Good News Pasadena Residents!
In late August, the Pasadena City Council approved massive changes to the Occupancy Inspection Program. Instead of a visit from the city’s code enforcement officer and a certificate of occupancy needed to close every sale, home sellers and buyers will soon be able to self-certify. There are no illegal conversions or additions.
This is a huge change from the current often-contentious occupancy inspection process!
City Council approved changes (7-1 vote, Mayor Tornek the only no vote) include:
* Requiring condos and townhomes to only file proof of fire safety
(smoke alarm, CO2 alarm, fireproof door) with the city
[No city inspections!]
* Dropping city inspections for single-family homes and only requiring the buyer and seller to submit a signed affidavit certifying no unpermitted additions or conversions and fire safety features installed
[No city inspections!]
Should there be an unpermitted conversion or addition, it will remain negotiated between the buyer and seller as to who is responsible. Should it be the buyer, he/she will have six months to apply for a permit and twelve months
to complete the project.
A staff proposal that would require submission of a site plan
and floor plan was NOT approved.
City staff will return to the City Council in the near future with the proposed language to actually change the ordinance. Once approved by the Council, the changes will go into effect.
Until such time as that occurs (likely within the next 60 days),
the current requirements remain in place. Please be sure to watch for news of when that happens at pfar.org.
Happy Summer! I hope that this newsletter finds you a little more relaxed than usual and enjoying your summer!
Recently, I was fortunate enough to spend 3 days in Long Beach, California. Admittedly, I have not spent much time in Long Beach outside of the Long Beach Aquarium. However, while I was there, I realized that I had stumbled upon one of Southern California’s best kept beach town secrets. From my experience that weekend, I discovered that Long Beach is a diverse and stylish town which offers historic or educational experiences yet has a very modern side.
The town offers great crab, lobster and seafood restaurants, among many others. I tried Big Catch Seafood House on East Broadway. If you go, try the lobster roll or the soft-shell crab sandwich or both! Parking was easy, service was friendly and I can’t wait to go back for the food!
Long Beach has its own airport, convention center and performing arts center which is lined with various pubs, restaurants and great shopping. This area is a vivid contrast to the historic parts of the town.
The historic Queen Mary resides in Long Beach aboard which visitors can take an historic tour, stay overnight, enjoy brunch and on the Fourth of July, experience what has often been cited as one of the best fireworks shows in Southern California.
Of course, as far as real estate goes, Long Beach is really one of the last “affordable” beach towns in Southern California. A recent search of 2 bedroom and 2 bathroom condominiums yielded more than 50 listings ranging from the beautifully historically refurbished to the modern and updated to the fixer upper in need of some vision. The prices of these units ranged from $299,000 – $1,299,000. And many of the units or building were walking distance from and with a view of the ocean!
So whether you’re looking to buy, rent or just get away for the day, I recommend checking out a travel treasure in our back yard! Please be safe and enjoy!
For most households, 2017 taxes have been filed and hopefully, your tax returns have already arrived! Now is a good time to plan for next year’s filing since tax preparers are likely to have lighter schedules during this time of year and there are no looming and stressful tax filing deadlines for most taxpayers. The Tax Reform Bill passed by Congress last year took effect in January 2018 and when you file taxes next April, changes may be evident.
California residents should consult a tax professional to learn about the details of the Tax Reform Bill. Particularly impactful for our state – which boasts high property values – are the new deductions set forth for property tax deductions and mortgage interest deductions. “The deduction for state, local and property taxes will be capped at $10,000 annually starting in 2018. The mortgage interest deduction on primary and secondary residences will be reduced, applying to loans under $750,000 rather than $1 million. (1)”
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides information, tips and tools regarding filing 2018 taxes under the new bill. On its website, IRS.gov, under the News and New Releases section, taxpayers are encouraged to do a “Paycheck Checkup” to see how the new laws affect their withholdings. According to the site:
“Among the groups, in particular, who should check their withholding are people who:
Belong to a two-income family.
Work two or more jobs or only work for part of the year.
Have children and claim credits such as the Child Tax Credit.
Have older dependents, including children age 17 or older.
Itemized deductions on their 2017 tax returns.
Earn high incomes and have more complex tax returns.
Received large tax refunds or had large tax bills for 2017.(2)”
Pasadena tax preparer, Roubina Gourdikian, EA, MBA, encourages taxpayers to have their tax professionals run a hypothetical calculation of what their 2018 tax liability would look like. After running hypotheticals on all her clients, Roubina believes that most taxpayers will have around the same tax liability as 2017 assuming their income and expenses are comparable to the prior year. Although she initially was not a big fan of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act when it first passed, Roubina believes that it’s mostly a wash for most clients once analyzing the pros and cons for each taxpayer.
Roubina Gourdikian is a Tax Preparer that has been practicing locally for 22 years.
Roubina Gourdikian, EA, MBA
Roubina Gourdikian Tax Service
511 S. Marengo Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101
Office Phone (626)796-1545
Office FAX (626) 796-0370
(1) WHAT TAX REFORM MEANS FOR YOU www.worthynest.com