Author Archive | Patty Hume

13 Inexpensive Tips for Prepping Your House For Sale

A well-kept, neatly landscaped property will help act as ‘bait’ to lure the potential Buyer in to see your home. Mulch the plant beds. Garbage bins should be out of view and the lawn freshly trimmed. Water and fertilizing a few weeks prior to listing will help your lawn look lush and green. Woodwork should be free of chipped or cracking paint. If necessary, repaint. Try to figure out a color scheme for planting flowers in the early spring that will give your home a boost of color when it is being shown.

The front door should be clean or freshly painted (ideally in a bright color). Brass knobs should be polished with brass cleaner. You might consider placing a planter of fresh flowers on your front porch accented by a new door mat.

Repair all loose doorknobs and cupboard hinges, dripping faucets, stained sinks, loose or missing caulking, sticking doors and windows, and damaged or missing window screens.

Neatness makes a room look larger. Do you have too much furniture in each room? You may need to store artwork and furniture before your move. Are your shelves and closets overcrowded? Now might be a good time to start packing boxes. The result will be a far less cluttered home.

Buyer’s react worse to dirt than clutter. They figure if you’ve let the cleaning go, it’s possible that you’ve let other, more serious, maintenance
issues go as well. Consider hiring a service that will give your home a thorough going over just to get you started.

Remove stains from sinks, toilets and bathtubs, including hard-water spots on shower enclosure doors. If drains run slowly, unclog them. Hang fresh towels on towel racks.

Drapes, curtains and mini-blinds should be open to allow plenty of light in your home. An open, airy feeling generates comfort and welcomes the potential Buyer into your home. Turn on all the lights when showing your home. Use brighter bulbs if necessary.

Neat, well-organized closets appear larger. Larger closets help sell homes.

Less is more because rooms look bigger and more inviting. Completely clear off your countertops in the kitchen and baths, office desk, the tables next to your bed, your coffee table in the living room and your dining room table. You can then put a few decorative pieces back.

The emptier it is, the larger it will appear. Avoid dirty dishes in the sink or on counters  and run your dishwasher before every showing. Counter top appliances should be kept in cupboards. Clean the ventilating hood over the stove. Replace or repair worn-out flooring.

Are there any unpleasant odors in your home? If so, track them down and eliminate them. Ensure all your lights work and are free of cobwebs. You want your home to look spacious, bright and fresh.

Try to leave your home during showings and let the Realtor® show your home to potential Buyers. The potential Buyer may feel uncomfortable or pressured, and hurry through the house if too many people are present during their showing.

It is best to keep pets off site during open houses and showings.

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Title Insurance – 101


In California, most real estate transactions are closed with the issuance of a title insurance policy in favor of the owner, the Lender or both. Many homebuyers erroneously assume that when they purchase a piece of real property, possession of the deed to the property is all they need to prove ownership. Not so, because hidden hazards may attach to real estate. Forgeries, faulty surveys, hidden liens, the false representation of ownership of a married person as being single are just a few examples of factors which may cloud the title to real property ownership. A property owner’s greatest protection is a policy of title insurance.


Title insurance insures property owners that they are acquiring marketable title. Unlike casualty insurance (policies which insure against future events), title insurance is designed to eliminate risk or loss caused by defects in title from past events. Title insurance provides coverage only for title problems.

A title insurance policy is a contract of indemnity which insures against loss if the title is not as reported; and if it is not and the owner is damaged, the title policy covers the insured for his/her loss up to the face amount of the policy.


Issuing a title policy is an extensive and exacting process. Title companies work to eliminate risks by performing a painstaking search of the public records or the title company’s own “plant,” where public records pertaining to the property and the parties to the escrow are maintained, to determine the current recorded ownership, any record liens, encumbrances, or other matters of record which could affect the title to the property. Once a title search is complete, the title company issues a preliminary report detailing the current vesting, description, taxes and exclusions from coverage.


The preliminary report contains vital information which includes ownership of the subject property, the manner in which the current owners hold title, matters of record which specifically affect the subject property or the owners of the property as well as a legal description of the property and an informational plat map.


The Buyer and Realtor® should review the preliminary report as soon as it arrives, with particular attention to certain areas:

• Verify the ownership vesting. Be certain the names on the report are the same as the names on the purchase contract. Sometimes the name of an unexpected owner will appear (e.g. a previous spouse or relative who died), and corrective documents may be required.

• Verify the property address. The plat map and legal description should match the address. An owner could own two properties adjacent to or across the street from each other, causing confusion in identifying the correct property.

• Carefully review the exceptions. Common exceptions include current taxes, bonds, deeds of trust, Mello-Roos assessment district items,

CC&Rs and easements. Be sure the CC&Rs or existing easements do not interfere with the Buyer’s future plans. For example, an easement across the backyard could have a profound effect on the Buyer’s ability to add a swimming pool later.

• Always look for surprises. If you cannot locate an easement; if an unexpected deed of trust shows up; if you see an item you weren’t aware of before, immediately call the escrow officer or title company to discuss the matter. The title company should be a problem solver, and top notch escrow officers and title officers go out of their way to resolve quickly the majority of “red flag” areas. However, the responsibility for early detection and resolution of problems falls on the entire escrow team: the Realtors®, the escrow and title companies and the Buyers and Sellers as well.

(From the Title365 Home Buying Guide)

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Ask Patty: The Big Rent vs Buy Debate




Dear Patty,

My husband and I rent a cute 2 bedroom house in Silver Lake (9 years) with a view that is almost $2,600 a month. We are thinking about buying a house, but we are not sure if we would be better off just staying here. What are your thoughts? 



Hey J.C.,

A lot of people are struggling with these same questions. I know it’s somewhat daunting to compare the fairly predictable costs of renting with the variable cost of home ownership. Don’t try to figure it out on your own in Excel, there are a number of Rent vs Buy calculators online. I recommend that you use the Rent vs Buy calculator on the New Your Times website, because it takes into account many variables (down payment amount, interest rates, how long you will stay, inflation, etc.). It also has sliders so you can play with it and see how the numbers change as you adjust the variables.

If we look at your specific situation on the NYT’s calculator, it may be kind of a toss up if you plan to stay in Silver Lake. Buying a comparable 2 bedroom house in Silver Lake might cost you around $800,000+. For the purpose of my example I’m assuming you are going to stay for 10 years with a 20% downpayment. The calculator recommends that if you can rent a similar home for less than $2,616 that you are better off renting. You are paying almost $2600 now, so you are pretty much on the fence. But if you moved to a nearby neighborhood (Frogtown, Cypress Park, Mt. Washington, Highland Park, etc.), with even slightly more affordable homes, it would clearly make sense to buy.

A screen capture from the NYT’s calculator

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 7.48.35 PM


I would encourage you to explore some nearby neighborhoods with lower home values. Visit some open houses, walk around and see if they are places you would consider living.

If you have any questions just holler!





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1st Time Home Buyer Q + A


Join me for my next Home Buyer Q + A event.
I’ll explain the home buying process and a Natalie Salins from Movement Mortgage
will be here to answer all your financial questions!
Email me get on the invite list.

Can’t wait? No worries. Let’s get coffee and discuss your situation ASAP!
Let’s Get Coffee

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Hi-Fi (Historic Filipinotown) Neighborhood, Los Angeles 90026


Historic Filipinotown (Hi-Fi) is a hilly neighborhood made up of the southern sections of Silver Lake & Echo Park, bounded by Hoover St. on the west, Glendale Blvd on the east and Beverly Blvd on the south and Temple Street/101 to the north. In the 1950’s this are was cut off from their neighbors by the 101 freeway, which has kept this area kind of hidden, and allowed it to develop it’s own independent sense of community. The district was officially created and named in 2002 by then city-Council member Eric Garcetti.


This neighborhood is the first geographical designation by a city outside of the Philippines honoring the country and their people. Filipino Americans represent the largest population of Asian Americans in California. Filipino settlements in California date back as early as 1763 and were home to approximately 2,000 sailors and laborers. There are a number of enclaves where Filipinos lived in Los Angeles, but this area was the cultural center and where many of the churches were built. Many families began purchasing homes in the area in the 1940’s.

There is an annual Historic Filipinotown Festival each August, the Annual Historic Filipinotown 5k Run/Walk (sponsored by A Runner’s Circle) and Philippine Independence Day Parade and Festival.

The neighborhood has a population of 25,000, 60 percent are Latino, and 25 percent are Filipino-Americans.


In Oct 2011, Michelle Obama recognized Hi-Fi as a Preserve America Community. The INC church above is influenced strongly by traditional Filipino architecture.

Detail of Eliseo Art Silva’s Filipino American history mural at Unidad Park in L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown.


Bar 1642 is right next to Tamales Alberto on Temple Street. Tribal Cafe is just across the Street.

Places to Eat & Drink & Hangout in Hi-Fi

Bar 1642 – Cool low key wine/beer bar. Reminds me of NYC or Philadelphia. Jazz nights, DJ playing historic music.
Alberto’s Tamales – We ordered 13 dozen tamales for our last xmas party. Amazing selection of tamales. Eat in or takeout.
Brooklyn Bagel – This is not a restaurant, but rather a bakery where they make delish bagels. Come early and get them hot.
Tigeorges Chicken – Haitian, cult following. I know engineers that drive here for lunch from the valley. Pork, rice and beans, etc.
Gigi’s Bakery & Cafe – Cuban food, pastries.
My Mom’s Bakeshop – Chicken lugaw/congee and lumpia.
Tommy’s Handburgers – the original chili burger shack.
Tribal Cafe  – Vegetarian/vegan. Hippie vibe. H-U-G-E menu. Fresh juices and smoothies. Poetry readings, open mic.
Shibucho – Come here if you are a sushi connoisseur. This place is old school and $$$$.
Pehrspace – Art gallery/ Indie music venue – $5 cover for music. Kind of a scene.
LA Derby Dolls – Roller derby madness, complete with food, draft fair, indie bands.

HiFi is centrally located and very close to bars & restaurants in DTLA, Korea Town and the rest of Silver Lake and Echo Park.


Views of DTLA from the east side of Hi-Fi.


Tribal Cafe has been a gathering spot for creatives since the 1950’s.


There are a number of new apartment buildings being built along Temple Street. This one is across from Bar 1642. And it is only 2-3 blocks from Echo Park Lake, you just have to walk under the 101 to get there.


You must check out Amsterdam Modern, an amazing warehouse of 1950-1970’s furniture, home decor.


Handsome industrial buildings along Glendale.


Recently updated investment property.


The architecture in Hi-Fi is eclectic. Check out this crazy new single family house, reaching up to grab a great view of DTLA.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 1.16.26 PM

A few blocks away are streets with Victorians, Craftsman and art deco buildings. Some are well maintained (like above) and others need some TLC.

P1030419 Get your bagels and flavored cream cheese here.


Distant views of the San Gabriel mountains can be seen from many Hi-Fi streets.


Looking down on the historic Western Exterminator sign that can be seen from the 101.
P1030447View of DTLA from the far west end of Hi-Fi, from the Temple Community Hospital that is being re-developed.


If you spin around you can see the Hollywood sign and the Observatory in the distance. You are really feel like you are in the middle of everything. Temple Street below.

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What do you love about HiFi? Email me.

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Get a FREE Analysis of Your Home Value


Let Patty Hume Real Estate prepare a Free CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) report for your home.

We specialize in the east side of Los Angeles, CA: Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Echo Park, Hi-Fi, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Fishtown, Mt. Washington, Highland Park, Montecito Heights, Lincoln Heights, Boyle Heights and nearby.

We need a little info to get started:


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I Heart LA: Streetcar Neighborhoods



My Love Letter to Los Angeles (Part 1)

It’s Valentine’s Day, which seems like a good time for me to write a love letter to Los Angeles. I moved out here from Philadelphia in 2002, landing in Echo Park. I originally thought I would be here for a couple of years, before my design career took me back to the east coast. But then life happened and I fell madly in love with Los Angeles and a certain handsome Angelino and California turned into home.

I think a big part of my falling in love with the Los Angeles was first falling in love with my neighborhood. My early memories of Echo Park: lots of boozy nights at the Short Stop and Little Joy, hiking in Elysian Park, Dodger Games (and fireworks), fresh tortillas, taking the bus to work, painting on my living room floor, buying noodles at the asian market, riding in paddle boats on the lake, the view of DTLA from my apartment, BBQ’s, thrift shopping, losing my clothes at the laundry mat, shopping at Fashions of Echo Park, the endless sound of helicopters at night, stocking up for parties at Pioneer Market and lots of street burritos.

13 years later, I still live in Echo Park, 6 blocks from my original apartment. My husband and I own a Craftsman compound in Angeleno Heights and where we have a great view of DTLA from our front porch. He has lived in the neighborhood since 1987. We know a lot of the neighbors on our block. It’s really diverse. There are Chinese families, Latino families, African American families, gay families, yuppies, hipsters, yupsters, actors, designers, plumbers, bloggers, lawyers, small business owners, some 90+ year olds, punk rockers, some kids and a few midwesterners like myself. I love the energy, the excitement and the diversity in the neighborhood.

Streetcar Neighborhoods – 2015

I have lived in a number of places, some that I loved and some that honestly kind of depressed me. I have come to the conclusion that it is really important to be in love with your neighborhood/city. There is a sense of pride, excitement and also safety that you feel when you are rooted in a community. Neighborhoods create shared experiences between people. You go to the same schools, restaurants, parks, you see the same murals, you know some of the same people, you might listen to the same bands, watch the same sunset, play in the same fountain.

People always say Los Angeles is a collection of small towns. You might know a handful of them well, but often times people haven’t explored nearby neighborhoods. With that in mind, I am going to focus on writing about neighborhoods on the blog in 2015. Last week I wrote a bit about Boyle Heights. I’m going to post more about Boyle Heights history next week after I visit the historical society. And next month we will take a peek at Hi-Fi and then we are going to head over to Lincoln Heights. If there are specific neighborhoods you want to know more about just email me.

I’m focusing first on streetcar neighborhoods, neighborhoods that were laid out in the streetcar era. The streetcars may be gone, but they have left behind a legacy of grid streets, density, access to transit, walkable neighborhoods. These are the types of neighborhoods that people are starting to appreciate again as we move away from a car centered society. Many of the streetcar neighborhoods are near to DTLA, which is undergoing a fast paced revitalization. I’ll be writing about DTLA too.

My goal is to make my neighborhood blog posts useful to people exploring new neighborhoods where they might want buy a house. But I also want people who are just curious about Los Angeles to find them useful, fun and interesting. Wherever you are, I hope this blog helps you fall in love with Los Angeles!





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Boyle Heights Neighborhood, Los Angeles 90033, 90063, 90023

Each month in 2015, I’m going to explore a different Los Angeles streetcar neighborhood. All aboard, our first stop is Boyle Heights!


The boundaries of Boyle Heights as drawn by the LA Times.




4th street across from Mariachi Plaza

Places to Eat & Drink
Guisados  Amazing tacos (this was their first location, they now also in Echo Park and DTLA)
Un Solo Sol Kitchen  This is a hidden gem on Mariachi Plaza – delish latin american vegetarian food
Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Cafe  Amazing burritos – get the Hollenbeck burrito!
Otomisan Restaurant  Well loved Japanese mom & pop restaurant
Thai Deli  Japanese – Thai – Korean mashup
Indie Brewing Co. & Taproom  Coming soon (mid 2015)
Eastside Luv Wine Bar & Queso  Super fun wine bar with good decor, live music and burlesque


Getting There
The Gold Line stop in Mariachi Plaza lets you easily get to the Arts District, Little Tokyo, Union Station, China Town, Cypress Park, Highland Park, Pasadena, etc. You can also change trains at Union Station to connect with other Metro lines to get all over the city and you can transfer to Amtrak to go cross-country.
In 2029 high-speed rail is slated to open connecting Los Angeles (Union Station) with northern stops including San Francisco. 2029 sounds far away but it’s actually only 14 years from now.




Mariachi Plaza, located in the heart of Boyle Heights, is a plaza where large groups of musicians have gathered daily, both day and night, since the 1930’s, hoping to be hired.


Hollenbeck Park, built in the 1880’s, is a larger sibling to Echo Park Lake. It’s only 1 mile east of SCI-Arc and the Arts District in DTLA. It hosts a new playground, a bandstand and a lot of space to sprawl out.









Courtyard of the International Institute of Los Angeles, founded in 1914 to help immigrants. The Boyle Heights Historical Society is located upstairs.


Hollenbeck Memorial Chapel, is a hidden architectural gem in Los Angeles. It was built in unknown buildings in 1908 Chapel erected in honor of young John Edward Hollenbeck, Jr. (1854-1857) by his mother, the philanthropist Elizabeth Hollenbeck.

Evergreen Cemeteryopened in 1877,  is the oldest and one of the largest cemeteries in the city. Many of the pioneers and founders of Los Angeles are buried at Evergreen Cemetery. Cool mortuary architecture, sweeping views of the snow-capped mountains, and of the DTLA sky line make this a great place to visit and picnic.




The Los Angeles River

In 2014, Army Corp of Engineers recommended the larger 1 Billion dollar proposal to revitalize the Los Angeles River. While some of that funding is still being sought it is clear that there is a lot of change coming to the LA River corridor. Plans include parks, bike paths, habitat, access to the water, and a lot of economic revitalization. A number of projects are slated for the section of the river located between DTLA and Elysian Valley.

Below is a collage from the Greenway 2020 proposal to make the LA River more accessible.


The Piggyback Yard – There is a proposal to turn the huge Piggyback Yards (railroad yard), along the LA River into a massive riverfront green space. It is not a done deal yet, but it could be a huge addition to the city and amazing for Boyle Heights. Stay tuned!

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What else should we add about Boyle Heights?
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Common Ways to Hold Title in California

Question: How should I take ownership of the property?

This important question is one California real property purchasers ask their real estate agent, escrow and title professionals every day. Unfortunately, while these professionals may identify the many methods of owning property, they may not recommend a specific form of ownership, as doing so may constitute practicing law.

Because real property has become increasingly more valuable, the question of how parties take ownership of their property has gained greater importance. The form of ownership taken – the vesting of title – will determine who may sign various documents involving the property and future rights of the parties to the transaction. These rights involve such matters as: real property taxes, income taxes, inheritance and gift taxes, transferability of title and exposure to creditors’ claims. Also, how title is vested can have significant probate implications in the event of death. The California Land Title Association (CLTA) advises those purchasing real property to give careful consideration to the manner in which title will be held. Buyers may wish to consult legal counsel to determine the most advantageous form of ownership for their particular situation, especially in cases of multiple owners of a single property.

The CLTA has provided the following definitions of common vestings as an informational overview only. Consumers should not rely on these as legal definitions. The Association urges real property purchasers to carefully consider their titling decision prior to closing, and to seek counsel should they be unfamiliar with the most suitable ownership choice for their particular situation.


Sole ownership may be described as ownership by an individual or other entity capable of acquiring title. Examples of common vesting cases of sole ownership are:

1. A Single Man or Woman: A man or woman who is not legally married or in a registered domestic partnership. For example: Bruce Buyer, a single man.

2. A Married Man or Woman As His or Her Sole & Separate Property: A married man or woman who wishes to acquire title in his or her name alone. The title company insuring title will require the spouse of the married man or woman acquiring title to specifically disclaim or relinquish his or her right, title and interest to the property. This establishes that both spouses want title to the property to be granted to one spouse as that spouse’s sole and separate property. For example: Bruce Buyer, a married man, as his sole and separate property.

3. A Registered Domestic Partner As His Or Her Sole & Separate Property: A registered domestic partner who wishes to acquire title in his or her name alone.

The title company insuring title will require the domestic partner of the person acquiring title to specifically disclaim or relinquish his or her right, title and interest to the property. This establishes that both registered domestic partners want title to the property to be granted to one partner as that persons sole and separate property. For example: Bruce Buyer, a registered domestic partner, as his sole and separate property.


Title to property owned by two or more persons may be vested in the following forms:

1. Community Property: A form of vesting title to property owned together by husband and wife or by registered domestic partners. Community property is distinguished from separate property, which is property acquired before marriage or before a registered domestic partnership, by separate gift or bequest, after legal separation, or which is agreed in writing to be owned by one spouse or registered domestic partner.

In California, real property conveyed to a married person, or to a registered domestic partner, is presumed to be community property, unless otherwise stated. Since all such property is owned equally, both parties must sign all agreements and documents transferring the property or using it as security for a loan. Each owner has the right to dispose of his/her one half of the community property, by will. For example: Bruce Buyer and Barbara Buyer, husband and wife, as community property.

2. Community Property With Right Of Survivorship: A form of vesting title to property owned together by husband and wife or by registered domestic partners. This form of holding title shares many of the characteristics of community property but adds the benefit of the right of survivorship similar to title held in joint tenancy. There may be tax benefits for holding title in this manner. On the death of an owner, the decedents interest ends and the survivor owns the property. For example: Bruce Buyer and Barbara Buyer, husband and wife, as community property with right of survivorship.

3. Joint Tenancy: A form of vesting title to property owned by two or more persons, who may or may not be married or registered domestic partners, in equal interests, subject to the right of survivorship in the surviving joint tenant(s). Title must have been acquired at the same time, by the same conveyance, and the document must expressly declare the intention to create a joint tenancy estate. When a joint tenant dies, title to the property is automatically conveyed by operation of law to the surviving joint tenant(s). Therefore, joint tenancy property is not subject to disposition by will. For example: Bruce Buyer, George Buyer, as joint tenants.

4. Tenancy in Common: A form of vesting title to property owned by any two or more individuals in undivided fractional interests. These fractional interests may be unequal in quantity or duration and may arise at different times. Each tenant in common owns a share of the property, is entitled to a comparable portion of the income from the property and must bear an equivalent share of expenses. Each co- tenant may sell, lease or will to his/her heir that share of the property belonging to him/her. For example: Bruce Buyer, a single man, as to an undivided 3/4 interest and Penny Purchaser, a single woman, as to an undivided 1/4 interest, as tenants in common.


1. A Corporation*: A corporation is a legal entity, created under state law, consisting of one or more shareholders but regarded under law as having an existence and personality separate from such shareholders.

2. A Partnership*: A partnership is an association of two or more persons who can carry on business for profit as co-owners, as governed by the Uniform Partnership Act. A partnership may hold title to real property in the name of the partnership.

3. Trustees of a Trust*: A trust is an arrangement whereby legal title to property is transferred by the grantor to a person called a trustee, to be held and managed by that person for the benefit of the people specified in the trust agreement, called the beneficiaries.

4. Limited Liability Companies (LLC)*: This form of ownership is a legal entity and is similar to both the corporation and the partnership. The operating agreement will determine how the LLC functions and is taxed. Like the corporation, its existence is separate from its owners.

* In cases of corporate, partnership, LLC or trust ownership, required documents may include corporate articles and bylaws, partnership agreements, LLC operating agreements and trust agreements and/or certificates.

Remember: How title is vested has important legal consequences. You may wish to consult an attorney to determine the most advantageous form of ownership for your particular situation. Information gathered from the California Land Title Association (by

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