4 Tips to Help Buyers Choose a Home Inspector

Learn what a home inspector does and why choosing a good one is so important

4 Tips to Help Buyers Choose a Home Inspector

For home buyers, gut reactions are important. This is why sellers are so careful to do everything in their power to create ample curb appeal that will make buyers fall in love at first sight and become emotionally attached to the property long before they consider the technicalities of purchasing.

However, when buying a home, you don’t want to rely on emotion alone. You need to consider many other factors, including the condition of the home. Having a qualified home inspector examine the property before you seal the deal is an inexpensive way to get accurate, detailed information about the home that could save you from unwittingly purchasing a property that is in need of major repairs.

What Does a Home Inspector Do?

In a general inspection, a home inspector goes over all the vital aspects of a home including the structure, exterior, roof, wiring, plumbing, insulation, ventilation, HVAC system, and more. They will provide the buyer with a report detailing any problems that are found. The buyer can then negotiate with the seller to either make repairs before the sale or reduce the price of the home to allow the buyer to complete repairs or improvements later.

Tips for Choosing a Home Inspector

  1. Check Experience. Doing a home inspection right takes experience and knowledge. Before you hire a home inspector, check on their background. Look for an established company and/or an individual with many years of experience. Ask about their formal training and any ongoing education they may be involved in.
  2. Ensure Accountability. Your home inspector should stand behind the quality of their work. They may carry Errors & Omissions insurance, which will cover you if they make a mistake in their inspection or report. They may also offer their own written guarantee that if a system they have cleared ends up failing within a certain period, they will pay a third party to repair it for you.
  3. Discuss Additional Services. The general home inspection covers many of the features you need information about, but not all of them. For example, if you need a septic system inspection, a mold inspection, a radon inspection, or a termite inspection, ask if the home inspector can handle these additional services. If so, you will have fewer appointments to keep track of and you may get a discount for bundling multiple services.
  4. Plan to Attend the Inspection. You will definitely want to make sure the home inspector is open to buyers tagging along on the inspection. Being present during the inspection can help you have a better understanding of the final written inspection report. It may also give you the opportunity to have the home inspector show you how to work various systems in the home.

Remember, as a home buyer you are making one of the biggest investments of your life. It is important to know what you are getting for your money. A home inspector is just one of the professionals you will need to help you do this. You will also need an experienced local real estate agent. The agents from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties are ideally positioned to help you purchase the home of your dreams at a great price. Contact us today.

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4 Reasons Buyers Should Always Use Local Real Estate Websites

Local real estate agents’ websites give you access to better listing information

4 Reasons Buyers Should Always Use Local Real Estate Websites

These days, almost all prospective home buyers start their searches online. While using popular national real estate sites like Trulia and Zillow may be a convenient way to get an initial impression of what’s available, the moment you get serious about buying a home you need to switch to a local real estate website such as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Here’s why.

You Won’t Miss New Listings

When a new home in your local area gets listed, it will appear on the local MLS in minutes. If you’re browsing on a local real estate website, you’ll be able to pounce on new listings. But if you’re browsing on a national site, you may have to wait up to 9 days for new listings to appear. This delay can result in you losing out to other buyers who may be able to see the property and make an offer before it even appears in your search results.

You Won’t Fall in Love with Sold Listings

Because national real estate websites are slow to update, homes often appear as available when in reality they are pending, sold, or otherwise off the market. If you depend on a national website, you risk wasting time and emotional energy considering homes that you can’t actually buy. Local real estate websites are updated from the local MLS within minutes so you don’t have to worry about this problem.

You’ll Get Accurate Home Value Information

Zillow in particular is known for its “Zestimate” feature, which uses algorithms to predict the value of a given listing. The idea is for buyers to compare the list price to the Zestimate to see if they are getting a good deal. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. There are many complicated factors that affect home value. Rather than relying on an automated tool that can be misleading, you should work with a local real estate agent who can find appropriate comps for the specific property you are considering.

You Can Work with a Local Expert

On websites like Trulia and Zillow, paid ads for real estate agents are placed prominently on listings in a way that makes it easy to mistake those advertisers for the listing agent. If you rely on these websites to find your real estate agent, you could easily end up working with someone who knows next to nothing about the specific property and neighborhood you are interested in. When you start your search on a local real estate website, on the other hand, you know that anyone you contact from that website will be a local expert who can provide you with the best insight into the cities and neighborhoods where you want to buy.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are ready to start shopping for your new home, feel free to download our mobile app. If you see something you like or you would like help, please contact one of our experienced local real estate agents today.

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Top 10 Tips to Help Your Home Sell Faster

Follow some or all of these real estate agent-approved tips for a faster home sale

Top 10 Tips to Help Your Home Sell Faster

Selling a home is a big, often emotional decision. The last thing you want is for the process to drag on for months, leaving you in suspense as you wait for the right buyer. Here are 10 proven tips that will help position your home to sell ASAP.

First Impressions Start at the Curb

You need to capture buyers’ attention and interest with excellent curb appeal from the moment they pull up in front of your home. Otherwise, it won’t matter how nice your home looks inside—you’ll never get buyers through the door to find out. Make sure the exterior of your home is in good repair and your landscaping is neat and tidy.

Always Be Ready to Show

Since you never know when a buyer will want to see your home, you need to keep it show-ready at all times. Be especially careful to keep the kitchen and bathrooms sparkling.

Lighting Matters

After location—which of course you can’t change—lighting is one of the most important factors for making a home appealing. If your home has a lot of natural light, be sure to leave blinds and curtains open to show it off. Consider upgrading your light fixtures to help make dark spaces seem more open and appealing.

Showcase Your Kitchen

Buyers want to see clean, updated kitchens with all the amenities. If your cabinets look old or dated, you can repaint them and replace the hardware. Use neutral colors so buyers can project their own style onto your kitchen. If you have some spare cash, consider replacing old or dated countertops and installing at least one new appliance.

Focus on the Details

You may not have the time or money for a big makeover before you sell. However, there are plenty of small, quick projects you can do that will pay off. Consider repainting the walls, cleaning carpets and curtains, cleaning or replacing grout, and making sure all doors and doorknobs work properly.

Depersonalize

Potential buyers aren’t interested in seeing your stuff. They want to imagine their own stuff in your home. The fewer personal items you have in your home, the easier it will be for buyers to do this. The typical rule of thumb is to remove about a third of your personal belongings.

Declutter

Clutter makes spaces look smaller. It is especially important to clean out your closets and storage areas so they will look nice and spacious to potential buyers.

Hide the Pets

Buyers don’t want to see pet food bowls, litter boxes, or clumps of pet hair when they view a listing. If possible, have your pets stay with a friend or relative or even at a kennel while your home is on the market.

Hire the Right Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent is essential for a fast sale. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, we excel in both digital and traditional marketing methods that can help generate attention for your home and position it to sell quickly.

Pick the Right List Price

Your agent will help you set an appropriate list price for your home, based on comparable properties in your local area. While you don’t want to price your house too low, you also want to avoid pricing it too high. You do not want your house sitting on the market too long. Buyers will start to wonder what’s wrong with it, and when it does sell, it will bring a lower price.

Ready to Get Started?

If you’re considering putting your home on the market, do not hesitate to contact us. Our agents will be happy to help.

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Introducing the Technology Powering Our New Website

Get better information and better results on our newly revamped website

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties has recently updated our website and our agents’ websites with powerful new tools that will improve our ability to serve buyers and sellers. We are dedicated to helping all our clients find the right property at the best possible price, and our new websites support this goal.

Key Features and Benefits

Organic MLS RETS Integration: Our website pulls listing information from the MLS and integrates it with our own agents’ listings using a process that ensures accuracy and helps all BHHS California Properties websites rank higher in search results. This not only ensures buyers have the most up to date information when house-hunting, but also helps us with marketing efforts for our sellers.

Search Engine Optimization: With the capability to generate Search Engine Friendly URLs, our website helps listings rank better on Google and other search engines. Facebook and Twitter Meta tags are also supported for sharing listings on social media, all of which helps our listings get better exposure for marketing purposes.

Robust MLS Search Features: With robust search features, users can drill down into the listings to search by state, city, zip code, and neighborhood, and then sort the results by price, listing date, number of bedrooms, etc. There are many options for displaying the search results, including map view powered by Google maps. Searching in map view is also supported.

Mobile Capability: In addition to a sleek, user-friendly interface for desktops and laptops, we can provide the same feature-rich experience on tablets and smartphones with our mobile app for Android or iPhone.

Featured Listings Display: Each BHHS California Properties agent can customize the featured listings on their site to include properties within their specific local area of expertise, making it easy for prospective buyers to see the best local listings.

Check back soon for more blog posts

We hope you’ll enjoy exploring this new, user-friendly site. We’ve made an effort to provide comprehensive information about our services and areas of expertise here, but should you have any questions please feel free to contact us at 310-373-0021. Our expert staff is always happy to assist in whatever way we can.

Please check back here a few times per month for timely and informative blog posts on a variety of topics that may be of interest to you. You can expect to see an intriguing collection of articles developing here, from how-to posts to lists of tips & tricks to more in-depth articles that will give you a better understanding of our business & service areas.

Are You Ready to Buy or Sell?

If you are considering buying or selling a property anywhere in the greater South Bay area, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is here to help. All of our agents uphold the highest level of professionalism with one goal in mind: to see you through your real estate transaction as quickly and successfully as possible. We have an excellent track record of success and a strong reputation for integrity, service, and the best digital marketing in the industry. Contact one of our agents to learn more.

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Top Ten Tips to Sell Your Home

Spring is just around the corner and the real estate market, along with the temperature outside, is going to be heating up. If you are planning on selling your home this spring, we’re going to outline some steps you can take to be successful.

Here are top ten tips to lure more buyers in and sell your home at the highest price possible:

  1. Hire a Real Estate professional. If you need to sell your home fast, you need a professional that knows exactly how to do that. A Real Estate agent can help you assess what your home and your listing needs to stand out on the market.
  2. Price it right from the start. Sellers often think that they should start the asking price high and then lower it later if the house fails to sell. But that can result in a slower sale and sometimes even at a lower price. Hiring an full-time real estate professional will help you price your home accordingly and get you the most money for your house.
  3. Enhance your home’s curb appeal. This could mean planting some flowers, adding new sod, or painting the front door. You only get one chance at a first impression so make sure that when a potential buyer pulls up to your home, the first impression is a lasting one.
  4. Update the interior and exterior. There are a couple easy and cheap ways you can tidy up the exterior and interior of your home. Replacing fixtures and a coat of fresh paint will do the trick.
  5. Clean and declutter your home. The fewer things there are in the home will make it appear larger. Remove excess furniture and family knickknacks. Religious or political posters or items should also be removed. You want the buyer to be able to envision their furniture and decorations in the home and taking these small steps will help them do that.
  6. Stage your home. Homes that are professionally staged sell faster and for more money than homes that are not. Arrange furniture in a way that promotes a good flow when showing the home. A professional stager can be a great resource to help sell your home quickly.
  7. Make the property easy to show. The more flexible you are about visits and showing the home, the more people will be able to see your home. Be ready for potential buyers early in the morning, at night, or on weekends.
  8. Remove your pets. Also remove any pet-related items like dog dishes and cat litter boxes. A potential buyer shouldn’t know that a pets lives in the home.
  9. Make sure your home will be listed on all major online portals. Make sure your home is going to show up on Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com, Facebook, and your agent’s website. This is a part of our service to you as your real estate professional.
  10. Make sure the listing has good, professional photos. Most home buyers start their search online and decide which homes they want to go see based on the photos of the homes. This is your chance to showcase your home with good quality photos.

Ready to sell? Contact us today.

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Elite Circle Award

Named One Of The Top 50 Companies In The Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Network

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties was recognized with the Berkshire Elite Circle Award as one of the Top 50 companies in the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.

The company was recognized during a special awards ceremonies at Sales Convention 2018, held in San Antonio, Texas, March 4-7. Real estate professionals from the across North America attended the annual business and educational event.

“We are proud to have received this honor and be recognized along side some of North America’s most prestigious real estate brokerages. Our company is committed to service excellence and client satisfaction, as well as being innovators in our industry,” said Bruce Short, Broker/Owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties became a member of the network in 2014 and was founded in January, 1975. In its 43 year existence, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties has earned a host of top company awards including the Gibraltar and Elite Circle Award every year for the last ten years.

The goal of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is to build and maintain a company with a solid reputation for the highest standards of trust, integrity, professionalism, performance and cooperation in the real estate industry. BHHS California Properties seeks to provide an atmosphere that attracts and retains the South Bay’s finest agents, who hold these standards in high regard, with their clients’ best interest in mind. By providing our agents with the best possible work environment, the client can expect optimum service that is efficient and reliable.

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JD Power Award

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate brokerage network ranked “Highest Overall Satisfaction for Repeat Home Sellers Among National Full Service Real Estate Firms” in the J.D. Power 2017 Home Buyer/Seller Satisfaction Study℠.

The 10th annual study measured customer satisfaction among the nation’s largest real estate brokerage companies and their agents through March and April. Overall satisfaction was gauged across five factors of the real estate process: agent/salesperson, closing process, real estate company marketing, real estate company office, and package of additional services. The study was based on responses from 4,170 consumers.

Among repeat home sellers, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices scored 858 on a 1,000-point scale, performing particularly well in the categories agent/sales person, closing process and real estate company marketing.

“Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices stands for top-quality real estate representation in markets across America,” said Gino Blefari, CEO and president of the network. “We’re proud to accept this award, as it spotlights the exemplary service network agents and their brokerages provide every day.”

The ranking, “highest for repeat home seller satisfaction,” speaks volumes, Blefari added. “Repeat home sellers have been through the real estate process before and have a clear understanding of the work and expertise involved in a successful home sale,” he explained. “This type of satisfaction means Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network agents are excelling when it comes to communicating with clients and listing and marketing clients’ homes. That’s the ‘heavy lifting’ of real estate.”

“The team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties works hard to exceed the expectations of its clients – sellers and buyers alike,” explained Bruce Short, President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. “In today’s market, clients need the expertise of top real estate professionals,” Short said. “Through our local-market expertise, brand strength and processes, we provide award-winning service as we help people achieve their real estate goals and dreams.”

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