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New Electric Buses Debut in Los Angeles TODAY

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This is super exciting news for Los Angeles, with yet another great step in the direction of a more environmentally sound city. Speaking of helping the environment, don’t forget to subscribe to the LA Home Girl Blog to get a FREE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG. To hear more about what is so great about living in Los Angeles these days, contact the LA Home Girl and we’ll chat about the new and improved LA. 

Here is the info on the new electric buses below: 

 

LADOT TO TEST ELECTRIC BUSES ON BUSY DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES DASH


LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
 
 (February 19, 2014) – The first pure electric, emissions free bus to be demonstrated in Southern California will hit the streets of Downtown Los Angeles on Monday, February 24, 2014. The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) has partnered with BYD Motors of Lancaster, California and Shenzhen, China for a 90-day trial placing the bus into service on LADOT’s popular DASH Downtown LA service that carries an average of 29,000 riders each weekday.

LADOT has had a two decade commitment to clean air buses according to its Transit Executive James Lefton, “Over the past two decades, LADOT has piloted the use of almost every fuel type that offered the promise of low or zero emissions. From Liquefied Propane to Compressed Natural Gas, that powers our current fleet, LADOT has sought those technologies that delivered significant air quality benefits.”

BYD, which stands for Build Your Dreams, is a publicly traded, privately owned manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, buses and advanced technology. United States investors, including Warren Buffett, own over 60% of BYD’s stock.BYD pure electric buses have been successfully demonstrated in New York,London, Paris, Madrid and Barcelona. BYD Pure Electric Buses have been in revenue service since August 2012 in Shenzhen, China.

LADOT’s Lefton said, “Downtown DASH LA service is very demanding with multiple stops and large passenger loads. Should the BYD buses perform well under these conditions, it will prove to be very influential in LADOT’s decision to adopt the pure electric technology.”

DASH Downtown LA provides circulator bus services over five routes that connect the majority of points of interest in Downtown Los Angeles. In addition to DASH DowntownLA service, LADOT also provides DASH service to 27 neighborhoods in the City. Other bus services operated by LADOT include Commuter Express service to and from Downtown, the San Fernando Valley and the Westside as well as Cityride transportation services for seniors and the mobility challenged.LADOT is the second largest transit provider in Los Angeles County carrying more than 26 million annual riders.For information about LADOT transit services, visit ladottransit.com or call the LADOT Transit Store at (213, 310, 323 or 818-808-2273.

5 Ways to Research Local Real Estate

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Books by Junior Libby

Whether you’re deep into the process, or just starting, it’s important to know what your options are for researching local real estate. Even if you have someone as awesome as The LA Home Girl in your corner, it’s still important to be informed. Here are some ways to go about researching your local real estate market. (Also, read on to learn how to get your FREE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG)

1. Call an Agent

No matter what your researching skills are, the fastest way to find information about the local real estate market will always be by talking to your trusted real estate professional. We have access to special listing services, in-depth market research services, and we stay on top of it all day because that’s a huge part of our job. If you’re looking for information on the real estate market in Los Angeles, especially on the east side in neighborhoods like Silver Lake, Echo Park, Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Atwater Village, Los Feliz, and Downtown Los Angeles, please give the LA Home Girl a call.

2. Go Online

If you think you should do some research on your own first, it may sound obvious, but you can get a decent sense of the market by looking at some free services offered on some real estate sites. On The LA Home Girl Blog, we offer a wide variety of local real estate news, fun neighborhood information, and advice to both home sellers and buyers. If you want to learn more about how to do research online, send us a quick message at the LA Home Girl. Also, if you subscribe to our blog, you get a FREE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG.

3. Pick Up an Actual Newspaper

Real estate news is printed every day, so even if you just go headline hunting, at least you’ll get a sense of what’s going on. Also, people still post real estate in the classifieds in print, and this is a very easy way to measure what’s going for sale in your area.

4. The County Assessor’s Office

You can get detailed market statistics often from your local government, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and grab some material at your local offices.

5. Speak to An Appraiser

You’d be surprised how much you can learn with a simple polite phone call to an appraiser or even an email. They must stay current with local trends in the marketplace, so you might be able to squeeze out some free advice. Obviously, if you’re selling a home, you would want to talk to an appraiser anyway.  

 

For more information on the Los Angeles real estate market, please feel free to contact the LA Home Girl. We look forward to hearing from you. 

Valentine’s Day Hangover: 3 Ways LA Home Girl Can Help

LA Home Girl

Heartbreak by Milana B

So yesterday was Valentine’s Day, which had some of us enjoying a nice dinner with our partner and then binge-watching Justified episodes, some of us were found stalking the ice cream isles at Von’s at 2AM, and some of us just…just….don’t remember anything.

For all of you, no matter how you spent your Valentine’s Day, here’s how the LA Home Girl can get you rejuvenated for this long weekend ahead of us…and beyond.

3. Go Get Healthy Food, and Use Our FREE Grocery Bag!

Valentine’s Day is yet another reason to pig out on chocolate and other sweets. As long as it’s shaped like a heart, we’re all like “well, I obviously can’t eat this on any other day, so I might as well kill it all today, right? I’m right. I know I am.”

Now, as you read this, you feel that lethargic awfulness that comes from failing to give your body anything that, ironically, actually helps your heart. At LA Home Girl, we’re giving away a FREE SHOPPING BAG if you subscribe to the LA Home Girl BLOG. I promise that if you take the bag and go fill it with healthy foods, just one bag, and pig out on the healthiness for just one day, you will feel better!

2. “Wait, Come Back, I Swear This is Just Temporary!”

If you’re a working man, with a good job, and you still live in an apartment or frat-like house with seven guys…and you’re looking for the answer to why you got dumped on Valentine’s Day…I have the answer for you. You’re girlfriend doesn’t want to have a “romantic home-cooked meal” on the balcony of your apartment while your roommates play Mario kart and shout obscenities.

It’s time for you to get your own place. You can afford it, you can do it, just talk to the LA Home Girl, and we’ll help you out. We specialize in first time home buyers.

1. The Real New Year’s Resolution

New Year’s resolutions sometimes take about a month and a half for them to really kick in, or rather, you realize by then what you really need to focus on. This is no coincidence. On Valentine’s Day, sometimes your priorities start to become a bit more focused. You need get yourself in order before somebody is going to want to spend the rest of their life with you.

Where do you want to be in five years? Where do you want to put down some roots and get serious? Are you living where you want to be living? These are questions that the LA Home Girl can help you answer. Sometimes a fresh start is best in a new neighborhood, with new fun places to go, a new vibe, and better yet…new men. Talk to the LA Home Girl about getting your real 2014 fresh start going. We have amazing places waiting for you in the hippest hoods in the city of Los Angeles, and we’re excited to show you how easy it is to get your life started where YOU want to start it. 

Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles: 5 Best Romantic Restaurants East of Hollywood

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Red Rose – Valentine’s Day by George Hodan

If you live on the East Side of Los Angeles in neighborhoods like Silver Lake, Echo Park, Los Feliz, Atwater Village, Eagle Rock, Franklin Village or even Downtown, you’re likely looking for the perfect restaurant for Valentine’s Day. You’re also probably trying to stay clear of Hollywood, or anything where you have to go through Hollywood, because we all know February 14th is a disaster on the roads and in the busy restaurants of WeHo and Beverly Hills.

You can get the same, if not better dining experience in a more intimate and fun setting on the east side. Here are five of the best restaurants for Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles for all you east siders.

5. Masa of Echo Park

If you’re looking for a chill spot with a unique décor and great food for an affordable price, Masa of Echo Park is perfect. They have a wonderful menu, a fun and casual setting, and the best Chicago style deep dish pizza in Los Angeles.

4. Desert Rose

If you want a beautiful table outside and some of the best gourmet Mediterranean in the area, Desert Rose on Hillhurst Ave in Los Feliz is the place. Feed each other olives and always look at the dessert menu.

3. Blair’s

Blair’s is a hidden gem on Rowena near the Ivanhoe school. It’s classy and cozy, and you’ll find some of the best sharing appetizers around. The Albacore Tuna entrée is amazing. Get drinks at Edendale across the street to set the mood.

2. Cliff’s Edge

For a very unique, nature adjacent dining experience you need to check out the sign-less Cliff’s Edge on Sunset Ave near Sunset Junction. You’ll walk through a bar setting with a western theme to the crazy back patio with trees growing up, terraced seating built into the side of the hill, and an incredible ambiance. The food is actually good too!

1. Figaro Café

On Vermont Ave in Los Feliz, Figaro is a beautiful sidewalk style French restaurant will all the vintage Paris-like atmosphere you can find in Los Angeles. The food is stellar, and the romance is abundant. Split the Mussels and drink up on fine wines.

Let’s chat more about our awesome neighborhoods!! At the LA Home Girl, we’re always ready to talk about cool places to live on the east side of Los Angeles, so give us a call or send us a message.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

3 Frequently Asked Questions by Home Buyers

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Why Should I Buy a Home Instead of Rent?

The simple answer is…a home is an investment. When you rent, your monthly check disappears and is gone forever. When you own a home, you can deduct the cost of mortgage from your federal income taxes, and a lot of times from your state taxes. This of course saves a lot of dough each year. You can also deduct the property taxes you pay as a homeowner. The value of your home may also go up over the years, adding to your investment. Outside of the financial advantages, it’s nice to enjoy something that is really yours. You can add your own personal style and really make it feel like a true home.

Can I Own a Home Even if My Credit is Poor?

Just because you have bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean you cannot become a homeowner. Many mortgage loan officers will inform you of different kinds of loans people can get who have credit challenges. Before you look into that, check your credit report. Check for any possible errors, pay all your bills on time, and make sure you’re aware of how and when you use your credit cards. Try to avoid using companies that offer credit repair for a fee.

Should I Use a Real Estate Agent When Buying a Home?

This is a crucial part of the home buying process. You want to find someone who will get to know you and understand your real needs as a potential home buyer. You can tell right away when an agent is looking out for their own interests, and not just yours, because that agent will likely be showing you homes they need to get rid of, or homes that have a high cost, that don’t fit within the qualifications you set originally.

Give The LA Home Girl a call, send a message here, or stop by our offices at the location shown below. We specialize in first time home buyers, and try our best to get to know our home seekers. We also just enjoy chatting informally about different neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, and what places might fit your needs.

We look forward to hearing from you. 

Kenya Reeves-Costa
Keller Williams Realty Los Feliz
1660 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Office: 323.300.1115
Fax: 323.446.7415

LADOT’s People St — New Places for Pedestrians to Take Over the Street

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Courtesy of LADOT

Yet another amazing thing the city of Los Angeles is doing to make this a better city for everyone to enjoy. Please check out the awesome new concept of “People St.” below. If you’d like to talk more about living in Los Angeles, give us a shout at the LA Home Girl. We’re proud to talk neighborhoods, homes, shops, schools, or anything else you’d want to chat about regarding our wonderful city and it’s incredible places to live .

Here is the story on “People St” –

Communities can transform underused areas of L.A.’s largest public asset—our 7,500 miles of city streets—into vibrant and accessible public space with People St, a program of the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT).

“People St is a bottom-up, community-based approach to improving our neighborhoods and changing the way Angelenos interact with their built environment,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti.  “It is fitting that such an innovative program will be taking root here in Los Angeles.  I’m proud of our engineers and project managers for making this possible, but no one knows what a neighborhood needs more than the Angelenos who live there.  I’m looking forward to hearing their ideas and seeing the results transform our city.”

What it is:

People St is an application program for eligible Community Partners to propose locations for three innovative types of projects: Plazas, Parklets and Bicycle Corrals.Projects are installed below the curb in underused roadway to bring public space into our neighborhoods.

Learn more about the three project types here.  

How to start:

Visit peoplest.lacity.org to download applications, guidance on the application process, and the materials and tools for partnering with the City to launch these projects. Applications will be accepted during designated windows.

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For more information:

People St is hosting a series of information seminars for interested Community Partners. Take a look in advance at the materials posted on peoplest.lacity.org and join us at one of the following locations:

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For questions on People St including the viability of potential project sites, please submit via the inquiry form here.  

People St, LADOT, and the City of Los Angeles would like to send a warmhearted thank you to the many dedicated city staff superstars, elected officials, designers, and community participants who have contributed to the formalization of this program. 
See you on People St!

As a covered entity under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the City of Los Angeles does not discriminate on the basis of disability and, upon request, will provide reasonable accommodation to ensure equal access to its programs, services and activities. 

 

Press release provided by:

Los Angeles Department of Transportation
100 S Main St, 10th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 972-8470

A Beach in Silver Lake? Not Impossible!

Hipster Beach

A conceptual rendering courtesy swimsilverlake.org

For a long time Silver Lake residents have gazed upon the Silver Lake reservoir on a hot day and wondered what it would be like to go for a quick swim in the cool water that lies just steps from their home. Now, thanks to a crazy idea by local resident Catherine Geanuracos, the concept of an open swim area and even a BEACH is now actually being considered. An idea so crazy…it just might work.

The concept would transform the Ivanhoe Reservoir portion on the northern end, the slightly smaller section, into a place with swim lanes, a separated lake for viewing and swimming, and a beach-like sandy space for sunbathing and acoustic guitar playing.

The project is called “Silver Lake Plunge”, although it is also jokingly being called “Hipster Beach”. Whatever the name is, local folks are kind of amped about the idea. However, it will take years to realize if it does get approved. That being said, now is the best time to think about it because of the proposed changes to the reservoir. Since they are planning on taking the reservoirs “offline” as water supplies due to new federal regulations, now is the time for future planning, no matter how idealistic.

If you’d like to learn more about living around the Silver Lake Reservoir, the lake in Echo Park, or any other east side neighborhood gems, please contact the LA Home Girl. We’re always happy to chat about these amazing areas. We live here, and we work here, so we know our neighborhoods well.

Also, don’t forget to subscribe to this blog for a FREE reusable shopping bag!

Crime in Los Angeles Down to Lowest Level in Decades

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Los Angeles is a big city with a lot of history and a lot of cultural and economic diversity. There’s no reason to hide the fact that Los Angeles has faced issues with crime in the past, and many people who live outside the city assume Los Angeles is still riddled with crime.

According to recent numbers, serious crime has dropped for the eleventh straight year in Los Angeles to 40-year lows. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced this trend about a week ago.

Here are the numbers from Reuters:

“Los Angeles, the second-biggest U.S. city with a population of nearly 3.9 million, recorded 251 murders in 2013, down from 299 the year before, according to the mayor’s office. Rapes dropped to 639 from 936, and total violent crime was down 12 percent over the same period.”

And here is the quote from Mayor Garcetti in response to the statistics:

“I’m proud of these statistics, but it’s what’s behind the numbers that’s truly important — the streets that have been reclaimed, the parks that are once again open to our kids, the lives that have been saved”.

This is all good news for people who currently live in Los Angeles, but also for people who are thinking about living here. The trend is moving in the right direction. If you’d like to learn more about these statistics, where the best and safest neighborhoods are to live in Los Angeles, or just chat in general about Los Angeles, please contact the LA Home Girl, and we’ll be happy talk LA with you.

Also, remember to subscribe to our blog in the top right for a FREE reusable shopping bag, a crucial tool for any true Los Angeles resident. You will also receive updates from our blog on real estate news, neighborhood news, and other fun Los Angeles happenings.

3 Frequently Asked Questions by Home Sellers

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Sold Sign Wood Background by Karen Arnold

1. What do I do before I sell my home?

Determining your budget first is important. You need to establish an amount of money you can spend on selling your home. For example, if you plan on fixing up your home, staging your home, etc., you will need a budget for that. Also, prepare yourself. You’re going to want to be flexible once you meet with your agent, but also knowledgeable of normal protocol. You and your agent should sit down and discuss all initial steps before moving forward. At The LA Home Girl, we pride ourselves in establishing relationships with our sellers before moving forward.

 2. How do I determine how much my house is worth?

First of all, any number you get from an appraiser is an estimate. You can get a Comparative Market Analysis, which is an informal estimate of the value based on recent selling prices of similar homes in the neighborhood. You can certainly get as many opinions as you wish, if you want to spend the money, but ultimately the value is determined by what an informed and unbiased buyer will pay for it.

3. Do I have to disclose information about my house?

Property Disclosure may protect you from a lawsuit.  In today’s market, home sellers are required to fill out a form disclosing material facts about their homes.  These are details about the home’s legal status or condition, and the age of various components.  Information regarding the electrical, plumbing, appliances, HVAC, and the roof are often included in Property Disclosure Forms. The idea is to make the potential buyer aware of any structural or safety issues.

If you would like to find more answers to more questions about selling a home, please feel free to contact the LA Home Girl. We specialize in first timers, so don’t worry, all questions are good questions. 

Eagle Rock Second Hottest Neighborhood of 2014

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That’s right, continuing the trend set by Highland Park, yet another suburb of Downtown Los Angeles finds its way onto the top list of hot neighborhoods for real estate. Redfin, a listing site known for their rankings, named Eagle Rock their second “hottest” neighborhood just behind San Francisco’s Bernal Heights North Slope.

The criteria that put Eagle Rock ahead of the pack included reasonable prices, short commute, and a high amount of interest shown online. There is also input from real estate agents considered.

Eagle Rock does have some great qualities that you won’t find in the listings. Here are a few tidbits: Swirl coffee is a cool place and has amazing art on the walls, the Oinkster has some of the best pastrami ever, and Eagle Rock has phenomenal Christmas lights north of Colorado.

Plus, it’s true, the homes are still affordable!

If you’d like to chat more about Eagle Rock, or other nearby neighborhoods, please contact The LA Home Girl. Kenya Reeves, THE LA Home Girl herself, used to live in Eagle Rock!

Also, don’t forget to sign up with our blog and get your FREE REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG

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