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Sweet by Ottolenghi 🍓 Real Estate Blog

Sweet by Ottolenghi 🍓 Real Estate Blog


160 S Poinsettia Pl

I’m super excited about our new listing at 160 S Poinsettia! The house is a bright white Santa Barbara 2 story Spanish with striking curb appeal + hedged front courtyard + sprawling backyard with mature Magnolia tree on an 8000 sq ft lot close to The Grove.  There are 3 beds and 2 baths upstairs, and downstairs is an elegant living room with fireplace, formal dining room, kitchen with eat-in breakfast area and yard access, one bedroom + an office. With some vision and love, the original architecture will shine and the house will be amazing!  We live on the block since 1997! Our block is the best – with an annual block party, a block whats app group, and the best neighbors ever!


I’m excited for one of my favorite clients who finally moved to Pacific Palisades after dreaming to move for so many years!!!!  The house they bought in the Palisades was originally listed May 4, 2023, for a high price and neither staged or painted for sale.  Our clients went to see the house, and they signed in with their names when they entered. At the end of September 2023, the sellers switched agents and they painted + staged the house, which made it look exquisite.  Our clients went back to see the new look (and the new price) and they completely fell in love.  In a typical listing arrangement between seller and agent, there’s a clause that says that if a buyer buys the listed house within 90 days of the end of a listing agreement (even if the house is listed with a new agent), and that buyer either saw the house or wrote an offer while it was actively for sale with the (first) agent, then the (first) agent is owed compensation.  In a typical listing arrangement with a second listing agent on a property, all buyers who fall within the 90 day post listing provision of the first agent are excluded from the second agent’s listing (and the first agent steps back in to represent the seller on that sale with the excluded buyer).  My buyers initially saw the house when it was listed unstaged and for a higher price with the first agent, but because of the way the contracts work, the (second) agent who painted + staged + prepared the house and showed it to my buyers when they fell in love was excluded from the sale, and agent #1 couldn’t believe his good fortune when he represented the house in the final sale after all!  [As an aside, I was agent #2 (twice) and I painted + staged + sold a house where a buyer exclusion from agent #1 bought it, so I know exactly how it feels (terrible but a calculated risk when taking over a listing)!!]


There’s so much talk about the NAR settlement in the class action lawsuits and no one really knows how it will all play out.  On my mind is the part where buyer side commissions will now be off the MLS.  In general, in all areas of life, I love transparency + full disclosure + lots of information.  Right now, we get calls from appraisers (all the time) asking for more information on our listings so they can properly compare it to the subject property they’re appraising to understand how the value of their property compares to ours.  The commissions, being an expense paid by the seller and part of the sale, get factored into the comps.  Removing the commissions from the MLS and creating a secret commission structure will make it harder for everyone – appraisers, agents, sellers, buyers – to know value because information that contributes towards value will be hidden.


I’m also thinking of a scenario where buyers want to buy a house where a seller chooses not to pay a buyer side commission, and the buyers think not to hire (and pay) an agent of their own.  I had an experience in 2016 when an unrepresented buyer wanted to represent themselves to buy a house where I was hired to represent the seller.  They asked me, the listing agent, to help prepare all the buyer side paperwork, but they were firm that they didn’t need an agent to represent them and they would represent themselves.  I sent them the paperwork, but they had no experience buying a house and so they had so many questions. They wanted to understand how contingency periods work and at what point they need to send their documents to a lender. They didn’t know anything about the escrow process or how the deposit works. They didn’t know inspectors to call or what buyers usually inspect.  They needed help getting access for inspections and for the seller to participate in preparing the home to inspect (install a sewer cleanout and provide attic access). They didn’t know who to call to price the things they’d have to fix during inspections.  They didn’t know which repairs a seller often covers and which repairs are considered upgrades.  They didn’t appreciate that they signed an “as is” clause where all sides agreed that there wouldn’t be repairs. They wanted to buy the house. They wanted the seller to contribute toward repairs.  They really wanted/needed an agent to represent them and they didn’t have an agent.  I remember every part of the experience vividly 7 years later.  It wasn’t the best way for those buyers to buy a house, financially or emotionally. Almost every buyer needs compensated expert representation. I hope that one day buyer side compensation will be posted on the MLS again so there’s transparency to it.


Every year it’s so exciting to pull out the Passover pots and pans and to start tackling the Passover cooking!  Elia and I did one mini marathon cooking session and we made chicken soup, potato kugels, fruit crisps, baked pretty herby ratatouille, roasted butternut squash soup, and pickled salmon.  This weekend I read Ottolenghi’s dessert cookbook, Sweet.  I have my eye on the pavlova roulade with fresh fruit and cream inside.  At the end of the book is a section on baking tips.  Reading the tip about training the pavlova to roll before adding the filling, I saw in my mind My Mom training so many roll cakes.  Mom would line the baking sheet with foil before adding batter and putting it in the oven. Out of the oven Mom flipped the cake with the foil side up on to prepared paper towel sprinkled with powdered sugar.  She peeled off the foil in strips and then she immediately rolled the cake in the paper towel and cooled it that way.  Once cool, she filled and rolled (again) and then she decorated the top. By two weeks before Passover, Mom’s freezer would be overstuffed with so many goodies for the holiday.  I’m thinking of cooking late into the night tonight and tomorrow night so that once the kids arrive I’m out of the kitchen and savoring the moments with the kids!!!!


Come visit us today and check out some cool houses!!  I’ll be at 440 N McCadden from 2-5, and we have open 160 S Poinsettia, 843 S Cochran, 1206 S La Jolla, 1137 S Ridgeley.  We can show 175 N McCadden and 507 N Mansfield by appointment any time!


Have an awesome sunshine filled week ahead!


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