BUYING: Location still is a key consideration in how much a residence is worth in today's real estate market.
A "median" home in the San Fernando Valley can mean very different things in different neighborhoods.
For example, the current median of $350,000 can buy your growing family a roomy four-bedroom, three-bath ranch-style home in Sylmar built in 1963, offering 2,488 square feet.
But if you want to live in Glendale, your money only goes half as far - such as the two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow now for sale on Zook Drive with 1,121 square feet built in 1939.
That classic law of real estate - location, location, location - is brightly illustrated in the Valley, which hosts a range of diverse communities
Real estate experts attribute those differences to varying factors that include: proximity to major employment and entertainment centers in traffic-choked Los Angeles; crime rates; school districts; and general appearance.
Even neighborhoods that sit right next to each other - with the same school district and similar demographics - can command different prices just by name and reputation alone.
"Your neighborhoods are important. Winnetka can command a better price than Canoga Park," said Pauline Tallent, owner of Tallent & Associates Realtors in Winnetka.
In fact, over the years real estate prices have been one of the driving factors behind the naming of adjacent
Here's a look at what the median price currently gets you around the Valley in 2012. (The median is defined as an equal number of homes sold above and below that price):
A four-bedroom, three-bath ranch-style in the 13000 block of Kismet Avenue in Sylmar built in 1963.
A four-bedroom, two-bath house in the 86000 block of Langdon Avenue in North Hills built in 1927.
A two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow in the 13000 block of Sylvan Street in Valley Glen built in 1948.
"It's mostly where you are, the neighborhood around you," said Jim Summers, an agent at Coldwell Banker Greater Valleys in Granada Hills.
Summers has a traditional listing. It's in escrow for $350,250 and there were multiple offers, he said. The house was custom built by a carpenter. It's had two
There are other intangibles, too, that add up to the offering price even though it has two bedrooms and one bathroom.
"It's in really great condition, really well built and it's a really nice neighborhood," Summers said.
Those factors probably give it an edge over the other properties on the list, Summers believes.
"It'd be safe to say that most people would rather live in Valley Glen, all things being equal, than Sylmar. Sylmar is kind of out there," he said.
Ventura Boulevard, and all it has to offer, is closer and so are freeways and entertainment attractions in Hollywood and downtown.
Still, real estate agents note that it's more than just location. Sometimes sellers just have to figure out what is the right price that the current market will bear.
Tanya Hindoya, a Realtor at Rodeo Realty's Sherman Oaks office, said that properties priced right fly off the market.
She is marketing a 1,112-square-foot three-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath house in the 18000 block of Calvert street in Tarzana that was listed at $329,000 in a short sale.
"We got six offers and it was on the market for a week-and-half. It's in escrow at $340,000," she said.
But pricing a property at the median doesn't always result in a quick sale.
Tallent has been marketing a three-bedroom, one-and-three-quarter-bath single-story house with a pool in the 7700 block of Oakdale Avenue in Winnetka built in 1954, which the original owner left to his son in 2009.
The home, which is in move-in condition, is competing with the short sale and foreclosed properties that continue to filter onto the market.
The Oakdale house has been on the market for six months and was originally listed at $355,000. The seller has been dropping the price in only small increments, Tallent said.
Sellers need to be realistic, Tallent said.
"If you put it on the market at a lower price you can get multiple offers and the price goes back up," she said.