POLITICS AT PLAY

The push for a referendum on Proposition 13 calling for a “split roll” change is moving forward. And while, at first blush it may seem to be the ideal answer to protecting homeowners and generating much-needed funds for education, take the time to look a little closer. In West Hollywood, for example, though the ballot measure appears to protect small business, the bar that would allow commercial property owners to maintain their current tax values is $3M. You can guess, that leaves out virtually any property in West Hollywood. So, small business is not, in fact, protected. And, as landlords are faced with increases in property tax you can bet they will pass this along to their small business tenants. In the end, many local, community-serving businesses will be forced to close or raise the prices they charge their customers. In CA politics, things are not always as they seem…. Click here to read more Continue reading

MORTGAGE MONDAY

Great news for first time homebuyers, members of the military, low-income buyers and seniors looking to trade down!!! Last week the FHA announced a new program that will make it easier to get loans on condominiums throughout CA. The program calls for the FHA to back some mortgages on individual condominium units in condo complexes that are not approved by the agency. Unlike conventional mortgages that require 20% down, the FHA backs loans that require 3.5% down payments. With the expansion, the number of condo options will increase substantially making it easier for buyers to jump into home ownership. Click here to read more Continue reading

DECIPHERING MARKET MOVES

For consumers who locked into refi’s or home loans upon news of the Fed’s .25% drop in the benchmark rate on July 31, it was a bit of a disappointing week. The smug confidence that their strategic timing locked in a rate at the lowest possible point turned to confusion as they watched rates continue to slide for the next week. How could this happen? What did they miss? While they could not possibly have planned for it, Trump’s announcement of the Chinese tariffs sent investors scrambling to move money out of the stock market to the safety of bonds. And as bond prices rose, interest rates declined. At the end of the day, it was this unexpected news that had a more significant impact on interest rate movement. Predicting interest rates moves is a tricky business as they depend on the expectations of investors driven by a wide range of economic news and reports. And just when you think you’ve got it all figured out a surprise announcement or an unanticipated event takes hold of the financial markets and away we go.   Click here to read more Continue reading

REAL ESTATE EYE CANDY

The “Bird Streets” located off Doheny just above Sunset have become one of the most coveted areas for luxury homebuyers in Southern California. Offering exceptional views, privacy and easy access (just down the hill) to West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and the entire westside this area is home to celebrities, entertainment industry executives and many of the top business and professional people in LA. The area is filled with incredible modern homes built to take advantage of the views and filled with the luxury amenities that define the art of living today. Click here to read more Continue reading

DESIGN TRENDS

If a little bit is good, is more always better? Today let’s have fun with design as I give you some of the campiest rooms you can ever imagine! Click here to read more Continue reading

CELEBRITY MOVES

Matthew Perry has come a long way from the apartment he shared with his “Friends” in New York.  Over the past decade he has proven himself to be an active and astute player in the Los Angeles real estate market.  This week he added another chapter to his real estate legacy when he listed his 9290 sq. ft condo in the swank Century Towers for $35million, making it the most expensive condominium currently on the market in Los Angeles.  If he gets his price his investment will show a pretty good rate of return given that he purchased the full-floor unit just over two years ago at $20million.  Click here to read more Continue reading

REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT STRATEGIES

While Los Angeles city government struggles to build housing for the homeless and cost estimates are as high as $500K per apartment in these projects, a Venice, CA couple, Heidi Roberts and John Betz, are proving that there may be another way to address the housing issue. By buying up dilapidated single family homes in South LA and replacing them with large duplexes they housed 98 homeless tenants last year. These duplexes can be built relatively quickly and at far less cost than the government projected costs…and the couple is even showing a modest profit from their first foray into homeless housing. With the success of their first efforts, they have now recruited investors to raise funds to build 480 more beds next year with the promise of a 5% annual return on their investment. Mayor Garcetti…take note! Click here to read more Continue reading

MORTGAGE MONDAY

Despite the continued growth in home prices in many markets, 30 year mortgage interest rates now in the 3% range are giving home buyers more buying power than they had a year ago. How much more? Realtor.com breaks the numbers down and shows just how much more home you can get today with year to year comps in several markets. Click here to read more Continue reading

DESIGN TRENDS

Home and Design identifies the “new normal” guiding designers and clients in renovations and cosmetic remodels both inside and out. Driven by cultural changes, the approach to design and planning has evolved with a new focus on environmental sustainability, the creation of transitional spaces that merge the outdoors with the indoors and easy, livable spaces for entertaining and family gathering. Click here to read more Continue reading

CELEBRITY MOVES

Although it is not a pretty tale (and not a very pretty house either) this move was so newsworthy I had to share! It appears that poor beleaguered Jussie Smollet has taken a loss on the sale of his Studio City hideaway. While the average 3 bedroom home value increased by 7%, the former “Empire” star took a $30K loss…NOT counting the cost of improvements. Can you say Karma??? Click here to read more Continue reading