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Los Angeles Real Estate Law Blog

Residents of high-rise question their safety as it tilts

Here's something you don't think about every day: An apartment complex tipping over. One woman living on a 57th floor apartment noticed that the Millennium Tower wasn't standing as straight as it should have been. In fact, she was putting in her room when she realized that the ball always rolled into the same corner. That was only the first sign that something was wrong.

The tower was completed only seven years ago and has sunk as far as 16 inches into the soft soil that is below the San Francisco Financial District. At the base, the building is only tilting slightly at around two inches. However, at the top, the lean is more pronounced, to the point that residents have begun to question their safety.

Luxury residential real estate hot in Wine Country, other areas

In California, areas near wineries appear to be hot for real estate. Luxury residential real estate in the state's Wine Country particularly is drawing attention for high home values. The values of these homes have increased by double digits since 2015.

The median home value in the United States has increased by 5.5 percent since last September, now resting at $189,400. In Wine Country, however, the median home value can be as high as $1.45 million. The whole state of California actually has some of the priciest luxury properties in the United States.

What's the difference between a real estate agent, realtor and broker?

Even though most people are part of a real estate transaction at some point in their lives, few know the difference between a real estate agent, a realtor and a real estate broker. Some use the titles interchangeably, but this is not accurate. Each title has a specific meaning and unique responsibilities under the law.

Real estate agent

Most real estate professionals fall under the agent category. A real estate agent is a professional who holds a real estate license in the state. Individuals must take classes and pass a test in order to hold a real estate license.

A real estate salesperson is another name for a real estate agent.

Residential real estate buyers and sellers may benefit from app

People in California may benefit from a new application launched by a real estate guru in the state's Bay Area. The company that has produced the app, called Reali, says that it is designed to help people to buy and sell residential real estate without the need for real estate agents. Instead, they complete their transactions through the app.

The motivation for the app was that many purchases in California end up being frustrating bidding wars that rely heavily on real estate agents. The goal of the app is to make the negotiation process much simpler. Right now, typically the buyer's agent has to negotiate with the seller's agent, who needs to speak to the seller, and often the message becomes broken. In these situations, it is hard to pinpoint at which point the message became skewed.

Luxury residential real estate market strong in California

The state of California is currently dominating the luxury real estate market in the United States. On a recent index of luxury residential real estate properties, seven of the listed top 10 counties are in the Golden State. Of these seven counties, four are in the San Francisco market, while the others are San Mateo, Marin and Santa Clara.

Prices in San Francisco and San Mateo, in particular, have increased by 6.8 percent and 9 percent, respectively, when compared to the first half of 2016. Meanwhile, residential prices went down a little more than 7 percent in Marin, and stayed flat in Santa Clara. The price bracket of $3 million to $5 million is current driving the market.

Residential real estate markets expected to thrive inland

According to the California Association of Realtors, 2017 will be a positive year for the inland markets in the state. Inland residential real estate markets are expected to thrive because homes along the state's coast are becoming less affordable. The number of houses sold is expected to increase between 2016 and 2017.

The Central Valley and Inland Empire, which are relatively affordable, should see more activity. Parts of the reason for this are job creation and low interest rates. In addition, mortgages that only require low down payments are available, thus increasing people's chances of being able to buy homes, particularly first-time homebuyers.

Use of drones increases in residential real estate market

One aspect of the real estate world that is growing in popularity in the state of California is the use of drones. Drones are not being used just for luxury residential real estate, either. Drone operators are increasingly being hired to help home owners to market and sell their homes more effectively.

Drones are in high demand because certain still photos and aerial videos cannot be captured any other way. The benefit of drones is that home hunters are able to see a home's surroundings. Real estate agents have been producing marketing videos using drones for the past three years at least, but the commercial use of drones has technically been illegal until now. Thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration's, or FAA's, new rules issued in late August, drones are now available for greater use in real estate.

How the business litigation process works

Nearly all business owners face disputes at one point or another. The disputes may involve breach of contract allegations, disagreements with business partners, problems with vendors or suppliers, or issues with employees, to name a few.

In some cases, litigation is necessary to settle the matter. When most business owners hear the word litigation, they tense up and picture an expensive courtroom battle. However, the vast majority of business-related lawsuits settle before ever reaching trial.

Here are some other important things to know about the litigation process:

Your lawyer might start with a cease and desist letter.

If another business or a former employee is engaging in behavior that is hurting your business, your lawyer might start with a letter demanding that the party cease and desist the behavior or a lawsuit will be filed. Unfortunately, demand letters aren't typically successful in most cases.

Residential real estate values increase in Los Angeles County

Real estate values in Los Angeles County have recently risen. In fact, several counties in Southern California have seen their home values go up. Residential real estate in this part of the state had a median price of $465,000 in the month of August, which was an increase of more than 6 percent compared to last August, when the median price was $438,000.

In addition, more than 23,000 resale and new condos and homes were bought last month in Los Angeles as well as other nearby counties. This is an 8 percent increase from the more than 21,000 that changed hands in the month of July, and it is 9.5 percent higher than the number bought last August. The figures make August 2016 the strongest August in residential real estate sales in Southern California in the past decade.

Residential real estate strong in California, around the country

Statistics show that the market for home properties was hot in the month of August in the state of California. This is in line with the normal activity of the residential real estate market in this season of the year. August usually sees a final burst of home-purchasing activity right before the fast-paced summer season draws to a close.

Houses that are for sale are being bought 2 percent more rapidly than they were around this time in 2015. In addition, prices are reaching new record highs. The median house listed at Realtor.com had a price tag of $250,000 recently, which is 8 percent higher than the listed amount last year.

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