How to ditch vibe-crushers that could give potential buyers the creeps

By Valli Herman

Whether it’s an off-putting odor, kitschy decor or questionable artwork, a good real estate agent knows how to disappear such sale-killers for potential buyers without offending the home seller.

If professional staging isn’t an option, real estate agents are left to tell clients, delicately, how to literally and figuratively hide the dirty laundry — or the litter box, prurient artwork or even that collection of family keepsakes that can be a bit too personal.

“There is no more emotional product on the market. This is their nest egg, their inheritance,” said Sharona Alperin, of Sotheby’s International Realty in West Hollywood.

“I tell them I am here for one reason and that’s to maximize their return on the sale. And it’s a business at this point. They have to realize they have to turn it from a home into a house.”

The process begins with an overall deep cleaning and de-cluttering, but what agents have found in the process can be surprising.

Mike Deasy, chief executive of Deasy/Penner & Partners, has seen his share of oddities throughout his career.

“We have had, I think twice, collectors of insects, but they kept them in a glass case,” he said. “And there was one instance where there was a pathologist, and he had various specimens of things in jars. We told him to put those away.”

Home offices also offer the unexpected, particularly among medical professionals who may have diagrams and three-dimensional models of things you’d rather not think about.

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Santa Monica beach cottage lays on the charm indoors and out

By Neal J. Leitereg

Cathedral ceilings, French doors and large picture windows enhance the cozy farmhouse vibe found inside this renovated beach cottage in Santa Monica. Complementing the 1920s home, once owned by actor Leo Carillo’s brother, is a soaking pool, a palm-topped guest house and a garage turned play room.

The details

Location: 343 Sycamore Road, Santa Monica, 90402

Asking price: $3.395 million

Built: 1923

House size: Three bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms

Lot size: 6,567 square feet

Features: Vaulted ceilings; French doors; chef’s kitchen with stainless steel appliances and breakfast bar; great room; dining room; detached guest house; garage turned playhouse; soaking pool; fire pit; lush landscaping

About the area: In the 90402 ZIP Code, based on 10 sales, the median sales price in May was $4.245 million, according to CoreLogic. That was an 8.8% increase in price compared with the same month the previous year.

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Home of the Week: Pasadena modern takes bold concepts to new heights

By Neal J. Leitereg

Visual drama at this Pasadena modern begins at the entry, where a towering wall of glass extends up the smooth wide front of the home. Inside, a floating steel-and-wood staircase and an elevator are used to navigate each of the four levels. Curved exterior patios take advantage of the leafy setting below.

The details

Location: 940 Burleigh Drive, Pasadena, 91105

Asking price: $2.2 million

Built: 1996

House size: 3,538 square feet, three bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms

Lot size: 9,610 square feet

Features: Walls of glass; hardwood and Travertine floors; vaulted ceilings; four-story floating steel staircase; elevator; open-plan common rooms; galley-style kitchen with wine cooler and breakfast bar; top-floor master suite; patio with curved bench seating; formal landscaping

About the area: In the 91105 ZIP Code, based on 11 sales, the median sales price in April was $1.186 million, according to CoreLogic. That was a 17.4% decrease in price compared with the same month the previous year.

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Before and After: An aging dame gets a modern makeover but keeps her Tudor soul

By Carren Jao

Before its transformation, Tamara Kaye-Honey’s 1924 Tudor suffered decades of inattention.

With its wood-shingled roof, gumwood cabinetry and beige walls, the four-bedroom Altadena home lacked charm and modern comforts when Kaye-Honey first laid eyes on it.

Yet the interior designer “fell in love with the bones,” drawn to the home’s openness and dramatic arches, she said. Sensing its potential, she and husband Ryan Honey purchased the property for $1.175 million in 2007.

Over the next decade, the couple turned the cutesy storybook home into a more modern hideaway while preserving its Old World soul.

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Home of the Week: A post-and-beam beauty in Pasadena

By Lauren Beale

Framed by a backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains, this 1970s house in Pasadena is a prime example of the post-and-beam style. A long hedged driveway leads to a motor court and the home’s wooden double door. Inside, the interiors are like a museum for a not-so-distance past.

The kitchen was recently redesigned by architect Barbara Bestor to be entertainer-friendly. The master wing also has been remodeled; the remaining bedrooms have been restored to retain their original architecture.

Walls of glass and oversized clerestory windows create a unified and well-proportioned appearance from the outside, where there are a swimming pool and surrounding deck.

The details

Location: 1615 Hastings Ranch Drive, Pasadena 91107

Asking price: $1.899 million

Year built: 1971

Architect: Thomas A. Dismukes

Lot size: 13,080 square feet

Features: Living room fireplace, dining room, wooden ceilings, patio, swimming pool, gardens

About the area: In the 91107 ZIP Code, based on 23 sales, the median sales price in March was $839,000, according to CoreLogic. That was a 1.3% decrease in price from the same month the previous year.

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