Sunday, November 25, 2012

What Is The Difference Between A Listing Agent And A Buyer's Agent?

This could very well be my shortest blog ever. The question I hear all the time is "what is the difference between a realtor who is a listing agent and one who is a buyer's agent?" The answer quite simply is Nothing. Nodda. Zip. Zero. A realtor receives his or her license in the same manner as the next realtor.  All experience being equal, an agent who works with listings knows and does the same things as an agent working with buyers. Most agents just simply refer to themselves as Real Estate agents either working with residential real estate or commercial real estate.
You may, on occasion, hear an agent refer to themselves as a "Listing Agent". Here's the scoop with that....some agents may prefer to mostly work with selling homes or "listing" them. The reasons can range from personal preferences to a professional persona one may want to put out to others. When you list a home, having your name on the sale sign out front is instant advertisement. Also, some may think that if you do a good job selling the house, that hopefully you will be able to help the sellers now buy their new home as well. Also, word seems to spread more quickly when an agent sells a house and that can lead to more business for that agent to sell more homes. And when you work with listing a home, it is most likely that the people selling their home are serious about doing so, whereas people buying a home may not be. Therefore, some agents would prefer to work with clients that are more likely to follow through with a transaction.
 Every agent, including myself, has worked with a lot of people who are looking to buy a home and for one reason or another, they don't end up purchasing one. Sometimes we can work with buyers for months, and even years, showing homes, sending listings, calling and scheduling showings and then nothing comes of it. It can be a lot of work and cost a lot of money since we don't make salaries, only commissions when we sell. Whether an agent is listing a home or helping someone buy a home, all the things they do for that client come from our personal funds. The photography of the homes, advertising, driving clients to and fro, our websites, the funny flyers you get in the mail with our lovely info and photos on them, our cell phones, computers...everything is on our dollar and we are independent contractors so we don't receive income unless we sell a home. So long story short, some prefer to sell a home, because like I said before, sellers are typically more serious about making a move than buyers. But in real estate, that is just the way things go.
I really hope that if I show you houses for weeks or years, and I do a good job, whether you buy a home or not, that you will come back to me and work with me again. I also hope that you will tell your friends and neighbors about me and that they will work with me as well. So, yes it can turn out to be a lot of hard work to work with buyers, and it may not pay off with that particular client, but hopefully it may, in the future, turn into something else. If you do happen to meet an agent that says they only work with listings, and you are looking to buy something, then you wouldn't want to work with someone who doesn't seem to want your business, and that's when it's time to pick up the phone and call me. I am always more than happy to help you with whatever you need whether it's buying, selling or leasing!
....and I guess this wasn't so short after all.


Things To Do For The Holidays In The Valley

I don't know about you but I love this time of year. I love Christmas lights, the smell of fireplaces and I love the cold winter nights (and for all you folks that don't live in SoCal, "cold" means below 60 degrees). I also love all the things that are happening around town so I wanted to put together a few fun things I know about and pass them along to you. My husband and I will be taking our daughter to a few of these things so if you see me at one, come say hi!

First, this coming Friday, November 30, 2012 in the NoHo Arts district they are having their first annual Holiday Open House. It will be at the corner of Lankershim and Magnolia where the Pitfire Pizza is located from 5PM-9PM. They will have music, poetry, dance, holiday choir, Santa and a tree lighting. Find out more at

On Saturday December 1st from 5PM-9PM, Studio City will be having a holiday street fair in the Tujunga Village. It's located where the famous Vitello's Italian restaurant is on Tujunga Ave. There will be lots of fun things for kids and adults. Santa will also be making a visit here and Vitello's will be having their annual holiday kick-off big band concert. This event is always fun and very popular with the locals. I couldn't find an official web page for it to add here but the banners are hung in the village with all the information there.

This next thing may not be filled with holiday events but this is a fun winter time for all.  Ice Station Valencia's Snow Day Sundays are a fun opportunity for the entire family to Play in Snow, Ice Skate, Drink Hot Cocoa, meet Santa, and have a fun family holiday experience. They will be offering FREE beginning ice skating lessons at 2:00pm and 3:30pm each day. The Snow Day Sundays will also feature Special Skating performances from 3:15-3:25pm.  Adults are free to play.  If you want more info you can go to their website at or call them at 661-775-8686.

And have you ever seen the Magical Christmas Caroling Truck? It's been going on for many many years and it is quite the thing to see. It is a 62 foot tractor trailer decorated with thousands of lights and has over 200 singers and dancers and it parades it's way through Toluca Lake and North Hollywood on Christmas Eve. A must see for all!

Woodland Hills is having a "Jingle in the Jungle Holiday Festival" Their Chamber of Commerce presents the 2012 Village Walk Jingle in the Jungle Holiday Festival. The event is from 4-7pm with the tree lighting ceremony at 6:30pm, followed by a drawing for a few $500 Village Walk shopping sprees. They will have Live music, photos with Santa and live reindeer, face painting, holiday arts and crafts, and complimentary holiday desserts. Parking is free in the parking lot beneath Whole Foods/TJ Maxx.

And of course we have the Americana at Brand in Glendale that is always a beautiful place to go and just walk around, especially this time of year with all the lights and decorations they have up. They also have an hour of snow each night so we can really feel like we are in the North Pole while still having our lovely weather keeping us nice and warm. That happens from 7PM-8PM and Santa has a fancy smancy house recently built at the Americana where you can visit him and get some great photos as well.

And last but not least, the houses here in the Valley can really be done very well. So get in the car and just take a drive through Burbank, Toluca Lake, Valley Village, North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Encino and Van Nuys and see the creativity that Hollywood has to offer right on their front lawns.  
Happy Holidays everyone and when you are ready to buy or sell your house in 2013, give me a call!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Breaking Out of The Habit of Getting Our Cars Broken In To

Last weekend I went hiking up Fryman Canyon in Studio City with some friends just like I do every weekend. We met there early in the morning and as we were walking in the parking lot, there were multiple police cars parked and a few police officers walking around the empty cars. I stopped and asked one of the officers if everything was okay. He told me that there have been a lot of reports of cars getting broken into while people were hiking. He also said that they were walking around looking into these parked cars and he was seeing that people were leaving valuable items in clear view inside their car. He pointed to the 2 cars that were parked right where we were standing and told me to take a look.  The car on the right had cash just laying on the passenger seat and the car on the left had a cell phone in the cup holder. Thieves don't have to think twice about which car to break into when they see these things in plain site. While most of us consider the valley to be a relatively safe area to live, we still live in a large city and things are bound to happen. If we would like to cut down on crime here, we are going to have to put effort into not attracting into our neighborhoods, public parks and other areas. The holiday seasons are here now as well, and criminals are looking for opportunity. When we park our cars, please remember to hide and remove anything valuable. Even diaper bags that may not contain anything of value can look like loot to a thief. Remember to also put your shopping bags and boxes in your trunk and out of site. Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks is another place that thieves lurk around looking for people to leave things in their cars. So this holiday season, and all other times as well, be safe and keep your car clean and everything out of site of potential thieves.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Helping East Valley High School in North Hollywood by Donating Coupons

It is November 12, 2012 and our local North Hollywood Senior Lead Officer, John Catalano, just sent out an email asking neighbors to help with collecting and giving coupons to families of East Valley High School. The North Hollywood Police station has worked hard to build a relationship with East Valley High and has helped to also lower the crime there as well. They are now on a new venture to help the students and their families with their grocery bills. It is really a very simple and great idea. The North Hollywood Community Police Station now has a collection box at the front desk for all of our unused coupons. They are going to sort and distribute these coupons to the families of the students at this school to help them save money on their shopping. This is so easy and doesn't cost a thing so let's bring in all our coupons and really support our local police station who have worked so hard to better our community with all that they do. My family and I are huge coupon cutters so they will be receiving a lot from us! I hope to see you there too.

New Ralphs grocery store in Sherman Oaks

Finally! Grand Opening is Thursday April 10th! It's been a long time coming but I'm sure everyone is happy that opening day is just around the corner

So many of us have seen our Ralphs on the corner of Ventura Blvd and Hazeltine taken down to make room for the new Fresh Fare Ralphs.  The original Ralphs was rebuilt after the 1994 earthquake but now it's time for a larger and more updated grocery store in this side of Sherman Oaks. Some of our neighbors are happy about this and others thought that it wasn't necessary. One thing is for sure though, and that is that the construction near this intersection can be a hassle for those of us that use this route to get to and from home on a daily basis. Not only do we have a new and improved grocery store coming in, but there is also a new, very large complex being built on the same side of Ventura just one block West. This complex and the construction around it, isn't helping the commuting traffic either.  But, we always seem to have a road or building being worked on around here and this is nothing new for us to see.  But when the Ralph's is completed, which the Sherman Oaks home owners association thinks that this should be in the summer of 2013, it will indeed be bigger and better. It was cover over 65,000 square feet of interior space. There will be underground parking with the street level of the complex to include shops that will be accessible by Ventura blvd. The Ralph's grocery store itself boasts that it will have a very large produce section, a deli that will be competitive to any other in the area, and a full bakery that should test all of us that are on diets. So that is the skinny that I have on our local grocery store and I will keep you posted on all things real estate and neighborhood related.

Update: As things are moving along for this new grocery store, we now know that the summer 2013 is not going to be the opening date (since that has come and gone) but it looks like we will see the doors open here in the fall. I'm curious to see how it will effect traffic since it looks like there are only entrances on Hazeltine and Moorpark. But on the other hand, I'm excited to not have to drive all the way to the Ralphs in Studio City if I need a large selection of things.
2nd Update as of January 2014:  Well, it looks like someone's prediction for this store opening was a long shot. We first heard of the opening in Summer of 2013 and here we are in January 2014 and it still looks like it has some work to be done before opening. Luckily the construction isn't causing too much traffic hassle, but maybe we are so used to what we have been dealing with on Coldwater for so long that any other construction seems to pale in comparison. I spoke with someone at the Sherman Oaks neighborhood council and they said the projected opening date is now March...I guess we will wait and see.