The Real Estate Resurgence of Glassell Park and Highland Park

Real estate in Northeast Los Angeles has been booming for years. We hear about it on television and in the news. Rarely does a news story get published where the term “Gentrification” is used to describe areas such as Eagle Rock, Mt. Washington and Highland Park, regions where home values have spiked. Is it something home-buyers and home sellers need to know?

By definition, “to gentrify” is to improve a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. The middle class, or Bourgeoisie, is attempting to emulate upper-class standards. In the U.K., the gentry refer to people of high social position, specifically the class of people next below the nobility. Therefor the gentrification of an area is a process whereby those of lower socioeconomic status are forced out of a region in order to make it more attractive to the people of higher socioeconomic standing. Taking deteriorating inner city homes away from working class families to be renovated and sold to the privileged is also known as progress, or gentrification.

That is precisely what is occurring in the once run down neighborhood of Highland Park. This ongoing restorative transformation has helped to eradicate crime and strengthen the local economy. Juice bars and yogurt shops have sprung up in place of derelict Laundromats and liquor stores. Local businesses are now thriving, where the windows were once boarded up and car carcasses rusted.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Glassell Park, where police not long ago bulldozed suspected gang homes in a dramatic crackdown on crime. Soon after, investors began investing in fixing up Glassell Park’s hillside view homes and property values began to rise with new shops and restaurants appearing in direct proportion.

At one time, Eco Park stood as the poster child for gentrification in Los Angeles. This forgotten slum went through a complete metamorphosis in the 90’s, turning it into one of the most sought after areas east of downtown. With Echo Park as a model, the restoration movement has continued its march east, rehabilitating other areas, such as Highland Park and Glassell Park, with great potential.

One telltale sign of the up and coming neighborhood is what is known as the Starbucks phenomenon. If this “7-eleven” of coffee houses has chosen to plant its green lady logo on the block, you can bet your bottom dollar that the ‘Hipsters are coming or more likely, the Hipsters have already arrived. This of course means that property values are climbing. In the historic region of Highland Park, York Boulevard is now book ended by Starbucks. Having a Starbucks on the corner is clear evidence that a moneyed community is on the rise. The values of homes for sale in Highland Park are absolutely exploding.

Another way of measuring affluence is by exploring the high volume of trendy restaurants, bars, and art galleries not to mention the cafes populated by too cool for school patrons everywhere. This enclave has become a hot spot for exotic dining among foodies and the like. Good eats just seem to go along with gentrification. That is one of the advantages. Today you can find French, Italian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and a wide variety of Vegan food in this once neglected district. It has become an amazing multi-cultural mecca. One more example of economic growth is improved public transportation. Business people can commute from paradise to downtown by train in a matter of minutes.

The median price for a house in Highland Park is now approaching seven hundred thousand. In relative terms, this area is still a bargain in Los Angeles’ exorbitant housing market. As the beautification of these older neighborhoods flourishes in NELA, the real estate naturally becomes more desirable and the property values escalate.

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.

Mt Washington Real Estate: A Look at the Numbers

For many years – decades, in fact – the LA district of Mount Washington was one of the hidden treasures of Los Angeles neighborhoods. All of that changed during the real estate boom of the mid-1990’s and since that time, the run on Mt. Washington homes for sale has been akin to the California Gold Rush. Homebuyers, investors, home flippers and creative types of have been snapping up Mt. Washington real estate as fast as they can. Let’s look at what the facts and the numbers tell us.

Mount Washington is located in Northeast Los Angeles just south of Eagle Rock, west of Highland Park and Northeast of Cypress Park. This mountainous community is located in the San Rafael Hills. Every house is situated on unique and hilly terrain. This eclectic community is home to many styles of houses, which allows people to build on lots of all shapes, sizes and slopes.

The various styles include: Cottages, Midcentury Moderns, Spanish, Hillside Midcenturies, Historic Craftsmen, Tree House Cabins, Bungalows and Craftsman Bungalows.

According to the LA Times, the population of Mount Washington was 13,531 people in 2008. With its 1.85 square mile radius there were 6,878 people per square mile. This is about average for Los Angeles County. The average income in 2008 was $57,725 and 2.9 people per household size. Both of these numbers are average for the county.

Even though the houses are on hills, Mount Washington is surprisingly accessible for walking, biking and public transportation. According to WalkScore Mount Washington is somewhat walkable with a score of 50. Some errands can be accomplished on foot. The transit score for Mount Washington is 59, meaning there are many convenient public transportation options – including the Gold Line Metro what deposits travelers at the Southwest Museum. Lastly, although this community is decorated with a slue of steep hills, there are some bike lanes on the main roads earning a bike score of 35.

Zillow states that the Home Value Index of Mount Washington is $720,100. This is an increase of 5.1% since last year. Zillow predicts the value to increase 2.8% up to $740,000 by the end of the year. The average price per square foot is $612, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $451 per square foot. The average rental price is $2,942 per month.

Since Redfin named Mount Washington one of the hottest cities in the country, house flipping increased in like wildfire throughout the community. In effect Zillow has labeled the housing market as “Cold” because it has become ideal for the Buyer with so many fresh homes to choose from. Because of this increase in listings, approximately 11.5% of listings end up shaving their price down. Compared to other markets in the nation, Mount Washington has a market health of 2.2/10. This is part of the average real estate flux. People will continue to search for homes in Mount Washington, but eventually the majority of the homes will be house flipped and/or sold. Once the number of listings decrease the community will turn back to “Hot” – a Seller’s Market – with hoards of people trying to obtain property in this hidden oasis of Los Angeles.

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 expediters 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.

Highland Park, CA Homes and Real Estate – A Look at the Numbers

In Los Angeles real estate circles, everyone is talking about Highland Park. Like other Northeast LA neighborhoods like Silver Lake, Eagle Rock and Mt. Washington, Highland Park is in a state of gentrification as new stores and restaurants are popping up on York Blvd. and homes are being purchased and restored. As a result, homes in Highland Park are in demand and prices have steadily risen. But gentrification isn’t the only reason. Highland Park is a wonderful area to call home.

Highlan Park is an amiable historic neighborhood located in Northeast Los Angeles. It is a hilly neighborhood located in the San Rafael Hills along the Arroyo Seco. It is southwest of Eagle Rock and Northeast of Cypress Park. People from many ethnic and socioeconomic groups call this neighborhood “home”. The weather is pristine with the highest monthly average temperature being 73 degrees in the hottest month of July and 57 degrees in the coldest month of December. Highland Park experiences light rain; January receives the highest amount at 4.6 inches total. According to Walk Score, Highland Park is the most walkable neighborhood in Los Angeles with a score of 72. It is very accessible and most errands can be completed on foot. It has some public transportation and is somewhat bikeable with a transit score of 47 and a bike score of 53.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census there were 57,566 residents in the 3.42 square miles of neighborhood. That is an average of 16,385 people per square mile. Highland Park is one of the highest density areas in Los Angeles. Highland Park grew to 60,835 people by 2008. The ethnicity break down was as follows: Latinos, 72.4% Whites 11.3%, Asians 11.2%, Blacks 2.4% and others 2.6%. A larger than average 57.8% residents were born abroad. 55.3% of them were born in Mexico and 12% were from El Salvador. In the male population 52.2% were married, 41.2% had never been married, 4.9% had been divorced and 1.6% were widowed. For the women: 50.4% were married, 33.2% were never married, 9.3% were divorced and 7.1% were widowed. The demographic for never married was among the county’s highest. 14.3% of residents who were 25 and above had a four-year degree. This was average for Los Angeles. 45.1% of the residents were born in a foreign city. This was a high number for Los Angeles. 4.9% of people in the population were veterans; this was a low number for Los Angeles. The average age of residents was 28, which is seen as young compared to the other areas of Los Angeles.

The average household income in 2008 was $45,478, which is an average number for Los Angeles. The average household size was 3.3 people, which is 25% higher than the national average. Renters occupied60.9% of housing units, which is 105% higher than the national average. Owners completed the other 39.1%, which is 58% lower than the national average.

Zillow states that Highland Park’s home value index is $662,800, which is up 13.1% since last year and with a projected increase of 4.3% predicted over next year. The market temperature is very hot and ideal for sellers. The average price per square foot is $582, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $448. The average price of homes is $652,500, which is 123% higher than the national average. The average rent per month is $2,600, being 22% higher than the national average. The current Market Health is 5.3/10, which is relative to other markets across the country. Highland Park will continue to grow and develop.

Because Highland Park is in a stage of gentrification with rising home prices, it is highly advised for home-buyers and home sellers to seek out an experienced Highland Park realtor who specializes in the area.

Glassell Park Real Estate – What the Numbers Tell Us

Real estate in Glassell Park, a hillside neighborhood adjacent to red-hot Mt. Washington and Highland Park – is in high demand. Prices for Glassell Park real estate are rising and the inventory of homes is shrinking, creating a seller’s market. But why is this happening now when the area was undiscovered for so long? Let’s look at what the numbers tell us about this special community.

Glassell Park is a moderately diverse neighborhood located in Northeast Los Angeles. Glassell Park resides south of Glendale, west of Eagle Rock and northeast of Mount Washington. This neighborhood is quite hilly and provides its residents with astounding views. During the housing boom of 2000 a large group of middle-class people moved to Glassell Park because of the inexpensive cost and abundance of Craftsman homes. The average temperature for the hottest month of the year, July, is 73 degrees. The average temperature for the coldest month of the year, December, is 57 degrees. January is the month with the most precipitation at 4.6 inches.

Area Vibes awarded Glassell Park a livability score of 72, very livable, which is higher than the national average of 70. Walk Score says that Glassell Park is a 61, with a transit score of 44 and a bike score of 38. Therefore, Glassell Park is somewhat walkable, and some errands can be accomplished by walking. There is some public transportation with a score and not many bike lanes.

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, there were 23,467 residents within the 2.75 square mile neighborhood. This equates to 8,524 people per square mile, which is average density for Los Angeles. The ethnicity break down was as follows: Latinos: 66.1%, Whites: 13.7%, Asians: 17.4%, Blacks: 1.4% and others 1.4%. 51.5% of its residents were born abroad with the highest two being Mexico, 49.3% and the Philippines, 16.2%. The average age for residents was 30; this is average for the city and county of Los Angeles. 19% of the residents who are 25 and older have earned a four-year degree. There was 4.8% of the population listed as veterans.

The median household income in Glassell Park was $50,098, which is an average figure for the city and county of Los Angeles. The average household size is higher compared to most parts of Los Angeles at 3.3 people. This is 21% higher than the national average. Renters reside in 56.2% of the housing stock; this is 55% higher than the national average. Owners are the remaining 43.8%, these figures are 30% lower than the national average.

According to Zillow, Glassell Park homes are valued on average at $713,700. This is a 9.3% increase from last year and they expect it to raise another 2.6% next year. The average price of homes on the market is $675,000; this is 148% higher than the national average. The market health is rated at 3.8 out of 10 in comparison to other markets across the county. The average price per square foot is $499, which is higher than the Los Angeles average of $448. The current market temperature is “cool” which is ideal for the Buyer’s market. The average price of rent is $2,900, which is 33% higher than the national average.

When buying and selling real estate in Glassell Park, buyers and sellers should consult an experienced real estate agent who specializes in the area.

4 Ways To Wholesale Real Estate

Want to invest in real estate with no financial risk and no money or credit? Wholesaling houses is a popular choice. I personally think wholesaling can be a challenging way to get started, but the fact that you can get started in real estate investing without any barrier of entry makes wholesaling an attractive option. If you can get good at this side of the business, you will be success with anything you want to do. The reason I say that is finding deals is what makes a wholesaler successful. If you can get good at finding deals, you have unlimited potential.

Once you find a deal, you need to understand how to sell it to make your profit. Here are four ways you can structure your wholesale properties.

Contract Assignment: This is the easiest, but comes with some risks if not done correctly. It is also somewhat restrictive as bank owned properties will prevent this. This works well when you negotiate your deals directly with the seller. The way this works is you will get a house under contract and then you will assign your rights in the contract to another buyer for a fee. That new buyer will take on the rights and responsibilities in the contract and will close in your place. It is best to get your fee paid up front, but it is very common to get your fee when your buyer buys the house. Here are a few things to keep in mind when assigning contracts.

Be sure that you always disclose to your seller that you are or may assign the agreement to another buyer for a fee. I suggest you actually put this in the contract. Sellers should be OK with this if you are transparent that you are an investor who buys houses for a profit before you start to negotiate.

I would get money from your money that is at least enough to cover any earnest money you put up with your seller. That way if your buyer defaults on the agreement you at least cover your costs. Always try to get the entire fee paid when you assign the contract.

I like this way the best because it is easy to do on your end, it is easy for the buyer and the buyer’s lender, and it is the cheapest way to go.

Double Close: This just means that you actually buy the house and then resell it. There are several ways to do this, but the most common is to buy and sell in the same day or within a day. Typically, you will need to bring in financing to get your closing done with the seller, which is why this is my least preferred method to wholesale. Also, because you have two closings you will have two sets of closing costs, so it is the most expensive way too. With that said, some wholesalers prefer this method because they do not have to disclose to the seller their intent to resell and they can both keep their deal with the seller and their deal with their buyer private. It is believed by some that this is a good way to protect your profits. The information will all become public record at some point, but that is well after the closing.

This is the method you will use by default if you do not do your contract on the front end correctly, so we do see double closing frequently.

Flip the Entity: This has become the most common way to wholesale in my market. Most, if not all, the successful wholesalers will use this strategy. Especially when wholesaling foreclosures where contract assignments are forbidden.

The way this works is the wholesaler will set up a separate entity, like an LLC or a Trust, and put that entity as the buyer of the house to be wholesaled. They will then sell the entity itself for a fee. The benefit with using this strategy is that actual contract on the house does not change. Since the buyer of the house is the entity, there are no issues with any regulation or assignment restrictions. The downside is it could be more work because of the extra step to set up the entity, and there could be additional fees to register the entity with the state. The risk for the buyer is whenever you buy a company you are buying all of it. So, if the entity was used in another transaction and owes money to anyone, the new buyer could be on the hook. Knowing this, the best way to do this transaction is with a brand-new entity used for this one purpose.

Relationship Close: I don’t know if there is an actual name for this method. In fact, it is rarely seen. What I mean by relationship close is that you have such a strong relationship with a buyer that you write offers in the buyer’s name. For this to work, you should be a licensed agent and preview houses for your buyer. You would need to understand their criteria and only offer on houses they will want to buy. I have a client that works this way. He has an agent write his offers and the agent/wholesaler gets paid a commission with each successful closing. They do 2 to 3 deals a month with this strategy. My client just signs contracts without looking at them at this point and trusts what the wholesaler is putting together solid offers. There is always an inspection clause protecting the buyer and the agent, but more than 9 out of 10 houses that go under contract close. That is because the agent/wholesaler knows the business and knows what this buyer will buy.

I would stay away from this method, especially if you are just starting out. A lot can go wrong. I wanted to mention it because it is one of the 4 ways that I see people wholesale. If you are just getting started I would focus on contract assignments and then flipping the entity.

Strategies for Improved Efficacy of Construction Project Management Software

The ever-changing digital technology is gradually making life on earth easier and less hassle-free. Benefits of digitization encompass the construction industry as well. These days, a range of efficient construction project management software is readily available to make things easier for those, who are involved with the industry.

The assortment of software applications comes with many innovative features that help managing:

 All communication with your subcontractors and crew

  • Every electronic correspondence
  • Project schedules
  • Budget estimation
  • Timesheets
  • Site photos and much more

Extra spadework is required

However, if you’re planning to get such a helpful software tool to drive your projects to successful completion, here’s a word of caution! Just procuring construction project management software will not help you achieve your goal. After all, it’s not any magic wand that will do wonders. You need to do some extra spadework, like preparing a foolproof plan, regularly monitoring the work progress, facilitating personal interaction with both the stakeholders and team members. Moreover, it is important to take care of the cash flow to ensure your project(s) wind up on time. To put it in simple words, the more efficient you’re in handling your responsibilities in the construction industry, the more efficiency you can expect from the range of software tools.
The core competencies
Now, at this juncture you must be wondering if there’s any core competence of the modern software tools. As far as the building and construction industry is concerned, project management software applications help you in the following ways:

  • Accessing critical information right at your fingertips
  • Having everyone on the same plane, so that there’s no missed information or error
  • Alternative plans ready at hand to keep the workflow moving
  • Ensuring systematic progress of every project right from the word ‘go’
  • Facilitating communication with the peers, colleagues, stakeholders and team members even from remote locations

Considering all these benefits the range of software offers, it’s obvious that there’s hardly any necessity to rework on a module. Thus, project management software helps successful winding up of construction projects right within scheduled deadlines.

Just like any other commercial sphere, the construction industry too expects you to thread in the latest version of technology to achieve greater heights of success faster. However, you should have realistic expectations from technology to help your business grow bigger. Use the web to update your knowledge pool about the benefits these virtual resources offer. This will help you stay at-par with the best performers in the industry.