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On the Move: Tips for Seniors to Get Settled Into a New Community

Moving to a new town can be exciting but stressful, too. For seniors who are uprooting themselves from where they’ve lived for decades, it can be overwhelming. Whether you are moving for financial reasons, to be closer to family, to downsize your home, or just to improve your quality of life, it may take time to get settled and really start enjoying yourself.

No matter if you are moving across the state or across the country, these helpful tips from Lotus Senior Services can help you get acclimated more quickly.

Research Your New Community

Do as much research online as you can before moving. Try to find out about the local attractions, annual events, nearest hospitals and medical centers, best grocery stores, and anything else that is important to you. In fact, since we’re talking about where you’re ideally going to spend the rest of your life, it’s actually a wise move to rent an apartment in the area for a while to see how you like it before committing to buying a house. Then, if you call in love with the area, your realtor is only a phone call away!

You’ll also need to decide what you’re going to do with the house you’re moving from. Your decision whether to rent or sell it can come down to a few factors. The first is whether or not you need the equity of your old home to purchase your new one. Even if you don’t need the money, you may not want to rent your former home if you don’t have the time or inclination to be a landlord. Weigh your options carefully before making a decision.

Get Out and Explore Your Neighborhood

Once you’ve arrived in town, even before you finish unpacking, start to explore your area and get comfortable with your new surroundings. Head to the visitor’s center or tourism bureau to get information about places to go, things to see, and useful resources in your new area. If your new town doesn’t have such an entity, try the chamber of commerce, city hall, or the public library for information. The library is also a great place to find out about upcoming community events and local groups you can join.

Don’t Stress About Unpacking

Undoubtedly, you want to get settled into your new place and comfortable as soon as possible, but don’t stress yourself out about unpacking every last box right away. Go room by room in the order of importance to you, and if you don’t end up unpacking every box, that’s okay. Now is a good time to add some cosmetic updates to your home to put your mark on it and make it your own. Repaint a few walls, maybe hang some wallpaper.

If you find yourself becoming overstressed during the process, there are some things you can do to remain calm. Start by taking a breath. Giving yourself a moment to pause can make a big difference. After you’ve paused for a breath, focus on remembering the big picture.

Once moved in, it’s important to optimize your new living space for stress-free living to reduce the fatigue factor associated with a move. This can include simple steps such as incorporating a few houseplants and using an oil diffuser that emits relaxing scents like lavender. To keep your new place clutter-free, consider adding storage pieces like ottomans with hinged tops, closet organizers, or over-the-door shoe racks. For apartments or condos, add space-saving furniture like a Murphy bed in your office or den for guests.

Put Yourself Out There

As soon as possible, thrust yourself into your new community by attending neighborhood events, joining a gym, signing up for classes, or volunteering for local causes. You Move Me suggests throwing a party and inviting your new neighbors and friends during your first few weeks in town. Trulia also recommends extending invites right away noting, “The sooner you make friends in a new city, the sooner it will start to feel like home.”

Change can be difficult, even if you recognize the move is for the better. However, you can decrease the stress of the situation by doing your research, remaining patient with yourself, and going the extra mile to meet new friends.

To work with an independent family advisor about making the best decisions for your wellbeing and living circumstances, contact Lotus Senior Services today!

Written by: Alexis Hall

Lotus Senior Services – http://www.lotusseniorservices.com/

whether to rent or sell it – https://www.redfin.com/guides/sell/should-you-sell-or-rent-your-home

before you finish unpacking – https://www.moving.com/tips/how-to-unpack-and-organize-your-house/

add some cosmetic updates – https://www.commercebank.com/personal/ideas-and-tips/2018/how-to-make-your-new-house-feel-like-home

taking a breath – https://www.zenbusiness.com/blog/top-7-tips-for-good-decision-making-when-feeling-stressed-out/

consider adding storage pieces – https://mytruckbuddymoving.com/4-tips-for-decorating-a-brand-new-house/

space-saving furniture – https://www.extraspace.com/blog/home-organization/home-organization-tips/space-saving-furniture-ideas/

throwing a party – https://www.youmoveme.com/articles/top-tips-for-settling-into-your-new-home

Trulia also recommends – https://www.trulia.com/blog/moving-to-a-new-city-tips-for-first-year/

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With the world in chaos, what does it mean for our local real estate market?


Q: Can I buy or sell real estate during the Covid-19 shelter in place order?

A:  First and foremost, my heart goes out to all who are suffering through these difficult times. Whether it’s physically, financially, or mentally, every one of us is feeling the impact of isolation and hardship.  Either in spite of or because of the circumstances we are in, there are many people who are looking to move. Tenants are moving in and out of apartments, owners are putting their homes up for sale, and homebuyers are moving forward with their own plans. While some real estate buyers did put their plans on hold- due to job loss or general uncertainty, our local real estate market has remained surprisingly active.  Sellers are looking to take advantage of the recent increase in values, and Buyers are hoping to take advantage of low mortgage rates and the opportunity for less competition during this unique time. 

So, let’s talk about the impact of the shelter in place orders.  Many of you may already know that residential real estate has been designated an essential service.  Initially, that was somewhat meaningless as in-person showings were strictly prohibited. Most people are not willing to make a purchase like this without seeing the property in person- and rightly so. It is important to see and hear more than photos or a video can show you. Luckily, the shut-down orders have now been amended. California, County of Los Angeles, and City of Los Angeles all are now allowing in person showings of homes under certain conditions:

-Only qualified buyers may be given an in-person showing. Agents must obtain loan pre-approval or other sufficient documentation to ensure that you are a serious buyer. No window shopping allowed as the real estate industry tries to conduct business while eliminating unnecessary exposure.

-At the showing, there can be no more than two prospective buyers, and their agents allowed inside the home. The two buyers must reside in the same household. 

-All persons entering the home must wear facial coverings, gloves, and foot coverings. 

-Social distancing must be practiced at all times during the showing.  If the home is small or the layout is such that safe distancing can’t be maintained, then only one person at a time may be permitted inside. 

-All persons are to avoid touching anything inside the home. After the showing, the Seller’s agent must disinfect all areas most likely to have been touched, such as doorknobs and countertops.

In addition to the above items, you will be required to sign the California Association of Realtor’s newly created form, the Coronavirus Property Entry Advisory and Declaration. This form is for all involved parties- Sellers, prospective Buyers, tenants, real estate agents, inspectors, etc. By signing this form, you are acknowledging the risk of Covid-19 and the possibility of exposure caused by allowing someone into your home or accessing another’s home. You also are attesting that to the best of your knowledge you have not come into contact with anyone afflicted with Covid-19, that you have none of the symptoms of Covid-19 and that you believe you are not likely to transmit the disease.  Many real estate brokers are doing a great job of following these orders and guidelines and working hard to protect their clients from exposure.  Buyers are very willing to take these precautions and anxious to continue their home searches. I don’t think any of us are taking for granted the opportunity to do business and want to do it safely.

One important note- the rules for in-person showings do not mean business as usual for rental properties.  Although it is legal to show a rental subject to these conditions, if the property is occupied, it may only be shown with the consent of the tenant. Of course, many tenants are not comfortable allowing people into their homes. This means a landlord must wait until the tenant has moved out before showing to prospective tenants, losing rent in the process. 

As Realtors, we are certainly grateful for the ability to conduct business and assist clients during this stressful time.  We are painfully aware that so many are prevented from working in their chosen profession right now.  With privilege comes responsibility- your health and safety must always come first and we all must continuously adapt as necessary to reduce the risks to our clients and the overall spread of the coronavirus.  We are extremely humbled by the heroic efforts of those who work on the front lines. Our grocery store employees, food delivery services, remote shoppers, delivery persons, pharmacists, doctors- they are keeping us all going at great personal risk. This is Nurses Week- we can’t possibly overstate the role of nurses- if you have ever spent time in a hospital, you know that the nurses are the ones who truly take care of you. They do amazing things as a matter of course, and right now they are our superheroes and we are sincerely grateful for you all.  

Remember, readers, the best thing you can do to show your appreciation for nurses is to stay out of the hospital.  On that note, I implore you all to be as safe as you can possibly be and I wish you all good health.  We’ll get through this together as neighbors.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be primarily for entertainment purposes and is not to be considered legal advice. 

Written by

LISA PHILLIPS, ESQ./ CA Dept. of Real Estate Broker License #01189413

Lisa Phillips is a Realtor in the Los Angeles area, with close to 25 years as a real estate broker and attorney and is a Broker-Associate at Lotus Estate Properties in Marina del Rey. Lisa is a member of the National Association of Realtors “Green Resource Council” and achieved its “GREEN” Designation. In addition to her real estate and business savvy, Lisa is passionate about helping others, actively volunteering in the community, and donating a percentage of all sales commissions to charity. For more information, please email Lisa@LisaPhillipsEsq.com


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To the end of a tumultuous election…


To my family, friends and clients.
The last few days have seen the conclusion of the most tumultuous election of modern times. To many of us, the results are horrifying and to others it’s a necessary shake up to a status quo that is long over due for change. My personal views not withstanding, which I am willing to share with anyone who cares to ask, I think we can all agree we are in very uncertain times. The long and short-term economic consequences are, at best, unclear. The implications for real estate prices are equally unclear.

Many of you are considering your options. I am here to offer my firm’s services to help you think through these very complicated decisions. I started Lighthouse, now Lotus Estates Properties, to be of service. Our tag line is Real Estate With a Conscience and we take that very seriously. Over the past few of months, we have expanded our core team to include some of the most thoughtful, professional and gifted agents with whom I’ve had the honor to work. We are all available to have open discussions surrounding this new reality and how it could potentially affect you and your investments. We care deeply about all of you and about the greater community. Please feel free to reach out, even if it’s just for an espresso and comforting conversation. We are here to be of service.

Warmest regards.

Debbie Sutz, along with Geoff Selzer, Susanna Higginson, Ken Wei, Charles Guinn, Jennifer Cleveland, Mina Joukar, Mark Diffie, and the rest of us on the Lotus Estates team.

Debbie Sutz, RE Broker/Attorney at Law
Lotus Estate Properties*
310-874-4799 direct
310-823-1823 office

*A division of Lighthouse Properties

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Olympics Games in Los Angeles for 2024?


With the recent buzz through out the world over the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, local Angelinos will recall that our city successfully hosted the summer games in 1984.  Many will even note that the 1984 games were arguably the most successful, resulting in a surplus of nearly $230 million dollars, of which LA kept nearly half.

As the Olympic competition kicked off in Brazil, Mayor Garcetti and his team for LA’s Olympic bid were in Rio de Janeiro to make the case for Los Angeles to host the 2024 games.  Just last year, we didn’t have a real shot at the bid, but when Boston’s bid abruptly collapsed, LA stepped into the role of standard bearer for the United States in front of the International Olympic Committee.

What makes LA such a great venue of a city to host the summer games is her venues and geological variety to accommodate the different competitions.  The 2024 Olympics in LA would be a very responsible and responsive way to host the games without huge expenditures.  As a city, we are ready for this endeavor that would bring international exposure for the 21st century, without changing her too much.

Whereas other cities have used the Olympics as a means of improving infrastructure and mass transit projects, much of that work is already being undertaken in LA.  Public transit is and will continue to be the main mode of transportation for spectators at the games.  With the massive overhaul of LAX and the many transit projects planned, it has never been easier for someone to fly into and travel in LA County.

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Independence Day Fireworks at Marina del Rey


Marina del Rey is one of the best locations in LA County for fireworks.  Unless you are one of the lucky few that own a home that Debbie or one of our other lovely Lotus Estate agents represented in the Marina; for the rest of us, we depend on the public parking lots seen here:


The fireworks are from 9:00 to 9:20 pm, with the best viewing locations at:

Fisherman’s Village – 13755 Fiji Way
Burton Chace Park – 13650 Mindanao Way
Marina (Mother’s) Beach – 4101 Admiralty Way


More details can be found at the Marina del Rey Visitor’s center!



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Come Vote! #vote2016 California

This election year we were glad to welcome California voters into one of our offices for the 2016 primary.

Though voting is part of being an American citizen, we believe the process is more importantly about cultivating a community. It was a delightful experience to host and work with the wonderful volunteers from the Los Angeles Registrar of Voters.

Crowds were largest in the mid morning and later afternoon. I would say that the crowd was minimal at noon, so remember that tip for Tuesday November 8, 2016! #vote2016!





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Solar Power – Part 1 – Lease or Buy?

We are sharing a multipart commentary on the idea of going with solar panels for your home. 

The state of California has set new rules for compensating rooftop solar panel owners. Previously only those home owners with tens of thousands of dollars upfront could afford to buy and install solar panels on their roof.  In recent years there has been an array of leasing and financing options.

So now what?   Should you lease or purchase?  Go solar now or later?  First and foremost we will to educate you on the differences between buying vs leasing solar panels.


Buying and owning your solar panels:

1- You get all the advantages of the Renewable Energy Credits including the Federal Tax Credit for solar energy (up to a 30% rebate on your tax return for 2016)

2- All the collected energy from your solar panels goes to you and most home owners will end up paying very little to their electric utilities (except in cloudy weather).

3- You can legally sell the solar panels before or during the sale of your home, potentially receiving a higher green premium on a new appraised value.  Many home buyers now recognize solar power as a justifiable premium and value when on the market for new property.

Leasing your rooftop solar panels:

1- You can’t claim ownership or get credit for a federal tax rebate.

2- The solar leasing company owns the power generated from the panels on your roof, and though you may get a slight reduction on your monthly bill, you are still paying the solar leasing company for the electricity used from the solar plans.  In essence the solar leasing company becomes one of your electricity providers and may still have to pay your traditional utility when not enough solar electricity is generated for your home.

3- Transferring your property, such as in a home sale with a solar lease may be problematic.  Solar leasing contracts often require the new owner to take over the lease terms and becomes unattractive to home buyers.

At the end of the day it may be beneficial to buy your solar panels through PACE financing and the HERO program.

Contact for any questions about leasing or buying solar panels for your home and how it affects the future sale of your property. 


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Seismic Retrofit Ordinance – It’s The (new) Law

Many of you may recall the Northridge Earthquake of 1994 as the last time our homes in Southern California were severely damaged in one of the most costliest natural disasters.


Aftermath of 1994 earthquake

Last year the city adopted an ambitious law that requires  nearly 15,000 buildings across Los Angeles to be retrofitted. The law caps decades of efforts to strengthen two types of older buildings that proved deadly in past earthquakes: brittle concrete buildings that dot L.A.’s major boulevards and wood-frame apartment complexes with weak first floors. About 65 people died when these types of buildings collapsed during earthquakes in 1971 and 1994.

Cost sharing of this high cost retrofit was a heated debate last year, and thus the City Council paid close attention to the many voices and reached a middle ground solution, allowing owners to pass up to half the costs of capital improvements (i.e. the retrofit) to tenants through rent increases over a ten year period.  The pass through is capped at around $38 per month. This was a prerequisite for the City Council to approve the retrofit ordinance (ordinance 183893), which they did unanimously in the fall of 2015.

Two categories of buildings fall under the ordinance, wood-framed soft story and non-ductile concrete buildings.  If given a notice from the City that your building falls under the ordinance, you have dictated time frames to submit plans and then complete the retrofit.

LA Seismic Retrofit OrdinancesLA Seismic Retrofit Ordinances

For specific details on the ordinance’s application, refer to the ordinance 183893 and the amending ordinance 184081 or the City of LA’s Department of Building and Safety’s Mandatory Retrofit Program website.

Contact us to discuss this retrofit program when looking to sell or purchase a commercial or residential investment property!



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Go Metro FREE! Expo Line to Santa Monica – How will it affect West LA Real Estate?

Here at Lotus Estate Properties we firmly believe that every little bit helps, and we are committed to provide advice and services in support of a greener community before, during and after the purchase or sale of your home.

Real estate market prices will surely be affected on the Westside with the Metro’s completed expansion of the Expo line from Culver City to Santa Monica.  The project, funded primarily with Proposition R (voted in 2008), will finally be open to the public beginning this Friday afternoon May 20th and connect Santa Monica to Culver City, Downtown LA and beyond. During this grand opening, all rides on the Expo line will be free!

FREE RIDES open to the public on the entire metro expo line for the following 2 days:

Friday, May 20 starting at 12pm
Saturday, May 21

The Expo expansion will relieve congestion on the 10 freeway for us Westsiders.  But more importantly, will improve the traffic and air quality in our community, allowing more Angelenos to enjoy Santa Monica with environmental consciousness.


More to Explore: 24 places to visit on the Expo Line to Santa Monica

There are many grand opening events along stops of the Expo line between Culver City and Santa Monica.  Find out more about the upcoming festivities this weekend here.

AND to find out more about how the Expo line will affect the value of your home contact us soon!

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Heal The Bay

Purchasing your first home and moving in is more than property ownership, it is about joining a community. Besides the care for everything within our property lines, we should nurture everything in the community. Here in Venice, our beaches and waters often go neglected.  Over the weekend our team at Lotus Estate Properties continued the efforts in a beach clean up through the non-profit, Heal The Bay.

One of our lovely agents, Kristy Martin lead this small volunteer project with several of the Lotus agents. As a resident of Marina dey Rey, Kristy is always contributing to maintain the community she works in.


Buying or selling a home is a lifestyle choice and not merely a transaction. Our business is built on trust and we are here of service to you and the communities we build around you.

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