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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!

Benefits of Home Ownership

Buying a home is not just a financial decision. Posted by the excellent mortgage broker, Linda Wilkes:
Social Benefits of Homeownership
A recent report
by the National Association of Realtors identifies homeownership's numerous social benefits. The report, "Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing," cites extensive research showing that homeownership increases civic participation, lowers crime rates and boosts children's educational performance.
Homeowners have a far lower move rate
compared with renters. Nearly 30% of renters changed residential locations in 2008 to 2009, while only 5.2% of owner-occupied residents moved. Because homeowners remain in their homes longer, they add stability to their neighborhoods.
Homeowners have an incentive
to improve the overall quality of their surrounding community. This incentive is evident in greater community involvement and awareness. Homeowners are twice as likely than renters to know the name of their local school board representative. One study found that 77% of homeowners voted in local elections compared with 52% of renters. Homeowners also had a higher incidence of membership in voluntary organizations.
Homeowners are more likely than renters
to form voluntary crime prevention programs, making it easier to identify a perpetrator of crime. Crime, drug use and juvenile delinquency rates all decrease in stable neighborhoods with extensive social ties. Consequently, homeowners are far less likely to become crime victims.
Homeownership makes a significant positive impact
on educational achievement. According to the "Journal of Urban Economics," teenage students of homeowners have a greater likelihood of graduating and young children of homeowners tend to have higher levels of achievement in math and reading. The positive effects on education may arise not from homeownership alone but from the combined social benefits of homeownership, namely a lower move rate, greater neighborhood stability, enhanced social ties and increased civic participation. For more information regarding mortgage rates and availability, contact Linda at:
Linda Wilkes
Senior Loan Officer Prospect Mortgage NMLS# 23610 1499 Huntington Dr. South Pasadena, CA 91030 Office: (323) 221-5111 Cell: (323) 719-6756 Fax: (877) 675-9296 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Posted via email from Tracy's LA Real Estate

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The Joys of Home Ownership: Termite Edition

We try to be responsible home owners, but we lead busy lives and all of a sudden, ten years have passed since we bought our current home and had it fumigated for termites. When our painter said she couldn't paint the trim on a window because the wood was too termite-damaged, we realized we had to deal with it, and now. An inspection from my trusty termite expert revealed the worst: a complete fumigation for house and carport was required.

Rule #1:  have a termite inspection at least once every 2 years.  Most fumigations come with a 2-year guarantee—just do it. No fumigation will prevent a re-infestation. Be vigilant.

If time slips by and you have to fumigate, here are a few things we have learned that might save you some trouble.

Rule #2: don't be a pack rat, especially about food. Any food or drink that is still factory packed or sealed is ok, but think about all your spices, condiments, flours and sugars. You will have to either remove them or double bag them in special plastic bags the termite company will give you. Everything in your freezer and refrigerator that has been opened has to be bagged also. All your pet food. As my husband was clearing out our pantry, he held up one plastic bag filled with old boxes of tea. Who knew all that was in there?

Then there are medications and vitamins. I think we could open a health food store with what we found.

Basically, anything you ingest needs to be sealed, bagged, or removed.

All plants must be removed from inside. All vegetation near the house must be cut back or removed. If not, water it really well and hope for the best. Most established plants will come back even after turning brown.

All animals, including fish and birds, must be removed. Do you have a fishpond nearby? If the tent is going over it, you'll have to remove the fish or they will die. That was fun to do at 8 o'clock the morning before the fumigation.

Which brings us to Rule #3: Make sure you talk to the termite company in detail about what you need to do to prepare. Ask if you need to meet with the fumigator—because most termite companies subcontract the actual fumigation. My termite guy (whom I’ve worked with for many years, remember) said he told the fumigator to check out the property and to let him/us know what was needed since we have a hillside house and it probably needed extra staff and tenting.

According to all the literature, Vikane (sulfuryl fluoride, the poison used to kill the termites) leaves no toxic residue and once the gas is gone, the house is safe to re-enter. I spoke with a client who wondered if the teargas (chloropicrin) they mix with the Vikane has a damaging effect on anything. I haven't found any literature on that yet. He removed all his computers and other electronics when he was fumigated. I decided to take my chances with that.

Back home after 3 days. As we expected, a few plants were browned. The fish were okay, even the one that eluded our efforts to remove it from the pond. All the electronics were fine. Much as we would have wished differently, the ants were unaffected as well.

Is this the only way to get rid of termites? No. However, the only other method recognized by the California Department of Consumer Affairs for a complete fumigation is the heat method, where your home is heated to about 150 degrees, so the wood core will reach 130 degrees. According to a paper published in 2002 by the University of California Integrated Pest Management Program, the only negative side effect of the heat system is the possibility of damage to the roof when walked upon, and to some heat-sensitive furnishings.  What might those be? This could be big—plastics, cable wiring, computers and CDs, obviously candles and chocolate. Also, consider antique furniture with old fragile glue or varnish. The plusses are that you don’t have to move out or bag your food, and the process takes one day instead of 3. And there are no poisonous gasses.

When we first bought this house, we had the place tented with the heat method. We had it redone within the first year under their guarantee. I didn’t like the company we used and they were the only ones who did the work in Southern California at the time, so I conveniently forgot about keeping up on the termite inspections. Also, it seemed like it would be about the same amount of trouble to remove all the meltable items as it would be to bag the food. And I started hearing more about the things that could melt at temperatures of 150 degrees.

Another method is the orange oil treatment. Check out the details at Eco LA Termite. Bottom line, the orange oil treatment people themselves say that they are best for local treatment.

Another good source for good information about termite is at Los Angeles County Agricultural Commissioner's website.
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ReBlog: What is Magnesite Flooring?

A unique formulation of magnesium oxychloride cement with inert fillers and aggregates, Magnesite installs over any structurally sound sub floor. It can be applied in a countless variety of textures, patterns, designs, and finishes to achieve the look and effect you’ve only dreamed about with other surfaces.
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