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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!

Propportunity is Everywhere!

I was talking to some of my Realtor friends this morning and heard about some killer deals all around Los Angeles county.

1. El Segundo: Upgraded with care, this bright interior unit in the Pacific Sands complex is a spacious one level with 2 BR/1BA in 1112 sq. ft. It proudly offers new soundproof windows and doors, a new ventilation system, new appliances in newly tiled kitchen, smooth ceilings, a combination of new carpets and tile floors, and new paint! The balcony overlooks the pond, pool and palm trees. Low HODs. FHA approved complex. Conveniently located near the beach and LAX. El Segundo schools. Price? Only $360,000! Wow!

2. Long Beach:Executive Living in the Aqua West Tower of Downtown Ocean Blvd. Two Master suites in this unit have marble in bathrooms, slate and granite in kitchen. Private Enclosed Garage plus 2nd space adjacent to garage. You must see the amenities to appreciate this unit and building. Balcony overlooks Performing Arts Center and Convention Center just a brief walk downstairs. Gymnasium, Business Center, Sauna, 2 Swimming Pools and spas, observation deck, full kitchen in recreation lounge, private business meeting rooms. UNIT 201. Seller to credit 2.5 points with full price offer. Not a short sale! $459,900.

3. Eagle Rock:Fannie Mae owned bungalow near Occidental College in Eagle Rock. Very cute, low maintenance, your basic condo alternative. Seller plans to make some repairs. Property is 2/1 with a carport and a fenced (practically no) yard, very close to everything but off the main thoroughfare. $335,000!

None of these are my listings, so call me or email me for more info and I'll either be glad to represent you or to refer your Realtor to the listing agent.

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Propertunities Oct. 9, 2008

First, my listing at 3926 W. Avenue 43, Eagle Rock. It's cute! It's now $399,000! A screaming deal! And it's open Sunday, October 12, 2-5 pm.

Propertunities Seen on Caravan Oct. 9, 2008

3926 W Avenue 43, Eagle Rock

Who cares about the stock market sliding down to Nixon-era levels! There are some incredible deals out there in all price ranges. Call me if you want to make an offer! Check it out:

62 W. Terrace Dr, Altadena. $219,900. A crazy deal!

Bank-owned fixer on spacious lot on quiet side street with expansion/tear-down/investment potential galore. Nice neighborhood of well-maintained homes with diverse architectural styles. Flat lot with all utilities in. Great opportunity to live onsite while making building plans. It's only 628 square feet, but it's on a 6,732 sqft lot.

528 Westgate St, Pasadena. $450,000. Actually, this is in decent condition and it's 3 bedrooms, 1 bath. The back yard is a desert, ready for your creative touch. Good space, it's 1,054 square feet on a 8,750 sqft lot in a pretty good neighborhood. Make an offer!

62 W Terrace Dr, Altadena, CA

1637 Rose Villa St, Pasadena. $975,000. This has one of the best new-in-the-style of original period kitchens I've seen. And the bathrooms are beautiful, too. Impeccable is not too strong a word to describe this whole 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. A joy to see.

838 Milan Ave, South Pasadena. $950,000. Almost 3,000 sqft, on a 12,600 sqft lot, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths. A great neighborhood and a good deal!

528 Westgate, Pasadena, CA

1637 Rose Villa St, Pasadena, CA

838 Milan Ave, South Pasadena, CA

To see any of these homes, call or text me! 626-827-9795.

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Time to Think Outside the Box

How to navigate today's mortgage environment, Part 2.

First, have you been reading the newspaper lately? Well, stop it.

Let's look at other options for finding out what's going on in the lending markets. For starters, I called Ann Bedrossian at Lockheed Federal Credit Union (818-621-2758). She says they have lots of money to lend right now, their deposits are way up. And if you have decent credit and at least 10% down, you can get under 6% mortgage interest on a 30-year fixed loan up to $1 million. To join the Lockheed Credit Union, you pay a $25 application fee, that's it! Call Ann for the latest rates and programs, you might be pleasantly surprised.

I know there is scary news out there. I know everyone thinks the real estate market is on the biggest slide downward ever. But now is the time to be a contrarian! Do what Warren Buffet says, get greedy when everyone else is afraid.

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Mortgage News

If you are in the market for purchasing or refinancing a home today, you need to pay close attention to the mortgage news, and listen to responsible, knowledgeable professionals.

From Kirk Thomson, How To Plan Ahead For The New, Lower Conforming Mortgage Loan Limits in 2009. Conforming mortgages are limited by loan size, based on average housing costs around the country. Since 1980, as home prices have increased, so have conforming loan limits. The current conforming loan limit on a single-family home is $417,000. Earlier this year, as part of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, Congress authorized temporary increases to the conforming loan limit in high cost regions, as defined by median home sale price. In Manhattan, for example, where more homes sell for more than a million dollars than sell for less, mortgages as large as $729,750 are considered "conforming".

Beginning in 2009, however, that loan limit changes. Effective January 1, conforming mortgages will be capped at $625,500 in high cost areas, and $417,000 everywhere else. Therefore, homeowners in high cost areas whose mortgaged amounts exceed $625,500 are now operating on a defined timeline. Switch to a cheaper conforming home loan prior to December 31, 2008, or risk paying the "jumbo premium". This includes homeowners with: Two mortgages -- one for $417,000 and one for "the difference." An ARM that was begrudgingly accepted because jumbo fixed rates were too high. An expensive jumbo fixed rate mortgage. In addition, home buyers in the $800,000-900,000 price range may want to move up their closing dates. Today, at those price levels it takes a 20 percent downpayment to get access to conforming money. In 2009, it will take 30 percent.

My comment: In the last couple of months, FHA financing has been a great alternative to jumbo or "jumbo light" programs, because it is the only way many people have been able to obtain loans with less than 20% down payments. Keep in mind that FHA loan limits will also be decreased from $729,750 to the $625,500 limit. We'd better go shopping!

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My Take on the Current Housing Situation

As a Realtor, the most common conversation opener when I meet anyone today is, "How are you doing in this terrible market?" Well, I'm doing okay, thank you. I'm focusing on the people who need to buy and sell right now, I'm paying a lot of attention to my business, and it's working. I opened 3 escrows last week, and yesterday closed escrow on the biggest sale of my career.

You see, people are always changing and that means that they are always moving. Everyone lives somewhere. The four big reasons why people buy or sell homes are: birth, death, job change, divorce. Those things don't stop when the economy gets bad, now do they? So life goes on, real estate goes on.

The next thing people say to me is "When do you think we're going to hit bottom?" My answer is that my crystal ball is in the shop. We'll know we hit bottom when we see that prices have begun to go up.

I was reading the April, 2008, Fortune magazine recently an interview with Warren Buffet, the financial guru of Omaha, Nebraska, and head of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most respected stock holding companies in the world. Hm, what would something Mr. Buffet said in April look like in the light of what has happened in the last few months?

Mr. Buffett is a smart man. I didn't read one word of prophecy, nothing we can examine 6 months later and say, "Well, that didn't happen the way he said it would!" He did say this in reference to investing, though, "I always say you should get greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy." Do you feel a bit of fear in the market today?And he said in response to the question, "But you’re still bullish about the U.S. for the long term?""The American economy is going to do fine. But it won’t do fine every year and every week and every month." Mr. Buffett is a rational investor, one who holds stocks for the long term. I encourage you to read his interview and substitute the words "real estate" for "stocks" in what he says. I think his words are meant for any investor in any market. Here's the interview.

I have a thought for some of you who are sitting in your homes, wanting to get top dollar to finance your move to the next phase of your life, whether it be a retirement home, a sailboat, or a loft downtown. This could be a time to consider financing your buyer yourself. If you own your home free and clear, you could help an earnest young family purchase your home and make a decent return on your investment as well. Consult your tax and financial advisors and let me know what you think.

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