Carolwood Condominiums 1033 Carol Dr. Los Angeles CA 90069
1033 Carol Dr. is a 36 unit low-rise midcentury architectural condominium complex in West Hollywood, built in 1975. The building is very well cared for and looks like its new! The HOA does a very good job maintaining the property.
The building is quiet and sophisticated and appeals to owners who want elegance and luxury, and are seeking the right balance of privacy and community. Many of the condos have had $100,000’s in remodels invested in them by their owners. There are a few rentals but most of the condos are used as residences and not rented. Condos in Carolwood rent between $5,000/mo. and $7,000/mo. As is typical of West Hollywood, there aren’t many if any kids. Most of the residents are singles and couples who are very affluent, and could afford more but choose to live modestly, or own Carolwood as a second home or vacation home.
Upscale residents enjoy an abundance of open space, in a warm natural setting, with architecture that “shelters without enclosing and defines without limiting” – Ron Goldman.
The Architect behind Carolwood’s design is local California Architect Ron Goldman.
Ron Goldman is perhaps best known for his humane ethos and award winning contemporary beach homes in Malibu where he has resided for the past 30 years. Ron has also been an outspoken activist in the communities of Malibu and Santa Monica against large scale developments.
Located in a quiet pocket of West Hollywood in-between Beverly Hills Flats and of Norma Triangle, the Carolwood neighborhood feels more like Beverly Hills than West Hollywood to me. 5 Minutes to West Hollywood Santa Monica Blvd and 10 Minutes to Rodeo Drive. You’ll probably be making a trip to your favorite art gallery after closing on a Carolwood Condo, because they have a lot of wall space perfect for displaying art and decorating with mid century furniture.
Owners can walk to social club Soho House, Japanese restaurant ROKU, and celebrity hotspot BOA steakhouse.
Carolwood gets its name because it has a lot of wood siding. The trademark of Carolwood developer Murray Weber is wood and brick exteriors. He believed that using a natural finish enhanced enjoyment and increased property value.
LA Times May 21, 1978
A tremendous amount of open space was set aside in Carolwood. Most developers nowadays would try to cram double or triple the number of condos on the same size lot. Carolwood has almost an acre of land. This didn’t happen because Ron Goldman is a big proponent of incorporating open space into his designs.
As a result, you find open air hallways, a park-like outdoor courtyard, and plenty of elbow room between your nearest neighbor.
Goldman admits freely his love of skylights and windows. Condos have floor to ceiling mid century windows that get plenty of natural light. Living Rooms have Gas Fireplaces.
Carolwood Site Plan
Carolwood condos range in price from $800,000 to $1,200,000. They are all 2 Bedrooms with square footage ranging from 1,400 sqft to 2,000 sqft so they are quite large. Floorplans are all two bedroom and primarily Townhouses with one flight of stairs. There complex has a mix of (28) Townhouse Floorplans and (8) Single Level floorplans. The eight single floorplans are Condos Numbered: #301, #303, #304, #306, #401, #402, #403, #404. Everything else is a townhouse.
Every condo has a patio or balcony for some private outdoor space. Some of the balconies have views.
Bedrooms have good dimensions and are not right next to each other so there is privacy between them. Many owners utilize one of their bedrooms as a home office.
Kitchens are Galley style. Kitchens aren’t very big, but fine for up to two cooks. There is an informal Dining room off the kitchen that comfortably seats 6.
Each floorplan has a Powder Bathroom, a full hallway Bathroom and Masterbathroom attached to Masterbedroom. Masterbathrooms have separate tub and shower and double vanity.
– Pool + Spa. 8 Foot Deep end.
Parking & Laundry
Two Side by side deeded parking spaces for each unit in subterrean parking garage. Guest Parking?
Laundry is inside. Stacked Washer Dryer in kitchen. Some owners have moved the laundry into a hallway closet and turn the laundry area in the kitchen into a pantry.
Home Owners Association
Home Owners Dues: $850/mo. – $1,000/mo.
HOA dues cover? EQ Insurance, Water, Trash, Common Area Maintance, Building Insurance, Reserves.
Owner Pays? Electricity, Gas, Internet, Cable, and Condo Insurance
Eastern Columbia Lofts
849 S Broadway Los Angeles CA 90014
Eastern Columbia Lofts is a Historic High-rise in the financial district of Downtown. Built in 1930, Eastern Columbia has a rich history. If you dig Eastern Columbia lofts you might also want to check out nearby Historic Highrise Rowen Lofts.
Eastern Columbia is easy to spot- with its bright jewel tone Turquoise and gold leaf terra cotta exterior. Talk about Opulent! Eastern Columbia is one of the finest Art Deco buildings in all of Los Angeles, and the only one that you can own as private residences.
The high-rise art deco tower is 13 stories tall, providing gratifying views of the downtown skyline from inside and from the rooftop deck and pool area. The building was converted to Condos in 2006 by Kor Group. There are 147 condos total. Kilfer Fleming was the architect for the project and Kelly Wearstler did the interior designing. $80 million dollars was spent modernizing and upgrading the building. The renovations restored original elements and infused them with modern amenities. I think the developer did a good job of harmonizing the renovations with the overall spirit of the building.
Today, Eastern Columbia lofts dazzles anew and offers owners a unique downtown living experience.
Eastern Columbia lofts is located at the corner of Broadway and W 9th St. It’s on Broadway. When Eastern Columbia lofts opened, buyers came for the building, but now the neighborhood is becoming the selling point.
Downtown’s Broadway has had its ups and downs.
7th and Broadway 1920
7th & Broadway 1928
In the 1920s and 30s, Broadway was in its halcyon days. You didn’t see horse drawn carriages anymore, the traffic had mechanized. Pedestrians, motorcars and electric streetcar shuffled passed each other between gridlocks. The Broadway theater district was the entertainment center of the city. There were twelve grandiose theaters on Broadway between 3rd street and Olympic boulevard:
Million Dollar Theater – 307 S Broadway (open)
The Roxie (closed) 518 S Broadway
Cameo (closed) 528 S Broadway
Arcade (closed) 534 S Broadway
Los Angeles Theater(open) 615 S Broadway
Palace Theater (open) 630 S Broadway
State Theater (closed) 703 S Broadway
Globe Theater (open) 744 S Broadway
Tower Theater (open) 802 S Broadway
Rialto Theater (urban outfiiter) 812 S Broadway
Orpheum Theater (open) 842 S Broadway
United Artist Theater (open ACE HOTEL) 929 S Broadway
These theaters attracted millions of visitors each year. Like its new York city namesake, LA’s Broadway was jumping with vaudeville acts, plays, musical performances and later black and white movie screenings.
However during the great depression Broadway fell on hard times. Downtown Los Angeles went into a steady decline and by the 1950’s the city had moved West. Century City and West Los Angeles in the 1960’s took many businesses away from downtown’s business district. Westwood Village and the Beverly Center attracted shoppers away from Downtown. Chinese Grauman Theater and Hollywood took away traffic from the theaters.
7th and Broadway 1956
7th and Broadway 1958
In addition there was a real smog problem in Los Angeles from 1960 -1980 that was especially bad downtown. By the 1980’s beleaguered and blighted Broadway was downright dangerous and scary. The once beautiful theaters were either closed, demolished, or converted to other uses like flea markets, discotechs or churches.
Picture taken in front of the State Theater, 703 S Broadway
In the past 10 years downtown has made a real comeback. But the dream of making it big on Broadway has remained elusive. This is somewhat on an enigma when the surrounding areas on Spring and Main in Downtown have improved much faster.
The City Council passed the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, reinvesting $40M into Broadway. But if you walk on Broadway today, you will see that many buildings are boarded up, have broken windows, and graphitti still remains. The street level vendors are low income electronics, clothing, and jewelry stores. In an La Times article interviewing one of the local small business owners on broadway about the recent changes, he remarked that he thinks the changes are good, however the new crowd that’s moving in probably doesn’t want his business.
There are rumors floating around that a streetcar will return to broadway, but I don’t expect to see one anytime soon, because the cost estimate to build one is around $350M.
The biggest story is the neighborhood is the Ace Hotel that opened in 2014. It took over the old United Artists theater. This hipster hotspot is making Broadway feel young and cool again! They restored the 1,600 seat theater, which now has regular performances, and have a rooftop pool and tasty restaurant.
The Orpheum theater underwent a $3.5M renovation in 2001 and now has regular shows of things you’d actually want to see. The lineup is totally eclectic so it will always keep you guessing who might play there next. I love the Neon Billboard on it’s roof. It’s right across the street from Eastern Columbia so you get a very good view of this attractive building.
Urban Outfitters moved into the old Rialto theater. They totally gutted the inside so the walls are exposed brick, and the ceilings are exposed wood rafters. The lifestyle brand has a very hip clientele and has a reputation along with the ace hotel for being a Pioneer, opening up stores in edgy up and coming neighborhoods. UO sells records, clothing, and shoes.
The long awaited reopening of a downtown classic, Clifton’s, finally happened in 2015. The new owner spent $10M on renovations and it took him 5 years to finish. Clifton’s is not your normal restaurant- it has a giant faux redwood tree INSIDE and a waterfall. It’s a must see for anyone spending the day Downtown. Grab something from the deli counter!
Opened 2015 at Grand and 8th. Property values always go up when whole foods moves in. Now you’ve got another grocery shopping choice in addition to 7th and Fig
Yes Broadway still has some rough edges, but change is happening. Some day all the old theaters will be reopened and Broadway will be back.
The Vertical Lines typical of Art Deco make Eastern Columbia appear taller
close up of beautifully patina copper spandrels
Mr. Sieroty wanted to make a statement with Eastern Columbia and he certainly did. This project was the crown jewel in his 29 store department chain, and the culmination of an entire career. Eastern Columbia opened in 1930, when Mr Sieroty was 54. He passed away just seven years later in 1937.
Sieroty hired local architect Claud Beelman to design his new flagship store. Beelman might at first glance seem to be a strange choice, because Beelman’s previous projects were all Beaux Arts commercial buildings (Barker Bros. Building, Roosevelt Building, Elks Lodge, Pershing Square Building). By the early 1930’s downtown was getting overrun by Beaux Art buildings and they were all starting to blend together in a muted putty symphony of stone. I think Beelman was just as sick of Beaux Arts as Sieroty was. Beelman had already started experimenting with Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles.
Eastern Columbia Lofts has an “East Coast” kind of vibe. In 1929, Sieroty sent Beelman on a field trip to the east coast to search for ideas. Beelman traveled to New York, Boston, Detroit and other Eastern cities to come up with ideas for a new distinctive building. I have no evidence that Beelman visited Radiator Building (1924) in New York by Raymond Hood, but I can see a strong resemblance with Eastern Columbia.
Radiator Building NY
Beelman designed a handful of other art deco buildings during this time. The Garfield Building (1928), the Jewelry Center (1931) and 9th & Broadway (1930). Eastern Columbia is his finest Art Deco design.
Eastern Columbia Lofts is a personal statement from Mr Sieroty. Mr. Sieroty was a shrewd business man, and was constantly thinking of new ways to promote his brands: Eastern Outfitting Company (Furniture Sales) & Columbia Outfitting company (Clothing Sales). I think he understood that building a store that was bold and daring would attract customers- at the time there was local competition from bigger brand-name’s like May Co., Desmonds, and Bullocks.
The most noticeable feature of Eastern Columbia is its brilliant and colorful Turquoise and Gold facade. Sieroty had guts to approve this bold color. It must have caused quite a stir when it finished. Eastern Columbia is frequently photographed and is one of the most adored buildings in Los Angeles.
One of my favorite features of Eastern Columbia is the two story arcade at the entrance. Adolph Sieroty name is proudly placed on the lintel above the doorway. He was proud of this building. The Golden Sunburst, zigzags, and chevrons at the entry give me the feeling that I am entering some sort of temple whenever I go in.
Eastern Clock Company, Adolph is young man on Far Right
Sieroty’s retail empire had humble beginnings. It started from a single Clock Shop on Spring Street in 1892 called ‘the Eastern Clock Company”. One of the most striking features of Eastern Columbia design is the Clock Tower. Sieroty pays homage to his first clock shop with the Clock Tower on top of Eastern Columbia.
Tower Theater 1927
Sieroty may have taken notice of the clock tower from Tower Theater (1927) just up the street, which was completed 3 years earlier. However, Sierotys Clock is on a completely different level, literally. Some wonder how Sieroty pulled the clock tower off. Los Angeles had a 150 feet height restriction on all buildings downtown, until 1956. Eastern Columbia lofts is 264 feet above the street, 114 feet above the height limit.
Sieroty must have known the right people in the right places to get around the height restriction. He was a socialite and booster. He was a member of the Jonathan Club, Los Angeles Club, Wilshire Country Club, and Los Angeles Country Club. You can bet he had connections at city hall that allowed him to surpass the pre-war 150 foot height limit with his clocktower, so long as it wasn’t used for livable space. Consequently until the 1950’s Eastern Columbia was one of the tallest buildings downtown, only smaller than city hall (454 ft).
I’m a Huell Howser fan, and he did a wonderful tour of this Eastern Columbia when the conversion was completed in 2007. Worth a watch:
Eastern Columbia condos are true lofts. They have no wall or door on the bedroom. Some owners install dividing walls to define their bedroom space and create privacy. Condos originally sold with exposed concrete floors. You can customize the look and feel of the flooring by choosing a custom stain or acid wash.
Some owners have instead installed wood floors. Layouts are almost all single story, so no stairs. Square Footage is at a premium downtown, so the majority of the condos in Eastern Columbia are 800 sqft-1,200 sqft that are ideal for a 1 bedroom layout. Prices go up as you go higher, and by the size of the condo. Condos are selling between $700,000 and $1,000,000. The Larger condos are 1,200-1,600 sqft, there are about 40 of them of the 147 so they come up less often. There are 5 penthouses with average size of 2,500 sqft. A celebrity bought all the Penthouses from the Developer. Penthouses have a townhouse style layout.
Galley Style Kitchen
The Developer did a great job on the Kitchens and Bathrooms. Each condo has a Modern kitchen with Quartz countertops and European style cabinets and stainless steel appliances. The Bathrooms are great especially if you like to take baths. There are large soaking tubs with a tub deck that gives you a lot of space for setting candles, bath soaps, reading glasses etc. I love the vintage penny round tile.
This building has so many windows which means great natural light. Many of the original metal casement windows were saved- and what is unique is that they fully open and close, so you can get good air circulation. The condo’s have 11 foot ceilings for plenty of room to think.
Condos that face West or North have small balconies. Most condo’s don’t have a balcony. Washer Dryer in unit. Wired for internet and cable.
Eastern Columbia has some hotel-like amenities that makes it feel like you are on vacation!
By far and away the best amenityis theRooftop pool area!
Great View! Day or Night
The Private Rooftop Pool area, has a big open area with reclining lounge chairs and multiple umbrellas perfect for some sun worshiping or an evening dip. The Pool is 3 feet deep and long enough to swim laps. There is a Outdoor gas fireplace that makes this space dynamic at night. The is also a spa. The best part of the rooftop pool area is the mesmerizing views of Downtown Skyline.
Nothing is more convenient than having a Fitness center on site. There are quite a few great gyms downtown, but if you don’t consider yourself a fitness buff- or maybe you are a fitness buff but sometimes its just good to have a backup, the fitness center has your daily exercise regime covered. All the Equpiment is new and it has a good mix between aerobic elypicals and treadmills and weight-resistance equipment.
For condo buildings, I am big on a lobby. It’s important to make a good impression, especially for Higher price point buildings. An attractive lobby can raise the resale value of the building. The Lobby in Eastern Columbia does not disappoint. The original terrazzo from the sidewalk flows in from the street to flooring of the lobby. Rows of Antiqued mirrors and Gilded ceilings riff on the Art Deco themes of the building. There is a large sitting area that is tastefully furnished with a copious amount of tables and chairs.
These Beautiful etched elevator doors are original
Let’s face it, you can never have enough storage. Each Condo comes with a storage space on the second floor.
Eastern Columbia Lofts is very dog friendly. There are no restrictions on size or breed, the only rule is a maximum of two 2 pets.
Downtown Parking sucks. You have to pay $10 or $15 to park in a private lot, meters are very tough to get, and you have to be careful to watch the time so when rush hour comes and you have to move your car,, you don’t get towed. And with all the parking lots being snatched up by developers lately, parking isn’t getting any easier. Every condo comes with at least 1 parking space, the larger condos have two. The parking is assigned parking in a private garage. The price for the parking spot is covered in the HOA dues. It is possible to rent an extra space at an additional cost.
Eastern Columbia Lofts has a very organized and active HOA. The HOA has their own website:
HOA Dues range from $800-$1,000 a month. Not a bad price for all the amenities. Keep in mind since the building has a Mills Act , you get significant savings on your property tax which lowers the overall cost of ownership.
HOA dues include: Water, trash, A/C and building insurance, Window Washing
Owner is responsible for: Condo Insurance, Electricity, Gas, Internet, Cable
Legal Note: The HOA is currently in mediation with the developer over construction defects. The defects concern only the common areas, and not inside individual condo units. The areas under investigation are the building exterior, the plumbing and electrical. This lawsuit makes it difficult to finance currently until it is resolved. It is important to note that the building is safe, usable and accessible.
HOA Contact Information:
Action Property Management
Phone: (800) 400-2284
Fax: (949) 450-0303
2603 Main Street, Suite 500
Irvine, CA 92614 www.actionlife.com
Buster Keaton’s classic “One Week” from 1920 depicts his comic attempt to assemble a mail order bungalow.
Deciphering what Bungalow means can be very confusing. That’s because the term Bungalow doesn’t relate to any specific architectural style – bungalows were designed in all kinds of different architectural styles- basically whatever sold well and was popular during the early 20th Century (1910’s to 1930’s).
Examples of Different Bungalow Styles Left to Right (Dutch Colonial, Tudor, Craftsman, Craftsman, Spanish, Victorian)
The most popular bungalow styles were: Cottage, Cape Cod, Spanish, Colonial, Dutch Colonial (with its gambrel roof), and Tudor. There were exotic styles too like Spanish Mission Style, Japanesque, Foursquare, and Swiss Chalet, but they were less popular. Sears & Roebeck had over 500 different designs to choose from. The top selling designs were frequently copy catted between competitors so it can be difficult sometimes to pin point the exact model and manufacturer of the most popular bungalow designs.
Bungalows are not distinguished by their architectural style, but instead by how they were built. Bungalows came in pre-cut kits that were easy to assemble and could be purchased from mail order catalogs. Bungalows were the first mass produced housing.
Sears & Roebuck Ad- showing bungalow precut kits with numbered Pieces that were easy to assemble
Bungalows were modest in size, typically 5 to 8 rooms, with 2 to 4 bedrooms, and one to two bathrooms (Image living with *gasp* only one bathroom now!).They range in square feet from 800 sqft -1,500 sqft. A house kit could be purchased for $1,000 -$4,000, when the price of a model T was about $400, and the average worker wage was $1,000 per year. These home were really affordable! The tiny garages of the bungalows barely fit a modern size sedan and would never fit a SUV.
There is a model T parked in the driveway of this Cottage Bungalow illustration
Home owners could save the construction cost of $1,000 to $2,000 if they decided to built the house themselves, which many owners chose to do.
Typical bungalow 5 room floor-plan
California has a lot of bungalows because the 20’s and 30’s were boom years in this states’ history. Spanish and Craftsman bungalows were the most popular styles in California.
The 1900’s saw big improvements to the quality of life for the average American. This was the conception of the “American dream”: to own your own home. At the turn of the century electricity was supplanting oil lamps and candles for light and power, and it was a real luxury to have indoor plumbing. Many houses had a tub in the bathroom, but if you needed to use the toilet you still had to go to the outhouse. There was a new middle class rising, getting married and starting families. They could afford to pay for a modestly priced home and build it themselves provided with a plan and materials. Bungalows became the “it” craze.
Sears & Reobuck’s precut home factory
Companies rushed to meet the demand for new housing by building large home building factories and selling precut and designed homes. In an old Sears Roebuck advertisement they ‘claimed’ all you need to build their house is a wrench, hammer, and screwdriver… In the bungalows heyday it is estimated that more than half million were built.
The largest companies to sell homes by catalog were:
Sears Roebuck, Chicago Illinois
Aladdin Homes, Bay city Michigan
Montgomery Wards, Chicago Illinois
Sterling Homes, Bay City Michigan
Pacific Ready Cut Homes, Chicago Illinois
Wardway Homes, Chicago Illinois
Ready Built Houses Co. Portland Oragan
Gordon Van-Tine, Davenport Iowa
Harris Homes, Chicago Illinois
Home Builders Catalog – Publication
Sears “the world’s greatest store”, was the largest seller of catalog homes. It is estimated that they sold 100,000 homes during the time they were operating between 1915 and 1940. The Great Depression in the 1930’s and the invention of the FHA in 1934 crippled the mail order housing industry. A large portion of mail order housing company profits were made on the loans they underwrote for their houses. When the FHA was created, it offered loans at substantially lower interest rates then the loans homeowners had with the mail order catalog companies. Not surprisingly, most home owners refinanced, and the catalog companies lost their most profitable and important source of income. Couple that with huge unemployment and precipitous drop in home sales during the great depression, and the stage was set for mail order companies folded.
What is a Bungalow?
Efficient, Thrifty, Humble
partial wall in a bungalow between living room and dinning room
–Open Living Room and Dining Rooms. This was a big step towards modern open floorplans. The bungalow floorplans opened up the wall between the living room and dining room to save space and make both rooms feel bigger. The areas were commonly separated by a Partial wall . Kitchens were still closed, that didn’t change to 1950s.
–Gable roofs. Flat roofs were hardly ever used. The big Gable roofs, provided a huge attic space which could be used as space for an addition later. the gable roofs usually had overhanging eves. The Gable could be positioned front or sideways for very different architectural look.
–Dormers. The gabled roofs were often enhanced with decorative or functional dormers. If bedrooms were located on a second floor the dormers would give the bedroom a window for light and ventilation as well as increase the ceiling height. Dutch Colonials almost always have dormers.
-Breakfast nooks. Informal dining, this space doubles a play area.
-oak wood floors, all wood flooring originally stained dark
-Lath plaster walls
-First houses with electricity
– low bedroom to bath ratio 2 to 1 or 3 to 1 – no en-suit bathroom, hallway bathroom that everyone shares
-Small bedrooms and small closets, people used amours, the closet was a relatively new idea. Bedroom dimensions were 12 x 12 to 15 x15. The closets are extremely small by today’s standards, and certainly no walk-ins. I joke with clients sometimes that people who lived in the turn of the century must have only had 1 or two outfits and probably had to get them washed constantly.
-Lots of built ins, book cases and shelving – linen closets, china cabinets in living rooms, book cases.
– Floor-plans have direct entry into living room, instead of vestibule or foyer. Less formal entry than in the past.
The style preferences of America changed in the 1940’s with the introduction of the ranch house, and continued to evolve from the influence of mid century and modern architecture. Popular taste moved away from bungalows for many years. But bungalows are coming back. There is a group of vintage home buyers in Los Angeles buying and restoring these old bungalows. Vintage buyers love them for their intimacy, cheerfulness, and comfy-ness.
Not everybody feels the same way. There is a growing trend in Los Angeles right now to tear down these classic bungalows because the land value is so high and bungalows are underbuilt for the lot. Well-to-do home buyers want 4,000 sqft “Sugar Cube” modern homes. In recent years, HPOZ have been created in several historically significant neighborhoods in Los Angeles to protect these homes from demolition.
Bungalow Neighborhoods in LA:
-Jefferson Park (really bad shape! HPOZ)
-Carthay Circle (HPOZ)
–Melrose Hill (HPOZ) -Greenacre neighborhood, West Hollywood
Miracle mile ( Olympic and w 8th street, la brae and Fairfax)
–Brookside Miracle Mile North (HPOZ) Spaulding Square (HPOZ) -Studio Village, Culver City
-Adams Hills, Glendale
-Westwood, South of Santa Monica & North of Pico
Owning your own home is a smart investment. Prices go up. Over the long term, your home will increase in value. Meanwhile, you have to live somewhere, and why pay your landlord’s mortgage when you can pay your own? If you rent for 30 years, at the end of the 30 years you will have nothing. If you own a home for 30 years, at the end of the 30 years you will own the home free and clear and it will have doubled or tripled in value. That’s a retirement plan.
Owing a home is a big responsibility. When you are renting you can pick up and move at the drop of a hat. As a homeowner, your living situation is not as flexible. It’s a big hassle to sell and the transaction fees are costly. Before you purchase I recommend to be certain you are going to be staying in the area for at least 3 years. You will also be responsible for property maintenance.
Make sure your finances are in order. If you are carrying a lot of credit card debt or student loans, it may be better to pay off your debt before buying a house. Check your credit score, if its below 650 you will need to work with a credit repair company to raise your credit score in order qualify for a loan. How much money do you have in the bank? For most first time home buyers saving up the down payment is the biggest challenge. Thankfully there are a lot of low down payment loan programs that make buying your first home easier. Some good loans to be aware of are 10% down, 5% down, and FHA 3.5% down loans– keep in mind that if you are putting less than the traditional 20% down you will have the extra cost for PMI.
Tips for First Time Home Buyers:
If you are like me you want everything right now and hate waiting. The last thing you want to hear when you are trying to buy your first house is that you need to be patient. From my experience, it takes on average three to five years to buy your first house in Los Angeles, from initial planning stages to final purchase. Los Angeles is a big city and has big city prices that are higher than the US national average. Higher prices make home purchase more difficult. Zillow says the average age of first time homebuyer is 31, but in LA I think it’s a little higher because the prices are higher. Another factor, is that in a big city prices fluctuate wildly. Depending on where the market is in the real estate cycle, prices can go up or down as much as 15%-20% in a year. Saving the down payment takes time.
Don’t be Afraid to ask questions
When it’s your first time everything is new. You will have a bazillion questions rolling around in your head. Don’t be afraid to ask, ask, ask. That’s the best way to learn. Don’t just ask your real estate agent or lender either. Ask your friends and family. This is an important decision. It’s a good idea to rally the wagons and confer with your circle of advisors.
Buying a house can be SCARY! It is a big commitment and the biggest purchase you’ve ever made in your life. At least one meltdown when buying a home is not unheard of. Even when you feel overwhelmed and stressed out, stick with it, you won’t regret it.
Your first home is not your dream home, it’s a stepping stone. Your third or fourth home will be your dream home. Be ready to make some compromises with your first home in order to keep it within your budget. Maybe choose a condo instead of a single family house to keep cost down- if you do decided on a condo you can usually get a better location and security than comparably priced homes but lose privacy and yard. Or: pick a neighborhood that is in transition and up and coming, instead of a neighborhood that is well established. You will get more bang for your buck in a transition neighborhood. Remember you aren’t going to live in your first home forever. Most buyers are so excited when finally buying their first home they forget about all the left brain stuff and can’t wait to move in.
Owning a home is always more expensive then renting. So your monthly living expenses will be going up if you are coming from a rental. Buying your first home can be a stretch sometimes. But trust me, it’s a good stretch! When you are young you can afford take more risks, and as you get established in your career you will make more money. It’s ok to be ‘mortgage poor’ when you are young because you are willing to rough it. You may feel like you are in college again, surviving on Ramen noodles and Peanut butter (ok maybe that’s stretching too tight!). LA is expensive, I usually recommend for first time buyers to ask a family member(s) for help with down payment when it comes time to buy. Saving up the down payment is usually first time buyer’s biggest challenge. Most of the time, but not always, family members are happy to help their children and nephews buy their first property if they have been responsible. Their Parents probably helped them when they were buying their first house! Another thing to keep in mind when you are stretching, if you feel like you are stretching too tight, you can always rent a room to a friend for some extra income. Many of my clients have done that.
Hire a Great Realtor
Final piece of advice: hire a great realtor. When you are buying your first home, you don’t necessarily need the biggest most successful realtor in your neighborhood either. As a first time buyer you need a lot of time and attention, and very busy realtors may not have the time to devote to you. Look for someone who is hardworking, and does real estate full time, who you get along with.
Do I have to pay a realtor commission?
No, as the buyer in Los Angeles you do not pay any real estate commissions. The seller pays the real estate commissions. Check out this article you’d like to see a breakdown of your buyer closing costs.
Do I need a home inspection?
Emphatically YES. Always get a home inspection. The last thing you need as a first time home buyer when you are stretching is to have some large unexpected expense.
Should I get preapproved?
Yes, I recommend talking to a lender and getting preapproved right away. They will be able to talk with you about different loan programs as I mentioned earlier, and give you an idea of your monthly cost so you know how high you are comfortable looking.
What is the best way to get started?
Just go out and start looking at houses. Sunday opens are a great way to get started- you might meet a great realtor while you are out looking if your friends/family don’t have a referral.
James Campbell’s Tips for First Time Home Buyers
Ready to jump in and start owning? Being prepared is more than a state of mind, it’s a state of adventure! Be prepared with the best Realtor in your corner for success… and these tips…
James Colin Campbell – 8 Tips for First Time Home Buyers!
February 2016 is a leap year, this year I made the leap to join the largest residential real estate company in the world, in their flagship office. Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills is my new masthead, but I will still be providing the extraordinary client support that I have become known for.
Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills
February also is a great time for new home buyers to get started and to start the process of becoming informed about their market realities. This month’s video presents a few of the most important tips that I believe First Time Buyers should pay careful attention to in preparing to take on one of the most expensive purchases of their life.
Being ready means more than just looking at houses. It helps to have your finances in order and a great realtor in your corner.
If you, a friend, or a family member are seriously considering buying your first home, call me, let me help you!
Do you have any real estate needs? I can help you with that! Give me a call, I’d love to hear from you! (310) 388-7332
SL 70 – Silverlake 70
Clifford St & Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles CA 90026
SL70 is 70 small lot homes located right on the border of Silverlake and Echo Park on Glendale Blvd (it’s on the Silverlake side of course!). SL 70 was built by Trumark homes in three phases between 2014 and 2015. JZMK Partners were the architects for this project . Trumark paid $12 million for the 2.3 acre lot. If you like SL70, you might want to check out nearby small lot developments: 36 on Echo, and Morton Village.
One of the interesting things you will notice right away about SL 70 is the community’s interesting street names: Edendale Lane, Silent Era Drive, Fox Lane, Tom Mix Road, Polyscope Place, Selig Drive. The developer wanted to pay homage to the very interesting history of this area with SL70’s street names. In 1909, this neighborhood was home to Los Angeles very first silent movie studio!
Selig Polyscope Studio 1910 (Mission Revival Architecture)
It was called Selig-Polyscope Studio named after its owner William Nicholas Selig. Several Studios sprung up around Selig Polyscope and from 1910-1920 when they were in their heyday, hub to the burgeoning Los Angeles silent film industry. Back then the area was called Edendale, a name which has fallen by the wayside, and encompassed parts of Echo Park, Los Feliz and Silverlake.
Tom Mix and his trusty steed Tony
Tom Mix was Selig studio’s Western star- he always wore his trademark 10 gallon cowboy hat. Fox Lane in SL 70 is named after Eponymous Fox Studios founder William Fox who came to the neighborhood later in 1917. Fox bought Selig studios which was struggling financially at that time.
Fox had played Selig studio silent films (among other studios like Boigraph, Essanay, Kalem, Lubin, Pathe, Vitagraph), in his numerous East Coast movie theaters. Starting in 1915, Fox expanded from building and buying movie theaters to also producing films. The Selig studio was Fox’s first studio on the West Coast. He wasn’t there long though, a year later in 1918, Fox moved from the Selig lot, which was .75 acres to a 15 acre site at Sunset and Western. After Fox left the Selig studio changed owners a few times and then fell into disrepair and was demolished. The advent of Sound in motion pictures, known as “talkies” in the 1930s and the rapid expansion of the movie industry in Los Angeles, quickly left humble Elendale behind as film makers moved to more glitzy and glamorous Hollywood. Does a bit of “silent era movie magic” still linger in the air? It is rumored that Charlie Chaplan invented his famous little tramp character here. Perhaps it does.
Glendale Blvd is a major thoroughfare. It reminds me a lot of Olympic Blvd in Miracle Mile, although it is much shorter. Six lanes of traffic traveling both ways. SL 70 is very close of the entrance to the 2 freeway which takes you straight to Glendale, and the 5 FWY which will take you to Burbank. Downtown Los Angeles is a hop, skip, and a jump. Not to mention you live in Echo Park/Silverlake.
SL70’s location isn’t very walkable. The length of Glendale Blvd from Sunset to the (2) FWY doesn’t have that many points of interest right now. I expect in the future to see more business move in as the area is currently undergoing an urban renaissance. There is a hip Hot Yoga studio right next store called Modo Yoga and a Vintage Record Store, Mono Records, to pick up some rare vinyl. If you are a musician Bedrock studios will be right up your ally- you can rent a practice space there. Bedrock also has a cool pinball room for retro gaming. More likely than not you will be doing your grociery shopping at Vons at Glendale and Montana (I love the architecture of that place, reminds me of Lautner’s Garcia House).
SL70 may not be very walkable, however, it is absolutely bikable. you are just a short bike to Silverlake Resevior and dog park, although SL70 has a small dog park on site, and all the business and restaurants on Sunset Blvd.
Like many small Lot Developments these homes are designed as 3 story townhouses to maximize square footage, with roof top decks in lieu of a yard (except for floor plan 1 which has no rooftop deck), and side by side 2 car attached garage.It is not cost effective to add elevators so there are stairs to each level.
SL 70 has four different floor plans- they are numbered: 1,2,3,4 respectively. Floorplans 1,2,and 4 are two bedrooms, and floorplan 3 is three bedroom. SL70 is built on the smaller side for a small lot development to keep the homes affordable. Sizes range from 1,200 sqft to 1,500 sqft (I have seen some small lot developments go as high as 1,800 to 2,200 sqft). Original Prices are $600,000 to $800,000.
What the smaller size means for owners is that bedrooms are going to be a little tight and not have as much closet space. Another space saving trick the developer used was they moved the powder room which usually goes on the second floor along with the open living room, dining room, and kitchen, to the downstairs off the entry and two car garage on the ground level. The Laundry room is a laundry closet which is big enough for a stackable Washer Dryer but not a side by side. It’s a little inconvenient for guest to walk downstairs to use the powder room but not a big deal- I’d be happy I have a powder room in the first place!
These homes have an outstanding price for new construction in this area.
Kitchens are tricked out with Bertazzoni 30” stainless steel range, Bosch Dishwasher, Microwave and fridge. The kitchens have Quartz countertops, a island with room for seating, and European style cabinets. You get beautiful hardwood flooring on second floor (**cough cough** Morton Village tile) and carpet in the bedrooms upstairs.
You get a surprising amount of view from the rooftop balcony. 10 foot high cielings in the Living Room and Tankless water heaters.
Homes that are closer to Glendale Blvd will get street noise so I’d expect them to sell at a slight discount to homes further away from Glendale Blvd.
There is small dog park on the property, otherwise there are no other amenities
Home Owners Association
There is no HOA per se since these properties are technically houses where you own the land underneath and they share no common walls. However there is modest maintenance fee to maintain the common area drive ways. Its important to remember that unlike a condo, you are responsible for the maintenance on your home.
Morton Village 1641 N Morton Avenue Los Angeles CA 90026
Morton Village is a small lot development in Echo Park, completed in 2015 by developers Van Daele Homes and Fifteen Group. Morton Village is similar to its nearby small lot developments 36 on Echo, which came a few years earlier in 2012, and also recently finished SL70. Morton Village consists of 15 new construction detached townhouses with rooftop decks, and three restored 1900’s bungalows. Both entrances to the development have electronic gates. Morton Village owners enjoy excellent walkability, great floorplan flow, high quality contemporary finishes, and beautiful downtown skyline and rolling hill views.
Located near the intersection of Morton and Echo Park Avenue, there is a small commercial building which is the heart of the community. The main watering whole is Chango, which serves coffee and pastries. Travel down echo Park Blvd to Sunset and there is a host of restaurants and bars to choose from. Insider tip: there is a taco truck that sets up in the Walgreens parking lot each night if you have a late night craving for carne, pollo, or carnitas. Being in Echo Park, Elysian Park and Dodger stadium are nearby. I know residents who like to stay fit by hiking the stairs and running the trails in Elysian Park. Sunset Junction is a bit of a trek but still within reach. Some of my favorite bars in the neighbood are the Thirsty Crow, 4100 Bar, El Prado, and the Echoplex.
Townhouses: There are four floor plans for the townhouses (A1, A2, B, C) See Brochure link above. A1,A2, and B are 2Br/2.5 Bath ~1,500 – 1,600 sqft. Original Prices for these range from $800,000 to $900,000. C floor plans are a bit larger but have a weird layout. One big plus of these townhouses is the two car attached garage. Believe it or not, in Echo Park, there are a decent number of houses that have no parking at all, and street parking can be very challenging because there are quite a few apartment buildings in the neighborhood which means a lot of cars parking on the street. One of the developer upgrades available is a bike rack, and yes there is room to store bikes in the garage also. I like the 8 ft entry doors that create a dramatic entrance. The standard size for an entry door is 80 inches or about 6.5 Ft so these taller doors definitely create a grander entry.
Going upstairs from the ground level you enter the main living area on the second floor with an open floor plan concept.
The Kitchen counter tops are all Quartz, and the kitchen has a huge island that can substitute for your Dinning Room table if you don’t cook that much, otherwise there is a huge Living Room/dining room area that has plenty of space for a 6 person dinning table. The European style Cabinets in the kitchen really accent the space. All the appliances in the kitchen are Bosch stainless steel. There is a guest bathroom, plus a balcony off the living room that complete this level.
Upstairs on the third level is the 2 bedrooms each with their own bathroom. Bedrooms are carpeted with berber. The master bedroom is 12′ x 14′ and has a walkin closet and m and the laundry room is on this level.
Up from there is a huge 20 ft x 30 ft rooftop deck perfect for hanging out and enjoying the view or having a BBQ. The homes have a tankless water heater.
Morton Village Bungalows Under Construction
Bungalows: The bungalows are a lot smaller then the townhouses, they range in size from 600-700 sqft and are 1br/1 ba but have a little yard. Prices for these range from 500K-600K. You may think they look a bit odd- the developer promised to preserve these historical bungalows which is why they weren’t torn down. Instead they were remodeled completely.
No Common area amenities, which translates into a very low maintenance fee. There are 6 Guest parking spaces.
Home Owners Association
There is no HOA since these properties are houses, however there is a maintance fee of $200/mo to maintain the drive way and electronic gates. Its important to remember that you are responsible for the maintenance on your home.
Whitley Heights is bordered by Hollywood to the south, Hollywood Dell to the East, Hollywood Heights to the West, and the Cahuenga Pass to the north.
Whitley Heights has easy access to the 101 freeway which is great for regular commuters who travel between Studio City/the Valley, and Hollywood/the Westside, or for going Downtown. Whitley Height residents can take advantage of its close proximity to Hollywood Boulevard, which has a plethora of dinning, shopping, bars, and nightclubs. Some of my personal favorite spots on Hollywood Blvd are the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Center, Lucky Strike Bowl, The Pantages Theater, The Egyptian Theater, Musso and Franks, the Roosevelt Hotel, Katsuya, and Piano Bar.
In addition most residents in Whitley heights can walk to the Hollywood Bowl.
Near the turn of the century fireplaces were a household necessity for keeping warm and cooking. Nowadays fireplaces are for aesthetics. There is a tradition and mystic that surrounds wood burning fireplaces that make them a cherished amenity for traditional homeowners.
If you have ever experienced a wood burning fireplace growing up you are familiar with the hallmark crackle of drywood catching flame. This familiar sound can bring back nostalgia of fond memories, and demarcate new ones. For me, the smell of a wood fire always reminds me of memories of camping and sitting around the campfire. Wood fires are especially a treat during winter holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas or important family gatherings like graduations and weddings.
The most popular location for a wood burning fireplace is in the living room. Owners love the feeling of romance a wood fire beckons like a line from a John Keats poem. Wood fireplaces create atmosphere. A big mantel above the hearth is a focal point in a traditional living room, and adds formality when entertaining.
When I am at a party, you will usually find me close to the fire. I personally enjoy watching the flames pirouette across the surface of a log like sinuous ballet dancers, and it is great for day dreaming!
In 2009 Southern California passed legislation banning building wood burning fireplaces in new construction. Don’t worry if you already have a wood burning fireplace, you are grandfathered in. The ban just prevents new wood burning fireplaces from being built. There were two reasons for the ban: to prevent air pollution and lower the risk of wildfires
Tips for Getting a Wood Fire Going
1) you need to buy some wood!
Where to buy wood? Your local grocery store usually sells small bundles for $10 each if you only have a fire every once in a while. Otherwise you will want to visit a firewood yard where you can load up! They sell wood by the 1/4, 1/2 and full chord and prices can range from $200-$400 and that is a lot of wood!
Make sure that you buy wood that is bigger pieces that will burn for a long time and smaller pieces called ‘kindling’ that will make it easy to get a fire started.
You want to buy dry wood. When a tree is freshly cut the wood has a high moisture content. Over time the wood dries which is called seasoning. It takes six months or a year for firewood to fully season and reach a moisture content of 20% or less which is ideal for burning. If you burn green wood or wet wood it will make a lot of smoke and make your chimney dirty.
2) Fireplace Tools
Buy a set if you don’t own one. This might sound stupid but you don’t want to touch the fire or burning wood or hot charcoals with your hands… A nice set of fireplace tools are a must have so that you can move logs around with the tongs or poker, and clean up the ash in the fireplace afterward with the broom and dust pan.
3) Fireplace Screen
Having an open hearth can be dangerous if someone stumbles or reaches in. Discourage people from getting too close to the fire with a screen.
4) Open the Flue
There is a damper in the chimney that can be closed or opened. The damper is designed to prevent the outside temperature to mix with the controlled indoor climate while the fireplace is not in use. Make sure that the fireplace is open before you try to start a fire or there is going to be a lot of smoke, you can pop your head in the firebox and look up to if you can see into the flue. There should be a draft.
5) Lighting the fire
Crumple up Newspapers and stuff them between the kindling. Place a few big logs at the base so that they will catch on fire after the kindling burns. Light a match and set the newspaper on fire in a few places. If the stack of wood you made has good airflow the fire should start fairly easily.
Taking care of your fireplace
One of the drawbacks of wood burning fireplaces versus gas fireplaces is that they are messy and require routine maintenance. Its a labor of love to enjoy the real thing.
The National Fire Protection Association recommends that wood burning fireplaces should be cleaned once each year. If you use your fireplace frequently I would stick with this guideline. If you use the fireplace rarely, then once every couple of years is sufficient.
Soot, also called Creosote, is tiny unburned solid particles and oils left over from the wood. These particles are flammable and stick to the walls of your chimney. Overtime if your fireplace is not cleaned this soot can build up and may become a fire hazard. Chimney fires are dangerous and totally preventable with occasional fireplace cleanings.
I recommend to hire a Chimney Sweep to clean your chimney
Getting out the Soot Stains
After using your fireplace frequently, you might start getting soot stains around the mantel. Usually this is because you are building fires that are too big, or burning fires without opening the flue, or burning green wood.
To clean the fireplace you can mix baking soda and cleaning vinegar in a bucket of hotwater for a natural cleaning agent and scrub, scrub, scrub.
Otherwise purchase stonecleaner from your local Home Depo or Lowes.
Park Westwood Tower
969 Hilgard Ave
Los Angeles CA 90024
Park Westwood Tower is a 14 story High Rise condominium built in 1961 that is 135 units. Park Westwood Tower is across the street from UCLA and walking distance to Westwood Village. Condos on the upper floors have great views! The building is full service so expect everything you would get on the Wilshire Corridor in a UCLA adjacent location.
Park Westwood tower is located literally across the street from UCLA in Westwood. One block east is the residential estates of Holmby Hills. Hilgard Avenue was once known as “sorority row” back in the 1930s because there are many historic Spanish buildings that housed students. A little Westwood history: Hilgard Avenue is named after Eugene Woldemar Hilgard (1833-1916) who was a geologist of worldwide notoriety at the university of California Berkley.
Across the street from Park Westwood Tower is the swanky and ivy covered W Westwood. The W Hotel in Westwood has a bar/lounge called Whiskey Blue that has a DJ and pretty cool interior design as well as bliss spa.
When you want to go out for a drink or grab a bite to eat, you will probably be walking to Westwood Village, which has a plethora of dining and entertainment options. Consider yourself lucky, because parking in Westwood Village can be a real bear. Historic landmarks in Westwood include old art deco theaters Fox Theater and Bruin Theater which occasionally play host to a big Hollywood movie premier. There is UCLA’s Royce Hall which has performances from all over the world including: Speakers, Opera, Ballet, Symphony, and jazz. UCLA also hosts the UCLA Film Festival and Jazz Reaggea fest each year and has a wonderful extension program.
Westwood Village has three major grocery chains: Ralphs, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s and a Target, so the day to day chores are easy. In addition since you are in Westwood, there is excellent Persian food everywhere, especially on Westwood Blvd.
Berber Carpet, well lit hallway
Park Westwood Tower has 135 condos that are one bedroom floorplans and two bedroom floorplans ranging in price from $400,000 to $600,000. The architecture of the building is midcentury which corresponds with the year it was built in 1961.
Units can vary quite a lot of finish quality, many have been updated. The kitchen is right off the front door and its a U shaped kitchen that opens with a breakfast bar into a large combined living room/dining room area. Corner units will get windows on both sides, interior units will only have a floor to ceiling sliding glass door at the opposite side of the living room.
This balcony has been enclosed or extra living space
Originally built with balconies, many owners have enclosed the balconies to get more square footage. This square footage is not reflected in the public records so be aware of that when you are looking, the condo might be slighly bigger than advertised.
(84) 1 bedrooms ranging in size from 650 sqft to 800 sqft
(51) 2 bedrooms ranging in size from 900 sqft to 1,000 sqft
All condos are single story and have low cielings.
most of hte balconies are enclosed now since they are little units this makes sense
Turnover Ratio: 5%
-Heated Swimming Pool + Spa
There is no Gym
Parking & Laundry
1 Parking space for 1bedrooms and 2 parking spaces for 2 bedrooms in subterraine gated parking garage. Laundry isCommunity laundry in a laundry room. Is Laundry allowed to be installed inside the unit?