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  • New Listing in Redondo Beach – 1615 Van Horne Lane

    Posted on February 28th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    Beautiful View of the mountains and LA from the Rooftop Deck!

    This single family just came on the market in Redondo Beach. It’s listed at $829,000. I previewed it this afternoon during Broker’s Open. It has a unique and fun layout although it might not be for everyone. It’s been nicely updated and gets great light. There’s a 700 sq. foot bonus room along with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. It gets great city and mountain views from the rooftop deck. (Brokered by RE/MAX Estate Properties)

  • Home Remodeling Tip: How much does it cost to install wood floors?

    Posted on February 27th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    It depends on what type of wood you choose. I just helped a client get their home ready for sale and we replaced the carpet with bamboo. It cost them $8 per square foot. Stairs are more expensive. The treads were $40 per lineal foot and the risers were $10 per lineal foot. They did a total of 425 sq feet of flooring which came to approximately $3690 (not including stairs) including removal of existing tile/carpeting, subfloor prep,and some additional items.

    We chose bamboo because it was already installed in other rooms in the house. But the good news was that bamboo is less expensive than hardwoods. You could spend $10, $20, maybe more, per square foot, for some hardwoods.

    You can also look into reengineered hardwood floors. I believe they are less expensive. The top is hardwood and underneath is plywood. It’s less thick than a real hardwood floor, but you can still sand them down a couple of times and refinish them unlike laminate floors.

  • Lease to Own in the South Bay

    Posted on February 27th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    It’s not that commom but there are sellers out there that will consider a “lease option”. In plain English, this is a property that you can rent with the option to buy. Now, you have to pay for the right to this option. Your offer should be structured in such a way that it dictates the rental fee, the sales price, and the cost and expiration of the option. If you decide to purchase the home, then the option normally gets applied to the sales price. If you decide not to purchase the home, then you forfeit the option money.

    Otherwise, if you’re renting a property, you can always ask the seller if they would be willing to sell it to you. Or just make sure that they know you are interested, if they decide to put it on the market.

  • Real Estate Advice: Am I Able to do an Inspection before I close?

    Posted on February 21st, 2013 acimetta No comments

    Yes, you should have the option to do inspections before you close. In California, buyers typically have 17 days from acceptance to do their inspections. If within those 17 days, the buyers decide that they don’t like what they find, then they can walk away. If the buyers do their inspections, then remove their contingencies, then they are committed to the property and the deposit becomes nonrefundable.

    It’s extremely important for you to get your inspections done as soon as possible especially if you want to do any further negotating with the seller on repairs, a credit or a price reduction. If your looking at a single family home, I would always recommend a home inspection and a mold inspection. The home inspection will give you a general understanding of the roof, foundation, plumbing, electrical, appliances, HVAC, fireplace, etc. The mold inspection focuses on water/mold issues. So many buyers don’t do a mold inspection, but it’s so important. Water is absolutely damaging to a home and so many times there can be leaks or mold problems that the homeowner is not even aware of. Needless to say, I have all my buyers do a mold inspection. And depending on the age of the home and the existence of large trees on the property, I also suggest a video sewer line inspection which will let you know if there are any obstructions (such as tree roots) or clogging issues. Replacing a sewer line can be expensive and it’s a good idea to know up front what you’re dealing with.

  • Real Estate Advice: how do we make our condo stand out to sell if there are others asking less $?

    Posted on February 14th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    If you think your home has been upgraded or has somthing special that separates you from the rest than asking more money will be okay, but these attributes need to be apparent to the buyers. And if it’s not apparent to you, then for sure it’s not going to be apparent to them. So let’s go over some of the possible features or selling points:
    1.You can talk about the amount of money you spent on upgrades.
    2. Point out any high end features such as granite, hardwood, travertine, updated windows, etc.
    3. Maybe you’re in a great location or a reputable school district.
    4. The floorplan can be a huge selling point.
    5. Do you get a lot of light in your condo? End units and top floor units tend to do better in sales.
    6. Can you put a washer & dryer in your unit?
    7. How may parking spaces do you have?
    8. The other thing to consider is the building. Does it have a lot of amenities? What type of condition is it in? This could add or take away from the value of your unit.

    If you have things listed above that your competition doesn’t have, then you may be able to get the higher price.

    And remember, you need to make sure your condo shows well. Keep it clean; keep it well lit. You could put together a sheet (handout) of all the features of your home that make it worth more money.

    If you haven’t already, you may want to check the recent sales for condos similar to yours. If they’re selling for less than what you’re asking, then you may want to reconsider your price.

  • Real Estate Advice: When I sell my house can I be responsible for code deficiencies that existed before I purchased?

    Posted on February 11th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    No, you will not necessarily be responsible for deficiencies in codes or permits. You should disclose everything you know about the problems or lack of permits. If you don’t tell the buyer, then you could be liable for fraud. If you do disclose, then it will be up to the buyers to decide if they are willing to purchase the property as is, and do any necessary repairs, etc. themselves.The buyer can always ask for you to do the work, but you can refuse. As long as the buyer is aware of the problem, then they are moving forward in the transaction with their eyes wide open.

    On the other hand, if your property is not selling due to the deficiences, then you may want to consider rectifying the problems yourself in order to sell it. And sometimes certain lenders will not give financing on a property that has permit/code problems. FHA is one of those lenders. So if buyers can’t get financing, then you need an all cash buyer or you may want to fix the problems or pull the permits in order to sell.

  • Real Estate Advice: What can I do to close on time?

    Posted on February 9th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    This is a great question. So often closings are delayed and although we can’t control everything, there are definitely certain things a buyer can do that will help the process move forward as smoothly as possible.

    First, the loan itself can be a challenge. You have not given your lender much time to get the loan done. Much of the timing is going to depend on the bank’s timeframe. You should ask your lender how quickly they can fund the loan if all goes well.

    Second, in order for your lender to get their action items done on time, they will depend on you to get the paperwork they need. So anything they ask of you, try to get it back to the lender the same day, if possible.
    Here’s a tip: find out who in your company will provide the lender with your employment verification. Give this person/department the heads up that your lender will be contacting them. This will happen toward the end of the transaction. I’ve had quite a few clients lose days on the loan, because the lender could not get employment verification quickly.

    Third, get your appraisal ordered right away. The lender will do this for you, but they often need your go ahead, and your credit card, so they can order the appraisal. Have your agent follow up on the appraisal and make sure it gets scheduled, etc. Appraisals can be another time-suck. Sometimes, the appraisal order gets lost in the shuffle, or the appraiser can’t schedule the appointment for a few days, etc. You want to have your agent stay on top of this.

    Fourth, schedule all your inspections as soon as possible and negotiate any repairs immediately after you have done all your due diligence. You never know what an inspection is going to uncover, and it may lead you to additional inspections or bringing in an expert on something. You want to make sure you have the time to do all this.

    Fifth, make sure you start working on your homeowner’s insurance.The lender will require proof of insurance before they fund your loan. Don’t leave this to the last minute. Do your insurance shopping. Let escrow know who you will be using for insurance. Escrow will order it for your and you will pay for your first year’s premium in your closing costs.

    Sixth. make sure all your funds are in order. If you need to move money from accounts or take money out of retirement accounts, etc, this takes time. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Also, find out what your bank’s process/timing is for wiring money.

    Lastly, just make sure you don’t quit your job or buy a car or any other expensive items before you close on your new home. This may sound silly, but I’ve heard so many stories where the buyer did one of these things, and ultimately they couldn’t get the loan. Just make sure you consult your lender before you do anything that may adjust your financial situation.

    I always like to tell my clients that a close date is kind of like a pregnancy due date. It may happen on the scheduled date; it could be a day early; it could be a few days late. It’s an estimate. But as you can see there are many things you can do to help close on time.

  • Real Estate Advice: Do I Make an Offer on an Overpriced Listing?

    Posted on February 8th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    It never hurts to put an offer in. And you won’t know unless you try. Yes, the sellers may be unrealistic and they probably have a strong emotional attachment to their home; the home does hold a lot of value to them. But the good news is that with an overpriced home, you, the buyer, should have very little competition.

    First, you should look at how long the property has been on the market and have there been any price reductions. If it’s new on the market, then the seller my be less likely to negotiate. But if it’s an old listing, it may be a good time to make an aggressive offer. Your agent should have a conversation with the listing agent to guage the sellers’ position.

    Then you should put together an offer and submit the comps that substantiates your number. The worst thing that can happen is the seller says no. And even then, I wouldn’t give up. If the property is still on the market in a few weeks or months, I would approach the agent again to see if the seller has any change of heart.

    I’ve had buyers in both scenarios. I had a client last summer who fell in love with a condo but the sellers were priced way above market. We kept going back to the seller and after a couple of months, we were able to come to a number that satisfied both buyer and seller. The property appraised at the sales price and all parties were happy. Then I had another buyer a few months later who wanted to make an offer on a home but the seller had unreasonably priced the home. It was priced even higher than the new construction that was on the market. The listing agent let me present the offer to the seller in person. And even though we had the comps to justify the offer price, and even though the listing agent was on our side, and even though the seller agreed that the market was down, she was adamant that her home was worth the asking price and she wouldn’t budge. And you know what happened? My client walked away with no regrets and the seller eventually took the home off the market.

  • FHA Loans continue to get more expensive

    Posted on February 8th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    FHA has just announced that their upfront and monthly premiums will be going up again. And for loans with less that 10% down, the borrower will have to pay mortgage insurance for the life of the loan. FHA is a great product for buyers who don’t have a large down payment and/or don’t have strong credit. BUT, buyers will be forced to pay a huge premium every month in return for the low down payment. It looks like FHA wants to get out of the loan business.

  • Real Estate Advice: Buying an Upleg

    Posted on February 7th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    If both the homes are in nearby neighborhoods and you can find an agent who has a strong knowledge of both markets, then yes, you should absolutely use the same agent. Working with one agent will make it much easier to coordinate the process especially since you have to sell your home in order to get the money to buy a new one. There are a lot of details to consider and it’s much easier if one agent is managing everything so that nothing falls through the cracks.

    Now, the type of market you’re in will determine the best way to approach your sale and purchase. And what I mean by this is that if you’re in a seller’s market where there is low inventory and high demand (buyers competing over properties) then you may have a tough time getting your offer accepted if it’s contingent on selling your home. The seller will compare your offer to another offer that is not contingent; it will be an easy decision because the other buyer promises an easier transaction with fewer potential hurdles and hangups. On the other hand, if buyers are in control in your local market – there’s a lot of inventory, and little demand – then a seller may be more willing to accept your contingent offer and patiently wait while you get your house on the market and sell it.

    Since you have already identified your upleg (new home purchase), you should at least get your house on the market quickly, and make an offer on the other home. Have your agent explain to the listing agent that you are aggressively marketing your home to find a buyer. You should build into your contract a timeframe that allows you to market your home while the seller of your upleg pulls their property off the market. I normally have my clients ask for 30 days. This means that you would have 30 days to market your home and get a buyer. Then ideally, the escrow period (this is what we call it in California) for both properties will run concurrently and you can close the sale of your home one day before the sale of your new home. (This may differ a little bit in your state depending on your closing process.)

    If the seller does not accept your offer and you still want to move (and you are in a seller’s market), then I would get your house on the market and sell your house contingent on you finding a new upleg.