3 Staging Tips from a California Property Staging Expert

3 Staging Tips from a California Property Staging Expert

A home that’s properly staged can make all the difference when a buyer is considering two options. If you want to sell your home for as much as possible and as quickly as possible, then staging should be part of your plan. Keep reading for three staging tips then read up on additional tips for sellers. Reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 for help from a leading real estate professional.

  1. Choose colors that appeal to the largest section of buyers
  2. If you have rooms in your home that are painted in bright, bold, or otherwise unique colors, then it may be worth an investment and a few hours of work to refocus the colors in your home. While you cannot please 100% of buyers, you can appeal to as many buyers as possible. We recommend neutral colors but it is important to understand that neutral does not need to mean boring.

    You can choose a white, off-white, or even gray color for your walls. Not only will it make a great impression to have colors that can work with any décor, but the fresh coat of paint will help your home look more recently remodeled and updated. Today’s buyers want move in ready homes and freshly painted walls in a neutral tone are a great way to give them that.

  3. Look for ways to maximize the home’s square footage
  4. When you want to sell a home for as much as possible, you want to highlight not just what is there but its potential. A buyer wants to be able to imagine themselves living in the home. They want to be able to envision their belongings in each room. If you have the home crammed with your own belongings, then it will look like your home and be harder for them to imagine as their own.

    When you reduce the amount of furniture in your home during showings, you are achieving a number of goals. First, the space will help make the home look larger. Second, you will be making it much easier for a potential buyer to tour your home and imagine themselves and their lives in it.

  5. It’s not all about the inside of your home
  6. The average person thinks of staging and thinks of the interior of the home. The reality is that curb appeal can be just as important if not more important than what is inside the home. Why? Because it is the first thing buyers will see when they pull up to your home. This doesn’t mean that you need to re-side your home or re-landscape it entirely. Just be sure that your yard is trim and cared for. Consider planting a few flowers to make the home look more attractive.

If you are looking for additional staging ideas then we recommend you contact Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021. We are here to help you sell your home as quickly as we can for the best price possible.

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4 Things to Look for When Choosing a California Real Estate Agent

4 Things to Look for When Choosing a California Real Estate Agent

As you search for the right real estate professional, there are many factors to consider. No matter if you are looking to sell a home or buy a home, working with the right agent is the best way to ensure you find the home or the buyer you need and that the transaction works in your favor. At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties we are standing by to help you with all your real estate needs. Contact us at 310-373-0021 to learn more, or read on for four tips on what to look for when choosing a California real estate agent.

  1. Choose an experienced real estate agent
  2. It is not rocket science to know that you want an experienced real estate agent. However, it is not enough to know that they have experience – you must consider how relevant that experience is. For example, if an agent has been absent from the market for twenty years and is just getting back into the industry, their experience is not going to be as relevant as an agent who is active.

    You should also find out if your agent works alone or for a team leader. If they are someone else’s employee then that is a good sign that they are not a leading agent. On the other hand, when you work with a person who handles their own listings from start to finish, you will be working with someone who is both experienced and motivated to provide you with the best possible result.

  3. Make sure they understand local real estate
  4. A real estate agent who is active in San Diego is not necessarily going to be the best person to choose if you want property in Los Angeles. The fact of the matter is that California has an ever-changing real estate market and it varies from city to city – and even sometimes from neighborhood to neighborhood. You want an agent who has personal experience with your specific market.

  5. Find out how they plan to proceed
  6. You want your agent to be clear with you on how they package offers, what level of documentation they include, how they will market your home, etc. You are looking for an agent who is professional, organized, and has a plan in mind. Simply sticking a “For Sale” sign in your front yard is not enough. After all, you could do that yourself.

  7. Work with an agent who will tell you the truth
  8. If you are buying a home, you want an agent who will not mislead you about how perfect a listing is, only to get there and find out that it is not as advertised. On the other hand, you do not want an agent who runs an open house and tells you it went better than it did. You want an agent who will give you the whole truth – whether good or bad.

If you are ready to get started with an experienced, local real estate professional who will be with you every step of the way, then we welcome your call to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021.

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Are You Buying a California Home? Keep Water Conservation in Mind

Are You Buying a California Home? Keep Water Conservation in Mind

Looking for the right home to buy in California has its difficulties. What is most important to you? What is a must-have and what is a want? How much can you really afford? What are your realistic financing options? These are just a few of the questions that are likely on your mind. The good news is that you have professionals to answer all your questions and walk you through the process.

At Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, one of the things we encourage our clients to consider is the landscaping and other water conservation issues. Read on to find out more about this topic. Then contact us at 310-373-0021 to get started.

There are eco-friendly landscaping options available to you

It wasn’t long ago that artificial turf was a joke in the real estate world. It looked bad, it was hard to keep clean, and it was not a realistic option. Those days are behind us, as quality artificial turf is now available. It looks and feels just like real grass and pets can even use it to do their business. It’s a great option to significantly reduce your water bill compared to a lawn you would need to water.

Consider solar water options

If the home you are buying has a pool, consider a solar pool heater. Look for other solar options like solar hot water heaters. Most homes in California can create a ton of solar power – so much so that it can be sold back to the state. There are also rebates available to make solar power a more affordable option to install after you move in. Just keep in mind that if you choose a shaded property, solar power will be difficult or impossible to use.

Look for low-flow, eco-friendly installations, and more

There are many water conservation additions that can be included in the home. For example, a low-flow shower head gives you the water pressure you want while using much less water. Today’s toilets generally have two settings, one for a low flush and one for a larger flush. Clothing washers should be high efficiency – the list can go on and on.

You don’t need to insist on all of these issues but you would be wise to consider them

If you go into the home-buying process with the idea that you must have a home that is already out fitted with the latest in water conservation measures, then you are likely to end up with very few options. On the other hand, if you are willing to make a few changes when you move in, then your pool from which to find the perfect house will be much larger.

When you work with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties, just let us know that environmental factors are a priority. We can look for homes that already have these fixtures installed but we can also look for homes in which it would be easy to make the conversion. Contact us at 310-373-0021 now for more information.

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Should You Remodel Before Listing Your Home for Sale? Consider the Best Returns on Investment

Should You Remodel Before Listing Your Home for Sale? Consider the Best Returns on Investment

It is clear that if a homeowner wants to get the best possible price when selling their home then a well-timed remodel can be a great idea – but not always. We are looking at details from the National Association of Realtors and the results of their exhaustive survey. Read on to get details on which projects are the most profitable and may make sense for you. Then reach out to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties at 310-373-0021 for more tips for selling your home.

Kitchen upgrades are generally a good investment

For many modern families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. In most kitchens, a major renovation is not necessary. In fact, according to the NAR, small improvements to the kitchen can have a big effect on the bottom line and a great return on investment. On average, a small kitchen remodel yields a 12% higher profit margin when compared to a major renovation. Additionally, a smaller kitchen remodel that includes countertops, cabinets, and other functional matters averages a return of investment of 79%.

As a result, just refinishing the cabinets in your home, or adding new hardware can have a big impact. If you have a bigger budget then you can actually replace the cabinets themselves or perhaps replace the countertop with a newer, more popular material like quartz or granite. If you have an even larger budget, then you may want to consider adding new appliances. The goal as the seller is to make the kitchen feel as new as possible without doing a complete overhaul.

Upgrades to entryways / foyers can make a big difference

Consider that many potential buyers are going to make a decision within seconds of walking into your home. As a result, ensuring that your front door, entry way, and foyer impress them can pay off. You may add exterior trim for your front door. You can remodel an old tile entryway with newer, more affordable flooring types. Adding new lighting and fresh paint can make a big difference as well.

Bring floors into the current decade

Many flooring types last for decades which means they are often one of the last things to be updated. If you have flooring in your home that was in style 50 years ago then it is time to upgrade to something that’s in style today. There are so many affordable options, from tile to wood planks, and the right flooring makes a big difference. Many home buyers say they are willing to make minor changes to a home but want it to be mostly move-in ready – and those buyers do not consider flooring to be a minor change.

If you are not sure what updates make the most sense for your home, or you simply need help selling your home, then you will appreciate the help of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties. Contact our offices at 310-373-0021 or customerservice@bhhscp.com and we will get to work for you.

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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 customerservice@bhhscp.com.

  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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