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Topanga : Real Estate Advice

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  • Home Buying17
  • Home Selling0
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Activity 24
Fri Feb 24, 2017
NewYorker in SF asked:
Mon Feb 6, 2017
Goicovich answered:
I totally disagree with the realtors , i know the higher the price higher the profit ,
i'm a GC and we built a foundation for a mobile home and 400 sq garage (2200sq ft) in Malibu ,
total project including land and house was less 300 K
and believe me the terrain was like pure rock , the key is permits , and those damn oaks trees
you'll find really hard to avoid those situations , and not to forget the OLD people from coastal com ,
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0 votes 12 answers Share Flag
Thu Dec 17, 2015
Rich Reed answered:
Thu Dec 17, 2015
Rich Reed answered:
I think it would be against zoning ordinances. Check with the city, if there is one, or with the county.
0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Tue Aug 25, 2015
Lacrossj asked:
I'm looking at buying land where the utilities are on the street but the house will be about 120' from the street. How much does it cost to run utilities? Can I run the electrical under…
0 votes 0 Answers Share Flag
Sat Feb 28, 2015
Sheryl Arndt answered:
Hello Claudia and Martin, you did not include a link or address to know which house you are referring to rent. If you figure out what cities/zip codes you are considering, minimum number of bedrooms and the maximum payment you are looking to achieve you can be emailed listings to study and compare.

Beware of the many rental scams out there these days on all sites. The scams are on all of the rental listing sites except one that us agents/broker use such as mls, multiple listing service. You should not give anyone any funds or personal information without confirming with a licensed agent/broker or management company to find out whom you should be dealing with and the status of any address of interest.

You should study RENT vs BUY options as you may qualify to buy with minimum out of pocket expenses and pay less than rent in many cities. The rentals in Topanga start from $1,900 for a 1bd 1ba cottage and up. The purchase in Topanga start from 447k for 3bd 2ba manufactured single family home which is as low as $2,250 down payment with a minimum 580 fico score.

You may qualify to buy FHA with fico scores between 500-579 with 10% down or minimum 580 fico score may qualify FHA 3.5% down or as low as .5% half percent down payment program. You may consider 3% down conventional from a minimum 620 fico score. Your fico scores can be raised within 3-4 days in most cases to qualify for programs, rates and terms as necessary.

It only takes a few dozen questions to qualify, go over your options and email you listings to study and compare. Here are some links to study as well as the web reference link with many pages to study...

Sheryl Arndt, Real Estate Broker - Sr. Loan Officer CA only
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If my response was helpful, consider clicking thumbs up or Best Answer!
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0 votes 1 answer Share Flag
Fri Aug 29, 2014 answered:
Depends upon the size of your container and how you "set it on the site".

First lets correct a couple of mis-statements. Generally (exceptions are the rule), structures exceeding 120 sq ft require a permit. But you are not limited to 10 x 12. Nor will need a 40' container (good luck pulling a 40' doggy up our twisty narrow canyon roads) The most common container size is 8 x 20.
Containers are self supporting, so a foundation is not needed if you have a compacted well drained flat 9 x 21 pad. Unless you plan to dig footings deeper than 18" you will not need a permit.

Buy a 8' x 20 in good shape.
Find a spot more than 5' from proprety line and 10' from any other stucture or oak tree.
Open up one end of the container by cutting out 2 @ 5'w 6'h window from the side walls. Frame out a 8'ft door. You now have a 8 x 15 shed with a 8x 5 porch.
Set it atop a few scoops of compacted, contained 3/4 gravel.
Viola! you are now code compliant for under $3K.

Not a do-it-your-self-er (or own a tricky lot or want more SQ FT)? Topanga has local outfit that will set you up (for a price) and pull permits if needed.
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1 vote 3 answers Share Flag
Thu Aug 28, 2014
Dan Tabit answered:
You didn't indicate a specific home, so we can't answer for certain. I'll take a guess though based on the subject, Foreclosure in Topanga. RealtyTrac posts Pre-Foreclosures and Pending Foreclosures with a price on them, but that price has no bearing on reality. A foreclosure is generally not available until it's listed with an agent. At that time the bank will post a price that they may accept, depending on market conditions.
If the home you are asking about fits this description, find another home. That one may never come on the market.
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0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Fri Aug 1, 2014
Dan Tabit answered:
Negotiations are like people, no two are exactly alike. Your agent should be an expert negotiator and know when to ask for what you want and when to back off. I hope this was helpful. ... more
0 votes 2 answers Share Flag
Wed Jun 11, 2014
BeeKeeper answered:
Hi - we are planning a move to LA in Jan 14 and looking for potential areas to live. We have 3 children who will be in High School, Middle School and Elementary at this time. My husband will be working in office at Santa Monica Airport. So….how is the commute from Topanga? assume top end, what advice can you give us…schools, areas etc. Thanks ... more
0 votes 4 answers Share Flag
Wed Jan 22, 2014
Barbara & Catherine Campbell answered:
I am a Native to Topanga Canyon, I have seen the biggest fires on record and the worst flood on record. I moved away in my 20s and came back every year to visit my family till I finally realize this was the only place I wanted to raise my daughter. I take her to singing lessons in the SFV and dance lessons in Santa Monica. I find the commute to be reasonable as long as I am not going during rush hour (or I am going in opposing direction) But then rush hour is horrible every where. I find the community very intelligent and educated. Families are much more aware of the dangers then before and are more prepared. I work selling homes and land here as a Realtor and I am a Register Nurse, so I really get to know people on many different levels. Educating new home-owners is very important and I work not only in finding them the best home but letting know about the Fire Dangers how to prepare, knowing all the routes out of the canyon, where the safe areas are and how to connect with local TCEP, which my family has been a member of for over 20years. I love Topanga and wouldn't want to live any where else. ... more
1 vote 8 answers Share Flag
Wed Dec 11, 2013
Lance King answered:
Wed Nov 20, 2013
Tanya Starcevich Realtor answered:

I have several parcels of land for sale - it is up to you to do your own investigations and I have the resources available for you if you would like to contact me. Don't rely on anyone's advice, do the research and find out for yourself. ... more
0 votes 9 answers Share Flag
Fri Nov 15, 2013
Shelly Palmer answered:
Hi magamorphosis,

Many of the homes in Topanga began as small cabins used for hunting and weekend get-a-ways for Angelenos. Generally, if advertised as "guest houses", you can be assured that there generally is plumbing. The cost of adding plumbing when needed is not a lot, (pvc piping, couplings, fittings, toilet, sink, shower pan or shower tub/combo, all relatively minor expenses. There are no sewer lines in Topanga and all homes here are on septic systems. The real issue which could translate to substantial plumbing costs is whether or not the existing septic system is large enough, (per current LA County building and safety code standards), to accommodate the load that an additional bathroom creates, i.e. more water, more waste, etc. If the existing septic system is large enough per the building code, then costs involve materials, labor and a permit fee. If it is not, you will likely need to upgrade (replace) the existing septic system to the current code requirements for septic systems, which could be substantial in cost, perhaps $50K or more. This upgrade may likely trigger the need for additional permits and expenses if the guest house was originally built without permits. ... more
0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Sun Nov 3, 2013 answered:
Chicago messed up the recording of a vacant adjoining lor I purchased in conjunction with with a residence. They recorded the total purchase price for combinded two lots as the purchase price for the vacant lot. The result was $10 dollar over assesment on my property taxes. Chicago did nothing to fix the mistake. Boo on Chicago title.
Ps.s If you work for Chicago Title send me a pm, I'll give another chance to fix your mistake.
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0 votes 3 answers Share Flag
Wed Aug 7, 2013 answered:
this link is good place to start:

With enough time and $$$ any lot is "build-able". First thing you need to do is establish a realistic budget. How much can you spend on investigational reports? Are you willing to drop $$ on reports then walk away if the deal is looking bad? Or, do you want land that has approvals in place? Are you willing to commence construction ASAP, before approvals expire? How much can you spend on building?

"topanga" is an unicorprted area of LA county. Depending upon where in "topanga" the land is sits, development is governed by either the "north area plan" or "coastal area plan'.

With common sense and a pair of sturdy shoes, you can investigate a property to discover if it meets the basic requirements: road frontage/access, oak trees, set backs, access to utilities (water lines/electric poles)

Second: Interview architects. Ask about experience with LA county, arraveage time for plans/permits, ground up construction, look at some of their work. Be prepared to pay for site visits and/or meetings.

If you are on budget, you can save $$ by running reports yourself. Take detailed notes of all meetings.

Word to the wise: Anyone who claims to know if a particular lot is "build-able"/"un-buildable" either a) possesses physic abilities or b) has access to preliminary reports (geo, soil/perk, topo survey, et al) or c) is full of hot air. Anyone making claims should be able to back-up statements with reports. Personally I would not enter into escrow unless the owner provides at least a basic survey map/corner markings and truthful recounting of previous investigational reports (expired or not). For example, soils test completed October, 1999 by X, expired. If an agent/owner claims that they don't have any reports and you see evidence of "investigation" (perk holes, marked oak trees, graded access) RUN!!
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1 vote 3 answers Share Flag
Mon Jul 22, 2013 answered:
Oak Park. Hands down, the very best in the LA area. Better than most prestigious private schools.
0 votes 7 answers Share Flag
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