buying a home in land park
One thing about buying a home in Land Park is afterward you get the local gossip and all the neighbors know what is happening, which is why I suggest that buyers talk to the neighbors, for that matter, before buying a home here or anywhere. Yesterday, for example, I was sitting on my front porch in Land Park with my laptop, cellphone, paperwork spread out and working in MLS. When I saw my next door neighbor approach, I removed my Bluetooth device from my ear (because that’s only polite).
My neighbor had wondered what all the noise was at my house and came over to see if somebody was breaking in; although, what would she do if they were? Poke them in the eye with her house key? She’s in her 80s. Or, maybe she carries a gun in her shorts — she did go on and on about how much she likes the pockets in her shorts, which, btw, matched the type of shorts I was wearing: OMG, old-lady-shorts. The “noise” was a team of four women vigorously cleaning my home: bleaching the ceramic, brightening the stainless, rubbing film off glass block, polishing marble and hardwood. It costs $500 to get this sort of cleaning done properly, and I needed to be out from underfoot when they cleaned my home office.
I was in MLS analyzing listings of homes in Land Park. I used to focus only on homes in Land Park, but I have since over the years branched out to offer my specialized real estate services as a top Sacramento Realtor to sellers and buyers in a four-county area. This is how I sell hundreds of homes now instead of only those I can count on two hands here in the city core of Sacramento. But I still carry a soft spot for my own neighborhood of Land Park. I see buyers come into town from out-of-area, in tow with their out-of-area agents, and pay tens of thousands over market value for a home, and appraisers don’t know any better, either. Land Park is a difficult place to appraise if you don’t possess intimate knowledge.
You can glean an incredible amount of information from MLS, though, even if you don’t know the neighborhood. One home in particular struck me odd because a) the price was too high for the street and b) the upgrades seemed disjointed and peculiar, and c) there were no window coverings in the master bedroom. That last clue meant nobody lived in that home. At first glance, I thought maybe it was an overhaul made by an homeowner who later decided to sell, which is the best kind of home to buy in Land Park. But it smelled to me like a flip.
Clicking on the APN number, sure enough, it was owned by an LLC. Looking further into the history, I noted they bought the home through probate and tried to flip it immediately without doing any remodeling. When that didn’t work, they remodeled it to within an inch of its life, stripped much of the character and vintage and then stuck it on the market. The cabinetry throughout is missing the magic, too. They took it off, put it back, took it off, put it back, yada yada. The square footage doesn’t match the public records, which makes appraisals of homes in Land Park even more difficult.
The street where that home is located is also not nearly as desirable as, say, Marian Way, where another home came on the market this morning for a whole lot less money. Plus, the Marian Way home is a Squeaky Williams home, which makes it even more valuable. But if you lived in Land Park, you would know that. If you’re looking for a Land Park agent, call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759.
There is no better market for sellers of homes in Land Park than a seller’s real estate market. That’s because the beautiful homes in Land Park will sell for far more than they could ever fetch in a normal market, and even the ugly homes look much prettier after a few drinks at the midnight bar of Sacramento real estate. Everybody is happy, dancing in the streets, except for the home buyers. Some buyers hoping to purchase their first home in Land Park keep losing out due to the competition and low inventory.
Well, here is your chance, Land Park home buyers, to buy your first home in desirable Land Park, and you all should have an equal playing ground. You might have noticed this home as a Coming Soon listing in Zillow over the past few days, but today your dream home is officially on the market and available to see. If you haven’t yet called a mortgage broker to obtain a preapproval letter, which you will need if you want to make a purchase offer, get hoppin. Put down that Starbucks latte, whip out your cellphone and call your loan officer Dan Tharp at 916.257.1470. We are holding an open house on Sunday, too, from 2 to 4 PM. If all goes as planned, the sellers would like to select an offer by Sunday night. You’ve got plenty of time to get your finances dolled up to buy your first home in Land Park.
This is a home built in 1950, so it has much of the original detailing that made homes in that period so popular: hardwood floors, tiled kitchen counters and baths, large rooms, a raised foundation constructed when workers still professed pride in their professions, built-ins and a brick fireplace, plaster walls to insulate against our hot Sacramento summer days, but it also has modern conveniences such as central heat and air, plus a bonus room on the second floor for an office and a step-down family room with a screened-in porch out back.
In addition to the double sunlit bedrooms, the home features 2 baths, which is a hard-to-find feature in homes under $400,000 in Land Park. The second bath is captivating, with a jetted bathtub, brilliant blue Spanish tile, an antique pull-chain toilet, a skylight, extra storage and a vanity of timeless design. Your guests will love this bath, which is located off the family room.
Of course, there is a garage and a big yard. The yard is drought resistant and wonderfully landscaped with many gorgeous spring flowers in full bloom. You will discover cleverly crafted entertainment areas, a giant redwood tree shades part of the yard, and a fenced in vegetable garden. It doesn’t get any better than this. If you’re looking to buy a home in Land Park, come see.
Photos: Elizabeth Weintraub
When I talk with people I haven’t talked with for years, they often ask if I am living in the same home in Land Park, as though the first thing they would do if they were selling 100 homes in Sacramento year after year would be to buy a new home. Not because I need a new home, mind you, but because I could. They ask I suppose because my existing home is not a mansion nor an estate, and that’s what they would buy. It’s just a plain ol’ single level home, around 2,000 square feet in Land Park.
It’s not located on a premiere winding street in Land Park and there is no view of William Land Park. There is no second or third floor. No marble floors with floor-to-ceiling columns. No four-car garage. No pool in the back yard. There is nothing all that remarkable about our home in Land Park. It suits our needs, and we’re happy with it.
But people are still astonished that we haven’t traded up or built our own mini-mansion because it’s something that most other people would do, I guess. I think buying a larger home is one of those items on a list when people play what one would do if one won the lottery. A larger home means more to clean, higher taxes and more crap that could go wrong. But that’s me. I’m also over 60 and less inclined to move again. My husband echoes that sentiment.
Fortunately, my clients often think differently and they might move every 5 to 7 years. I met with clients a few days ago who buy homes dirt cheap, remodel them and move up. It’s called buy, fix up and sell. There’s nothing wrong with that approach and, in fact, it’s a method I used myself over the years. We all have our different dreams and things we reach for. And that’s OK.
I dream of travel. I love to see new places, encounter different cultures, meet new people who can’t understand anything I say and vice versa (and I’m not just talking about the South). This morning I received a digital version of the Four Seasons magazine and was sidetracked for a while, reading about gourmet street food in Singapore, Budapest theatres and how to get a free night in Langkawi.
But a new place among Land Park homes for sale is not on the horizon for us. Our present home is just fine, even though we’ve lived here forever. If you’re looking to buy or sell a home in Land Park, please call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. I know just about every inch of my leafy neighborhood.
When I counsel home buyers for Land Park, one of the questions I typically ask is which direction they prefer their Sacramento home to face. It’s a facet of home buying they might not have previously considered. Then it hits them, yes, the direction a home faces is a preference. The direction of their new home is a choice, a selection. The orientation of real estate is important.
In the northern hemisphere, southern exposure gets the most sun, when the sun moves from east to west. But the way the streets are laid out in Sacramento, especially in the core areas close to downtown such as Midtown, Land Park and Curtis Park, many streets run east and west. This means most of the homes in Land Park face north or south.
However, in East Sacramento, many streets run north and south, so those homes typically face east or west. If your Sacramento home faces east or north, the front part of your home will receive the morning sun and the back yard will be hit by the hot afternoon sun.
One of my Land Park neighbors behind me wants to rebuild a shared fence. Her dog has a habit of jumping over the fence. Well, that and the fact the fence is falling down. It doesn’t matter much to me since that fence is located behind our garage. But the type of fence matters to my husband because he maintains several raised-bed vegetable gardens back there.
The neighbor asked if it would be all right to build a fence higher than six-feet, and I gave her the go-ahead. Then my husband had a chat with her, because he was worried that an additional foot of fencing would block part of the sun from his garden. He suggested she top it off with chicken wire. When she shared that bit of information with me, I couldn’t help but laugh. I suspect my neighbor was a bit horrified by that suggestion. Chicken wire isn’t exactly visually appealing. I think lattice would look better.
However, my husband is right about one thing. (Quick, call out the media.) A higher fence on a southern property line would throw shadows on that part of the yard. So, if you’re looking at homes in Land Park, consider which way the sun moves. You may prefer to buy a Sacramento home where the master suite is shaded in the afternoon, with a sunny morning breakfast nook. Or, you may prefer a back yard with a northern exposure, especially if you do a lot of late afternoon entertaining. But look out for those neighbors who tell you to put up chicken wire.
While Elizabeth is on vacation, we are revisiting her favorite blogs from previous years.