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Are You Considering Buying a House? Avoid These 6 Home Buying Surprises

Are You Considering Buying a House? Avoid These 6 Home Buying Surprises

There are few things in life as exciting as buying a home for the first time. That said, without the proper help and research, you could end up making an expensive mistake. Check out these six home buying surprises you don’t want to wake up to and learn how to avoid them. Then reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 to speak with an experienced real estate agent.

  1. Avoid noisy neighbors
  2. Imagine moving into your new home and finding on the first day that your neighbors have a dog that barks all day long. While there are steps you could take, such as calling in a noise complaint or animal control, you would likely have wished you knew ahead of time. This is why it can be a good idea to talk to your potential future neighbors to find out what it’s really like where you’re considering moving.

  3. Find out if a new development is going in
  4. When you buy a home, you may not be thinking years in to the future. Consider not just what it is like now, but if a new development is likely to go up. For example, if you live in an established neighborhood then it is unlikely that a significant change will occur. If you are moving into an up and coming neighborhood, consider that a new development could change the landscape of where you live.

  5. Make sure you are prepared for the traffic
  6. Of course you drove around the home and the neighborhood but what time did you do so? If you were there on a Tuesday at two in the afternoon, then you may not have gotten a good idea of what parking is like, what traffic is like, etc. Is there a school nearby? Then your morning commute could be complicated. Practice your drive to and from work before you put an offer in on the home.

  7. You do not want to discover a serious issue
  8. If you are buying a home that’s more than a decade old then you can count on there being some minor issues, such as a toilet that needs adjusting. However, you do not want to be surprised with things like cracked foundations or rusty pipes. Avoid these by working with the home inspector your agent suggests.

  9. You can’t afford your mortgage
  10. Just because the bank will loan you a certain mount doesn’t mean you need that much. Consider all the costs into consideration, such as homeowner’s insurance, utilities, HOA fees, etc.

  11. You paid more than you needed to
  12. There are many things that could lead you to believe that the home you are interested in is a hot commodity and you should put in a full-price offer. Do not do this without talking to your agent. The good news about working with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is that we have the experience and knowledge to give you the advice you need on when to put in an offer and how to do so. Call us today at 310-373-0021 to learn more.

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Consider These 5 Factors When Renovating and Staging Your Home for Sale

Consider These 5 Factors When Renovating and Staging Your Home for Sale

If you are planning to sell your home then you may be considering renovating it or staging it. Either way, it is important that you keep potential buyers in mind. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties we can give you specific tips for your particular home in order to find the best possible outcome for you. In the meantime, you can read on to learn about five of the factors we suggest you consider. Then contact us at 310-373-0021 or

  1. Pastels may work better than you think
  2. For many years, pastel colors have been considered part of a bygone era of décor. It may be difficult to believe, but studies have shown that subtly pastel colors like pale yellow, peach, and greens can actually help sell a home. They make a buyer feel softer and more emotionally bound to a property. That said, do not paint your walls and buy furniture in these colors. Instead, consider adding touches of pastels to window coverings, accessories, and the like.

  3. Use wood and natural components
  4. Natural wood has been popular for centuries and the trend does not seem to be abating. Consider staging your home with craftsman furniture or reclaimed wooden pieces. Not only is wood popular for buyers but they can help make a home feel custom. After all, if you have mass-produced furniture then your potential buyers are much more likely to consider that your entire home is full of mass produced fixtures.

  5. You cannot go wrong with eco-friendly additions
  6. As one of the leading home services companies in the area, we tell every potential seller the same thing: If you want to make any renovations, make them eco-friendly and sustainable. Not only do people want to be gentler to the environment, they want to reduce their utilities. What’s more, studies show that home buyers assume that a home that has green concepts is of higher quality than one that does not.

  7. Focus on the quality of appliances
  8. For years, stainless steel appliances have been the gold standard. This trend is starting to change but there is one problem: It is not yet clear what will be taking its place. The good news is that it really doesn’t matter. Buyers are much more concerned with the quality of an appliance than its appearance. If you’re going to upgrade appliances, choose options that are built to last.

  9. It’s all about your agent
  10. You can take on some of the work yourself but at the end of the day, remember that your agent is the one that works in this industry every day. We know what buyers are looking for and we know how and when to make your phone stand out.

If you are considering buying, or are ready to list today, then we encourage you to contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021. We provide unique opportunities for sellers to find the best value for their home.

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7 Home Pricing Mistakes We Can Help You Avoid

7 Home Pricing Mistakes We Can Help You Avoid

When you are selling a home in California there are many things you can do right and others you can do wrong. One of the first questions we are often asked is how to price a home in California. This is not a simple process for a person who does not have a real estate background. The truth is that the best way to properly price your home is to contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties and let us help you. Otherwise, read on to learn about seven of the most common home pricing mistakes.

  1. Basing your price on a home that hasn’t sold
  2. It is common for people to look up other homes in their area and base their price on that. Note that this can be a huge mistake because these houses have not yet sold. A person can list a home at any price they would like – that does not mean that they have priced it to sell. You want to look at homes that have sold so that you know what buyers are actually willing to pay – not what sellers wish they would pay.

  3. Only looking at historical sales
  4. Yes, you want to look at homes that have sold but that’s not all you want to look at. Especially in California, the market changes very quickly. Do not price your luxury home based on how much similar homes were selling for two years ago.

  5. Overvaluing improvements
  6. The fact that you put a certain amount of money into an improvement does not mean that you can expect to get that exact amount out of it when you sell your home. In some cases, depending on the supposed improvement, it could result in a net loss on the price of your home.

  7. Assuming you will get full value for maintenance expenses
  8. Let’s say you spent $35,000 on your roof and $30,000 replacing your home’s sewer line. You should get that back in the price you sell your home for, right? Sometimes – but most of the time you will not. Generally speaking, maintenance items are not going to yield any return on your investment.

  9. Taking need into consideration
  10. The bottom line is that the market does not know or care how much net equity you need to purchase your next home. This cannot be taken into consideration when pricing your home.

  11. Using generic online tools to set a price
  12. There are many general real estate sites that offer estimates of every home’s value. The fact of the matter is that it does not know everything about your home and it does not take all the factors into consideration.

  13. Not being willing to make adjustments
  14. If you list your home at one price and then suddenly half a dozen other properties pop up for sale in your area, then you can expect that your price is either going to need to go down or you are going to have to wait to sell until there is more of a scarcity of available properties.

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6 Tips to Help You Sell Your Luxury Home Fast

6 Tips to Help You Sell Your Luxury Home Fast

If you are considering put your car up for sale then you likely want to sell it as quickly as possible. When it comes to luxury home sales, the rules can be complicated. If you are in the process of considering a sale then we urge you to read on to learn how you can see your home sell as quickly as possible.

  1. Work with the right representative
  2. The good news is that if you work with the agent, the work you will need to do will be minimal. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties we are not only experienced in general real estate sales but we specialize in luxury deals. We know how to list your home, how to get people in it, and how to sell it. If you are going to follow one tip in this list, make it this one: Call us now at 310-373-0021.

  3. Declutter your home
  4. The house is going to show much better if it is free from clutter. Your goal is to create a pleasing environment. In particular, make sure that you have hot zones clear, such as counters in the kitchen and bathroom, shelves in the laundry room, fireplace mantels, tabletops, etc. Remember too that buyers are likely to look in your closet. If it is overly stuffed then it will look as though it holds less.

  5. Consider your furniture arrangement
  6. Look at your furniture and the way it is laid out. Does it invite someone to sit and relax? Can potential buyers get through your home without bumping into anything? Get rid of bulky pieces into storage and move furniture away from the walls.

  7. Get your home as clean as possible
  8. Everyone knows to clean their home before a showing but you may not realize just how clean it should be. This is not your general tidying up. You should walk through the home thinking like a buyer and imagine what they are seeing. Look at ceiling fans, tile grout, window blinds, baseboards – all of it! And don’t forget the windows – you want as much light coming in as is possible.

  9. Stage your home
  10. You want buyers to be able to imagine themselves in your home. You do not necessarily need to rent a ton of furniture or pay an interior decorator. This can be as simple as setting up fresh flowers around the home and setting the table. Anything that can help represent a homey environment.

  11. Highlight the best features
  12. You know what the best features of your home are, whether it’s the garden out the back door, the high ceilings, or the flow. Do not assume that someone coming into your home for the first time will immediately notice these features. Find ways to accent them so that it is instantly clear what is great about your home.

These are just some of the tips that can help you get your luxury home sold quickly. To get started, reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 right away.

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How to Find the Best Luxury Real Estate Agent

How to Find the Best Luxury Real Estate Agent

Whether you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury property, you need more than just a real estate agent. You need someone who’s experienced in marketing, selling, and finding luxury properties. We can help you at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Read on to learn more about our luxury collection services and then contact us at 310-373-0021 to start the process.

The four steps to complete

In a nutshell, there are four steps you’ll complete when choosing a luxury real estate agent:

  1. Check their website and learn about their experience.
  2. Request referrals from past clients.
  3. Ask them if they specialize in luxury transactions.
  4. Have an interview with them to make sure that their values, approach to the job, and attention to detail are on par with your needs.

Special tip: Be a good client

As you’re looking to buy or sell a luxury home, it’s understandable that you might focus entirely on what the agent can bring to you. However, note that the best agents are often in high demand. Do what you can to be a good client as well. This means knowing what you want, knowing what you need, and being serious about moving on any homes you love.

Tips for buyers

You need a buyer who understands and appreciates your taste. This is especially true if you’re buying property in California but live in New York City, Hong Kong, etc. You need an agent who can look at potential homes and come to you with a curated, shortlist of properties that are worth flying in to view.

Tips for sellers

When you talk to a potential agent, ask to see marketing materials they’ve prepared for other similar properties. Some agents do more than others. Some have top notch marketing teams, the latest tools, and innovative materials. Some know your neighborhood and can easily offer comparables so you can get a realistic idea of how to price your home. In short, though a wonderful house is easier to sell than one that’s less impressive, even the best house on the planet needs a dedicated, hardworking, experienced agent to get you the best price for your home.

How to gauge a luxury real estate agent

If you’ve never worked with a luxury real estate agent then you likely aren’t sure what to look for. First, look for an agent with a history of sales in the price range your home is in. Look for an agent who has worked in your city for many years. Finally, look for an agent that has a global reach too, so they can increase the number of potential buyers or sellers.

No matter what type of home you’re looking to buy or sell, you can count on Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties to be there for you every step of the way. To get started, call us at 310-373-0021.

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The 4 Factors That Will Be Included in Your Free Home Value Report

The 4 Factors That Will Be Included in Your Free Home Value Report

When a homeowner decides to sell their home, one of the first things they want to know is how much their home is worth. The truth is that the value is found by looking at a number of factors. When you work with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, our experienced agents can give you an accurate idea of the value of your home. We’ll also provide a free home value report so you can see for yourself how the numbers add up.

  1. We’ll start with our ProValue Estimate
  2. Lenders across the country create estimates of what a home is worth when they extend loans to potential buyers. Our ProValue Estimate is created using the same technology those lenders use. If you want a truly accurate estimate that’s not just a stab in the dark, then this is the estimate you’re looking for.

  3. A price history of your home
  4. We’ll also give you full details on the price history of your home. This includes the amount that your home was sold for when it was sold and how much the tax assessor believes your home is worth. In many areas throughout California, home prices are on the rise so this would be a starting point – not an accurate idea of what your home is worth today.

  5. Comparable sales in your neighborhood
  6. Next, we’ll look at similar homes in your neighborhood and what they sold for. If there aren’t any that are exact matches to the general square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, etc. then we’ll find the closest we can and discuss how we can adjust your home’s selling price accordingly. For example, if a home down the street had two fewer bathrooms than your home, then we’d look at the price it sold for but adjust yours upward to account for the extra bathrooms.

  7. A snapshot of your local market
  8. Finally, our free home value report will give you comprehensive details on sales prices within your ZIP code. This will include homes that sold in recent months, how much they sold for, how much the asking price was, and how long they were on the market. You can sit down with us to discuss these details and figure out a good place to position your home when you put it on the market.

Are you ready to learn more about how to price and sell your home?

The good news is that you are not alone in this process. By working with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, you will have seasoned experts on your side. We know these homes, we know these areas, and we know how to showcase every unique aspect of each home we work on. Are you ready to get your free home value report? Just contact us at 310-373-0021 or fill out our contact for online. We look forward to helping you get a fair price for your incredible home.

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The 5 Most Important Tips for Selling a Home in California

The 5 Most Important Tips for Selling a Home in California

When selling your home, most homeowners have two main goals: Selling their home as soon as possible and getting the best price they can. The best way to achieve both goals is to be educated on your home, the process of selling a home, and the best ways to maximize selling power. Your best bet is to contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties and let us help you directly. Otherwise, you can read on for five must-follow tips for selling your California home.

  1. Staging can make all the difference
  2. The way your home looks to buyers is essential – this is likely not news. However, many people don’t realize that staging should include not just the interior but also the exterior of their home. A home that’s freshly painted, has beautiful landscaping, and is otherwise well-tended from the outside is going to be much more attractive to buyers than a home that looks like the exterior could use a little work.

  3. Compete by improving your home’s condition
  4. Like it or not, you’ll be competing with other homes on the market. The best way to win in those competitions is to have your home as updated and free of needed repairs as possible. This includes taking care of minor nicks and scratches, doorknobs that aren’t working correctly, or handles that don’t look right. Homebuyers notice the little things and if your home is flawless, they’ll remember that too.

  5. You have to be realistic about pricing
  6. Home buyers in this day and age are extremely savvy. They know what comparable homes are selling for in your area. They know what type of work would need to be done on your home. They know what’s good about it and what’s bad about it. To ensure that your home is competitive, you’ll need your agent or broker to find sales prices of homes in your area that have sold in the last month. Then consider listing at 10-15% below that number. Why? Because homes that appear to be a great deal will get more people visiting them, and that can lead to multiple offers.

  7. Know who you’re competing with
  8. You must know what else is on the market and how your home compares to it. Your agent or broker will work directly with you to ensure you have all the relevant information about the price, type, and condition of homes that are currently selling. The truth is that a how that doesn’t get buyers looking at it isn’t going to sell. Make sure that your home is as convenient as possible to show.

  9. It’s worth it to work with the professionals
  10. If you’re like most people, then your home was the largest investment you’d made in your life. To ensure that the process of selling it goes as well as possible then you need an agent who understands the industry and can find the best methods for selling your home quickly at the best possible price. Contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 to get started.

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Don’t Buy Your First Home Until You’ve Read These 5 Tips

Don’t Buy Your First Home Until You’ve Read These 5 Tips

Buying your first home is one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. It’s also one of the more overwhelming things you’ll ever do. The good news is that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is here to help you through the process. Read on to get five must-know tips and then contact us at 310-373-0021 if you’re ready to start the process.

  1. Don’t go it alone
  2. If you’re like most people, your home is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. You want the transaction to go smoothly, which all starts with working with the right agent. You need someone with experience. You need someone you feel comfortable with and who listens to your needs. You need an agent that knows the area you’re buying in. You’ll find all this and more with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties.

  3. Get pre-approval
  4. Do you know what your budget is? Do you know what you can afford? You don’t want to make the mistake of looking for a home before you know what you can really afford. Who wants to find the perfect home, only to find that it’s actually out of your price range? Talk to a lender about the financing options. Once you’ve found the right lender to work with, have the paperwork processed so that when you find the right home, you’re ready to buy.

  5. Don’t make large purchases before you get approved for a mortgage loan
  6. When a lender looks at your loan application and determines how much home you can afford, they’re going to be looking at your debt-to-income ratio. They will look at your pre-tax income and determine how much is / should be spent on debt. This debt ratio is going to include student loans, car payments, current housing costs, credit cards, etc. If you take on more debt right before trying to get a mortgage loan, it could impact your ability to get approved for the amount you want.

  7. Sign up to get notified of new properties
  8. In order to make sure you’re making a decision that’s as informed as possible, you’ll want to start by looking at what’s available and how much it’s selling for. You can start now by looking at the active listings on your website. Once you’ve found a few you like, then you can save the searches that got you there. Then simply sign up for notifications of new listings that fit those search criteria. Remember that homes in this area can move fast – you want to be on top of any new inventory that becomes available.

  9. Have the potential new home inspected
  10. No one wants to buy a home that’s full of defects they were unaware of. To prevent this, have a licensed home inspector look at your potential new home. Note that their report doesn’t have to come back entirely clean, but if there are issues you’ll want to take them into consideration when deciding if you should make an offer and when deciding what that offer will be.

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Four Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Home Search

Advance preparation will help you get ready to pounce on your ideal home when you see it

Four Things You Should Do Before Starting Your Home Search

Are you considering purchasing a new home? You may be tempted to start exploring this idea by browsing for dream homes online. While this may give you a nice fuzzy feeling, it’s not the most practical way to proceed. In order for the home buying process to go as quickly, smoothly, and satisfyingly as possible, you need to be more methodical about it.

It’s especially important to be prepared well in advance of your hopeful purchase date, so that you can recognize and act on the perfect opportunity when you see it. Here are four things you should do to prepare yourself before you even start looking at listings.

Develop Your Vision

Spend some time articulating your vision for the ideal home for your family. At this point, you should focus on how you want the home to fit into your daily life, rather than what it looks like. Think about how long you want your commute to be, whether you want your kids to be able to walk to elementary school, whether you want to be near a park, etc. Also consider how your needs may change with time and how this could affect your ideal home. With your vision intact before you start your home search, you are less likely to fall in love with a property that isn’t really a good long-term fit.

Recruit Your Team

Your real estate agent and your mortgage broker will play a key role in helping you purchase your new home. So don’t make the selection of these professionals an afterthought! Instead, take the time to find a team you are really comfortable with. When choosing your real estate agent, be sure to look for someone with experience in the specific local market you want to buy in.

Check Your Credit

To avoid unpleasant surprises when you’re trying to get approved for a mortgage, it’s wise to check your credit before you start the mortgage application process. You may be surprised to discover errors on your credit report that are dragging your credit score down and preventing you from accessing the very best financing. You may also find that you need to pay down some outstanding bills in order to improve your credit. By being proactive about investigating your credit, you will give yourself time to correct any issues. You can get a free credit report from the website

Save Cash for Closing

Hopefully you already have some cash saved for your down payment. A good target might be 10 to 20 percent of your expected purchase price. However, there will be additional expenses to pay at closing, and you definitely don’t want to get caught short. Your mortgage broker can help you get a better idea of what these costs might be in your situation, so you can plan accordingly and make sure you have plenty of cash before you start your home search.

Ready to Start Your Home Search?

If you’re ready to start looking for a new home, contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties today. We have plenty of local market experts on staff.

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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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