Monday, October 12, 2015

Teal Pumpkins

I'm sure you wouldn't blink if you saw a pink dinosaur or a purple spider this Halloween...but what is up with that Teal Pumpkin out in your neighbor's yard?  Well, if you are into handing out candy at your home or taking your little ones out for Trick or Treats, you may be hearing about and seeing these Teal Pumpkins more and more.  With food allergies being such a scare for a lot of kids and their parents, some neighbors have decided to paint a pumpkin teal to let families know that they will have non-food items for our little ghosts and goblins to choose from as well.  And if you would like to hand out some crayons or spider rings too, just paint your pumpkin teal this year and give some parents a little less to be frightened about this Halloween. 



                And if you are looking to make a move this Fall or Winter, call me. 

                                               I am always here to help.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Winds Of Change

If you haven't heard the new changes coming our way in real estate, maybe it's just because you're not in the real estate business, but this can have an impact on you if you are thinking of buying or selling any time in the near future. There are some new regulations that will be in place starting tomorrow that came from the Consumer Protection Act that was signed into law in 2010.  This new regulation is called by another wonderful acronym that we in the industry will start throwing around but let's call it "Know Before You Owe".  Without getting into too much detail, this new change will cause most buying periods to move from a normal 30 day transaction to 45 or more, at least for a while.  "Know Before You Owe" helps buyers to more clearly see what all their costs are going to be when purchasing a home. But at least for a while, loans will be a bit tricky, times to buy and sell could possibly be longer and because of this, deals may be a little less stable.  So my best advice is to work with a lender that you either know very well that has a great deal of experience or ask your realtor for a referral for a lender.  Also, make sure you are working a realtor that is on top of these changes, which is where I say, "Feel free to call me anytime.  I would love to help you in buying or selling your home"

Thursday, July 16, 2015

One Escrow Closed and Another One Opened

I have two first time buyers this month.  One that just closed on a home and another that opened escrow on another.  Congratulation to them both! I couldn't be more excited to help some really great people find their first home. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Things People Forget To Look For When Buying A Home

It happens to the best of them.  Buyers walk into a home, look around, get a good feeling about the place and forget to look for some important, and even needful, things they want in a home.  Here are some of the top things that people seem to overlook when looking for a home.
1. Kitchen Pantry
 Not all homes have them. So if yours doesn't, is there a place you can store your food?
2. Place to put/hang the TV
Some homes may have a smaller TV on display that you own.  Or some homes are staged with no TV on display.  So is there a good place to put yours in that home?
3. Garage or parking area
Garage conversions are common here in LA since so many people want more square footage or sometimes a guest unit ,and that is really useful.  But does it leave a place for you and your guests to park your car?
4. Bath tub 
Not all people need them but for the ones that do, make sure that you have one in your bathroom as opposed to just a standing shower.
5. Microwave 
The reason why I tell my clients to look for a microwave isn't because it's a very important item that needs to come with a home, but if there isn't one already there and you bought one, does that leave enough counter space in the kitchen for you?
6. Access door to the back yard 
 Some homes only have one door to the back yard and that door is through a bedroom. Nothing wrong with that, but does it work for you?
7. Central AC and Heat in every room
 Yup. Even as hot as it may get in some areas of LA, there are quite a few that either don't get hot enough for long enough that AC was ever needed by the previous owners, or some homes that are older just may not have put in central AC or least in every room.

      If you are looking to buy or sell, please call me.  I am always here to help! 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2 New Great Yelp Reviews!

I love helping people buy and sell their homes.  And it makes me so thrilled when they refer me on to people they know and leave great reviews about my services.  There are 2 new ones just posted today on Yelp. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rebates And Tax Credits For Your Home

Tax credits for Solar Systems and Geotherman heat pumps

Turf replacement rebates through DWP
Turf rebate

For LADWP residential customers who have in-ground swimming pools filtered with a single-speed pool pump you may be eligible for a $1,000 rebate if you replace it with a certified pool pump
Pool Pump rebate

For certain refrigerators and high efficiency washers find rebates here
Appliance rebates

Heating, cooling and whole house fans rebates
Heating and Cooling

Low Flow Toilet rebate
Low Flow Toilet rebate

Get a Free Tree for your yard
free trees

Free shower heads and faucet aerators
Faucets and shower heads

High Efficiency natural Gas Water Heaters
Gas Water Heaters rebate

Tankless Water heater rebate
Tankless Water heater

High Efficiency clothes washer
Clothes washer rebates

Natural Gas Furnace
Gas Furnace rebates

Energy Efficient window, air duct replacement, and wall/attic insulation
Home Energy Saver rebates

Whole House Home upgrades. From the shell of your home to new flooring and everything in between
Whole House Upgrades


Thursday, June 4, 2015

What You Will Need When Renting in Los Angeles

First thing you'll need to know is things can move very quickly.  So if you are looking to rent, you will need these things all ready to go to give to the person who is leasing the home if you like it.  And each person over 18 that will be living there may be required to each have these:
Copy of your driver's license
Copy of your social security card
Copy of at least the last 2 pay checks with stubs attached
Recent credit report or they may run one for you
Have your previous landlords and employers names and contacts
And as a renter, don't forget to ask what is included with the rent.  Such things as gas, electricity, water, cable, landscaping are just a few to inquire about.  And if you every have any questions, feel free to give me a call.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Remodeling: Cost VS Value 2015

The 2015 report is here! So if you are thinking about doing some small or big projects on your home, check out this website  They have taken data from every region and city to let you know what the Cost VS Value is in each project.  And by no surprise, here in LA some of the highest Value in remodeling comes from doing work to the outside of your home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

What Is That Called?

There are so many features in a home that can make it unique or architecturally appealing.  And as I walk clients through a home a point some of these out, I have heard many people say "Oh, I never knew what that was called".  So I thought it would be fun to put together a blog with some fun features in and around the home that you probably have seen but may not know the name to.
 This is a Baja step.  These are large shallow steps where you can place a pool chair or just sit without having to go all the way in the pool. Sometimes they also have small holes meant to hold umbrellas.
 This is a chair rail. It's a type of wooden molding typically put about 1/3 of the way up a wall to add detail to a room.
 You'll typically find these under the top corner of a door way or on the outside of a building under the eaves.  It is called a Corbel.  This one is a counter top Corbel. You'll see a lot of these on old European buildings and churches as well as Colonial architecture and while this one in the photo is pretty simple, they can be quite ornate. 
 This feature above the door is called a Pediment. You will see these on most Colonial style homes and they can be pointed, curved, or "broken" like the one you see here in the photo.
 If you've ever admired homes in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, you've probably seen this.  Called a Porte-Coch√®re, it is meant to protect a car (or horse and buggy) from the weather when getting in and out.  We now see these a lot a hotel fronts to allow guests to get in and out or their cars and to the front desk without getting rained on if the weather is not favorable.
 Coffered Ceilings are one of my favorite details in a home. Typically seen in the more affluent homes, this really adds a touch of elegance to room.
 You will see these in many backyards in LA. It's called a Pergola and can be free standing, attached to the back of a home. Sometimes you will even find plants such as Wisteria growing from the top.  They add a great place for shade from the summer sun.
Wainscoting was something many New England and Southern homes had in them and they really look nice in many rooms.  They are making a huge come-back as Cape Cod style homes are seen being built everywhere.

This is a Tray Ceiling.  This gives a room dimension and like in this picture, some people paint it to give it that extra touch.

If you are thinking of selling your home or buying a new one, please consider me.  I am always here for you

Monday, April 27, 2015

Earth Day Tips

Happy Earth Day 2015!
 Okay Okay. You got me. Earth Day was last week. I've been a little busy.  That being said, we are never to busy to make a few small changes that can have a big impact on helping to work towards a healthier planet.  
So here are just a few tips that can go a long way.   

Using Alternative Ways To Save On Plastics and Other Similar Products
1. Buy some extra re-usable bags (or wait till I come knocking on your door looking for people to buy and sell their homes and give you a bag with my logo) and use them when you shop in places other than grocery stores.  Take them to the mall, to the hardware store and even to places like Target.
2. Get a couple re-usable traveling coffee cups for when you go to Starbucks and Coffee Bean.  They even offer a discount when you bring your own.
3. Don't ask the waitress for a kid's cup with a lid.  Bring your own if they need a lid or teach the children to drink from adult glasses.  Those small plastic cups are used for 30 minutes at most then tossed in the trash.

Water Saving Tips
1. Most all Water Sprinklers have a "rain day delay" on them. So when it rains (which isn't often these days) do the rain delay.  Saves water and $$
2. Turn the water off when brushing your teeth.
3. I'll try to be delicate on this one but you may not need to flush the toilet Every time you use it...ahhemmm, cough cough
4.  If you have extra water at the table after meals, water your plants or give it to the pets.
5. Keep and clean out your old milk and juice cartons. During those times when you are running water and waiting for it to get warm, fill the cartons and use that water to water your plants outside (something I just started doing and I'm saving a lot of water and a lot of my plants!)
6. These days, most all colored clothes can be washed with whites as long as the colors aren't too brilliant. I use the Shout Color catchers for helping to wash my clothes and keeping the colors from mixing and this allows me to do less loads of laundry.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fact Or Fiction: Real Estate Myths

1.  I can't put in an offer that would be under the asking price because the home just came on the market.
False - Go ahead and give them an offer.  Some people price their homes a little high expecting some negotiation to take place. So don't always assume what a seller may be thinking

2.  There are no photos, or not a lot of them, so the home must need work.
False-  Fact is some agents just haven't done a great job getting a lot of photos.  I've seen perfectly fine homes that just weren't marketed well.

3.  Per the contract, a seller is to clean their home after they move out for the buyer.
True-  But the sad part of this is that not only does it not always happen, but what is "clean" to one person, may not be to the next.  That, and if you move into a home that isn't clean, your only recourse may be to try and take the seller to small claims court.

4.  If I apply for a loan and can't qualify or qualify for what I was hoping to get, it goes on record and can affect me qualifying later on.
False-  Our financial situations can change often and quickly and the most important aspect to a loan officer is what you are bring in for income Now and what your work status is today.

5 . Realtors must receive some sort of financial benefit from recommending their loan person.
False-  We recommend certain ones because we are confident they can do a good job and we like to work with people we have confidence in. And when the loan turns out good, it reflects well on us too, being that we recommended them.

6.  The Realtor that is hosting the open house isn't always the listing agent for that home.
True- Sometimes we have multiple homes for sale at the same time and can't be hosting them if the open houses fall on the same day. So we ask our colleagues to help host them and they do it in hopes of meeting people who are in need of a realtor to work with (and it is a great way to meet your realtor)

7.  A real estate agent gets more money if they sell a property that is listed through someone in their office
False- Unless the agent that is listing the property is on a real estate "Team" with the agent that brings in the offer, there is no financial benefit for those real estate agents that is different from working with someone from a different company (and you can always ask if they are working together on a team if you're not sure)

8.  I got an offer right after my home hit the market.  I should hold out because that means more are coming and hopefully a better priced offer too.
False-  You will get the most interest on your home within the first couple of weeks that it is being advertised.  If you don't work with an offer you have in hand, you could loose out on a good deal.  And it's possible that there may be other offers coming but no one holds the magic ball to tell that so it would be a gamble you would have to be willing to make. (and it could turn out in your favor, but it could also be a mistake)

9.  I like the home that I saw but it's been on the market for a while now so I'm going to sit and watch it because they are bound to lower the price.
False- I've seen it happen time and time again that someone wants to wait before putting an offer in on the house and then another buyer submits an offer.  Never wait to put your offer in. You don't want to loose out on a home you like and it's best to avoid multiple offer situations if you can. 

10.  In a multiple offer situation, seller's will take 'all-cash' offers over the rest.
False-  First, sometimes people with 'all-cash' give lower offers because they think that using cash will get brownie points.  But also, don't assume what a seller may be thinking.  I've won multiple offers with clients that were using loans and up against all cash. There are too many scenarios that could factor into the seller's mind and equation of why they would choose one offer over another.

11.  I like a home that is in the area I want to be in, but it's on a busy street and that could affect the resale value.
True- There are a number of factors that could affect the resale value of a home and that is one of them.  But sometimes the area that we would like to purchase a home is a bit out of our price range so this may be a good option if you are okay with it.

12.  Amber Dolle is the hardest working agent I know.
True-  And this is a direct quote from a client that left a review on Yelp.  See here Yelp Review  And call me when you are ready to sell or buy your home!


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Why Using A Local Realtor Is So Important

I just had a good friend of my husband's decide to list their home in San Fransisco.  He spoke to my husband and I was asked if I could do real estate transactions up in that area.  Well, yes, technically I can because my license is good in all of California.  But would it be wise of me to list a home up there?  No.  And I told our friend that same thing.  But another friend of his who holds a real estate license that lives here in LA had offered to list our friend's San Fransisco home for him. I did some research and found an excellent agent up in San Fransisco that knows the area like the back of his hand and does a lot of work there. I put the two in touch hoping that having a conversation with that Realtor, and also having had a couple long conversations with myself, would sway him to work with a local realtor. And the reasons to do so are endless...things such as the first hand knowledge the local realtor has of the market, the relationships he holds with other realtors, escrow officers, loan officers, inspection people etc.  Also the local marketing he will be able to do, the disclosures that are specific to that area that the seller will need to give to a buyer that someone from out of town would not know about and on and on....but here is a basic question:  Would you ask your friend that lives 6 hours away from you what the best local sushi restaurant is near your house?  Probably not.  So why would you put the sale of your home in the hands of someone who doesn't know your home?

As realtors we are part of a large network of other realtors within our own state and in most other states across the country.  If you are looking for an agent outside of LA, let me find someone for you.  I can interview them, look up their credentials, and know the right questions to ask to see if they would be a good fit for you. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

No Trust In The Process Of Leaving Your Home To Your Heirs

And by "no trust" I'm referring to the fact that we may no longer need a "Trust" to leave our properties to our heirs. Glendale's assemblyman Mike Gatto is trying to untangle the messy red tape that can happen when someone passes away and doesn't have a Trust, or have one set up correctly.  See, here in California, you need what is called a Trust (aka Living Trust) to leave your home to someone after you pass away.  It's not as simple as just leaving it in a Will.  A Trust is a separate legal document that allows your property to be dispersed to the person(s) you name on the Trust.  And along with making this legal document you also have to make sure the title to your property reflect your property as having a Trust.  And if you don't do it right and pass away, your loved ones can pay through the nose to get your property passed into their possession.  It's a real tricky and expensive thing.  But read more here about what Mike Gatto's plans are for this and follow along because it could have an impact on anyone who owns property here in California

For more information on Trusts, Wills and everything else legal, call a real estate lawyer or estate planner.  I have a couple great ones I can refer you to if you like.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Questions To Ask When Buying A Condo

If you are looking to buy a condo, there are questions that may be very important for you to know.  I've put a star next to some of these questions that you may not be able to get the answer to until you are in escrow but the other ones, the listing agent should know or be able to find out

1. What are the monthly HOA dues?
2. What do those dues cover? Things like trash, hot water, cable, security....?
3. What amenities are in the building? A pool?  Workout room? Common BBQ area?
4. If there are no washer/dryer hookups in the condo, can I add them?
5. How many parking spaces do I get?  And are they side by side or tandem?
6. Is there guest parking?
7. In Los Angeles, condo buildings can not restrict you from having a pet. But they can limit the type of pet, number of pets and size so ask about this.
8. Who runs the HOA? An off-sight company or someone in the building?
*9. How much money are in the reserves?
10. Is there any litigation going on or pending with the HOA?
11. Are there any assessments now or pending?
*12. Are any units delinquent on their dues? 
13. Is there earthquake insurance on the building?
*14. If the unit does not currently have hardwood floors, can I put them in later?

Make sure to take this list with you when you see condos and if you aren't sure why you should be asking these questions, leave me a comment and I will explain further. And if you are looking to buy or sell your home, please consider calling me. I am always here to help.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Hours of An Open House

If you are one of those people who just like to drive out on Sunday and see what houses are having an open house, it may be helpful to know the times they are typically open. So here you go....

Here in LA, during the winter hours when the sun goes down earlier, we hold open houses from 1-4PM

During the Summer when the sun sets later we hold them from 2-5PM

These times change on the days we have the daylight savings time change.  So hop out this coming Sunday and see what's for sale..

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are You Stuck In The "Just Thinking" About Buying A Home Phase?

Are you Thinking about buying but really just stuck in the "thinking" or "talking" about it phase? Have you been there for a bit but not really sure you can buy or that you can afford what you would be hoping for?  There is no better way to know if and what you can buy till you sit down and talk with me. That is what I'm here's part of my job. I'm more than happy to go over what your home may be worth, to things such as how much you would walk away with after the sale of your home minus fees, and I'll get you talking with a loan officer so that they can tell you what you would qualify for. We can figure out how you would sell then buy a new place and the options you have to do that with when you need the money from your sale to buy another.  If you're not needing to sell to buy a new home, we can talk about what you will need ready to make offers and what expenses are associated with buying.  And I do this all for free...I mean, heck, this is one way I get business so please don't hesitate to go over these things with me. Don't just get stuck in the daydreaming mode...let's chat today!


Monday, March 16, 2015

6 Things You Need To Do When Looking To Buy A Home

If you are about to start looking to buy a home, you will need to do these things to start your process:

1. Most important! Talk to a loan officer and see what your budget will be. Most people like to look up online a mortgage calculator and try to figure out where their price range is but what you can pay each month, can be very different from what you may qualify to buy.  And you really don't want to start looking at houses, fall in love with something and not be able to put an offer in (since you will need a letter from your lender to be submitted with your offer)
2. Get an idea of what areas you will be interested in. Some people can afford to live exactly where they want, while others' budgets limit them.  So be open to a few extra suggestions on areas as well.
3.  Make a list of the things you MUST have in a home and the things you HOPE you can get and just keep the list handy to look at when seeing homes.
4.  Find a good realtor.  Ahemmm. That would be me! I've lived in and sold homes from Mid City LA, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Los Feliz, Thousand Oaks, San Gabriel Valley, Santa Clarita and all of the San Fernando Valley (which is where my office is located) So shoot me a call and if you live further out than where I am, I know a network of great realtors that I can point you to as well.
5.  Look at the homes I send you as well as sites like and Zillow for homes as well (although stay clear of looking at the "Zestimates" that Zillow shows on their site.  Doing that is like going down a rabbit hole of no-good.
6. And lastly, go to some open houses and book appointments with me to see houses in person.  A lot of people change what they may think is important or not important once they start seeing homes in person. 

I can't wait to help you find your next home or sell the one you have now so don't wait and call me so we can get started!

Friday, March 13, 2015

The LA Marathon is coming...RUN!!

You have 2 options when it comes to the LA Marathon.  Run in it, or away from it.  So if you aren't in it, I have attached a link to the map below of all the streets you will need to avoid to stay away from it.  Good luck on Sunday.  And may LA street closures be ever in your favor.
                                                                 LA Marathon Street closures


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Zestimate Shmestimate

Zestimates are a very popular source for both buyers and sellers alike these days.  I can't tell you how many people quote to me the "Zestimate" of a property they are interested in buying, or their own property that they are selling when trying to determine the price.  And now matter how many ways from Friday I try to explain that these Zestimates are as accurate as my NCAA tournament bracket I put together (by the way, I don't watch football...or basketball;) it seems people still fall back on these for price gauging.  But what is the real scoop about Zestimates and are they really applicable to the real world of real estate here in LA? Well LA Times did an article on this topic and in this article they pointed out that " New York County — Manhattan — the median valuation error rate is 19.9%. In Brooklyn, it's 12.9%. In Somerset County, Md., the rate is an astounding 42%. In some rural counties in California, error rates range as high as 26%. In San Francisco it's 11.6%. With a median home value of $1,000,800 in San Francisco, according to Zillow estimates as of December, a median error rate at this level translates into a price disparity of $116,093."  Read the complete article here
There are just too many factors that can influence the price of a home. If two similar sized homes are on the same street both built around the same time would you assume they are worth the same?  Now lets say home "A" has a lovely golf course outside it's back yard. This home also has a new roof, is completely remodeled with things like wood floors, stone counter tops, top-of-the-line appliances and all new windows, and also has a professional landscape.  Home "B" on the same street, just a little ways down from home "A", is across from a middle school, hasn't ever been remodeled and is complete with older carpeting, older appliances and needs a new roof.  Would you pay the same for both homes? So while Zestimates may be in the ballpark of where prices are, even Zillow clarifies Zestimates by saying "It is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine a home's value" Not to say that Zillow is not a good site to use...quite the opposite.  It has a ton of helpful information that consumers can use about the real estate market and communities.  It's just not a great place to get the value of a home from.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Top 4 Remodeling Tips To Showcase Your Home

1. When it Comes to Remodeling, The Most Value Will be in the Kitchen

I see it time and time again when I show and sell houses.  The biggest wow factor of remodeling is with the kitchen.  It not only shows very well in the photos (which gets buyers in the door) but it is the most used room of a house so people like to see updated kitchens more than any other room.  And many of my clients when buying homes, have also mentioned that having an updated kitchen it great because it can be the largest expense and hassle, in terms of remodeling, and they would rather have it already done for them when they buy a house. 

2. The Second Best Room to Remodel is the Bathroom

A newly remodeled bathroom can do a world of good when selling your home.  While a 30 year old shower may work as well as a 2 year old one and the faucets of an older sink run water the same as a new one may, people like a clean newer bathroom.  If a bathroom in a home is not only older, but hasn't been well maintained, then people just imagine the germs and dirt in the bathroom and it's a real big turn off. 

3. Give the Front of a House a Face Lift

Sometimes remodeling is really just a face lift.  Try painting or replacing the front door.  Spruce up the shutters with a new coat of paint.  Add some plants to the front porch. Just a few minor changes can really highlight some great curb appeal and curb appeal is very important.

4. Remodel your Back Yard

Yes, I did just say 'remodel' your back yard.  I have seen so many buyers walk through a home with a very unimpressed poker face as they look room to room but then step into a fabulous back yard and then write an offer on a home.  For some people, the size of the back yard is key, but for a lot of people it's all in how the space is being used and the look and feel of it.  Try a Zin back yard with a nice deck, some succulents that need very little water and a nice fountain.  Or build a pergola that adds shade to a bright back yard and decorate that area with an outdoor rug and patio furniture. Or even just adding some great bushes or an herb garden can really tug on the heart strings of someone who loves the outdoors.  


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What Just Happened With FHA Loans & What Is The News On Conventional Loans?

Have you thought about buying? Maybe you even started looking a few years back but put it off for one reason or another? Well, welcome to the time of "No more excuses".  Interests rates are hovering around 3.75% and even less, so if you qualified for a loan years ago when interest rates were in the mid to high 4%, it is likely you can afford more than you thought you ever could now.  And some other terrific news is that with FHA loans, which you can have a minimum of 3.5% down, they have recently lowered the annual mortgage insurance.  So not only is it possible to be able to get an interest rate with FHA for lower than a conventional loan rate, the mortgage insurance is less now. So, what are you waiting for?  Don't look back a year from now and say to yourself "I wish I would have..." Call me and lets talk and you need to do yourself the favor of talking to a loan person and seeing what you can purchase today.

Here is a great article from the Washington Post that gives a great description of how FHA is working today after the recent change.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Escrow Opened in Tujunga Village

Location, location, location! This great little condo is going to make my soon-to-be Grandmother (although doesn't look anywhere near old enough to be one) a new resident of Studio City.  I'm sure she's excited to be closer to her daughter and I'm excited she's going to be close to the great coffee spot, Aroma Cafe.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Disclosures, Disclosures, and More Disclosures

I have a great tip for those of you buying a home when it comes to disclosures you the line just before where you are signing so that you understand why you are signing it.  Most (not all) disclosures you sign will say something like "The undersigned hereby acknowledges a receipt of this disclosure" This means that you are not approving of what may be written on that paper, but just that you have been given it.  The "approval" of all the disclosures you receive comes in the form of the removal of your contingencies.  So next time you sign a form, read the line or two before your signature to understand why you are signing what you are signing.