Sweet Digs Lands in Southern California

This time a year ago, we were a sleepy little blog; doing what we could to fill the pages with the most-clicked property of the day. A few iterations later, there’s more content but the original intent remains: provide that which doesn’t exist within the confines of an MLS listing. Recent sales, price reductions, local inventory, long-on-market properties are all fair game on Sweet Digs. Helping you make sense of the market are a dozen local real estate fanatics who come from all walks of life. Along the way we doubled the total number of Sweet Digs bloggers and picked up our first few male blog team members. After hiring the Seattle and Bay Area teams we wondered if we would ever find a guy to blog for us. I swear… it wasn’t intentional! We look for the best writers in the areas we want covered and that’s it.

LA being LA, we expect the gossip to flow and the celebrity home gawking to reach an all time high. Cindy Allen, our Beverly Hills and Hollywood blogger has already begun writing about million dollar “total dumps.” But we’ll do our best to stay focused on the “real” end of the home pricing spectrum and leave most of the celeb peeping to the crazy, addictive Real Estalker blog. Orange County and San Diego are no exceptions.

We welcome you to bring the blog discussions and questions to the Redfin Forums where you’ll meet more real estate freaks and DIY’ers. If you have any tips on properties that are about to hit the market or would like to promote your open house date on our blog (you don’t need to be a Redfin customer) send a message to tips(at)redfin(dot)com.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Sweet Digs Los Angeles team.

Cindy Allen
After 20 years of buying and selling houses in Southern California, Cindy Allen is frankly relieved to be taking a break from the roller coaster of home ownership. She and her husband and two yellow Labs recently relocated to Los Angeles after feeling fortunate to sell their San Diego-area home for considerably less than they paid for it two years ago. Having lived through the real estate downturn of the 1990s, the current environment of falling prices and foreclosures is painfully familiar – and fascinating. She is happily throwing her money away on rent in a 1920s fourplex in a neighborhood northeast of L.A.’s Farmers Market, where the cheapest home she’s found is a 90-year-old fixer for $1.1 million. She’ll also be covering the highly desirable and unaffordable areas of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. What’s a wannabe home buyer – or seller — to do? Stay tuned!

Cindy Allen

Christina Chan
Christina Chan has been a resident of Los Angeles for over a decade. As hard as she tries to return to her hometown of the “City by the Bay” (aka San Francisco), either the glorious weather or the possibility of celebrity sightings holds her back. After a stint in a normal job commuting to an office to create construction documents for healthcare and educational facilities (read: architecture drone), Christina decided she’d much rather spend her time writing behind a desk at home in her favorite fuzzy slippers. When she’s not investigating the ins and outs of the real estate market in Westchester, Playa Del Rey, and Playa Vista, she’s scheming a plan to buy the perfect property that will allow her to build her dream modern home in a desirable neighborhood with good schools. Unfortunately, neither the current housing market nor her yet unattained goal of reaching a cushy six-figure income is making that scheme a reality yet. Christina also writes for the educational market, magazines, and online copy.

Christina Chan

Ron DeGenova
Having worked as a professional scriptwriter for many years, the popularity of reality TV, where traditional fiction writers are no longer needed, put a hole in my checking account and therefore, felt the need to reinvent myself and learn a new business. I picked real estate. I went back to school and obtained my California license as a residential appraiser. The area that I cover is northern Los Angeles County; the San Fernando Valley (including Burbank and the City of San Fernando), the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley. In my job as an appraiser, many homeowners ask me questions about their home, such as, “… should I install a new furnace, would adding an extra bathroom increase my value or is it better to have a realtor sell my house or should I sell it myself?” Because I actually took the time to explain how real estate works to many of these homeowners, I started writing for various publications.

Ron DeGenova

Charles Song
As a transplant to the Los Angeles area with an innate curiosity as to why people choose to live where they do, Charles is a firsthand witness to the unique and exciting jungle of SoCal realty. In his spare time he tends to an eclectic combination of pursuits: photography, illustration, guitar and gardening.

Charles Song

Josh Toering
Hi, my name is Josh and I’m a real estate addict. I can’t stand having to drive by open house signs without the time to detour and check them out. The path I walk my dog is determined by which streets I see new for sale signs arrive on. That I fish any and all real estate related emails out of my spam box, is the surest symptom. I’m beginning to doubt there is cure, so I’ll pass on the trends, tips and tricks I have picked up during my tenure as a real estate maniac. Likes: California vintage homes, hardwood floors, garages with built-in work benches, avocado trees and other home hunters with great senses of humor.

Josh Toering

  • http://judydeloretta.blogspot.com judy de loretta

    Wow – a real estate site for the rest of us. I love it!

    I am a journalist-turned-real-estate addict. I left L.A. in ’96 and moved to Vegas where it has been easy to buy and flip new homes until the past year.

    I now have six rentals in Sin City, but I want to get back to So. Cal. I have some cashflow here, but I think I’ll have to wait until the next big shaker to afford something back home.

    Hey – do you guys ever hold meetings to talk about real estate? If it’s on a weekend, I’d love to come to L.A. to participate.

    I’m part of an informal real estate group-turned-investment-company here in Vegas. We hold meetings just about every weekend.

  • http://www.redfin.com Bahn

    Judy, that’s a great idea. We’ve held a few parties in Seattle in SF over the past couple years that had a tech-meets-real estate theme to them. The last one in SF we held in conjunction with a local real estate blog but it sounds like you’re interested in something a little more low-key.

    We’ll probably organize something over on the Redfin LA Forums one of these days…

  • http://www.thishikingtrail.com/ candice

    Hi All – Welcome!

    This question is for all of you, though more so Ron. I love that you’re going to be covering the San Fernando Valley! Any chance you’ll expand your coverage into the Conejo Valley? I know it’s not technically LA, but it does compete with the west valley, malibu/topanga area.

  • http://www.redfin.com Bahn

    That’s a beautiful part of California and we’d love to cover it. There was no one in that area that particularly impressed us with their writing ability during out search, so we passed. First one to write a mind blowing post on that area gets the job…

    Ron will have his hands full covering the San Fernando Valley. We don’t want to stretch any one too thin.