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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 AnnualCreditReport.com.

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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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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