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LA Digs - Northeast LA Real Estate Blog

Welcome to LA Digs, the real estate and Northeast Los Angeles community blog written by Realtors Tracy King and Keely Myres.

Here, we share tips, market updates, and local news bits to keep you informed on what's happening in Northeast Los Angeles and the surrounding neighborhoods. Read on to learn about the latest in your neighborhood!

The new Tax Reform Act: How will it affect your real estate life?

The new Tax Reform Act: How will it affect your real estate life?

The newly passed Tax Reform Act supplies perks based on investments in property, but not everyone benefits and there is a downside.

It's been all over the news. Pundits have been spinning the plusses and minuses of the newly passed Tax Reform Act. Some say homeowners are going to get the shaft. Some say there will be a windfall for homeowners and investors. As a long-time real estate professional, my inbox has been inundated with questions from those who just purchased homes in Highland Park and Eagle Rock this year, as well as those looking to invest in homes for sale in Pasadena, Mt. Washington and other areas of North East Los Angeles.

The long and short of it? I have good news and I have not-so-good news. The good news is, the new tax reform act that was just passed by both houses of Congress isn't as bad as it could have been for those who have some financial interest in real estate. The not-so-good news is, it's not going to be as good for real estate as it has been over the past several years.


  1. We can still write off some state and local taxes up to $10,000. The bad news is that is actually a tax increase for those of us who have more than an $800,000 house and/or still pay some other state or local taxes.

  2.  We still have the mortgage interest deduction, but only up to a mortgage of $750,000, instead of the $1,000,000 it has been.

  3. The $500,000 capital gains exclusion is not affected! If you have lived in your primary residence for 2 of the last 5 years, you and your spouse can each deduct up to $250,000 of your net capital gain when you sell your house.

So there it is. The basic nuts and bolts. The rules haven't changed. When it comes to investing in any sort of real estate, the rule is, take your time, perform your due diligence, be well informed and understand the benefits and potential pitfalls.

It has always been advisable to consult your tax consultant before making any decisions regarding your real estate activity. This is certainly true today.

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Priced Out of Prime NELA Real Estate? There's Still Hope For Something Affordable and Close By

Priced Out of Prime NELA Real Estate? There's Still Hope For Something Affordable and Close By

Let's face it: When buying a home, the word "affordable" is relative, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't look at what the numbers say.

The big question plaguing many wannabe homebuyers today is, where can I afford to buy? They say they can’t afford the high sticker price of homes for sale in Mount Washington, Eagle Rock or Highland Park. For many buyers, even homes for sale in Glassell Park - once up-and-coming and affordable - is out of their reach.

Always being mindful that the median price of affordable places like Detroit, Michigan ($36,000), Harlingen, Texas ($84,000) or even nearby Desert Hot Springs ($188,000) is what more people think of as "affordable", there are some communities in Los Angeles, not too far from Eagle Rock, that are a bit more affordable as you can see in the table below.

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NELA's Low Housing Inventory - Here's Part of the Story

NELA's Low Housing Inventory - Here's Part of the Story

Experienced realtors understand that real estate sales is a numbers game. Why are there so few homes on the market? Let's look at the numbers.

While homes for sale in Highland Park, Eagle Rock and Mt. Washington are still greatly in-demand, there are fewer homes on the market in Northeast Los Angeles. This is true of real estate in Altadena, Pasadena and surrounding areas.

In the quest to understand why Northeast Los Angeles is experiencing such low housing sale inventory, I thought it might be helpful to start with some actual numbers.

There is quite a bit of talk about how many more people there are in Northeast Los Angeles than there used to be. For some perspective, I have also included nearby South Pasadena.

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Is the Holidays the Best Time to Put My NELA Home on the Market? If Not, When Is?

Is the Holidays the Best Time to Put My NELA Home on the Market? If Not, When Is?

When it comes to selling a home in Northeast LA, conventional wisdom tell us, if you have a great home to put on the market, it will be in-demand no matter what time of the year.

They say "timing is everything" about, oh, everything and they're probably right. It's certainly true about buying and selling real estate. This is especially true in the red-hot Northeast Los Angeles real estate market, where homes in Mt. Washington, Highland Park and Eagle Rock are in high demand and real estate in Pasadena, Glendale and Altadena continue to surge.

Many potential sellers believe, for instance, that the holiday season is not an ideal time to put their NELA home on the market. Are they correct? This question is more complicated than it seems, but there is a way to understand it all.

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Buying a Home? See Something You Want? Then Ask for It!

Buying a Home? See Something You Want? Then Ask for It!

When negotiating the details of a home sale, being shy - and making assumptions - are sure to work against you.

Homebuying is both an art and a science, whether we're talking about buying in the ultra-hot Highland Park real estate market or purchasing homes in Glassell Park, Mt. Washington or, our favorite neighborhood, Eagle Rock. There are tried and trued methods and rules that buyers should understand well in advance of signing on the line that's dotted. Here's one of those vital rules to remember:

When purchasing a home, never assume anything. I can’t count how many times I've heard homebuyers state: “But I assumed that the Seller would leave the refrigerator (or stove, or washer/dryer, or garden tools, etc.).”


Here is how it works under the current California purchase agreement—if it isn’t attached, it isn’t staying unless you specifically ask for it and the Seller agrees to leave it. I refer you to page 3, item 8 of the contract: “Items listed as included or excluded in the MLS, flyers or marketing materials are not included in the purchase price or excluded from the sale unless specified in paragraph 8 B or C.” I also include verbal statements from either agent or anyone else about what stays or goes as something to confirm in writing.

So do you want that birdbath that perfectly goes with the house but is just sitting on the ground outside? Then ask for it! In writing on Page 3, Item 8. Are you not sure if the birdbath (or washer/dryer, or bookcase, or kitchen island and bar stools) is going to stay? Trick question—if it isn’t specified in the purchase contract, it’s not supposed to stay!

Sometimes items that you thought were attached are not. If there is anything you want that you assume (that danger word again) is attached, ask for it anyway just to make sure. It’s better to err on the side of being thought silly for asking for the apparently built-in SubZero refrigerator than to see after the day escrow closes that it is gone.

Sellers, you need to pay attention also. If you want that wonderful chandelier that is the centerpiece of the whole dining room, you should replace it before you go on the market. Otherwise, you are supposed to leave it with the house. Putting it in the marketing remarks that it will be replaced in escrow is asking for the buyer to fixate on that as the main reason that they offered what they did for the house. You can negotiate that out in the contract, but why ask for trouble? Avoid problems, never give the buyer a chance to flip out over it. This is one of the rare times that it’s really better not to talk about something you know about the house.

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