Long Beach Development Plans

I was downtown the other day showing condos and noticed lots of new construction going on.  We’re getting new condos, hotels and business buildings as well as improvements to the Queen Mary and Aquarium of the Pacific.  This article summarizes what’s going on.  The Blue line is getting an update too. I hope there will be enough parking.




Looking at a half dozen homes?

Looking at a bunch of houses? With digital photography making it easy and inexpensive to record images, be sure to take a digital camera along, first taking a picture of the listing sheet so you can remember which pictures go with which home, and then key elements of each home.

Also, make a checklist before you visit the first house so that you can keep each of them straight. Here is a list of items you’ll want to include (rank each as either excellent, good, fair, needs repair soon, needs repair now).

  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom(s)
  • Roof
  • Windows
  • Furnace
  • Air conditioning
  • Floors (rate by each level of home)
  • Closet/storage space
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical (does it have 60, 100 or 200 amp service?)
  • Basement
  • Master bedroom
  • Siding
  • Garage

Then customize the list with your own “must haves,” for example, fireplace, master bath, walk-in closet, two (or three) car garage, dining room, open floor plan, eat-in kitchen, screened-in porch, large (or small) yard.

What am I looking forward to?

In an effort to be more mindful and to write more in my blog, I’m using journal prompts. So what am I most looking forward to? Right now? This week? Long term goals?

Let’s start with right now. It’s been a long day and I’m still getting over last week’s cold. I’m looking forward to home, dinner and bed. A long talk with my husband, which isn’t likely since I generously shared my cold with him. More immediately – eye drops. OK done. Getting older isn’t much fun and I’m not liking these chronic dry eyes.

This week I’ve got a couple of appointments with people who want to sell their homes. I enjoy my profession and helping my clients make the next step is always exciting. Plus – foolish me – I still fall in love with most of the homes I’m involved in selling so it’s fun imagining how I would live in this house.

On Sunday I get to sing. Any day I can sing is a good day as far as I’m concerned. Sunday morning there is church. The Greek Orthodox Divine Liturgy is sung. Although we mostly sing the same thing every week, I’m always finding new things in the text and melodies. Then in the afternoon I get to sing with Festival Singers of Orange County. We’re having a fun concert of songs celebrating life. I have a couple solos I need to work on including singing It’s a Small World in German. There’s a quick transition from 4/4 to ¾ that’s messing me up. Also, I need to be funny instead of just singing beautifully. That I can do on Let There Be Peace on Earth.

Hmmm, this is more than I thought at first thought. Think I’ll save some other the time frames for a different post

What is your house worth?

In a general sense, your property’s value

Want to see this sign in your yard?

will increase and decrease along with the overall economy and market conditions. No one has any control over that; it just depends on what the dollar is worth, on inflation, on the amount of unemployment here and in the rest of the country, etc.

Still, the specific value of your home only matters when you want to sell it or borrow against it. The rest of the time its value is just on paper, and the exact worth is anybody’s guess. In real dollars, your property is worth exactly what a buyer is willing to pay and what you are willing to accept at the time you sell it – not more and not less, not sooner and not later.

So realistically, no one can tell you, “I don’t care how much people are paying; it’s not worth that much!” If buyers ARE paying it, and lenders are supporting it, then it HAS to be worth that much. (And if they aren’t, it isn’t!) The other major factor affecting the value of a property is the reason for selling. Not a “stated” reason, mind you, but the seller’s actual reason. The stronger the reason, the more realistic the price and the more likely the sale. However, the weaker the reason, the higher the price and the less likely the sale.

What does this mean for you? Simply call or email and let me give you some realistic guidelines as they pertain to your own unique circumstances.

Why does a buyer’s agent require you to be pre-qualified before viewing homes for sale?

Begin Rant …

The other day a potential home buyer asked me to take them to view a home for sale.  Before setting the appointment I asked for a lender pre-qualification or proof of funds.  When he was offended, my red flags popped up.

When I take you into a home for sale, I’m vouching for you to both the other agent and their client the home seller that you are ready willing and able to buy this home if it suits your needs after viewing it.  How can I do that if I don’t know anything about you?

For that first step, I’m asking you to spend 10-15 minutes on the phone with a lender and produce some basic documentation including a picture ID.  If you don’t have a lender, I’ve got several that I’m happy to recommend.  Feel free to shop around several different lenders to choose the one who seems right for you.

Why is this so important?  There are obvious benefits to you that you can find articles about all over the web.  If you aren’t concerned why should I be?

Well – I’m concerned about my safety.  I’m concerned about the safety and security security of the home I’m allowing you access to you and about the safety and security of those homeowners.  I’m concerned about wasting the seller’s time, the listing agent’s time and my time.

A reputable lender will protect the privacy of your documents.  Once he reviews them I’m glad to take you out shopping for the home of your dreams.  But not until … so get qualified.

End Rant

Get Your House Ready to Show to Buyers

stagingA house that “sparkles” on the surface will sell faster than its shabby neighbor, even though both are structurally well maintained.

From experience, REALTORS® also know that a “well-polished” house appeals to more buyers and will sell faster and for a higher price. Additionally, buyers feel more comfortable purchasing a well-cared for home because if what they can see is well maintained, they assume that what they can’t see has probably also been well maintained. In readying your house for sale, consider:

  • how much should you spend to prepare your house for sale?
  • exterior and curb appeal
  • interior appeal

Before putting your house on the market, take as much time as necessary (and as little money as possible) to maximize its exterior and interior appeal.

How Much Should You Spend to Prepare Your House for Sale?

In preparing your home for the market, spend as little money as possible. Buyers will be impressed by a brand new roof, but they aren’t likely to give you enough extra money to pay for it. There is a big difference between making minor and inexpensive polishes and touch-ups to your house, such as putting new knobs on cabinets and a fresh coat of neutral paint in the living room, and doing extensive and costly renovations, like installing a new kitchen.

Your REALTOR® is familiar with buyers’ expectations in your neighborhood and can advise you specifically on what improvements need to be made and which improvements are most effective. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice.

Maximizing Exterior and Curb Appeal

When preparing to put your home up for sale, your first concern is the home’s exterior. If the outside, or “curb appeal” looks good, people will more than likely want to see what’s on the inside.

Here are some tips to enhance your home’s exterior and curb appeal to buyers:

  • Keep the lawn edged, cut and watered.
  • Regularly trim hedges and weed lawns and flowerbeds.
  • Be sure your front door area has a “Welcome” feeling.
  • Paint the front door.
  • In spring and summer, add a couple of pots of showy annuals near your front entrance.
  • In snowy areas, keep walks neatly cleared of snow and ice.
  • Check foundation, steps, walkways, walls and patios for cracks and deterioration, and fix any problem areas.
  • Remove and repaint any peeling paint on doors and windows.
  • Clean and align gutters.
  • Inspect and clean the chimney.
  • Repair and replace loose or damaged roof shingles.
  • Repair and repaint loose siding and caulking.
  • Reseal old asphalt.
  • Keep the garage door closed.
  • Store RVs and old cars elsewhere while the house is on the market.

Maximizing Interior Appeal

You want your home to look as spacious, bright and clean as possible. Also the home should look neutral – without a lot of your personal and sentimental objects – so buyers can begin to imagine living there.

Here are some tips to enhance your home’s interior appeal to buyers:

  • Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. This alone will make your house appear bigger and brighter. Some homeowners with crowded rooms actually rent storage garages and move half their furniture out, creating a sleeker, more spacious look.
  • Use a professional cleaning service every few weeks while the house is on the market.
  • Remove the less frequently used, and even daily-used items from kitchen counters, closets, basement and attic to make these areas more inviting.
  • Make sure that table tops, dressers and closets are free of clutter.
  • Pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms: they should look as modern, bright and fresh as possible. It is essential for them to be clean and odor free.
  • Repair dripping faucets and showerheads.
  • Buy showy new towels for the bathroom, and put them out only for showings.
  • Spruce up a kitchen in need of more major remodeling by installing new curtains and cabinet knobs, or applying a fresh coat of neutral paint.
  • Clean walls and doors of smudges and scuff marks.
  • If necessary, repaint dingy, soiled or strongly-colored walls with a neutral shade of paint, such as off-white or beige. The same neutral scheme can be applied to carpets and linoleum.
  • Check for cracks, leaks and signs of dampness in the attic and basement, and fix any problem areas.
  • Seal basement walls if there are any signs of dampness or leakage.
  • Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, paint and tiles.
  • Replace broken or cracked windowpanes, moldings and other woodwork.
  • Inspect and repair the plumbing, heating, cooling and alarm systems.