In an ever-evolving real estate landscape, it’s important to bear in mind that buyers—particularly those in the highly competitive L.A. market—bring a sharp eye for detail to every property on the market. We asked agent Bennett Hirsch and Nicholas Sandler, who represent the recently renovated 7900 Willow Glen in Laurel Canyon, to share insight on the elements and features to focus on when seeking out or upgrading a property.
Recognize (and Keep) Good Bones
A well-constructed home is the key to a successful renovation. If the bones are good, unique architectural elements are an added bonus and can be orchestrated into the remodel to create a timeless aesthetic.
“7900 Willow Glen features classic midcentury architecture with post and beam ceilings—which is desirable in the Los Angeles market,” says Bennett. Additionally, the orientation of the home makes a huge difference, not just for view lines but also for privacy. Bennett adds, “The vantage point of 7900 Willow Glen is extremely rare for the West Hollywood Hills. Usually, you are looking out onto other houses, here you get an incredible view of completely vacant rolling hills with just one home far in the distance lined with palm trees and an airstream.”
Prioritize High-Quality Finishes and Standout Features
Discerning buyers in L.A. (and beyond) will take note of high-quality finishes and life-enhancing features—like dual masters, views and modern conveniences. At 7900 Willow Glen, standout upgrades elevate the estate from the ground up (literally).
“When you walk in, you're met with herringbone Norwegian white oak floors, which are so rarely found in homes at this price point,” says Bennett. “The kitchen features stainless Bertazzoni appliances, Carrera marble counters and custom cabinetry—again, all unheard of at the price point. Additionally, the home has two significant master bedrooms, one on the first level and the second downstairs with its own private balcony and gigantic walk-in closet. Both suites have expansive views.”
Add Value By Building On
Sometimes the most obvious can be the most impactful. The two easiest ways to add value to a remodel is to add square footage or even a pool. But value goes well beyond bedroom count and square footage. It’s the intangibles that can have the most influence on a home’s value.
“Emotion and connection are what makes the buyer pay a premium that can’t be pinpointed on a stat sheet,” Bennett explains. “The most nuanced way to set a remodel apart is to create character and connection throughout the house. Our client at 7900 Willow Glen took the original house from the 1950s and highlighted its charm and character while elevating the interior to present-day expectations, all while keeping the architectural integrity of the home.“
The Beauty is in the Details for Savvy Buyers
In addition to noticing quality materials, buyers today are often well-versed on flipping properties and the shortcuts often taken to make easy upgrades. They have typically done their research, exploring ‘flips’ and noticing where the owner cut corners to save money.
“Buyers are smart. They do their due diligence before making what is most likely the biggest purchase of their lives,” says Bennett. “At 7900 Willow Glen, buyers fall in love with the aesthetic—they’ll open cabinets, feel finishes, check the brand of the appliances and notice the installation work. “Again, it’s important to invest in finishes and overall workmanship.”
Location is Key
The first rule of a great piece of real estate still stands—location, location, location. Homebuyers today seek properties that are in close proximity to acclaimed schools, cultural centers (museums and galleries), trendy restaurants and great shopping. It’s all about the lifestyle a home can offer, beyond the front door. “7900 Willow Glen is located in the Hills North of West Hollywood on the south side of Mulholland, sandwiched between Laurel Canyon and Nichols Canyon,” says Bennett. “It’s within a close-knit community with some very famous Hollywood names in the neighborhood. It’s also in the highly regarded Carpenter School District—all factors that add to the property’s appeal.”