Home Seller Checklist: Interior Clean Up

A prospective Buyer will usually enter through the front door. That’s where you should begin your interior inspection.

Check stairs for loose boards, ripped carpeting, and missing or loose handrails and guards.

Most problems with interior walls are cosmetic. You can buy “erasers” in the cleaning section of most supermarkets to get rid of wall scuffs and floorboard marks.

Ensure doors open and shut properly. Minor sticking is normal but excessive binding indicates possible structural problems.

Open and close all windows to ensure they work properly. Fogging between the panes of a sealed window indicates the seal is broken and the unit needs to be replaced.

Keep furniture to a minimum so rooms appear larger, not smaller. Ensure that traffic can flow in or through rooms unimpeded. If they contain bookshelves or cabinets overflowing with books, magazines and knick-knacks, remove some of these items.

Ensure closets look spacious, organized and uncluttered. Create space by getting rid of old clothes and junk.

Remove or lock away valuables such as jewelry, coins, currency, cameras and compact discs.

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Exploring Lincoln Heights, Los Angeles 90031


Views from Lincoln Park, on the south side of the neighborhood. The park was originally built in 1881.

Lincoln Heights is considered to be the oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles.Some of the buildings date to the 1830s and the area was located within the original Spanish forty-square league land grant. There are a number of victorian and early craftsman homes preserved with the HPOZ.

Located just north of DTLA, it is bound on the west by the Los Angeles River, the I-10 to the south, Indiana Street to the east, the northern boundary is undefined due to hilly territory where it borders Montecito Heights.

Originally called “East Los Angeles”, the name was changed to “Lincoln Heights” in 1917 after the death of many of the confederate founding fathers of Los Angeles. At the turn of the 20th century, increased industrial development along the Los Angeles River drove out many of the wealthy residents of the neighborhood, who moved west to Angelino Heights, Hancock Park (after 1920) and Hollywood. Italian, Irish, French and Mexican American residents took their place.

The 2000 census shows a diverse population: Latinos, 70.7%; Asians, 25.2%; whites, 2.7%; blacks, 0.4%; and others, 1.0%.

There is a metro stop on the Gold Line north-west corner of the neighborhood, allowing easy access to Highland Park, Chinatown, Pasadena and DTLA.

Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 6.24.23 PM




The Heights Deli & Bottle Shop – Brand new deli with opening soon.
Maddalena – Fine Italian Dining and wine.
Barbara’s at the Brewery – Restaurant/bar at the Brewery complex, good for groups.
Corn Man – “For 1.50, you get a loaded bowl of corns or on the cob with butter, mayo, chili and lime. He does not skimp on it AT ALL!” – Yelp review.
El Huarachito – Great authentic Mexican food, small place, super friendly staff.
Carnitas Michoacan – tacos 24 hours a day!
Dino’s – old school burger stand, get the zucchini fries. Solid meals, cheap.


Reformation Station – pilates studio
St.Vincent du Paul – huge thrift store (main store in LA)
La Petite Gardenia – artsy florist
Revival Furniture – thrift shop furniture
Skeletons in the Closet (LA County Coroner gift shop – super weird, go visit)

Tile on a broadway facade.
A very fancy El Pollo Loco on Broadway


A church converted into a home.


Endless streets on one story historic homes.P1030523

San Antonio Winery opened in the neighborhood in 1917, and continues to produce wine (although now with non local grapes), they also have a fine Italian restaurant Maddalena, a tasting room and wine shop. They survived prohibition by making communion wine for the Catholic Church.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 8.15.05 PMLincoln Heights Library



Originally an Edison power plant (and later a Pabst Blue Ribbon Brewery) dating to 1903 this complex of 21 former industrial buildings (now 320 oversized lofts) that was converted into a huge arts community in 1982. It has been called the largest arts complex in the world. Stop by and visit Barbara’s at the Brewery, their restaurant/bar that is open the public. Gym opening soon. Twice annual art walks.


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 Lincoln Heights. Stay tuned!

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Los Angeles are You Prepared for the Big One? Review the Earthquake Preparedness Supply List

Drop, Cover and Hold On - slideshowOK, time to stop procrastinating!

Being prepared means being equipped with the proper supplies you may need in the event of an emergency or disaster. Keep your supplies in an easy-to-carry emergency preparedness kit that you can use at home or take with you in case you must evacuate.

At a minimum, you should have the basic supplies listed below:

Consider the needs of all family members and add supplies to your kit. Suggested items to help meet additional needs are:

  • Medical supplies (hearing aids with extra batteries, glasses, contact lenses, syringes, etc)
  • Baby supplies (bottles, formula, baby food, diapers)
  • Games and activities for children
  • Pet supplies (collar, leash, ID, food, carrier, bowl)
  • Two-way radios
  • Extra set of car keys and house keys
  • Manual can opener

Additional supplies to keep at home or in your survival kit based on the types of disasters common to your area:

  • Whistle
  • N95 or surgical masks
  • Matches
  • Rain gear
  • Towels
  • Work gloves
  • Tools/supplies for securing your home
  • Extra clothing, hat and sturdy shoes
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Household liquid bleach
  • Entertainment items
  • Blankets or sleeping bags

(From the Red Cross)

Stay safe everyone!



Download the Red Cross Earthquake app HERE

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Home Seller Checklist: Curb Appeal

How your house looks from the street is where prospective buyers will form that all-important first impression. Stand at the curb in front of your house and analyze what needs to be done to clean up the yard and make it look more inviting.

Remove any clutter in your yard.

Repair cracked or uneven driveway or walkway surfaces.

Mow your lawn regularly and re-seed, if needed. Weed & mulch flower beds and consider buying some flower-filled planters to enhance the eye appeal of your property.

Clean your windows and walls.

Does your front door need paint? Remember, it’s the first thing people see and welcomes them into your home.

Ensure your eaves and downspouts are clear of debris and in good repair.

Power wash your backyard deck and walkways and do any necessary painting, staining or sealing.

If you have a swimming pool, are the deck and pool clean (when in season)?

Do all outside lights work? Replace any burned out bulbs and clean fixtures of dirt and cobwebs.

Is there a shed? Make sure it looks presentable.

Do you have decorative wooden poles on the porch? If the wood at the bottom is not in good condition, add a new coat of paint.

Thinking of selling? 
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See more: Seller 101

More tech industry buyers are snapping up L.A. real estate

San Francisco is Coming to LA

It is not just those displaced by the San Francisco tech buyers that are moving to Los Angeles, now the young tech tycoons themselves are buying up property in Los Angles. Larry Ellison, Jeff Bezos, Sean Parker and many others have all bought homes in the Los Angeles area recently. For most of them it is considered a second home, in what they consider a discounted housing market. Some are commuting part of the week back to Silicon Valley.


See more: News

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.

Thinking of selling? 
Download a FREE 26 page Home Guide for Seller’s – Click Here to Download

See more: Seller 101

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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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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