Bird Streets Blog

Angelino Heights


Angelino Heights
Zip Codes: 90026

Angelino Heights is one of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods. Developed during the Land rush of the 1880’s, the neighborhood has been on the way up in recent years. Most of the development in Angelino Heights happened between 1900-1910. These homes were large two story properties built for the upper middle class. With the passing of time, some of these 19th century properties have fallen into great disrepair. If you are a homebuyer looking for an opportunity to buy a big historic house to fix up, this is a great place to find one.

Every Lot in Angelino Heights is zone R2, which is a multifamily apartment zone. The Neighborhood fell on hard times at least twice in its 100-year history. During those times, large houses were converted into boarding houses, and many historic properties were torn down to building apartment buildings. Of the 760 Properties in the neighborhood, about 60% are apartments, and 40% are homes. There are virtually no condos. With high rents and lower prices, this is an attractive area for cash flow investment or for live in one and rent the other(s) landlords.

The community is a hillside community, so building and parking can be difficult. Homes on the top of the hill have sweeping city views.

Angelino Heights is probably best known for its Victorian era homes that lay on charm with a trowel. Take a stroll down Carroll Avenue and enjoy these magnificent and rare gems. Angelino Heights was the first neighborhood to be designated as an HPOZ in 1983. In addition to Victorians, the area has some great Craftsman houses that were popular in 1910-1920.

This LA neighborhood is a colorful and eclectic mix of historic homes, income property, and people.


Angelino Heights Map

Angelino Heights is a neighborhood within the city of Echo Park. It’s boundaries are Echo Park Avenue on the west, that runs along the wonderful Echo Lake. Sunset Boulevard to the North, and the 101 Freeway.

The main activity areas for Angelino Heights are Sunset Blvd and Echo Lake Park. Sunset Blvd has a host of café’s, record and book stores, bars, restaurants (including vegan options), and music venues- I personally love the echoplex. There is even a bike repair shop! Once a year the neighborhood has a weekend festival called echo park rising that is quite well attended.


In addition, Downtown Los Angeles is only 15 minutes.


The Vons at 1342 N Alvarado St will probably be your regular spot for groceries.

cool art gallery


Button Mash


El Compadre


Echo Park Farmers market


Blue Bottle Café


Book Store


El Prado

8400 De Longpre Ave | White House

white house condos 8400 de longpre west hollywood

White House
8400 De Longpre Ave
West Hollywood CA 90069

white house condos de longpre

White House is a well-located and well-maintained 4 story, 50 condo complex in West Hollywood. Built in 1973, it was converted to condominiums in 1979. The building underwent a recent exterior painting, the common area walkways were resurfaced, the lobby was remodeled, and a totally kick @$* rooftop deck was added.

Buyers will like the big bedroom size and walk in closet. These condos are affordable and have low monthly hoa dues.


De Longpre has a walkscore of 85. There is a gently sloping hillside, so walking up to Sunset or down to Santa Monica can give your Hammy’s a workout but there are so many great restaurants, cafe’s, bars, close by, you don’t need to go far to get where you want. West Hollywood Equinox is also close.

GI am still lamenting the closing of the house of Blues across the street from Skybar- it was one of my favorite Los Angeles music venues. There are still a lot of comedy (Comedy Store and Laugh Factory) and music (Viper, whiskey a go go, Roxy) on the sunset strip. Along with the annual sunset strip music festival, which I love love love.

William S Hart Dog Park

William s hart dog park bark

For dog owners, William S Hart dog park is just across the street. Your dog will be in doggie heaven on earth.

Sunset Tower Art Deco

Another goody nearby is the Sunset Tower Hotel. This building is one of my favorite Art Deco buildings in all Los Angeles!

Real Estate

The architecture is contemporary stucco style building that was commonly built in Hollywood and West Hollywood in the 70s. There are open air hallways with some landscaping. Each condo has a nice size 75sqft balcony. Condos facing the South Side have nice views. The stove in the kitchen is electric. Heating and cooling isn’t the greatest- no central heat and air. The original condos have a wall AC in the dining room, but some owners have replaced them with newer split systems. The Heat comes from a Wall furnace.  Laundry is community, each floor has a laundry room.

Bedrooms are a really nice size, and can comfortable fit a king size bed. The closet int he bedrooms is also good. All of the floorplans are single story. The building is a mix between 1 BR and 2 BR condos.

(20) 2 Bedroom Condos
1,200 sqft – 1,100 sqft
$650,000 – $700,000

(30) 1 Bedroom Condos
900 sqft – 750 sqft

Record Sale: 11/9/2015 $714,000

Turnover: 5% about 2-3 condos sell each year

Appreciation: 5%




-Rooftop Deck (open until 10 pm)


-Pool and Spa



Parking and Laundry


1 Bedroom condos have 1 parking space, two bedroom condos have two parking spaces. All parking spaces are side by side in a gate parking garage. Guest Parking?


Laundry is community. There is a laundry room on each floor with new machines

Home Owners Association

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $400/mo.

HOA dues cover?

Owner Pays?

any special assessments?  No

Pet Policy?

Rental Policy? Rental friendly, no restrictions.

EQ Insurance? Yes

Building Reserves?

Can you have BBQ on balcony?

Management company:

Property Resources Management
PO BOX 1741
Studio City CA 91614



3876 Via Dolce | Marina Strand Colony II

Marina Strand Colony II
3876 – 3502 Via Dolce
Marina Del Rey CA 90292

Marina Strand Colony II is a 68 unit  midrise condo development in the silver strand neighborhood of Marina Del Rey. Built in 1978 as a follow up by California Pacific Construction Co. to Marina Strand Colony I, this development was targeted for families as opposed to singles.

All of the floorplans in MSCII are town house style with 3 levels and a parking garage. The Buiding is clad in wood shingles that have been painted pastel colors. It feels very beachy and reminds me of the Hamptons!


Everything on the silver strand is 5 minute walk to the beach. Commercial at the dead end of Washington Blvd and venice fishing pier provides a fishing village type atmosphere. There are plenty of site seers trying to get a taste of what Marina Strand Colony owners get to live every day.

I like cheesecake, so I can appreciate nearby Cheese Cake Factory on Via Marina.

The Marina Beach is a little more private then the public beach if you have very little children than are just gaining their sea legs.

And of course if you like to sale, there is the Marina.

One of my favorite spots for shopping is nearby Abbott Kinney.

Real Estate

The condos are all 3 story town houses- sorry no roof top decks. Each condo has a private two car attached garage which is pretty groovey. You don’t get that with condos normally. The Living Room and kitchen is on the ground level and has huge vaulted ceilings.

Condos are all spacious with square footage ranging from 1,500-1,600 sqft. There are a few 3 bedroom condos, but most are two bedrooms.

Prices for these condos is $1,000,000 to $1,200,000 in todays market.

Record Sale: $1,262,5000   11/12/2015

Appreciation: 5%

Turnover Ratio? 6% about 4 condos a year


-Year round heated outdoor pool and spa



-Meeting Room (could use an update!)

 Parking and Laundry

private 2-car garage. Guest Parking?

Laundry is inside the unit in the parking garage.

Home Owners Association

HOA website

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $450/mo.

HOA dues cover?

Owner pays?

any special assessments?

Pet Policy? No more than two (2) pets (excluding fish) may be kept per unit

Rental Policy?

EQ Insurance? No

Building Reserves?

Can you have BBQ on balcony?

Management company:


CAC Property Management
5700 Hannum Ave #150
Culver City CA 90230

310-645-9921 EXT 211 (GINA)

4350 Via Dolce | Marina Strand Colony I

3950 Via Dolce Marina Strand coloney 1

Marina Strand Colony
4350 – 3950 Via Dolce
Marina Del Rey CA 90292


Marina Stand Colony I is a nautical theme 145-condo mid-rise in the silver strand neighborhood of Marina del Rey. Built in 1974 by California Pacific Construction Co., the original cost of development was $13M.

Check out nearby condo projects by the same developer: Marina Strand Colony #2 and  Marina Strand Colony #3.

When the building was finished, condos were selling really fast- the whole project sold out in a little over a year. One of the ads for the Marina Strand Colony at the time warned buyers “don’t miss the boat” because their crew was setting “sales”.

ad dont miss the boat


Marina Strand Colony 1 is perfect to enjoy the sea-salt-and-surf lifestyle!


5 minutes to Marina Del Rey beach by foot. This beach is low key. If you want more hustle and bustle hop on your bike and ride 10 Minutes north to Venice Beach. The Silver Strand is pedestrian friendly. You will see lots of people out walking and riding their bikes.

There is a dozen beach bohemian restaurants, cafes, and bars at the dead end of Washington Blvd before it turns into the Venice Fishing Pier with no shortage of seafood! I like that a Starbucks is right there. Here are a few places to check out:

Venice Whaler

C& O Trattoria

Cabo cantina Marina Del Rey

The Cows End


The closest grocery stores are Ralphs & Bristol Farms at PCH and Marina Point Dr. Like to sail? There are six different yacht clubs in the marina you can join. Even if you don’t boat yourself, you can still enjoy the boat parade in December.

Real Estate

Record Sale: 6/17/2016  $1,291,000

Appreciation: 5%

Turnover: 5% about 7 condos a year

 The buildings are addressed:

4350, 4300, 4250, 4200, 4150, 4050, 3950



Going along with the Nautical theme, there are huge timbers in the halls that remind me of a mast. Shiplap siding also adds to the effect. The developer planted Tropical landscaping, so there are palm trees everywhere which are no 50 years old and about 30-40 feet tall. Long, dark halls, have been eliminated. Instead, short, covered bridgeways connect homes. It reminds me of walking down a wharf in a seaside village.


 Marina Strand Colony I condos are all 2 bedrooms except for (5) 3br condos. There are 3 floors on top of a ground level parking garage. Floor plans are a mix of Single Level and Townhouses. Any Condos with 500s unit numbers are two story. All condos with 300 numbers are two level penthouses and have huge 20 foot high cathedral ceilings and a loft bedroom and outdoor balcony. Square footage ranges from 1,400 sqft to 2,200 sqft- so these condos are quite spacious.

Living rooms have gas fireplaces. Central Heat and Air Almost every floor-plan has a powder bathroom. Every floor plan has an awesome master bedroom suite with dual closets and attached master bath. The HOA did a $20M renovation on the building in 2008, that completely redid the exterior siding, and new windows among other things- so even though the year built is 1974 it was remodeled in last 10 years. The elevators could use an upgrade- they are really slow.

The 500s condos and penthouses have two balconies, unless they are enclosed, which some owners chose to do. All other condos have 1 balcony. It’s great for enjoying the cool ocean breeze.

Prices range from $750,000 to $1,200,000 depending on floor and condition inside the condo.


-(2) Heated Pools w/ Spa (hours: 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM)



-Security Guard Patrol (A Security Guard patrols the property from 9:30pm-5:30am every day of the week)


Parking & Laundry


2 side by side parking spaces for each condo in gated garage. There are plenty of guest parking spaces.


Laundry is inside the condos.

Home Owners Association

Website for HOA

HOA Dues Monthly cost? $750/mo.

HOA Dues cover?

Owner Pays?

Any Special Assessments? No

Pet Policy?

Rental Policy? No Short term rentals

EQ Insurance? Yes

Hardwood Floors? The HOA is picky about hardwood floors, I guess there has been some problems with them in the past. They are allowed, however if you are on the 2nd or 3rd floor you need to get the permission of the owner below, and the HOA will to make sure you put down enough sound insulation

Building Reserve?

Can you have a BBQ on balcony? Yes

Professional Management Company?

Action Property Management

General Manager
Karen Bennett



Featured: Million Dollar Listing



5300 Village Green | The Village Green

village green baldwin hills

The Village Green
5112 – 5595 Village Green
Los Angeles CA 90016

The Village Green is a 629 condo post war planned community in Baldwin Hills. Built in 1942, village Green condos are affordable, the area is improving, and there is so much greenery and open space it feels like living at summer camp!

Village Green is famous for its urban planning. It is now recognized as a National Historic Landmark like the Statue of Liberty. Owners in Village Green are qualified for the Mills Act which provides substantial tax savings.


Architectural team: Reginal Johnson, Robert Alexander, Lewis Wilson, and Edwin Merrill, and landscape architect Fred Barlow Jr designed this community. They imagined it as a pedestrian friendly suburban utopia. The original architects believed in this ideal community. They all lived in the community after it was built. Reginald Johnson stayed a little over two years, Fred Barlow Jr. Lived in the village until 1948, Robert Alexander until 1951, and Lewis Wilson and Edwin Merrill lived in the village until their deaths in 1957 and 1964.


Village Green during Construction

New Village Apartments on the rise 1941

Look at how small those trees are!

The Village Green was originally an apartment complex called Baldwin Hills Village. Local hero E.G. “Lucky” Baldwin put up some of his ranch land for this $3,500,000 project to be built and lent it his name. The apartment community always had a waiting list.


Baldwin Hills Village Flyer

On December 14th of 1963, tragedy struck the area, when the Baldwin Hills Dam broke resulting in a flood that destroyed 250 homes and killed five people.

Dam burst with death and destruction

The Village Green was severely damaged. The Baldwin Hills Dam was closed after the disaster and never reopened.


Some years later after the village was cleaned up and rebuilt, the estate of Baldwin placed the Village for sale. In 1972, Terramics Corporation purchased the property, and converted it to condominiums. They remodeled the units and renamed the community “The Village Green” as it is known by today. The condominium conversion happened in stages and it took 6 years to remodel and sell all of the condos, ending in 1978. The advertisements for the Development boasted that “our grass is greener” and that the Village green was a “Heckuva Buy”.

leave the city without leaving town

Advertisement for Village Green


The Village Green is located in Baldwin Hills. Baldwin hills is a very strategic and convenient commuter location. Just a block away from the 10 Freeway, and the new metro expo line- if you are traveling to work east towards downtown or west towards West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, you have a very quick commute. This is a great place to buy and build up equity if you can’t afford to live in those pricey areas right now. It’s about 15 minutes to LAX airport. If you want great dinning, shopping, and entertainment- unfortunately Baldwin Hills is somewhat lacking, however its nearby neighbors of Westchester (20 Mins), Culver City (5 mins), Downtown Los Angeles (30 mins), and West Hollywood (30 mins) and Miracle Mile (20 mins) offer plentiful choices.

The Crenshaw Mall is the major shopping area in Baldwin Hills at the moment. It is suppose to be redone over the next few years with a $500 Million dollar renovation, so I’m excited to see what happens with that area.

if you want mountainous hiking terrain and the best view of Downtown in the city, Kenneth Hahn Park and Baldwin Hills Stairs are just five minutes away.

Safety: Baldwin hills is a transition neighborhood. Over the years it is much improved, however there is crime in the area. Village Green does not have a 6 foot high perimeter wall surrounding it. People can freely move through the grounds. The HOA of Village Green is very proactive about crime, they write a monthly newsletter that they distribute to homeowners that talks about any incidents. Most of the incidents that occur are petty, like someone taking a bike, or making too much noise. All owners in Village Green look out for each other.

Real Estate

Record sale: $665,000 4/6/2016

Turnover: 4% about 25  condos a year or two a month

Appreciation: 5%

site plan

What stands out the most about the Village Green is its astounding 68 acres of land with half of that preserved as open space! You will not find any new developments in Los Angeles like this.

There are three large grassy open areas called “Greens” that run through the center of the property. The Main Green is the largest and in the center. The East Green and the West Green are on either side of the main green.

Fandango 009

These outdoor spaces are put to good use, hosting events such as weddings, movies and concerts, or outdoor activities like walking, and playing sports.

The thinking of the original architects was to make the community pedestrian friendly. There are no through streets that require intersections or crosswalks in the Village Green where pedestrians and cars mix. The roads are pushed to the outside around the perimeter. Many residents take a walk around the property every day, a full loop is about 3 miles.

Village Green is an urban forest. Its grounds are home to about 1,600 trees of all different varieties. Some of the trees I recognize are Sycamore, Olive Trees, Camphor, Box Elders, Cedar, Pines, Ash, Chinese Elm, Magnolia, Carrotwood, Eucalyptus, Oak Trees. There are hundreds of different species.

There are 10 different Floorplans in the Village Green. They are mixed between Single Level and Townhouse. Floor plan options offer 1, 2, and 3 Bedroom layouts, although the 3 bedrooms are quite rare.

Condo Mix:

1 BR (342 condos)
1,000 sqft – 750 sqft

2 BR  (245 condos)
1,200  sqft – 1,000 sqft
$450,000 -$500,000

3 BR (42 condos)
1,600 sqft
$600,000- $650,000

Features: Kitchens were originally designed with Formica counter-tops, but many owners have upgraded them over the years. Condos have Gas, so you have gas water heater and gas stove. Kitchens are compact, usually in a galley configuration and have a window. Original floors were Parquet wood floors that many condos still have. Most of the condos have wood burning fireplaces. One of my favorite features is the huge outdoor patios many condos have. Great space for entertaining and enjoying the great outdoors.  The walls are lathe and plaster. The whole complex has a vintage mid century mod vibe. Since there is so much space between buildings, these condos get really good natural light.

Parking & Laundry


Each Court has a Laundry Room. There are two washers and 2 dryer in each laundry room. The laundry room machines have recently been upgraded to accept credit cards. Owners are allowed to install Laundry in their condos with HOA permission. Residents can sign up for a time slot for exclusive access to laundry facilities, one hour per week between 8am-2pm. After 2pm is open to all.


For Parking, each condo gets one assigned garage space. This space is only allowed for parking and NOT Storage. The HOA does an inspection each year of the garages to make sure every owner is in compliance. Additional Parking is available in parking spaces around the property.

Home Owners Association

The HOA in Village green is very active. There are several committees that owners can volunteer to part of and they write a monthly newsletter.

HOA Website:

HOA dues Monthly Cost? 1 BRS $400/mo. 2 Brs $450/mo.

HOA dues cover? water, trash, maintenance of landscaping and building insurance, reserves

Owner Pays? Electricity, Gas, Condo Insurance, Internet, Cable

any special assessments? No

Pet Policy? There use to be no pets in the past, so there are still some residents who don’t like them, however now Village Green is very pet tolerant. One pet is allowed under 30lbs.

Rental Policy? Rentals are allowed, so these condos make good investments. Lease terms must be a minimum of one (1) year. No Short term rentals

EQ Insurance? No

Building Reserves?

Special move in instructions?

Can you have BBQ on balcony? Yes

Transfer fee?

Management company

Ms. Sherri Giles, Operations Manager
Village Green Owners’ Association
5300 Village Green
Los Angeles, CA 90016

(323) 294-5212

Office Hours:
Mon-Fri 8am – 5pm.
Walk-in hours: 8am – 11am; 3pm-5pm.



Credit Repair

Oviatt building downtown - Copy


If you are reading this, chances are your credit needs a little work (or maybe a lot!). Real life has a way of not working out like the bedtime stories we were told as kids. The economy is cyclical, and if you have too many financial commitments during a recession, you can get into a bad situation.FICOScorephoto-1

Credit Damage doesn’t have to be a downturn in the economy either. A financial hardship such as a divorce, student loans, health issue, job loss, foreclosure, lawsuits, or bankruptcy can flip your life upside down.money_20s_vs_30s_8


Maybe in the past you were irresponsible with money, and borrowed more than you could pay back and now you have to pay for it.

Regardless of what the reason is, when your credit is damaged- it makes it hard to rent a place to live, buy a home, buy a car, you have to pay higher interest rates, and frankly, it’s embarrassing.

The first thing you need to do before your credit can improve is to get yourself in a situation where your income consistently covers your living expenses and allows you to save. Sometimes, this means the very humbling experience of moving in with a family member until you get back on your feet again.

Once you are in a good place financially- it is a good time to start repairing your credit.

Credit Basics

One of client’s with credit issues told me that they wish their teachers in school taught them about credit. It’s true, they don’t teach students about credit in school. You basically have to learn about it from your parents, friends, or from your personal experience. Credit is very important and is something every adult needs to know. If you already know the basics of credit skip down to the credit repair section. If you are somewhat clueless about how credit works, then these basics will catch you up to speed.

There are three credit Bureaus in the United States that track financial data:





Major creditors (think mortgage companies, credit card companies, hospitals, insurance companies, the government) report to these credit bureaus. Creditors report the status of your credit accounts with them. Their report will say whether your credit is in good standing or late, delinquent, in collections, charged off, or settled. Each Bureau uses this information to give you a credit score. Keep in mind that if you do not use credit, you will not have a credit score because there is no information. This can happen for people who pay for everything in cash or with a debit card and don’t use credit. Even if you don’t believe in credit, it’s a good idea to get an emergency credit card, and to use enough credit to get a score, because this is the system we live in.


When you pull your credit score from each Bureau you will find that their scores vary. This is not uncommon, because some creditors only report to one or two of the bureaus while other creditors report to all three, so each bureau has slightly different information. Typically the scores between Bureaus doesn’t vary by more than 10 to 20 points. In some cases it can be as high as 40 points but that is rare.

What does the credit score mean?

Credit scores  are an estimate of the likelihood that a person will pay back the money they borrowed.

Credit scores can range from a perfect 850 to the lowest score of  400’s. If you are trying to qualify for a mortgage on a home, lenders want a credit score of at least 620-650, but I’d shoot for 660-680 range because the loan terms will be better. If you are trying to rent an apartment most landlords will be looking for at least 600 credit score on $2,500 month leases or less, and can want 700 scores for leases in the $3,500-$4,000 or higher price range. Any credit score below 600 is generally considered bad credit.

fico-credit-score-range - Copy

Credit scores of 700+ indicate that the borrower pays their bills, pays their bills on time, and are currently is in a strong financial position.

Credit scores between 600-700, show that the borrower pays most of their bills, may pay some of their bills late, and is currently in an OK financial position.

Credit Scores between 500-600 show that the borrow doesn’t pay all their bills, regularly pays bills late, and is in a shaky financial position.

Credit Scores below 500 are very bad and suggest that the borrower doesn’t pay many if any of their bills, and is in a very bad financial position.

Keep in mind that if your financial situation has improved but you have not repaired your credit, your credit score will not accurately reflect you. That’s why it is important to work with a credit repair company when your situation improves.

How do the Credit Bureaus come up with my Credit Score?

The formula for how the Bureaus determine your credit score is as closely guarded as the secret recipe for Kentucky Fried Chicken. However, the credit Bureaus do tell you the different factors that are used to determine the credit score and how they are weighted


Payment History (35%)

To have good credit you need to pay your bills on time. Payment history has the greatest impact on your credit score. Paying bills on time raises your score. Late payments lower your score. Late payments can be 30, 60, 90, 120 days late. After that time, late payments can go into default and are sent to collections. Having a collection, charge off, or settlement on your credit report dramatically lowers your score. If you have any delinquent accounts on your credit report, settling them and deleting them will improve your score. Credit Repair companies can help you do this.

bad credit report

All these Late payments and collections lowered this person’s credit score under 500

Debt/Credit Use (30%)

Debt is how much of your available credit you are using. For Example, if you had a credit card with a $5,000 limit, and you had a $4,800 balance on the card, you would only have $200 left of available credit. With credit cards- the more money you borrow the higher your minimum monthly payment. Keeping high balances on your credit lines is bad for your credit score. You want to keep the amount of credit you use between 50% – 30% of the limit, the lower the balance the better. So for the Example of the $5,000 limit credit card, keeping a balance of no more than $1,500 to $2,500 on that card is good- if you can pay off the credit card completely each month that is ideal. If you have very high balances on your credit cards paying them down will improve your credit.

Length of Credit History (15%)

The longer your credit accounts have been open and in good standing the better. If you don’t have much of a credit history, it may be a good idea to sign up for a few credit cards – even if you don’t need them or use them they will help establish your credit history. Newly opened accounts lower your score initially, (see new credit), they will improve your score once they’ve seasoned in a year or so.

Type of credit (10%)

A good mixture of different kinds of credit can strengthen your score. If you have an auto loan, credit cards, and mortgages this shows the credit bureaus that you have good relationships with different types of creditors.

New credit (10%)

Opening new credit can temporarily hurt your score until those accounts have seasoned. Credit Inquiries can also lower your score, especially if you have made multiple inquiries in a short time. Inquiries from mortgage companies and automobile loans are treated as only one inquiry if they are made within a 45 day period. The credit bureaus know that consumers may decide to shop around a bit before deciding on a big purchase.

How long do Derogatories stay on my Credit Report?

A derogatory is a late payment, charge off, settlement, collection. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) says that credit bureaus may only keep records for seven years back. So if you do nothing in seven years any bad credit items will be removed. However, seven years is a very long time, and if you work with a credit repair person, they can remove a derogatory in 1 or two years instead of having to wait 7.

There are some exceptions to the 7 year period:

Bankruptcy (10 years)



How do I check my credit?

You can ask Lenders, real estate agents, credit repair company, to check your credit score. Or you can check it yourself with online services such as,, etc. With the online service be sure to read the fine print, they usually will let you check your credit for free, but also sign you up for an automatic monthly subscription service.

Credit Repair

As I said in the beginning of this article, if you are still in financial distress it is not a good time to start working on your credit, because even if the credit repair company helps you open new lines of credit, and remove derogatories, it won’t do any good if you are still getting late payments, and collections. When your financial situation has improved, but your credit score doesn’t reflect that- that is a good time to start working with a credit repair company.

What do Credit Repair Companies do?

Credit Repair companies advise you on which credit accounts to open, close, and pay down or pay off. They also challenge collections and charge offs on your report and settle and delete them. They help you raise your credit score.

I have no credit, can a credit repair company help me?

Absolutely! I see this a lot with foreign nationals, who have just moved to the United States from another country. The first thing you want to do is sign up for a secured credit card so you can start building your credit right away. Credit Repair companies will help you get a high score quickly.

How much can a credit repair company improve my credit score?

Anybody can have good credit, if you make good decisions, and get help from a credit repair specialist there is no reason you can’t get to a perfect score of 850.

How long does it take to repair credit?

It depends on your current score. 3-6 month’s  if you are in  the 600 range. 6 months – 1 year  if you are in the 500 range. And 2 years if your current score is below 500.

How much do credit Repair Company Cost?

It depends on your current score. For people with 600 scores it won’t cost as much to repair their credit as someone with a 500 score. In general they charge between $1,000 to $2,500 range to repair credit. This is money well spent because you will save this money on interest, and will make your life easier.

Should I hire more than one credit repair company?

No, you should only hire and work with one credit repair company at a time. You might think by hiring two or three credit companies that your score go up faster. This is not true. The information that your credit repair company is the credit bureaus and creditors needs to be consistent. If you have two or three different people talking on your behalf and they are all saying different things, this could actually hurt you and not help you.

Do you have referrals for Credit Repair Companies?

Jon Foley
Shamrock Credit Repair

R.L. Kramer





1300 Midvale Ave | Westwood Gardens

1300 Midvale Ave westwood

Westwood Gardens
1300 Midvale Ave
Los Angeles CA 90024

westwood gardens advertisement

1300 Midvale Ave is a 6-story, 60 unit, mid-century condo building in Westwood. Westwood Gardens was built as apartments in 1968 by developer Oscar Altman at a cost of $1,500,000. In 1979, prominent Westwood Developer Kam Hekmat of Indivest  converted the apartments into condos. Indivest also condo converted Park Westwood, Village House (11044 Ophir), and 540 Kelton.

Although not in the Westwood Village neighborhood per se, Midvale is as close as it gets, and should be given consideration by Westwood Village Condo Buyers, especially since there are so few condos in the village!


Westwood Gardens has an excellent walking location, beautiful mature trees, upside potential and great balconies. The HOA has recently redone the Lobby and is planning to paint the hallways. However there is still a lot more work to do to bring 1300 Midvale up to date. The first thing should be replace the elevators and redo the hallways which need new carpet and the popcorn ceilings smoothed. The Spa and rec room could use some love.


From the front steps, you might overhear a skinny blond 30 something wearing a pair of $600 Gucci sunglasses ordering a Salmon Skin Salad for lunch- to be delivered. Or see Blue and Gold emblazoned UCLA sweatshirts in their native habitat- purchased freshman year from the student union bookstore.

Westwood Gardens is just 5 minute walk to UCLA campus/Westwood Village and Hammer Museum, or at the same distance- visit the restaurant and shops of Westwood Blvd. Taste of Tehran is my favorite Persian restaurant in Westwood to do lunch.

Easy access to the 405 freeway. A large park- Veteran Park, is nearby, but there are a lot of homeless now. The closest grocery store is Bristol farms on corner of Ohio and Westwood Blvd. Trader Joes and Ralphs are in Westwood Village. Bustling Century City Westfield Mall or the sleepier Westside Pavillion are there for all your shopping needs. Being close to a college campus (one of the most beautiful in the country in my opinion and they have a fantastic extension program), you don’t have to look far for a coffee shop! Or a study partner! The Neighborhood is urban and has high density, with a mix of large apartment buildings, and condo buildings.

Real Estate

There are 60 condos total. The Layout of the building is an L Shape, the outside of the L faces Wellworth on the North and Midvale on the West. Condos that face these directions get indirect sunlight and tree top views. Condos on the inside face the Rec Facility and Pool Area, since they face south, they get direct natural light. I prefer the view of the trees personally.

One of the unique features of Westwood Gardens is the 40 foot cubist wall sculpture in the Atrium. Oscar Altman, the original developer, was an amateur sculptor himself, which might explain why he commissioned Claire and Michael Hanzakos to create the piece. It is a little spoiled nowadays by Bird Spikes, but I’m guessing the Pigeons found the curves of the shapes a perfect for roosting spots. To me, the building almost feels like an art museum like the old Midcentury LACMA building (demolished) the way it is laid out. I love the atrium!

Every condo has a balcony, Floorplans in the ’01 Stack and the ’07 stack have 3 balconies! The Balconies range in size from 60 sqft (12ft x 5ft) to 120 sqft (16ft x 7ft).

Condos are mix of 1Br and 2Br floorplans, they are all single level. The building is evenly divided between 1 bedrooms and 2 bedrooms. There are (30) 1 Bedroom condos and (30) 2 Bedroom condos.

1 Bedrooms: 750 sqft to 950 sqft
Prices: ~$500,000

2 Bedrooms: 1,000sqft to 1,400 sqft
Prices: ~$650,000

Record Sale: $654,000 6/9/216

Turnover Ratio: 7% (about 4 sales a year on average)

Appreciation: 4%

Since the building was built in 1968 condos that have not been remodeled are dated. Many condo are remodeled. The Ceilings were Popcorned- many owners have smoothed their ceilings and added recessed lighting cans.

The building is completely Electric (except for community laundry rooms)- this means that in the kitchen the range is electric, and the water heater is also electric.

The heating and cooling system in this building is a little funky. The Cooling system is commercial and maintained by the HOA similar to what you would see in high-rises on the Wilshire Corridor.

chiller commercial

There is a large chiller on the roof that sends cold water to the heat pumps in each condo for air conditioning. Unlike normal heat pumps, these heat pumps cannot be reversed to both heat and cool but only cool. The building was built with a completely separate heating system. The original heating system was electric radiant heating embedded in the ceiling. Some of these ceiling electric radiant heating systems still work, in a few condos. The majority don’t work and are broken. No companies service this type of system anymore either so it cannot be repaired. The HOA does not maintain the Electric Radiant heating system nor will the install a new heating system if you condo does not have heat. The HOA has put the responsibility of heat on the owner. Many owners hire HVAC companies to install floor radiators ($4,000-$5,000), or a split wall mounted system ($3,000 per unit installed).



westwood gardens lobby

westwood garden lobby doors


westwoodgardens atrium

-Pool (pool hours?) Hours of use: 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. + Spa

1300 Midvale Ave Pool

spa 1300 midvale

-Rec Room

rec room westwood gardens

-Storage Bin

storage room3

-Rooftop Patio

Rooftop deck

-Elevators 2 elevators a freight elevator and normal elevator

Parking & Laundry

Parking is in two gated garages. Each garages is on its own level.

wellworth parking garage

Wellworth Entrance

The ground level garage entrance is on Welworth.

midvale parking garage

Midvale Entrance

The Underground garage access is on Midvale. (1) deeded parking space for 1 bedroom condos and (2) deeded parking spaces for 2 bedrooms condos. There is no guest/visitor parking.

Owners do Rent and Lease parking spaces from one another, check the bulletin board near the mailboxes for updates.

Laundry is community Laundry. There are coin operated laundry rooms on each floor. Washer/Dryers are not permitted to be installed in condos.

Home Owners Association

westwood gardens logo

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $400-$650/mo.

HOA dues cover? Water, Trash, AC, Building Insurance, Common Area Maintenance, Reserve

Owner Pays For? Electric, Internet, Cable, Condo Insurance

Any special assessments? None now, but likely in future

Pet Policy? Maximium 2 pets, either dogs or cats

Rental Policy? No restrictions on number of rentals or how long a owner must own a condo before they can be rented, so these can be purchased for investment. HOA does specify the Maximum number of occupants: two people maximum in 1 bedrooms and four people maximum in two bedrooms.

EQ Insurance? No Earthquake Insurance

Building Reserves? 100K 15% funded

Special move in instructions? Moving times are: 8:00 am to  5:00 pm Monday through Saturday, no moving on Sunday.

Can you have BBQ on balcony?

Management company:

Ontrack Management


Transfer fee?

Choosing Exterior Paint Color


paint-chip-colors original-48-paint-colors-benjamin-moore3

When Benjamin Moore began selling paint in 1883, they had 48 colors. The “Paint” wasn’t really paint at all. It was dry powder that you needed to “mix with boiling water, apply with a brush.”


Fast-forward to today-> Benjamin Moore paints sells more than 3,500 different colors! And you were thinking picking from 48 colors was tough! Can somebody send me back in a time machine please?


Benjamin Moore Paint Store

Picking a paint color for the outside of your house can be overwhelming because there are so many choices. Glidden ran a great commercial called “Tame the Beast” that shows paint chips turning into a terrifying monster! Picking a color doesn’t have to give you nightmares. Laurel Bern‘s says “Relax- it’s not like its brain surgery”.

When faced with a tough decision, it’s always a good idea to get a few different people’s opinions. Here are a few people to put on your shortlist, that are sure to offer up some helpful advice:

-Paint Store Colorist (most Major Brand Paint Stores have a colorist, call ahead before making the trip to the store to make sure the colorist is there- they help home owners choose paint colors all the time. Don’t forget to grab some brochures to take home with you before you leave!)
-Interior Designer
-Real estate agent

Need a jumpstart? You can buy some home improvement magazines at the grocery store, walk your neighborhood, or visit some Sunday open houses to start the house color juices flowing.

Here are my tips to help you pick a winner for the color of your house:

#1 Tip: Focus on the main color family.


There are 9 basic color families, that can be grouped into 3 types of colors.

Warm Colors: Red, Orange, and Yellow

Cool Colors: Green, Blue, Purple

Nuetrals: Grey, Brown, White

From these nine basic color families, pick the one or two color families that you like and think would look good on your house, and then pick out some individual colors from within those families to get swatches. Don’t get too caught up looking for the silver bullet paint color, finding the exact color you like might take some time. Just try to figure out which color family is the best and that will really narrow down your choices.

As a side note, I’d completely ignore “color schemes”, accent colors, or secondary colors, until after you have chosen your main color. The accent colors are dependent on the main color of your house. Trying to figure the accents colors before you have figured out the main color will have you running around in circles, like a dog chasing its own tail, until you are dizzy and fall down. Once you had decided on the main color of your house, you will find picking an accent color comes naturally.

#2 Tip: Don’t fix it if it aint Broken.

Like the color of your house already? There is no rule that says you have to change the color. You can paint your house the same color over again. The reason many owners pick a new color when they paint their house is that they just want something different. If that’s not you, stick to the tried and true.

#3 Tip: Dark Colors versus Light Colors.


Which Word Appears Larger or Smaller? Which Box Appears Larger or Smaller?


700 N Fairfax was Painted White, then Painted Black. You can see the difference in the effect of dark and light colors

Any Color can be made darker or lighter by adding white or black. Adding White to a color is called Tinting, and adding black to a color is shading.


Paint Chips with Different Tints and Shades in the same Hue

Light colors advance in space and dark colors recede. This means that light colors will make your house seem larger and stand out, and darker colors will make your home seem smaller and blend in. Larger houses usually look better in darker colors and small houses look better in lighter colors.

#4 Tip: Consider your neighbors.


Look at the houses immediately next door to yours and across the street. These houses will have the greatest impact on your color decision because they are the closest to yours. You don’t want to be a copycat and have the same color house as your next store neighbor. Or worse yet, **gasp** have three of the same color houses in a row! If you are surrounded by a white house, a blue house, and a tan house, you might choose yellow or mauve or green just to be different. Drive or walk through your neighborhood and look at other houses for inspiration. Each neighborhood has its own character. Try to follow the general color scheme of your neighborhood and you will stay in harmony with the other homes. Exterior paint colors tend to be duller and boring compared to what you can pull off indoors. That is because exterior paint colors are visible to the public. Avoid getting those dirty looks from your neighbors for picking a controversial color and stick to the basics, unless, of course, you live in a creative community like Venice, the Arts District Downtown, or Silverlake/Echo Park, where vivid exterior colors are commonplace. People in these areas paint their houses in the same wild and crazy colors that they dye their hair!

#5 What’s your favorite Color?

If you are totally stuck and can’t decide, why not pick your favorite color? It is a color you are guaranteed to like and enjoy.

#6 Tip: Work with the natural colors of your house.

Your house has design elements that have color and will not be painted. The Roof is one, but garage doors, brick or stone facades, chimneys, and walls or fences are a few other examples. If there is a strong natural color influence to your house, try to factor that in when choosing your best exterior paint color. It should blend and not clash with the colors that are already there.

#7 Tip: Choose color that match your Architectural Style.

Listen to your house speaking to you. It’s architectural style is hinting to you what color it should be.

Here is the Quick’n’Dirty of how to interpret the color signs, and make you a house whisperer, of Los Angeles 4 main architectural styles: Spanish/Mediterranean, Contemporary/Mid Century, Traditional, and Craftsman.



Spanish and Mediterranean houses are made of natural materials like clay, stone, and sand (stucco). They are designed for places in climates that are sunny with dry heat. Natural warm earthen tones blend best with Spanish and Mediterranean architectural style.Some of the colors that these homes look best in are: White, Cream, Tan, Brown, Yellow, Orange, Rust.

Spanish and Mediterranean houses always have red tile roofs, and sometimes satillo tile floors, which clashes with the cool colors. That is why you don’t see Spanish houses often in Blue, Grey, Green, Black or Taupe – I don’t think they look very good in these colors. But you be the judge:

Contemporary/Mid Century


Contemporary houses are almost exclusively white. This plays into their design aesthetic of simplicity and purity of form over ornamentation. Lately, homeowners are experimenting with grey for contemporary homes- I find this new trend refreshing.

The same thing for Contemporary Homes goes for Mid Century. They look Great in White and Grey. Mid Century Houses have very little area to paint because they have so many floor to ceiling glass windows and very low roof lines.


Case Study House 22, Stahl House

So Mid Century Houses can be painted virtually any color. I personally think they look best in cool colors (Blue, Green, Muave). I’m no fung Shui master, but here is my amateur attempt to explain why. Mid Century homes have strong wind and water elements. The walls of windows are Water. Often Midcentury homes have a pool, which is more water element. Many of these homes were built in the hills, which gives them amazing views of the city and blue sky, which is the element of wind… Or maybe it’s just because I think they look cool!


Traditional (Ranch, Cape Cod, Tudor, Colonial, Ranch, Other revival Styles)

Colonial Homes traditionally painted white with green shutters

Traditional Houses can be painted in any warm, cool or neutral color. They tend to have a lot of woodwork and ornamentation, Light or Dark, not highly saturated.

Palm Trees


Santa Monica


Rodeo Beverly Hills



Echo Park Lake

There is no other tree that is so quintessentially Los Angeles as the Palm Tree.  You can’t turn your head without seeing one. Palm Trees are everywhere- they line the sand at Will Roger State Beach in Santa Monica and the Palisades Park, festoon the entrance of Fox Studios in Century City, run down the boulevards of Rodeo Drive, line the streets of Hancock Park and Los Feliz, surround the lake in Echo Park, occupy “Avenue of the Palms” off Stadium Way in Elysian Park.

Palm Trees have come to symbolize wealth, sunny weather, and a tropical climate.


Wilshire Blvd 1926

Early settlers moving to Los Angeles were awed by these exotic looking trees that gave Los Angeles the mystic of an urban paradise.

The city planted Tens of Thousands of Palm Trees in the 1920s and 1930s.  They were lauded by the LA Times as being “Magical” and “Plumed Knights”. These are the same Palm Trees we enjoy today. Most palms trees live for 50-100 years so many of the street Palm Trees are reaching the end of their life cycle. As the street palms are dying the city has adopted a policy to replace them with more draught tolerant native trees such as Oaks and Sycamores. Palm Trees don’t provide a lot shade because they don’t have a big canopy.

Palm Tree Shade

I don’t expect our well loved Palm trees to ever disappear. There is an estimated 10 Million trees in the city.  8 Million of those trees are privately held, and the other 2 Million are on public land. Of the cities 2 Million trees about 700,000 of them are streetscape trees. The streetscape trees are a mix of 80-100 different species. Palm trees are one of the most popular species.

The climate in Los Angeles is changing and becoming dry arid, I expect a similar trend for Palm Trees as we are seeing for grass lawns- many palm trees will be replaced with less water intensive tree species but I still expect plenty of them to be around.

As you can probably tell, I have a particular soft spot for the Palm Tree. I love the way they look.

Some people criticize Palm Trees and say that they are genetically more like grass than a tree. When you compare Palm trees with other trees they do seem quite weird.


Palm trees have no tree rings like other trees do. If you look at a trunk cross section of a Palm, the trunk looks like a Loofah Sponge. It’s trunk is very flexible and resilient to wind. Palm trees can withstand hurricane force gales. Another difference is the Palm Tree’s doesn’t have Bark.  Have you ever noticed Palm trees don’t have any tree limbs? Instead of Leaves or Needles, Palm trees have fronds.

Palm Tree Fronds come in two types: Feather and Fan


Palm Tree root structures are very fibrous. Removing a Palm tree is the easy part, but removing a Palm Tree stump is a pain! It is not unusual to see Palm Tree stumps just left abandon in the ground because they are so difficult to remove.


Palm Tree stump on Santa Monica and Gardner



Palm Tree fronds knocked down after winds blew in Hancock Park

Palm Tree Fronds die over time- if they are not removed than can become a safety hazard. The fronds are quite heavy, and when they fall from 30 or 40 feet they can cause some serious damage to cars or injury a pedestrian below.


These 40-50 year old Palms look like they have not been trimmed in 20+ years.

The city of Los Angeles is running its tree trimming service on a shoe string budget. They complete a trimming of all the cities street trees every 15 years. Richer cities like Beverly Hills and Santa Monica do their tree trimming much more frequently. If you as an owner are tired of waiting for the city to come do it, you can hire a tree trimming service on your own and pay for it.

In addition to Palm Fronds, a lot of species of Palm trees create fruit. When the fruit drops it can get gooey and messy.

These tree’s can handle temperatures down to about 30 degrees and weather classification between 9-11. It be surprising that aside from the popular California Fan Palm, all the other palm trees in Los Angeles are not indigenous.

Common Types of Palms

Mexican Fan Palm/California Fan Palm



California Fan Palms




Fan Fronds. The California Fan Palm is slightly “beefier” than the Mexican Fan Palm, averaging 2-3 Feet diameter trunk, versus Mexican Fan Palms 1-2 Feet Trunk. The Mexican Fan Palm is the tallest Palm tree, and it can group up to 100 feet tall. One way to easily distinguish Fan Palms is their Basket Thatch Like Bark Pattern.

Canary Island Date Palm





Feathered Fronds. Bear Orange Fruit. This is my favorite Palm Tree. Canary Island Palm are unique because they have massive trunks, giving them some serious gravitas. Their trunks can sometimes grow to 5 feet in diameter. The Dead Fronds leave a diamond pattern behind in their trunk. This girthy trunk gives the tree a very imposing, rich, and impressive look. Plant nurseries do not like to sell Canary Island Palms because they grow very slowly, averaging only 6 inches each year. Fully grown they reach 60 feet. It takes decades from them to reach their full growth height. To get a replacement tree, they are usually transplanted from another site. Prices for these trees can range from $15,000-$20,000.

Queen Palm





Feathered Fonds. Queen Palm trunks are fairly skinny, averaging 1 or 2 feet in diameter. Nurseries love to plant and grow these, because Queen Palms grow fast- almost 2 feet a year, and they aren’t very fussy about conditions, they grow well in most settings. They can grow to a height of 40-50 feet tall. They have very smooth grey bark. Loves direct sunlight.

There are over 2,600 different species of Palm Trees located all over the world in equator regions. As you can imagine with so many different species, the gives rise to a great amount of variety between palm species. There are small ground cover and shrub palms, Fruit Tree Palms (Coconut Trees, and Date Palms), and the more familiar ornamental palms which we often see in our landscaping.

Palm Tree Diseases: Fusarium Fungus, Red Palm Weevil,