Friday, July 31, 2009

Honey, I’m thinking of taking the kids to Florida to see my Grandparents next month

Oh yes, this is going to be great! My wife and kids will be out of town for four days. That's got to be several hundred hours right? I am going to sleep in every day, smoke cigars, golf, and see bad movies with guy friends.

Well, they left approximately 34 hours ago and I have not slept in, smoked a single cigar or golfed. I did catch the last twenty minutes of the Hulk on cable last night, alone. And, from what I saw it was in fact...bad. But I am supposed to be living it up bachelor style! I should be slightly buzzed in Vegas finishing up on the 18th hole getting ready for some gambling. As of now, I have worked and slept. Much more work than usual and just about the same amount of sleep. Why? Is this guilt or is the fantasy of cutting loose just that, a fantasy?

Tomorrow I am going to cut loose…



Friday, July 24, 2009

Are we losing our minds?

I had to go pick Silas, our 2 year old, up from daycare today because he was a little throw-uppy.  And when I say a little, I actually mean a lot.  Poor little dude.  Anyway, as I was driving him home, I looked into the backseat to check on him.  As I leaned back, the car moved a little to the left in my lane.  Well, the woman next to me did not like this one bit, despite the fact that she could see I was checking on my little guy.  So I gave her the “whoops, my bad” gesture.  She took a moment, and then gave me the uncompromising middle finger.  I looked at her and laughed out of shock, and then she gave me the finger again.

Then I witnessed a guy reading the newspaper while driving a big white van…on the freeway.  He had it opened up across the steering wheel.  Really?

Are we losing our minds? 

I, for one, know that we men are not particularly concentrated drivers and/or multi-taskers.  My wife thinks that I get honked at a disproportionate number of times within a week.   Like everyone doesn’t get honked at multiple times in a week, jeez.  Anyway, lately, I am doing my best to be self entertained in the car, care of Raw Dog satellite radio, and pay a bit more attention to the road.  I’m specifically terrified of the intersections with cameras, which my wife recently learned is about a $500 ticket.

This weekend I will be performing with my kindie-rock band Egg, at Bluffs park Saturday and will be hosting an open house at a Lorcan O’herlihy designed project in Hollywood.  It is an amazing piece of work with unparalleled views. 

Bluffs Park performance is at 11:30am Saturday July 26thhttp://Eggmusic.net

The open House will be from 2pm-5pm Sunday July 27th at 7917 Willoughby Ave, West Hollywood.  http://www.7917willoughby.com

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Dodgers, Lakers, and Steve...oh my!

Wow. Thanks to my good friend, Mr. Zambrano, I am getting the full LA sports experience this week. I am so glad to be his little buddy. I hadn’t been to a Dodger game in at least 10 years. It was as I remembered it: fantastic grilled Dodger Dog, mammoth bag of salty peanuts, good conversations with friends, and a pitchers duel. Is there any sport that is more food-centric? The Dodgers won the game 1-0 and it was pretty great despite the unseasonable sprinkling of rain. During the seventh inning stretch with my arms locked around some perfectly nice strangers singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game in an undetermined key, I was left thinking about some weird-nesses about the tradition of MLB baseball and sports as whole. First of all, the pitcher gets to come out and “warm up” before every inning. So I’m thinking tonight at the game Kobe should be able to practice some shots when they switch to offense, get his form, and then casually waive to the ref in an “OK, I’ve got my form locked down, let’s do this!” And Tiger Woods should get to hit a few balls off every Tee Box until he’s worked out his swing and then, “Right-o, I am good! A-game intact.” Why not? Another strange thing is the coach/manager of the team dressing in the classic, yet silly, baseball uniform. Joe Torre is 69 years old. Why does he wear the cleats, cap and uniform? When I watch the Lakers game tonight, I would be profoundly moved if Phil, Kurt, and Shaw were wearing Lakers purple and gold, knee high socks, and a pair of Chuck Taylors. That would be sweet.

I am still trying to figure what to wear to my open house this Sunday. But then I guess a realtor has as good a uniform as any: button-down shirt, khakis, and loafers. I’ll just wear the tube socks underneath.

Monday, May 18, 2009


What is your definition of a desirable neighborhood? Is it somewhere where the local Trader Joes or Whole Foods is in walking distance? Is it somewhere the neighbors all wave to each other while on the way to work? Or, are you of the troglodyte orientation and want a dark room as far away from ordinary civilization as possible?

I have lived in many different neighborhoods, emphasis being on “hoods”. My first apartment was in Hollywood and to date I still have a soft spot for it. It was a beautiful 1920’s courtyard on a street called Vista Del Mar. Sleeping to the sounds (and lights) of low flying helicopters became the white noise my wife and I needed for a good night sleep.

We then moved to Silver Lake we parked our car because about everything we needed was in walking distance. We then moved to NW Glendale four years ago (Suburbia). Home made pies, bottles of wine and handwritten welcome notes from little kiddos came from all over the neighborhood.

What are your priorities? View? Off street parking? Friends close by?

If you are around this weekend come say hi, I’ll be at 3336 Primera Ave. 90069 Sunday from 2pm-5pm. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYZYDqpKo2c

video

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Interest rates are low, buyers are out with venom, my kids are thriving, Tiger and Bynum are healthy, even my neurotic sixteen year old cat has not peed in the house in weeks, and then this.
My family and I were coming back from brunch in Venice this last Sunday when this bright yellow monstrosity was seen taking over the fast lane on the 134 East. My seven year old started laughing, my two year old cheered, and my wife and I were left speechless, which is amazing all on its own. I actually thought of a real estate term while passing it in the carpool lane: encroachment. It felt as if we were being swallowed whole. While Obama is in Europe spreading the goodness and trying to clean up a monumental hole that W left him, this spectacle that shouldn’t be street legal is on the streets of Los Angeles. And, if that weren’t bad enough, it’s available for rent. I have a better idea, go to http://www.teslamotors.com/ and check out the S.

OK, for now I got the rant completely out of my system. Let’s get back to the first ten words of this entry. The bottom of the market is here. Prices for real estate are finally within reach and the interest rate on a conventional loan is 5% or under. A double-whammy. So, it truly appears to be a time that offers more potential for investment than in recent history.

Whether it’s a refinance, purchase, loan modification, investment property, or an upgrade, the opportunities are out there.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Friends

This weekend one of my best friends came to Los Angeles from her home in Oakland, CA. As much as I try to justify different reasons for her visit to LA, astoundingly the reality is she just came in to help a friend.

Amy Perl is a well known and brilliant photographer based in the Bay Area. Her specialty is working with kids. She has taken timeless shots of my children over the years and now she came down to spend the weekend with us and photograph my band, Egg. We are in the middle of revamping the website and in need of photos for marketing and publicity. Months ago when the band thought of having Amy take the shots I thought it was spot-on but not realistic, as she lives up North, has a family, and that we flat out couldn’t afford her. Well, I asked, she said yes, and now Egg is the proud parent of some amazing Amy Perl pictures. http://amyperl.com/

Switching over as I do:

“Loan modification is a process whereby a homeowner's mortgage <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage> is modified and both lender and homeowner are bound by the new terms. The most common modifications are lowering the interest rate <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interest_rate> , reducing the principal balance, 'fixing' adjustable interest rates <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interest_rate> , increasing the loan term, forgiveness of payment defaults & fees, or any combination of these. Wikipedia, 2.9.09

A lot is changing in the real estate market right now. Banks are coming to the realization that they either help their customers find a way or everybody loses. Loan modifications, refinancing, and new programs to get people into houses are becoming a lot easier to obtain. I have been working with different institutions to get my clients the help they need on a case-by-case basis. Of course, please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you.

HOUSE OF THE WEEK:

I am helping an incredible couple sell their home. It has arguably the best views I have ever seen from a residential hilltop home and has a flat area the size of a football field. This property has a 4800 square foot home sitting atop well over an acre and is ultra private.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Satellite, Financing and South Paw

So, I just got a new car. It is a Mini Cooper Clubman and it came with satellite radio. Without sounding like the king of hyperbole, it has changed my life. I can’t handle regular radio anymore. Now that I know what I was missing, I wish I had gotten satellite a long time ago. The music channels are great…but it seems like I’m always listening to news. So, here’s the question:

Is becoming a news radio junkie a good thing?

Ever since I became a realtor, I have been more interested in national trends, but the Obama era has made me obsess on national and international news. A while back I went through a phase where I read every book I could that represented the Liberal perspective. It got to a point where my therapist strongly suggested that I not read Michael Moore or anyone like him for a while. Well, years later, I find myself obsessing on the news again. From the bailout package and housing to health care, I easily get swept up in the need for change. “Ignorance is bliss” is a saying that I am guessing has been around a while. Man, it’s hard not to get swallowed in the drama of our global politics when everything in the press is negative. Some would say I’m susceptible to the addictive qualities of the news. I’m starting to think that my therapist had it right; sometimes stumbling through life with na├»ve positivism can be nice. I think I’ll move over to Dr. Radio!

A quick note on financing. This, in my opinion, is where the problem and resolution of the financial debacle is centered. Wells Fargo is trying to do something about it. Last week they announced a loan package that is 90% financing. I have a great lender at Wells for you to contact if this interests you.

Also, all Polar Bears are left handed. True.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Facebook Effect

It seems just a short time ago that our parents put our social security number all over our possessions for safety in case of theft. Can you believe that? Now, with the internet being as accessible as a home phone (remember those?), life has changed. I am continuously intrigued with the networking sites. My site of choice is Facebook. It is mind-boggling who reaches out for a reconnection via the web. Some make me feel a bit peculiar, some very happy, and others…well....

It’s also curious to challenge who will accept a friend request. Did I mention my sudden closeness with Brian Boitano? But I digress.

Today I received an email from a family friend who I have not seen or spoken to in twenty seven years. I was nine the last time I saw her. A quick email, picture, and voila...back in touch. I think the last time I saw her, my older brother Gary thought it would be a fun idea to streak by the campfire while she was cooking s’mores, still my favorite dessert. She was roughly seventeen and Gary the same. The site of my older brother naked, except for a pair of Converse All Stars, running through the desert is still ingrained in my brain. She included the above picture of me sitting in the back of our family dune buggy in Anza Borrego ( http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=638 ), averting spinal disaster by a mere few feet. And to think my kids are locked into their five point harness while heading three blocks to our local Ralph’s. Definitely a different time.

To Real Estate:

Yesterday I held 881 Matilija Road open from 1pm-4pm. This was virtually the same time as the Philadelphia vs. Arizona game, so I thought that we would get four or five groups through. We had over 110 people through the home in those three hours. It felt like 2005-2006 all over again. Please visit Clarkliving.com or StephenPlacial.com to see pictures of the house. Additionally, a home in Silver Lake went into multiples and was bid up over $100,000 last week. With change in the air, Obama taking office tomorrow (seeya W.) http://www.redbubble.com/people/melinda/t-shirts/2271571-2-bye-bye-george-bush, and some old friends reconnecting, 2009 is shaping up to be a great year.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Twinkie, Bok Choy or fantastic 3/3 with views


What is it about a piece of asparagus that is inherently unappealing to a child?

I, for one, like asparagus. But as a little guy I detested them. That goes for any vegetable in the squash family as well as Brussels sprout (Brassica oleracea), tomatoes, and, of course, the king of soggy…spinach. On the other hand, any kid will look at a cupcake and just know that it’ll be delicious and as close to the opposite of a rutabaga as that little brain can conjure.

I watch my two year old vehemently turn down healthy food on a day to day basis just to reach out for anything in our house that’s junk. And don’t get me wrong; being the great parents that we are, we get the “organic” pop tarts from Trader Joe's. Is it as simple as insisting that your child eat a Twinkie, forbidding bok choy?
Over to real estate:

Today I submitted an offer on behalf of my clients on a beautiful home that would suit their family, educational, and spatial needs. The home has been on the market for six days and has four offers. I wrote an offer last week for a different client which had three offers. What’s going on?
According to the Today Show this morning I should pack it up as a realtor and go interview to be a barista at the local coffee house. Is it LA? Today’s forecast is 80 degrees, clear, and 14% humidity. Is it the interest rate? Today it’s 4.75% on a 15 year fixed. It’s all a bit confusing to me.

All I know is that I am looking out my office window at a beautiful view of downtown LA and looking forward to having the sunroof down on my way to lunch with Ceinwyn. No disrespect to Matt, Meredith, Al and Anne, but the coffee I’m making will be for me and real estate is where I’m staying.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Welcome to 2009.

With the new year comes all of the real estate craziness. The interest rates are at a historic low and buyers have come out with a vengeance. A home in NW Glendale just went on the market and currently has eleven offers. There is a buzz happening. If you’re sitting on the fence, I strongly encourage you to think about making your move (pun intended).

On another note:blogging - To write entries in, add material to, or maintain a weblog.

Just a few months ago I really didn’t know what blogging was. It sounds funny too. A little like flogging: verb (used with object), flogged, flogging. To beat with a whip, stick, etc., esp. as punishment; whip; scourge. Or clogging: to hinder or obstruct with thick or sticky matter; choke up: to clog a drain. That’s pretty nasty. Hogging: to appropriate selfishly; take more than one's share of. Dogging: to follow or track like a dog, esp. with hostile intent; hound.

I think this is the most accurate: blogging: to masquerade one’s inconceivable narcissism with clever yet random tidbits of information to better enhance one’s business, personal life, and, in most cases, self esteem via the internet.

What do you think?