Tech investor Braden Pollock recently closed on a four-bedroom, Spanish Revival-style mansion sitting atop a hill with an unobstructed view of downtown Los Angeles. The house, built in 1925, comes with a library and a ballroom and sits on nearly two-thirds of an acre in the hilly neighborhood of Los Feliz. Pollock got the place for a steal at a probate auction back in June.

There was a reason for the bargain. The home comes with something else, too: a history. An unfortunate one.

Known in popular imagination as “The Los Feliz Mansion,” the house was the site of one of the most haunting and highly publicized murders in L.A. history. Early one morning in 1959, cardiologist Harold Perelson beat his wife, Lillian Perelson, to death with a ball-peen hammer, and then tried—and failed—to slay his 18-year-old daughter by bashing in her head with the same weapon.  Read more here. 

Listing agents love to use secret code words—phrases that sound pretty on paper but mean something entirely different in reality. Here are a few you should know so you don’t walk away feeling fooled.  Click here to learn more. 

The inspection is one of the most stressful parts of home selling.  These tips can help you prepare! View video here.

A home’s fair market value is the price it would sell for in a perfectly logical world—one where both buyer and seller are acting of their own free will (in other words, they aren’t desperate to strike a deal), are reasonably aware of a home’s good and bad points, and could just as easily choose a different house that suits their needs better.

In such a world, market forces reign. Buyers and sellers negotiate up or down from their various positions and agree on a home’s price. Deal done. All is good!

Fair market value vs. market value

A home’s fair market value is similar to a home’s market value—what it would fetch on the open market—but is used in specialized circumstances where the concept of fairness is important to evoke so that the home’s price carries more weight.

“FMV is typically brought into the real estate conversation whenever a sales price is being scrutinized,” says Robert Pellegrini, a real estate lawyer in Boston. Here are some circumstances where you’ll likely hear about a home’s fair market value:

Property tax assessments.
Home insurance claims—if a house suffers damage from a fire, flood, or other disaster, the insurer will look to FMV to determine compensation.
Refinancing a home loan—the bank will typically use a home’s fair market value as a measure of how much the home is worth to determine refinancing terms.
Estate sales—if the homeowner has died and a relative wants to purchase the property, the court will look at FMV to determine a price.
If the government wants to “buy out” a homeowner to use that land to, say, build a highway or school, the owner is typically entitled to be compensated at fair market value.
Short sale—this is when a home is worth less than the owners owe on their mortgage. In this case, the owners must persuade the lender to let them sell the home for some amount that is less than the balance of the home loan they still owe. “When a bank does allow this, the bank wants to make sure that the short-selling purchase price is at least FMV for the property,” says Pellegrini. Because, of course, no one likes a total loss!

How is fair market value determined?

“Let’s be clear about one thing: There is no exact mathematical formula that calculates fair market value,” says mortgage lender Michael Fema, CEO of Get a Rate. “Information is key, and the best way to obtain a home’s true FMV is … by hiring a professional licensed appraiser.”

To determine fair market value, a licensed appraiser gathers and measures the qualities of a home, such as its size, condition, neighborhood, and other factors. This information is used by lenders, attorneys, insurance companies, and other agencies to help determine a fair price.

All that said, no one ever proclaimed that life (or the housing market) is fair—which is why homes may often sell for an amount far different from this figure.

If, say, a family is desperate to buy a certain home because it’s in a coveted school district and their twins are entering kindergarten that fall, they might be willing to pay substantially over a home’s fair market value. Or if a home seller has fallen ill and has to sell quickly to cover medical bills, he or she might be willing to settle for less than a home’s FMV.

But in an ideal world, fair market value is the benchmark, and probably the closest number to what a home is truly worth.

At its heart, fair market value helps prevent home sellers and buyers from being taken advantage of, and is a good thing for both parties. And it’s worth knowing the term in case you feel like someone’s stance on a home’s price is off base. Just point out, “I think that’s pretty far above/below this home’s fair market value.” Who knows? If you’re right, this argument could persuade the seller or buyer to budge.


Having travelled to every state in our fair union and visited cities from the big to the small, few cities personify Americana more than Hendersonville NC. From its beautiful location in the Smoky Mountains to its quaint downtown, the city is the living image of what people think when picturing a truly American city.

When you arrive in Hendersonville, you are struck by how the city has organically grown over the years and they embrace and preserve their history while still pushing forward into the future. The city personifies  the word community, many cities talk about community but Hendersonville walks the walk.

However, a city by itself is just a collection streets, buildings and houses, it is the people that make the difference. Everyone likes to feel like they belong and are welcome and this feeling is alive and well in Hendersonville NC. When you walk into any business, whether its Jongo Java, McFarlan Bake Shop, Fatz Cafe or Sycamore Cycles you feel like they have known you for years, even if it’s your first time.

From a visitor standpoint, you get the feeling that you are tucked away atop the mountain while in Hendersonville and the problems of the world are far away. Take a drive on the blue ridge parkway, attend the Apple Festival and take in the beauty of the mountains. Just sit in downtown and watch the buzz, have lunch at Hannah Flannigans, listen to music on Main and peruse the multitude of antique shops.

Out of all of the cities I have traveled to, driven through or stopped in, Hendersonville NC is at the top of the list of cities that I didn’t want to leave. If you have not been to Hendersonville NC, take the time, plan a trip and learn to love the city the way I have. I promise you won’t be disappointed.