Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Price vs Value: An Understanding of The Real Estate Market Everyone Should Know About

Anyone who is looking to buy a home or sell theirs should know about Price vs Value. There is what a home is priced at, and what a house is valued at, and those are two very different things. Anyone can list their home for any price they want, but they may not get it. Or they may get more that what they were asking.  I'm currently working with a client who had to come face to face with this last week, as many of my past clients have when they have been in multiple offers.  The agent working for the seller sent us back a counter offer that was $35,000 over the asking price.  My client couldn't wrap his head around going that far above the asking price, which I understand 100% what he was feeling.  And while I won't argue a with a client, because ultimately, every client has to do what they are comfortable with, I can at least write about to try to put perspective on it. 
For one reason or another, some homes can get multiple offers on it.  Maybe they priced it low, maybe there aren't a lot of homes out there to choose from, or perhaps everyone just really likes the front porch swing and wants to call this home.  Whatever the reason, going up against another offer can feel stressful.  Some people have felt that once their offer was accepted, that maybe they were paying too much...because their offer was the highest.  Other people have looked back and regretted not going higher on their offer when they didn't get them the home. But there is something that everyone should try to understand...there is an appraiser that will come by the house you have an offer on and tell you whether or not you are paying too much.  The appraiser's job is to tell you the Value of the home.  And just because the seller of the home is asking a certain amount for his place, that does not necessarily represent the Value. So if you find yourself up against multiple offers, and you choose to go forward and your offer is accepted, there is a portion of your contract that allows you to get an appraiser in the home to verify that you are indeed paying the value of the home at that time.  So yes, some of my client's have had to go over the asking price to get a home.  But then they got a home and they were happy to know that they paid for the value of the home, and not more. 

Joan's On Third in Studio City

I'm sure I'm not the only one living in the valley that originated from "The other side of the hill".  This is where we came for less expensive rents, more parking and less traffic (if that is possible).  But what we left behind on the other side of the hill was Joan's On Third.  Well, now they have taken the plunge and moved here with us.  Well, not really moved here but they've made a second home right here in Studio City.  And we couldn't be happier to have them. So stop by and welcome them to the neighborhood and see what all the fuss is about. You can find them at 12059 Ventura Place, Studio City along that little triangle street that starts at Trader Joes and ends at the entrance to the Vons parking lot. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Top 8 Tips For Showing Your Home To Potential Buyers

Here are my best tips for showing your home to potential buyers

1. Put the lights on in every room including the closets and bathrooms
  Even if your home has a lot of natural light, it's better for a buyer to want to turn a light off than turn a light on to see the room better.

2. Add some plants or flowers to some rooms in your home
 There is something about a tree, potted plant and flowers that just bring life to a room and give it a warm feeling. 
3. Before buyers arrive, have a light scented candle lit for a while in the main area
 (I don't suggest leaving the candle lit when you aren't home for safety reasons) 

4. Take down or box up the extra personal items you have on tables, mantels and shelves
 Although these things may bring good memories to you, to others, they may just feel like clutter and the less cluttered your home seems to others, the better it shows. 

5. Have some very light music playing. Something like Bossa Nova or jazz and play it at a level that you can barely hear
 There is a reason restaurants and stores play music...it gives a lovely ambiance to a room and make people feel welcomed.

6. Make sure the temperature in your home feels nice
Some people are naturally hotter or colder than others and keep their home at a temperature that suits them best.  And then some days are just very hot or very cold so go ahead a spend a little extra energy making your home feel comfortable to others. 
7. Put your personal toiletries away
It can make a guest in your home feel uncomfortable when they see toothpaste, deodorant, or perfumes laying about so tuck them away in your cabinets for the time being. 

8. Take the pets with you
If at all possible, take the four-legged family members with you.  Not everyone is as in love with our pets as we are and pets can cause smells and allergies that turn potential buyers away.  If it's not possible to take the pets, put them somewhere out of the way and leave a very visible sign that the pets are there.

And maybe think of showing your home to buyers as if the most important person you can think of is coming for dinner and do the things you would do for them to make them feel welcomed.

New Law For Off Leash Dogs In Los Angeles

Even though we have always suppose to have kept our dogs on a leash while in public, LA will now be handing our stiff fines for those who don't.  Police will now be on the lookout for people who don't have their pooch leashed under an umbrella of a crime considered to be disruptive to the "quality of life".  You can read more about this in the LA Times with their article entitled "Walking The Dog Off Leash? You Could Be Fined $100 Or More"


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Top 9 Sites Everyone in LA Should Be Following

Anyone who lives in LA knows there isn't enough time to do and see everything that LA has to offer.  Not only is this city larger than some states, but it's filled with museums, farmer's markets, outdoor movie nights, live music, art walks, restaurant special events and much much more. But like myself, most Angelenos are always looking for something new and fun to do.  And along with wanting to know what we can do around town, we also like to know what's happening in the news and hot topics here in LA.  Below, you will find a list of the Top 9 sites to follow to get all the information you need while discovering LA.

#1 Experience LA
Experience LA brings you a calendar of events happening all around LA and surrounding areas. If you are looking to head out with some friends or perhaps you need an idea for something different to check out on your date this weekend, this is the site to go to.  From theater shows to happy hours and Greek Festivals, Experience LA is a wealth of things-to-do.  Check out their website and follow them on twitter to get updates on everything fun!
Experience LA
Experience LA onTwitter

#2 Curbed LA
Curbed LA is one of the most fun sites to follow.  If you want to know that one of the apartments Marilyn Monroe once lived in is up for rent, or see some of the homes that Wyatt Earp lived in here in LA, you must follow these guys! They also bring us great information about upcoming commercial sites that developers are planning all around town and fun residential real estate homes that are for sale.
Curbed LA on Facebook
Curbed LA on Twitter

#3 Our Ventura Blvd
If you have lived in LA for a long time like I have, you know there are certain areas that are up and coming, or changing in a big way. One of the areas that is undergoing some changes is the San Fernando Valley.  Just a little over 10 years ago, the valley was mostly known for being the suburbs of LA.  A place where you went off to raise a family or maybe lived in to be close to your job at the studios.  But now-a-days people are coming to the valley for restaurants, bars and other fun attractions. And because of that, Our Ventura Blvd is a great site to follow to find out what is going on the valley. 
 Our Ventura Blvd on Facebook

#4 All About Conjeo
Conjeo Valley is an area of LA that includes Calabasas, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills and a few other neighboring towns.  And if you've never been to these areas or think they are too far from where you are, you should visit them at least once. It's one of those parts of LA that when you are driving through it, you think to yourself  "This can't be part of LA. It's so nice and full of nature." But don't be fooled by the scenery because just by spending part of a day out here, you will see that many of the rich and famous have flocked to this area to call it home to get away from that "LA feeling"  And All About Conjeo will keep you up to speed on all the trending restaurants and new businesses popping up around town as more people call Conjeo Valley their home.
All About Conjeo on Facebook

#5 LA Times
I don't know about you but I'm one of those people who has very little extra time on my hands so watching the news is not something I can do often.  But I don't really think about it much because I follow the LA Times on twitter along with some other twitter sites they have for real estate, business and so forth.  So I get to keep up with the good, the bad and the ugly by reading articles they post to twitter.  This is one site everyone should be on.
LA Times on Twitter

#6 DowntownLA.com
...or DTLA as we call it here.  This is one of those areas that is very up and coming.  DTLA has brought in many high-end businesses as well as local hotspots, massive commercial renovations and real estate galore.  So get on subway (because you do know we have a subway, right?) and head downtown to see what all the fuss is about. And find out where to go when you are follwoing Downtown LA on facebook and twitter.
DowntownLA.com on Facebook
DowntownLA.com on twitter

#7 Dine LA
I have a hard time leaving LA and going to smaller cities sometimes and the number one reason for that is that smaller cities don't have the vast amount of restaurants that LA does.  There is nothing we don't have here and no time of day or night you can't have it.  But one of the best ways to find your new favorite spot or share your old favorite spot with friends is to find out about restaurant week and join in on what so many of us look forward to each time it comes around.  Restaurants all around LA participate in restaurant week by offering a pre-set menu at a fixed price so that you can come and try some of their prized dishes.  If you haven't joined the bandwagon, then jump on and you'll see why it is a very popular thing happening around town.
Dine LA
Dine LA on Facebook

#8 Discover LA
I know what you folks from NYC say about us...we have no culture here in LA, right?  Well New York, think again. Discover LA is here to prove you wrong.  With a list of the top things to do while in LA, and a guide to help learn about areas all over this huge city, along with so many resources of what we have to offer here in this SoCal city, Discover LA has it all!  So when your family comes to visit you here and you want to show them some of the hot spots around town, use this site to navigate your tour bus for the fam.
 Discover LA
Discover LA on twitter

#9 Amber Dolle
Am I self promoting? Yup! But just as I bring you the best sites to follow in LA, I also give you information about all your local farmer's markets times and locations, as well as hot properties for sale, events to check out during the holidays, and massive amount of information for you when you are looking to sell or buy a home. So follow me as I continue to be a great source of information about Los Angeles.
Amber Dolle on Twitter
Amber Dolle on facebook


Use A Well Known Lender When Making An Offer

I'm doing it again...putting in an offer on a place that already has 5 offers. So if you have found yourself up against multiple offers, there are a lot of different strategies you and your agent can try to work with in being the offer that is chosen but there is one very important key element... your lender.  The agent reviewing offers wants to know the home will sell and close and if you are using one of these lending companies you see on TV at 3am, chances are they will go with another offer.  So please get a local, well-known, trustworthy lender to help you with your loan.  And if you don't know of one, ask me for a few references when you call me to help you buy your home. Cheers!

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Home Buying Experience: Part 2

If you've read my previous blog My Own Home Buying Experience: Part 1 then you know we've been pre approved and I have a list of things I would like in a home.  So now we've started touring some houses a couple weeks ago and found that we weren't able to get the things we need in a home in our price range in the areas we began to look in.  So just like trying a new food, I kept my mind open and went to look at some homes in a different area and found that not only did I like the feel of the neighborhoods, but that we would be able to get a lot on our check lists in this area.  And while I thought I would be a hard customer to please since I'm in the business, come to find out, it's my husband who embodies a number of traits of a buyers that keep me on my toes as a realtor. There have been too many times I've come home and the table talk at dinner revolves me sounding like a broken record booo-ing about the fact that my clients try to find the value of a home based on a certain popular real estate website that may rhyme with pillow. That is the last place you should look to try and find the value of a home or base any offer or listing price from. But yet the other night, my husband says..."but I looked on this site and found the home should be worth blah blah blah".  This must be karma for something I've done, I'm sure of it..haha.  But we found a home we really liked this last weekend.  The downside to the home was that the kitchen was super small and so was one of the bedrooms.  The kitchen was updated and I could tell the home owners spent a lot of money since the cabinetry and finishes were top notch...but again, the kitchen was very very small.   The house across the street, which had been updated in the past 5 years and had a terrific view just sold 4 months ago for $60k less than what this home was listed for which had no view.  So we put in an offer that I felt was more appropriate to what the home was really worth without trying to offend the sellers at the same time (but even so, an appraiser would very likely take the sale of the home across the street and use it to value this home). But the according to the realtor of the home for sale, the sellers put a lot of money into the kitchen and downstairs floors and would not budge on the price regardless of the home across the street with the terrific view.  And my husband and I were not willing to budge on the offer we put in so moving on.....more to come soon.

Are We In A Buyer's Market Again?

Here in LA the real estate market has been as crazy as drivers on the 405.  It has definitely kept me on my toes the past couple years.  And here we go again...according the LA Times, we are headed back to being a "buyer's market".  So not only are the interest rates incredibly low but now buyer's may have some cards to play with when looking for a home and negotiating a better price and terms. Here is the article that LA Times wrote about it Housing Price Cuts Point To A Shift In Southland Market