Stylish West Hollywood Condo

750 N. Kings Rd #225
750 N. Kings Rd #225

West Hollywood style is impeccably designed and meticulously maintained in this pied-à-terre.  It includes a Miele, Jenn Air, and Asko equipped kitchen, bamboo flooring, audio-visual setup, limestone shower w/ five head system, designer appointments and a stylish wall of tempered glass separating the bedroom from living room.  Enjoy an evening cuddled around the fireplace in this perfect hide-away in Los Angeles or take advantage of the shops, dining, and nightlife of nearby West Hollywood.

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.

Flip Your Home Can Help

Flip Your Home

We don’t want to buy your home, we want to help you sell it for more money! 

Flip Your Home

Flip Your Home is a team of real estate and remodeling experts getting sellers maximum profits by connecting investors to pay for renovations.

You own or inherited a home that is or has become too difficult to maintain.  The systems are old, outdated, and potentially unsafe.  You might want to unload the property or retire to an easier life, but can’t sell the house getting the profits you need.  You might be over your head and feel helpless, but Flip Your Home can help you find the hidden gold hidden in your property.

You could fix up your own property for resale, but you don’t have the money, time or skill to renovate a home. Meanwhile, the biggest investment you ever made left you penniless and hopeless.  WE ARE NOT TRYING TO BUY YOUR HOME!

 What if we could get an investor to pay for renovations to your home and you could split the profits when it sells? The investor pays for the construction and everyone comes out ahead at the end of the transaction when your house sells for more than the current, unrenovated value.

 Your investment is your home — There is NO COST TO YOU. The Flip Your Home team uses its knowledge of the market, investors and contractors to create a marketable home.  We are professional home designers, builders and marketers who have years of experience flipping homes.

We work WITH your home, managing the process every step of the way, to renovate and sell your home for maximum value.

With the Flip Your Home program investors partner with the homeowner. The homeowner’s part of the investment is their home: you, as the investor, provide money for the renovations. The profits get divided between you and the homeowner with a small Flip Your Home service fee

Each deal is individually negotiated. All projects must be pre-qualified. Each investment is a risk and no profits are guaranteed.

(844) 2 FLP HOM (844) 235 – 7466
© Copyright 2014 Flip Your Home LLC. All rights reserved.

A Realtor’s Stage Production

All the Sales a StageI have come to realize selling houses is a bit like being in a play. You are so excited to get the role (listing), you study the lines (features of home), rehearse (create marketing materials), perform the show (open houses- negotiations-inspections-negotiations again) take a curtain call (sign off on contingencies) then when the show is over (the sale goes through) you get sad the project is over and are back to looking for another role.

I am happy and sad to have sold another one.

Response to So Cal Real Estate Bubble Article.

Is it a Boom or a Bubble?  Interesting article I read asked for thoughts.  These are mine.

Let me just start by saying I am an agent on the Westside of Los Angeles, and my comments are for my specific market.

Prices go up, they go down, that is the nature of all markets in capitalism not just real estate. Are you going to continually call every market a bubble? Yes, the prices are up and yes, there is very little inventory creating competition for properties out there driving prices up even higher.

BUT, the money markets are different than they were 10 years ago. People could get loans based on fraudulent information making money easy to come by, easy to throw around and easy to walk away from properties purchased. People were able to inflate prices because the buyers could get loans for them. As the lending industry has tightened, the loans are given to people that have the good credit and skin in the game (20% down), making default unlikely. The market has also opened up to foreign money in a way never experienced before.

In LA, if you writing an offer with a loan with less than 20% down, chances are you will be passed up by most sellers. Here it seems that most affordable properties have at least one all cash or non-loan contingent offer. Here we are not dealing with theoretical money on paper, we are dealing with real money. For people to foreclose, they will be losing a lot more than credit scores. This makes the likelihood of mass foreclosures leading to a bubble burst more unlikely.

That being said, there are 2 things I see that will bring prices down. 1) Interest rates going up will make buying power go down so prices can take a hit. Again, in LA I am seeing so many cash deals I wonder how much of a fall it will take. And 2) when sellers realize the money they can get for houses, and everyone decides to put their houses on the market, that will quell inventory scarcity.

However, think about what your parents paid for their house, what your grandparents paid for theirs…. Even with inflation, I really don’t think it is possible to say overall the markets were ever a true bust. Don’t think of homes like stocks and you will do fine.

It really makes me sad that people like Lee are so prevalent today.  (People that hate real estate agents and blame them for crazy markets.)  Agents and brokers are here to help people purchase and sell homes. We are advisers and not creators of the markets. We study and advise. We don’t create the capitalist system we are working within. Supply and demand are still the real creators of the market we work in.

And guess what? House flipping enables upgrades in dusty neighborhoods that most buyers are not willing to take on themselves. Yeah, people get paid for that. Hopefully you get paid for the service you provide to society. (Crappy house flipping excluded in opinion.) (Another comment aimed at “Lee” who seems to hate flippers.)

Flip Your Own Home

Actually Property Offer and Counter Before and After Program

How can you turn your $325,000 property into a $520,000 property with a $20,000 investment?

There are many properties out there that need a lot of work. You may even live in one and feel despondent because you know a buyer can’t get a loan on your property due to the condition, so you can’t sell to a conventional buyer. You are living in a “fixer upper” house and don’t feel like you can get out. Investors come by and offer you cash for the house and you are temped to take it. That investor may put $100,000 or so into renovations and increase its value by $300,000. They just made $200,000 on your home. They get to keep those profits.

This is what will happen to your house if it is not in sellable shape, but it’s in a highly sought after area such as Los Angeles. If you go into foreclosure, this process is nearly guaranteed. Your house will be used to make an investor a lot of money, while you get nothing.

Here is our idea, if you were able to do the renovations, you could have made that profit on the sale of your house yourself. You could flip your own property. But you don’t have the money for the renovations. What if we could get the contractor to become an investor in your property and you could split the profits with your “investor/contractor?” They are investing their construction fees to get paid a higher return at the end of the transaction.

Or what if you had some money to invest for upgrades, but don’t know how to find a contractor or don’t have the full amount to cover the renovations. We have contractors that can offer payment plans to do the work. They get business, you get the profit.

Why would we have developed this program? We represent a lot of buyers and there is no inventory of houses for sale. When something they can afford comes on the market, investors beat them out of deals with all cash offers. When buyers do see flipped properties, they are done poorly with a cookie cutter style. And we can see that the flipper increased the value of a home someone lost and took all the profits for themselves. Your loss is their gain.

We and increase the value of your home and help you profit from your real estate investment.

Contact Heather@thehouseagents dot com or 310-948-Nine Thousand for more information.

Different Perspectives Fuel Choices Made

This week I had interesting discussions regarding the future of the housing market with two highly educated clients both in financial fields. One was thinking about selling, one buying. Both were talking about condos around the $600,000 price point in the upper middle class Los Angeles area of Brentwood.

The seller decided to hang on to his unit as he thought that housing prices have turned and will go up in the next couple of years. The buyer is choosing to wait as he believes the market will go down. Both are sure their knowledge of finance makes them certain of these trends.

I found it interesting that both parties had such specific ideas of exactly what the future held, both citing scenarios that supported the choices they made. I believe this is human nature, but it was interesting to see it so clearly in action the same week regarding the exact same product.

The reality is this: no one knows how markets will go. If they did, everyone would be rich. And having omnipotent insight into the markets in itself would change the future outcome. On one hand, interest rates are at an all-time low, making affordability undeniably accessible. On the other hand, if the interest rates go up even two percent, affordability will be stunted and prices will be forced to come down.

Higher interest rates might mean lower home prices, but the monthly costs should remain similar. Plus there may be a cost in waiting. Let’s say you save $50,000 on the cost of a home by waiting for the interest rates to rise and home prices to come down, but you spent $2000 a month on rent waiting the two years for that savings to happen. You spent $48,000 on rent to save $2,000 and lived in a rental for two years, only to have nearly the same home payment in the end and no tax benefits during your wait. Have you come out ahead?

Conversely, if you believe that the market is going up and you plan on selling in two years. You then decide to rent your place for a price that might be $1,000 less than your current payments (with management fees, HOA, taxes, insurance, and mortgage), putting you out $24,000 over two years. Then you subtract the raise in the fees associated with the sale on a higher priced property — let’s say 7% for $600k currently for $42,000 in fees vs. $45,500 for a sales price of $650,000. It means you are spending $28,500 to make a possible $21,500 in 2 years. And that is if the renter doesn’t do any damage at all to the property.

My point is, there are arguments in favor of both. At the end of the day a purchase of a property is about more than just the sheer numbers. Do you want to live in fear of a renter harming your property? Do you know the prices will rise more than the amount of money you will be spending while you wait for values to go up? Do you want to live in a place where you can’t choose the colors on the wall or fixtures in the kitchen or bath? Are you sure your landlord won’t sell or raise your rent? Where you will live when your children start school and what school they will attend?

In the end I believe owning home is more important than market fluctuations one way or the other. A home may be a great investment, but it’s primary purpose for me, is piece of mind and standard of living. I believe you can justify yourself out of action either way, and need to weigh the consequences of being right as well as being wrong.

Heather Leikin and The House Agents were recently written about and cited in the following articles:

The Blooming Infrastructure of Greenness and ‘Green’ homes sell for 9 percent more, study says

Please feel free to comment and re-post as you like.

Breathe Easier with Green Remodeling

When it comes to having a comfortable and healthy home, what you can’t see matters just as much as what you can. Take air quality – even though you can’t see a layer of smog inside your home, indoor air can actually be much more polluted than the air outside.

Poor ventilation in homes can lead to excessive dust and mold, which contribute to asthma and other health problems. And commonly used adhesives, paints, and floor finishes contain compounds like formaldehyde that are known to cause cancer.

One of the best ways to avoid such toxins is to follow green remodeling practices. These include using low emitting paints and finishes, building with formaldehyde-free products, sealing air leaks in ducts and, if necessary, installing a ventilation system to bring in fresh air at regular intervals.

For assurance that indoor air quality concerns are systematically addressed during your remodeling project, consider having your home GreenPoint Rated. The rating process includes a comprehensive evaluation by an independent GreenPoint Rater who can help you decide which indoor air quality improvements make sense for your home. And for a limited time, Alameda and Los Angeles County homeowners can obtain rebates of up to $2,000 to offset the cost of having their home GreenPoint Rated.

Learn more about how to make your home healthier, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable at or contact Heather Leikin and The House Agents

The Home Energy Audit

LA Green Building

Yesterday I practiced what I preach. I got my home energy assessment by LA Green Building. There was also a rep from Energy Upgrade California there assisting and suggesting alternative options for fixes all along the way. It was an amazing process that took from 9am until 2:30pm. They are building scientists using a scientific approach to diagnosing the problems with the systems in a home.

They literally searched my home from top to bottom inside and out.

I will tell you, I thought I had a great house. It was upgraded in 2006 with high end fixtures. The selling process requires that low flow toilets and showheads be installed. My water heater was wrapped, I was told my attic was insulated. But I wanted to live the assessment process myself, so I had it done anyway.

Ha, I was wrong! Today was quite an education. Though it will take about a week to get the full report back, here is what I did learn.

Vent Testing

I have a modern package unit for heating and air conditioning. The problem with a package unit is it is a one-size-fits-all approach to HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning). California weather is not the same as Illinois. Though the AC part is perfect for my home, the heater is way oversized. My massive heater takes lots of energy to turn on, shoots out tons of heat getting the room to the right temperature, then it turns off. The cold surfaces in the house never fully heat up, the room loses warmth more quickly, and the heater is constantly cycling. The temperature is never quite right. With the correct size (much smaller) heater, it should have a steady flow of warm air keeping the temperature constant and warm. A green home is comfortable first and foremost.

The return for my HVAC system is about 1/3 the size it should be. Therefore because it is not able to breath correctly the warm air and cold air are not able to transfer correctly sending condensation back to the unit and shutting it down. I did have my condenser break in the past, but I was told it was for another reason. This would have required the HVAC contractor to do his job and help my system breathe instead of having a nice juicy $1,200 repair my warrantee paid him for. Now it will break down again and he will get more money. Poor work keeps paying.

Blower Door
Blower Door

There is a good amount of loss in the ductwork and the registers are very poorly placed for prime efficiency. I will learn more about that in a week.

I have always been told that I had a nice thick blanket of insulation in my attic. I have been fairly warm in winter and cool in summer, so I assumed this was true. I do have insulation up there, which should have an R value of 13. However, when it is not installed properly, has gaping holes, and is missing in huge areas, it goes down to about R4. Nice….

While there was an insulating blanket on my hot water heater, it was barely connected. It was covering up to the vent creating a fire hazard. I was able to cut it to fit better and secured it to the hot water heater myself more snugly and all should be fine now. I learned it is not enough that something is there if it is not fitted and secured correctly.

Blower Door ReadingLA Green Building also did a blower door test and a combustion test but I will have to let you know about those results as I get them. This was a huge eye opener that it is not the looks that matter in the house, but what is below the surface, in the walls, attic, crawl space, and all elements working together that matter.


I have been educated.


Marc Le Cornet
(310) 463-7655