Thursday, September 10, 2009

5 Incredibly Useful Web Resources for Los Angeles Buyers and Sellers

There are an amazing number of web gadgets, widgets and resources that are indispensible, whether you are buying, selling or refinancing a home, condo or income property. We routinely turn to these five sites for valuable information:

1. CLTA Title Wizard – The California Land Title Association (CLTA) has a website where you can compare rates for different title insurers. In the example of a $1 million Los Feliz house, title insurance rates for the Seller vary from $2,319 to $3,085 among the major insurers. Whether you’re a buyer, a seller or are refinancing, title insurance is always part of the transaction. Compare rates to save money.

2. Supplemental Tax Estimator - When you purchase a property in Los Angeles County, you may owe Supplemental Property Tax that will be payable during the following year above and beyond your regular Los Angeles County property tax bill. This website calculates the Supplemental Property Tax -- the difference between the tax basis of the seller and the buyer during the period in which the seller paid property taxes and the buyer owned the property. If the property sold for less than previous assessed value, the “Supplemental” Property Tax might even be a refund.

3. ZIMAS - Want to find a map and parcel information for any property in the City of Los Angeles? Go to ZIMAS (Zone Information and Map Access System) to find maps (including a cool utility that allows you to measure distances), Plat Maps (copies of the City’s surveyors maps) and planning and zoning information.  Zimas is particularly useful when trying to identify property boundaries.

4. NavigateLA - NavigateLA allows you to find public works information on any parcel in the City of Los Angeles. Layered maps include information on everything from utility easements to location of manholes to red-flag parking restricted areas. NavigateLA has settled many a dispute on sewerlines – whether the property is connected to the city sewer system, and where the sewerline is located.

5. ZIP Code Boundary Map – An outstanding, Google Maps driven utility that identifies location and boundaries for ZIP Codes across the US.