Garage Conversion Flop

garage-conversion

Although the concept of converting an unused garage into a livable dwelling is not a new idea, Gerry Brown signed the Wieckowski bill into law which actually promotes the idea http.  See http://bit.ly/2dSK7rc.  However if your conversion is not done right, not only can it be a disaster for your tenant, local laws can sting a homeowner financially.  In Los Angeles there are local housing laws like the Los Angles Rent Stabilization Ordinance that must be  followed in addition to state law.  One garage conversion I remember went so badly for the owner that they ended up paying over $14,000 to the tenant.  The situation was like this:  A new owner bought a property sight unseen in the city of Sylmar California.  The house was a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom with a detached garage in the back yard.  There were tenants living in the front house and the detached garaged which was converted into a 1 bedroom apartment.  The back tenant had a child who was getting very sick living in the back house because the ventilation was very poor in the bathroom.  Add that the front house tenant was also the previous owner who had been foreclosed and had not yet surrendered possession of the property to the new owner.  The previous owner was very upset about losing his house so he would let the 2 pit bull dogs living on the property roam the yard. Unfortunately for the back apartment tenant the dogs were unfriendly towards people so the dogs would intimidate and often try to hurt the back tenants. So now we have a back tenant who has a very sick child because of the ventilation problem and they couldn’t come and go as they pleased, essentially entrapped in the garage. Eventually I was able to negotiate with the owner to leave the front house (since he was living rent free from the resulting foreclosure) but the back tenant wouldn’t leave. As it turned out, she had hired an attorney who hired a professional licensed mold testing company who took samples throughout the garage and verified the existence of black mold spores. It wasn’t short after that the attorney wrote a letter to the owner stating that, under LARSO rules the owner MUST pay the tenant as much as $18,000 to relocate the family and even threatened with an additional $36,000 of health related damages suffered by the tenants child! Although the owners attorneys responded and disagreed with some of the claims, a settlement was quickly reached of over $14,000 in favor of the garage tenant. Although the previous owner had probably never foreseen the potential disaster that ensued, new home owners must be aware of how local laws can impact a planned garage conversion. Had the previous owner used sound building and construction practices, the ventilation issue would most likely not have been an issue and would not only have kept the family safe, but the new owner from having to pay a large settlement to move the tenants out.

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What is the Most Important Job Skill?

Job Skills

This question was posed to me this weekend when my son asked me how I do my job.  Working in real estate I work with people from all walks of life.  More recently I engaged services with graduate student name Maria (hiding her real identity).  Maria is a full time working professionals seeking a graduate degrees through night school and online learning classes.  Maria was very concerned about how the deferral of her student loans would impact her affording a new home.  This is not uncommon.  The government has reported student loan debt well into the trillions of dollars (https://www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2017/02/21/student-loan-debt-statistics-2017/).  When I asked about her plan to pay off her loans she answered that; “…hopefully when I graduate I will be able to apply for a higher paying job.”  This leant me to think about my conversation with my son.  In the 80’s an important job skill was resume writing.  In the 90’s job interviewing.  In the early 2000’s it was networking.  Although these all have importance I am learning that financially independent people learn how to creatively financially engineer every aspect of their lives.  New technologies with crowdsourcing in order to finance real estate, movie, even business acquisition and start up projects is only one example of creative financing.  Let’s also not overlook job skills as a fair “trade” to acquire a service or asset.  One example would be to take an equity position in the purchase of a house in exchange for providing services to remodel and oversee the construction of the house.  One partner buys the house and provides funding for the rehab costs while the other does all the work.  This is a strategy I recently used for a house purchase of a single-family remodeling project in southern California.  With my skills in sourcing materials and labor, my partner can focus on finding funding sources that ensure this project can be completed.  Over the next two weeks I will be discussing additional creative solutions to financially engineer real estate transactions.

Bathroom Remodeling Tips

bathroom

I thought this was a great read.  Bathrooms show a potential buyer/tenant how serious a seller/landlord is about quality.  My favorite remodeling projects include enough resources for kitchens and bathrooms and can make the difference between a house and a home.  Read here—>http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2016/11/14/home-trends-to-watch-the-free-standing-tub/#sf43720767

REMODEL IN PROGRESS!

This is a new 4-bedroom, 2-bath remodeling project located in the city of Carson.  At the we bought the property the house included a room that was not permitted by the city.  Since the house is intended to be a rental several decisions went into how to handle the illegal addition.  Exclusive civil engineering costs, permits and additional delays all factored into the decision.  After looking at the costs of getting the room up to code it was  decided to leave the space open for now and make exterior walls of the remaining framing.  We are also looking into tile options to cover the cement slab to give it a natural look and beautify what will be left of the space.  We have several weeks to go on the work as you can see from my video.  Take the walking tour now —>

 

 

 

Home Design Trends Worth Watching!

Herringbone is emerging as the pattern of choice in 2016. Herringbone is the arrangement of rectangles that is so named for its resemblance to the bones of fish.  This pattern is popping up on everything from hardwood floors, kitchen backsplashes and shower walls. It may be subtle or bold.  Read on—>