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Do you love looking at beautiful features of historic homes and thinking about how to incorporate the authentic, vintage pieces into your own humble abode? Or perhaps you bought a Craftsman or a Spanish Colonial Style home and you are looking to replicate these rustic (and oh-so-chic) details in your property. Even when you have a new construction home you can still find unique elements that turn a cookie cutter house into a dream home.

But where do you find these unique elements? These vintage, antique and one-of-a-kind items?

You’ll need to to turn to architectural salvage yards to find authentic elements that turn your home into a unique masterpiece. Fortunately for us, there are a number of architectural salvage outlets in Los Angeles for scoring the perfect find! Some examples of architectural salvage yards for hunting down decor gems are:

Olde Good Things
Prop stylists and set decorators have been frequenting this Los Angeles gem for ages. Boasting a warehouse of over 100,000 square feet, there’s a good possibility that Olde Good Things will have what you are looking for. While well known for its vast architectural library of amazingly restored and rescued pieces, you can’t miss its unique mix of up-cycled furniture and quirky objects d’art.

Gayle’s Architectural Salvage
Located in Pasadena, Gayle’s has an extensive inventory of architectural salvage antiques including mantels, lighting, iron work, plumbing accessories, builders hardware, and furniture representing the Arts & Crafts, Spanish Revival, Art Nouveau,Victorian and Mid Century Modern periods. However, they are best known for their extensive stained glass window collection. Insider’s tip – be sure to ask if they have anything in storage!

Big Daddy’s Antiques
With two California locations (Los Angeles & San Francisco) Big Daddy’s is routinely on the tip of everyone’s lips as a must-stop recommendation if you are looking for unique architectural and salvage finds. A mix of one-of-a-kind antiques and reproductions from European, Asian, and North American markets.

Rose Bowl Flea Market
The Rose Bowl Flea Market has been the most well-attended flea market in the entire country. For over 50 years, the market has been known for its uniqueness, quality of vendors, and great shoppers of all ages. The Rose Bowl flea market is considered an outdoor mega event and it is held the second Sunday of each month.

If you are interested in selling or buying a historic home and thinking about incorporating authentic, vintage pieces into your property. We, at Aspire Los Angeles, would like to assist you on this matter. Please don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to connecting you with the right agent on our team.

So you are planning on moving to the city of Angels? The center of the film industry, fame & fortune but also miles and miles of beaches, nature, city parks, a wide array of amazing architecture and the best weather! 

With a population close to 4 million, Los Angeles is one of the best places to live in the state of California. People from all over the world are moving to Los Angeles with its pristine natural landscape, amazing weather, never ending opportunities, and an abundance of things to do. 

Are you in for a smooth transition? Here are some tips you’d like to consider before relocating to LA and diving into the California way of life.

Neighborhoods are really a big deal
The best neighborhoods in Los Angeles are among the most desirable in Southern California. Beach-side beauty, soaring skyscrapers, and picket-fence suburban living, we’ve got it all! Here are some examples. Culver city is located really central, has a great local town feel and shopping areas, as well as parks and schools.  Los Feliz, located almost in the middle of the city, has easy access to Griffith Park and all its hikes and trails, as well as Vermont and Hillhurst, the local streets full of restaurants and shops. Downtown LA, where architecture meets walkability. Art deco high-rises to modern skyscrapers, nightlife. Downtown LA really has it all. Our favorite neighborhoods, Jefferson Park & West Adams  with its gorgeous historic homes. A mix of Edwardian and Art Deco homes but the most prominent style to be found are Craftsman-style bungalows. Also centrally located and with a great community feeling. 

Traffic is our way of life
No matter what neighborhood you choose to live in, traffic becomes part of your daily planning and routine. Before buying a home or looking for an apartment, make sure to factor in commuting time. It might be worth the extra money to live closer to work and essential amenities. 

Nature abounds
Unlike many other metropolitan areas, nature is all around in LA. Whether you love hiking through the mountains, skiing at Snow Summit,  or enjoying the wonders of the ocean, there is something for you to do in the city. 

The weather is truly amazing
One of the many reasons why people want to move to Los Angeles is for the weather alone. As part of the beloved California Mediterranean climate, residents enjoy mild to hot and dry weather all year round with virtually no humidity. 

If you are planning on moving to Los Angeles. We, at Aspire Los Angeles, would like to assist you on your journey.  We are passionate about our city. We look forward to connecting you with the right agent on our team.

Buying a home is one of life’s sweet milestones. Whether you got tired of your one bedroom apartment, or you just got married and decided it is time to settle down, the home buying process can be exciting and stressful at the same time.

Though shopping for homes is definitely fun, buyers have to navigate through many complexities they’ve never faced before. Luckily, we’ve done this before! 

Here are some of the things to keep in mind when buying a home. 

Location, location, location
One thing you can not change about your home is the location. Therefore the most important things to keep in mind when house hunting are: location, location, location.


Your home should have a monthly mortgage payment you’re comfortable with. Thus, choose a home within your price range. That’s why, for most buyers, the home’s price tag is a make-or-break consideration.

In today’s marketing you should be prepared to negotiate. Because In a highly competitive market bidding wars are common. But don’t break the bank on what you can ultimately afford.

Home style and size

You want to be content with the layout and square footage of the home you choose. Remember that your needs may change as your household grows,  and if or when family members are added, so carefully consider short- and long-term size needs as well as the practicality of the floor plan. Also, be well-informed about future expansion or restrictions on your home. Such as zoning, and local ordinances. In addition, districts subject to Mello-Roos, or located in a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) need to be taken in consideration as well. 

Home amenities
Amenities inside and around the home matter a lot. From the type of flooring and quality of kitchen appliances to the lighting fixtures, bathroom finishes, and backyard features.

Try to focus on expensive features that would be harder for you to add on your own after purchasing. Amenities that can be easily changed or replaced, on the other hand, shouldn’t be the main driver behind your home purchase.

Quality of nearby schools

If starting or growing a family is in your near-term plans, then you’ll want to pay attention to the local school district where you’re purchasing. Even if you currently don’t have kids, it’s a good idea to investigate the schools and see how they compare to schools in neighboring towns.

Taxes and cost of living

Your location can also make a big impact on what you’ll pay in taxes and other living expenses. Investigate what you’ll likely pay in: sales taxes at local stores, property taxes, homeowners insurance, automobile insurance, and utility bills.  All these added costs will increase your monthly housing bill and your overall cost of living. So take some time to compare expenses if you’re considering homes in multiple locations.

Every neighborhood has its unique qualities that you want to be aware of before you buy. When you work with a skilled real estate agency like Aspire Los Angeles, you’ll be well-informed about the different areas in Los Angeles. We look forward to assisting you on your home buyer’s journey.

In this video, I share 5 things I think buyers should know when starting their purchasing process in Downtown LA.

For more information on Downtown LA neighborhoods:…

For more information on the Mills Act:…

Watch the complete overview on the home buying process:

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With a fixer upper, you are presented with the opportunity to make the home more valuable. Many times, you will find this kind of home at approximately 8 percent below market value. You will be paying less in taxes as well because the taxes are calculated based on your home’s sale price. So, how do you even go about finding your ideal fixer upper? Read on below for more information.

The Perfect Choice

It is often said that the perfect fixer upper is one that everyone will want to own in the future, but no one wants it right now. The location is going to play a key role in your selection. Make sure the home is in a desirable location or an up and coming neighborhood.

The layout of the home should also flow and have a good configuration to start with; otherwise, you may find yourself spending even more money to move and take down walls.

Choosing a Mortgage

When you choose this kind of home, there are different mortgage loans to consider because of the condition of the home. Renovation loans, for example, allow you to finance the home while also making improvements at the same time.

The improvements you make can then be paid off over a longer time and typically at a lower interest rate than with other types of financing.

Another type of loan is a construction loan. It is a more short-term option and often comes with a higher interest rate, but it provides the owners with the funds they need to build and renovate the property.

Before you can consider this type of loan, however, you need to find a qualified builder, have your minimum 20 percent down payment, and have the value of the property in its current condition appraised.

Less Competition

Since more and more buyers are looking to purchase newer and updated homes, you will find little competition when it comes to the fixer uppers that are available. However, instead of competing with other buyers, you are often competing with builders and investors which can drive the price up.

Final Thoughts

When choosing a fixer upper, make sure you understand your needs and make sure the home is what you are looking for. Depending on the renovations that need to be done, it can be a time-consuming project.

Finally, keep in mind that the property taxes will go up following the renovations because of its new value. If you remember all this info and you know where to draw the line, and you can envision the home’s potential, then you are ready to start your journey towards finding the perfect fixer upper.

The numbers and forecasts don’t lie. 2018 is going to be another challenging year for first time homebuyers. Los Angeles has an inventory shortage and as long as we have this shortage we will have bidding wars.   Homes that do hit the market sell fast and home values will continue to rise, but, here’s the good news, they will rise at a slower pace.

What you need to navigate these competitive waters is a good agent, but how do you go about finding a great real estate agent?

Here’s what you should be looking for when selecting a real estate agent:

  1. Track record; do they have a proven track record in your search area? While starting agents can be a great match, in certain highly competitive areas it will help you to have an experienced realtor on your side. Ask for their track record and references;
  2. Keeping you informed; ask your prospective agent how and how frequently they intend to inform you of their home searches and if they are tech savvy enough to do a complete search of all the inventory on the market;
  3. Referrals; one of the best ways of finding a great agent is by asking your network, if you have any friends or family or co-workers that have recently purchased a home ask them who they used and if they were a good fit;
  4. Specialization; some agents work solely with buyers, if this has your preference, be sure to ask your prospective agent if this is how they work;
  5. Markets; ask your agent if they work in the areas you are interested in. Getting a great agent referred to you is super helpful, but only if they have experience in your area of interest. Often local agents have access to off market listings or know about properties coming to market before anyone else.

As with any good relationship, expectations matter. Get clear on what you expect from your agent and communicate your needs right from the start.  Once expectations are clear, the right agent will be able to tell you which expectations are realistic and which ones are not.

Our agents are led by experienced broker and CEO Letty Vermeulen who created a boutique agency with Aspire Los Angeles and stands for the values that you’d expect from a boutique agency setting. Aspire is comprised of a team of professionals. You can expect personalized attention, an eye for detail and a highly motivated team.

When home buyers with young children come to us, inevitably the subject of “schools and neighborhoods” becomes the hot topic that drives their decision where to purchase a home. Searching for a house in a good school district in Los Angeles becomes a major focus point.

Between Los Angeles Unified (LAUSD) neighborhood schools, magnets, charters, language immersions, gifted, and other public school options, as well as private and religious school choices, it can become a daunting task sifting through all the school options.

If it’s your first time at this particular rodeo, it can feel quite overwhelming and you will likely need some guidance on how to navigate the school process.

From choosing your area to targeting several schools to actually applying and getting into your desired schools, there are several factors and steps to consider. While many neighborhoods have wonderful public schools, some neighborhoods are still struggling with their local schools.

In some cases parents find another school program that best suits their needs, but this brings with it uncertainty, eligibility, and paperwork. It’s important to check with your desired schools’ websites for their specific application guidelines, tours, and deadlines.

For instance, magnet programs are applied for through the website, and must be submitted between October and early November before the fall of enrollment. Charter schools each have their own unique deadlines, but typically it’s around February before the fall of enrollment. For private and other school admissions, it will depend on that particular school’s application process, but is likely even earlier.

Knowing your priorities before you start looking for a home can make a big difference. We have helped many families purchase homes in areas that have great public schools, as well as guided them in the right direction to private, charter, or magnet schools!

If you want to get savvy about LAUSD public schools (including charters and magnets), we have a great resource for you! Tanya Anton of has put together a super handy Guide, “The GoMamaGuide to LAUSD” that’s helped thousands of LA families understand their options and make the right public school choice for them. We offer 10% off her book if you use this special Aspire link.

As always, reach out to a team member if you are an unrepresented buyer looking to purchase a home in Los Angeles.

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