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The 5 Most Popular LA Neighborhoods

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Posted by RE-Insider on 5/27/14 • Categorized as Feature Stories,Real Estate

By Jennifer Riner of Zillow

From celebrity sightings to basking on beaches in November, Los Angeles living provides year-round outdoor fun. However, Los Angeles residents enjoy more than just warm weather – their city is home to some of the most upscale neighborhoods in the country.
Los Angeles
While it may sound like a great idea, moving to LA can be an intimidating, expensive transition for non-natives. The LA metro area encompasses multiple districts, each with individual benefits and drawbacks. Interested in becoming a SoCal transplant? Consider these five top neighborhoods.

Beverly Hills

It’s no surprise Beverly Hills real estate is consistently among the best in the United States. The median home value is a steep $2.58 million, which stretches far beyond most house hunters’ budgets. Correspondingly, the median household income is $70,945, which is a far cry from the $44,512 national median. Aside from the rich and famous, most residents here fall into one of three categories: urban dwellers from foreign countries, educated professionals with high incomes and college graduates with high expenses. The cost of living in Beverly Hills is extremely high, making it an impractical choice for many – except those who are heir to a corporate fortune or relatives of entertainment industry royalty.

Highland Park

Often referred to as the West coast’s Brooklyn, Highland Park is home to a diverse mix of urban families and wealthy singles. Highland Park dwellers make about $34,791 per year. Highland Park homes have consistent increasing values, rendering it a smart neighborhood for home purchases. The median home value in Highland Park is $518,900, which is a 19.2 percent increase from 2013. Highland Park features upscale shopping and dining, as well as access to the Gold Line for a no-hassle commute to downtown.

Zillow’s Home Value Index for Los Angeles

Los Feliz

A bit more on the expensive side than some other LA districts, Los Feliz’s median home value is $1.09 million. Los Feliz home values have increased 8.8 percent over the last year, and Zillow projects a 4.1 percent increase by March of 2015. Compared to Los Angeles homes for sale, which have a median list price of $540,000, Los Feliz homes for sale are listed for about $1.33 million. The majority of residents are in their 30s without children. In fact, 82.9 percent of the homeowners in the region do not have children, so consider other neighborhoods when searching for family-oriented atmospheres. The median household income in Los Feliz surpasses the national median at $46,113. Most residents here enjoy post-graduate educations, mid-management professions and higher incomes.

Silver Lake

Silver Lake is most well-known for its eclectic culture and unique residents, thanks to Forbes’ “Best Hipster Neighborhood” designation two years ago. In addition to an abundance of coffee shops and artsy occupations, Silver Lake has some of the best food carts and locally-owned bars in the city. Silver Lake’s median home value is $800,600. The 15 percent increase in home values since last year indicates a strong, ascending housing market and great investing opportunities. The typical income in Silver Lake falls around $44,949, which is slightly higher than the national median. Most residents here are urban, young professional singles with mid-range incomes. Silver Lake’s living expenses are less than other areas, yet the neighborhood is still considered upscale.

West Hollywood

Also known as WeHo, this neighborhood is Beverly Hills’ more frugal and trendy younger sister. West Hollywood real estate features a median home value of $640,700, which is an 18.3 percent increase year-over-year. Most WeHo residents are big-spending young professionals and urban singles with a median income of $38,914. The majority (52.9 percent) of residents here are not married, so families might consider more kid-friendly locales. Like all city neighborhoods, there are good and bad areas, so make sure to research specific apartment buildings and sub-neighborhoods before blindly relocating.

Although these neighborhoods differ in their economic makeup, they are all fantastic options for future LA residents. The most important aspect of searching for homes in any city is ensuring that surrounding areas fit individual needs. Investigate parks, schools, nightlife and commute times to determine the best neighborhoods.

The Importance of Seller Disclosures

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State and federal laws are strict in requiring sellers to tell what they know about the condition of their homes that isn’t obvious or discernable to potential buyers. Buyers can’t see behind walls or under houses, so they rely on truthful information from the seller about the operations, appliances and systems of the home.

When you sell your home, your real estate agent will present you with a federal and/or state-mandated disclosure form called a Real Estate Disclosure Statement, Property Condition Disclosure, or Condition Report. You’re required to disclose the presence of lead paint, radon, asbestos and other toxic products if you know your home has them.

While the forms may ask you to disclose whether or not you know there is lead paint or radon present, you aren’t required to do tests to determine the presence of toxic chemicals. But your buyer’s lender can always require proof of tests and/or remediation for any problem that has been disclosed, such as fire and water damage.

It’s important to answer every question as truthfully as you can. You must answer the questions yourself – your real estate professional can not fill out the disclosure for you, but he or she can help you understand what’s being asked of you. If you’re in doubt about what to disclose, such as a repair, it’s best to err on the side of too much information than not enough.

While disclosure forms allow you to check the “I don’t know” box, you should only do so if you truly don’t know the condition of that item. If you answer that you don’t know the condition of an appliance you use daily, such as a sink or bathtub, you might raise suspicions in the buyer.

The best way to feel confident about the condition of your home is to have it inspected by a licensed professional home inspector. Your real estate professional can recommend someone or provide you with a list. For a few hundred dollars and a few hours of your time, you’ll either find that your home is market-ready, or the inspector will bring a problem to your attention that you can fix.

When you disclose a problem to the buyer that has previously been fixed, be sure to provide a copy of work orders, receipts and invoices. If the problem hasn’t been fixed, expect the buyer to either ask you to fix it, or to offer a little less for the home.

Remember, the more that’s left unrepaired, the more the buyer will discount the offer, if he makes one at all. Homes in the best condition sell the best.

The seller’s disclosure is designed to do one thing — hold you and your real estate agent harmless if you’ve disclosed the truth about your property. You don’t want to give the buyer any room for complaint or litigation after the closing.

To get an idea of the types of questions you’ll be asked in a disclosure, you can find legal forms at

Don’t be afraid of the seller’s disclosure. It’s not meant to be a deal-killer, but a deal-maker. Many agents provide a copy of the disclosure to interested buyers, so they can get an idea of the home’s condition before they make an offer or have an inspection.
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Developers Moving Forward For Local Boutique Hotel

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A Beverly Hills developer said his firm is moving forward on a planned 17-room boutique hotel at the corner of Hillhurst Avenue and Sunset Boulevard after receiving support from the Los Feliz Neighborhood Council (LFNC).

Appearing at an April meeting of the LFNC, developers from Conroy Commercial Real Estate outlined project plans and heard resident concerns.

After some discussion, the LFNC’s Planning and Zoning Committee voted 6-3 in favor of the project, with the overall board voting 9-3 in favor. The decisions are strictly advisory and the project now has to go before the city Zoning Board for further approvals.

The hotel will offer rooms in the $200-$250 per night range, according to LFNC President Linda Demmers. Highlighting the ground floor will be a restaurant owned by Claudio Blotta and Adria Tennor Blotta, who also own Barbrix, a wine and tapas restaurant on Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake. The restaurant will also have a gourmet take-out market.

Brad Conroy, President of Conroy Commercial Real Estate—the project developers—said the idea for the hotel first came when a former worker told him that there weren’t many nice places for visiting friends and relatives to stay in Los Feliz.

Subsequently, a firm partner and friend had a child staying at Children’s Hospital, which is located near the proposed hotel site. The parents were not allowed to stay at the Ronald McDonald House near the hospital, which provides overnight facilities for those with children at the hospital.

“They had a pretty tough commute,” Conroy said. “That just solidified it for it us. We’re only doing 17 rooms, so I think it’ll be a nice neighborhood amenity.”

Demmers said Conroy has four conditional use permits for the building, which now houses some commercial businesses and office space. The proposed hotel is located next to the Vista Theatre, which fronts Sunset Drive, and near the Good Luck Bar, which has an entrance off Hillhurst Avenue. Both of those businesses will remain open if hotel construction proceeds.

Some 40 neighbors attended the LFNC’s April meeting, with about a dozen speakers mentioning concerns over parking and liquor licenses, according to Demmers. Conroy promised the hotel’s rooftop will not be used as a party space, and added developers have plans for parking that will eliminate concerns that hotel and restaurant patrons would use already crowded nearby streets.

Americans liking real estate more than stocks, gold again

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Less than a decade after the U.S. housing bust almost blew the world economy to smithereens, Americans are once again looking at real estate as their best long-term investment — better than gold, stocks, savings accounts and bonds.

That’s according to a Gallup poll taken this month in which 30 percent said real estate is the best long-term investment compared with 24 percent who said the same about stocks, and 24 percent who said gold.

Americans aren’t quite as bullish on homeownership as they were in 2002, when half said real estate was the best investment. But 38 percent of those with incomes of $75,000 said real estate was their best long-term bet, followed by stocks (3o percent) and gold (18 percent). Gold was most popular among those with incomes of less than $30,000. Source