Jobs like Lyft and other rideshare companies are a great way to earn additional income with the On Demand Economy. So is renting out your place or unused belongings on sites like Airbnb. But did you know there is now a “Uber” or “Airbnb” for just about everything? As an independent contractor, you can dog sit, make new friends through cooking, or care for children and the elderly. You can even find other driving jobs like Uber where you won’t have to worry about Uber partner reviews or whether your customer will tip.
Get $25 off your first Massage on Demand on Zeel.
Use my invite code 77A and get $25 off your first Zeel Massage on Demand
Same day in-home/hotel massage
To get up to $15 in ride credit, just download the Lyft app using my referral. (I’ll get credit, too.) Here’s my referral link: https://www.lyft.com/i/WILL470299 .
Lyft matches drivers with passengers who request rides (and pay for the trip) through a smart phone app. As a driver, you’ll earn money by driving your own car, on your own schedule.
If you apply using my referral link, you’ll also pocket an extra bonus. (For example, Los Angeles referrals get $850 after giving 500 rides in their first 60 days.) See the terms at https://lft.to/terms.
Here’s where to apply: https://www.lyft.com/drivers/WILL470299
On Airbnb you can book rooms, homes, and even private islands in over 190 countries. Just sign up to get $40 off your next vacation of $75 or more.
If you use an on-demand service and think it should be listed here…Send me an email with logo and any info needed to post in the FIRST EMAIL!
Being both woke and in need of escapism seems to be a recurring theme for 2017, making Halloween even more necessary than usual this year.
As the holiday falls on a Tuesday this year, the weekend preceding is absolutely JAM-PACKED with spookily-themed offerings. And that doesn’t even account for all the great Halloween-ish events leading up to the end of the month.
Listed below in chronological order from start date. Numbered for reference.
2. Boo at the LA Zoo (now through Oct. 31)
3. Knotts Scary Farm (now through Oct. 31)
4. Reign of Terror Haunted House in Thousand Oaks (now through Oct. 31)
5. Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor (now through Nov. 1)
6. Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios (now through Nov. 4)
Listed below in chronological order from start date. Numbered for reference.
8. CreepLA: Lore (through Nov. 12)
9. Paramount After Dark Tours: Tales from the Other Side with discount tickets available through Goldstar (through Nov. 18)
10. Classic Horror Tuesday Matinees at LACMA (Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 & 31)
11. Silent Classic Horror Festival at Old Town Music Hall (Oct. 6-29)
12. Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch at Platform LA (Oct. 6-30)
14. All-Night Horror Show at New Beverly Cinema (Oct. 7)
16. Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th at Vista Theatre (Oct. 13)
17. 17th Annual Ghost Train in Griffith Park (Oct. 13-31)
18. Beware the Dark Realm: An award-winning haunted house in Santa Clarita. (Oct. 14, 20, 21, 27, & 28) FREE
19. Italo Horror Disco in Highland Park (Oct. 18)
21. 34th Annual Hollywood Forever Cemetery Walking Tour (Oct. 21)
22. Halloween & Mourning Movie Night at Heritage Square (Oct. 21)
23. Halloween Film Festival at Los Feliz 3 Cinema (Oct. 21) FREE
24. Night of 1000 Devils (Oct. 21)
25. Monster Tour at Descanso Gardens (Oct. 21, 22, 28, 29)
26. Lucha VaVOOM: The Smell of Fear — A Halloween Spectacle (Oct. 25-26)
27. Double Feature: Brides of Dracula & Hollywood Scares at Alex Theatre in Glendale (Oct. 26)
28. Scare-amount Ranch in Agoura Hills (Oct. 27) FREE
29. Halloween Party With Rolling Stones Tribute ‘The Ultimate Stones’ at The Rose in Pasadena with discount tickets available through Goldstar (Oct. 28)
31. Velveteeria’s Hollywood Halloween at Velveteeria: Museum of Velvet Paintings (Oct. 28)
32. All Night Horrorthon at Santa Monica’s Aero Theatre (Oct. 28)
33. L.A.’s Day of the Dead at Hollywood Forever Cemetery (Oct. 28)
34. Spanish-Language Screening of Dracula (1931) at Linwood Dunn Theatre (Oct. 28)
35. KCRW Masquerade Ball in DTLA (Oct. 28)
36. Angels & Demons: LA Halloween Costume Ball (Oct. 28)
37. Tales From the Crypt + Tribute to a Haunted Mansion at Bob Baker Marionette Theater (Oct. 28-29)
38. 14th Annual Halloween & Mourning Tours at Heritage Tour Museum (Oct. 28-29)
39. The Haunt with No Name in Tarzana (Oct. 28-31)
40. The House on Haunted Hill in Woodland Hills (Oct. 28-31)
41. The Haunted Shack 20th Year in Torrance (Oct. 28, 31) FREE
42. Part Time Punks Annual Goth Ball at The Echo (Oct. 29)
43. Halloween Seance in Echo Park (Oct. 29)
44. Ghostbusters (1984) Screening at Egyptian Theatre (Oct. 29)
45. Harry Houdini Halloween Vigil at Dearly Departed Tours (Oct. 31)
46. West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval (Oct. 31) FREE
48. Carnival of Souls at Aero Theatre (Oct. 31)
49. Halloween Screening: Dawn of the Dead at Armand Hammer Museum (Oct. 31) FREE
51. Haunted Hollywood Walk of Fame Tour (ongoing)
You’re ready to buy your first home, but you can’t seem to get far
enough ahead to save for the down payment.
If you have good credit (640 fico) and a stable work history, you
may qualify for a down payment assistance program. If you have
never owned a home or haven’t owned in three years, then call me
to learn about the AWESOME loan programs available for people
that do not have savings for a down payment. To find out if a
similar program is available or if you qualify, give me a call today.
580 Fico or better
Stable work history
Have not purchased a home in the last 3 years
Money can be used for Downpayment and Closing Cost
You can purchase up to $600,000
4 Months Reserves (monthly payment $1,000=$4,000 in reserves)
down payment assistance
In only three years, the number of Americans who claim to understand what a smart home is has jumped 53 percent, according to a Finn Futures survey. This doesn’t mean we’re all adopting the connected home technology, however. In fact, the survey finds that 59 percent of Americans don’t plan on doing so soon and cite cost as the main barrier.
Yes, it’s pricey, but some features may just be worth the money, while others may not.
The Finn survey finds that 55 percent of respondents want automated, or “smart” door locks. Interestingly, these locks don’t make your home any more secure than your deadbolt does because they work with the deadbolt, not instead of it. “You’re paying for convenience (not necessarily security), according to cnet.com’s Ry Crist.
Depending on the type you choose, from the key fob, password entry and fingerprint recognition to Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled, smart locks can be quite pricey so consider why you want one before purchasing. If it’s for the convenience factor, go for it. If you’re concerned about home security, forego the lock and invest in a smart home camera, an alarm system or motion-sensing doorbell instead.
One of the top smart home gadgets that the Finn survey respondents want is the smart thermostat (44 percent want one). What can a smart thermostat do that the trusty old programmable one can’t?
Make life more convenient is the obvious answer if you’ve ever tried to program a standard thermostat. Not only is it time-consuming but they are limited in how many different programs you can use.
Smart thermostats, on the other hand, are connected to the Internet and controlled by other devices, such as smartphones. The number of programs you can use is unlimited and programming them is simple. In fact, if you purchase a learning thermostat, such as Nest, you won’t need to program it at all. It promises that after only one week, it will have “learned” your routine and automatically adapted to it.
We think it’s worth the splurge (about $249) because it helps save money on utility bills. In fact, three studies of the Nest Learning Thermostat, based on a comparison of utility bills from before installation of Nest and after the installation, showed that users saved an average 10 to 12 percent on their heating bills and 15 percent on cooling. Impressive enough for the Nest thermostat to become ENERGY STAR certified by the EPA.
Coming in third as the most desirable smart home feature is smart lighting. This feature allows you to program the lights in your home to turn on, off and even dim via a remote device (such as your smartphone).
You may want to program the gadget to turn on the porch light at dusk, or as you ‘round the corner in your neighborhood on your way home from work, turn on random lights around the house when you’ll be out of town or, if you have a teenager that leaves a trail of lit rooms in his or her wake, turn off lights when someone leaves a room. In the latter case, smart lighting may save you money on your electric bills.
Smart smoke alarms
If a smoke alarm in a home is activated and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? It does if it’s smart and connected. Smart alarms send a warning to your phone, a handy feature if a fire breaks out while you’re at work.
We think they’re worth it mainly for the sense of security they provide but also because you may receive homeowner insurance discounts. Check with your insurance representative before purchasing a smart smoke alarm because some insurers have a list of those they consider “qualified.”
Homeowners aren’t yet jumping on the smart home bandwagon, but homebuilders are and don’t be surprised within the next few years to find newly constructed homes offering a full package of connected-home options.
For the first time since the Hawthorne Plaza mall was completely shuttered in the late 1990s, building plans have been submitted to City Hall calling for new construction to begin there early next year.
The significant step comes after a decade of standstill between city leaders and the mall’s owner over the decrepit site that once housed J.C. Penney, The Broadway, and Montgomery Ward department stores as well as a range of other retailers.
The plans envision a mega mixed-use development with more than 1 million square feet of commercial space that includes a movie theater, gym, restaurants, bowling alley and other entertainment options among large and small retailers. Offices and 600 housing units will be woven into the less trafficked portions of the project.
“As a council we’ve done, in a year, what hasn’t been done in the last 20 years. That’s the bottom-line truth,” Mayor Alex Vargas said. “Because we cut out the B.S. We cut out the petty politics and are just doing the people’s business.”
Three previous rough development plans floated by West Hollywood-based developer Charles Co. were turned down by City Council members who said they didn’t like the designs.
On Nov. 22, the City Council approved, on a 4-0 vote, a deal to provide financial support for the development by diverting some property tax revenue to the project in the future.
The Hawthorne Boulevard-facing mall stretches from 120th Street south past 126th Street. It’s apocalyptic look, with broken down elevators and hollowed-out stores covered in graffiti, has been used as a backdrop for many films and TV shows over the years.
The site’s massive $500 million transformation will begin by relocating Los Angeles County workers housed in temporary offices in the mall since 2001 to an adjacent office building that will be built at 126th Street within a year.
Once the new $25 million office building is finished and workers are moved, the mall will be demolished, City Manager Arnie Shadbehr said. An underground parking garage will be constructed, and the existing three-story parking garage will be retrofitted to allow for two levels of offices above.
“I can see some hope now,” said Shadbehr, who has worked feverishly to hasten the mall’s development this year. “We can break ground as soon as February.”
Shadbehr was appointed interim city manager last year after city officials revealed that former City Manager Michael Goodson lied about a growing budget deficit. With the support of former Mayor Chris Brown, Goodson and other top city leaders secretly spent tens of thousands of dollars on incidentals like meals and travel expenses.
Since taking over City Hall, Shadbehr has focused on closing a roughly $6 million structural budget deficit. He worked closely with City Attorney Russell Miyahira to renegotiate the city’s debt payments to save $2 million in annual fees.
“The renegotiation of our loan obligations, the hotel project across the street and the Hawthorne mall project are going to close the budget gap and, eventually, in a few years we’ll have a surplus,” Vargas said. “That’s our three-point economic recovery plan.”
Councilwoman Olivia Valentine praised Shadbehr for pursuing economic solvency so doggedly.
“If it weren’t for him, we would never have had the mall at this stage now,” Valentine said. “Arnie and his staff have pushed this thing and pushed it so that we really do owe him a debt of gratitude.”
With home prices in the Westside already very high, it seems counter-intuitive to purchase a property there. Indeed, some real estate writers in the media are predicting another real estate bubble is about ready to burst.
They are wrong – very wrong.
The Westside is in the midst of an explosive economic trajectory that is unprecedented but solid. Well-established social media, technology and other companies that originated in Seattle and California’s Silicon Valley have now established roots in Los Angeles that are very deep. Indeed, the Westside has been re-branded by locals as “Silicon Beach.” Councilman Mike Bonin has said about the community of Playa Vista he serves, where many of these companies are operating, that it is “. . . the tech and innovation capital of Los Angeles.”
Here are some of the astounding numbers that underscore the seismic shift in business for this area:
Google already leases 100,000 square feet in three buildings in Venice. But it has since purchased 12 acres for $120 million in Playa Vista that is zoned for up to 900,000 square feet of commercial space and it is expected to lease the old Hughes Hangar that is yet another 319,000 square feet. In all, up to 6,000 highly-skilled, highly-paid technology employees will be able to fill that space. They will all be looking for housing and will expect that housing to be high quality and reflect their financial success.
Google subsidiary YouTube also rents a 41,000 square-foot video production facility in a nearby former Hughes building in Playa Vista.
Facebook may be leasing 35,000 square feet at Playa Vista’s Playa Jefferson.
Yahoo and Microsoft also have large presences in Playa Vista. And that’s just the big names.
This new technological hub is attracting not only local but out-of-area talent as well. For now, however, the big news is that available housing is definitely lagging and unable to meet the demand for young people flush with money and plenty of purchasing power.
Here are the hard, cold numbers: in Playa Vista, there are currently just nine homes for sale, only four of which are single family residences (SFRs). The cheapest home is $1,549,000. That price gets the buyer a 3 bedroom, 2,314 square foot home with no back yard, just a very modest patio with a view of the neighbors’ wall. Prices per square foot start at $630 and easily reach over $900.
In the past 90 days, the least expensive 3 bedroom home in the same area recently sold for $725,000 – again, no yard. The highest priced one was $1,850,000.
Fourteen homes – mostly condos – are in escrow.
In other words, there is a dramatic shortage of available housing in the area to soak up the demand of well-heeled home buyers. Any economist will tell you that when demand far outpaces supply, prices can only keep climbing due to shortage and what we call the inelasticity of demand.
Does this scenario still look like a bubble to you?
Big changes are on the way for Earvin “Magic” Johnson Park, now that the LA County Board of Supervisors has approved an ambitious plan to renovate and expand the already very large park starting in 2018. The six-phase project includes the construction of an amphitheater, event center, reflecting pool, and state-of-the-art sports complex, among many other amenities. It also calls for the annexation of the adjacent sites of the former Ujima Village Apartments and a daycare center, expanding the 104-acre park to a roomy 126 acres.
An announcement from County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas notes that the park improvements are part of a “renaissance of Willowbrook,” the unincorporated area of South LA that is also home to the recently revamped MLK Medical Center.
In a series of public outreach hearings, the project planners found that residents of the area had an array of concerns about the current park, ranging from security and safety issues to complaints about duck poop and worries that the park’s central pond may be contaminated.
These latter concerns are not unfounded—the park is situated on the former site of an Exxon Mobil tank farm, and in 2007 the Regional Water Quality Control Board ordered the oil company to begin remediating contaminated groundwater on the site. Construction on the first phase of the park redesign will have to wait until after environmental specialists have given the go-ahead.
So far, the most controversial aspect of the plan is the construction of equestrian facilities, along with a 1.75-mile horse path. While area groups like the Compton Junior Posse, a youth equestrian organization, have actively supported the facilities (naturally), some residents are concerned that they may take up too much space, or that they will simply smell bad. Expect this debate to continue for some time, as the equestrian center will not be included in early phases of the project.
Altogether, the redesign is expected to take about 18 years to complete, at a cost of up to $135 million.
No matter how many fond memories you’ve accumulated in your home, there may come a time when you start wondering: Should I sell my place? Maybe it’s because your local real estate market is booming and you stand to score a sweet payout. Maybe you’re relocating. Or your expanding family has outgrown your space. Or you’re just looking for a change of scenery. But questioning is easy; deciding to put your house on the market is tough.
Here are some steps to help you pinpoint when the time is right.
How to calculate your home equity
A key variable in the decision on whether to sell your home is how much equity you’ve built up over the years. Home equity is the amount of money tied up in your house—what you’d receive if you sold it, minus what you owe on your mortgage.
So how do you calculate your home equity? You’ll need two numbers: the remaining balance on your mortgage and what your home is currently worth. You can get a ballpark of the latter by typing your address into home value estimator. For a more in-depth assessment, ask your real estate agent, who will do an analysis by checking comparables, or comps (the prices of recently sold, similar homes in your area), as well as other aspects of your home.
Here’s how this calculation looks with actual numbers: Let’s say you purchased your home for $300,000, but its market value has risen to $325,000. Let’s also assume that you’ve whittled down your mortgage over the years so that all you owe is $75,000. To get your home equity, subtract $75,000 from $325,000 and you have $250,000 in home equity, which is pretty sweet!
Of course, the more you owe on your mortgage and/or the more your home’s price has plummeted, the less home equity you have. If that number is much smaller or even negative (which can happen if housing prices plummet), consider holding off on selling until conditions improve.
Is it a seller’s or buyer’s market? Here’s how to tell
Another factor in deciding if it’s time to sell is whether you’re in a seller’s market. This essentially means that the demand for homes is outpacing the supply, which gives sellers more leverage during negotiations. To figure out if you’re in a seller’s market, browse through some listings and look for these two signs: houses are selling for over asking price, and homes aren’t sitting on the market for long (generally less than six months). If that describes your area, then it’s a great time to sell. (Just don’t forget that if you sell, you may also have to buy, which may present problems unless you’re leaving the area.)
On the other hand, if homes in your area are selling for under asking price and sitting over six months, that means you’re in a buyer’s market and that market forces aren’t working in your favor. This means if you want top dollar you may want to wait.
What’s up with interest rates on mortgages?
If you’re planning to sell your home and buy a new one, you should definitely consider interest rates on mortgages. Fortunately, right now, interest rates are at historic lows, hovering around 4%. That’s an astounding deal! In the ’80s, they were a whopping 17.48%—and while they probably won’t shoot up quite as high in the near future, we’re expecting them to move up by next year. Homeowners eager to upgrade to their dream home might want to grab them while they can.
Have your housing needs changed?
Market forces and interest rates aren’t the only things to keep in mind when deciding if you should sell your home. A lot has to do with you, and whether the house suits your space requirements. For instance: Is your current place too small now that you’ve been joined by a couple of kids—or is it too big now that your grown children have moved out on their own? Both scenarios are fine reasons to find a home that better suits your needs, so be sure to consider all of these factors in weighing whether the time is right to sell.
When homeowners ask how to get a home sold, there is typically more to the question. For instance, some really want to know how to get it sold quickly, some are wondering how to sell a home to get more money out of it while others have a home languishing on the market and just want to know how to get the thing sold.
There’s no mystery to getting a home sold; it all starts with basic real estate principles and practices.
It’s important to know the current trends in your local real estate market before putting your home up for sale. Is it a buyer’s market – where there are more homes available than buyers? Or is it a seller’s market, with few homes available and lots of buyers?
Your local newspaper most likely covers your regional real estate market but this is also information you can obtain by asking your real estate agent.
This information is important for several reasons:
• If you can afford to wait to sell your home, the current market may be the deciding factor as to whether you sell it now or wait.
• It helps you price your home appropriately.
• It gives you an idea of what to expect during the time the home is on the market.
Another aspect of timing the sale of your home is the season. Home sales are seasonal and the ideal time to sell the home is in spring. This doesn’t mean, however, that homes don’t sell at other times during the year, even in the dead of winter.
In fact, although fewer homes are listed and sold in winter than in spring, the likelihood that you’ll sell your home is higher in the former than in the latter.
The number one reason a home sits on the market and doesn’t sell is price. To make matters worse, sellers of overpriced homes typically reject initial offers because they think they are too low, when, in reality, they are most likely close to the market value of the home.
In a buyer’s market, it’s even more important to price your home competitively. If you choose the right real estate agent, your list price should be very close to the home’s true market value. It’s up to you, then, to either lower it a bit to create more interest or to overprice the home and risk eventually having to drop the price.
It almost sounds trite in today’s real estate market to mention that a home needs to be cleaned and decluttered before putting it on the market. While the advice is common, it’s still very good. A clean home with maximum curb appeal will put your house above the competition.
Make repairs to anything that obviously needs it. This means dripping faucets, loose banisters, cracked windows – anything that a buyer will notice. These little things make it appear that the home hasn’t been maintained – something no buyer wants to take on.
We can discuss larger repairs and whether or not they should be tackled.
Your Realtor can make or break the deal. Keep that in mind when determining who to hire to assist you in the sale of your home. This is not the time to hire that friend of a friend or your Aunt Martha.
Choose your agent carefully and then work as a team, following up with one another frequently throughout the process.
Getting your home sold requires, overall, patience. Take your time with each step in the process, ensuring that nothing falls through the cracks. Listen to the advice of your real estate agent and you’ll soon be on your way to the next phase of your life.
Like shopping for anything expensive, shopping for a home requires research and a game plan. When you have a list of steps to take, the process will be far less perplexing and far more enjoyable. You’ll also be more successful if you have a strategy, so let’s take a look at some of the initial steps to take to get you into that new home. Check them off as you complete them.
Get ready to buy a home – check your finances
No, working on your finances won’t be the most exciting part of the process, but it just may end up being the most rewarding. Just as you wouldn’t go car shopping without knowing exactly how much you can afford to spend, neither should you step foot in even one home for sale without understanding where you stand financially.
A good place to start is with your credit score. If you haven’t checked it in a while, order your credit reports. By law, you are entitled to one free credit report (from each of the three reporting agencies) every 12 months. The only company that is authorized by the Federal Trade Commission to supply consumers with these free reports is annualcreditreport.com. I can also do this for you for $16
Go through the reports and dispute any errors you find. Fixing even one error may significantly impact your credit rating.
Then, go over your budget (if you don’t have one, create one using the template here). Tally up all of your debts and figure out how much money you have coming in every month.
Finally, determine where you can make cuts or how you can bring in more money to set aside for your down payment and closing costs. Your down payment requirement will depend on which loan program you use and closing costs, although variable, typically run between 2 and 7 percent of the loan amount, according to the National Association of Realtors.
Shop for a mortgage
Meeting with a lender is the next important step in the game plan. Based on the outcome of your first meeting with a loan officer, you can request a preapproval letter, which puts you in a strong negotiating position with home sellers.
Lenders want stacks of paperwork, all proving that you can afford a home. Plan on supplying your lender with at least the following:
- Tax returns, including Schedule C if you are self-employed
- Pay stubs,
- Bank statements (all pages, including the blank ones)
- Identification, including your Social Security card and driver’s license
The self-employed and those pursuing jumbo loans may be asked for additional documentation.
Make a list of must-haves in your new home
Now that you know how much you can spend on a home, it’s time to make a shopping list, which can include items such as:
- Location – proximity to public transportation, schools, shopping or whatever is important to you.
- Neighborhood must-haves – community pool, security gate, guard, trails, clubhouse, etc. Do you want friendly neighbors or those that keep to themselves? A neighborhood with or without kids?
- Architectural style – if you have a particular style in mind, such as colonial or Victorian, list that, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need.
- Interior features – If there is anything you absolutely must have, such as a formal dining room or a chef’s kitchen, make note of it.
- Exterior – Do you need a large lot or just a small yard? Is a carport sufficient or do you require a garage? Don’t forget to list pool, spa, fencing and any other exterior features you want in your new home.
Finally, organize the list, placing the three most important items at the top. These are your priorities, and you should share them with your real estate agent.
Tip: To determine your priorities, think about what you find intolerable about your current living situation. For instance, if barking dogs drive you crazy, vow to find a quiet neighborhood. If you’re sick and tired of mowing the lawn when you’d rather be relaxing, seek a home with low-maintenance landscaping.
Find a real estate agent
Since you’re now ready to look at homes, you’ll need a real estate agent’s help from here on. Remember, the services of a buyer’s agent won’t cost you anything – the seller pays all real estate commissions, so there really is no reason not to have your own representation and many, many reasons you should.
While all of the steps in the above checklist are important, and should be taken in the order listed, securing the services of a professional real estate agent to help in the purchase of a home is critical. Having a pro represent your interests, negotiate on your behalf and walk you through all the piles of paperwork — at no cost to you – will give you peace of mind during the process.