Real Estate newsletter: The ultimate home-buying guide

Illustration of a craftsman home with a key and ribbon below.
Buying a home in Southern California can be brutal — that is, if you try to do it without The Times’ step-by-step guide.
(Reina Takahashi / For The Times)

Welcome back to the Real Estate newsletter. We have a big one for you this week.

That’s because “The Great SoCal House Hunt,” our all-encompassing, step-by-step guide to buying your first home in Southern California, has published.

Not to brag, but simply put, there is no other resource like this for Angelenos. Real estate companies put out home-buying guides, but they’re usually trying to sell you something along the way. Other journalism outlets have guides, but not ones catered to the unique and demanding experience of buying a home here in Southern California.

Combining expert interviews, local anecdotes, tools, calculators and more, the guide is essential if you’re thinking about buying a home this spring, summer or beyond. We covered everything: how to get a mortgage, how to find an agent, how to master the open house, how to negotiate like a pro, and much, much more. Even the illustrations are top-notch.


The guide is available for subscribers only, so if you’ve been waiting for a reason to support your local paper, this is it. Help us help you.

Let me climb down from my soapbox really quick to tell you about some of the celebrity scoops we found this week. The biggest listing surfaced for sale in Beverly Crest, where pop star Katy Perry is shopping around her Regency-style residence for $19.475 million.

The move comes a couple years after Perry and her fiance, actor Orlando Bloom, settled down on a nine-acre estate in much-quieter Montecito. Let’s hope the sale is a bit less dramatic than the time she tried to buy that convent in Los Feliz, which resulted in a legal battle that brought in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles and led to a nun dying in court.

Up the coast in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the longtime home of late actress and comedian Betty White came to market for $7.95 million. The three-story beach house is worth quite a bit more now than in 1978, when White bought the land for $170,000.

The week also brought good news for renters, as California lawmakers approved an emergency bill to extend the state’s eviction moratorium by three months to June 30. The clock is now ticking for government officials, who have been tasked with disbursing payments to renters who have applied for relief funds due to the pandemic.

On the commercial side, we saw Downtown L.A.’s next skyscraper clear a major hurdle by getting approval from city officials. Plans for the $1.6-billion hotel-housing-retail complex called Angels Landing call for a 63-story tower that developers are hoping to complete before the 2028 Olympics.


While catching up on the latest, visit and like our Facebook page, where you can find real estate stories and updates throughout the week.

The Great SoCal House Hunt

Illustration of a Spanish style home with a key floating above.
(Reina Takahashi / For The Times)

Humbling. Exhausting. Overwhelming. These are a few of the words Times readers used to describe their experience buying a house. Emotional. Exhilarating. Epic — those too. Use this guide to smooth the path to your first Southern California home with step-by-step expert advice, tips from successful home buyers and more. Let’s get started >>

Pop star seeks a second sale

Spanning more than an acre, the estate is tucked behind gates and reached by a tree-lined driveway.
Spanning more than an acre, the estate is tucked behind gates and reached by a tree-lined driveway that covers a quarter of a mile.
(Hilton & Hyland)

Katy Perry already sold the guesthouse. Now she’s selling the main house.

A year after unloading one of her two Beverly Crest properties for $7.5 million, the pop star is shopping around the other one for $19.475 million — a little bit more than the $18 million she paid for it in 2017.


The listing arrives a couple years after Perry and her fiance, actor Orlando Bloom, moved to the much-quieter community of Montecito, where they dropped $14.2 million on a sprawling estate on more than nine acres.

Perry’s Beverly Crest abode has plenty of space of its own with more than an acre. Tucked behind gates, the Regency-style residence is reached by a tree-lined driveway that covers a quarter of a mile.

Betty White’s beach house lists for sale

Built in 1981, the three-story home overlooks the ocean and features a path that winds toward the beach.
(Aerial Canvas)

A few months after her death, Betty White’s longtime home on the coast of Carmel-by-the-Sea is up for grabs at $7.95 million.

It’s the first time the property has hit the market since White and her husband, game show host Allen Ludden, paid $170,000 for the raw land in 1978. They finished the house three years later, commissioning a three-story retreat with a design palette of wood, stone and glass.

Perched on a bluff above Ribera Beach, the house is tucked into the hillside and barely visible from the street. Inside, vaulted ceilings hang over a wall of stone in the great room, which overlooks the ocean through walls of windows.


Lawmakers extend rent relief

Christina House  Los Angeles Times ANTI-EVICTION signs festoon the Rodney Drive Apartments during a January 2016 protest.
(Christina House/For The Times)

California lawmakers on Thursday approved an emergency bill to extend the state’s eviction moratorium until June 30, giving government officials another three months to disburse rent relief payments for tenants who have experienced financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, writes Hannah Wiley.

The extension highlights the bureaucratic challenges thousands of California tenants and landlords have faced over the last year in applying and getting approved for billions of dollars in emergency rent relief. It also puts pressure on the state and local jurisdictions responsible for administering the funds to quickly get the aid out the door before July 1.

Assembly Member Tim Grayson, a Concord Democrat and one of Assembly Bill 2179’s authors, said Californians who qualify for assistance should not be punished with eviction while they wait for payments to be processed through a system that Republicans and Democrats have criticized.

Downtown skyscraper clears major hurdle

Rendering of Angels Landing, a $1.6-billion complex that city officials have approved for construction.
Rendering of Angels Landing, a $1.6-billion hotel, apartment, condominium and retail complex that city officials have approved for construction in downtown Los Angeles.
(Handel Architects)

Victor MacFarlane and R. Donahue Peebles have devoted years to Angels Landing, a $1.6-billion hotel-housing-retail complex that would change the city skyline. The Bunker Hill development’s highest tower at 63 stories would be among L.A.’s tallest buildings, writes Roger Vincent.


The developers said Monday that city planning officials approved Angels Landing’s so-called entitlements to build, a major hurdle the project had to clear on the way toward completion before the 2028 Olympics.

The developers have secured environmental approvals to build, made affordable housing commitments and completed deals with labor leaders, they said — all key elements required to proceed.

What we’re reading

Gas prices are rising, food prices are up, and the war in Ukraine is also squeezing U.S. home builders. Developers assumed supply-chain shortages would ease up going into the year, but the conflict has resulted in rapidly shifting prices for materials that will lead to price hikes and building delays. CNN has the story.

Basketball and tennis courts are the typical go-to amenities in Southern California, but in Arizona, one seller opted for something suited for colder temperatures: an ice hockey rink. The house is normal enough on the main level, but the basement has been converted into a full-size rink, AZ Central reports. The utility bill must be through the roof.