4 Tips For Protecting Your Home When You Are Away

4 Tips For Protecting Your Home When You Are Away

When we go on a vacation, the last thing we want is the neighborhood to know. Here are 10 simple tips on how to make your home less of a target when you are away: Don’t post on facebook/social media while you are away. While it is hard to not update your status, try to let everyone know after you have gotten back from your trip. Ask neighbors to speriodically park cars in your driveway. People will see cars there-and not there, making it appear you are home. Continue with yard work and  have someone grab your mail. Make everything appear normal, not a vacant house with papers laying in the front. Leave a light or two on. While it will waste electricity, it will also make it appear someone is home. By doing one, or four of these tips it will appear that someone is home while you are away. In turn, making it less of a target!  ...

Los Angeles Home Market Recap for July

California housing prices increased by more than 30 percent in June, with inventory rising slightly in what is considered an encouraging sign for the market, a trade association said Tuesday. Rising home prices may encourage more owners to put their properties up for sale in the coming months, but June’s inventory level is still well below the six- or seven-month supply considered normal.   The tight inventory and increased buyer competition has driven down the time properties stay on the market compared with a year ago. In June, homes sold in a median of 27.7 days, up slightly from 27.1 days in May but down from 43.5 days in June 2012. Along with home prices, interest rates may be on the rise. Interest rates are now putting some pressure on the market. The rate on a 30-year mortgage was in the 3.5 percent range until the middle of last month, then spiked above 4 percent shortly after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the agency may reduce its economic stimulus and possibly stop it entirely next year. He then backed off, saying last week the economy needs the Fed’s help for the “foreseeable future,” and rates dropped a bit. For the full article Click Here to be linked to Press Telegram of Long...

Great News! 51-Mile LA River Bike Path Moving Forward!

Wow- great news! A plan for a 51 Mile bike path has been approved along the Los Angeles River. With major corporate funding from the likes of NBC Universal, it sounds like it will actually become reality by the end of the decade, with “pedestrian and bike-friendly paths…bike shops, kayak rentals, and eateries along the way.” Will this be LA’s version of NY’s High Line trail? If so, ours will be 50 miles longer! More info...

18 Places to See Outdoor Movies this Summer

It’s hard to believe we are almost halfway through the summer! Angelenos love movies, and we have great weather… a combination which has inspired many locations offering summertime outdoor movies. It’s still not too late to catch one in your neighborhood. We are particularly fond of Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, (A really unique setting for a movie!) and the Silverlake Picture Show. It’s not too late to catch a film under the stars! Here is a link to 18 spots for great outdoor...

West Hollywood hosts A City Wide Yard Sale

If you are looking for some furniture to furnish your new house, check out West Hollywood this weekend. Residents can sell or recyle unwanted items during the city’s “WehoGrnWknd” on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21. West Hollywood hosts a citywide yard sale on one weekend ech yaer and allows residents to promote their sales by listing the location and time on www.weho.org. If you want to participate(to sell items), you must follow a few steps: register with the city obtain correct permits Additionally, to help out even more, the city is sponsering a free document shredding and elecronic waste collection on Saturday, July 20th from ( a.m. to 3 p.p. at West hollywood City Hall, 8300 Santa Monica Blvd. For information and registration, contact the city’s Office of Enviromental Services at 323-848-6404 or visit www.weho.org/wehogrnwknd   And for a map of where all of the selling locations are located, click here or below on the map.   Link to website:...

Just Sold! Above Asking- 17954 Medley Drive, Encino

Seldom does a home of this quality and taste come on the market. This striking Contemporary design has a fluid floor plan, high ceilings to capture all the natural light, gallery walls and rich organic vistas from every window. The finishes are breathtaking, marble, granite, hardwoods and high end appliances. The living room, dining room and family room flow seamlessly allowing for large family gatherings and parties. The cook’s kitchen is a perfect indoor outdoor component of the house with ample breakfast area. There are 4 bedrooms, a sumptuous master suite, 3 additional baths, plus a powder room, huge closets and a 3-car garage. The yard is lush and green and the pool, a swimmers delight! This home will not disappoint the fussiest...

6 Thoughts For A First Time Homebuyer

  Getting ready to buy a house can be a scary thing. Here are six ways finding your dream home is less scary: Plan to stay put for the next 5 years. It pays to be stable. Purchasing a house is a no-brainer as a long-term investment.  Factor in the tax break. With deductions, a $3,000 mortgage payment could be reduced to $2,000 after taxes. Do the reseach. Zillow, redfin, and other real estate sites give you a sense of the market.  But if you really want to find the best deals, the agents here at Sheltr Group such as Patricia Hodson, Jodi Rubin, or Kevin and Jovana Keyser can help you out! Rate your needs. You want an easy commute, great schools, but cannot be a modern building. Make a short list of must-haves and not-haves, and stick to it. Make a 20% downpayment. It sounds like a bit much, but any amount less than that means you will need mortgage insurance, which runs an extra $200 – $300 per month. Over time, that adds up to more than if you would have saved and scrounged for the original chunk! Learn your limits.  Every last one of them. Principle, interest, taxes and insurance–should not exceed 45-50% of your income. Find the perfect place can be hard, stressful and full of bumps. Knowing what you want, and how you want it before going into the deal making process will help alleviate the unknown of what lies ahead. If you have any questions, or are interested in the first step, give us a call at...

A Collection of LA’s Cell-Phone Tower “Trees”

While the “Hollywood” sign may be the most iconic image of Los Angeles, an argument can be made that the proliferation of cell phone towers “hidden in plain sight” as trees is perhaps the most fitting illustration of our citywide addiction to portable communication.  Because most people don’t want a giant cell tower in their backyard, many companies have gone out of their way to make new towers look “natural.” So whether you have noticed or not, fake palm trees and fake pine trees are a big part of our cityscape these days, and can be found in many different neighborhoods… because people hate dropped calls even more than they hate fake trees. Local photographer Emily Shur’s new series “Nature Calls,” takes a look at the often-silly attempts to hide (in plain sight) these giant, and sometimes silly, towers.  You can take a look at her pictures...

Where to See Parades and Fireworks Today

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is reminding people in the Hollywood Hills and elsewhere that fireworks are strictly forbidden in hillside areas due to extremely dry conditions. But there are plenty of other places you can celebrate our nation’s Independence, with parades and fireworks throughout the Greater Los Angeles area. For daytime fun, Pacific Palisades has a large, fun parade every year, and actor Ed Asner will be the Grand Marshall of this year’s parade, which starts at 2pm. There are also large parades in Santa Monica, Westchester, and Huntington Beach, where “Hulk” star Lou Ferrigno will make an appearance. Hopefully loud noises don’t make him angry. Once the sun goes down, there are also many places to see fireworks, with some of the largest shows in Downtown Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Calabasas, Marina Del Rey, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Don’t forget to keep your pets indoors, in a quiet room, as many pets can be scared and disoriented by loud fireworks! For a list of today’s parades and fireworks, click on this link....

Gardening with Dogs

  After purchasing your dream home, one of the first things you might start thinking about is landscaping and gardening. And as most of us have dogs, there is are special considerations you need to make while thinking about changing the outdoor environment of your home. An article in “The Poppy Print” by Madena Asbell highlighted some of the tips and tricks she learned over 15 years of gardening and dogs. Here are a couple hints that may help you out:   Before designing your garden, watch your dog’s habits. They have probably already established their own paths. They may also have favorite areas to dig. Design around them. Dogs like to patrol perimeters. It’s their job. When planting along property edges, leave space between the plans and the fence line so your dog can make its rounds. In high traffic areas, use plants that are resilient if stepped on. These include: Baccharis Pilularis ‘Pigeon Point’ or ‘Twin Peaks’, Ceanothus groundcovers, Arctostaphylos groundcovers, Achillea millefolium and Frangaia. Avoid planting grass with awns, such as Aristida and Nassella. Awns are seed heads that can get stuck in a dog’s fur, throat or snout. Better choices are Festuca californica, Muhlenbergia rigens and Elymus ‘Canyon Prince’. Avoid plants that are toxic to dogs, in particular Vitis, Datura and Lupine. For a list of plant (native and non-native) that are toxic to pets, go here: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/plants/. Certain plants react poorly to dog urine. These include: Penstemon, heuchera and Woodwardia. Cage all new plants until established. This will protect them from being stepped or peed on until the plant is large enough tot withstand it....