Monday, September 30, 2013

If Pictures Are Worth 1,000 Words..What Do The Ones About Your House Say?

Part of our job in selling your house is to make it look as nice as it can. We do things like ask for some houses to be staged with rented furniture, or ask you to store away some furniture or personal items.  We may want some plants or flowers to be added to the front yard and for the roof to be cleaned of all debris. And all this would be for nothing if the photos that were taken didn't show your house well. Photos are the first thing that draws a buyer in. Everyone is online these days and everyone is looking through photos of your house. So, what do your photos say about your house?  Don't take the day of the photo shoot lightly. Here are some tips to make some great photos for your house:

-Clean your house as best you can.

-Make sure you have bright light bulbs in place to capture the light.

-Try to set the appointment time for your photo shoot at a time of day that brings the most light inside your house. If you have a terrific view or a dynamic property, you may need 2 times to shoot, one during the day for inside shots, and one during the golden hour when the sun is setting and can bring the romantic light to the outside photos.

- Be sure to ask the photographer to take photos of things you find special or different about your house. Things like a 3 or more car garage, a spectacular fireplace, guest quarters with a separate entrance or perhaps a wine cellar. If you have stairs, or an elevator, be sure to get them in part of one of the photos.

- Turn your blinds a bit upward if your window has a view of something undesirable like a neighbor's house.

- Children's rooms can be lovely in photos but de-cluttered the room if your child has a lot of toys.

- Light the fireplace

- Wash your windows and mirrors. Streaks and dirt can show up in photos.

- Make sure you have photos taken of the bathrooms and kitchen. Sometimes, some homes have updated on but not the other, so we see photos of an updated bath but no photos of a kitchen at all, or vice versa.  Unless that room is in complete disarray, this does no good. Buyers will wonder, and probably assume, something is majorly wrong with your kitchen if there are no photos. And it could be a selling point that you haven't updated the kitchen yet. There are buyers out there that are looking for a project of their own to do.

Be sure to ask your Realtor if you can look at previous photos of listings they have had so you can see what the photographer does with their photos. Don't miss this important step in selling your house. It's the first thing buyers will see and if the photos aren't done well, they may never make it into your front door to see the rest.
 Best of luck with selling your house and if you haven't began to work with a real estate agent, please give me a call. I would love to help!

    I had to add these photos just to show you what NOT to do in your house when having photos taken. And please ask your realtor to show you the photos before they are posted so yours don't look like this (and by the way, these are not as nearly bad as some that are out there)

These could have been such nice photos if they had only taken the trash bag off the counter handle in the kitchen, and cleared the counters. And the bathroom just needed to have the shower door shut, the towel removed, cabinet drawer shut, counters cleared and mirrors cleaned.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Fabulous NoHo Townhome Just Listed

This townhome was built in 2006 and offers 1,420 sqft with 2 bedrooms plus an office space, 2 1/2 baths, custom closets, private 2 car garage, ample storage, a patio and balcony, and a wine storage room. The home has upgrades such as high ceilings, crown moldings, recessed lighting, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances and washer/dryer hookups in the unit. Currently asking $448,000. For photos, floor plan and more information visit
Below the photos, find a list of places that are Less than 1 mile from this home. Great location if you don't want to use your car.

Restaurants, Bars and Coffee shops:

The Federal Bar    .7 miles

Pitfire Artisan Pizza    .8 miles

Daphnes’s California Greek    .7 miles

Panera Bread    .7 miles

Fish Dish Grilled Seafood    .7 miles

Miss Peaches Soul Food Eatery    .2 miles

In-and-out Burger    .2 miles

Republic of Pie    .9 miles

Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf    .7 miles

Starbuck’s coffee    .8 miles

Big Wang’s    .7 miles

Salomi Indian Restaurant    .8 miles

Chipotle Mexican Grill    .8 miles

Eat    .9 miles

Brickyard Pub    .9 miles
Eclectic Wine and Bar    .9 miles

Entertainment and Theaters:

Laemmle 7 NoHo    .8 miles

NoHo Arts Center    .9 miles

El Portal Theater    .7 miles

Fitness and Health:

24 Hour Fitness    .7 miles

At One Fitness    .9 miles

YMCA    .9 miles

Body Image    .8 miles

Body Theory    .8 miles

Parks and Recreation:

North Hollywood park    .6 miles

Tiara Street Park    .4 miles

Other Services and amenities:

Metro Rail    .6 miles

Post Office    .6 miles

North Hollywood Library    .7 miles

NoHo Farmer’s Market    .7 miles


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Check List Of Things To Do For Your Open House

There are a lot of states and areas that don't hold open houses when their house if for sale. It doesn't really do a lot of good in some suburban areas where homes and neighborhoods are more spread out. But here in LA, if you are looking to buy a house, chances are you've driven to your desired area on Saturdays and Sundays looking for the signs pointing you in the direction of open houses. I hold a lot of open houses and just wanted to put together a list of things you should do before having your house open to the public.
1. Clean you house...this includes but is not limited to, sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning the bathtubs and toilets and getting dirty dishes out of the sink and emptying bathroom trash cans.
2. Put all kids/baby toys away.  If you use your living room for your kids, hide the toys somewhere. Put them in closets, or storage bins neatly stacked away but don't leave them out in site.
3. If you have a smaller kitchen or your counters are filled with appliances and kitchen nick nacks, moved things off the counter. Even things you think you may need right after the open house like a coffee maker or toaster. Just store things away for a bit to make open space on your counters.
4. Open up as many blinds and shades as you have and if your place doesn't fill up with natural sunlight, turn on as many lights as you can. The lighter and brighter, the better.
5. Put down the toilet lids and put away all personal bathroom items from make-up, to toothbrushes, and medicines.
6. Hide well, or take with you all smaller objects that may be of value. Don't forget things like kid's piggy banks, watches, jewelery, signed memorabilia, gift cards, antiques, check books and any important paper work should be stored away as well.
7.  If you own a gun make sure it is either out of the house or safely stored away with no ammunition. (I've never heard of anything happening with this on the safety side of things, but I put this under the category of "hiding objects of value)
8. If your realtor doesn't do it for you, maybe think about putting a sign on your door that states the hours of your open house. A lot of times the realtors signs that are our in the streets are put there hours before an open house starts and it helps to keep buyers from knocking at your door to early or late.
9. Light a candle that has a light/clean smell to it, especially if you have pets.
10. Clean your litter box well and if you can, put it somewhere outside the house.
11. Take your animals with you or leave them with someone during the open house.
12. Turn off your answering machine or turn the volume off (it is kind of funny when grandma is leaving a message for everyone at the open house to hear but you may not want certain messages shared with the public)
13. If it's nice outside, open all your windows but if the weather is too hot or cold, turn on the air accordingly.
Best of luck at your open house and selling your house and if you haven't already found your real estate agent to help you, please call me, I would love to help.

Southern California Home Prices Level Off

LA Times writes "Southern California Home Prices Level Off" Click the link below to read the article

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Why Using A Local Real Estate Agent Is Very Important

It's not uncommon to hear someone using an agent that is not from the area.  Maybe it's your Uncle or your Dad's college buddy that lives close by, but not in your city.  And maybe this may sound like an old Western movie but other agents may speak with another agent from another area and say something like, "You're not from around the parts are ya?"  I would never recommend using someone who isn't local unless this out-of-town agent is more familiar with your city than you are. If your out-of-town agent doesn't know things like the new grocery store that is going up in the middle of town, or the construction that is about to take place on a major street near you for the next year, than you should not be working with this agent and find someone local.  I know you may be thinking "why does this agent need to know about grocery stores and street repair?", right?  Well here are a lot of reasons and things you should think about.  If you are looking for a home, your agent should know if the major street outside your neighborhood is going to turn into one lane for the next year.  This could impact the value and defiantly the quality of living.  And if your agent doesn't know about the big grocery store going up soon, how do you think they will know about the latest disclosures that talk about hillside ordinances which effect adding square footage to your home and putting things like a pool in the yard.  Are you going to buy a house that has a nice wood burning fireplace that may need to be rebuilt because it's older and been through a few earthquakes, only to find out you may not be able to build a wood burning fireplace in LA County anymore?  If your agent is from Santa Barbara but you are buying a home in LA, they aren't going to have the relationships and connections with other agents.  And here is the thing I shouldn't say (but it's true), a lot of local agents won't even work with out-of-town agents. Sometimes they won't even look at offers from them.  And this only gets worse as the price point you are looking into goes up.  And the reason is, the agent selling the house, knows everything I'm saying here...which is someone who isn't from here, doesn't know their way around the market the way they should to get the deal done right.  You are also going to need a local escrow company to handle your transaction and your agent should know a person in your area to turn to for this.  Using a real estate agent from another city is as unwise as learning all the DMV rules and driving laws from Maine, then coming to California and putting them to use.  There may be some basic rules like driving on the right side of the road but there are lots of other things that differ from area to area. And real estate agents spend a lot of time keeping up with all the rules and laws in our own area that there is no way possible for someone who is not from here to know all them.  Let your Uncle from out of town do some asking around and find you a good local agent.  You deserve to have someone in-the-know working for you.  And as a Los Angeles agent myself, I can tell you that I would not work for someone in Palm Springs, or San Diego (even though I use to live there).  I would refer to you someone who lives there now.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Looking For A House To Buy You Should....

Have you ever pulled up at work and you can't even remember the drive there? Well, a lot of times, if you are out looking at a lot of houses, it feels like that. You think you'll remember about a particular house, but even looking back at photos, you don't remember the details. So when you are out looking at houses, take notes on the information sheet we give you about the house. Write the things that stick out like "Blue Fireplace" or "green shag carpet".  Also write what you like and don't like about the homes "no garage", "great layout", "open kitchen", "worn looking roof" etc. You may feel excitement for a house while you are there but by the time you get home and you've looked at 6 different houses, you may not remember why you were excited. And I know you think that if you were happy about a place, you would remember it, but just like the drive to work, it can be a smooth easy drive and you don't remember any of it, whereas if you come across an awful driver on your way there, you will remember that. Bad houses sometimes stick in our heads where the good ones can be less memorable take notes. Cheers! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

What Would You Have Done Differently?

I always like to hear people's stories of the home buying and selling process. It's just one way I can get to know what clients' needs are even more-so.  So, my question to all you out there your last home sale or purchase, what would you have done differently? Looking back was there something you wished you understood better or knew about? If you could give one piece of advice to the realtor that helped you, what would that be? I would love to hear your feedback! Please post below in the comment section.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

I Am In The LA Times Again

It feels really good that the LA Times called me again and asked for my thoughts on the real estate market. And it's always good to see your name in the paper, especially when it's not for a crime or in an obituary. Check out the latest article about our market today and what I have to say

Saturday, September 14, 2013

A Couple of "Forget Me Not's" When Buying or Selling Your Home

Well...I'll use this idiom of "Forget Me Not's" in a different context than what it's normally used as but here goes....Don't Forget To:
1. Change the locks on the doors if you choose when you first move it
2. Write down the name of the paints you use to paint the rooms, including the mix #, the brand, gloss or flat, and what room it went in.  And if you're a nice seller, pass this info to your buyer as well
3. Remove any baby-proofing locks you may have on your cabinets
4. Ask the sellers who they used to garden their lawn...this person may already be familiar with the landscape and how to work it well
5. Try to have the utility services "transferred" from the seller to buyer as oppose to having them turned off then starting a new account (this could save you some $$)
6. Get the names and #'s of all your neighbors when you move never know when you'll need a helping hand or they may need yours
7.  Hire a pest control company to come "control" would-be pests once a month...the amount to spend if damage happens can be a lot.
8. Look into putting your property into a Trust. You will need to talk to an attorney, your finance manager and/or your tax person about this. Talking about Living Trusts and Wills is not everyone's favorite subject but trust me, from a broker's point-of-view, you are better off going through the process of making a trust and transferring your property into it rather than someone having to go to probate with your property if something happens.
9. Last but not least, don't forget me! That is, to call me when you are thinking about buying or selling your home here in LA.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New Wine Bar In Toluca Lake

As much as I love real estate and writing all about the first love is wine.  And we are getting a new wine bar in Toluca Lake and I can't wait. I walked by the window the other day and saw the sign "Spin The Bottle". I'm hoping they have a spread of great cheese, cured meats and other fun things to go along with their wine. I'm sure I will be taking some of my clients here for meetings if it turns out to be a good place.