Bird Streets Blog


The city of Los Angeles requires retrofit certification for all property sold. If your property doesn’t meet the retrofit requirements, you won’t be able to close escrow until you have a licensed plumber/contractor/ or retrofit company fix those items, and fill out a Retrofit Certificate of Complaince.

The retrofit ordance is a water conservation program designed to conserve water and reduce wastewater flow to the sewage system.

The Retrofit Ordance Requires:

Ultra Low Flow Toilets (1.6 Gallon Flush)

If your home was built before 1994 and has not been sold for twenty years it probably has 3.5 gallon toilets. You can check if your toilet is low flow by taking off the tank lid and look for a label stating “This toilet complies with ASME/ANSI A112.19.2M”.





If there is no label there, sometime there is a manufacterer’s stamp at the base of the toilet will indicate whether it is low flow or not.



The cost to replace an old toilet with a new low flow is $250.

Low Flow Shower heads allow a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. Shower heads only cost ~$25.

Carbon monoxide detectors/smoke detectors

Law requires that all homes have smoke detectors in sleeping areas (defined as a room with a closet) and all areas giving access to those sleeping areas (Hallways). Single family homes may install battery operated smoke detectors.


cost ~$80 each

Multifamily dwellings and condominiums must have hard wired smoke detectors with battery backups.



Cost ~$150-200

Have you ever heard an annoying beep in a house every 10 seconds and wonder what it is? That is a low battery beep on a battery operated smoke detector. All you need to do to make it stop is replace the batteries.


Seismic Gas Shutoff Valves

Los Angeles has active earthquake faults. Seismic Gas Shutoff Valves shut off the flow of natural gas during a major earthquake to prevent fire or explosion. The valve will automatically shut off gas service during an earthquake of 5.4+ magnitude. About one in four fires after an earthquake is related to natural gas leaks. Los Angeles requires automatic gas shutoff devices to be present or installed at the time of sale or during significant renovations.



Automatic gas shutoff valves are installed on buildings’ gas house line (the pipe between the gas meter and the building). About one in four fires after an earthquake is related to natural gas leaks.

Cost $300.

Water Heating Bracing

Waterheaters can tip over during an earthquake and cause fire. The strapping or bracing requirement is designed to prevent this. It is strongly recommended to have flexible connectors to the water heater.



2 straps cost $100

Window Glasing

Big living room windows require window glasing to prevent them from shattering during an earthquake.



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9A Report

The 9A report is a statutory disclosure during escrow.  Escrow orders the 9A report from the city- they can order it two ways, by mail or online. Mail takes 7-10 business days, online 3-4 business days. To order by mail requires a personal check, ordering online works with a credit card. This is the link to order a 9A report online: (click Request for RPR). The report costs $70.20. This is typically a seller side closing cost.

The main thing I look for on the 9A report is if the property has any special tax assessments. Paragraph VI B. of the 9A report is what you want to look at to check if there are any special tax assessments. At the bottom of the liens and assessments, make sure the property is “cleared of all items“. This means that there are no special tax assessments.

A9 report los angeles

9A Report


In addition to assessment information the 9A report also has information on certificates of occupany, zoning, sewer permit, and an owner’s declaration that indicates retrofit compliance. These items are covered in other inspections and reports so they aren’t important.

Paragraph IV B shows if there is a certificate of occupancy for the property and how many have been issued. The 9A report usually has all certificate of occupancy issued attached to the end of the report. In the below example 3 CofO’s were issued for the property.  

CO in 9A report

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The Mumbai monstrosity: The First $1 Billion Home? by Patrick Rizzo

This is not what India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was talking about when he called in 2007 for India’s business leaders “to eschew conspicuous consumption.”

The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday that the richest man in India, who is also the fourth richest man in the world, just moved into what is likely one of the priciest pads on the globe: a 630 million pound ($1.08 billion), 27-storey-tall monstrosity in Mumbai.

Here’s what Mukesh Ambani, head of Reliance Industries, and his brood got for that price tag, according to the Telegraph: A health club with a gym and dance studio; at least one studio; a ballroom; guestrooms; a 50-seat movie theater; and three pads for helicopters (to fly over Mumbai’s legendary traffic) and underground parking for 160 cars (in case people simply must drive in Mumbai).

It has more space than the Palace at Versailles and takes 600 staff to run, the Telegraph reported. Ambani dubbed the home Antilia after a legendary island in the Altantic that may have driven Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors to search for cities of gold in the Americas.

Why does 53-year-old Ambani’s home cost so much? Location, location, location. The Guardian newspaper says it cost $70.4 million to build, but Mumbai’s soaring land prices have driven the estimated price up many times that.

How’s that for conspicuous?

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Have you seen the recent Nor Cal News story about a Gasline Explosion destroying 20 some homes?

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You might be asking if your home is nearby a major gas pipe line- Southern California Gas Company controls all the gas pipelines in Los Angeles and they have a very helpful interactive map on their website that you can use to check it and find out:

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How to turn a 30 Year Fixed Mortgage into a 15 Year Fixed

Many buyers are torn between getting a lower monthly payment and longer term length of a 30 year fixed, or getting a lower interest rate and pay less interest on a 15 year fixed. Depending on your financial situation, I usually recommend to go with a 30 year fixed- the reason is that you can turn a 30 year fixed into a 15 year fixed without refinancing but once you get the 15 year fixed you are stuck with the higher payment.

All you have to do to turn your 30 year fixed mortage into a 15 is make an additional payment each year- to determine the size of the extra contribution each year you will need a mortgage calculator- I like’s mortgage calculator:

Step 1:
First we will need to know how much Principal is remaining to pay off. If you haven’t started paying yet that’s easy- its whatever the loan is for. If you have made a few years of payments already- no problem, your monthly statement will have your principal balance on it- or you can calculate how much principal is remaining by putting your numbers into that handy bankrate mortgage calculator above to figure out what your principal balance is. You will need to know your loan amount, interest rate, and how many payments you have made so far or the date of your first payment. Create an amortization table by clicking the [Show/Recalculate Amortization Table] blue button. Then find the payment number or date that you are currently at and on the column farthest to the left labeled “Balance” will show our remaining principal. Pretty easy so far!

Step 2:
Determine what the 30 year monthly payment is. In the example used herewe assume 600K purchase price, with 20% down for a mortgage balance of 480,000 at 6% interest. The monthly payment is $2,877

Step 3:
Determine what the 15 year monthly payment is. For the same example as used in step 2, the monthly payment for 15 years is $4,050

Step 4:

Minus the 30 year payment from the 15 year payment to determine the difference- in this case its $4,050 – $2,877 = $1,173. $1,173 is your magic number, if you add that amount to each payment you make each month you will have turned your 30 year into a 15 year.

Knowing how to do this calculation, you can now determine how to turn a 30 year fixed into any number of years by calculating the difference in payments.

On an aside note: The fact of the matter when it comes to investing is that- to invest well takes a lot of research and homework, and the very best on the planet routinely get 24% returns, the good get 7%, and everyone else swings around wildly, and in some cases loses their ENTIRE principal for a total loss. By paying down your mortgage more quickly you are getting a guaranteed return that you are unlikely to beat in the market on your own, or having someone invest for you (unless they are a top fund manager.) Paying down your mortgage may not be the sexiest investment, but it’s hard to beat a guaranteed 6%.

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Rod’s Autotech

Rods Autotech and marine


999 N. La Brea Ave


Located near the Corner of La Brea and Romaine is Rod’s Autotech- Rods is the second automotive shop in from the corner, to the north of the Rods is the South Parking entrance to Target/Best Buy. I had difficulty finding Rods the first time I went there because the address, 999 N La Brea, suggests that Rod’s has frontage on La Brea, but Rod’s is actually on Romaine. Rod’s has been there for over 20 years. Rod does excellent work and is a very savvy Mechanic. I recommend Rod’s to everyone. Rod’s is the best! You won’t find a more reasonable, honest, and skilled mechanic. When I pic up my car, I always try to shake Rods hand out of habit, but because Rod has been working with the cars and he doesn’t want to get my hand dirty, Rod gives me a fist pound 🙂


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