Tag Archives: real estate news

Redistricting Commission finalizes preliminary map | LGBT Weekly

28 Jul

The San Diego Redistricting Commission is expected to release its preliminary map at its July 21 meeting, showing how the City Council districts could be redrawn. The commission is hosting public hearings before it finalizes the map.

PROPOSED PRELIMINARY MAP

Using federal census data, the Redistricting Commission has to modify city council districts every ten years to adjust for population changes. This year, the city is also adding a 9th district, in accordance of the new strong mayor format approved by the voters last year.

The redistricting process must also preserve “identifiable communities of interest.” The LGBT neighborhoods were recognized as a community of interest 20 years ago with the creation of District 3, which includes areas like Hillcrest, North Park and City Heights.

Since the creation of the LGBT-friendly district after the 1980 census, San Diego voters have elected a gay or lesbian city councilmember.

A preview of an un-approved preliminary map, presented at Tuesday’s commission meeting, shows a shift of District 3 to the west. The proposal adds Little Italy, Old Town, Mission Hills, Bankers Hill and downtown to the west, and eliminates Talmadge, City Heights, portions of Normal Heights and Kensington. Azalea Park, which has catered to LGBT homeowners for years, is also being eliminated from the new LGBT-friendly district. The eastern portions of the existing District 3 are now included in the proposed District 9.

PROPOSED District 3

The proposed District 3 is very similar to a map presented to the commission by the LGBT Redistricting Task Force. The task force has been very involved in representing the LGBT community at commission public hearings and meetings.

“I am very happy with this map of D3,” said Linda Perine, LGBT Redistricting Task Force chairwoman.

PROPOSED District 3

If the preliminary map is approved at the July 21 meeting, the Redistricting Commission will host five post map public hearings to listen to public feedback based on the preliminary map. Those meetings are: July 26, 6 p.m. at the Logan Heights Branch Library; July 28, 6 p.m. at the Thurgood Marshall Middle School Theater; July 30, 10 a.m. at the Balboa Park Palisades Building Recital Hall; Aug. 1, 6 p.m. at the UTC Forum Hall; and Aug. 3, 6 p.m. at the Joan B. Kroc Center Multipurpose Room.

The LGBT Redistricting Task Force is meeting this Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m. at Filter Coffee Shop (1295 University Ave. in Hillcrest) to plan its approach to the post map hearings.

“Right now, things look pretty darn good,” the task force wrote on its Facebook page, “but they can change in a heartbeat.”

To join the LGBT Redistricting Task Force, contact Perine at 858-775-2950. For more information about the Commission, log on to sandiego.gov/redistricting or call 619-533-3060.

Redistricting Commission finalizes preliminary map | LGBT Weekly

City’s building height ordinance extended for 6 months – SignOnSanDiego.com

27 Jul

— The San Diego City Council has passed an extension to a temporary 2008 ordinance restricting building heights in three neighborhoods.
The council voted 7-0 to add six more months to the Interim Height Ordinance, which will now be in effect until January 2012. The law prevents new construction and renovations from exceeding 50 feet in Mission Hills and 65 feet in Hillcrest.
Structures can only breach the 65-foot limit in Bankers Hill with special approval from either the Planning Commission or City Council, Uptown Planners Chairman Leo Wilson said.
David Alvarez was absent from Tuesday morning’s session and did not vote.
The original ordinance, meant to freeze building heights until the completion of a new community plan update, was set to expire early this year. However, the council approved an initial six-month extension in January. Tuesday’s second extension will be the last permitted under the law.
“It’s my personal hope that this will light a fire underneath all the stakeholders to make sure the community plan update is completed as soon as possible,” Councilman Todd Gloria said. “I want to seek consensus in these communities so that we can make sure that the development goes where it’s supposed to go.”
Despite the extension, it is unlikely the community plan update will be completed in the next six months. In fact, council members said Tuesday they don’t expect it to be done for at least 18 months.
Wilson said after the meeting that it could take even longer, and he anticipates a new ordinance will be drafted in the next six months to keep the height limits in place until the community plan update is finished.
One councilman, Kevin Faulconer, said his patience with the process is running out. Faulconer voted in favor of the extension but said he supported it, “reluctantly.”
“We want this done, and we want it done sooner rather than later,” Faulconer said. “It’s not an open-ended commitment. We need to bring this to a resolution.”

nathan.max@uniontrib.com • (619) 718-5252 • Twitter: @natemax

City’s building height ordinance extended for 6 months – SignOnSanDiego.com

Irving Gill’s Dodge House, a landmark in memory – latimes.com

17 Jul
Dodge-House
Dodge House by Irving Gill has long been considered a landmark of residential design — to some, one of the most important American houses of the 20th century. If you have not heard of this groundbreaking piece of architecture before, perhaps that’s because the 1916 house no longer exists. It was demolished in 1970, cleared to make way for apartments, now condos, in the heart of West Hollywood.

Dodge House’s form — horizontal boxes lacking roof overhangs, surface detail or other ornament — was a revolutionary departure from the pitched roof and symmetrical facades that once were so common. The graceful arches, the ahead-of-its-time mahogany paneling, the stunningly beautiful sense of simplicity — all are gone. What’s left is the ghost of Gill’s genius and a cautionary tale that forms the latest installment of our Landmark Houses series.
— Jeffrey Head
Credit: Los Angeles Times

>Time to buy a home? Now, says Barbara Corcoran

27 Jun

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“What you have here are the good old days that we were all talking about for 20 years,” says real estate magnate Barbara Corcoran. “You have cheap money, 4.5 percent for a fixed-rate mortgage, and you have prices that are 40% cheaper than they were before.” Corcoran told MoneyWatch that the residential real estate market looks very attractive right now, but potential buyers are too pessimistic to take advantage.
A combination of pessimistic housing figures, the expiration of the home-buyer tax credit, and difficultly of securing credit have weighed on the market and consumer confidence, says CBS economic correspondent Rebecca Jarvis. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is a glut of housing: 3.72 millions houses are on the market, and that doesn’t include the “shadow inventory” of foreclosed homes that haven’t hit the market.
Corcoran, who parlayed s $1,000 loan into a $5 billion real estate business, says that we tend to focus on the bad news, while ignoring signs of recovery. “What happens in neighborhoods is that negative news grabs a headline, but nobody is talking about the 20 percent of the market that, despite all odds, is turning around and appreciated in price.”
To find a neighborhood on the verge of recovery, Corcoran says, pay attention to the little offbeat things that will give you an edge over the other buyers.
  • Less bad news: “You can take a drive and see if there are fewer than three foreclosure signs within a 10 block radius. The minute those foreclosure signs become less, you should be buying.”
  • Shiny subcompacts “Look for brand-new cheap cars. Because if you see them on the street, young people are moving in.”
  • Overachievers: “If SAT scores are going up in any local area, you can bet your bottom dollar that prices are starting to go up as well.”
As for advice to potential buyers, Corcoran advises against trying to nail the precise bottom of the market. 
“Everybody thinks that they’re going to time the market, they’re going to sharpshoot the market, and buy right at the bottom. The truth of the matter is that nobody is good at it. I’ve been in real estate for my whole life, I’ve been trying to sharpshoot the market with my investments, I’m never right. All you need to do is get near the bottom. That’s good enough. What we are in now is near the bottom.”
“A funny thing happens in real estate,” she adds with a grin, “when it comes back, it comes back up like gangbusters.”

Inside the UES home of Barbara Corcoran
The Corcoran Group founder shows her favorite spot to be “bossy as could be,” demonstrates planting in her stairwell and talks about a lack of sex in the bedroom  

Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group and an investor in the second season of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” gives The Real Deal a tour of her three-bedroom apartment on 94th Street and Park Avenue, that she bought for $3.5 million in 2000, in the first in a two-part series. Corcoran, a real estate investor and author of recently released “Shark Tales,” lives with her husband William Higgins and two children, 17-year-old Tommy and Kate, who the couple adopted five years ago. She shows us her favorite spot in the 3,500-square-foot apartment, talks about a lack of sex in the bedroom and demonstrates how her son wedges himself into his airplane-size bathroom to shave.

Inside the UES home of Barbara Corcoran | The Real Deal | New York Real Estate News

Queen of NY real estate lived in 4th floor walkup

NEW YORK (AP) — The queen of New York real estate once lived in a rent-controlled studio. Illegally.

Barbara Corcoran says the living arrangement was instrumental in helping free up cash for The Corcoran Group, which was still a struggling real estate firm at the time. The brokerage went on to become an industry powerhouse before she sold it in 2001 for $66 million.

Corcoran, 62, is now a contributor for NBC’s “Today” show, where she comments on real estate trends. She’s also an investor on ABC’s reality show, “Shark Tank.” She lives in a three-bedroom apartment on Park Avenue with her husband, their 17-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Corcoran shared her experiences as a renter and first-time homebuyer. She also shared some advice for today’s uncertain market. One tip for sellers? Your neighbors are your enemies.
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Q: What was your most memorable renting experience in New York City?

A: I was renting a one-bedroom for $1,800 a month with my husband in the 1980s. It was after the stock market crash and my business was going through a tough period.

We moved out of our house and in to an illegal, rent-controlled studio that belonged to my husband’s cousin. It was a fourth-floor walk-up, $343 a month. I remember the exact rent.

It was painted all lavender. There was a large free-standing tub, and every night, a huge water bug would crawl out of the drain. I knew what I was doing was illegal. But we lived there for over two years, and it helped with cash flow until the business got back on its feet.

Q: How about the first time you bought a place. What was the most important lesson you learned?

A: I tried to buy in 1977 when prices were just beginning to go through the roof. I fell in love with this top story, one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village. The price was $35,000, and I had saved $4,000.

But I got scared and intentionally failed the co-op interview. I chickened out. I was just too frightened to make a commitment. They said they didn’t want me in the building and refused to return my ($3,500) deposit.

After that, the prices ran away from me. It took another eight long years to save enough money to buy my first New York City apartment.

That taught me an important lesson. The first home is the most important — it gets you into the game.

Q: So what advice would you give to first-time buyers given the state of the housing market?

A: Buy now. There’s so much negative publicity, and uncertainty is the worst thing for the industry. But you can’t sharp shoot the market and pinpoint when it might peak. If you do that, life will always get in the way.

You always have these cycles. And when it’s down it can stay down for a while. But when it decides to turn the corner, it always comes back like gangbusters. And then you’ll be waiting in line with all the other buyers.
Buyers have two great advantages right now — low, low prices and cheap money.

Q: What other essential tips should buyers keep in mind when shopping for a home?

A: Buy with your heart, not your head. You can look at all the aspects that make a purchase practical, but that kind of thinking makes it an investment rather than a home.

I’ve never seen anyone who bought leading with their heart ultimately regret it. If you love it, the next buyer is going to love it too.

Also make sure you go visit the neighborhood at night and on weekends. Most people return the same time of day, the same time of the week. Go on a Sunday and hang out at the local shops. See who your neighbors are. You’ll know right away if it’s a place you can see yourself and your kids living.

Q: Then there’s the negotiation over the price. What are some mistakes first-time buyers make?

A: Don’t pay attention to asking prices at all. What people ask for has nothing to do with the value of a property. You might see a listing for $300,000 and think you should make a $250,000 bid. But hyper-focus on what the house is worth. You should know what the house is worth by looking at comparable properties. Base your bid on that.

If a house is priced appropriately, make a bid 10 percent below that amount.

Q: On the other side of the equation, what should sellers be doing differently in today’s market?

A: They have to have a different attitude. They have to remember that their neighbor is their enemy— they’re the competition. When considering where to price it, it’s not the kind of market where you price high and see what bids come in. Because the question everyone asks besides the price is: “How long has it been on the market?”

You want to have a good answer to that.

Q: Beyond setting a reasonable price, what advice would you give sellers?

A: Think of it as a beauty competition. You may not like the idea of putting money into a home when you’re moving out. But it’s demanded by the market. You need to show it off.

You don’t have to rip out the kitchen and bathroom. But maybe replace the tiles or the countertops. Get professional advice. Maybe hire a professional home stager. It depends on the kind of budget you have. But there are many talented brokers out there who can give you advice too.

Q: Agents seem to have such glamorous head shots. Why is that?

A: Most people shop for a broker online. So the bio and photo are what hook people in. And buyers put a lot more stock in the photo than you think. It turns out people do judge a book by its cover.
In other professions, including a head shot is considered unprofessional. But for brokers, it’s such the norm now that if you got a business card without a face, you’d probably think there’s something wrong with the person.

That’s why at Corcoran, there’s never a shot taken without professional makeup and lighting.

Q: What else should someone do to vet prospective brokers?

A: Ask them what they’ve sold. The properties should be in your sweet spot in terms of your price point. Don’t work with a broker who sells fancy homes if that’s not what you’re looking for.

Also ask to speak with one of the broker’s past clients. Because once a deal is done, that’s when the truth comes out. So it’s a bad sign if the broker starts stuttering when you ask to speak with a past client. You might worry that making such a request will breed mistrust. But it will give you great peace of mind.

Q: What are other qualities are essential?

A: High energy is the number one trait. You want someone with wild enthusiasm for the business.
You also need someone with manners. Remember that brokers need the cooperation of other brokers. And brokers like to deal with other brokers who have good manners.

The ability to play the bad guy is important too, because ultimately you want the broker who gets the best deal for you. And that’s the broker who could be as mean as you. Or if you’re a sweetie-pie or pushover, then you really need your opposite.

And trust your gut. You end up spending much more time with your broker then you’d think, so you should like them. That’s going to take away a lot of the pain and anxiety from the process.

>Homes need carbon monoxide detectors by July 1

23 Jun

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Customers walk by a display of carbon monoxide detectors in a Home Depot store in San Diego.
Customers walk by a display of carbon monoxide detectors in a Home Depot store in San Diego. — Howard Lipin / U-T Photo

A new law requires single-family homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors in their home by July 1. 

Buying a monitor
Prices for the monitors vary because of the different models and features. Some devices are battery operated and others are hardwired. Others feature a voice alarm or are a combination of smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The state fire marshal’s office has a list of approved devices and installation requirements on its website at http://osfm.fire.ca.gov/

What is carbon monoxide
Carbon is an oderless, colorless gas that is produced from furnaces, fireplaces, common household appliances, vehicles and other devices that burn fuels including propane, natural gas and oil.

Symptoms of poisoning
Headache, dizziness, loss of consciousness, nausea, weakness, chest pain and vomiting. (For tips on preventing poisoning go to www.fire.ca.gov)

Homeowners in California have less than two weeks to get a carbon monoxide detector installed in their homes.  A new state law that goes into effect July 1 requires the devices to be installed in all single-family homes that have an attached garage, fireplace or a fosil-burning heater. The detectors of the odorless, colorless gas can be bought at hardware stores for anywhere from $20 to $90. The bill requires that devices sold are certified by the Office of State Fire Marshal.

The State Air Resources Board, a regulatory board at the California Environmental Protection Agency, estimates that carbon-monoxide poisoning causes 30 to 40 deaths every year in California. The board said inhalation of the gas has led to about 175 to 700 emergency room and hospital visits within the last three years in California. But not everyone has to install the detectors by July 1. Owners of other dwellings, such as hotels, apartments and dormitories, have until 2013 to comply. Homeowners who fail to install the devices by July 1 will receive a 30-day notice. If they fail to comply, they face a maximum fine of $200 for each offense.

Tonya Hoover, acting State Fire Marshall, said it will be difficult to enforce the law but that the focus should be in increasing awareness. “It will be challenging because they are a lot more homes than people able to verify,” Hoover said. “That’s why one should focus on education and outreach, informing people about the law and how to install the devices properly.”

California joins 24 other states, including New York, Florida, Illinois and Texas, in its effort to curb carbon-monoxide poisoning by mandating the use of detectors.

Jim Miguel, who owns several homes in Ocean Beach, Clairemont and Point Loma, said he has already installed carbon monoxide detectors in each of his homes. He says the detectors should not be mandated by the state. “I am for personal freedom of choice,” Miguel said. “It’s a smart choice to install detectors, but consumers should decide on their own.” Logan Heights resident Rebecca Gullans supports the law. Gullans said installing such a device is prudent because she has small children. But she’s concerned low-income families may not be able to afford the devices. “It seems like something they should subsidize,” Gullans said. Part-time county resident Loretta Alley, who owns three properties in Sun City Lincoln Hills near Sacramento, says the law is a great idea. “It’s the same as with smoke detectors, people resist it at first but look at how many lives it safes,” Alley said.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 12:07 p.m

Homes need carbon monoxide detectors by July 1 – SignOnSanDiego.com