Blog - Archive for August, 2011

Real Estate Selling While The Economy Struggles

August 26th, 2011

Properties in Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills and West Hollywood continue to sell while the economy lumbers. Economic growth has been weak with the unemployment rate above 9% for months. In July, the un-employment rate in California rose to 12%, the second highest in the nation. There is also the debt crisis in Europe, the earthquake in Japan and the increase in gas prices caused by turbulence in the Middle East. But under all this turmoil the buying and selling of Real Estate continues. With no huge surplus of foreclosures in Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, West Hollywood and some adjacent areas the competition is strong for well priced properties whether in excellent condition or just fixers.

The affluent buyer is seeking out great opportunities in big ticket Real Estate where discounts run 100,000 to half a million or greater. Real Estate Investors are negotiating heavily picking foreclosures, short sales, fixer upper income and residential property priced historically low with almost guaranteed occupancy from the huge pool of renters who have entered the market.

The first time buyer positioned to buy can take advantage of the aggressive pricing in some of these prime areas. Many sellers with equity in their homes are well informed, understand the challenges of selling in this market and are meeting the buyers needs and wants. Knowing and listening to what the buyer wants then presenting the best product you can at a great value will guarantee your property sells. Take for example the very desirable, star-studded Sunset Plaza area, several homes have surfaced over the last months priced under 1 million. In Beverly Hills, where there was little to no chance of owning a single family home for under 1 million, there is now a glimmer of hope as single family homes have surfaced in the 850,000 to 950,000 range. These properties sell quickly, often receiving multiple offers over their asking price. Where ever you fit in, the market is full of opportunity so start your search with us today at L.A. Metro Home, Paul Cruz, LMH L.A. Metro Home

L.A Metro Home Hot Pick – Beverlywood Condo

August 19th, 2011

This Beverlywood/ Beverly Hills adjacent condo at 1331 Roxbury Dr #2, Los Angeles, Ca 90035 blows a bunch to the economy. It is a charming 2 bedroom 2 bathroom, 840 sq. ft single level 1st floor contemporary condo priced at $299,000., between Olympic and Pico, perfect for someone seeking privacy and serenity while still only walking distance to shops, restaurants, beautiful Roxbury Park and a few blocks outside Beverly Hills. The living room opens out to a private patio that is also accessible from one of the two bedrooms. This condo is neighbors with some very expensive Real Estate, notably the Century building just west on Olympic where units start in the 2.5 million dollar range. Contact us ASAP, this will go fast!

L.A. Metro Home Hot Pick – West Hollywood Condo

August 16th, 2011

This time around there are some very good finds for a first time buyer budget. If you are busy and on the go a condominium may be the best option, West Hollywood is an area with plenty of options for the condo lifestyle. With Real Estate prices and interest rates at an all time low there is no better time then now to see what options are open to you.

Take for instance 1200 North Flores St. Unit #108, West Hollywood, Ca 90069. This 2 bedroom 2 bathroom, 1200 sq. ft. single level first floor mid century condominium is a must see with two parking spots. Spacious open living space, updated kitchen, indoor washer and dryer, a combination of tile and wood flooring, and large private patio steps from a sparkling pool is a slick alternative. Located between Santa Monica and Fountain Blvds. it’s a short walk to Gelson’s market, restaurants and services, no need to move the car. The city block is lush with large trees offering plenty of shade and with a low HOA of $244.00 a month this is a though one to beat in one of L.A’s trendiest neighborhoods.

Metrohome Hot Pick – Land

August 13th, 2011

I published the blog below one year ago. Since then I’ve sold several lots to people who plan to hold on to them and then eventually build or sell them off. Land today is very affordable, and when there is no improvement on the house (home or building) it is also not costly to hold and maintain. Contact me today about land that is available to purchase. Paul Cruz 310-498-4942

Scattered around Los Angeles are vacant lots some with various levels of improvements on them, many purchased during the Real Estate boom years by individual owners or investment groups with plans to develop the lots.As the market started to shift some of these lots were already being developed leaving homes unfinished or with plans to build in the approval stages. Many of these lots can be picked up for exceptional value today, some with new homes on them that have fallen into disrepair or some with architectural plans and permits pending. For those who were not around in the last Real Estate down turn, vacant lots, like these today could be purchased relatively inexpensively.

4249 W Sea View $45,000. 12,000. sq.ft lot

Owners held on to these lots and when Real Estate hit its peak these vacant lots pulled in top dollar. An owner told me this story, he purchased a lot for 25,000.00 in 1990 and sold it in 2006 for $265,000.00. He had not so much as planted a tree on it; he just held on to it and cleared the brush once a year. There are a few things to look for when buying a vacant lot, always location location location, proximity to shopping and transportation while offering quite and serenity. The extent of development in the surrounding area can also be a very important factor as will as the topography of the site, hillside, flat, slope, etc. Is there a lot of heavy traffic in the area, a lot of noise in the area, is there a paved road or finished road. Value of homes built around the site as well as the rate of growth in the community and the rate at which surrounding properties are sold should also be looked at.

Tips for higher credit score

August 10th, 2011

Article below by Jack Guttentag offers sounds advice on achieving a higher credit score. Paul Cruz

Six tips for a higher credit score
Fast track to mortgage approval
By Jack Guttentag
Your credit score, calculated from information in your credit report, is a measure of how good a risk you are to a credit grantor. A large proportion of borrowers who can’t qualify for a mortgage would qualify if their credit score was higher.
That many borrowers can repair their own qualification credentials applies as much or more to credit score than to down payment or income.
Any lender to whom you apply will obtain your score and provide it to you. As noted below, however, inquiries by lenders may have a negative effect on your score, whereas inquiries by you do not. Hence, it is a good idea to find your score before you apply, so you can make an informed decision on whether you want to apply at that time.
You can obtain your score from many firms in the business, including,, and
Below are general suggestions on how applicants can improve their credit score using data from their credit reports.
Pay on time: The core rule is to meet your debt obligations on-time, every time. If you have had payment lapses in the past but your habits have improved, time is on your side. The credit scoring rules weight recent experience more heavily than older experience.
Correct mistakes in your credit report: Your score should not be reduced by reporting mistakes, which are all too common. Detach yourself from the “wrong vendors”: Because finance companies lend to relatively poor risks, the credit score of any borrower owing money to a finance company is lower than it would be if the creditor was a bank. By the same logic, borrowers who have credit cards of department stores are penalized, relative to what their score would be if they had cards issued by banks.
Reduce balances on revolving credits to less than 50 percent of the maximums: A high utilization ratio is read as a sign of weakness and potential trouble, reducing your score. Credit cards are the most important type of revolving credits, but HELOCs belong in this category as well. A HELOC used to purchase a house or to refinance a mortgage, where the initial utilization ratio is 100 percent, will jolt your credit score.
Note that utilization ratios can be reduced by getting the maximums raised, as well as by paying down the balances. In many cases, credit card issuers are willing to raise the maximum at the borrower’s request.
Minimize the number of “hard inquiries”: Hard inquiries are requests to a credit agency for your credit score from a credit grantor, insurance company or other entity to which you have applied and to which you have entrusted your Social Security number. “Soft inquiries” made by you or by firms looking to sell you something for which you have not applied don’t require your permission and don’t impact your credit score. The credit-scoring systems may or may not penalize borrowers who shop multiple credit grantors within a short period — unfortunately, you can’t be sure.
The credit agencies tell you that multiple inquiries within a 15-day period count only as a single inquiry, but in fact inquiries for mortgage, auto and student loans would probably count as three inquiries, and even three mortgage inquiries could count as three inquiries, depending on how the credit grantors are identified to the credit scorer.
The bottom line is that in applying for credit, find your own score that you can deliver to the vendors you are shopping who need the score to set the price. The vendor you select will verify the score through his own inquiry, but it will be only a single inquiry.
Pay off collection accounts: This may actually reduce your score in the short-run by converting the account from an older entry with a low weight to a new one with a higher weight. However, you can’t get a loan with a collection account on your record, so you must pay it off — the sooner the better.
Jack Guttentag is professor of finance emeritus at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.