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Knowing the Value

Aging parents and deferred maintenance – do whatever you can to be involved and aware of the status of your family’s assets. Early and constant upkeep and maintenance will be much less costly than having to repair major structural damage. Trust me, I know that this is not an easy task.

Too many of us do not allow for upkeep and maintenance on our most important asset(s): real estate.

I am grateful that my family and I could bring our estate back up to snuff within a difficult budget. The house was in seriously bad condition when my father moved out and I spent several months reconditioning and updating it for the Malibu market.

I was able to revive the five bedroom/four bath house with a new kitchen, refinished floors, updated bathrooms, and all new electrical and copper plumbing, drywall and paint. There was nothing I had to do to the view, but I added a bit of landscaping too.

We put the house up for sale, not really wanting to sell it while our father was alive – so we put a big number on it.  We also listed it for lease and ended up with a good celebrity tenant for two years, the rent more than covered my dad’s monthly expenses which was a great relief to all of us.

Someone told me very recently, that I should talk more about the story of selling the house…and so here it is.  We had lots of showings and even a couple of offers which we rejected over those two years.  Until one day, I got a call from a neighbor who said he just had to have the house (we had talked over the years, but he was suddenly very serious).

We really didn’t want to sell, but I counseled by father and siblings “if we get the number we want, what would be the harm?”  It was a lofty number for an old house, albeit in a super fantastic location.

My realtor friends scrambled for more offers as they wanted to sell the house to someone other than ‘my’ buyer…and we did get more offers, much to the neighbor’s chagrin.

The neighbor offered us $8million and included an appraisal with his offer, saying this is what it is worth (not a penny more, he claimed he was being generous). Upon review of the appraisal, I strongly disagreed and went against my father’s demand that we accept the offer. I went out and got another appraisal…lesson: even in difficult markets like ours, do not take anything on face value, especially when you can see disparity.

Ironically, my same appraiser was chosen by my neighbor’s lender and he got the loan he wanted at the higher price.

We sold the house for the $11million to the neighbor, slightly less than the second appraisal.

My father never expected to be a millionaire, he got to live out his remaining years as one.  My father passed away March 12, 2017 at age 93.  I am grateful that I could help to take care of him and added to the legacy he left to us, which I know meant a lot to him.

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