UNRAVELING THE MYSTERIES BEHIND STAGING

If you’ve never seen the work of professional stagers—those magical designer/decorators charged with making your house more marketable—prepare to be mystified, enthralled, and maybe a bit scared. Did we say “scared”? Prepping your home for getting the best offer possible means removing every shred of your personality from rooms, walls, floors, and ceilings so that potential buyers can imagine themselves in your place. Stagers favor neutral walls, simple layouts, and minimal artwork. (No purple living rooms or gallery wall allowed!) “There’s a big difference between designing for someone’s tastes and remerchandizing a home to appeal to as many people as possible,” says Kathy Burke of Sensational Home Staging in Danville, CA. Getting it right is a critical and enigmatic art. Don’t panic! We got some stagers to reveal their secrets to help you navigate the process. Click here to read more.                                   Continue reading

5 REASONS TO HIRE A REAL ESTATE AGENT TO SELL YOUR HOME

It’s natural to focus on maximizing profit when it’s time to list your home for sale, and selling your home yourself may seem like the easiest tactic. But in reality, the dollars you save on commissions are often a wash when you consider the higher sales price an experienced agent — with pricing expertise, negotiating skills, and market access — can bring to the table. Statistically, a home on the market listed “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) takes longer to sell (and eventually sells for less) than its real estate pro–represented counterparts. Here are five reasons to reserve the DIY approach for small home repairs and to think about hiring a real estate agent to sell your home. Click here to read more.                                   Continue reading

GOOD NEWS: CALIFORNIA RANKS IN THE TOP FIVE OF THE MOST STABLE HOUSING MARKETS IN THE US

MCLEAN, VA--(Marketwired - Sep 23, 2015) - Freddie Mac (OTCQB: FMCC) today released its updated Multi-Indicator Market Index® (MiMi®) showing the U.S. housing market continuing to slowly stabilize with one additional state, Rhode Island, and four additional metro areas entering their outer range of stable housing activity: Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albany, New York.  The national MiMi value stands at 81, indicating a housing market that is on its outer range of stable housing activity, while showing an improvement of +0.93% from June to July and a three-month improvement of +2.99%. On a year-over-year basis, the national MiMi value has improved +6.17%. Since its all-time low in October 2010, the national MiMi has rebounded 37%, but remains significantly off from its high of 121.7.  Click here to read more.                                   Continue reading

WHICH CITY IN LA COUNTY SHOWED THE STRONGEST GROWTH IN REAL ESTATE VALUES LAST YEAR?

The assessed value of properties in Los Angeles County jumped by 6.13 percent over the past year, marking the fifth consecutive annual increase, according to figures released Monday by the assessor’s office. This year’s roll put property valuation in the county at $1.26 trillion, an increase of $73.1 billion over the last year. Residential real estate sales were the largest contributors to the year- over-year increase, representing 3.09 percent of overall growth, according to the assessor’s report. The fastest growing among the county’s 88 cities last year were West Hollywood at 9.8 percent growth, Beverly Hills at 9.1 percent, Arcadia at 8.8 percent, Palmdale at 8.3 percent and Manhattan Beach at 8.1 percent. The total assessed value for the City of Los Angeles was $500.4 billion, which represents an increase of 7.2 percent over last year. Click here to read more.                                   Continue reading

BIG BUCKS: THE TOP SALES IN LOS ANGELS REAL ESTATE LAST WEEK

The storied home of veteran television writers, a Modernist design by Richard Neutra and an oceanfront contemporary in Malibu were among the most expensive residential real estate sales in the greater Los Angeles area last week. $21 million — Malibu In the 27000 block of Pacific Coast Highway, an oceanfront home on Paradise Cove beach sold after relisting in May for $24.95 million. It previously sold for $19.438 million in 2007. Designed by architect Steven Ehrlich and later remodeled by designer Michael Lee, the multilevel modern-style home boasts wide walls of tempered glass, four ocean-view bedrooms and an elevator. Click here to read more.                                   Continue reading

WHAT DO CALIFORNIA HOMEOWNERS REALLY THING ABOUT THE CURRENT REAL ESTATE MARKET?

Even with rising home prices over the past few years, many homeowners who have considered selling are deciding not to because they are caught in an affordability squeeze that is compounded by a lack of inventory, according to findings from the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “2015 Survey of California Homeowners.”More than one-third (35 percent) of homeowners have considered selling their home in the past year, and of that share, about two-thirds (64 percent) are reluctant to sell because they are finding they can’t afford the home they really want, the survey found. C.A.R.’s inaugural Survey of California Homeowners also found that more than half (59 percent) of homeowners have not seriously considered selling their home in the past year, with more than half (60 percent) saying their current home will be their retirement residence. For those who have been in their home 15 years or more, that figure rises to 70 percent who indicated they have not considered selling because their current residence will be their retirement home.  Click here to read more.                                 Continue reading

THE CALIFORNIA REPORT: AUGUST RESIDENTIAL REAL ESATE REVIEW

Following a hotter than usual summer of homes sales, California’s housing market cooled in August, but still posted higher year over year for the seventh straight month, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.) said today. Home sales remained above the 400,000 mark in August for the fifth consecutive month and rose to the highest level since October 2012. Closed escrow sales of existing, single-family detached homes in California totaled a seasonally adjusted annualized rate of 431,800 units in August, according to information collected by C.A.R. from more than 90 local REALTOR® associations and MLSs statewide. The statewide sales figure represents what would be the total number of homes sold during 2015 if sales maintained the August pace throughout the year.  It is adjusted to account for seasonal factors that typically influence home sales.  Click here to read more.                                 Continue reading

LEASE OPTIONS: A WIN FOR BUYERS AND SELLERS

A rent-to-own luxury home may help potential homeowners buy some time before it’s buying time. For potential jumbo-mortgage borrowers, a lease option gives future buyers the opportunity to save for a higher down payment or get a credit history in order, while locking in on their future purchase, says Linda Rheinberger, a broker with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Las Vegas. On their end, sellers typically agree to a lease option as a way to cover their mortgage payments or make additional income until the sales market improves, Ms. Rheinberger adds. Click here to read more.                                 Continue reading

THIS WEEK'S PRICIEST HOMES FOR SALE: DOES CELEBRITY LEGACY ADD TO THE ASKING PRICE?

The high-end housing market hasn’t been this entertaining to watch since the last upturn. Luxury homes are being bought for eye-popping prices with large amounts of cash, and apparently imagination is the only limit to amenities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in L.A.’s ultra-expensive celebrity-studded neighborhoods. – Lauren Beale and Neal J. Leitereg Actress Sela Ward's mansion in Bel-Air is as personalized as they come. Rebuilt into a French country estate during her 12 years there, the eight-acre spread has a miniature golf course, a pond with a beach and a stone-walled amphitheater built into a hillside. Asking price: $39.995 million. Click here to read more.                                   Continue reading

ARE SHAKY MARKETS SHAKING CONFIDENCE IN LUXURY REAL ESTATE?

For a while, it seemed like the luxury housing market was downright untouchable. “More properties than ever before were both sold and listed for sale at US $100 million or higher in 2014,” Christie’s International Real Estate reported. In many cases, it’s been easier to get a jumbo loan than a conventional mortgage in the postcrash real estate world. But wait … are the recent nosedives in the Chinese stock market—and the resulting roller-coaster ride experienced by U.S. stocks—finally making a dent in housing’s vaunted upper-end sector? “Wild swings in the U.S. stock market over the past few weeks have prompted many high-end home buyers across the country to rethink selling off assets to finance down payments, leading to canceled purchases, delayed closings and requests for price reductions,” the Wall Street Journal reported. Click here to read more.                                 Continue reading