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Avoid problems with the Los Angeles Housing Department

Pro tip: You don’t want to buy a building, only to find yourself in the middle of a war with the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD). Under the standard California real estate sale contract between seller and buyer, the seller has a duty to disclose any on-going issues that may effect the value of the

How leverage (debt) magnifies outcomes

You heard me say in numerous pieces that leverage (debt) magnifies outcomes. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s examine two identical fourplexes with different capitalization structures. First, here are the operating details: Acquired for $600,000 Annual rents of $60,000 Assume costs of 35% or $21,000 Annual Net operating income (rents minus expenses but

In defense of gentrification

We spent the last 3-4 years on the front lines of gentrification in East Hollywood, Silver Lake and Echo Park. We’ve paid around 65 tenants to move out of rent controlled apartments so that I could renovate and raise the rents. When I tell some people this, I can see from their facial expressions that

Good reading on zoning and sprawl

Happy Monday! Have recently read two great, short pieces on the effect of terrible zoning on cities, in general, and LA, in particular: David Leonhardt’s interview with Matthew Yglesias in the Times. Yglesias talks about how parking requirements and artificial limits on density conspire to drive up the cost of housing (and, thus, living) in

Why do people hire dumb brokers?

Buying a home or income property is a big deal. You’re committing a chunk of your (or your family’s) hard-earned capital, plus taking on an enormous amount of debt. All kinds of things can go wrong, from structural problems, to tenant issues, to badly structured loans, to city inspection concerns, etc. So why do people

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