Friday, April 25, 2014

Social Media And Your Real Estate Agent

How relevant do you think social media is when it comes to buying and selling your home? Do you think your agent should be an active participant on certain sites? The age group which is currently buying the most homes is somewhere between 30 and 50.  While 16-24 year old age group is still the largest social media users according to, 25-34 and 35-44 are a huge force as well.  And even more interesting, if you are 45-54 years of age, you are the largest growing users of social media.  And social media covers a wide range of can connect with people within your own industry, you can advertise your services or products, it allows you to reach out to people you would otherwise not have contact with, you can search for services and products, view people's opinions on them and put out your own opinion on anything you want.  Social media is faster and more accessible that a newspaper, is used by everyone from your neighbor to Target stores, your local police station and even the president of the United States. So, I'll ask you think your Realtor should be on social media?  I sure do.  Because even if it's something you don't personally use, it is all around you.  I write blogs so that people can hopefully find answers to questions they may have regarding real estate.  But I also want to have a good "online footprint".  I'm on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Blogger, LinkedIn, Youtube, Google + and a few more.  I also use QR codes, mobile apps, Yelp, my own personal website and many other tools.  Doing all these things allows me to network with other Realtors, meet new clients, attract attention from people that can help my business grow, advertise your home and search for homes that may not be advertised for sale on the MLS.  You want your Realtor to have as many reaches as they can in their local community as well as online.  And social media is one of the strongest ways to do this.  So, next time you meet with a Realtor regarding buying or selling your home, try searching them online first and see what they are already doing for their business in terms of social can really make a difference.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Do Realtors Try Working In A Certain Price Range Of Homes?

One of the great things about Los Angeles is that you can drive down many areas and have multi-million dollar homes on one block, then a minute later you could be in a neighborhood where the homes are closer to $600k. Some of these homes were built in the 1940's where others are less than 5 years old.  And we have our traditional Ranch style homes mixed with Tudor houses that can be right next to Spanish Revival homes.  That being the case, most of us work with an array of different home prices.  It is not uncommon for me, as well as most realtors, to sell anything from a first-time buyer's condos to estates and everything in between.  And for a realtor to say they only work with certain priced homes is, in my opinion, not a great way to work.  See, my ultimate goal as a realtor is to make my clients happy.  Nothing brings me more business than referrals and word-of-mouth from people I know and past clients. And if I do a great job for a first time buyer on their condo, then maybe they're family that has owned their home in the hills for many years will want to work with me too.  And it goes the other was as well...if I sell an estate to someone and they mention me as a terrific realtor to work with at a dinner party, then maybe someone there is ready to move from their first home into a neighborhood fit for their growing family. And I want to make everyone I work with feel as if they are just as important as the next, because ultimately...they are.  Everyone's money and investments are very important to them no matter what price range they are in.  Their questions about the market, or disclosures they are given, are all very pertinent to each person.  And making sure that each client can reach me, get answers to questions they have, and feel safe about asking me whatever they need answered, is my goal whether your home is $2,000,000 or $300,000.  Because I want the same result from each client I work with, and that is more clients I can do a great job for in the future. It all comes back to referrals...and that is how I stay successful as a realtor.  Now, there are some realtors that generally stick in very high-markets, but chances are that if you are working with someone on your million dollar home, that they have also recently sold one for less than half of that as well...and you always want someone who gives the same quality of their attention to both. 


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When Buying A Home-The Selection Of Inspections

When your offer is accepted on a home, one of the next steps you need to take is to get that home inspected.  Being that there is a limited time frame on the purchase contract to have inspections done in, I suggest to my clients to get the general inspection done right away just in case the inspector recommends having further inspections done. If the home is a single family residence (not a condo) then I tell them they may want to get a sewer inspection, especially if the front yard has a lot of trees or shrubbery.  And if the house has chimney's, I always suggest getting a chimney inspection (even though these can be a double edged sword).  There are a number of other types of inspections you may want to get as well including roof, HVAC, pool, geology, mold and other hazardous materials, structural or foundation, pluming, and the list goes on.  In most cases, the general inspector will go over as much as they can and point out the areas where a specialist may be needed to do further inspections (although most general inspection reports say you should have a specialist check out every area that can be looked at)  But two of the more common inspections I see that can be big red flags, and you should pay close attention to, are the sewer and chimney.  First off, I think every real estate agent should prepare their clients if the home they are looking to buy has a chimney.  Most chimneys here in SoCal, should just be considered decoration and not meant for real firewood or even gas logs usage. There are so many homes here that were built over 50 years ago and most chimneys have not been maintain or repaired over the years.  And on top of that, we have earthquakes here which always wreak havock on those.  So most chimneys need a good amount of repair which can run in ranges from $1,000 to $20,000 and upward in order to be in proper working condition.  Unless the chimney can do structural damage to the house (as in fall away from the house) then repairs may not be necessary and you may just have a nice mantel with a great location for a candle collection.  And to top that off, I run across chimney inspectors as well as sewer inspectors all the time that seem to give an extreme, over-exaggerated diagnosis of issues that may or may not be there.  Another good thing to look into is getting a chimney inspection done by someone who does not do the repairs as well so there is no conflict of interest. And on a sewer inspection, make sure you see the video camera go through the pipes and have the inspector go over what they see so you can see it as well.  As for any other inspection you may have, if an inspector gives you alarming news that seems to coincide with putting a big dent in your wallet, consider getting a 2nd or 3rd inspection.  Unfortunately, some of these inspectors are more out for work for themselves rather than giving proper diagnosis. So while it may cost you an extra $300 to get another inspection, it may save you thousands in the end if you can avoid getting unnecessary work done.  And as always, you may want to get recommendations from your realtor on who to call for these inspections and services since we may have some insider knowledge on whether they are on the up and up or just out for some extra $$. 


Sold! Porter Ranch Gated Community

Congratulations to my client Mike who can now call SoCal home.  He bought a lovely home in a highly desired gated community of Porter Ranch.  Welcome to the town that is known for only having two seasons: Summer and Awards season.