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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Yes, You Can Compete with an All Cash Offer When Buying a Home

Yes, You Can Compete with an All Cash Offer When Buying a Home

Finding the perfect home is a great feeling but losing that home to another buyer can be a shock to the system. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties we have represented home buyers who come from every background and have every type of situation. We often find that they assume if another buyer comes to the table with an all cash offer, that their options are limited. This is not always the case. Read on to learn how you can beat an all cash offer and then contact us at 310-373-0021 if you need representation.

Get written pre-approval from a major lender

Before you even begin the home buying process, and before you start looking seriously at homes for sale, get a formal, written pre-approval from a major lender. This allows you to move very quickly once you have found your home, and it also assures that you know what price point will work for you. If you have this paperwork in hand, and you are a qualified buyer, then you may be seen as just as good as an all cash buyer.

It’s all about timing

The main issue for sellers is that a cash buyer can close very quickly, while a loan will typically take an average of 45 days to close. However, there are loan products that can close much faster. In fact, some can close as quickly as 15 days. Once the property is in contract, underwriting then needs to review the offer. Appraisal and title report come next. Major lenders take longer, but some can get it done as quickly as 25 days. If the main reason that the seller wants to work with a cash buyer is timing, then look for ways to get the loan closed faster.

Show them that you’re serious

In some cases, it may be as simple as showing the seller how serious you are about their home. This means putting down the full 3% deposit up front in some cases. In other instances you could show them that you have accepted an offer on the home you’re selling. It can mean different things, but if you find a way to prove that you are serious then it may make a difference to the seller.

Take care of requirements

Depending on where you are purchasing the home, there may be requirements the seller is required to take care of. For example, the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District requires 1.28-gallon toilets, low-flow faucets, rain sensor, and low-flow showerheads. Instead of making the seller take on these changes, offer to do it yourself.

Get personal

You never know what is most motivating to a seller If there is a personal reason that you want the home, then it may be worth writing them a letter or talking to them about it. It could mean the difference between getting your dream home and losing it.

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The 5 Secrets to Home Buying that No One is Telling You

The 5 Secrets to Home Buying that No One is Telling You

If you are in the process of buying a home or are about to start then there are a few things you should know. You already know that there are dozens of reasons to hire the professionals to help you buy a home, but there are many more secrets to the home buying business than you may think. Read on to get some of the best home buying tips and then reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 to learn more about how we can help you.

  1.  Don’t buy anything significant for six months before you are buying a home
  2. If you are buying a home, and part of that process involves taking out a loan, then you should refrain from making any large purchases. If you do so, then you could end up taking a hit on your credit. Lenders want to see that you are responsible and having not made large purchases for months before the mortgage is one thing they will look for. Opening up new credit accounts, amassing too much debt, or buying expensive items can make it hard to get a loan.

  3. Make sure you get pre-approved
  4. We see it all the time: Buyers who believe that being pre-approved for the mortgage is the same thing as being pre-qualified. They are not identical. Pre-approval means that the lender has considered all relevant issues and approved your loan. They know how much you can afford, how much they will lend you, and what your mortgage payments will be. Being pre-qualified just means that the lender has looked at basic information and decided that it’s likely they would approve for some amount.

  5. You must have a survey done
  6. This is one of the most important tips you can get – get a survey done on the property you are buying so that you can be 100% sure of what you are buying. This can save you from future disputes with your neighbors. Remember too that your property tax is likely based partially on the size of your property. You don’t want to pay tax on land that is not yours, so having a survey done makes sense.

  7. Do not try to time the market
  8. Too often, buyers will obsess over getting into the market at the exact right time. The truth is that trying to figure out what will happen in a given month is impossible. The best time for you to buy a home is when the home you want is for sale and you can afford it. Yes, there are better times than others generally – like right now when interest rates are low – but waiting another month is likely to do nothing but make you miss out on the homes available today.

  9. Visit at every time of day before buying a home
  10. Most people look at a home only during regular business hours but you also want to know what the neighborhood is like at night, on the weekends, early in the morning, etc. You do not necessarily need to tour the home at these times, but just driving by can give you a good idea of how the atmosphere changes throughout the day.

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Learn How Our Seller Advantage Program Can Help You Get Top Dollar for Your Property

Learn How Our Seller Advantage Program Can Help You Get Top Dollar for Your PropertyAs you work to sell your California properties that are many factors to take into consideration. For some people, the most important thing is to sell the property as soon as possible. For others, they are comfortable leaving a property on the market longer if they get a higher price. No matter what your top goal is, one thing is certain: The more information you have the better decisions you can make. Read on to learn about our seller advantage program and then reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 to get started.

The more informed you are the better decision you will make

The math on this program is simple: When you get your listing in front of more people, the chances that you will sell your property quickly and for top dollar improves. We have one of the best strategies to ensure your property gets maximum exposure in your particular area. Our comprehensive strategy is our Seller Advantage. It offers an overview of your specific competitive selling landscape. This allows you to make accurate, strategic pricing decisions. The goal is always to maximize profit while decreasing the time needed to sell your home.

We provide a report on listing presentation

One of the things you will get from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties is a listing presentation report. This shows you how buyers are searching in your specific neighborhood for homes just like yours. When you know what others are searching for then you will know how to better market your home. For example, if you find that homes in your area are often searched for with criteria for gardens, then you can actively market your home as one with a garden. If you find that the biggest concern is the number of bedrooms then you can highlight an office space as a potential extra bedroom.

Our market activity report provides unique insights

Many people come to us because they are not quite ready to sell but they do want to know what the market in their neighborhood looks like. They may be making financial decisions that make the real value of their home relevant, or they may simply be curious. Either way, we can help. Our Market Activity Report shows you specific market updates including everything from new listings to info when the pricing changes to changes to the status of a home for sale. With this information, and the guidance you will find with our agents, you have a huge advantage over others selling homes in your area.

Are you ready to get started?

If you are ready to move forward then we are ready to work with you. Simply contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021. Let us know where you are, whether you are buying, selling, or both, and what your needs are. We are here to provide comprehensive assistance based on your unique situation. Contact us today – we are standing by!

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Is Now the Perfect Time to Invest in an Income Property?

Is Now the Perfect Time to Invest in an Income Property?

Investing in an income property can be a savvy financial decision. It’s a great way to bring in essentially passive income, and if you buy a newer property in good shape, you shouldn’t have to do much upkeep. There are a few reasons that now is a great time to invest in income property but there are also a few reasons that it may not be the best time. Keep reading to learn more about both sides of the equation.

Job growth, consumer confidence, and a strong market are good signs

As you consider investing in income property, you want to look at the local and national markets as a whole. The good news is that for several years the economic news has been good. There is once again growth in many sectors, and investors and developers are feeling confident about new ventures. On their end, consumers are more likely to make an investment today than they were ten years ago. These are all good signs for income property investment.

Higher rents mean more profit

Throughout most of California, rents are at an all-time high. This is even truer of multi-family properties. Depending on where you live throughout the area, other types of income properties like retail, office, and industrial may be on the rise too. Investing in a property that you could earn significant rent on could end up being one of the best investments you ever make.

Affordable interest rates are a good reason to invest in income property now

Interest rates have been at historic lows for a while now and experts do not expect this to continue indefinitely. While we do not know for sure when they will go up, we can say with reasonable certainty that they are indeed going to go up. As other companies start to get interested in income properties they are likely to jump on the band wagon and you want to get your interest rates locked in before that happens.

You need the right broker to find the right income property

The truth is that you need the right California Realtor to find the right income property. If you decide that now is the right time to invest in income property you can bet that others have made the same decision. As a result, the inventory can get low. This may lead some to become desperate and jump at any listing they see. This is never a good idea.

When you work with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties you can trust that we will use our long-term experience to keep an eye on the listings. As soon as something that fits your needs is available we will make you aware of it. We do not believe that you should settle for less than the perfect property. We also offer mobile resources that ensure you are always in the know about what is available. Reach out at 310-373-0021 to learn more.

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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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