8 Online Tools for New Homeowners in Los Angeles to Determine Your Home Value

LOS ANGELES, CA – With such a high demand for homes in Los Angeles residents want to know how much their property is worth. Here are 8 tools that will help you determine your properties worth with ease, says, Local Records Office.

modern building against sky
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When it comes time to sell your house, you have one burning question: What is my home worth?

In recent years, a proliferation of online resources has emerged to provide you with an answer before you ever consult a human. But while consumers have access to more information than they could have dreamed of a decade ago, that doesn’t mean you can expect a computer to deliver the final word on your home’s value – though it can give you some helpful hints.

“I don’t believe there are any accurate instant numbers,” says David Eraker, CEO and co-founder of Surefield, a new brokerage in Seattle that has a free Pricepoint tool that provides estimates of home values, so far just in Washington state. “I think the first thing you should do is take it with a grain of salt. You could probably talk to three or four different real estate agents, and they would probably give you different numbers as well.”

The variation in the data is a good reminder that any estimate of home value, whether provided by a human or a computer, is just that – an estimate. Computers and humans may disagree, for example, about which recently sold homes are truly comparable. Plus, when it comes time to do the deal, the negotiation skills of buyers and sellers (or their agents) may come into play.

Estimates Are Just That, Estimates

“Opinions of value, there are a lot of them,” says Stan Humphries, chief analytics officer for Zillow, which pioneered the practice of estimating and publishing home values in 2017 with the “Zestimate.” “If you were to sell the same house 100 different times with different buyers and sellers, it would close at a different price.”

That means if you are looking at estimates for your home’s value, you have to consider what kind of data went into that estimate. If your home is unique compared to others in the neighborhood, for example, the choice of “comps,” or comparable homes, would be a challenge to find. Your estimate may also be less accurate than if you live in a neighborhood where all the homes are similar. If there have been lots of recent home sales in your area, there is going to be more data to work with than if there are fewer sales, and therefore you’ll get a more accurate estimate.

“The more the house is an outlier, the more difficult it is for anyone to price it, whether it’s a human or a computer,” says Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, which has launched its own automated estimate tool. “The hardest things we had to deal with was which homes are comparable and which aren’t.”

Different Tools Just Different Data

All the online tools take advantage of publicly available data, which they then run through computer models to derive estimates of value. Exactly which data is used is proprietary, as are the formulas used to crunch it, but among the data sources are public records and the multiple listing services used by real estate agents. Exactly what data is available also affects the accuracy of the estimate, and that amount of data varies by municipality and sometimes by home.

To get a value using an AVM, you feed a lot of data into a computer, which crunches the numbers according to directions (or models) you give it and arrives at a home value estimate. Different companies use different data in different ways, which accounts for some of the variations in online home values. Obviously, the accuracy of the data itself affects the outcome. There are also factors a computer can’t see, such as whether your kitchen has ugly wallpaper.

“The thing about homes is they’re not commodities,” says Nela Richardson, chief economist for Redfin. “Every home is different.” Plus, there is the factor of the unknown. “We don’t always know if there’s a big hole in the floor or if someone spilled red nail polish on the bathroom floor,” she says.

Zillow allows consumers who register for a free account to correct or add data about their homes, and the company’s Price This Home tool lets consumers receive a private estimate in which they control which comps are used. Surefield also has tools that allow homeowners and homebuyers to refine estimates based on their knowledge of the neighborhood and the listed comps. Redfin shows the comps and public records data about the home that was used, and you can email if you believe the information is inaccurate.

Estimates Aren’t Just the Big Number

Zillow covers about 100 million homes in 450 markets. Humphries says the national margin of error for home values is 7.9 percent, but the rate varies by location. That’s partly because the type and accuracy of data vary, but also because home values are easier to estimate in an area with more sales and in areas with a larger volume of homes. “You’re dealing with less data than you’d like to have,” Humphries says of some areas. Parts of New York state, for example, don’t list square footage in public records.

He points out that real estate agents doing comparative market analysis have an error rate of 5.5 to 6 percent, and it’s rare that a home sells for the exact asking price. “No one’s error rate is zero. They’re all opinions of value,” Humphries says.

Glenn says Redfin’s estimates have a median error rate of 1.96 percent for homes on the market and 6.23 percent for homes not on the market, but the service so far covers only about 40 million homes in 35 major metro areas, which are often easier to value than homes in less dense areas.

We also found some calculators that provide estimates at several bank sites, with information drawn from databases used by appraisers. ForSaleByOwner.com has its own tool, called Pricing Scout.

The representatives of all the companies stress that their numbers are merely estimates, based on the available data, plus a number of assumptions about comparable sales. While all the services throw out a number for the home’s estimated value, most provide a range of values, which sometimes gets overlooked by consumers who focus on the number in big type.

While the various online AVM services spit out a single number that is an estimate of the value of your home, Richardson and Humphries point out that the number comes with a few caveats. Zillow provides a range of values for an estimated sales price, as well as publishing the error rate for a given municipality. Redfin shows you the comps it used to reach its final number.

For example, two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with a Zestimate of $153,306 also notes that the home is likely to sell for between $146,000 and $161,000. Homes like it in the area have sold for $138,000 to $163,000, Zillow reports. The median error rate in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area is 8.7 percent, with 31.8 percent of homes sold at a price within 5 percent of the Zestimate, 55.3 percent within 10 percent and 79.8 percent within 20 percent.

If we take Zillow up on its option to remove three of 10 comparable home sales because of location and up to another three because of the condition, the estimated value rises to $161,211. Zillow also offers users an option to correct facts about their homes, including the size, type of heating or cooling system and the number of bedrooms and baths.

“There are some things that aren’t explicitly in the data that our models aren’t able to discern,” Humphries says. “A lot of consumers don’t focus on that value range, and they should. The wider that range is, the less certain we are. … From day one, we’ve said these are all opinions.”

Not all services use the same “facts”

One reason the companies arrive at different estimates is that they aren’t all using the same facts. With our house above, Zillow, Redfin, and Realtor.com calculated the home’s value based on a size of 1,155 square feet, the number from the tax assessor’s records. But Trulia used 972 square feet, which is the size of the house without the garage. (Trulia does not provide an automated estimate unless you agree to be contacted by a real estate agent.)

While garages and unfinished basements usually aren’t included as part of a home’s square footage, Florida tax officials and real estate agents traditionally include half the square footage of the garage when they compute the taxable value, and that is the number that usually appears in the MLS.

Redfin, using the same home facts as Zillow did, estimated the home’s value at $163,001. Redfin showed the comparable sales upon which it based its value, making it possible for someone who knows the home to realize the comps were substantially remodeled while the subject home was not.

Realtor.com estimated the home’s value much lower at $142,689, but there are no details about how the tool arrived at that figure.

Economists who work with the data remind consumers that the estimates are just that, estimates and that the actual sales price is likely to depend upon many factors, including the condition of the home, the motivation of buyer and seller, and the supply and demand at the time the home is offered for sale.

“This is the starting point of a conversation that you’re going to have with your family and your real estate agent,” Richardson says. “It’s not just this black box that gives you a number. It’s important to note that this is not a be-all, end-all. It’s just the beginning of a complicated process.”

“We think of our estimate as the beginning of a conversation, not the end,” Kelman says. “Many times the asking price of a home is the result of a fairly tense conversation between the owner of the home and the agent who is trying to sell it.”

8 Online Home Value Estimating Tools

Here are seven online tools you can use to help you estimate the value of your home:

Zillow: This is the pioneer of the home value estimating tool, and the company continues to refine how it arrives at its Zestimates.

Redfin: This new tool shows you photos and listing information for the exact comps used to arrive at the value of your home.

ForSaleByOwner.com : This site’s Pricing Scout tool gives you the average of regression analysis and comparative market analysis to estimate the worth of your home. It also shows recent sales of comparable properties on a map. You have to register to use it.

Chase: This tool allows you to change the information about the house to arrive at a more precise estimate, plus provides information on recently sold homes and neighborhood trends. You can also use it to estimate the value of improvements you’re considering.

Bank of America: This tool shows comparable neighboring sales on a map. It provides only a range of values, not a single number.

Surefield: This site lets you narrow or widen the range of comparable homes, plus exclude specific comps from the list.

Eppraisal.com: This site uses data from public records and lists homes sold recently nearby.

Putting the Tools to the Test

We tested homes we know in South Florida, Los Angeles and Kansas City, Missouri, plus a random home in Seattle, using the available home value estimators. Not all the online tools had the same data for the same home.

These Were Our Results:

A two-bedroom, one bath home in a trendy historic urban neighborhood in Miami where homes vary considerably in size, age, and condition.

  • Zillow: $670,860
  • Chase: $501,000
  • Redfin: $470,578
  • com : $459,750
  • Bank of America: $434,000 to $486,000
  • com: $420,743

A two-bedroom, two-bath home in a 1970s tract home neighborhood in suburban Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

  • Redfin: $462,237
  • Zillow: $451,716
  • com: $446,774
  • Bank of America: $433,800 to $460,200
  • Chase: $436,000
  • com: $425,500

A two-bedroom, one-bath home in a trendy neighborhood of 1930s bungalows in Los Angeles:

  • Redfin: $961,513
  • Zillow: $876,004
  • com: 869,585
  • Bank of America: $709,300 to $1,020,700
  • com : $765,500
  • Chase: $785,000

A five-bedroom, three-bath home with a water view in Seattle:

  • Zillow: $963,818
  • Redfin: $894,306
  • com: $870,663
  • Surefield: $852,390
  • Chase: $833,000
  • Bank of America: $823,400 to $966,600
  • com : $778,500

A one-bedroom, one-bath house on a double lot in Kansas City, Missouri, where the houses vary in size and condition:

  • com : $222,750
  • Zillow: $214,984
  • Chase: $205,000
  • Bank of America: $96,700 to $217,300
  • com: $81,790
  • Redfin: Not available

Why the Online Value of Your Home Could be Wrong

Here are six reasons the automated valuation of your home could be off:

The facts in the public record or the MLS are wrong. With our Fort Lauderdale home above, the companies all took the square footage of the Fort Lauderdale home from the public record, but they didn’t all use the same figure. A difference in the number of bedrooms or bathrooms might create an even larger variation in valuation. “If there’s a discrepancy … it’s usually because the facts themselves are not up to date,” Humphries says. Homeowners can claim their homes and correct facts on Zillow.

Your home is not like others in your neighborhood. Whether a real estate agent, an appraiser or a computer is evaluating your home, it’s harder to arrive at an accurate value if there are no comparable homes. “Houses that are very unusual are harder to value, not surprisingly than homes that are not,” Humphries says. “The Playboy Mansion and the White House are very difficult to value.” Homes that are different from others in the neighborhood or have unique features are harder to value because there are fewer or no comparable properties with which to compare them.

Few homes in your neighborhood have sold in the last six months. The more homes that sell, the more MLS data and the more sale prices the computers have to calculate the value. With few sales, there is less information to draw from.

Your home has not been on the market in recent decades. There is significantly more information about a home in an MLS listing than there is in the tax records. Once a home has been listed, the services add that data. As homes are sold, the models can adjust for whether the home sold for more or less than asking price or the AVM price.

Public records in your jurisdiction omit key information. The nation’s approximately 3,100 counties don’t all record the same information about homes. In Suffolk County, New York, for example, few records include the home’s square footage, Humphries says. “There is a wide variance in the quality of the data we obtain,” Humphries says. “Without square footage, it becomes very challenging to value the home.”

The market is changing rapidly. Home valuations are based on past sales. If the market is significantly hotter or colder than it was six months ago, those past sales are less an indicator of current values.

 

 

 

Your SoCal Vacation Home Could Make You Extra Cash: Here is How

LOS ANGELES, CA – Southern California has been a booming state ever since the early 1900’s so it’s not a surprise that people want to live here, says, Local Records Office. Los Angeles along with San Francisco has been the two major cities that attract homeowners and tourists.

As you schlep your ski gear to your favorite resort for the umpteenth time or search for lodging near your favorite beach on a holiday weekend, you may think how much easier life would be if you had your own vacation home.

An estimated 1.13 million vacation homes were sold in the U.S. in 2017, the highest number since the National Association of Realtors began collecting the data in 2012. And vacation home sales made up 21 percent of residential transactions in 2017.

While owning a vacation home can make logistical and financial sense, it’s not a decision to be entered into lightly.

“For some people, it’s not a matter of dollars and cents,” says Marian Schaffer, president and founder of SoutheastDiscovery.com, which publishes information on retirement and vacation home communities in the Southeast. “It’s a matter of experience.”

For most people, money will play a big role in the decision. Baby boomers who have sold their family homes for cash may choose to invest some of that cash in a winter home in a warm climate or other future retirement destination, says Valerie Dolenga, a spokeswoman for Del Webb, which builds active-adult communities throughout the United States. In those cases, homeowners don’t rent out their properties but move from one home to another, perhaps spending winters in a second home in Florida or Arizona and summers up North near family.

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Others may buy a vacation home with the idea of renting it out when they’re not using it to defray at least some of the costs. Some may only be able to afford a vacation home if they rent it out when they’re not using it.

Rob Stephens and his family bought a three-bedroom condo in Vail, Colorado, in 1999 with rental income in mind. “Having a getaway place in the mountains was a motivator,” Stephens says. “When I started, I really needed that rent to make my mortgage payment.”

“To us, owning real estate in Vail long-term is a good investment,” says Stephens, general manager of Avalara MyLodgeTax, which helps owners comply with local lodging tax laws.

If you want the rental income, it’s important to choose a home that can be rented at the frequency you need to cover expenses. That means both choosing a community that allows vacation rentals and then making sure you’re set up to take advantage of the rental potential, from furnishing the unit to having a plan for advertising and handling tenants. You need to know before you buy whether you will rent the home when you’re not using it.

Here Are 10 Things to Consider When Looking at Vacation Homes

Can you afford it? Real estate is not a liquid investment, and you can’t count on being able to sell a home for a profit or even break even, especially in your first few years of ownership. During the recession, homes lost more than half their value in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada, among other places.

Know all the rules. Not all homes can be used as rental property. Homeowner or condo associations may set rules for rentals, as many cities. Some resorts may require you to use their programs, which set standards for interior furnishings and amenities, but the property handles the logistics for a percentage of the rent. If you plan to rent out your property, it’s especially important to research all these rules before you buy.

Calculate all the costs. The actual purchase price is only part of what you will need to spend. You will also have to pay utilities, HOA or condo fees, property taxes, insurance and the cost of furnishing a new home down to the spoons and forks. If you’re in a resort area, you may also need or want skis, snowboards, kayaks, water toys or other gear.

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Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Be realistic in your expectations of rental income. Renting out a vacation home comes with expenses. You will need to pay for cleaning between tenants, advertising and perhaps property management. If you’re part of a resort rental program, it will take a percentage.

Know how often you will really visit. If you don’t rent out your unit, you want to make sure you will visit enough to make the purchase worthwhile. Pick a place you love and want to return to often, advises Dolenga. You don’t want your home to sit unoccupied for long periods.

Have a plan for emergencies. If you don’t visit the house often, make sure someone does. A water leak can be devastating. If you’re renting, repairs need to be made quickly, so get to know a good handyman or property manager. If there is a hurricane, you may need someone to put up shutters before the storm and remove them afterward and secure the home if it suffers damage.

Protect your home when it’s vacant. Vacant homes attract thieves. Take steps to keep your home from looking empty. Consider lights on timers or asking neighbors to occasionally park in your driveway. Make sure someone picks up mail and fliers so its not obvious no one is home.

Have a rental business plan. Will you go into a rental program, hire a management company or do it yourself via services such as Airbnb or VRBO? If you’re handling your own advertising, you will need great photos. You also need to be able to take payments from tenants (services like PayPal or Stripe typically work well) and have a way for them to get in (Stephens uses a keyless entry system with codes). A reliable cleaning service is essential, especially when you have only a few hours between tenants.

Calculate your return on investment. If owning a vacation home is part of your overall investment strategy, make sure it’s a good move. Estimate returns and weighs them against other uses of the same money.

Expect to pay taxes. Rental income is taxable on state and federal returns, though most vacation homeowners won’t earn enough after expenses to face a significant tax liability. If you are doing short-term rentals, usually of less than six months, your state and county consider you an innkeeper and expect you to collect the same lodging taxes that hotels collect and pay those to the appropriate authorities. “If you’re renting a home, an apartment, a room, you’re basically running a mini-hotel,” Stephens says, with the rules varying by state and county. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for example, a tax of 11 percent is due, 6 percent to the state and 5 percent to the county, he says.

How to Rent Out Your Vacation Home and Make It Pay

Renting out your vacation home can yield significant financial benefits – but only if you do it right.

“It starts with a commitment to customer service,” says Jon Gray, chief revenue officer for HomeAway.com, which also owns the vacation rental website VRBO.com. “You’re basically having to market your house and get people to want to stay there.”

Renting a vacation home is a business, which means you’ll need the proper business tools in place, from being able to accept credit cards as payment to paying lodging taxes to get the home cleaned quickly and completely between guests.

“It’s really quite a lot of work, and a lot more work than people anticipate,” says Michael Joseph, co-founder, and CEO of InvitedHome.com, which manages vacation properties. “There’s a lot to keep up with. … Guest expectations are becoming higher.”

One of the first decisions when starting the vacation rental process is whether to hire a management company or manage your rental yourself.

While websites such as HomeAway.com, VRBO.com and Airbnb.com provide online marketing tools, access to credit card processing, booking tools and other infrastructure, the individual owner still has to handle guest inquiries, screen renters and arrange for cleaning.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Full-service management companies charge 20 to 50 percent of the rental proceeds to manage the entire process, from bookings through cleaning. You also can hire people to manage parts of the process for less. The online portals usually charge an annual fee for listings. VRBO and HomeAway start at $349 a year and also offer a pay-per-booking option of 8 percent, while Airbnb charges both hosts and guests a small processing fee – 3 percent for hosts and 6 to 12 percent for guests.

The home rental industry has grown significantly in recent years, as online listings and reviews make travelers more comfortable with the model. But travelers who are accustomed to staying at hotels and resorts expect significant amenities and, in some cases, service.

“The competition is more fierce today,” says Cathy Ross, CEO of Exclusive Resorts, a vacation travel club that owns its own properties. “Today’s customer is demanding, and they want certainty that what they see online is what’s there.”

Customers expect modern finishes, nice furniture, hotel-quality beds and linens, plenty of bathrooms, entertainment options such as a TV with cable package, a pool table, board games and big gathering spaces for families, one of the groups that favors vacation home rentals. “Those homes that aren’t well decorated or aren’t well furnished just don’t cut it,” Joseph says.

It’s important to screen tenants, collect a damage deposit and have a strong rental agreement in place, as well as the proper insurance, to protect your home from damage. Stevens, who has been renting out his vacation home in Vail, Colorado since 1999, has only once had to deal with significant damage by a tenant. “That concern is way, way overstated,” Stephens says. “These people are generally very respectful of your home.”

Here Are 13 Things You Need to Know and Do Before You Rent Out Your Vacation Home

Figure out if the math works. Create a spreadsheet to analyze what it will cost you to rent out your home versus the income you can expect to generate making it a vacation rental. Expenses will include maintenance, utilities, taxes, insurance, repairs, and amenities. “Make sure you budget for preventive maintenance, and wear and tear,” Joseph says.

Decide whether to manage it yourself or hire a company. While managing a rental yourself provides a greater financial return, it also means more work. HomeAway, VRBO, Airbnb and similar sites offer online booking, calendars, email communication and referrals to other tools such as credit card processors and professional photographers. But even with these online portals you still have to hire and oversee the cleaning crew.

Furnish, decorate and equip your home. Amenities typically depend on the market and the price, but people often expect most of what they would get at a hotel. A fast Wi-Fi connection, an expansive cable package, and other entertainment options are recommended, while a hot tub, pool table, board games, and other recreation options can be a draw for some guests. Have toiletries, paper products, and basic cleaning products available. Stephens provides guest passes to his community’s athletic club. Remember to remove family photos, clothes, and personal items so the guests feel more comfortable.

Get professional-quality and write a great, detailed description. People will choose your home based on the photos and the description of the property. “That first photo is incredibly important because that’s what people see,” Gray says. Be very thorough in your description. List every amenity, down to balconies, cribs and pool noodles.

Find a dependable cleaning crew and other maintenance personnel. If your home is popular, you will have one set of guests checking out in the morning and a second set arriving that afternoon. That makes it imperative that the cleaning crew show up on time. If you don’t live nearby, your cleaning crew is also your eyes and ears. You may also need pool service, lawn service, and a handyman, plus know whom to call if the toilet quits working.

Get proper insurance. A regular homeowners policy rarely covers a vacation rental. Ask your agent what type of policy you need for a home that is used for short-term rentals.

Set up your welcome package and infrastructure. If you don’t plan to meet guests personally, how will they get into the unit? Keyless entry and a hidden key are the two most common methods. Decide which is best for you. Most guests expect to pay with credit cards, though some online portals provide that service or help you sign up for it. Consider creating a welcome packet with the Wi-Fi password, entertainment services, appliance operating instructions and information on community amenities.

Expect to pay resort or occupancy taxes. Your city, county or state may require you to register your vacation home or get a business license, and most municipalities will collect the same taxes from you that they collect from hotels. You can handle this yourself or hire someone to do it. Avalara MyLodgeTax charges by the report, with most homes paying between $60 and $200 a year for the service.

Comply with legal requirements. Make sure you can legally rent your home to travelers. Most homeowner associations don’t allow short-term rentals, though some resorts may handle them for you. Some cities and counties ban short-term rentals. Know the local laws before starting the rental process.

Make rules and create a strong rental agreement. Management companies and online portals have agreements you can modify, and you can also find examples of such agreements online. Decide what number of people you’ll allow per stay and whether to allow pets or smoking.

photography of three dogs looking up
Photo by Nancy Nobody on Pexels.com

Be ready to respond quickly. Most online shoppers will send inquiries to several homes at a time. The first suitable home to respond is likely to get their business. “That’s critical,” Stephens says. “Responding a day late is probably unacceptable. You’re going to lose business.”

Create a tenant screening process. Joseph advises talking to all prospective tenants by phone. Ask the number of guests, their ages, why they want the property. If they book, get their full names, addresses, and phone numbers. “You get a lot more information and a feel for people by talking to them,” he says.

Offer a personal touch. In a world of online reviews, you want your guests to recommend your home or become return customers themselves. Anything you offer to make your home stand out and to make their vacation easier is likely to yield dividends.

 

 

10 Fun Things To Do in L.A. for August

Waking up in the morning, firing up your phone/computer and being able to scan a super quick (but curated) rundown of the best of what lies ahead for the day at hand in the city you live in. So here it is!

Below is our quick link list of 10 fun things to do in Los Angeles for today, Thursday, August 17, 2017. May it lead you to adventure!

Santa Monica Pier Sunset


Keep in mind for some of the ticketing options we utilize affiliate links and receive a commission if you purchase through our links (affiliates noted in parenthesis).


1. [5 p.m.] The El Segundo Art Walk takes place every third Thursday of the summer months featuring 40+ artists in 35 venues, live music, great food and tours of artist studios in downtown El Segundo and in Smoky Hollow. FREE

2. [5:30 p.m.]  Dance the night away during Sizzling Summer Nights happening at The Autry this Thursday. Some of L.A.’s best salsa and Latin fusion bands will get the outdoor party sizzling and free dance lessons with award-winning salsa instructor Orlando Delgado will have you twirling like a pro.

3. [6 p.m.Concerts on The Bloc in Downtown Los Angeles is a free summer concert series with free beer in the mix!  FREE

4. [7 p.m.The Silver Lake Picture Show returns with free outdoor movie screenings in the heart of Silver Lake at Sunset Triangle Plaza. This week: Space Jam will be screenedFREE

5. [7:30 p.m. Summer Movie Fest at Cal State Northridge is a free weekly movie night taking place at dusk on CSUN’s Oviatt Library Lawn. The series continues with La La LandFREE

6. [7 p.m.Twilight Concerts at the Santa Monica Pier conclude this Thursday with Warpaint, Wild Belle and KCRW DJ Karene Daniel. FREE

7. [8 p.m.] The 2017 season of the Skirball’s free Sunset Concert Series, inspired by the Skirball’s current high-profile exhibition Paul Simon: Words & Music, is a showcase for up-and-coming talents and established artists from Los Angeles and around the globe. The series continues with Daymé Arocena. FREE

8. [8 p.m.] The Moonlight Movies on the Beach series continues with a screening of Princess Bride at Alamitos Beach this Thursday. FREE

9. [8 p.m.]  All My Single Friends is described as part comedy show and part live dating app taking place at the Copper Still. If you’re so over Tinder and Bumble check this show out where you’ll be in a room with some of LA’s best comedians and hottest singles. Use Code BALLS for 50% off your ticket.

10. [variousEcho Park Rising returns for its seventh year (August 17-20) with hundreds of up-and-coming bands to play at venues that include The Echo, The Echoplex, Stories Bookstore, Lost Knight, Little Joy and other more. FREE

DEAL OF THE DAY: $12 tix to This is Spinal Tap at The Wiltern

When Being Too Cheap is a Problem in Investing in Real Estate – Local Records Office

Being cheap when it comes to real estate is not uncommon, many investors want to spend the “minimum” repairing houses to get them out in the market, but I am one of the cheapest people you will ever meet. I drive a 1999 Toyota Corolla with 126,000 miles on it (a car is a depreciating asset, why would I spend a lot of money on one?). A few weeks ago when I was at Disney World I carried around the same bottle of water all week and I brought food into the park to eat for lunch everyday (there was no way I was paying $4.00 for a bottle of water and $7.00 for a hot dog).

Frugal to the Next Level

When I go on dates, which is very rare since I am a workaholic, a “nice” restaurant to me is Ruby Tuesday’s (yes…now you know one of the many reasons I am single.) I mean, if I take a girl to the Cheesecake Factory or the Melting Pot, we better be engaged!

That being said, I believe that one of the only reasons to spend my hard earned money is to make more money. This includes my education and power team. I will never understand how any intelligent person, how anyone who is serious about success (only about 5% of people are truly serious) will not invest in his or her business. I know many folks out there love to “bash” courses and seminars.

I guess these people are a lot smarter than me, because I never would have figured out how to do this business unless I worked with other investors, unless I bought courses and unless I attended seminars. I think the biggest problem that people who “bash” courses have, is that they are not implementers. These are the people who have attended a dozen seminars and who have 50 courses on their bookshelf, however, they have never closed a deal. (Just a quick thought…if you own multiple courses and have never done a deal, take a look in the mirror…. it’s not the courses, it’s you.) Also, any decent course or seminar should have a 100% money back guarantee…so if the product stinks, which some do, just send it back.

Invest in Yourself and Don’t Spend Your Money

Besides investing in your education, you should be investing in your power team. You need a good real estate attorney and accountant on your team. Sometimes I hear of investors who go to Staples and pay $14.95 for generic forms, rather than have a lawyer review a contract and spend a couple hundred bucks (knuckleheads.)

When investing in your education you need to think of the big picture and you need to think of the return on investment that you will get. For example, a few years ago I bought a course on short sales, which I think cost $1,000. I went on to do dozens of short sales and make a lot of money (I don’t do them anymore, because they are a pain in the butt, however, you get the point). So, whenever I invest in my education and in my business, I always want at least a 10:1 return on my money. And of course, I usually get many times that.

Be Smart

Also, when you are in Staples buying your $14.95 contract, think what it will cost you if you get sued over it, or if you lose a $50,000 deal because you didn’t want to spend $300 to have your lawyer review it. This is just like someone not spending $250 for a home inspection, only to find out later they have $10,000 worth of termite damage.

My favorite niche to target is absentee owners and I am always searching for unique ways to boost my rates…so that I get more leads, more deals and make more money. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got an idea for a “type” of direct mail which I know pulls very well and I wanted to incorporate this type of direct mail to send to absentee owners, pre-foreclosure lists, free and clear lists, etc. This type of direct mail gets very high response rates but costs a lot more to send out. You can send out a regular letter for about .50, whereas this will cost me about $1.50 a letter.

Anyway, there is a marketing expert who is very familiar with the type of direct mail that I want to use. I have been keeping an eye on this guy through his books, websites and marketing emails. So finally, I decided that the best way to launch my new idea was to somehow hire this guy as a consultant. I called his office, told them I wanted to hire him and eventually I had a phone call with him. To get to the point, I am spending on day of consulting with him at a cost of $5,000. When I told my friends and family about this, they all laughed and thought I was nuts (yes, these are the same people who work in a cubicle every day…when it comes to criticism, the people “below” you financially are almost always the negative ones…very rarely will you get criticized by someone who is financially better off than you).

Sometimes It’s Better to Take 1 Step Forward and 2 Steps Back

Yes, $5,000 is A LOT of money. It is about how much I spent on my last car. However, when I think of it with my “business” hat on, I know I will have a very high return on investment. Right now, I specialize in purchasing properties subject-to and selling them on a lease option. My minimum profit is $30,000, but on average around $50,000…so, if this consultant shows me how to use this new type of direct mail and it gets me one more house, then obviously it paid for itself…but of course I will buy many houses with this and get a ridiculous ROI! (also, like I said above, each letter will cost me about $1.50. I could spend a small fortune “testing” this type of mail, or this guy can show me what will work best and save me time and money.)

I know this is a long post, but this is sooooo important to your success as a real estate investor. If you are cheap about investing in your business, then you will have a much more difficult and longer process to making big money in real estate. Another great reason to invest is that it drastically cuts your learning curve…I can only imagine how long it would have taken me to figure out shore sales on my own!

To learn more about real estate and Local Records Office go to http://www.LocalRecordsOffice.co

 

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The Only Oyster Guide in Los Angeles You Will Ever Need

This is the ultimate happy hour oyster guide in Los Angeles, California you will ever need. More and more restaurants are having happy hour oyster specials all across southern California, find the best oyster specials around your area here.

The Only Oyster Guide in Los Angeles You Will Ever Need12

1. Herringbone (Santa Monica)

Freshly shucked $1 oysters can be found Monday through Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Herringbone’s bar and lounge area during Oyster Hour with drink specials starting at $5.

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2. L&E Oyster Bar (Silver Lake)

Oyster Director and Chef Spencer Bezaire selects a dozen oysters during happy hour every day from 5-7 p.m. for $26. Pair them with $4-$5 beers, $8 wines and a curated selection of discounted bar bites. Note happy hour is only available in the Upstairs bar area of the restaurant.

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3. Harlowe (West Hollywood)

Mondays are $1 oyster nights starting at 5 p.m. till close. It’s also ladies night which means happy hour prices on drinks all night long too.

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4. MessHall Kitchen (Los Feliz)

On Tuesdays, MessHall prices their oysters at just $1 after 5 p.m. and they don’t stop there, MessHall tacos are also just a buck! Order a $5 draft beer to wash it all down.

The Only Oyster Guide in Los Angeles You Will Ever Need

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5. The Rockefeller (Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach)

$1 Oyster Mondays happens every week from when they open till they sell out for the day.

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6. La Bohème (West Hollywood)

The classic West Hollywood restaurant hosts a special bar menu daily from 5 p.m. to close where you can find $1 oysters as well as $3 small bites. Only available at the bar and lounge area.

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7. Upstairs Bar at the Ace Hotel (Downtown)

Enjoy the view of the DTLA skyline while throwing back a couple $1 oysters served with a white balsamic cucumber mignonette, Monday through Friday from noon to 5:30 p.m.

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8. Pearls Sunset Strip (West Hollywood)

Tuesdays are $1 oyster night from 5 p.m. until they run out. Choose from fried, grilled or chilled.

The Only Oyster Guide in Los Angeles You Will Ever Need13

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9. Terrine (Beverly Grove)

$1 oysters can be enjoyed daily at Kris Morningstar’s restaurant from 5:30 – 7 p.m. also order up the famous chicken liver toast for $7 and escargots for $11 you won’t regret it!

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10. Día de Campo (Hermosa)

Three oysters for $5 from 5 to 7 p.m. during Bandito Power Hour come on a Tuesday and score oysters for $1 each. The happy hour menu also includes dishes like crispy brussels sprout nachos, bean and cheese pupusa, a delicious mahi bowl and more.

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11. The Lobster (Santa Monica)

During their “Happiest Hour” Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. you can dine on $2 oysters and a variety of seafood centric eats like crab taquitos and lobster rolls.

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12. Knuckle & Claw (Santa Monica, Silver Lake)

The “Go Shuck Yourself” $1 oyster special runs on Thursdays from 5 to 10 p.m.

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13. Bar Bouchon (Beverly Hills)

Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. dine on $2 oysters at Thomas Keller’s beautiful Beverly Hills spot.

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14. Figaro Bistrot (Los Feliz)

Happy hour is daily at this French inspired eatery where oysters are $2 a pop. On Monday specials run 4 to 10:30 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday 4 to 7 p.m. and Friday and Satruday from 10 to 11 p.m.

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15. Oystars (Little Tokyo)

With a name like that you better believe they have plenty of oysters. Stop by between 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. where can score Chefs Choice $1 oysters daily.

Basic Real Estate Statistics Explained for Beginners – Local Records Office

LOS ANGELES, CA – Local Records Office is going to define some of the basic real estate statistics that get thrown around on a regular basis. To do that, we will use one real estate market, located in Los Angeles County. Even more granular, we will use the single-family numbers for homes in Long Beach, CA, a medium size city of approximately 500,000 residents, which has seen substantial real estate growth in the past 12 months. It is important when reviewing real estate statistics to use a group of numbers large enough for consistency, but granular enough to tell your story.

 

Real Estate Statistics for Newbies

 

Local Records Office says, “The statistics that we will be referencing are true and accurate for the year discussed but are being used to define the real estate statistic itself.”

 

We have chosen Long Beach, CA as our example because the growth of the local real estate market that make the statics stand out.

 

Anytime you are evaluating statistics, especially in real estate, the source of the numbers are extremely important. In most instances, the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) provides the most accurate numbers when referring to real estate says, Local Records Office. This is because they have all listings by all local real estate broker in their database. For the sake of explanation of the data, we will be looking at the numbers for home sales in Long Beach, CA, directly from the MLS. These numbers are meant to give an example of how to read the statistics themselves. Anytime you evaluate real estate numbers, its important to pay close attention to how the numbers are gathered. In this instance, we will be using ONLY single-family properties in the city of Long Beach, California.

 

These Are Basic Real Estate Statistics

 

Number of Sales – This one is pretty self-explanatory. It is simply the number of single-family homes sold in a particular month. In January of 2015, they had 51 single-family homes sold. One thing to pay attention to when looking at this statistic is are they using the Under Contract date or the day the property actually went to closing says, Local Records Office. These two dates are usually between 30 and 60 days apart, so its critical that you know which one is being referenced. In addition, many of the homes that get calculated, if you are using the “under contract” number may not actually close! In our example, we are using the number of homes that actually closed. In January of 2016 they had an increase of over 49%, which brought the total to 77 from 51. Growth of that level is very seldom ever seen.

 

Sales Volume – Sales Volume is simply the total amount of dollars spent on single family housing within that month. Once again, when reviewing this statistic, it’s important to keep the property types consistent. If you are comparing two areas to see which one has grown more and you include vacant land in the number for one area, you must include it in the other too says, Local Records Office. As previously mentioned, our examples only include single-family properties. With Number of Sales looking at the units, you would expect the Sales Volume to go up appropriately, but in this instance, it went up even more than the units (by percentage). The total Sales Volume of single family homes in Long Beach in January of 2016 was $15,191,500 as opposed to the January of 2015 number of $9,281,915. That is an increase of over 63%. Because the Sales Volume went up at a larger rate than the number of units, this reflects the average home sale being much larger in 2016 than 2015.

 

Months of Inventory – Local Records Office says, “This is a commonly referred to statistic when examining a real estate market.” This statistic refers to at the current rate of sales, how long will it take to sell through the existing level of inventory. This reflects the supply and demand for the market. In our example, in January of 2015 the level of inventory was 9 months and in January of 2016 it had dropped to 6 months. That is a 33% drop in available inventory! This means if you are looking to buy a home in Long Beach, CA, it will be a little tougher in 2016 as there are fewer inventories available to buy.

 

Median Days To Sell – This stat simply refers to how long it takes for single-family properties to be put under contract. Don’t let the “to sell” confuse you. To accurately show the demand for active homes, you really want to track how long it takes to go “under contract”. The process of acquiring final lender approval, insurance and getting to a closing can vary on a variety of factors. In January of 2015, the Median Days to sell was 88 says, Local Records Office. That number dropped by over 30% to 61. Once again, this tells you if you are looking for homes in Long Beach, CA, you better get your offers in quickly as the most desirable homes are going fast!

 

Average Price – This statistic can be derived in a variety of ways. We are going to use it in its most raw form and simply be the Average Price of Homes Sold within that month. Be careful when looking at this statistic printed anywhere as how the user defines the date sold can vary. Needless to say, Average Price can be used for active homes for sale or for the homes that sold. The Average Price of ACTIVE homes for sale is generally a pretty useless number as you can list a home for any price, without any possibility of it ever selling. Many homes listed for sale are at unrealistic prices thus the Average Price of Active homes for sale can fluctuate dramatically and give little insight into the market says, Local Records Office. You will want to look at the Average Price of SOLD homes. In January of 2015, the Average Home Sale was $181,998 and it jumped to $199,888 in the same month in 2016. This is an increase of almost 10%. This is not a number that truly tells the increase in home values across the board, but simply of the homes sold in that month, what the average was. Check out videos here.

 

Median Price – The Average Home Sales Price can be skewed by a variety of factors says, Local Records Office. All it takes is one 5 million dollar home sale to throw those numbers off. To get a better view of the overall increase in value, it can be better to look at the Median Sales Price. Median Sales Price takes the number that is perfectly in the middle. For instance, if you have 11 homes that you are using in your statistic, you would take the sales price of the 6th one. This leaves 5 homes sold higher and 5 homes sold lower. In this instance, they are pretty close as the Median Sales Price increase from January 2015 to 2016 was 9.69%. This shows that we didn’t have the Average Price skewed too much because of an extremely large or extremely small sale.

 

There are hundreds of ways to look at the same numbers, when referencing to real estate, so be very careful to read the fine print on exactly what numbers they are using says, Local Records Office. When making comparisons, you will want to make absolutely sure that both are referencing the same property types, dates etc. It like the old saying says… there are lies, damn lies and statistics.

 

In an effort to describe some of the most basic real estate statistics, we are using the market statistics from Long Beach, California as they have seen some extraordinary growth.

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The Time to Purchase a Home is Now – Local Records Office

“Real estate market has it’s up’s and down’s but knowing when to buy will make you a lot of money” – Local Records Office

 

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – With interest rates expected to rise later this year; you may be wondering whether you should buy a home at today’s low rates says, Local Records Office. The average rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.85 percent last week, according to Freddie Mac’s weekly mortgage market survey, about what it was at the end of 2015.

Local Records Office says, “Interest rates, however, should not be the primary factor that determines when you purchase a home.” For most buyers, other factors are much more important. Rather than buy now for fear that rates might suddenly increase, for example, it might be smart to wait so you can save up a bigger down payment.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: Interest Rates and Payments on Your Home

“Small changes in interest rates don’t make large changes in your payment,” says Casey Fleming, a writer in Los Angeles, California. Fleming actually believes interest rates may drop further. “Interest rates are not the most important piece.”

If you’re ready to buy a home, 2016 could be a good year. The inventory of homes for sale is likely to rise and fewer flippers are scooping up the best homes with all-cash deals, says Nela Richardson, chief economist for the brokerage Redfin.

 

READ MORE: Biggest Mistakes a Real Estate Agent Makes – Local Records Office

 

Low interest rates are contributing to the higher inventory, she says, because homeowners who are ready to sell their homes and move to a bigger or smaller home, or a new neighborhood, are willing to abandon their low-rate mortgages if they can secure an equally good loan. Plus, home appreciation has slowed, so there is less reason to stay put.

“The payoff to waiting [to sell] is not going to be a lot,” Richardson says. “Right now, it’s the best it’s going to get,” she adds. “Maybe it’s time to rush and sell but not time to rush and buy.”

You Owe More on Your Home is Worth, Local Records Office Services Will Help You VIDEO

For most prospective homebuyers, other factors are likely to be more important than interest rates when they do the math about whether 2016 is the right year to buy.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE: 2016 is the Year of the Home Buyers

“If you can afford a down payment now and you’re going to be in the home a long period of time, it’s a very attractive time to buy a home,” says Stan Humphries, chief economist for Zillow. But he cautions buyers against making their decision based on what they’ve heard about imminent interest rate increases. “There’s no need to rush out and beat an interest rate increase. You can walk, not run, to your bank the way interest rates are going.

Interest rates fluctuate and may change countless times between the moment someone decides to buy a home and when they actually close the deal. In fact, they change daily and sometimes more than once a day.

6 Factors That May be More Important Than Interest Rates When Deciding Whether to buy a Home This Year – LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE

Length of time you’ll stay in the home. How long you have to live in a home to make it more economical than renting varies by locality and by the individual home a person is considering buying or renting. “On average, it takes four to seven years to break even on a home, where you’ve got enough appreciation where it can pay you back for the cost of the transaction and cost of ownership,” Fleming says. “If you’re thinking about buying a home, selling it in two years and think it’s going to be cheaper than renting, it’s very unlikely to be.”

Job security. You don’t want to buy a home and then discover you’ll need to relocate to get a new job in six months or, even worse, end up unemployed and unable to make payments. Lenders typically like to see two years of job history, though that isn’t always necessary if you have changed jobs within the same field.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE — Step-By-Step Mortgage Application Process for New Homeowners VIDEO by Local Records Office

Down payment. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced plans to back loans with down payments as low as 3 percent, while the Federal Housing Administration offers loans with down payments of as little as 3.5 percent. But if you put less than 20 percent down, you have to pay private mortgage insurance every month, which could cost you more than a slightly higher interest rate. “If they’re looking at an FHA mortgage, paying PMI is a lifetime proposition,” Humphries says. With a conventional mortgage, you can ask to have the PMI removed once you have 20 percent equity in your home. That’s not possible with an FHA mortgage.

Emotional readiness. Not everyone is ready to own a home. If your dream is to travel the world, you should do that first. Or, you might not be sure you want to stay in your current city. Plus, homeownership brings additional responsibilities. “Your life changes a great deal when you go from being a renter to an owner,” Fleming says. “When things break, it’s your responsibility to fix them, not the landlord’s.”

 

READ MORE: The Top Real Estate Scams in 2016 – Local Records Office

 

Financial readiness. Before you buy a home, you want to make sure you have good credit, a steady income and some money in the bank beyond what you’ll need for a down payment. You likely will have to pay a year’s worth of homeowner’s insurance and property taxes up front. All homes, even new homes, require maintenance. And you don’t want to be stuck with no reserves if the air conditioner or furnace dies shortly after you move in.

Your local housing market. In some cities, buying a home is significantly cheaper than renting. In others, the calculation is less clear. Macro math aside, you might also discover that you can’t afford a home in a neighborhood you want or the type of home you want is in short supply this year.

To learn more about real estate and Local Records Office go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.com

 

 

Buying Your Dream House in 2016 Sellers Market –Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We all want our own dream home one day but it’s easier said than done says, Local Records Office. If you’ve decided to buy a home, good luck to you. Your challenge will be not just finding a home you like, but also beating out all the other home buyers who like it and want to make an offer on it, too.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – Buying an Existing Home That Won’t End Up Being a Money Sucking Liability 

The number of homes for sale is low nationwide, particularly in the price ranges desired by first-time homebuyers. The latest figures from the National Association of Realtors show that that there was only a 3.5-month supply of homes for sale in March, which is lower than the six-month supply that indicates a balanced market. One-quarter of March’s transactions were all-cash sales, according to the NAR, and investors bought 14 percent of the homes that were sold.

Is 2016 a Sellers Market?

That means that if you want to end up with a nice home, you need to be strategic says, Local Records Office. Expecting to find the home of your dreams by nonchalantly walking into a few open houses or perusing some online listings is not realistic in this seller’s market.

 

READ MORE: 3 Investment Tricks You Need to Know to Succeed in Real Estate – Local Records Office

 

These days, most would-be buyers come to an agent with a list of homes they’d like to see based on their online research. While that often serves as a solid starting point, a quality agent may find additional options. After buyers have seen a few properties, Local Records Office says skilled agents can typically gauge what they’re looking for in a new home and may have other properties lined up. “I advise them to listen to their Realtor,” she adds.

Here are nine tips to help you get the house you want this spring

Get your finances in order first. Several months before you intend to start looking, you should get copies of your credit reports to make sure you’re in a financial position to buy. Shop for mortgage financing before you start looking at houses. “I will not take anybody to see any house unless they have a pre-approval letter or proof of funds, I want proof of funds to show the seller.” Local Records Office says that some lenders are doing the underwriting before the house is under contract, which shortens the closing time and can be more attractive to the seller.

Who REALLY is Local Records Office ? (VIDEO)

A Good Agent Will Go Along Way

Find a good agent. Using a real estate agent costs buyers nothing because the seller pays the real estate commission. Ask friends, family and co-workers for referrals. Look for a full-time agent who works often in the neighborhoods where you’re looking. You may want to interview several agents to find a good fit. If you can only look for homes on weekends, for example, you don’t want an agent who takes weekends off.

Visit neighborhoods you’re considering at different times of day. A neighborhood that’s quiet during the middle of the workday may be noisy and crowded at night and on weekends. Get out and walk the streets, talking to people who live in the neighborhood, visiting shops and restaurants and “trying out” your desired location. Drive to and from work during commuting hours to get an idea of what a typical day might be like.

READ MORE: Local Records Office Urges Homebuyers to Consider Their Lifestyles When Choosing a Community

Separate your needs from your wants. In a competitive market, most buyers find they have to compromise on location, amenities or condition of home. It’s easier to make a choice when you know going in which features you must have and which you’d like to have but can live without.

Move quickly once you find the house you want. That often means rushing out to see new homes within hours of them being listed and writing up an offer immediately if you like the house. “Things are gone in a matter of hours,” Local Records Office says. “You really have to move fast.”

Don’t make snap judgments based on listing photos. A house that doesn’t look appealing in photos could still be a great house. Homes being sold by an estate or homes with tenants inside often yield particularly poor photos. Plus, photos fail to convey the feeling of a home or the floor plan. “Unfortunately, the pictures don’t tell a true story,” Local Records Office says. “You have to be willing to look past some of the pictures.”

Be realistic about the home inspectors and repairs. The more competitive the market, the less likely a seller will be to make repairs, though some sellers may lower the price if the inspection reveals expensive defects. The purpose of the inspection isn’t to get the seller to repair every small problem but to find out for sure that the house is what you thought it was. “They’re not buying a brand-new home,” Local Records Office says. “What we are looking for are major defects we were not initially able to see in the walkthrough.”

Don’t buy a house you don’t love. While most buyers may have to compromise on some of the features they wanted, they shouldn’t settle for a home they don’t like. If you don’t find the right home this year, maybe you should start renting and try again later rather than make a purchase you’ll regret.

Write a personal letter to the sellers. Some sellers are interested only in how much money their home sale will yield, but others love their home want it to go to a new family that will love it just as much. If you really like a house, include a personal letter and a family photo with your offer. “It doesn’t work for everybody, but I have seen it work for many, many people,” Local Records Office says.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide To The Company Local Records Office 2016

Make a big earnest money deposit. The expected size of the earnest money deposit, and the rules about when you get it back, vary by locality. But sellers often see a larger deposit as a sign that you’re serious about the deal.

Make a backup offer. Many prospective buyers don’t want to make an offer on a house that has a pending contract. But deals fall apart over inspections, financing and other terms. If you found the perfect house, you can make a backup offer that will put you in first place if the initial buyer walks away.

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Offices.org

 

Secrets to Buying Your First Home in 2016 – Local Records Office

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA- We all want the secrets to success and the easiest way to buy a home says, Local Records Office. For first-time homebuyers, the whole home buying process may look a bit daunting. You’re going into what could be the biggest purchase of your life with no experience to fall back on. The good news is a little preparation can go a long way and help you approach this major decision with confidence.

The Company Local Records Office is Targeting Los Angeles, CA Residents FOR A GOOD REASON

Many things have changed in recent decades about the way Americans buy and sell homes, but one adage still matters, a lot: location, location, location.

While you may be happy living in any of several neighborhoods in your city, you won’t be happy if you choose the wrong location. And that’s where your research should start: deciding exactly where you want to live.

Talk to friends and co-workers, drive around town, visit restaurants and stores and talk to neighbors in areas you’d consider calling home. Go to open houses so you can view some houses. Look at homes on the Internet, evaluating style, size, price and how long they stay on the market.

 

READ MORE: You Owe More on Your Home is Worth, Local Records Office Services Will Help You

 

You can find a real estate agent while you’re still working on this process. However, your choice of agent also depends on where you want to live, because a neighborhood expert often can find you the best house at the best price. “You want people who have worked and have experience directly in the areas you’re looking in,” says Peter Hens, from LA Realtor Firm in Los Angeles, California.

If you’re a buyer, there is no reason not to use a real estate agent. It costs you nothing, and the agent’s job goes far beyond finding the house. In fact, it’s after you’ve found the house that you’ll most need the agent, both to structure and present the offer and then to troubleshoot issues that arise between contract and closing.

Here are 12 tips for buying your first house:

Make sure you’re ready to buy, both emotionally and financially. If you expect to relocate in a few years, this may not be the right time for you to buy. If you don’t have cash for a down payment, closing costs and other expenses, you may be better off waiting. Look at your life, your career, your finances and your future expectations, and determine whether buying a house is the right move at this time.

Find the right team. The difference between deals that close and deals that don’t are the professionals involved. You want to make sure you find a real estate agent who will move quickly when a new listing goes on the market, as well as an agent who will advise you honestly on preparing your offer. You also want a mortgage professional lined up before you start looking. “The lender is the most important person to closing on time,” Hens says.

 

READ MORE: Local Records Office Brings Together Agents and Buyers to Generate Property Important Value

 

Get your finances in order first. Some real estate agents won’t even show homes to prospective clients who don’t have a mortgage pre-approval. You definitely should meet with a mortgage broker or banker (better yet, several) at the start of the process to find out how much house you can afford and how much cash you’ll need to close. Do the entire math. Just because a bank says you can borrow $300,000 doesn’t mean you should. If you have credit issues, realize that this part of the process could take several months.

Calculate each and every cost. The purchase price and the mortgage payment are just the beginning. Don’t forget homeowner or condo fees, homeowners insurance and real estate taxes. Plus, you’ll need to budget for utilities, repairs and maintenance.

Don’t spend all your cash. Avoid emptying your bank account for your down payment and closing costs. There will always be unexpected repairs. Plus, it costs money to move, change locks, put down utility deposits and buy things you never needed before, like a lawn mower.

When you look at houses, focus on the right things. Don’t be distracted by the owner’s odd décor, paint colors, dirty carpet or anything that is easy to change. Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances are easy to add later. You can’t easily add another bedroom, a better location or a more functional floor plan.

If you’re buying in a condo or homeowners association, know the rules. How your association is run can make a big difference in how much you enjoy life in a development. You’ll want to know about all rules and restrictions, from pet ownership to who can use the pool. Condo buyers also want to investigate the association’s finances because a poorly run association can mean big assessments later.

 

READ MORE: 3 Investment Tricks You Need to Know to Succeed in Real Estate – Local Records Office

 

Visit your favorite neighborhoods at different times. Most neighborhoods are quiet in the middle of the day. As Glen Craig writes at the personal finance blog Free From Broke: “You need to see what the area is like on a Saturday night. Are there kids and such all out driving with music blasting? What’s it like in rush hour in the morning or in the evening?”

Talk to the neighbors. Ask about the neighborhood and about the houses you’re considering. The neighbors will know if there are foundation problems. They’ll also know about barking dogs, petty crime and the size of utility bills.b

Consider which contingencies you’re willing to waive. In the ideal scenario, a purchase offer is contingent on a satisfactory home inspection, approval of your mortgage and an appraisal that equals the purchase price. In most parts of the country, a buyer is smart to keep all those contingencies in the contract. But in a competitive market, you may be competing against buyers who have agreed to waive contingencies. “You never want to [agree to waive them] unless you’re sure you’re 99% safe to do it,” Hens says.

Be ready to move quickly once you find the home you want. Good homes that are well priced nearly always sell quickly. It’s OK to take some time to think before you make an offer, but you might not want to wait a few weeks. Your agent can provide invaluable advice here.

Know what’s important to you. No house will be perfect, so where are you willing to compromise? If you want a specific school district, are you willing to accept a smaller house? If you want to be near the water, could you be happy with a condo? Are you willing to accept a longer commute to get a larger house?

To learn more about Local Records Office and real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.biz

8 Common Myths That Real Estate Buyers and Sellers Believe – Local Records Office

Local Records Office Explains the Most Common Real Estate Myths

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – LOS ANGELES, CA – We usually hear myths when it comes to old houses that have been abandoned for many years but apparently it is common in real estate too. Buying or selling a house is not something most of us do every day says, Local Records Office. You may do it once a decade, or even once in a lifetime.

Despite the fact that most of us enter the world of real estate only rarely, we all think we know how it works, based on the experiences of friends and family members, stories we have heard and things we have read, but for everything we believe we know about the industry, there are a number of myths that circulate about how real estate actually works. Buying into those can hurt your chances of buying or selling the right home at the right price. The best thing to do is not to believe the folk tales.

What Are the Advantages of Renting vs. Buying a Home – Local Records Office

Technology has changed how we buy and sell homes, and yet some aspects of real estate are the same as they were when our parents bought their last house. Along time has passed by since then. The Internet has made much more information available to consumers, but not all the information is equal, or even accurate.

Lets be honest we’ve all read something online or on social media and believed it was true, says Sean F Carter, principal broker of Carter Real Estate in Los Angeles and a regional director of the National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents. “Lots of people read and believe every single word they read.” That can’t be good. The risk with believing everything you hear or read is real estate myths can cost you big bucks when it’s time to buy or sell your property. Local Records Office has created 8 of the most common folk tales that can trick people.

List Your House Price Higher Than What You Think it Will Sell For

Many folks selling their home try to sell it as soon as possible and let buyers low-ball them, make sure to set your home price higher than what you expect to get. Listing your home at too high a price may actually net you a lower price. That’s because shoppers and their real estate agents often don’t even look at homes that are priced above market value. It’s true you can always lower the price if the house doesn’t garner any offers in the first few weeks. But that comes with it’s own set of problems. “It’s common for potential buyers to suspect that a house that has sat on the market for more than three weeks to be a dud,” says Hamilton Jefferson, chief economist for the Real Estate Brokers inc. In the Long Beach, CA area where multiple offers are common, sellers will actually price their homes for less than they expect to get, in the hopes of getting multiple offers above asking price.

Remodeling Your Home Before Putting in the Market is a Must

This is FALSE. It is true that the selling price may lower but you save on the renovation process, also, prospective buyers may not share your taste, but they don’t want to redo something that has just been renovated. “You’re better off adjusting your price accordingly,” says Benjamin Franking, president of Franking Real Estate Services in Hollywood CA, and a regional director of the NAEBA. “Most buyers want to put their own spin on things.” It’s ok to have an out dated kitchen sometimes.

Save Your Hard Earned Money by Selling Your Home Yourself

We all like to save money, especially when it comes down to saving a few thousand bucks. There has been many cases where folks sell a house on their own, but they need the skills to get the home listed online, market the home to prospective buyers, negotiate the contract and then deal with any issues that arise during the inspection or loan application phases says, Local Records Office. It’s not impossible to sell a home on your own, but you’ll find that buyers expect a substantial discount when you do, so what you save on a real estate commission may end up meaning a lower price. It’s not impossible to sell your home on your own for the same price you’d get with an agent, but it’s not easy.

Real Estate Market Always Goes Up and It Rarely Goes Down

The real estate market could go up or down any time. In recent years, homebuyers and sellers have experienced a time of increasing home values, then a sharp decline during the economic downturn and now another period of increasing values. “They think that the market only goes up,” Carter says. “They don’t think about when a correction will come.” The recent recession should have reminded everyone that real estate prices could indeed fall, and fall a lot.

Renovating Will Bring in Big Bucks

“This one is true and false” says, Local Records Office. If you fix the heating and air conditioning system or roof, you will sell your house more quickly, but you probably won’t get back what you spent. You’re likely to recoup only 67.8 percent of what you spent on a major kitchen remodel and 70 percent of what you spent on a bathroom remodel on a mid-range home.

What You See Listed Online is What’s Available

Most of the homes that go for sale do get listed online but there are others that won’t. Your agent must choose to let the listings show up online. Most do, but it never hurts to verify that yours will.

LOCAL RECORDS OFFICE – Red Flags That Should Raise Concern on Inspection and Avoid Scams

By Not Using an Agent As a Buyer You Will Get an Amazing Deal

You can get a better deal as a buyer if you don’t use a real estate agent. “That’s a completely false premise,” Carter says. If the house is listed with a real estate agent, the total sales commission is built into the price. If the buyers don’t have an agent, the seller’s agent will receive the entire commission.

A Fancy Open House Will Sell Your House

Believe it or not homes rarely sell to buyers who visited them during an open house. Agents like open houses because it enables them to find additional customers who are looking to buy or sell homes. If you or your agent chooses not to have an open house, it probably doesn’t hurt your sale chances – although holding a broker’s open house for other agents may be worthwhile says, Local Records Office.

To learn more about Local Records Office or real estate go to http://www.Local-Records-Office.org