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When you’re looking to buy a home, there are plenty of choices available. One of them is a condominium (commonly known as a condo). It’s a multi-unit property that is divided and sold into individual units. These units are owned privately. The common areas in the building are owned collectively by all of the condominium’s owners. 

Compared with a single-family dwelling, ownership in a condominium includes partial ownership in shared “common property.”  Here are a few things you need to keep in mind when buying a condo. 

HOA fees and rules
Every condo building has a homeowner’s association (HOA), which is a collective group in charge of community and property oversight. If you purchase a property in the community, it will be subject to the HOA regulations and you must pay owner member fees. 

These fees typically help cover building costs, such as the upkeep of shared structures, common areas, and exteriors. Some also include utilities or insurance. When you’re shopping for a condominium, make sure you keep in mind the building’s monthly HOA fees goes on top of your estimated monthly mortgage payment. 

Finally, review the property guidelines and make sure you don’t object to any of the rules (like restrictions on renovations or  limitations on dog breeds) before you commit. 

Amenities
Some condos include amenities in their listing prices. Ask about amenities upfront so you get a clear grasp of everything you’re paying for when you buy the home.  Amenities could be storage units, parking spaces, a private gym or pool. Sometimes utilities and earthquake insurance are included as well . You need to add these costs to your monthly budget.

Investment risk
You and your neighbors own the common property together. If one or many owners fail to pay their dues, the entire community suffers financially. Likewise, if one or more of your fellow condo owners go into foreclosure, the units could change hands at a serious discount, affecting everyone’s property values.  Keep in mind, some associations have rules and the funds to buy back these units. Be sure to ask how this situation is handled.

Owner occupancy versus rental ratio
When it comes to financing, it’s important to know the owner occupancy versus rentals in the building. It will be more difficult to get a loan approved if there are more tenants versus owners in the building. Some complexes can have many renters moving in and out. 

Hire a real estate agent
Working with a real estate agent  who has the experience with the type of housing you want is crucial. We at Aspire Los Angeles have assisted our clients with various condos and their specific regulations. We have a deeper understanding of how to assess property value, explain mortgage terms, and outline community regulations. All of which can benefit you during your shopping process.

When you’re a first time home buyer and you imagine your dream home, you probably picture a detached, single family house. A property that has only one residential unit.  But that’s far from the only option available to first-time home buyers in today’s housing market.  Another option is a multi-family home, which is increasingly popular nowadays.

What is a multi-family property?
A multi-family property is any property that has more than one unit. The smallest multi-family property has more than one unit and are called duplexes. The next step up are triplexes and fourplexes, having three and four units each, respectively. These multi-family units enable you to live in one unit and rent out the other(s) to offset your mortgage costs.

If you are a first time home buyer and weighing the options of a single family home versus multi family homes. Here are 4 reasons why you should consider a multi-family home as your first real estate purchase. 

Lower Down Payment
One of the great benefits of buying a two to four unit multi-family home is that you can get a conventional primary residence mortgage with as little as 5% down.  You could also qualify for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and purchase a property with 3.5% down. If you’re a veteran or active-duty military, you may be able to get a home with 0%-down with a Veterans Affair loan. 

Primary Residence Financing
It’s usually much cheaper to finance a primary home. If you’d like to take advantage of primary residence financing. You’ll get a lower interest rate and lower fees than you’d get for an investment property loan. If you’d like to qualify for primary residence financing, The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the parent of FHA, requires buyers of multi-family homes to occupy one of the units as your primary residence. 

Lower Housing Payments
Another benefit of a multi-family home and therefore collecting rental income, is that it makes your housing payment lower or even erases it altogether. For example, if you buy a fourplex with a mortgage payment of $3000 per month and you collect $2500 in monthly rent from the other two units, your out-of-pocket housing payment drops to $500. Alternatively, you can use the rent money you collect to pay down your mortgage even faster.

Build equity faster
Buying a multifamily home instead of a single-family residence also lets you build equity faster — and by using your monthly rental income. For example, if you can spend $400,000 buying a triplex or $200,000 buying a single-family home, making your monthly mortgage payments on the triplex will build equity twice as fast.

Thus, there are many advantages to owning multi-family real estate. These include access to better financing opportunities, lower housing payments (due to rental income), and the ability to quickly grow one’s investment portfolio.

We at Aspire Los Angeles, would love to assist you in finding a sustainable multi-family unit which you can add to your investment dossier.

Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest investments of your life. When you are ready to enter the market, finding a real estate agent with the experience to guide you through the process is key.

Due to the abundance of real estate agents, finding the right candidate can feel overwhelming. With a long term asset like a home, you want to make sure you hire the perfect professional. But, how do you find the right real estate agent who fully understands your needs? 

Here are some of the attributes our past clients appreciated from our agents.  Perhaps these insights will help you to decide if Aspire Los Angeles is the suitable firm for you.

Referrals 

There’s no bigger compliment for us than a referral from our past clients. Through the years we’ve built and maintained a loyal client base. The testimonials from our clients can assist you in making a decision on whether Aspire Los Angeles is a good fit for you. Take a look at our testimonials to see if we are a match. 

Track Record And Inventory

Our agents have over 16 years of experience and training in the real estate business. With our significant track record of serving clients, Aspire Los Angeles has built up a quality inventory. Our agents are specialized in the areas: Jefferson Park, West Adams, Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Downtown LA, but also West LA, and the outskirts of Pasadena. We’ve helped our customers find or sell craftsman homes,  luxurious condos, contemporary mansions, mid century gems, and mediterranean villas.

According to our clients we provide the personal approach of a boutique firm, backed up with the bandwidth and strength of a real estate mogul. 

Passion, Conviction And Honesty

We at Aspire have the passion, conviction, and honesty to assist you with your real estate matters. Our agents will do whatever it takes to get your home to sell faster and for the best price. Our team will go the extra mile to find you the house, you can call your home. We are passionate about our service and celebrate diversity and inclusivity among our team, our clients, and our local community. 

Adequate Support

When you sign up with one of our agents, you have immediate access to all the resources of our team members. Thus, you will always have direct access to your assigned agent and our efficient team will serve your needs as well. Though the logistics of buying and selling a home can be complicated, our support staff will go out of their way to make it a smooth ride. 

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

The neighborhoods West Adams and Jefferson Park are known for its historical beauty, central location, the expansion of the subway system, and its reasonably priced homes. 

This family friendly community is welcoming, generous, and caring of each other. The houses are charming block after block, there are mature trees everywhere, and plenty of parking. In addition, the rows of skinny towering palm trees are postcard perfect.

With the rise of economic change, came the rise of local cuisine businesses with a renewed focus on the historical district and its development. Let’s take a stroll down some of these community businesses that have been around for quite a while.

Harold & Belle’s 
One of the best Creole restaurants in Los Angeles. Harold and Belle’s Restaurant opened in 1969. Founders Harold & Belle’s dreamed of having a place where people would gather and socialize while enjoying delicious creole cuisine. The restaurant is now owned and operated by 3rd generation husband and wife Ryan and Jessica Legaux. The family expanded the restaurant from 12 dining tables to 35+, tripling the size of the kitchen and expanded the brand as a whole.
2920 W Jefferson Blvd, haroldandbelles.com

Earle’s on Crenshaw 
The Earle family has evolved from a hotdog stand in Venice Beach into a thriving restaurant within the heart of the Crenshaw district. The Earle brothers have established themselves as a fixture in the Crenshaw community with a following that extends beyond the greater Los Angeles area. While the business has grown, their commitment to the empowerment of Black and Brown people, and dedication to quality food and superior service, has remained constant for over 36 years. 
3864 Crenshaw Boulevard, earlesrestaurant.com

Mel’s Fish
Located in the heart of the Crenshaw district, Mel’s Fish serves up traditional Louisiana favorites. Meals like red snapper, shrimp, po-boy sandwiches with their private cornmeal batter along with their secret blended seasoning that always keep their customers coming back for more. Mel’s Fish is currently being run by Georgette Powell who took over after her father passed.
4524 W Jefferson Blvd, melsfishshack.com

West Adams and Jefferson park continue to grow in value. The property value of this quaint neighborhood of bungalows, cottages, and craftsman homes – just south of the 10 freeway – has doubled in 10 years, and homes are now listed around $1 million-plus.

Our office is located in Jefferson Park and we are proud to be an active community member. If you are interested in buying a property in this historical district, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to show you around in our neighborhood.

You are ready to sell your home as soon as possible and you realize you’ve lived with your home quirks for years. That jiggly bedroom door handle, the electrical outlet in the kitchen that hasn’t worked in a decade. The red carpet in the guest room that’s more dated than dramatic. 

Selling your home is quite a task, and you have to deal with the imperfections of your home. But what are mandatory updates? How do you get your house ready to sell? Which repairs should you make to add more value, and to get your house to sell faster? We recommend getting a full home inspection, which will give you all the insights you need into your home’s condition.  

The home inspection report will shed light on what improvements you might wish to make prior to the sale. We can help you prioritize these improvements to help you set the right price for your home.  Let’s take a look at some recommended updates before selling a house. 

Electricity Issues
Dated electrical issues need to be fixed immediately. You can’t have missing wire nuts, frayed wiring, or faulty light switches when selling your house.

Plumbing
Plumbing problems can cause water damage and lead to mold and dry rot. It’s not an option to leave plumbing problems unfixed. Even simple replacements of a leaky faucet, or a washer or toilet wax ring should be on your to-do list.

Heating, ventilation, and AC issues
Fortunately if your system isn’t running properly, it doesn’t mean you have to invest in an entire new system. Hiring a certified technician to repair it, can do the job. Do keep in mind that any system at the end of its lifespan can bring down the appraised value of your house. Especially if other houses in the neighborhood have newer units. 

Roof problems
Aging roof tops decrease your property value and cause all sorts of water damage and ventilation problems, which leads to paint blistering and mold. Not to forget high energy bills. It’s worth the investment to install a new roof before you sell your home. Though the average cost to replace a roof is $12,000 you will recoup that cost at resale. 

Foundation Flaws
A severely damaged foundation threatens the integrity of your home. Selling a home becomes difficult, when the foundation is flawed. Unless you are willing to negotiate on a lower asking price, you will benefit from restoring the foundation of the house you are selling. 

Lack of modern safety features
Every state requires in-home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure you know your state and local laws. Inspectors or appraisers will look for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 

Aesthetic pleasing updates
You can benefit from aesthetic pleasing updates when selling your home. They aren’t mandatory by state and local law like an in-home smoke detector, but aesthetic pleasing updates can help to sell your house faster.  

A new coat of paint will do wonders to freshen up your home, both inside and out. Leaving busy wallpaper, your daughter’s purple bedroom, the quirky turquoise bathroom, can turn off potential buyers. If you can, repaint your house in neutral colors.

If your kitchen, bathroom, or living room look dated, you may benefit from some minor work prior to putting your house on the market. Cabinet or door hardware, new countertops can have a big impact on your final sales price.

Luckily you don’t have to do this alone. Start by asking a top local real estate agent for help. We at Aspire Los Angeles are excited to help you decide on the necessary updates and to present your valuable home on the market.

When looking for fixer uppers, you want to focus your search on those up and coming neighborhoods that are filled to the brim with potential while still having affordable options to choose from. We know thats not an easy thing to do in Los Angeles. Let’s take a look at some strategies you can apply to your search.

Older Neighborhoods

When looking for a fixer upper in Los Angeles, it is always a good idea to start off in the older neighborhoods. The homes were built in the early 1900s and were built solid and dependable, so you have good bones to work with.

South LA

With developments such as the Crenshaw line and Whole Foods coming to the neighborhood, South LA is hot right now. As we live in work in this neighborhood we know everything there is to know about where to find a great, affordable fixer upper and we  are happy to share with you how to create a beautiful modern vignette in these historic homes without losing the bones and charm of the property.

East LA

We are talking east of the LA river here, neighborhood such as Highland Park, Elysian Valley and even Echo Park still possess many diamonds in the rough.Highland Park is considered a historic neighborhood and was one of the first subdivisions of Los Angeles, and is inhabited by a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic groups. El Sereno

Mid City

With the The Crenshaw/LAX Line from north-south serving this Mid City, this is a good neighborhood to put on your list when you are looking for a fixer. The area is highly diverse in both people as well as amenities, including the nearby world class museum LACMA.

Sherman Oaks

Another location to check out is Sherman Oaks. It is located near the 101 and 405 freeways which give you quick access to Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. This area is a quiet community with tree-lined sidewalks and its fair share of mom and pop shops further adding to its charm. This area has several fixer uppers still available, but with the rising popularity and demand for this appealing neighborhood, people are reluctant to sell their homes.

Valley Glen

This is the neighborhood that is home to the infamous 2,700-foot mural called, “The Great Wall of Los Angeles.” Homes here are still affordable despite the many more upscale communities beginning to surround the area.Right now, there are still plenty of fixers to choose from. We consider this  an up and coming neighborhood in LA. Everything is being renovated, updated, and sold off quickly.

Affordable Options

In short, if you are on the hunt for a historic single-family home or something much trendier, you definitely want to check out these LA areas as soon as possible.

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.

Much like most real estate markets around the country the Los Angeles market is affected by lack of supply, affordability issues and fluctuating interest rates.

Our CEO and broker, Letty Vermeulen notes that for South LA’s Jefferson Park and West Adams neighborhoods she can definitely see a slowdown. Partly due to the past winter months which are always slower and partly due to a city wide slowdown.

However, the Jefferson Park and West Adams area are still in a strong position due to the central location and the area is quickly becoming a public transportation hub, making it a very competitive market for first time home buyers and experienced buyers alike. We are also noticing many new apartment buildings in development, often combined with new retail and restaurants.

If you’d like to learn more about the Jefferson Park/West Adams area, or general Los Angeles real estate market, please contact us!

California has spent the last several years as the most prosperous state in the country. In fact,  California has the 6th largest economy in the entire world. This is largely driven by its innovative production, the heavy tech sectors in the state, and more.

But what about the housing market?

Throughout 2018, California had a robust housing market that was driven by smaller inventory numbers and higher demands. This, in turn led to increased prices throughout the state. However, prices have fallen in major metro areas including Orange County, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. For those investing in Los Angeles real estate, the market is better than ever.

2019 is set to be no different. Prices may still increase in certain areas throughout LA, but the Los Angeles real estate market is looking promising for buyers. Interest rates are rising, which leads to lower or stabilized prices in certain areas. And in areas where prices are expected to rise, it’s likely that those increases will still be lower than in other parts of the country.

In the past and in other areas in California, home prices spiked tremendously – increasing by as much as 23% in Santa Clara and 14% in the Bay Area. But Los Angeles says its prices remain the same over a monthly period, and home sales increased by 2.3%.

All of this means that while sellers will still be able to list their properties in an area that is likely to see strong sales numbers, buyers will also be able to shop in a market that offers competitive pricing and excellent rates. Talking to a local Los Angeles real estate expert is one of the best ways to find the best homes at the best price. The right realtor can help you find a home that matches your budget and ensure that you aren’t paying too much for a home in certain areas.

If you’re considering buying a home in the greater Los Angeles area, there really has never been a better time in the last few years. While the rising interest rates in the nation are worrisome, and while LA home prices may be increasing slightly over the next year, the fact remains that there are many homes available at fair prices. It truly is a buyers’ market, and taking advantage of it now is a good idea for home buyers as well as investors.

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