Lofts in Los Angeles

3 Jan 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

When thinking about Lofts in LA most people think about Downtown. Yes, Downtown has the largest concentration of LOFTS in LA and the buildings are bigger and with more units, but more and more areas are popping up with LOFTS everyday.

You can also find LOFTS in Venice, Santa Monica, Marina del Rey, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Long Beach, Pasadena and more.

Whatever your price range is, Los Angeles is a great place to find LOFTS. Most of the buildings can be found on this website.

Happy Hunting.

Other Agents claims

3 Jan 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Other Agents claims

I have been noticing lately that a loft of agents are making false claims. They place ads on publications and make false statements on their websites. Since this kind of advertising is not really regulated these statements are often unsubstantiated and mislead the public.

I think agents that do a good job and have a good track record should be rewarded and recognized and the ones that don’t should earn by putting the time and being honest. 

Recently I stumbled on a site that can help you recognize and maybe filter the good, the bad and the ugly. The site is called Neighbor City. Besides allowing buyers to look for properties, it also allows buyers and sellers to see agent ratings. They grade the agents based on MLS data and offer several ways to track the agents performance.

I am sure the sytem is not perfect and might make some mistakes, but it gives an idea of who the agents are besides what they are telling you.

So next time you want to hire an agent, maybe you want to go here and see how she/he rates:

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this site in anyway.

This is my rating:






Mortgage rates hit another record low

3 Jan 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Mortgage rates hit another record low

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Mortgage rates dropped again this week, sending both 15-year and 30-year fixed-rate loans to record lows.

According to mortgage giant Freddie Mac, the average rate on the 30-year fell to 3.34%, 0.06 percentage point lower than last week. The 15 year fell 0.04 percentage point to 2.65%

The new lows reflect increased demand for government bonds, according to Keith Gumbinger, of, a mortgage information company.

“It’s a flight to quality,” he said. “You may have noticed that stocks sold off last week after the election.”

When investors turn away from stocks, they often park their cash in Treasurys, and the added demand brings down bond yields. Mortgage rates tend to track those yields down.

A secondary factor, said Gumbinger, was a drop in demand for loans, some of which was related to Superstorm Sandy, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

Related: Most affordable cities for homebuying

“[The storm] had a significant impact on application volumes on the East Coast,” said Mike Fratantoni, MBA’s Vice President of Research and Economics. “Applications fell more than 60% compared to the prior week in New Jersey, almost 50% in New York and nearly 40% in Connecticut.”

Record low rates have made mortgage borrowing cheaper than even just a year ago, when rates were thought to be extremely favorable. At the time, 30-year loans had rates of about 4%.

A homebuyer today would save about $27 a month for every $100,000 borrowed, compared with last November. That’s a savings of $486 a year on a typical mortgage balance of $150,000. 

Squatter refuses to leave Little Tokyo LOFT for 3 years

3 Jan 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Squatter refuses to leave Little Tokyo LOFT for 3 years

LITTLE TOKYO, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — What would you do if you left your home only to return to find a stranger moved in, changed the locks and won’t leave?

In 2007, Jeff Cote bought a condo in the Little Tokyo Lofts in downtown Los Angeles, Two years later, he lost his job and could no longer make the payments on his loft. Thinking it would go into foreclosure, he packed up and moved out. Cote left it locked and empty.

But a few months ago, Cote found out his loft, which did not go into foreclosure, is not empty. A stranger is living in his home and has been for three years.

“Memorial Day weekend, I found out a squatter was living in my loft,” Cote said.

Cote said the alleged squatter is Johnathan Glover, who Cote said changed the locks, painted a wall and won’t leave.

Court records obtained by Eyewitness News indicate Glover was evicted from his last two residences. One of those residences is the loft right next door to Cote’s.

“He was evicted from 311 and he moved right into my loft, which is 312,” Cote said.

When Cote found out about Glover, he asked him to leave. Glover said he would and even signed an agreement to move out in August. Cote thought the matter was closed and listed his loft as a short sale. That was several months ago. Since then, the squatter has refused to leave, Cote said.

Cote filed a police report claiming Glover is a trespasser, but was told there was no evidence a crime had been committed, so there was nothing law enforcement could do.

Dennis Block, an attorney who specializes in evictions, said by law the rightful owner cannot remove a squatter by force. In most cases, the homeowner has to file a civil action in court, prove it’s their property and evict the squatter. That process can take months or even more than a year.

“I think they’re tantamount to being thieves, it’s as simple as that,” Block said. “Somehow the law doesn’t look at them like that, they deem this to be a civil dispute and make a landlord file a civil lawsuit. But it’s clean and simple, they’re stealing.”

Adding to Cote’s problems, no one has been paying the homeowner association dues on his loft and he recently received a bill from the association. The bill is nearly $36,000.

Grant Beuchel is an attorney and a licensed locksmith who happens to live in the loft next door to Cote’s, the very same one Glover had been evicted from. Beuchel claims he doesn’t work for Glover.

“I am an attorney, but I’m not his attorney,” Beuchel said.

However, Eyewitness News obtained a fax with Beuchel’s letterhead stating his office is representing Glover in an attempt to buy Cote’s loft in a short sale.

I went to the Tokyo Lofts to interview Glover. I called him on his cellphone and he admitted he still lives in the loft. He had only this to say on the record about Cote:

“He bought a bunch of properties he couldn’t afford and I’ve been made to be the villain” Glover said. “He’s basically blaming me, so I’m going to remove myself from the situation. That’s basically the only statement that I have.”

Glover denies he is a squatter because he claims he makes monthly rent payments of $2,150 to another landlord.

When asked for some proof of the payments, Glover said he always pays with cash or a money order, not checks. He also said the rent was last paid in June.

A copy of Glover’s rental agreement was given to us by Beuchel. The agreement states the payments are to be made to a Thomas Marx with Countrywide Property Management in Citrus Heights near Sacramento. But when Eyewitness News tried to contact Marx, his cellphone number didn’t work and his email came back unanswered.

If you have a vacant property, a second home, or plan on taking a lengthy vacation then here are some suggestions for preventing squatting:

– Make sure the property is securely locked.
– Give the appearance of a resident. One way to do this is to put lights on using a timer switch.
– If a property is going to be vacant for a period of time, let your neighbors know.
– Put up “no trespassing” signs.
– Visit the property regularly and look for broken windows or forced locks.

“The squatter claims he is going to be out about mid month,” Coter said. “He told me that via text, although he has told me a lot of lies.”

Over this past weekend, an Eyewitness News producer spotted Glover outside the loft and asked who he was. He denied he was Glover, but later confessed to his identity. Eyewitness News followed him into the loft. He said he was in the process of moving out after three years of living there.

This week, Cote finally got his loft back and his first task was to get the locks changed.

Here is a link to the video: VIDEO


New Boutique Hotel in Downtown LA

3 Jan 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Developers aim to turn a condemned apartment building on Hope Street in L.A. into a luxury tower with a roof-top pool and landscaped courtyard and roof.

By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times

12:07 AM PST, November 5, 2012

The developers of a proposed $31-million hotel near Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles are ready to seek city approval to construct an indoor-outdoor complex in the brick shell of a condemned apartment building.

Plans call for gutting the empty three-story building at 1130 S. Hope St. that was erected more than a century ago and is no longer structurally sound. The developers would build inside the perimeter of the old exterior walls, creating a landscaped open-air courtyard leading to a new tower with 44 guest rooms.

A separate glassed-in structure for an artist in residence would also be built on the Hope Street side. On top of the ninth floor of the tower would be a swimming pool — and three suites that would hover on pillars above the pool. Like the courtyard, the roof would be landscaped with trees and plants.

“It’s about creating a park-like atmosphere that is communal,” said Sam Marshall, who is designing the yet-unnamed hotel. Marshall is part of a development partnership, led by former Manhattan Beach insurance salesman Kevin Burke, that bought the property last year for $2.1 million.

The partners, who are untested at hotel development, want to build a unique inn with a creative sensibility where they would enjoy hanging out with worldly guests. Their goal is to create an unpretentious but upscale space where serendipitous interaction can take place among visitors, Marshall said.

“Luxury is a place you can feel comfortable,” he said.

The developers plan to submit their proposal to the city Planning Department this week and hope to start preparatory work on the project site early next year.

Hotel business is growing in the South Park neighborhood of downtown where Staples Center, L.A. Live and the city’s convention center lie. A $172-million hotel complex is under construction on Olympic Boulevard that will house a Courtyard by Marriott and a Residence Inn by Marriott by summer 2014.

On Friday, Los Angeles city officials said they were seeking proposals from developers to build a four-star hotel on city-owned parcels at South Figueroa Street and West Pico Boulevard.


Rent x Buy

3 Jan 2013 · by ChrisSampaio

Rent x Buy

For renters, buying a home pays off after three years on average

Real estate website Zillow says the ‘break-even horizon’ for potential home buyers varies widely depending on location.

August 02, 2012|By Alejandro Lazo, Los Angeles Times

Real estate website Zillow has a provocative data point for every renter thinking about buying these days: That move pays off after just three years on average nationwide.

The company, which lists for-sale and for-rent information on its site, has released a new analysis of what it calls the “break-even horizon,” comparing what it would cost to buy or rent the same home in a number of U.S. markets over time.

The rent-or-buy calculus varies widely depending on where you live.

In the combined Los Angeles and Orange counties, the magic number is 4.3 years, assuming the buyer has made a 20% down payment. Buying wins out after only 1.6 year in the desert community of Banning. But Newport Beach residents must wait 14 years for buying to make more financial sense than renting.

The analysis takes into account a host of factors potential buyers should think about when considering the leap, including the down payment, mortgage and rental payments, buying and selling costs, property taxes, utilities, maintenance costs and tax deductions. The analysis adjusts for inflation and forecasts home value and rental price appreciation.

Zillow senior economist Svenja Gudell said the data should help homeowners get a rough and immediate sense of whether buying makes sense in a particular area in relation to their financial situation.

“For a home buyer out there, it is really tough to get a good grip on the buy-versus-rent decision,” Gudell said. Although buying a home is a deeply personal decision, she said, the analysis gives consumers “a sense for ‘Am I ready to make this decision?'”

The new take on the classic rent-versus-buy debate comes at a tenuous moment for the housing market. Many analysts believe that a housing bottom has been reached but don’t expect a return to the heady days of the real estate bubble. There is already some concern about the strength of the recovery, with home sales slowing in June as inventory remained tight and buyers paid higher prices.

At the same time, rents are rising, housing affordability is at record levels, and mortgage interest rates remain very low. These factors are prompting many renters to consider homeownership.

Stuart Gabriel, director of UCLA’s Ziman Center for Real Estate, noted that the main lesson from the subprime mortgage debacle and the housing bust was that homeownership shouldn’t be pushed at all costs. Federal policy has been adjusted to support this new point of view.

“One of the things we have learned in recent years is, obviously, house prices don’t always go up, and even over the very long term in certain markets homeownership may only offer a minimal return,” Gabriel said.

“What we have all learned is to treat homeownership as a bit of a dangerous animal. You know it’s not always good, and it’s not good for everyone.”

Things to consider when buying, particularly in an slowly appreciating market, include how mobile will you be, your financial situation, marital status, career goals and personality, Gabriel said.

Richard Green, director of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, added that in many regions buying has become increasingly attractive compared with renting. There are also non-financial reasons for buying.

“I can enjoy living in this house for the rest of my life, and nobody can throw me out of it,” he said. “You are consuming something, and you have control over it, and control has some value.”

Zillow’s analysis, which covered more than 200 metropolitan areas and 7,500 U.S. cities, found that buying is a better financial decision than renting in the Riverside-San Bernardino area if you live in the home for at least two years. That rises to 3.2 years in the area including Oxnard, Thousand Oaks and Ventura.

The San Francisco metropolitan area’s break-even score of 5.9 years encompasses a range from two years to 24.3 years.