Sunday, July 25, 2010

3103 Singingwood Drive

When I spotted a brand new rental listing of this house. I immediately fell in love with it and made a phone call to set up a viewing appointment only 2 minutes after I saw the 1st day listing of this house. I am familiar with the neighbourhood enough that I know this is the house I want to rent. It has the square footage we need. It's in a very nice part of town, with great schools and great looking streets.

This house is located at 3103 Singingwood Drive, Torrance, CA 90505. It has 3 bedrooms and 2 baths in a total living area of 1,872 square feet. It also has good size (in Los Angeles standard) front and back yards, attached garage. The total lot size for this house is 5,000 square feet. The monthly rent is $2,995.

The interior and layout also matches my ideal. I totally love it. After the appointment, I was so looking forward to the tour scheduled the next day and the signing of the lease. Unfortunately, just when I was ready to head out my door to the house tour, the broker called me to cancel the appointment because the house was leased earlier in the morning and therefore was no longer available. I can't believe it, it was only listed the day before! I was so disappointed that my dream house was taken by someone else before I even had my chance to see it. This is another heart breaking defeat that I had from my home hunting ordeal! I feel terrible again!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2772 Border Ave

This townhouse was one of the very first we saw when we were thinking about buying instead of renting. It is detached, has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms, living room, formal dining area. It has a total of 1948 square feet. Located on 2772 Border Ave, Torrance, CA 90501, this townhouse was listed at $559,000 when we visited it back in May 2010. On 6/30/2010, it was sold for $518,000. Do I regret about not making an offer? No. We never wanted to make an offer at the listed $559K price, and we never was interested in even submitting a low ball offer to bargain it down. There is just no price that is low enough to entice us to live in this townhouse. So we passed it on.

During our drive along Sepulveda Blvd towards the south east of Torrance, I just began to develop a bad feeling about the property we were going to see because the sights outside the car window began to look shady. They aren't ghetto at all, just they aren't like those clean residential parts of Torrance we passed by earlier. The scene just started to change when we were approaching the property. When we arrived at the complex, the first thing we saw was a long train of cars loaded with chemicals passing by with a loud roaring noise. We couldn't believe how long the train was and how long it took to completely go away. When we saw that train right outside, we just wanted to get back in our car and forget about the townhouse. Unfortunately, the broker was already there waiting for us. So to be polite, we went ahead to see the inside of the townhouse.

The living room is very bright and spacious. The entire townhouse has very nice hardwood floor.
Big size private patio with a nice wood deck. Unfortunately, it's also very close to the train path.... My husband felt that having a train track so close to the townhouse was a life threatening hazard if the train loads of chemical ever blows up due to accidents or acts of terror. Besides, we absolutely don't want to live in a place that is constantly subjected to the noise of train traffic.

Dining area by the kitchen.

The kitchen.
Formal step-up dining room that was used as office.
Master bedroom, which is pretty small. All bedrooms are kind of compact.

The bathroom inside the master bedroom. It's okay in size. A lot smaller than the other ones we saw in other townhouses. I have no problem with it, just the vanity cabinet and counter top is plain to my taste. I personally hate white tile counter tops because they take too much work to scrub and clean to maintain a clean look.

We would have made an offer on this townhouse if it weren't sitting right next to the railroad track. Because of the railroad track, we don't want to live there even if it's rent free, and no way we want to pay over half a million dollars to live in a place next to a hazard like this. All it takes is one stupid accident, or one suicidal attempt from one idiot to decide to park his/her car in the middle of the track .... This had happened not long ago on a track of a commuter train in Los Angeles, the guy later changed his mind and walked out of this car, just a whole bunch of other innocent people died during the train crash as a result of this detoured suicide attempt.... Can one imagine the consequence if the same happens to the cargo train on this track behind this townhouse, which is specialized in transporting industrialized chemicals?

Friday, July 9, 2010

14144 Burbank Blvd, #3

After being rejected unknown number of times for my application to rent a house / townhouse. I decided that may be it would be easier just to buy a place instead....

Today during lunch time, I went to see this listed condo in Sherman Oaks. This condo was built in 1965. It has a monthly HOA fees of $190, which is resonably low in LA standard. From the information on the real estate website, this condo unit looks nice and the fact that it's listed for $250,000 just makes it a must-see property. I had never seen anything this cheap in Sherman Oaks, CA. Well, now I know why......

First of all, this property is a couple buildings next to the gas station on Burbank Blvd. Burbank Blvd used to be part of Van Nuys (not really a desirable area for investing a home), in recent years, it's been re-zoned to be part of Sherman Oaks. So now, this is a Sherman Oaks property that has a little Van Nuys vibe.

Burbank Blvd is lined with muti-units condo buildings, townhomes compelexes and many apartment buildings. Many of the apartment buildings are old and run down looking. So it's really not the quiet and valuable residential street. The school district is LA Unified, (not a hot school district either).

I can put up with traffic noise from Burbank Blvd and I can live without a good school district because I don't have kids. But I can't live as a prisoner in my own home where I will have to keep my blinds all closed and my home in complete darkness 24/7 just to have my privacy. One thing I have to say about my current apartment is, I can open up all the windows and see the sky and trees and not other people's windows or walls.

I just can't imagine myself living in a place where I am walled in, and I have no freedom to open my blinds. The cheap and beat up apartment building next to this condo building is so run down that just by looking at the windows, one can imagine just what kind of tenants are living there. One may ask why should I be bothered with the quality of tenants from an apartment building next door? Well, I won't be bothered if their windows aren't so close in distance to the windows of this condo unit that I was visiting.

Front view of the building where driveway to the garage is.

Living room area opens to the unit's own fenced private patio. The ceiling is high so there is an extra section of window above the sliding doors to the patio. However I don't think that section is too practical because when the blinds are open above, the neighbours living in the next beat up apartment building can see the entire living room and also the step-up dining area in close proximity. I am not sure anyone who lives in this unit would like to have the blinds on top open. If only they had sealed up that section of the wall up to the ceiling, I would like this unit better.

Step-up dining area and open kitchen. All the kitchen appliances are gutted and taken away by the owner. The first floor is all bamboo floor. It's a bit dirty and there is some tear and wear, but it's one of the kinds of floor that I like. The kitchen has nice cabinets, granite counter tops and stainless steel double sink. This is another plus, but then the kitchen window is too close to the condo neighbour across. Again, makes me feel there is no privacy and too claustrophic.

The second bedroom. The size is reasonbly good for similar condo units I had seen. Unfortunately, the window of the bedroom opens right next to the beatup apartment building next door. Anyone who lives there and any of the visitors of the tenants there will have a very close view of the bedroom, whether they stay in their units or they walk up and down the stairways to and from their units. What homeowners want to put up with traffic of an extra apartment building where they don't even live in? There is a lack of privacy issue here. I just can't see myself closing the blinds 24/7 and make myself a prisoner of my own home. Both the master bedroom and this bedroom has berber carpet.

The bathroom inside the master bedroom. This bathroom is very spacious that has nice size bathtub, a separate shower stall, nice granite coutner tops with double sinks and very nice carbinet. There is also a huge walk in closet in this spacious bathroom. There is another smaller full bathroom in the hallway outside the master bedroom, and a 1/2 bathroom (without bathtub or shower but with laundry hookups downstairs). All bathrooms have nice counter tops and nice travertine floors. I like the bathrooms number and also their condition.

The unit has its own 2 cars garage with storage inside. The garage is of reasonably good size. Just it's not attached to the interior of the unit. There is a separate entrace outside next to the main entrace to the unit that goes down to the garage. I prefer attached garage. Above the garage is the master bedroom. The master bedroom is spacious but there is a door opens out to the connected hallway (balcony) that connects all units' master bedrooms in the building. (Look on the top of the picture). Again, there is a privacy problem for me because the master bedroom's only window opens to this connected wrap around common hallway of the building. I just can't tolerate neighbours or traffic passing through my bedroom window. What homeowners want all this traffic right outside their bedroom and the fact that they have to keep the blind closed 24/7 to maintain privacy? This is the biggest turn off for me. Besides the traffic, neighbours inside the condo units across the connected hallway, can also see into the master bedroom within close proxmity. Beyond them, tenants in that beatup apartment building next door can also have a very clear view of the master bedroom interior in close proximity. This condo building is very small and is right next to this beatup apartment. Privacy is a huge issue.

I wish this condo building wasn't next to a beat up apartment building. I wish this condo unit wasn't so walled in and surrounded by neighbour's close scrunity. I wish this condo building wasn't so close to the gas station. I certainly won't want to buy it at $250,000. I rather add another $250,000 to buy another townhouse that is bigger, in a nicer area and that has more privacy. But does a townhouse / house like this exist in Los Angeles?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gadget I Want To Go Home Hunting With

After seeing so many apartments and visiting so many different neighbourhoods, it's hard to really remember every place I had seen and therefore I can't really compare which place is better. I would like to buy this pretty and sleeky camcorder to document my future home hunting ordeal.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

510 Susana Ave

Feeling determined to leave our miserable apartments that we are keeping separately in both Redondo Beach and Sherman Oaks, we have been diligently searching the rental market. During my search, I have seen too many beat up apartment buildings just like the ones we are currently occupying, only to have no elevator and to be in worse neighbourhoods...

Finally I found this house for rent on 510 Susana Ave in Redondo Beach. The house is in a very nice middle class neighbourhood inhabited mostly with white collar professionals like ourselves. There is great curb appeal. The neighbours seem to take very good care of their houses. Soon as I stepped out of the car, I feel in love with the good old American vibe of the street and the exterior of the house (looks a lot nicer in person than in picture).

When we stepped in, I was even more impressed. How much nicer this is than all the apartments we visited. There is all nice hardwood floor in the sizable living room, dining room and open kitchen area. The kitchen is spacious and is equipped with newer appliances and granite counter tops. The dining room opens to a nice covered patio and a very nice and well maintained backyard with fruit trees! There is 1 bedroom downstairs and 1 very nice 3/4 bathroom next to this bedroom. Upstairs there is one big bedroom that has a huge deck with nice roof top and city view. Standing there, I was already visioning myself lounging there on weekend mornings with my breakfast and favorite magazines, enjoying the refreshing ocean breeze and smell of the morning. Then there are 3 other nice size bedrooms and another nice bathroom with granite counter top, double sinks, a bath tub, and a separate shower. The only flaw this place has is that there is no master bedroom with its own bathroom. But I can live with that because the house looks like it was remodeled not long ago, with new bathrooms, new carpet in all the bedrooms... The house just looks so new to me even though it was built in 1965. May be I have been living in old junky apartment for too long. Just the possibility of us living in a house in this new condition makes me so excited and so happy. So all together, there are 5 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms in this house, that provides an office for each one of us for our work, and also may be some extra storage room or guest bedroom for my mother-in-law if she comes to visit with us. There is a huge attached 2-car garage, in-house washer, and dryer, front lawn and driveway. I can't wait to finally not share washers and dryers with filthy neighbours. I would like to live in this house. I can see myself being so happy living in this house. After all these months' apartment hunting, I told my husband, "no more, this is it, this is our new home. I'm going to sign the lease." The rent for this house is $3,000 a month, which is still a little cheaper than the combined rents of our two separate lousy apartments. Can you believe it???? We are living separately like bums and yet with a little less money, we can actually live like middle class Americans!! Unbelievable!!

I went home so excited and I couldn't wait to sign the lease on Monday. Then the leasing agent called in 2 hours just to tell me the house was already rented out. Someone else just signed the lease in the broker's office when I was stepping out of the house! I feel so crushed cause that put us back to this "indefinite stay" in our separate miserable clumpy apartments!! I'm in such lousy mood now I can't even explain it. Meanwhile, some tenant underneath us is grilling in his balcony. I'm coughing and choking with the smoke as I blog... I am crying now. I'm sad because I just don't know how much longer I need to live with this bullshit before I can find a place to move to!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Home Tax Credit Extension

According to the Associated Press, homebuyers may get an extra three months to finish qualifying for federal tax incentives that boosted home sales this spring.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is proposing today that he wants to give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their purchases and qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000. Under the current terms, buyers had until April 30 to get a signed sales contract and until June 30 to complete the sale.

The proposal would only allow people who already have signed contracts to finish at the later date. This is an amendment to a bill that would extend jobless benefits through the end of November.

The National Association of Realtors is said to have been pushing hard in Congress for the extension. Mortgage lenders are reported to have been swamped with borrowers trying to get approved by the end of the month. Many potential borrowers are unlikely to make the deadline.

For those folks who can make the deadline, they are eligible for a tax credit of up to $8,000 if they are buying their first home for the first time. Current owners who bought and moved into another home could qualify for a credit of up to $6,500.

I just don't get it, what difference is $8,000 going to make when an average decent house in a good neighbourhood with good schools are $600K - 800K plus in Los Angeles.

For people who are relying on a zero percent down FHA loan to buy into a crappy house somewhere in Carson, or a bad street in Van Nuys for $300-400K, $8000 tax credit isn't going to make their monthly payment any more affordable to them in 30 years....

All this nonsense tax credit does is just to drive ignorant people (particularly the ones who are really bad in math, and one who doesn't have solid job skills to secured their paychecks...) to frock out to bid up real estates again...

There have been too many idiots out there bidding on homes they can't actually afford because of their misconception about this tax credit, then there are people who actually have the bucks and the loans to buy a home but have to bid a higher price to outbid all these tax credit stimulated idiots out there to actually buy their first homes. I hope all these losers fall out of escrow when reality reckons and banks deny financing due to their low monthly income versus monthly housing expenses.... Or the banks will not care as long as FHA gives an OK to guarantee the use of taxpayers money to repay to the banks when these losers default? This is just a whole new bubble and bidding war created by our tax dollars. Thank you, Uncle Sam!!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

319 Palos Verdes Blvd

1. In a nice area in South Redondo Beach rivieira.
2. Walking distance to the beach, shopping and restaurants.
3. Rent is reasonably cheap. ($1,725 for 2Beds/2Baths).
4. Pet-free building and therefore also flea-free.
5. Very nice weather most of the year.

1. The building is run down and flimsy.
2. Lots of noise from busy traffic at Pacific Coast Highway.
3. Not enough parking.
4. Very weak water pressure with dripping and only luke warm shower.
5. Unsecured front door and garage.
6. BBQ smoke from gas grills from fellow tenants' balconies.
7. Cigarette smell from fellow tenants' windows and balconies.
8. Cheap and old carpeting.
9. Small, and gross looking swimming pool.
10. No A/C and top floor can get really hot for several days during heatwaves.

For renting information, contact the resident manager (310) 378-2161 or (310) 722-1489.

Monday, May 31, 2010

I Hate My Hubby's Luxurious Apartment in Redondo Beach

I would like to write a post to vent out all my anger and frustration with my husband's "Luxurious Apartment" in Redondo Beach.... I've been spending countless miserable weekends here visiting with my husband that there is no blog post long enough to list all the things I hate about this place. To have a glimpse of what I am going through, just click here to read the reviews of other tenants.....

If one day my husband and I are filing for divorce, this apartment will be the reason.

We Need To Move!!

We just got married and the two apartments we are currently living in both Redondo Beach and Sherman Oaks are getting on our nerves. Until we can find a new place where we can both move in without compromising our space, we will have to keep living apart till weekends do we unite......