Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Take a differing path to wealth. Question the Social Norm.

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions. - Albert Einstein

No mater how I try to explain it ... A stock broker or trader will not understand or "get" what I'm talking about when I say that there is to0 much money in the stock markets chasing to few companies of value. Over capitalized to the extreme. Maybe it is prejudices of the stock market environment or mentality.

Then to compound that failure to get it... The companies that do not pay the owners (no stock dividends paid out now or ever) are (in my opinion) a loosing cause to own. As if to say that if the business does not pay it's owners then why own them. And the Stock guy says "because I can sell the stock for more money in the future." AND I contend that the fact that there is a Next Bigger Fool does not make the company that valuable.

I feel that an asset needs to have a value and a cash flow that leads to the values. If the overhead, weather it be salary for overpaid executives in jets or the costs of a plumber for an apartment building, gets to high then there is little or no profit that year. But if you get the costs down and still get the revenues (rents) then you make money and the owners (or stockholders) get their share.

If a company is "Public" and investors buy those stocks to hold, why does it seem ok for them to pay employees more then they owners? Executive salaries that include stock and perks and golden whatnot's. And the Boards allow this?!? The general populous of America has been duped. We watch "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and dream of the stock market carrying us off into retirement bliss.

Surprise! It was a House of Cards. House built on Sand.

If you want real security you really need a foundation that stays put. Buy some real Estate that is income producing like an apartment building and treat your tenants well AND they will pay you every month on the first.

If you want my help, call me, I'll show you how to make it pencil out.

Keith L.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Planning for the future L A City and LAX

In the news:
LAWA/City of LA celebrated its first 40 millionth passenger of the year. The 40 million number is significant because after the 40 millionth passenger of the year was reached, the overflow was supposed to be handled by Palmdale Intercontinental Airport

Palmdale... Are you kidding. All those homes out there are struggling the worst for the economic downturn. The big push never produced the Intercontinental airport.

Orange County had the chance to turn the old base into a good airport.

Long Beach is trying to take some traffic but pilots are forced to do wild maneuvers on takeoff and shut down early in the evening so not to disturb residents to much.

So the LAX situation will remain a divisive point for those who live near it. In Westchester. But for the rest of us Angelinos we are thankful to have one of the best sources of travel into and out of the states on our back doorstep.

The LAX Airport is a vital part of the Los Angeles economy. Needed and used by a lot of business. From international shipping to Hollywood movie stars. And all the other vacationers into and out of Los Angeles and the USA in general.

We are over 40 million passengers and the holiday travel blitz is upon us. Thank goodness the fuel charges are down. Thank goodness those Controllers in the towers keep the pilots sorted out and traffic smoothly flowing into and out of LA. Keep bringing those tourists to Disneyland and Universal Studios and Venice Beach.

Even if we were supposed to get some relief from a neighboring city, it is nice to have all that business helping this local economy. And our Real Estate values. And our rent rolls in our many rental apartment buildings.

It is the Season to be Thankful. I am thankful for LAX and it's big industrious infusion to the Los Angeles economy.

Keith Lambert

Friday, December 19, 2008

Will our American Business' Leaders ever learn?

I found a very good bit that really sums it up. We have produced bad results over and over again by making same mistakes over and over.

Part of that Garbage in get Garbage out type thing. Pay people to produce the wrong result and get the worst case end result. Over and Over and Over again. Planing and thinking must change to be 3 and 5 year and even to 10 year best results. Or go buy some Lotto tickets and try to win on the really short term. With longer goals and better real planning We can be better than the offshore businesses. But if we are only interested in the next quarterly result... Same old bad decisions to get paid.

See "When Will We Ever Learn?"

It is short and covers the topic well. BNet is good stuff.

Keith L.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Better loans available ?

Bonds and home loan rates spent last week testing their previous best levels of 2008, and finally rallied on Friday to reach their best levels not just of 2008 but of the last five years. Stocks, meanwhile, were under pressure throughout the week waiting to see whether Congress would approve emergency loans for GM and Chrysler. While the House of Representatives approved the measure Wednesday evening, the Senate rejected the $14 billion bailout for the US automakers on Thursday evening, citing a lack of wage concessions by the United Auto Workers (UAW). Friday, the White House announced that the government may be willing to use Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) funds to prevent an immediate collapse of the auto industry. One thing we can be sure of in this matter is that the volatility for both Stocks and Bonds will continue while this issue remains unresolved.
There were other important happenings in Washington to note last week. Five members of the House Financial Services Committee are sponsoring a bill that would force the SEC to reinstate the uptick rule. The uptick rule is a former rule established by the SEC that requires every short sale transaction to be entered at a price that is higher than the price of the previous trade. So what would the reinstatement of the uptick rule mean for Bonds and home loan rates? The reinstatement of the uptick rule would do a lot to quiet the excessive volatility in both Stocks and Bonds.
In other important news to note last week, the Retail Sales report for November showed that retail sales fell for a fifth straight month. Meanwhile, Initial Jobless Claims reached their highest level in 26 years. Both of these reports are indicative of the current economic climate, and given the events of the week in Washington, they had minimal impact on Bonds and home loan rates.
As mentioned above, Bonds and home loan rates rallied Friday afternoon to reach their best levels of the year. As a result, they ended the week .25 percent better than where they began. There may be an opportunity for you to reduce your home loan payments if you were looking to Refinance.

Let me know if you need a referral to a great Loan Broker who can get you the best rates.


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Market Forces... Moving for the better on some fronts

The Fed has indicated that they would like to be a buyer of Mortgage Bonds, which has resulted in attractive, lower rates right now. But as stated above, the trading environment is extremely volatile, and opportunities to capitalize on lower rates that make sense should be taken advantage of. There have been recent rumors of interest rates being brought down towards 4.5% by the Treasury. This irresponsible release included no definitive plan, no indication of who might qualify, or what the restrictions would be. Like many other recent legislative "solutions", the restrictions might be very tight, with income limits set very low, and as a result, helping very few people. Remember, it may make sense for you to act now, and take advantage of current historically low rates...with the possibility of refinancing should rates decline further.

In other news to note from last week, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank both cut their key benchmark interest rates in an effort to revive their sagging economies. The reduction in rates was expected as part of a global coordinated effort, and our Fed is widely expected to cut its benchmark rate during its meeting on December 16. While a cut by the Fed often causes home loan rates to rise - because a Fed rate cut can lead to inflation, which is the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates - the deflationary environment we are currently in may prevent home loan rates from worsening significantly after the Fed cut. This is going to bode well for all those apartment building loans tied to the LIBOR rates. Personally I'm Loving this.

Bonds and home loan rates tested their best levels of 2008 throughout last week, but could not improve beyond them. As a result, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week slightly worse than where they began... even in the midst of rumors of rates declining as mentioned above.

GAS PRICES SURE HIT A RECORD EARLIER THIS YEAR, BUT NOW THAT THEY HAVE IMPROVED! I have seen multiple stations here in Los Angeles with all 3 prices under $2.00. I did not think I would see these prices again in my lifetime. I thought for sure that once the consumer public had gotten used to $3.00 plus gas that it would never come down.

So what market forces are making me feel better today? Gas at a reasonable price & the loans on some apartment buildings some clients have are about to become cheaper and more affordable for their operating budgets. (and I manage some of those)

Those are very good things.

Think of all the handymen and service guys like plumbers who service apartments and homes all across America... Cheaper gas means they may afford better holiday gifts for their kids and wives this month!

Very good things.

Keith L.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hot news on the market conditions today… See these story headlines!

Treasury mulls plan to lower mortgage rates to 4.5%
Move would help homeowners and buyers with good credit, but would do little for troubled borrowers

How long will the recession last?
Longer than past downturns, and Wall Street's meltdown will slow the recovery…

The details include:
…the fact that the recession is now already 12 months old, and clearly not approaching its trough yet, raises the distinct prospect that it will exceed the length of the 1973-75 and 1981-82 recessions (both at 16 months), making it the longest since the Great Depression (43 months, from August 1929 to March 1933). The crowd fond of making comparisons to the Great Depression will be quick to declare some kind of victory on this one.
Second, the prediction that this recession may end around the middle of 2009 is not unreasonable, but even if accurate it disguises the critical question: What kind of a recovery is likely to follow? The answer is: probably a gradual one, unlike the more typical (but not universal) pattern of the economy coming out of most past recessions roaring ahead, propelled by pent-up consumer demand.
The healing process of a deeply wounded banking system, that has already led to nearly $1 trillion of write-downs, will act as a weight around the neck of any economic recovery in the latter part of 2009. Banks will likely continue the slow process of recapitalization and cleaning up…

So a Gradual Recovery is what to expect. Do not look for a specific marker to show you the bottom of the market. There will not be one. Pull your Cash together and let’s buy you an income producing property.

Call me to review your financial options in dependable Los Angeles residential income properties.

Keith Lambert

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Looking to move $ where? When? How Long?


And what direction is our economy moving?

After years of being concerned about inflation, the Fed is now concerned about deflation. So what exactly is deflation? Deflation is when prices drop, which generally is due to lack of demand, and therefore lack of pricing power. With the economy slowing down, we are hearing economists forecast that we may be in for a deflationary recession. In a deflationary environment, investors flee into fixed instruments like Bonds, because the fixed payment received would actually buy them more goods and services over time as prices decline.

So what does this mean for home loan rates? Remember, home loan rates improve as Bond pricing moves higher - and more demand for Bonds would mean higher prices for Bonds. In the spring of 2003, when Alan Greenspan uttered the "D" word, deflation, Bonds rallied 400bp in just a few weeks, bringing a significant drop in home loan rates. Of course, the economy is different right now, but as more money may be headed towards Bonds in a deflationary environment, we could again see a significant improvement in home loan rates down the road.

On the inflation front, last week's Producer Price Index indicated that wholesale inflation plummeted last month - by the most since records began in 1947 - largely due to declines in energy prices. In addition, the Consumer Price Index showed that inflation at the consumer level fell by a record 1.0%, thanks again to lower costs of energy.

When it comes to the direction the economy is heading, the week did end with some hopeful news. Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said that an economic recovery could begin in 2009 as low interest rates, low energy prices, and less drag from the housing sector may shore up spending. In the meantime, Bonds and home loan rates spent much of last week trading near a key level of technical support called the 200-Day Moving Average, finally moving and staying above this level on Friday. As a result, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week unchanged to slightly better than where they began.

Secure Rents make investing in Apartment buildings, in the best areas of Los Angeles, a great option if you have the cash. If you do not want to just keep it in cash and want to get in on the Buyers Market we are in. And definitely if you are thinking to hold longer then 5 years, you really will do well in this market.

IMHO Keith L.
Keith @ LambertInc. com

(remove spaces to use above email)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Uncertainty or are we going to go shopping?

- Ancient Greek playwright Sophocles.

Last week was far from quiet as financial markets reacted to several pieces of bad economic news brought throughout the week.

The week began with the news that Circuit City filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and will be closing 150 stores - and this in advance of the holiday season, when most retailers make a larger portion of their profits for the year. Department store Nordstrom reported its growth rate is down 16%, where they were expecting an increase of 10%. Poor economic reports from Best Buy and Macy's followed a few days later, as well as lower future earnings guidance from Wal-Mart and Intel. As if the headlines of the week weren't enough, Friday's Retail Sales report showed that overall retail sales fell for the fourth straight month and plunged to their worst level since record keeping began in 1992. Looks like a pretty dismal holiday shopping season ahead...probably the worst that retailers will have seen in a long, long time.

In addition, there was bad news for the automobile industry as Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of General Motors from hold to sell, giving a price target of $0...yes, $0. As a result, General Motors stock fell below $3 for the first time since April 13, 1943. Interestingly enough, the automaker was not even making cars at that time but producing only military equipment for WWII.

And the bad news continued on the job front as well, as the Initial Jobless Claims report revealed the highest number of first time unemployment claim since 2001. In addition, Continuing Jobless Claims reached their highest level in 25 years. Remember, poor economic news and a weak labor market usually cause Bonds and home loan rates to improve. This is because fewer jobs and lower confidence about keeping or finding work causes people to spend less. In turn, businesses and retailers lose pricing power, and this is a cycle that keeps inflation - the arch enemy of Bonds and home loan rates - at low levels, especially if oil remains near present reasonable prices.

However, despite all the bad economic news of the week, Bonds and home loan rates were unable to make significant improvements this week

So what do we make of all this? Just look at the big adverts from a very famous local version of "The Donald" with big color adverts in the Sunday LA Times on multiple pages saying "I'm Buying" and looking to make a few big deals while he has cash and most do not.

Yes there is uncertainty. But there is certainly more to be made in the Income Property realm of investing than in today's stock market.

IMHO Keith Lambert

Monday, November 03, 2008

The market just before election time...

- Napoleon Bonaparte.

Taking action after deliberating was exactly what the Fed did last week, when they cut the Fed Funds Rate by .50%, lowering it to 1.00%.

Why did the Fed take action last week, after it had already lowered the Fed Funds Rate by .50% on October 8 in a coordinated effort with other central banks? To continue to help ease the credit crisis, and prevent a long and severe global recession. In fact, several foreign central banks followed the Fed's lead again last week, with Hong Kong cutting their lending rate by .50%, Taiwan cutting by .25%, and Japan cutting by .20%. This is important because cuts by other nations help stabilize the US Dollar, which typically loses ground after our Fed cuts rates, because of the lower yield offered comparatively offered in the US. Another interesting point to note: since oil is Dollar denominated, the price per barrel typically jumps after our Fed cuts rates, because of the decline in the value of the Dollar. The cuts by other central banks should keep oil…and gas prices, in turn…from skyrocketing again.

Another reason the Fed took action: The Fed’s statement discounted threats of inflation, saying that slowing economic growth should lower inflation pressures over time, but added that downside risks to economic growth remain. And last week’s negative Gross Domestic Product reading is confirmation that things have slowed quite a bit. Although experts have speculated that the US may already be in a recession, the first hardcore signs appeared when the Third Quarter Advance GDP report showed that consumer spending declined at the fastest pace in 28 years. The report also reflected the largest quarterly decline since the end of the last recession in 2001.

So what did all of this mean for Bonds and home loan rates last week? After worsening early in the week, Bonds and home loan rates attempted to stabilize by week end. And while it was a treat that Bonds did bounce off an important level of technical support, home loan rates still ended the week nearly .125-.25% worse than where they began.

Very few income properties are on the REO (Real Estate Owned by a bank) lists. Unless you go to areas like Henderson NV or Plamdale or Chula Vista where the rental of units has a very low revenue base. If the rents drop so that you can not make the mortgage... and/or the buyer is unsophisticated (or corrupt)giving a investment property back to the bank is very rare.

Amateur speculation in the single family home rental market is another matter.

Time will tell. Sound Investing in positive cash flowing income properties is what I recommend. Loan rates are good now. But for how much longer?

So to whoever wins the White House tomorrow, may God bless his political advisers with some great insight and clear vision.

Because of the down economy I am making a strong recommendation that you vote NO on any bond item on the ballot tomorrow. We do not have the excess state/county/city revenues to handle more debt now.

My 2 cents.

Keith L.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Manic Monday for those in the financial markets

"JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY..." lyrics from The Bangles.
And last week wasn't just another manic Monday, as the markets were wild the entire week. During the past two months in the stock market, there have been 19 trading days with a 3% move. It had previously taken 6 years to see 19 days with a 3% move.
Bonds and home loan rates began the week with a strong rally on news that the world's largest Bond Fund, PIMCO, raised its stake in Mortgage-Backed Securities to its highest in over seven years. Also helping Bonds and home loan rates break above important technical levels were poor earning reports by companies like DuPont, Texas Instruments, Merck, Wachovia, and Boeing.
However, the gains were short lived as both Stocks and Bonds worsened on Friday after heavy selling took place in Asia and Europe. The waves of panic selling started in Japan due to weak earnings reported by Sony and Samsung, then spilled over into the UK as Britain's economy shrank for the first time since 1992, signaling a recession.
And while a strong sell-off in Stocks would typically cause money to flow into Bonds, helping Bonds and home loan rates improve, there is currently a bit of a departure from the normal "see-saw" trading you may typically see between Stocks and Bonds. This is occurring because securities must be liquidated to raise capital. In an effort to offset margin calls, all securities are being cashed in. Additionally, fear from individual investors, where people throw in the towel and want to get out of the market, is creating massive redemptions from fund managers. Despite the continued volatility and massive action of the last week, Bonds and home loan rates ended the week very close to where they began.

So what does this mean to you? Loans are available. You just need to qualify for them and have a real downpayment. Just as always in the income property and Apartment building market.

Banks are not foreclosing on apartment buildings. Apartment owners are enjoying a steady stream of cash flow and income from their investments.

Remember the old saw about not putting all your eggs in one basket. Hope your nest egg was not in the Wall Street basket.

Do you need a good dependable Real Estate investment?

Keith L.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Rental Incomes... Still Strong

If you are invested in the rental properties in vital markets you are not feeling the pain that wall street is feeling today.

Rents are Strong. Tenants still are making the rent. The rent roll is still paying the mortgage and insurance and taxes and the management upkeep.

The rental housing providers I know are sill receiving the positive cash flows that their investments were providing prior to the 2008 drop in the stock market.

No wall street type will tell you to take your money out of his control and give it to anyone else to help you diversify. They do not know any other investment. But you, who have some real cash to invest and a future to protect, need to take a portion of your wealth and invest in Real Property. Rental Property. Income Property.

Today's Cap rates and Gross Rent Multipliers are looking better and better.

Residential property can beat almost any recession investment.

How much! How much to Wall Street? How much to income producing land?

Risk is a chance to loose some value. But Whole companies go down to ZERO. Never does an apartment building go to Zero. Real insurance policies (as apposed to swaps/derivatives etc.) insure that your building will get built back up if hit with a typical disaster of fire etc.

Professional portfolio managers (CFP's) charge a few points to manage your money. And people like me as your Real Estate Agent charge a reasonable percentage to manage your tenants and pay the bills for the performing asset. I bet as a percentage of value a property manager is much less expensive than a money manager. I'll check on that.

What type of property would you like to own? A big building with partners? Medium or small building on your own?

Sincerely Keith Lambert

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wall Street vs a local street

I just notes that a blue chip stock fund that my sons college savings was in is down 17% since this year. And that is the Good stuff. Blue Chip Stocks. These are companies that own stuff and will not go to zero value when they have problems.

Very few who have income real estate have losses anywhere like that. Anyone with an income producing property is still paying the bills and making the tax and insurance and loan payments. The tenants still need homes etc.

When your stock broker says to diversify... Say "yes I will" and take some of your money and put it in a real asset. Buy an apartment building! Hire a reputable real estate professional to manage it and be safe and diversified.

You want less risk still? Buy some in an area that will not be hit by the same earthquake or hurricane or tornado!

This bail out to Wall Street that the politicians are asking us to buy into is way over the top for me to swallow. Loan backed investment pools should have been rated just like state bonds are rated. Anyone who buys a car will look under the hood. Wall Street sold a lot of these with no one checking. Are these secured loans? Are they performing? How many are seasoned? What percentage had 100% or 95% financing? Stated income and low FICO scores? The shortsighted bought the 'pig in a poke' when they did not look under the hood and bought the investment. Blinded by the higher return. Higher return = Higher risk.

Wall Street is all about risk vs return. The recent "Stock Bomb" wake up call still must reverberate in some of your mental time lines. Stocks based on the future value of the idea that the .com company will be able to leverage into a future business. Smoke and mirrors.

Real estate and housing run up as the latest "who wants to be a millionaire" frenzy got the stock market buy in... In a very big and stupid way.

The Federal Government should not buy out all the bad debt. Uncle Sam is not the Next Biggest Fool. Then that leads to the average taxpayer taking the hit for a stupid wall street suit/executive/snake oil salesman. The investors should possibly go after them in civil court for negligence or some form of malfeasance. But the judge may point out that they bought in and took the risk.

If you can not handle the risk then buy insurance or a safer vehicle to place your money.

There is risk you like and risk you do not like.

Some feel the risk of using a motorcycle is way to risky. And yet they put all their trust in a stock market man to keep them supported in retirement.

Some of you may have enough Capital left to buy an apartment building.

If so and you want a dependable rental income... Call me.

Keith Lambert

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The market is not a Train Wreck.

"Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson on Sunday: no more federal bailouts...
Finally, someone has hit the brakes where they need to be hit. The federal government and taxpayers such as you and I can’t go bankrolling or brokering the mistakes of Bear Stearns, Countrywide Financial, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."

Ok so as long as the lenders can make a real loan to a real client and the terms are not outrageous we are going to have support for the real estate values.

So relax a little. Do not think that you must have a heart attack. Take a bigger view of this correction.

Buy in if you plan on holding 3 or more years. If you are a flipper... Well then you had better be able to do it cheaper and better than the stuff on the market.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mar Vista on the west side of the hill... Two good deals

Mar Vista has a few deals. there are some good ones that are on the west side of the Mar Vista Hill. It is totally amaising that the ones on the other side of the hill with some city views are going for such hugue prices even in this down market. Even on high traffic streets like Palms. (near Grandview)

So on the SFR deal of the week... The one that I do not think will last long is 13129 Lake Street. At only 775,000 it is just above the lot value. the home has great bones and floor plan that is workable. A front two can garage and some elevation that may someday be a little view if a second story were to be added. Mostly a cosmetic improvement to the interior would be all it needs. Bring it out of the 70's. Easy cosmetic remodel process. Fix it then move in or move in and then Fix it? I like this Fixer. Call me and I'll show you why.

On the Speculator side... The nicest view lot at an OK price in the area is 13000 Warren Ave. On the slope. Not too near the airport but still you will hear the jets. (gotta be honest on that.) But the view is worth it. The back yard slopes down to a wide alley and gives you a great opportunity for redesign and building in a garage and entertaining back yard. The house has no real flow or style worth keeping. A land play and opportunity to build your dream home or to speculate that you can build and sell for a big proffit. Are you a Builder type? Are you deep pockets and want to invest?


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mar Vista Community council election for our neighborhood.

Hi All,

I am impressed, 119 votes from Zone 6. Way to go.

I was not even sure that that many could find Mar-Vista Elementary from our side of the hill. LOL (joke)

There are some friendships and many nice people I have met in the Mar Vista community thanks to my involvement here. I feel enriched by my experience.

It looks like I have two more meetings as a board member then I turn over my seat to Marilyn. I wish her luck and smooth sailing.

Sincerely Keith Lambert

MVCC Director for Zone 6

Zone 6

Marilyn Marble 60
Valerie Davidson 35
Keith Lambert 12
Rachel Snowden 12

Total of 119 Zone 6 votes cast. Over twice that of the last election for Zone Director.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Santa Monica Apartment for Rent

Nice Location and Good 1 Bedroom 1 Bath unit

North of Wilshire Blvd. near
Montana Ave. and 18th Street.

View photos of Apt D on 18th St. in Santa Monica

Property owner is asking $ 1,750 per month and $2,200 SD.

And good credit score and verifiable income.

Keith Lambert
Property Management Line 310-391-0821

A mugger in town? Inflation!


You may not describe the effects of inflation in those strong terms yourself. However the effects of inflation do affect your life, your home, your gas tank and your family wallet. And inflation is also the nemesis of Bonds and therefore home loan rates, because just like inflation erodes the value of the dollars you spend, inflation erodes the value of the fixed return a Bond provides. And last week, Bond pricing worsened on news of inflation, causing home loan rates to move higher by about .25% across the board and reaching the highest levels seen in weeks. According to one of my best loan sources Ed Varon at Pacifica Mortgage.

That will slow buyers down just a little more. And force the prices down a little more. Maybe make it a little more likely that there will be a change of the party in power come election day. Would that be the White House going from Republican to Democrat or in Congress going from Democrat to Republican? I will not make any wild bets on that horse race. LOL

But the loans and the Real Estate Market are not a laughing matter. Higher loan costs are not going to free up more funds for more absorption of the excess properties on the market. Auctions bring in those with a pocket full of cash looking for a steal.

So many properties in my zone have “In Escrow” and “Sold” signs in front of them that I know there are savvy Westside buyers out there scooping up the next renovation project or a quality property for a personal residence knowing that they are getting a deal that is “worth it in the Long Run” Yep. Priced right it still moves on the Westside of LA.

Please call me if you want my insights into what is a good deal on todays market.

Keith Lambert

Friday, May 30, 2008

Props 98 is Great. Unless you are a city or mega developer.

With the upcoming election I would like to recommend that everyone take a look at the article in CityWatch

I urge a Yes on 98 and a
very big No on 99.

remember using:
98 is Great
99 is Lying

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Neighborhood Associations and Community/Neighborhood Councils

I believe that Community starts at the most local level.

  • Caring about the neighbors;
    • taking care of a Cat or Dog while they are away.
    • helping out in some small way like rolling in the trash cans.
  • About all the folks on your street;
    • becoming a Block Captain.
    • going out front to look when a car or house alarm goes off.
    • participating in (or running) a Block Party
  • Blocks around your home;
    • joining in to better a local elementary school.
    • joining in a Neighborhood Association. (ie Ven-MarNA)
  • Helping your community at large;
    • participating in the local city government agencies...
    • local councils for Venice or Mar Vista.
    • helping in the homeless programs.
  • City wide;
    • CD 11 - Bill Rosendahl's office
      and the upcoming city elections or re-election campaigns etc.
  • or with party politics on a County or State level.

by the CITY CHARTER voted into Law 1999 by the City Council:
"To promote more citizen participation in government and make government more responsive to local needs, a citywide system of neighborhood councils, and a Department of Neighborhood Empowerment is created. Neighborhood councils shall include representatives of the many diverse interests in communities and shall have an advisory role on issues of concern to the neighborhood."

I have filed for re-election as the Zone 6 Director of Mar Vista Community Council. I have diligently attended the board meetings and been a participant of many of the committee meetings of the board. This does not leave a lot of time left over to be a leader in the Ven-Mar NA organization but I will continue to be a big booster for the group. I have set up the web sites and started (their) message board. I have been the editor for the last two newsletters.

I urge all of you to participate as you can at all of the local levels you can. That is what makes a community like ours extra special and a rewarding part of living here in Mar Vista. Most of you are Stakeholders in Venice or Mar Vista. Please come out and vote when that election comes up.

Sincerely, Your Neighbor,

Keith Lambert
Zone 6 Director for MVCC

As posted on

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

March Real Estate News Clip

"The California housing market in March continued to deal with problems in the real estate finance arena, rising numbers of defaults and foreclosures, and concerns about the economy. Sales of detached existing homes fell 24.5 percent from 422,300 homes in March 2007 to 318,830 homes in March 2008. Sales bucked a 4-month trend of increasing monthly sales, falling 6.4 percent compared to the February sales figure of 340,580 homes. The median price also continued its decline against prior month and prior year figures. The March median was $413,980, down a record-setting 29.0 percent from the median of $582,930 a year earlier."

Some of this may be the lower end stuff selling to developer/flipper types. The well off and well maintained property may not be in the sales volume right now. The ones I see actually selling are the better priced homes. The "deals" that are priced right. That may be adding to the heady news above.

On today’s Tuesday caravan there were two items that stood out. One a 1 bedroom Condo for 280,000 and then in Santa Monica a nice owner user type house with units. Or the other item I reviewed (not on Caravan), 40 units with a big price reduction to a 5.4% Cap Rate and good old days GRM or 11.6.

Call me to ask for details if you are interested.

Keith L.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bonds and Intrest Rates - Market flexing in Buyers favor!

There were changes in the news about Bonds and home loan rates last week - but not necessarily all in the "right direction". For most of the week, Bond prices moved lower, causing home loan rates to rise - home loan rates worsened by about .25% for the week overall.
One silver lining...some of the abuse that Bonds took was at the hands of somewhat positive economic news. Remember that positive or strong economic news tends to benefit Stocks, which in turn can pull money out of Bonds - which causes Bond prices to worsen and home loan rates to rise. So when news hit of a far better than forecast Retail Sales Report and much better than expected earnings reports from giants like Google, the financial markets responded by flowing money over into Stocks, and right out of Bonds, causing home loan rates to rise.
Also hurting Bonds was inflation chatter during speeches made by several Federal Reserve Presidents, who voiced concerns of inflation possibilities. Add record high oil prices and a seventeen-year high on food prices. Because inflation erodes the value of the fixed return provided by a Bond, the scent of inflation in the air always causes Bond prices to decline, and as a result, home loan rates will rise.
Even though the market is flexing, it is still a good time to take advantage of historically lower loan rates before rising inflation continues to push rates higher. Buyers now have much more negotiation power in the market. So now may be a good window of opportunity for you.
If you, or a friend, family member, neighbor or coworker needs advice on buying property before the next changes price you out of the market, please feel free to get in touch.


Tuesday, April 15, 2008


"I shall never use profanity...except in discussing house rent and taxes." ~Mark Twain. April 15 is just a few days away...and hopefully this year's tax season hasn't caused too much profanity in your household. Of course it's always wise to be careful about criticizing the IRS, but no matter what you feel like saying about them at the moment, they have compiled these helpful tips for last-minute filers:

Go electronic. The biggest advice the IRS has for last-minute filers is to file an e-return rather than a paper tax form. The IRS considers this the best step for ensuring that your return is complete and accurate.

Check it carefully - then check it again. If you choose to file a paper return, make sure you double-check your numbers and figures. The numbers to check most carefully are the identification numbers--usually Social Security numbers--for each person listed. Missing, illegible, or incorrect Social Security Numbers can reduce or delay a tax refund.

Also, you should double check that you have correctly calculated the refund or balance due, and that you have used the right figure from the tax table. If you are entitled to a refund this year, make sure that your financial institution's routing and account numbers are entered accurately. Incorrect numbers can cause the refund to be delayed or even misdirected.

Sign on the bottom line. Don't forget to sign and date your return. If you are filing a joint return, both spouses must sign it...even if only one had income. Also, anyone that you pay to help prepare your return must sign it as well.

Make payable to...? If you owe taxes this year, you must make the check out to "United States Treasury." Do not make the check out to "IRS." Your payment should be enclosed with the tax return or the Form 1040-V, Payment Voucher (if used), but do not attach your payment to either document.

Don't throw away those labels. If you choose to mail a paper return, use the peel-off label on the tax booklet. You can line through and make corrections right on the label if necessary. If you do not have a peel-off label, fill in all requested information clearly, including the Social Security numbers.

Don't be late! By the April 15 due date, taxpayers should either file a return or request an extension of time to file. Remember, the extension of time to file is not an extension of time to pay.

- Check

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Hot news re Jets at Santa Monica Airport


Following a study session that lasted almost four hours, and included public comments from a packed council chamber of Santa Monica and Los Angeles residents, including LA Councilman Bill Rosendahl, Santa Monica City Council unanimously passed the second reading of their ordinance that will take effect in 30 days, according to SM Mayor pro-tem Richard Bloom.

Follow link to learn more...

Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution

Monday, March 24, 2008

News from Wall Street is Wild this past week

The New York stock exchange has too high an opinion of it's self. Your stock broker will say to diversify. But he will mean to diversify in different stocks. That is not really diversification. You also need Real Estate. I believe that Income Producing Real Estate is still stronger than any equity paper on any stock exchange.

Just work out your Net Worth. Then look at the % in stocks & bonds. And the % in real estate. Next take your home equity out of the picture. How much of your wealth (equity) is in Income Producing property? If it is not a high enough % then let me know what you want to do about that.

The Hot News...

Bonds and home loan rates wildly rocketed higher and plummeted lower on a daily basis throughout the last week. In the end fixed home loan rates ended up improved by about .25% for the week

The big news from the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight (OFHEO), who announced that they lifted special capital restrictions that had been put in place for both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This will allow these firms to pump $200 Billion into the mortgage market by way of buying Mortgage Bonds. The anticipated increase in demand was very good news for Bonds and home loan rates, which immediately improved on the news.

So income property loans may get better too.

IMHO Keith L.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

ACTION in Santa Monica

FYI If you are a property owner in Santa Monica you have a friend in this group.
For many years they have been at the forefront of the effort to protect property owners in Santa Monica from a overzealous city regulatory pogrom and heavy handed enforcement of the rules on the books.

To check their public web site go to

They have regular meetings. I attended the one last night (Monday 3-3-08)
and listened to some very interesting speakers.

One reviewed for us the political efforts that are aligned to fix the problems of cities taking private property using eminent domain. He was from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and passed out some of their newsletters... "Taxing Times" The hot topic is the differences between two measures that will be on the ballot.
- Prop 98 - good
- Prop 99 - bad

If we want to truly protect property rights and owners from the cities and developers We need to vote Yes on Prop 98. If 99 passes it would keep the same low level of protections and even remove the extra protections of Prop 98 if it gets more votes.

Prop 99 was put on the ballot as a spoiler.

More information can be found on
or on

There are good things worth fighting for. Property rights is one.

I welcome your feedback.

Keith Lambert

Monday, February 25, 2008

Tax time reprint - Do we understand our system?

Our Tax System Explained: Bar Stool Economics
(I like a parable to explain bigger ideas So I will rerun this. I do not know for sure where it started or if it is still true. But it explains a lot. Keith)

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.' Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20,'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,” exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I got'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got
only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

( So can you see any analogy's to this? Post your thoughts... )

Friday, February 15, 2008

forclosures or market - prices are softer

Had a recent conversation with an investor that likes that he can get small 3 and 4 unit properties on foreclosure actions. But he wants someone else to deal with the management. Prices are softer for regular listings and you can get a good deal there too.

Keep it in mind that you are in the home provider business from the moment you close escrow. If it is a foreclosure you have little to back up the security deposits and the tenants may be a big pain in the back side. What did they contract for? What deposit are they claiming?

In a regular sale there is an "Estoppel" to review the amounts and services that the tenants think is theirs. This is an important document. Both foreclosures or market properties will make you money. With soft prices on listed properties it is worth it to have an agent on your side. I can help save on headaches and make it a smoother business to run after the purchase.

Let a professional like me help you buy an investment property that does not have a snake den full of problems.

Sincerely Keith Lambert

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Should we Rate Landlords?

Those of us in the hosing provider business are still getting a bad shrift from the old "Landlord" label.

But what if there were a way for those of us good landlords to stand out and be differentiated from a bad landlord? Would that work?

In a free market the customer (tenant) would go to the good businessman (housing provider) and pay higher rents for better services. More satisfied customers mean more profits.

You recall Econ 101 right. Is our market ready for an educated tenant base?

Do we want our potential tenants to know about the building or the fellow tenants in your building? What if the problem is not an item the housing provider can regulate or protect against. Really hard to bite that one as a owner who just happens to have one tenant that has strong cooking smells or a screaming child. But if may be good for the potential tenant to be forewarned.

Therefore there is a good possibility that this new service will make it.

Tell me what you think of that idea!

Give it plenty of time to do the Overlay of the dots onto the map. Lots of Data and such. And it is in Beta mode too. I think it should be used to rate good things too.

So I tried to place a Dot (green) for Santa Monica Bar & Grille to say "Good Music Here" Can you find it?

Keith <"><