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Los Angeles homeowners can get a 4.5% mortgage rate in March

  ...if you like the terms. Here's the rub:Finishline

  • it's for a fifteen-year, fixed-rate mortgage and...
  • it costs 1.25% in points and...
  • the loan amount has to be for $250,000 to $417,000 and...
  • you have to have a 700 credit score or higher and...
  • all of your monthly debts (including the new payment) can't exceed 40% of your documented income and...
  • you must have at least 20% in equity if it's a purchase transaction or....
  • you must have at least 20% in equity if it's a refinance of your purchase loan (no cash out) or...
  • you must have at least 40% equity if it's a refinance where you took cash out of the house.

Lots of restrictions but it's here.  Contact me if you want to give it a go.

PS:  This might not be that bad of an idea if your rate is 6% or higher.  If you took out a $300,000 loan, at 6%, for thirty years, your payment is $1798. Refinancing your mortgage to a 15-year loan, at 4.5% would raise your payment to $2294.  That's only $500 a month. 

That's an extra $90,000 that you'll pay towards your mortgage over 15 years.  If you bought your home in 2006, you still have 27 years left.  If we could knock off 144 payments at $1798, you'd save $259,000.  So...

It costs you $3750 in points PLUS another $3000 in closing costs PLUS the $90,000 extra (the higher payments).  Pay out $97,000, over fifteen years, and save $259,000?  Hmmm, maybe you'd do better in your 401-k.

Then again, maybe not.  I'm just sayin'.

I'll run the numbers for you if you contact me.

Artists in Discussion, Sunday, March 1, 2009 from 3-5 pm

Artists in Discussion

Sunday, March 1, 2009 from 3-5 pm

Please join us on Sunday, March 1, 2009 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm for a discussion with artists Barbara Carrasco, John Valadez, Elizabeth Perez and J. Michael Walker regarding their current works in our “Intensidad” exhibition.

Artistsindiscussion2 Barbara Carrasco creates small concentrated bites of intense, yet delicate, drawings.  Strong feminism can be seen in the content of her work as women, many of them self-portraits, populate her work.  Barbara created numerous works which have been exhibited throughout the US, Europe, and Latin America:  The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, Armand Hammer Museum, Cleveland Center for Contemporary Art, Museo del Chopo, Mexico, and the Mexican Museum.

J. Michael Walker fresh from his one-man exhibition at the Autry National Center, J. Michael makes a 180˚ turn from his Saints series, exhibiting large colored pencil nudes of unusual beauty.  An exhibiting artist since 1984, J. Michael has participated in more than 100 exhibitions; received a dozen grants, fellowships and residencies; and enjoyed solo shows at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies, Harvard; el Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Mexico City; the National Museum of Catholic Art and History, East Harlem, New York City; and the Arkansas Arts Center; among others.

Elizabeth Perez Her portraits of tattooed people look defiantly at the viewer.  Interesting in that these people hold no political or economic power, but their intense gaze holds our attention, we are almost afraid to look away. We each own a little power in the space we possess.

John Valadez, a realist painter and muralist who takes as his subject the urban landscape and people of Los Angeles, was born, raised, and continues to live in L.A. His style might be compared to that of photorealists, such as Richard Estes, who gained prominence in the 1970s. However, his work is not a purely documentary reflection of mainstream society.

Where:                  Avenue 50 Studio, Inc., 131 N. Avenue 50, Highland Park, CA 90042. 
When:                   Sunday, March 1, 2009 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Gallery hours:      Tuesday through Thursday 10 am – 12 noon, Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm

Worlds End Celebrating Two Decades of the Neruda-O'Daly Ranchito

Worlds End Celebrating Two Decades of the Neruda-O'Daly Ranchito - with poet translator William O’Daly and Friends


Saturday, March 7, 2009 starting at 8:00 pm

Los Angeles poets will read from Neruda, in Spanish and English, as prelude to a talk and reading that Mr. O’Daly will deliver, primarily from his two newest Neruda books, World’s End and The Hands of Day.

Matilda read by Fernando Castro
If You Forget me read by Corrie Greathouse
If You Forget me read in Spanish by Rafael F J Alvarado
I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You read by Theresa Antonia
Cat's Dream (Sueño de Gato) read in Spanish by Abel Salas

I Can Write the Saddest Lines read by Doug Knott
Ode to Air read by Don Newton
Canto XII: Arise to Birth with me, my Brother read by Peggy Dobreer
Canto XII: Arise to Birth with me, my Brother in Spanish Mariano Zaro
Ode to Socks read by Amaranth Borsuk

Ode To Socks read in Spanish by Gabriela Jauregui
Ode to the Yellow Bird read by Kim Calder
To the Foot from it's Child read by Miguel Sanchez
Walking Around read by Jenny Factor
Sonnet XIV read by Russell Salamon

Ode to Book read by Lois P Jones
Ars Poetica read by Holly Prado

Avenue 50 Studio, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) non-profit art gallery
131 North Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA  90042

For more information:  323-258-1435


Real Estate Market activity in zip codes 90031, 90032, 90041, 90042, 90065 for the previous week as reported in I-Tech MLS:

New listings entered

Reported pending

Reported sold and closed 

These zip codes include the Northeast Los Angeles communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park,  Sycamore Grove, Garvanza, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Monterey Hills, and Hermon.    


Real Estate Market activity in zip codes 90031, 90032, 90041, 90042, 90065 for the previous week as reported in I-Tech MLS:

New listings entered

Price reductions

Reported pending

Reported sold and closed 

These zip codes include the Northeast Los Angeles communities of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Glassell Park, Sycamore Grove, Garvanza, Montecito Heights, Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, El Sereno, Monterey Hills, and Hermon.   

My Furry Valentine Adoption Event

Los Angeles - LA Animal Services, in partnership with the Found Animals Foundation and the Pet Care Foundation, is announcing the My Furry Valentine adoption event at six L.A. area Animal Care Centers.

Loving animals will be available for adoption at a Valentine's Day special low price of $43 for a dog, $28 for a cat (second cat is free!) and $25 for a rabbit. This is a 60% to 80% savings off regular adoption fees. During this event, these low adoption fees include spay/neuter surgery, microchip, vaccinations and in the case of dogs a license.

If you have been looking for love in all the wrong places, come to LA Animal Services and find a Valentine who will give you a lifetime of unconditional love!

North Central Animal Care Center
3201 Lacy Street
Los Angeles, CA 90031
Hours: 8am-3pm

South LA Animal Care Center
3612 11th Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Hours: 8am-3pm

West Valley Animal Care Center
20655 Plummer Street
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Hours: 8am-3pm

Harbor Animal Care Center
957 N. Gaffey Street
San Pedro, CA 90731
Hours: 8am-3pm

Southeast Area Animal Control (SEAACA)  
9777 Seaaca Street
Downey, CA 90241
Hours: 10am - 4pm

West Los Angeles Animal Care Center 
11361 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Hours: 8am - 3pm

East Valley Animal Care Center
14409 Vanowen Street
Van Nuys, CA
Hours: 8am - 3pm

Los Angeles Mortgage Rates Report: February 13, 2009

Los Angeles mortgage rates look to trend up in the next week or so.  Ambiguity about the spending/stimulus bill, combined with a massive borrowing effort by the Government, is making it difficult for mortgage rates to stay below 5%.  Economic data are still bleak and that should act as a ceiling for mortgage rates in the near-term.

If you’re buying a home, with a conventional loan, you should be able to lock-in 4.875% this morning.  I’d take that rate if you plan to close in February.  I, like Bill Gross of PIMCO, still think we’ll see mortgage rates at 4.5% again; we might have to go through 5.375% to get there, though.

If you have the time and will, hold out for a better rate.  Otherwise, all February closings are best served by locking today.

Edgy Art for St. Valentine's Day

This year, St. Valentine's Day coincides with NELAart's Second Saturday Art Gallery Night.

Local galleries will be looking at St. Valentine's Day in unique and startling ways.

Avenue 50 Studio at 131 North Avenue 50, pairs visual artists with poets whose poem speaks to a particular painting in the exhibition, creating a visual "call and response".  "Intensidad," speaks of artists whose sharply defined work reveals a personality that is passionate in its power of concentration.  These artists reach into their souls where inner strength is the source of their intensity.

drkrm. at 2121 San Fernando Road, opens the first Los Angeles exhibition of Flesh Life: Sex in Mexico City, the work of New York-based photographer Joseph Rodríguez. The show is comprised of twenty-five 11x14 black and white photographs and runs from February 14 through March 15, 2009, with an opening reception on Saturday evening, February 14, from 7-10 p.m.

Bholanath Gallery at 6042 Monte Vista, will feature brand new never before seen works by Comah & Hert (U.S.C.) and one of a kind Miguel Torres custom painted clothing and accessories. They will also have Beta Foster Care charity raffle, food & drink. Music by up and coming young DJ, DJ Rye-Bread. Chocolate tasting.

Juanita's presents Pink Guerillas: Art Show & Fundraiser -Proceeds Go to Homeless Youth - Live Bands & DJ Gingee - $5 cover

The second Saturday of every month is Gallery Night in Northeast Los Angeles:  Your opportunity to explore the Galleries, Shops, Restaurants and Nightlife in the historic and eclectic neighborhoods of Northeast Los Angeles.  Maybe even purchase art for your home or office.

Tour participating galleries this Saturday, February 14 from 7PM - 10 PM. 

Reduced Tax Credit To Penalize Los Angeles Home Buyers

In an eleventh-hour negotiation, the provision for a $15,000 home buyer tax credit, in President Obama’s “stimulus package”, is most likely dead as presented. Instead, the lobbying efforts of the National Association of REALTORs and the National Association of Home Builders will most likely result in a glass half-full:

Congress seems to be near a final stimulus bill that will slash a Senate provision to give home buyers a 10% tax credit up to $15,000. Instead, Congress appears likely to eliminate a repayment requirement on a more modest $7,500 credit.

Justin McHood covered a basic outline of the proposed legislation on Mortgages Unzipped.  Many comments and questions resulted in this closing advice from Mr. McHood:

Wait until the economic stimulus bill passes. And if it does pass, at that point, we can then analyze whether or not there is any kind of tax credit - and if so, how much and what the stipulations are.

While this is a blow for the real estate industry, the measure stands to save taxpayers some $32 billion.   The median price for Southern California home remains is 3.5 times the $75,000 limit so most SoCal home buyers will lose from this recent development.  No information was available about the July 1, 2009 deadline.

Buying a home makes economic sense in some areas of the country.  Low mortgage rates and diving prices have contributed to the sharp increase in number of existing home purchases in December, 2008.  A tax-credit, while a tasty dessert for hungry home buyers, may not be the necessary main course that the free market may already be serving.

Flickr Group: 90065 Mt. Washington

First, let me preface this by saying:  Did you see what waltarrrrr did with his Flickr Photo Group "Highland Park Survey 2008"  It is a collection of photos all taken in zip code 90042 during the final week of 2008.

Well, coincidentally, I have ascended to the position of moderator for the 90065 Mt. Washington Flickr Group.  I ascended to the position because everyone else left.  :-)

Presently the group has two photos.  And two members:  Me, and an attractive gentleman named Dooma Wendschuh, who is the owner and president of a production company.

So here's the deal.  If you live or work in 90065, or if you simply enjoy the beautiful hillside community of Mt. Washington, could I please ask you to consider signing up for Flickr, joining the group, and adding any Mt. Washington photos you might have?  Thank you!!!

Telescope Night at Arroyo Seco Library February 9

 The SideWalk Astronomers  and The Arroyo Seco Branch Library will be hosting a Telescope Night from 6:00 to 7:45pm today, Monday, February 9.

Here's a chance to gaze through a telescope at the moon, planets, & stars. Bring questions for the Sidewalk Astronomer!

All are welcome.

Maybe someone in the neighborhood with a camera can stop by and shoot some photos for the Gallery on the Sidewalk Astronomer's Website?

The Arroyo Seco Library is located at 6145 N. Figueroa St., 90042.
Call 323-255-0537 with any questions.