Friday, January 22, 2016

Just Listed! Charming home with great schools!

2751 Mary Street, La Crescenta
Charming and surprisingly private home with great access to shopping and transportation. The lot slopes up from the street with steps at the front, but grade level access to the rear. You enter the home from a trellis covered patio and find an inviting living room with hardwood floor and a wood burning fireplace. The master bedroom has two closets, mountain views and features a bright and airy bathroom. The other two bedrooms share a bathroom, note that the third bedroom lacks a closet, but it does have sliding doors leading to the rear yard and access to the kitchen. The kitchen features a center island and access to the side yard. The seller is relocating and the Stove, Fridge, Washer, Dryer and BBQ are all included without warranty. The long driveway affords plenty of off-street parking and access to the detached two car garage. Between the house and the garage is a shady, covered patio ideal for summer barbeques. There is plenty of storage under the house with easy access. The AC unit is new and the roof has been recently replaced. There is copper piping throughout and a low maintenance yard with automatic sprinklers. La Crescenta also enjoys some of the best public schools in California.

Click here for more information.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Patio Shade Ideas Under $300

By: Jan Soults Walker

Not all shady deals are bad. These patio shade projects are each under $300.

If you hop-skip like a rookie firewalker across your sun-drenched patio, then patio shade projects are probably a hot priority.
But there’s no reason to get burned on price; you’ll find plenty of low-cost shade-giving options to cool your tootsies.

If you’re looking for shade beyond the typical market umbrellas ($45) and freestanding gazebo kits (starting at $200 at home improvement centers), check out these other easy, affordable patio shade projects -- all for under $300:

Tall order: vertical trellis

Even if you have overhead shade, low morning or late afternoon light can make your patio uncomfortably hot in summer. Filter low-flying rays with a vertical trellis for growing leafy climbing plants.

The taller the trellis (60 inches or more), the more time you enjoy in the shade. Plus, an attractive trellis adds structure, lush greenery, and home privacy to your outdoor getaway.

Trellises can be made of weather-resistant wood, metal, PVC, or a combination of materials. Build one from scratch in just a few hours for less than $100 using vertical posts and cross members that plants grip and climb.

Or, make a simple frame and add pre-made garden lattice, $20 for a 4-by-8-foot sheet.

Trellises also come in kits ($40-$250 and up) or ready-made ($15-$200 and up). In an hour or less, you’ll be ready to set the trellis in the ground.

For plants, choose climbing leafy or flowering vines, such as English ivy, golden hop, morning glory, clematis, bougainvillea, or roses. Prices range from $10 to $40 and up for climbers.

Or, start veggie climbers from seed ($1 or less per packet), such as pole beans or sweet peas, and harvest the rewards later.

Patio-dwelling trees

Add leafy shade by planting a sapling or ornamental tree in a container. A small (6-10 feet tall) tree will still throw plenty of shade -- Japanese maples and dwarf red buckeyes are favorites. You’ll pay $40-$100 for a young tree.

Select a container large enough to stabilize the tree so wind won’t blow it over. Add a wheeled base for shade mobility. Fill out with these other ideas for container gardening.

A potted tree requires more care than one in the yard. Feed it monthly during the growing season and water regularly (once or twice a day in dry weather). As your trees grow, transplant them to larger pots. Winter over container trees indoors -- anywhere with ample light and temperatures that won’t drop below 40 degrees.

Potted citrus trees are a beautiful, bountiful option. A lemon tree loves a sunny patio while offering shade and juicy fruits for squeezing. Other fruit-bearing trees include fig and semi-dwarf apple trees.

A potted palm transports your patio to the tropics with wide fronds for dappled shade and an island feel. Chinese windmill, or chusan palm (Trachycarpus), for example, can grow up to 7 feet tall in a container.

Sailing in the shade

Shade sails are triangular or square pieces of high-strength nylon that you suspend over your patio, adding color, pattern, and plenty of shade. The sails require connections to posts, trees, or rigid structural members of your house, such as exposed rafter ends.

A sail with 11-foot sides starts at $40. More expensive shade sails ($170 and up) include hardware (turnbuckles, eye bolts, and cable) for sturdy, wind-resistant installations.

As a frugal alternative, make your own shade sail using a canvas drop cloth ($15 for a 6-ounce, 9-by-12-foot piece). Install grommets ($10 for a kit) at the corners and loop clothesline ($5 for 50 feet) through the grommets.

Shade from the islands

Mix up a mai tai and enjoy a cool respite beneath these tropically inspired patio shade projects:
Top an existing structure, such as a pergola, with reed or bamboo fencing. A 6-by-16-foot roll of bamboo fencing starts at $22. Secure the fencing with galvanized staples or roofing nails.
Thatch panels ($200 for a 12 pack of 4-by-4-foot panels) are typically made from palm fronds cut into strips. Staple or nail the panels to the top of an existing pergola or awning frame for tiki-hut charm.

Friday, July 17, 2015

10 Things a Burglar Doesn’t Want You to Know

By: Jan Soults Walker

Successful burglars have lots in common — homeowners who unwittingly give invitations to robbery. Here’s how thieves thank you for your generosity.

In these 10 thank-you notes, your friendly neighborhood burglars share advice on how to stop lending them a helping hand.

1. Thanks for the ladder!

Call me a social climber if you will, but I did discover a ladder in your back yard. Thank you for leaving it where I could lean it against your home and easily reach a second-story window. I really love it when upper story openings aren’t wired to a home security system!
So, if you want to keep me out, store your ladder in the basement or a locked garage. And call your security company to wire upper-story windows into your alarm system.
Vertically yours, A rising star

2. Loved your trash

Can’t tell you how much fun I have driving around neighborhoods on trash day (especially after big gift holidays) when the empty boxes on the curb reveal what wonderful new toys you have. Your thoughtfulness made it possible for me to land a new laptop and a flat-screen television in one easy trip to your home!
Next time, break down the boxes and conceal them in the recycling or trash bins.
Happy shopping! Curbside Cruiser

3. Dear Can’t-Get-Around-to-It

Recently, I noticed you hadn’t trimmed trees and shrubs around your home, so I knew I’d have a wonderful place to hide while I worked to break into your home. I really can’t thank you enough for all the great new things I grabbed.
Next time, trim back bushes and trees near windows and doors. Make sure entry points to your home are easily visible from the street — I much prefer to work in private! While you’re at it, install motion-sensor lighting. I’m scared of bright lights!
Cordially, The Tree Lover

4. Su casa es mi casa!

I was sincerely relieved to find your back door was a plain wood-panel door. I had no trouble kicking it in (my knees appreciate how easy that was!) Imagine how silly I felt when I discovered that your windows weren’t locked anyway.
You may want to take a cue from your neighbor and install steel-wrapped exterior doors with deadbolts on all your entries. And be sure your windows are locked when you’re away.
All the best, Buster Door

5. Bad reflection on you.

You’d be surprised how many home owners position a mirror in their entry hall so I can see from a window if the alarm system is armed. (Yours wasn’t, but I’m guessing you know that by now!) Thanks for taking a lot of pressure off of me.
A little free advice: Relocate the mirror so your alarm system isn’t visible if someone else would peer through a window.
Fondly, Mr. Peeper

6. The telltale grass

Wow, isn’t it amazing how fast the grass grows these days? I swung by now and then and noticed your lawn was uncut, newspapers were piling up on the front steps, and your shades were always closed. To me, that’s an open invitation.
Next time, hire someone you trust to mow regularly, pick up around the doorstep, open and close various window shades, and turn different lights on and off (or put a few on timers). One more thing: Lock any car you leave in the driveway, or I can use your garage door opener to get in quickly.
Best, Your Trip Advisor

7. Getting carried away

Many thanks for putting your valuables into an easy-to-carry safe that I could carry right out your back door. (Nice jewelry, and thank you for the cash!)
You may want to invest in a wall safe, which I rarely attempt to open. Or, rent a lock box at your bank.
With appreciation, Mr. Safe and Not-So-Sound

8. Dear BFF

Thanks for alerting a professional acquaintance of mine via your social network that you were away for the week in Puerto Vallarta, having the time of your life. Me? I enjoyed a very relaxing visit to your home with no pressure of being caught.
If only you had known that posting comments and photos of your trip on social networks is fine — but do that after you return so you won’t broadcast your absence!
Sincerely, Cyber Savvy

9. Tag, you’re it!

Where are you? When you use popular geo-tracking apps, such as FourSquare and Glympse, I might know if you’re not home. Web sites such as help me keep track of your whereabouts.
If you prefer that I not visit your home, be careful about geo-tagging. But, otherwise, thank you for the loot!
— Just Tagging Along

10. Thanks for the appointment

Thanks for inviting me into your home to view the laptop you wanted to sell. I do apologize for the scare I gave you when I took it (and your purse).
Did you know that some large U.S. cities are averaging one so-called “robbery by appointment” per day? If you want to sell high-ticket items to strangers, I suggest you arrange to meet at the parking lot of your local police station. I definitely won’t show up, and you’ll still have your valuables (and your purse!)
Regards, A Tough Sell

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guest House Construction in Los Angeles

By Romney Tripp

A guest house is a secondary suite that is either detached or attached to a single dwelling home. It usually contains a small bathroom, kitchen and sleeping/living area. Guest homes are starting to become more and more popular in Los Angeles and this has only increased with the recent change in zoning regulations.

Zoning regulations in Los Angeles have recently been amended to allow homeowners to legally build a guest house on their property. Guest house construction can now be completed on R-1 (residential) lots as long as its building requirements are met.

Take a look at the standards homeowners must meet to construct a guest house legally as well as the many benefits of having one on your property.

Benefits of a Guest House

There are many benefits to having an attached or detached guest house next to your home:
A guest house is the perfect place for a young college student who might be going to school nearby and thus live there, or even come by to visit often. Parents like having their children close but when they get to a certain age, the young adults crave privacy. A guest house is the perfect place to give them the privacy they need but still keep them close to you and on your property.

A secondary suite can also be a great place for a homeowner's elderly parents who can no longer live on their own. It allows them to have their own space and feel independent while still remaining close by. This also saves you money as you do not have to pay for their care at a facility for seniors which can be very expensive.

A guest home is the perfect place for your guests to stay while visiting but it can also be used for many other purposes. When not in use by friends or family, it can be the perfect office space, studio or quiet area away from the main home. It only makes sense to make the most use out of your guest house. Furthermore, by doing this you will be adding more living space to your main home. You will no longer need a room in the house for these uses which allows you to utilize the extra space for other purposes.

Additionally, a guest house adds a certain kind of appeal to any property as it makes it larger but also more valuable. By constructing a secondary dwelling on your property, you are not only increasing your main home's living space but also adding to its value and future resale value. Many home buyers are now requesting to only look at homes that have an existing guest house or the space to be able to build one. This trend will only keep increasing as years go by.

L.A. Guest House Construction: Zoning Regulations

Take a look at some of the standards that homeowners and builders must follow when building a second dwelling on their L.A. property.

The guest house:
  • Can't be sold or rented separately
  • Must be built on a property with an existing home on it
  • If it is attached, must not exceed 30% of the main's home living space
  • If it is detached, it must not exceed 1200 sq. ft.
  • Must meet local building code requirements
  • Must have included an additional off-street parking space
All of these standards and more must be met in order to legally build a guest house on a property in Los Angeles. Be sure to hire to a professional building contractor. The expert will help you navigate all of the permits, zoning regulations and building codes you must meet. It will not only save you stress but also time and money. From planning to designing to structural foundations to putting the roof on or even converting a garage into a guest house - a good and reputable contractor will know precisely what is required and how to do it right.

For all your home remodeling needs call Romney Tripp, at 818-841-8600, RWT Design & Construction

Thursday, September 4, 2014

5 Reasons to Live and Buy in the Foothills

  1. Communities

    What image comes to mind when you think of Los Angeles? It is likely to be a faceless tract home in a faceless suburb. Probably a rather negative image, right? Well you’d better rethink that, here along the foothills we have very distinct communities, each with their own character.
  2. Prices

    Not only does each community have its own character, we have a broad range of home values too. For example, in La Canada Flintridge we have homes almost three times the median price in Los Angeles County, whereas in Sunland-Tujunga prices are slightly below the Median.
  3. Traffic

    Los Angeles is the poster child for gridlock, home of the infamous East L.A. Interchange. Don’t get me wrong, of course we have traffic in the Foothills, but we have a whole lot less than most of Los Angeles, and in the 2 Freeway we have a straight shot into the heart of Downtown.
  4. Air Quality

    Although I have been unable to find empirical data; I have two good reasons to suppose that the air is clearer in the Foothills than in the rest of Los Angeles. The first is that this area was historically home to many sanatoriums for the treatment of respiratory disorders, case in point the La Vina development in Altadena is built on just such a site. I can also tell you that the air moving down the canyons makes conditions visibly cleaner than the basin on many days during the year.
  5. The Angeles National Forest

    Possibly the best feature of the Foothills is the Angeles National Forest. This barrier to the North-East sets an absolute limit on development and provides awesome recreation opportunities. It has also led to several of our communities being designated as some of the finest Equestrian communities in the Southland. Plus it’s a joy to drive by on a sunny day!
I will be happy to provide all the information you need to buy or sell real estate in the foothills and surrounding areas. As a long time resident and a knowledgeable REALTOR, I look forward to serving you and will be happy to help at any time. Learn More About Me

Saturday, August 30, 2014

J.D. Power 2014 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study

J.D. Power has announced that CENTURY 21 Real Estate, ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power 2014 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study.
CENTURY 21® Real Estate swept the awards by receiving the highest ranking among national real estate companies across all four customer satisfaction segments in the study, including: First-Time Home-Buyer Satisfaction, Repeat Home-Buyer Satisfaction, First-Time Home-Seller Satisfaction and Repeat Home-Seller Satisfaction.
The video also includes the latest national real estate trends from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Judging Communities by the Coffee Shops

How do you judge different communities? There is of course all sorts of statistical information you can use, another way is to use a totally unscientific approach and gauge neighborhoods by, I don't know, how about Coffee Shops? I think you can tell a lot about communities by looking at their Coffee Shops, so let's look at the foothills using this very subjective approach:
Sierra Madre: "The Only Place in Town" a great name (although there are in fact other places to eat in Sierra Madre), this coffee shop has a nice relaxed atmosphere and a varied menu of burgers, pastas, tacos and omelets. Their Zuchini bread is pretty good too!
Altadena: "Amy's Patio Cafe" is a small restaurant at the corner of Lake and Altadena. It's got a wonderful menu, although my favorites are the home-made desserts!
Pasadena: "Kathleen's Restaurant" it doesn't look like much from the outside, but you have plenty of parking round the back and the food is delicious. My favorite are the home-made soups.
La Canada: "The Dish" what a great place. A very eclectic menu and since they're licensed they also have a great beer and wine list plus some really interesting cocktails.
Montrose: "City Hall Coffee Shop", there is no web site which tells you a lot of what you need to know, it's like a time warp to those pre-internet days. The food is great, but really just you need to soak up the atmosphere. Here's a link to Trip Advisor for the details.
La Crescenta: "Tickle Tree Cafe" definitely a modern, young vibe here, especially after our Montrose stop. A wonderfully varied menu.
Sunland: "Back Door Bakery" this is just darned sad, since just when I came up with this idea for Judging Communities by the Coffee Shops, this place burned down! The owners say they are going to rebuild and I certainly hope it's true, because in the meantime they'll be sorely missed :-(
Shadow Hills: "Rise N Shine Cafe" once again, you're not going to find a web site here, so I included the Yelp page. What you will find is a lot of Western memorabilia, really friendly people and a great menu of home cookin'.
Lake View Terrace: "The Ranch Side Cafe" a friendly spot with a Western style menu, good food and great service.
As I said at the beginning, this is a very subjective survey, but as you'll see from the places I've picked (and eaten at on many occasions) you'll find our Foothill communities to full of great eateries, good food and friendly service. Heck who wouldn't want to live here?