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Friday, September 30, 2016

Flipping frontier moves east

City Terrace (left) and East L.A. (right) flips

Horizontal fencing. Stainless steel appliances. Dark wood cabinets. Pottery Barn-like decor. The two-bedroom home (pictured top left) that real estate investor Edward Solis recently put up for sales resembles many of the properties being flipped across Highland Park and Northeast L.A.  But this house is no where near York Boulevard. Instead, this two bedroom home can be found a few miles away in City Terrace on Townsend Avenue. After renovating and flipping homes across Northeast L.A., Solis is now applying the same look and amenities – Carrera marble countertops and drought-tolerant landscaping – to homes in the less expensive and less gentrified hills of City Terrace and the flats of East L.A. In fact, Solis has a second East L.A. house flip (pictured top right) up for sale on Fraser Avenue near Whittier Boulevard.  Both homes come with the same exterior color – a dark shade of peach – and asking price – $299,600.

“Our goal is to serve the first time buyer – whether  if it’s a hipster, Asian, Hispanic,” said Solis, whose firm, VCH Acquisitions, is based in Highland Park. “We welcome any type of buyer.”

Solis, 48, has been buying, fixing and selling homes since the late 1980s.  He and others have been busy flipping homes in East L.A. but he recently returned to City Terrace, where 1920s eras Spanish Colonial homes pack the hillsides to the east of Boyle Heights. You won’t find a coffeehouse-vegan scene in City Terrace. But Solis estimates the 1,100-square-foot City Terrace house he is currently trying to sell on Townsend Avenue would fetch at at least $50,000 more in Highland Park, maybe even a $100,000 more if it had a third-bedroom.

Many have villified house flippers for raising home prices and making neighborhoods unaffordable to low and middle income buyers. But Solis said his renovations improve neighborhoods.  One family on Townsend Avenue, he said, thanked him for fixing up the property.

“Most of the homes we buy are  are junk, boarded up,” he said. “We kept the charm of the house and yet we made it modern by putting all new items in.”

But Solis concedes that some home buyers might be turned off by a City Terrace address despite all the trapping of a hip Eastside flip.

“I think it’s an area that people are giving a second look,” Solid said. “Until you are there and get out of your car, you reailze that it’s not that bad.



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25 comments

  1. “Our goal is to serve the first time buyer – whether if it’s a Hipster, Asian, Hispanic,” said Solis, whose firm, VCH Acquisitions, is based in Highland Park. “We welcome any type of buyer.”

    Wow, I didn’t realize that “Hipster” is considered an ethnic group. Sorry, just had to chime my dime in the hat.

  2. City Terrace. Trucha!
    One of THEE most dangerous neighborhoods on the (real) eastside.
    City Terrace is mostly hills.
    One of the unofficial mottos of the Geraghty Lomas gang from City Terrace is
    “Step Up To The Hills That Kill”
    ’nuff said.

    • Geraghty Lomas was so a decade ago. City Terrace had a bad rep and was dangerous back in the day but it’s way, way safer now. LA County Sheriff has done a great job tamping down gang activities.

      Funny, hipsters are moving across the street as I write this. Not crazy about gang members and hipsters in my ‘hood, but if I have to choose between the two, well…

      • I agree Nancy. City Terrace has changed and I think it’s for the better. I, like you, rather live next to a hipster who’s taking care of his property and raising my property value, then next to a cholo who rents and gives two shits about the neighborhood. I just bought a house in City Terrace, my husband and I are professional Latinos and some may think we’re part of the gentrification as well but oh well…we can;t afford highland park or silverlake so City Terrace it is…and I think it’s great : )

  3. a friend of mine lived in city terrace for a spell. for some reason, a lot of people over there raise chickens and roosters. not fun hearing roosters crowing at the break of dawn. or, for that matter, all the pit bulls barking constantly.

    • In the past two years the Los Angeles City Council enacted an ordnance that severely curtailed the allowable number of chickens and like fowl on residential properties.
      I guess existing hens and roosters kept by a homeowner would be grandfathered in an exemption.
      Whether or not the local constable can be persuaded to enforce the new ordnance may yet to be seen.
      However, the overall trend going forward will be less cluck and crowing heard emanating from L.A. backyards.

  4. The real-estate agent, Solis, doesn’t sound that bright; putting aside his mention of hipsters, he shouldn’t be mentioning race at all when it comes to selling his homes. I think he’s opening himself up to problems; for example, an African-American family might rightfully say, “He mentioned hipsters (i.e., a subset of whites), Asians, and Hispanics, but what about us?” The general rule is to describe the property, not the buyers. With comments such as these, innocuous as they seem, the agent opens himself up to a charge of discrimination.

    • James, although the term is used sometimes as a euphemism for white gentrifiers, hipsters come in all colors. After all, the word originated in the African-American jazz scene. But I totally agree with you, what’s the point of bringing up the race or creed of the buyers?

  5. “Our goal is to serve the first time buyer – whether if it’s a Hipster, Asian, Hispanic,” said Solis, whose firm, VCH Acquisitions, is based in Highland Park. “We welcome any type of buyer.”

    I can’t believe he said that! What a douche.

    Chickens and pitbulls = tell-tale sign of a classy neighborhood. Throw in some graf and a couple of dismantled cars some front lawns, and that spells home.

  6. The term “hipster” should be capitalized only if it’s the first word of a sentence.

  7. You guys shouldn’t worry about him, his business is doing great, they are flipping an average of 10 homes per month, so they are doing something right!

  8. When can we retire ‘hipster’ from our collective vocabulary? I can’t think of another word that has such a nebulous meaning.

  9. I can’t believe that the eastsider would do a profile on this guy when his are some of the most Home Depot-y on the market! Embarrassing eastsider, do your research- flipping has been on the eastside for awhile now, and its been done better by other firms (ex: Mod Op, bettershelter.) Also, Chris and B.E., pit bulls are not a sign of a bad neighborhood- there are many in Weho and that’s far from the “hood.” The people in the neighborhood determine the safety or lack there of.

    Sincerely,
    An offended and disappointed Hispanic, Asian hipster.

  10. “Weho” might be “far from the hood,” but it’s also definitely someplace I would never, ever, never, never, never, ever live.

    You’re right, tho, about people determining the safety (or lack thereof) of a neighborhood.

    Thus City Terrace is still not a safe neighborhood.

    Plus there’s roosters crowing and dogs barking all the time.

    Admittedly nice views, though.

  11. We moved to City Terrace more than a year ago. We are an Asian & Caucasian couple in our 40s.

    I’ve lived in Los Angeles since the late 80’s and moved around a lot — from Echo Park to Koreatown to Hollywood to East Hollywood to Silver Lake and now to City Terrace. I find City Terrace to be no more dangerous than any of those other neighborhoods I used to live in.

    Our neighbors told us that the house we bought was empty for four years and was an eyesore, so our neighbors were really glad to have us move in and fix up the place. They also told us that the neighborhood has vastly improved in the past five years or so (more houses getting fixed up and less gang activity).

    We chose City Terrace because of its proximity to downtown. It’s also close to the 10, 101, 5 and 710 freeways so most places we visit are less than twenty minutes away. Also, we like the Spanish style houses and the hills (a lot of houses up on the hills have spectacular views of downtown LA).

    • That’s good news. I’m in the process of buying a house in City Terrace. A “flip” I suppose. I’ve been skeptical of the neighborhood, but the property is nice and the view is great. When I saw it and went in and experienced the view, I knew I wanted it. I’ve been trying to get into a house in North East LA neighborhood, but now been priced out of any decent home there. The price, view, remodeling, proximity to my job, proximity to DTLA, 10, 5, 101, 60 days made it so attractive. It is in escrow, and I hope to be able to close on this. I wish I could meet newcomers to the neighborhood as well. Good luck to all.

  12. Hipsters, like everyone else, buy where they can afford to. I’m a hipster with a professional job and I will never be able to afford a house in any neighborhoods currently considered “hip.” I’d like to own a home though, so if I buy it’ll have to be somewhere like City Terrace.

  13. The City Terrace hills have some amazing homes with incredable views- If you are a first time buyer looking for a afforable 1920’s-30’s home to settle into then this is the place- My wife and I bought a home here 8 years ago and have never had a problem with gangs at all, we are a 10 minute bicycle ride from DTLA and have only seen the area improve- All this gang talk can be said about almost any historic neighborhood in Los Angeles. – City terrace is home to some of Los Angeles’s most beautiful spanish colonials.

    • I agree with Buddy Lee. My wife and I (also Caucasian) have lived in City Terrace for 6 years. We now have two young daughters, and have never in all that time felt the least bit unsafe. The gang presence, while still here, really isn’t an issue. City Terrace has some beautiful and affordable homes. I say grab them before this neighborhood takes off and you miss the boat.

  14. On behalf of Edward Solis and his team of flippers, they have done some very nice restorations in Highland Park. Not at all “Home Depot-y”. One of their restorations won an award from the Highland Park Heritage Trust last month for its authentic workmanship.

  15. Earlier this year, I moved from Echo Park to purchase a home in City Terrace. I have to admit, at first, I was a bit skeptical about moving here, however, after living in City Terrace for almost half a year, I have become very fond of the neighborhood. I am fortunate to have wonderful neighbors and am looking forward to many years here.

  16. I own in Echo Park but if I were looking to purchase a home today, in this market, it would City Terrace (or Boyle Heights). Beautiful views, historic homes, nice neighborhood with friendly neighbors. It is also much less dangerous than Echo Park was when I moved here. So, why not?

    All neighborhoods go through changes, but any neighborhood that is that close to the historic core of Los Angeles (and Downtown) will not stay cheap for very long. Good luck out there.

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