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The Suburb of the Future, Almost Here

1925 Beach Drive in Curbed

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hot out there and getting hotter. And with that in mind, let’s take a look at a few properties where refuge from the heat lies only a few steps away in the cool waters of the Pacific. Here are five oceanfront homes on the market around Southern California. …read full article

Stop the madness petition

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Despite Fed rate hikes, mortgage rates will not go up this year

Clouds are forming over the bond market

Future of Roofing is Here

Tesla has started taking deposits for their beautiful solar roof tiles. Includes tax credits and lifetime warranty. Hopefully it’s as good as their cars, which are currently the best in the world.

YES ON S

The environment comes first for me, always.
 

Leo quoted in Thursday’s L.A. Times

Best Deal on Hermosa Beach/Manhattan Beach Strand

1830 The Strand, Hermosa Beach

Leo quoted in Saturday L.A. Times

Scott Garner

East Los Angeles is both a place and a mode of being, a physical homeland and the spiritual heart of the Mexican diaspora in the United States.

The cultural and political effects that this vibrant neighborhood have had, across the country and around the world, are hard to overstate. It’s impossible to imagine Los Angeles without East L.A., but although the two are often conflated in the popular imagination, the latter is actually an unincorporated part of L.A. County, lying just across the Indiana Avenue city limit from Boyle Heights.

Don’t do business with this guy

mariogonzales1mariogonzales2

Mario C. Gonzales, AKA Michael Sevilla, AKA Jimmy Moody, AKA Edgar Lozano has stolen 10K to 35K from dozens of buyers, and still has an active broker’s license.

Buying is somehow still cheaper than renting in L.A.

Despite the 5-6% annual price increases of the last few years, it is still cheaper to buy than rent in L.A., and always will be. I’ve seen these analyses for many years (won’t say how many!) and it’s never even close.

http://la.curbed.com/2016/10/20/13349520/buy-vs-rent-los-angeles-prices-save-money

Best Refi Opportunity Ever Is Over

Rates have been creeping up, and it’s looking like the fed will finally raise rates on Dec. 14. The stock market won’t like this of course, which will send investors to bonds, which should drive mortgage rates back down a bit, but not to the near all-time lows we saw this year.

refi-opportunity

Foreclosures are down a whopping 42% from this time last year.

Fed Rate Hike (Finally) Likely Next Month

14 of 17 FOMC members expect a rate hike before the end of the year, so it’ll probably happen in December. Last time they did this (Dec ’15) mortgage rates actually dropped. The economy can’t support higher rates. The high end market has slowed dramatically recently, and price gains are slowing nationwide.

See DS News article here.

New Fun Way To Find Houses Sans Realtors

Haus was started by the guy who founded Uber. They don’t have every house on there yet, but when they do this will be big.

http://beta.haus.us/

Nationwide REO Picture for August

 

Exclusive Report for Equator Agents:

MARKET INSIGHTS

August 2016 Activity

Equator REO

Understanding your market is essential to being a successful REO Agent.

Here, we provide the latest Equator REO data and intelligence we have on our system. Our goal is to help you succeed in REO so you can become the highest performing agent you can be.

25a2c70e-reo-market-insights-082016_0qo0yi0qo0yi000000

(Click picture for full story)

 

July Home Sales Slow, and Prices Dropped a Bit Since June

PropertyRadar-California-Real-Property-Report-July-2016-1

Real Property Report – California, July 2016

California’s Underwater Homeowners Fall Below 500,000, Down 50 Percent from July 2014

July Sales Dive 12.8 Percent Y-o-Y, or Did They?

California Median Price Edges Lower in July, but still Up 5.0 Percent Y-o-Y

“At first glance, it looked like July sales fell off a cliff,” said Madeline Schnapp Director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar. “Looking closer at the data, we noted that July 2016 had two fewer business days than July 2015. That calendar quirk was enough depress July sales. When the missing days were taken into account, the sales decline was approximately 3.0 percent for the month and 5.0 percent for the year, in line with expectations.”

       “The silver lining to rising prices is in the past two years 575,000 California homeowners have escaped their negative equity prisons,” said Schnapp. “Now armed with positive equity, these homeowners can take advantage of near record low mortgage interest rates to refinance, sell an existing home and buy a new one.”

READ FULL REPORT 

PropertyRadar-PropertyRadar-NegEquity_July_2016-1024x697

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Nationwide REO Numbers for July per Equator

EQ REO activity

June Home Sales: HOT!

 

Despite all the chaos in the world, the 2016 real estate market is looking like a carbon copy of 2015:

PropertyRadar-California-Real-Property-Report-June-2016-1200x600

Real Property Report — California, June 2016

Year-to-Date Sales Nearly Unchanged Since 2009

Median Price Hits 9-Year High, Up 6.3 Percent from June 2015

Cash Sales Remain Strong Despite High Prices

 

“Sales have trended mostly sideways for eight consecutive years,” said Madeline Schnapp, Director of Economic Research for PropertyRadar. “While sales volumes appear to have hit a ceiling, prices continue to reach new heights. Lack of inventory, near record low mortgage interest rates, and increase in demand due to California’s continued economic vitality are pushing prices higher.”

PropertyRadar-CASales_June_16-1024x696

PropertyRadar-Y-o-YSales_June_16-1024x696

“The increase in home prices is not surprising given the fact that new housing inventory is difficult to deliver within California’s burdensome regulatory environment,” said Schnapp. “While inventory remains constrained, California’s economic growth engine continues to churn out an impressive number of new jobs, 448,000 in 2015, driving up demand. That, combined with investors buying real estate to shelter cash, continues to push up prices beyond reasonable levels.”

VIEW THE ENTIRE REPORT PLUS ELEVEN VISUAL CHARTS COVERING:

Home Sales, Year-over-Year Home Sales, Median Sales Price vs. Sales Volume, California Home Owner Equity, Cash Sales, Flipping, Market Purchases by LLCs and LPs, Market Sales by LLCs and LPs, Trustee Sale Purchases by LLCs and LPs, Foreclosure Notices and Sales, Foreclosure Inventory.

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PropertyRadar-CASales_June_16-1024x696

row 3 right graoh bottom

Brexit Helps L.A. Market

Vacancies drop, rents rise and Brexit keeps interest rates low. See details in LA Biz.

In May, CBRE sold its headquarters downtown in one of the largest deals in the second quarter. (Courtesy of CBRE)

In May, CBRE sold its headquarters downtown in one of the largest deals in the second quarter. (Courtesy of CBRE) 

mauipearl (Zillow)

leo nordine is the best realtor we have ever dealt with, and we have just sold 5 properties, each with a different realtor. We are on the east coast, and Leo handled every aspect of this sale. He correctly estimated the selling price. he provided a contractor to remodel the property – and the contractor did a great job, was incredibly fast, and waited for the property to sell in order to be paid. when I weakened and considered taking a low offer, leo counseled us to wait for a higher offer. the property closed today. we received a full price, all cash offer with a ten day escrow.

Interest Rate Hike Déjà Vu

The media is once again predicting a rise in mortgage interest rates when the Fed meets June 14-15. This has been going on for 3 years now, and they’ve been wrong every time.

chart-interest rate hike deja vu

My opinion (unchanged in 3 years) is that rates will hold, and drop a bit as we get closer to the election.

April Sales Chart Porn

Property Radar’s economists are always overly pessimistic (they’re in the business of selling info on foreclosures to investors) but their charts make me swoon.

Sorry, no bubble here

A lot of people are saying we’re in another real estate bubble, but the truth is not even close. 2016 could hardly be more different than 2006:

1. Inventory is extremely low.

2. Interest rates are the lowest ever, and will continue to drop.

3. All the loans funded in the last 8 years are quality (i.e. borrowers actually had to qualify and put money down).

4. Foreclosures are down 23% from last year, and the delinquency rate is 3%.

Low inventory, low rates and decent demand is the perfect formula for continued appreciation. Yes, a recession is coming, eventually. It is a natural part of the business cycle. But when it does, it will be nothing like the last one. Real estate will be the safest place to be, and when the recession ends it will shoot up again, like it always does.

30 year fixed drops to 3.58%

For 4 years economists have been promising higher mortgage rates, and for 4 years rates have slowly dropped. I can’t find a graph to prove it, but rates are as low, or lower, than they’ve ever been. Despite all the talk about prices being too high, people will look back and wish they’d bought in 2016.

Chart Porn

I completely disagree with Property Radar’s forecast, but their charts are awesome.

Goldilocks market continues – prices highest in 9 years

Prices jumped again last month in all 6 SoCal counties, and will continue to climb through the summer. See details in L.A. Biz.

NO DOWN, NO CLOSING COSTS, NO CATCH – NACA LOAN

NACA has an amazing loan for low to moderate income home buyers. Your lender will never tell you about this program because they make ZERO on it. This is a no-brainer for anyone renting in L.A.!

Freddie Mac forecasts best year for housing in a decade

Bank forecasts are usually conservative/clueless, but Freddie Mac is right on the $.

Square’s new business loans fund in 1 day

Silicon Valley startup Square wants to be the Tesla of banks. Their new business loans are easy to get and lightning fast.

So Cal Market Update


(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

If you’ve been waiting for a price correction to buy, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. The Goldilocks recipe of slow but steady economic growth, strong-enough demand, low inventory and amazing interest rates are all still here and will continue all year. The graphics in today’s L.A. Times story by Andrew Khouri do not lie.

L.A. Times hypes Inglewood real estate market (Leo quoted)

The Inglewood real estate market began heating up when news broke that the Rams were coming, but REALLY took off after this L.A. Times article came out. I’ll never go to a game, but the stadium is so cool!

L.A. Times – L.A. County’s Hottest Zip Codes

Great article by the L.A. Times’ Andrew Khouri Saturday, basically showing where to buy, no matter what price range you’re in. The two hottest cities last year? Santa Monica and Hermosa Beach (fool’s luck: the 2 cities I’m most invested in ☺).

L.A. Times: L.A. County’s hottest zip codes

Loan Approval in 10 Minutes: Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans

Want to buy a house but don’t like being tortured by mortgage brokers? Quicken Loans has a new “rocket loan” mobile app called Rocket Mortgage which touts loan approval in 10 minutes, all done from your phone, without having to talk to a single human. The programs aren’t optimal, but welcome to the future! Expect all the major lenders to eventually follow suit, as they vie for those coveted millennial buyers.

Hometrackr: Like CarFax for Homes

With Hometrackr you can learn about the history of a home before you buy: fire/water damage, permit records, inspections, etc. Seems like a good tool, I think this one is going to take off.

That’s a lot of perfume, Chanel

chanel-rodeo drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the same week we found out the middle class is no longer a majority in the U.S., Chanel just paid an astronomical $152 million for the 11,500 sq. ft store they were renting on Rodeo Drive. The property taxes alone will be $1,900,000 a year.

How to sell your commercial property online

We have reached a time and age when the Internet has become the most reliable and convenient source of information that we have.

From modern dating tips to everyday recipes, we rely on the Web to guide us every step of the way.

The Internet has truly helped many companies develop and evolve. It’s cheap, fast, ubiquitous. It has the ability to reach customers in every part of the globe.

If you want to know the best ways to advertise your commercial property online, here are some helpful tips:

Online presence

Create a website that functions as your showroom with a facility that allows visitors and prospective buyers to ask you questions and leave their feedback.

Keep your social media accounts active. If you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc., make sure you’re consistently posting updates or photos about your property. It boosts your ratings and makes your page more visible.

You can also post related links – for instance, trends in office space, events happening in your commercial park or city, local tourist attractions and other places that make the neighborhood interesting, etc.

The more you post engaging material, the more you’ll get followers and potential buyers.

Employ Email marketing

With email, you can take the first step in selling your commercial property.

You can create your very own database of clients and brokers, and keep in touch with them through their online accounts.

Include photos of homes, features, and updates in your email alerts.

Highlight the positives of your property – spacious parking lot, proximity to public conveniences, high-traffic area, etc.

Proofread your email. A typo or grammatical error always looks unprofessional.

What you really need to do then is to reach out to potential clients by advertising advertise your property.

These online campaigns don’t necessarily have to be brilliant; they just need to accomplish what they set out to do.

Fed rate hike imminent, but mortgage rates could actually drop

On December 16, for the first time in 9 years, the Fed will finally raise short term interest rates. Despite what the media is saying, mortgage rates will remain stable, and could actually drop a bit. Inflation is still very low, and the real estate market is still soft. Lenders know a significant rate hike would ice the market. They tried a couple summers ago and it was a fiasco. Sales just stopped, and a lot of mortgage reps were laid off. The economy is slowly improving, but not enough to support higher rates.

A guide to selling your commercial property in Los Angeles

Selling commercial real estate in Los Angeles is a process of following rules and meeting requirements set by the city’s Department of Building and Safety.

It’s a step that can be circuitous and daunting. Here are a few things to help you out.

The requirements

  • Earthquake Gas Shut-Off Vales (EQSO) – Commercial or residential properties with fuel gas piping must have an EQSO valve properly installed, per Ordinance 171,874 (effective February 5, 1998), and Ordinance 170,158 (effective July 1, 1995)
  • Water Conservation – All commercial or residential property with plumbing fixtures installed should diligently comply with Los Angeles’ Water Conservation Ordinance

The following is not explicitly required by the local government, but you would do well to have the following disclosures ready.

  • Compliance certificates to ensure potential buyers that the commercial building you’re selling follows all applicable energy and safety regulations

The selling process

Here are other things that are good to know when selling commercial real estate.

  • Determine the value of your commercial property by getting in touch with a professional valuation expert. This will help you set a realistic price that sits well with an informed buyer’s own estimation.
  • Show the income potential of your property, both currently and in the future. It’s going to be a hard sale if the building fails to show the capacity to earn its keep.
  • Make sure the property abides by local laws and ordinances. Inattention over “little details” adds up to delays and additional expenses over time, hampering and wreaking havoc on the overall process of selling commercial real estate.
  • Get in touch with a commercial real estate lawyer and an experienced real estate agent to handle all of the above. Hiring experts saves you time and money, and makes short work of trying to understand everything at once.

Los Angeles Commercial Real Estate

For more information on selling commercial properties, give NordineCommercial a call at 310-379-8800.

Tips on selling mixed-use property

Mixed-use facilities don’t go out of favor because of what they provide the individual: residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, and industrial functions rolled into one, where the individual can live, work, and play without crossing the street or driving a car.

If you’re selling a mixed-use development in Los Angeles, make sure you meet the following Requirements

For mixed-use facilities with residential spaces:

  • Smoke detectors
    Section 91.8603 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code requires all residential properties, including condominiums and apartments, to have smoke detectors installed on the ceiling or wall of rooms used for sleeping and rooms with a central location. Detectors must also be installed in basements. For condominiums and apartments, smoke detectors must be hard-wired and have battery backup.
  • Security lighting and locks
    Los Angeles mandates that apartment buildings provide ample security to its residents by having security lighting and locks installed.Exterior lighting must be installed in the following areas:

    • Recreational spaces
    • Parking areas
    • Walkways
    • Entrance of each unit

    Interior lighting, on the other hand, must be installed in common and service rooms as well as parking garages.

    Doors and windows that provide entry to each dwelling must be installed with locks.

For mixed-use facilities with commercial spaces:

Because they’re a convenience to residents and tenants, mixed-use facilities often accommodate commercial spaces. To know more about requirements needed for both commercial and residential properties, check out our guide on selling commercial real estate.

Why hire experts to help sell your mixed-use property?

When you hire an experienced professional real estate agent to sell your mixed-use property, you increase your chance of landing a profitable sale.

Getting a real estate lawyer to advise you on the arcane legalities of selling commercial real estate ensures you comply with every requirement the transaction entails.

Knowing what to do at the outset instead of figuring it out yourself speeds up the selling process.

To know more about selling mixed-use properties, give Nordine Commercial a call at 310-379-8800 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Marketing your commercial office space

The performance of a commercial property on the real estate market depends on many factors.

Every single step—from planning to construction/renovation and to occupancy—affects how the property is eventually received.

You can have a perfectly structured office space and still end up with few takers.

A few tips, then, on how to attract tenants:

  1. Make your presence felt.IN REAL LIFE: Announce the name and nature of the property on the actual site to let the neighborhood know what it is. The proximity of your office space may attract lessees from around the area.

    ONLINE: Make sure that your online listing is prodigiously linked and highly discoverable. Promote your project in blogs and press releases.

  2. Build and keep a following.Social media helps you start a following by making your project look highly desirable.

    With constant updates and informative posts, you can increase the exposure and desirability of your office space and keep buyers and renters hooked.

  3. Showcase your uniqueness and creativity.Commercial developments are sprouting everywhere, so you need to be creative and make yours stand out.

    Here are a few ideas:

    • Host a series of short seminars and lectures for starters and if you can handle the potential deluge, take the invite online.
    • Make your event memorable. You can serve refreshments, raffle off a prize, spotlight a special guest, and so on.
    • It’s not just about the property but the presentation. If your office space has all the usual amenities found in all the best properties, then present yours in a unique way.
    • Create an “identity” for your office space that people can relate to. Make it desirable to anyone who comes upon it.
  4. Be a good neighbor.Stay in touch with the people who showed interest in your office space. Apprise them of developments or let them know if you have other properties available.

    Promote the neighborhood your development is in and the way of life of the people who live there.

    In case vacancies arise, hire from within the immediate community if you are able.

Best Markets for Industrial Real Estate

If you’re thinking of investing in industrial real estate, check out the following markets as suggested to the National Real Estate Investors by Colliers International’s national director of the U.S. Industrial Group, Dwight Hotchkiss, to get an insight of where you’ll maximize earnings.

Seattle

If you’re living in Washington and you’re inclined to invest in industrial real estate, drop by Seattle, one of the fastest growing markets for industrial facilities. The vacancy rate in the Seattle/Puget Sound alone is impressive, at it has dropped 30 basis points in the first quarter of this year.

What D. Hotchkiss has to say: “Seattle has become a growing market that has seen greater interest in new development and investment from institutional clients.”

South Florida

There’s more to life than luxury condos and waterfront estates in South Florida. The industrial vacancy rate in this region is doing quite well. Take Miami, for example, with vacancy rates crashing down 30 basis points from the end of 2014 to the first quarter of this year. West Palm Beach, on the other hand, has a 5.9 percent vacancy rate.

What D. Hotchkiss has to say: “A number of notable investments have occurred in this region as a result of the explosion of business with LATAM.”

Northern California

San Francisco Peninsula’s vacancy rate will wow industrial real estate investors: it’s now only at 2.5 percent since it dropped 50 basis points in the last quarter of 2014. The same happened in San Jose, with a vacancy rate of 6.8 percent.

What D. Hotchkiss has to say: “The Central Valley, in particular, has become an area to watch… The region has seen a great increase in user interest and institutional investment.”

Chicago

Chi-town has always been a market to check out for institutional investments. Vacancy rate in the city averaged at 7.6 percent in the first quarter of this year, which represents a 10-basis point drop from the last quarter of 2014.

What D. Hotchkiss has to say: “Chicago continues to be a noteworthy market as it’s a key logistics center in the U.S. for trains coming from West Coast.”

For more information on the best markets for industrial real estate, log on to http://nreionline.com/industrial/8-best-markets-industrial-real-estate#slide-0-field_images-1785001.

Probate Junkies

Want to buy probates but don’t have time to go to court?

 

Check out ProbateJunkies.com.

How flexible work styles impact office design

Gone are the days of using traditional cubicles in the workplace – they’re boring, outdated, and don’t respond to the new way we work.

If companies want to bag the brightest hires, they’ll need to have a collaborative office space that can accommodate flexible work styles.

What’s tech got to do with it?

As the workforce has become increasingly mobile, time spent working at a desk has been greatly reduced.

Working on the move has become the norm now, thanks to smart phones, tablets, lighter laptops, and 24/7 connectivity.

As a result, more companies are transforming their offices into more efficient workspaces that feature flowing, open floor plans that allow employees to move around and collaborate with ease.

Some companies, on the other hand, have adopted new work arrangements such as desk sharing, flexible work hours, and telecommuting.

The new trend in office spaces

With the change in how people today work, office experts are ushering in a new era in office design.

Floor layouts and furniture design are being re-imagined to support a variety of work styles.

These changes adapt to an individual’s working style but also influence attitudes and cooperation among employees.

In a survey conducted by trusted firm Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) on 544 real estate firms, almost 70 % percent of respondents have seen an increased demand on workplace design that foster employee collaboration.

The best example of this is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who does not have an office but sits beside his employees with whom he shares a long desk.

Happier workers

“People are actually happier to work this way, they like the freedom,” says Elie Finegold, senior vice president of global innovation and business intelligence at CBRE Group.

“It’s like the years before offices, like farmers who worked at their own pace and quit when it was done, not at a time-clock, and it lets them be with their families more,” she added in an interview with National Real Estate Investor.

“Plus, every communication is more traceable, so you know the work is getting done.”

The effect of millennials

The emergence of millennials, or those born between 1980 and the mid-2000s, has also had a profound effect on office design.

According to Bernice Boucher, head of workplace strategy in the Americas for JLL, millennials demand work flexibility, and company managers are remodeling office environments to allow freedom of movement and access to the latest technology.

Bouchard also states that some companies like to think they’re competing against Google, a company that’s the holy grail of tech-immersed new talent. Managers hope that by adopting new workplace designs, they’ll also gain a reputation as a company job seekers should check out.

Awesome Home Loan Toolkit for First Time Home Buyers

If you know someone contemplating their first home purchase, tell them they’d be wise to check out this excellent resource put out by the CFPB: Your Home Loan Toolkit

Ted Cruz is Scary/Funny

Republican lawmakers are proposing to oversee the Fed. It sounds so preposterous I can’t even write it without smiling, but of course they’re serious. The Fed is made up of the brightest and arguably most important people in our government. I’d like to think Ted Cruz means well, but like his other ideas (getting rid of Fannie, Freddie, HUD and the CFPB), this would be a disaster.

DS News – Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz Demands More Transparency from the Fed

A useful guide to commercial real estate lingo

The world of real estate is full to overflowing with acronyms, jargon, and insider terms.

If you’re looking to test your knowledge or learn something new, we compiled a list of some of the most common terms used by commercial real estate brokers.

This guide is also best shared with interns, junior associates, or anyone new to the business of commercial real estate.

Investment Sales

LTV – “Loan to Value” is the ratio of mortgage loan to property value.

Operating Expenses – The total expenses incurred during a commercial property’s operation. These typically include property taxes and insurance, cost of utilities, and maintenance costs.

BOE – This stands for “Back of Envelope,” a time-saving method used by investors to analyze investment opportunities. The BOE concludes whether or not a possible real estate investment makes the cut, before more time is further spent analyzing the investment.

CAM – Or “Common Area Maintenance” refers to expenses that cover maintenance fees such as cleaning, landscaping, snow removal, and the like.

Trophy Building – The best type of investment property. Trophy buildings are first class in every respect from the architecture , location, technology, finishes, environmental sustainability, to other factors.

Development

FAR – “Floor Area Ratio” is the ratio between the total size of the property and the size of a structure or building that can be constructed within the property. This ratio is determined by officials from the local municipality according to zoning regulations in the neighborhood, district, town, or city.

Zoning – This is the term used for the laws regarding the legal use of land or real estate in an area. These laws determine which type of properties can be developed within certain areas, whether it’s a commercial, industrial, or residential property. Zoning laws also determine specific restrictions and guidelines such as height, required parking, and FAR (see above).

Leasing

Lessee – The lessee is the property’s tenant, or the party currently occupying a leased space and paying its rent.

Lessor – This is another term for landlord. This is the party that collects the rent and allows the lessee to occupy and use the leased space.

Sublease and Direct Lease – A direct lease is a negotiation between a tenant (or lessee) and a landlord (or lessor). A sublease on the other hand, is an arrangement between two tenants leasing the same space.

Sublessee and Sublessor – These are the two parties involved in a sublease. The tenant that has an active lease on a space is a sublessor, while the one leasing the space from the other is a sublessee. A sublessor can decide whether to lease out the entire area or one portion of the space.

Availability Rate – This is the quantity of office space that may be leased. This includes vacant space, space that is available within the next quarter, and available space for sublease.

Absorption – This is the amount of leasable square footage within a given period of time. Total absorption or gross absorption is the total amount of square footage that does not include the space vacated during the same period. Net absorption takes both figures into account, and can be calculated by subtracting the amount of occupied square footage during the start of a time period from the square footage occupied during the end of the same period.

Vacancy Rate – This is a percentage of all the available units in a city’s entire market, submarket, property, or portfolio within a given period of time.

Landlord Representative – Also known as an LL Rep is hired by landlords to stand in their stead during leasing transactions. Talented LL reps are able to negotiate for low vacancy rates and high rents, and often enjoy a consistent flow of repeat business from the many satisfied landlords they represent.

Tenant Representative – On the other hand, tenant reps are brokers hired by those seeking out store or office space, in single or multiple locations, including globally. Tenant reps ensure the client’s best interests are represented during negotiations. They can also be in charge of finding the space and location that perfectly suits a tenant’s needs.

Rentable Area – This is the total square footage a tenant pays for. This includes hallways, lobbies, and other common areas. The rentable area, however, does not include elevators and stairs.

Usable Area – This area is the leased space used by the tenant. This includes recessed entrances, columns, and other necessary fixtures, even though tenants cannot physically make use of these.

Assignable or Carpetable Area – This is the actual area that may be physically used by a tenant, the total space that does not include columns or other similar obstructions. It’s space you can actually place a carpet on, hence the term “carpetable.”

Loss Factor – The percentage of a Rentable Area that a tenant cannot make use of.

Load Factor or Add-on Factor –A percentage that indicates how much larger a Rentable Area is compared to the Usable Area.

Lease Types

Full Service or Gross Lease – With this, a landlord usually covers all operating expenses, though there are certain cases wherein tenants are responsible for covering a partial amount of annual increases in operating expenses.

Modified Gross Lease – A Modified Gross Lease means a tenant covers a portion of operating expenses along with the base rent. This amount typically includes utility bills and maintenance or janitorial services.

Triple Net or NNN Lease – This type of lease means a tenant is responsible for three kinds of operating expenses: property tax, insurance, and maintenance. Landlords with this type of lease collect a net amount, since they are free from paying for operating expenses.

Double Net or NN Lease – This is the same as the Triple Net Lease, except landlords are responsible for covering maintenance expenses.

Commercial Real Estate FAQ

Not a real estate expert?

No worries.

For the majority who wish to know more about the ins and outs of commercial properties, here are the answers to some of your FAQs.

1. What counts as a commercial property?

In the simplest sense, commercial properties are for-profit sites. Typical commercial properties are office buildings, retail shops, multifamily housing, and warehouses. Hotels, sports facilities, and hospitals are also counted as commercial properties. Like any business, the cash flow of commercial properties depends mostly on timing, market conditions, and current tenants.

2. How is dealing with a home different with a commercial space?

There are many similarities between commercial and residential deals. However, commercial real estate entails more risks. Buyers, sellers, and renters of commercial spaces are more susceptible to issues regarding titles and liens. There are also zoning problems that may eventually arise.

3. What are the possible risks when it comes to selling commercial real estate?

All investments come with unpredictable circumstances. As much as we would like to anticipate all contingencies, there are certain things we can’t really control. When it comes to commercial spaces, however, it pays to pay attention to the following issues:

      • Inconsistency of real estate market
      • Land use and zoning problems
      • Errors in titles
      • Lender or debt services complications

Not everyone involved in commercial real estate experiences these drawbacks but one must always be ready for sticky situations.

4. Is a real estate broker or lawyer really necessary when it comes to commercial real estate transactions?

A broker’s job is to negotiate and arrange deals for clients – but not provide legal advice to buyer or seller. Hiring both a broker and a lawyer to help you deal with the complications of handling and negotiating real estate steers you clear of possible misunderstandings or legal entanglements.

5 ways to outfit a commercial property for selling

Just like selling a home, doing your homework before releasing a piece of commercial property out into the crowded world of listings increases your chances of successfully negotiating a sale.

Here are a few handy tips that can help you attract the right buyers:

1. Get in touch with a specialist

Involving a third party who specializes in the property type you’re attempting to sell is a very smart move. Chances are, someone who’s experienced has already successfully completed similar transactions, giving your commercial property an instant advantage on the market.

2. Repair strategically

With commercial properties, it’s okay to leave a few minor things unrepaired – but it’s very important to be honest when asked about the property’s maintenance status. Open communication is key – sellers should be able to understand the value of the property but at the same time be upfront about issues like repairs or upgrades. Transparency will ensure a smooth, problem-free transaction, and avoid future misunderstandings.

3. Enhance its appeal

You’ll never know what a commercial property will be used for so your efforts at cosmetic enhancements may prove meaningless to a prospective buyer. The better option is to ensure that the property is thoroughly cleaned.

4. Make sure the roof is in excellent condition

A well-maintained roof puts the seller in a positive light. It shows that a seller cares about the property enough to ensure it’s always in great condition. Just a single leak or minimal visible damage on a roof is enough to lower a potential buyer’s interest.

5. Always have paperwork and documentation ready

A seller must know how much a piece of commercial property makes, and have the necessary documents to prove it. Showing a prospective buyer that you’ve gathered all the important papers ahead of time speaks of your professionalism and puts buyers at ease.

Challenges and benefits of mixed-use buildings

Mixed-use facilities are now commonplace in the commercial real estate market.

A development can be called “mixed use” when it has three or more revenue-generating uses, which can include retail, residential, office, and entertainment, among others.

All the functional parts should also be closely integrated by way of uninterrupted walkable connections.

The upside

Like everything else, however, mixed-use development is not without its own set of advantages and disadvantages.

“A mixed-use center is, in my opinion, a lot more appealing to the marketplace. It’s got that 24/7 feel, where you can walk from your residence and get on the street, and you can go shopping and go to the bar or the restaurant, and you don’t have to get in your car. It’s got a lot more curb appeal.” – Sean Davis, principal at Morris & Ritchie Associates

1. Mixed-use properties are efficient because, as Sean Davis mentioned in the quote above, you can have access to a lot of services in just one setting – so it’s one way to conserve or maximize land resources. Similarly, a mixed-used development presents opportunities for building and energy efficiency , making them friendly to the environment.

2. Reduced long-term maintenance costs are another advantage because of the proximity of uses, including many which are stacked vertically.

3. Uses will evolve thanks to builders and property owners who are coming up with more new ways to utilize the facilities.

The downside

Preventing mixed-use developments from being the perfect residential set up are the following issues:

1. Lack of parking space is a dilemma often encountered by occupants and visitors of a mixed-use facility. From implementation of parking policies to working out the relationship between different spaces and their uses, parking can create quite a headache. Oh, and did we mention that the traffic can get heavy? Yikes.

2. Noise transfer from commercial to residential areas seems like the tradeoff to convenience. It can be problematic especially if a residential unit is located close to a restaurant or a nighttime bar. Ditto for related irritants like cooking smells, cigarette smoke, and visible trash from the commercial component of the development. But like any other problem, there are solutions to these problems.

In the end, however, mixed-use properties show great potential when done right. They are sustainable, efficient, and can enliven any neighborhood.

How to sell commercial property quickly

Selling commercial property is very different from selling homes.

Even if you’re an experienced seller of residential real estate, you’ll quickly discover a new set of challenges that comes with selling commercial properties.

How so?

What to consider when selling commercial property

One of the main differences between selling a house and commercial real estate is the way in which the property is valued.

The income a commercial property generates has a lot to do with how much it’s going to sell for – a consideration absent when it comes to determining the value of a home.

However, potential buyers won’t just take your word for it. You need to show proof of the commercial property’s actual incomes.

Commercial properties also have:

  • Significantly higher appraisal expenses
  • Extra requirements such as environmental reports
  • A different method of financing
  • A different buying audience

Take a moment to think through your selling strategy as well. Will streamlining the process convince buyers that a piece of commercial property is worth pursuing?
A solid strategy increases the chances of selling a commercial property quickly

Handy tips

1. Collate all documents
The majority of buyers these days are extra cautious when it comes to investments. Gathering all the necessary paperwork and documentation demonstrate your conscientiousness as a seller. The documents you have on hand are concrete evidence of the property’s earning potential.

2. Do a bit of clean up
Get to the nooks and crannies of the commercial space to make sure everything’s clean, organized, and in good working condition. Remember not to go overboard and spend too much on renovations – a little landscaping and pressure cleaning should do the trick.

3. Offer a portion of an existing business
If you’re selling a business along with a piece of property, it’s a good idea to offer buyers a portion of the business as part of the deal. You can offer to stick around and continue to manage the business in order to initiate a smoother transition.

How do commercial real estate brokers market their listings?

Selling a commercial space can involve more tedious work compared to marketing residential properties. However, the most successful brokers take it upon themselves to promote their listings as fervidly as possible.

There are many ways to advertise a commercial property. For example, one of the easiest ways to communicate with interested buyers is through the Internet. Anyone who isn’t on the web yet is missing out on so many opportunities every minute.

So, how does a broker effectively market commercial properties online exactly?

Your website is your showroom

In the world of commercial real estate, newspapers and other print media are still the leading source of information for buyers on the lookout for property.

However, according to the report Real Estate Marketing in the Digital Age published just this September, 94 % of millennials and 84 % of baby boomers use real estate websites to look for homes.

So the first step to improving a commercial listing’s presence is to have a website. Once real estate brokers engage in online marketing, they’re already a step ahead of the pack.

A real estate website should not only be informative but also interactive. A commercial property website should include:

  • Information on the real estate broker
  • Detailed information on the properties for sale (type of property, location, size, price, and so on)
  • A “Contact Us” page that makes it tremendously easy for online users to inquire about your properties, including your telephone numbers, a chat or direct messaging facility, your email address, and the street address of your office

While inquiries may not always result in a sale, it’s always nice to interact with prospective clients, who may choose in the future to buy from you.

Real estate brokers can also use newsletters to share updates. These can be sent out by email with the frequency you prefer, including every week, every two weeks, monthly, and so on.

The website also needs to be optimized through keyword usage, quality content, enhanced URLs, and a responsive design. Optimizing your website improves the site’s search rank, traffic, and conversions. The idea is to ensure that your website appears on top of the search results page when people Google for properties that fit the criteria of your real estate.

Social media engages customers

Social media is a great way to reinforce your online presence and engage customers, potential buyers, and business partners.

Millennials and Generation Xers depend not just on the Internet as a resource, but also on social media for answers to anything—including their real estate questions because they trust the opinion of their peers in their social media circles.

Determine which social accounts you’d like to maintain. The list is growing: Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, and so on.

Then ensure that you always have fresh content—updates on Facebook, eye-catching photos on Instagram – to keep people interested. Using social media ups the chances of having your listings noticed.

Commercial real estate is hopping into online marketing; it’s definitely not a fad and it isn’t going away, so don’t get left behind.

Commercial real estate yields bigger profits

It’s a simple truth that cash flow is generally greater with commercial real estate and the yield is higher per square foot than in residential.

And experts say that now is a good time to invest in such properties.

Here are the top picks of commercial real estate types to invest in, according to a survey conducted by the real estate research firm Situs RERC.

INVEST IN: Industrial warehouses

With an investment condition rating of 7.6, industrial warehouses are entering a golden age in investment, thanks to the rebirth of manufacturing as well as the growth of e-commerce in the United States.

INVEST IN: Office buildings

When we say “invest in office buildings,” we mean invest in office buildings located in central business districts (CBDs) –real estate in these locations has an investment conditions rating of 6.6, according to Situs RERC. National Real Estate Investors adds that office buildings in CBDs currently show robust growth in prices than any other property type. The time is ripe!

INVEST IN: Neighborhood retail

Neighborhood shopping centers, regardless of the current state of the country’s economy, are still in demand because they continue to fulfill the immediate needs of the communities around them. Whether it’s a mixed-use building or a standalone structure, neighborhood retail has earned an investment conditions rating of 6.6.

INVEST IN: Student housing

The reason for the investment conditions rating of 6.5 for student housing is simple – demographics. Student populations are not to be dismissed, and investors are taking note. . You should, too. If you need further convincing about putting your money in student housing, check out this article.

INVEST IN: Hotels

The hospitality sector may have been badly hit in the last economic downturn, but hotels are taking advantage of this grace period to renovate and innovate, in time with the US market’s slow but steady return to shape. Their investment conditions rating? A nice 6.4, according to Situs RERC.

More housing construction means more demand for warehouses

It’s common sense: the more houses are ordered for construction, the greater the demand for building materials.

But while the manufacturer of these materials is fixed in one place, construction sites are all over the place.

Thus, there has been a growing need for warehouses all over the US.

More building permits

Warehouses cut the physical distance between demand and supply while keeping the materials safe from to the elements.

Whether a sign of sustained recovery in the housing sector or short-term fad, one thing is clear – the projected demand for light industrial space is supported by the 25.4% increase in building permits issued in May of this year.

Aside from new residential developments, home sales in general have also seen a significant and steady increase since April 2015.

Confidence in the industrial sector

This boost in sales has also inspired confidence in the industrial sector, where investors are being encouraged to look into the warehousing market.

Industrial property experts also expect furniture stores and home products retail chains to make a comeback – which, in turn, engenders a knock-on effect for more industrial materials that need to be warehoused.

These companies are yearning to recover from the losses incurred by e-commerce, which dethroned these businesses overnight by removing the “middleman warehouse” from the equation.

Investing in warehouses

With more housing developments sprouting all over the country, Home Depot and similar businesses—big and small—have rejoined the fray and will need more space to store the mountains of products they need to move faster and nearer the customer.

What experienced investors need now is the right location to set up their light industrial spaces. Once word gets out and new players decide to invest on this market, it would be harder to penetrate.

A word of caution: remember to keep very close tabs on developments in the industrial sector and its sub-markets before jumping in.

Need to know source warehouse locations in LA? Give Nordine Commercial a call at 310-379-8800.

Why a listing agent is a must

While some homeowners do well selling their property without an agent, most actually fail.

As much as we’d like to rely on ourselves to perform tasks not rated ”rocket science” by our peers, there really are challenges only field experts tackle to desired outcomes, at prescribed times, and cost.

In real estate, these experts are known as listing agents.

Real estate knowledge

When choosing a listing agent, check their track record. Have they sold a considerable number of properties? Have they been certified by reputable real estate organizations?

Listing agents have been trained to build their network and, as important, be intimately familiar with everything that influences real estate as a community and the trends it follows as an industry.

With that knowledge, a seasoned listing agent can give you the best piece of advice regarding the sale of your property, be it residential or commercial.

Promotion and pricing experts

You’ll be the first to know, for instance, if your commercial space needs certain improvements or what steps to take to add value to your property.

Without the specialist’s eye for detail, you might miss a step or two and end up mispricing your property.

Also, listing agents are constantly on the lookout for bogus inquirers. After they weed those out, you’re ready to meet the serious buyers or renters only.

Wide network

Listing agents are hands on when it comes to giving advice to their clients.

Most specialize on an area, e.g., Los Angeles County, but will connect you to the best people with the same level of service excellence for all your needs outside the areas they cover.

Have a commercial property in LA you want listed? Make your life a whole lot easier by contacting a listing agent.

When you call an expert like Leo Nordine, you can be sure he’ll list your property in no time and make sure it’s priced correctly and peddled to the right kind of buyers.

2015 Q2 Commercial Real Estate Market Survey

In line with their mission to distribute comprehensive data to their members, strategists, media, and the consumers, the National Association of REALTORS® has released the results of a market survey covering the second quarterof 2015.

According to NAR president Chris Polychron and the association’s officers, the statistics gathered have been duly qualified, with the following results:

Sales

  • 60% of commercial REALTORS® closed a sale
  • 9% rise on sales volume from the Second Quarter of 2014
  • 7% increase on year-over-year sales prices, compared to the previous quarter’s 4% gain
  • Sales transaction values continue to rise, reaching $2 million from last quarter’s $1.7 million.

Investments

  • Investment sales for commercial real estate picked-up with a 6.4% quarterly increase and 9.1% hike from the second quarter of 2014.
  • The current market value of apartments sank its cap rate to 6.8%, lowest among all property types. Retail transactions have the highest comparative capitalization rate of 8%. Office and industrial spaces come close at 7.7% and 7.5% respectively. Hotels follow at 7.4%.
  • The general direction of business opportunities are looking at a positive 6.4% rise. The NAR predicts favorable circumstances in the Industrial, Retail, Construction, and Apartments/Multifamily areas.

Leases

  • 54% of commercial REALTORS® completed a lease transaction
  • 60% of the commercial market are still under 36-month to 60-month lease terms
  • An average gross lease volume of $629,000 was estimated during this quarter
  • On average, 84% of leased properties are 5,000 square-feet and below in size, same as last quarter’s

Others

  • The increase in employment opportunities caused no wage improvements, weakening confidence in the market
  • Delays in the building departments result in a lack of stability, which causes prices to go up
  • Some small towns are seeing plenty of startups and franchises

To find out about available commercial properties in Los Angeles, contact Leo Nordine at 310-379-880.

Goldilocks Housing Market

I’ve never seen a market like this: lukewarm demand, near-record low inventory, near-record low interest rates, 5% annual appreciation. This could be sustainable for years. If you own real estate you are smiling right now. If you don’t you should, somewhere, whatever you can afford.

Interest Rates Aren’t Going Anywhere

The Fed has been hoping to raise the Federal Funds rate for 2 years now, but the economy is still too weak. And when they do finally raise it mortgage rates will barely move. Because mortgage interest rates are more tied to inflation, which remains very low, rates will be great until the economy REALLY picks up. Which means, if you’re on the fence about buying, I’d do it now.

Commercial real estate trends to look out for

2015 is an exciting time for those involved in commercial real estate because everyone seems to be stepping up in a big way – from real estate firms to landlords, and marketing agencies to tech providers.

Everything seems to be evolving at a rapid pace, and there are all sorts of new creative tools, strategies, and methods just waiting to be harnessed.

Here are some of the top trends in commercial real estate that are slowly but surely changing the game in a big way:

1. Social media as an effective delivery tool

With a seemingly endless stream of new insights and content, social media is proving to be an effective delivery tool for a growing number of marketing teams.

As more millennials involve themselves in real estate, they are showing how everything is becoming increasingly interconnected. With platforms such as LinkedIn being used as resources for colleagues, potential partners and jobs, creating solutions and tackling challenges have become easier.

2. Crowdfunding to raise equity or capital

With the rise of online crowdfunding platforms, consumers have more direct control over their investments. This means investors gain access to better, more relevant information, and the average investor will want to reap the benefits available with private equity real estate.

3. Commercial real estate photography to help you stand out

Thanks to the rising popularity of aerial drones, commercial properties can now be seen and photographed from a host of angles – including views from structures that aren’t built yet but are now possible. This allows commercial real estate marketers to stand out a little better in overcrowded listing sites.

4. Improving technology provides marketers more tools

Technology has given marketers more tools that can help them promote commercial real estate. Everything from advances in 3D software, new listing and data platforms, online space planning tools, and crowdfunding websites have contributed to a more competitive market.

Though many of the new high-tech tools might fail, those that cause a significant impact on the market are bound to drastically change the industry.

The commercial property appraisal process

There are three available means for appraising commercial real estate:

1. The cost approach
2. The sales comparison approach
3. The income capitalization approach

Each approach has distinct advantages, depending on each situation as well as property type.

Let’s take a look at each of the three different approaches:

The cost approach

The cost approach assumes that a property’s value is equal to the cost required to construct the property, or replacement cost. This appraisal method is not commonly used, and requires a comprehensive knowledge of construction and material costs.

The cost approach usually involves four steps:

1. Estimation of a land’s value
2. Estimation of replacement cost, entrepreneur’s profit, and other development costs
3. Estimation of contributory value of improvements excluding all forms of depreciation
4. The addition of land value to the value of improvements in order to estimate market value

The sales comparison/market approach

This method is comparable to the approach used to value residential real estate.

It involves taking a look at recently sold similar properties that belong to the same market area and have the same characteristics.

Once these are identified, they are then compared to the current property in question, and a professional appraiser will than deduct or increase value accordingly. This is usually required for investors looking for conventional financing.

The income capitalization approach

This approach takes into account a property’s current market value along with its potential cash flow.

Many investors seeking a streamlined valuation method use this in order to compare a property’s value and its expected income to other similar properties.

This approach involves analyzing a property’s ability to generate an adequate net annual return on invested capital in order to estimate its value as an asset. Another factor taken into account during this approach is whether there’s a negative relationship between the market value and potential risks with regards to reaching its expected cash flow.

Watts Happening

Watts happening! $35 million Frank Gehry masterpiece to be built in the heart of Watts (1 block from our office :))



(photo: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

by Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times

You could say Chuck Norris had a hand in bringing a Frank Gehry building to Watts.

Back in the late 1960s — Gehry can’t be entirely sure of the year — the architect, then in the vicinity of 40, decided to take up karate as a way of getting in shape. He ended up at Norris’ West L.A. dojo, where on the first day the future action star lined up his students (Gehry and a roomful of teenagers) and proceeded to do spin kicks within millimeters of each of their noses.

“We were standing there in the little white suits,” recalls Gehry, seated in a photo-lined conference room at his Playa Vista architectural office. “And he never missed. I got fascinated with the precision of how that worked.”

“Fascinated” would be an understatement. Gehry became so obsessed with the art of battle, he began private lessons with a professional boxing coach in Watts. He can’t remember the man’s name. “That was 46 years ago,” he explains. But he remembers the improvised gym in a small garage off Central Avenue and how his coach taught him how to spar and occasionally sent him home with a limp.

It wasn’t Gehry’s first time in Watts. But through his weekly boxing lessons, Gehry soaked up the neighborhood’s landscape of modest bungalows, Art Deco storefronts and barracks housing projects hurriedly erected during World War II — not to mention the empty lots left behind by the Watts uprising of 1965, which he had watched unfold live on television.

Almost half a century later, Gehry is once again traveling to Watts on a regular basis, but not because he’s perfecting his left hook.

On Saturday morning, he will unveil his firm’s pro-bono design for the new campus of Children’s Institute Inc., an L.A.-based social services organization that provides development and clinical services to children and families dealing with poverty and violence. The estimated $35-million project will occupy the better part of a city block at 102nd Street and Compton Avenue, replacing a converted hospital building from the 1960s.

Officials Marion Dave, left, Nicole Ward, Dr. Jacqueline Atkins, LeHenry Solomon and Nina Revoyr sit in the lobby of the Children’s Institute in Watts.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

“It’s simple, it’s direct, it has a nice humanity about it,” Gehry says of the design, which consists of boxy, two-story forms united by shining metal roofs at Gehry-esque angles.

The new campus will bring much-needed play areas and therapy rooms designed for children and adolescents, as well as art-making and community gathering spaces. But CII’s leaders also hope it will introduce a positive cultural symbol into a neighborhood that, despite a few bright spots, still contends with serious poverty and crime issues. Median household income in Watts is little more than $25,000 per year, near the bottom among Los Angeles neighborhoods, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. And in the last six months, Watts has been the site of 274 violent crimes, including two homicides, per L.A. Police Department data. (As a point of comparison, L.A.’s Fairfax District had 61 violent crimes with no homicides during the same period, and has a median household income more than 2 1/2 times that of Watts.)

“Sometimes there’s this sense of why is Frank Gehry doing a building in Watts,” says Nina Revoyr, CII’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “Low-income communities need magic and beauty just as much as wealthy ones — perhaps even more so. Why do we even need to ask?”

Jacqueline Atkins grew up in Watts in the ’70s and ’80s, when the neighborhood began to contend with the toxic effects of the crack epidemic. A licensed clinical psychologist, she has worked at CII’s Watts office and now serves as the organization’s regional vice president of programs.

“Having something like Gehry’s building, seeing something so beautiful … that can really give you a sense of yourself,” she says. “My family doesn’t live here anymore, but they’re overwhelmed by the idea of a structure of this magnitude coming to Watts.”

For the Pritzker Prize-winning architect behind the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao and Disney Hall, the project is part of a renewed focus on Los Angeles. Gehry is currently at work on a massive mixed-used commercial project on the Sunset Strip and a pro-bono hydrology study of the Los Angeles River.

“I don’t have to fly around so much,” he says of the L.A. projects. “Plus, I’m in a place in my life where I can do this. I love doing it. My people love doing it.”

The Watts campus and the L.A. River study aren’t Gehry’s first charitable projects. The architect created designs for the Jazz Bakery in Culver City and a house in New Orleans for the Make It Right Foundation. He also helped establish Turnaround Arts: California, a not-for-profit that helps provide arts education to high-poverty, low-performing schools. As part of the project, he has traveled to Hoopa Indian territory in Northern California to meet with kids at a local elementary school.

“I think he would be profoundly upset if he died and were remembered as an architect of rich people’s houses and fancy buildings,” says Paul Goldberger, author of the new biography “Building Art: The Life and Work of Frank Gehry.” “His whole life he has cared for the well-being of society. He’s never been conservative politically. And he really believes that an architect’s skills should go at least in part toward making the world better.”

At a time when he can cherry-pick his projects, Gehry has chosen Watts. And in CII he has found an interesting client.

Founded in 1906 by a female probation officer, the organization began life in Los Angeles as the Big Sister League to help young women in crisis (namely, those who were unmarried and pregnant).

Today, Children’s Institute Inc. offers a range of services for children and families dealing with domestic abuse, gang violence and poverty in locations across L.A. There are support groups, technology labs, art classes and mental health and counseling services, such as Project Fatherhood, launched two decades ago, to keep men involved in their children’s lives in constructive ways. CII also operates a number of Head Start programs around Central and South Los Angeles.

In the design of its existing spaces, CII has been very conscientious about creating environments that do not feel institutional. The group’s headquarters, at the corner of Temple and Alvarado streets in Westlake, are housed in a converted vending-machine warehouse whose entrance is framed by fragrant citrus trees and rosemary bushes. The bright, loft-like interiors feel more like a graphic design office than clinical center. (The award-winning renovation was done by the Santa Monica-based firm Koning Eizenberg Architecture.)

“The idea is to take away the stigma of mental health services,” says Marion Dave, the regional vice president who oversees the Watts location. “The idea is people don’t know if you’re coming in for an art class or mental health services.”

The current CII center in Watts is in a refurbished portion of a half-century-old hospital that wasn’t designed to be, well … hospitable. A pair of low-slung rectangular buildings have, as their spine, uninspiring linoleum-lined hallways illuminated by neon lighting. In one un-renovated portion, a sign helpfully points to an “STD Waiting Room.”

More significantly, while the organization has done a good job sprucing up one 6,000-square-foot wing with bright paint and a colorfully furnished waiting room, the building’s layout doesn’t work for all the activities CII offers.

“What you don’t see here,” Revoyr says, “is a space for kids. Something with a dedicated art room, a play area, kid-friendly therapy rooms — things that will make them feel like this is their space.”

When CII’s leaders began to discuss the possibility of construction, the furthest thing from their minds was commissioning the services of a high-profile architect.

“When we first imagined this, we imagined four walls and a coat of paint,” exclaims Dave. “We never imagined Frank Gehry!”

But board member Gelila Assefa Puck, a fashion designer who is married to chef Wolfgang Puck, knew Gehry and decided to lay out a call on behalf of the organization. Gehry responded immediately.

“I said, ‘Of course we’ll do this,’ ” he recalls. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Gehry himself comes from a humble, working-class family. (“My father was a Hell’s Kitchen kid,” he says, referring to the Manhattan district that teemed with gangs in the early 20th century.) And the opportunity to work in Watts proved beguiling for historical reasons. For one, Gehry has always been intrigued by the Watts Towers; he met their creator, Simon Rodia, while Rodia was in the process of finishing them. “He was an artist,” says Gehry. “Very quiet. And very anxious to have these things last.”

He was also intrigued by the building’s location. “This was right in the middle of where the riots were,” he explains. The current CII site, in fact, abuts the stretch of 103rd Street once known as “Charcoal Alley,” since every building on the strip had been incinerated during the 1965 uprising.

The new design — overseen by Gehry but spearheaded by two of the firm’s younger architects, Sam Gehry (the architect’s son) and Precious Aiyeloja — will provide CII with 50,000 square feet of flexible space. And the architects managed to tuck most of the parking underneath the building, so that the entrance isn’t blocked off from the sidewalk by an ocean of parking.

“You can come right into a plaza that’s covered in glass,” says Gehry. “And along the edges there are these gardens, so it feels very welcoming. … The scale is quite nice. It fits into the neighborhood.”

Atkins says she was blown away by the renderings when she first saw them. “It’s so beautiful,” she says. “I really see something about instilling hope. The idea that things will get better if I invest in myself.”

(A model of the CII design will be on view at the L.A. County Museum of Art retrospective of Gehry’s work, which opens Sunday.)

Revoyr’s development team has identified about half of the money necessary to cover the building’s costs. She hopes to complete fundraising in time to break ground in 2018. Also on board for that phase is Inglewood architecture office (fer) studio, which is helping oversee construction.

Gehry knows that a single building won’t halt the neighborhood’s cycles of poverty and violence. “But I believe in the tooth fairy,” he says. “I think if you do something that has an invitation and a scale and a nice feel to it, that’ll engender some kind of respect.”

Plus, he’s always happy to pay his old boxing hangout a visit. This time, without having to worry about getting a cracked rib. – Los Angeles Times

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Lauren S. – Los Angeles, CA

Before calling Leo to sell our property we had another agent showing the property for 3 months! After a few months of frustration we reached out to Nordine Realtors and he almost IMMEDIATELY found us a buyer and we closed with a great price in 45 Days!!! Leo is very professional, knowledgeable and we highly recommend him and his team!

Kluh R. – Los Angeles, CA

Nordine Realtors has bought and sold numerous houses for us since 2007. He is not only the smartest realtor I know, he also has the most integrity. His team is highly efficient and dependable.  Leo has one of the best overall understandings of price and market conditions of Los Angeles County. That said, he has sold houses for us everywhere from Calabasas to Palm Springs. He’s the only realtor I would refer a friend or business associate to without reservation.

Sean D. – Corona, CA

A friend of mine told me about Leo Nordine, We listed a property for sale in Gardena with them. It was sold and the result was good, so we listed another one with them which is in process of selling. I told a friend of mine about Leo, he met with him and he listed his property for sale with him. Make it short they are the realtors that you can trust.

Perry C. – Mid-City West, Los Angeles, CA

Top notch agent for getting highest value for sellers. Also has many REO deals. Has sold many properties for me and would highly recommend.

Matt R. – Oak Park, CA

I have known Leo Nordine since the early 2000s, and he has sold more than a dozen properties for me.  Leo is extremely intelligent, works harder than anybody, is easy to reach, and has more knowledge of the market and selling than I anyone I have come across in my 15 years as a full time property buyer. I would give Leo and his team at Nordine Realtors my highest recommendation, and I often do recommend them to colleagues.

Susan B. – Redondo Beach, CA

Nordine Realtors recently handled the sale of our one home and the purchase of another.  In both circumstances, Leo Nordine was an exemplary businessman and our professional advocate.  We were told that Leo was honest and forthright and that was exactly the experience we had with him   His office staff was consistently efficient and immediately responsive to our endless questions and inquiries.  We strongly recommend Nordine Realtors to anyone who is purchasing or selling a house.

User0995994 (Zillow)

If you need to sell your home or commercial realty, you don’t need to look any further. I have worked with a number of realtors in the past and I will never list a property with another realtor after being represented by Leo Nordine. He proved to be by far the most efficient, honest, hard working and knowledgeable realtor I know. He sold my building for more money, in less time and for a very reasonable commission. (more…)

Lusine Hayrapetyan (Zillow)

Leo Nordine is a First Class Real Estate Broker. He understands the market place and knows what it takes to sell your property. He is professional, patient, and his attention to detail will surely protect you. Without hesitation, we recommend Leo Nordine. He is an individual you want on your TEAM.

Cf35 (Zillow)

I have sold 100’s of properties and Leo is among the best in the business!!! His team is amazing and I promise you won’t be disappointed. They make selling property easy!

Neil429 (Zillow)

I have used Nordine Realtors including Leo himself as well as his agents and staff for over 15 years. I stuck with them only because they consistently deliver full and professional service. They have a well staffed office that is always available, they know the market and stay up with changes, and they take care of all the things my transactions need even those beyond the normal scope of the Realtor.

Jinhun131 (Zillow)

If you need to sell quickly, Leo is your broker, he knows his real estate. I tried to sell it myself with little success but Leo was able to close escrow in one month, the property received multiple offers, I accepted an all cash offer and ended up selling below the listing price but was still very satisfied with the quick escrow and would utilize his service again.

Tyler064 (Zillow)

We had a property that wasn’t the easiest to sell, and Leo and his associates came through to find a buyer and navigate the complexities of this transaction.

zuser20140614092348539 (Zillow)

I have worked with Leo for more than 10 years, He has sold for me more than 15 properties. He knows the market, knows the buyers and sellers. He follows instructions and gets the job done. I always feel that he is looking out for my best interest. I plan on using him for the next 10 years.

Jaerok22 (Zillow)

Listed the home with Leo and it sold quick… The home needed a lot of work so it required a certain class of buyer… Leo solved that problem rapidly… The prop was previously in escrow with another broker but he could not resolve a title problem… Leo took over and resolved the problem…

Shahcoinc (Zillow)

We have been working with Leo and his crew for years now and are beyond happy with them. They are extremely knowledgeable, dedicated and get the job done right every time. He and his crew work diligently to make sure the best attention is given to all listings and many times go above and beyond to make sure the client is happy. Recommend these guys greatly.

Blanca Hoskins

“ He has guided us through the process, and has provided us offers in short periods of time. His knowledge of the current market has been great asset to us. His professionalism of himself along with his staff has made it a pleasure to work with him.”

Kluh R.

“Nordine Realtors has bought and sold numerous houses for us since 2007. He is not only the smartest realtor I know, he also has the most integrity. His team is highly efficient and dependable.  Leo has one of the best overall understandings of price and market conditions of Los Angeles County. That said, he has sold houses for us everywhere from Calabasas to Palm Springs.  He’s the only realtor I would refer a friend or business associate to without reservation.”

Lauren S.

“Before calling Leo to sell our property we had another agent showing the property for 3Mo! After a few months of frustration we reached out to Nordine Realtors and he almost IMMEDIATELY found us a buyer and we closed with a great price in 45 Days!!! Leo is Very professional, nowledgeable and we highly recommend him and his team!”

Perry C.

“Top notch agent for getting highest value for sellers. also has many REO deals. has sold many properties for me and would highly recommend..”