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WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT MANHATTAN BEACH

Blog, Hermosa Beach News, Manhattan Beach   |   Dunham Stewart   |   June 20, 2016

manhattan beach

Manhattan Beach is a classic southern California beach town a hidden gem in the metropolis of Los Angeles, just south of Los Angeles International Airport. It’s clean, nearly always sunny, with volleyballs, surfers and sunbathers. Many dining and shopping options are available and there next to no  crime. What are the best attributes of Manhattan Beach, CA, here is a more complete list.

1.) The Strand. This is a sidewalk, of sorts, except it runs parallel to the beach, from the “90210” house (the one where the TV show was filmed, which is actually in neighboring Hermosa Beach) to 45th Street, a distance of two miles. It’s all at once an outdoor fitness gym for runners and rollerbladers, a social gathering place for people to hang out to look at the ocean or watch the sunset, and a transportation artery taking people to visit friends, go to functions and yes, even to dinner. The Strand takes on a different personality as the day progresses, too: Hard-core runners and surfers in the early morning, families going for morning walks about 8-9, weekend single party people emerging for a little exercise and beach volleyball between 10 and noon, bicyclers throughout the afternoon and more surfers at sunset. It is divided into two sections, one for runners, walkers and strollers, and another for bicyclists and rollerbladers.

2.) The Weather. It’s sunny so often here that on the rare times when clouds take over for a day – or the even more rare times it actually rains – the residents stand with their hands on their waist looking out the windows saying “what a crappy day!” And the temperature? Oh, about 72 degrees some 90% of the time. With no humidly.

3.) The Location. It’s not just the fact it’s on the beach with the Pacific Ocean constantly rolling to shore, It is also just 10 minutes from LAX and 30-40 from downtown Santa Monica and the Westside, Hollywood and Long Beach, and about 45 from some of Orange County’s beaches. So going to USC football games, Laker games or other sporting events is not terribly long and being right next to the airport – with none of the noise – is simply wonderful for frequent travelers. If any place in LA could be considered “centrally located,” it’s Manhattan Beach.

4.) The Fun Food Finds. Manhattan Beach gets little credit from LA food critics for its restaurants, but those people have apparently failed to taste the San Felipe tacos at Shellback Tavern, the pizza at Old Venice, the chowder at Rock ‘n Fish and most certainly the Strand House. Or any of the other great food finds at several of the city’s restaurants. In fact, discovering such treats is one of the great pleasures of dining out in Manhattan Beach.

5.) The Sunsets. This alone could fill up an entire article. Oh wait there is a full page devoted to sunsets on SurfsideSam.com. The sunsets are spectacular anywhere along the beach, from one end of the Strand to the other, and they happen almost every night of the year. Residents stand along the Strand to soak in the day’s final colorful farewell. And how many people in the world get to see a sunset over an ocean? Not many, certainly.

 6.) The Sports. Beach volleyball, surfing, rollerblading and all the other physical sports that people play here really define the vast majority of the citizens of Manhattan Beach. Then there are the competitions – there’s some type of beach volleyball tournament nearly every weekend during the summer – and in the fall, there is the Old Hometown Fair 10K.

7.) The Casual “Play Hard” Attitude. Let’s go back to the last point in the previous entry, the Old Hometown Fair 10K. After that 10K, a large portion of the participants – including many race officials – then go the Shellback Tavern for beers and Bloody Mary’s. And that’s just a warm-up to the beer garden at the fair. This, more than anything, defines the culture of Manhattan Beach. People get in their exercise, then they love to enjoy life. Drinking beers and going to bars is a huge part of their life’s enjoyment. Many of these people are long-term locals, and the live this way well into their 60s.

In addition to the Hometown Fair beer garden the first weekend of October, Manhattan Beach’s fun events also include the spectacular Holiday fireworks (second Sunday in December), Holiday Open House (mid November both downtown and in North Manhattan) and the harmless but wacky Surfest/6-man beach volleyball tournament the ultimate “play and party event” (first weekend of August).

8.) The Bars. Continuing on the above theme, Manhattan Beach has always been about its bars. This goes back for decades. The bars are as much a part of Manhattan Beach’s history as Traveler is to USC and John Wooden is to UCLA. In addition to the dives (Shellback, Ercoles) there are nice places (The Strand Bar, Mangiamo, Rock ‘n Fish), sports bars (Shark’s Cove and Sharkeez to the north), a small club (12 + Highland) and even a great live music venue (Pancho’s). There’s diversity in the destinations and the barflies in Manhattan tend to be a bit more, shall we say, “seasoned” than their younger counterparts in Hermosa.

9.) The Lack of Crime. It’s always somewhat of a weekly cheap thrill to pick up a copy of the Beach Reporter and read the Manhattan Beach Crime Report. Most of the items deal with someone having a bicycle swiped from an open garage or an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend taking some type of jewelry or other item in a post-relationship revenge move. There is the occasional robbery or burglary and there have been people robbed even at gunpoint on the open streets, but those instances are, fortunately, extremely rare. Manhattan Beach is so safe, walking along the Strand or even on the beach at night is so common for locals they do it without giving it a second thought.

10.) The Cops. As seen above they are not the busiest force in LA County. So when something does happen, the police respond as if’s a four-alarm fire. Cars and motorcycles swarm in from everywhere like a pack of killer bees. The town is small – a mere two miles north to south and not much more inland – so they are never far away from anything and the response time is swift, to say the least.

The Connected Home – Voice Control the Next Frontier

Blog   |   Dunham Stewart   |   June 3, 2016

This product image provided by Amazon shows the Amazon Echo speaker. The biggest feature in Amazon’s Echo speaker is a voice-recognition system called Alexa that is designed to control Pandora, Amazon Music and Prime Music services as well as give information on news, weather and traffic. (Amazon via AP) NYBZ168

Until recently, controlling your smart home tech boiled down to apps and automation — scheduling a smartened up lamp to turn on at sunset, for instance, or using your phone to turn it off after you’ve climbed into bed. But what if you could simply tell your smart home to turn it off?

It might sound like the stuff of “Star Trek” or “The Jetsons,” but recent advancements in speech recognition technology have made a voice-controlled smart home completely attainable, and many of the gadgets that promise to get the job done are already available. Some come from ambitious startups while others come from the titans of the industry, but all of them want to give your smart home a set of ears.

We expect voice control to continue to play a central role in the development of the so-called Internet of Things, which seeks to connect everyday devices and appliances with each other and with their users. For now, here’s a rundown of the voice-centric gadgets on the market today, along with a few potential up-and-comers.

Amazon Echo

It started as a smart speaker capable of streaming whatever music you asked it to play, but it quickly became clear that Amazon Echo was capable of a whole lot more. let you hail a ride from Uber, order a pizza from Domino’s or stream music straight from Spotify — provided you’re a paid, premium subscriber of the service.

Apple Home Kit

The elephant in the voice-controlled smart room is Siri, the AI assistant found in Apple devices like the iPhone, iPad and the Apple Watch. Apple granted her smart-home access with HomeKit, a set of control protocols built into the latest versions of its iOS operating system. Purchase and install a HomeKit-compatible smart-home gadget, and you’ll be able to control it directly through your device by telling Siri what you want to do.

Google Home

With Google Home, users will be able to access Google Search anywhere within range of the speaker. They’ll be able to turn on music, ask questions, get responses, and basically have a smart device in their home that’s always listening.

With Google Home, which is their more expanded version of Google Now. Now has always been a great voice assistant, but it doesn’t offer the same “human” interactions that we see with Apple’s Siri.
Google Assistant plans to be the smartest AI assistant ever created. will become more and more a control center for your whole home.

The Strand – Best Bike Path in California

Blog, Redondo Beach   |   Dunham Stewart   |   May 21, 2016

bike-path-manhattan-beach-strand

Stunning views, wide lanes, eye-catching scenery, unique culture and dining along the ride make this wonderful bike path the best in California. While amazing roads and dirt singletrack abound in the Golden State, sometimes it’s nice to roll along on a purpose-built bike path and soak up the sun.

Officially the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, the Strand is quintessential Los Angeles. The 22-mile path stretches from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades to Torrance County Beach. Along the way, you’ll pass through Santa Monica, Venice, Manhattan, and Redondo. You’ll see wide beaches with volleyball courts, and all the color and mayhem you’d expect from the City of Angels. Enjoy the view from the pier at Santa Monica or Redondo Beach, both of which have restaurants and shops on offer. The brand new $4.7 million dollar improvement project on the Redondo Harbor Gateway make the southern tip one of the nicest in the world. There are plenty of restrooms, restaurants, snack stands, bike rental and repair shops, and path access along the entire route.

On weekends, you can expect a crowd, so come prepared for a leisurely cruise rather than a record-breaking time trial. Its a great ride.

About South Bay Real Estate

Blog   |   Dunham Stewart   |   May 6, 2016

Manhattan-Beach-Sand-Section

Los Angeles is a sprawling city, with a bustling economy, and makes major contributions to entertainment, culture, fashion, science, sports, technology, education, and medicine. It’s also contains very diverse geography, property, and real estate opportunities. One of the most sought after property hubs in Los Angeles is the Greater South Bay area. Found here are some of the most beautiful homes available to buyers today.

The cities in the Greater South Bay are very representative of what many people might consider to be “Classic Californian”. There is a lot of surfing, sprawling beaches, and incredible views. However, there is much more to these cities than simply how beautiful they are on a daily basis.

MANHATTAN BEACH

Known by many as the “Pearl of The South Bay”, Manhattan Beach is an affluent beach down with a variety of real estate options available to homeowners and investors. There are miles of white sandy beaches, well-kept tree-lined streets, all contained within a charming small town feel. If you’re simply visiting, this is a great vacation destination, since there are plenty of award-winning restaurants, and a surprisingly fun nightlife! Manhattan Beach is also well known in the beach volleyball community, since this is the city that started it all.

In terms available real estate, there are 5 different areas of the city: East Manhattan, Manhattan Village, The Hill Section, The Sand Section, and The Tree Section. Each presents a unique style of homes and surrounding local attractions. The entire city of Manhattan Beach has nationally recognized schools, meaning your children will get an outstanding education attending around here. Manhattan Beach has certainly aged well, making it a very modern beach city.

HERMOSA BEACH

Just south of Manhattan Beach, you’ll find the quaint Hermosa Beach. Accommodating to both families and singles, this area of Los Angeles is a hidden pocket that not many people know about. Even during the summer months, you’d be surprised at how open and spacious the city feels, and this is partly due to the very large, clean and accessible beaches.

If you’re looking to purchase real estate here, you’ll be hard pressed to find something that isn’t lovely. You can find a number of properties right along the beach, and even further inland, along the ‘greenbelt’ walking trail, there are homes and apartments that anyone would be impressed by.

THE STRAND

Separating Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach property from the beach is the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, which is more commonly known as The Strand. This pedestrian and bicycle path runs directly alongside the beach, and the property on the opposite side is some of the most beautiful (but high-priced) in all of Los Angeles. The Strand helps unify the Greater South Bay beach cities, and lets tourists and residents safely commute between them without needing to worry at all about cars or motorcycles.

FIND THE REAL ESTATE OF YOUR DREAMS

If you’re interested in exploring real estate throughout the South Bay, make sure you reach out to an experienced real estate agent who can show you the area. This is a very desirable market, so you want to find an agent with years of experience and local connections that can help you find the house of your dreams.

South Bay Vision | Real Estate Market Update | April 2016

Blog, Market Updates   |   Dunham Stewart   |   April 26, 2016

Federal Reserve officials have reduced estimates of how much they expect to raise short-term interest rates in 2016 and beyond. All signs are leaning toward two increases this year compared to four in 2015. *

You will see from the reports below our Beach Cities are showing strong increases in pending sales as well as active listings.

Should your plans include real estate purchase and sales, please call or email with questions – and as always, thanks for your referrals! The Sotheby’s International Realty® network provides access to luxury real estate and homes for sale worldwide.

Click HERE for more info!

*Source: Wall Street Journal March 16 2016

South Bay Vision | Real Estate Market Update | March 2016

Blog, Market Updates   |   Dunham Stewart   |   March 25, 2016

We are seeing the first quarter of 2016 coming to a relatively strong close with expectations of a strong Spring Housing Market as noted in articles below due to a decrease in unemployment along with a lower supply of homes on the market. At the current pace, there is a four month supply of homes on the market – lower than the norms of six – seven months on the market in past months.

See More: http://goo.gl/oFXDvp

Wishing you and your families a wonderful Easter Holiday.

Should your plans include real estate purchase and sales, please call or email with questions – and as always, thanks for your referrals!

The Sotheby’s International Realty® network provides access to luxury real estate and homes for sale worldwide.

Manhattan Beach Skate Park?

Blog, Manhattan Beach News   |   Dunham Stewart   |   February 26, 2016

Manhattan beach parks
Manhattan Beach may finally have its own skate park by the end of the year.

Skateboarding advocates have long sought a safe and legal place for the sport in the city as an alternative to business and school parking lots, or trekking to facilities in El Segundo, Venice, Gardena and Hermosa Beach.

The City Council voted unanimously to pursue a $300,000 county grant to build a skate park in the northeast corner of Marine Avenue Park. The three locations up for consideration where: Marine Avenue Park, Manhattan Heights Park and a triangular spot near the beach in El Porto, with the latter proving least popular. The spot outside the baseball diamond’s outfield and adjacent to Manhattan Beach Studios emerged as the top choice after a lengthy public comment process that included workshops and an online survey.

The idea gained interest from Manhattan Beach leaders 15 years ago, but fell off the city’s priority list, resurfacing with a renewed call in the past few years at public meetings packed with skateboarders. One year ago, the City Council moved forward with hiring a consultant for $20,000 to assess the community’s need for a skate park and come up with options and funding ideas, but agreed to keep Polliwog Park off the table as a potential spot since the idea was met with strong opposition from neighbors.

The council has three options for the same corner of Marine Avenue Park, ranging from a 2,000-square-foot “skateable path” to a 5,000-square-foot, mixed elevation area that would replace an under-utilized exercise area. The skate spot would be open and unsupervised during normal park hours

What Home Renovations Really Pay Off?

Blog, Real Estate Tips   |   Dunham Stewart   |   February 12, 2016

hermosa-beach-home-remodelRenovating, remodeling, and improving your home can be great ways to give it a makeover, gain extra space, or otherwise make it possible for you to stay in one place longer. But will they increase your selling price? Owners of older homes dream of updating or modernizing kitchens and baths. In fact, before they place their homes on the market, some folks go to all the effort to update the kitchen they’ve been meaning to redo for years … only to have someone else enjoy it. The challenge can be when the update is for the purpose of increasing your home’s marketability or resale value. In that case, does the renovation really pay off? Here are some things to consider before you tackle that upgrade or renovations just to sell your property. When it adds value: Anything that increases your usable square footage adds value to your home. So, if you finish a basement or an attic space, add a wing or just extend a single room, that extra space and increase your home’s market value. Adding a bathroom or bedroom is a substantial improvement that changes a home’s category. A three-bedroom home with three full baths has more market value than a similar home with only two baths, or two bedrooms. The biggest bang for you buck, however, can come from making some simple changes. Consider this: a new front door, on average, adds up to 96.6 percent of the amount you will spend on it to the value of your home. Of course, you’ll need to pay attention to which door will enhance your home and which might look like an afterthought, but the right new door adds instant curb appeal. In fact, even painting the front door can bring a significant improvement (without the extra expense of replacing it). Other improvements, such as replacing windows or worn and discolored siding can yield a greater return than an expensive kitchen remodel. Minor kitchen upgrades, on the other hand, can add back over 82 percent to the value of what you spend on them. A “minor” kitchen upgrade can be as simple as new cabinet doors and hardware, or new appliances, an updated counter surface and sink, or new fixtures. When it’s not worth it: A $100,000 kitchen remodel on a $600,000 home will yield anywhere near that additional value to your home, especially if all of the other homes in the neighborhood are in the same price range. So, if you upgrade it while you’re living in it because your love to cook and want the perfect kitchen … the value is your enjoyment of the upgrade. Don’t expect it to increase your home’s resale value by that much though when the time comes to sell. When it doesn’t pay off: If you increase the value of your home while you continue to live in it, realize that you may be increasing your tax basis as well. A new assessment of your home may increase your taxes and cause it to be more expensive to live there. Simple improvements such as adding a garden shed can trigger a reassessment in some localities, while moving a wall or putting in an additional bath or bedroom most certainly will. Before you take on an improvement, addition or upgrade for the purpose of increasing your home’s marketability, talk to your local professional real estate agent. She can discuss with you the potential ramifications of the changes you want to make, the return on your investment and whether or not it could trigger a tax assessment and property valuation increase.

High Tech Trends for Home and the Road

Blog   |   Dunham Stewart   |   January 15, 2016

san clemente smart homeFor all you techies here in the South Bay you are going want to see this.

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show  in Las Vegas this month was the epicenter for the world’s most groundbreaking technology. The four-day “future fest” showcased products running the gamut from have-to-have-it to why-in-the-world. But  it was clear that the most exciting developments to come out of the show were in the realms of, home entertainment, home automation, transportation and virtual reality.

How about kitchen appliances for the smarter home. A refrigerator that features a built-in camera that takes pictures of its contents every time the door closes, allowing owners to access the photos through a linked smartphone so they never forget which groceries they need to pick up from the store. Skipping the store entirely is also an option, and app connected to the fridge lets customers place online shopping orders.

Among the most anticipated and competitive arenas of innovation at the show was that of television technology.  They presented bendable, portable and really large.

Automotive innovation came in the form of an high performance powerhouse, 1,000 hp green machine can jet from zero to 60 mph in under 3 seconds and cruise at over 200 mph. An aerodynamic dream, is fit with tunnels that run throughout the body to maximize airflow.

Taking the daily commute to the next level, how about a drone for your morning commute? That is also coming.

There are much-anticipated developments in the virtual reality realm.  Although virtual reality headsets are already popular with the gaming crowd, there is much more to it than that. The technology could be used to give schoolchildren tours of art museums around the globe, connect patients to doctors for face-to-face discussions, or enable individuals to tour famous landmarks without ever leaving their homes. –

Here are some of the state-of-the-art standouts.  – See more at: http://goo.gl/Q0US8K

Real Estate and the Elections

Blog, Real Estate News, Real Estate Tips   |   Dunham Stewart   |   December 4, 2015

real estate and electionsWith the national elections ramping up, many voters already have voter fatigue (also called voter apathy). That is, we’re already so tired of hearing about the elections that we don’t bother to vote at all. In fact, voter apathy is quite high in the United States: Somewhere between a third to a half of eligible voters do not vote in national elections and even fewer vote in local elections.

But, “the likelihood that a homeowner will vote in a local election is 65%, compared to 54% for renters” and they are 3% more likely to vote in national elections than renters.

Here’s why not voting is a bad idea:

  1. Local elections can affect the marketability of your home

The value of your home is determined by a variety of factors, one of which is the rating of the local schools and another is the infrastructure of the community (the age and condition of the bridges, roads, drainage, street lights and other municipal projects). When a municipal bond issue comes up for vote, the outcome can affect both your bottom line through property and sales taxes, and the community desirability via new roads, better schools and protection from flooding (for example).

  1. National elections can affect home prices

The affect on home sales prices is not because of the specific outcome of the elections, but because consumers become more nervous about the economy during election years. When larger blocks of homeowners vote, they are placing their trust in the economy and the expectation that home values will rise.

  1. Direct effect on property taxes:

Some propositions have direct effect on your property taxes and the sharing or distribution of municipal expenses. For instance, in an upcoming election in Texas, directly changes the amount that a homeowner is able to exempt from property taxes (the homestead exemption) and makes that change a constitutional amendment … meaning that it takes another vote of the State’s entire electorate to change it. You might think that this would raise marketability to non-child families and lower marketability to families with children, but proponents believe that instead, it will increase home values across the board, thereby increasing tax revenue to schools.

One aspect of participating in local elections is that the homeowner gets to know what is important to other people in their community. Being part of a community is one of the benefits of homeownership. Connecting with your neighbors to improve your schools, streets and bridges can bring a sense of civic pride and camaraderie to your neighborhood.

As your local real estate professional we can indicate which areas in your neighborhood adversely affect the market value of your home. If you can help improve those things now, you should, so that when you’re ready to sell, your home’s value is at its highest.

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