Life Style & Travel

Short Sales Can Be Profitable

LOS ANGELES—As the market improves so do the opportunities to find a great piece of property suited to you. Short sales are one way to find a nice home as a primary residence or as a rental property. Short sales, of course, are properties being sold by distressed owners at potentially a great discount. Since the sale price falls short...

Vines Have Unique Personalities

UNITED STATES—Boston ivy and creeping fig are good aggressive vines for freeway overpasses and sound-walls. They are resilient to harsh exposures and pollution, and help to muffle the sound of traffic. Boston ivy provides remarkable foliar color in autumn before defoliating in winter. Creeping fig provides thick evergreen foliage that overwhelms any graffiti that it can reach. However, their aggressive...

The Gospel According To Igor

HOLLYWOOD—A lot of years I’ve been driving to the hinterlands east of Vine Street to get my shoes shined. It’s worth it: Igor’s mirror-bright shines draw the complements and his wise words usually rearrange the furniture of my mind. Of course it’s not always feasible to drive to his place of business, and I’m sheepish after committing ‘polygamy’ and...

FHA Loans Are A Gift To Home Buyers

LOS ANGELES—It used to be that if you didn’t have enough money for a down payment to purchase a home, you were out of luck. Families would have to wait years before they could save enough to make a down payment for a new home. Thankfully, those days are long gone. Today, you don’t need to make a big down...

Watering Water Wise Plants

UNITED STATES—Native plants like coast live oak, valley oak, toyon, flannel bush, Western redbud and California lilac (ceanothus) are among the most resilient of plants as the weather gets dry and warm after spring. So are plants from similar climates, like bottlebrush, oleander, rockrose, grevillea, acacia and eucalyptus. They survive dry summers by dispersing their roots deeply into soil...

A Few Favorite Cut Flowers

UNITED STATES—Flowers add such variety of color and fragrance to the garden that it is no wonder that they are so popularly cut and brought from the garden into the home. Even though larger quantities of flowers can be purchased from markets or florists without depleting those blooming in the garden, growing our own can be so much more...

Retirees Can Get Financing

LOS ANGELES—Retirement is an exciting time in life. Being able to spend more time with family and friends is especially enticing after nearly a lifetime of working. But for some retirees, they wonder if they can get financing for the next home they hope to buy. The answer is yes. Being retired doesn’t mean you can’t qualify for a mortgage...

Reasons Why Your Home Isn’t Selling

LOS ANGELES—Putting your home on the market is an emotional decision, but watching it sit there with little interest from potential buyers can add frustration to the mix. So take a step back and reexamine the situation and try to determine what you may have overlooked. Sometimes it’s a question of price that has many heading in the opposite direction...

Gardening Up A Wall

UNITED STATES—Like so many fads often do, the vertical gardening fad has become trendier than it really should be. It certainly has practical applications, and is very appealing in the right situations. However, in the wrong situations, it can be more problematic than it is worth. Vertical gardens can shade and insulate exposed walls, but really do little more than...

Are You Prepared To Be A Landlord?

LOS ANGELES—These days many are jumping into the rental property market. And given the recent growth of real estate in general, it’s not surprising to see this surge. The prospect of acquiring apartment buildings or multiplexes with a steady cash flow is hard to resist, some may say. For those considering this move, it’s a good idea to go over...
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