Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Home Insurance And Dogs

I just heard some interesting information that I had not heard before. It seems as if home insurance companies care about the type of dog you have. It may be possible that if you own a certain breed of dog, like a pit bull, that they could either deny you coverage or not cover you if your dog happens to bite someone. So maybe check with your home insurance company before buying or adopting a dog to see if this is true and if so, if it effects you.

Here is an article in Forbes about this topic

Please verify with your own home insurance company to see if this applies you to.

Farmers Markets In The Valley

I don't know about you but I love our Farmers Markets. Not only do I like to support our local growers, but I like grocery shopping outdoors in our beautiful weather. I made a list below of all the Farmers Markets in the valley, their time and location. These may change so check with the websites I attached to make sure.

Sherman Oaks
When: Tuesdays 3PM-7PM
Where: 14006 Riverside Dr
More info:

Studio City
When: Sundays 8AM-2PM
Where: On Ventura Place between Laurel Canyon and Ventura Blvd
More info:

When: Sundays 8AM-1PM
Where: 17400 Victory Blvd. Van Nuys, CA 91406
More info:

When: Saturdays 8AM-12:30PM
Where: Third St and Orange Grove behind City Hall
More info:

North Hollywood (New)
When: Saturdays 9AM-2PM
Where: On Bakman between Weddington and Chandler
More info:

When: Thursdays 9:30-1:30
Where: 100 N Brand Blvd, Glendale, 91205.

Westlake Village
When: Sundays. 10am-2pm
Where: 2797 Agoura Rd Westlake Village, CA

More info:

When: Tuesdays 10am-2PM
Where: CSUN 18111 Nordhoff. Northridge CA 91330
More Info:

When: Saturdays 8AM-1PM
Where: 23504 Calabasas Rd. Calabasas CA 91302

Sunday, January 27, 2013

FHA Regulations Regarding Condos Are Loosening

Have you been burdened by trying to buy or sell a condo because of the strict FHA regulations? If you own a condo, chances are you know about these. There are a lot of rules and guidelines that come with trying to purchase homes using FHA financing (which is the largest source of low-down payments on mortgages) In the past, in order to buy a condo using FHA, they have had rules that say things like: you can't buy a condo if more than 25% of the buildings' space is used for commercial or is not part of the living space of a condo. They've also put strict regulations on the owner to renter ratio in a complex saying that if a certain amount of the condos are rented, then the whole building can not qualify for someone who wants to use FHA financing to buy a unit in that building. This has been tough to work around for complex in cities that are becoming very popular called "mixed use" or "live/work" condos. This has also been a huge challenge in these hard financial times where people couldn't sell their condos when they lost so much equity in them, so instead, decided to rent them.  This made it hard for other owners that needed to sell their unit, but now had a lot of units in their building that were being rented.
Well, we are seeing some light at the end of this tunnel and here is what has been changing with FHA and condos:

*now, condo buildings can have up to 35% commercial use, and in certain circumstances even up to 50%

*In existing developments, one or more investors are now allowed to own up to 50% of the total units provided that at least half of the units are owner-occupied.

*and lastly, FHA had language written in their regulations that could potentially put condo board members at risk of being heavily fined or even face jail time by admitting, or not admitting, to conditions they knew about their building. This language has now changed and does not put board members of condo buildings in such a burdensome crossroads of liability with these things. 

All in all, these are positive steps in the right direction and will help more sales of condo units which is great news for both sellers and buyer.  You can find more information about FHA regulations and condos here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Multiple Offers City

The days of multiple offers is back. If you are a buyer and you feel like you keep "hitting the wall", as they say, with putting in offers on homes and being out bid, you are not alone. I just want to post this so that you are aware that there are a lot of homes that have 10, 20, even 30 offers in on them and most are over asking price. There are options of how you can work with this type of market, but it is very important that you are using a local realtor to work with you. The relationships we build between us can help when putting an offer in on a property. All things being equal with two different offers, if I know the realtor selling the home, and the other person's realtor is from somewhere else and they don't have a relationship with the selling realtor, they may choose to work with me just because they know me. Why you ask? Because I may have worked on deals with them in the past and they have the knowledge of how I work, whereas they are unfamiliar with the other realtor and that person could potentially be a bad business risk.  So, look for a local realtor during these times of multiply offers so that you have better chances of getting the home you put the offer on.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Looking For A Home With Room For A Office?

When looking to buy a home, many people say they would like 4 bedrooms when actually they are looking for 3 bedrooms but they need that extra bedroom for an office. Hopefully you are already working with a Realtor and they will know what to look for.  But if you are perusing online yourself or going to open houses, think about this....When a real estate agent lists a home for sale, the number of bedrooms they have to put in the MLS must be rooms that have closets in them. So, to call something a "bedroom", it must have 4 walls and a closet. Very often a house will have 3 bedrooms listed, and then a loft or a den as well.  A lot of times, lofts and dens make perfect offices and you don't really need a bedroom.  So even though you may think you need that extra "bedroom" for your office, you should still keep an eye out for houses that are listed as having one less bedroom than you need, then read the description of the house and look for the realtor to have written something like, "Has a den that can be used as a room" or "nice loft" and even sometimes you may see "Guest room in back of house".  A guest house or guest room off the back of the house may also be left off the number of rooms listed in the house so to help in your search, make sure you take these things into consideration when looking for your home.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Top 10 Things Home Owners Should Not Do When Showing Their Home

I just read this list in "Realtor" magazine and I thought I would share. I have experienced each one of these with clients and these things are easily avoidable. Take notes home owners....

1. Leftover home owners

By far, one of the top offenses cited by buyer’s agents was home owners still lingering around when agents arrived with clients to preview the home. Awkward encounters ranged from buyers finding sellers taking a shower, asleep in the bed, to even the “stalker sellers” who liked to follow buyers and the agent all over the home to see what they thought.
With the exception of the “stalker seller,” many of the home owners who were still at home blamed their listing agent for not giving them enough advance notice about the appointment prior.

2. Pets and their messes

Numerous agents also cited the not-so-friendly dog and kitty encounters as a top offense. Even pets left in a crate can pose a distraction since they might make noise the entire time others are in the house. Plus, if they seem mean, the buyer might not even step in the room.
Vicki Robinson, ABR, CRS, broker with Fonville Morisey Realty in Raleigh, N.C., says she recently was given showing instructions from a listing agent who told her the family’s “friendly dog” would be at home. But when Robinson unlocked the front door with her client for the showing, a pit bull was staring down at them from the top of the staircase, growling. “We closed the door and left!” she says.

3. Bad smells

A displeasing smell can really turn buyers off. Common offenses include cooking smells lingering around the home, such as garlic, fried bacon, or fish. Also, watch for cigarette smoke and animal smells, agents say.
“Sellers get immune to the smell that their pets have embedded on their property,” says Halina Degnan with Gables & Gates, REALTORS®, in Knoxville, Tenn. “Anyone opening the door will smell it immediately -- even if there are air fresheners trying to cover up the smell. If you have a pet, there will be an odor. Don’t send your buyers away: Paint and clean the carpeting. Take the odor seriously and do what is needed, even if it means replacing the carpet.”

4. Critters running wild

Wild animals and pests roaming around is a surefire way to send buyers running. Agents described worms crawling on the floor and bats and raccoons lounging in the attic. “I showed a house in Utah once with a baby alligator/crocodile [in a cage] in the dining room,” Kristi Hutchings, ABR, SFR, with the Wendy K Team The Real Estate Group in Utah.

5. Odd home makeovers

Do-it-yourself disasters were also prevalent, like doors opening the wrong way or unprofessional paint jobs. Also, rooms not being used for their intended purposes can confuse buyers, such as an office being used as a bedroom even though it has no closet, says broker Elaine Byrne with Elaine Byrne Realty in Austin, Texas.

6. Dirt and clutter

There were a number of offenses cited when it came to cleanliness: Dirty laundry piles, unflushed toilets, dishes on the counter or in the sink, unmade beds, clothes scattered about, soiled carpets, dirty air conditioner filters, and overflowing trash cans.
“One of the worst things I have seen is piles and piles of clothes in every room,” says Chris Leach, ABR, with Medel & Associates Realty in Riverside, Calif. “It was like an obstacle trying to walk around the mess.”

7. Personal information left in plain sight

Sellers should be careful not to leave in plain sight important documents that may pique buyers’ curiosity. Some agents say they’ve seen personal information like bank and credit card statements—even mortgage payoff notices—left on the kitchen counter.
“Buyers are nosey,” says Christopher Handy, ABR, GREEN, broker-associate with Bosshardt Realty Services LLC in Gainesville, Fla. “I’ve even seen the contract for the sellers’ next purchase sitting on the kitchen countertop or ‘final notice’ bills.”

8. Too dark

Dark or dimly lit houses aren’t showing the home in the best light.
“Particularly [homes lit with] CFL bulbs,” says Yvette Chisholm, ABR, CRS, associate broker with Long & Foster Real Estate in Rockville, Md. “By the time [the bulbs] light up, the buyer is gone.” Energy efficient bulbs need time to warm up before they are at their brightest, so staging professionals usually recommend agents arrive early to a showing to turn on any light fixtures with CFL bulbs at least 10 minutes prior.

9. Keys missing from lockboxes

All too often, agents arrive at a listing appointment with their client only to find there’s no key to get in. “I actually had a [seller’s] agent who wanted me to open the door for my clients by going through the dog run as a large dog barked like crazy,” says Hutchings.

10. Distracting photos

Watch the photos displayed on the walls too, agents warn. Tara Hayes, ABR, e-PRO, with Rector-Hayden, REALTORS®, in Winchester, Ky., recalls showing a family a home that had life-sized, nude photos hanging, which left her clients racing for the door covering their eyes.
Similarly, Angela Gandolfo, ABR, SFR, with Citywide Real Estate & Investment in Phoenix, recalls showing a home to a client, who was staring at a painting in the master bedroom of a woman in lingerie. “Isn’t that the owner?” the client asked. “She was also the real estate agent!” Gandolfo says.

Who says that nude photo is offensive? Maybe it's the selling point of the house:)