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Real Estate is a Crap Shoot

My hands were sweaty as I nervously darted my eyes around the craps table . I was the pariah because I was “betting on the don’t line“. This particular strategy can be extraordinarily frustrating when a table gets hot. It requires a bettor to double up his stake each time he is incorrect. It takes incredible faith in the mathematical probability of a negative result.

“Seven Out!” yelled the croupier.

Victory, while inevitable, doesn’t really feel that sweet. I risked $2500 to win five bucks. I proved my strategy to the reckless gamblers betting the other way. I yelped exuberantly, not for my intellectual superiority, but in relief that my bet, the family vacation money, hadn’t disappeared. While I was yelping, the players at my table were pocketing pink and black chips and cheering raucously. Confused, I learned that they were collecting chips every time those dice hit various numbers on the way to making ten straight points .

Now craps may seem like a poor analogy to the real estate market. It really isn’t.

I know that craps, a loaded game of chance, always favors the house no matter what strategy you employ. Real estate is a loaded game of chance; the best thing about it is that it is loaded in the owner’s favor. The “MySpace Generation” and the immigrant population are entering the housing market in the next 10 years. The demographics are astoundingly favorable, especially for the sunbelt states.

I think all the bubbleheads and doom pundits should yelp. You were absolutely correct this year. 2006, perhaps part of 2007, will be the year (s) of the bubbleheads. Gloat! Wipe your brow with confidence in your marked intelligence. I commend you for your prowess. You had to be correct one of these years; you had mathematics on your side. Take a look around. Your neighbor sold that rental property in Anaheim and lost $30,000. So why, like the gamblers betting on the come line, is he cheering ?. He is cheering because he still has rental properties in Albuquerque, Salt Lake City, and Bakersfield.

Now that I’ve commended you, I must warn you of something. You really don’t want a 30% decline in housing prices because every financial asset you have will be devalued . If you’re stashing your cash in the local bank, it will be gone because the bank will collapse. The FDIC will not weather a bailout without significant tax increases. Stocks will sink and mortgage-backed securities will be worthless setting your well-diversified, employer-sponsored 401(k) account back to it’s 1984 value. Think of the big picture bubbleheads. Isn’t that a huge price to pay for bragging rights?

2007 should be the year you stop gloating and start asking the tough questions about how YOU can profit off the changing markets. It is far more courageous to ask those questions than to post argumentum ad hominum under a pseudonym (although I secretly enjoy the mindless banter).

The real estate market, like a cold craps table, will quickly get hot.. History and demographics dictate that this table will have a lot of winners on it.

I hope you’ll get prepared for the big roll.


You may have noticed the "Recent Readers" column on the left, provided by MyBlogLog.  MyBlogLog has become rather popular in the real estate blogging community.  Sure, it provides stats, but on a more basic level, I think people just like seeing that their online friends have been reading each others blogs.   

Dustin at Rain City Guide posted his take on MyBlogLog.  And, Dustin, I think that same soft core blogger joined the NELA Live community, too.  Whatever floats your boat.

So, everyone, please feel free to go ahead and click on the "View Reader Community" link, and join MyBlogLog.  It's free.  (The Pro version is $25.00 per year)  I'd enjoy seeing some local faces.  And we'll see how it goes.

Arroyo Seco Recreation Culture & the Arts Newsletter

Arroyo Seco Recreation Culture & the Arts Newsletter
Issue 44 12.28.06


Happy Holidays! Feliz Fiestas!

A Prosperous New Year! Prospero Año Neuvo!


Well, last week I didn’t write about Las Posadas, and so even though they are ended until next year, this week’s intro is about them. I find them interesting in two respects, both of which have to do with syncretism. One is the preHispanic history, the other is the Sephardic Jewish history. As usual, I realize many will disagree with my perspective, but then that’s what it is, my perspective written from my very unique history and ethnic make-up.

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke, 2:1-7 KJV

Las Posadas means "the inns" or  "the shelters" in Spanish.  A religious and social celebration that takes place for nine nights, from December 16 - 24, it commemorates Joseph and Mary's journey to Bethlehem and their search for shelter prior to the birth of Christ.  Las Posadas is a reenactment of this difficult journey.  The procession is led by children, followed by adults & musicians.  They travel to a different house in the village or neighborhood each night looking for lodging.  When they enter the designated house, they begin the evening with prayer; soon after, the celebration begins, full of music, fireworks, food, candy & treats for all. The Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Epiphany or Feast of Three Kings on January 6.

In preHispanic Mexico they celebrated the advent (arrival) of Huitzilopochtli (Dios de la Guerra – the god of war) in winter from December 17 – 26, which coincided with the European Christmas celebration. In order to replace the Aztec celebration a novena, or nine days of prayer, was introduced, perhaps, by St. Ignatius Loyola. The celebration further evolved in 1587, when Fray Diego de Soria, priest of the Convent of San Agustin Acolman, asked the Pope for permission to hold Yuletide masses outdoors, because the church could not accommodate the multitude attending the dawn services. Eventually it became the celebration we know today with a candle-lit procession stopping each night for nine nights at three different locations looking for a place to stay.

What is even more interesting is that it has traveled to LA has two different roads. The expected one is the one from Mexico as Las Posadas is a Mexican Catholic custom. What is the unexpected one is the one from the Philippines. There the unique Christmas celebration dates back to when Miguel Lopez de Legazpi, the first Spanish governor-general in the country, celebrated the first Feast of the Nativity in the archipelago. In following Pope Sixtus V’s decree that dawn masses should also be held annually in the Philippines, the simbang gabi became a Filipino religious tradition in about 1660.

And then what did I see but two candles lit in the window. What’s this? Oh, it’s the first night of Januka, which comes somewhere in December, this year December 15 - 22. First night, yes. Januka lasts for 8 nights until 9 candles are lit by the window. And, in Mexico, yet! Oh, remember those Sephardic Jews who came along with Cristobal Colon, who were expelled from Spain, who fled the Inquisition, who went to the Philippines. If I were them (and some of my ancestors were), wouldn’t it be a real coup to hide Januka not only within the Catholic traditions, but integrate First Peoples traditions so as to disguise what is being done. Ummm… Well, it’s my thought.

But, whatever light it takes to get passed Winter Solstice, is fine with me. So I light my Januka candles and I participate in candle-lit Posadas. What do you do?

Nu Roots 07

Sunday, December 31, 8p

Ignite, 11364 E Imperial Hwy, Norwalk, CA

After Party: The Node, 11723 Firestone Blvd, Norwalk, CA

Sponsored by: Ignite, My Place, The Node, Mi Amigo Clothing, Flatblack Clothing

Performing live: Pigeon John, LA Symphony & Red Cloud. B.boy Battle - $150 cash prize. Spoken Word. Fashion & Art Show – Aerosol by Zender, Cab, TCA crew of arts and Door Prizes. Vendors. 3 Stages. DJ’s Spinning on the 1’s n 2’s.

For a complete listing of this newsletter go to or or


January 2006 Elected Board Representatives take office.

All are welcome & invited to attend the following meetings:

Nothing scheduled until after January 1, 2007.


East LA Bike Oven XX

Second & Fourth Saturdays, 1 - 4p

130 W Ave 42, LA, CA
310.902.5439 Ubrayj02(

A bicycle workshop for women. You already know about ELBO on Wednesday Nights. Well now meet it's fledgeling sister, ELBO XX. Bike Wrenching, Tea, Snacks & Conversation for women.

East LA Bike Oven
Wednesdays, 6 - 10p
130 W Ave 42, LA, CA

East LA Bike Oven is a community bicycle workspace where anyone can walk in and work on their bike. Available are 2 bike workstands, a wheel-building stand, and various hand tools for common repairs. Tools and some parts have been donated by the ELBO founder and some of the regulars. Feel free to come in with your own donations.

7th Annual Nacimiento Bike Tour
Sunday, January 7, 12noon - 4p

Registration: 11:30a

Rain or Threat of Rain Cancels

Bike RSVP: 213.629.2142 Check out the Nacimiento Tour map

Sponsors include: the Latino Urban Forum, The Rare Times, LA County Bicycle Coalition (LACBC), &, of course, the residents

Merry, Merry, riding through the streets, Zigzaging thru cars & christmas trees, all in fun to find the best of nacimientos! This 15-20 mile tour will wind its way through homes and public displays of East LAs' rich folk art of nativity scenes, covering the communities of Highland Park, Lincoln Heights & Boyle Heights. The tour starts at the Avenue 26 Gold Line Station parking lot. Helmets are required (for liability). Take the self-guided tour any time between noon and 4p.

The Bike Oven & Locos Armadillos 42 Bike Club present:

Spoke(n) Art Bike Ride

Saturday, January 13, 6 - 11p

Meet at: Flagpole, Figueroa/York, 6p

Leave at: Flagpole, Figueroa/York, 6:30p

Sponsored by:  The Outreach & Recreation, Culture & the Arts Committees of the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council

626.831.7970 310.902.5439

Come to the Spoke(n) Art Bike Ride. It meets at the corner of Figueroa & York (at the flag pole). North East Los Angeles has two dozen galleries & art houses in a two-mile radius & we’ll travel to a selected group of them so that we can spend quality time at each stop. This ride is an entire evening worth of bikes, art & fun.

The ride will wind its way around the Eagle Rock, Highland Park & Sycamore Grove areas, stopping at selected galleries open that night as part of NELAart's ongoing 2nd Saturday Gallery Night.  The galleries will generally be open from 7 - 10p & run a wide spectrum of different genres & styles. If you get lost, or want to meet up with the ride, call (310) 902-5439 or 626.831.7970 for directions.

Rock Rose Gallery, 4108 N Figueroa, will be the last gallery on the ride. After that you can head over to the Bike Oven, 130 W Avenue 42, for the after-party. Both are close to Gold Line train stations (SouthWest Museum & Heritage Square) & several all-night bus lines that run on Figueroa.

Gallery itinerary available the week of the ride on-line & at the flagpole.  Maps will be provided at the flagpole & can also be picked up along the route.

NELA Bikes! presents:
3rd Fridays NELA Critical Mass
Friday, January 20, Gather 6:30p, Ride leaves 7p
Avenue 57 Gold Line Station (151 N Ave 57), Highland Park, CA

Critical Mass is a monthly bicycle ride to celebrate cycling. It started in San Francisco in 1992 and quickly spread to cities all over the world. And now it's in NELA! They meet at Avenue 57 Gold Line Station.


The Old LA Certified Farmers Market, Highland Park

Tuesday, January 9, 3 – 8p

Parking Lot adjacent to Metro Gold Line Highland Park Station (Ave 57 & Marmion Wy)

Operated by: North Figueroa Assn (Highland Park BID), 115 N Ave 53, LA



Their farmers will be taking a two-week vacation. They wish you Happy Holidays & the best produce in the new year!

In season at the market right now are:  Strawberries, avocados, a variety of citrus including grapefruits, blood oranges and navel oranges, salad greens and fresh herbs, carrots, broccoli, spinach and other greens, potatoes, fresh cut flowers, tomatoes, corn and asparagus, as well as staples like onions, garlic and apples.  In addition to the farm produce, a number of local food vendors will be selling freshly baked breads, rotisserie chicken, roast corn and baked yams, tamales, Thai-Mexican food and kettle corn, among other items.  Finally, a number of local crafters will also be selling their wares.  Please stop by and pick up fresh, field-ripened, high quality produce from local farmers and meet your friends, neighbors and other community members.

The market specializes in CA certified fresh produce.  People who join the "Frequent Shoppers Club" program will be eligible to receive free gifts. The market will also be accepting WIC & Food stamp EBT cards.

Holiday Heritage: A Southern California Christmas Exhibit

Saturdays/Sundays, 12noon - 4p

Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St, LA, CA

Thru January 15

323.225.2700ext 222



Where are the NorthEast LA artists this weekend/next week? 

This Chicana artist doing a dance presentation at the LA Recreation & Parks Winter Solstice event at Balboa Park on Saturday and then on Sunday I’ll be at Acorn Gallery for The Arroyo Arts Collective and the Avenue 50 Studio Holiday Sale and Fundraiser and the Candlelight Posada for Immigrant Rights.  Due to work constraints, Sunday and early week listings, including these Sunday events will be sent out later. Shalom, RuthAnne 

Where will you be???


For a complete listing of this newsletter go to or or


Cultural Cinema on Main
Foreign Film Dinner Screening
: Thursday, December 28, 6:30p
Casa de Sousa Coffee House, 634 N Main St, LA, CA 90012

This is an eclectic, intercontinental cinematic dining affair.

Friday Night Fun
Friday, December 29, 6 - 8 p

That Yarn Store, 1578 W Colorado Blvd, LA, CA

Every Friday they'll be having a fun activity.  Sometimes it's a knitting or crocheting circle with
a theme, other times a movie or live music. They’ll bring the wine, you bring the cheese. Ring in the nearly new year with some wine, cheese, & yarn.

Cine Chicano on Main
Cine Sin Fin
: Friday, December 29, 9p
Casa de Sousa Coffee House, 634 N Main St, LA, CA 90012

Screening the best of the best – archives of the world renowned East LA Chicano Film Festival, powered by Tamales.

NorthEastLA Galleries
Call for hours

Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Glassell Park, Sycamore Grove

If you missed any of these galleries on Second Saturday Gallery Night or you just want to revisit them for your holiday shopping, browse below to make your choices. Call ahead to find our their hours during this holiday season.

Participating Galleries: Acorn Gallery, Avenue 50 Studio, Blue Chips, Cactus Gallery, Carlotta's Passion, Drkrm, Future Studio, MorYork Gallery, Rock Rose Gallery, Sugarbutterbex, Young Art.

The Arroyo Arts Collective presents:
Gifts & Treasures - Cash & Carry: An Open Members Exhibition 

Saturday, December 23, 12noon - 4p

The Acorn Gallery, 135 N Ave 50, Highland Park, CA

Thru December 31


This is a display of small works priced $100. & under, 12" x 12" in size. Art is hung salon style & sold off the wall upon payment. But don't worry if you miss that one special piece, another will soon go up in its place. Artists include: Edith Abeyta, Lynn Bennett, Beth Block, Paul August Bruinslot, Kate Burroughs, Carol Colin, Jack Fenn, Cicely Gilman, Heather Hoggan, Patty Sue Jones, Patricia Lee, Linda Lyke, Gregory Liffick, Karen Lockert, Heather McLarty, Gurdon Miller, Susan Moss, Jennifer Murphy, Connie Rohman, Benette Rottman, Dorothy Shepherd, Suzie Stroll, RuthAnne Tarletz, Deborah Thomas, Ted Waltz, Betty Phoenix Wan & many, many others.

Contemporary Nacimientos: Paintings Sculpture Nativities
Avenue 50 Studio, 131 N Ave 50, LA, CA
Thru January 7


This exhibit features art interpreting and reinterpreting the nativity story.  The artists invited to participate bring to the nativity story their personal and political perspectives be they traditional, contemporary or impious. Participating artists are Linda Arreola, David Botello, Barbara Carrasco, Carol Colin & Ted Waltz, Raoul De la Sota, Heather Hoggan, Pola Lopez, José Lozano, Poli Marichal, Isabel Martinez, Andrés Montoya, Suzanne Siegel & Annie Sperling

Minatures Showcase / Murals

Blue Chips, 5505 N Figueroa, Highland Park, CA


Their mural has been repainted by Eyeone & Yem. Currently they have life-size installation/murals of 15 LA artists who have worked internationally & nationally. Together with the artists they have embarked on the Blue Chips clothing line, which is a collection of work by the artists that is available for purchase. Come by Friday night & custom design your own t-shirt outside in the back.

Blue Chips has monthly miniature exhibitions showcases the 15 featured artists: Zender, Germs, Yem, Timoi, Antonio Pelayo, Oscar Magallanes, Raul Baktazar, Mon-'SteR, Solomon, Omar Ramirez, Daniel Gonzalez, Peter Carrrillo, Joe Bravo, Emi Motokawa, Pazadaword, Fandomist ... These featured artists will have their installation/murals up until the end of 2006 when the next selection of feature artists will install their murals.

Tiny Treasures

Cactus Gallery & Gifts, 4534 Eagle Rock Blvd, Eagle Rock, CA

Thru January 4


This is an exhibit of small scale works done on canvas, wood, paper, glass & recycled objects. Participating Artists: Jason Cardwell, Jena Cardwell, Henry Chávez, Catie Davis, Natalie Egnatchik, Domenico Foschi, Annie Fourguette, Viktoria Gaw, Eleonora Ghioldi, Deborah Green, Guadulesa, José Ángel Hernández, José Herrera, Maricruz Huerta, Merle Keller, Brooke Kent, Gregory Liffick, Heather Lloyd, Sophia Louisa, Janice Markham, Ginger Mayerson, Candace Metzger, Miss Mindy, Andrea Monroe, Melissa Moss, Mario Ocampo, Ángela María Ortíz S, Jason Schaper, Robert Selvaggio, Snow Mack, Jennifer Phiffer, Kelly Thompson, Mike Tracy, René Trujillo, Edwin Ushiro & Cristián Vega-Rojo.


Carlotta's Passion Fine Art, 2012 Colorado Blvd, LA, CA
Thru January 7


The works are as diverse as the artists’ experiences and their chosen media of expression. Participating artists: Maria Elena Castro, Martin Charlot, James Osorio, Ramon Ramirez, Sergio Rebia, Frank Romero, Sharon Romero, Sonia Romero, Hector Silva, J. Dudley Slay III, Gregg Stone, Otto Sturcke, Ruben Trejo, Linda Vallejo & Mark Vallen.

Low Brow Xmas Show

Closing Reception & Art Auction: Saturday, January 6, 7 - 11p

drkrm Gallery & Lab, 2121 San Fernando Rd Ste 3, LA, CA
Thru January 6

323.223.6867 626.825.2442

The Low Brow culture represents the revitalization of the 40’s hot rod era when hot rods, pinup girls and rockabilly music flourished in America. This show features over 30 artists from around the world. The exhibition will feature works by Keith Weesner, Coop, Skratch, Chip Foose, Max Grundy, Dennis McPhail, Mitzi Valenzuela Cardenas, Rikki Rockett, Tom Kelley, Dan Collins, Tiffany Collins, Makoto ( Japan ), Grimb, Tingler, Dennis Ricklef, Jeff Allison, Mr. G (Japan), Rob Struven, Sid, Mike Pike, Jo-Jo, Robert Hamilton, Nick O’ Teen, Sara Ray, Matt Antone, Tick One, Broadview Graphics, Mike Dorman, Nigel, Dan Guilday, Ric Frane, edFox, and other artists. The show offers a variety of mediums including illustration, photography, pinstriping, tattoo work and more.

Gallery Show

Future Studio Gallery, 5558 N Figueroa St, LA, CA

I Heart Everything Sweet 

Sugarbutterbex, 5110 York Blvd, Highland Park, CA

This show includes small, whimsical drawings dealing w/baking, fashion and eating. as well as, some yummy baked goods to be included with the show’s opening.

Shared Vision: a collaboration of Ruth DeNicola & Cidne Hart

MorYork Gallery, 4959 York Blvd, Highland Park, CA

Thru January 6
323.258.5446 323.258.6873

This is a collaborative exhibition of assemblage by Ruth DeNicola and collages by photographer Cidne Hart with by installation by Clare Graham. These two Los Angeles artists are neighbors on a hill in Highland Park, and this exhibition is an outgrowth of that proximity--in space and in vision. They share a passion for expressive personal statements using the human face and figure. The unspoken depth of emotion evoked by manipulating effigies in art can remove us from time and place, reminding us of the eternal human issues.

Virgen de Guadalupe Exhibit and Altar

Rock Rose Gallery, 4108 N Figueroa St, Sycamore Grove, CA


Sponsored by the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council

Come to an art exhibit honoring the Virgen de Guadalupe featuring the Virgen in various media including paintings, prints, wood carvings & boxes, ceramics, photos, wearable art. Featuring the following artists: Monica Hernandez, Heather Hoggan, Leo Limon, Karen Lockert, Juan Olazaba, Rachel Rifat, Eduardo Rocha Soto, RuthAnne Tarletz & Alberto Varela.

Paul Forney Exhibit

Young Art, 747 N Avenue 50, LA, CA

Thru January 6


This exhibit is of new paintings by Paul Forney.


La Tocada Latina: Free radio SAIC with La Veneno Cortes

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Fridays, 5 - 6p Chicago/Mexico, 3 - 4p LA

Listen to Carmina Cortes, a local Chicana artist, as she broadcasts from art school in Chicago. Go to the website, click on Listen Now, then an orange box will pop up can send your hellos & even see Carmina on this little orange box.  She'll be playing music en espanol.  You can call her & be on the air as well.


Community Drum Circles
Sundays, 12:30p families, 1:30p adults only
Rock Rose Gallery/Productions & Arroyo Books, 4108 N Figueroa St, Sycamore Grove

Drum Circle - Bring your own drum or percussion instrument or use one of those provided by the gallery.  Taught by Mr Blue, a versatile artist from New York.

Jazz Composers Workshop
Sundays, 3 - 5:30p
Rock Rose Gallery/Productions & Arroyo Books, 4108 N Figueroa St, Sycamore Grove

Son Jarocho Classes
Tuesdays, 4:30 - 6p
East Side Café, 5469 Huntington Dr N, LA, CA
Donations are accepted

Son Jarocho Classes! Learn to: Play Jarana: String Instrument from Veracruz; Dance Zapateado; Sing & compose Sones-songs; & Gain Knowledge of Son Jarocho music, Children, teens & Adults welcome!

Men's Night
Second Wednesdays, 5:30p

That Yarn Store, 1578 W Colorado Blvd, LA, CA

Come and hang out and work on your projects, or buy our beginner's package & David will teach you how to knit or crochet.

Spin a Good Yarn Night
Third Wednesdays, 7p

That Yarn Store, 1578 W Colorado Blvd, LA, CA
323.258.2647 that.yarnstore@gmail

Enjoy an evening  of  spoken word stories, poems, editorials,original fiction, jokes and tales. Tell a story, read a poem, tell a joke & listen. All are welcome. Feel free to bring a snack.
Knitting not required.


Call For Entries 2007 Silver Lake Film Festival – LA: The 7th Edition of Los Angeles' Leading Independent Film & Arts Showcase Unspools May 3-12, 2007. The organizers of Silver Lake Film Festival, LAs' leading showcase for independent film and multi-media, have announced its seventh annual edition will be held May 3-12, 2007 at venues throughout Los Angeles' Eastside, including sites in Hollywood, Silver Lake, Echo Park and Downtown. Silver Lake Film Festival uses Without a Box ( for its registration process.

The deadlines for submission of films are:
Feature films – December 31

Silver Lake Film Festival proudly embraces the work of independent filmmakers; in fact, the greater Silver Lake area is home to the largest community of independent filmmakers in the world. Alternative and experimental film and video -- features, shorts and documentaries -- are the festival's focus. The primary programming goal is to provide access to films that would not necessarily be available to the public. A portion of each year's programming line-up is reserved to showcase the distinctively alternative style of local filmmakers.

The 2007 annual Silver Lake Film Festival will present an expanded MP4Fest, the digital content program that debuted at the 2006 festival. Also returning in an expanded format is MusicFest, the festival's music documentary and live-musical performance program.

One Answer To An Annual Question

Christmasdinner_1Every year the question comes up in Google Searches, in Yahoo Answers ... are there any restaurants open in Los Angeles on Christmas Day?

Well, these are Pasadena, not L.A., but very close to NELA: Ritz-Carlton Huntington in Pasadena is an old stand-by.    McCormick & Schmick's  Seafood Restaurant   and  Delacey's Club 41 were both open and busy! 

This photo is of Delacey's, our regular holiday hang-out.  It was taken just about 4PM Christmas day, before the evening stampede arrived.

Hard Money: Apartment Loans

One arena where hard money can be helpful is to get a quick loan, in second lien position,  against a multi-family property. There is a tremendous need in California for that right now because so many multi-family property owners have low-rate first mortgages at 50-60% loan-to-value (LTV) that were made some years ago. There are two major reasons why the multi-family property owner is reluctant to refinance the first lien to a larger amount:

1- They have a great rate on the first mortgage.  Rates for buildings purchased in 2003 or 2004 were term loans with a note rate below 5.5%; today those rates are 6.5% or higher.

2- They have a very restrictive prepayment penalty on the first mortgage.  The more common prepayment penalty is offered as a declining penalty over 3-5 years.  Commercial Mortgage Backed Securities (CMBS) have a much more restrictive prepayment penalty referred to as yield maintenance or defeasance. Simply put, the borrower must guarantee the lender (who in turn guarantees the investor) a yield for a specific term; this can be much more costly than the declining penalty.  Why would someone borrow money with yield maintenance as a prepayment penalty?  They received a much lower rate. 

We recognize two things in the multi-family market in Southern California:

1- Multi-family properties are undervalued when analyzed on a per-unit basis.   High land costs and rising construction costs make existing properties that have utility as a potential conversion to condominiums valuable.  Condominiums can fetch as and average of $300,000 in San Diego County.  Many times we'll try to loan up to 60% of the future value of a conversion.

2- Multi-family properties have rising yield potential.  There still is a housing shortage in the lower end of the market in Southern California.  Vacancy rates are falling and average rents are rising. We'll try to extrapolate how an existing owner might "reset" the rents to reflect the market if the property is improved and deferred maintenance is performed.  We'll analyze the debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) and lend on a 1.0 coverage using "market" rents or future value of rents.

READ: Multi-Family Lenders Are Liars ( or are they?)

Why would a borrower with good credit and equity borrow money at 13-14% ?

The answer is that nobody else funds second mortgages on multi-family properties; we will.  Many of our private lenders owned multi-family properties in their more aggressive investing years so they understand the property type. 

Sometimes, a multi-family property owner is looking for some quick money for 1-2 years.  The amount they need is not much in relation to the first lien and value.  Borrowers with a CMBS mortgage often find that the high costs and rates associated with our loans are actually quite a bargain when compared to a full refinance of the first lien.

READ:  "Hard Money" makes sense for good credit borrowers

Godspeed, Grace

GracieIf you visited our office in the last few years, you may have met Grace Ortiz, Grace worked for us part time as a receptionist, data-entry expert, file person, and all round assistant.

Grace's last day with us was December 22.  Grace will be leaving January 8 for Cambodia, serving as a missionary for her church.

While I may not share her beliefs, I truly respect and admire anyone with the courage and conviction to live their faith.

May the Lord bless you and keep you, Grace.

Fletcher Square

I have nothing against Home Depot.  But we already have a Home Depot in Cypress Park at Figueroa and Avenue 26, in Glendale on San Fernando Road, and in Burbank.  Plus a Lowe's in Burbank and another Lowe's being built at the Former Levitz site in Glendale near San Fernando Road.  All within easy access of Northeast L.A.

So, it does seem to me that as a community, we could do better than another Home Depot at the old K-Mart site on San Fernando Road and Fletcher.

The "No Home Depot - Northeast Los Angeles Coalition" is suggesting a retail center with fountain, trees, landscaping, outdoor dining, and live/work spaces on upper levels.

With Los Angeles City College soon to break ground on its Northeast Los Angeles Satellite Campus across the street at the historic Van De Kamps Building,  an inviting, destination place on the old K-Mart site would certainly benefit the community.

ASNC Recreation, Culture & the Arts Newsletter 21.12.06

Arroyo Seco Recreation Culture & the Arts Newsletter
Issue 43 12.21.06


Happy Holidays! Feliz Fiestas!

A Prosperous New Year! Prospero Año Neuvo!

I thought that I would write about Las Posadas this week, as I hadn’t had time to do so before this. However, this wonderful holiday piece by Jim Marquez passed my way and it seems like the perfect sentiment to pass along. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And, if you like how Jim writes, you can find his books; such as East LA Collage & Bitch III at The following is reproduced with the permission of the author.

Shopping for the Nephew by Jim Marquez

I was at “Toys R Us” the other day shopping for my nephew. He’s almost 11 years old. What the hell can you get an eleven year old these days? What? Another video game? Please, enough of the soul-obliterating substitute for a parent.

He was much easier to buy for when he was 5: Hot Wheels, Legos, picture books, first readers, anything with bright colors or cartoony characters was the ticket. The blithering joy on his face made me tingle and tear up, and he had more fun romping through the torn wrappings and scattered bows on the floor it seemed. So did I. He was my little Panzon (“chubby boy”, as I once was).

But then it’s suddenly a half a decade later and that, “Wow, Uncle Jimmy!” has turned into, “Well, um, what does it do? Can I download this?” Or, “I already have one”. Or, my personal favorite: “Where am I going to put this?”

That is then followed by a forced smile while he places it off to the side in the pile of slippers, Spiderman PJs, and woolen bed sheets his Nana has given him.  He then utters, sharply, “So what else is there? I’m bored.”

And his father doesn’t even think that’s rude. Our dad would slapped the hell out of us for that kind of comment. And he’d be right for doing so.

So, perusing the aisles here, being pushed and prodded and practically cavity searched by marauding and supremely spoiled 4th generation Latino kids (I was in the second wave to be born & raised here) I hear parents a decade younger than me (I’m 37) utter one of the following lines as they “shop” for toys this merry holiday season:

1) “But what does it kill? It has to kill something!”

2) “Who does it fight?”

3) “How many times can he die?”

4)  “This is stooopid, it’s, like, for learning or whatever-A!”

I made a conscientious decision a long time ago to never buy my nephew toy guys, toy soldiers, toy SUVs, play knives; nothing that blows up, destroys environments and contributes to terrorists organizations, or maims. I know my brother has probably never noticed this, but I try.

Being a writer, an educator, I try to get the nephew items of literary merit, science kits, artistic fair of some sort, sporting gear, or just some cool monsters. To work the body, the mind, the creative spirit, the things my parents barely could afford for us but always managed to pull off every Christmas. An event we looked forward to for that was the only time, really, when we could get our hands on such prizes.

Here in the store the most corrupt, most foul & wicked depictions of death and bloodshed on the outside packaging are snapped up with impunity. With no regards to price. The parents bring their 7 year olds and follow them down the aisle while the child brays, “I want that, I want this, I want that, I want, I want, I want…”

And without consideration their very young parents pile all this crap into sometimes two or three shopping carts, and at the checkout lines, homeboys, with the gang tats, the sneers, the raunchy dispositions, whip out obscenely large rolls of hundreds & fifties and twenties and toss them on the counter as if they were merely snatches of pocket lint.

I stand, gawking at this, my hands shaking, crumbling up the Sunday advertisement with the sales coupon for a toy that’s $14.99. Making the kid in the red vest run to the back and scrounge like a rat for the very last hovering UFO they got in the joint. Hey, at the mall they want thirty bucks for this thing. Here they got it half price. Yes! Score! I would have loved that when I was 11. It goes 50 feet in the air!

I want to get him a wireless remote car, but naw. That make your own creepy crawlies oven kit looks great. At $16.99,  even better. I had one as a kid too. Yes, freak out his mother. And a football. Yeah, my buddy suggested I get the nephew a football. A real one. Wilson. All leather.

Get the kid outta the house for the love of God; peel him off the computer screen for a few minutes. Pretend to hear the roar of the crowd as you cut left and reach out with just your finger tips for the winning touchdown. But it’s too big for his little hands. The same little hands he used to explore my fat, red face for the first time I held him. Ok, maybe a "junior” ball then. But it would have to be a UCLA football, boys and girls.

As I stood at the register with my check card in grubby mitt, happy as a loon for getting the nephew’s gifts out of the way, I realized, with a bit of shame, that I choose his gifts not for him but for me. I wanted that UFO, that creepy crawly set, that UCLA football. Oh, well, if he doesn’t want any it I’ll be more than happy to take them off his hands. I think I know a kid who might like them. Merry Christmas indeed…

*copyright Jim Marquez 2006-2007

Merry Freaking Christmas Charlie Brown! Love, Jim "the beast" Marquez

Carnival of Real Estate

Carnicarousel8_2 The 23rd edition of the Carnival of Real Estate is live at Seattle Real Estate Professionals. Marlow Harris separates the 16 highlighted posts into three categories: Video, podcasts & multi-media; Real Estate 2.0; and Comedy.

The Carnival of Real Estate will be taking a vacation while real estate bloggers spend the holidays with your friends & families. The next edition will go live on January 8th over at @HouseValues.

The Carnival of Real Estate Home Page explains what it is all about and lists past and future hosts.