Archive for the 'Money Matters' Category

Greening Pasadena bungalow on a budget

Working with limited funds, Donna Sider was able to green up her Pasadena Craftsman bungalow, as was reported this week in the L.A. Times. Snider’s investments include: • $6,250 — photovoltaic system (pictured, including $6,400 in rebates) • $500 — tankless water heater • $500 — Energy Star refrigerator (including $150 rebate) • $770 — cotton [...]

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Ask an Expert: Is entire property reassessed for taxes after an addition?

Question: Over the past few years I have remodeled every square inch of my small 1921 home near Venice Beach. During that time the property value has increased significantly. I would like to continue to improve the property by adding a garage, three more bedrooms and two more bathrooms. The home is about 1,000 square [...]

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Q&A: Is building green worth it?

<p><a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/21/doeringinhall.jpg” onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=323,height=466,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”><img alt=”Doeringinhall” title=”Doeringinhall” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2007/07/21/doeringinhall.jpg” width=”250″ height=”360″ border=”0″ style=”float: left; margin: 5px 5px 5px 5px;” /></a><strong>Question</strong>: I’m somewhat of a beginning investor/builder. I’m not passionate about green since it’s my belief that it’s just that much more costlier and time consuming for me. I know its better for the environment. [...]

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Q&A: Is building green worth it?

Question: I’m somewhat of a beginning investor/builder. I’m not passionate about green since it’s my belief that it’s just that much more costlier and time consuming for me. I know its better for the environment. That doesn’t move me as I’m a bottom-line kind of person. However, I want to educate myself (without having to [...]

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Ask a Realtor: Will an open floor plan bring in top dollar?

Question: We are planning a remodel of our home which is about 1,400 sq. ft. We currently have a large living room (357 sq. ft.), a dining room (136 sq. ft.), and a kitchen (125 sq. ft.) we are planning to remodel. We are thinking of possibly opening up the walls between these rooms to [...]

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How much does a kitchen remodel cost?

I’d like to respond to the question above — which I’ve been asked a lot over the years — with a question of my own: How much does a car cost? I just bought a car so I just happen to know: Cars cost $19,958.01. Oh, wait. That’s the cost of my 2007 VW Rabbit [...]

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Ask a Realtor: Extra bedroom or amazing closet better for resale value?

Question: We are a couple living in a four-bedroom house. I would like to take a bedroom adjacent to the master and turn it into a walk-in closet and dressing area, and use some of the space to enlarge the master bathroom. My husband is concerned that losing a bedroom will decrease our selling price [...]

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Solar panel lessons from the field

John Park, who is blogging about his Burbank addition at Park Haus Blog, has a lesson to share about dealing with a solar panel company. John says: We’ve been having lots of trouble getting the company who installed our solar panels to turn in the correct paperwork to Burbank Water & Power. This paperwork is [...]

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Where the money went: DIY kitchen remodel and dining room addition

Here are the actual costs for the kitchen remodel and dining room addition done by Lily and Arnie Richards in Downey. The couple did all the work themselves over a five-month period where they worked every weekend, evenings and during their vacation time. If you were to undertake a project like this, and were ready [...]

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The $1,400 kitchen

This kitchen, featured on the Dwell magazine website, was done for less than $2,000 (not counting DIY labor) with Ikea products. The total cost was about $1,400 partly because the guy who did it works for Ikea and got his employee discount, but he figures the rest of us could do it for less than [...]

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Ask a SoCal Realtor: Will your remodel earn you money?

When it’s time to sell your home, which upgrade will bring a bigger return on your remodeling investment: Granite or Corian counters? A bigger master bath or a walk-in closet? Tile or wood floors? New windows or a new roof? A patio or a deck? Will the remodel you are considering now add a lot [...]

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How to remodel a kitchen and add a new dining room for $27,642

While showing off her new kitchen/dining room addition one evening, Lily Richards explained to me why she and her husband, Arnie, never considered hiring a contractor to oversee the project. “We’re kind of conservative financially. . . ,” Lily began. “We’re cheap,” Arnie broke in. And, he added, “We’re too egocentric.” What’s more, the couple [...]

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A new designer house in Long Beach for $280,000 (including land)? How is that possible?

So how did Richard Gomez manage to build an architect-designed home in Long Beach for less than $300,000, including the land? Here’s what made it possible: 1. Richard bought the lot in 2001 for $30,000. Why so cheap? The lot is tiny, at 45 feet by 50 feet, and it had some "issues" that had [...]

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Ask an Expert: How important is master suite for resale?

Question from reader Al in Hollywood: We have a 1950s bungalow-style house (two bedrooms and two bathrooms) with a very small “master suite” with a small bedroom (180 square feet) adjoined by a very small bathroom (50 square feet with a stall shower, sink and toilet). We only use this bedroom as a guest bedroom [...]

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What if dreams dwarf the budget?

You know why this kitchen in Dani Taylor’s Northridge house is so good-looking? That’s because she had so many years to think about it while other projects took priority. First, Dani and her husband added on a family room for their blended family. Then, when the family grew bigger, a new master suite seemed more [...]

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Loan Q&A: Offer bank value of land alone?

<p><a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/06/10/dollars.jpg” onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=284,height=423,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”><img alt=”Dollars” title=”Dollars” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2007/06/10/dollars.jpg” width=”100″ height=”148″ border=”0″ style=”float: left; margin: 5px 5px 5px 5px;” /></a><em>(Excerpt from <a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/2007/06/coming_monday_a.html#comments”>Ask a Renovation Lender</a>, with <a href=”mailto:john.sway@wellsfargo.com”>John Sway</a>, Wells Fargo Mortgage)</em></p> <p><strong>QUESTION</strong>: We are looking to buy a house that is in foreclosure. The asking price is $550,000 and the house and [...]

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Loan Q&A: Offer bank value of land alone?

(Excerpt from Ask a Renovation Lender, with John Sway, Wells Fargo Mortgage) QUESTION: We are looking to buy a house that is in foreclosure. The asking price is $550,000 and the house and guest house are in such a state of disrepair (mold, water damage, botched/unsafe remodeling, etc.) that we believe we’d have to tear [...]

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Ask a renovation lender

Forget the granite or tile conundrum. The big remodeling question is this: “Where do you get the money?” Here are some of the remodel finance strategies I’ve seen over the years: — Sale of stocks — Cash inheritance from family — Cash-out refinance — Sale of elderly parent’s home to pay for remodel, which included [...]

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Where the money went: Reese Lackey’s budget luxury kitchen

Appliances, fixtures: $8,900 Travertine floor: $1,700 Granite counter tops: $3,300 Electrical: $900 Replace window: $300 Painting, misc. hardware: $900 Total: $16,000 When Reese Lackey remodeled the kitchen in his 1927 Hollywood Hills house, he wasn’t worried about his tastes as he planned to flip the newly purchased house for a profit. His main goal was [...]

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Here’s another view of Reese Lackey’s budget luxury kitchen . . .

. . . that wouldn’t fit in the previous post. The reddish granite has a nice glow, and you can see the DCS range. That one lone upper cabinet could look goofy hanging there all by itself, but taking off the door and making it more of a display area was very effective. If the [...]

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