Ways to Hold Title on Real Property

I was just speaking with title officer Brandon Miller from Fidelity Title about some of the different ways people can hold title to their real estate. He sent me this fantastic cheat sheet that I would like to share with you.imgres

Why should people should put their home in a Trust?  (This makes sure that if something happens to you, your loved ones have a directive on how to take care of your property.  It keeps it out of costly and time consuming probate!  PLEASE, if you love your family, get a trust.)  Why do investors want a property to be held in an LLC?  What protections does an LLC offer?

Below is a single sheet from Brandon Miller of Fidelity Title that makes it all clear and easy to understand.

Ways to Hold Title of Real Property

If you have any questions Brandon or I would be happy to talk with you about pros and cons of your options.
Brandon Miller
Fidelity National Title

The Urban Parking Dilemma

This morning I woke to a message from a neighbor saying she was yelled at and threatened by another neighbor because she had parked on the street in front of the neighbor’s house.  She was concerned with the violence of the altercation and didn’t know what to do.  She didn’t want to elevate the anger by calling the police, but wanted advice.  Not being the best source for advice on specifically what to do in this situation;  I will share the ideas it did bring to mind.

bad-parking-7132531All houses (in Los Angeles) are supposed to provide covered parking, so I would like to remind everyone, we do have parking on our properties we are just not choosing to use it. (Most garages in my neighborhood are used as storage units, man caves or converted to rental units.) Considering our area was built up in the 1920s- 1940s many driveways seem to be too narrow to drive down, so there is that excuse not to use the garage. But it might be time for each of us to try consider a way to park on our own properties.

The spaces between driveways are meant to fit 2, I repeat 2 cars (in my neighborhood anyway). If we are all considerate not to block driveways, but pull all the way to the edge to allow more of our neighbors access to parking, we might alleviate some of the anger that comes from getting home from work and not being able to find a space near our own homes.

However, streets are for public usage. We do not own the spots in front of our houses. We all want to park in the spots closest to our houses. We all have that moment of annoyance when the spot in front of our house is taken. But these are public streets and people have the right to park on public streets. No one has the right to bully, harass, or threaten anyone in any situation, but especially in our own neighborhood. We all understand the frustration. But please try to deal with conflict while understanding we all want the same thing. We all just want the right to park by our own house and go inside and turn off the world.

Today think of one way you might be able to create more parking on the street.
– Park larger cars in the driveway/ smaller cars in the street
– Make more space in the driveway to park tandem
– Park motorcycles and mopeds on the side of the house
– Pull all the way forward to the edge of the curb when parking while not blocking driveways
– Pull your rv or boat into your driveway or backyard to make space for cars
– Tell your tenants to respect neighbors and park with empathy because we all get frustrated
– Park with empathy because we are all frustrated.
– Ask that guests pull all the way into street spots when they visit.

80ff1423dde637288a960590bbec6d5aPlease share your ideas on how to make this better. We all know the problems, looking for solutions here.

Thanks everyone for consideration over frustration.

LADWP Home Energy Improvement Program

Home Energy Improvement Program (HEIP)

HEIP Assessor
HEIP Assessor

The LADWP Home Energy Improvement Program or (HEIP) is a free program for energy efficient upgrades offered to residential customers. Once you are approved, they send trained energy technicians to your house for a comprehensive assessment of your entire house’s energy useage.

It took about a month to get approved for the program, and about 2 weeks after that they came out to my house. They took my house through a battery of tests checking my insulation, window and door sealing, sprinkler systems, toilets, shower heads and more. They did a combustion test on my hot water heater and stove. Checked my thermostat, tested all of my smoke detectors, replacing some with a 10 year battery model for free. They put in a new CO detector in a better position in my hallway and replaced nearly all of my lightbulbs with CLFs.

They did all of this 100% for free.


They might have done more, but, if you know me, I keep the place pretty energy efficient anyway. Had I not had proper insulation; if I didn’t have low-flow shower heads and toilets; they would have sent out a skilled technician to complete the upgrades. The products that they use are not high-end, but they will save energy and money.  (And if you are about to sell and need these items for a city compliance certificate – here is your chance to get these things done for free!)

It is a fantastic program to see where your house is as far as energy useage. I was pretty proud that he said mine was one of the best houses that he had seen in my area. All in all, I was glad to have had an assessment and I know I will not run out of lightbulbs for the next 5 years.

Learn more about the LADWP Home Energy Improvement Program HEIP.

HEIP Application

Rain Barrel Pick-Up Free with Rebate May 31st.

Rain Barrels International IMG_2538Don’t miss your chance to get up to 4 rain barrels free with rebate.  Follow the links to purchase your rain barrel at: Rain Barrels International  You can only do one one-time rebate per household so make sure you get enough for your whole yard.

South Robertson Neighborhood Council

Orders are now being taken for a May 31, 2015 pickup date. Distribution will be from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Hamilton High School, 2955 South Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Only rain barrels ordered in advance on the form below are guaranteed to be available.

Specifications of each rain barrel:
Designed with brass spigot for garden hose attachment
Barrel has a screen to prevent mosquitoes from accessing water
Side brass overflow
Made from plastic reused food grade barrels
Color Available: Black and Terra Cotta
*Color subject to availability

Price – $85.00 each

Payment is made via Paypal Secure Network after the form below is filled out.

For questions contact info@RainBarrelsIntl.com


Save Water – Save LA Great Success.

Save Water – Save LA (Soro Neighborhood Council Water Conservation Town Hall)

Save Water - Save LA

The South Robertson Neighborhood Council is hosting a town hall meeting, Save Water – Save LA, on the topic of water conservation.  The event is scheduled for May 17, 2015 from 12 to 3 pm at Castle Heights Elementary School. Save Water – Save LA is designed to inform and motivate people to consider water conservation in daily life and provide tips on how to meet the 25% water reduction mandate.  This program will educate people about the drought problem and present ways to get involved in the solution.

Please RSVP at: http://tinyurl.com/savewatersavela

Panel Topics covered:

  • Defining the water shortage problem: Academic assessment: Ucla Institute of Environment & Sustainability
  • Measures the city of LA, state & utilities are taking: Rebates & incentives: DWP & Clear Result
  • Describing what Australia has done to solve their drought crisis: Building on success: The Tree People
  • Practices in the home that individuals can employ to meet 25% water reduction: Sustainable Works
  • The benefits of planting California native landscaping: Theodore Payne Foundation
  • Rain barrel water capture program: Rain Barrels International & The Tree People

Where:  Castle Heights Elementary School (9755 Cattaraugus, Los Angeles, 90034)

When:  May 17th, 2015

Time: 12pm to 3pm

The format will begin with a panel discussion with question and answer period followed by a meet and greet with individual organizations at tables to showcase and demonstrate services and opportunities for water conservation as well as opportunities to sign up for Free Rain Barrel rebate program (to be distributed on May 31st at Hamilton High School).

Participants Include:

UCLA, Sustainable Works, Theodore Payne Foundation, Greywater Corps, Food and Water Watch, The Tree People, LADWP, Rain Gutter Specialists, CLEAResult, Grow Native Nursery, LA Waterkeeper, The House Agents/Partners Trust, Ballona Creek Renaissance, Green Gardens Group, Green Beginnings, Rain Barrels International and our political representatives!

Join in the fun by bringing electronics to recycle at our eWaste drive, sign-up for the free rain barrel rebate program, get landscaping ideas, enjoy truck dining and kid activities with Green Beginnings, first 150 attendees get swags bags and much, much more.

Save Water Yard Sign

I Blame TV

I try to stay with the subjects of real estate and green living tips on this blog, but I have discovered the reason for all of the judgement and hatred in the world (I know I am not the first to say this).  I blame the short format media.  Yes, that’s you sit-com writers.

We watch TV with such short story time lines that the exposition needs to occur in just a line or two of dialogue.  We need to know the protagonist from the antagonist sometimes within just a look.  It is necessary because we have to pass the exposition to move forward with the actual conflict and resolution within 22 minutes. How can a well rounded story occur without knowing the characters in a glanGood vs. Badce?

We have become so used to needing to understand good from bad to follow the rules of the format, we have trained ourselves to think this way in all situations.  We feel the need to make sense of the world around us for our own sanity and we have learned this process in 22 minute lessons. 

When someone tweets an unthinkable 140 characters, they must be the evil character that needs to be stopped at any cost by us, the hero in our own show.  There is no way that they can change their mind without being a flip-flopper, and it can’t be possible that we mis-read the signals of sarcasm, or introspection. 

In real life we need to test the waters, we need to play at the scales of justice to see where we feel comfortable.  We are all good and all bad and that is where the true lies.  Life is nuance and that is what makes it so exciting to live.  The storylines can flip at any moment. 

So writers, producers, executives, I call upon you to set us straight.  (And I have to say TV is getting a bit better about this with some newer shows.) Give characters the freedom to be good and bad.  Let the stories happen within the discovery and game between right and wrong. 

Butt OUT
Butt OUT

And for god sakes if I write a comment on Facebook you don’t like, chill the hell out!

And give Trevor Noah a break.

Expo Line Train Testing Begins!

The moment you have all been waiting for has arrived.  Well, the moment I have been waiting for for four years is about 6 months away.  The opening of the Expo Light Rail Line extension to Santa Monica!  It is about to begin the train testing process, and be one step closer to opening.

The Expo Light Rail Line extension from Culver City to Santa Monica is scheduled to start train testing activities the week of April 6, 2015 and continue for several months. Initially the trains will be pulled along the rail corridor, and then operated on their own power. Testing will first take place in the eastern portion of the project and will later proceed across the entire alignment. The testing activity will test train clearances, the Overhead Catenary System which powers the trains, the crossing gates and traffic signals, and all related systems before the project is turned over to Metro for pre-revenue operations.

When: Starting the week of April 6, 2015
Where: Along the light rail alignment between Venice Boulevard and Military Avenue
Hours: Between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday

Expo Line Construction
Expo Line Construction

What to Expect:

Preliminary testing activities will take place intermittently for approximately 3 weeks before the crossing gates are activated. During this time, testing may result in brief interruptions of street traffic as trains cross the intersections assisted by flaggers.

Once the crossing gates are operational, testing will continue on a more regular schedule.
The train’s audible devices may be used during testing activities.

Throughout the testing period, safety personnel will be available at the crossings to assist the public.
As testing proceeds along the alignment, supplemental notices will be issued.

Expo Line Extension pdf

Safety Tips:

Please obey all warning signs and traffic signals when crossing the tracks.
Always look both ways before crossing any street.
Never walk on railroad tracks.
Watch for trains from both directions.
Use the crosswalks.
Do not jaywalk across the tracks.

Helms Bakery Neighborhood

Helms BakeryI just got an email from KPCC asking Los Angelenos to write about LA  neighborhoods.  I love my neighborhood, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts about it here.

I live by Helms Bakery.  Our little section has had a few names through the years.  Most recently Regent Square, which had no context in the city so we voted to change the name to Helms Neighborhood.  I still tell people Helms Bakery as I find more people understand that.

What I love most about it is how multicultural it is.  Helms is a mix of middle class people; artsy to working class with varied interests and needs. We have mostly classic Spanish or bungalow architecture from the the early to mid 1900’s with residents having lived here from 50 years to newly flipped houses.  We are a complete melting pot that watches out for everyone else.  I wouldn’t say it is unique to LA, I would say it is typical in the best possible way.

Helms is the no-man’s-land of areas.  We are not Culver City, but we are across Venice Blvd from it. We are not Beverlywood but we are just South of it.  We are included in South Robertson, but we are separated by the freeway.  Sometimes called mid-city, but that is not right either.  We are in Palms post office (90034), but Palms doesn’t connect with us due the the industrial Helmsmenand train divide at Robertson and Venice.  If you tell people we are at Helms Bakery, you almost always get a smile from people that remember the trucks or love Father’s Office.  I love that Helms brings so many people from Los Angeles great memories.

This is where everyone in LA should be buying. We have the expo line train going from our area to downtown, and soon to be going to Santa Monica. We have cute little middle class houses and great neighbors that care.  It is one of the few still affordable sections near the west side. I love Helms.


Please let everyone know what you love about your neighborhood in the comments below.HelmsBakery1