Top 10 Rip-Offs in Downtown Los Angeles Real Estate For Sale and For Lease

1. Open House Property Theft – The MLS Multiple Listing Service Issued an Warning Yesterday about a $30,000 jewelry theft from a house for sale in Los Angeles.  Here’s the notice, followed by 9 other rip-offs that we’ve seen around the Downtown Los Angeles area, in no particular order:


(MLS Crime Alert) We are writing to inform you of a theft that occurred at a open houses on Tuesday of this week.  Please make your agents aware that the man in question was of the following description: About 5’10”, of Middle Eastern descent, full beard, 165-185lbs, very well dressed (this particular day, he was in a light grey suit and sky blue tie). We’ve received word that other agents in the area also had suspicious interaction with him, where he asked questions about “who owned the home”, etc. He presented himself as an agent in the Palisades and by the name of “Simon”.  An estimated $30,000 worth of jewelry was stolen from a locked drawer in the master bedroom. The owners say that this thief clearly knew what he was taking as he left some jewelry behind and left from a side door that was locked. 

2. Car Break-Ins – Downtown actually has a fairly low rate of car break-ins compared to the surrounding areas.  Don’t ever leave anything at all in a car parked on the street or unguarded lots.

3. Agents who give low estimates and then buy the home to flip – It is illegal for a real estate agent to give an artificially low home evaluation to an unsuspecting seller so that the agent can have a friend buy it at a discount.  Always get a 2nd opinion on your home’s value before selling.

4. Craigslist rental fraud with rocketlease applications for identity theft – Fraudsters impersonate a real estate agent advertising a super deal on a property for lease.  They claim to be “out of town” and request that you complete a RocketLease application ahead of time so that they can get your personal information to sell on the identity theft black market.  Assume everything on Craigslist is a fraud until proven otherwise. Always meet and verify an agent or anyone before giving your money or personal information. Find lofts and condos for sale and for lease by genuine real estate agents.

5. High rents and rent increases – Downtown is popular, so the rents are relatively high.  This a fact of supply and demand, not really a rip-off.  Just keep in mind that buying gives you a bright future while renting gives your landlord a bright future. Stop Renting

6. Parking Problems – Deeded parking with no deed, Disappearing parking, rising prices – Several home buyers in Downtown thought that they were getting deeded parking, only to find out that someone else owns the parking space, and they are jacking up the monthly rent on the parking space, or the space could be lost completely. Before buying, take a close look at the parking situation, and ask an attorney to double check if you’re not sure.

7.  Agent sells against properties with low commission – Some real estate agents will tell a buyer client that a property is no good just because the commission offered is lower.  Be sure that you understand how your agent gets paid. Don’t be afraid to ask how much the CSO agent commission is on each property that you are interested in.

8. Loft Loans – Many home lenders will say that they can lend on a loft, and then later tell you the rate will be much higher or they will not lend at all.  If you buy an industrial or commercial loft conversion, use a loft lender or a lender who has financed a loft recently.

9. Lawsuits – More than 20% of the listings that you see are involved currently or recently with a lawsuit or some other litigation. Use a Downtown specialist Realtor who is knowledgable about these lawsuits.

10. Devious Developers – When buying new construction lofts, condos or houses for sale, always bring your agent with you on the first visit.  Otherwise the developer’s sales team might tell you that you cannot get representation from an agent. Buyer’s agents are free and are required to get you the best deal while the sales office is required to give you the highest price possible.

One last rip off is J-walking citations targeting the wealthy and middle class – You must use the crosswalk in Downtown, and you can only cross while the pedestrian light is solid and says walk.  If blinking or saying don’t walk, the police will give you a ticket. The police seem to be targeting South Park and Restaurant Row for these $170 tickets while Skid Row appears to be unfairly exempt from this enforcement.

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Copyright © 2015 This free information provided courtesy L.A. Loft Blog and with information provided by Corey Chambers, Realty Source Inc, BRE#01889449 We are not necessarily associated with the home owner’s association, seller or developer. For more information, contact (213) 478-0499 or visit  Licensed in California. All information provided is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed and should be independently verified. Properties subject to prior sale or rental. This is not a solicitation if buyer or seller is already under contract with another broker.

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