Finding our little gem was no easy feat- in fact, it took far more work and time then we ever anticipated. We spent months looking for the right property with the right location, curb appeal, lot size and potential for a great facelift. Here’s how we embarked on the search for our home sweet home.
Establishing our budget- while obvious, budget was the structuring force in our house hunt. While our budget of 1 million felt enormous to start, LA’s hot housing market quickly taught us that ‘affordable’ treasures are a few and far between. Our budget was what quickly determined the second factor on our list - location.
Where? Our vision of creating a home that would cater to the quintessential California lifestyle of beach and nature, prompted initial discussions of buying a rundown shack in Malibu. However, the reality check came swiftly- prices are steep and the difficulty of the permitting process is even steeper. Undeterred we turned our gaze to Santa Monica, Venice and Marina Del Rey. Once again, we were largely priced out - the few properties on the market were tiny, on top of their neighbors and completely exceeded our budget. Still hungry for a piece of the West side, we decided to explore Culver City, Mar Vista and Westchester, three trendy neighborhoods on the rise.
What? When discussing the property we hoped to find, the thing that continually resurfaced was a shared desire to find a single-story home with a backyard on a tranquil street that was close to good schools and everyday conveniences. When visualizing who our buyer might be, we imagined hip young parents buying their first home. Given that this is the Glanzmann Group’s first official venture, we wanted a modest project that would require some simple ‘lipstick and mascara’. We set our sights on homes with at least 2 bedrooms and 2 baths, adequate square footage (1,400 at the very least) and a workable floor plan. Little did we know that our design aesthetic and grandiose ideas would render any such humble aspirations moot (replacing ‘lipstick and mascara with facial reconstructive surgery- however, more on that later…).
The ‘It’ Factor. Armed with our checklist and our expert realtor, we began our search. Enthusiasm quickly transformed into anxiety however; in spite of appealing photos or descriptions promising ‘the opportunity of a lifetime’, the majority were too far gone for even our colorful imaginations. Tiny, unsalvageable rooms, views of the 405 highway, or energies so off they caused us to wonder where the bodies were hidden made us question whether this entire venture was doomed to fail. One house proved so disturbing Joseph Fritzl would have felt right at home. The owner could sit in the main house and watch through a one-sided window whoever found themselves in the large and dark, dead-bolted ‘tool shed’ - not quite what we were looking for…
We must have seen over 50 houses before we finally stepped onto our property. However, when we did, the feeling and recognition that this was ‘it’ was immediate and unanimous. Within minutes and without a word we had conjured up visions and plans of what we wanted to do, what we would move, what we would keep. We had found the excitable “it” factor. I am a firm believer that when you find the right property you will instinctively know - trust the power of your gut and let the good energies guide you in the right direction - if you can’t visualize what you are going to do with a space, chances are it isn’t the right space for you.
Comparables. Always one for practicality, Vanessa - our realtor extraordinaire and general maintainer of order- reminded us that a great property is worthless if it doesn’t have proper comparables. It’s generally known within realtor circles that it’s never good to be the most expensive house in the neighborhood - or even on the block for that matter. Since our goal is to buy, develop and sell (and at a profit), it was essential that there were nice homes in the vicinity that would give us an indication of the prices we might expect at time of sale. The best comps are within 1/4 of a mile, however comps within one mile still apply. We put in a search, and Bingo - sure enough within a one mile distance, a house (newly renovated, 1,925 square feet and beautifully finished) had recently sold for $1,585,000 . While there wasn’t an overwhelming number of comparables available, there was enough to indicate the upside potential of our little house. Coupled with the fact that a newly renovated house on our very street had recently come onto the market for $1,450,000, we decided then and there to put in an offer. The rest is history.