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Greater Pasadena real estate market trends, valuable news about market conditions, including foreclosure information in Pasadena and surrounding cities plus much more.
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Guest Author: Mondie Pic'l
Many people have a misperception about FHA financing.
It is too expensive, it's more difficult to qualify and FHA has very stringent requirements about the property.
The truth is that FHA financing has some wonderful uses that may help many home buyers and homeowners.
READ MORE: Life After Short Sale or Foreclosure
Typically three years must pass
after the short sale for a buyer to be eligible for new financing.
financing is an excellent tool for first time home buyer's with limited funds
and income to qualify for a new home. It allows for more flexibility in credit
criteria, lower down payment and parameters that often make it easier for a
buyer. With recent changes
purchasing a condominium has become more difficult with FHA financing. The
Condominium project must be FHA approved. Your lender can look this up on the
FHA web set and provide you with a list of approved projects in a selected
area. A project can also be
approved on a case by case basis but plan on at least a 60 day period for the
lender to complete the FHA project approval process.
most important element to FHA financing is to work with a lender that has
expertise in this product and understands when FHA financing would be the more
beneficial over conventional financing. FHA is not for everybody but in many
cases gives homebuyers and opportunity to purchase they wouldn't have had
Mondie Pic'l is the Branch Manager for Fairway Mortgage She has over 25 years
mortgage banking experience and has demonstrated a lasting commitment to
providing personalized customer service.
Please feel free to visit Mondie's web site at www.mondiepicl.com.. Her
direct line is 626-233-1303
So what are the next steps? THE dreaded contingencies!
There are three main contingencies that stand between you and your Pasadena home. A contingency is a condition that needs to be met prior to going forward with the escrow. They are:
1. You need to get approved for a loan.
READ MORE: Caculating your Home Buying Affordability
2. The property needs to appraise at its selling price.
3. You need to perform your due diligence and get a physical inspection. This includes going to the city to review permits and to ask any questions that might be of a concern to you. Getting a physical inspector to go out to do a general inspection of the property. Checking the local area, looking at the schools, etc.
If I may make a suggestion, as you're checking the neighborhood out, hiring an inspector for your general overview of the home, include a sewer inspection as one of your items to order and review.
The reason for this suggestion is simple, a physical inspector can give you a pretty good feel for the house, the Air Conditioning system, structure and can point you towards getting additional inspections if something is amiss. What they can not do is get into the pipes and make sure that they look okay.
A sewer inspection runs about $225 in the Pasadena area. A plumber comes out with a special camera and runs it through the piping all the way to the sewer lines. You can see exactly what they do on a screen and will get a DVD with their findings. Its not much to spend considering that any issues uncovered could potentially cause you thousands of dollars.
I learned this the hard way, one of my sellers found out that their guest house was connected to a septic tank instead of city sewer lines through this inspection. My sellers did NOT know this. The city signed off on all plumbing for the guest house with no notation about the septic tank. The city did not know about the septic tank also. The buyer probably would not have known about this as well unless something went wrong down the road.
Its a small price to pay for peace of mind.
If you would like some references to sewer line inspection companies, please email me at Irina(at)PasadenaViews(dot)com or give me a call at 626.204.3340.
Good luck with the purchase of your home!
When my husband and I got married almost 21 years ago, my husband surprised me with a tiny 1 bedroom condo in West Hollywood. As I think back on this now, I was actually pretty upset that he purchased it without consulting with me.
His reasoning was, we needed a place to live and he didnt want to rent. We had to start some place.
I sold that condo for the highest price at that time in Monterey Hills, a whopping $136,000. I was being congratulated by all my fellow real estate agents when in reality someone should have sat me down and consulted with me about whether or not I should have sold vs. rented it. The same condo sold several times since then and is now worth somewhere in the high $300,000 range.
The rental market in Monterey Hills has always been great since its close to USC, downtown LA and Old Town Pasadena. In any case, my mistakes are not what I wanted to write about - back to the story.
The reasons for moving out of our 2 bedroom condo were simple: our family was getting too big - 2 adults and 2 kids in 2 bedrooms tend to be tight and we needed good schools. Monterey Hills is part of LAUSD. We lived close to South Pasadena and San Marino - both cities with great school districts.
A friend of mine told me that there was an area in Pasadena and San Gabriel that had homes which fell under the San Marino School District jurisdiction. I found one of those homes in San Gabriel. We borrowed money for an additional down payment and spent at least $50,000 more than we wanted to, to purchase our new home.
Our new home was close to 3,500 sq. ft., had a pool and a spa, was very private, backed up to the Sunnyslope reservoir and above all offered us the schools that we needed. I signed both kids up to attend San Marino schools and we never looked back. We paid $438,000 for it ande let me tell you it was painful. We scraped and saved to make those payments.
This month, we sold the same home in a down-trending market with multiple offers for $1,075,000 and then, moved into our new home in San Marino itself.
The morale of the story is owning a home is not for everyone, but
YOU NEED TO START SOME PLACE
I have many clients who come to me wanting to buy a home, but their wants are much bigger than their pocket books. Please, please start some place and move up a bit at a time. Dont wait too long to realize your own dreams of home ownership.
When you are ready to start your home search, do give us a call at 626-629-8439 so that we can help you take the next steps and help you understand if homeownership is right for you.
The city known world-wide as the City of Roses due to our wonderful Rose Parade! However, what many people don't realize is that Pasadena California could easily be called an Arts & Crafts Capital of the United States. Pasadena has numerous Landmark Districts and Neighborhoods known for their architectural styles featuring houses by architects like Greene & Greene amongst others.
is a city in the Los Angeles County of California probably best known
for hosting the Rose Bowl football game and the annual Tournament of
Roses Parade on New Year's Day. It is located 10 miles NorthEast of
downtown LA and is bordered by San Marino, South Pasadena, Highland Park, Altadena, Arcadia, San Gabriel, Eagle Rock, Sierra Madre, La Canada Flintridge and Temple City.
Pasadena is known as a repository of Los Angeles area history. It is
one of the earliest Los Angeles area cities to be settled and is best
known for its passion for historic preservation. With a collection of
character homes - Victorian and American Gothic, Craftsman, Bungalow,
Spanish, English Tudor - and Pasadeneans passionate to bringing out the
beauty long forgotten, Pasadena stands apart from its West side
It is estimated that over 500,000 roses are used in each Rose Parade!
Per Wikipedia, despite its location well within the Greater Los Angeles metropolis, Pasadena
is considered to be the premier city in the San Gabriel Valley.
Pasadena has gained a high-profile image throughout Southern California
due to its broad economic base, noted cultural, scientific, and
educational institutions, and shopping and dining establishments that
attract customers from the region. This along with Pasadena's many fine
examples of architecture, and wealthy neighborhoods, provide Pasadena
with a prominence enjoyed by few cities in the Los Angeles area.
Pasadena covers approximately 22.5 square miles, with an
average of ten residents per acre. Pasadena has 320 miles (515
kilometers) of streets.
Pasadena's population is about 150,000.
So... let's take a look at some of our great neighborhoods:
Bungalow Heaven is Pasadena's first Landmark District. It has many different architectural styles, but locals mainly know it due to its abundance of California Bungalows that were built between 1900 to 1930s.
Many of the bungalows here were built from kits - often at a cost of $1,000 - and delivered to Californians eager to build the low-slung, often single-story homes with the deep verandas and overhanging eaves that protect them form California's powerful sunshine.
There are so many beautiful bungalows here that it's impossible to point out just one or two. Take a walk through the neighborhood and explore it yourself.
Bungalow Heaven is located between Washington Blvd (north) and Orange Grove (South) , Lake Avenue (West) and Hill (East)
READ MORE: Bungalow Heaven homes for sale
Garfield Heights is Pasadena's second official Landmark District. It's an eclectic area of Craftsman bungalows to historic two and four unit apartments. Most of these homes were built from the late 19th century to the 1920s. Note the distinctive architectural features like pillars, retaining walls, foundations - made of river rock.
1290 North Marengo Avenue
This U-shaped house was designed by Glen Elwood Smith, one of Pasadena's highly regarded residential architects of his era.
985 North Los Robles Avenue
A beautifully sited Sylvanus Marston design. Note the deep shade provided by the graciously proportioned veranda.
1247 North Garfield Avenue
A Neoclassical house by Roehrig and Locke. Frederick Roehrig was also the architect of Castle Green.
In late 2007, city of Pasadena has unanimously approved Historic Highlands as a Landmark Distirct. It's about time since this area has some of the most beautiful craftsman homes in Pasadena.
Historic Highlands Neighborhood website has this to share about the Historic Highlands history:
What is known today as the Historic Highlands encompasses the estates and land
holdings of two prominent Pasadena pioneers: David MacPherson, former Santa Fe
Railroad design engineer of the famed Mt. Lowe railroad; Ezra Dane, an orchardist
who settled here in 1883.
Ezra Dane crossed the plains from Massachusetts sometime between 1849 and 1852
and settled in Sonora County in Northern California where he became a prosperous
farmer. Driven from the area by an out break of malaria in the early 1880's, he
moved his family to Pasadena in 1883 where he purchased 160 acres in the San
Pasqual Rancho area, known as "the place where every tree is pleasant to the sight
and good for food" and began planting orchards.
In 1885, Dane and his wife Lois built their substantial ranch home from the first
lumber brought to Pasadena by steam locomotive. From the house known for many
years as "Sunnyridge on the Highlands", Dane oversaw orchard and livestock
operations on his land, which stretched north from Washington to Woodbury Road
and east from Holliston to a point midway between modern day Mar Vista and
Catalina. He grew peaches, apricots, prunes and citrus, and raised some livestock -
including about a hundred hogs - on Elizabeth Street. A driveway from Washington
to his home was lined with a double row of palm trees still visible in the backyards of
homes between Michigan and Chester.
As Pasadena grew north and east, homes were being built all around the ranch so the
Danes began selling their land a parcel at a time. In 1912, they subdivided the land
immediately adjacent to the ranch house, creating building lots on Holliston, Chester,
Michigan, Mar Vista, Denver (now Howard) and Rio Grande. The lots were sold to
members of Pasadena's prosperous business and professional class who had substantial
homes custom built on the large lots during the ensuing decades. Ezra and Lois Dane
lived in the home until their deaths in the early 1920's. Their daughter Alice and later
her grandson and his family lived in the home.
MacPherson owned much of the land bordered by New York Drive on the north and
Washington Blvd. on the south, in what is now the western part of the neighborhood.
The east/west streets were given names of the railroads: Atchison, Topeka, Santa Fe
(now Elizabeth), Denver (now Howard), and Rio Grand. The names Catalina and
MarVista acknowledge the great view of the ocean at that time. MacPherson built a
home at 1075 Topeka in 1906 and was living at 1120 Atchison at the time of his death.
MacPherson teamed with famous entrepreneur Thaddeus Lowe to design and build
the Echo Mountain Incline Railway which made its first official trip on July 4th, 1893.
Four million visitors enjoyed the breathtaking views and fresh mountain air for more
than 40 years until the railway stopped operating in 1937.
The earliest architectural style represented in Pasadena is Victorian, but Pasadena is
mostly associated with the Craftsman style. Many significant local architects
introduced Period and Revival style homes which were well received by
cosmopolitan residents. The Prairie style might be attributed to emigrants from the
Midwest. Indeed, the Prairie style home is quite at home next to the California
Bungalow. Both share honest craftsmanship and find inspiration in the simplicity and
beauty of nature. True to the craftsman ethic of using locally found materials, locally
grown oak and Douglas fir are used throughout the homes in Historic Highlands, as
well as art tile from Southern California's artisan community. River rock has
commonly been used for foundations and chimneys, and likely came from the Arroyo
Seco. Craftsman and Prairie homes were reactions to the industrialization and heavy,
non-functional ornamentation of Victorians.
The architectural details in the homes of Historic Highlands find inspiration from all
over the world. Influential local architects Greene & Greene were inspired by the
Japonaiserie movement when they visited the World's Columbian Exhibition in
Chicago in 1893. In the 1920's, American architecture was influenced by both
European and early American architecture. Not necessarily faithful reproductions,
Period revival homes liberally borrowed attractive or romanticized elements. The
European flair of Period revival homes suggested the culture and prestige of its
residents. Furthermore, in Southern California, Period revival movements represent a
reaction against the dark organic interiors of the Craftsman style in favor of brightly
lit and open rooms. Colonial revival reflects national pride and became popular
following the country's 1876 Centennial. Similarly, the Mission revival style
recognizes early California's cultural heritage and was popularized following the
Panama-California Exposition in San Diego in 1915.
Today Historic Highlands is a combination of many different architectural styles and
The Historic Highlands Neighborhood straddles the borders of Pasadena and Altadena, situated
between New York Blvd. on the North, Washington Blvd. on the South, Lake Ave. on the West, and Hill Ave. on the East.
In 1940s, the housing shortage in Pasadena led to the development of the San Rafael area and new residences were built that reflected the upper middle class and very wealthy families.
This is one of the most graceful and beautiful bridges in the area. This curving bridge is made out of reinforced concrete. It was restored in the 1990s and spans nearly 1,500 feet. It connects Old Pasadena to the San Rafael Hills and Eagle Rock.
125 S. Grand Avenue.
The federal government acquired this Sylvanus Marston designed resort hotel to use as a military hospital. It is now used as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
177 S Arroyo Blvd.
Designed by Myron Hunt at no charge, this structure was built using Arroyo stone and lumber from bicycle tracks built at the Rose Bowl for the 1932 Olympics.
626 S Arroyo Blvd.
Ernest Batchelder is a famed artisan known around Pasadena for his beautiful decorative tiles around the fireplaces. These tiles became emblematic of the Arts & Crafts movement. Batchelder's kiln remains in the backyard of this lovely home, and the discerning viewer can see examples of his tile work from the street.
391 S Orange Grove Avenue
This ornate mansion built for the chewing-gum mogul William Wringley, who controlled the development of Catalina island. It is now home to Pasadena's Tournament of Roses.
A great neighborhood right next to the South Lake Avenue District. It has a strong neighborhood association and has an annual 4th of July parade and other family oriented activities.
The neighborhood was laid out in the 19th century, and the oldest house still standing dates from 1890. Some of the origins of our street names go back to this era. The most prominent is El Molino Avenue, named for Col. E. J. C. Kewen's El Molino Ranch with its "old mill of the padres."
Euclid Avenue was opened in 1885 by C. M. Skellen who took the name from Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio. Glenarm Street was named by Thomas Banbury after his wife's hometown in Canada. Los Robles Avenue was named after Governor George Stoneman's ranch which was at the southern extremity of the road. Oakland Avenue originally did not extend south of California. It was named after the City of Oakland and the street was also lined with oak trees. The section of the street in Madison Heights was originally called Eastern Avenue.
The original "Madison Avenue Heights" subdivision consisting of 63 lots was opened in July, 1906. Lots were priced from $1,500 and carried a stipulation that homes to be built should cost at least $3,000.
The Madison Heights neighborhood was largely developed between 1910 and 1917. It consisted of family homes of professional people. A number of architects and contractors who worked in the neighborhood also lived here. Many early residents subdivided their lots to build homes for their grown children. To this day, it's common for multiple generations of a family to own separate homes in the neighborhood.
1130 S. Marengo Aven.
At the southern border of Madison Heights, this adobe structure is currently a Pasadena Public Library branch as well as a school library for Allendale Elementary School. Built as an isolation hospital for patients with infectious diseases, it became a library in 1951.
885 S El Molino Ave.
This Craftsman home was designed by Arthur S. Heineman.
675 S. Madison Ave.
This Craftsman home was built a few years later than the Blacker House, it's grander Oak Knoll neighbor to the South.
Once the site of a sheep ranch owned by Henry Huntington, this neighborhood began its life before the turn of the 20th century featuring many grand estates. These estates were built to showcase the lovely native oaks growing in the area. The most famous estate in the area would be the former Ritz Carlton, now Langham Hotel & Spa.
Oak Knoll boasts the architecture of the famous Greene & Greene brothers, Sylvanus Marston and Wallace Neff.
If you have an opportunity to visit Oak Knoll make sure to drive by these estates:
1401 S. Oak Knoll Avenue, Pasadena
Originally opened as the Hotel Wentworth in 1907 and repurchased by San Marino tycoon Henry Huntington, who had it redesigned by Myron Hunt. It reopened as a resort destination in 1914 and came to represent Pasadena's elite good life.
1177 Hillcrest Avenue, Pasadena
One of the crowning achievements of Greene & Greene architecture along with the Gamble House. It is privately held and was meticulously restored to its previous glory.
1330 Hillcrest Avenue, Pasadena
A craftsman designed by Arthur S. Heineman. Heineman was the designer of the first motor hotel, and is said to have coined a term "motel" for motor hotel.
1097 S Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena
A Wallace Neff design. Neff experimented with concrete structures as part of his on-going interest in building affordable housing. Dome House represents an example of his "bubble" construction.
READ MORE: Homes for sale around Langham Pasadena
Old Town is Pasadena's original business district that began at the intersection of Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. Newly revitalized, Old Town is one of Southern California's leading destinations. It has pedestrian-friendly streets, designer boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants.
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
The Norton Simon Museum is on the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd at the beginning of Old Town as you exit the Colorado Street Bridge. It was designed by the architectural firm of Ladd & Kelsey. The art museum's interior was renovated by Frank Gehry from 1996 to 1999.
Currently known as Castle Green, this was the second building of a lavish 19th-century resort built in the Moorish style for wealthy Easterners who came to California during winter months to enjoy our moderate climate. The enclosed bridge that now ends at a small tower once crossed Raymond to connect with the first building in the hotel's complex. Architect for Hotel Green was Frederick Roehrig.
100 N. Garfield Avenue
Pasadena City Hall just underwent an extensive seismic retrofitting. It's a great example of the Mediterranean style and was translated to fit its California setting by the San Francisco architectural firm of Bakewell and Brown. The impressive circular tower rises six stories and is topped by a dome which is in turn topped by a cupola that is finally topped by an urn and ball.
222 South Raymond Avenue
Architect: H. C. Gilman
117 East Colorado Boulevard
Architects: Parkinson & Bergstrom
65 East Colorado Boulevard
Charles & Henry Greene
100 West Green Street
Architects: Smith & Williams
READ MORE: Pasadena Condos for Sale in Old Town
Once known as "Pill Hill", because of the large number of physicians and care givers who lived in the neighborhood, Orange Heights has always been at the heart of Pasadena's civic life. Some of the city's most prominent citizens have lived here, attracted by the beautiful architecture, terraced yards, tree lined streets, and mountain views.
Orange Heights has been added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. It is bounded to the West by Los Robles Avenue, to the East by El Molino Avenue, to the North by Jackson Street, and to the South by Mountain Boulevard.
Although Pasadena has grown and changed during the last century, Orange Heights still appears today much as it did over eighty years ago.
Information on Orange Heights can be found at it its neighborhood website - www.orangeheights.org
Prospect Park is a tiny neighborhood just North of the 134 Freeway and West of 210 - where the two freeways meet and is off of Orange Grove and Prospect Blvd. This area was designated as a housing development in 1906 and had Sylvanus Marston clinker-brick portals on Orange Grove at Prospect Boulevard. Beautiful and mature camphor trees create a shady arch over the wide boulevard as you enter from Orange Grove. This neighborhood showcases a collection of Greene & Greene houses, the Gamble House and Frank Lloyd Wright's La Miniatura.
4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena
Called a Gamble House because it was built for David and Mary Gamble of, yes... you guessed it, Proctor & Gamble fame.
645 Prospect Crescent, Pasadena
This home was built by Frank Lloyd Wright for Alice Millard after the death of her husband, rare book dealer George Millard. This home is an example of concrete-block construction. La Miniatura's Mayan-influenced design is acclaimed by many as Wright's most interesting work.
781 Prospect Avenue, Pasadena
Arthur and Alfred Heineman designed this elaborate home without the benefit of formal architectural training.
368 Arroyo Terrace
This is Charles Greene's own Craftsman home. He made several additions to this home over the years.
I am so very excited to introduce Mondie Pic'l of Fairway Mortgage to our Pasadena Real Estate Blog. Mondie has been my personal mortgage consultant for close to 10 years now and has been working very hard for many of my home buyers in providing them with a hassle-free professional experience in these very challenging "lending" times. Mondie will be doing a weekly feature talking about the important considerations of getting a loan, as well as providing us with a Pasadena mortgage update.
Mondie's first guest post is focused on home buyer lender consultations. My home buyers know that I counsel them to contact a lender for a full consultation and pre-approval BEFORE beginning their home search. This helps my home buyers understand their options and whether or not it is the right time for them to buy. It also helps prepare them strategically for that magical home purchase offer submission. Mondie's first guest post is about what to expect from a lender consultation and how to calculate your home buying affordability. So... without further ado, here's Mondie:
Many times when starting the pre approval process your
mortgage consultant is just a voice on the phone. So how do you know that they
are giving you the best information and advice?
It's often not about what they tell you but what questions
they ask you!
Many mortgage consultants start the process with the
objective of determining the highest purchase price for which you qualify. This
seems reasonable until you know what lenders don't include in your
qualification numbers. It is critical that a mortgage consultant start with
what you think you can afford. The first questions a lender should ask are:
Why is this important? Loan qualification is a set formula
but people don't all live with the same lifestyle.
Lenders use a simple formula to determine your
qualification. They take your monthly debts:
The total of this is divided into your monthly GROSS income
and should not exceed 45%. There aren't many people that budget monthly off
their gross income so this calculation does not help you determine if you can
afford the monthly payment each month out of your NET income. Some buyers are more conservative
savers and have more taken out each month and deposited to their 401K resulting
in a lower net income, not to mention variations in health care costs and tax
Lifestyle is another factor. Many families have child care and education expenses that
are not considered in lender qualification. Discretionary spending can also
vary between households depending on lifestyle. This is not taken into account
So the question is not what the lender can approve you for,
but what can you afford!
It is important
to work with a mortgage consultant that always has this in mind when working with you and
approaches your specific situation.
It is helpful for you to run a budget and consider your take home pay
and an average of your monthly expenses. Compare the new loan payment to your
current housing expense. How much more can you afford? Start your consultation
armed with this information so you can make the best decision and don't let a
mortgage consultant steer you into a home that is going to stress your budget
and keep you up at night.
Working with a mortgage consultant that takes the time to
understand your specific financial situation is the key to getting the right
financing for the right home.
Mondie Pic'l is the Branch Manager for Fairway Mortgage. She has over 25 years
mortgage banking experience and has demonstrated a lasting commitment to
providing personalized customer service.
Mondie has proven that a mortgage business can be built one
satisfied customer at time. Mondie's business is driven by satisfied customers
and referral partners. Her extensive expertise in underwriting is crucial when
helping her customers navigate the today's more stringent credit guidelines.
She strives to understand the individual financial needs of each customer and
assist them in structuring the best loan for their situation. Mondie believes
that information and communication are the keys to a successful transaction;
her primary goal is to share her knowledge with borrowers to produce
Mondie was in the top 10% of Mortgage Originators at Wells
Fargo Bank from 2004 until 2008. She was recognized for her customer
satisfaction in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 with an average over 95% customer
Although Mondie has an unusual name she was born and raised
in Southern California. She is married to her husband Greg who the IT manager
for a top 5 accounting firm. She also has a beautiful daughter, Danielle who is
in the third grade.
Please feel free to visit Mondie's web site at www.mondiepicl.com. Her
direct line is 626-233-1303
In the heart of Pasadena's Playhouse District, this beautiful pennthouse condo is available for sale. Built in 2004, with 1,630 sq. ft. of living space, it is not to be missed. Please take a look at our Virtual Show and visit Quattro Blu Penthouse for sale for more information!
More condos for sale in Quattro Blu can be found below or by clicking on the Quattro Blu Condos for Sale link:
If you have any questions or are interested in getting more information on selling your Quattro Blu condominium, give us a call at 626-629-8439.
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