The Do’s and Don’t Of Home Staging in Torrance

Home staging is an important part of the preparation process when selling a house.  Whether fully staging the home using a professional stager, or simply de-cluttering and adding something to the owners current furniture, staging can make the difference between a home selling quickly and sitting on the market.  Here are a few pointers to help prepare your Torrance home for sale.  If you have given any thought to selling your home in Torrance or the South Bay, we can help.  Contact us for information on how we sell homes or find the value of your home in Torrance CA.


The Truth About Lead Paint Liability

There has always been some concern and confusion about lead based paint in California and what it means for buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants.  Things have recently been clarified and we hope that the information below is helpful.

The Home Selling Process in Torrance CA

Selling your home in Torrance can be a stressful process. Making the decision to sell, preparing the home for sale, keeping it clean, dealing with showings and open house, search for the right buyer, negotiating offers, and going through the escrow and inspection process…all of these steps can be challenging, stressful and inconvenient. Selling a home both a huge financial transaction but also a very emotional process.

With the help of the right realtor you can get it done, and it may even be easier than you anticipate. Keep in mind that you’re not alone.  An experienced, professional real estate agent can guide you through the process, help resolve any issues that come up, and ensure that your home sells for the optimal price in a timely manner.  It’s critical to find a realtor that you trust as it will make the process far less stressful.  Here are some of the steps:

Choosing a Realtor

Like choosing any service professional it’s important to do your homework before deciding on a real estate agent. Your home purchase or sale likely represents one of the most significant financial transactions of your life, and you definitely want to find the right person for you.  Not all sellers are the same and not all realtors are the same….find the right match is important.

Abilities, production and knowledge matter.  You want someone with experience, knowledge of your home, neighborhood and market, and a Realtor with a proven track record of successful closings.  Keep in mind that you pay most agents the same commission so do your homework and find out which agents do more, sell more, and have a record of success.  Also read online reviews and ask around.  See our reviews and testimonials on Zillow and Yelp

Pricing Your Home

When you want to sell your home, one of the most important steps is setting a price. To best determine what your home is really worth, you’ll need to put aside your personal feelings about the home and ask yourself what homebuyers may actually be willing to pay. It is usually detrimental to base your asking price on emotion and can actually cost you in the long run. Although the home means a great deal to you, homebuyers aren’t likely to take that into account.  Unfortunately what are upgrades to some, may mean some remodeling to others.  Let your realtor give you their honest and professional opinion based on homes they’ve seen, market conditions and a realistic understanding of how potential buyers will see the home.

Market conditions are likely to have the most significant impact on the sale price of your home, so take note of whether the homes in your area are priced high or low and if they’re selling quickly.  Successful realtors will know how your home compares with other homes on the market and recent sales.  This unbiased opinion is critical in coming up with the market value of your home

Feel free to contact me for an opinion of your Torrance home’s proper selling price. I can provide you with a marketing consultation and information about property values in your area. I have been one of the top agents in the Redondo area for over a decade and can use that experience and knowledge to help guide you successfully through the process from start to finish.

Getting the Process Moving

Once you decide to sell your home, you want the process to go quickly. But what do buyers want? It varies with the needs of each individual, but typically buyers are looking for a good neighborhood, good schools,  a clean home that is priced appropriately.

You can’t control all of these factors, but there are some things you can do to make your home sell faster. Start by realizing that you’re competing with other sellers, so your price must be competitive. If it’s not, potential buyers are likely to take their business elsewhere.  Ask your realtor to show you some competing homes and get a sense of why some homes sell quickly and others don’t.

You can also increase the perceived value of your home by adding a few welcoming touches and cleaning it up – both inside and out. Although you can’t do much to change your neighborhood, you can focus on the positive aspects of the area when speaking with potential buyers.

Find out more about Keith Kyle with Vista Sotheby’s International Real Estate or contact me via email, phone or text.


How Do I find Off Market and Pocket Listings in Torrance CA?

In this incredibly competitive real estate environment many homes are not even making it to the market.   So how do you find out about these homes?  First it’s important to understand just what we’re talking about.

What does off market or a pocket listing mean?

It can actually mean a few different things but in general, when we refer to homes sold off market or pocket listings these are homes that are never put on the MLS and therefore unknown to most buyers and many realtors.  That means that searching the Redfins and Zillows of the world may mean that you’re not aware of these types of opportunities.

Why would a Torrance homeseller want to sell the home off market?

In general it’s not a great idea.  Fewer buyers that know about the home usually means less competition and ultimately a lower sales price.  That’s certainly not always the case but usually accurate to some extent.  Sellers have many reasons for not wanting to put their home on the market.  It may be due to privacy reasons such as not wanting the neighbor or even the tenant know that the home is for sale.  It may be that they don’t want to deal with some of the hassles that come along with listing a home…..buyer’s and agents that want to show the home at all hours, open houses on the weekends and more people simply curious with few legitimate buyers.  Whatever the reason it does limit the exposure and again usually limits the price.

That’s why it can be a good opportunity for buyers….less competition, fewer bidding wars which generally leads to a lower sales price.

How do I find out about these homes?

Unlike the MLS listings, off market, upcoming and pocket listings are much more elusive.  The key is to work with an agent that has deep connections in the Torrance real estate market and community.  Some of the top realtors in certain areas may share information on these hard to find opportunities and the larger or more numerous the seller and agent networks, the more information the agent can obtain.

We are happy to help you find off market homes in Torrance but this requires a good deal of work, considerable communication with sellers and agents and a readiness to act should the right home come available.  If you would like us to help find off market opportunities and are not currently working with a realtor please feel free to text us at 310-251-2344 or email us with the details of your home search.

Neighborhood Spotlight – Southwood

Sitting between West Torrance and South Torrance is the wonderful neighborhood of Southwood.  This small area also sits just east of Redondo Beach and the proximity to the ocean means milder weather and great Southwood Torrance Homesocean breezes that other parts of the city don’t enjoy.  Comprised mainly of 1940s and 1950s beach style bungalows, the area is still more affordable than some of the nearby beach cities while still having a certain charm lost in some of these other areas with oversized homes, makes a statement type architecture and over development.  Some homes have gone the route of maximum square footage, but the majority still look like homes that belong in the neighborhoods and give homeowners a bit of space and separation.  Although prices are still below neighboring South Redondo, they have risen dramatically in the past 2 years with most original smaller 3 bed/1 bath homes starting in the mid to low $600’s for fairly original, but nice condition, and the larger 3 bed/2 bath 1400 foot (many homes added a family room accounting for the extra square footage) selling anywhere from the mid to low $700s up to the low $900’s depending on location and condition.

What makes the area so special is the community feel, with an abundance of parks, dog parks and schools all within walking distance.   A quick drive down just about any street says it all with pride of ownership being quite apparent.  Manicured lawns, updated homes, tree lined streets and an abundance of neighbors walking the area makes for a great atmosphere.  Contact us if you are interested in learning more about Southwood or would be interested in receiving free email updates with the latest listings.

Current Southwood homes for sale

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Who Pays for What During Escrow in Torrance?

By Keith Kyle21345_Hawthorne_Blvd_#415_bed1 copy

Closing Costs – Who Generally Pays What In a Torrance CA Escrow

Keep in mind that the charts below are based on the standard allocation of costs in Torrance.  As with any detail of buying a home everything is negotiable including who pays what costs during the transaction.  In addition not all of these costs exist in every transaction and many are dependent on the lender, escrow company and the details of the offer.

Title Fees


Customarily Charged By/To:
Owners Title Policy Title:To Seller Fee for the title policy. Calculated using the sales price.May be reduced if home was purchased or refinanced inthe last 5 years. Insures that the title is as agreedto at closing
LendersTitle Policy Title:To Buyer Title policy issued to lender to cover the amount of the loan.Based on the loan amount unless it is a negative amortizationloan.
Sub Escrow Fee Title:to Buyer & Seller Fee to administer the payoff of loans or property taxes of the seller and collection of funds from the new lender
Document Transfer Tax County: to Seller at $1.10 per thousand of sales priceCity:  No transfer tax in Torrance Fee charged on all properties that transfer title – based on sales price.
Record Release/Reconveyance County:To Seller Charge to record the release/reconveyance
Federal Express/Messanger Fees Federal Express: to Buyer & Seller Charge to deliver all time sensitive documents and monies
Title/Wire Fee Banking Instituion: to Buyer & Seller Charge to wire funds to escrow, seller, lenders, etc
Electronic Recording County: to Buyer Charge to electronically record the document
Record Grant Deed County: To Buyer Charge to record the grant deed
Record Trust Deed County: To Buyer Charge to record the trust deed.
Messenger Messenger Service: To Buyer and Seller Charge to special messenger documents during the escrow: Fee
varies with distance
Lender’s Endorsement Title: to Buyer Charge for endorsements required by lender to cover “outside
the normal” risk circumstances

Escrow Fees

Customarily Charged By/To:
Escrow Fee Escrow: Each pays own Covers liability assumed as well as standard processing costs.
Demand Fee Escrow: to Seller Charge to request a statement & process involved in getting a payoff figure
to escrow on the outstanding amount of the current loan. One demand fee per loan.
Process HOA Docs & Transfer Fee Escrow: Seller Fee for processing required to assign membership for HOA a& copying all governing documents
Document Fee Escrow: to Buyer Covers the cost of all processing required to meet new lender requirements
Loan Tie-In Fee Escrow: to Buyer Covers the cost of all processing required to meet new lender requirements
Federal Express Federal Express: to Buyer For document packages to out of County Lenders.

Lender Fees

Charged By/ To
Origination Fee Lender: to Buyer Charge for lending money at 1% of the loan amount
Documentation Preparation Lender: to Buyer Paid to lender for preparation of final loan documents
Tax service Tax Service: to Buyer Fee charged to buyer to set up property taxes with the state
Wire Banking institution Charge for the wiring of funds to title for closing
Underwriting Lender: to Buyer Fee to direct lender for the process of approving
Tax impounds Lender: to Buyer Collected to create an impound reserved account for the lender to pay property taxes twice a year
Prepaid Insurance Lender:to Buyer Generally 1yr of hazard insurance collected for impound reserve
Appraisal Appraiser:to Buyer Paid directly to appraiser for appraisal of property
Credit Report Lender: to Buyer Paid to credit bureau for report containing 3 credit scores
Processing Lender: to Buyer Paid to mortgage broker for processing loan package from application to closing


Customarily Charged By/ To
HOA Transfer Fee HOA Management: to Buyer To transfer ownership and handle new accounting set up
HOA Dues HOA Management: to Seller Paid through month of closing
Fire Insurance Insurance Agency: to Buyer 1 year prepaid premium for Homeowners insurance
Notary Notary: to Buyer


Customarily Charged By/ To
Recording Fee Existing Lender: to Borrower Charge for having reconveyance recorded.
Statement forwarding fee Existing Lender: to Borrower Charge for issuing a payoff statement

Credits and Prorations

Customarily Charged By/ To
HOA Dues Seller: to Buyer Calculated from date of COA through month-end
County Property Taxes Seller: to Buyer Calculated from the date of payoff through end of period paid for.

Torrance Real Estate Explained – Hillside Overlay

By Keith Kyle

Home with "flags" marking outline of proposed addition

Home with “flags” marking outline of proposed addition

A few of the many benefits of living near the beach are the wonderful ocean views and ocean breezes that make life here so unique.  These ocean views have immeasurable value from both a quality of life aspect as well as a significant monetary impact.  In many of the South Bay cities these views are unprotected and it’s not rare for a home’s stunning ocean views to disappear when the one story home next door gets torn down and new and much larger home replaces it.

Certain areas of Torrance are the exception. Primarily found in the Hollywood Riviera and Seaside Ranchos neighborhoods the city has incorporated much stricter building guidelines known as the “Hillside Overlay” area.  (see map below)

In 1977, the Hillside Overlay Area was established in Torrance, CA in order to address issues concerning building, remodeling, and protecting views and privacy.  All new construction (meaning both new homes and expansions on current structures) are subject to review and input by neighbors including “flagging”  where a mock up of the future structure are marked with plastic flags  to approximate the outlines of any proposed addition to the structure prior to permit approval so that neighborhood input may be obtained.

Torrance Municipal Code Excerpt (Hillside Overlay)

The basics of the hillside overlay are as follows:  Upon receipt of the complete application, the Community Development Director shall set a date, time and place for a public hearing thereon as soon as practicable and shall send notice thereof to the owners of land included within a three hundred (300) foot radius of the exterior boundaries of the land for which the permit is sought

No construction and no remodeling or enlargement of a building or structure shall be permitted unless the Planning Commission (or the City Council on appeal) shall find that the location and size of the building or structure, or the location and size of the remodeled or enlarged portions of the building or structure, have been planned and designed in such a manner as to comply with the following provisions:
a) The proposed development will not have an adverse impact upon the view, light, air and privacy of other properties in the vicinity;
b) The development has been located, planned and designed so as to cause the least intrusion on the views, light, air and privacy of other properties in the vicinity;
c) The design provides an orderly and attractive development in harmony with other properties in the vicinity;
d) The design will not have a harmful impact upon the land values and investment of other properties in the vicinity;
e) Granting such application would not be materially detrimental to the public welfare and to other properties in the vicinity;
f) The proposed development will not cause or result in an adverse cumulative impact on other properties in the vicinity.

Torrance Hillside Overlay


Welcome to Torrance Real Estate

By Keith KyleTorrance real estate

Welcome to Torrance real estate.  We have strived to offer the very best information and home search features on a local website designed specifically for Torrance home buyers and sellers.  As local Torrance and Redondo Beach real estate specialists we understand how unique Torrance is and how different and distinct the various areas can be.  From oceanfront homes in the Hollywood Riviera, to duplex and income properties in the County Strip area…..we can help.  Search for homes with our free Torrance MLS access or allow us to do the hard work for you with our FREE daily listing updates and know about new homes first.  Our website offers information on real estate markets and trends in each neighborhood, recent home sales and prices, current off market homes and MLS listings, short sales and foreclosures and information for home sellers to find out what their Torrance home is worth and how we have been so successful at marketing and selling homes in the area.  We hope that our website is a great place to start for all of your Torrance real estate needs.  Contact us as any time for questions or more information.

Torrance Real Estate Map

See the most recent listings below but browse through the menus above to search Torrance homes by neighborhood, price, or home type.

  • List View
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See all Real estate matching your search.
(all data current as of 2/21/2019)

Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.


Seaside Ranchos A Great Combination of Neighborhood Feel and Beach Proximity

By Keith Kyle Exterior

Many buyers actively seek Torrance neighborhoods for the wonderful community feel, tree lined streets, great schools and family friendly vibe.  Nowhere is this more embodied than in the Seaside Ranchos area of South Redondo Beach.  The Seaside Ranchos neighborhood is often called the Christmas Lights area due to the annual show put on by the residents.  Sitting just North of Pacific Coast Highway as it turns inland near the Palos Valos Peninsula the neighborhood is a collection of beautiful homes on larger lots.  Most homes are generally updated and upgraded versions of the original beach homes built with fewer “McMansions” than in many other South Bay neighborhoods.   The majority of the homes offer 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms and due to the much larger lots than in most areas of Torrance often have fantastic backyards.  The tree lined streets offer a very safe and friendly feel and give the area it’s “Christmas Lights” nickname as all of the community trees are wrapped in white lights during the holidays and rare is the home that isn’t decorated with lights and decorations.  The area has become so popular during the holidays that traffic is restricted in the evenings and cars line up for seemingly hours to drive through the spectacular display.  Prices generally start in the low $800s and can price over the $2.0M mark for some of the most impressive homes on oversized lots.

Current South Torrance and Seaside Ranchos homes for sale

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Pocket and Off Market Listings are All the Rage in Torrance CA

By Keith KyleWest Torrance Homes

If you’re a home buyer at the moment, you’ve probably been a little frustrated with just how little housing inventory there is, how quickly the good homes sell, and how often they sell for far more than they were listed.  You’ve probably also heard the terms pocket listings and off market listings as those are definitely the buzz words of the moment.

So what do these words really mean and how do you find out about them?

Pocket listings and off market listings can mean several things, but basically they are homes that agents may, or may not, have formal agreements to sell, but are aware the sellers are interested in selling.  Most often the realtor has a written agreement to represent the sellers, but for one reason or another, the sellers either don’t want their home to be put on the MLS or perhaps they just aren’t quite ready.  In other situations it may be far more informal with either the homeowner telling a realtor “bring me a buyer and maybe I’ll sell” or something in which the owner would only consider selling at a price over the market value of the home.

So how does this help you?

The concept is pretty simple….the fewer buyers that know about a home the better the chances of having your offer considered and accepted.  Without the buyer frenzy that comes with most new listings these days the price may be kept at a reasonable level as well.

Torrance Home UpdatesSo how do you find these homes?

The best way to find these off market listings is to work with a successful local agent that specializes in the area you’re interested in.  It’s all about networking and the more owners, sellers and other agents the realtor is in contact with the more likely they may have ways of finding listings the public isn’t aware of.   Good agents will also actively seek out some unknown sellers with letters or even by door knocking.  Buyers can certainly try this on their own as well, but just won’t have the same reach as a well connected local agent.  If you would like us to help simply fill out our “let me know about pocket listings form” and specify if you want us to update you on all listings….or just the homes not on the market.

Be realistic

Although many deals are happening off market and it is a very good way of trying to find a home in a very challenging sellers market, buyers must be realistic.  Finding something off market generally doesn’t mean paying 70% of it’s value.  In our very high end market in which sellers have resources and information to know what their homes are worth, sellers are very savvy and often only willing to sell their homes off market if the price is right.