West Hollywood, CA Real Estate News

By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
This week the New York Times featured an article about Goldman Sachs rushing to repay the bailout money it received from TARP. According to Llyod C Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, the firm may actually repay the funds within a month, far sooner than he originally indicated. I'm curious as to why .... what is the real motivation? There could be several reasons for repaying the money as soon as possible: It may be the 5% interest being charged on the borrowed funds, or it could be the perception that TARP recipients aren't financially sound. A further rationale could be that banks utilizing bailout funds don't want the government to influence how they do business (ie: they don't want limitations on compensation and bonuses or any other type of control and regulation). A more sinister exp...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
The recipients of bailout funds continue to act with arrogance and total contempt for the American Taxpayer. They have no regard for public sentiment and are clearly indifferent to reality. Remember how Merill's John Thain spent over $1,2 Million renovating his office and then wanted a $10 Million bonus for 2008 despite the near collapse of Merrill Lynch? Remember how the Chief Executives from GM, Chrysler and Ford flew into Washington on their private jets seeking taxpayer funds? Remember how AIG went ahead with a $400,000 luxury retreat while receiving billions of taxpayer money? Well that craziness hasn't ended .... Citigroup, the recipient of $45 Billion in bailout funds, announced it will spend $10 Million on new offices for Chief Executive Office Vikram Pandit (the $216 Million m...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Did you know that Ford has a "ready made" electric car that will go on sale on 2011? The Ford Motor Company has partnered with Canada-based Magna International, one of the leading automotive component companies in the world, to develop an entirely electric car. Ford's electric car will not be a hybrid - it won't use gasoline, but will be totally powered by a charged battery that is expected to achieve 100 miles per charge.
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Did you know that Henry Paulson, George Bush's Treasury Secretary, was the ex CEO of Goldman Sachs? Did you know it was Paulson who led a team of regulators and bankers in early September 2008 to determine what to do with the most severely wounded financial institutions and that one of the participants in those meetings was Lloyd C. Blankfein, Paulson's successor at Goldman Sachs? It was this team of advisers who recommended that Lehman Brothers, a competitor of Goldman Sachs, be allowed to fail. The same team of advisers recommended that AIG be bailed out with taxpayer funds. It is alarming to learn that with the first $85 Billion AIG received from the Fed, $12.6 Billion was used to pay a debt owed to Goldman Sachs. In effect the "Goldman Sachs People" advised the Fed to bail out a com...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Judge Judy (Judy Sheindlin) is a wonderfully entertaining personality. More importantly, she has a brilliant and logical mind.  Judge Judy tells it like she sees it while explaining her logic and rationale - so I was interested to hear her opinion on a number of subjects put to her by CNN's Larry King. AIG and bonuses: The justification for the millions of dollars paid out is bonuses is that the recipients had contracts. But surely their contracts were based on profits not losses. Judge Judy asks why civil servants, like employees of the DMV are forced to take days off without pay, in violation of their employment contracts while management is concerned about honoring AIG employee contracts. Remember, US Taxpayers now own 80% of AIG. Are shareholders being protected by management? Inste...
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By Robert Leighton
(Sotheby's International Realty)
Although I am not a woman, I thought it would be a good idea to blog about Woman's History Month in West Hollywood since it's a great event going on in the community I serve with complete dedication. West Hollywood is continuing to honor the many great achievements of women of the past and from the present all during the month of March.  The month-long honor is called "Living the Legacy," which is a tribute to women with a display of biographies, posters and photographs of contemporary and historical women that will be exhibited at the West Hollywood City Hall at 8300 Santa Monica Boulevard until April 3, 2009. There will be many exciting events during the month of March in West Hollywood in celebration of Women's History Month.  On March 18th at 6 pm, the 14th Annual Women in Leadershi...
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By Jim & David Schuelke
(Schuelke Plumbing)
Most homes in the greater Los Angeles area are more than 40 years old, meaning that they typically still have galvanized pipes. If you have been considering having your sewer lines replaced, you may have heard about trenchless sewer replacement. The way it works is that an insertion and retrieval pit is dug, allowing the trenchless bursting head to be inserted into the old sewer pipe. A heavy cable is then pushed through the pipe from the retrieval pit and a special hydraulic ram is attached to the cable. This pulls the bursting head through the old pipe. Simultaneously,  new polyethylene pipe is pulled along with the bursting head. Every 20 feet we fuse the pipe together with another tool, providing a continuous seamless sewer connection. Fewer connections mean there will be fewer pote...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
John Stewart is one of the smartest comedienes around. His take on real world events (important stuff that effects us all) gives weight to the quotation that "many a truth is said in jest". The recent showdown between Jon Stewart and Jim Cramer on "The Daily Show" highlighted the fact that Cramer's "Mad Money" show was nothing more than a ratings driven escapade, mocking the very audience it claimed to enlighten. There are disturbing video clips that question Cramer's ethics and credibility. I'm not a lawyer, but some of what Cramer said (and did) appeared to blur the boundary of what's legal and what's not. I think John Stewart was brilliant as he said what many from the investing public would like to. Cramer on the other hand bumbled along and shrugged his way through the exchange. Ta...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Today I discovered a great page on the Democratic Party's website. It's a concise summary of the Republican Party's approach of 'just saying no' to the various initiatives and proposals put forth by President Obama. (Once on the page, click on each person's face to hear what they have to say for themselves). The page features House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). "Instead of petty politics and empty obstructionism, Republicans in Congress should either support the president’s budget or present their own plan to create jobs, fix our schools, reform our health care system, and make America energy independent,” says Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse. I've prev...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Starting on March 5, 2009 the California Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on Proposition 8 - the controverial November 2008 ballot that changed the California State Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, effectively prejudicing same-sex couples wanting equal rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. In addition to hearing challenges to Proposition 8, the court will consider the fate of 18,000 same-sex marriages that occurred before the November election. According to The Los Angeles Times: "Forty-three groups representing civil rights activists, legal scholars, labor unions, bar associations, state legislators and religious organizations have filed written arguments asking that Proposition 8 be overturned. Twenty organizations, including religious and legal groups, have argued that ...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
I received an "Important Notice" from Capital One "of a change in terms" regarding my account. The notice stated that "due to extraordinary changes in the economic environment, we're reviewing our existing credit card accounts. Having considered these economic conditions, your account's current Purchase Rate and the length of time you've had this rate and account, we will be changing your Purchase and Balance Transfer Rate" - "However, you will not be assessed the higher Purchase Rate listed below until next year." Capital One is increasing my Purchase APR from 4.99% to 13.9% and the Cash Advance APR will increase from 9.9% to 24.9%. 1. I have had this Capital One account for over three and a half years 2. My account has always been in good standing 3. There has been no material change ...
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By Robert Leighton
(Sotheby's International Realty)
Here is some great news for West Hollywood, California that I want to share.  The city will be hosting a dedication ceremony for Havenhurst Park this Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 10 a.m.  The park is located at 1351 Havenhurst Dr. and features a 6,000 square-foot pocket park, two water features, seating areas, water conserving irrigation systems, both drought tolerant and native California plants and really great artwork. Havenhurst Park has been brought into the community of West Hollywood with innovative efforts.  The park is full of creative features and some of the most beautiful art.  Many West Hollywood residents will treasure it for years to come. The public artwork that you will find in Havenhurst Park is entitled "With an Ear to the Earth."  All of it was created by the wonde...
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By Associate Broker Falmouth MA Cape Cod Heath Coker, Heath Coker Berkshire Hathaway HS Robert Paul Prop
(https://teamcoker.robertpaul.com)
Once again the Hollywood East daily video (below) is an exciting view of how they are thoughtfully planning and building the future movie business facilities on the East Coast. With an amazing opportunity to "re-create" sound stages and movie making support infrastructure, the Hollywood East group, aka Plymouth Rock Studios, has an exciting opportunity to start from scratch. Plymouth Rock Studios will be as different from other production locations as the special effects are in the first Star Wars vs the last. Technology, construction, and processing today are not what they were when Hollywood West began sprawling. The latest, most useful, and most thoughtful, design and function realities are being incorporated into Hollywood East. The Cape Cod area is fortunate to have such a new and ...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
I'm constantly thinking about the Mortgage Crisis and the Financial Meltdown currently being experienced throughout the world. I'm battling to understand why a problem created by people can't be solved by people. In essence, I'm trying to keep it simple and get back to basics. The basic system is that investors deposit money into banks, and banks in turn lend out that money and profit by the difference in interest rates paid to depositers and received from borrowers. This is not rocket science!  So banks profit from this spread in interest rates. If however, the interest rates that banks can charge borrowers are kept superficially low, banks won't be able to make the profits they expect to. So how will they survive? The answer lies in the interest rates banks are charging clients on the...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
While I certainly don't claim to be an economist or accountant, I do have a fair understanding about business and investments. AIG currently has a market capitalization of a mere $2.8 Billion. Compare this to the $125 Billion taxpayers have loaned to this company. (By the way, despite checking several online sources I am unable to confirm if this number is actually $125 or $150 Billion). If "market capitalization" represent the public opinion of a company's net worth", does this mean that the share price of AIG at $1 (as at 2/6/09) is grossly under-priced, or does this indicate that investors believe AIG won't survive in the long term? If the answer is that investors don't believe AIG can survive, why is the Government continuing to lend the company billions of dollars? Whatever the ans...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Timothy Geithner (the new Treasury Secretary) is scheduled to announce the new financial industry bailout plan next week. While I appreciate the urgent practical need for this assistance, I find it unacceptable that there is not a condition requiring the recipient banks to increase their lending. Isn't that the rationale behind the assistance in the first place? Without this requirement I fail to understand why taxpayer's money shoould be used to help badly managed businesses.  With property prices having dropped substantially and many homeowners upside down on their mortgages, someone has to take the loss. If the owner who borrowed the money cannot, then the bank that holds the mortgage needs to. And if the bank cannot afford to, that bank deserves to fail. That's business! It appears ...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
The American People have taken back the White House. Once again we have an Administration that will work for us all. This is exciting and encouraging for America and the International Community as well. An immediate sign that this administration has a completely new and different mind-set is evidenced by the new White House website. The fresh new site is user-freindly, logical in its layout, and filled with educational & informative facts. It clearly lists the people involved and details an Agenda. It lists Executive Orders, Proclamations, and now features an official Blog. The site has a section called "Office of Public Liason" which "takes the administration out of Washington and into communities across America, stimulating honest dialogue and ensuring that America's citizens and the...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
Over the last month I've noticed that Bank-owned properties (REO's) have been significantly marked down. It appears that the banks have finally acknowledged they need to take drastic action to clear these properties from their books. No-one can honestly say when the market will reach its lowest point, but any serious buyer with good credit and a reasonable downpayment should take a good look at current prices. 2-Bedroom condos in Los Angeles that had previously sold for $490,000 are available as REO's in the early to mid $300,000's .... prices last seen in 2003 and 2004. Mortgage rates are at all-time lows. Rates were this low about 50 years ago! So Realtor's hype aside, I truly believe we may be witnessing the greatest buying opportunity in years!
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
The Los Angeles Real Estate market has several large projects of newly built (or remodelled) condos and lofts that are coming to the market at probarbly the very worst time. Buyers are sitting on the sidelines, unsure of when the market will finally reach a bottom while lenders have made it increasingly difficult to qualify for a loan. Several projects were completed in 2008 and still remain unsold. Even those projects where sales have occurred are experiencing difficulties because of lender's requirements - there are simply not enough units sold for the lender to approve the projects. Developers have realized they need to take firm, drastic action to get these units sold. One developer taking such action is Downtown Properties. They have developed the The Rowan Building, a 206-unit con...
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By COMPASS PALM SPRINGS | Stewart Penn, COMPASS Palm Springs - Broker Associate
(COMPASS)
In March last year I attended a fancy launch party in Hollywood for The Madrone, a 180-unit condominium project situated at the corner of La Brea Ave and Hollywood Blvd. The multi-story mixed-use project being developed by John Laing Homes, has a variety of studios, 1, 2 and 3 bedroom condos ranging in price from the $400,000's to over $1 Million. At the time of the launch I had clients that were interested in a 1 Bedroom condo which was priced at $640,000 (approximately 1000 sq ft) and despite my opinion that the price was high, they signed a Purchase Agreement. As our negotiations proceeded with the in-house sales representative, it appeared that the specifications of finishes kept changing and no-one at the sales office could give definitive answers to my questions. What concerned me...
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