Friday, September 25, 2015

What To Do With Those Dreaded Washer/Dryer Areas

One of my associates shared a post about ways to cover/hide your washer & dryer. I've got 2 upcoming listings that have this same issue.....I'll forward this blog post directly to them....or tag them on Facebook maybe!!!

I looked around, yes, I do love the Google, to find a few additional ways based upon the area my clients have mostly.

Some areas are just smaller, new machines stick out a bit further, doors are removed over the years. Or, they just never had a separate space.

But, these, I thought they were lovely. Different ideas, nice looks. What do you think?

I see this one a lot.

I like this different version of the first one.

Oh, yeah, but in a different color for me.

My absolute favorite!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Million Dollar Listing & Coughing Up The Cash

So, yes, I admit it....I do watch Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles. I tried New York but didn't care for it.

I absolutely hate Josh Altman, it's all about him. The two guys together are okay. My favorite is Josh Flagg.

But, I tell you the one thing that strikes me as odd? They never offer to give up any of their outrageous commissions to close a deal.  Well, I suppose they don't want that to be seen on national television, maybe.....

Throughout my career I've been selling 85% in Santa Clarita Valley. We range from about 300 to 800 on the average. Josh Flagg? I looked, his sales are averaging 3M.

Most people know, but as a reminder, we split the listing commission charged with the buyers agent. We also split it, in some way, with our broker. Desk fees, franchise fees, transaction fees, error & omission fees......they definitely take a piece of the pie.

That's part of doing business. So, watching their show, they love telling us the commission for the homes they are selling. And, holy's a lot!

I admit that working with the higher priced listings comes with more drama, more tension, more difficult clients. You're kidding yourself if you don't think so.

But's absurd how much they are earning....absurd!!! But, if I had stayed in W.L.A. to raise my kids instead of coming out to the suburbs of Santa Clarita.....I'd be making those absurd commissions too.

At any rate, back to: do they cough up any of their commission to get the deal done?

Do they turn over any of that hard earned dough?

I am quite curious if they do. I will sometimes. Not all the time, but if we're so close and I want my client happy? I'll cough up a bit to help them get it done. To help them get into the home of the dreams, or to move forward from the sale of their residence.

I am just really curious if someone making $75,000 on a sale would cough some up too!!!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Sometimes The Biggest Is NOT The Best

Quantity vs. Quality? There is a reason that phrase was coined.

Personal note blog post. Just sharing.

I met with several different solar companies over the last few years, 2 in particular in the last month. I did a preliminary sign on the dotted line with one of the really big ones. They came out and did their 'site survey' and then sent me the final contract for signature in an e-mail that said simply 'sign here'.

Not review, ask questions, make changes....and then sign here.

Just Sign Here.....

But, I Didn't Just Sign......

This company was all over me in the beginning, 3 different reps contacting me a couple times a week to answer any questions. One in particular I had two phone conversations with and told them I had many questions that I was not comfortable with verbal answers.

I do read contracts for a living after all...verbal Real Estate is no better than verbal Solar purchase.

Could I send you a list of e-mailed questions?, I asked. She said absolutely......that was 2.5 weeks ago. No response at all, no call...well 2 hang-ups from them with no messages this week, but no answer to my e-mailed questions.

My thoughts? They didn't like my questions, could not make the necessary changes to gain my business and they were used to people just signing when sent the message 'sign here'.

So, on a fluke the one young man that I felt very confident in his ability sent me a follow-up. He knew I was planning on going with the big-dog company but his professionalism & follow-up skills made him reach out to me again.

I met with he and his associate yesterday afternoon. He answered all my questions, I read the entire contract, asked 3 more questions....which he immediately answered.....I mean, really, immediately! 

He did mention that I asked more questions than anyone yet. Yes, they were used to people just signing on the dotted line as well. Ah-mazing!

At any rate, I have my site survey scheduled for tomorrow. I've reduced the BIG system the BIG company wanted me to go with. I've had every single questions answered in a timely manner. I've had constant communication.

We'll see what happens after install! But, I'm not really worried....I do have the warranty phone number, e-mail,  & website! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Home Loan Rates Today September 15, 2015

SPOILER ALERT ~ Just because a lender quotes a rate doesn't mean YOU'RE going to get that rate.

So many things to consider when shopping home loan rates. If you've got stellar credit, low debt, no derogatory marks on your FICO scoring....You Rock! And, you'll get great rates. However, if not, keep in mind.....not all rate quotes are as they appear until the lender investigates your credit history.

Today's rates come via a Santa Clarita Valley lender ~

  • 30 year fixed conventional loan 20% down - 3.875% (3.948APR) - You can get a 30 year conventional loan with as little as 3% down up to $417,000.00!
  • 15 year fixed conventional loan 20% down - 3.250% (3.376APR) - You can get a 15 year conventional loan with as little as 5% down up to $417,000.00!
  • 30 Year fixed FHA loan 3.5% down - 3.625% (4.723APR) - You can get an FHA loan with 3.5% down up to $625,500.00
  • 30 year fixed VA loan 0 down - 3.750% (3.952APR) - VA Loans are 0 down up to $625,500 in LA County and a Veteran can get a VA loan up to $1,000,000.00 with about 9% down.
All of the above are based on a $400,000.00 loan amount and a 740 credit score (see I told ya!). Loan rates are 0 point loans!  Rates are subject to change without notice.  More money down could reduce interest rates and lower scores will likely increase interest rates.   

  • 30 year Jumbo over $625,501.00 - $3,000,000.00 - 25% down - 4.000% (4.075 APR) - 

Friday, September 11, 2015

But Will The DOJ Be Able To Collect Restitution I Ask?

So, the Department of Justice finally passed a memo around yesterday that they would go after the individual mortgage lenders/brokers for their hand in the housing/mortgage melt down of 2008.

It's about freaking time! 

The big banks paid out HUGE moneys for their part in it, but let's face it....there were plenty of unscrupulous lenders that were not guiding their borrowers in their fiduciary duty way! I love that....Fiduciary Duty. I explain to my clients when they are signing my Agency Disclosure.

Definition You Ask? A fiduciary duty is a legal duty to act solely in another party's interest. In Another Party's Interest. Not in your own, not in your pocketbook, not in your goal-setting board! 

So, they will go after the individuals, they will be looking for civil & criminal activity. They will....they will....they will what? What will they do?

I have to presume that quite a few of those lenders are no longer in the biz. If they are, they will likely be reprimanded, assessed a fee, watched over.

But, if they are assessed a fee, how much? Will the DOJ be able to collect enough to make the mess go away?

No, they of course won't. BUT, they must do this to show the general public that they care. That they know others are to blame and that they care enough to make it, hopefully, not happen again. People have to be held accountable for their actions. Kudo's to the DOJ for finally going for it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Bye-Bye Beige?

I just finished reading every bit of info on our market. Stuff from DSN, U.S. Housing/Finance, L.A.Times, Realtor.Org....where I found the best one.

Gray is now getting called the most popular color....well for the last 2 years......for home interiors.

I have preferred the warmer colors for years. But, I'm loving the different (or 50) shades of gray I'm seeing.

Started with a light gray, most recently one of my clients did a very dark gray accent wall.

I'm looking at changing our walls in the near future and flooring and is a snowball effect, right?

So, although I don't think I'd do an entire room the dark one, I'm loving the idea of an accent wall or two. And, since most of my furniture is in the brown tones, I've got to be careful to make sure whatever color I pick blends with my existing furniture....or that snowball is going to get HUGE!!

Which color, or colors do you like best?

Friday, September 4, 2015

And Another Client Asks "What Do You Think?"

It happens every day, every time I'm out with a client. Well, once in a blue moon it doesn't. But, my experience and knowledge are so much vaster than the clients, they do ask what I think about one of their very important decisions.

Last night, out with my newlyweds and we are in a section of town they are not familiar with. Gorgeous backyard, Ah-mazing kitchen, pretty good floor plan, some nice upgrades too.

I've taken them almost everywhere in Santa Clarita. A couple of neighborhoods not yet, but I may add those if they fall into their price range.

But last night they asked me the infamous question. "What do you think Lauren?" 

The husband was surprised I hadn't voiced an opinion prior to scheduling the appointment to see this home! He knows me fairly well. We've worked together before.

So, I told them. Not so much my opinion on this one, but my experience. I've been selling homes in and out of Santa Clarita Valley for over a dozen years. I've sold a lot of homes, a lot! And, the majority of my buyers like particular areas better than others.  It's just the way it is.

The area they were looking in is newer, freeway friendly, lots of lovely homes. Not gonna kid you. It's one of the prettiest sections of that part of SCV....and it's not even technically SCV.

And yet still, I had to inform them of my experience.

Now, I tell them, it's a personal choice. But, since I always educate about re-sale, I must share my experiences with them and then allow them to make the final decision.

But, the infamous.....Location, Location, has stuck for a reason. You can always change the home you buy to be more your taste. Add a few upgrades, put in a pool. But, unless you are selling.....that location remains where it is.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

So Many Realtors Out There!

Every day checking the MLS. once, twice, three or more times. Once in a while I see that someone I know has listed their home with another Realtor.

It happens.

Back in the day this was my reaction :

Now, it's more like 'Oh, at least it's a good agent'. Well, frequently I can say that. 

Fortunately the one I spotted yesterday is with a good agent. Well, not as good as me, but that agents' pretty good.

The worst is when I see it listed with a crappy agent. One that doesn't deserve to get paid. One that I know it's going to be a sloppy transaction.

But, it is what it is. I do well with the business I've developed in the last 13 years. I work very hard for my clients. The ones that have worked with me realize the difference I can make in their life.

Nothing really much more than an observational post today. There are a lot of us out there. But, there aren't as many good ones as there are sub-standard ones.

Just sayin.