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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!

Time Sensitive Seminar announcement


Tax Tips class offers important information that all artists should be knowledgeable about. Learn how to take advantage of various deductions, understanding self-employment, and much more!

Tax Tips Specifically for Artists
This timely three-hour workshop provides important information for anyone who is self-employed, but is especially geared towards artists, writers, performers, and dancers. Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to: Being an employee vs. being self-employed, Having a Hobby vs. Having a Business, How to keep records to protect yourself in case of an audit, The difference between expenses for employees an those for self-employed people, Understanding self-employment taxes and taking advantage of various deductions including entertainment, research, automobile and other expenses unique to artists. Everyone attending will be provided with a wealth of written information to take with them, including some guidelines on how to keep good records and a listing of current websites that are resources for those in business for themselves. NOTE: This class does not cover tax issues for non-profit organizations.

Stephen Benjamin, a CPA whose clients include actors, writers, artists and other people in the entertainment industry, will teach this class. Mr. Benjamin is also an entertainer in his own right and makes the workshop fun as well as informative. He even has prizes to give out to some lucky attendees!

Date: Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Location: Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, 244 S. San Pedro Street, in Little Tokyo near Downtown Los Angeles
$40 (Non Member) / $35 (BOA/CCI Members)

If you would like to register, please visit

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Market Update for Eagle Rock, CA November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008 Today's Eagle Rock Market

Inventory in Eagle Rock hasn't varied much in terms of number of active listings this whole year. Today there are 45 homes on the active market, 14 of them short sales, 4 REOs, and 33 regular sales including trust or probate sales that don't require court confirmation. Since November 1, 4 have gone into escrow including 2 short sales, 1 REO and 1 regular sale while 4 more have closed escrow including 1 short sale, 2 REOs, and 1 regular sale. Prices are interesting: what is closing escrow is much lower in average price ($411,500) than actives ($568,500) or pendings ($565,725), but the actives and pendings are close in average price. I have to say that the most surprising sale to me is the short sale that actually closed escrow on Townsend, since most short sales have not ever closed. Let's see with the 2 that just went pending if they ever actually close. Perhaps banks are actually beginning to work with people to negotiate these, we'll see. This sample is too small to really tell. But really noteworthy is the fact that 3 of the 4 closed sales sold for more than their list prices. Hello, this is a pricing strategy that works!

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Are You Having Trouble With Your Mortgage Payments?

Help for Homeowners

As I was canvassing the neighborhood last week, I encountered a couple of people who said they were "upside down" in their mortgages, had tried to contact their lenders with no luck, and didn't know what else to do. Here at last is real information with phone numbers, websites, and rules gathered by the California Association of Realtors

Mortgage Workout Programs for Homeowners
The following information is intended for REALTORS® and homeowners seeking information on existing mortgage workout programs.  In general, the loan modification programs on the chart and consumer information sheets (see links below) are intended for primary residences only.
 .HOPE For Homeowners (H4H)

.Countrywide Financial (Bank of America)


.Citigroup, CitiMortgage


.JP Morgan Chase & Co.


.IndyMac Federal Bank, FDIC


.Federal Government Loan Modification  (Participants include: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Home Loan Banks, Hope Now participants, Department of the Treasury, Federal Housing Administration and the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and Wells Fargo.)


Mortgage loan modifications typically are handled on a case-by-case basis. Homeowners having difficulty meeting their mortgage obligation or interested in finding out more about a loan modification program should start by contacting their lender. Prior to calling a lender or loan servicer, homeowners should have the following information available:


.Loan number


.Income information and documentation


.Most recent mortgage statement


.Bank statements


.Letter demonstrating financial hardship

If you want help with this, or if you can't access the website or the links, call or email me and I'll either email or snail mail you the relevant information. NOTE: It is illegal for people to charge you a fee upfront for helping you. I am offering information as a public service only. The fewer foreclosures in our neighborhood, the better the neighborhood will stay.

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Please tell everyone you can about this

This is an important project that promotes compassion, connection, and understanding world-wide. In this new era of hope, I hope that you will watch, then think about and contribute in any way you can. And please spread the word:

Dear TEDizens, short video that went live on the web today. Beautifully filmed and edited by TEDster Jesse Dylan and his team at Form TV, it might just be the most inspiring thing you see this week.

That video, and this website mark the launch of an inspiring global endeavor to celebrate compassion and to promote a new collaboration between the world's religions. What we're doing, starting today, is to begin writing the Charter for Compassion that Karen Armstrong called for
earlier this year when she made her TED Prize wish. And the exhilarating twist here is that the writing won't be done behind closed doors. It will be done by you... and perhaps millions of others around the world. Because we're using special collaborative web tools created by the geniuses at Kluster to enable this be truly a charter "created by the world for the world".Charter for Compassion

We urge you to take a moment to watch a

Later this week millions of Muslims, Christians, and Jews will be sent an email inviting them to come to the site and offer their choice of words, in their own language, to help create a charter capable of inspiring the world to focus on what the great religions share, as opposed to what divides them. Already people are responding to this amazing idea with passion and excitement. The goal is to obtain all input from global participants within the next four weeks, select the best contributions with the help of a council of religious "sages", and conduct a major launch of the finished document in 2009.

We'd love you, the TED community, who saw the birth of this idea in March, to be among the first to contribute.

The two things you can do to help now:

1. Help us write the Charter! The first writing phase begins now with the Preamble, a concise explanation of why the Charter is necessary and urgent.

2. Send out the ask to everyone in your network. We want this to be a truly global and diverse document that represents all of our voices.

A very exciting day for the TED Prize. We are honored to have you on this journey with us.

Thank you to all of you who have helped get us this far! And a special thank you to Kluster who have put so much into building this site.

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Does your property qualify for a tax reduction?

Many of us are dealing with the fact that our real estate is worth less than it was. Good news! For those of us who own property that is worth less than its current assessed value, we can apply for a temporary tax reduction. In 1978, California voters passed Proposition 8, which allowed for this. All the details can be seen at at the County Assessor's website, or from right here: decline-in-value-form.  An application can be requested by calling 888-807-2111. You have until December 31, 2008, to file the form. Here's the press release from the Assessor: Press Release.

Note that we are talking about the assessed value, which you can see on your Annual Property Tax Information Statement at the bottom of the upper portion, not an appraised value or the fact that it might be worth less than what you currently owe on the property. Also, the property value is assessed as of January 1, 2008. Note that the biggest reduction in value in many areas has happened since that time, so the tax reduction may not be nearly as much as you might hope for or imagine. I asked someone who works for the Assessor if we can file again next year for a further decline in value even if we get one this year, and I was told yes. So don't despair, but you'll have to be patient, because you may not see much of a reduction until next year.

If you purchased a single family home or condominium between July 1, 2004, and June 30, 2007, you were already evaluated for a tax reduction and were notified in October if you qualified for one. If you don't agree with the findings, you can appeal. Start the process by calling your local Assessor's District Office. You have to file an appeal by November 30, so you'd better get on this.

If you purchased your real property before or after those times, or you own something other than a single family home or condo, you can download the Decline-in-Value form from the Assessor's website. To establish the value of your property, you can search on the Assessor's website, or as a public service, you can contact me and I will help you if I can. Be sure to read the press release on the Assessor's website, they warn of people who charge hundreds of dollars to help you. Now I'm not going to fill out the form for you - that's your responsibility, but even the Assessor says it's really easy.

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