Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year's Resolutions For Your Home

 Every year around this time, most people set their New Year's resolutions for the upcoming year. These are usually things that people hope will improve their health, happiness, or maintain these things in your life.  Well, your home is no exception to needing these things as well.  After all, a home doesn't just take care of itself.  So to help insure a long healthy life for your home and the things inside of it, take note of these things on this list and get them done at least once a year.

1. Replace air filters
2. Install carbon monoxide detectors. It's now the law
3. Check and/or replace the batteries in all your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. 
4. Call your local termite company to have them inspect and treat your home.
5. Clean out your gutters and down spouts of all debris.
6. Change filters in all water supply systems.
7. Update your home insurance policy.
8. Have your HVAC system serviced for the year.
9. Clean fireplace of all ashes and look to see if you may need it professionally cleaned or maintained. 
10. Clean your roof of all dry leaves and check for leaks, especially around skylights, vents and your chimney.
11. If you have granite counters, have them inspected and possibly serviced to be resealed.
12. Check the caulking around your counter tops, sinks, showers and tubs and other areas to see if new caulking is necessary.
13. Call me if you are thinking of buying or selling your home this year and have a wonderful beginning to your 2016.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Home Safety Tips For The Holidays

It is the holiday season and while this is a happy of a time filled with lots of fun, it can also be a great time for criminals as well.  It's the thing we would rather not have to deal with and think about, but in reality, we live in a big city and taking per-cautions is the best way to prevent crime in and around our homes. I attend my neighborhood watch meetings regularly and am active within my neighborhood as well so here are some tips to staying safe this time of year that I have gathered for you:

1. Keep your front porch and back door lights on at night, or have a sensor motion light.  Not only does it detour people lurking in the dark, but it just feels safe to see what is around you and your neighbor's house when you can see.  Fact is, most home break-ins happen during the day.  But for the other crimes that happen at night, this is a simple way to shed some light on the subject.

2. If you are home during the day, and someone knocks at your door, don't be afraid to speak up and loudly and ask them to leave if they are not there for a purpose you want to open the door for.  A lot of criminals will actually walk up to your front door and knock first to make sure no one is home. Then when they hear nothing, they break in.  So if you are home, speak up.

3. If you leave town, make sure you have the paper and mail stopped or picked up while you are gone.  A build up of papers on the driveway is a clear sign for a criminal to make a move.

4. Let your neighbors know if you will be out of town.  They will be around and know if something looks suspicious while you are not home.

5. Do Not leave anything in your car that is visible. No shopping bags, diaper bags, purses, ipods and phones or even phone chords. According to my Senior Lead Police officer, car break ins are a crime of opportunity.  This means the criminals aren't usually pulling on the handle of every car they come across.  They typically just walk past a car, see something, and decide to take it.

6. Try a driveway alarm. A neighbor of mine suggested this saying that it rings a bell in her house if someone walks past it if they are on her driveway.

7. Try having packages delivered to a work address or a friend or family member you know is home during the day to take it for you. It is becoming more common that packages are being taken right from our front doors. Or maybe even consider making the dreadful drive down to the UPS or Fedex store to pick it up if it is a concern for your.

8.  When you have people coming into your home to do work (cable guy, plumber, handyman etc...) keep your home information to yourself and don't share so much.  If you have a dog, don't tell them the dog doesn't bite.  Just put the dog in a room and let it bark. It's best if strangers think you have a four legged security system home all day. And don't mention your plans for Christmas Day or New Year's eve or any other time you won't be home. There is still a way to be friendly without giving out too much info.

9.  And as most of us are on social networking sites, keep your postings limited if you are out of town. Try sharing your vacation photos and experiences once you get back rather than while you are away.

I hope these are some useful tips for you and your home during the holidays, and year-round.  If you have any more you would like to share, feel free to post them in the comment section. And as always, if you are looking to buy, sell or lease, please call me.  I am always here to help. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Tips For Selling Your Home Around The Holidays

Some people think that having their home for sale toward the end of the year when the holidays are here is not a good idea.  They think that maybe there will be no or little buyers or perhaps they just don't want to go through a sale near the holidays. But I can tell you that selling at this time of the year is usually a very good idea.  There is less to choose from to buy, therefore your home has less competition and that is a good thing. So, if you are one of the sellers out there right now, here are a few tips on how to show your house well.

1. Light the fireplace if it's chilli outside. A lit fireplace is one of the best ways to make a nice ambiance in your home.

2. Have some holiday scents wafting through the air.  Bake some cookies and leave them sitting out.     Or boil some water with cinnamon sticks in it.  Try getting some fresh rosemary and warming it up to release the smell.

3. Don't be afraid to hang the stockings or display your Minora. A house that feels loved always shows better.

4.  Make sure you've had your heater checked and it works well. Walking into a cold house can be a big turn off.

5.  If you live in an area that freezes, make sure your side walk is safe and free of icy areas.

6.  If you have a nice yard or a home with a view, consider buying a portable outdoor fire pit from your local hardware store and having that lit.

If you are selling right now, I wish you and your sale the best. If you have not listed your home yet, but are thinking about doing it in the new year, call me. The beginning of the year is also a good time to sell before the spring approaches. Call me and I'll tell you why and as always, I am always here to help.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

How Do I Sell My Home When I Need the Money From The Sale To Make My Next Purchase?

There is no way around it...this isn't always something that is done with ease. Buying a new home and trying to sell your current one at the same time can sometimes feel like being a trapeze artist and trying to catch one rope while letting go of another at the same time. I mean, when you submit an offer for a home, in order to get it accepted, you need to show on paper that you have the money needed for the down payment. So how do you show you have the money ready to go, if you don't have the money ready to go, right?  Because if you need to sell your current home in order to get that money to buy the next home, then how do you go about doing this? And how do you work with the time frame in order to get this done in a good time?
So for starters, let's say the home you are looking to buy is $800k and you plan on putting down $160k for this home. Most all this money you need to make the purchase will be money you will receive from the sale of your current home.So here are a few common options that you can look over when you are in this scenario:

  1. Ask a relative or someone you know if you can borrow the money temporarily until your current home sells. While I've seen this before, it may not be common that everyone has someone to turn to for a sizable loan like that. So here are some other choices you can make. 
  2. You can make a plan to sell your home, get that money you need, then move into a temporary     living space until you buy your next home. This works for some but can be hard or impossible for others to make a double move and store their things in the meantime.
  3. When you put your home up for sale, you may ask for a "rent back" for a specific period of time. This means that a buyer will buy your home, then rent it back to you and you will then be a tenant to the new buyer. For a lot of people, this is a good option. This is something you have to agree at the accepting of a buyer's offer.  Most of the time, this is no longer than a 60 day period of time. So, the catch with this option is that you will have to find a home and have an accepted offer pretty quickly after your current home closes on the sale. Because, don't forget, once your new home purchase accepts your offer, there is a time period of about 30 days (sometimes more) before the new house is yours. And sometimes purchasing a home can have hiccups that can delay the sale or even terminate the transaction in the middle of it. So with this option it will be best to have a good Plan B just in case (such as option #2)
  4. When you go to make an offer on the next home, you can make this offer contingent upon the sale of your current home. (which means your offer is only valid when your first home sells) But honestly speaking, we are in a market where it is very likely that the house you want to buy will just go with a more simple offer that doesn't require that waiting period. But if that is not the case, than this may be a good option for you.



      Wednesday, December 4, 2013

      What Stays With My House When I Sell It?

      Here's the thing...your realtor should go over a list of things that stays with the house when you sell it, but this doesn't always happen. I guess they assume you should know but it happens time and time again where buyers will walk into their newly purchased home and say "Where's the chandelier?" or "Weren't we suppose to get the refrigerator?" So when your agent writes an offer or you are going over an offer for your home, you should carefully read the section "Items included in and excluded from the purchase" or check to see if things were added on a separate addendum.  But here is the rule of thumb of what should stay with your house when you sell it (and you should Always double check this with your agent or lawyer)
      Things That Should Stay:
      ceiling fans
      attached light fixtures such as sconces and chandeliers
      drapes and curtains
      curtain rods
      towel racks
      attached toilet paper rolls holders
      garbage disposal
      water filtration systems
      cabinet hardware and handles
      security systems
      door and window screens
      fireplace logs if gas
      stove if it is attached
      oven racks
      all pluming and electrical
      microwave if it is installed
      built-in bookshelves or storage shelves
      smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
      solar system
      outdoor grill if installed
      any plants and trees that are in-ground
      light bulbs
      face plates
      wine racks or refrigerator if they are installed
      bathroom mirrors if they are installed
      hot tubs and spas should be written as to whether they stay or go

      There is a section on the offer where you can check the refrigerator, stove and washer and dryer as to whether they will stay with the house as part of the sale or not. Please be sure to ask your agent about these! While I see a lot differences between buyers and sellers, this is definitely one of the top disputes that occurs on a regular basis. So when you are selling, if you have any questions about anything you want to take with you, talk about it with your agent and if you want to be extra per-cautious, have them write it in the contract as well.


      And as always, if you are in the LA area and thinking of buying, selling or leasing, please give me a call. I am always here to help 323.828.7777