Neighborhood Spotlight – Kim Sinclair

Connecting and highlighting incredible people in our South Bay community is one of our favorite parts of our jobs.

 The inspiration we draw from those we interact with keeps us fueled through the ups and downs of the daily grind!

With the start of April, the designated Autism Awareness Month, we are proud to feature Kim Sinclair – Executive Director for the Autism Society Los Angeles!

After meeting Kim and sharing our story, she reached out to us to be featured as a Neighborhood Spotlight. This act is a perfect portrayal of Kim and her commitment to representing the Autism community.  Kim’s role with The Autism Society Los Angeles has provided her with an incredible platform to empower individuals with Autism, as well as serve as a resource for their families. With over 20 years of experience in both corporate and non-profit environments, Kim’s efforts have brought a focus on processes, fundraising, and program administration and development to the ASLA.   Kim and the whole ASLA team work ardently to improve the lives of individuals with autism, their families and professionals. Kim is especially passionate about using community collaboration to empower, educate and, ultimately, improve the lives of all individuals with developmental disabilities

Kim’s other passions include cycling, spending time outdoors and with her family.

  1. You are very passionate about what you do! What is your favorite part about working for The Autism Society Los Angeles?

Our mission is truly making a difference: “improve the lives of all affected by autism. We help empower individuals with autism (self advocates), their families, and professionals through advocacy, education, support and community collaboration”.  I love our entire community and that we are making a difference in people’s lives every day.

2. The Autism Society Los Angeles has a broad range of services, can you please give us a brief run-down of the services/experience that the organization offers?

We are engaged throughout the community in Public Policy to influence the laws that support our individuals and families.  Through Advocacy ASLA represents individuals with developmental disabilities in Sacramento through membership on statewide commissions and committees and building relations with legislators and administrators.  ASLA trains medical and law enforcement professionals improving the outcomes of interactions for our community members.  Providing a resource “warm-line”, to provide support for in need families, self-advocates and members of the community.  Presenting conferences and trainings, to provide education and increase advocacy skills.  ASLA also just launched a Self Advocate Speakers Bureau, to provide speaking opportunities for Self Advocates to community groups representing their voices. And finally, we provide an Annual Summer residential camp to young adults – Camp NAVIN to support independence and friendships.

3. Of the many programs the organization offers, which one is your favorite and why?

I love the newly launched Self Advocate Speakers Bureau. We train individuals with disabilities on presentation skills and then connect with community groups for public speaking presentations to create acceptance of differences. It is powerful and provides employment for our disability community.

4. What would you say is the biggest place where you have seen The Autism Society Los Angeles make an impact?

Our programs and services help families and individuals across all developmental disabilities develop advocacy skills and become educated on how to navigate the multiple support systems in California to improve their quality of life. Most importantly, we have been the lead organization in passing laws in California that will have a profound impact on the thousands of individuals with disabilities.

5. Does the Autism Society Los Angeles only help individuals with Autism?

No, we help families and individuals across all developmental disabilities, and professionals including medical and law enforcement.

6. What do you see for the future of the Autistic community and how is The Autism Society Los Angeles helping shape that future?

We are THE resource in the LA disability community and have trained thousands of family members, individuals with disabilities, and professionals.  And we will continue to support the community across all stages of their lifespan.

7. What impact do donations to The Autism Society Los Angeles make within the community?

All donations stay local, unlike many peer organizations. ASLA is mostly a volunteer-run organization that relies on donations to keep our programs and advocacy efforts continuing.  The funds raised support our mission and all dollars raised by ASLA stay in our community.  We are also always in search of passionate and dedicated volunteers that can help.  And we always value business support to help sponsor programs.

Details of how to donate or become engaged can be found at www.AutismLA.org

A great opportunity to get involved with the Autism community is taking place THIS SATURDAY from 12:00-4:00! The Nick’s Community Chili Cook-off guarantees delicious food, adult beverages & unlimited fun for kids, with profits benefiting Nick’s Community & ASLA

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Prepping For Spring // Backyard Edition

No matter where you live (but especially here in SoCal!) outdoor entertaining at your home becomes more appealing as the weather warms and the days get longer.

With the start of Spring and the much-rejoiced arrival of day light savings, now may be the ideal time to prep (or update) your outdoor living spaces! Thanks to Pinterest & HGTV, the design and decor ideas are endless… which may have you feeling a bit overwhelmed.

The key is not to take on too much – just remind yourself that your main goal is to create a outdoor space that you can enjoy being in. We have gathered the following guidelines to get the gears turning and the inspiration flowing..

  • Be sure to create traffic patterns or designated ways to walk/move around. Due to the restricted lot sizes throughout most of the South Bay, this rule is especially critical if you want to make the most of a small or cramped space. This can be done in a variety of ways.. whether that be laying formal stone walkways or planting shrubs to help establish corners and borders.

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  • Add an outdoor fire source. Indoor fireplaces are great and all.. but when the mid-summer heat rolls around, you definitely do not want to be stuck indoors! Keep it low key with a portable firepit or firebowl (how cool are these!) or take things to the next level with a full fireplace. Just be sure to check your local building codes / fire safety rules… and to stock up on the s’mores supplies!

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  • Outdoor kitchens are an ideal way to extend your home’s living space into the outdoors. While detailed outdoor kitchens can easily become expensive, they don’t have to be! Remember, it is about creating an environment and the ability to eat outside, not necessarily buying all the frills and accessories. A charcoal grill and small outdoor dining table can be the start of your backyard dining experience.

Check out a few of the outdoor kitchens we are drooling over:

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  • Keep things practical and organized. Do not go over the top with accessories or details and have a designated area to put things (seat cushions, pillows, etc) when rain is in the forecast! Also, if you choose to incorporate an outdoor kitchen/dining area, be sure to have create a storage area for equipment to help keep the space cleared and available for enjoying.
  • Try out vertical gardening! Blank walls, covered patios and fencing can all benefit from the addition of vertical gardens. Succulents work best, and when coupled with found wood are a easy, affordable DIY project. We love  this charming vertical garden our Neighborhood Spotlight Anaïs and her husband build!

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  • Lastly, remember that a roof extends usability.  Overhead structures like a gazebo or screened porch provide comfort and protection from the elements, ultimately giving you more opportunities to spend time outdoors. However, the roofing does not have to be a permanent structure – pop-up tent over your deck or out in the yard can be just as effective in blocking the sun or rain!

Bringing The Sunshine Inside

With one of the grayest, rainiest winters the South Bay has seen in years behind us (hopefully!) the forecast shows blue skies ahead! This weather has us feeling inspired to bring the sunshine inside and give our own living spaces a spring makeover.

We are also pulling inspiration from this Avenue C listing (3 Bed, 3 Bath, 6,084) which perfectly exemplifies a light and bright style, while still remaining the ideal blend of comfortable and stylish.

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While it may be hard to completely capture a newly constructed house’s fresh feel in your home, we have gathered a few tips to help brighten things up this spring! Some are simple and some are more detailed, but even just one or two subtle changes can spring-ify your home!

  • Mirrors aren’t just for checking your hair! Place a large mirror directly across from a window to reflect light all around the room.  Or hang a few small ones on a wall perpendicular to the window to subtly bounce light around a room.
  • Just add white..or off white.. or eggshell. A fresh coat of paint around door frames, stair case banisters and window paneling will do wonders! HackIf you aren’t up for painting, just give frames, banisters and paneling a good scrub down to get rid of finger prints and accumulated dust. 
  • Change out those curtains. Get rid of any heavy or insulated curtains that you were using during the winter and replace them with light-colored airy ones. This can be applied all around your home – from the kitchen to the living room and even your bedroom (lighten up your bedding colors and fabric for a full transformation!)
  • Raise the roof (not literally). Many homes (especially those in the Golden Hills) have vaulted painted ceilings or even wood paneled ceiling applications. While these higher ceilings do create a larger feel in the room, without the correct lighting and appropriately located windows they can leave a room feeling dim. Recessed lighting fixtures or commonly referred to as “can lights” help to brighten up the ceiling without being obtrusive to the eye. Some options even include a dimmer switch to allow for flexible lighting control.
  • Keep it low. According to Designer Blair Gordon “Streamlined furnishings with low-slung profiles help rooms feel more spacious.” While you are at it, opt for white furniture, rather than dark colors. Think white bookcases, cream couches, and white tables… especially if you have dark wood floors!
  • While it would be nice to put in a few windows or a sky light, it is much easier to add some artificial lighting! Try Bright White LED bulbs to maximize the brightness coming from your lamps. Or add a table lamp to your current decor to help add a bit more brightness.
  • Bring in the Green! Indoor plants (whether flowers or green leafy plants) bring a breathe of fresh air into your home. Just be sure to water them regularly so you don’t end up with brown, wilting plants 🙂

Have any other simple “home-brightening” tips? Please share them with us! info@weberaccetta.com

We are excited to Spring Forward in a few weeks and wish you all a very happy March!

 

Joe & Taryn: Home For The Holidays!!

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, we are excited to announce that our clients Joe and Taryn will be home for the holidays! We were functioning on a strict time-line, but were able to help these newly-weds find a home they both loved in under a month!

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These two were dream clients and are the perfect example that finding a home can be done fairly quickly if you follow our home-finding process. Immediately after meeting with us for a buyer’s consultation, they completed their “driving homework”and were able to identify exactly which neighborhoods they did and didn’t like. Simple steps such as this help us to eliminate homes from the get-go and ultimately save a lot of time when it comes to finding ideal homes for our buyers!

 

Joe and Taryn decided to make an offer on a new construction home, which is a different process from purchasing a standard resale home. Knowing this, they were extremely thorough in reviewing the 100-pg purchase contract (much more intricate that the standard RPA!) and we were happy to discuss all of their concerns! They brought a lot of great questions to the table, but in the end they felt comfortable with moving forward and knew the source of every fee and cost!

We are thrilled that we got the chance to assist Joe and Taryn in this huge life step! They made our jobs easy by not only following our advice, but also by communicating clearly and giving us regular feedback. They remained involved and attentive throughout the entire process – there is nothing Realtors like more than responsive clients!

Our recent transaction with Joe and Taryn reminded us of the difficulties that could arise with new construction and we are happy we could be there to help smooth out the kinks and negotiate on their behalf. This article by NOLO provides an extensive pro-con list when it comes to purchasing new construction, but here are few Weber Accetta Certified tips for purchasing new construction homes:

  1. Get an inspection! Although no one has formally resided in the home, new homes have problems too. We recommend hiring an inspector to make sure everything is safe and up to code – for peace of mind and to protect you from future headaches!
  2. Check future plans! This is especially important if the home you are purchasing is in an underdeveloped area. Be sure to check with the city to see what is planned for the surrounding area and/or neighborhoods.
  3. Hire your own agent! Often-times model homes will be staffed with an agent who has a relationship with the builder, so it is important to hire an uninvolved agent that has your best interest in mind.
  4. Get pre-approved! It is still essential to have your finances in order and to get pre-approved by a bank or mortgage lender. This helps prove your validity as a buyer during the negotiation process and helps ensure that escrow moves smoothly and closes on time!

If you are in search of a NEW home for the holidays, consider letting the Weber Accetta Group work alongside you and help expedite the process! Shoot us an email or give us a call anytime of day to help discuss your needs!


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Lauren@WeberAccetta.com

310.387.4693



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Michelle@WeberAccetta.com

  310.293.1883

 

 


 

A Property Tax Guide for New Homeowners

 

Now that the distraction of a highly publicized presidential election is over, it is time to turn our focus on a topic that is (almost) equally as fun! Property Taxes.

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First, it is helpful to understand the process and how your property tax and who determines it. Your home is assessed by a county property assessor, who then assigns your home a certain value. Then your local taxing authority sets the multiplier, or the rate at which your home will be taxed. So, for example, if your home is assessed at $800,000 and the tax rate is set at 1.25 percent, each year you would need to pay $10,000 to your local taxing authority.

Next, be sure to familiarize yourself with tax due dates – delinquent penalties are harsh and expensive. Mark the following dates on your calendar:

Installment             Due Date            Delinquency Date*            Penalty, if delinquent

1st                   November 1               December 10                 10% of amount due
2nd                   February 1                     April 10                     10 % of amount due + $10.00 Cost

At first glance (and for most situations) these dates and payment amounts are straight-forward – as a homeowner you will receive clear instruction for how much you and when it is due by. However, as taxes get a bit confusing when you purchase or sell a home and are want to ensure that you are not held responsible for paying taxes before (or after) you actually own the home!

Here is a helpful step-by-step guide from SF Gates on how to calculate the property taxes you will owe:

  1. Refer to the most recent tax bill or municipal and county tax records to determine the total property tax due for the fiscal year. California’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. Divide the total bill by 360, which is California’s customary measure of a year for the purposes of real estate transactions. This figure is the amount of property tax due for each day of the fiscal year. For example, a $12,600 tax bill divided by 360 days equals a daily tax amount of $35.00
  2. Count the number of full months from July 1 through and including the day before closing. Multiply that figure by 30, which is California’s customary measure of a month for the purposes of real estate transactions. For example, there are three full months if a closing is scheduled for October 15: July, August and September. Three months multiplied by 30 days equals 90 days.
  3. Count the number of days in the partial month in which closing is to occur, but don’t include the closing date. In the October 15 example, there are 14 days. Add this number to the number of days in the full months. Using this example, the total is 104.
  4. Multiply the total number of days by the daily tax amount. Using the same example, $35 per day for 104 days equals $3,640. This is the amount of prorated tax the seller owes at closing.
  5. Count the number of full months from closing day to June 30. Multiply the number of months by 30 days. For an Oct. 15 closing, there are 8 full months, or 240 days.
  6. Subtract from 30 the number of days the seller will own the home in the closing month. The answer is the number of days the buyer will own the home during closing month. Using the Oct. 15 example, the buyer will own the home for 16 days in October.
  7. Add the total number of days the buyer will own the home during the fiscal year. The sum for this example is 256 days. Multiply that figure by the daily tax amount to determine the buyer’s tax proration. In this example, the buyer owes $8,960.

California law states that if the same owner keeps the property, that the assessed value of a property cannot increase by more than 2 percent per year. However, when a home is sold or transferred, it becomes subject to be reassessed at current market value  and in most cases is assigned a new base tax value. As California real estate historically appreciates over time, the base value generally increases with each reappraisal which results in increased property taxes. (Some exceptions apply – See our post on Propositions 60 and 90)

New homeowners: be expected of receiving a supplemental tax bill approximetely 6 months after your purchase. A supplemental bill is based on the difference between your home’s old assessed value and the new assessed value (generally the purchase price). This amount will be prorated from the purchase date and calculated by the number of months left in the fiscal year. However, if the property is reassessed at a lower value than the previously assessed value, you should be on the lookout for a refund. Supplemental tax bills are your responsibility and will be mailed directly to you by the Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office approximately 6 months after your purchase.

There is some good news in all of this! This chart by the LA Times ranks Redondo Beach as the 75th least expensive county taxation rate out of the 88 cities in Los Angeles. Note – the stated rate is the calculated median amount, so your home’s rate may be higher or lower. Further, the rate does not include taxation for direct assessments for services which is charged by cities and includes lighting, sewage and others.

For more specific information concerning your home, we recommend checking out the Los Angeles County Property Tax Portal –  where you can find:

  • Information for new home and business owners.
  • Property data and maps.
  • How to read your tax bill.
  • How much your taxes are, and how to get a copy of your current tax bill.  How to appeal your value.
  • Areas of responsibilities of the four property tax departments with direct links to each of their websites.
  • A public inquiry form and contact information.
  • Answers to the most frequently asked questions about property taxes.

 

One quick reminder:

If you own and occupy your home as your principal place of residence, you are eligible for a Homeowners’ Exemption that reduces your property tax by about $70 annually. Be sure to file for this exemption and put that money towards something fun for your family!

 

– Cathy Strini

Fall in the South Bay!

There is no end to the exciting events happening throughout the South Bay! We are fortunate to live in such an active, involved community & want to help promote local events happening throughout the remainder of the month. We have pooled a few of the upcoming festivities and happenings we are most excited for – but please reach out if we have missed your favorite 🙂

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The Rising Tohoku Food Fair hosted by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Torrance presents 2 full days of food and cultural festivities to celebrate the charms of the Tohoku region in Northeast Japan, which can be enjoyed by children and adults. A variety of delicious food including seafood, wagyu beef, and sweets will bring you the authentic flavor of Tohoku, Japan. Check out fun workshops and dance presentations on Saturday and Sunday (11.5-11.6 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm)!

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TedxManhattan Beach 2016: What If? takes place at Mira Costa High School on Saturday, Nov 5th and is a day of delight, creativity, inspiration, education, and fun. Three sessions of engaging speakers plus unlimited exploration of our interactive exhibit hall with breaks for breakfast, snack, and lunch. Meet 14 people who will surprise, delight, educate and open our eyes to what is possible when we ask “What if”..

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Meet a real mermaid and pirate at the SEA Lab’s November Fishtivities Saturday, Nov 5!  Mermaid activities will run from 10:00am-11:30am and Pirate activities will run from 1:00pm – 3:30pm (each session costs $5 per person, you can just participate in one for $5 or both the mermaid and pirate activities for $10)

 

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Alpine Village Oktoberfest is back! The longest running Oktoberfest in Los Angeles, this annual event offers traditional German fare, delicious German beers brewed by Warsteiner and  Bavarian fun is supplied by Oom Pah Pah party bands!  The Alpine Village Imports Market offers an array of German foods and products, as well as tasty sausages and a bakery.  Schedule runs as follows:

Fridays: 6:00 PM to midnight – 21+

Saturdays: 5:00 PM to midnight – 21+

Sundays:  1:00 PM to 6:00 PM – ALL AGES!!!

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How is it already time for the Manhattan Beach Pier Lighting & Holiday Open House?! Downtown merchants will be open until 9:00 PM and are sure to offer some distinctive gifts and intriguing offers this holiday season. Our restaurants will be serving their original menus and some sampling is sure to get your palette started for an evening of wonderful food. The event is set to take place Wednesday, Nov. 16th from 6:00-9:00 pm.

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Inching Closer to Changes

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In mid-August, the city’s harbor commission voted 4-2 to certify the environmental impact report for CenterCal Properties’ $300 million waterfront development. After the announcement, a public forum was held – one that lasted for over seven hours. While the comments varied from those expressing their support to those voicing their dissatisfaction, we are encouraged that so many Redondo Beach residents felt strongly enough about the well-being of our home town to participate in the open conversation.

Though this CenterCal proposal is relatively new, one of the most contended issues raised has been a well-argued problem for over 50 years – where to place the boat ramp. Mole B, which the commissioners have tentatively voted to be the location for the boat ramp, sits next to Moonstone Park near the Harbor Patrol station. Interestingly enough, this location was presented as an option several times in the 1980’s and was turned down each time. Among the dissenters for this option were members from both the Lanakila and Nahoa outrigger canoe clubs who argued that there is simply not enough room at Mole B to host 100+ boats, necessary equipment and the launch ramp. As city staff scrambles to investigate three other potential sites (one of which is Mole C where the Portofino Hotel and Joe’s Crab Shack currently sit), dissenting commissioner Kari Keidser comments, “I find it disappointing we’re choosing commercial development over recreational uses. I can only hope this will be corrected by the City Council or Coastal Commission.”

While there are still a few obvious hiccups in the proposed plan, a majority of the development is completely finalized. Currently, a 16-by-7 foot exact replica of the 36-acre project lives in the El Segundo CenterCal office. Each inch of the replica represents 16 feet and the development includes all of the planned recreational and commercial facilities, including a 20-foot-wide boardwalk, 120 room boutique hotel and movie theater. CenterCal Properties, the waterfront developer, hopes that allowing the public to visit the model in person will help residents to better visualize the finished project and ultimately garner more support for the proposal.

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 Photo by Robert Casillas / Daily Breeze

Although a level of objection to the changes remains active in the community, it is impossible to ignore the ongoing (if slow!) progression of the waterfront project. With construction expected to commence in 2017, the proposed dramatic makeover of Redondo Beach’s waterfront is becoming a more realistic and necessary reality. According to a recent report released by the Redondo Beach City Council, the current waterfront infrastructure is failing and in dire need of repair. The study quoted the repair cost of at over $100 million. As Commissioner Michael Jackson put it, “We can’t afford the infrastructure that’s falling apart with or without CenterCal. It has to happen.”

 

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