March 2015

Found 19 blog entries for March 2015.

Importance of an Appraiser


When you’re buying a house, there are two sides to the story: the seller’s asking price and the actual value of the property. This is where an appraiser comes in.

What is the job of an appraiser? An appraiser’s job is to determine the current market value of a property. Most of the work is done on-site where the appraiser will:

 -Conduct a room-by-room walk-through to determine the interior   condition.

-Walk the length of the property to determine the exterior condition.

-Evaluate the amenities such as a swimming pool, finished basement, or built-in bar.

-Note any health or safety code violations.

-Record the layout of the property.

 Off-site, the appraiser will evaluate the current real estate

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Strangers in Your House

Holding an open house is kind of an act of faith. You clean, declutter, and prep your home to look its best, hoping at least one of the visitors will fall in love enough to make an offer. At the same time, open houses are invitations to strangers to walk through your home among your most prized possessions, often with only a single real estate agent present—and so there are very real security concerns, for agents and homeowners alike.

At least 40% of all agents surveyed by the National Association of Realtors say they have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety: Vacant homes, model homes, properties in remote areas, and open houses all cause trepidation. The study found that many agents

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Handy Tricks

When it comes time to move everyone could use a few handy moving tricks … even MacGyver. Well we’ve got your back, so you’re ready when you run into the unexpected. We’ve got a list of moving tricks that would make even MacGyver say, “Hey! I never thought of that!”

 Moving can be a headache, and no one likes it—but armed with a few handy tricks, you might make MacGyver proud.


Not only are snacks like Pringles and popcorn tasty, they can also come in handy when it comes time to move.

Once you’ve polished off the chips, those Pringles cans are perfect for packing up pens, pencils and the conglomeration of stuff in your “junk drawer.” These handy cans can hold a number of items that would otherwise end up rolling all

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Mansion or Compound?

Whether you call it a compound or a mansion, theLos
Angeles home recently listed by Tom Cruise is actually priced ... right. At least that’s the opinion of area experts who believe the home’s privacy, beauty, and location make it a smart buy.

Listed at just under $13 million, the 2.75-acre property in the Hollywood Hills is represented by listing broker Michael Eisenberg.

Coming up with the necessary cash might be an issue if you’re not a Hollywood A-lister, but Marisa Zanuck from Nest Seekers Zanuck in Beverly Hills told us the price accurately reflects the home’s size, location, and seclusion.

She’s toured the home and thinks it won’t last long on the market. “I’m actually showing it this week to a celebrity

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Don't Expect to Find the Perfect Home Immediately

Now that we’ve settled into 2015, we are starting to get the first reading on how the year is shaping up for home buyers and sellers. One thing is clear: “Patience” may be the most important word of the year.

Last year ended with a lot of momentum, as the economy improved dramatically and more than 1 million jobs were created from November through January. This in turn fueled the demand for more housing. So it makes sense that people were flocking to real estate sites in January. According to data from comScore, unique visitors to real estate websites increased 24% from January 2014. Traffic to was up even more.

Of course, most in the industry had expected as much, having

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Before Moving



If you’re preparing to move, you may have an overwhelming urge to throw all your possessions into cardboard boxes, tape them shut and think, “I’ll deal with this after moving!” But before you start dumping drawers into boxes, we implore you: Declutter first. There’s no better time to get rid of all your unnecessary stuff than right before a move. You’re in the right mindset and you’re open to change. Plus, you have to go though everything anyway, and if you follow through, you’ll start life at your new home with a lot less junk and a stronger connection to the items you decided to hold onto before moving. Sounds great, but how do you do it?  Check out the best-selling book—“The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by

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Insurance Policy

Think of a contingency clause as an insurance policy. Once you find a home and make an offer, you hope everything will go smoothly; but just in case it doesn’t, you have a contingency clause in place that allows you to back out of the contract without losing money.

Most purchase agreements already have a few key contingency clauses in place to protect against the bigger things—such as a lower-than-anticipated home appraisal—but there are contingencies that go beyond the norm. If you’re about to make an offer on a home, consider all of your options.

Standard contingencies

Some contingency clauses are commonly used when making an offer. Here are some examples:

Home inspection: Gives the buyer the right to

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Higher Mortgage Rates

The good news: In the past four months, the U.S. economy has gained 1.125 million jobs. The slightly more frustrating news: In that time, the average rate for a 30 year fixed mortgage dropped from nearly 4% to 3.67% in January. Rates are now slowly ticking back up, hitting 3.86% this week.

This is how it goes. As more people get jobs, more people have money to spend. Because people have more money to spend, banks increase the interest rates they apply to mortgages. Such was the case last week, as rates rose due to last Friday’s better- than-expected jobs report:

30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 3.86%, up from 3.75% last week and down from 4.37% a year ago.
15-year FRM averaged 3.10%, up from 3.03% last week and

808 Views, 22 Comments

Color Means More Than You Think

From seeing red to feeling blue, color plays a huge role in our emotions. Some colors make us feel happy or relaxed, while others can make us feel nervous or anxious. When you’re selling your home, the colors you choose can play on potential buyers’ emotions, changing the way they see your home.

Choose wisely, and the next color you will see is green.


We associate yellow with happiness and light, making it the ideal shade to make windowless spaces like hallways feel sunny, or to create the feeling of joy in family-gathering areas such as the kitchen. But be sure to choose the shade with caution.

“Yellow is such a statement color. People either love yellow or they hate it,” says Lauren Colson,

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What to Expect

Having your offer accepted is exciting—but for most home buyers, it’s just the beginning. There is still a lot more to be done before you begin to pack. Here’s a short list of what comes next.

1. Apply for a mortgage

Unless you’re paying in cash, you’ll need to apply for a mortgage (if you’re already pre-approved, good for you). If you have not been pre-approved, contact at least two or three lenders and compare their loan options. Be prepared to ask questions, and be completely open about your finances.

2. Home appraisal and inspection

The next step is getting your home appraised and inspected.

Your lender will order an appraisal for you. The appraisal gives you a detailed report on the market value of the home.

546 Views, 20 Comments