Altadena, CA Is a City on the Rise

In close proximity to the highly successful City of Pasadena, Altadena is gaining some well-earned respect reflected in its home values.

With the region north east of Downtown Los Angeles – the most western area of what is termed the San Gabriel Valley – neighborhoods and entire cities are on the rise. Nowhere is this clearer today than in Altadena, CA. Homes in Altadena are being restored to their original luster and Altadena real estate is through the roof when it comes to home values.

A friend of mine owned one of those 1920’s storybook Mediterranean-style homes with a red tile roof up in Altadena. It was perched on top of a knoll and nestled among mature trees. Rainbow colored bougainvillea vines spilled off the rooftop. Sitting in the breakfast nook, one could marvel at the San Gabriel mountain range from its French windows. The house had plaster walls that met the ceiling in a curve. The floors were constructed of large wooden planks, giving the place a kind of Greek Island art studio feel. An idyllic setting for those looking to get away from it all, the neighborhood of Altadena is located just North of its big city sister, Pasadena.

Just being in close proximity to gorgeous Pasadena – of Rose Parade fame – has never been enough to create the real estate buzz that Altadena has longed for until now. After all, Pasadena homes for sale have always been in great demand and the Pasadena real estate market is always booming. Now it’s Altadena’s turn and home sellers are giddy while homebuyers are gnashing their teeth for waiting too long to enter the Altadena real estate market.

John and Fred Woodbury launched the first subdivision, naming it Altadena in 1887. Recognizing the awesome scenic beauty of the foothills below the Angeles Crest mountain range, millionaires from the east erected the first mansions along Mariposa Street. This became known as millionaire’s row. Now let’s fast-forward to the civil rights era, a generation later. When the public schools were desegregated a phenomenon known as “White Flight” occurred in this once desirable spot. The Caucasian people pulled out and headed to the west side and the African American population doubled in size overnight. Sadly, the properties fell into disrepair and the area turned into a far less desirable neighborhood than it is today.

Thirty years later the gentrification of North East Los Angeles began to take shape. The rundown and neglected homes were purchased cheap and renovated, then flipped. North East Los Angeles became a prime target for the real estate investor and buyers of modest means scouting for their first house.

Before long the community was thriving once again and the curb appeal of these older neighborhoods improved. The ongoing restorative movement in Altadena, which began in the nineties, has helped to increase property values. As things get spruced up and the area becomes more attractive and expensive, the buyer naturally becomes more discriminating and sophisticated. Like it or not, right or wrong, he rich get richer, and those of a lower socio-economic status are often driven out. Some call it gentrification. Some call it progress. Once considered to be a common working class neighborhood, Altadena now has a private country club with tennis courts and swimming pools. A remarkable contrast to what was “the other side of the tracks” during the 1980s.

For foodies with a sweet tooth and taste for authentic Italian Gelato, take a drive down East Altadena Drive and find Leo Bulgarini’s gelateria. The Rome-born ex-sommelier chose this hot spot to open his gourmet gelato shop and that says it all. The new generation of “Hipsteropolis” bars is also finding its way to this side of town. If you have a good pallet and get a hankering for good French wine, Altadena Ale and Wine House is right around the corner. These specialty shops cater to the elite, which is of course a good sign that the community of Altadena is definitely on the rise.

You can still find a single family home in this glorious horse country for less than half a million. In California’s booming real estate market, that is unheard of. It won’t be long before the middle class will be priced out so its time for homebuyers to make their move. Start by hiring a real estate agent who specializes in the area and who has proven success assisting buyers and sellers alike in Altadena.

 

The 4 Benefits of Fix and Flip Loans

Buying a real estate property, repairing and selling it quickly tends to be a profitable recipe. However, a key component of this recipe to success is access to capital. If one does not have sufficient funds but is interested in rehabbing a property, a hard money lender who offers a fix and flip loans could be a great financing option. These loans are structured in such a way that allow a purchaser to quickly acquire the property and have access to a reserve of funds for construction and renovation costs.

Buying a real estate property, repairing and selling it quickly tends to be a profitable recipe.

Advantages of Fix and Flip Loans

There are many advantages to fix and flip loans and the demand for this source of funding is steadily increasing in the real estate investment industry.

Four key benefits include:

    • Quick Approval: Getting approved for a fix and flip loan is a far quicker process when compared against the traditional banking system. If the borrower has submitted the requested documents, a private lender can approve the loan within a couple of days whereas a traditional financial institution can take at least a month. In addition to the significant longer wait time for bank loan approvals, the borrower will be required to submit numerous documents and clear multiple conditions as part of the process.

 

    • Any Property: Properties in varying states of the condition can qualify for a fix and flip loans. Whether the property is bank owned, a short sale, a foreclosure, or in a dilapidated state, a borrower is still likely to find a hard money lender willing to fund the deal. Once again, a borrower may not have the option of funding these types of real estate opportunities with a bank. Banks are very risk averse and have strict rules in place as to what type of property they can accept as part of their loan portfolio.

 

    • Zero Prepayment Penalties: If you take out a loan from an established bank, you may be hit with penalties should you have the opportunity to pay the loan off before the maturation date. This is called a prepayment penalty. Most fix and flip lenders will not subject you to this fee.

 

  • Repairs Covered: When you buy a property with the intention to flip it, a significant portion of your budget will be spent on construction and renovation costs. A fix and flip lender will usually set up a loan reserve which will cover repair costs of the property in addition to interest. This can alleviate a lot of stress and pressure for builders and developers since they don’t have to worry about spending money out of pocket for repairs or payments.

Teaming up with a solid lender who understands your property, the local real estate market, and is willing to help you throughout the acquisition, construction and selling process is vital. When choosing a hard money lender, keep the following in mind:

    • The lender must have sufficient experience in the industry. A private lender that has deep roots in the real estate investment market will not only be able to offer you a better deal but will also have numerous contacts that will prove helpful along the way – from recommended settlement companies, to permit expeditors and other preferred vendors. This can prove to be a great asset as speed, quality and efficiency is the name of the game in the fix and flip world. The less time you need to spend vetting companies and contractors is more money in your pocket.

 

    • Check the history of the lenders to ensure that they are genuine and have a good track record. It may be worth taking a closer look at lenders that tempt borrowers with “teaser rates” or a “no documents” underwriting process. As with most things in life, if it seems too good to be true – it usually is.

 

  • Finally, you should check out what previous or current customers have to say. Is the lender responsive and knowledgeable? How many loans do they have on the street? Do they have good ratings on Google or the BBB? Just as the lender performs due diligence on their borrowers, the borrowers should, in turn, conduct due diligence on the hard money lender. It’s a partnership and both parties need to be solid and committed to the process in order to ensure success.

 

Affordable Housing for the Middle Class

“What does affordable housing in Gurgaon, with its high-lifestyle, urbanization, and posh-societies look like?” You may think, given that Residential Flats varies in its meaning for different demographic profiles. Especially in the Indian real estate market, affordable housing has a connotation for housing for the lower income group (LIG), by which they too can enjoy a comfortable living and security. With the incumbent government’s focus on this section and more on the affordable housing, it seems like the real estate sector has been able to get the boost that it had been waiting for of late.

However, there is an important trend that needs to be taken note of before the government claims that its affordable housing project is a success. The term affordable housing, in different contexts, also has a local meaning. According to this, affordable housing includes housing options for a segment of population that can become potential home buyers in a city. If we take this definition into consideration, there is a sizeable population in every city, which although it will not identify with or fall under the LIG, is equally incapable of allotting a large budget for buying homes. It is not only sensitive and cost-wary but is looking forward to finding a house of a decent budget-size within the realms of the city. A typical example is of the residential flats in Gurgaon, which although are well-furnished, but do not still fall under the budget for the middle class.

When we take this population’s demands and needs a little more seriously, we find that there is a dearth of properties in good locations within the city, which buyers can afford. These buyers often have a budget of INR 30-40 lakhs, but more cities including Delhi NCR have a deficit in properties which match this budget range. Usually properties which are around INR 20 lakhs are still on the outskirts lacking good transportation and other facilities required by the urban middle class. This means that there is indeed a requirement for more housing under the affordable housing section, where different demographic profiles can find properties for themselves.

There is an urgent need for developers to come up with budget housing projects in the larger cities. As modern India moves towards development and rising aspirations, affordable housing and the security that comes with it, is increasing. This appears to be a very high opportunity for developers who can count on a boost in the real estate industry. More absorption of the housing projects in the urban cities is also a strong indicator of the socio-economic growth in the country, thereby projecting a positive image. While the demand is strong and only increasing, there are a lot of policy-level changes that need to be introduced.

Not only will the affordable housing for the middle class prove to be a sustainable business model for the future, it will also allow more cities to come up to ranks. More affordable housing projects will assure developers that they do not struggle with inflation or even setbacks in the economy. Another trend that one needs to channelize is that more real estate investors are now eyeing budget and affordable housing projects. Where luxury homes and premium homes find it hard to make it through a rough economy, affordable housing is still on the move. The healthy demand in addition with more money coming in steady from investors means a healthy micro-economy. It is now time for builders and the government to give this proposition a try, ensuring that the overall development of the country happens throughout.

Gurgaon based real estate company’s residential flats in Gurgaon include their massive projects of Solera (Sector 107), Synera (Sector 81, NH8) Andour Heights (Sector 71), Orchard Avenue (Sector 93), Grand Iva (Sector 103), Roselia (Sector 95A), Serenas (Sector 36) and The Millennia (Sector 37D). At present, Gurgaon based real estate company’s Signum project offers retail shops in Gurugram in sector 36, 95A, 93, 103, 71, 81, and 107.

 

Understanding Home Closing Costs in Southern California

Looking to buy a house in Northeast Los Angeles – NELA, as it is known – but unclear of the process and amount of money needed? A licensed Realtor can help you figure it out. But for ballpark purposes, it might help to do some preliminary study on your own.

NELA is, after all, one of the hottest markets in all of Los Angeles. Not just the obvious neighborhoods like Glendale and Pasadena, but in smaller, lesser-known neighborhoods.

You might be in love with the schools in Mt. Washington, the housing inventory in Highland Park or the neighborhoods of Eagle Rock, but you have to work through some of these details before you can call any of those places home.

Much is made about closing costs in real estate transactions, and yet these vary for several reasons. The single largest expense, the real estate commission, is covered by the seller (who pays the commission in a split between the buyer’s and the seller’s agents).

Fees the buyer will need to pay at the closing come with some variation; the following are the largest of such costs at closing:

  • Homeowner association fees – If the property is a condominium the seller might be in arrears with the homeowners association, in which case you will find this out before entering the sales contract. In distressed circumstances (foreclosures, near-foreclosures and short sales), these fees might amount to thousands of dollars.
  • Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) – If your down payment is less than 20% of the price of the property, you will be required to insure the mortgage at between 0.3% and 1.15% of the loan amount.
  • Origination fee to the lender – Even while you fix your dreams on a Victorian in Glassell Park, a two-unit duplex in Garvanza or fixer-upper in Hermon, you have to go through a large amount of paperwork with a would-be lender to prove your creditworthiness. And yes, they do charge fees at closing for all that fun.
  • Points – These enable you to change the terms of the loan to your favor if you pay one or more percentage points toward the mortgage amount. If you have the cash and plan to own the property for a decade or longer, paying a point or two upfront can save you much more over time.
  • Prorated property tax – As the LA tax year begins on July 1, you will need to cover whatever remains in the year in advance from the day of the closing.
  • Insurance premiums – Protecting the property (as required by all lenders) from damages and liability is required at closing also.
  • Escrow fees – Third parties performing escrow services need to be compensated for that work. Note that fee structures are not fixed or regulated by the state of California, but are generally set according to the size of the transaction.

Technically speaking there are multiple fees that will be part of the buyer’s closing costs but which the seller automatically pays for in a reimbursement. These include the city transfer tax, documentary transfer tax to title and the owners title policy. Multiple other fees under $500 (average) costs include the lender appraisal fee, credit report fee, prorated HOA fees, courier services related to the transaction, notary services, archiving fees, recording trust deed (to title), and loan tie-in fees.

Note that the process of looking at houses and negotiating a price, and perhaps that of qualifying for a loan, are typically more time consuming than the closing itself. An experienced realtor will be able to advise you on all these details, invariably to the point where you are told how much money to bring to the closing and in what form.

 

Echo Park Real Estate: A Look at the Numbers

From LA’s earliest days, people have wanted to live in the storied neighborhoods of NELA. In a densely populated area where residents are always in the process of coming and going, there are always homes for sale in Echo Park at any given time. Since the early 1920’s, the real estate here has been in demand and that is how it is today. Why? Let’s take a closer look and see what the numbers say.

This is an eclectic city located in Central Los Angeles about ten minutes from Downtown. At the center of the city is the renowned Echo Park Lake in Elysian Park, which is the site of special events like the Lotus Festival. It is northwest of Chinatown and Downtown, northeast of Westlake and south east of Silver Lake.

It is split in to four districts.

• Angelino Heights – This area is known for the beautiful Victorian homes that are preserved by the city’s ordinances.

• Elysian Heights – This area is historically known for being the home of famous counter-culture artists, filmmakers, architects and political radicals.

• Historic Filipino town – This section is located in the southwest section.

• Victor Heights – A lovely area scattered with Bungalows and Stucco homes that share breathtaking views of Los Angeles and the Civic Center.

Throughout the four districts, the most common types of homes are Bungalows, Cottages, Victorians and Stuccos. According to the 2000 U.S. Census there were 40,455 people in there. Spread over 2.4 square miles there were approximately 16,868 people per square mile. This makes Echo Park one of the highest density areas in Los Angeles County. The median household income was $37,708, which is low for Los Angeles County. The average household size was 3.0, which is average for the county.

This city has a high Walk Score of 83/100. This means that most errands can be accomplished on foot within the city. This city’s transit score is 62. This city has good transit and provides its residents with many public transportation options. These include the Metro Red and Metro Purple Line, numerous bus routes and ride sharing options from Relay Rides. This city received a bike score of 49 because of the steep hills and minimal bike lanes.

According to Zillow, the average home value in Echo Park is $795,100. This value has increased 14.4% since last year and Zillow estimates it will continue to rise 4.3% to $829,000 over the next year. The average price of homes that are currently listed is $742,450. The median list price per square foot is $618, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $451. The average rental price is $2,967 a month. Zillow has given the Market Health a score of 8.2/10, which is very healthy in comparison to other markets across the country. This is based on a series of metrics including how fast the homes are selling compared to the past rate. Echo Park’s prime location and thrilling culture will be sure to keep the housing market rolling for many years to come.