeous house! Wonderful architecture and a large lot of land. I would be happy to research if its current market value is accurately reflected but as the house is listed with an agent, have you spoke with him regarding your concerns? He should be able to show you the comps that justify they price. Should you prefer an objective assessment, please feel free to contact me and I will forward you the comps. (just click on my photo for contact info.)
0 votes
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