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Neighborhood News, Real Estate Market, Valmonte Homes

Valmonte Halloween Fun and November 2017 Market Update

November 7, 2017

Once again, Halloween in Valmonte did not disappoint! The Halloween tradition is one of the unique things that makes living in Valmonte lots of fun, and it was great to see all the families and kids getting into the spirit again this year. Our kids had a great time, and I know we went through over 500 pieces of candy at our home alone (and I know we were not alone)!


As for real estate, we are entering one of the traditionally slower times of the year. After a sales boost in August, October followed the September cooling trend in Valmonte. Inventory, measured as month’s supply, increased from 3.4 months supply in September to 4.3 months in October. Active listings for the month also reached a 3 year high with 17 homes available during the month. However, supply levels indicate the market still favors the seller as a balanced market is considered 6 months of supply. The increasing supply means that despite the high prices, we are reaching a more balanced market.

As for prices, Valmonte homes are just shy of record highs seen over the last 12 months. However, in the last few weeks with demand waning, prices of homes that have been on the market over 60 days are experiencing reductions. Prices in Valmonte continue to be a driver of activity. Homes priced under $1.5m continue to see the strongest activity and fewest days on the market. As you cross the $2m threshold, the time on the market increases. Of course there are exceptions in both price categories as unique homes or overpriced homes buck the trends. As has been the been case over the last 5 years, activity and prices typically drop as well head into the Holiday season. With 13 homes for sale in the neighborhood, buyers may find that this is the time to find their Valmonte home at a discount to the peak selling season seen in the Spring and early Summer months.

One question that remains to be answered is how long will prices hold both on a local level and throughout the region? We turn once again to interest rates with the belief that any significant rise could result in slowing sales and as a result, dropping prices. Of course, we have wondered for last several years when this interest rate hike will take place. Also, as of last Thursday, factor in the proposed tax plan which could limit mortgage interest and property tax deductions, and prices may cool off slightly. In the meantime, the overall economy keeps showing signs of strength with the unemployment rate at 10 year lows and corporate earnings holding steady. Throughout Southern California, demand still outpaces supply, and even with lower potential real estate tax deductions, and a slight increase in interest rates, it’s a safe bet we’re not heading for a real estate slump anytime soon.

Neighborhood News

PV Little League, the Tradition Continues

February 29, 2016

Since 1954

When we first moved to Valmonte, one of the first things our neighbors told us not to miss was baseball season, especially the burgers.  Having grown up not too far down the road in Hermosa Beach, I thought to myself “sure, Little League was fun, but what’s the big deal?”  At the time my son was only 1, so it seemed like a distant event.  Well, Spring came around that year, and it didn’t take long on that first Saturday for the smell of the burgers on the grill to drift down from the field and into our yard.  So our Saturdays at the swingset with our little one soon became Saturdays with burgers at the swingset.  My little guy enjoyed watching the big boys on the main Valmonte field play ball, and we had a good excuse to be a part of the community.  Fast forward 4 years and our little guy is in his first season of T-Ball, and we are in the thick of it.  Now I too will get to be the one flipping burgers on the grill, cheering on our aspiring sluggers on the diamond, and officially becoming a Little League Dad.


The Phillies on a 100 year old fire engine

Opening Day Parade

This weekend we celebrated Opening Day and the 62nd PV Little League season with the traditional parade from Malaga Cove field to Valmonte Field.  It was incredible to see the teams out decorating their team floats and trucks – a true bonding event for everyone.  Even more impressive was the huge support from neighbors and local families who lined PV Drive North to cheer the teams on. Between the tasty burgers at the field and the traditions like the parade, whether you’re a Little League parent or fan, baseball season in Valmonte is a neighborhood tradition to cherish.  Play Ball!

Neighborhood News

“40% of Crimes are Preventable”

February 5, 2016

Chief of Police, Jeff Kepley, addresses over 100 PVE residents on crime and safety in Palos Verdes Estates

Thank you to our great Neighborhood Watch organizers who put together a very organized and informative meeting with Police Chief Jeff Kepley at the Valmonte School on Thursday evening.  For those who were there, I’m sure you agree that while it was a bit unnerving to learn about the recent burglary crime spree in Palos Verdes Estates, it was also a great opportunity to learn how we can help keep these scumbags out of our homes and beloved neighborhoods.  I will highlight some of the key points discussed during the meeting below, but in general the Chief shared facts about who has been committing these burglaries, how they are finding their targets, and what can be done to help deter crime at your house and in your neighborhood.  Chief Kepley was also very clear about one thing “if you are a burglar, we will hunt you down like a dog and put you in jail.”  Apparently the message has gotten out, as burglaries have declined significantly since the spike in December.  Kudos to the PVE Police Department!

Summary of the topics discussed:

  • Recent wind storms – use this as a reminder to get prepared for the next natural disaster.  Have a plan in place, with emergency food and water so the next time you are ready.
  • Bay Boys – the Chief made it clear that illegal activity will not be tolerated along our coastline and in the surf
  • Helicopter manhunt – RPV incident – helicopter was useful in helping locate 3 burglars using infrared heat sensing detectors
  • Communication – the PVE Police department is trying to quickly communicate useful information to residents using Nixle and Nextdoor (join now)
  • Burglaries increased from an average of 35-50 each year to over 80 in 2015, but it’s already on the decline for 2016
  • The criminals are operating like an organized cartel with 3-4 burglars to a team, being dispatched from a central crime boss.  They are driving nice cars and doing quite well stealing from our hardworking neighbors.  They must and will be stopped.
  • 40% of burglaries are preventable – lock your doors, keep valuables out of sight in your vehicles, and see more of the tips below.

How to prevent burglaries and crime at your home and in your neighborhood


Mrs. Kravitz – we all need one!

Larry Manth, PVE Neighborhood Watch President, shared a great acronym to help us remember what we can do to keep our neighborhoods safe: LOCKLook, Observe, Call, and we all need a Mrs. Kravitz in our neighborhoods to keep an eye on things.  Chief Kepley reminded us that all these criminals have a map to your home on their cell phones – they will come to our neighborhoods, our job is to make it hard for them to succeed.  He suggested the following tips to keep burglars out of your home

Prevention Tips

  • Call 310-378-4211 to report crimes or suspicious behavior
  • Fortify your home – lock side gates, install better deadbolts, install exterior lighting with motion sensors
  • If you are away, make your home look occupied with lights on timers, leave a TV on, turn on a radio, have a neighbor check on your home
  • Close your garage doors and lock your doors
  • Install alarm systems with glass break sensors and infrared night vision cameras (if you have a camera system, you can register it will the PVEPD for help in providing information in the event there is a break-in in your neighborhood)
  • If you are on vacation, fill out a vacation alert with the PVEPD
  • Perform a home security assessment to see where your home is vulnerable
  • Hide your jewelry before the crooks steal it and melt it down never to be recovered (most break-ins only take 3 minutes)
  • Don’t leave packages on your front porch, make other arrangements
  • Install anti-theft dots (a personal microscopic id tag for your belongings) on your valuables
  • Cars: keep them locked and keep valuables out of sight, including your garage door opener

Audience Questions

  • Do we have sufficient staffing for the increase in crime?  Chief Kepley – the department relies on mutual aid from surrounding agencies and officers are on overtime for burglary suppression and surf spot checks
  • Are safes a good thing to have? CK – burglars have been known to steal 300 pound gun safes or rip wall safes out of the wall.  Good hiding spots are better than safes.
  • How can I get more involved? Join neighborhood watch, become a block captain; you can become a volunteer police officer; or volunteer in many other ways through the city.

In general, it’s important to appreciate that we live in a very safe neighborhood.  But don’t take our security for granted.  Take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your family and your home.  Be prepared.  And if you have some extra time or energy, help a neighbor out, especially our older Valmonte neighbors who live alone and don’t have family nearby to look after them.

See you in the neighborhood!



Household Tips, Neighborhood News

Neighborhood Watch Meeting

January 27, 2016

PVE Neighborhood Watch

Friends and neighbors,

With all the recent burglaries and break-ins over the last 6 months, it’s time to take action.  PVE Neighborhood Watch will be hosting a meeting on Thursday, February 4th, from 6:30-7:30 pm in the Valmonte Elementary School multi-purpose room.

I hope to see you all there.

Here’s the information from the invitation:

Please join us for a Neighborhood Watch Meeting with Guest Speaker PVE Chief of Police, Jeff Kepley.

Learn about:

  • Increase of Burglaries in our Community
  • Crime Prevention
  • Community & Law Enforcement Coordination to Stop Crime

For more information:  Contact Karen Logan PVE Neighborhood Watch Coordinator for Valmonte:

PS:  Help us update our address list!  If you are no longer in Valmonte or we have an outdated email, let us know.  Thank you!!

Neighborhood News

Burglaries in Valmonte Last Night

November 11, 2015

PVE Neighborhood WatchFor those that did not receive this email from Sandy Marchese, Community Relations Assistant, Palos Verdes Estates Police Department, here is the update from PVE PD about 5 burglaries that occurred last night in Valmonte. . . .

PVE Residents:

While our community continues to be safe and your Police Department is continually working to prevent and respond to crimes, you may be interested to know that last night, November 9, 2015, five homes in our city were burglarized.   We want to keep you informed.  In nearly every case the suspects entered the rear yard and smashed out a rear window (one had the front windows smashed).  The suspect(s) made entry at a few homes, with alarms being activated in all but one.  PVEPD officers responded with lights & sirens, and used the LASD helicopter, so if our residents saw or heard this police activity and wondered what was going on – the police department was responding to in-progress residential burglary calls.  No suspects were located at any of the locations, so these burglars were either scared away by the alarms or made very quick entries before fleeing prior to police arrival.  In one case, the residents were in the home at the time of the window smash burglary attempt.  No one was injured and there were no items ultimately reported stolen.  Anyone with further information, video camera surveillance, etc. is urged to contact PVEPD.

We must all exercise Crime Prevention techniques such as locking side gates, using alarm systems, motion sensor lights, trimming back shrubbery away from windows, etc.  Deterrents work.  I also encourage residents to join Neighborhood Watch to work with neighbors to observe and report suspicious persons or activity.   Please know that your police department has been combating property crime increasing by dedicating extra patrol officers to residential areas, both uniformed and plain clothed officers.  We will also be introducing Anti-Theft Dots, a property identification and recovery product to be announced soon on our website.

Neighborhood News

Be Safe and Aware

October 29, 2015

PVE Sign

Valmonte is a very safe place to live.  We enjoy the fruits of a vigilant police force that preserves the privacy residents seek, with enough visible presence to keep would-be criminals from seeing Palos Verdes Estates as a place of opportunity. Compared to the national average, PVE’s crime rate is about 1/4, with the majority of the crime being burglaries and theft.   Despite the low crime rate, burglaries are on the rise, and it is up to us, the residents, to help keep burglars at bay.  How can you participate in keeping Valmonte safe?  First and foremost please report any suspicious activities to the police. If you feel threatened or if it’s an emergency, dial 911. If it is not an emergency, dial the PVE PD number 310.378.4211. Prevention is a key element to stopping crime.  PVE has a strong neighborhood watch program and has issued the following recommended actions:

Lock car doors and make sure no times are visible inside
Shred mail/papers with personal information on them
Obtain a locking mailbox
Pick up your mail daily
Close and lock garage doors when you are not inside the garage
Lock doors and windows when you are not home
Turn on your alarm when you leave
Have trusted neighbors pick up mail/packages when you are away
Get to know your neighbors

If you would like your Neighborhood Watch Area Coordinator and/or an officer to come and speak to your block on home safety, crime trends and how to avoid scams please contact the Community Relations Officer at 310-378-4211.  To connect with your neighbors and stay tuned into local events, consider joining Nextdoor, a private social network that verifies members by their address; Valmonte has over 300 members in this network.

Thanks for making Valmonte a great neighborhood and please take the time to thank our local police officers when you see them next.

Neighborhood News

Fun Weekend Ahead! Saturday March 2, 2013

March 1, 2013

ImageWhat a day!  I tried to take advantage of this summer tease but taking the Little Grom down to RAT Beach today and we had a blast.  The water is a little on the cold side but with a light breeze and light crowds, it was worth giving him a shoulder ride up the hill at the end of our session.  I hope you too can take advantage of this great weather this weekend – there’s a lot to enjoy.  Besides the beach, here is what is happening:

Whale Of A Day! (Saturday 10-4) festival celebrates the annual migration of the Pacific Gray Whale off the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Fun, food, entertainment, whale watching, education, children’s activities (face painting, games, storytelling, inflatable jumpers), Interpretive Center museum tours, Coast Guard exhibits and lighthouse tours (close at 3pm).  Free shuttle to and from the event at Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall, 30949 Hawthore Blvd, RPV. or

PV Little League Opening Day Parade and Games.  The Parade will start in Malaga Cove and make its way to the Valmonte Little League fields at Valmonte Elementary School.  There will be games and fun throughout the day.

St. Patrick’s Day 5K Run/Community Walk & Leprechaun Dash (Sunday, March 3) beginning at 8 a.m. The race starts and ends at the Village Runner store located at 1811 Catalina Ave. in Riviera Village in Redondo Beach. The course takes participants along the Esplanade to Knob Hill and back. All participants will receive a St. Patrick’s Day Run t-shirt. There will also be chip timing, age division awards and cash prizes to the top three overall male and female runners in the 5K. Late registration begins at 6:30 a.m. with the 5K getting underway at 8 a.m. and the Leprechaun Dash starting at 9:30 a.m.

I’m hoping to get to at least one if not all of these events and maybe even get started on that veggie garden in the back yard.  Have a great weekend!

Neighborhood News

An edible garden grows at a school in Palos Verdes Estates – Los Angeles Times

October 18, 2012

Here’s an article from the LA Times talking about a cool project going on at Valmonte Elementary school.

A Palos Verdes Estates garden aims to help kids dig veggies

Volunteers convert a hillside plot into the Valmonte Farm and Nature Garden, the latest project in nonprofit group’s effort to teach youngsters about healthful food.

September 16, 2012|By Martha Groves, Los Angeles Times

Teacher Lauren Citrowski, 28, center, and students Estefani Hernandez,… (Irfan Khan, Los Angeles…)

The temperature had soared to nearly 100 degrees by late morning in Palos Verdes Estates, making it a fine day to cool off at the beach or a water park.  Instead, Chloe Solandt, her face pink from heat and sun, was sanding boards and stomping through dirt as she and 150 or so other volunteers built an edible garden on a one-acre hillside plot at Valmonte School, an early learning center.  “I’m really interested in agriculture and food sustainability,” said Solandt, 17, a senior at Palos Verdes High School. “I’ll be going to each station.”  She had plenty of sweat-inducing tasks available to her. At the various stations, volunteers of all ages wielding paintbrushes and battery-powered tools could assemble redwood picnic tables, construct an arbor or a small-scale red barn, fill wheelbarrows with wood chips or plant fruit trees.

The occasion was a “community garden build day,” and a community indeed turned out to create the Valmonte Farm and Nature Garden. Dave’s Tree Service kicked in a mini-mountain of mulch. Kellogg Supply sent heaps of soil amendments and compost. The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy donated native plants.

And Tomas O’Grady good-naturedly assumed the role of project foreman.  O’Grady, 45, who grew up working his family’s small farm in western Ireland, immigrated to the United States 20 years ago and retired about five years later after making a fortune in real estate. Last year, O’Grady unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Tom LaBonge for his Los Angeles City Council seat.

Fourteen months ago, in an effort to give back to the society that enriched him, he started Enrich LA. The nonprofit group’s mission is to establish school gardens, primarily in low-income areas. The aim is to help youngsters learn about where food comes from and about environmental stewardship, conservation and nutrition. Enrich LA gardens demonstrate that “home-grown” can be as tasty as burgers and fries.

“We’ve done gardens at schools along the 110 corridor where the chain-link fences are topped by barbed wire, an extra touch to get that prison vernacular,” O’Grady said. “In most cases, we’re ripping up asphalt to put in gardens.”

His first project was at Thomas Starr King Middle School, a Los Feliz magnet, which his daughters Eireann, 13, and Lauren, 11, attend. “After I built the garden, I saw the changes it brought,” he said. “It was a visual announcement that the school was mending itself.” O’Grady helped found an environmental studies magnet program at the school, where student activists two years ago kicked off an effort to ban plastic foam trays in the cafeteria. In August, the Los Angeles Unified School District switched to money-saving recyclable paper trays for all its schools.

Palos Verdes Estates is hardly an economically challenged area, O’Grady acknowledged, but Diana Heffernan-Schrader, a parent activist, “called us up and insisted.” Once O’Grady saw the site, which years ago had been a garden but had been long neglected, he was on board. Heffernan-Schrader, whose two daughters attend Valmonte, said she envisions edible gardens at every school in the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District.

via An edible garden grows at a school in Palos Verdes Estates – Los Angeles Times.