Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thanks for nothing, Flipper!

As I've said before, flippers are back.  My recent experience has been that they are corporations or LLCs with serious cash, and they purchase properties sight-unseen at auctions.  And then put them right back on the market.  No due diligence, no fixing, nada.

My clients just made an offer on a darling condo in the Portofino complex in Pacoima that was owned by a corporate flipper.  But we learned from the Homeowners Association management company that over 24% of the residents there are delinquent in their HOA dues.  This percentage is way too high for my buyers' lender, or any other lender, in fact. The buyers will not be able to get a conventional loan and I don't know anyone who will be able to do so.  And I was the one to tell the corporate flip agent about it.  He hadn't seen the unit and had not researched the complex  I know these folks want to make a quick buck, but c'mon, people!  This takes no time at all to figure these kinds of things out and will save us all a lot of time and trouble!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2400 W. Chandler is finally closing! Yay!

My listing at 2400 W. Chandler, Burbank closes tomorrow for $499,000!  Yes!  We thought it would never happen -- it was supposed to close by December 21.  The buyer and her agent performed like champs as did my sellers and the escrow company.  Bank of America, the buyer's lender, sucked as usual.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Good news and bad news from L.A. Times

Yes, I'm back to being a clipping service.  First, the good news from the front page of today's L.A. Times: home prices in the Southland rose 4% in December.  And, most experts agree that even though the economy is soft, the worst is over for area housing.  I agree, as long as interest rates stay low.

Now for the bad news: restrictions on FHA loans have tightened.  A seller can no longer pay up to 6% of a buyer's closing costs -- the amount has been reduced to 3%.  Buyers will now need to come up with more cash at closing.  Required FICO scores have risen (actually, that's a good thing) and the upfront mortgage premium has risen to 2.25% of the loan.  It was 1.75%.  That will reduce the affordability of many FHA loans.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Statue of Lenin unveiled in Burbank

Burbank City unveiled a brand new statue of Vladimir Lenin last week in Burbank!  This pic is a preview, but now Lenin is in front of a giant American flag and is overlooking Costco.  As if.

Oh, wait, no this is Dr. David Burbank.  He just looks like Lenin.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Open house Sunday

This is 1441 N. Pass Ave. in Burbank.  I'll be holding it open on Sunday, 1/17, from 1:00 to 4:00.  More details on the house can be found on the featured properties page at  Please come by or send your clients.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

FHA 203K Curious? -- Redfin comes in handy!

FHA offers a program for buyers of fixers where the cost of the improvements can be wrapped into the loan.  It's called the FHA 203k program.  As you might imagine, these loans are not eazy to get but they are a great way for buyers without a lot of cash to afford to purchase fixers.  To date, I don't know anyone who has applied for one of these nor any Realtors who have closed a transaction with one of these.  At any rate, has lots of details about these loan transactions in their L.A. forum thread.  As soon as I get permission, I'll post the details.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Yet more Californians move to Oregon

Today's L.A. Times reports that San Francisco's iconic Pier 39 sea lion colony has packed up and moved 500 miles up the coast to Oregon.  Like many San Franciscans and Californians before them, they just got tired of waiting for the real estate prices to drop and wanted a slower, more friendly pace of life.

Friday, January 08, 2010

San Fernando Valley diversity and traffic delays, as if you didn't already know

Here's a Burbank Leader article with the title, "Valley residents more diverse, wealthy, delayed."  It contains facts from the U.S. Census Bureau re the demographics of our fair land.  I love that it refers to the SFV as "the nation's largest geographic non-municipal entity."  Other factoids: the SFV has 1.74 million residents (good God, is that all?), we experience longer traffic delays than other local areas (no!), more than half of SFV residents spend 35% or more of their incomes on housing, and Glendale has over 10% unemployment.  But the SFV still has no high-end, gourmet taco trucks.  When will we be worthy?

Thursday, January 07, 2010

New Burbank Listing: 3 beds, 1 bath, guest house with full bath, pool

This is 1441 N. Pass Ave., Burbank 91505.  It's listed for $480,000. It's a  sweet 3 bed, 1 bath, pool home with a guest house with full bathroom (buyers to check permits), central hvac, hardwood floors, spacious kitchen, dining room, gorgeous bathroom tile and designer mirror, new interior paint, sliders in master bedroom to deck, entertainers’ patio, 2 car “guys’ retreat” garage, new window treatments and much more! 3rd bedroom is currently used as office. Main house is 1106 sf, lot: 6000 sf, built in 1940. Fabulous neighborhood, regular sale, and Burbank schools and services, too.  More pictures can be found on my website at under featured properties.  For showing info, please contact me at 818-450-2055 or  It will be open next Sunday, 1/17, if it has not yet sold.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Nigerian Rental Scams and me

I received an email from Mr. William Smith of the Netherlands regarding the condo I have for lease on Lucile in Silverlake.  Mr. Smith claims to be a world-reknowned paleontologist and sent pictures of his wife and child.  He wanted to rent the unit, sight unseen, and asked if I would please pay cash for his furniture that is about to be delivered.  Yes, according to my research, the Smith letter is yet another Nigerian rental scam has been circulating for some time.  Here's my response.

William, we are so happy to have you rent this unit. Here are a few questions before we proceed:
- Are you originally from Nigeria?
- Will any prawns be living there with you or visiting you for business reasons?
- Will you be selling black market cat food?
- Are you willing to leave a bag of cash at the Metrolink train stop in Glendale at the third pier on the right? I think $10,000 in small bills should be fine. No checks or coins, please. Can we pick it up on Thursday at 10:00 am?
Regards to your lovely wife and child.

I haven't yet heard back from him. What a surprise.