Looking around LA

I think I’d find it almost impossible to come to LA and be surrounded by so much real estate without getting out for a bit of a look. So today in sunny West Hollywood I consulted Google Maps and off I went. Whilst I would have loved to have gone up into the hills to stroll through mansions my lack of car (and multiple millions of dollars) kept me local. I selected 2 properties to view, one on the ‘If I won lotto list’ and the other was on the ‘this could be doable one day’ list. Let’s start with the home that would use up my lotto winnings.

Described as a Stunning 3 bed, 3.5 bath town home with superb finishes located near the famous and trendy Melrose Place, I’d certainly be thrilled to call this place home. At just under 1.5 million it’s not cheap, but for the location in West Hollywood and the amazing property I’d be thinking this is good value. Huge bedrooms, great bathrooms and a large outdoor area help finish off the 1 year old 2250sq foot 2 level condo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Although the agent was assuring me that the US property market is well on the rebound I had the luxury of looking through this amazing property by myself for almost 45 minutes. I get the feeling that the level of confidence in the local property market may not be quite as positive as he indicated, or maybe all of the movie stars were off filming today. So I then packed up my bags and headed west to the other end of West Hollywood, literally the other side of the street to Beverley Hills.

This cute bungalow below is situated in an area known as the Norma Triangle and was built in 1922. This was the more realistic property I wanted to inspect, with 2 beds and 1 bath it is quoted at $787,000. OK, maybe not amazingly cheap but half the price of the previous one…and it comes with your own recording studio (formerly known as a garage). It had a completely different feel to the other property being much more homely. A fantastic hedge rose 10 feet as your front fence which appears very common in LA and looks great. There was also a nice backyard to relax in after your exhausting recording sessions. I’ve asked both of the agents to get back to me with what their rental estimates would be, I’ll be interested to see what percentage return you get.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’d always recommend having a look at properties in other countries if you get a chance whilst travelling. I find it not only very useful to get an idea of what you can get for your money but also fascinating to see how others live!


A house fit for an (ex) Prime Minister

Without wanting to declare my political leanings I’ve always been a fan of Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard. So after recent events with Kevin Rudd taking back the top job, what is a former PM to do as far as getting some distinguished digs? Well considering that Julia purchased her former home in Altona for a modest $140,000 in 1998 but has been used to living in The Lodge and Kirribilli for the last few years I’m guessing that her standards have gone up (nothing against Altona…well not much). Word on the street is that Julia and the former ‘first bloke’ Tim Mathieson have snapped up a new abode in her former home town of Adelaide. A sold sticker was placed on the for sale board out the front of the Adelaide property earlier this week and it is believed that the property has been purchased through a buyer’s agent for a price around the 2 million dollar mark. Interestingly the listing by the agent has now been removed.

That being said, if Julia and Tim have purchased this new love nest then they’ll be able to enjoy a 12-person spa, a commercial pizza oven, a nine-burner barbecue and even a secret trap door that leads to a wine cellar. Let’s hope that there is an invite to their housewarming BBQ soon!

The $2m Adelaide house boasts a modern interior.

A Golden (Girls) Investment

Whilst this post doesn’t exactly align with the purpose of this site I just couldn’t resist posting this knowing that there are a few of my followers that will just love this…and maybe make a purchase themselves. For those that were viewers of late 80’s sitcoms there was none more popular than The Golden Girls and now you can invest in a piece of television history…albeit recreated in paper. Alan of EverydayMiniatures has created an amazing 1:72 scale replica of Rose, Dorothy, Blanche, and Sophia’s Miami house.

Photo via EverydayMiniatures/Etsy

The set includes the lounge, kitchen, entry and hallway. The detail is amazing and will bring back a lot of memories for viewers of the show.  For die hard fans you can even hunt for such things as 
Sophia’s bamboo purse in the living room, Rose’s painting of St. Olaf , Blanche’s Commemorative Citrus Festival Ball Plate (glued back together) and even the memorable cheesecake! As a bonus you also get the 4 ‘girls’ recreated in paper standing about 1 inch tall.

Photo via EverydayMiniatures/Etsy

At around $200 AUD it’s not the cheapest piece of paper you’ll ever buy but for some fans of the show it’s absolute gold and you’ll need to get in quick as the first run of these sold out quickly. If you’re impressed by creative people recreating buildings in impressive miniature detail you might also like to check out the
Ghostbusters HQ replica or this amazing version of the Friends Apartment


The value of Landlord’s Insurance

One thing that property investors can sometimes discover the hard way is the importance of ensuring that they have adequate landlord’s insurance on their investment properties. When things are going well and you have a great tenant who looks after the property and pays their rent on time it can be an easy thing to overlook and can often be avoided because of additional cost. I’ve discovered through personal experience and listening to the experiences of others that it is an essential component in every investor’s bag of tricks.

Yes it is an additional expense (although if you do your research you can get some good deals) but it is worth its weight in gold if things go pear-shaped (and it’s tax deductible). One of the other traps that property investors can fall into is assuming that the building insurance on the property automatically covers them for landlord and tenant associated issues, this is not always (and often rarely) the case. Make sure that you are familiar with what your building policy does and does not cover. The benefits of landlord’s insurance come into their own if there are issues with rental payment defaults and malicious damage to the premises. Give it some thought, what expenses would I have if a tenant doesn’t pay their rent, intentionally damages the property or even if they move out and leave the house full of their unwanted junk? It could really add up. Then consider, what happens if there ends up being a couch on the roof, old mattresses up a tree and old underwear in the garden…the mind boggles but it does happen! To see an example of when you would definitely want to ensure your landlord’s insurance policy was up to date (although somewhat extreme) check out the recent example below from Melbourne.

Video via 7 news

It’s enough to make you dizzy!

___images_stories_uae_newsbox_jpg_w_108_h_150Now here are some buildings that you wont see everyday, and you currently cannot see at all as they aren’t built, but the following ‘dynamic buildings’ designed by Architect David Fischer of Dynamic Architecture are a sight to behold. One of the first is a ‘dynamic hotel’ that was slated to be built in Dubai and if this would fit anywhere then it looks like Dubai would be it. The Dubai building would allow each floor to be independently rotated and for it to be controlled by the occupant, each floor could rotate 360 degrees in 90 minutes. See below for an impressive demonstration. Unfortunately in 2012 the building’s developer put the project on hold and announced plans for a Dynamic Tower in London.

Some of the other target cities include Paris and London among others.

Video via Dynamic Architecture