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  • Buyer’s Inspections: Crucial To Buying A Home

    Posted on January 28th, 2017 acimetta No comments
    Home inspector pointing out a problem to a buyer's inspections.

    The home inspector points out a problem to the buyer during the inspection.

    You’ve just got an offer accepted on a home and now the hard work really begins. It’s time for your buyer’s inspections to determine if this really is the right home for you. It would be nice to depend on the seller for all this information. But the fact of the matter is, most sellers can’t recall everything that has happened in their home over the years. And quite often homeowners get used to the funny quirks of their house and don’t even notice them anymore. And sometimes sellers are not aware of issues that exist, and wouldn’t be able to disclose them anyway. Therefore, it’s crucial to hire the right inspectors to assess the home’s condition. Keep in mind, inspectors can’t always find everything. If the roof needs repair and it hasn’t rained in years, the inspector is probably not going to detect it. But if it rained recently and they can detect elevated moisture, then you are on track to discovering a potential needed repair.

    The First Step is a Home Inspection

    Buyer’s inspections run the gamut. I will provide you with a pretty comprehensive list below, but it’s always important to start with the general home inspection. The home inspector will give you an overview of the home and then indicate where there may be a need for additional inspections or experts. The home inspector will look at the foundation, roof, plumbing, electric, appliances, water fixtures, doors, windows, and general condition. They will report any discrepancies or issues that they see. The home inspector is a generalist however. If they think there is an issue with the roof or some  cracks in the walls look suspect, they will make a note of it and then recommend that you bring in a roofer or foundation inspector, respectively.
    When I am working with a buyer, the buyer’s inspections that I always recommend, at the bare minimum, are the home inspection, mold inspection, and termite inspection. As I stated above, the home inspector will give a good general overview of the home. A mold inspector will focus on moisture elevation, water leaks, and well… mold. The mold inspection is so crucial because leaks often occur that no one is aware of. Left unattended, water can lead to wood damage and mold which of course carries health concerns with it.

    The termite inspection is also a smart move. As the buyer, you want to know about any dry rot, wood damage, and termite infestation. It’s so much easier to tent a house for fumigation before you move in. Termite repairs, as all repairs, can be negotiated with the seller.

    If it’s an older home with mature trees, then I also suggest a sewer line inspection. Quite often tree branches penetrate the sewer line because they are searching for water. They can cause quite a bit of damage and can be costly.

    Best Practices for Your Buyer’s Inspections

    Schedule your buyer’s inspections on the same day with some overlap in time. You want to be able to speak with each inspector separately, but it’s also a great idea to have the inspectors at the property at the same time so they can share information. I find problem solving more effective when different experts can share their perspectives. Recently, I had a client who was buying a house in the Hollywood Rivieria in Torrance, CA. The inspectors detected a high level of moisture all along the base of an exterior wall within an enclosed patio. Each of the inspectors had a theory on where the moisture was coming from. There was no nearby plumbing and the crawl space underneath the house was dry. Getting to the bottom of this mystery was important in order for my clients to know if it was a singular incident or an ongoing problem that could prove to be expensive to correct. In this instance, we ended up bringing in a water intrusion specialist. He determined that the dark stains on the floor were probably from potted plants that had sat under the windows even before the patio was enclosed eons ago.

    Woman watering plants on patio splashing water on ground.

    Woman watering plants on her patio can accidentally cause elevated moisture and water damage to structure.

    These plants had probably been overwatered causing the dampness and elevated moisture. The deceased owner’s children confirmed this when they disclosed that their mother kept plants under the windows as long as they could remember – even when they were kids and the patio was an outside space.  They also mentioned that they had asked their mom’s aide to stop overwatering the plants only a few weeks prior. Mystery solved! My clients could move forward knowing that there wasn’t a moisture issue to contend with.

    Here is a partial list of buyer’s inspections for you to consider when buying your home: General Home Inspection, Wood Destroying Pest Inspection, Mold, Foundation, Sewer Line, Roof, Electrical, Plumbing, Lead Based Paint,  Methane Gas, Asbestos, Pool/Spa, Chimney, Square Footage, Permits, Boundaries, Soils, Radon Gas

    Not all inspections will apply to every property and some will only come up if there are red flags on the home inspection. But it’s a good idea to know what type of inspections are available and what information you want to gather when buying a home.

  • Redondo Beach / Area 151: Home Sales August 2013

    Posted on September 19th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    North Redondo Homes Sales August 2013

    Seventeen homes sold in August 2013 in Area 151 in North Redondo. This is 2 less than the number of homes sold in July, and 4 homes less than sold one year ago in August 2012. In most cases, it has continued to be a sellers’ market although buyers still have the advantage of buying homes at prices below the peak of the bubble and at low interest rates.

    New construction is still a good buy considering you can spend the same (and even more money, in some cases) and get a town home that is up to 7 years old. Most homes are still selling quickly… many within the first week. And this translates into offers coming in immediately followed by a couple of days of negotiations before an offer is accepted.

    One of the sales that really surprised me is 2144 Perry Ave. It’s a single family that had an addition. It does have a lot of square footage, but there is only a one car garage and it’s lacking in the quality department. this one sold for $1,115,000. This surprised me and many of my colleagues, but it showed that buyers are still feeling that desperation to get in the market and ultimately willing to pay a premium.

    Address Sq Ft. Lot Year B/B DOM Sold Price Original List Diff
    2219 Curtis Ave, #C * 1,060 7,499 1975 2/2 7 $464,000 $499,000 -7%
    1900 Voorhees Ave, #B * 1,471 1987 2/3 6 $553,000 $495,000 +12%
    2512 Gates Ave, #B * 1,610 7,526 1999 4/3 48 $667,500 $663,999 +.5%
    2811 Barkley Lane 1,064 5,872 1947 3/1 21 $669,000 $669,000
    2225 Mathews Ave, #C * 1,718 14,687 2000 3/3 8 $700,000 $649,000 +8%
    2223 Voorhees Ave, #B * 1,955 7,504 1981 3/3 8 $708,000 $700,000 +1%
    2415 Thomas Ave 1,590 6,550 1945 4/2 49 $722,150 $724,900 -.4%
    1918 Ruhland Ave, #B * 2,477 7,513 1987 3/3 0 $725,000 $725,000
    1921 Nelson Ave, #A * 2,054 7,480 1990 4/3 56 $750,000 $775,000 -3%
    2116 Plant Ave, #A * 2,050 6,655 1989 3/3 5 $817,500 $799,000 +2%
    2205 Nelson Ave, #B * 2,387 7,495 1986 3/3 34 $820,000 $769,000 +6.5%
    1913 Nelson Ave 2,180 1959 4/3 49 $828,000 $859,000 -3.5%
    2003 Curtis Ave, #A * 2,085 7,501 1990 4/3 9 $830,000 $779,000 +6.5%
    1914 Ernest Ave, #A * 2,300 7,500 2004 4/3 1 $910,000 $910,000
    2109 Plant Ave, #B * 2,357 7,504 2006 4/3 11 $930,000 $929,000
    2021 Gates Ave, #B * 2,508 7,481 2013 4/4 1 $959,000 $959,000
    2204 Plant Ave, #A * 2,500 6,645 2007 4/3 6 $959,900 $959,900
    2144 Perry Ave 3,134 7,509 1947 5/4 14 $1,115,000 $1,150,000 -3%

  • Reat Estate Statistics

    Posted on June 15th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    Here are some recent facts pertaining to the real estate market:

    1. In May, 40% of Americans said it was a good time to sell a home, up from 30% in April and 16% a year before, according to a survey from mortgage giant Fannie Mae.

    2. U.S. home prices jumped 12.1% in April year-over-year, marking the 14th consecutive month of gains, market researcher CoreLogic says.

    3. Nationwide, the supply of homes for sale in April was up 4% from January, when adjusted for seasonal patterns, says Jed Kolko, chief economist for real estate website Trulia.

    To see the full article go to http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/06/10/americans-home-selling-fannie-mae-survey/2409835/.

     

    Because prices have started to rise, and in some cities at a quick pace, sellers are starting to feel that this is a good time to sell. If we start to get more inventory, we may see a more balanced market and prices could slow down. Until then buyers will continue to push prices up as they compete for properties.

    In Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, we can see prices increase from one week to the next. As each property is sold, a new bottom is set. Buyers who consistently  miss out on properties to stronger bidders learn that they have to be overly aggressive in order to get their offer accepted. Buyers are coming in with all cash, large down payments, and they are offering well over the asking price. Appraisals are being waived. Contingency periods are being shortened. The one thing that can slow this down right now (all things being equal) is an increase in inventory.

     

  • My Favorite New Listing in Redondo Beach

    Posted on June 6th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    The landing on the second floor is transformed into a comfy family room and children’s playroom.

    A lovely, intimate setting is created with a simple pergola (overhead lattice) and a few drapes.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had Brokers’ Open today in Redondo Beach. There were a decent amount of things to see! Such good news when we have so many buyers competing for properties. My favorite listing of the day was 2018 Voorhees Avenue in North Redondo. It’s a 2006 built 4 bed/3.5 bath detached town home. It has beautiful details throughout. There is a family room at the top of the stairs (which makes all the bedrooms slightly smaller, but with the 2400 sq. feet the rooms still feel spacious). There are also 2  bathrooms in the hall at the top of the stairs which is unusual for this floor plan. The master bathroom is well laid out. There is a fireplace in the master and in the living room. And the backyard has a lovely patio with a pergola that creates an intimate, inviting space for entertaining. This property is listed at $899,000 and should move pretty quickly.

  • The Redondo Beach Market Continues to Rise

    Posted on March 5th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    Prices continue to go up in Redondo Beach. Case in point, 1625 Morgan Lane came on the market last week (brokered by KW). This is a 3 bedroom Tall & Skinny in the Golden Hills, close to Jefferson Elementary. It has been nicely remodeled. The kitchen has been redone, There are hardwood floors downstaris. And unlike most Tall & Skinnys, all the bedrooms are upstairs which is a huge selling point. The bathrooms were not remodeled, but are very clean. The biggest down side, in my opinion is that the living space (on the first floor) does not get much light. Anyway, it was priced at $759,000. In a few days, the seller had amassed 16 offers, going well over asking. I can reveal the final price once the property closes. This home is ultimately going to sell for more than it may even appraise at. However, the winning bidder may have removed the appraisal contingecny, eliminating this issue altogether.

    A few more examples are:

    1641 Ford Ave: Listed at $699,000. Sold at $720,000

    1517 Stanford Ave: Listed at $739,000. Sold at $769,000. This was my listing. I had 4 offers and the winning bidder was all cash, no appraisal contingency.

    1503 Stanford Ave: Listed at $759,000. Sold at $7990,000

    1610 Van Horne Lane: Listed at $825,000. Sold at $840,000.

    Buyers are being aggressive. If inventory continues to remain low, this marke could continue to rise. The question is are we creating another bubble?

  • Real Estate Advice: What can I do to close on time?

    Posted on February 9th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    This is a great question. So often closings are delayed and although we can’t control everything, there are definitely certain things a buyer can do that will help the process move forward as smoothly as possible.

    First, the loan itself can be a challenge. You have not given your lender much time to get the loan done. Much of the timing is going to depend on the bank’s timeframe. You should ask your lender how quickly they can fund the loan if all goes well.

    Second, in order for your lender to get their action items done on time, they will depend on you to get the paperwork they need. So anything they ask of you, try to get it back to the lender the same day, if possible.
    Here’s a tip: find out who in your company will provide the lender with your employment verification. Give this person/department the heads up that your lender will be contacting them. This will happen toward the end of the transaction. I’ve had quite a few clients lose days on the loan, because the lender could not get employment verification quickly.

    Third, get your appraisal ordered right away. The lender will do this for you, but they often need your go ahead, and your credit card, so they can order the appraisal. Have your agent follow up on the appraisal and make sure it gets scheduled, etc. Appraisals can be another time-suck. Sometimes, the appraisal order gets lost in the shuffle, or the appraiser can’t schedule the appointment for a few days, etc. You want to have your agent stay on top of this.

    Fourth, schedule all your inspections as soon as possible and negotiate any repairs immediately after you have done all your due diligence. You never know what an inspection is going to uncover, and it may lead you to additional inspections or bringing in an expert on something. You want to make sure you have the time to do all this.

    Fifth, make sure you start working on your homeowner’s insurance.The lender will require proof of insurance before they fund your loan. Don’t leave this to the last minute. Do your insurance shopping. Let escrow know who you will be using for insurance. Escrow will order it for your and you will pay for your first year’s premium in your closing costs.

    Sixth. make sure all your funds are in order. If you need to move money from accounts or take money out of retirement accounts, etc, this takes time. Don’t leave it to the last minute. Also, find out what your bank’s process/timing is for wiring money.

    Lastly, just make sure you don’t quit your job or buy a car or any other expensive items before you close on your new home. This may sound silly, but I’ve heard so many stories where the buyer did one of these things, and ultimately they couldn’t get the loan. Just make sure you consult your lender before you do anything that may adjust your financial situation.

    I always like to tell my clients that a close date is kind of like a pregnancy due date. It may happen on the scheduled date; it could be a day early; it could be a few days late. It’s an estimate. But as you can see there are many things you can do to help close on time.

  • Real Estate Advice: Buying an Upleg

    Posted on February 7th, 2013 acimetta No comments

    If both the homes are in nearby neighborhoods and you can find an agent who has a strong knowledge of both markets, then yes, you should absolutely use the same agent. Working with one agent will make it much easier to coordinate the process especially since you have to sell your home in order to get the money to buy a new one. There are a lot of details to consider and it’s much easier if one agent is managing everything so that nothing falls through the cracks.

    Now, the type of market you’re in will determine the best way to approach your sale and purchase. And what I mean by this is that if you’re in a seller’s market where there is low inventory and high demand (buyers competing over properties) then you may have a tough time getting your offer accepted if it’s contingent on selling your home. The seller will compare your offer to another offer that is not contingent; it will be an easy decision because the other buyer promises an easier transaction with fewer potential hurdles and hangups. On the other hand, if buyers are in control in your local market – there’s a lot of inventory, and little demand – then a seller may be more willing to accept your contingent offer and patiently wait while you get your house on the market and sell it.

    Since you have already identified your upleg (new home purchase), you should at least get your house on the market quickly, and make an offer on the other home. Have your agent explain to the listing agent that you are aggressively marketing your home to find a buyer. You should build into your contract a timeframe that allows you to market your home while the seller of your upleg pulls their property off the market. I normally have my clients ask for 30 days. This means that you would have 30 days to market your home and get a buyer. Then ideally, the escrow period (this is what we call it in California) for both properties will run concurrently and you can close the sale of your home one day before the sale of your new home. (This may differ a little bit in your state depending on your closing process.)

    If the seller does not accept your offer and you still want to move (and you are in a seller’s market), then I would get your house on the market and sell your house contingent on you finding a new upleg.