Easy Tips to Get Your House Buyer-Ready

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Finally deciding to put your house on the market can be an exciting time but also a stressful one. You are excited to move onto the next chapter in your life, but know that a lot of work needs to be done before you can sell. Don’t worry, though, here are a few tips to get your house show ready.

Add Mirrors

One of the best ways to bring life into any room is by using mirrors. The advantage of mirrors in any room is that they make the room larger. Part of getting your home ready to sell is creating space that conveys an inviting feeling. The quickest way to create this feeling is by adding mirrors to the rooms in your home. The one thing to pay attention to when you are adding mirrors to any room is the image it is reflecting. If you have a mirror reflecting something unsightly such as a television might not be the most appealing.

Clear Out All That Clutter

The most challenging step in the process of getting your home ready for a show is the decluttering process. Yes, it was a good idea to compact the DVD collection you are proud of next to the television. But, to the eye and anyone that might be interested in buying your home it just looks unpleasing. Getting rid of things can be tough, so if you’re not quite ready, tidying up all countertops can go a long way in decluttering a space.

When in Doubt Paint the Room

One of the main things a buyer looks for when purchasing a home is the work they are going to have to do. Having a room that hasn’t been painted might cause your home to be on the market a few more weeks. If you are not sure what to paint your walls, a simple white can never steer you wrong, and it will allow the buyer the opportunity to be free to choose any color.

Bonus Tip

An easy tip to remember when getting ready to show your home is to turn on your lights and let as much light in as you can. Opening the curtains and turning on lamps can create a very warm and inviting environment for prospective buyers.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when you finally make that big decision to sell your home and get yourself ready to move into that new one. Selling and buying a home can be a big step for anyone, but if you are ready to take that step, hire us for the best representation and results. We work in the South Bay and beyond. Our experience, resources, and expertise will help you get a smooth and stress-free close.

Buying a home: Buyer’s guide

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1. Start with your credit. Credit reports are kept by the three major credit agencies, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They show whether you are habitually late with payments and whether you have run into serious credit problems in the past.

A credit score is a number calculated from a formula created by Fair Isaac based on the information in your credit report. You have three different credit scores, one for each of your credit reports.

 A low credit score may hurt your chances for getting the best interest rate, or getting financing at all. So get a copy of your reports and know your credit scores. Try Fair Isaac’s MyFICO.com.

Errors are common. If you find any, contact the agencies directly to correct them, which can take two or three months to resolve. If the report is accurate but shows past problems, be prepared to explain them to a loan officer.

2. Set your budget. Next, you need to determine how much house you can afford. You can start with an online calculator. For a more accurate figure, ask to be pre-approved by a lender, who will look at your income, debt and credit to determine the kind of loan that’s in your league.

The rule of thumb is to aim for a home that costs about two-and-a-half times your gross annual salary. If you have significant credit card debt or other financial obligations like alimony or even an expensive hobby, then you may need to set your sights lower.

Another rule of thumb: All your monthly home payments should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income.

The size of your down payment will also determine how much you can afford.

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How to Make an Offer That Can’t Be Refused

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You’ve found the perfect house. You can already see yourself unpacking your books, pulling all the glassware out of crates, setting up the PlayStation 4. You’re ready to make an offer. Nothing could go wrong now. Except, wait a minute. What if there are other offers? What if the seller doesn’t like your offer? What if the seller doesn’t like you?

Don’t panic. There’s a way to make an offer that can’t be refused—and the answer is better than “cough up more money.” Way better. Use the science of human behavior!

Find their motivations

To seal the deal, you have to know the seller’s motivations. Yes, we know that sounds like a self-help book gimmick, but it’s true. We’re all motivated by something, and seeing things from the seller’s point of view can help you write a killer offer.

Sellers are usually primarily motivated by one of three things, according to Diana George, founder of Vault Realty Group in Oakland, CA.

The bottom line (aka “money”)
A rush to move/don’t want to drag the selling process out (terms)
Emotional attachment

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New Renderings Released for $11.3M Pedestrian Bridge Being Constructed in DTLB

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Bright new renderings have been released showing off the $11.3M, 605-foot long pedestrian bridge under construction along Seaside Way in DTLB.

Construction officially started back in late May and will connect the Long Beach Convention’s west-facing walkway and esplanade all the way to the Performing Arts Center.

Inspired by the break of a wave, the bridge will have a glass-and-metal canopy that is lit by LED lights at night and paved with greenery and phone charging stations under its roof.

“The bridge will serve as a landmark within the Convention Center Complex and greater downtown area,” stated Mayor Robert Garcia. “It will help our economy by stimulating tourism in Long Beach and by making it easier for conventioneers to access the Peforming Arts Center.”

As for the cost, of which $9.3M of the total is due to construction alone, the Tidelands Operations Fund will fund the project given the project sits south of Ocean. (Tidelands funds are solely designated for the space at our marinas, beaches, and waterways, including the Convention Center, the Queen Mary and adjacent properties, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and Rainbow Harbor.)

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Tips to make your bathroom space grow

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Let’s just cut to the chase, a bathroom whether big or small can feel very uncomfortable, cramped, and rather dull.

But be rest assured that with a few tweaks and pointers, your bathroom can have a huge makeover that will create a very warm and spacious feeling throughout. Here is a list of a few tips to make your bathroom visually grow.

Paint

Research shows that bathrooms are usually small and dark. Paint can go a long way in a bathroom if you tend to stay with lighter colors. If you choose a unified lighter color throughout, it will visually expand the height of the room and at the same time mask the transitions and planes intersecting. As an extra tip when painting, if you use semi-gloss paint it will reflect the light coming in.

Mirrors

There is only one rule that you should have in mind when thinking about what mirror you should put in the bathroom. The bigger the better. Mirrors can make a room feel like it has twice the space and add more light to the room in the process. Make sure that you don’t use mirrors side by side though as it will have an opposite effect and make the room feel once again crammed.

Natural Light

The more light you have come into the bathroom the greater visual effect it will have on the space. Just as I have mentioned above semi-gloss paint and big mirrors will attract a lot of light in the room. If you decide to want to go further with the natural light or feel that it’s not enough to your liking a solatube-skylight should do the trick.

Make Your Glass Clear

When it comes to shower doors many people like a sense of privacy and settle for an opaque version. What actually happens when you decide to go opaque is cut down on the space that has been visually created.  Having a clear glass door will create a feeling of being in one big room. Most of the time when you are showering you are in the bathroom alone so the privacy may not be much of a factor.

Accessories

Lastly, the thing you will need to tie the room together is your own personal touch. As far as the aesthetic feel to the room is concerned, the only tip that can be given is to keep things simple (you don’t want to take away from all the hard work you’ve done to create space) and make sure that everything is of the same tone or value so that it can flow seamlessly.

Millennials enter housing market late, but in force

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A new generation is driving the U.S. housing market forward, faced with new challenges but holding to some traditional values when buying a new home.

“I believe the millennials are coming of age and they are coming of age later,” said Martin Rueter, president of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, on Wednesday. “But they are now pushing that 30-year age mark and coming out of the woodwork buying houses.”

The large student loan debt many millennials have incurred is one of the chief barriers to their buying homes, but low-interest rates on home mortgages are helping mitigate that to some extent, Rueter said.

As president of Weichert Real Estate, Rueter has a national perspective on the housing market, which is in the fifth year of a sustained post-Recession recovery.

In June, the National Association of Realtors reported existing-home sales sprang ahead in May to their highest pace in almost a decade, growing to 5.53 million, a 4.5 percent increase from the year-ago month.

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This will be the best summer for the housing market in a decade

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Following the strongest spring in 10 years, the residential real estate market should continue to see growth throughout the summer despite some growing economic headwinds.

Through May, year-to-date home sales (that’s non-adjusted existing- and new-home sales combined) are up 6 percent over last year, which was the best year since 2007, according to realtor.com calculations using National Association of Realtors and Commerce Department data. Meanwhile, home prices are again up 5 percent to 6 percent, according to Case-Shiller and other sources.

While some would-be buyers are being hindered by low inventory and tight lending, this is the strongest performance we’ve seen since the housing boom.

During the boom, loose credit enabled unsustainable increases in home ownership as well as speculative over-building. We all know what happened next.

Today we still haven’t recovered completely. For instance, right now we’re building only about half the new homes we need to keep pace with the number of households being formed.

That’s happening in part because the construction industry is having a tough time accessing credit – which is also a problem for consumers. Credit for would-be homebuyers has tightened this year as mortgage rates have fallen to new three-year lows.

Tight credit is limiting new home supply as well as existing home supply. Many homeowners who bought 10 or more years ago wouldn’t qualify for a similar mortgage today.

We continue to see fewer homes for resale compared to a year ago. In fact, the supply of these homes has been well below normal for the last 45 months. It is no wonder then that the inventory available in recent months moved at the fastest pace so far in this recovery, staying on the market for a median of only 65 days, according to realtor.com.

Despite these challenges, things are still looking good.

For at least the next 15 years, the two largest generations in history, millennials and baby boomers, will be making critical decisions about where and how they want to live.

Millennials are entering their prime household formation and buying years. They already dominate the home buyer pool, and the ranks of millennial home buyers will only grow from here.

Meanwhile more than 3.5 million baby boomers turn 65 this year. Those numbers grow as well, reaching 4.5 million a year in a decade. We are seeing that “65 is the new 55,” when it comes to boomers taking action on their retirement housing plans.

The economic backdrop may be softening, but it is still positive. Unemployment continues to decline and is approaching full employment. Consumer confidence is managing to stay relatively strong despite election year jitters about the future.

And now Brexit has pushed interest rates even lower, likely keeping 30-year mortgage rates solidly under four percent for the rest of this year. Lower rates expand buying power and create a sense of urgency especially as would-be buyers get the message that rates will never be lower.

Indeed, the decline in rates from the beginning of the year until now has more than offset the rise in prices we have been seeing on average across the U.S.

Of course all housing is local, so trends vary based on location. The hottest markets are places with strong economic growth and not enough new construction to meet demand, such as San Francisco; Dallas; San Diego, Calif.; and Denver. These places are producing more than enough qualified buyers, but the housing stock just isn’t there.

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Southern California housing market gains ground

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Southern California’s housing market gained momentum in May with both sales and prices increasing from their year-ago levels, a market tracker said Tuesday.

Last month sales of new and previously owned houses and condominiums increased 3 percent from May 2015 to 22,466 properties, said Irvine-based CoreLogic. Month-to-month, sales increased 6 percent between April and May.

The median home price rose 7 percent from a year ago to $459,500, the company said.

May’s regional median price was the highest for any month since September 2007, when it was $462,000. The median sales price has risen year-over-year for 50 consecutive months, the company said.

“A lot of the price growth is related to the tight inventory,” CoreLogic research analyst Andrew LePage said.

Sales of more expensive new homes are also picking up around the region and that helps to push prices higher, too, he noted.

CoreLogic’s report additionally showed that in Los Angeles County, sales rose 1 percent from a year ago to 7,379 properties and the median price increased 8 percent to $525,000. Between April and May, sales increased 4.5 percent and the median price rose 1 percent.

“May home sales picked up a bit following a relatively weak start to the spring home-buying season,” LePage said. “In some ways, the market continues to edge toward normalcy. Distressed sales are the lowest in nearly nine years and the investor share of purchases is the lowest in about six years.”

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Simple Ways To Save For Your Next Down Payment

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One of the biggest challenges prospective homeowners have is saving enough money for the down payment. Today, you don’t necessarily need the 20 percent that lenders previously required, but you’ll still need a large sum of money. Saving up a large amount of money can be difficult, but with some patience and a bit of strategy, you’ll be able to save for your new home in no time.

 

  • Create a monthly budget

 

In order to create a successful savings, you must earn more than you spend. Our American way of thinking has taught us to buy now and pay later, that is why so many are in debt. Automatic bill pay will be your best friend here. Create an honest and realistic budget and stick to it. You can even print out a list of expenses and check them off as you pay them. This way you have an accurate and physical list of what needs to be paid.

 

  • Make Savings automatic

 

Set up automatic savings withdraw with your bank, so each time you get paid, a certain amount will automatically be placed into your savings account. This way you will constantly be adding to your savings without noticing it out of your paycheck. Financial experts do say that it’s best to pay yourself first that way you have no excuses.

 

  • Save 100% of any windfalls

 

While it can be tempting to spend your $3,000 tax refund or year-end bonus on a trip to Cabo, it is best suited if you save every penny of it. Down payments are a lot of money and by saving a large influx of money, you’ll only be that much closer to your goal. After all, if you created a good budget for yourself you don’t really “need” that money anyway.

 

  • Ask for support

 

Just like going on a diet, you can achieve your goals with the help of family and friends. Your family wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) offer cake if they knew you were on a diet. If your family and friends are aware of your situation, they may be less inclined to invite you out to happy hour every week or to go on a shopping spree. This lack of temptation will help you save for your ultimate goal.

 

  • Don’t punish yourself

 

While saving money can give a feeling of accomplishment, it can also be an emotional rollercoaster. If you’re stressing out about saving every day, you’re less likely to follow through. Also, if you’re barely making it by each month with your saving plan, you may need to readjust. Don’t forget to treat yourself and splurge once and awhile, just look into eating out less or cut down on going to the movies or unsubscribing to your cable and getting Netflix. There are ways you can successfully save for your dream home without making it excruciatingly painful.

Top Five Signs Of A Bad Real Estate Agent

 

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When choosing your real estate agent, it can be hard to tell if they are as qualified as they say they are. If you’ve been trying to sell your home for months, it may not be the home’s fault, but your agent’s. Here are a few signs of a bad real estate agent.

Lack of communication

If your agent goes M.I.A. for weeks at a time that’s the first sign that it is time to look for a new one. Even if no one has shown interest in your home by calling for a showing, or they haven’t found any homes that match your requirements as a buyer, he or she should be touching base with you regularly to keep you updated on the process. The agent is supposed to be acting on your behalf, if they are not getting back to you, you’re not a priority.

Lack of leadership

If your agent is a yes man and agrees with you on every point then you are either a real estate genius or he or she is just trying to please you. You want someone who has your best interests at heart and will represent your interests in the real estate market. When your agent comes up with a price, ask for the research that was used to produce that number. An agent that asks you the price of your home and lists it as that is a sign of trouble. Your agent is the expert, look for someone who will take the lead and will offer expert advice.

Unused resources

A good agent will use all of his or her tools to help market your home to the public. A bad agent, on the other hand, will rely on the efforts of other agents to market your home to their clients. Your agent should have professional photos taken of the home and have a well-written description. Your agent should also be marketing your home anywhere, anyway, to anyone that could possibly be interested. This includes listing it on real estate websites, local newspapers and magazines, and even creating fliers to distribute to homes in the area.

Too much pressure

You do want an agent that offers you professional and expert advice, and someone who will try to persuade you from a bad decision. What you don’t want is someone who will push you in any particular direction. When it comes to buying a home, there should no reason for the agent to want you to buy any particular home over another. If you feel like this is happening it may be because the agent is trying to get you to buy a home that is listed by him or her, which will give your agent additional commission. Most states require the buyer to be informed if there is a conflict of interest, but if you feel like your agent is not being completely open, be cautious.

Lack of follow-up

Whether you’re selling or buying a home, a good agent that goes above and beyond is one who calls to follow up past the transaction date. Since the agent, by this time, has probably already received their commission, calls for a follow-up is really providing customer service. The bottom line is, there are many great agents out there, but there are a few that just don’t measure up. If you feel your agent is not doing their best or does not have your best interest in mind, don’t be afraid to look for a new one.