It's hard to be a good dinner guest when the tableside conversation turns to the matter of real estate. I try to hold my tongue, and try not to offer advice–no matter what. So as I squirmed to sit still, with my husband glaring at me across the table with that "don't get involved" look, I couldn't believe the story I was hearing. "It took us 18 months to get our permits for this damn remodel," said the friend of a friend who was our host. "Just when we thought it was a slam dunk–after going through the whole process of listing and looking and not selling, we've just decided that it's easier to remodel." Eighteen months? I can't believe that anyone in Los Angeles wouldn't give up on a project like this even before it began. Is it that complicated? Are they tearing down the house? And so the story unfolded. The host–fired up by the real estate boom in Los Angeles–decided to put his house on the market during the spring of 2003. His wife, who was expecting their ...
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