Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Saving houses

I hope you all read Anon's comment to "Untouched by time" in the Valley, ending, "... I have to ask if am I alone in my view that these houses can be saved? Does every single house have to be move in ready? What happened to working on a house over the years to make it special and yours?"

I've remodeled, not quite as old as his, still a moving experience contemplating who originally built it and how they built then. Many in Santa Monica grieve for the feeling of its older neighborhoods that are being lost to mansionization. That helps inspire my written incredulity at $5M+ listings.

Or condo-ization in the case of 929 Lincoln Blvd. (photo above). According to the Santa Monica Mirror, on June 11 the Landmarks Commission continued its discussion on this demolition permit application, pending more information about its history. It sold 5/31/06 for $1,630K after being in a family for years. It and the bungalow next door are landmarks to me. I hope it can be saved; a few manage to be.

A similar bungalow is currently for sale at 908 California, asking $1,395K, 3 bed / 1 bath, but less grand and without apartments behind like Lincoln.
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See also Paris2LA's comment at the bottom of Airport influence area, ending, "... living as a person whose life centered on ideas and creativity, not money. With these prices, I suspect the population that lives there now is all about money."

Which leads to a question for all of you: What are you seeking, what is your favorite neighborhood, and why? Is there still a place to find it? My ideal house is a modest fixer amid friendly neighbors that we could expand and update modestly. Haven't found it yet for a price we like.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm broken hearted at 929 Lincoln. That was one of the first places that inspired me to start thinking about selling my condo and buying a house. Unfortunately, 929 was simply out of my range.

With today's real estate prices, there is great opportunities for long time owners to make some real money. Which, unfortunately, puts the majority of people out of the market. And, if someone is spending the kind of money Santa Monica is fetching, they want more than a fixer upper. And there go the vintage homes.

I don't know the solution. I'm a fan of vintage homes and a fan on Santa Monica. It's an expensive taste and my options are few.

I am still very happy I found my little fixer upper cottage and more lucky that the sellers didn't listen to one of the big names in Ocean Park real estate and price it outrageously. The sellers also did not court developers either. That's the only way I got in.

Long way of getting to my point of there is a shared responsibility. Sellers have a responsibility to sustain the life of the house beyond their ownership through pricing and marketing strategy. Buyers have a responsibility to take the time to use the home as a framework and foundation for what they want...and not put a mcmansion on a lot in its place.

Yet, in today's day and age, who will take that time?

Anonymous said...

"I am still very happy I found my little fixer upper cottage and more lucky that the sellers didn't listen to one of the big names in Ocean Park real estate and price it outrageously."
"Sellers have a responsibility to sustain the life of the house beyond their ownership through pricing and marketing strategy. Buyers have a responsibility to take the time to use the home as a framework and foundation for what they want...and not put a mcmansion on a lot in its place."

WTF are you smoking? I'm sure you priced your condo WAY below market because of your "responsibility to sustain the life of the house beyond their ownership through pricing and marketing strategy", right? LOL, you fit right in in Santa Monica.

war chest said...

Anon #2,

Whats up with the attack(s). Are you also the anon from the previous post as well who told me to get a clue?

Nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone or anything, but its a lot nicer to do so in a more respectful way.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think the ideal neighborhoods are no longer in Santa Monica/West LA. We will be moving to Pacific Grove next year; maybe not quite as sunny but you can't help but feel the sense of community and tranquility in an area that has managed growth much more responsibly.

Anonymous said...

I'm not smoking anything. I did very well on my condo, thank you. And that is because I approached it as a home where one lives and not a commodity to be flipped. I lived in it for over eight years and built equity.

As I write this, I realize I am defending myself when I don't have to. I don't appreciate the attack or the tone. I am allowed to have my opinion. Clearly, I am in a minority, but that doesn't make my voice any less valid.

Isn't the topic "Saving Houses?" How do you propose we save houses? You obviously don't agree with my comments. What are your ideas?

Westside Bubble said...

Anon 'WTF', I'd like to think we've started a small community of people here who share an interest and information.

I decided a few years ago in posting comments that if I disagree with someone I'll remain polite and let my facts speak to the other readers. I appreciate that this blog has been that wey so far.

I left off code words and moderation to make it simple for everyone. I'm not into censorship, but will delete obnoxious comments.

Also, everyone, please pick any posting name so the 'Anons' don't get confusing.

Westside Bubble said...

Anon 'Pacific Grove", yes, I've walked around there on some beautiful spring days. Ate breakfast at the Tinnery overlooking Monterey Bay. Do you know people there?

To everyone, if Santa Monica has changed from what we knew, is there a new alternative?

I especially like the energy of younger families. Where are they moving? (Don't tell me, Inland Empire, Phoenix, North Carolina.)

Anonymous said...

"I'm not smoking anything. I did very well on my condo, thank you."

I thought you were arguing that sellers had some responsibility to price their homes reasonably. Although to be honest, I have absolutely no idea what the following sentence you wrote means:
"Sellers have a responsibility to sustain the life of the house beyond their ownership through pricing and marketing strategy."

Lionel said...

Westside Bubble, as to your question of where are you moving, my family and I arrived in the Ravenna area of Seattle last week. I'm living in a craftsman 3 bedroom that we're renting for under 1700. Great neighborhood, already met a number of people (who have been very nice despite my coming from LA). It's pretty amazing: we're a block from Ravenna Park, which is fablous, a block from a bike path that runs through much of the city, a block from a great coffee joint, and on and on. As much as it hurt to leave family and friends behind, I feel very strongly that this is a wise move for us. (Yes, we've already been rained on.)

Lionel said...

Oh, and to anon moving to Pacific Grove, great choice. My wife and I were married at the Martine Inn, just a couple of blocks from the Aquarium.

Anonymous said...

To Anon #2 (aka wtf): I'm reluctant to answer your question because of the grief rained on me for my original post. Before I go down that path again, I'd like to get a sense of your idea(s) to save vintage homes in Santa Monica.

To Lionel: It sounds lovely. And I'm jealous. I wish I was in a position professionally to move to an area like that. But my industry (not entertainment, btw) is focused in So. Cal.

Signed Anon #1 (aka brokenhearted)

Anonymous said...

i love the passionate, fiery blogs...very entertaining... - anon Culver City

Richard Mason said...

I guess our current neighborhood short list is:

#1) The western part of Sunset Park. We have seen some lovely houses there; we could afford one at few-years-ago prices; and it would be well-located for our work and social lives, especially if we stayed within reasonable walking distance of Main Street.

#2) Venice walk streets. My wife would like this because of the architectural charm, etc. Reasonably well located for our lives, but I might not be able to walk to work any more.

#3) Pasadena. I have an emotional attachment to Pasadena and we could probably get more house for the money. Something overlooking the Arroyo maybe? This would be kind of stupid given that both our jobs are on the Westside. But if we did do the stupid buy-far-away-and-commute thing, Pasadena would be my preference.

dwr said...

"This would be kind of stupid given that both our jobs are on the Westside. But if we did do the stupid buy-far-away-and-commute thing, Pasadena would be my preference."

Try that commute once and I guarantee you'll never consider living there and working on the westside again.

war chest said...

dwr,

You are so right. I have not done it, however I can only imagine the horror and pain of it. I live on the westside and work in downtown. I am completely against the flow of traffic so in the morning it is guaranteed smooth sailing and it is pretty good in the afternoon. Working market hours helps too...When it is 3:30 and I am cruising home on the 10 west I just look at all those people stuck on the parking lot of the 10 east...forget about it, it is suicide. Oh and when I zip by the 405 I just cringe...parking lot both ways at 3:30...I can only imagine the horror at 5.

This is actually one reason that I am bullish on the westside. Traffic in LA is the worst thing here. My coworker was telling me about living in one of the flyover states and said "we would plan our lives around the weather"..."now that we are here, we plan our lives around traffic". If I can't buy on the westside when I am older, I believe I will leave LA. Sounds snotty but its true...would probably have enough money saved to pay cash somewhere else (assuming out of state)

Also, I walked around the college streets and montana area (walked by the famous Yale house for sale) and I was shocked at how much traffic there was. Big SUVs speeding around all over. If I lived here and had kids I would be scared that they would get hit by a car when crossing the street or something...there is just so much traffic trying to sneak through side streets (not to mention big streets like montana, 26th, etc).

Richard Mason said...

I actually did the crosstown commute for a year so I know just what it's like. But you're right, it's not a good idea.

If I were a single guy I could tolerate it through a combination of telecommuting, driving off-peak, not caring when I got home, etc. But you can't really inflict that on a family.

Joey said...

My desired neighborhood is not in LA, it's Lincoln MA. But, I live in Santa Monica now, so I'll keep the comments local. I have lived in the Ocean Park area (Pier Ave) for almost 10 years now and don't really want to live anywhere else in SM. I just wish they would move Lincoln Blvd a few blocks east!

Regarding traffic, that's one of the reasons I like Santa Monica. Only very rarely do I head east of the 405, and only when I have to!

mj said...

coming late to the party, but i thought i would comment anyway.

my parents-in-law have lived a couple blocks north of montana on 15th for almost 30 years, and i know that they feel bothered and confused by the new, large houses they now live amongst -- they chose to modestly remodel and expand, as did many of their long-time neighbors. i think they now feel like they can't relate to the newer folks in the neighborhood.

i'm originally from the South, and there the attitude about saving things is quite different -- people who buy into old neighborhoods and do the tear-down thing are really looked down upon.

i'm not sure either extreme -- either save everything, or build everything anew -- is better. i chose to live in the silver lake/echo park area when i moved to LA because i really enjoy the mix of old and new that is there (though i admit to prefering the old for myself, perhaps just out of habit and nostalgia for home). as an outsider, that sharp contrast seemed to me to be what LA is all about.